Longtime friend of John and Margi Dehlin, Jeremy Young joins us discuss his pioneer ancestry, faith journey, ventures as an entrepreneur, and wine! Near the conclusion of the interview, we hear about an exciting scripted TV series on Joseph Smith and the founding of the Mormon church that Jeremy is undertaking with John C. Hamer and other brilliant collaborators.
Part One: Growing up deeply rooted in Mormon culture in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Jeremy felt the pressure to be perfect but realized early in his teen years that he didn’t quite fit the mold. From mimicking the edgy “Zestfully Clean” TV commercial in front of his entire high school – to performing magic tricks as an icebreaker for investigators on his mission – Jeremy had a playful approach to life.
Jeremy attributes much of his success in life to the values instilled in him by his Mormon upbringing. Jeremy served a French-speaking LDS mission in Québec, Canada, which he reflects fondly upon. Attending the temple was never a source of feeling the spirit for Jeremy like playing church music on the piano or attending church was.
Part Two: From climbing the ranks within telemarketing to building Rush Limbaugh’s early online store, Jeremy realized great success as a business person. He became a multi-millionaire by the age of 28 with over one hundred employees and multiple ventures under his belt.
After about 6 years of dealing with infertility, Jeremy and his wife Molly adopted their first child through LDS Social Services. Jeremy emotionally recounts the challenging and beautiful experience of growing his family and interacting with the birth mother of his adopted child. “It was a magical experience.” In total, the couple now has three children.
German board games became a passion for Jeremy, inspiring him to start a board game company. There, he created the game Settlers of Zarahemla. Jeremy came close to owning the rights to the game Ticket to Ride.
Part Three: After serving in multiple church callings related to music, Jeremy became the Elders’ Quorum President as a young father and husband. Jeremy found three of D. Michael Quinn’s books at his mother-in-law’s house. Jeremy describes the cognitive dissonance reading these books cause within him as “jolting.” Other influential books in Jeremy’s were Newell’s Mormon Enigma, Bushman’s Rough Stone Rolling, and Dawkins’ The God Delusion.
Around this time, Jeremy heard of John Dehlin’s work and Mormon Stories Podcast but was cautioned to stay away. Living in St. George, Utah at this point, Jeremy was grappling with his emotionally-taxing faith crisis.
In a temple recommend interview, Jeremy’s bishop questioned Jeremy’s tongue-in-cheek Christmas cards that he would send to hundreds of people, using this to threaten not issuing a recommend.
Living in St. George, Utah was a challenge for Jeremy during his faith journey. Perhaps the last straw that made him move was receiving a gift certificate for a massage. When he went to the massage studio, he was given a massage by a polygamist woman in full garb with a Massage Envy t-shirt over her dress. “We’ve got to get out of here!” Jeremy told Molly.
Expressing concerns about issues within the church prevented Jeremy from having a temple recommend, which strained relationships between Jeremy and his friends. Transitioning out of the church, what took Jeremy thirteen years, took Molly three days after reading Runnell’s CES Letter. Jeremy and Molly’s participation in Arizona LDS LGBT & Family/Friends and marching in Pride parades “caused all hell to break loose in the ward” and started untrue rumors that Jeremy is gay. The “November Policy” was a final straw for Jeremy and his family, causing the entire family to resign membership in the church through Quit Mormon.
Jeremy details how he and Molly have evolved as a couple, sought help from others, and have moved from “okay” to “great.” John and Jeremy share memories of a trip they took together with their spouses to Tuscany, Italy. There, Jeremy shared with John his love of the craft of wine – which John did not drink. The two discuss the role and risks of incorporating alcohol into life as an ex-Mormon.
Links to other topics referenced in this interview:
- TRS80, Jeremy’s first computer
- Bill Gates’ prediction in the 1990s that the internet would not be too big of a deal.
- Mormon Stories Podcast 938-939: Steven Hassan – What the Mormon Church can Learn from Cults to Do/Be Better
- John Dehlin’s “How to Stay in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints After a Major Challenge to Your Faith”
- Jim Brickman, a favorite composer of Jeremy’s
- Jeremy’s daughter Julia’s Instagram and Youtube channel
- To connect with Jeremy about his upcoming film project, write him at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Find out more about Jeremy’s wine journey at MormonWineSnobs on Instagram
Part 1 – Growing up deeply rooted in Mormon culture in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho:
Part 2 – Becoming a successful entrepreneur, husband, and father – The highest of highs and the lowest of lows:
Part 3 – From straight-laced LDS to learning the other side of life: