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  1. Awesome John. Thank you so much for being a powerful inspiring stand for honesty and transparency regarding the Church and also a rock of support along with many others with whom you have come together to create this safety net for transitioning Mormons.

  2. What is your opinion of the Bible as far as the historicity, truthfulness, ect. It seems that many leaving the church also have struggles with Christianity in general. Is this your experience, and do you have any studies on this?

    1. David – I’m not AT ALL a scholar on this front…but I’ll give my 20 second, relatively uninformed view. I believe that in many cases (e.g., Adam/Even, Global Flood, Exodus) the Bible has many of the same problems as the Books of Mormon and Abraham re: historicity. One main difference, however, is that in many cases with the Bible, at least we have a corresponding geography and general history of people(s) (e.g., Romans, Palestinians, Jews) — whereas with the Book of Mormon we have nothing.

      1. Unfortunately, historical people’s names/figures, places, events (even though they all exist[ed], for real) are not a strong device to strengthen a historicity of the Bible either. A reference can be just a mere reference, often times. “Harry Potter” mentioning London King’s Cross railway station, does not prove/indicate that Hogwarts or Voldemort also existed. However, it does send many imaginative kids to go looking for “Platform 9 3/4” — the same way that the Book of Mormon still send its believers for a wild goose chase to look for places & things.

        If I wrote a novel referring to John Dehlin, his PhD, and his podcasts, in any shapes or forms, that still doesn’t prove (or even imply) true the stories in the novel. If, in the next 500 years, a guy plugged my novel out of a pile to compile his own doctrine, called himself a prophet, and gained lots of followers, then it would be really unfortunate indeed that a faithful follower would believe in the “holiness” of my novel & this prophet by simply proving the past fact of John Dehlin and his achievements “referred” in my novel.

        Imagination is a very POWERFUL thing – when misused, it turns us gullible. The Evangelical Christians do encourage people to read the Bible “with the eyes of a child”, so do the Mormons (for the Book of Mormon). However, unbeknownst to many grownups, that is usually an effective persuasion to strip away ones’ own safeguard (from fabrications & deceptions) long cultivated by years of real life experience. “With the eyes of a child” is one of the tools used by the Evangelical Christians to deprogram the Mormons, to open their eyes & hearts for the Bible. Reading the Book of Mormon and PRAYING with sincere heart & true intent, on the other hand, is also the LDS’s version of “with the eyes of a child” – mainly because it is devoid of (diligent) factual investigations and merely encourages us to solely rely…or rather rest…on faith & pray (or faith derived solely from prayers).

        “With the eyes of a child”, imagination, etc, are truly wonderful to nurture CREATIVITY & INNOVATIONS. When used in religions (mostly a business of strengthening “a faith”), it is a vulnerable backdoor, a Trojan Horse, for gullibility.

        In celebrating this End-of-Year episode #516 of your podcast (regarding your ongoing thoughts & development on your own beliefs, etc), I would like to share a very short excerpt of this different TV episode with you.

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

        Instead of telling to you just take its content at face value, I would like you to rather “investigate” it. This has become one of the most important clips I have ever seen, when it comes to effectively challenging my old unyielding beliefs.

      2. “the cardinal sin is thinking about ultimate issues is literal mindedness. Thus, while the words of scripture are true, they are not literally true; they contain a surplus of meaning that can never be conveyed by their literal meanings.”
        -Abraham Joshua Heschel

        1. How convenient…

          That pretty much explains why there are hundreds of disagreeing Christian denominations today using the same Bible…and still disagreeing. The Baptists & the Pentecostals still argue among themselves being the true church.

          The same about Mormonism, the “One True Church”. It has the Book of Mormon — supposedly the real deal, aka true “uncorrupted” version of the words of God and still ANOTHER version (interpretation?) of the Bible. This One-True-Church also has its own problem with disagreeing denominations.

          I hope this surplus of meaning thing does not one day turn lethal like Islam today. We have Muslims with their own SURPLUS meanings telling themselves about their own versions of Islam so that they can strap bombs on themselves to detonate among crowd (believing in different surplus meanings)

          Henceforth, when it comes to claiming that ones’ versions are TRUE, “WHOSE” (imaginary) surplus of meaning is TRUE? And WHO decides it’s true? The person with “the burning in the bosom” or experiencing the Holy Ghost? The Mormons don’t monopolize those — the Pentecostals have them too, all the time, so do other Hindus, Zen Buddhists, etc all over the world.

      3. John – I am not a Mormon questioning my faith, so I never had the need to check out your podcast. I heard you discussing your research on GLBT issues on a recent episode of RadioWest. You had the only sane viewpoint on the episode, so I was prompted to Google your name and found this site. Your site is fascinating and shows glaring evidence of the psychological harm that the Mormon culture can inflict on a person. I don’t understand why most of those who post on your site, those who are questioning their faith, don’t just let go of their religion, which they have now recognized as a bad idea. It’s really no more complicated than that. Once you realize religion is just an idea and nothing more. I wanted to comment on your slide in the podcast that stated Judaism and Catholicism have become “more honest and less harmful to others over time.” I don’t believe that a nuclear powered nation state that can make no progress towards peace with its neighbors and a religion with a cadre of “celibate” pedophile priests are something to hold a candle to – even if in some way they have become “less harmful to others over time.” Again, it’s fascinating how the folks on your site recognize LDS church doctorine is bunk, inconsistent over time, and would rather try to somehow effect a change in their church rather than leave it for the corpse it has become in their mind. It is OK for a person to let go of their religion because they have undertaken a rational examination of their beliefs and found that life’s experiences have brought them more wisdom. They have evolved in a way their church will always be incapable of doing. Are folks afraid of the atheism label? Without religion one can identify as a Humanist or anything he/she wants to call themselves. The best part is one will have their dignity and the ability to live authentically. Thanks for the rational points made on the RaidoWest program! I wish you and your listeners the best!

        1. Bruce,

          You made some good points, but let me help you with what you “don’t understand”. You stated the following:

          “I don’t understand why most of those who post on your site, those who are questioning their faith, don’t just let go of their religion, which they have now recognized as a bad idea. It’s really no more complicated than that. Once you realize religion is just an idea and nothing more.”

          I agree with you, that at first glance, it should seem so simple. You sound as if you may be a single person without a large family and extended family, with a common faith. Your approach would be a much simpler transition if the individual you are speaking to, was just an an “island” of one. Many, if not most people that comment on Mormon Stories, are from families, that have had wonderful experiences within the “gospel”, along with the issues they struggle with. Sounds a bit like most peoples lives….its not all smooth sailing, with or without a faith. That’s life.

          Fathers and mothers, can’t just up and leave, out of the blue….after building a families life on good principles, within the church. Lets play this out, with an imagined family discussion….Hey, son on a 2 year mission, daughter attending Seminary, and daughter that just got married in the Temple, your Mom and Dad have some news for you…we are leaving the church…its no big deal, its simple kids! You kids hang in there and keep up the good work and you too will eventually see the light. Just tell everybody at church, we will miss them (a little), but your Mom and Dad, are on an extended vacation in Europe, on a mission to enjoy life (sounds like a great idea).

          I hope you see what I mean, and appreciate why many members are not so quick to take that “leap of faith” away from faith. The battle of balancing faith, reason and reality of experiences, is not as easy as it may seem, when other loved ones are involved with that decision.

          Thanks for your views. I liked what you had to say, and to at least get others thinking and maybe I got you to understand a bit better why some struggle as they do.

  3. I am a 55 year old woman and convert of the church. I joined the church in Texas 36 years ago. I am very grateful for your podcast. I no longer believe in the BOM or other church teachings. I live in Utah County. My husband, because of his family ties and successful business does not want me to be vocal about me feelings about the church. We have not been to church regularly since June of this year. I feel very isolated and lonely. Would you be able to connect me with others in the Provo, Orem area with similar feelings. I also am in need of a therapist who can help me with my faith crisis. I have been a one time donor without my husband’s knowledge and am going to be a monthly supporter. Thank you for your time.
    I do not have a facebook page and do not like social media. So please email me if possible.

  4. It will be interesting to hear John’s answer. I’m a Christian and share the gospel with Mormons a lot, and hear the line “If the Church isn’t true, then nothing is” a lot. A scorched earth policy that I call it ‘Joseph’s Last Revenge’. It’s sad because the Bible doesn’t suffer the same liabilities. The archeology is all there, there peoples are there, the flora and fauna and languages are all there. Heck, it even contains maps! (You can still visit Bethlehem today.) Sure, there are still issues for the skeptic: There’s still the parting of the Red Sea, a talking donkey, etc. Jesus still calms a storm and walks on water, heals the sick, and raises the dead. On the other hand, something happened 2,000 years ago that has to be accounted for. Twelve apostles died as martyrs believing they had seen the risen Lord. People pooh poohed Sandra Tanner, but there’s a quantum difference. If anyone is interested, here’s a dvd Joel what’s-his-name put together devoted to the subject: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2GDsfoLq-I. My favorite is the evidence from Dead Sea scrolls. And you gotta love prophecy. If you’ve been disaffected, consider not throwing out the baby with the bath water. Jesus is still there.

    1. Firstly, the evidence for the bible isn’t any more prevalent than evidence for Harry Potter.

      Second, and this is my main point, archeological and historical evidence is only part of the reason people lose belief or trust in the bible/jesus narrative. I think a good parallel is belief in Santa Claus.

      Most people do not stop believing in Santa Claus simply because they see their presents early or catch an adult talking about how he isn’t real. People stop believing in Santa Claus because they come to realize how the Santa system works. They realize that being a “Santa skeptic” provides a much more compelling explanation for Santa Claus than the “Santa believer” narrative provides. That realization may be initially motivated by some pivotal event, like finding where your parents hid the presents etc., but if you ask most adults why they don’t believe in Santa Claus, their reason isn’t because they saw their presents when they were 6. They have simply come to understand the Santa Claus system. Furthermore, after they have begun to understand the Santa Claus system, they can apply that to the Easter Bunny system without having to address each individual Easter Bunny claim point by point.

      So it is with christianity and most religion in general. When you understand how and why the system works, you have not just pulled the carpet out from Mormonism, you’ve often pulled the rug out of religion and especially organized religion in general.

      I often find that people who are religious simply can’t grasp that their deep seeded need for belief isn’t universally felt.

      1. Thank, James. I appreciate the fact that John lets me post here, and don’t want to abuse that. But the case for a historical Jesus is a little better than Harry Potter and Santa Claus. Bart Ehrman has got pretty high credibility in the agnostic/atheist community, and he totally disagrees with you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdqJyk-dtLs

        1. My point with the Harry Potter comment was not to compare current interpretations of Harry Potter with 2000 year matured interpretations of Jesus, but to simply point out that in 2000 years, there will be just as much historical evidence for Harry Potter as we currently have for Jesus. The fact that Bethlehem and the Mount of Olives exist give no more credence to a historical Jesus than the once existence of King’s Cross Station and London will give to a society in 2000 years. But all that was secondary to my main point anyways.

          Most people who leave mormonism do so because they understand the God system and reject it (this was my point with the Santa Claus analogy.) Archeological evidence etc. may initially start them down the path of doubting and rejecting traditional mormon narratives, but the end of that path is typically a rejection of the entire belief-in-a-god system. Swiss cheese evidence for an historical Jesus doesn’t really begin to address the wider problems stemming from accepting and worshiping the biblical deity.

          1. not exactly james. Jesus was a real person, it has real places and real other people, real religions and therefore will probably be interpreted IN THE LEAST that it was meant to be taken as fact, whether it is or isn’t. harry potter doesn’t really have any historical settings or characters in it whatsoever.

            and I in fact do believe in the bible. I also agree with what you say about organized religion. I’ve seen it in many churches and religions, the money grab. except I do not see it in the Mormon church because it is not there. and if you and others don’t feel a need for God in your life or to seek for His true church on the earth than you have something missing I say.

        2. I think there is a false dichotomy here. I think most people do think that there was in fact a historical Jesus. The question is if he was really as divine as the bible says.

          If you are going to bring up Bart Ehrman as proof, you might want to know that he began as an Evangelical Christian and after years of study is agnostic. He does not believe in a “divine” historical Jesus.

        1. How about we do a quantifiable prayer test between Jesus and Harry Potter and see if our results change at all. Any one game for that?

    2. I believe the greatest proof that Jesus lived and is a God is his teachings. Even Christ said that the way to prove if someone is righteous is by if they really keep ‘all’ his commandments, which are near impossible to keep, so it’s a pretty steep standard. I don’t know of anyone, past or present, who can or did really live them.

      But if one really strives to live his teachings I believe they will see that there is no other way to achieve lasting happiness, love & liberty in this world, then by living his teachings. His teachings seem to be the answer for all of life’s problems. I don’t believe anyone has ever come up with any precepts that prove to work better.

      In fact, it really doesn’t matter if Christ really lived anyway, we will only find out if he is real when we die. But what does matter is if we live his teachings, which makes all the difference in this world and maybe in the world to come.

      1. “I don’t believe anyone has ever come up with any precepts that prove to work better.”

        I think the Buddha, and Buddhism’s teachings, are superior (this would explain why positive psychology takes advantage many of these concepts). At least it would appear that way. After all, concepts like (radical) acceptance, letting-go, knowing oneself and intimately understanding ones own mind, mindfulness, metta (loving kindness), everything being transitory, not clinging to or avoiding things, etc. All seem superior to the Christian method, and Buddha lived some 500 years before Christ.

        If you are unfamiliar with Buddhist teachings, perhaps you would want to read this, it’s relatively short, and quite good: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/becoming1.pdf

        All best.

      2. Read A.C. Grayling, Peter Singer, and many other contemporary philosophers, and you’ll find you can live a moral life without any belief in Jesus. (As a bonus, you’ll have your Sundays free for more productive activity and the reading is much more interesting that scripture.) Contemporary philosophers have more to offer regarding moral guidance that Jesus did, because they have the advantage of hindsight and the perspective or present day, real world problems. Real men and women can help guide your quest for right moral action, no need to consult mythological figures. All you need is a rational and inquisitive mind to differentiate between right and wrong. As far as lasting happiness, you should read “The Happiness Myth” by Jennifer Hecht to realize that happiness is an emotion that comes in fits and spurts not a state of being.

    3. Charles there is massive archaeological evidence for Mormonism that blows Christianity away. Palmyra is a real place. There is ample evidence the Smith family lived there. An archaeological dig discovered the site of their log cabin, their frame house still stands. Original manuscripts for the dictation of the Book of Mormon still exist, not copies of copies of copies like the New Testament. Original revelation books and writings of the Doctrine and Covenants exist, not copies of copies of copies. Over one-third of the Doctrine and Covenants was received in Kirtland Ohio. That is a real place you can visit. The Kirtland Temple still stands where revelations were received. Nauvoo Illinois is a real place. Joseph Smith’s houses still stand there. Most all characters in the Doctrine and Covenants have been verified, the places verified, etc. Now look at the Bible. Origins of man going to Adam has been unarguably disproven, there was indisputably never a world wide flood. There is zero evidence the ancient Israelites were ever slaves in Egypt to any large scale and the exodus never happened, period. The Jesus of John is a completely different character than the one in the Synoptics that never explicitly claimed to be god. The birth mythologies to get Jesus born in Bethlehem in Matthew and Luke are completely different and contradicting. Some scholars even question if Jesus existed, no scholar questions the existence of Joseph Smith, not to mention the complete mythological characters like Adam, Moses, and Noah. Mormonism historically kills Christianity.

      1. No. There is historical evidence for the existence of *Mormons* and Joseph Smith, but not for the spiritual and ancient historical claims of Mormonism.

  5. The transition is difficult by design. Families are sometimes torn apart. The Mormon teaching has always been so pejorative against Biblical Christianity that people in transition out may have been so damaged by organized “religion” that the spiritual healing needed is far greater than most appreciate. The former Mormon learns about being shunned by those who were suppose to love and care. The rejection can wound deeply. Fear is one of the reasons many TBMs and the official Mormon Church are angry with dissent. The Mormon Church and TBMs both fear the truth. Truth can become awkward when the Mormon church depends so heavily on the personal qualities of leadership. Unlike Biblical Christianity, the Mormon Church becomes the supposed. Mediator between God and man. This is one of the pernicious maladies infecting Mormonism and will cause serious damage to members and former members.

    In Biblical Christianity; however, the teaching is that you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free. Rather than a Church or a prophet or priest, Biblical Christianity teaches that there is only One mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus. This removes the power and leverage the Pastor in a Biblical Church can use over parishioners. Major difference, no other mediator, only Jesus.

    Next, the Biblical Christian Church, from the beginning resembled more a struggling rural hospital than a successful corporation. The medicines are sacrificial love, grace, and forgiveness. Fear is not consistent with Love and since God = Love the person who is in fear is in need of the preceding medicine to heal. Unlike the BoM, the Bible is about real people who exist in history: the Hebrews, Egyptians, Romans, Persians, Greeks. Nobody has raised any credible doubts to question the basic historical nature of of these people. The powerful philosophy of grace, unearned favor creating love is compelling. Know you don’t have to join some Church to know God. Reading the real Bible helps. Try John for starters. Read it twice.
    Best wishes and God Bless.
    Mike

  6. I am so excited to hear about the future of Mormon Stories! As a single mom, dating was a terrible experience in the Mormon Community. I’d love to help support women in that situation, especially as they become more independent, and consequently, less likely to fit into the Mormon woman mold.

  7. I love you John. I’ve listened to Mormon Stories since some of your first episodes. We’ve been through a lot together and you probably have next to no idea I exist. Your podcast has gotten me through some tough spots and I credit you with helping me stay active in the church. I have defended you many times and will continue to do so. I am sad that you are taking this new direction with the podcast though. (And frankly with your membership in the church. It feels like you’re begging to be excommunicated even though you say you aren’t.) I can’t say I really blame you considering everything you’ve been through with your local leadership. I’d be angry too. But, it just feels like you hung the active, non-literal believing Mormon contingency of your listeners out to dry. Choosing my family and taking the covenants I made with my spouse seriously makes me personally responsible for the damage the church does to people? Are you really that black and white? Not everyone’s decisions are that clear cut and this feels so different from what you’ve said numerous times in the past. Thanks for telling your new elite, transitioning Mormon group to still be “nice” to people like me though. Ha!. You might as well tell them to “love the sinner but hate the sin.” I will probably regret writing this message to you because I have a lot of gratitude and tender feelings towards you, but listening to this episode made me so sad and mad. It just feels like your new direction is more about you and your career choices than your original wider tent. I’m sad that I’m no longer really your target audience. I guess I’ll just have to stick with Mormon Matters. Best of luck to you and your family.

    1. Funny how honesty is disparaged when Mormon orthodoxy is questioned. Thinking People don’t stand still. John’s experiences over the last 10 years have moved him in this direction. For whatever reasons yours have not. You might want to examine the rational and or spiritual basis for your critical review of John’s new “direction”. John did not charge you with being personally responsible for the “damage the Church does to people” as you suggest. Clearly he believes that Church orthodoxy is mentally damaging for many, and I for one think he is correct.

      1. I agree, ‘thinking people don’t stand still’, they continue to learn, change, progress and go in new directions as they learn more truth.

        We are all far from perfect so if we are serious about the Gospel we will continually be changing our paths & perceptions as we learn where we were wrong & deceived.

        Only those who don’t want to learn new truths and repent will stay in one place and never change.

        I also agree that despite the many good things that the Church (as all false prophets) teaches, it’s false teachings and destructive practices are overall very damaging & destructive to people, families and society.

        I believe that if we support false prophets and destructive organizations we will be held accountable by God for supporting it, because we didn’t instead choose to see the evil and stop supporting it & try to wake others up & protect them from it.

        I believe God expects us to ‘stand for the right’, for silence in the face of evil, is evil, no matter how convincing it’s ‘sheep skin & good works’ may be.

        1. Lilli, Of course we should change in light of new information. The topic is not new information. The topic is should we let others determine how we will respond. If your pushed, or kicked, or punched, the correct response is not to retaliate. The correct response is to maintain your course. Stand firm in what your doing and do not change your position. Changing your position is exactly what the aggressor was hoping to do by pushing you in the first place.

          1. king lamoni. That is not what I said to john at all. If he was an ex Mormon I’d still consider him part of my tribe and I support where his own journey takes him. I was surprised that he said that those who stay are complicit with all the damage people receive from the church. I don’t think
            thats really a fair statement. I don’t know where you got that I thought john couldn’t do what he wanted in his personal life from my statement at all.

          2. kinglamoni,

            I don’t think John is letting the Church determine how he responds, and it is the Church that seems to be ‘retaliating’, not John. John is just standing firm for what he believes is right and best, despite how the Church may treat him, good or bad.

            I believe John would have come to the same conclusions and decisions whether the Church had ever said anything to him or put any pressure on him or not.

            I actually believe the Church hoped John would cave to their unrighteous dominion, I do not believe they pushed him in hopes that he would leave as he did, in fact they will probably give him the final shove, for they don’t like when anyone questions them or their opinions or tries to wake up the masses to the truth.

            I myself am very surprised that anyone who claims to believe in Christ would disagree with John’s stance and don’t also have a huge problem with the Church’s racism, sexism and lack of proof for their claims of scripture or authority, etc, especially when they & their scriptures teach so contrary to Christ.

            Even the issue of ‘SSM’ is nothing to how destructive polygamy is or how contrary to Christ it is, and yet many members who have a problem with SSM somehow accept vile abusive polygamy as ok, that they themselves would never put up with or do, and they even believe that true prophets would live it, even though Christ condemned it.

            So, based on what active LDS believe in and go along with, I don’t think they have any room to condemn or question John’s choices or opinions or his stance for truth, reason and universal respect.

            I believe John is becoming more Christ-like in his beliefs & decisions from where he was, not less. If Christ was anything he was the greatest defender of total equality and respect for all. It’s sad that many LDS can’t see that.

        2. Lilli,

          When you say the church we are all assuming the “Mormon” church. I’m not clear, are you even a member of this Salt Lake City church?

        3. No argument. But as we all must, be sure that you are standing for the right. Was Joseph Smith standing for the right when he took other men’s legal wives? Was he standing for the right when he sent Rockwell to kill Boggs? I could go on and on…but you get the point.

          1. In the book A Rough Stone Rolling, Joseph Smith’s various temple sealings were set forth based on third party information and anecdotal evidence. As far as I can tell, the Prophet did not have children with anyone but Emma. Eliza R. Snow, one of his wives I believe never remarried and they had no children. I really don’t know what to say about the many temple sealings of Joseph to women, but what I do know is that I have read the Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, have prayed about them, and living the principles taught in them have made me a better person and caused me to have a close association with the Savior. So since they are true and contain the prophets’ and the Savior’s words to us, Joseph Smith’s many wives seems irrelevant to me. I am a Melchizedek priesthood holder, and I have seen the power of the priesthood work in many people’s lives through me and because of their faith, so do I reject the truth I know because plural marriage may impose on my sensibilities? Do I reject Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses, etc., because of their plural marriages? What are you trying to prove?

    2. Laura – I’m sorry you feel that way. I understand your concerns. I certainly don’t mean to exclude anyone. And I don’t feel like my intent is to make this about me or to create an “elite” group. I do feel like Mormon Matters, A Thoughtful Faith, and StayLDS.com (all three of which I own and heartily support) provide sufficient material for those trying to navigate the middle ground. Unfortunately, this is not a focus I can personally feel good about directly supporting myself anymore….largely because the church has chosen to come after me vs. allow me to do what you are doing (peacefully remain a member).

      Anyway, I hope that we still create some content of worth to you. If not, I’m super sorry. And please that I value/appreciate all paths. I just have to focus my resources and this is where I feel called to focus, mostly because the huge need, and the huge lack of resources.

      All the best to you and yours.

      1. I am one of those who choose to stay in the church and have enjoyed and benefited from Mormon Stories. In my humble opinion. I do miss the feel of the big tent movement that earlier broadcasts have voiced. I would have hoped that just because the church has chosen to come after you that you would not then move to the position of acting like the church has come after you. I understand we are all human and it is hard to stand still when pushed.

      2. Thank you For responding to me John. I wish I would’ve seen this before I responded to the guy above. I haven’t experienced mistreatment like you have and i see why your position has changed. Take care friend. i support you finding the path that’s best for you even if it’s a departure from mine. Your podcast helped me work through a lot of pain and anger. I feel its a huge reason why my marriage is still intact and I’m happy again at church. Thank you.

      3. Dear John,

        I personally feel that you’ve done so much and carried the torch for so many of us out there that you will ever know and I personally thank you for your and your family’s time. I wish the church opened its eyes and realized we’re not in the 19th century anymore. Ironically, I listened to your 2013 update podcast last week and I couldn’t believe the part about the planned character assassination on you even after all the work you had done for them. Maybe I’m missing something or Laura knows something I don’t but how someone can sit there and act like ‘all is well’ baffles me. It would take more than listening to a faith-promoting podcast to hang onto my membership.

        I’d love to help any way I can to your cause. Email me if you need an extra pair of hands anytime brother.

        1. JC : I didn’t insinuate that I think “all is well.” I said I was “happy” again at church. That doesn’t mean a lot of things don’t bother me. It means the rewards currently outweigh the costs for me.

  8. My question is what do you consider a non-deceptive source when it comes to learning about the church’s truth claims.

    Could you provided an example please of one source you consider non-deceptive, where a person could accurately learn what the church teaches.

    And why so you consider that source non-deceptive

  9. Thanks John. I am a new subscriber, having found your site just a couple of months ago. As something of a rather intense amateur Mormon historian I have long been aware of most of the historical issues and problematic areas discussed.

    Your podcast interviews are fantastic, and I wish you well however things develop in your personal and professional life. A thing I personally will confirm is that one can be happier outside of Mormonism so long as this traumatic change in not permitted to adversely affect other important areas of personal circumstances. It’s something like getting out of a tightly tied straight-jacket.

    Your point that someone who elects to transition out of the Mormon Church needs to find effective social replacement supports might be the most important single thing you said in this podcast. I am interested in being involved in setting up or participating in such a group in the Cedar City area

  10. John. You are an amazing person. I wish I lived near you because I would call to make an appointment with you as a my therapist today. I know you are going to help a lot of people and I think you will be tremendously successful in your career especially with your focus on faith crisis and transitions, which I believe is a growing reality within Mormonism and I don’t feel my congregation/leaders address any of it at all. I admire that you can appreciate many of the things mormonism does well and at the same time call out the perpetual coverup of truth claims. Thanks for bringing so many bright and thoughtful people together. What you have done is truly amazing.

  11. John,

    I appreciated your year-end report. I liked you shared with us your own opinions and faith perspectives in relation to the church.

    One author I have read two books about relating to religion is Ayaan Hirsi Ali(“Infidel” and “Nomad”). She sounds a lot like you in terms of the danger she sees in practicing certain religious traditions. Cultural Islam is her slant while yours is Mormonism. I see similarities in both your perspectives. I think she would be a great guest to have on your show. Her views of how Islam hurts its followers makes LDS Mormonism look like a walk in the park.

  12. John,

    Thank you for all of your work. If you do get ex’d (and I hope not) please please appeal it to the FP. They should be forced to take a stand on whether non-believing Mormons can have a place in the formal church organization, or if they have to suffer in silence. The current practice of ecclesiastical roulette is cowardly and the FP and Q12 need to start standing for something.

  13. “It just feels like your new direction is more about you and your career choices than your original wider tent.”

    -Laura

    John, you most diffidently are not a victim, where your at in your belief, leads me to conclude that you are ready to face the disciplinary council and shine your light of self interest on the process claiming the church is the perpetrator. The size of your Tent has been shrinking for many years now, with you at the center. Although I grant you have every right to continue on this path and I have listened to nearly every podcast and watch your transformation from someone early on wanted to help others in a positive transition, into who I believe would prefer the church turn into an organization would comply with your own ideology otherwise implode. I will continue to listen as I find this all very interesting.

    You will continue to be a success in your efforts and so will the Church giving you lots of material.

    1. I’ve thought more about my specific comment that you quoted here and I don’t think it was fair. Plain and simple I am just sad Mormon Stories is becoming something that excludes me. That’s a natural feeling to have when you care about something. My problems with the church never originated from Mormon Stories and im thankful for the landing place John gave me while it lasted. He didn’t have to do that for anyone. He’s being honest with how he used Mormon Stories money and being honest about what he’s doing in the future. I admire him for that even if it’s not what I wanted. It’s his podcast. He’s allowed to do what he wants with it. I agree with you that he doesn’t represent every questioner, just like Kate Kelly didn’t represent every Mormon feminist. But, it’s his life. Good Mormons believe in agency, don’t we?

      1. Smaller in Ideology. The very thing he criticizes the church for doing. To be clear this does not concern me, just a change from his past message. Both John and the church will thrive, there always will be those agree with both sides, the church has the decided advantage. In my thinking the changes in the church will heal a lot more people than ideology of disagreement and anxiety, over what is really all about faith and inclusion, which John is not as inclusive as he believes he is. The church at it’s core will find away to be more and more inclusive but may never fit everyone’s needs. This is a good healthy discussion as I personally like clarity over agreement.

        1. Zack,

          I disagree. John is more inclusive than the mormon church in my opinion.

          Please don’t forget that more people have left the mormon church than have joined and stayed. The mormon church has been unable to meet the majority of it’s members needs. That group – the group that departed mormonism needs a big tent and a wide-open Ideology, which John participates in providing.

          In addition to the majority that left mormonism, imagine the size of the crowd that wants to transition out of the mormon church, but needs help getting out the door.

          1. I agree that John is far more inclusive then the Mormon Church which insists on blind obedience. While John encourages people to finally think, question & prove everyone & everything for themselves before believing in it, as Christ taught.

            I also believe the Church is losing far more members now then it’s gaining and will continue to lose most members at an ever increasing rate, for the truth of it’s history and the vile deeds of it’s leaders, past and present, are finally being told.

            And most members when they finally learn the truth quickly realize they’ve been had & taken advantage of by conspiring men.

            Only when the Church finally changes & accepts women’s full equality in Priesthood power & all leadership levels (as Christ taught), and when the Church finally caves and accepts SSM and also Polygamy again, as soon as those are legal nationally, (as I believe the Church will, sooner then later), will the Church again start to gain more members.

            For right or wrong, those are the things society & most all people will want accepted in the coming years and will want the Churches they attend to embrace.

  14. John, thanks for this. Could you see about getting Denver Snuffer back on? As I listened to your description of things the LDS Church might do to be a more healthy church, I couldn’t help but wonder how this relates to the groups that Denver is encouraging.

  15. Great Job John!!! You are truly a Superstar (Mormon, ExMormon, whatever)!

    As a spiritualist, I definitely believe coming here to go through my Mormon experience then find the truth and transition was planned. To experience the social, emotional, family, etc. etc. problems and issues.

    Do you believe you had any divine help (guidance, etc.) for you to accomplish what you have? Or did it just happen based on you, friends, etc.??

  16. So beautifully said, John. I wish I had your eloquence and way with words. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. To have such a form like this for Mormon Stories to exist brings so many out of isolation and gives a voice to those of us who struggle to find acceptance within the Mormon community. Good luck with finishing your Ph.D., and thank you again for all all the amazing work and wonderful podcasts!!!

  17. Pingback: "Go Home", Feeling Like Nothing, and Prophecy - Nearing Kolob Nearing Kolob

  18. Well, this is basically an ultimatum from John to his Stake President asking for immediate excommunication.

    You seem to have moved on completely from membership in the LDS Church and are basically declaring bald-opposition to the Church structure and intent to proselyte others aggressively to your point of view. The gauntlet is down, and I see no sign of desire for reconciliation. You’re setting up the narrative for stage two of your public campaign – a public excommunication to increase your “street cred” among your new set of followers.

    I’ve supported you in the past, advocated for “big tent Mormonism”, and asked for a gentle approach to people with whom my opinion mattered.

    However, enough is enough. You are declaring nothing more or less than your intent to follow in the steps of Alma the Younger and spiritually murder God’s children.

    I part ways with you here. I’d wish you well if your intentions were not so destructive.

    1. John thanks for letting people like Seth to have a voice in the comments as I posted yesterday and was concerned the would be censored, to your credit you didn’t. I am hoping you take a step back and re-examine your aggressive stance you are now taken. I understand transition, but I do not understand why you are now doing what you did not like about the church’s stance. I say with your talent you would better of healing the dis enfranchised rather fighting an organization that you no longer believe in.

    2. Spiritually murder God’s children? That seems a bit dramatic. It also brings up something that I’ve pondered for some time but never received an acceptable answer for. The church has made clear, with the Kate Kelly episode and others, that it is fine to quietly stew in your own disbelief. It is not, however, okay to share your views and perhaps lead others toward apostasy. So, my question: When did faith and testimony become so fragile? Why do members need GAs to protect them from the wolves among the flock? Why, in a church defined by verifiable truth, are members regularly told to never read anything that goes against the overarching narrative? It seems as though the entire membership has been infantilized.

    3. I just watched the video, mostly out of curiosity related to your (@Seth) statement re: spiritually murdering God’s children – I’d love to discuss that more Seth – how do you see this as intent to spiritual murder God’s children?

      Also, while I agree the “gauntlet is down,” the SP *did* swing first with a list of impossible requirements (e.g., only interview faithful members… don’t talk publicly ha! Basically he was saying “we will ex you” because I’m sure he knew the requirements were not going to be met).

    4. “So let it be written, so let it be done.” With apologies to Cecil B. Demille.

      But you are way out of line on the “spiritually murder” proclamation. Nothing John has done or can do does that. But the personal conduct of Joseph Smith with his well documented deceptions might well do that for those who are not so blind or biased that they wilfully ignore facts. John is not even the messenger. He is just a very effective radio antenna who lets those who know and have views speak. And that is what you really object to. Free speech.

  19. I’ve been reading all the comments. I think it’s interesting that so many of you support John as long as he represents your own personal philosophies or follows a path you feel is acceptable. I have friends who feel that eating meat and using animal products is immoral. I have friends who xeriscape and limit water use at their own homes and invest in solar panels based on their beliefs on climate change and environmental stewardship. I respect my friends’ decisions to act according to their own moral and ethical standards. I don’t feel the need to lecture them and end friendships just because their opinions differ than from my own.

    1. Not sure your analogies are relevant. This site is about personal philosophy, belief and chosen path, not making new friends. I have no longstanding personal relationship with anyone here that would be compel me to overlook our differences.

  20. A fascinating episode if there ever was, John. You never cease to amaze me as an example of a bold but nuanced soul. As the Church™ continues to define is place in the world as a corporation attempting to function as a church, your voice will continue to useful, even vital to many. Your new direction should bring you many friends. At this point I’ve chosen to stay in the system but it is with eyes open and awareness raised, thanks in part to you. Do persist in your efforts to ease human suffering. That the suffering sometimes originates with the religion of our pioneer progenitors is surely one of our great ironies and evidence that we’ve yet to bring Zion.

    When they come for you, and they will, do share with us whatever seems appropriate.

  21. John,

    I can’t imagine anything feels better than knowing you’ve helped your immediate family transition out of the mormon church. I think you’re going to provide some much needed help to many other families in their transition out of the mormon church.

    Congratulations on your personal success. I’m excited to see what you and the people working with you can do now that you are about to apply your energy to your efforts full-time.

  22. It would be nice to see the LDS Church modernize. Also, I’d rather see the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” and leave “Mormonism”, BOM, BOA, and Joseph Smith and Brigham Young to the past. And add a cross to the Church.

    1. Regarding JR’s comment of Dec 29, actually I’d prefer a rather different focus. Perhaps you might find the Community of Christ can fulfil that role for you (i’m quite a John Hamer fan). What I want to see is a Progressive Mormonism celebrating the ‘best’ of Mormonism (this will necessarily differ for individuals) that hopefully will appeal to liberal Mormons, PostMormons, atheist/agnostic mormons etc. who might like to get together sometimes formally, to sing certain hymns, be singularly unafraid to critically evaluate Mormon tradition in a ‘Sunday School’ setting (suits not required), celebrate the ‘positive’ within the tradition and culture (again, this definition will differ for individuals), in short ,create a Mormonism for the 21st century. In other words, we can be as critical of JS as we need to be, but also acknowledge that he
      just might have had some good points, too. Time constraints prohibit me from a greater explanation (its 1.35am here in Melbourne Australia), but I see no need for a Cross emphasising as it does for me, a mythological salvationist view, but then I was originally from a Progressive Jewish background before joining the Church 40 years ago. Now agnostic/atheist, I happen to believe Progressive Judaism has something to offer. I believe Progressive Mormonism very probably does too. Waiting for the LDS Church to change substantially is like Waiting for Godot.

      1. @Jonathan, thank you for the suggestion. We are in Central Utah, and the closest congregation is roughly thirty miles away. Maybe one day we’ll visit them.

        I would like to add that your other points are spot on, including the Cross aspect of it, with the exception that I prefer it.

  23. Hi John,

    I, for one, am really excited about the vision for Mormon Stories presented here. I’m especially interested in the increased emphasis on providing community and resources for Mormons “transitioning away from orthodoxy.” I’m hopeful that there will be more conferences and workshops–in the past I wasn’t ready for that kind of a thing, but now I think it would be so helpful. Also, I’m glad that you see the need for more resources for mixed-faith couples. My husband is mostly TBM, and it would be great to have some events and/or groups we could both attend comfortably.

    I’m interested in becoming a monthly donor to support these goals, but I’m still a little hesitant. Is there a chance you could offer a $5/month subscription? I would feel more comfortable with that amount, at least for now. Also, what is the process for canceling a subscription if it becomes necessary in the future? Thanks.

  24. Thanks, John, for podcasts that have uplifted me. As you finish your PhD and enter private practice in clinical counseling, I hope you will not be deterred by critics who see you as profiting financially off of people going through faith-crises. It really is unfair for people to suggest that these podcasts help you drum up business. Don’t listen to these people, continue doing good works, and let the chips fall where they may.

    1. GR,

      I disagree that that is John’s intent. I believe his desires are for good.

      But what you say could definitely be said about the top leaders of the Church, who profit financially off those who have faith crisis’s and who they draw into the Church, only to expect them to totally support those leaders.

      Nevermind that Christ said to give ‘all’ our excess money to ‘the poor’, not to church leaders to use to build their big and spacious buildings & businesses with, while they live high on the hog off the widows mite.

  25. My feelings are similar to Seth R above. Since you don’t believe the BOM to be an “authentic” translation, then nothing else really matters as Joseph Smith, by his own testimony and that of the “three witnesses,” and the “eight witnesses,” makes them all guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud. The Old Testament is filled with “truths” that we no longer adhere to in our day. Does that make the Bible a fable as well? Why did God create more than one race if race has no meaning? Why doesn’t the Bible mention our Heavenly Mother by name (unless of course there is more than one?)? Why was the Priesthood only to be held by a single familial line from the days of Moses to Christ? If polygamy is so “out there,” why were the 12 Tribes of Israel descended from 4 different women? Prophets have been enfeebled during the final years of Benson, Kimball, and Hunter, why should TSM be any different? Since the world’s largest religious traditions, Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam all REJECT any notion of SSM, why on Earth would you expect the LDS Church to not reject it as well? Your opinions of “right and wrong” are as discordant with Catholic theology as with any Mormon teaching. Too bad your “education” has only brought you to 2 Ne. 9:28

    1. @SBcougar, there is only one race, the human race. Please research the subject to gain a better understanding. There’s a good documentary that discusses the changes we underwent over the years.

  26. John,

    Thanks for sharing this podcast of your beliefs with us. It is so good to hear a person’s real story without all the faith promoting filtered language. I do have one question, however, and that is in Feb 2014 you asked not to be contacted by the church and when the letter arrived in June you were upset that Pres. King hadn’t contacted you before sending the letter. I just feel like Pres. King was doing his job the best he could given the circumstances. I of course don’t know all the details of the interactions I just was curious about how it comes across in the podcast. Now know that I appreciate all the work you do and I will continue to support this cause. Just wanted to point out what I and others noted after listening to the podcast that may need a clarification. Thanks for putting these podcasts out!

    1. SRA – Fair question. And I’ll admit that my reactions are often raw and emotional and not always consistent or fair. But in my mind, telling Brian Hunt (my bishop) not to contact me after he had offended me/us did not apply to the stake president. I guess in my mind I held out hope that President Bryan King would be decent and loving like my former stake president (Mark Jensen). So in my mind, the door was always open to meeting with President King out of hopes of some type of reconciliation. That’s how I thought/felt, anyway.

  27. Haven’t gone to the Mormon Church for about 10 years but I still feel lost in many ways so I do enjoy this website and others. I still have lots to learn I guess.

    RonB

  28. Thank you for your spirit of “FULL DISCLOSURE”. You did not mention tithing or Church obligations. Did any of my donation last July go to the church. My wife was just wondering.
    Thanks for all that you have done.
    David W. Larson

  29. So the other shoe drops.

    John you are right.
    For full disclosure, it is Mormon Myopia.
    Mormons are so reflexively inward thinking,
    they forget they are being watched, watched from both above and below their spiritual rameumptom.

    If mormons can’t swim in the briny bathtub of ideas –– well what’s the point.
    You have offered a course for liberalization and renewal, as it is rebuffed you have no choice but to move into territory uncharted.
    I expect your voyage to be quite the adventure and I wish you the very best. Your have given me hope for a progressive attitude toward our planet and its creatures –– it’s the only one we have. The hereafter remains conjecture no matter what paradigm one fosters.
    We gentiles/natural men thank you for your tireless work to understand humanity.

    http://www.scari.org/anonymous_magazine.html

  30. John Dehlin,
    I know it might be odd, but I am a believer and I still like what you are doing. I have known about the mismatch between the Egyptian papyri and the Book of Abraham for nearly 20 years. I think we will be better off if we are open and honest about each aspect of church history. The church should be about learning and living by the truth without fearing the consequences. I don’t agree with many things you say, but I think it is good that you express your opinions. I hope the church does not take away your official membership.
    I have had the pleasure of being around the most wonderful and light-bearing people which seem to be found in the church with abundance. There are plenty of real downers in the church too. The church has a lot of room for improvement. As members, we can step up our critical thinking. We can seek for knowledge and understanding through answers to our own prayers. We must recognize that our leaders are expressing their opinions from the pulpit. We will be better off thinking for ourselves and not blindly following.
    We will be better off if we treat non-members and former members with kindness and respect. Someone should be able to leave or stay in the church with their dignity intact. The system of excommunication we have today is not the same system described in the D&C. In my opinion, we should just discontinue the practice all-together.
    You mentioned there is no scientific evidence of the Book of Mormon. Have you listened to Rod Meldrum speak? He reports on DNA and physical evidence. I was very impressed with the information he presented. I think it would be very interesting to have him on your podcast.
    I don’t think the Book of Mormon will ever be definitively proven but I also think there is more supporting evidence than is widely known. In the end, it will still come down to having faith or not.
    Whether a person is in the church or not, it is useful to have a personal system of faith that leads to comfort and happiness in this life. May we all have the faith we need.
    -Fun

      1. Paul,

        I think it would be fun to hear what Rod has to say when faced with questions about his work. (In a repectful way, of course.) I have attended about three lectures by Rod over the last five years. He seemed to be credible and interesting to me. However, I am not a DNA expert and I was not in a critical mindset either. I would love to hear him again on the Mormon Stories Podcast or in the other settings where he normally teaches. I am openminded. I hope he is reporting the truth for his sake and for ours. If he is not reporting the truth, that would be good to know too. I would be happy either way as long as I feel like I am arriving at the truth.

  31. I’m also interested in Rod Meldrum’s work, Fun. I’m sure it was something of a coup, John, when you arranged an interview with John Sorenson, leading proponent of the Book of Mormon as a MesoAmerica-based story, but as you’ve experienced for yourself, Sorenson’s opinions leave the story wildly unsupported and implausible. It’s no wonder that you and thousands of intelligent, searching folks reject the historicity of the Book of Mormon. Sorenson could write another dozen volumes of his magnum opus, Mormon’s Codex, and still not find the logical and linquistic alchemy to conjure BoM historicity out of the jungles and pyramids of Central America.

    Meldrum’s multi-faceted research for the Book of Mormon story taking place among the Adena and Hopewell peoples of the Ohio River Valley of the United States, on the other hand, yields several dozen compelling points of support for Joseph Smith’s description of the Book of Mormon taking place right here in the United States. As a result, BoM historicity is not an issue for me but rather a delight. There is plenty of evidence that the Church™ is a collective of mortals engaged in the cause of God. In my view, BoM historicity, however, is not part of that damning evidence.

    It’s ironic that you’re increasingly turning away from the Church™ while clutching to Dr. Sorenson’s tenuous and tedious case for BoM historicity in MesoAmerica. While it’s probably no longer in line with your new vision for Mormon Stories, just for your own intellectual curiosity, consider interviewing Rod Meldrum.

  32. John, please stop saying, “eccetra!” “Literally eviscerate:” probably not literally (I hope not!). When talking about President King, you use a lot of “missionary uptalk.” Just nitpicking, but love the podcasts.

  33. John – I’m sorry to say that I’m unsubscribing, in part because of recent podcasts but mainly because it doesn’t feel that you leave much of a place for believers because, as you say, “there is no scientific merit.” My sister who was visiting from out of state had interestingly come to the same conclusion. It’s too bad for someone so tolerant of LGBTs and others, you can’t make a place to understand the possibility of truth in the book of Mormon or at least some respect for believers in it (your words were very condescending and arrogant). There are many, many I would hold as more intellectually gifted and scientifically trained that hold the book of Mormon as revealed by the gift and power of God (e.g. Richard Bushman, Terryl Givens, Fiona Givens, and many others). As of yet, I have seen no compelling evidence of actual fraud and nothing that I have heard on any of your podcasts that rises to the level of compelling evidence that the book of Mormon is a fiction (we can agree to disagree, but I’m far from alone in that regard with many that have seen and read all of what you have read and feel differently than you). I’m just sorry you can’t have some respect and be more open-minded about the possibility that you don’t know everything. I can respect your position, and I can certainly understand why you don’t believe. I don’t talk about you as if you are intellectually or spiritually bankrupt for disbelieving. I fully understand and have empathy for how you came to what your disbelief.

    1. John – I think I understand how you feel. I used to feel the same way for many years. Maybe 10-15 years?

      For the record, I still believe that wisdom and inspiration can be found in the Book of Mormon. But I believe that historically and scientifically, the Books of Mormon and Abraham have literally zero merit. I believe that anyone in the world with an objective mind will arrive at the same conclusion. Pick 100 neutral, respected scientists, I believe that you will receive perfect unanimity on this front. And I believe that this matters. A lot. As you probably know, the LDS church has now publicly admitted that the scrolls from which the Book of Abraham were taken do not even mention Abraham’s name…anywhere. The Book of Mormon was produced by the same person, with similar methods. Perhaps it is inspired of God in some way…but it is not a translation of an ancient record. DNA, archaeological, linguistic, and pretty much every other type of evidence confirms this conclusion.

      See http://cesletter.com and http://mormonthink.com for why I think/feel this way, along with Grant Palmer’s “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins” and Simon Southerton’s “Losing a Lost Tribe.”

      To me, evidence really matters. And to me, the Books of Abraham and Mormon are irredeemable from a scientific and historical perspective. I understand if we are not in agreement here, and I wish you well.

      1. John – I’ve seen CESletter.com. The Book of Mormon has not been scientifically disproven, regardless of what you think and your foundation is weak (but good luck, I wish you well). There is evidence on both sides but it must be seen spiritually as well. Of course 100 scientists would not believe it. 100 scientists would also find no evidence of the existence of God, the Priesthood, Christ as the son of God, resurrection, turning water to wine, walking on water, and many other areas of faith. I hope you find a way back to some level of faith in something. I’m glad you believe in love, charity, kindness and family, which matters most.

        1. John – You are simply wrong. Many, many scientists believe in God. And the evidence of an historical Book of Mormon is literally nonexistent (outside of apologetic Mormonism). I’m fine simply disagreeing with you here, but if you have credible responses to the CES Letter, I hope you will share them with Jeremy Runnells. Best of luck to you.

          1. “Many, many scientists believe in God.”

            Yes, they do. But do they have evidence? No. So if many, many scientists have faith in something they cannot prove (God), could we also say that while 100 scientists may admit there is no tangible merit to the BOM (as you say), it doesn’t mean that they (or we) can’t believe in it?

            As an educational psychologist myself, all evidence either way aside, I cannot read the BOM and with a straight face state that a 14-year-old (or however old he was at the time) with an 8th grade (is this correct?) education could have written it on his own. I would think that anyone else with my background would be lying if they said they disagreed.

            Also, if you do not really believe in the priesthood, why do you support Ordain Women? Because if the priesthood is not real, why does it matter who holds it? If the answer is “Because it will make women feel equal,” I will have to tell you to please give us more credit than that. If it truly is not real, advocating for it is only patronizing and condescending. “Give Sally a gold star so she can feel special, too!” We’re not children and we’re not stupid. I don’t think you think we are, so I can only conclude that to some degree, you still believe in the gospel as it is taught by the LDS church…

            Or do you just believe in the culture of the church? If so, that is the first I have heard of this. Most people I know say, “I believe in the gospel but I cannot stand the people and the culture and how doctrine is mixed with leaders’ opinions, etc.”

            So confusing, isn’t it!?

            I’m not trying to sway anyone’s beliefs in any direction, I’m just trying to keep minds open. I know mine is.

        2. For the faithful, the burden of proof is on those who leave to disprove the truthfulness of the BoM, which is an impossible task. Putting the spiritual aside, which is a separate realm, how do you disprove something for which there is no tangible evidence? I think both believer and apostate can agree that the church makes “extraordinary claims.” So why is the burden not on the church to provide, as Carl Sagan said, “extraordinary evidence”? I’d settle for perfectly ordinary evidence, to be honest.

          This is the challenge the Mormon church may never overcome to the satisfaction of many who leave. As long as the church says the BofM is history and not simply allegory, there will be those who want evidence.

          To your closing comment, if John believes in love, charity, kindness and family, and those things matter most, why is there a need to believe in supernatural events?

          1. Last I checked, Christ said to ‘prove all things’ especially people, prophets & their precepts, ‘before’ believing, trusting or listening to them. And Christ didn’t say ‘pray about it for proof’, he said to prove by easily seen ‘facts & fruit’ by compare people & precepts to what he taught.

            Thus the burden is on ‘members & leaders’ of the Church to show their ‘proof’ that the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and everything else in the Church is true and in harmony with Christ, before God would want or expect anyone to listen to a word they say.

            People leave because they take Christ’s teachings seriously, and haven’t found any proof that the LDS Church or it’s scriptures are true and because they have found that the Church is actually proves to be ‘contrary’ to Christ.

        3. John, you make a specious argument. The Book of Mormon is quite falsifiable in the claims it makes about the natural world. Nobody will argue the spiritual side. We’re not interested on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. What we’re interested in is if the Book of Mormon is an actual history of an actual people who actually existed and populated the American continent. This DOES matter, as it is what Joseph Smith taught, and what he claimed. On this claim John, the Book of Mormon being an actual history of an actual people who existed on this continent, the BoM is 99.99% falsifiable. Now if you want to make an argument that there are important spiritual concepts, I will not argue (I will say though that there is nothing original in even the spiritual themes). However I must insist that you quit claiming things that are just not true. It is dishonest to make an argument “The BoM has not been scientifically disproven”. There is no credibility outside of Mormondom to even start such a study, besides, there is much evidence for the current theory. It’s only interested Mormons that head down to Meso America with their metal detectors in tow that are interested in such tall tales. If you want to hang your hat on the paltry excuses of what “Mormon experts” call evidence, well then go for it, but I’m afraid you’ll have to pay a price socially, and that is how people who really understand this subject will view your integrity of closing your eyes in the name of faith, rather then opening your eyes for the understanding the truth.

    1. John – I invite you to find me any credible non-LDS scientists who support your view. As I said. I can find you thousands of non-LDS scientists who believe in God or Jesus. I can find you many scientists (even atheists) who can accept at least some historical basis for the Bible. I invite you to find me one credible non-LDS scientists who finds any historical evidence for an historical Book of Mormon or Book of Abraham. Again…I am eager for your reply.

      1. @Andrew, it appears to me that you want to believe regardless of any evidence, which is your choice.

        What about those that are not part of the LDS thinking? Are they doomed then?

        1. JR if there was compelling evidence against I would entertain it, but I’ve reviewed it all and just as many reasons or more to believe based upon what the evidence can and can’t show.

          As far as your question about those outside LDS being doomed, I would say of course not everyone will have an opportunity to hear and accept the Restored Gospel.

          I am not the all knowing God of creation, so I’m not going to speculate on anyone’s ultimate fate.

          But one must be a member of God’s Kingdom in order to qualify for their eternal inheritance.

          Membership alone in the Kingdom does not however guarantee the reception of that inheritance.

          But as I said there is either enough light or enough darkness to support the path the individual decides to take.

          1. @ Andrew. “As far as your question about those outside LDS being doomed, I would say of course not everyone will have an opportunity to hear and accept the Restored Gospel.”
            I am an active member as well but not even I drink as much of the cool aid as you Andrew. =)

          2. When you use “God”, I’m not sure you realize just how slippery that concept is. You use it in your experience of your religious upbringing, but what does that word mean, in a universal context? Is it the monotheistic Abrahamic God of the Jews/Muslim/Christians? Or is it the many other Gods that have come and gone? When you say membership in God’s kingdom, what does that even mean? What the bible says? Book of Mormon? And other than you saying it, or ancient texts saying it, or a group of humans that adhere to such beliefs, why is it just assumed true, why is it important? You are just making naked assertions that mean something to you, but not to many. Yet you act like I should be governed by your claims. If I were to turn around and say that there is no God and you’re wasting your time, of course I know how you’d feel and what you might say. But your words are just as hollow to me. If you could point to something special about your claims. Something that has given to humanity that nothing else could, I might be more inclined, but let’s look at the church you’re presenting.

            You speak of a Kingdom. You know what I see? I see just another religion started in the same part of America at the same time many religions were started due to a religious fervor in that area at that time, in that area. I see a religion started by a charismatic leader, like many other religions of that time, in that area that like many charismatic leaders seemed to revel in power, even giving himself, like many charismatic leaders past and present, sexual license and power over his adherents. I see a religion, like many religions, whose doctrine evolved throughout the early years, only solidifying when mellowed and socially acceptable. I see a religion, like many religions past and present that is responsible for horrific atrocities, like the murder of 120 men women and children, whose untold stories after the murders of the dishonesty and immoral keeping of the children afterwards is almost as horrific. I see a religion changing its doctrines along with but usually behind socially developed sensibilities, coming late to the party, if showing up at all. This is what I see. What’s special about your claims, other than in your mind it is YOU making them?

            The only thing I would ask from believers is the modesty to at least start one’s claims with “I believe….one must be a member of God’s Kingdom in order to qualify for their eternal inheritance”. At least to us outsiders, the concept of humility as taught by Christ would be one thing we could see Christians trying to emulate.

          3. Mr. Patterson I do not appriciate your heavy hand at censorship

            Rude Dog, I feel your pain but you will understand, after the suspension of disbelief, it will all be sorted out in the end. Liberty Through Obedience is ,by nature, a blunt instrument for the seeking of truth.

            John believes something can be wrought from having believed. A believer deceived. A Mormon Reformation is possible but unlikely.
            Starting with baby steps, “I believe I know The Church is True,” a testimony that opens up room for dialogue might be a beginning.
            If Mormons are smart they’d take the lead from the Reformed Jew, after all Mormons believe they are evolved from the Proto-Jew –– now incarnate.
            Wishing (praying) for truth is not the same as searching for honesty — a-another kind of jesus comes to pass.
            As it is today we’re still looking for evidence of the supernatural which puts the Mormons on the back foot seeking for a sign.
            It would be helpful if Mormons would embrace common sense, the wisdom of crowds and denial of ignorance.
            Reformed Mormons could become Reformed Jews and we could try and fix Palestine.
            For the sake of Nephi all roads lead to Jerusalem.
            Whether it be the Torah, King James Version or The Mormon Bible the magic is somehow gone. The shards of doctrine cobbled from fragments leaves all religion in tatters –– to kludge together another forlorn hope for the glory, just the glory, that’s all.
            Remember it’s faith in governance informed, but it’s not a very spiritual enterprise.

          4. What?!!

            I come home from a long day. The last thing honestly I want to do is sift through your esoteria, which when I do sift through, still makes no sense other than a narcissistic need. If you have a thought, articulate it other than the neo-classical prose that like the Givens’, enumerates in words extended, but idea is short in articulation. “For the sake of Nephi all roads lead to Jeruselam”? What the hell does this even mean? I get your angst and eagerness to be unique. Make your uniqueness in your argument, that is at this point to me so etherical as to make even the most skeptical wonder stare. Come to the conversation. Talk to me like I’m a third grader. Trust me, I’ll relate.

          5. Rockwell, Blackwell, Pinkwell, well you know who I mean, the Destroying Angel of apostates, The Ms. Calibash — Dirty Harry of Mormonism
            Porter Rockwell — He’s, in liturgical terms considered, The Cardinal of Reclamation and dead letters.

          6. Magister Rude Dog
            Note: this was posted after: December 31, 2014 at 7:20 pm
            So, we are dealing with old news.
            Note: the complaint at the top if my post.

            Sir: My only compliant was to draw attention to Nephi and his stupidity for not turning back to save Israel; his ancestors would minister over the dark skinned people in his homeland, but alas it waseth the lightest and most delightsome tribes from fairer lands, and it came to pass, The Romans, who keepeth of the real keys scattered the chosen people over the earth. Nephi Oh Nephi. You could have been a legend among The Jews. Not some baffled immigrants that landed light-footed on NEWEARTH with the expectation of magic. Exceptionalism was expected among millennialists. Philo-Semitic Mormons could review their reality.

            This is a time of crisis for Mormons, of whatever attachment, this that and the other.
            The shiny black boots shined by Porter Rockwell are called to account.
            The King of the Earth is the Mormon Music Man.
            So think and look at the video, it might be illumate the real.
            Discuss what humans can do to for understanding the real priorities of our planet, not only Mormon Myopia.

            I could say more, the passions are great, understanding is difficult but, the need is real.
            Please review the video above.

            Mormon Judeophilia could give the keys back to the Jews.
            peace makers unite in the new year

          7. Mr Patterson this was already posted but does not appear, is this censorship?

            This is a time of crisis for Mormons, of whatever attachment, this that and the other.
            The shiny black boots shined by Porter Rockwell are called to account.
            The King of the Earth is the Mormon Music Man.
            So think and look at the video, it might be illumate the real.
            Discuss what humans can do to for understanding the real priorities of our planet, not only Mormon Myopia.

            I could say more, the passions are great, understanding is difficult but, the need is real.
            Please review the video above.

            Mormon Judeophilia could give the keys back to the Jews.
            peace makers unite in the new year

      2. John:
        I’m scratching my head wondering how science is purely relevant here. Why are you picking and choosing your science? I’m also speaking to any LDS person on this feed who is doing the same thing.
        What do I mean?
        If you’re a Theist: what credible scientist ever had proof of God?
        If Christian: how does knowing some biblical geography make the Bible more credible when it already makes outlandish claims that Jesus is the Christ, the literal Son of God, and is resurrected?
        If Athiest: what proof do you have there is no God?
        If Agnostic: you already believe it can’t be known, so why take a position either way?
        John: what do you affirmatively believe in? Would you be open to me interviewing you on this? I’m serious.
        It’s easy to take a critical position, especially against Mormonism. I get it. But it feels like you pick and choose from each position above… and I find it confusing (Mormons, others… just as guilty too). Are you Theist, Christian, Atheist, or Agnostic? Why Palmer, not Givens?
        Jacques Barzun (who recently passed away a few years ago) termed science “a faith as fanatical as any in history.” You may have run into him as part of your phd studies.
        Others… like Popper, Kuhn, Feyerabend, Aronowitz, Jensen… illustrate the limits/issues with science as a philosophy/methodology. One goes as far as to illustrate how science is just as guilty as fundamental Christianity in using prejudiced tactics to settle quarrels concerning its own legitimacy. You get it… because you’ve gone as far as to distinguish between scientists who are LDS/Not LDS. You are compensating for prejudice… right? And you should! But… How do you know you’re on the right side of prejudice? Or are you free of it?
        And please don’t answer that question by restating your positions on current social issues. I get it. But using racism as an example… you may as well argue we as Americans should abandon the US Constitution because of the racist comments/statements made by Abraham Lincoln, or American Founders, some who owned slaves.
        Besides, if the Book of Mormon is to be believed… does it not say, “Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been”?
        I would love to interview you. Picking and choosing…. we all do it… myself included. Just wondering if you see that in yourself.

  34. While I have spent countless hours listening to your podcast, I’ve got to confess that I’m unable to call myself a listener any longer. I have particularly enjoyed your interviews with individuals who are on the more faithful end of the spectrum, but your growing contempt for those who are believers is becoming so palpable that I am afraid that it is ruining even those interactions. On the one hand you claim to love and support those who choose to remain faithful in the church, but on the other you insult the intelligence of those that disagree with you on the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham. To the contrary of your statements, the historicity of those books is not so clear cut as you proclaim, and you make yourself appear very closed-minded when you make such dogmatic statements about these things.

    1. John – I have zero contempt for believers. I am, however, done supporting the racist (see Book of Mormon’s teachings about Lamanites being “Dark and Loathsome”), sexist (see D&C 132) and homophobic (see Proclamation on the Family) teachings and policies of the church. The Books of Mormon and Abraham have literally zero credible scientific support as translations of ancient records, and this matters. I still support people remaining LDS for spiritual, social, or familial reasons. But I believe that it is important that we follow science when it gives us compelling data.

      Again – I invite you to find me one…..ONE!….credible non-LDS scholar who takes either the Book of Abraham or Book of Mormon seriously from an historical or scientific perspective. Until you can…the burden of proof is on you, not me.

      I sincerely wish you well, and am sorry that my frankness offends or disappoints.

      1. John,
        Do you also denounce the racist, sexist and homophobic teachings in the Bible? Also, with a complete lack of scientific evidence for the atonement of Jesus Christ why don’t we hear more from you about how phony those teachings are? I wonder why you focus so much of your material on Joseph Smith and the BOM when you could be voicing your non-belief in the Bible and Jesus Christ. After all, the Bible and Jesus Christ are also central beliefs of the Mormon church. I’ve yet to see an entire podcast dedicated to the lack of evidence for the atonement of Jesus Christ. Maybe you can do that one next?

      2. Thanks for your reply. I’m not offended, but I am disappointed. I would disagree that I have the burden of proof, I’m not trying to convince you of anything. I’m just pointing out that I believe you are being unnecessarily antagonistic. I seems to play well with a majority of your audience based on many of the comments here, just not so well with many of us who remain faithful but have historically found your work interesting. Too bad.

        1. John,

          I believe that members & leaders of the Church do have the burden of proof to show why anyone should listen to them or believe they have the truth.

          Christ taught us to ‘prove all things and persons’ before believing in them & prove them by facts not feelilngs. If you have followed Christ as you say you do, you would have proof to show others that the Church and it’s scriptures & prophets are true.

          I on the other hand, even though I was raised in the Church and used to feel as you do, have finally studied Christ’s teachings on my own and not let others put words in his mouth, and I have found that the LDS Church proves to be anti Christ and Joseph Smith and especially the leaders who followed him have all preached and practiced so contrary to Christ that I would never think they ever truly believed in him but were in fact all false prophets trying to lead the people astray, which they have and which isn’t hard because most people are like sheep and would rather just believe & follow cause it’s much easier, then study and prove things on their own.

          And we have tons of proof that the Book of Mormon & D&C are false scriptures and not of God or Christ because they teach contrary to Christ in so many ways. Christ said that is how you tell if someone or something is false by if it teaches contrary to what he taught.

          So based on that I do not believe any true believer in Christ would believe in the Book of Mormon. I agree that it does teach many true things but that is always how false prophets work, they always pad their falsehoods amid much truth. They always wear sheep skin and look and sound like true prophets, and most people fall for them, unless they use Christ’s teachings to detect them.

      3. John, I have struggled with all the questions asked about the topics raised on Mormon Stories, for years. Before I served my mission I relentlessly put the test in the book of Moroni to task. I received a spiritual experience and claimed it as the confirmation of the Holy Ghost for years. It sustained me in the face of many disenchanting experiences on that mission from day one… Even more remarkable is the realization lately I can now see so many instances of lack of discernment on Joseph Smith Jr’s part and all the church leaders since the beginning and currently. The Mountain Meadows Massacre is a striking example of this lack of discernment, calling William Law and others to the First Presidency in the early years…

        I do see the reason I was spiritually pushed to serve that mission and then begin a search for the truth beyond the Mormon religion… All religions need to be historically validated and understood, seeking the authentic truth of eternity was precisely the message the of Nazarene.

        I believe you’re obligated to include this search for Authentic Truth to the discussions on Mormon Stories. The truth beyond religions, the truth beyond Mormonism and all the spiritual trains of thought humanity has invented.

        In other words if you’re going to declare as you have in this episode, the moral obligation is opened up to take everyone to the next level. Or point them the direction of the Authentic man from Galilee, who taught the truth is within each us.

        1. I agree Ray.

          It seems that most people who leave the Church and feel burned by religion, reject Christ too. They throw the baby out with the bathwater, when Christ had nothing to do with why people get burned by false religions & false prophets.

          I see Christ as the perfect middle ground, between false religions and believing in no God at all, for both extremes almost always lead to similar problems & the destruction of people, families & society.

          I believe Christ’s teachings & his high law of love & the Golden Rule are the only way to achieve lasting love, equality, peace, happiness & liberty in this world.

          It’s just that it seems no church on earth has ever really taught his real Gospel, (especially not the LDS Church) for it’s too hard, very few are willing to live it and it doesn’t allow for church leaders to collect money and be paid & supported by members or to even build chapels or temples. For Christ said all our excess money should go directly to the poor, not to middle men, who almost always use it on themselves and to grow their church & empire.

          So who’s going to start such a humble church for free, that meets in homes, that so few would want to be a part of? But that really teaches Christ’s pure teachings, exactly from the 4 Gospels?

          1. Lilli,

            Keep pushing that envelope open… The truth is beyond the canonical claimed 4 gospels of Constantine’s religious unity agenda! These observations of ego based religious fever, identified in the Mormon Corporation, are as prevalent in every other form or creed invented by men or women with the ego as master… The Nazarene wanted nothing to do with creating another layer of enslavement!

          2. Thanks Ray. If you have any hints on where to look for more information it’s always appreciated. I have just started looking into how the New Testament came to be and I realize that probably much of Christ’s supposed teachings were altered by various authors and scribes down through the centuries.

            On the other hand I believe many of his supposed teachings are true and it’s amazing that so many made it through all the translations and compilations as well as they did.

            God must really want to test us and see how we will live based on ‘what is in our hearts’ and how well we can ‘sense right from wrong ourselves’, without any proof of God or sure scripture to hold on to, for there is so little he left us to go on that we can really prove and so few of Christ’s true words handed down to us.

            It seems we either live righteous enough to learn the truth directly from God (as Christ did), or we aren’t and thus will be led astray by every wind of popular doctrine that sounds good to us.

          3. Interesting comments. I agree that assuming God exists, he certainly hides himself – perhaps so that over time as we face the unknown, our true nature and character will show through.

  35. @Andrew, View of the Hebrews isn’t compelling enough? Elder Roberts remarks about the findings?

    Have you reviewed Elder Roberts sources that he used to come to that conclusion, or are you relying on the CES letter?

    Do you agree that the Book of Abraham was purely Joseph Smith’s imagination? Do you consider it factual?

  36. Memo to the believing Mormon world:
    Concluding that the Books of Mormon and Abraham are not scientifically credible as translations of ancient records does not make one anti-Mormon.

    One can still believe that Mormons are good people, that the LDS church does good things, and one can even affirm another’s decision to remain active LDS — whilst still acknowledging that: 1) there is literally not one credible non-LDS scientist on the planet who considers the Book of Mormon to be scientifically credible on any level (i.e., archaeologically, genetically, linguistically, geographically), and 2) that the Book of Abraham papyrus doesn’t event mention Abraham….anywhere (according to the LDS church’s own position).

    If I am in error, please provide evidence.
    Most importantly, please stop referring to people as anti-Mormon simply because they are open/honest about their conclusions, based on their understanding of the scientific record.

    1. John Dehlib I’ve asked you this before but I’ll ask again:

      What is an example of an unbiased non-deceptive source that members can get accurate information about the church from, so they can objectively review it like you so desperately want them to?

      1. Andrew – Here’s my challenge to you.

        1) Put a list together of all the respected, non-LDS anthropologists, archaeologists, linguists, and American historians in the developed world.
        2) Randomly select any number of them.
        3) Present to them the basic historical and scientific claims made in the Books of Mormon and Abraham, along with the basic information available about Joseph Smith (his treasure seeking, his lying about polygamy, the sexual allegations made against him, his marrying of teenagers and other people’s wives, the Kinderhook plates evidence, etc.). Feel free to use http://cesletter.com along with anything FAIR can put together.
        4) Poll them at the end of the exercise to find out how many believe that either the Books of Mormon or Abraham are credible scientifically.

        I will pay you (or anyone) $10,000 to conduct this exercise.

        1. May I suggest an interview with Rex Weyler, the author of The Jesus Sayings and co-founder of Greenpeace. He did a incredible job researching and organizing a blue print to follow for discovering the Authentic message of the Nazarene.

        2. Why does the credible scientist have to be non-LDS? Does being LDS disqualify the scientist? Is it to eliminate perceived bias? If so, how does one know that a non-LDS scientist isn’t biased against the LDS church?

        3. If there were non LDS credible scientists that accepted empirical evidences supporting the historicity of the Book of Mormon and/or Book of Abraham they obviously would have joined the Church. It’s like saying find an atheist who supports that the Bible is historically factual . Good try John but obviously your challenge doesn’t make sense. Think about it.,,your challenge is basically a straw man. Why would a professor in any study accept claims of a book that came forth from an angel? Sounds like a familiar story of when Martin Harris delivered the characters from the Book of Mormon to a certain Dr. Anthon. Of course such folks would never subscribe to putting their reputation on the line unless they were acceptive to the source. And if they were….they wouldn’t be non-members would they??? What the heck, maybe I’m wrong on my perception or expectation of what any individual would do. Nevertheless, I guess you seem to know better. I expect you’ll not lose any of your money!!

        4. John,

          I have been moved by your work, I especially enjoyed your “Why I Stay” episode given a few months ago. I suppose that I identify with you since share many of the same doubts and concerns, and yet still love and identify with my heritage, my tribe. You seemed to walk a middle ground, the big tent, that so many are referring to. You went out of your way to create the Mormon Stories where both the believer and non believer can feel support and find validation in their journey.

          You as much as anyone realizes that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. How much richer and meaningful is a testimony borne from a sincere doubt filled heart, that still strives to find meaning in the effort– In spite off doubt– to believe. This as contrasted by the monotony of the traditional scripted LDS testimony of, “I know this church is true………..”. The ignorance and arrogance of the “I know” seems to be a common annoyance expressed by many unbelievers and yet, the sword truly cuts both ways.

          Your declaration and certainty of the fallacy of the Book of Mormon removes you from that middle ground of doubter and seeker and places you in your own tent of orthodoxy, that of a Post Mormon. This truly saddens me because this new found orthodoxy means there is no longer room for me, as a Progressive Mormon, in your new Post Mormon Tent.

          I’m saddened to see you, for lack of a better word, “Bashing” those that believe the Book of Mormon to be Scripture inspired by God. I don’t “Know” a lot of things, I don’t believe the BOM to be perfect, there are plenty of contradictions and the writers themselves acknowledge that there are errors. I don’t believe that all of the Indigenous peoples of the American Continent are descendants of the “Lamanites” and I’m not even sure how much of the story is historical just as I am not sure of how much of the Old Testament stories of Noah, Job, Jonah, etc are historically accurate either, but for me at least, it doesn’t take away from the fact that it can still constitute scripture. It can still move me closer to what I believe to be the will and presence of a loving God. Ultimately, for many Mormons it is a powerful symbol that has changed many lives, Which is really what it is supposed to be about, that is, To convince Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ. For me, Whether or not the Book of Job is allegorical or historical doesn’t make it any spiritually beneficial or in other words, scriptural.

          As a progressive Mormon, I truly hope the church that I love, can be a more supportive and welcoming place for all. I appreciate that many of the issues you have brought up in your podcast have and will help the church to right the ship. However, I also find it ironic, that your newly declared Post Mormon orthodoxy makes it much less likely to be able to influence the direction of the community, a community which you love.

          Best wishes to you in your new journey,

          1. Respectfully, a “doubter and seeker” isn’t someone who says “well, anything can be true, so facts don’t matter.” I suspect you don’t sit around thinking “it’s possible Zeus, Apollo and Poseidon are gods.” In my opinion, a seeker is a person who explores his or her doubt and moves on past ideas that are not supported by fact.

            I suspect at least 99.99 percent of the population has concluded the greek gods are myth. 99.98 percent of the world population sees mormonism the same way.

            The beautiful thing about John is that he respect mormon believers and non-believers alike. However, it appears to me that when it comes to proclamations regarding god’s will and god’s “true church”, John respects facts.

        1. Jay-

          Yet for the Atheist, There really is very little to differentiate a Belief in Jesus Christ from a belief in Zeus, or for that matter, The Tooth Fairy. Its a slippery slope– I suppose that is why so many former Mormons, while certainly not all, tend to reject religion all together after leaving the LDS Fold.

          Ultimately, I believe that it simply cannot be proven. While I realize this may seem like a cop out to many unbelievers, ..I have come to realize that my continued affinity for my Mormon Tribe, In spite of its many and often painful flaws, is based on the fact, that regardless of how hard I try, I just can’t discount a lifetime’s worth of—what for lack of a better word, are to me— intensely powerful spiritual experiences.

          Best to you in your journey.

          1. We may not be able to prove that Christ is the ‘Son of God’, but we can prove that his teachings are true and the best and only way to true happiness, peace, prosperity and liberty for any person, family or society.

            What did Zeus or the Tooth Fairy ever teach or stand for that we could prove to be true and necessary for survival of societies and worlds?

  37. “Here is my Creed: I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable Service we can render to him, is doing Good to his other Children. That the Soul of Man is immortal, and will be treated with Justice in another Life respecting its Conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental Principles of all sound Religion, and I regard them as you do, in whatever Sect I meet with them. As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion as he left them to us, the best the World ever saw, or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting Changes, and I have with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his Divinity: tho’ it is a Question I do not dogmatise upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble. I see no harm however in its being believed, if that Belief has the good Consequence as probably it has, of making his Doctrines more respected and better observed, especially as I do not perceive that the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the Believers, in his Government of the World, with any particular Marks of his Displeasure. I shall only add respecting myself, that having experienced the Goodness of that Being, in conducting me prosperously thro’ a long Life, I have no doubt of its Continuance in the next, tho’ without the smallest Conceit of meriting such Goodness.”

    ~ B. Franklin (1790)

    1. @ABM, sign me up 🙂

      I love the line: “…when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble.”

      My translation: death is coming soon and I’ll be afforded the Opportunity then to know the Truth.

      If this is verbatim, then why would Opportunity and Truth be capitalized? Again, my translation:

      When I respond to my children and reference Mom, I always do so with capitalization to emphasize her place and respect she deserves. Thus, maybe Opportunity is referenced in a similar light – the respect it deserves.

      For Truth, then, should you be standing before God upon your demise from this world I suspect you may reflect if you’ve capitalized all your T’s and dotted all your i’s 😀

      Thank you for the posting.

  38. I found John Dehlin’s podcast interview with Michael Coe regarding Book of Mormon archeology very compelling. I would suggest this podcast to anyone trying to grasp some of the claims surrounding BOM archeology in South America.

    1. snj, what were your thoughts on the Sorenson open letter response to the Coe/Dehlin interview? A few comments say some of Coe’s own research refutes a few of his statements in the interview, and scholars (naturally) are frustrated that Dehlin doesn’t interrogate Coe a little more i.e. have a working familiarity with all of Michael Coe’s work to call him out on (i.e. Coe’s own discoveries on the use of iron, magnetic compass). In the end however, it doesn’t change much the conclusions. As Coe says in the PBS interview when asked what he thinks of Sorenson’s work, “convincing background, a kind of stage set to this — but there’s no actors. That’s the problem.” As for historical support, I am sure Dehlin has heard of the oral traditions missionaries pass around of native americans speaking about their own migrations as well as the white bearded God appearing in latin america. Ted Brewerton’s Oct 1995 talk was really cool for me as a missionary. But then came all the DNA data in the next few years which really refutes Brewerton’s statement in his talk that “The blood of these people flows in the veins of the Blackfoot.”

  39. Before commenting….Happy New Year to all! What a beautiful day it was here in Southern California. My wife and I enjoyed a family outing, to the beautiful botanical gardens and art galleries of the Huntington Library, near Pasadena, California ( where the Rose Parade will take place tomorrow). We had four generations of our family with us. The oldest of those enjoying life was my mother, in a wheel chair, and the youngest, one of her granddaughters, in a baby stroller. The circle of life…we come in with a stroller and go out with a stroller.

    Now back to the discussion and comments. If the purpose of the Book of Mormon, is “for the convincing of the Jew and Gentile” (I guess that’s everyone), then ask yourself, how is a person convinced of something that makes extraordinary claims? Is it too much to expect some evidence and truth to back up an incredible story? The church spent many years and large sums of money in such research, to help “convince the Jew and Gentile”, with the hopes of backing up the story, to go along with the personal prayer and feelings. When I was on my mission years ago (early 70’s), we used to show the film “Ancient America Speaks”. Now, no such film is shown, and we have a pretty good idea why, and I say that with sadness, to put it mildly, as this story is the “cornerstone of our religion”. This is just one of many problems that so many have struggled with in the church.

    I like to think that all the good people that contribute comments, are trying to do their best in life and live it to the fullest, with joy. For some of us, our souls require our faith to align with reality, more than others. It is completely understandable to me, that the balance between faith and reality can become so out of balance, that one can no longer accept the weight of that dissonance. I have been hanging on, with faith, in the church, for years….waiting, hoping, and praying for answers and something positive in regards to credible validations to extraordinary stories and doctrines, beyond testimonies, and weak apologetics.
    So I will conclude with a thought to those, who are critical to John Dehlin, and your perceived “new direction” of Mormon Stories. Keep in mind, we believe in “light and truth”….and the 13th Article of Faith…..”we seek after these things”. Keep seeking, and in the process, respect the goodness of others that may take a different path.

    1. Happy New Year EET, and all.

      Making us jealous I see. Funny, earlier today I was reflecting on the times I walked the parade route, and how much I miss the California sunshine and atmosphere. We spent many days at Lacy Park in San Marino, which is just down the street from the Huntington Library.

  40. As an ex-Mormon (who doesn’t believe in the theology) who loves John and his podcasts I think his change of course is misguided for both tactical and philosophical reasons.

    Tactically, it would be better to still pay lip service to the Big Tent and force the LDS leadership to make a martyr out of him. It makes the Brethren look SO much worse to excommunicate a guy who is sympathetic to the church than to expel someone who is openly hostile to them and what they preach.

    On a philosophical level I still believe the LDS church as constituted still does more good than harm. Sure, their belief system is bunk, but so are the vast majority of the world’s religions. I think that the world is a better place with the LDS church than without it.

    I can’t help but think of parallels to John and the opening phase of World War I (seeing as how I have been reading books on WW I lately). The French government bent over backwards to make sure they were NOT the first ones to violate Belgian neutrality or open hostilities (even to the point of pulling troops back 15Km once the Germans mobilized). This obsession of waiting for the Germans to strike first had the unfortunate effect of leaving them vulnerable to flanking maneuvers through Belgium (where France didn’t even have much of a defense), but it did have the very real benefit of bringing the British into the war on their side.

    If France had moved into Belgium first WW I may have ended VERY differently.

    The point is that optics matter. You want to maneuver your opponent into situations where they look bad. It is far better to take one in the gut without raising a finger and gain everyone’s sympathy than to come out swinging and bloody the opposition’s nose early on.

  41. Reading all the statements both pro and con about the evidences, or lack thereof, only serve to solidify my belief that a position of agnosticism is the only honest position beyond dispute that one can take, anything else just being hopeful or wishful thinking. As for me, I am an agnostic with leanings toward atheism, but with the sincere hope and honest desire that God does exist and is our creator! But I do not and cannot in honesty claim to know any more than that! If God goes exist, he has certainly and obviously chosen to keep himself hidden from those he has created!

    1. Yes, all anyone has is ‘hope’ that God really does exist, that is ‘if’ they are righteous, for if not then they probably hope he doesn’t exist. But then again, most people think they are righteous even if they aren’t.

      But no one can know for absolute certainty that God exists, no matter how sure they feel. No one has proof, not even if they claim to have ‘seen’ God, for it could have been Satan or a dream or their own mind playing tricks on them, or a number of other scenarios.

      If God ever did show himself to anyone then the test of this life would be over, for that person would never do wrong again, for they would know for sure that they would go to ‘you know where’ if they did. So God has to stay allusive, in order to create this test for us.

      It’s like when a mom tells her child to not touch the cookie jar and that there is either a punishment or reward coming, and then she leaves the room, that’s when the test starts, for as long as mom is in the room the child would never touch it, nor could he prove himself.

      Same with God. This life is to see if we will touch the cookie jar or not, even if we never see ‘hide nor hair’ of mom/God.

      We all just believe what we want to believe and only in the next life will we find out who was right.

      I believe it’s wise to keep God’s commandments just in case, for if we don’t and he exists, then we will be a lot worse off.

  42. Rude Dog, I feel your pain but you will, understand, it will all be, sorted out in the end.

    John believes something can be wrought from having believed. A believer deceived. A Mormon Reformation is possible but unlikely.
    If Mormons are smart they’d take the lead from the Reformed Jew, after all Mormons believe they are evolved from the Proto-Jew –– now incarnate.
    Wishing (praying) for truth is not the same as searching for honesty — a-another kind of jesus comes to pass.
    As it is today we’re still looking for evidence of the supernatural which puts the Mormons on the back foot seeking for a sign.
    It would be helpful if Mormons would embrace common sense, the wisdom of crowds and denial of ignorance.
    Reformed Mormons could become Reformed Jews and we could try and fix Palestine.
    For the sake of Nephi all roads lead to Jerusalem.
    Whether it be the Torah, King James Version or The Mormon Bible the magic is somehow gone. The shards of doctrine cobbled from fragments leaves all religion in tatters –– to kludge together another forlorn hope for the glory, just the glory, that’s all.
    Remember it’s faith in governance informed, but it’s not a very spiritual enterprise.

  43. In May of 2005, about a month before my mission, I approached my institute teacher about something that had troubled me. A scripture in 3rd Nephi where Jesus is giving the same sermon as he does in Matthew. Word for word it is same except in the Matthew chapter down in the footnotes it had the JST. Why is there a correction in the bible but the same mistake is made in the BOM?

    I was 20 and extremely gullible due in part to me only being a member for a year. I had that spiritual high and was eager to do what was right in the eyes of God. Looking back a lot of that had to do with doing what was socially expected from the church and its members. Of course doubt creeped into my mind right before my mission and this particular situation didn’t help. All my institute teacher could come up with was that it wasn’t so much of a mistranslation and it was Joseph Smith elaborating more clearly what the verse meant. I still didn’t feel great with that explanation but it sufficed. Probably because I was already in so deep that it felt impossible to turn back.

    Looking back I wish I had been better educated and informed of the history of the Church. From the time of my first discussion to baptism was only five weeks. I never learned of the things I had to find out for myself over the past 11 years and luckily for me, I love history.

    I believe john still encourages people to do what is best for them and if that means staying in the church and being an active participant, he fully supports that. But when asked about the problematic issues with the Church, he has to be honest about it as well as his feelings. That’s the problem in the church today, can we be open and honest about how we feel about the church and still be accepted? I know I don’t tell my Bishop, neighbors, in laws, firings, etc. about my concerns. If approached I wil. Very tough and frustrating situation indeed.

  44. Hi John,

    Bravo! A heartfelt Thank You for all your hard work and dedication to this cause.

    Happy New Year to you and yours!

    Tara

  45. John,

    I have an idea for you. On your next podcast, share with us your new temple name and then talk about your experience sharing it. Also, make this a routine part of your podcast with guests who have left the Church – ask them to share their name. It will help us as listeners to understand the full extent to which someone has left the Church (is there a more extreme act one could take?).

  46. I have perceived that most if not all of John’s effort and work are largely internal struggles that he has wrestled for many years. John has used many methods to come to find the peace he seeks internally. I, as many have stated, have enjoyed and benefited from his wrestling as he publicly reached out to many. But, John’s latest efforts are inevitable and have been foreshadowed for a long time, and maybe it’s even fate. Likely John needs to travel alone and separate from the Church to find what it is that brings him the peace he desires. John has an intensity and zeal that most of us cannot understand. John will be just fine in the eternity that will roll forward.

  47. I suppose it depends on one’s definition of modesty and humility. I *know* that every Bible attributes the following words/claims (in some form) to Christ. And I *believe* that he meant what he said.

    “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me… He that believeth not is condemned already … Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    “Doth this offend you?”

    Oh well…rest assured no one can take that right away from you.

    ==================================================
    “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might *know* the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

  48. To All the discontent with MS,

    Why don’t you wait and see what MS becomes before throwing it under the bus. I don’t exclusively listen to MS nor do I agree with all of John’s positions, but I still have enjoyed the podcast over the years and simply don’t listen if it’s not something I’m interested in besides there are dozens and dozens of other mormon themed podcasts to choose from so wait and see how Mormon stories evolves and if you don’t like it stop listening move on to other podcasts, but for heven sake stop all the whining.

  49. John,

    I wanted to wish you and your family a Happy New Year. I hope your goals and dreams are realized in 2015.

    Thanks for helping other members–especially the disenfranchised. The Church’s response to you, and other members simply speaking up for the downtrodden, is difficult to reconcile. For a Church of God to inflict so much pain upon it’s already marginized members is unconscionable.

    Congrats on your educational accomplishments too.

    Warmest Regards,

    Tim

  50. I actually have a good deal of sympathy with the position held by Michael Surkan. Reminds me of the views of the late Sterling McMurrin (who was never excommunicated). Mc Murrin said something to the effect that ‘you don’t get books from angels. It really is as simple as that…but the Church is about more than a book…’. And again ‘ frankly, I resent being called an apostate….though I think a fair amount of the fundamental truth claims are nonsense, I am for the Church, not against it’. Enough to make the folks at that delightfully polite site, ‘Recovery from Mormonism’ spit out their coffee.

    1. Actually, I should clarify that. I’m not sure I agree with Michael Surkan that John has erred tactically. Where I agree with him is more along philosophical lines.

  51. John,

    I have been moved by your work, I especially enjoyed your “Why I Stay” episode given a few months ago. I suppose that I identify with you since share many of the same doubts and concerns, and yet still love and identify with my heritage, my tribe. You seemed to walk a middle ground, the big tent, that so many are referring to. You went out of your way to create the Mormon Stories where both the believer and non believer can feel support and find validation in their journey.

    You as much as anyone realizes that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. How much richer and meaningful is a testimony borne from a sincere doubt filled heart, that still strives to find meaning in the effort– In spite off doubt– to believe. This as contrasted by the monotony of the traditional scripted LDS testimony of, “I know this church is true………..”. The ignorance and arrogance of the “I know” seems to be a common annoyance expressed by many unbelievers and yet, the sword truly cuts both ways.

    Your declaration and certainty of the fallacy of the Book of Mormon removes you from that middle ground of doubter and seeker and places you in your own tent of orthodoxy, that of a Post Mormon. This truly saddens me because this new found orthodoxy means there is no longer room for me, as a Progressive Mormon, in your new Post Mormon Tent.

    I’m saddened to see you, for lack of a better word, “Bashing” those that believe the Book of Mormon to be Scripture inspired by God. I don’t “Know” a lot of things, I don’t believe the BOM to be perfect, there are plenty of contradictions and the writers themselves acknowledge that there are errors. I don’t believe that all of the Indigenous peoples of the American Continent are descendants of the “Lamanites” and I’m not even sure how much of the story is historical just as I am not sure of how much of the Old Testament stories of Noah, Job, Jonah, etc are historically accurate either, but for me at least, it doesn’t take away from the fact that it can still constitute scripture. It can still move me closer to what I believe to be the will and presence of a loving God. Ultimately, for many Mormons it is a powerful symbol that has changed many lives, Which is really what it is supposed to be about, that is, To convince Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ. For me, Whether or not the Book of Job is allegorical or historical doesn’t make it any spiritually beneficial or in other words, scriptural.

    As a progressive Mormon, I truly hope the church that I love, can be a more supportive and welcoming place for all. I appreciate that many of the issues you have brought up in your podcast have and will help the church to right the ship. However, I also find it ironic, that your newly declared Post Mormon orthodoxy makes it much less likely to be able to influence the direction of the community, a community which you love.

    Best wishes to you in your new journey,

    1. This for me is the crux. Most of the Progressive Mormons have left/are leaving. Sad, even tragic, though I think this is, surely there is URGENT need now for a formal Progressive Mormon movement along the lines of Reform Judaism?? The demand must be there, at least in places like Phoenix and Salt Lake, no?

      1. The LDS Church clergy is business oriented yet they hide under the cloak of spiritualism, OZ incarnate, a seeming paradox occurs when these isms collide.
        As a business model, one could say Scientology is an evolved Proto-mormonism with alternate visionaries, Joseph Smith, Ron L. Hubbard.
        Clearly business is at the helm. As such like most pyramid schemes, the citizens are owed severance and they should be shut down.

        Liberty Through Obedience is, by nature, a blunt instrument for the seeking of truth.
        I think I believe the church is true.

        A Modest Proposal: seeking for a sign
        When casting out demons, Mormons need a new game face; they could return the keys to their proper owners.
        Reformed Judaism is the way to go, The Reformed Mormon-Jew would have all the pomp and circumstance of the Rock of Ages and they can bypass the New Testament or make it optional. With the Mormon Bible forgone they would have no need to be so stiff-necked and Mormons could re-enter mainstream society as a Reformed Jew with progressive street creds and a forward looking doctrine. Shucks, they could engage in saucy language from time to time, when appropriate.
        I’m sure The Jews would love to have their census swell and Reconstituted ex-Mormons turned to Judaism would be listened to by all the worlds’s great religions.
        They just need to help solve the problem of Palestine/Israel.
        Once that’s done, the Apocalypse is forestalled, The New Jews would be authentic kings of the earth at last.

        peace makers unite in the new year

        1. Err…come again (as we Londoners say)? I hope I don’t come across as rude but I find it hard to understand your point(s)?

          1. The Point is:
            Liberty Through Obedience is, by nature, a blunt instrument for the seeking of truth.
            Try, “I think I believe the church is true.”
            Give the keys back to the evolved Jews.

          2. OK Ephima. I think I get your point, now I’ve read your other posts. I haven’t watch the video I confess. Progressive Mormons to become Reform Jews to sort out the Palestinian/Israeli situation? Well, having a foot in both camps, and as someone who is extremely critical of what ‘Zionism’ and Israel have become I sympathise. I do think your suggestion that Reform Jews become Reform Mormons, if serious, is a little eccentric, and highly unrealistic. In any case, most Reform Jews would describe themselves as Zionists, more’s the pity, and generally choose not to utilise their often considerable intellects when it comes to the question of Israel. Criticism of Israel/sympathy for the Palestinian situation is, even within in Reform circles, too often seen as traitorous.

    2. Oh C’mon. You’re totally projecting. Sounds like John got your goat. If your definition of progressiveness being able to put at naught the literal interpretations of scripture of the BoM and the Bible, then why hold anyone to any claims at all? You just became the very thing you’re criticizing by calling John out by his claiming that the BoM is not what it purports to be, when you do exactly the same thing by saying “I don’t believe what’s written in the BoM or Bible, but I believe in the BoM and Bible”. No I’m sorry, but you believe in belief, whatever that belief is, defined by you, becoming the religion unto yourself, and criticizing those that do not belong to the church of MinnesotaNice.

      The claim of the BoM to bring Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ is only half the mission claimed by the BoM itself, it’s the claim that you like, that you choose at the cafeteria. Do you know what the other half of the BoM claim is? It is self proclaimed to be written to the Lamanites, who are of the House of Isreal. I will take your “convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ” more seriously if you can tell us who the Lamanites are that the BoM was written to. Itt is not easy to take your religion seriously, since it is so self defined by you. You’d have more of my respect if you could be nailed down on a theology but of course, you cannot, you’re progressive. Just don’t self project your self defined religion on humanity as judgemental as you did here, otherwise you’ll have to be more definitive on why you’d even have a problem with a different belief than yours in the first place. So John has just shared where he is. You shared where you are. You’re position is just as outside as John’s. Why the condenscending judmental “religious” bullsh!t in tow?

      1. Jonathan,
        as the West Bank squatters are holding hostage the potential of the middle east, fundamentalist Mormons are holding the potential for liberalizing hostage by holding to the imagined messianic vision of the King of the Earth.
        The suited Rabbis of Mormonism are holding imaginary keys given to them by the Mormon Messiah –– Joseph Smith Jr.
        Jonathan, I confess Mormons to become Jews is eccentric but what is Mormonism other than eccentric? The Old Testament rendered through the mind of a grave robber to become the BOM is ‘highly unrealistic’ but we both know Joe Smith invented surrealism before the term was conceived.
        Retta-Jane Davis used to say, as I argued with her husband, as she rocked and knitted, she’d say, “Won-ah dese dais wee gonna git hit aul-togethah.”

        Please don’t discount the influence ex-Mormons would have on the Reformed Jew. Ha ha.
        PAX

      2. Rude Dog,

        I get it, I really do. Like it says in Revelations, Better to be hot or cold than be lukewarm and spit out by God at the last day. I once saw things as black or white, but the older I get, I tend to see a lot more shades of gray. I can’t prove that there is a God, but I still believe. It may be inconsistent, but it is a position that the bulk of humanity find themselves in. “To believe in God is impossible, but not to believe is absurd” – Is Voltaire conflicted? Of course, as are most of us at one time or another.

        Mormon Stories has been a welcoming community to all types of Mormons, Believing, Doubting, Cafeteria, Etc as well as Non Mormons, whether they be Never Mormons or Former Mormons. In the midst of his early dealings with Church Authorities, John himself, on numerous occasions, expressed a desire to remain inside of the tent of Mormonism–Even though he be at the very outer edge with just a foot inside. I believe he shared an interaction he had with Jeffrey Holland, in which John used those precise words. I don’t judge the Post, Ex, Former, or what ever other label a Post Mormon chooses to use to describe their relationship or lack of relationship with the LDS Church. Maybe I’m wrong, but it appears to me that this most recent podcast and John’s subsequent comments above, constitute a type of Declaration of Independence from even the periphery of the Mormon Tent and into a different space, that of a Post Mormon. Again, I don’t judge him—If I have across as condescending, its not my intent— I respect him, but the new direction is painful for some that remain in the tent, like me. For the past few years, John has somehow been able to navigate a middle ground and been able to provide support for both the believer and the Non-believer, but his most recent declarations place him squarely in one camp and not the other.

        Regarding my own “Progressive Mormon” waffling, I understand your point of view, but I think you are confusing declarations of faith with statements of certainty —I didn’t say that I don’t believe in the BOM, I said I don’t believe it to be PERFECT. I didn’t state that the the Indigenous people of the American Continent are NOT the Lamanites, I said, I don’t believe that ALL of the indigenous people of the Americas are the descendants of the Lamanites. Based on the lack of DNA and physical evidence, I suppose that percentage is likely quite small, yet I still choose to believe. I think that most of us live in some level of faith construction or deconstruction as we interact with an ever changing world. Contrary to popular belief, The LDS church has, does, and will continue to evolve, to daresay I the word, change. Its not an all or nothing proposition for me. For me, Fullness doesn’t mean Perfection, Chosen doesn’t need to imply infallibility, Good need not be the enemy of the perfect. No, I don’t purport to worship at the alter of MinnesotaNice. While I don’t fully embrace many of the over the top manifestations of Mormon Culture, My eyes still tear up when listening to a rendition of Come, Come Ye Saints. While I sometimes cringe at some of the off the wall declarations made in a fast & testimony meeting, I have come to realize that my continued affinity for my Mormon Tribe, In spite of its many and often painful flaws, is based on the fact, that regardless of how hard I try, I just can’t discount a lifetime’s worth of—what for lack of a better word, are to me— intensely powerful spiritual experiences.

  52. I just want to wish you good luck with your newly found religion, at least that is what it sounds to me you like are doing…I agree there is a huge issue with LDS members striving to be perfect and causing a lot of grief and pain when we fall short of doing what we are taught each week, but that doesn’t mean we should give up and create a new, easier path. That is what I feel like what you are doing…

    Even our Savior was rejected and crucified for His teachings when He was on the earth, but He did teach and create a correct/true church. The church that was in the beginning with Adam and the one we have now. It is true and perfect, too bad we mess it up so much – the price we pay sometimes for that tremendous gift of free-agency!

  53. John, I must admit I did not listen to your podcast. I just read the majority of the posts regarding your statements. While you may not remember my past comments, I want to say that faith is the principle of power in our lives. If God wanted us to live and function by knowledge then he would not have not placed a veil in our minds at our birth. So, will anyone ever prove the Book of Mormon true or false, probably not. Will anyone prove that Jesus is the son of God and Savior of the world, that won’t happen. Did Joseph translate the hieroglyphics of the Book of Abraham or did God reveal to him greater light and knowledge about father Abraham and Heavenly Father’s plan of Salvation? Isn’t it apparent that Satan mixes truth with lies to keep us from accepting the truth? We can see how a large portion of the US population accepted the lies they were told regarding a large number of agenda items on our current president’s list now exposed as intentional lies to accomplish the intended results. Didn’t our own Harry Reid say that Mitt Romney cheated on his tax returns to prevent people from actually listening to Mitt? Aren’t secret combinations in our government the biggest threat to individual freedom that we face today? Wasn’t that something the prophets of the Book of Mormon warned us about?
    If Joseph Smith was a fraud then he was the best ever born on earth. If one believes in the Bible, then attacking plural marriage discredits ancient prophets who had more than one wife. Could it be that bringing children into this world is more important than we understand with our mortal view of life?
    After nearly 60 years on earth, I have learned that obedience is the first law of heaven. Consecration is something we live every day. Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, and God does answer prayers. Having a degree in philosophy and practicing law every day, I see how important faith is and having divine guidance in our lives. If we attack the prophets, then we help kill the faith of the people in God’s desire to help us, but this requires faith in the priesthood and in revelation. Prophets are not perfect people.
    2 Nephi 9:28 “O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.” Read a little further in Chapter 9.

    A young sister in our Ward returned from Taiwan a week ago and she spoke in church Sunday. She, like I, was lead by the Spirit to teach people seeking the truth. I went to Denmark 40 years ago this week. I teach the gospel now and share it regularly. I learned from a good friend, Clayton Christensen, that God gives his best weapons in the fight for the souls of men and women to those who live and share the Gospel. When was the last time you felt the Spirit in the things you do?
    So what does this all have to do with your issues with the restored church of Jesus Christ? I suggest you live the commandments, pay your tithing, and be worthy of a temple recommend and then attend the temple. Encourage faith in God and his prophets. Realize that God’s ways are not our ways and so you won’t necessarily understand things that God has asked us to believe and to live. Don’t become a modern day scribe or Pharisee. “6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” “36 And now, I say unto you, my brethren, that after ye have known and have been taught all these things, if ye should transgress and go contrary to that which has been spoken, that ye do withdraw yourselves from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in you to guide you in wisdom’s paths that ye may be blessed, prospered, and preserved—
    37 I say unto you, that the man that doeth this, the same cometh out in open rebellion against God; therefore he listeth to obey the evil spirit, and becometh an enemy to all righteousness; therefore, the Lord has no place in him, for he dwelleth not in unholy temples.”
    It is easy to be blinded by the subtle craftiness of men. “12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—”
    I testify that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that the Savior demands more of us than we may understand, and he can do that because he bled at every pore taking upon himself the pain of the sins of those who will repent. I pray that you and your wife will consider the love God has extended you and how merciful he is to the souls who will repent and love him.
    Your brother,
    Dallas Jolley

    1. Wow, what a discourse from a TBM. So lacking in understanding of the honest questions and concerns of his fellow beings, and so certain of his own position! Instead of instructing others how to live their lives, perhaps he should examine his own lack of discernment!

      1. Frank,
        Actually, Oh ye of little faith, could be my response. Faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, taking the sacrament, repenting of our sins, obeying the commandments, living the law of consecration, enduring to the end; these are the keys to knowledge for mankind As Nephi said, Chapter 32

        1 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But, behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts?

        2 Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?

        3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

        4 Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.

        5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.

        6 Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.

        7 And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.

        8 And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.

        9 But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.”

        Now why would Joseph Smith dream up such words? Does not these words instruct you to seek divine guidance? What are you looking for?

        So, as I said, if there is a God, then he wants you to know the truth, and it is for you to seek it. Flesh and blood does not reveal it unto you, but your father in heaven. This is the strength of the followers of Christ, for they have a testimony by the spirit. When was the last time Frank, that you felt the spirit, or prayed to God for guidance with a humble heart?

        As for women and the priesthood, what does that have to do with women’s salvation? Don’t women hold the keys to the offices to which they are called? Do they need to hold the priesthood to enter into eternal covenants with God? What of evidences for or against the Book of Mormon? Does not the Book of Mormon testify of Christ as the savior of the world, son of God, the great white God the Hawaiians, Aztecs, Mayans, Hopi and other tribes look forward to his return? These traditions were not made up by Joseph Smith, and he hardly knew enough at age 20 to write a 520 page book that tells the history of “other sheep?” I would hope that you would find it in your heart as you seek that Jesus, whom the prophets testified of. Section 19 of the Doctrine and Covenants is instructive of how Christ feels about all of us. 13 Wherefore, I command you to repent, and keep the commandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., in my name;

        14 And it is by my almighty power that you have received them;

        15 Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.

        16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

        17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

        18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

        19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.

        20 Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.

        May you open your heart and understand the love the Savior has for you and that he wants you to be cleansed so that you are worthy of his presence.

        Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

        21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

        22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

        1. Dallas, While I have no doubt you are a fine and caring individual, you quote scripture extensively that in itself is greatly in question as to its origin. You also assume that others [me for one] have not traveled a path similar to your own and in spite of great effort and inquiry of the Lord, arrived at totally different conclusions. Why would Joseph Smith dream up such words, possibly so that gullible people such as yourself would jump on his band wagon and proclaim him a wonderful prophet, when jn reality he was a charlatan. Along the same line, why would Joseph, a man who claimed to commune with God, profess it had been revealed to him that Christ would return about 1890. Seems he missed it by a few decades. Also seems the modern Church leadership seldom mentions the second coming even happening, yet supposedly that was the whole reason for the restoration. I suggest you lighten up a little, preach less, and try to understand another’s perspective. As for me, I totally understand where John comes from! He has it figured out! Good luck to you in doing the same!

        2. @Dallas – I am just curious… Have you ever read the LDS Church’s recent essays on church history (e.g. the Book of Abraham, Translation of Book of Mormon, Polygamy)? The essays are published by the LDS church itself, right on lds.org.

          Seeing as how you are a faithful LDS member I am very interested in hearing your opinion of these essays. Do you feel that the information in these essays strengthens your testimony and helps you come closer to God? Do you feel the information in these essays should be more widely taught to LDS members?

          This web site has convenient DIRECT links to the essays on lds.org since the church hasn’t yet gotten around to making them easy to find on their web site.

          http://mormonessays.com/

          1. Thanks Michael, Yes, I too would like to read a response from Dallas. I of course have read every essay and have found them to be a rather lame approach consisting only of spin, rather than an honest attempt to analyze and understand and admit to the events discussed! Michael, I am also interested in your take on them!

          2. @Frank – I am happy to share my view of the LDS.org essays, but as an ex-Mormon I don’t think my opinion really matters all that much. It’s not like they are likely to suddenly make me a believer, burning with a desire to start paying tithing again. The real question is how current LDS members feel about the essays.

            My current view of the essays is that they are intended as apologetics, to address hard questions those in a faith crisis might be experiencing.

            Unfortunately, I doubt they will have much impact at all. People who are experiencing a faith crisis aren’t going to be mollified by apologetics, particularly when those apologetics actually confirm that many of the things they had concerns about are true.

            Neither are these essays likely going to sway the faith of true believers (although I would dearly love to hear Dallas’ perspective on this). I have active family members who just brush off the essays as if they were nothing. Their faith is built on a foundation of personal revelation in which the spirit has “spoken” to them. My faithful family members are willing to believe that past (or even present) church leaders could perform all manner of transgressions.

            Also, these essays aren’t really saying stuff that hasn’t been known for a long time. I was well aware of Joseph’s polygamy and the messy Utah pioneer polygamist culture back in the 1980s. True, I hadn’t heard of polyandry, but that wouldn’t have bothered me any more than the polygamy. Heck, if a man can marry 2 women why can’t a woman marry 2 men?

            As histories, the essays are lousy. You are much better reading the source material cited by the essays than trying to use the essays themselves to understand LDS history or doctrine.

          3. Thanks for your comments, Michael, and I am in full agreement with your analysis/feelings. They also parallel my own. I say that, not to be agreeable but because I suspect we have traveled similar paths and have arrived at similar positions [as have many others, with more to come]!

        3. Dallas, I too would be very interested to know what you make of the Church’s essays. Your voice, being different than many on here, is valuable, and many of us would be interested in a more “faithful” reaction to these essays.

    2. Dallas, Before you talk about obedience, I would suggest you study the words of Christ in the New Testament, and see if the Church or any of it’s leaders have ever obeyed Christ, for I have found they haven’t.

      Also, study what Christ taught on marriage and polygamy (Matt. 19:9) and try not to be so surprised that prophets, ancient or modern, true or false, usually fall for it, it’s just the natural man and few there be that don’t fall for it and can be Christlike, especially towards women and treat them as equals, in marriage, church & society like Christ commanded.

      Now that would be ‘obedience’.

  54. John, I have been impressed with every podcast you have provided that I have had the time and opportunity to listen to, but this one I felt was especially right on. You expressed my feelings so precisely I could only heartily agree with every statement. It was as if I had spoken the words myself, which I have done oft times! I am now quite advanced in age, but am very impressed with you and the progress you [and others] are making in necessitating the church examine and defend its lofty and largely unsubstantiated claims. I was a totally committed member for many years, holding several relatively [so called] prestigious positions but have been amongst the inactive for several years. I feel the church is, and will continue to undergo a substantial remaking of itself or it will cease to be relevant with most everyone, many members included. I would love to see it do so as it could then do much more good in the world than it now does, where so much of its energy is expended in attempting to defend its unsustainable positions through spin, illogical essays, etc.. Anyway, from my perspective you must keep up the good work. It is sorely needed! Perhaps, [and hopefully], the future will see the church become an institution which serves the many needs of the human family, instead of insisting it, the institution, be served by them!

    1. Great comments Frank! If only one or two current or emeritus GAs would post something similar (using pseudonyms is obviously the best we could expect at this point in time) I might still have some real hope of seeing change in my lifetime…

      1. Thank you for the kind response Jonathan. Yes, in the past I have been close friends/confidants with several individuals in very high positions. It would shock and astound many if I was to repeat what had been told me of the inner workings, dissent, hard feelings, true beliefs, etc. [if I was to repeat the comments I would never be believed anyway] but I mainly do not do so because I was told them in confidence. Suffice it to say, the church ha problems! If it would just admit to being “a” church instead of “the” church it could use it’s resources to do so much good, and ould perhaps again appeal to individuals such as you and me.

        1. Just one crumb of anecdotal information, please? One morsel, with names redacted? I’m not really sure how any of those men, had they a full understanding of just how many members acquire faith by proxy, could in good conscience remain silent. It’s nothing less than knowing deception. I know that Grant Palmer tells an oft-derided tale of meeting with a member of one of the quorums of the 70 (how many are there now?) who said he had lost faith. Would you find that story believable?

          1. David, I do not like to appear mysterious, nor having inside information others are not privy to, I do not consider that a proper nor acceptable method of information transfer. Having said that I do feel a genuine obligation to honor confidences from others, even though some [two] have passed on. However, you asked for a tid bit. I will give you one. One of my confidants [the major one] stated that the revelation concerning blacks and the priesthood was not revelation at all but the action taken out of necessity. Several bishops, stake presidents, and other leaders in various places [specifically Brazil], had been discovered to have black blood in their ancestry. What to do. Besides their own situation, were all the ordinations, blessings, weddings, etc, performed by them now null and void? The answer was determined to be, give blacks the priesthood, make the action retroactive, call it a revelation, which limits debate [who can argue with the Lord] and move forward. That is what was done according to my source. As evidence of the planning that went into the event he pointed out the removal of the reference to satan having a black skin being removed from the temple ceremony quite sometime prior to the revelation being made public, so that when blacks started to enter the temple, they would not have that slight to contend with.
            Now, enough from me. I anticipate dropping these issues at this time as progress is unlikely with any TBM regardless of the evidences, and I am uncomfortable with constant the bickering. I wish everyone well in their search for truth and happiness, and as I have already stated, I support John Dehlin in his efforts and wish him well and continued success. He is performing a valuable service!

          2. David, I for one, based on my own experience, find the Grant Palmer account very believable! I needed to clarify what I referred to with my previous response.

          3. Thanks for that, Frank. In other words, the non-revelation argument for the 1978 “revelation,” which is precisely what most skeptics argued, is the correct one. I appreciate both your willingness to share and unwillingness to go any further.

        2. A church vs. the Church has some problems. The church is operated by mortals, but with priesthood restoration, then it is the church. Now are all church leaders righteous and inspired, I would hope so. But mortals are mortal. Even the great Moses made mistakes, but does that negate is calling and the inspired things he did invalid? No. A church would be one like my friend who did not like his baptist church and started his own because he felt his interpretation of the scriptures was better than his ministers. Why did Brigham Young withhold the priesthood from Black men of African decent? Well, my great great great grandparents and the other Jolley Brother had 1,000 slaves in North Carolina. They sold their slaves with their plantations in the spring of 1841 and moved to Illinois by April 1841. They did not continue slavery. However, a lot LDS missionaries were killed after the Civil War in the South until the turn of the century because, I would imagine in part because we were anti-slave. Politics may have played into what Brigham Young did, or it could have been that the Lord did not want to subject the fragile church to more problems before it was well established. My personal testimony and experiences of being led by the Spirit in my church callings makes me say, as my grandfather said, I don’t know, but what I do know is that the priesthood is real, people are healed, inspiration happens in very specific ways, so God can sort out these details and hold accountable those who have sinned. I am not going to throw out the baby with the bathwater. And I see not a single other religion that requires as much and gives as much and has helped given me and my family a sense of being part of an eternal family as has the Church. I don’t see it any other church. Every worthy father and young man has a stewardship in their families and in the priesthood. No other earthly church puts the members in a place for growth and responsibility and personal improvement. My bishop that I had as a child got himself into financial trouble and kidnapped a child thinking he could get away with it and take the money and get out of trouble. He enjoyed time at the point of the mountains. Others I knew as a child joined the fundamentalists, but so what. I know that Daniel’s vision is being fulfilled by the restored church of Jesus Christ, and not by any other church. Only this church truly believe that we are God’s children and that deification, be ye therefore perfect, is taught here and believed. As the apostles said to the Savior when he had taught hard doctrines, where else will I go? There is no other savior and his church is led by mortals who hold the priesthood in an imperfect world.

          1. Actually, no one but the prophets and the Levites held the priesthood from about the time of Israel (Jacob) until Christ restored the Melchizedek priesthood during his lifetime. So historically, God has withheld for long periods of time the priesthood from even his chosen people. I think it is time for you to either start to live all the commandments and accept the restored church as being the true church with the priesthood functioning as God directs or just leave us alone. Satan tried to sway God to change his plan, and that didn’t work out too well for him, did it? Obviously, unless you can see into the mind of God, you will hardly be able to judge if what the prophet does is mortal babblings or inspired acts.

          2. Dallas, Just a few observations. First I am amazed at the conduit you have to the spirit that so many of the rest of us seem to lack. Your statements of knowledge, rather than belief or hope, are amazing. Second, I feel the present church has evolved [progressed] to the point were it is a reasonably acceptable institution…however, when you look back on such things as the mountain meadows massacre and explain it away as just the actions of fallible mortals, you go to far in my opinion, These actions would never be allowed by God to occur in His church and blemish His name…Or when you sweep away the rantings against blacks, interracial marriage being punishable by death, etc. as proclaimed by Brigham Young stating he spoke for the Lord in the matter, then it is my contention that neither the Lord [nor His church] could ever in any way be involved! The LDS church does its best to spin [explain] these away, but from my perspective, fail in their efforts. Now all this does not mean that the LDS church could not go forward from this point, admitting its errors of the past, regrouping, and becoming an institution aiding and assisting the downtrodden, despondent, and needy. If they would do so, I would be back on board with all fours…but until then they have little to offer so far as I am concerned!
            P.S. You can continue to quote scripture forever, [I have heard it all before], but until you actually address the issues involved, it is all in vain!

          3. The church does help the down trodden, etc. Locally, we do a ton for the needy. I have three advantage of having available journals of my ancestors who were present in their beginning. Daniel garn or carn was the 33 member of the church. He described when he saw the savior in the Kirtland Temple. He translated the book of Mormon into german too. His cabin used to be on temple square now in liberty park. William jackson jolley, my great great grand father was shot and left for dead in springville canyon with his brother by Indians in 1853. He lost the use of his arm, his brother lost an eye. His father died of pneumonia in. Council bluffs two years earlier. Grandma Jolley wrote about day Joseph and hyrum’s bodies were brought back to nauvoo. Arm chair historians didn’t experience these things. There were and are a lot of things that are too sacred to recount. I think you should read D&C sections 19, and 93. I was n the temple two weeks ago and in the chapel read section 29. I commend it to your reading. Grandpa Osguthorpe sawed the wood for the salt lake temple in his saw mill in mill creek canyon. When you walk the steps in the temple you are walking on that wood. President hinkley was my 2nd cousin 1 time removed. Gordon was an inspired man. My grandfather osguthorpe and his mother were brother and sister. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven and obedience opens the Windows of heaven. I know this is true. Making sausage is messy even for the Lord. Satan would sift us as wheat.

          4. Yes, Dallas, I agree it does help. But in my opinion it could do so much more if it built fewer malls

          5. Ok, I get really tried of the untruth the Church builds malls. I know all the arguments. Not one penny of tithing goes to the for profit Corporations. The progressives that read these can now proceed to dismantle this. The for profit corporations do more good providing jobs and better ability for others to provide for their families. I know profit is dirty word among those who frequent this site. The church does more good in balance than many other causes combined.So let’s at least agree that when the your ideology get in the way say the church should not participate in any for profit organization and all monies should go the the poor and needy and I can respect than a statement that insinuates that the church builds malls with tithing funds.

          6. @Dallas – Did you read the Church essay on race at LDS.org? It specifically “disavows” all the reasons given by previous prophets and general authorities for prohibiting blacks from receiving the priesthood.

            Does that mean that previous prophets who instructed members had it wrong when they told members it was the Lord’s will that blacks shouldn’t receive the priesthood? Would Church members have been in the right to defy the general authorities and ordain blacks to the priesthood anyway?

            How are we to know which pronouncements from the General Authorities are to be obeyed and which are unjust and should be defied? How do we know that current general authorities have it right with their position on Gay Marriage? If prophets could get something like ordination of blacks completely wrong (to the extent that the Church DISAVOWS their statements) then isn’t it possible the current general authorities could have some things wrong too?

          7. Dallas, you came here of your own volition. No one has gone out of there way to find and personally offend you. If you don’t like the movie, feel free to leave the theater.

          8. I made a covenant to stand as a witness at all times and in all places, so I am here to help. If I were dissatisfied with the church, with the knowledge I have, I don’t know how I could gain anything from any church. The Catholics are all messed up, they violate one of the earliest commandments to multiply and replenish the earth. Methodists are a dead group, the baptists like to only play one note, the Pentecostals are confused about a lot of things. The Lutherans think that grace covers everything in spite of what Luther actually taught and believed, and the church of England grew out of Rome. The Eastern Orthodox are good people who believe in joint-heirship with Christ. The Coptic Christians are sincere followers of Christ and have suffered much. So where do I go to know what Christ would have me do in this day and age? So where would I go? My ward has a bunch of wonderful people who are trying to live the gospel, love and serve their neighbors, and I feel the spirit as we teach each other the gospel of Jesus Christ. I home teach our mission president and we have great conversations because he is a first quorum of the seventy member. These folks are the salt of the earth. I could tell you specific blessings that have come to me and my family and to families I home teach because of the gospel. So be critical, tell me I am stupid or duped, or whatever, but I spent three years getting my degree in philosophy and I have considered the arguments and writing of several schools of thought and reason. Call my faith blind, but I cannot deny what I have seen and heard and experienced as I have lived the gospel. Faith, commitment, service, obedience, consecration. True principles to bring men and women to God.

          9. You cannot deny your experiences, and neither can many of he rest of us. It is a matter of conscience and integrity.

          10. Dallas,

            Yes, a prophet’s mistakes, especially abominations, can easily, quickly and forever negate his calling and inspiration.

            Christ warned us about falling for the many false or fallen prophets that will surround us today, those who claim to be, look and act like true prophets, but who lead us astray, knowingly or unknowingly. They may even be sincere, but still don’t follow Christ.

            And I believe the Catholics have always followed Christ far better then the Mormons, if you really study Christ’s teachings to see what he said.

            What does it take to make a prophet a false or fallen prophet?

            If Joseph or Brigham were true prophets who needs false ones?

            I believe righteous men don’t believe in men like Joseph and Brigham, for they see through them quickly, for righteous men believe in Christ and only those who follow him.

            Please study the words of Christ to be able to tell the difference between true and false prophets or the righteous from the unrighteous. It’s not hard to discern, if we are willing to see it.

          11. Plural marriage, a biblically sound doctrine vs. Inquisition? No priesthood for general membership vs. Restored priesthood? I think you can’t see beyond your ideology or opinion.

          12. Dallas not disrespect intended towards you but you can you at least understand why we have some legitimate concerns?

            Biggest example can be found opening your Book of Mormon. Why are italicized words in the King James Version of the bible that we’re put there by the translators in the 1600’s found in the BOM? A record supposedly written 1200 years before?

            To me the LDS church does a lot of good. But they also do a lot of harm, past and present. And continuing to spin, hide, and distort the truth for the sake of their reputation is terrible. Having faith in something that can be proven to have a lot of errors just isn’t going to work for me.

          13. Wow I really should proofread my comments before submitting them. Watching my two year old and trying to type a message apparently is difficult for me,

          14. @Dallas – I am still eagerly awaiting your answer to my question about your views of the LDS.org essays on Church history and doctrine. Have you read them?

          15. Dallas, since when was polygamy ever a ‘biblically sound doctrine’? God never commanded it, it was fallen prophets who just said or thought he did. God condemned polygamy in the New Testament and any prophet past or present has to live Christ’s laws if he wants to be considered righteous, let alone a true prophet.

            Just because someone in the Bible called himself a prophet and that he spoke for God or even saw him, doesn’t mean he did or does. That’s what all false prophets say.

            God is the same yesterday, today and forever and Christ said to judge prophets by whether they live Christ’s teachings or not, it’ doesn’t seem that any of the Bible prophets pass that test, nor any so-called prophets in these latter days either.

  55. Zack T. Zack, your assumption that I insinuated tithing money was used to build malls is incorrect. I do not know where the money to build/buy malls, ranches, Deseret Land and Livestock, etc. comes from. Perhaps you do. I would very much appreciate knowing where the 10’s of thousands of dollars in tithing I paid over the years was being used, but when inquiry was made, I was informed that the brethren had determined I [and basically all others] had no need to know. Why the secrecy? When I was a young man those figures were made known at every general conference, but in the 1950’s [if I correctly remember] the financial report began to be withheld from the general membership! Why? That was one [just one] of the factors contributing to my becoming inactive. It just doesn’t seem Christ like to me to withhold from the contributors, where their contributions are used. That is my take on it, I do not expect you to agree. Still, My personal opinion is that the church could do much more for the membership [and needy others] than it does. One final example…several years ago my father, a very active, believing, wonderful man who had served as a temple worker for many years, died of dementia in a Seventh Day Adventice facility. Why, because the Church [Mormon] has no such facilities available! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they did? I for one think so!
    The comments you read here from progressives are not meant just to be critical of the Church, but to offer suggestions of how we feel they could improve. Is that so bad?

  56. John Dehlin,

    I’ve been listening to your interviews for several months now, catching up. I’m a Mormon of whom the religion never took, although I grew up in a Mormon family and Mormon community. I was too much of a thinker and demanded too much logic. When I was five-years-old and was told Santa Claus was not real, I determined that God was not real, either, that both had been created to modify my behavior. My family thought this was very funny, but reassured me there was a God, just not a Santa. They completely ignored my connection with the two and the logic I had used to arrive at my conclusion. It did not get better, that is, I never did resolve those differences between God and Santa, at least as far as modifying my behavior. Anyway, enough rationalism from the five-year-old. I’ve loved your interviews, really enjoyed and appreciated the people you’ve interviewed and greatly admire your abilities as an interviewer, compassionate, interested and welcoming of everyone you bring on your podcast, believer and non-believer and all between. You show great respect for people and that is very encouraging and inspiring.

    You have a lot on your plate and I don’t know how you have managed to do these interviews along with raising a family and also pursuing your education, but sure appreciate that you must possess some super talents and stamina. A number of times you have interviewed folks of other faiths and religions. I have thought these people might be especially important to those Mormons questioning their own faith as they have provided spiritual and religious information that is outside just the Mormon experience. I have thought maybe it would be really important to these Mormons to discover that people in other faiths do find solace, happiness, truth, etc.,etc., in their beliefs and that the Mormon experience is not the only one that can be significant. It’s my observation that the typical Mormon has had little exposure to other beliefs, really, to even think of exposing oneself, is to invite in the Devil. I’ve always felt this was such a sorrowful and destructive position for people to be in. I’ve heard it said that one cannot understand their own religion if they do not have an understanding (at least some exposure) of other religions and beliefs. This isn’t scientifically amazing. Ha, ha! I’m sure you recognize this. But I was wondering if you would consider bringing on more folks of other faiths and beliefs and give them time to perhaps bring more awareness to your audience?? I realize your focus is on Mormonism, but I’ve thought that by opening more windows to other beliefs and other’s spirituality and religions, you might be helping struggling Mormons in some very powerful ways. Just a suggestion. Thank you so much for the work you are doing. I think you are amazing and that you are doing work that is truly spiritual; and if it turns out there is a God/Santa Claus, I would think he/she would greatly approve, or that she/he is speaking through you. Don’t worry, I’m not going to start calling you John the Prophet.

    Thank you!

  57. Rockwell, Blackwell, Pinkwell, well you know who I mean, the Destroying Angel of apostates The Ms. Calibash of Mormonism
    Porter Rockwell — He’s, in liturgical terms considered, The Cardinal of Reclamation and dead letters.

  58. Rockwell, Blackwell, Pinkwell, well you know who I mean, the Destroying Angel of apostates, The Ms. Calibash — Dirty Harry of Mormonism
    Porter Rockwell — He’s, in liturgical terms considered, The Cardinal of Reclamation and dead letters.

  59. Regarding the possibility of excommunication, I’m speculating that since Romney is publicly expressing an interest in running for President again, the LDS church will avoid the bad press of excommunicating John.

  60. I have a question for those who say that they have a problem with the LDS church claiming to be the only true religion.

    Shouldn’t every church claim to be the only true church? Because why would anyone belong to a church that does not claim to be true? If you are hung up on the word “ONLY,” still, shouldn’t every church claim to be the ONLY true church? I would assume there would be conflicting information if you compared any two religions, so any church stating that it is A true church would concern me… that would mean that they do not believe that they have the full truth, right?

    This question has puzzled me since I was in high school 16 years ago.

    1. All churches probably have some truth Ashley, but do you really believe any church can claim to exclusively have all truth? Anyone/any institution who/which claims to speak to/for God better make no mistakes, because to do so [after making such claims] denigrates God [in my opinion]!

  61. I would agree that people leaving the mormon church is becoming an epidemic. We have had several leave in our ward in the last year. Although, I was a little surprised about some of the comments John made about the people who may be transitioning. Things like there is no support at the church, they are ostracized, silence, punishment, not able to leave with dignity. Obviously I don’t know about every case of people leaving the church everywhere but I do know that here, the people who left did not seek help or counsel from bishopric or RS leaders etc. they left and no one knew why, they stopped coming, stopped answering phone calls, emails etc. and cut themselves off from all contact with those of us who are still active. Many of us tried to reach out and honestly tried to keep contact but were stone-walled. I just don’t believe the claim that people leaving are ostracized or that they don’t have support from those of us still in the church. I think they cut themselves off and then they wonder why they’re cut off?

    It’s sad, I’d be happy to still see and talk to my old friends but they never come to church or activities anymore or answer emails/calls, so what am I supposed to do? I know for a fact that many of them NEVER talked to the bishop or bishopric about their questions/doubts but rather, just stopped coming to church and asked to be released via email with no explanation given. How is that supposed to be dealt with in the church? The bishop would have LOVED to meet with them but they wouldn’t.

    Again, I know this is not the case everywhere but I suspect it is more often the case than is claimed. I see the ostracizing happening the other way around. Rather than those of us at church ostracizing those who’ve left, they’ve chosen to ostracize themselves and then choose to blame the rest of us for their choices. And then they go and get together with all the others who have left and bash those of us who stay. It boggles my mind.

    1. DJ,

      This puzzled me as well. I have been both active and inactive in every region of the united states and my experience has been that when inactive, there has always been an outreach, but never shaming or ostracizing. The ward members actually became more inclusive than exclusive (sometimes even annoyingly so) when I was inactive. One of my more recent wards was located in the Oakton, VA stake where Kate Kelly was excommunicated. Honestly, to this day, that ward is probably my second most favorite that I have ever attended because the people were real.

      Don’t get me wrong; I have my church issues but I think we need to be fair and not give the impression that things are different from the way that they are just because we struggle with some things in the church. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe John is referring to Utah wards. I wouldn’t be surprised if they ostracize the inactive there. I lived there for many years and this would not shock me. This is why I feel that every home-grown Utahn needs to get out of the bubble for a few years and live in other places to experience the real world. Utah does not equal normal. :-\

      1. P.S.

        And by “getting out of the bubble,” I do not mean going on a mission. A mission, perhaps, is even a smaller bubble than Utah. I mean actually getting out there and fully assimilating oneself with the culture and social norms of a given area.

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