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  1. There’s a certain irony that I can’t help but to note and chuckle at in a very nervous way. It does strike me as ironic that some post-Mormons are interested in polyarmory and non-monogamy, given the interest that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young had in the topic.

    On a few more serious notes, both cases (early Mormonism and post-Mormon) are openly defiant of what Lord Jesus very plainly taught. In the Gospels, He taught that remarriage after divorce is adultery. The only way this teaching makes sense is that in His Eyes, one is still married to the first spouse and it is the sin of adultery to be married to multiple people at once. This Christ God made plainly clear when He said, “Let man leave Father and Mother, be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh,” and again, “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” Joseph Smith and Brigham Young had no right to teach otherwise; they were in open rebellion against God by teach polygamy, and while I do not judge them or pretend to know their current spiritual welfare I do worry gravely for their souls.

    Another more serious note, much of the societal dysfunction in the Islamic world can be traced to its own practice of polygamy. Many young men are unmarried and have no prospect of ever finding wives because other men have multiple wives, and then we wonder why there are terrorists?! Seriously, we wonder why there are terrorists! Let’s start connecting some dots people. The natural order is one woman for one man (except for the gays lesbians, and well…the obvious variation of the theme for the heterosexuals).

    1. I just want to say that a discussion about religiously pressured polygamy is very different than a discussion about open marriage or polyamory. Which is gender neutral. And does not leave individuals without options (as polygamy does).

      1. THIS!

        My practice of polyamory doesn’t have anything do Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. Nothing. I can’t stand when people are like, “Well…it makes sense, you were Mormon once.” No, no it doesn’t make sense.

    2. It’s not ironic at all.

      JS and BY both had multiple wives. They wanted those wives and said that they needed to do it because GOD told them to. This is totally different. No one is getting manipulated into anything.

      1. I’m sorry everybody, but I always think that women are invariably manipulated in polyamory, non-monogamy, or whatever other name hipster name polygamy goes by. In a society of unbridled sexual liberation (that corresponds directly with an economy of unbridled capitalism where super-rich plutocrats can buy off the government or racist Fascist billionaires like Donald Trump can effectively buy a Presidential nomination by pretending to be a populist and the media thinks this is actually legitimate), women have no more power in society relative to men now than they did beforehand. In many ways, women actually have a worse position because now women are expected to sexualize themselves in order to advance socially, where in past years they did not have to do this kind of thing.

        It seems to me that polyamory is nothing but women deluding themselves into thinking that non-monogamy (which contradicts the majority of our prior evolution as a species by the way) is something that they actually want, when the reality of the matter is that women are actually going against their true wants and desires in order to procure a measure of security- be it workplace security, financial security, security of social position. In the case of a male-female-female poly-relationship, the two women are obviously satisfying the base lusts of an animal of a “man” not worthy of even being called a boy even, and the women are objectified and dehumanized in a most disgusting manner. In the case of a male-male-female poly-relationship, the woman is effectively prostituted out to a man’s male lover who is also attracted to women; the woman is not just objectified and dehumanized, but is also turned into a commodity.

        It is impossible for polyamory to ever honor the dignity of the woman. This is why Christ God forbade polyamory and polygamy when He institute the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, and this is also why He declared remarriage after divorce to be the sin of adultery.

        1. With respect, you’re wrong. And you’re politicizing it. The vast majority of the world is NOT monogamous. It sounds like you’re being dogmatic. Let women decide how they want to love people instead of shuving the “you’re being manipulated” card down their throats!

        2. You have no idea what you’re talking about. Since when are you the expert on what women want and why they want it? You’re not. And you’re wrong. Me being poly has NOTHING to do with social status or any of the other reasons you mentioned. In fact it could easily be aruued that me wanting to be poly does the opposite.

        3. ” I always think that women are invariably manipulated in polyamory, non-monogamy, or whatever other name hipster name polygamy goes by”

          This is an incredibly sexist statement. Women aren’t capable of thinking for themselves and following their own passions and desires? If women are choosing to have multiple sexual partners, they MUST be being manipulated because NO woman would EVER want sexual gratification from multiple partners if she could have just ONE.

          You need to let go of the patriarchy that Mormonism has instilled you with and view women as the equal sexual beings that they are!

          1. Thanks Bob. YES. And polyamory isn’t always about sex, just to be clear. It’s multiple loves, not multiple sex partners. For many that means more than one sexual partner, but not for everyone.

        4. WOW! Your belief is incredibly degrading of woman. Both men and woman can be manipulate, coerced and abused. This does not mean that every situation and relationship is formed and lived this way. Some people know how to refrain from pushing their will onto others and how to recognize and appreciate their partners for who they are and what they choose to bring into the relationship.

      2. False. People manipulate others all the time. I’ve had multiple post-Mormon men try to manipulate me into polyamory. They did not have my best interests in mind.

    3. Yes, I think this is where Joseph Smith was going. There is evidence that he had exposure to the Oneida community’s “complex marriage” concept which was in it’s apogee in the 1840’s.

      1. Joseph clearly abused his position as a religious and political leader to coerce women (and men) into something they often didn’t want. His successors clearly amplified this example. This is a very different concept than multiple people consensually choosing to have multiple other partners.

        1. Whenever you couple sexual conduct with mystical (faith based) associations, there is always the potential for coercion. When you look at the pattern sequence of Joseph Smith’s reputed sexual adventures, the affair (as Cowdery saw it) with Fanny Alger, reports from women like Sara Pratt who reported that Smith promoted concubinage, and section 132 plural marriage and polyandry, then even the suggestion of a revelation permitting a surrogate sexual partner for Emma, (William Law) I don’t think it unreasonable to suggest that Smith’s next step might have been a closed sexual congress that permitted polyamorous relationships. It seems that John Noyes, founder of Oneida, took that extra step.

  2. This treatment does really bother me.

    With all of the work that John has done with the LGBTQ community some of his comments really shock me. Think of how this podcast would come across to people who are polyamorous.

    When I first heard about polygamy in church when I was about 10 or 11 I thought it was a wonderful idea, until of course, I learned that only men could have more than one wife and not the other way around. Just like people who are LGBTQ say they knew from a young age that they weren’t like everyone else, I also knew I wasn’t like everyone else, not only am I bisexual but I’m also polyamorous simply by nature.

    In 6th grade for a while I had “two boyfriends” and I was fundamentally slut shamed by multiple people that I could even consider such a thing. I was told that I was inherently wrong for being who I was – that I was an adulterer.

    Some of us simply feel in our hearts that it’s not only possible to love more than one person at a time, that it is preferable, that it is where our heart leads us. And imagine how difficult it is to live in a society where we are told we are wrong, immoral, evil.

    I don’t think if the subject was LGBTQ that it would have been so carelessly covered. This is why people who are polyamorous feel like they need to hide it, which is no less dangerous than it is for LGBTQ’s to hide their true identity.

    I was hoping for more.

    There are cultures all over the world that practice polyamory in one form or fashion. I think if we had grown up knowing it was an acceptable choice and seeing positive examples of polyamory that more people would choose it. I think a lot of the evidence of unsuccessful polyamory comes from the pressure of cultural norms and religious or moral ideology saying it’s wrong and how that affects the individual in deeply fundamental ways. And I think there are several benefits to polyamory that culturally we are blind to.

    1. Jayla,
      I agree with so much of what you’re saying. I’m just starting to listen and we were just in such a goofy mood to begin with that had nothing to do with the topic (like John’s driving habits for example). Anyway, I think we were trying to address exactly what your’e talking about. The stigmas and shaming go so deep on this issue. We live in a monogamous insistent culture FOR SURE. And yes, we could have done a much better job framing it to begin with. I’m hopeful that some of the comments that might seem shocking and even profoundly offensive to those living or interested in consensual non-monogamy – can serve as a beginning understanding that these types of biases are really not okay to have. I see us as a society as very behind on this topic – compared to some of the other social justice issues (i.e. LGBTQ for example).
      I’m hopeful that like many of the disclaimers state – that this is a beginning conversation. And that we can do MUCH BETTER from here.
      I am so sorry to hear of the many ways you were personally harmed by our culture’s positions and discriminations.

      1. Natasha, thank you! I thought you did very well covering the topic. You displayed an open mind, compassion and also an attitude of “people get to choose what works for them” which I think is so important.

        I had to stop listening after both John and Gina’s words were clear that polyamory was so repulsive to them. And when they started in on saying you were “normalizing” polyamory as though that was a bad thing.

        I have to say I adore both John and Gina – I think they are AWESOME people. That’s part of the reason I was so disappointed. My heart is hurting. And I agree, society is VERY behind on this topic. We have such a weird culture – both Mormon / Post-Mormon and just the US in general – where we think it’s okay (and even preferable) to impose our religious and moral beliefs on others.

        1. Post
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          Jayla – Sincerely sorry you were disappointed…but I ask you to be patient if you can. Part of the strategy behind the rawness of this episode is to reflect the rawness and ignorance “out there,” and to facilitate the education process. Natasha has a head start on many of us monogamists because she’s a sex therapist and has been treating non-monogamist couples for over a year. If you can, help us understand, and give us time to learn. If you can/will, then you will likely bring us and many others along in the process of understanding. As you know, the ignorance is already out there. Think of this as the process of educating. Sorry again for the pain. Sincerely so. <3

          1. Thank John. I am a big fan and supporter of yours and love what Mormon Stories has done for me and so many others.

            I do hope you can get to the point of being an “ally” for polyamory like you are with LGBTQ.

            I am happy to share anything I can with you to help bring understanding.

            I’m very much in the closet, both about being bisexual and polyamorous. (You may have guessed “Jayla” is not my real name.) Currently I am in a very happy monogamous marriage. I am deeply in love with my husband, and he knows that I am bisexual and lean towards polyamory, although he is in various levels of denial about both. But I am very happy being in a monogamous marriage with him and I honor with complete fidelity the sanctity of our commitments to each other.

            That being said, if, at some point, he were to feel supportive of me exploring these sides of me, I think I could get to a much deeper, happy, and authentic state of being ME. But to me our relationship is more important than exploring these sides of me – but we are able to explore them, as Natasha pointed out, in our private fantasies, and that is fantastic and fun.

          2. John, frankly I think that this is a pretty weak excuse for the crassness and insensitivity of your comment. It’s disappointing that it’s continuing to be “waved away” or “justified” by exclaimers. Own it, and move on. It was really out of line and extremely insensitive and offensive. If it had been said in the context of an LGBT relationship – that one could imagine people being repulsed by homosexuality in the same way we would be repulsed by eating children…just stop, breathe, and reflect…before trying to justify and excuse….

            In other words, trying to make excuses makes the offense worse.

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          4. <3 <3 You're a good man John, and I admire what you do. Thank you I was very pleased at how the conversation ended up after the rough way that it started. Look forward to future, more nuanced and sensitive treatment of the subject. Natasha is such a gift to this community with her ability to connect and guide people through this tough territory.

        2. What I’d like to say as far as the process: as I was talking I could see both Gina and John nodding their heads in agreement and by the end I think they both did a good job of sharing how some of their own perspectives had changed. It’s definitely a process. I know I had to do a lot of self-challenging before I could talk about this topic and see couples in a very different way in my practice. I’m hoping we can hold space for your legitimate pain and offense Jayla AND the process many still need to face as they explore something most are very uncomfortable with. Lots of love to you!

          1. I suggest listening to the end Jayla! John and I were gloves off skeptics and ignoramuses and literally processing as we were driving along. If you expecting allies who had began this conversation as such this will obviously disappoint. But I think Natasha’s even hand won me over to a more nuanced position on polyamory.

    2. And here’s the thing:

      I have friends who are polyamorous by nature.

      I am monogamous by nature. So is my partner. Even so, I have had to deal with multiple post-Mormon married men working to manipulate me into polyamory. It’s been an awful experience.

      They’re sexually dissatisfied but don’t want to lose their social statuses, wives or take on the challenges of divorce. So they act predatorialy within the post-Mormon community. They intentionally target women in vulnerable situations.

      Their predatory behaviors are different than polyamory.

      Unless both you and your spouse are naturally polyamorous, get a divorce if you don’t like your sex life. You might discover that you’re actually naturally monogamous like my parter and I am.

      And lay off on the manipulating of your wife for her to become polyamorous so you can play around. If she’s naturally monogamous, she’s naturally monogamous. Get up the courage to end your old “Eternal” marriage so you can figure out who you really are.

  3. I should never have mentioned infidelity and open marriage in the same sentence. I knew what I meant in my head – but that did not come out correctly at all. There is nothing “open” about infidelity.
    And I did not do a good job of differentiating enough between sexuality between partners and emotional/romantic connections between partners.

    1. I totally got where you were coming from… Basically that infidelity is sort of a “secret polyamory” – multiple loves for one or both partners, but where the other partner(s) didn’t have knowledge it was happening and did not have a choice or say in the matter.

    2. Natasha….. the married post-Mormon men who are dissatisfied with their sex lives are busy taking advantage of women in vulnerable situations. When they do tell their wives, they’re busy manipulating their wives who may be naturally monagamous into supporting extramarital sex.

      There is a big difference between being naturally polyamorous and being someone who has been stuck in a sexually incompatible eternal marriage since age 21.

      It’s wicked dangerous for vulnerable women in the post-Mormon world right now.

      You are lacking in street smarts. I’m not sure you’re qualified to advise on this one. You need to talk to the women who have been there.

      1. Agreed. How about a follow-up with some of the women who have been coerced into open marriages by their spouses who had cheated and then retroactively called it polyamory?
        Admittedly my ‘evidence’ is purely anecdotal, but from what I have observed in the post Mormon world, polyamory mostly benefits the men and objectifies the women.
        I do believe that there are people who are polyamorous by nature, but, in my opinion, the vast majority of post Mormons are merely using it as an excuse to have the adolescence they feel they were denied by their faith.

      2. You are only looking at it one, narrow, way. You are looking at it from the perspective of a victimized woman. That is a viewpoint that does need to be shared and considered. However that is the ONLY viewpoint you are considering. Marriage goes both ways and must work for all involved, otherwise it is not a (complete) success. There must be communication and honesty in the marriage. You say the woman may be only interested in monogamy; fair enough. But what if the spouse has needs that are not being met, whether they be emotionally, sexually, intellectually, or whatever. And what if the spouse whose needs aren’t being met is the woman? Does the one spouse have to be potentially miserable at worst, or unfulfilled at best? It is rare that one person can meet 100% of the needs of another, and even rarer for THEIR needs to be met 100% as well. If this continues it will end in tears, infidelity and/or divorce. No one person should get to dictate the whole of the relationship to the other. Rather than letting it get to infidelity or divorce why not try reaching an agreement before that point? And try being 100% honest with each other. I am quite convinced that is what saved my marriage. I have enough love and attention for both of my wives, and in return I receive some of the things I was not receiving before. I’m sorry if you have had unpleasant experiences with this subject before, but I assure you it is not a black and white issue. If you have any questions let me know.

        1. This is just the reality of the street in post-Mormonism right now.

          It’s simple really. Here’s how it works:

          I am naturally monogamous.

          I had a post-Mormon man who also publicly pretends to be naturally monogamous try to get me to practice polyamory with him. After I said no and told him I didn’t want to hurt his wife, he convinced his wife to try polyamory then came back to me.

          But that didn’t solve much for me because I’m naturally monogamous. Just because his wife had now supposedly accepted the situation he was pushing for, that didn’t change my desire to be in a committed monogamous relationship.

          It was just a lot of lame pressuring.

          I could go on with other examples but what it comes down to is that I only feel okay when I am in a monogamous relationship. I have a partner who feels the same way. We’ve both managed the hard work of divorce. We both self-identify as monogamous. I want the fake polyamory post-Mormon men to knock it off. They’re not necessarily naturally polyamorous (although there’s a chance they could be) — they’re afraid of change and want to explore to figure themselves out. So they justify putting a lot of pressure on other people to become something (polyamorous) they may not be. From what I’ve seen, it’s an exciting game for them.

          What really irks me is how many of these guys who are poking around for “polyamory” (and unjustly giving polyamory a bad name), publicly pretend to be against it.

          He11, I’ve even had one pretend like his plays for polyamory were infidelity so he could confess to his wife and bishop and still publicly pretend he’s against polyamory.

          It’s a disgusting manipulation. They fool people by publicly speaking dismissively of the same things they privately seek.

          These post-Mormon male sexual crises really hurt women who are solidly monogamous as well as honestly polyamorous men and women.

          Divorce is rough, I get it. Families hurt. I get it. But the manipulative use of polyamory hurts the rest of us who aren’t staying in old sexually incompatible eternal marriages because we’re scared. .

          My advice at this point is: grow up and take care of the leftovers of Mormonism the right way or stay out of other people’s pants. If you want to try to figure out if you’re really polyamorous instead of in an old eternal marriage that started when you were too young, you’re not likely to figure it out until you take care of what’s really wrong first.

          Don’t add a new set of messes to the mess you already have.

        2. There’s a wide world full of good people who support divorce because they’re living authentic lives. No need to presume divorce is necessarily bad. There is lots of wisdom in the world that contradicts the truisms we assume represent reality.

          I have one friend, a woman, who has been naturally poly throughout her life. But experimenting with polyamory to prevent divorce does not equal actually being naturally polyamorous and the resulting confusion is supporting a lot of predatory behaviors and pressure tactics within post-Mormonism.

          (And infidelity often occurs when marriages are kept for too long because getting out of them is to hard and one partner has more extramarital sexual prospects than the other and the less marketable partner makes divorce difficult.

          Throwing in the polyamory card is a tactic the more marketable partner can use to convince the one who is unreasonably holding on to the marriage to “allow” new sexual partners in order to save the marriage. This kind of relationship power struggle should not be confused with an actual polyamorous nature.)

          1. Well…. and I should add that one thing I have seen happen is that the husband is sexually attracted to a woman who is not his wife, he decides this is because he’s naturally polyamorous. He convinces his wife to let other people into the relationship. Then, after all that, she’s much more able to get new partners than he is.

            I’m not saying this is true in all cases, but there are good evolutionary arguments for women being more likely than me to be naturally monogamous and men being more likely than women to be naturally polyamorous as these are the sexual strategies that would allow for the highest likelihood of passing genes on to the next generation.

  4. Processing. What most worries me is poor Natasha voicing her needs several times and never getting relief. And then Gina making her giggle and laugh. OMGOSH I was seriously concerned Natasha would pee her pants. Please tell me John Dehlin found a rest stop soon. Thank you for tackling a tough subject. Eye opening.

    1. Thank you for the empathy you are showing to my bladder! It was a bit concerned throughout. And I did actually get to stop at a bonafide bathroom and get relief. 😉
      Gina now has me pegged as the one with the little bladder (after 10 hours of road tripping together — I guess she has the right to an opinion).

  5. Post
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    It’s ok if people don’t believe me, but I want to go on record as saying that I am sometimes consciously a bit thick or ignorant or obnoxious…because I’m trying to channel/represent common perspectives or misperceptions people have “out there” about topics. Since I obtained my Ph.D. people tend to say, “Gosh John! How can a Ph.D. be so stupid and insensitive!” and all I can say is….in the role of podcaster I am playing the role of podcast host…not of psychologist. I trust that wise people can make that distinction. Tons of love and respect.

    1. No one should expect perfection from anyone including ones self. Nothing good will come from that. I appreciate that you follow that heart you wear on your sleeve. I recognize your intentions and they are bringing forth good fruit. Not everyone likes the same fruit and that is ok because everyone that likes your fruits get to enjoy it and find nourishment.

  6. Oy vey, this was hard to listen to.. I almost rather you lot not touch this subject with a ten foot pole than mangled it the way JD and the British woman did.. The amount of stereotypes and just general condescending attitudes ppl had in this podcast was in all honesty shameful…smfh..Hey, thank you for perpetuating the negative connotations surrounding ethical nonmonogomy and pushing us polys further in closet.

    1. a) I’m not British!

      b) I claim no expertise in the subject, I was literally a passenger processing my own heavy skepticism along the way. So if John and I dropped some heavy clangers – our apologies for any offence caused.

      However, what it did do was surface some misunderstandings and misgivings about the practice that we and many others hold. Natasha was amazing in the way she dealt with our concerns.

      In the end however, we got to a good place in this discussion. She hasn’t won me over personally to polyamory but she has helped me understand it and to unwind it from the polygamy averse knots I feel.

      Now when I the subject is raised I won’t be horrified, I’ll likely be softer and more understanding. That has to be a win.

    2. I feel like there is rampant paranoia from many of the people on this thread. Just like in the past people have said “oh no the blacks are coming to steal our women from us” or “oh no the gays are coming for our children to convert them”. Then “oh no the atheists are coming to take away our bibles and deconvert our children”. Poly’s are another class of people having to stay in the closet until people’s irrational fears are brought out into the light and vanquished. I refuse to apologize for doing what makes me and my family happy.

  7. Tobias: You know, Lindsay, as a therapist, I have advised a number of couples to explore an open relationship where the couple remains emotionally committed, but free to explore extra-marital encounters.

    Lindsay: Well, did it work for those people?

    Tobias: No, it never does. I mean, these people somehow delude themselves into thinking it might, but…. but it might work for us.

    Lindsay: Well, we could give it a shot.

    Tobias: Great. We’ll hammer out the details later. Right now, we’ve got a daughter to tell. Maeby! We’re having a family meeting.

  8. Some of the stuff at the beginning was hard to listen to because of the heaviness of the judgement, and I’m not even polyamorous. Everything Natasha said was great and thought provoking.

  9. I just want to thank John for being willing to have this topic on Mormon Stories at all. I know I’ve been hesitant to talk publicly about my support for polyamorous/open relationships for a lot of the reasons cited as to discrimination. We often make mistakes along the way – especially in new territories. I’m hopeful we can all be gracious towards one another as we learn to take down one more area where discrimination divides unnecessarily. John – thank you for being such a good friend, for supporting my work and for being willing to shift in your own paradigm as well. We’ve been through a lot of that together, haven’t we? 😉
    For those who have lived this discrimination personally – you can be as upset with us as you’d like. It’s so awful how we often treat each other as fellow human beings.
    Lots of love to all.

    1. But Natasha……

      Discrimination against people who are naturally polyamorous is a different issue than tackling this subject among post-Mormons.

      You’re being manipulated right now by people who support manipulating wishing marriage.

      The population you’re speaking to is in sexual crisis and there are predators taking advantage of it.

      1. Many manipulate,

        If you would be willing to explain who is manipulating Natasha and how they are doing this, I would appreciate it because I have a different perspective and I would like to understand your conclusion here.

        I totally do not agree with you that the issues of the discrimination against people who are naturally polyamorous, who were mormons, and how they have been moving forward with their experiences with polyandry as post mormons has no connection.

        Nor do I agree with your statement ” The population you’re speaking to is in sexual crisis”. This statement suggests that we are ALL in a state of sexual crisis. I would agree that some or even many listeners may be in a sexual crisis, but not all. I am not willing to be placed into this category and I am sure there are others who are not willing to be placed in it either.

        I absolutely do agree that their are predators out there and that they will prey on post-mormons that are vulnerable, but this is not exclusively done to or perpetrated by people who are polyamorous. The subject of sexual predators preying on post-mormons would be a good topic for a pod cast. I personally would like there to be many pod casts covering all kinds of abusers and predators and the tactics that they use such as compliments, promises, fear, passive aggressiveness, creating an illusions of dependency, projecting themselves as a person of power and authority, the art of undue influence, etc., etc., etc. The more people learn about abuse and what it looks like the less vulnerable they will become.

        1. Hi….. I added a comment above with specific examples of how post-Mormon men who are in old sexually incompatible Mormon marriages have used manipulation.

          I hope I was able to address how both naturally monogamous and naturally polyamorous people are harmed by their manipulations, but am posting from my phone so may not be as thorough as I would be on a computer.

          The fact that this occurs in many post-Mormon cases of course does not mean that predatory manipulations are part of all post-Mormon cases.

          This subject is an after-Mormonism nightmare. Most of us were married off without enough life experience. The subject of polyamory to a post-Mormon audience needs different treatment than it would if addressing other audiences.

          My opinion is that Natasha is educated enough and informed enough to figure out how she’s being manipulated without me spelling it all out for her here. I’d also prefer not to do so.

          I hope I’ve at least addressed most of your questions.

          1. I believe you have misunderstood my question. I have concluded this because you answered a question that I did not ask and avoided the question that I did ask. I didn’t ask how or why post mormons are being manipulated and abused. I am well aware that this happens and did acknowledge this in my response to your comment. Nor did I ask you to explain to Natasha how she was being manipulated. I asked you if you would explain to me how you have come to the conclusion that she was being manipulated.

            I listened to the pod cast and did not catch any attempts from John or Gina to manipulate Natasha and though I have not read every single comment on this thread I have not yet come across a comment that was meant to manipulate Natatsha in the manner that I perceive you have presented. I would hope that your conclusion did not come from any assumptions that Natasha is being manipulated by her clients due to the fact that none of us are privy to those client sessions and conversations.

            My perception of Natasha’s role in this pod-cast was to share some insight on polyamorous post mormons in order to help remove some of the discrimination against them and to let them know that there are some therapist out there that can help these people navigate this path. Just because she did not discuss the additional topic of predatory abuse on post-mormons does not automatically mean that she has been manipulated. If I am missing something then I would like to be enlightened on how you have come to the conclusion of your claim that Natasha is being manipulated.

            I would also like to make a clear statement that manipulation and abuse does not exist because of polyandry. Manipulation and abuse exists because humans are willing to selfishly do what they do to get what they want and there are so few people that know how to recognize it. There are even fewer people that have the ability to stand up to it. If tomorrow, every human being understood how to recognize every form of manipulation and abuse then tomorrow the LDS church, as we know it, would implode along with probably every other religion, most marriages, governments, advertisement agencies, corporations, you name it……..

            I do hope that my bluntness does not come across in my writing as an attack on you. The tone in my head is friendly.

  10. I know my disgust at this topic will be considered negatively by any interested in it. I am NOT, nor will I ever be interested in this topic. I have listened to Mormon Stories for years, but if this is the direction it is going-I will be done with it. I will not respond or argue with any who wish to bash my comment on this. I will always be pro-monogamy. I feel anything else is immoral. It just feels wrong in my soul. Sorry for any offense this opinion brings, but talk of the contrary offends me-so I guess we’re even. I started my journey out of the church initially due to my soul’s disgust at polygamy. I hope this isn’t the direction Mormon Stories is going. Those that criticize those of us who have left the church are expecting this kind of stuff-and I had really hoped to stay on a higher ground than this. Please don’t bother trying to start big conversations about why I need to be open-minded on this. You will be wasting your breath. I’ve enjoyed Mormon Stories. But maybe it’s time to say goodbye.

    1. Just because we did a podcast on a topic that affects some post mormons does not mean that this is the “direction Mormon Stories will be going.” There is absolutely nothing wrong or questionable about you being pro-monogamy. What I have always admired about Mormon Stories – is its ability to allow voices to speak that don’t necessarily fit the norm. And I’m guessing you did not listen to the podcast – because we were very clear about how religiously pressured polygamy is very different from the topic of this podcast.

    2. Your mind has been opened to the problems of mormonism (clearly if you are a MS fan) but remains closed to the other biases you were raised with. I suggest you question your biases, not just about this but about everything you think you know.

      Immorality is when you intentionally hurt (physically, financially, emotionally, etc) or kill another person. It can not therefore be immoral for multiple people to consensually choose to love one another and even express that love sexually.

      As for being uninterested in the topic, I suggest you just skip the episodes that don’t interest you. That’s what I do.

    3. The moral high ground? Pro monogamy is the moral high ground? Am I supposed to be enslaved to your belief? Can you find it in your heart to accept me as I am and allow me to be free to embrace my beliefs without scorn and degradation?

  11. So few people I’ve ever known have had the emotional maturity and resilience to exist and thrive within a traditional monogamous relationship (myself included). It’s hard for me to imagine an “open” relationship in which someone doesn’t get hurt or left out or eventually left behind. I guess it might work if all of the attendant relationships were relatively fleeting and nothing else was expected by anyone involved, though foregoing expectations requires more emotional maturity than most people can muster for very long.

    It sounds dangerous to me.

  12. I haven’t finished listening to this podcast. And setting aside whether this specific issue is immoral or not for a moment, I do feel like one of the reasons religions exist is to try to work out questions of ethics and morality. The discussions presupposes an idea that what works for an individual is what’s moral and that attempts to universalize morality is problematic.

    It’s a very scientific, libertarian kind of approach to ethics and one I don’t feel very comfortable with as it pushes out of the discussion theologians, philosophers of ethics and others from this discussion.

    1. It can also be problematic to not attempt to universalize morality to the benefit of all IMO.

      Is it moral for muslims to kill a woman who is the victim of rape? Is it moral for her to lose appendages because she “spoke ill” of her husband? Are forced, pre-arranged marriages moral? In your view it seems we ought to be ok with these because that is their version of morality as born from Islam.

      The libertarian “live and let live, don’t intentionally hurt, and consent” baseline seems like a very good starting place to resolve what competing religions have never resolved and likely never will.

  13. Natasha between this podcast and one you did for “Debrief Society” you have helped me so much. Because I have finally realized I’m not solely responsible for my spouses sexual needs any more than he’s reponsible for mine. I doubt we will ever open up our marriage but it’s eased his guilt and my feelings of inadequacy about porn and masturbation. That alone has made our marriage so much healthier. So thanks

  14. John
    Maybe you won’t post this…..but I hope you do

    I truly care about you and think of you almost like a son —so I will be honest with you. I don’t think your podcast was a representation of the amazing person you are, with so much intelligence and insight … it saddened me. your podcast began as if you were all drunk and it didn’t get much better from there.

    I think what draws your listeners together is their common experience of discovery of the lies within the Mormon church and the unjust unChristlike attitudes and teachings. This is why I would want my family and friends to listen to your podcast

    When you take on issues such as this you are assuming that your listeners will be interested and support you

    I feel you have gone so far from your original goals and your intent to find truth

    your discussion didn’t really relate to the Mormon church at all. you call it Mormon stories? so how does this fit in? it doesn’t! There are so many very important issues and people to interview that have vital things to say about the Mormon church and experience

    Please Do this sort of podcast on some other forum, if you must

    I would be embarrassed and ashamed to tell my friends to listen to your podcast and have them find this one–sadly I think you’re going to lose respect from your listeners

    you are taking up subjects which you cannot assume your listeners will support

    I have become pretty open minded and non-judgmental at 66 —-But i for one feel very strongly about the devotion respect and love that two people have for each other, legally married or not– it disturbs me that you would think this discussion would be of interest to me

    It appears you feel differently about monogamy–I am disappointed, but allow you the right to your own preferences

    people can live the type of life they want sexually–but please don’t ask me to agree
    Even lgbtg couples can be monogamous–a

    I can treat the people you are discussing –multiple sexual partners at one time—with kindness but that doesn’t mean I in anyway agree with their lifestyle!!

    matter fact it is really disturbing to me. I think there are many reasons that a non monogamous relationship is not healthy (That is one reason I was so disturbed with j smith. ) but the point is this subject is not appropriate for A Mormon stories podcast

    Please don’t make us feel we should be interested or support this type of lifestyle
    It really has nothing to do with Mormon stories

    When you focus on issues that do not relate to the Mormon Experience–you’re getting in areas that we all have very different opinions

    We post mormons have gone through a very difficult transition and come to a point where we enjoy and value our own personal opinions —and don’t want to be told what to think
    As long as we are respectable and kind to others that is the most you can ask–we don’t have to agree that is the lifestyle we want

    Please find topics and people to interview that are directly related to the Mormon experience–therefore “Mormon stories”

    Thank you John please live up to your amazing reputation and the focus for this podcast program

    1. Well, I have been accused of being drunk before in my laughing/giddy stages of life. Sorry about that. We were on a road trip and we were being way silly before we decided to record.
      Not sure you listened to the entirety of the podcast. Because John is actually quite clear that he has zero interest in living polyamorously — nor does he have zero interest in making people feel like they should be interested in polyamory. And I feel the same way.
      This is not a podcast about making people feel anything. It’s a podcast meant for us to look at our own biases, own our own relationships and sexuality, help us stop making assumptions of people who might live differently than we do, and whether monogamous or polyamorous — are our relational/sexual dynamics coming from healthy, authentic, honest spaces with our partners.
      And this is a Mormon topic — since many post Mormons are considering these relational dynamics as options. We want to make sure that if that’s the route someone wants to go – that they do so an informed manner with the best information possible to reduce risk and enhance relational success.

    2. “matter fact it is really disturbing to me. I think there are many reasons that a non monogamous relationship is not healthy ”

      “I have become pretty open minded and non-judgmental at 66”

      Clearly you have not. Pray tell, what is special about a relationship built of 2 as opposed to more than 2? Try not to rely on your biases here, but give objective reasons in defending your position.

      I also disagree 100% that this is not related to Mormonism. As someone with first hand experience in polyamory (after leaving the church), meeting another polyamorous person in Utah it is almost the exception if they were not raised LDS. Being raised in a sexually repressive religion and then later discovering its falseness, one tends to question everything they thought they “knew” (at least I did), including societal biases such as the purity and “correctness” of monogamy.

      I think former mormons ought to be challenging their biases in all regards and this is just what I’d love mormon stories to continue doing.

    3. I also disagree with you 100% that this is not a mormon issue. Why should I be made to feel like a despicable human being because I make choices that are authentic to me and enrich my life? We are not cookies cut from the same cutter. Why do you feel so important that Mormon Stories should only cater to your interests? There are many us who have been damaged by the church because we were taught that we were scummy people. I am not a wild animal that went of the deep end when I escaped my chains. I am a normal rational person that no longer has to suffer from other peoples tactics to keep me pigeonholed into their comfort zones.

  15. John
    It appears that you felt you needed to agree with this type of sexual relationship because you wanted to be nonjudgmental
    You were even apologizing for having your own opinions–are you being honest about what you truly believe is your preference for you or your loved ones?

    Are you afraid to have an opinion which may be contrary to their’s ? I want to say that it’s OK for you to have your own personal preferences–as long as you treat others with respect. you don’t have to say someone else’s philosophy works for you.

    1. I thought John was crystal clear in stating his preferences in the podcast. I think we should be able to talk about a topic without assuming any certain person would therefore be personally interested or not interested in the topic being discussed.

  16. We are post Mormon and we have tried this…and failed…it’s been very traumatic…but it definitely does have everything to do with the podcast and here’s why: when Mormons get married and then leave, there can be drastic value differences that were not apparent before when the Mormon value system was enforced on both parties. This is not any more apparent than in the realm of sex. And, since polygamy was one of the reasons I lost my faith in the first place, my partner deciding his orientation was polyamorous right after we left was very traumatic. So to reply to the above commenter, yes, this has everything to do with leaving Mormonism actually.

  17. So when people leave the church they just start embracing and accepting anything and everything???? I have left the church, but I still believe that there needs to be constraint and some degree of self-control left on the behaviors and activities I engage in. Just because the church isn’t true, doesn’t mean we have to now accept anything the church would have frowned on. It is sad if now we just say that everything is okay and that nothing is off limits now that we’re not in the church. Again, this is the kind of stuff that people who have watched us leave expect. It makes a hard case to show that people can still have morals and decency when they leave the church when they start exploring stuff like this. No wonder our loved ones react so negatively and fearfully when we leave. I find it interesting John that you apologize to those who are engaging in this lifestyle for saying things they deemed insensitive, but you aren’t apologizing to those avid listeners of yours who are now disappointed that you would stoop to this. I understand you have people who need to discuss this who it is a legitimite issue for. But as Emma suggested, maybe you could find a different place for stuff like this. I too have referred family and friends to Mormon Stories in hopes they could gain some insight and understanding into the realities of the pain for those who have left and why they did it. However, stories like these will scare them away and they will miss all the very beneficial things you have done thus far.

    1. “So when people leave the church they just start embracing and accepting anything and everything????”

      Hyperbole much? Is it a surprise that people leaving a sexually repressive religion that frowns upon even normal practices such as masturbation would also start questioning other biases built into their world view through mormonism?

      No one says you have to live this way. All we ask is that you tolerate that it might be OK for some people to live this way and accept that they can be happy, healthy individuals in so doing (and sometimes, they won’t be).

      If you don’t like the episodes on this subject, skip. That’s the beauty of consent, no one is forcing you to listen.

    2. “So when people leave the church they just start embracing and accepting anything and everything????”

      No. They search out who they are by exploring and dabbling in the things that interest them.

      “I have left the church, but I still believe that there needs to be constraint and some degree of self-control left on the behaviors and activities I engage in.”

      The key words that you said is (I believe). Who made your beliefs the rule for everyone else to live by? Why do you assume that no one uses any constraint and any degree of self-control when they are on their paths of exploration? How does this effect the behaviors and activities you engage in? You may want to look up the word narcissism.

      “Just because the church isn’t true, doesn’t mean we have to now accept anything the church would have frowned on.”

      This is true. You do not have to accept anything that you do not want to accept. Who is making you? However, there are consequences to choices and everyone that you choose to alienate and put down will most likely return those same feeling and actions to you.

      ” It is sad if now we just say that everything is okay and that nothing is off limits now that we’re not in the church. ”

      This is an overly dramatic comment that is not correct. We are discussing activities that consenting adults are choosing to make.

      “Again, this is the kind of stuff that people who have watched us leave expect.”

      The question is, why do you wish to enslave yourself to the fear of what other people think of you?

      “It makes a hard case to show that people can still have morals and decency when they leave the church when they start exploring stuff like this. ”

      Your views on morals are not the same as other peoples views on morals. What makes your morals superior to everyone else? Explain to me your views how polyandry is immoral and are they truly your views or the views you have been taught?

      ” No wonder our loved ones react so negatively and fearfully when we leave.”

      So you think this is why the members act negative and fearful? Did it ever cross your mind that the church may have taught the members to fear these things in the first place in order for the leaders to maintain power over the members? Don’t they have an incredible incentive to keep these members under control, such as feeding egos and maintaining a multi billion dollar business?

      “I find it interesting John that you apologize to those who are engaging in this lifestyle for saying things they deemed insensitive, but you aren’t apologizing to those avid listeners of yours who are now disappointed that you would stoop to this.”

      You were told the subject matter of the podcast at the beginning of it. If you didn’t want to hear it you should have chose to not listen to it. Apologize to yourself for so rudely inflicting this subject matter onto yourself. Yes and how dare John stoop so grievously low to our pathetic level as we are not so important as you on your thrown that is so high!!! How dare we think we have the right to be acknowledged and heard. After all, your majesty, your voice is the only one that matters, isn’t it?

      ” I understand you have people who need to discuss this who it is a legitimite issue for. But as Emma suggested, maybe you could find a different place for stuff like this.”

      Oh yes, John should segregate us by finding a different place for us freaks because you somehow cannot make the decision to avoid pushing the button and listening.

      ” I too have referred family and friends to Mormon Stories in hopes they could gain some insight and understanding into the realities of the pain for those who have left and why they did it. However, stories like these will scare them away and they will miss all the very beneficial things you have done thus far.”

      So the realities of pain that the church inflicted on people like me is not important like yours? Why do you feel as though you need to hover over and shield others from some exposure to stories and discussions? Are these people adults? Is it your job to make choices for them because you know better and are wiser? Do they lack the ability to look at the heading of each story and choose to listen to the stories that interest them? Why do you think you should have that kind of control over others?

    3. This is outrageous! How dare you lump polyamory with stooping to “anything and everything.”

      Have I raped someone? No.
      Have I murdered someone? No.
      Have I cheated on my taxes? No.
      Have I lied as I please to get my way? No.
      Have I let hate fill my heart? No.

      Perhaps why this is so repulsive to you is your own innate biases created by the LDS Church (sexual sin is like unto murder) and our US culture which was very much built upon Puritanical ideals.

      There are MANY, MANY people world wide who practice something outside of traditional monogamy. Good people. With good hearts. Who love their families. Who are upright in their dealings with their fellowman. Who serve others out of the goodness of their hearts.

      Please stop acting like this is immoral. It hurts no one. And in fact takes a whole lot more emotional integrity and maturity, authenticity, courage and communication skills than most people possess.

      1. I have enjoyed your comments!

        I don’t know where everyone stands here regarding religion, but I and my wives are atheist (more or less) and secular humanists. I think the problem with many of the critics here is that while they have found fault with the LDS church and left they still are (metaphorically) square people looking for another square hole to put themselves into. They are going to just replace one square hole with another one. They do not realize that not everyone is a square peg and is NOT looking for another square peg to fit into. They just want to find another similar religion that supports the worldview that they’ve been indoctrinated with. Once I left the Mormon cult I decided that I wanted to explore some of the things that had been denied to me by being Mormon. Polyamory is part of that and part of getting married far too young.

  18. Wow ! You women are terrific communicators. And John, as usual,
    is the terrific moderator.

    Certainly starts us thinking and imagining. (By the way, for what it’s
    worth, Joseph Smith said, “if there are no accusers there is no sin.”)

    (Back to the topic.) Are we at a turning point for sexuality?

    First, with democracy and the feminine movement, women take back
    what is theirs (their mind and body) from the male hierarchies of
    civilization.

    Then women further take back their bodies from nature (with birth control.)

    So, as in no other time in history, women are now FREE TO BE.

    Anyway, back to the subject. Polyamory may work best in a TRIBAL GROUP.
    Tribal groups may be activated and connected together with the bonding
    hormone–oxytocin. This hormone (which is activated and released
    within a group by pleasant sensory experiences) can transform a group of
    people into a LOVING group of people, a tribal group, like the Mormon
    ward. I see this type of bonding taking place in the Mormon community,
    and more so in Mormon Relief Society. (Women have more oxytocin than
    men and are naturally driven to bond with other women. )

    Curiously, bonobos, our closest primate relative, do polyamory.
    Among bonobos, females dominate the group and do poly-sex for bonding,
    making friends with both males and females, for getting their way with males,
    for defusing stressful situations and developing a peaceful social climate within
    the community.

    (Light bulb moment.) For millions of years, we live naked in tribal
    groups. TRIBAL is really the primal human behavioral pattern. (This
    tribal nature which develops loving groups, helps Mormons survive
    in the wild and desolate Mormon frontier. BTW, it is not the teachings of
    Joseph Smith that is the most valuable experience among the Mormons,
    but the tribal nature and bonding experiences in the Mormon ward, which is
    really what keeps Mormons going back to church.)

    Unfortunately, the male hierarchies of our brief civilization wipe out
    the human tribal pattern, and with it, also wipes out the female right to
    OWN herself, her body and her sexuality.

    Thus our PAST is tribal and . . . the FUTURE is tribal. Hope you
    had a good, feel-good time in your tribal group.

    Love you all. But if I see you in church, just walk on by, and wait
    in the hallway. Don’t tell anyone where you saw me.

    1. I think that we as a society have come a log way since tribal groups. I believe that puts us being animalistic. Animals rarely have monogomous relationships. I believe that the fact that as humans we can be monogomous is one thing that makes us human.

  19. For those who believe this topic doesn’t touch Mormons or transitioning Mormon communities, it’s because these relationships are often handled like a big secret. I highly respect and value all Mormons whether active or leaving the church who own who they are and what they are about. Secrets hurt. If it has to be a secret for whatever reason, there will be natural consequences to that.

    Secondly, in future podcasts if this is addressed I hope that actual research other than opinions are used to make claims. I understand Natasha is a sex therapist but good, qualified therapists disagree on her assessment of the riskiness of open marriages or polyamory. The questions Gina and John raised are issues that should be walked through and not outrightly dismissed or minimized. I’d like to see more seriousness given to the damage that can come to families and societies when polyamory turns south instead of the: well, all relationships can end in pain so just hire a therapist like me and I’ll help you heal. Most people do not use therapists, and not all people heal from therapy. From a trauma perspective, I’d like to hear more about the risks of complex trauma given that most transitioning Mormons experience trauma leaving the church.

    The disclaimers above were helpful so thank you for those. I look forward to hearing a more serious and researched approach to this subject done with perspectives outside of the therapy world. For example, governments have incentivized the institution of marriage. Why? What benefits does the institution (whether gay or straight marriage) do for couples, children and society?

  20. I am pleased that you decided to share this conversation on a pod cast even though there may have been some hesitation in doing so. There is nothing to fear but fear itself when it comes to knowledge. In my opinion Natasha did a very good job shinning some light on this subject.

    I was raised LDS and I know from experience the difficulty and the time it can take to recognize and deprogram harmful teachings and to move forward from fear. So, in regard to the comments that polyandry may be wrong or that it is repulsive, I believe these feelings come from incorrect teachings, a lack of understanding and a fear of the unknown. It is not unlike how people believe homosexuality is wrong and/or repulsive. People can easily fuel their fears and let there minds run wild with outrageous assumptions about things they don’t understand and people who are different, such as a belief that gay people are child molesters. These kinds of assumptions are often used as weapons against our fellow humans and loved ones.

    I find it interesting that TBMs can accept polygamy, as it is taught in the church, as reasonable but see polyandry, as it is lived outside of the church, as outrageous. Which of these practices is more open to emotionally healthy free choice?

    All relationships, in any dynamic, work the same. The good relationships come from open honesty, empathy, integrity and good communication. Relationships based in dishonesty, manipulation, coercion and selfishness are all failures.

  21. I left the church years ago and pass no judgement on the practices discussed. I only have one point of reference and that’s Dr. Drew on “Love Line”. I don’t know if he is even still on but people would call in frequently asking him if they and their partner should have 3-somes, swing etc. Without fail, Dr. Drew said introducing a 3rd or more parties into a monogamous relationship would wreck that relationship one way or another. Was Dr. Drew out there on his own with that advice, or is his advice good psychological counsel?

    1. My problem with this statement is that it claims WITHOUT FAIL it would wreck a monogamous relationship. That is a statement that is very set in stone a negative outcome. Does Dr. Drew know every couple that has opened their relationship up to polyandry? Just logically look at the statement. That being said, a lot of people that step into the polyamory lifestyle seem to have a fantasy type expectation of it, like a naughty fairy tale with a happy ending. Every relationship requires due diligence. I would personally suggest to any couple that chooses to explore polyandry should develop a heightened sensitivity to your partners ever evolving needs and boundaries as well as your own, develop very honest and clear communication skills, and be very open to forgive unintentional mistakes.

    2. Do you even need to ask such a silly question? He’s a religious tv “doctor”. Like all such “doctors” he’s a hack. Very few doctors or therapists are knowledgeable in those areas, especially not quack doctors. CNM is NOT swinging and is not “threesomes”, although I suppose it could involve that for some groups. Seriously, so many ignorant statements by people that know far too little and assume WAAAYY too much. But then again, I guess it is fun for the squares to find out titillating scandalous gossip about those of us who don’t fit into their tiny little boxes of normality. /snark&growl. Get a !@#$%^&* life people!

  22. I can’t imagine the dynamics of living in a polyamorous relationship. There most certainly would exist power imbalances where one person is benefitting more than the other(s), leading to feelings of resentment and jealousy. Humans are emotionally sensitive and prone to scrutinize the actions of those close to them, so the more people involved, the more likely someone is to get hurt. At least in a monogamous relationship each person is held to the same standard of fidelity and commitment as the other, but once others get involved, the balance automatically shifts. There’s a reason humans naturally pair off and “go steady” with a single partner (for a time at least). I can hardly see how these relationships are stable or beneficial in the long term to those involved.

    1. You raise valid questions, but I think you might want to reconsider your “natural pairing” paradigm. For some that is true. However for others it is not. Even as a teen I often had feelings for more than one girl at a time and as an adult I came to realize that is normal for some people. If “pairing off” were such a natural thing for all then there wouldn’t be so much infidelity in the world. The AshleyMadison site wouldn’t be so popular and wouldn’t be filled with so many religious people. Does your “partner” fulfill all of your needs? Do they perfectly match up with every single aspect of your character? I seriously doubt they do. I am pretty well paired with my wives, but I do not meet all of their needs and they each don’t meet all of mine. Polyamory is not always easy, but we feel it is worth it. I feel more complete now than I ever have before, and they do as well, according to what they have told me. If polyamory is not for you, fine, no biggie. It is fine for others though and it fulfills our needs. One size never fits all, in clothing or in life and love. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask.

      1. I said humans naturally pair off “for a time at least,” meaning they are one-on-one for months or years or even decades, and then once that person no longer meets their needs, they move on to someone else. Being with multiple people at ONCE is more like testing the waters, but not showing a serious commitment to any one person. Those “swinging” relationships usually don’t last very long (unless a religious commandment is imposed upon it.) It’s interesting that you said ” I am pretty well paired with my wives.” Are your “wives” just as free to date and marry other men as you are?

    2. Even in a monogamist relationship the task of maintaining power balances is needed, and were those balances are set is determined by each couple. If they cannot find their compatible balances then they often will go their separate ways.

      The best way to handle jealousies that may come up is by open honest communication and adjusting boundaries. In my opinion, any partner that is unwilling to acknowledge the feelings of their partners and is not open to adjust boundaries in order to try to fined a compatible balance isn’t a good partner. That being stated, In any situation or relationship, if anyone ever tries to convince, manipulate or push another person to do anything that they do not desire to do, or try, then that situation is 100% inappropriate. Hard limits have to be respected, period, even if those limits are a deal breaker for a relationship. Some people are just not compatible and that is okay.

      1. Oh, and yes I agree that the more people that are added to a relationship the odds are more likely that someone will get hurt. The navigation of these relationships take more communication, more awareness of the partners involved and their needs. At the same time, for some people, the rewards and fulfillment that are attained for the extra efforts is worth it. And, there are no guaranties in any relationship dynamic, whether it be monogamous, poly amorous, straight, gay, or anything else, that it will be free of the risks of being hurt.

  23. I just wanted to thank Mormon Stories for this podcast.

    My partner came to me as bi-sexual some time ago. We explored polyamory together. What a challenge and a privilege to experience and watch them fall in love with another person. Honestly it’s been one of the greatest experiences of my life.

    I understand people do not want this for themselves. What I don’t understand is how post Mormons can pretend to know what is best for others. I spent a lifetime judging others for their choices using the microscope of Mormon doctrine. No more. I’m done caring what consenting adults do for love, life, fun and pleasure.

    Polyamory and Mormon Polygamy are not the same. One is based on wanted ethical, open, honest relationships. The other is based on an imaginary god of a twisted ‘prophet’ and ‘brides’ under duress.

  24. I think there is an assumption that post-Mormon couples are in a position to objectively and freely choose or not choose to participate in polyamory and non-monogamy. However, individuals in a marriage rarely enjoy equal levels of power or control with their partner in the marriage. Normally, one partner is more dependent financially on income provided by their partner than the other. Also, due to a variety of factors, one partner is more secure in the marriage than the other. The partner who is more secure in the marriage is the one more likely to propose polyamory and non-monogamy. It is possible for the insecure partner to be dragged or coerced into accepting polyamory and non-monogamy against their will. Just the fact that one’s partner is proposing polyamory and non-monogamy, is enough to generate feelings of sexual inadequacy. Polyamory and non-monogamy in its practice is likely to be oppressive and manipulative. It also appears to me that the polyamory model by its nature is a temporary arrangement, is not sustainable for relationships and is likely to result in winners and losers.

    I think there are valid reasons, which have stood the test of time, why our culture has not embraced polyamory and non-monogamy. I think that the ethics surrounding polyamory are very problematic. Polyamory and non-monogamy is not the next issue to be championed by those with progressive ideals. Those of us who disagree with polyamory and non-Monogamy should not feel pressured to apologize for our views.

    1. The problem that you are discussing hear is actually the act of the insecure partner being dragged or coerced into accepting polyamory and non-monogamy against their will. Never is this ok and a partner that would do this does not deserve any partners at all. This is abuse.

      I personally am not asking for an apology from people who disagree with polyamory and non-Monogamy. I ask that we all be allowed to be free to embrace our beliefs without scorn and degradation as long as the beliefs do not take away the rights of others. We don’t have to agree on anything but we do have to live in the same world and none of us have a right to rend asunder other people for their beliefs. Hatred is damaging to people and societies.

  25. Why do theists (Mormon, ex-Mo, whatever, etc.) feel the need to express, to others not like them, their opinions and judgments of those people? Then say things like “well I’m not going to apologize for my opinions/beliefs”? If you know your opinion is going to be unpopular why do you feel the need to present it or push it on those that don’t agree with you and have nothing to do with you and are harming no one? What are you trying to accomplish? Especially those of you who have left one religion for another – do you not realize how obnoxious and annoying and often damaging proselyting is? You get upset when others proselytize and judge you but then think its suddenly ok for you to do so. If you don’t agree with a lifestyle then don’t subscribe to it. And kindly keep your ignorant outdated opinions to yourself.

  26. First of all, I think we need to realize that there is proselytizing going on in this podcast and in the comments, in favor of polyamory and non-monogamy. Why should proselytizing be allowed for one position and not for those who disagree? This is an open forum. The point of my earlier post was that some individuals in unequal power situations are being harmed with regard to polyamory. It is an untrue statement to say that polyamory is harming no one. Just refer to earlier posts by “Many manipulate. ” Vulnerable women are being preyed upon by predators within the post-Mormon community. These are important issues to be discussed.

    1. Abusive relationships whether monogamous, non-monogamous, polyamorous, open are abusive. It’s telling that you think women are preyed upon when I’ve seen quite often it is the women that want multiple partners and lovers. Women certainly have a much easier time finding additional partners and lovers in the non-monogamy world. Also, women are equally capable of abusing men in a relationship.

      You say, “It is an untrue statement to say that polyamory is harming no one.” People harm people not a type of relationship. I guarantee you there are millions more people being abused in monogamous relationships than polyamorous ones by the simple math that there are so many more mono couples out there. And yet for some reason we don’t make people defend their “monogamous lifestyle”.

      If one partner is pressuring another partner to do something they don’t want to do, in particular in sex, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate whether this relationship is good for either person any longer.

  27. It concerns me that after 94 posts I didn’t see (unless I missed it) anything about how this would affect children or families and that the main purpose for sexual relations is to have babies. It seems all I hear is me/me/me. “I should be able to be sexually satisfied anyway I want, with no thought to how this would play out to possible pregnancy and children.” Before birth control, I don’t see how this could ever have been anything but destructive to family units, especially children. They wouldn’t even know who their father was before blood testing, etc.

    Sexual relations is not only about sexual gratification. That is a side benefit. The main purpose is to pro-create.

    BEFORE you attack me and jump down my throat about how I should be more open and understanding, can this also be a space where we can vehemently disagree without being personally attacked? If not, then this space is no better than being in the LDS church, where you can’t really say what you think and you have to couch everything in a way not to hurt other people’s feelings. I applaud John on not covering up his true feelings and immediate reactions to the topic of polyamory. (Mine are much worse!!!) And I think (even if they are wrong/biased) I should have a right to feel them instead of being attacked for being so attached to judeo Christianity, etc. etc. like the only people against this topic seem to have been treated. As if their opinion can not be valued unless it agrees with polyamory.

    I have listened to most of the mormon stories podcasts and many of the stories relate to mine in that I felt Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy was spiritually, physically, and emotionally wrong. That is what started my faith journey and how I found out about everything. What bothered me and my spiritual sensitivity was the “poly” anything. I didn’t care about him using religion. I felt (and still do) that this is wrong and if there is a God he/she/they would condemn the practice. (Realizing that is said with my own staunch biases, I still can’t help feeling repulsed and repelled by anything “poly.”) Furthermore, it scares me to think of leaving the lds church thinking maybe the people outside are more close minded to having differences of opinions and their opinions are so much different than mine, maybe I’m just better off staying in.

    Lastly, when we are talking about “consenting adults” I believe that should be 24 years or older. The human brain does not finish developing until age 24. I have personally seen an 18 year old girl enter a polyamory relationship with a couple in their early thirties with children. The 18 year old girl came from a family that didn’t take care of her emotionally or physically and that void was so strong she was looking to fill it. This is an example of misusing such relationships (even though she was a consenting adult) and preying on her weaknesses (although I do not believe the couple felt like they were misusing her). This could also have been a situation where she fell for a harmful monogamous relationship to fill the void, but the point is there are so many variables where this can hurt people, we can’t pretend like they don’t exist because we want everyone to condone and think poly relationships are the norm. The point is “consenting adults” can’t be applied scientifically (brain-wise) until age 24 and the ramifications of doing this while having children (esp. if those children lean toward monogamy/I think in some ways we come programmed one way or another) will be disastrous (especially if you are living in a monogamous community, which is what we are!!!) I agree this topic might be better off on a different website.

    1. I agree that it would be advantageous to discuss the dynamics of children and families in polyamorous and consenting non monogamous relationships. However, even though there are legitimate issues that should be addressed, it is my assumption that the propaganda that has been and is still being taught, regardless of all the data, that the LGBTQ population can not raise healthy children, will also be used against the polyamorous and consenting non monogamous population. Because of this reason I am pretty sure that this topic would envelop a pod cast and discussion of its own.

      I do not agree that the main purpose for sexual relations is to have babies. Sexual human contact is very important to people that will never have children.

      In regard to your comment, “It seems all I hear is me/me/me”, when a person or a group of people are abused or repressed there comes a time when they need to stand up for themselves against these situations. There are appropriate times when people need to say, what about me? I am important too. I matter too. This isn’t wrong. If women never stood up and said what about me?, what about my vote?, my vote is important and matters too, then women would still not be allowed to vote. The problem with (me/me/me) comes when it is being used in a narcissistic manner to abuse, manipulate or suppress other people.

      I personally do my best to maintain cordial conversations with people who are open and willing to do the same. I do not feel a need to put down anyone or even argue with anyone over their beliefs until their beliefs are being used to suppress or shame me for my beliefs.

      Just a suggestion, you may not want to make decisions regarding your choice to stay or leave the church based in fear. Fear is often irrational.

      I agree that Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy was spiritually, physically, and emotionally wrong. In my opinion, without a doubt, Joseph was a con man. His character was deplorable and he selfishly used tactics to manipulate and use people. There were no exceptions to this when he began violating woman and mucking up marriages. I do not support the act of manipulating people into any lifestyle. (Not even monogamy).

      It is my personal opinion that, more times than not, people would be better off waiting to get into a life long committed relationship until they learn to live their lives authentically to their own self. However, I would not be willing to mandate my belief onto others and take from them their life choices and I certainly don’t agree that everyone is either ready or not ready to make a choice about these relationships at the age of 24. Many adults, well into their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and older, don’t know how to live their lives authentically and there are some young adults who are capable of making choices that are good for them.

      Fear seems to be a big problem. No one can live their life without making some choices that will be hurtful. It will happen over and over again in many situations. The hurts and failures can be opportunities for learning. As the Edison quote goes “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work.” It isn’t anyone’s job or right to decide for others what emotional risks they should be allowed to take or not take. That being said, this doesn’t mean we are ignoring the many variables where people can get hurt, discussing these variables are a good thing to do. Knowledge is a great tool in the process of make good decisions. We aren’t pretending like these issues don’t exist because we want everyone to condone and think poly relationships are the norm. First of all, these issues of abuse and getting hurt are being projected onto these alternative lifestyles as though the dangers of the pain and abuse is greater on this side of the fence. That is bull shit. There is just as much hurt and abuse in the monogamous norm lifestyle. Shall we just eliminate all relationships and hide in our homes till we die? Maybe even just grow babies in tubes. No! Abuse is abuse and it needs to be recognized for what it is in any situation and then it can be eliminated in any situation. Getting hurt is a part of life. If you fear pain to much then you will never live. And why is it so important for all of society to cast itself into a mold called the norm? To what great end do we achieve by everyone accepting that blue is the best color or by having monogamy as the only acceptable lifestyle to live? Monogamy has been the norm for a long time and it has not proven to solve any of the problems of abuse or pain.

      I disagree that this topic might be better off on a different website. If it had been on a different website then you most likely would not have seen it and would not have written a comment about your view points. If you do not share your views and we do not share our views then we will never find some kind of common ground to co exist in peace.

      1. Of course the “main purpose for sexual relations is to have babies.” Reproduction is the beating heart of evolutionary biology. Just as fear is often irrational, our beliefs about sex are too.

        1. While we may have been created with sexual procreation as a biological imperative, we have now evolved to the point where our social and emotional health are as important, if not more so, than our mere biological survival. A growing portion of the population is choosing to not have children yet their sexual relationships are still important to their emotional needs.

  28. In case anyone is interested here are some Ted Talks that discuss “traditional” and “non-traditional” marriages. Oh, and by the way, there are many types of “traditional” marriage, not just monogamy, and in “traditional” marriage, the woman has “traditionally” been treated as property to be auctioned off by her father to the highest bidder. But don’t let any of that interfere with your “traditional” views. ROFL.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTf8jKMGsGE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_3ZHePuZ9U

    There are others, but I cannot vouch for them one way or another since I have yet to view them.

  29. There’s one more thing that’s bothering me. I’m not sure how to address it thoroughly. Will try.

    It comes down to the main distinction made between infidelity and polyamory in these conversation is often not that some people are naturally polyamorous and others aren’t (which, to the extent it can be proven, could make being polyamorous an identity like being LGBT), but that infidelity is dishonest and polyamory is honest.

    First, while that seems basic enough on first sight, it does little to take into account the many different situations couples face.

    One pertinent example: a classic abusive intimate relationship is one in which one partner is continually gaslighted and the other partner makes it emotionally, physically and financially difficult or impossible to leave the marriage. The abusive partner is often possessive and jealous.

    This is pertinent because women who are in these forced relationships are often targeted by married post-Mormon men who need to discover themselves but haven’t had the opportunity. I see it all the time. The infidelity/polyamory discussion of course comes into play. The women are vulnerable and desperate for love and a safe way out of their relationships. They generally aren’t safe going to their partners to have the “talk” that round somehow magically turn infidelity into polyamory, but the post-Mormon men keep offering the love the women need and pushing for sex.

    It turns out that once life gets hard enough that people start looking for real solutions (like divorce and then self-discovery), one figures out that making moral distinctions based simply upon whether or not one of the partners “knew” is far too simplistic. That concept can be used as ammunition by an abusive partner and, at the very least, denies the complexity of interactions that go on between members of a couple that is struggling sexually.

    Ugh…. that’s far too little to say yo really address this problem, but No more time to post.

  30. If the surgeon accidentally completely severs your spinal cord, will there be a level of paralysis below that cut? No one is going to argue what is going to happen. A person could argue otherwise and never be right.

    That is reality and no one here can use that type of authority when stating their worldview/giving their advice on sex or anything else. And the “experts” who create this venue for validation-seeking lost souls to share their internal worldviews completely separated from reality also can’t use that authority. And they’re very fortunate they aren’t also held to the same level of accountability as the surgeon. I wonder why that is…?

    At places like this, if honest, a person will admit he/she is just expressing opinion from his/her own internal world, which he/she falsely thinks is reality and which his/her brain has constructed to reduce discomfort. And there is a demand for more followers, since that helps reduce discomfort even more.

    And regardless of whether John, Natasha, and others realize it, most participants in this type of website are just looking for validation and permission to continue to believe what they want to believe.

    Not saying any of this is right or wrong (although I might have implied some things), just placing it in its proper place… And by posting at a place like this, I guess I’m expressing an internal worldview…

    Some useful therapy? Leave the virtual advice found in the virtual world and dwell in the real physical world. It will always be right. There you always brush up against reality, even if it hurts. That’s where our bodies evolved and that’s where we’re happiest. We can’t handle too much sugar, too much fame, too much luxury, too much sexual stimulation, and it’s turning out, too much opinion.

  31. I have not read all the comments so this may be a repeat. Some of us participate in nudism because we do NOT like clothes or we are hyper-tactile and have found a place where we can go without clothes and we are not made wrong about it. It is very very nice to be comfortable and not always uncomfortable 24/7.

  32. One of the main reasons I left the church was because of polygamy. the idea that one person is equal to 2 or more other people makes no sense to me. I wanted each sex to be as equal as another sex. 1 woman = 3 men is still just as wrong as 1 man= 3 women. I believe that being monogamous is to be human and valuing each person as an individual. why are you so valuable that one person is not enough for you? And how do you think it makes that person feel?

  33. I am an active member and convert who loves the church and also dating in a polygamous triad. I was excited and scared for this podcast just imagining the misrepresentation that I might hear. After hours and hours of listening to conversation about how polygamy is horrible I was excited to hear another side of it. But I was shocked actually listening to the entire 2 hours and noticing that a huge population of people under the polyamorous umbrella were completely disregarded. The descriptions of polyamory also didn’t fit with how people living the lifestyle define polyamory. What was described in this episode were examples of swinging and open relationships. Polyamory is not about opening yourself up to just sexual relationships, it’s about emotional relationships that may include sex. This is what differentiates polyamory from just having a open relationship.

    I am currently dating a couple with the idea of us all starting a family and expanding the family they already have. The law of chastity is also being observed. They are not active members but are interested in the church, and respect my views on chastity. So to here an entire two hour episode about the sexual escapades of some polyamorous people was difficult. There certainly is a promiscuous population but it’s like judging LGBT as promiscuous because of a certain subpopulation.

    Polyamory simply means multiple loves and there are multiple ways that this is lived in practice. There are different terms for the different ways people practice, polygamy or polyfidelity, triad, quad, relationship anarchy, and it goes on. Polyamory is not one size fits all.

    It is also not rare for polyamorous people to have children and raise families together just as monogamous couples. I had hoped that this would have been addressed during the podcast. There are many single women are who seeking to join an established family That is my case. I came out of a divorce learning that monogamy puts such burden to be everything your spouse could ever need, which is foolishly impossible. I found myself as a medical student wishing I had a another wife in the household to properly care for my husband and step son and help me out after my 24 hr shifts. There’s no insecurity that I’m not woman enough. No one is woman enough for the isolation that we live under now a days. We need more support and family and polygamy (polyfidelity) is a way that many people all over the world are using to establish that kind of family.

    Our doctrine falls under polyamory. That’s a fact. The way it was and continues to be practiced however is problamatic for most, myself included. This could be improved if the conversation can be had with others, especially other Christians who have successful families.

    Look at the websites like http://www.sisterwives.us or http://www.4thefamily.us/, where hundreds of people are seeking this kind of relationship. None of these sites have anything to do with Mormonism! Australia recently launched a different site and in the UK as well. There is conversation amongst the Black Muslim communities as being a solution to the African-American family crisis. Polygamy is still practiced in other countries. It’s a social construct that has been around forever. But we are hiding in the shadows afraid to speak up because of stereotypes perpetuated in this podcast. My boyfriend recently told his family about our relationship and it’s simply not understood in the general population. They understand sex, but not relationship. Fortunately they are all supportive.

    This is not a new conversation and it would be lovely to hear how it actually works with people who are practicing and hear our stories of why. This would lessen the offense that many felt during the podcast. Further conversation would be great. I applaud you all for at least opening the conversation.

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