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  1. Wow! I relate so much as a musician, teacher, and owner of Kaysville Piano Academy.
    I teach and perform because I love music, and believe it is a universal language and an inspiration that gives meaning to my life!

  2. I’ve only gone through the first segment so far, but am very impressed. I have never heard music like you play, Mindy. I’m a 73-year old who plays, guitar, mandolin, electric bass, and banjo and have performed for audiences from 10 people to 1500, but usually as part of a band playing bluegrass, old country, etc. and sitting at home, I am now working on blues and jazz. I enjoyed the third number on this first segment and was able follow, playing lead on the mandolin. I had never heard a guitar player who muted his string so much. Tell your guitar player I liked his orchestral chording. And to your violin player, I won a fiddle (Still a violin but played by ear rather than note.) at a bluegrass festival raffle, took a few lessons, learned to play “Faded Love”, but decided to stick with what instruments I had and I gave it to another beginner.

    It seems to me that this continuing faith journey is the most difficult in a sparsely populated rural area, since these areas are both more politically conservative and more religious. My wife and I still feel alone. I am within a mile radius of 5 active LDS, including a bishop. Yesterday I talked to a 44-year old doctor of mine who is still on the journey. His wife knows, as does his bishop. He lives in a neighboring ward, 25 miles from the ward where I used to attend, and still attends the temple, though he doesn’t believe in most doctrine. He told me that he still listens to Mormon Stories. He said he liked the John Hamer one. It helps to talk to him, but I could sure use more friends like him.

    When active, I taught a 15-year old boy how to play guitar and became very close to him and his family, encouraging him to go on a mission, helping him to get his friend to marry him, by writing a song for him using his feelings toward this girl, and then singing it to her over the phone. And eventually after helping him meet a man who helped him get to Nashville, he returned to our area, and began a small kind of tour where I backed him and his wife, whom I also taught guitar and electric bass. Later we performed in front of 1500 people in California where he sold $4500 word of CD’s in 2 hours. I asked his wife recently why he rarely spoke to me in the past 6 years and she told me that he will never forgive me for dropping out of Church, I being his mentor in both music and the Gospel, and he will never forget. That was hard and still is and I can see his place from mine. I play music nearly every day, using You-Tube as my accompaniment. I, like you, feel music is such an important part of life. It helps with my daughter.

    Sorry I am so long here. You look like you are near the age of my daughter, a still very active TbM, a piano teacher, guitar and cello player. She is my greatest loss, along with my 5 grandchildren. When she was in her last years of high school, our family played music together at very small venues, her on the keyboard, my wife on the auto-harp, and me singing and playing banjo or guitar. After high school, she went to Ricks, got married, helped put her husband to school, and eventually graduated from BYUI. But after I learned what I did, I told her first. Bad mistake! I forwarded a few Mormon Stories to her. Thought it would helped. Sure helped me! Since 2012, it seemed our relationship had strains. We used to be so close, canoeing and camping and hiking wilderness areas together, just her and me and occasionally with her mother. In December, she phoned, and was very upset, and hung up. Later I phoned her husband and he told me to try in a week. I did but her phone had a lock on it saying that my number could not go through. So I waited a week and wrote her a 3-page letter, sending it certified mail. No answer. I read that letter to three still friends and active LDS, and they approved of it. In it I told her I had told her of my faith crisis first due to our closeness. She was our only child and we adopted her from the Church at ten days old.

    John, I still listen to many of your podcasts because they help with loneliness, especially in a rural area. Thanks! And thank you, Mindy, for being a musician and a fellow traveler.

  3. “Down the Rabbit Hole” brought tears to my eyes! It expressed my feelings and experience so well. I just bought tickets to the Seattle concert. I, too, love Mindy’s laugh!

  4. Mindy, if you can keep a 73-year old bluegrass-old country performer listening to all your songs here (The Bluebird Song, I liked best.) you are really doing something! Than you so much for your words telling of your experiences. It has really helped me.

  5. Mindy

    I’ve watched enough Mormon Stories Podcast videos of people who have left the LDS faith to know that it is an extremely difficult transition. It seems to be much like the grief process experienced by those who divorce or lose a close loved one. There seems to be a tremendous sense of loss that is part of the process. Some people also experience divorce or other family separation as an additional loss during the process. I am sorry you and others reading my comments had to experience that difficult process during your transition.

    Another aspect of leaving the LDS faith that I hear about commonly is a loss of belief in God. Like you, a number of others who have left the LDS Church turn to love as their new position of faith. The words of your song put into words what others have not been able to express as well as you did. “Different names for God above, but they are all the same to me when we worship love.”

    If you are going to worship love, you first need to know what it is. Based on your interview with John, I assume you are saying through your song that we don’t need God to be loving to others …that we can simply love each other without needing God. While that sounds good in a song, how do you eliminate God and still have any type of transcendent love? Without God, love is a pleasant delusion. It is simply our brain chemicals reacting in a manner that produces an emotional feelings. It has nothing to do with any real or meaningful transcendent relationship with another person. Love in a world without God is nothing more than a biochemical reaction in our brain.

    If you want real love, you need a real God. I think Jesus represented real love better than any other human. That is because He was God in human form while he lived on the Earth. He is not our spirit brother, He was God when the universe began. He did not have to earn godhood, He was and is God from all eternity. The first chapter of the book of John in the New Testament tells us about the eternal position of Jesus.

    I would like to encourage you to read the New Testament like a child. That will help you to understand who Jesus really is. He is not the person the LDS Church has taught you about. He is the person who is worthy of your love because of His love for you. His suffering and death on the cross paid the penalty for your sins, and for mine. There is nothing you or I can do to earn our salvation except to accept the payment he made when he died for us on the cross.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 King James Version (KJV)
    8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    As a result of receiving salvation by grace, a saved person will demonstrate his or her love of Christ by the things she or he does and the way they live their life. Good works are a demonstration of our love for and appreciation of what Jesus has done for us. They flow naturally from a life lived for Christ.

    I wish you all the best as you continue your journey through life.

    1. Bill, the reason why many ex-Mormons don’t just change to mainstream Christianity is that after researching in depth and finding flaws, then the obvious thing to do next is to research other religions in a similar way. I did. After Mormonism, I felt that Jesus was the way until I researched Christianity in depth, the history of Christianity, The New Testament, The Hebrew scriptures, Judaism, and it didn’t take long before I found the same believed legends in Christianity that I did in Mormonism. I have found that mainstream Christians know no more of their history than the Mormons do about theirs. If a Mormon wants to remain true to their faith, they should never read, study, and research in depth. This is the same advice I would give to any of the thousands of Christian faiths or Muslims, or Jews.

      Great podcast, John and Mindy!

      1. ROMANIA IN THE SPRING

        Before I address your comment I would like you to know that I try to reply to people in a gentle and respectful way. Based on your earlier comment about your daughter and grandchildren, as well as your other comments, you have had an extremely difficult journey. I can’t even imagine how difficult that must be to experience. I have said in other comments on this site that I don’t have all the answers. I’m not an apologist. I’m just a regular mainstream Christian who became interested in the Mormon people after being approached by and having discussions with a number of LDS missionaries.

        I am sincerely interested in what you believe and what evidence you have for what you believe is true at this point in time so that I can better understand your world view when I answer your questions. I am very interested in knowing the truth. Once you tell me what you believe and why you believe it, perhaps we can discuss our differences.

        1. It is a disorienting feeling having your spiritual foundation pulled out from under you. Out of the rabbit hole can truely be wonderful. Leaving Mormonism happily did not take my faith in Christ it just provided for a deeper and ongoing sense of His unique position in the universe and our relationship has grown. I found getting back to the ancient Christians and Biblical roots before the reformation most helpful in establishing the teaching of authentic Christianity. A little Gregorian chant also helps sooth the soul.

  6. I’ll tell you some of the books and/or courses. I have taken a few of the Great Courses online college lecture series: “History of the Bible”, by Bart Ehrman, “Beginnings of Judaism” by Isaiah Gafni, “The New Testament” by Ehrman, “The Old Testament” by Amy–Jill Levine, “How Jesus Became God”, Ehrman, “The Darwinian Revolution”, “How The Earth Works”, “Cultural Literacy For Religion” (comparative world religion).

    Books: “Muhammad” by Juan Cole, “Faiths of the Founding Fathers” by Holmes, College of Wm and Mary religious studies, “The Triumph of Christianity” by Ehrman, “Restored New Testament” by Barnstone, Tyndale Translation. “Religulous” by Bill Maher, “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins, “The Jefferson Bible” by Thomas Jefferson.

    Watched many online debates: Harris, William Lane Craig, Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, and many I can’t remember.

    Watched many BBC “The Big Questions” discussions in Britain, with participating audiences made up of Anglicans, Muslims, African fundamentalist Christians, female Rabbis, agnostics, atheists, Catholic priests on all subjects relating to religion and morality, LGBT.

    I am currently taking a lecture course on the First Amendment which will discuss the meaning of the establishment clause concerning religion in a country not founded on the Christian religion.

    As for my belief, I cannot prove that the Christian god does not exist but I cannot prove that the god, Zeus does not exist. I would be an agnostic in that I find no evidence that a supernatural being exists. For a while I believed as did many of our country’s Founding Fathers such as Washington, Franklin, Monroe, James Madison believed. They did not believe Jesus was divine, but as I studied evidence, I came to my opinion.

    And as for knowing the truth, there is no such thing as universal truth because truth is defined differently by different cultures, nations, and religions. I have a close neighbor who believes in absolute and universal truth and he is a strong Mormon. I have a friend who is an evangelical fundamentalist Christian who says his truth is the absolute and universal one. And I get the same thing from my Jehovah’s Witness friend. And I have been talking lately to my internet repair man who says that Messianics have the truth because he follows Jesus of the Bible and observes the Law of Moses.

    Many religions seem to help their members better face death.

    1. ROMANIA IN THE SPRING,

      Thanks for the informative reply. You seem to have a Significant amount of Ehrman and other very skeptical individuals among the people you have read or watched. I can understand why they might influence you away from a belief in God. If you haven’t yet seen the Mike Licona and Frank Turek Mormon Stories Podcast, that might be a place to start for another perspective. If you read the comments section of that podcast you will see a number of comments and linked videos that I provided. That will give you a good starting point for understanding why I think it is more reasonable to think there is a God who is responsible for creation.

      https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/defending-christianity/

      I don’t think I linked this video in that podcast. It is by Michael Kruger. He is specifically addressing many of the issues Ehrman has raised about the New Testament. Someone has added some rather melodramatic interludes between segments, but otherwise it is a video that will at least show you that others have different opinions than Ehrman.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5AkDOsc4fA

      As far as universal truth, there is either a God or there is not. There is either salvation or there is not. Jesus either rose from the dead or He did not. In each case one of the two is true and the other is false … whether we can prove them or not.

      If there is no God, the atheist position begins with absolutely no intelligence on the primitive Earth and rapidly progresses to the most complex coding system we know about in the universe … the DNA code in the first reproductive bacterial organism. Rapidly (from a naturalistic time frame perspective) developing that level of complexity (the DNA code and a bacterial cell) without any external intelligent input seems totally illogical to me. If you read the comments and watch the linked videos in the podcast I linked you will have a much better idea of why I think atheism is much less reasonable than a belief in God. Thank you once again for your reply.

      1. The problem with trying to prove the divinity of Jesus is that your exclusivity is no different that the other Abrahamic religions. I don’t have to prove that your god does not exist. The burden of truth falls on you as well as on other religions. I’ve listened to Mice Licona on other debates besides the Mormon Stories interview and I, today, am watching a “Big Questions” discussion. I study science and I have listened to young earthers like Kent Hovind. I find no evidence in their bizarre ideas. I study geology enough to see evidence of what I believe, even though agnosticism is not a belief. Most Christians I have talked to “Know” there is a god because they have felt him or they talk to him, just like Mormons “know”. Rather than feelings I use evidence or the lack thereof.

        I studied Amy-Jill Levine of the Vanderbilt divinity school, and Judaism under a professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. And I study National Geographic archeology.

        And if you get your ‘truth’ from the Bible, and the Bible is the source of truth, then why do Jews not believe in Jesus as the messiah?
        If you believe that the Christian god is the only god as opposed to Greek gods or Roman gods or the Muslim god or the Summerian gods, where is your proof? And your use of the Bible is no better than using the Qur’an. The burden of truth is with you. I am not an atheist in that I “know” that there is no supernatural invisible deity. So far as I can tell there is no scientific evidence of one or more than one.

        I am not opposed to others believing in a god as long as they don’t try to use government in this country to force me to believe or practice the doctrines of their religion. Our Constitution is a secular document for a nation that was not founded on the Christian religion.

        1. ROMANIA IN THE SPRING,

          IF you study science and like evidence, please read the links I provided and watch the videos. Once you have done that we will have a place to begin a discussion.

          1. I may have time to look at your videos sometime, but you sound identical to the evangelical I conversed with by e-mail over 2 years. We finally figured we weren’t going to change each other’s minds. And we traded many, many links. And while I watched most of the videos he sent on science, how evolution has been disproved, how there is proof of his god and how inerrant the Bible was and how he had learned a lot from his trips to the Holy Land, he rarely looked at what I encouraged him to watch. He kept telling me that I could not recognize truth because my many years as a member of Satan’s church (Mormon) had blinded me.

            I am not an atheist, but an agnostic and there is a difference.

            But you believe there is only one god, though in three parts, but that trinity term, not in my Bible, sort of falls apart if we look at when Stephen was stoned, looked up to heaven and saw Jesus on the right hand of god which would mean that he saw Jesus on the right hand of himself. And why do Christians think that their god is a changeable god? And what do Christians think about the god of the OT? If he is Jesus and Jesus is thought to be a loving god, why do scriptures show him to be a murderous, genocidal, deity?

            And I don’t just read Ehrman’s ideas on the NT because he doesn’t talk enough on the OT. I read Dan Barker, Francesca Stavrokopolu, Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist , Neal DeGrass who was too advanced for me. For a while I leaned toward Messianism. I studies eliyehu.com and the Hebrew Roots of Christianity. I read two Seventh-Day Adventist books where the author was the only non-Catholic allowed to study Catholic archives in the Vatican. Here I learned about the Biblical Feasts and YAHWEH’s commandment to observe them forever, and I learned about God’s calendar. I have a close neighbor who began as a Baptist, progressed to being a Messianic, and then to a Karrite. I was invited to go to the Feast of Tabernacles and observe the Day of Atonement and participate in other feasts. I even read an LDS author’s book on why Mormons should know about the feasts, especially the Passover that Jesus observed. And at a quarterly SDA meeting I observed the actual washing of feet. I have attended a Catholic Mass, 9 different Christian churches in my area. And, as to science, I began my college education as a geology major, having collected rocks and studied mineralogy as a high school student. In my earth science class in HS, the instructor used me and my good friend as advisors to him. And through “The Great Courses”, I have completed 2 lengthy advanced geology courses. I study the Bible because of it’s effect on Western Civilization and will continue to study.

            I love facts and I study PEW Research a lot on religion, especially noting that all Christian churches in the U.S. are currently on the decline, except Mormonism. And I see how much one group in the U.S. is at 25% and growing rapidly. And I have learned that by the beginning of the next century, Islam will surpass Christianity as the world’s largest religion. I read a lot in the LDS Church but I only read LDS books. Now I read all kinds of material. I’m just trying to get through the First Amendment and finish a book on Muhammed.

          2. And, Bill, If you don’t have the originals to the Bible or of the manuscripts that made it into the Bible, you have no way of knowing whether you version or translation of the Bible is accurate. That is why the first Ehrman book I read, “Misquoting Jesus” , made so much sense. Unless you have the original, then all your points along with the video on the authorship of the Bible, especially the Gospels are moot. And unless you can prove that Christianity is superior to all the thousands of world religions, using your holy book is not based on reality. And for me, I have no need for religion, be it Christianity, Judaism, Jainism, Sikhism, Shintoism, Shamanism, Confucianism, Buddhism, or Hinduism. A lot people in this world seem to need religion, but I don’t.

  7. ROMANIA IN THE SPRING

    Thanks once again for your reply. I was hoping you would read what I had written and check out the links so that you would have a better idea of what I think about some very important topics. Let me address the first of your two comments initially. I will not change your mind … only God can do that. I am not going to tell you evolution has been disproven, but if you read my linked comments you will understand that there are some serious questions about abiogenesis in particular and molecules to man evolution from a chemical perspective. I linked James Tour who is one of the most brilliant synthetic organic chemists in the world. He has openly challenged his colleagues for over ten years to show him the chemical pathway for molecules to man evolution to occur. No one has answered his challenge. Please do not reply to this comment of mine about science until you have read and watched what I have written and linked. If you want to have an intelligent discussion, you need to understand what I have already written and linked on the other podcast discussion.

    Let me give you just one scientific fact to help you begin to understand my position. According to an article I referenced in the links I gave, the interactome of a simple yeast cell is so complex that just the possible or potential protein-protein interactions alone number about 10 to the power of 79 billion. For reference, all the particles in the universe (protons, neutrons, electrons etc) are estimated on Wikipedia to be less than 10 to the power of 90. As I noted in the comment I wrote, even the scientists who wrote the article knew that was far too large a number for the chance assembly of a yeast cell in any reasonable amount of time. If you like science, read and watch what I linked.

    Another example of exponential numbers is paper folding. I have seen figures on line that folding a piece of paper on itself about 104 times (if that was even possible and you had a big enough piece of paper) the folded paper would be thick enough to cover the known universe. If I understand the concept correctly that would be 2 to the power of 104 times the thickness of the paper. That is why the number 10 to the power of 79,000,000,000. is such an impossibly large number for our brain to comprehend. The potential number of protein-protein interactions in a yeast cell don’t prove God, but they strongly suggest that there is an intelligence behind life.

    I hope I am not the type of person who will tell you that you cannot recognize truth because of your experience in the Mormon faith. As I noted earlier, I have had discussions with a number of individuals who are currently members of the LDS faith. I have found them all to be very intelligent people. I liked all of them very much. Based on what you have written, I think you are also a highly intelligent and well educated individual. As I have written elsewhere, I have a great deal of respect for the Mormon people … both in and out of the church.

    Based on your comment about having the long and ongoing discussions with a Christian, I know I can’t answer all of your questions. A person you might find interesting to watch on You Tube is Mike Winger. Mike is a youth pastor who makes many videos and commonly dialogs with and answers the questions of atheists and other very skeptical people during his live stream videos. He has a great many videos about the accuracy of the Bible. He has also appeared on atheist website videos to try to answer some of their concerns.

    After your experience with the LDS religion, I can understand why you think you don’t need a religion. In some ways, I agree with you. On the other hand, If the Bible is true you do need a savior. Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life. No man (person) comes to the Father except through me.” Rejecting the free gift of salvation through Jesus is a very serious matter. I hope and pray that you will eventually establish a relationship with the only person who can give you the most precious gift that it is possible for anyone to give. Eternal life.

    1. Bill, the second that you tell me the almost same thing that Jehovah’s Witnesses, Evangelicals, and Mormons tell me: “only God can convert you”, I wish to go no further. I have a close TbM neighbor who likes to tell me, “Just pray and the Holy Ghost (of the Mormon Church) will tell you the truth (and re-convert you) And I have a JW friend who says basically the same thing. So such a statement makes me think you don’t know what an agnostic is. Online definition is close: “An agnostic is a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of any god or of anything beyond material phenomena.” And as for the god of the Bible, to me a deity that is portrayed in the pages of that book, would be a deity that all men should avoid like the plague. You need to try to get your god to convert people who do not study the KJV Bible or else can rationalize like another neighbor who tells me “Murder is not really murder or bad if God commands it.”

      But one thing, your encouragement to read your materials has made me put three Richard Dawkins books on my to be ordered from Amazon list.

      1. ROMANIA IN THE SPRING

        Thank your once again for your reply. I was trying to show you that it is much more likely that there is intelligence that is responsible for life on the Earth from a scientific point of view. Since you are not interested in reading what I wrote at this point in time, I will try to show you from a philosophical perspective my understanding of your choices.

        You wrote that you are agnostic so I would like to offer two alternatives. Either there is a God or there is not. Let’s look at the philosophical implications both positions. I have written elsewhere that (according to the atheist position as I understand it) without God we are nothing more than cosmic debris on an insignificant planet in a vast universe. We have somehow, over millions of years, eventually self organized and coalesced as a result of being complexly and intricately constructed in the womb of another coalesced form of biologically encapsulated cosmic debris that we have labeled human. The cosmic debris that makes us up has mysteriously developed both an advanced form of intelligence … in comparison to the other creatures on our planet … and a higher form of consciousness.

        After we are born we continue to grow and exist because the substances we drink or eat are mysteriously converted into various parts of a growing body that is made up of a trillion or more extremely complex cells that have differentiated into various body parts and systems . Philosophically speaking we can assign meaning or value to ourselves or others while we are alive for a blink of cosmic time but, since we are basically cosmic debris at the very essence of our being, whatever we assign is meaningless, purposeless and valueless … just like the cosmic debris from which we originated.

        The end of life without God is a process of decomposition and degradation from a more coalesced and biologically encapsulated form to a more basic and elemental form of the cosmic debris from which we originated. In the end, we have accomplished nothing that has meaning, value or purpose because of our basic nature of being a self organized form cosmic debris that is itself meaningless, purposeless and valueless.

        These are the philosophical implications of the position taken by any true atheist like Dawkins … as I understand his position. Of course he will not openly state this position, but it flows naturally from the things he has stated he believes. If I don’t understand his position correctly, I am open to having you explain it to me. I am very interested in learning how you can get any meaning, value or purpose if we originated from the cosmic debris that formed our planet and eventually formed humans according to the atheist philosophical position.

        It is very different if there is a God. The Bible describes a God who created us with real meaning, purpose and value. We are valuable to Him as his children. Our worth is priceless. He is the one who is responsible for the complexity of our creation and our formation in the womb. He has also provided an eternal home for us if we are willing to accept His free gift of salvation.

        I have already made my choice. I believe there is a God who loves me with a love that is real and has real meaning. I also believe your life has real, transcendent meaning purpose and value because God also loves you. I have chosen to love God in return for His love for me. You are still able to make that same choice while you have the breath of life He has given you.

        Having written these things, I also know that if I had been dealt the same hand in life that you have been dealt that I would probably have similar thoughts to the ones you have. I experienced a significant loss fairly recently when my wife died of an uncommon form of abdominal cancer. There is a lot of pain that was and still is associated with that loss. Even though I haven’t had your same experience of loss, I do know deep pain. That is why I have at least a little understanding of your position. It is my hope and prayer that you will eventually make a choice to love God in return for the love he has given you through the excruciating suffering He experienced as the result of beating, mocking, humiliation and finally death on the cross. He did that for you and for me while He was on this Earth in the form of the man Jesus.

        You have a choice to make ROMANIA IN THE SPRING, you can follow Dawkins and try to find meaning from cosmic debris or you can turn to Jesus. The choice is yours. Based on your age, your time is limited. It is my hope and prayer that you will make the best use of whatever time you have remaining on this Earth. If you understand the Christian perspective at all, I hope that you will understand that I honestly and sincerely want the best in life for you. I write these words from the perspective of true Christian love for you and the many others who read these words on the Mormon Stories Podcast site. As I said, I understand deep pain. I at least know what the deep valley of pain in life feels like. It is not easy and I can’t come close to providing you with all the answers. I hope what I have written has at least provided you with a little more insight into some very difficult decisions you have to make as you continue your journey through life.

        1. That evangelical neighbor, I told you about, sent an e-mail to with another new video that will for sure show me the error of evolution, along with some philosophy and telling me that my time is short and I need t o prepare for the Kingdom of God.

          One of my reasons for not getting excited about any of this is because there are so many religions out there with them”knowing” they are correct and have the only true god or gods. Like you they believe what they teach.
          Differing from Ehrman on this subject, I can’t be sure from historians of the time (whether their words are accurate or not) that Jesus did actually live. And even if I did, I would have to go against much evidence that he is part of the tri-une deity.
          When it comes to Jesus, I have also read and watched videos by Richard Carrier of Columbia University who doubts there was a Jesus. And from reading a fair amount of the OT, I agree with Dan Barker, that scriptures in the Bible only show a deity that had I been a believer, I would want to stay far from.

          There are many characters in the OT that I could believe existed as long as I did a lot of rationalizing which I am not prone to do. I also read Online Bible Studies which are varying length of NT studies by scholars associated with Bible scholar Francesca Stavrokopolu, a professor of religion at one of the big British universities, who is an open atheist. And by the way, Richard Dawkins calls himself an agnostic. And I enjoyed the documentary, “The God Delusion”.

          As for philosophy, I have watched many William Lane Craig debates and he only uses philosophy. I have watched him debate Sam Harris, Dan Barker, and Lawrence Krauss. This stuff gets pretty boring to me.

          At first I was a nominal Christian like my mother, studied with Campus Crusade For Christ, then attended a Presbyterrian Church Sunday mornings and a Baptist Church Sunday nights for a school year, converted to Mormonism for 40 years, then became a mainline Christian for a bit and then leaned toward SDA and then a Messianic and then a Karrite and then a deist for a while and then an agnostic/atheist, and I have never been happier. My marriage is going great now and I think that is what really counts. I don’t care whether most people I meet think I am lost because I do not believe in their god. And now I just like to study all kinds of things and enjoy nature.

          1. ROMANIA IN THE SPRING,

            Thank you once again for your reply. I appreciate that you have kept our conversation as friendly as it could be based on the differences we have in our belief systems.

            According to this video link from 2013, Richard Dawkins claims to be an atheist. These are his own words. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwcIq42WpjI. Perhaps he has now changed to an agnostic because it is an easier position to defend philosophically. Whatever the case, everything I said in my previous comment still applies. If there is no God we are nothing more than an advanced form of coalesced, biologically encapsulated, intellectually advanced, conscious cosmic debris.

            In case you were not aware, Lawrence Krauss, who was mentioned a couple times in your comments, has recently been accused of sexual misconduct and has elected to retire from ASU. He has been dismissed from his former position according to a news article I read. I am simply including this for your information. It is up to the court system to decide his guilt or innocence.

            With all your diverse experience in life, I’m sure you know that the truth of Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus. I am convinced by the evidence. People like William Lane Craig and Gary Habermas have many excellent resources about this subject. Obviously, you are not convinced that the resurrection occurred or even that Jesus lived. Even Bart Ehrman believes Jesus was a real person. At least according to a video quote he made stating that fact.

            One person you didn’t mention is Jim Wallace. Jim is a former cold case detective who was a confirmed atheist for many years. He was convinced by the evidence of the truth of the Bible and the resurrection. In case you are ever interested, I will link one of his many videos. This one is specifically about the resurrection. There is a plug for his book Cold Case Christianity from the 18 to 20 minute mark if you want to skip that part. His homicide detective background gives him a unique perspective for investigating the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbBVHRcHgx4

            There are many, many questions about God that we will never have answers for in this lifetime because God has not provided them for us in the Bible. I can only make sense of some things in the light of eternity. No matter what caused the death of someone during his or her lifetime on this planet, everyone will face a just judge when they die. I believe the God who died for me in the form of the man Jesus will make the correct judgment for every person who faces Him at the end of her or his life. It is at that time that all injustice on the Earth will be resolved. Present and temporary sufferings and difficulties will be replaced with an eternity of joy with the Lord for everyone who is judged worthy of that privilege. Whatever decision God makes, I have every confidence that it will be the right one. Then, and only then, will true justice prevail.

            Once again I wish you all the best as you continue your journey through what is oftentimes a very difficult journey through life.

  8. Mindy, Your description of coming out of the temple and just laying your head against the steering wheel in your car and crying… I can’t tell you how many times I did that. The anguish and tears and punishing myself for not having the faith to understand it and feel good about it. And now the church just magically removes the offensive stuff from the temple and will pretend like it was never there. Ultimate gaslighting and so offensive to those of us who suffered with it for so long (almost 20 years for me). If that stuff wasn’t necessary for salvation, why was it there in the first place? Why did I have to suffer so much with it? Anyhow, thank you for your candor. This interview spoke to my soul.

    1. Bill, That evangelical has been working on me like you do, for about 4 years now. And I remember something about the forensic case he sent me. And he said he was a good friend of Kent Hovind and sent lots of evolution stuff to me, and stuff about a guy named Wyatt who supposedly found chariots at the bottom of the Red (reed) Sea, though we only have Ron Wyatt’s proof of that. And I read a lot on Ken Ham at the Creation Museum with the dinosaurs in the Garden with Adam and Eve. But I have also read the book “Noah’s Flood” written by two geophysicists drilling in the Black Sea giving evidence of a large regional flood corresponding closely to the Biblical one. And I have read “The Epic of Gilgamesh”, another flood story before the Hebrew one. I have really read a lot.

      The way you talk to me with such surety is very similar to the way I used to talk. I had a tendency to share my beliefs with people I would find wherever I went. In the last LDS ward I attended I was considered a super-missionary. And I would use Biblical scriptures far more than did other Mormons and it was easy to get non-Mormons thinking because very few mainstream Christians new their scriptures. I would shock them regarding three heavens, more than one god, baptism for the dead, Revelation’s statement about not adding to a book, missing scriptures that the Bible talked about, two creation stories, killing of homosexuals, non-believers, people who looked on the arc, people who cursed their father, adulterers, fornicators, and after a war, telling soldiers to keep virgins for themselves. Then I would mention that the Bible is the word of God as far as it was translated correctly. Mormons like to use Exekiel 37 to prove the coming forth of the Book of Mormon (A bit of a rationalizing stretch but no more that the one in Isaiah about born of a virgin and Jesus). I used to go into Christian bookstores and bear my testimony regarding the truthfulness of the Gospel and the truth of the Book of Mormon, being the word of God, or reading the part in 3 Nephi where Jesus comes to this hemisphere. At a bookstore in Sandpoint I mentioned to the clerk that I was Mormon. She then spoke in tongues (gibberish) and I bore my testimony and walked out.

      One time while my wife and I were visiting my wife’s parents, their son was home from college. He was acting strange. I later found that he had been through an exorcism and his mother had been concerned about his conversations. That night that son and I talked about the Gospel, with me using Bible scriptures. I felt I had more power because I possessed the holy Melchizadek Priesthood of God. I knew many scriptures back then. The next day I learned from him that he was trying to get out of a Satanic group of some sort. Long story-shortened, he returned to college and I later visited him and introduced him to Mormon missionaries and they took over. He came back to his parents and all was quiet. One day missionaries phoned me from the area of his home and asked for my help getting him to show up for teaching appointments. I did via long distance. No more word for 2 months. Got a call from the son asking me to baptize him. Met with him, drove 30 miles to a stake center, where I was interviewed by a stake president for worthiness and then I baptized this son in a font. I don’t remember everything but I have 500 typed pages of my person history, a recommended procedure in the Church, but few do it. [I tried extra hard in the Church.]

      I have had several times when I have cast out what I thought were demons; I once talked to a rebel Catholic priest visiting from Ireland for several hours ending with him promising to read the Book of Mormon I gave him which had my testimony written in it.

      And I don’t get startled if you tell me about indiscretions of some scientist/atheist. Whatever you tell me about anybody doing anything, no one, I repeat no one can do the things an evil deity tells his prophets to do and tell others to do in the Bible. I just do the best I can do to help people and be as honest as I can to assist humanity. I once had an active Mormon high priest say to me, “Brother, you are just too darn honest!”

      Richard Dawkins told the Archbishop Dr. Rowan Williams that he never said he was an atheist.

      With all I’ve told you, and listening to Mindy, you might want to think twice about answering that missionary knock on your door. But if you read on FAIR Mormon, you might even get converted to Mormonism!

      1. ROMANIA IN THE SPRING

        Once again, I appreciate your reply and your cordial tone. You wrote the following. “Richard Dawkins told the Archbishop Dr. Rowan Williams that he never said he was an atheist”. No matter what he said to the Archbishop, the first words in the link I gave you were as follows. “I’m Richard Dawkins. I’ve been an atheist since I was a child.” If you go back to my last comment and click on that link you can hear him in his own words say that he is an atheist … at least at the time he made the comment.

        I have linked scientific evidence that I think makes it much more likely that there is an intelligence behind life. You wrote that you did not want to look at those links at this point in time. I have given you evidence from philosophy that without God we are nothing more than cosmic debris. I have not seen any evidence that you disagree with the philosophical position that I wrote about if there is no God.

        The other thing I wrote about in my last comment was that we may not have answers on this side of eternity. There is a story I heard about eternity. There are variations on this story but the one I heard had to do with a small bird and Mount Everest. As the story goes, the small bird flew to the top of Mount Everest and picked up a pebble in its beak. It then flew out to sea where it dropped the pebble and flew back to the mountain top for another pebble. When the bird died, one of its offspring did the same thing. That happened continuously until the mountain was nothing but a flat plain. As the story goes, all that time for the sequence of birds to flatten Mount Everest represents one day of eternity.

        My comment about God, eternity and judgment was intended to suggest that God can do some things that seem to be very difficult to understand … like some of the things you have commented about. When considered from a purely human perspective in the blink of time we have to live, those things are hard to understand. It is only when we look at things from an eternal perspective that the difficulties begin to make sense. I worship a God who was willing to suffer and die for me on a cross. I trust that same God to make things right in the end. In my opinion, eternity is the answer to many of the difficulties you have raised.

        It is also my opinion that the two of us have monopolized Mindy’s comment section long enough. She is such a nice person who has been blessed with so much talent that I think it is only fair that we allow others more opportunity to comment at this point in time. I thank you once again for the conversation and continue to wish you the best in life.

  9. Thank you, Mindy, for your music and for sharing your story. I did follow your advice and purchased/downloaded your newest album from iTunes. Thanks, John, for bringing Mindy to us in this thoughtful podcast.

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