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  1. Love, love, love your music. You are so talented and brilliant. And, you have an amazing laugh and honesty about you.

    I feel really sad that your trust got so shattered by someone whom you loved and trusted, your mission president. I have a story similar to yours but this is not about me- I just wanted you to know I could relate with how it feels. I know you have had your heart broken by people telling you what to do, how to feel, and how to think. I feel your pain.

    Love to you, always, Cheryl

  2. Great podcast! Has Tre been tested for aspergers? I have it, Mike Norton is sure he has it, and so much of what Tre says and how he reacts to stuff sounds like he does too. Love the guy!

    (The evidence: the one hundred percent attitude, especially when young; obsession with things being right; speaking up and not caring what others thought; interest in science and philosophy but zero interest in the social side of Mormonism; great emotional empathy with others’ pain; going straight to the heart of the logic – the existence of God; very smart in some areas but struggles in others; and so on and on. I know you can’t diagnose from a distance but he sounds so familiar.)

      1. I think this person just described any person willing to think for themselves in a fact based manner. this is what really gets me. Just because people need more solid evidence of what they are going to dedicate their whole life to is not an unacceptable request.

        Going through life and just doing and believing what you are told is no life to live. In an organization that puts so much stress on free agency they sure reprimand you when you exercise it.

        I would venture to say, Tre, that there is nothing wrong with you. Thank you for your story. Keep channeling that extra energy into music. Clearly you have a wonderful gift to share. Rad music. Come to Seattle, people would eat these tunes up.

        N.

      2. I have Asperger’s along with a couple of my kids…nothing to be scared about. Being informed has been so empowering. Good luck to you always!

  3. Tre you have experienced something that could have happened in another setting. Life is not fair. People, no matter how high we put them on a pedestal, are unjust and have bad judgement. But the most important thing that you experienced is that you tried so very hard to do your best. That is the most important thing. You have integrity. The Church is a microcosm of society, albeit a very rigid one. I am no longer a member but I value what I learned when I was. I hope you look back and find gems to hold on to. Your faith is genuine. That makes you genuine. It doesn’t matter that other people were human. It’s about you. The idea that a person can tell you what to do in the name of God is illusory. I think you experienced that. I believe in God but it’s between me and God. No one else.

    1. Thank you, I don’t want to separate people into believers or non believers. If you’re funny and make me laugh I will like you. And if you have a stick up your ass, then you need a healthy dose of temple shattering loud laughter

  4. Great interview. I had no idea missionaries that get sent home dishonorably have to pay for their own plane tickets. Seems pretty manipulative to me.

    Your comments about the masturbation meeting were hilarious. If the mission president was hoping to get the male missionaries to stop masturbating he went about it all wrong. Telling them that the sisters were masturbating too only stoked that fire. Ha!

  5. My favorite of this mission series so far. I loved the candor, Tre’s adorable giggle, the heartfelt discussion. I so appreciate John and the work that he does.

    I served a mission at the time of the age change (though I was 21 and suddenly and “old sister”) and I couldn’t believe the disorganization and chaos. I was medically released after 5 months for anxiety and depression. My mission only messed me up, taught me self-loathing, but initially brought me to use critical thinking. Would God really have sent me on this mission only to suffer? It took me 3 years from the time I got home to actually make the jump to stop going to church and give myself permission to discover what I truly believe. But I’ve never been happier. Things change quickly when you allow yourself to cut yourself from the captivity of the church. Since leaving I’ve discovered my sexuality (going from a heterosexual marriage to getting divorced because I’ve since discovered I’m not straight and that explains why my sex life with my husband was abysmal), discovered what friendship and good relationships look like, and ultimately appreciating myself for who I am, giving up the facade that only held myself back from being authentic and truly happy.

    I love hearing other people’s stories and how they came to realize the church isn’t what it claims to be. Thanks to Tre and John for having this wonderful conversation that I hope will help someone else discover themselves and their true beliefs.

    1. Thanks Hannah. Honestly I’m just kind of lost and trying my hardest to keep learning how to live a fulfilling life while maybe helping other people here and there. My story is nowhere near as painful as other people’s but it’s not about that. My hope one day is that we don’t have to be ex Mormons, we can be musicians, friends, lovers, dreamers, etc. putting people in boxes is so unhelpful.

      With love,
      Tre 🙂

  6. Tre, loved that song at the end. Congrats on that. And thank you for the candid story. Loved listening to it. I also served in Brazil and it brought back a lot of memories for me, and remembering a lot of the same frustrations, pain, and eye openers about the mission and church leaders. You sound like you have done your best man. And now you’re free with a great amount of life to live in front of you. Enjoy it!!!

  7. Adorei sua entrevista. Eu nao conseguia parar de rir. O teu senso de humor é infecsioso.
    Te desejo todono sucesso no seu futuro. Se esteveres algum dia em Connecticut eu faço um arroz com feijão e churrasco pra você.

  8. Great interview.

    “…no one else will ever tell me what to do again, unless it is my mom.”

    I love that line! What a sincere wonderful young man.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  9. This was my favorite Mormon Stories episode of all time. It’s one of the most genuine, poignant, and perceptive interviews I have ever heard.

    The missionary program just needs to be done away with. It’s unconscionable that men should be installed in situations where they wield such power to inflict emotional and psychological brutality on young people. It is wrong to take away support systems, create false loyalties, bribe teenagers into coercing converts, fake testimonies until an emotional connection manifests itself, force super-celibacy on developing physiologists, etc. it’s just wrong. All the way around. Missions are immoral and should be investigated, and then banned.

  10. All the best to you Tre! Your “Testimony” was very moving! All the best to you – let us know if you are in NC! You have a meal waiting for you

    Not rice and beans either…. Iorana!

  11. Tre,

    I am a middle-aged Mormon housewife who has gone through my own faith crisis this past year. We are in such different stages of life yet are so connected by the church that we have both loved and left.

    You are extremely smart, talented, empathetic — and -all-around beautiful person who has much to offer.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It has helped me personally and has helped me in my path on how I consider to raise my young children. I will be teaching them about logical fallacies for sure.

  12. I really relate to his comments about the importance of one persons’ beliefs. LDS culture places a lot of value in having the right kind of specific belief, and thought policing in general. In a lot of ways, belief or opinions don’t matter all that much. Actions matter a lot. Sure, opinions and belief produce action, but there are many ways of thinking that produce ethical actions and a happy life.

    I am also really impressed with this young man. He looked at the past 5 years of baptism data for the mission and calculated the average baptismal rate by area or something like that. Most other kids on their mission would have used the time to relax, or move some paper around to look busy. He completed a year and a half of university study and has obvious talent not just musically but academically too. I am worried that he says he can’t hold a job now. I am not a professional, but it seemed to me that the shaving incident he related triggered something from his mission. Not being able to hold a job has a serious impact on life. Can someone have PTSD from a mission? Is that a thing? I am also worried that he says he did this interview to talk to John for free. Did I hear that right? Is there a way to contribute towards some therapy visits with John?

  13. You can see how difficult it has been for him. I am sad to think he has been closeted for so long and hope he can be more honest in the future. It is really hard feeling like you have to hide that part of yourself. I hope his family is supportive! Loved this interview. Thanks for sharing!

  14. John, great work with the returning missionaries. These stories are so important to share.. Thank you.

    Tre, I so love your spirit, thank you for sharing your story. Loved your candor and laugh, so sorry for your pain associated with your mission presidents. His cover up of the AP having oral sex with another missionary to protect his own reputation of authority of God, is maddening and sad., when everyone knows he screwed up someone else’s life for some random dumb little thing.

    Great music, may peace be with you as you in your journey.

  15. Very true Tre – many poor families sending their kids out on missions with the belief they are going to do to the Lord’s work. And yet they become part of a money grabbing industry from the poor of any country that they send these young men and woman out to go get their money. Too double standard for me. The myth of a chief of NZ allowing the missionaries to be here to teach some of the people is beyond me. When we have had our own gods. And we didnt need no religion and no man to tell us about their false book and teachings as I bet the brazillians and many other cultures may feel the same.

  16. I was in my 30s before I finally decided to live by my own lights and be true to myself. You are way ahead of that curve. And…I LOVED your music!

  17. Thank-you for this interview.

    What is it about members of the church who in positions of authority think they can ask others under their authority impertinent questions? Why is it that other members condone the practice by quiet acceptance? To treat people in this regard is to strip them of a portion of their humanity, but in order to do so, one has already given up a portion of one’s own.

    In June I contacted the local bishop here to let him know that I did not consent to his interviewing my daughters without my consent. The culture of confession in the LDS movement and the uneven power relationship puts, in my opinion, my daughters into a coercive situation. Why active members of the church don’t appreciate it and condone in by silence I don’t understand.

    I worry about my son who is in the Auckland mission. I worry about the level of control that is exercised and which he is unprepared to understand or handle. I was moments from death in May of this year and after returning home from the hospital some days later I tried to get my son’s phone number. The mission office needed to be threatened with legal intervention before giving me, the father, my son’s phone number. I did ring my son and we had a good conversation for 45 minutes. However, he does not take the time to write to me, he has answered me only two times in the last 8 months. My mom says it is because the missionaries are only allowed one hour or less to communicate with friends and family per week. I just can’t understand why this level of control is necessary and should be applied to volunteers.

    A few weeks ago I was unwell and called the number I had for my son. Another boy answered the phone and then hung up on my once I introduced myself and asked to speak to my son. Again, what stress are these young people put under that they would hang up the phone like that and then not answer when I rang back?

    While these few lines are mostly of my experience, they relate to the interview. These are young people, without experience or understanding, controlled, manipulated and mistreated often. Why do parents and others allow it to happen?

    1. Micheal, we dare not ruffle any feathers in our stake and if I did, my wife and kids will suffer the consequences. Therefore I feel cowardly that my silence means acceptance to the intrusive interviews. This stake is all about interviews. Hell, we get interviewed when we get released from a calling…like an exit interview from a job. With that said, I did tell my son that if he ever feels uncomfortable in an interview, to not answer and to tell the leader that he would like me to be present. Unfortunately, my father is a very faithful follower so he would have never questioned the leadership as to why they are asking his teenage sons if they masturbate, which is a question that should have never been asked. Now, in this stake anyway, we are asked if we look at internet porn, how is our financial situation, and if we flirt. All questions that are not in the handbook yet they deemed it necessary to pry into our personal lives at any given chance. I so wish I could leave it!

  18. Tre
    Loved your music. Will buy it for sure when available.
    Wonderful podcast. Your openness and innocence is so refreshing. What a gift. Tragically, exploited vulnerability in the Church is basic to member control as it is in any other organization where obedient compliance is essential for its existence. You are coming from a place of true innocence in believing all you have been taught before your mission with an open heart. Understandably confused by awareness of inconsistencies when exposed to things that do not resonate with Church teachings but still willing to trust. After all it is a large part of the message of your heritage, your family and your parents love. Trusting is a wonderful thing. Hold onto that. You will learn who is worthy of that trust as you mature. The harsh reality of the Church sham is shocking and people deal with it in different ways. But it cuts deep. As you transition to adulthood just remember there are many, many kind and wonderful people in the world and there are also people who are manipulative, cruel power-mongers. When abruptly exposed to the latter especially in a structured and controlled environment such as a mission the shock can make you feel like you are alone, disoriented and free falling. Hold on to your music. I sense you will find much healing in your creative expression. I wish you the very best.
    if a fund was set up i would be happy to contribute to sessions as well for Tre to counsel with John.

    1. Wow, I am so lucky to receive such specific wisdom for my situation. Genius!

      Also, I won’t take anyone’s money but I will make a goal to take everyone up on the food they offered me haha.

      Love,
      Tre

  19. it’s sad to see someone do their time on their mission like it was a prison sentence. then they return and most go inactive.

  20. Missionaries could experiment with homosexuality due to being tied to a companion of the same sex for 2 years of their early adult life. It would be interesting to see a study of how many missionaries become gay vs. their piers that do not serve.

      1. That’s still up for debate but there certainly have been people who have had a homosexual experience that were not gay. There is a difference

    1. I will echo Leon. There is no debate. People do not “become” gay. It is very common for people to discover what sex they are attracted to during puberty. This is true of Hetero and Homosexual people. Also, many people have experimentation during there adolescent years that don’t mean anything as far as who they will ultimately be attracted to. This experimentation may happen in the mission field when you are tied to a same sex companion for 2 years and have no other sexual outlet (which by the way is unnatural and harmful given the guilt and self loathing that accompanies this behavior)It is also not helpful to try and outright ban the practice of masturbation. I have never been a missionary but I am sure that these children, both girls and boys have some sort of secret sign or handshake (pun intended) to covertly masturbate or have some sort of intimate non-sexual (or sexual I assume) activity.
      It is unfortunate that so much emphasis is placed on these benign, innocent and mostly healthy outlets for sexuality. I think Tre is brave and it would be great if he could help out current missionaries not feel so guilty at what is a healthy part of human sexuality. The Church is taking one of the things that can be the richest part of the human experience and turning it into something to be ashamed of. This is unfortunate.
      I hope only good things in the future for you Tre

  21. Tre, I loved your interview and as hard as it is to listen to, I love to hear these dark stories of missions where young men and women walk by faith into missions that are so hard to navigate, understand, and manage. The church needs to stand up and take notice of (and correct) these situations that are all too common in the current environment today.

    The church really does exploit a free sales force to promote new membership which means new tithe payers. Instead of young college kids flooding an area selling home security systems, food storage systems, or other pyramid services, the church floods the world with tens of thousands of young boys and girls with no life experience. Each baptism they deliver brings the church thousands of dollars. Because of the pressure to obey, perform, and work as a disciple of Christ, while being manipulated, shamed, and abused by Mission Presidents, Zone Leaders, bully companions and others, many of these great young people become collateral damage to the church. By all appearances, this collateral damage is totally acceptable. At the core of the daily, weekly, monthly grind, we see a sales culture that documents hours worked, houses tracted, discussions taught, and baptisms achieved. Roll up these numbers and publish them to the entire mission and you have AP’s and Zone Leaders cracking the whip on companionships that are already working hard, with missionaries dealing with so many variables that are outside of their control. Add to that a Nazi Mission President that has his masturbation radar on overload and you get situations like Tre experienced in Brazil.

    Tre, thanks again for being open and vulnerable to participate in this interview. John, thanks for putting this series together that brings light to a very difficult and realistic problem that the church plays down just like so much of its dark history.

    One more thing….Tre….your music is awesome. I love the song and video Relativity. Don’t give up on your dream to pursue music with your band. You guys have a great sound. You could be the next Neon Trees once you break through. I’ll be watching and listening. Use your music, life experience (good and bad), second language, and your true self to develop your music and creativity. Good luck!

    1. Well now that you put it that way, where can I sign up for that pending salary I deserve. And also, not even in n out was impressed that I spent two years trying to convert people on my resume. So I can’t imagine a professional job haha

      1. Professional jobs will value your mission service and especially your dual language skills. In-and-Out burger is not a professional job! Haha. That said, if you continue your music career, you can tell all the In-and-Out burger type jobs where to go! Don’t let the bastards get you down!

      2. Tre

        Touched by your openness, honesty and courage in telling your story. My observation is that sometimes authoritarians and authoritarian followers rise to leadership positions because they are strictly obedient to the “letter of the law” without thinking. “All the thinking has been done” is what guides them, never questioning whether things make sense.
        When things go awry it sometimes reminds me of the Stanley Milgram and Stanford prison experiments. I believe it is unethical for the church to send young people on missions without teaching them correct historical facts–especially when they will be confronted by the facts from those they are trying to convert. Wrong, wrong wrong.

        You do have valuable skills that can be used for your benefit. Of course you have your music–loved it. But also for 2 yrs you practiced “sales”–in a foreign country with a wide variety of people. There are companies (pest control, home alarm systems and others) looking for people with sales skills. Now, whether you want to do sales or not that is another question, but good salespeople can make good money.

        Best of luck to you!

  22. Thanks Tre for being upfront and honest. Your authenticity came through. I love that song John closed with. Blessings and healing as you follow your path and hope your music keeps coming.

  23. I think Elder Van Halen said it perfectly, “The church really does exploit a free sales force to promote new membership which means new tithe payers.” This really sums it up. The church is a man made business bringing in literally billions of dollars. (When a church builds a mall, something is wrong.) It baffles me that the church is a sales force, bringing in money TO THE CHURCH but the team working the streets has been told it is for Jesus and eternal salvation. I must say, the leadership is pretty brilliant, they have the most loyal, dedicated sales force working for them and then they have structured it so they manipulate with guilt and power. Tre, your story was so heartfelt and your lightness for life will lead you to amazing places. Like someone else said above, you are very young and you have your whole life ahead. The fact that you have learned the truth about such a corrupt system is hard, especially when you put your heart and soul into it but on the bright side, you have learned the truth in your early 20’s, not 30’s or 40’s with a family in tow. The saddest part about this interview was how obvious the church manipulates people (and it is so easy to see) but it continues to happen. Everything is calculated with the LDS church- they send 19 year old missionaries out, not 25 year olds for a reason. At 19, you are less likely to question authority or really know much about the church. You only know what they WANT you to know-that is their whole plan. Tre, as far as The Papyri & Book of Abraham, you were very smart to see that as your first red flag. Once The Papyri was discovered in The Met Museum, it was sold to the LDS church. The church was so excited until they had Egyptologists decipher the hieroglyphics (educated translators) and realized that NONE of it was anywhere close to what Joseph Smith had said. It didn’t even contain the word Abraham, it was a common funeral burial of a king. Amazing how it just kind of “disappears” or then becomes very “confusing” when the church doesn’t get the answer it is looking for. This was my first red flag as well that JS had NO idea how to translate. The rock in the hat was disturbing but The CES letter was icing on the cake- a must read. Such a hard reality, especially when you have given two years of your life. Please try to pull out all the good that you have learned. Just becoming a critical thinker in your early 20’s is amazing. More power to you and your bright future with your talented music!

  24. Tre,

    (just want to say first that when I type your name autocorrect wants to change it to “true,” which I think is so appropriate for the young man that you are!)

    As a mom to five sons I am so impressed by your honesty and desire to be authentic. This is all I could hope for my own children. They are 12, 14, 17, 19, and 21 and even though my husband and I both served missions my boys have chosen not to. My husband loved his mission and continually shared stories with our kids. I had a very difficult experience and never had anything positive to share, other than absolute loving the people and immersing myself in the culture and service. (You could join the Peace Corp and get that and as we live overseas my kids are exposed to many different cultures anyway.) I served in the same mission as John Dehlin – didn’t know him – in Guatemala from 1/91 to 7/91 and went through very traumatic experiences – especially as a sister missionary – of abusive priesthood power. My concerns were never respected by my mission president and I was even told to repent of my wrong views (missionaries baptising kids without parental approval or promising people aid if they joined the church) I came home highly repulsed by anyone wearing a suit and tie!

    We have taught our boys to be independent thinkers so I was crying right alongside you as you expressed your view that no one would ever tell you how or what to think again (except your mom – love that:). If you haven’t already done this, look into Buddhist philosophy when you have some time. I am still semi-active, but find much more meaning in Buddhist principles these days.

    Your music is incredible. You are incredible. I feel honored and grateful to have just spent the last 1 1/2 hours listening to you!

  25. Thank you Tre and John for sharing this with us. I had much emotion well up as your thoughts reminded me of my journey. It is tough to swallow the bitter pill of betrayal and manipulation especially as someone so young as you. If it is any consolation, I would trade with you any time if I could as it took me over twenty years longer to figure out what you now know. What a waste for me as far as time, focus, energy and quite frankly a boat load of money during some of the best potential years of my life. I was a well respected leader in the Church and still have guilt for the unrighteous influence I had on my ward and stake members. You will not lose the opportunity of real happiness of your young adulthood as many of us have.

    Tre, hang in there. You have a lot going for you. Anyone listening to this podcast with a little life experience recognizes that. Live life to the fullest, leave this other junk behind. Be positive and associate with positive people . Avoid destructive behaviors. You have a great mind, don’t waste it, get your education while you are young and most of this other stuff will work itself out.

    My 2 cents from a older guy that cares.

    Best of luck.

    Andrew

  26. This series has been painful to listen to on several levels. There is the realization how young these kids are and the reality of poor leadership. I hope these former missionaries can get the support they need. That said, as a Mom who hesitated to support my sons in going to spread a message I didn’t believe in, I monitored their experience closely. I was ever ready to support them in coming home early if they wanted. Neither did – they loved their missions. I look at so many boys in American culture that are focused on partying, video gaming and themselves. A mission helped my sons to serve others, study, meet and talk to people they didn’t know and budget both time and money . There were few baptisms, but they gained a lot in personal growth. While I wish the church would switch the focus from proselyting to service, I think overall, the mission can be a valuable experience.

  27. Your comments really resonated with me, Tre. I was born into the LDS faith and was a faithful, trusting and committed member all my life until last year. Despite my belief and full activity in the church I always struggled with so many aspects of how the church ran the missionary programme and how it was an expectation that every young man should strive to serve a full time mission. I think the pressure for young men to make a huge decision so young and volunteer as a preacher for 2 years actually helped send many young men out of the church, because if they were around during mission age they would constantly be under suspicion and scrutiny and judgement. My son left the church when he was 16 after his own research so the dreaded moment never came to our family when we would relinquish our son to the church for 2 years. I did dread the idea he would be separated from us with minimal contact for such a long time and felt guilty about it. One of the main issues that caused me so much confusion and discomfort was how young men and women were micro managed and controlled by the mission and I never agreed with the severance of communication- why would family contact be so limited? I have since read and thought a lot about how the church uses control and authority and reflected on all the accounts I heard from close friends about the negative aspects of their mission experience- yet my peers were still determined to send their sons away on missions. My husband worked hard on his mission, completely self funded and with no parental support as neither were LDS. He didn’t generally dislike the experience but does remember being overwhelmed with boredom and a realisation that he was not really making a difference to anyone. Then feeling guilty about that. Guilt and shame is drummed into the LDS psyche from a very young age, things that are normal are made abnormal and vice versa. His natural development and activities were incredibly curtailed and his life was essentially on hold for 2 years at a critical time of life. Of course why do we all do it? Because we believe it is for Gods church. When that illusion shatters then the failings are so apparent, just as you have pointed out. I had missionaries to eat at my house almost every week for 24 years and so have heard and observed a lot. I increasingly was of the opinion that a mission was actually a waste of precious time. Proselyting work in the UK produces very little converts. I have attended missionary discussions and winced at the lack of information and understanding of the missionary as he /she is trying to persuade someone to make a massive commitment to a whole new identity and lifestyle. I live in a large British city where loads of people take the bus and it is common practice for missionaries to get on a bus and systematically work their way along the seats asking personal questions about belief and religion – I watched this once as a passenger and sunk into my seat as I saw how inappropriate and ineffective this tactic was. A young missionary told me how he felt very uncomfortable and embarrassed by this but had been told to do this by the MP. The local bus company had complained to the church about the missionaries harassing their passengers, it even made the paper but the missionaries were told to continue. This behaviour and disregard for social norms and customs is justified in church members minds as acceptable as it’s “the truth”. Basically the MP is like God to these dis-empowered young people and they live in fear of his disapproval. The church plays on the ignorance and trust of young people . Lowering the age yet again is very telling, it is far too young to really know what you are doing . You made an excellent point about what you learned in Brazil when reflecting on what you actually did gain from your mission- you experienced a different culture, economic environment etc yet, oh my goodness ,think of the work one young person could do as a volunteer with a charity ! How much more rewarding , life enhancing and downright useful ones service would be! The previous comment from A Mom is very true but I also think that our sons and daughters can experience the same amount ,if not more, valuable learning and growth experience by just getting on with the normal challenges of life and becoming involved with community projects at home or abroad. My son developed and matured in his studies , work and friendships and his siblings had him around at critical ages. I admire and respect every young person who serves a mission as they really think they are doing the right thing and making incredible sacrifices. However I am now of the opinion it is essentially an exercise in conditioning and control. The conveyor belt of LDS expectations and life choices. My transition out of the church is still happening , its a horrible journey to make but I know it is the right one. I wish you happiness . Thanks for sharing such personal feelings and experiences, it really helps others.

    1. Crazy. All of it. I knew after my mission there was no more left to see or discover besides the 2nd anointing (apparently my mission president gave his own version to me haha). So I knew there was no more lifetime reward for 10% of my money and all of my time. I came back so physically drained from my mission from walking everywhere that I still have the desire every once in a while to just like lay In bed for a year. Last day of my mission I still completed every single number I was supposed to in my planner. When I finished I could barely walk up the stairs to my apartment and I cried knowing how happy I was that I would never have to do a day of that again. All while still believing lol.

    2. Msmop, as a missionary serving in your country, I felt that bishops hated the way missionaries would baptize their investigators, then transfer out and let the new converts be the ward’s problem. Then missionaries would get upset when the new converts not longer attended church, usually only after one time, then blame the ward members for not being good friend-shippers. Our mission was so bad that apparently Elder Holland said something like “if this mission was a disabled horse, I’d shoot it,” then went on a verbal tirade. Anyway, I think we would more effective as missionaries by performing more service then proselyting.

      1. I’ve heard that too RE: Elder Holland, wonder if it’s a common urban legend like the the missionary hot chocolate.

        Which mission was it?

      2. Which mission did he say that about?

        Wonder if that’s one of the common mission urban legends like the “12 apostates” that every mission seemed to have.

  28. First, I want to say we had a few Maoris in my mission. The British loved them and I they are the most kind and humble people I will every know. Your experience is a testament that mission culture has not changed over the years. I don’t know how to compare my mission and missions in general: to a car dealership or Amway or both. The sacredness and holiness of baptisms was taken away when it becomes a game and a competition. The mission president’s little leaders are not there to help, but to find faults, hear gossip, and find rule breakers. Missions turn normally honest young adults into liars because of it’s propensity to make everyone feel guilty about everything. A common theme in missions and in church is that we are never doing enough and we are made to feel guilty for not fulfilling their agenda. Many young people sacrifice their time and funds and are told how to spend their time and funds in the most inefficient and ineffective manner. Meanwhile, mission presidents are getting all these nice perks. As for as the act of masturbation: I am disgusted and angry that we were asked that in our youth when it was never suppose to be asked nor was it in any handbook. We used to joke about the question “do you have a problem with masturbation?” We joked about answering “no, I have the technique down pretty good!” All the best in your music career.

  29. I really love this interview with Tre, I served my mission between 2003 – 2005 in Santiago de Chile, I was 25 when I started my mission, the transition between the old way of teaching with the new Preach my Gospel was difficult for some missionaries even to me, numbers is what we want!!! 😀 and yeah! is true my mission president got to ask me about if I am touching myself (masturbandome), which I never did but he promised me that if I don’t do it during my mission I will never do it after hahaha, for some reason I never told anyone, as a South American I can say that for a lot of Latino missionaries is very hard to start again after their missions, I can see that you weren’t like some other guys that are pushing the mission president to be Zone leader or Assistant, I really love your honesty and I know that you deserve to be happy like anyone else and caralho! no one can denied or take that from you, all the best to you.

  30. This was a great interview! Thanks Tre for being authentic and sharing your experiences. You have a great sense of humor and you seem wise beyond your years. Extra bonus was hearing your song. I really liked it. Where can I buy it? I’ll be looking out for your music not just because I really appreciate your interview, but because it’s really good! Best to you.

  31. The part of the AP getting to stay after the oral sex incident is not uncommon if the missionary has connections with General Authorities. It wouldn’t surprise me if the AP had connections with the 1st Presidency and they gave instructions to the mission President to keep the missionary in the field. I had a MTC companion that molested a child and later was caught having phone sex with one of those 800 #’s in my mission. I was told his family was connected to a General Authority and the mission President was instructed to keep him out. Hypocrisy in the Church is common place within the leadership.

  32. Great interview. Thank you for your openness. My husband is a non-member and I am now, but it is fascinating to hear about how he was taught about masturbating. His family is Japanese-Hawaiian, and his grandmother was raised speaking Hawaiian and was a translator, so imagine these words of advice in a cute (creole?) accent.:
    “You frustrated? You got a wank it.”
    “You rub your leg real good before you go see that girl, so you will be a gentleman”
    My husband was raised with no shame about sex. Masturbating was just a normal activity you do in private (like picking your nose), or to help you curtail your horniness, so you can wait to have sex until your an adult. When we got married it took time for me to be as sexually free, but it’s so much more fun. So go masturbate, and have a good time.

  33. Tre, a very interesting interview. It’s a small world – I think your father served in the mission in which I lived, in fact I’m pretty sure one of his companions baptised me. Thank you for sharing. I won’t say too much online, but I can relate to what you say. I served a mission. I became very depressed. People would always say it was the best 2 years of their life, (Or 18 months for myself as a sister missionary), it wasn’t. I am still glad that I was given the opportunity to go. It did make a huge difference to my life. I would be lying if I said I believe everything the church teaches, but then I never have. For what I believe and what I don’t, I am still glad that I found the missionaries and the church. They literally saved my my life. So don’t discount that for all that happened on your mission, you may have helped someone at a time that they really needed it. Kia Kaha. Arohanui.

    1. Kia Ora cuz. Glad you’re doing Better now. It’s all good tho the Brasilian cuisine made up for some bad times.

  34. Congratulations Tre on figuring things out early on in life and taking charge of your own affairs. The longer people stay the more difficult and complicated it is to come correct. The church is full of closeted nonbelievers who fear losing their marriage, family, friends and sometimes even their job if they were openly honest and true to themselves. And it goes without saying that masturbation is a perfectly natural and healthy part of the human condition. Attaching some kind of moral imperative to the practice is ludicrous. Hang in the Tres, I have a feeling you’ll do just fine.

  35. Hi Tre, from England, l loved your interview, l appreciate all you honesty and your kindly loving spirit, l am so enjoying listening to the interviews from return missionaries and l just loved your’s particularly, thank you for sharing so much with so many of us and l thought you were a really great guy with a beautiful personality and you will certainly bless and help the hearts and lives of so may people, god bless you in the road you now take and l hope we’ll hear more of your fantastic music, it’s great l’d love to get a hold of a cd and hear more also l hope to hear more from you in other interviews sometime, you’re a great guy tre, keep smiling and making others smile, loved your video, god bless you, take care, thanks again jon,bgreat work you are doing, keep it up,

  36. Tre, thank you for your honesty. It takes a different kind of faith and courage to break from cultural and spiritual traditions, to worship God according to the dictates of your own conscience.

    I love your advice to any prospective missionary whose eyes may already be open to keep them open. What is obviously difficult is that the Church/mission functions very differently for those who, in religious terms, have eyes that see. To see and feel things differently than the rest of your spiritual peer group is hard. To think differently, to act differently, to stand up or stand out can be lonely and painful. Not to mention that the institution of LDS faith discourages any behavior and beliefs that break from official behavior and beliefs no matter how much they are grounded in logic and ones own personal developing faith. The only unorthodox people I have met who thrive in the Church are those who are incredibly generous and forgiving with their fellowman and immune to feelings of religious shame or fear. If a prospective missionary is this kind of missionary, I think they can have a very positive and fulfilling experience.

    I think the Church has an important message to share with the world despite its imperfections. Like all religion, Mormonism is doing it’s part to share “further light and knowledge.” Our invitation to greater peace and happiness, greater family solidarity, greater personal success by living a life motivated and guided by a relationship with the divine is a beautiful message. Often our lives are happier and more successful when we live more deliberately consistent with personal values and standards. It is wonderful to be a part of an organization who believes in revelation, expects revelation, an organization whose leadership strives to be inspired and seeks to find ways to bring themselves and others closer to Christ. Whether Christ is real or not is not nearly as important as what he symbolizes – light, truth, communion with God, sacrifice, the possibility of change, hope, victory over “death” and “sin” and those are realities experienced by people who enter the waters of baptism all the time. I don’t think you, or John, or anyone who is honest can deny that alongside with all the havoc and devastation Church membership has created in the lives of so many, it has also been the means for so much good and changed millions of lives for the better. That is what makes any conversation about religion and faith so complex and full spectrum, nothing is really black and white.

    What I love Tre is you owning your own journey, allowing yourself now to explore and grow in ways that are personally meaningful for you. I wish you the best in your music and in life. I hope it is a life that will continue to be full of love, honesty, and above all passion!

  37. Thank you Tre. I cried for you during your sharing both out of sadness and out of honor. That you will only do what you feel is right and not obey another soul except your mother is very very good. I relate to your pain though I did not leave the church til I was much older. I wish I had done it earlier in life. The pain of all I did for NOTHING is still present, it has not left over time for me. 16 years have passed and I am 57 yrs old. I have two children who do not follow Mormonism and they are young and happy. I am so glad. I have one on a mission who does not believe and will be required to pay his own way home when he finally does choose to come home. He accepted that when he left on his mission.

  38. Tre,
    Your story is stupid amazing. Life changing, really. My story’s kind of similar, although I’m living right in the middle of it. Excited to reach some sort of conclusion.
    I’d be interested to hear more about your experience at a church school. That’s the part that’s getting to me. It’s weird being the “Apostate” girl at school and the Mormon girl everywhere else.

    Side note: love the music, you’re super talented. I’m jealous. I’d kill to be studying media arts right now.

    1. Randi
      Just wanted to say I attended BYU and road it out. My recommendation if it’s not working find another school and transfer. this is your time to find you genuine self. Even if you have to take a few extra courses. Just some thoughts from the class of 94.
      P.S. just make up you’re mind that your done before to commit.

  39. My favorite so far of the missionary series of podcasts! Thanks Tre! I could relate so much to your story. I relate to it so much that I asked my wife(she’s still a TBM) to listen to the podcast cause it expresses a lot of my history as well. She said she’ll listen, but we’ll see. I just wanted to say thanks for interviewing with John and letting us be a part of it! Your music sounds great too! Hopefully we’ll be hearing it on the radio sometime soon!

  40. Love “Relativity”! Purchased.

    Your story is so touching, and you made me laugh out loud a few times. Your reaction to your MP is how we all should react when such stark incongruities are shoved in front of us. Best wishes to you.

  41. Dear Tre, I can totally relate to your stories about the guilt and shame instilled by the church over something so simple and natural as masturbation. I spent so much of my youth living in guilt because of this. Funnily enough, when I was in the MTC, I ‘confessed’ to my branch president about my masturbation experiences, fully expecting to be sent home, and to my surprise, he told me it wasn’t a big deal and that it wouldn’t prevent me from being a great missionary, and to not worry about it. Well that was a big relief! However, as I got out into the mission field, the feelings of guilt and shame returned, so I decided to talk to my mission president about it just so I could feel reassured. Well, to my surprise and utter confusion, instead of affirming what my branch president had said, he gave me this long spiel about the testicles being a factory (I later learned that he was quoting Boyd K. Packer), and that I had to try to stop. The guilt and shame came back full bore, and I couldn’t be rid of it until I got married later and all of the sudden sexuality became church sanctioned. That was my excuse to learn everything I could about human sexuality, and I learned that almost all mainstream doctors, psychologists, etc. find masturbation to be perfectly normal behavior. At that point I was pretty upset that I had gotten such mixed messages from church representatives. What made me more angry was that my mission president was a licensed physician, and he put the church’s doctrine before real medical facts! I then learned about the young man who committed suicide at BYU because he was so shamed over masturbation and that the church had relaxed their stance, but their application of that was sporadic at best, and old ideas continued to dominate local leaders. Anyway, that curiosity about human physiology in addition to my interests in evolution and history helped me eventually leave the church. I now realize that this is a persistent issue that many if not most young men and women face in the church, and it can be psychologically traumatizing. The church needs to get real with its facts and form a unified policy that is more sensitive to people’s sexual and psychological health rather than just perpetuating Victorian prudish false ideas. Thank you so much for speaking out about this issue!

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