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  1. I loved part 4! Thanks so very much! I do wish that when we watch these interviews live on Facebook that it didn’t show everyone on our friends list that we are listening or commenting, because I have gotten a little bit of crap from friends who say that they could see I was watching one of the last interviews about Mormon Leaks. I am one who is trying to not be overtly “in your face” about my disbelief to my friends and family, and by them seeing that I’m watching it caused some hurt feelings-which I of course didn’t want to do. So I guess I’ll just have to wait until they are posted on this website from now on, even though I prefer to watch them live. I sincerely appreciate these interviews and discussions. Keep up the great work!

  2. I felt a little uncomfortable listening to Matt Grow and Elder Clarke speak, knowing they didn’t know they were being recorded. That said, it was extremely interesting to hear them respond to some of the questions. I talk over and over about the literal view vs the nuanced view. http://www.churchistrue.com/blog/ces-letter/ Patrick Mason calls it unsustainable vs sustainable Mormonism. Bushman calls it the dominant narrative vs. a new narrative.

    I think the educated people like Matt Grow who are the best at defending the church against these issues probably view the church similar to the way I do, which is the nuance/sustainable/new version. I think Elder Clarke probably sees it in the unsustainable/dominant way. Bushman in has last interview with Gina Colvin said we have 15 more years of working out this narrative. By then, he (and I concur) believes there will be no more Jeremy Runnels, Trevor Haugens, etc. The narrative will shift into something sustainable that’s not so easy to tear down with CES Letter arguments.

    Over those 15 years, a lot has to happen. The value proposition has to be modified while the narrative is modified. You can’t move to a modified narrative and still use the value proposition based on exclusivity, authority over other religions, “one and only true church”, etc. I’m optimistic we’ll get it worked out, but we’ll lose a lot of this generation.

    1. FYI: in the state of Utah, only one party of the two bring recorded has to know about it. So, since Trevor knew about the recording, neither the GA nor the Dr. had to be informed about it. Legally, nothing Trevor did in obtaining the recording was wrong. Ethically? You’ll have to answer that…

    2. @chruchistrue
      I think your analysis of the 15-year scenario is absolutely correct, What you don’t state is that you, Gina, Matt Grow and Bushman do not and will not have anything to do with the direction the church takes. I see a church that in the next 15 years

      – will continue to push for repeal of marriage equality where ever they can get away with it
      – make “religious freesom” a basic tenet of the church
      – canonize the “Proclamation” as soon as enough people die that remember how it was actually conceived
      – make the “Proclamation” the most important thing we need to deal with today and downplay any past history or inconsistency
      and yes, Jeremy, Trevor and many others of their generation will not care.

    3. I have no idea how a new narrative will be worked out in 15 years, seems like pie in the sky progressive mormon thinking. For every Patrick Mason looking for nuance, there are 1000 Don Clarks saying get with the program or keep quiet, and those are the ones in leadership positions. There is virtually zero chance that the leadership will change enough in the next 15 years remove the literal view. Most of the leaders and apologists see the problem as one of presentation-if only the information was presented the right way, with the correct explanations and caveats, then belief and faith can take over. I don’t think there is any hope of reaching people like Trevor, nor do they see any reason to. Their best hope is that the essays and other similarly weak efforts at transparency/nuance will placate the older non-questioning generations and inoculate future youth to attack of the literal truth claims to at least not feel totally betrayed and angry by the church’s non-disclosure of these historical items.

      Just look at recent explanations of the First Vision accounts. A talk by a GA and videos by Church History employees saying they all harmonize to say the same thing. A new video showing the same, literal experience but including some language from the other versions. There is no backing down of a literal first vision as described in JSH 1-20, no nuance added. Just acknowledgement of new facts and incorporating them into the previous narrative like nothing’s changed.

  3. I’ve only listened to portions of this so far… But here’s my thing… If you love your experience within Mormonism and view it and it’s possibilities as fruitful and enduring and beneficial. If you try and have spiritual experiences within the tradition, I think the apologists answers are convincing. I think Matt Grow had decent, though not conclusive, answers to most of these questions especially for a believer.

    If you’re coming in skeptically, with a view toward the limitations, weaknesses, and even damaging aspects of Mormonism. Or worse, have been damaged by Mormonism, and then from that perspective start diving into the historical problems, Matt Grow’s answers will be extremely frustrating.

    So much of these conversations are about perspective and context. There’s no way there’s a silver bullet one way or the other.

    But I think a fundamentalist, literalist interpretation of Mormonism as the only true and perfect church on the earth is false and if that’s the ground on which you want to attack (or defend) the church, I think that is a pretty easy ground to attack (and difficult to defend).

    I felt like there were attempts to nuance some of this in the conversation from Matt Grow but perhaps not enough.

    I think these conversations would be more fruitful if done in good faith and from a perspective of trying to learn.

    From Martin Fowler’s “Stages of Faith”:

    “Conjuctive faith, therefore, is ready for significant encounters with other traditions than its own, expecting that truth has disclosed and will disclose itself in those traditions in ways that may complement or correct its own. Krister Stendahl is fond of saying that no interfaith conversation is genuinely ecumenical unless the quality of mutual sharing and receptivity is such that each party makes him- or herself vulnerable to conversion to the other’s truth. This would be Stage 5 ecumenism.”

    There’s no way this happened here. I think both parties were standing on very different faith grounds and there wasn’t enough willingness to being willing to be vulnerable to conversion. In that sense, it was a missed opportunity – don’t worry, almost every conversation I’ve had in life have been about missed opportunities. These conversations are really difficult.

    1. I’m a woman. I didn’t love my experience in Mormonism and if I might at one point have said that I did, it was in the same way someone might enjoy the Cliff’s Notes of a book before they’ve read the real book.

      I’m not an object. I can preside as well as be presided over. Heaven isn’t a planet where I can eternally procreate with sister wives. Or even the idea of eternal parenthood. I have contributions to make outside my family. I would have benefited from real temple prep before being coerced into making covenants. The ERA feels fundamental and not perverted as George Romney can be quoted as saying. Polygamy is something unspoken about but underlying every woman’s experience in Mormonism & still essentially part of our doctrine.

      Women are at least half of the congregations out there and I don’t think a reasonable argument can be made that church doctrine, policy, or culture, function in a way for them to reach their potential or happiness.

      1. My “good faith” was abused. And indeed I am left to wonder if I was just straight up conned. After all, 1) there was no transparency and 2) what exactly were their intentions when they were giving me advice that minimize my potential and subjugated my eternal self worth?

  4. Um, when Lindsay says that the Abraham translation doesn’t matter to most women she is dead wrong. That was huge for me and has been huge for every woman I know that has left. That was quite a sweeping, false statement for sure.

  5. The debate about Sorenson & whether Matthew Grow should have issued a disclaimer or not was hard to listen to. It’s not enough to say “Hey, I’m not an archaeologist, so go check out this guy who has no credibility”.

    You don’t need to be an expert in field X to know who the experts in field X are.

    If you asked me a question about chemistry, what if I said “I don’t know about chemistry…. go ask an alchemist!”, would that be a credible thing to say?

  6. So, getting beyond the ethical discussion of whether the recording should have been shared, what does everyone think of the conversation? Personally, I found it very unsettling that a GA at the level of Elder Clarke’s was soo unaware of the issues and using the argument that it’s not safe to raise kids outside the church. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I actually am as even as a member I knew there are 7 billion people on the planet all trying to raise their families and children to be good people.

  7. Now listening to the audio recording … about 32-37 minutes in…

    It seems like the “founder” Mormon story is morphing from “plain and precious ” into “muddled and marginalized” which is apparently the way God wants it , at least the muddled part, with the Prophet, Seer and Revelator “just tend[ing] to keep us in the right direction.”

    I’ll look forward to having the Brethren share these clarifications more broadly at the next General Conference.

  8. I have been unsealed from my former spouse for over 25 years and it was not because I had remarried not because of committing any sin. If Trevor’s first wife had wanted their sealing cancelled, she could have had that done even though she was not remarrying. Trevor did check into this with her. If she wants her sealing with him left intact, that’s one thing. If she doesn’t, she can get it cancelled. Then she, Trevor and his new wife might all be happier regarding that.

  9. John, I loved this episode! I was most pleased with your passion and quick rebuttals to the arguments. Where has this guy been all this time?? Great job, great podcast, great interview!!

    1. “Where has this guy been all this time?? ”

      I hear you . . . this has been 10-15 years in the making.

      I feel like John Dehlin was just brutally honest about every issue they discussed. He sure didn’t mince words. Intense, passionate, energetic.

      And Trevor was right there with him – not to mention that Trevor laid the issues out in his conversation with Clark and Grow – with no reservations.

      I couldn’t be more satisfied. : )

  10. Well, that really stirred my pot. Just a few things.

    If any of us were to drop back into Kirtland or Nauvoo, circa 1836 and 1843 respectively, we’d say, “That Joseph Smith character is Donald Trump all before again!” Fake revelations, fake charges against enemies … FAKE NEWS!

    So it went and so it goes.

    Several of Elder C’s and MG’s arguments were of the baffling, “Our prophets were/are no worse than x, y, or z non-prophets” variety (e.g. other people were racists, fooled by Hoffman, practiced polyandry, etc. ).

    It’s strange that they would think that others would think there’s any traction to this – and even more strange that they evidently think there is!

  11. Thank you for re-doing the analysis. I was rather miffed after listening to the “smackdown” with the infants. John you correctly pointed out one of the techniques used by Grow and Clarke as a control technique similar to one employed by domestic abusers. Implying that those that leave the church or (relationship), will to come to “ruin” and can’t “make it on their own” is a classic control method. As an expert in this area, I also want to highlight other techniques that are typically associatd with domestic abuse/violence. 1.Denial 2. Minimization, 3 Justification, and 4. Blame. I think the listener will easlily be able to discover where each of these techniques is present without me detailing them. But for me It was very dissapointing to hear the many instances of Grow literally laughing off and casually dismissing Haugen’s concerns. He repeatedly minimized and generally made light of issues that have broken many tender, seeking hearts. Maybe some of that was nervouse laughter, but not all. Again thank you for re-visisting this, I know you put a lot of thought and effort here.

  12. John I’m very proud of you for having the courage to put this information back up
    There may be many people who are upset about it but why should they be upset? when it’s just the honest truth of where the leaders and church Historians stand

    members of the church are taught to follow General authorities who are inspired of God !! these members have the right to know where those leaders –stand on history and current topics

    If these leaders are upset about you sharing this information it just shows that they are hiding who they really are and what they really think

    But it seems that most of your listeners are not aware of the most powerful information we received ……

    how sad to find out that the GA actually state very clearly that the prophet and the 12 apostles do not have any closer communication with God then the average member ??? for we thought they were prophets and revelators!!!
    Joseph Smith made it very clear what it meant to be a prophet and give revelation. We thought this church was based on revelation both historical and current

    But from what the GA said we truly don’t have prophets and revelation today in our church

    Members Are taught that the 12 apostles are special witnesses of Christ —which we all assumed meant a special communication with the savior — one that the average member is not able to have

    We were told they were special witnesses of Christ because they had a special communication with christ

    But now we find out there is nothing special about it Therefore any of us could be special witnesses of Christ !! why have a Prophet or apostles at all ??

    It is very profound !!

  13. Oh man, John is on fire . . . I’ve never heard him lay out the arguments so clearly and passionately.

    I’m digging it John. Keep on Rockin’.

  14. I’m listening to the DNA apologists argument again. I never hear the rebuttal that Joseph Smith recounted events that transpired with an angel to Robert Mathews in 1835.

    Joseph quoting the angel said, “he said unto me I am a messenger sent from God, be faithful and keep his commandments in all things, he told me of a sacred record which was written on plates of gold, I saw in the vision the place where they were deposited, he said the indians, were the literal descendants of Abraham. ”

    Should I underline the words “indians” or ” literal” or “Abraham” or just redefine them?

  15. If Joseph Smith were a member of his own church today, he would be Excommunicated. Can the rest of us get a thimbleful of the slack applied to us that is still being cut for him today??? What an overall embarrassment and disgrace the real history is revealing about this religion.
    The truth of his conduct brings shame and invalidation to every and all decent people such as myself that have sacrificed so much for what has turned out to be a massive hoax and betrayal. And double shame to the men today who surely and knowingly continue to uphold this immoral fraud!
    How dare we look down on this young man for taping an important and rare interview such as this. But for the fact that our leaders make themselves purposely inaccessible, so as to avoid any accountability, this would not have ever been necessary.

  16. Repeatedly in the D&C, the Lord –– in person ––  delivers His revelations point blank. It’s not a still small voice, it’s not a process, it’s not a warm-fuzzy impression, and it’s not a weighing of issues. And it’s not a distant, dreamy, calm, smiling expression on Tom Monson’s face. It really is direct speech, verbatim, in quotation marks.

    True, it comes in completely phony, contrived, stilted King James English. And it often includes the mindless stringing together of Bible jargon. But it’s a universe away from what Clark’s now claiming –– which now sounds like nothing but my same old burning bosom.

    “Listen to the voice of the Lord your God, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, whose course is one eternal round, the same today as yesterday, and forever. I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God, even one in me as I am one in the Father, as the Father is one in me, that we may be one….”

    Never mind that no actual person or self-respecting Lord or God or Christ would ever actually speak like the Wizard of Oz with a dash of the Logos incarnate, this is still the way that revelation used to come to the Mormon prophet, anyway. Why did it suddenly stop stone cold the instant Joseph Smith died?

    How did we ever believe any of this stuff? How did we ever let these men burden us with guilt and shame and “unworthiness”? Or define for us what life and meaning and happiness meant?

    1. AMEN!

      seriously. And it always annoys me when the apologists say, revelation comes in the language and manner of speaking that the prophet speaks. right. Um, early 19th century language was not badly worded old english! Nor was it the Late War speech. No one spoke like that, so why is Joseph getting revelations in that style? Unless of course the purpose is to sound legit to uneducated townsfolk that assume God speaks king james old english. And God often can’t even come up with new phrases. He just ends up meshing a couple versus together from some old testament book and recycling it.

    2. RobG & RLeeGee: yea, verily, your comments are indeed most awesome! & it came to pass that I totally agree with you. huzzah!

      1. Hahaha, that cracked me up. I swear I am not the same as RobG! ha. But I just noticed after you posted, yeah, we have the same first and last initials I guess. – Ryan Lee Gladden.

        I think you need to add some verbiage to your revelation. If feels a little light. Let me see if I can Oliver Cowdery that up: Yeah, verily, verily, in the 9th year of the reign of the prophet Thomas S Monson, it came to pass, that LeeRobGee did lift up his voice in agreement with RLeeG and RobG. And behold, with one voice they did cry out with their keyboards, “that Joseph Smith was a total asshat.”

  17. This was the BEST podcast ever!! I seriously may watch it all over again. Trevor and John, this podcast is so clear and articulate, so easy to follow. I love how honest this felt. No agenda, just honesty and seeking the truth. Wow, I absolutely loved this. John, I would love to see another podcast with Trevor down the road. I have no doubt this young man will do big things. Also, any chance of getting another podcast interview with Hans Mattson in 2017? How is he doing now?

    Thank you so much for your awesome work! You are truly saving thousands & thousands of people money on therapy. We can come here and feel understood and know that the future in bright outside of the cult.

    1. oops, I loved interview with Hans Mattsson but I meant to say Tom Phillips above. Any chance you will interview Tom Phillips again? His podcast was so good and I hope he is doing well now. He lost a lot for leaving the church and I hope life has been good to him since then.

  18. I am a long time listener and admirer of Mormon Stories. I have to question whether publishing the interview with the GA is the best course of action. In addition to being questionably ethical, it seems to me that general authorities will clam up and refrain from being transparent, which is the untimate goal.

    Just my $.02.

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  19. John, I thought you spoke with tremendous passion in these interviews. I for one, can relate to speaking of these things with such intensity. They are not small or minimal things in the lives of so many of us! Many lives and marriages and families have been turned upside down because of the divisions caused when one or more members of a marriage or family find the truth. It is painful for all involved! I don’t think you came “unhinged” in the interviews. I think you are speaking with the “righteous indignation”(to use an old church term) that comes with wanting wrongs to be righted and for vindication for the many who have been damaged by finding out that the church we gave our time and income to is not true. You are speaking up for all those who have been marginalized in so many ways because we sought the truth. Thank you! Keep on doing what you do. It means so much to so many!

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  20. Just a couple of observations in response to comments made in part 4.

    Contrary to Clarke’s assertion, proclamations aren’t revelations. The Church’s 1845 Proclamation to the World about Native Americans specifically contradicts its position today. In spite of the apostle’s written testimonies, that proclamation failed the test of time. As such, the proclamation about families is not a revelation and will fail the test of time as well.

    The Official Declaration #1 was written by Charles Penrose. It’s not a revelation.

    Thanks so much for pulling the recording. I think it was the right thing to do. Even more, I really appreciate Dehlin’s observation about disclosing recording private conversations.

    BTW, I too absolutely love Dehlin’s passion and Trevor’s willingness to share.

  21. John my comment below is not an attack against you personally but jut some things to think about.

    I didn’t like this podcast as much because of three things:

    (1) John did a lot of the talking. It didn’t feel like an interview with Trevor but more of a panel discussion with John and Trevor. Maybe that’s how John intended it to be and if so, that’s fair. John answers his own questions and I would juts like to see it more in an interview format so the interviewer doesn’t influence the responses of the interviewee.

    (2) After he Trevor would give a short answer, John would dive in to his thoughts and go off. It came across as a heavily agenda driven interview.

    (3) I want unbiased truth. For the most part, this podcast said many unbiased truths but there was so much emotion from John mixed up in it. An example of this was when John asked Trevor if Elder Clarke was a good mission president. Maybe I’reading too much into it but John seemed to hope Trevor would say he was bad. When Trevor said he was good, John seemed really taken back and almost disappointed.

    I hope my comments will be taken as sincere thoughts of things to think about as opposed to criticisms.

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      Jordan – This interview was different for me…it’s not how I usually interview if you know anything about my record as an interviewer). But I understand and accept your criticisms.

      1. Well, that is difficult part of creating something artistic, which what I consider your show John. Not everyone will agree. I loved this series. I thought it was powerful and I loved the commentary from you and Trevor. Thanks for doing this.

      2. I’m on camp hallelujah, amen, right you are man! I loved everything you said John and hope to hear more of your thoughts on the various subjects. I really appreciated Trevor’s honesty and I love that it brought out John’s opinions, I’m always asking the computer what he really thinks ha ha. I do agree with Trevor you have done so much for all of us who have felt lied to and alone and maybe a little crazy! Thanks so much John!!!!!

    2. Jordan, I too noticed a different style from Dehlin in this interview. John seemed to use Trevor’s questions and assertions as a launch point to give a recap what he has learned from his dozen years of interviews with Mormonstories guests. As a longtime listener, meaning from the beginning, I really enjoyed this style because as John gave a summary of the issues I recalled multiple discussions from which John makes his assertion. Without this context, I don’t think I would have enjoyed or appreciated John’s comments near as much.

  22. I understand the purpose behind the redo, but wonder why the discussion with Lindsay, John and Glenn was taken down since it didn’t include clips from the recorded conversation. The discussion between John and Trevor was a bit of a merry-go-round of repeating the same arguments and lacked the subtlety of the panel discussion. Even if I agree with a lot of what Trevor and John say and generally don’t agree with the historian or GA, I think having other perspectives in the podcast is important—and that’s what the panel tried to accomplish. I do think the GA and historian should be given more credit for their effort at reaching out to Trevor. Their perspective may be frustrating to non-believers, but it’s totally understandable if you try to see it from their point of view.

    John, the moment in episode 4 where you called out the two people who’d stopped contributing to Mormon Stories because of the “recording without consent” issue—I was super uncomfortable. I understand being frustrated, but people on both sides of the ethics argument have valid concerns. I don’t think it’s fair to call them out for stopping support of Mormon Stories, while on the other hand continuing to tithe to the LDS Church. Honestly, I assume most listeners to Mormon Stories don’t tithe, so not sure why you’re making that assumption about these listeners. It sounded like both a red herring and an ad hominem attack. And it was such a stark contrast to what I have known of you. Usually, you’re great at bridging the emotional divide between people who have differences.

    Over the course of its existence, Mormon stories has been really helpful to me in terms of understanding Mormon perspectives that are much more conservative and traditional than my own. So it was a big surprise to find myself wanting to defend the GA, historian, and those two listeners who stopped supporting the podcast against some of the claims were being made in these episodes.

    We all have days where we get really frustrated and it’s more difficult to be a bridge builder. I’ll chalk this episode up to that.

  23. Wow, after three years listening to many wonderful interviews, this is perhaps my favorite series yet. So articulate, sincere, eye-opening, and profound. How refreshing to hear both John and Trevor declare that their goal is simply to shed light on these most critical issues and not dissuade church involvement one way or the other. John, you really were ON FIRE! (I loved it), and Trevor, who know’s the incredible ripples of goodness, clarity, and healing you have set in motion. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Thanks especially for sharing the excitement you feel for the future; your innate goodness and spirituality never left the screen. How can I not resonate with that! Excited to see where this all goes.

    1. John, I have been struggling with my Mormon faith for seven years, but it was not until the so-called edict the church passed against LGTBQ members and their children that I finally went off the edge. I am fairly learned on the current issues facing the church, especially those that have led to me doubting my testimony. My husband is completely oblivious to the issues, and I have done nothing to enlighten him out of respect to his faith and devotion to an institution that is his entire identity. He goes alone to church now. Very painful for him. I cannot bring myself to go, not even out of my love for him. I am in a terrible place. After watching all four of the sessions with Trevor, I have come to the awful conclusion that I must take a stand and resign from the church that I trusted with my faith. I am terrified. I know you have probably heard those three words a thousand times if not more. I stand to lose so much. I was a Catholic nun; I left the religion of my ancestry to marry my first husband. I took a leap of faith in that marriage and joined the Mormon religion against my husband’s wishes. He left me. And now, here I am again. I am going to leave the Mormon Church against my husband’s wishes, and I fear religion will once again end this marriage as well. When Trevor spoke about the evils done in the name of religion, I could really relate. And here is the clincher, I can’t go back to full membership in the Catholic Church because they don’t allow persons to be baptized who are divorced without first procuring an annulment. I would have to pay upwards of a thousand dollars for each of my marriages to be annulled. If I stayed married to my current husband, I would also have to have his previous marriage annulled (another thousand dollars), And he would have to denounce Mormonism, be baptized in the Catholic Church, and then remarry me within the holy sacrament of marriage under the authority of Rome. Impossible! Religion is the Bain of human existence! The Mormons did get one thing right…this earth existence is indeed the “Telestial Kingdom” or more universally known as Hell. Religion from the beginning of time is more responsible for the mass extermination of human populations than anything else. Just think of last week’s events in Syria. Even Hitler’s psychopathy was fueled by religion: his hatred of Jews, Catholics, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. John, thank you for your podcasts. Thank you for proliferating the truth. You have my support. And I will be one of those who can be added to your donor list of monthly financial contributers…that is, if you accept former Catholic nuns who also qualify as ex-Mormons.

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