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  1. I had missed episode 476, and thus I am glad you are publishing. I hope you keep publishing them so that I don’t miss out on hearing the interviews you are giving.

  2. Loved the way the interviewer presses the church talking head. Also thought it was interesting that she served as a press secretary to Utah Governor. Perfect. She is absolutely qualified to represent the LDS business machine.

  3. Interview with Ally Isom: The “Church” culture she described does not resemble the “Church” culture I have lived in for the past 50 years. Where is “her” Church… I would like to join IT?

  4. That Women being ordained to the priesthood is discussed every week somewhere in the church is probably true, but the discussion goes something like “Those women who want the priesthood are crazy!” “Yep” It’s a very short discussion, and does not advance understanding or compassion.

  5. I was really interested to hear this podcast – I can only imagine how hard it must be to have to face church disciplinary action in the way you have described. Thank you for not shying away from keeping the public informed on your situation. I think you have every right to react the way you have thus far and I can understand if the following comments because it’s much easier for me to commentate from outside the situation than being in your shoes. I get some conspiracy theorist vibes from your take on what the church is “trying to do” here. Particularly when you describe what is likely to follow your and Kelly’s excommunication, assuming it takes place. There are more realistic explanations that can account for the same evidence that you are examining, and it seems silly to jump to such big conclusions.

  6. The second interview was interesting. The church spokeswoman was saying that things in the church aren’t changed because people petition it. Yes it does, how did we get a ban on polygamy, blacks and the priesthood. Even Joseph Smith got the word of wisdom because Emma was sick of cleaning up his tobacco.

  7. The interview with the LDS PR representative is a clear sign where the LDS institutional church is. They are not prepared to create safe places for a variety of belief. And believing you have a direct line into God is signs of a fundamentalist religion. This is simply not a healthy place for rational, sain, individuals to be part be. You need to be willing to be controlled by men and their own personal ideology.

    I am so sorry for devout LDS who are looking for a more reforming, open, loving institution. This is the clearest message I’ve heard so far – put up or get out. I’m grateful that my God and Jesus are different to the ones this PR representative presents. The fact it is even a PR representative giving the message says it all. The Christian message is simple, it is one of grace and love. Would Jesus have a PR – I think not. This is corporatiom Mormonism at its worst. You can present any evidence of Priesthood in the LDS church (in the past), and priiesthood in Jesus’s time (no links to the current model), show how the LDS have got it wrong in the past. They will still argue whatever suits the 15 men at the top at the time. Decent in numbers is the only thing that can influence. Power and money mean that nothing else will touch. I am so grateful our children are free – we have removed them from this so called ‘body of Chrsit’. We worship in a free church where they are allowed to develop faith however they wish. We do not even expect them to attend – the 16 year old does not. Questions are welcomed and the community is one of love, no judgment or control. Even though this has come at great cost to me and my husband our children are thriving like never before. We have a community without the control and damaging ideology. I am so sorry that for liberal LDS the faith tradition they love cannot love them. Tragic, arrogant and so misguided. It’s simply not acting as Jesus ‘s church,

  8. The church spokeswoman interview was excruciating for me. Incredible that she could make the claims she made and when met with pushback from specifics that objectively prove things to be the opposite of her stated claims, that she can’t discuss or consider those points or events. Even the events that Doug wanted answers regarding that she could discuss on her own terms were avoided completely. Despite there having been set a precedent for social pressures as clearly being the catalyst for doctrinal and policy change on several occasions (some even openly discussed in church sunday school and accepted as such), she wants us to believe that they had no relation to the changes that were made. God’s approval of what was being asked for at the time just happened to coincidentally coincide with when social agitation or annoyance of a high-up enough person or active threats of the destruction of the newly-created theocratic state were at their peak. Whenever backed into a corner, there’s always the power play of calling devotion and commitment into question, quickly followed up by the gentle reminder that church leaders know what God really wants and the agitators DO NOT. And she ended up playing that card as well.

    The idea that any individual still in the church with any level of critial thinking ability isn’t filled with an urgent need to extract themselves and their children from this hub of double-speak and memory holes is very distressing to me.

    On the flip side, it gives me hope that so many can still succeed at the levels they do and create the exquisite art they do from within this organization despite it’s negative affects.

  9. Ally Isom is claiming that excommunication is just one of a number of options that are available to the local leadership at that leader’s discretion. This might read as such in terms of policy, but is simply false in application. It is not local leadership that initiates the action, it is the top leadership of the institution that does. This was revealed when it was leaked that the Church had developed what it called the Strengthening the Members Committee, designed to seek out those who would call into question aspects of the Church that are unfavorable.

    This is contrary to the direction given in Doctrine & Covenants as to how disciplinary proceedings are to take place. In fact, the apostles are to not have administrative or ecclesiastical authority greater than that of a Stake President where a Stake has been established. They are to be traveling with authority equal to that of Stake Presidents in areas they are laboring to establish a Stake in.

    One of the greatest errors in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (second to correlating doctrine, maybe) is the conflating of the ‘hallowed’ Church Handbook of Instructions or Ensign magazine with the idea of “continuing revelation”. Where the Church has departed from founding principles and revelations there is a tendency to point to these documents as God’s continued will made manifest.

    So it was once for apostles to travel, but now God’s content to let them sit atop an office building around a conference table. It was once ‘not by commandment or constraint’ that one should reconsider ingesting alcohol or hot drinks, but now it’s God’s will that we screen out these unsavory, outward sinners from our sanitized congregations. It was once instructed to hold marriages in public with the groom and bride standing side by side, but now God’s desire that we marry in temples excluding those same outward sinners from participating in what should be a joyous occasion. The Priesthood was once freely bestowed then later prohibited for over 100 years. Why? Not because God ordered it, but because it was a racist sentiment borne of a racist era. And where is the apology?

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is leaving in its wake a legacy of anguish. It is an institution that is content to hide from its own troubled history while hastily removing those who try to help it address these matters in an amenable and reconciliatory fashion. All in the name of God. This is what is meant by taking his name in vain, and it is a transgression that will not be tolerated. The cries of the very individuals Christ would have supped with ascend to his throne and they are heard.

    I am an active member of the Church, born in the covenant, and native to Utah. I believe in the principles truth-seeking, faith exploration, and the cultivating of the Holy Spirit. In taking an objective view of the state of the Church I am discontent to defer to the Church Handbook of Instructions as justification for the departures from Joseph Smith.

    We can return to a path to Zion, but we must repent and experience a change. We must stop purging the thoughtful Saints from our midst. God does not need nor want a mass of ‘Yes’ men and women.

  10. Realistic in what way? John has been very forthcoming with his doubts and concerns, which places him safely under Uchdorf’s outstretched umbrella. Amidst his own doubts and struggles, he’s stayed and is doing his best to reconcile these doubts with a faith structure he loves. And above all else, he encourages others to stay and do the same.

  11. Point 1
    There seems to be a common theme stated by church leades/pr people that LDS members need only to read and pray, seeking guidance from God to be led to “truth,” ie fall-in-line with Church leaders. Ok, I’ve done that nearly my entire life as a member of the Church, most of which was lived in UT. Then came Prop 8. From deep within my soul–came very strong feelings, which i took to God, that the Church involvement in the Prop 8 campaign was not in line with the gospel. It didn’t resemble the gospel in anyway, shape or form. (Not that it matters, but I am married, heterosexual and temple-endowed. I am not aware of anyone in my family being homosexual).

    The bottom line is, people can pray, read the scriptures, serve, and come to very different points of knowledge and understanding. How do church leaders explain that? How does the church deal with that? How do individuals deal with that?

    Point 2
    Do church leaders really want lay members raising difficult questions in Gospel Doctrine and Relief ‘Society/Priesthood classes such as Joseph Smith’s practice of polyandry, denial by church leaders of the practice of polygamy and other difficult topics? Ally Isom suggests these are the appropriate venues for these questions.

  12. Ally Isom is so hard to listen to. Listening to her reminds me of why the church can be detrimental to people that simply think and feel differently. Excommunicate can’t change your inner conscience– your soul. It can suppress it or manipulate it but some beliefs seem to be innate and independent of environment— God-given and somewhat unique. Your inner conscience will nudge you and never completely leave you alone if you go against it— even when you go against it with 100% God-cleared Mormon orthodoxy backing you up. It is so distressing and torturous to have an overly compassionate and truth-seeking soul in Mormonism right now becomes it just leads to rejection and agony in so, so, so many social circles. The need TO BE FREE is so strong but the need to be socially loved and accepted can feel even stronger. But oh the desire to follow your heart even when it contradicts unwritten standing doctrine can be almost unbearable! Ally’s voice is so loving and she is beautifully articulate but all I feel as I listen to her reasoning is agony and rejection… hopelessness… being socially starved unless I take her image into my heart. I feel like I have to go against my soul! How long can people like me last! HEAVENS! I hope the end of the world happens soon. It is Hell to be a young sensitive and unorthodox LDS woman. You face two options if you truly feel and think differently: 1. go against your soul… or 2. socially STARVE! The only solace that I have is that the rising generations will continue to think differently until the church changes again for the better.

  13. The iTunes link for episode 479 does not match the URL on mormonstories.org. My iTunes ap fails to download it, showing a 404 error. The episode number embedded in the file names do not match.

    In iTunes, the link is: http://mormonstories.wpengine.com/podcast/MormonStories-478-TribTalkDehlinKelly.mp3 (notice, 478 in the filename)

    At the mormonstories.org website, the link is: http://mormonstories.wpengine.com/podcast/MormonStories-479-TribTalkDehlinKelly.mp3 (notice, 479 in the filename)

  14. John, I just wanted you to know I am grateful for the work you do. I had a crisis of faith in November of 2012 when I learned of Joseph Smith’s polygamy, then his polyandry, then the book of Abraham, and it all came crashing down. I wanted to tell everybody that we’ve all been lied to, I even invisioned putting a sign in my yard. When I tried to tell my wife what I found out, she completely shut me down and became very angry with me. Finding your Mormon Stories site helped me keep my sanity and prevented me from completely freaking out. I feel that it is because of your work and because of Mormon Stories that my marriage remains intact. I really appreciate your advice of taking things slow and not doing anything rash. My wife agreed to listen to the Hans Mattson podcasts sometime last year and since that time she understands that I have legitimate concerns and that I am not evil. She has respect for my position, and she does not want to hear anything else and wants to remain a believing member. I love her and respect her position and still am active in church and participate as much as possible with a supportive Bishop. I do believe in Christ and especially in His love and the concept of grace. I’m trying to find and promote that as much as possible in my ward and life. Not sure how this will all work out, but keeping it together so far. Thank you John!

  15. I served a faithful full time mission, and taught for 2 years at the MTC. I left the church many years ago after researching on my own most of the topics contained within Mormon Stories. My journey was sparked back in 1997 while on a flight to China for a study abroad. I was reading the TIME Magazine “Mormon Inc.” article, wherein they revealed 0 DNA evidence to support Middle Eastern blood present in the Native American Indian population. Honestly, when the article transitioned into the DNA topic, my mind immediately became exited, because the “smoking gun” was finally about to be revealed. After reading the hard evidence to the contrary, I was blown away! My faith wasn’t totally shaken though…mainly because of the principle of faith. After all, God works in mysterious ways and is constantly testing said faith…right?! As time went on, I continued to find out more and more information through credible sources; sans Mormon hate literature.

    The decision to leave the church was not an easy one. I am the last of 6 kids…and at the time, the only one who was questioning. I have 4 kids, only two of which have been baptized. I not only had to fight parent and sibling pressures, but I also had to face the reality that my kids would face scrutiny from my nephews and nieces (many of which are the same age as my kids). I decided to analyze the main reasons my parents raised 6 amazing people. My Mother would say the number one reason was the church. I respectfully disagree…my parents are two very emotionally intelligent people who naturally exhibit 3 strong qualities. Unconditional love, time and accountability. I feel my parents would have had the same success even if they weren’t religious. They weren’t the scripture reading, FHE having, non-coke drinking, no rated R movie watching, full tithe paying Mormons. I determined the church was not a necessary tool to be a successful parent. To me, not much else in life is as important as parenthood.

    I feel the church is a victim of it’s own expectations. First of all, it was started by a boy who questioned things. Why then is it surprising certain people question? Second, every testimony meeting is filled with black and white verbiage like, “I KNOW this is the ONLY TRUE and LIVING church on the face of the earth!” It’s either true or it isn’t. That was fine 20 years ago, but in this age of information, the whole truth has driven many black and white thinkers away. Lastly, the Mormon church seems to have far more detailed explanations of prelife, mortality and afterlife. This is very attractive to thinkers. The problem is, thinkers aren’t content with stopping there…a thinker always wants to learn more. Isn’t it interesting that John’s chart of the recent church “apostasy” coincides with the advent and continued use of the internet? I do still use the christlike principles taught in the church, but they were engrained and solidified by parents who walked the walk!

  16. Ally Isom made a profound point..it’s not the asking of question its how you ask the question that makes the difference. I am a great proponent of the presumption of innocence. When I listen to some of the pod casts on Mormon Stories etc.. I hear valid criticisms, but the tone of critics is one which presumes the church is wrong and it must prove its innocence. This is where IMO, where the line gets crossed, especially when such expression is public.

    A better tack to take in my opinion is to present the question with the a presumption that the church is innocent. Same questions, different tone of the dialog..

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