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  1. I have been listening to you for a few years now and have wanted to make contact with you regarding your mission. I served in the Guatemala City North mission from March 1990 to July 1991. I was there at the end of President Romney’s “service,” and had a horrible start to my mission. I witnessed all the things that you have talked about. As a brand new missionary I was devastated and wondered what church I was representing that would con people – especially children – into getting baptized. The APs would come to our area asking to see our contact list and demanding that we take them to their homes. At one point my companion and I had to literally help a little old lady escape out the back of the chapel so the APs would stop terrorizing her into getting baptized. I also went to President Romney and also was scolded for not having faith. I even quoted scripture to make my point and he just threw it back in my face, telling me that my concern was unwarranted and that all would be sorted out in heaven. Things got A LOT better when President Frischknect came a few months later, but those few months at the beginning of my mission scarred me for life and forever damaged my view of the church. If communication had been what it is now, I definitely would have called my parents and asked them to bring me home, but phones were few and far between. I did write them about it, they called Church Headquarters and were told that Romney was on his way out anyway and that I should basically just be patient. I, too, was sent to an area far from the city. The people of Guatemala, however, made everything worth it! They are the most humble, sincere people I’ve ever known. Happy despite all that they lack. They taught me so much more than I ever could have taught them. I don’t remember how many people I baptized, but I can still see the faces of the children running to greet us and jumping into our arms. Pure joy! Thanks, John, for all that you’ve done over the last ten years to enlighten us, entertain us, and enrich our lives!

  2. Great interview!
    John, mostly I appreciate the work you’ve done. I stumbled across you during the insanity of the Prop 8
    campaign. Thank you for providing an oasis of sorts, an opportunity to grow through hearing about other’s personal experiences.

    Isn’t it ironic–hypocritical–that you are the one who gets ex’ed while leaders like Pres. Romney (and others)
    move forward in the church, seemingly unscathed? Power corrupts.

    All the best to you and your family.

  3. Guatemala Quetzaltenango Nov 1989 to Nov 1991 checking in! Yes kiddy baptisms were the norm. When I refused to do it as a new Senior companion, I was sent to another area “on splits” so leaders could find someone last minute to baptize. Can go a month without all companionships in the zone baptizing! Loved Guatemala, but hated my mission president and much of went on in the mission.

  4. My husband and I are late to the party. The Race and the Priesthood Essay set us on the course of study, discovery, disappointment and anger. I really believe there is a second wave of dissenters just like us. I hope there will continue to be a place for us to hear stories of likeminded folks as we process the facts and try to negotiate a “new normal.” We’ve already seen 3 young couples resign in our ward (taking 8 COR with them) since the beginning of 2015. We are under the radar for now, and have real anxiety about coming out to family and “friends.”

    Mormon Stories and Year of Polygamy have saved our sanity. A big thank you from California! Keep up the good work.

  5. As interesting and enlightening as anything in the entire body of Mormon Stories interviews. Gina drew you out, John, with incisive, thoughtful questions. No one outside your family and friends can say they have any substantial insight into you or Mormon Stories until they’ve listened to this interview. I was reminded of the observation at the end of your recent Sunstone interview with Lindsay Hansen Park where a historian thanked you for the large collection of first-person stories you’ve compiled through Mormon Stories. Add your own story to that collection When you write your life story at some point, come back to this interivew.

    In the face of the beat down the corporate hierarchy has handed you I truly admire your vision of loving and helping and moving forward. Do persist. I know you don’t put much faith in the Book of Mormon but it claims that the folks that gave you the boot (the gentile church) will self destruct under profound condemnation in the last days. If that’s the case they may have done you a favor in throwing you off The Good Ship Zion because, it, not you, is in apostasy and is sinking. Holland to the pump room: “Got any more pumps to bring online?”

    As a thought experiment it would be great to hear you interview L. Whitney Clayton, Gina. Here is a person on the short list to be one of the next apostles, using dominion and compulsion to finesse John (and others) out of President Uchtdorf’s claimed big tent of Mormonism. According to D&C 121 Clayton may come to occupy one of the chief seats but end up lacking the priesthood to give it meaning. I think you could match wits with the guy; I would double-dog dare him to be as forthcoming as John. It was great that you left in Dan Wotherspoon’s contribution to the interview. Suddenly out of the ether, a voice of reminding and clarifying! It reminded me of Radio Lab.

    Please continue your interviewing. In the words of B.H.Roberts, “It [Mormonism] calls for thoughtful disciples who will not be content with merely repeating some of its truths, but will develop its truths; and enlarge it by that development. Not half—not one-hundredth part—not a thousandth part of that which Joseph Smith revealed to the Church has yet been unfolded, either to the Church or to the world. The work of the expounder has scarcely begun.” I see you, John and the ethereal Dan as expounders.

  6. Thoroughly enjoyed this interview and learning so much about your story! I loved the version of song playing at the beginning and end of each episode and would love to find it but am unable to understand the name of the artists. If anyone knows let me know.

    Thanks.

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