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  1. When leaving the Mormon conglomerate, I was still trying to be in. I spent all of my time only looking at church sanctioned websites, books, and videos. I even ran some of the websites by my Hubby’s church historian uncle before I would believe them. I never had that uncle steer me away from anything I shot his way. In reality, I didn’t spend much time on Mormon Stories and I still (9 years later) have not read the CES letter. I just didn’t have the time in the beginning and now I have moved on. However, Mormon stories and the CES letter have saved my life because of the family members who have read and listened. My husband and some cousins all found help through these sites, and I benefitted by having people who finally understood what I was talking about. I was finally not alone. The CES letter directly affected my marriage for the better. We would not have stayed together had my husband not read it.

    1. I found hope after years of trauma untruth in way LDS, Mormons still my Mormon family members cause me so much mental pain whom if not for learn why how cult’s work.
      Since 18. I’m 56now I be living in darkness.i found truths in your podcast and your guests.
      Sadly
      My daughter still control in Mormon untrue claims teachings.
      I only wish my late mum knew like I do more each day .god loves each of us.
      I never found this in the Mormons the way my adult son too knows I’m trying daily to remind him. Godbless you

    2. I’m really happy to have found Mormon Stories podcast . It presents a beautiful, thoughtful view for Mormons still practicing, ex and non practicing ( like myself )
      I joined a Quaker community but was raised LDS. The podcast and discussions have provided a lot of solace to me and my other siblings who have struggled with LDS doctrine and culture .

  2. Mormon Stories as well as the Gift of the Mormon Faith Crisis podcasts helped me through the most isolated, cold, dark, faithless time in my life. It helped me to navigate tenuous family relationships and was an absolute net benefit for me, my marriage, and my children. I am definitively better off mentally, spiritually, and intellectually because of the efforts of John Dehlin, Margi Dehlin, and Natasha Helfer Parker. These podcasts literally save lives.

  3. My husband and I began our faith crisis/journey this year beginning in June and I cannot begin to explain to you how much of a light Mormon Stories has been to both of us. The FACTS led us out of the church, not Mormon Stories. John Dehlin and all of his guests have been so unbelievably helpful in helping me work through some of the problems with the Mormon church and give me educational and historical resources based on facts and truth. REAL truth. FairMormon did more to destroy my husband’s testimony and introduce him to more of the problems than any other source. Joining the church 10 years ago as a non-member attending BYU-Idaho was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but leaving…has been monumentally harder. I cannot thank Mormon Stories enough for guiding me through the dark tunnel of leaving the church. Thank you so much.

  4. There are not words to express the gratitude and appreciation that I feel for Mormon Stories and John Dehlin. When I started my faith crisis, I was severely depressed. I didn’t know who I could talk to about how I was feeling. I had tried to talk to my bishop and it offered no help or comfort or answers. When I found Mormon Stories, I was amazed that I wasn’t alone at all in my feelings. I felt validated by all the other people in the episodes and the comments(including references for groups with like-minded people) that felt the same as I did.

    My depression and anxiety that had been so severe eventually started to ease. I was able to help my children who were struggling with the church as well and was able to help them to know that they were not alone either. I found that there were many families who also had gay children who wondered where they fit in the church. It was so reassuring to constantly find interviews and resources that were so beneficial and helpful to my family. I had one son who struggled with scrupulosity and there was even help to be found for that – thanks to Mormon Stories.

    My husband and I were blessed to be able to attend a mixed-faith marriage conference that John hosted in 2019. We can’t begin to explain the help and tools that gave to both of us to help find ways to successfully and happily bridge the differences between our faith differences. It truly was a lifesaver! I don’t believe that anyone who has met John personally and has had their life much improved and benefitted because of him could ever agree with Fair Mormon’s video claims that he is a homewrecker. He contributed in saving and helping our home, marriage and family. It offends so many of us who know him to see him attacked in such a manor. These attacks are truly unmerited!

  5. I’m pretty sure Joseph Smith invented “home wrecking for profit” because polygamy.

    Mormon Stories has brought factual information to light that the Mormon Church has consistently covered up and lied about. Members of this organization shouldn’t be lied to, they should know the whole truth about the history of their church. With this podcast I was able to use historical references and facts brought to light to make a decision about my beliefs. My mental health improved ten folds the moment I decided to leave the church, and continues to with the therapy that is required to undo the brainwashing and shaming on its members (especially women).

    I should also add, my entire family is still together. Most of us have left the church and my parents never divorced. We are no longer miserable, and we are happier this way. John Dehlin is not a home wrecker, the church is.

  6. My story: I was born and raised in the LDS church. I was from pioneer stock, and ALL IN. Married in the temple to a return missionary, temple worthy, etc. About 27 years ago, while living abroad in England, I was introduced to the book “The God Makers” by my very devout Baptist neighbor. I thought I knew so much about my church and it’s history, until I read that book. It left me devastated and in shock, and I didn’t have a ready reply. All I had to use for a reference was the 6 volume set of the History of the Church by B.H. Roberts. I feverishly looked for answers to rebut the claims The God Makers had made about polygamy, Masonry and the temple ceremony, the Book of Abraham…etc. I really wanted to believe the Church was true, and this book had to be wrong. I soon found a copy of a book that was a rebuttal to The God Makers, and between that and the History of the Church, I was able to push my doubts aside, or at least put them on the proverbial shelf. However, the temple was never the same for me after that. There was just this little nagging doubt that lingered…and lingered.

    In 1998 my husband left me, and the Church, for another woman, and I moved back to Utah with my 4 kids. (He was in the military, thus England.) I was determined to keep the faith, specifically to be a good example to my children. However, as they became adults, they started to question and struggle with policies, and fitting the mold. As they brought up issues, I started to struggle as well. The 2015 announcement about the children of LGBTQ couples was devastating for me and my kids. (No, none of them are LGBTQ, but they all have friends who it affected.) Then in 2019 when Pres. Nelson reversed it my doubts were irreversibly triggered. After a deep discussion with a non-member friend, I decided it was time to get off the fence. I had NEVER heard of Fair Mormon, John Dehlin, Jeremy Runnels, or the CES letter. My foray started with a podcast from “The Last Podcast on the Left” where they did a 5 part series on Mormonism. That led me to look for more information, which took me first to the Gospel Topics on LDS.org, then Fair Mormon. I found their “explanations” to be more ridiculous than the actual accusations. It was THEM who led me to Mormon Stories and John Dehlin! And once I found that, I couldn’t get enough! Finally, HONEST information that actually made sense! No convoluted mental gymnastics. And what I found out was that all of that “stuff” I had read in the Anti-Mormon book 27 years ago was actually TRUE! And it was NOT what I was taught growing up. I was angry! The Church, and Fair Mormon have purposefully suppressed and watered down the truth, and taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from me. How is that NOT harmful to me and my family??? Who is the villain here?

  7. I never felt that the church did any harm to my family. I had heard of the CES Letter and Mormon Stories when I was still a believing member of the LDS Church, but I stayed away because I didn’t want it to challenge my faith. It wasn’t until I found the Gospel Topics Essays on lds.org that red flags started going off. It became very clear to me that things did not add up with my beliefs of who God is, who Joseph Smith was, and the veracity of the Book of Mormon. It wasn’t until after I left that I started investigating the CES Letter and listening to Mormon Stories. After I left, both Jeremy Runnells and John Dehlin and their respective work helped me and my family TREMENDOUSLY! The difficulties that we have faced with family since leaving are due only to the teachings of the church which cause my extended family members to worry for the salvation of my soul.

    It is the Church’s doctrine of being the only way to live happily for eternity with your family members that puts stress on our relationships. It also creates an “us vs. them” mentality that causes church members to distance themselves from non-believers, sometimes even more so when those non-believers are family members. I can see from the Fairmormon perspective that since they believe that the LDS eternal family is broken when people leave the church that they think that John and Jeremy are destroying families, but that’s only because of their beliefs. The other 6 billion people on the planet don’t share that belief. John and Jeremy are just presenting facts. That is all. Facts should not scare anyone with nothing to hide. Thank you John for all that you do!

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    From “Jo”

    One of the parts of your video today that stuck out to me was finding out that Cardon said that you and Jeremy were doing this to destroy marriages for profit. That struck a cord for me personally, as I feel that both FairMormon and the LdS church itself have done things to hurt MY marriage, for profit.

    My husband was raised in the church, and I was a convert.

    At our son’s baby blessing, I had a moment where I realized I was going down the wrong path completely. I felt embarrassed to be sitting to the side, as my son’s life was being planned out via a church script. After that, I found the CES letter.. and it has all been uphill since!

    Except in my marriage.

    I told my husband that I was done with the church. I tried to show him the things I found, and he refused to hear me. He did exactly what the church taught him to do, and “ran”. From his own wife.

    We had just moved, and he sought out the bishop of our new ward-a complete stranger to him, to discuss my “doubts”. Instead of talking to me. He then told me he would look at the CES letter, but instead, he watched a video on fair Mormon by Adam Miller about why the CES letter isn’t true (the video basically said “are you strong enough to not doubt?”).

    It has been 3 months, and though I don’t push anything on him.. his LDS family does. The church taught him not to listen to “anti Mormons”, like me, his wife. FairMormon told him he needs to be strong enough to not doubt.

    I am working on being patient and loving, as I know this has been programmed in to him, so to speak. But the harm that these teaching has done to our relationship..is incredibly sad. And to hear someone say that you are trying to destroy families, for profit, really felt like a knife in the gut to me.

    Thank you for what you do to help people.

    I find my strength to continue with patience and love, within the ex Mormon community.

    1. I left the church years before ever finding out about Mormon Stories. The Journal of Discourses broke my shelf and I struggled with the Mormon church alone. I felt isolated in my family and in my marriage.
      I had so many concerns and unanswered questions. I asked too many questions at church. I was gaslit and lied to by many church leaders and forced to be quiet during classes. I was seen as a disruption to my ward. I finally decided to step away from the Mormon church and continue research on my own.
      Eventually, I found Mormon Stories. It was a breath of fresh air. The answers to questions I’d found were confirmed by hearing the experiences of others on Mormon Stories. Things I’d researched made much more sense with the stories and research from guest speakers on the podcast as well as the website. I eventually had the courage to leave my toxic Mormon marriage when I saw what happiness could be without the cult in our home. My children and I have become much closer since I openly left religion entirely. We regularly enjoy listening to Mormon Stories as a family. It has opened the door to discussion whenever my children have questions. It has helped them see how I was raised and why I struggled so deeply when I left.

  9. Mine is a atypical story. When I joined the Church 10 years ago my mom and dad were concerned. My dad flat out said it was a cult. My mom loudly said ,while I was talking about the church, I’m not changing my religion. So things have been stressed and tense since. My dad has passed so I can not reconcile with him but my relationship with my mom has lightened. I’ve been watching Mormon Story Podcasts and posting on the FB page. Both have helped me realize I was spouting off with lies and stuff that made them uncomfortable. Now I know the truth and have shared it with my mom. We are closer and nicer to each other since my attitude adjustment.

  10. You are welcome to use my comments publicly. I only ask that my name not be shared. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to know any more or have any questions.

    I am a divorced father of three children. My shelf broke about 15 years ago after going through the temple for my first time. I spent most of the last 15 years staring at the wreckage on the floor not knowing what to do with it. My ex-wife and I struggled with the church quite a bit during the last few years of our marriage, however, she soon met a TBM man through a mid-singles event and quickly shifted her beliefs toward a more TBM-like lifestyle. Our children have noticed this and continue to ask me why she changed so much. I have just recently decided to leave the church myself although I’m not publicly out yet. A little more than a year ago my 10 year old daughter came out to me and expressed how terrified she is that her mother and step-father will find out. She’s listened to their homophobic rhetoric in the household and feels that she will no longer be loved and lose her worth in their eyes. I have just recently made the decision to leave the church myself and have addressed it briefly with my children but I firmly believe that if anyone wants to know who is causing more family rifts and supporting home-wrecking ideals one can look at this very scenario. I have taught my daughter that her value and worth come from no one but herself. She knows that I will support her and love her if she chooses to leave or stay in the church. The fact that she cannot expect the same from a Mormon household is telling within itself.

  11. Mormon stories helped me leave and turn my life around. I was lost and searching for answers. Didn’t know where to turn or who too turn too. I found mormon stories along with other podcast and information. I didn’t know existed. After the long and hard road of accepting that Mormonism is false. At the peak of mental gymnastics to stay mormon I was up over 400lbs and in a very bad place mentally. After seeking help from outside the church, I was able to move on I’m down to 250 and much happier and healthier and now have a beautiful life with my wife and our first child. It all started with information I gathered from my research and I can safely say mormon stories helped me. Think what you want of John delin and mormon stories but this man has helped me and I’m sure others as well there’s no way I could ever repay him.

  12. Mormon stories saved my life. Literally! I was raised in the church, I went on a mission, got married in the temple, and have 3 kids. I have held positions of leadership positions of teaching and the entire time I always felt like something was missing. I remember days after days of fasting and praying begging for the Lord to tell me if the church was true only to feel my words bounce off the ceiling. I started looking into church history, and And quickly realised why my prayers would bounce off the ceiling. The church wasn’t true. How could a real loving God produce such a corrupt organisation? The cognitive dissonance inside my mind begin to affect my marriage my wife asked me one day why I didn’t believe in the church. I had never before this expressed any doubt to her personally toward the religion. It was just her perception of how I behaved at church. She could tell that I no longer believed. I explained to her that I felt like something was wrong with me because supposedly everybody got a confirmation of the church except me. What was wrong with me? I ask her and she had nothing to respond. All of this led me to a very dark mental and emotional space. It didn’t matter if I prayed, read the scriptures, or did anything the church prescribes. Nothing helped. As the depression worsened I soon became suicidal. That is when I discovered mormon stories and found out that I was not the only person who felt this way. The knowledge that I was not alone helped me overcome my depression. My wife also came to the conclusion on her own that the church was false. Together we left along with our 3 children. Ever since leaving the church, and using mormon stories as a community support mechanism our family life is amazing. We Don’t have a perfect life, and nobody does. But we are happy, healthy, and not suicidal! So I will say it again mormon stories saved my life.

  13. Dear John Dehlin and Mormon Stories,

    The Mormon Stories podcasts have definitely built me and my family up as we sort through our relationship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (TCOJCOLDS). Many of your guests share the same concerns my family and I have had about various “truth claims” so prevalent within the rhetoric presented by the leaders and spokespersons of TCOJCOLDS.

    The in-depth content you provide is available nowhere else. Having been born into TCOJCOLDS, raised in a home where the doctrines and policies took absolute precedence over all other external influences, served a church service mission, graduated from BYU, married in the temple, been a full tithe payer (ten percent on gross), active in TCOJCOLDS and have held numerous positions (callings) in the church along with raising my five kids to become active members of TCOJCOLDS, I have been deeply disturbed by the behavior of previous leaders of TCOJCOLDS as outlined in the LDS Church Topic Essays. Even more disturbing to me has been the well-documented effort by leaders and spokespersons of TCOJCOLDS to cover up and/or redirect members from the truths contained in the Essays over the course of the last 70 or so years (at least).

    Given the similar unique backgrounds of your guests -in how deeply connected they are with respect to their own upbringings and/or lives with the narratives, doctrines, and policies promulgated by TCOTPOTCOJCOLDS over my lifetime- the content you provide is available nowhere else. It provides myself and my family with context as to what many others who have been active, trusting, believing members of TCOTPOTCOJCOLDS are experiencing in their life as they grapple with these deeply traumatic discoveries of betrayal. It’s perhaps impossible to provide content such as yours which is as comforting in listening to the experiences of many others who are traveling the same difficult paths as they deal with the profoundly personal impacts inherent in realizing leaders of TCOJCOLDS who, while insistent they are God’s spokesperson’s on earth, have not always “told the whole truth and nothing but”. The Mormon Stories podcast content has helped heal fractures in my own faith in God which has kept myself and family believing in God and faithful to the Christian ideals, in spite of the very impactful series of betrayals and resulting mental, emotional, and spiritual trauma the TCOJCOLDS has created for my family.

    I imagine it is reasonable to take my circumstances and multiply them by hundreds of thousands, if not millions of individuals and their families, if the cumulative positive effects the Mormon Stories Podcasts have on individuals and families were to be calculated.

    Millions of thanks for your work, Godspeed,

    Anonymous but a real human being nonetheless (as long as the SCMC exists, I don’t feel comfortable posting my comments without remaining completely anonymous).

  14. Mormon stories helped me so much. I felt so alone, and like there was something wrong with me. Through listening to the podcast I found a community and a life line. It kept my marriage in tact through my faith crisis and taught me skills to cope with Mormon family. Mostly, though, it allowed me to feel like I was ok, I was a good person, and this wasn’t my fault.

  15. As a former member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and former Mormon Fundamentalist plural-wife, Mormon Stories Podcast has helped me through times of darkness and being misunderstood. I am grateful for the support I have received from a group that accepts people with different backgrounds and beliefs and where I can research and get the the facts. (This site could have saved me from polygamy, if it was around back in the day).

    The mainstream church would not take me back into the fold after leaving polygamy because the Stake President said I had not fully repented. I no longer had a testimony of Joseph Smith’s polygamy revelation. Although I have never personally met John Dehlin, and rarely comment on Mormon Podcasts, if someday my daughter gets married in the LDS temple, and I am excluded and asked to wait outside or in the visitor’s center because of being considered “unworthy” I will find support at Mormon Stories Podcast.

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    From “Steve”

    Hey John, I can’t go public into any video or anything like that, and Genny and I may very well be a minority, but Mormon Stories did play a positive role in helping our marriage and in fact staying active in the church. I’m not sure how the Mormon Stories of 10 years ago differs from the one now, and I would be shocked if someone didn’t respond with an argument like that given the evolution of your relationship with the church, but that positive effect was our experience at that time and I stand by it.

    That’s a message that I’m willing to convey in person to someone if that is helpful.

  17. I personally look forward to watching interviews with others who experience the same things I did. That is the support system that is so desperately needed for those of us suffering in silence. I consider MSP to be a reliable source of information. John approaches his interviews in fairness, compassion, and humility. He leads on a neutral platform, with truth telling as the sole objective — even if it appears the church happens to be the collateral.

    If the LDS church were honest and transparent from the beginning, its own damage perhaps could have been entirely averted. There is no one left to blame besides the very leaders who perpetuated lies and deceit for almost 200 years. Anyone who encourages and continues to hide the truth should absolutely be held accountable for the resulting damages. The church divides. It tears apart families when it convinces its members to separate the “wheat from the tares.”

    There is no love or humility in that.

  18. About six years ago my wife started having questions about LDS church doctrine, particularly as it relates to gays and the church’s teachings that homosexuality is a product of environment, personal choice, and/or past abuse. From that point forward she took note of questions she had about the doctrines and church history, problems she was noticing in the Gospel Topic Essays. Without real answers from the church, she sought answers from various sources, including Mormon Stories and Rough Stone Rolling (sold at Deseret Book).

    Fast forward to October of 2019 when she finally opened up to me about her concerns and that her testimony of Joseph Smith was severely weakened by church efforts to cover up the ugly parts of church history and Joseph Smith. A month or so later I was called to serve on the high council for our stake. Thinking this would be a great opportunity for me to strengthen my testimony, and help my wife’s as well, I accepted. It wasn’t long before I was no longer attending church with my wife because I was assigned to another ward and my church calling conflicted with my home ward. Just before COVID-19 closed weekly meetings, my wife, in tears, walked out of a Sunday School lesson focused on the Book of Mormon. I knew at that moment she was done with the church and we were moving into a split faith marriage, with me staying in the church, which I still believed to be true.

    Over the course of the pandemic, my wife would ask me to talk about the stuff that was bothering her, but I didn’t want to talk in detail because I was trying to protect my testimony. Not discussing those topics began to feel like I was breaching our marital trust and history of open communication. It felt like I had to pick between obeying the church leaders warnings regarding “anti-mormon” materials and talking to my wife about why she was hurting. To some extent it felt like discussions with my wife were now “anti-Mormon material” which I was warned to stay away from.
    After seeing my wife’s courage, I did the right thing and I chose my marriage over fear of the truth. It didn’t take long at all for me to realize the duplicity of church leaders and that the foundations for the stories of the restoration were not accurately presented. I focused my personal study on materials that could be verified in actual church records, talks, Gospel Topic essays, etc. I was reading in D&C 132 and I got this overwhelming feeling that I would not want my young daughters to read how Joseph Smith (and allegedly the Lord) were treating Emma. I realized that Joseph wrote that section for his own benefit and the God I was raised to believe in would not inspire Joseph to write D&C 132. From there everything changed. From polygamy, polyandry, the priesthood ban, treasure digging, and truckloads of verifiable church history, I could no longer receive that confirmation the church was true. I believe it was because I was no longer desperately needing it to be true. I had gotten to the point where I would ask God if the church is true, but I wasn’t asking God to confirm it was true to satisfy my personal desire. When I asked in that way, I would always get a sick feeling about the church. I took a chance on the truth hoping it would still support my testimony, but that was not what happened. The only way I could continue to believe would be to forget everything I now knew about Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, etc.

    Our marriage is stronger than ever because we are able to discuss things that scare us. Fear of being less than what the church expects has evaporated from our lives. The constant worry that our kids may not gain a testimony is gone. The fear that one of our kids would come out as gay was no longer something we feared because we had created a home where we can be much more supportive of those life choices. In the end, there were some hard times in 2020. There were lots of tears. However, our family is closer and mentally healthier now than it was entering 2020. Mormon Stories didn’t tear our family apart, it gave us the information our family needed to find the truth and to live happy lives. We aren’t’ sure where our spiritual journey will lead, we are just happy where it has led us from, and MormonStories played a large role in that.

    1. Much of what you’ve said and specifically how you’ve said it is what I wish I had said in my comment. Amen, if I may say so. Signed, Anonymous member living in fear of the very real, euphemistically-named SCMC.

  19. I was raised in the LDS church, where I never saw examples of people expressing doubts or having space to question teachings of the church. So when I started questioning the validity of the gospel and noticing how uncomfortable I felt with many of the teachings of the church, I thought something was terribly wrong with me. I have never felt more alone, hopeless and directionless than I did as an LDS teenager with some questions.

    My doubts piled up over time as my mental health steadily declined until I attempted suicide just before turning 18. Thankfully my attempt was unsuccessful and I healed over time outside of the church with mental health professionals, while my bishop and family encouraged me NOT to seek professional help and assured me my struggles with depression would be healed if I was more spiritual

    It wasn’t until a few years later that I stumbled upon the CES Letter and then Mormon Stories. They each helped me feel no longer alone after I had made the most difficult decision of my life to exit the LDS church. By hearing the many experiences of others through the platforms provided by John Dehlin, I’ve grown stronger in my ability to communicate effectively and lovingly with LDS family members regarding spiritual differences, while I see these family members making such efforts of their own.

    Mormon Stories has also helped me feel more comfortable and confident with my self, my body, and determining my own values . This is so much more than I can say the LDS church ever did for me, when in fact I strongly believe their toxic tactics and teachings ultimately led to a near fatal attempt in my life. I’m forever grateful for John Dehlin, Jeremy Runnells and so many others who provide people like me support and so much more.

    1. Wow, I’m tearing up reading your “Mormon Story”. Thank you for your example of courage and for sharing at such a deeply personal level. So happy you’ve made it! Best wishes for a future of even more progress and self-development and fulfillment. Anonymous

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    From Annie:

    How have Mormon Stories helped me:

    I came out just over 6 years ago. The podcast episodes with Benji Schwimmer were paramount in helping me feel confident in aspects of my journey because I felt validated in the experiences I had with learning how to love and accept me while still maintaining a relationship with God. Before listening to those episodes, I was super confused about the feelings and personal revelation I had been receiving that God loved me, yes even though I am gay, AND helped solidify my belief that the answers I was getting through personal prayer were from God. I was able to find my foundation and build myself up again and create a wonderful life with my wife.

    After coming out, getting married, and living our life together, I continued to listen to the podcast and found it very cathartic to have the resource and community as I was learning how to rewire and rebuild my faith.

    Mormon Storied Podcast did not, in any way, destroy my faith or my relationships with my family. In fact, it’s been something I can discuss and bond over with my siblings. I believe the work that is done in this community is therapeutic, healing, and very validating to so many of us learning to navigate our way out of one way of living and into another.

    How has the Mormon Church/FAIRmormon hurt me:

    To be completely open and honest, I don’t have a ton of experience with FAIRmormon other than the recent youtube videos. What I’ve seen of them are disturbing, hateful, and inaccurate. I think their messages will do more to hurt current members of the church because they do not in any way, shape or form represent what Christ taught. It’s incredibly sad and frustrating.

    I have been hurt by the teachings of the church and have had my own encounters with inappropriate bishops interviews. I think the main thing that I am working through is the patriarchal mindset that we are here to please men in power. Being gay presents some pretty obvious hurdles with the church and when I initially came out, some of those things were tossed at me in very hurtful ways. I understand that some of the things I’ve experienced were people in my life processing through their emotions and, for me, are not worth hanging on to. However, the fact that so many people in my life have used teachings from the church as measuring sticks of MY situation is incredibly damaging to those relationships.

    Keep your head up, John! You are doing good things and have created a safe space for so many of us to grieve, process, and heal.

    Annie

  21. I am a true believing Mormon , but have been disillusioned by the way the leaders of the church do not address so many of the church history problems and questions concerning doctrines or policies that have changed over the years. Mormon stories podcasts have helped me see other members who struggle with this. On the Mormon Stories podcasts I have seen courageous individuals who have been excommunicated for speaking truths that have helped to make changes in policies of the church. I am saddened that it takes people getting excommunicated before the church leaders make changes. Why can’t the church leaders respond to sincere questions church members have instead of church members having to go to a Mormon Stories podcast to get understanding? I do know that John is appreciative of all points of view and likes to present them on his podcasts. One in particular was Lex de Azevedo who actually helped me find reasons to stay in the church despite so many facts that would make one doubt. John is one of the most sincere men I have seen on podcasts. I hate seeing the derogatory messages about Jeremy Runnels who was only trying to get sincere answers to his questions and not in any way wanting to be famous or do this for money. He even stated quite the opposite. Why couldn’t his CES director answer his questions and why do not the leaders of the church answer these questions people have? I only see Mormon Stories making us all aware of these truth seekers and helping them find understanding and I am grateful for Mormon Stories so that I can better understand when someone leaves the church and be a better support to them.

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    From Winn:

    I am not LDS. But I have had many, many high school students who are. Some have become friends since they have graduated.
    Several have left the church and talked about how they have been damaged by the church.

    I turned to your podcasts to try to understand and maybe learn a bit about how to support them. They were helpful and seemed respectful and loving.
    Then I read about the Kwaku El videos. So I thought I should check them out. Honestly, I tried to watch but the one I started was hateful, mocking, flippant and immature … not at all what I’d expect to the church to condone let along support.

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    Kerry Hales

    Two of my Mormon daughters refuse to acknowledge me or even talk to me because I am an atheist and an exmormon. So, if you want to talk about breaking families up, it’s not sites like this. The cancer is within the Mormon church.

  24. I didn’t even find Mormon Stories Podcast until after my research on my own. So for me it had nothing to do with me leaving. But it had everything to do with me finding peace, hope, reason, logic, and love after leaving. My marriage would have fallen apart if not for people like John, Jeremy and the countless others out there giving voice to our pain. It is absolutely baseless claims they are making and the truth is actually the complete opposite. They are giving us the ability to cope and thrive after leaving the church.

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    Author

    Desi Nicole

    Mormon Stories was a light in a very dark room as I began to question The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I am not someone who took my faith lightly. I was in the most difficult situation of my life when I asked a few questions of some church missionaries and leaders of my ward in Cedar City when I was told that the things I was asking about was “deep doctrine” and should be left alone. One former bishop even asked, “As a woman and mother in the church, how would knowing these answers help you? Your faith doesn’t come from these answers.” It was then that I began going through JS papers on churchofjesuschrist.org and writing down everything I was told and everything that I found that was a contradiction. I then went back to those church members with this information I collected and asked again for some clarity, wanting more than anything to believe. They had no answers, only frustration toward my questions. I did not know about Mormon Stories until after I left the church. It helped my husband (who was raised in the church) and I navigate my faith crisis (and eventually his own) without us having to sacrifice our marriage or our love for each other. I am grateful for Mormon Stories Podcast and John Dr. John Dehlin for being a calm and caring person with no agenda other than to help people in pain and give a voice to people leaving the church so others know they are not alone.

  26. Post
    Author

    Sharon Flood Kasenberg

    In my early fifties I finally began to see all the inconsistencies in the doctrines I’d been taught since childhood. It was devastating to feel that I had been mislead by the organization I’d devoted my life to. When I finally realized I could no longer enjoy any aspect of Mormonism it was a huge relief to discover the Mormon Stories Podcast Community. I live in an area where the LDS church doesn’t have much presence – my member friends were no longer associating with me, and my few nonmember friends couldn’t fully understand how leaving me church left me feeling so isolated- so it was wonderful to connect with a group of people online who understood what I was going through. It first became a place where I could express my hurt and frustration, and eventually a place that enabled my healing process, a place where I found new friends, rediscovered some old ones and shared a lot of thoughts and feelings. It is obvious that the church feels threatened by the existence of this online community. The church did its best to cause rifts within our immediate family for years. When my husband became disillusioned I had members tell me I should leave him. When my younger son went into a YSA ward at 18 he was effectively brainwashed into serving a mission, and came home a shadow of his fun-loving self. I spent my LDS years feeling inadequate in every way possible, but my post Mormon years have opened my eyes, and my heart, to the many possibilities that eluded me before I took a leap of faith and left my faith. I am grateful for the many people within this online community who helped me through this very difficult and painful transition.

  27. How Mormon Stories has helped me:

    I experienced my faith crisis around 14 years old, I am now 30. I was plagued with not only personal shame and guilt, but also outwardly from my devout fellow mormons, friends, and family. My parents and grandparents are still do this day, very active in the church. In some cases, they practice in very extreme ways. I am the oldest of 5 children, and when I left the church it broke my parents heart. The disappointment in their eyes was detrimental to my soul. From there our family started breaking apart, and it was all my fault. It wasn’t until I was 20 years old that I could finally say out loud, and only within the company of myself, “The church is not true”. After that moment, tears of relief and happiness streamed down my face. I was free. But not totally. That’s when the anger set in. Angry that I had been deceived and lied to. Angry with the persecution I felt as a youth from asking honest, intelligent questions. I was even more angry by the sexual abuse I received from an older boy in our ward that was illegally covered up by the Bishop of my ward at that time.

    All this anger prevented me from ever seeing my relationship with my family to ever be the same. I never thought they could be mended. With that, I had no voice. Because no matter how nicely and carefully I worded my true feelings to my mom; I could physically feel the pain and fear radiating from her body. I felt like my parents will never be able to know the real me, or respect the strong woman I worked hard to become.

    About 4 years ago (26 years of age), I stumbled upon Mormon Stories. I felt kinship for the first time, relating to my mormon upbringing. Which of course, was not all bad. I felt vindicated. It helped me process deep emotions that had ultimately evolved into deep anger and resentment that was not healthy for me. The interviews gave me compassion for those still in the church. It taught me about their mindset. I saw their deep love for me in another light, something I had not been able to navigate on my own. It taught me how to speak to my family in healthy ways. This led to broadening our capability of tough conversations. Those that helped my mom truly understand me and my choice to leave the church. That’s when the true healing began. She and I can now have awesome conversations about spirituality and metaphysics that leave us fascinated by each other from our different perspectives. We also found ideologies that are very much aligned.

    I am so grateful for Mormon Stories in how it helped me and my mom (not exclusively), have a relationship again. A true authentic relationship. She no longer wants to change me, and I don’t want to change her. We celebrate each other and our different paths to personal growth. Thank you John Dehlin and all those apart of Mormon Stories for your courage and ability to help guide those who endure a faith crisis. Thank you for helping me get my family back.

    Warmest Regards,

    Tiffany

  28. Without the Mormon Stories community, it would have been impossible for me to make it through my faith crisis. Mormon Stories is not afraid to post factual evidence about the LDS church which can actually allow members to make an informed decision about their faith. My faith crisis began small when it came out that green tea is against the word of wisdom. I know that sounds silly, but when you’re taught that the prophet speaks the words of God, and God says that green tea is bad for you despite its numerous health benefits, a seed of doubt is planted. My oldest daughter was getting baptized a little after that, and I was having a really difficult time because she felt that she could “finally be clean of all her sins and start over”, and my heart just sank. This was right around when the church came out and said that anyone who has been baptized can be a witness to a baptism. That new “revelation” was nonsense to me because it felt more like “Oh hey, now we think women are capable enough to sign a paper saying that they saw someone get baptised”. I then somehow came across Mormon Stories and learned about the Gospel Topics Essays. I read them, listened to “Rough Stone Rolling”, watched many podcasts, and realized that I was not being taught the truth. I was giving thousands of dollars and countless volunteer hours to an organization that wasn’t being honest with its members. I felt like my kids were being groomed into thinking that any time something isn’t going right in their lives that they just aren’t doing enough. My in-laws struggled for 15 years financially, all the while they were regularly attending church, paying their tithing, and dutifully fulfilling their callings. Where were their blessings? Meanwhile, my husband and I just bought a house and haven’t attended church in over a year, our relationship is so much stronger, and we are genuinely happy. The point is that with the help of John Dehlin’s work, I have been able to realize that I am the creator of my own happiness and success. I am the one who has to work for it. No amount of prayer is going to get me there. I feel so much less guilt about decisions I make in my life knowing that I have no one to answer to but myself. There is no doubt that members in the church feel joy, but at what cost? If anyone is breaking up families, it’s the LDS church and not John Dehlin or anyone else brave enough the expose the truth. I knew a woman who divorced her husband a former bishop, after over 15 years becausehe decided to leave the church. It was her choice. I have a family member who told their significant other that they weren’t sure what they believed in anymore, and their response was that they better figure it out because they didn’t sign up for that, they signed up for a faithful marriage for eternity. My husband is a therapist and has so many clients going through faith crises that when I came to him with my concerns, he was so understanding. I’m lucky that he loves me for me and not based on which religion I am. Many aren’t so lucky. The church claims to teach love and acceptance, but as soon as one of its members starts speaking out, they are shut out. The LDS church is a business that preys on those who don’t know any better. So thank you, John Dehlin and everyone else, for not letting items on your shelf get dusty and tucked away. Thank you for sharing actual truth. I would be lost without this community.

  29. Post
    Author

    Amanda Birch

    After my husband left the church, many members and leaders offered words of support that often included shaming my husband and I ate those words up. It drove us apart because he was so wrong, stupid an idiot (literally… Words people used when talking to me about my husband and then I adopted because he was wrong and I was right). I was going to the temple every 2 weeks, reading scriptures, praying but our mixed faith marriage was torture for me my family and the church wasn’t helping. I thought divorce was inevitable. A friend shared some mormon stories videos with me… I was able to watch interviews with mixed faith couples and how they were able to coexist and be happy. It changed everything (and by everything I mean my mind set. The blinders were off) and saved our marriage. I have since left the church, my marriage has never been better, and I love the support offered from Mormon Stories Podcast.

  30. Post
    Author

    Crystal Zeller

    They say you’re intentionally breaking up families but the lds church breaks up families. How many people are converted to the lds church and encouraged to do so even if their families disown them?!

  31. Post
    Author

    Jeannine

    I left the mormon church over 30 years ago. I would not say that I was well educated about church history or doctrine. However, I did not like the way certain mormon beliefs and actions made me feel about myself and others. Finding Mormon Stories just a few years ago and listening to many of the podcasts have not only educated me about church, but most importantly has validated the feelings I had as a member of the church and now as a non-member of the church. As a result of the information I have received from this podcast I have a better understanding and acceptance of family still active in the mormon religion. So, I would say that Mormon Stories has been helpful for my family relationships with those that are still active as well as with those that are inactive. Thank you so much for all of the work you do to provide the informative podcasts. Facts and stories are important.

  32. Post
    Author

    Tara

    hey John I saw your post on your you tube about how LDS religion is saying you are ruining family’s, I can’t believe they would say that when their religion disfelowshipes ppl for making mistakes or are bi,trans ect or anyone who disagrees with their view points. you really opened my eyes about joseph smith and what a liar con man he was. it’s something I went to the Mormon church 2 times and I felt like ppl were too much into joseph Smith instead of Christ. felt like that was very backwards and weird to me. I felt like joseph smith took alot of scriptures from the bible and added that to the book of mormon. Thank you for opening my eyes to the nonsense. I have a few lds members on my FB and I feel they are really blind by the crap they have been Fed. thank you for all your information that you put out to ppl who really wanted to understand the LDS church. j

    thank you to Jeremy as well he said he saw the same thing I saw where joseph smith took writings from the bible and put them in the book of mormon I saw that immediately. thanks to you I’ve learned so much. thanks to you both

  33. Post
    Author

    Stanley,

    mormon stories podcast has helped me not damaged me//the lds church damaged me by bullying me for not going on mission and not going to temple(not tithing) john dehlin’s work has helped me see the lies of lds church //the interviews /peoples experiences have giving me a night and day comparison lds church =hate john dehlin=love

  34. Post
    Author

    Hi John,

    Feel free to use my experience in print or wherever including my name.

    My wife and I met as believing Mormons. Our first date was in August of 2012 and we married in the Draper UT Temple in February 2013. In 2015 I started to have my real faith crisis and the November policy of 2015 was the final nail for me. I introduced my wife to the CES Letter and she soon followed. In January 2016 we decided to stop wearing garments. Part of leaving the church meant rethinking a lot of what we believed and how we wanted our lives to be. Past goals included having several kids and being active in the church. Now we had to rebuild. Part of that rebuild process was looking at our marriage. We felt duped. We married so fast and that was because of the church. During this time I had become a faithful listener of Mormon Stories and knew about your navigating faith crisis workshops. We attended in March of 2017. Meeting other people in very similar situations, hearing their struggles, celebrating their triumph, made us realize we were not alone. It also helped us realize that we wanted to say together. Our marriage is now the result of hard work and being dedicated to building a relationship. It is not strong because we’re faithful to the gospel. Its strong because we fight for it. That is something we learned at your workshop and subsequent marriage therapy.

    Mormon Stories is more than a podcast. Its a community. Going through a faith crisis is one of the darkest, loneliest events of my life. Hearing and seeing others go through the same experiences was life (and family) saving.

    I love the work you have started. It’s built on compassion, love, and honesty. I’ll be forever grateful for you and the community you have helped build.

    Oh and your workshop was my first exposure to mental health therapy. I have since started my master’s to become a therapist. I want to work with folks going through faith crises.

    Thanks.

    Richie

  35. Post
    Author

    Dear John,

    We’ve never met, but I am an occasional yet regular listener to your podcast. I’ve heard your recent request, asking for people to share our “testimonials” about how you and Mormon stories has helped or hurt families. While I’d like to remain anonymous at this time, I felt compelled to share how your content influenced my family.

    I was born and raised in South Korea and attended the Daegu Stake as one of a handful of Mormon boys in a city of 2 million. I have been a faithful member all my life; a bona fide foreign member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was a seminary graduate, honorable return missionary, taught in the MTC, married in the temple at age 22 to a faithful member, had kids immediately during school, graduated BYU – Provo Cum Laude. I loved the gospel. And like many others who have left the church, I’ve never intended to find myself out. 5 years ago, I was studying the scripture about the nature of the Godhead. It was then I realized that the teaching of the Book of Mormon regarding the godhead was inconsistent to current prophetic teachings. Long story short, I spent the next several months in painful agony realizing how blind sighted I was to so many issues of church history and her doctrines. My journey out of the church has been the single most painful experience of my life. And the closest I was in ever divorcing my wife. During these hard times, your interviews with Richard Bushman, Michael Coe, Michael Quinn, and more recently Robert Ritner gave me a basis to maintain a thoughtful nuanced position. But perhaps the most influential was your Dr. Dehlin inserts where you often said, paraphrasing, that “no doctrinal issue is worth losing your family over” and that you recommend to some (but not everyone) to stay in the church if that made your life happier and preserve marriage. To this day, I maintain a healthy view of Mormonism and keep my marriage and family intact in large part thanks to your work with Mormon Stories.

    Sincerely,

    Wontak Kim

    P.S. FAIR has single handedly hurt my testimony more than any other organization. Earlier in my faith crisis, I would read their material to help me overcome doubt only to find myself dissatisfied by their shallow arguments and pseudo-scholarship. FAIR’s new Hail Mary strategy with TITS/Kwaku isn’t received well by both members and former members either. The way they have portrayed you is dishonest and misdealing and it is not okay for them to act in such ways. I think it has been wise of you to address them in the ways you have done. I hope you keep the moral high ground as you have done so far. We are rooting for the truth and for you.

  36. El sitio de Mormon Stories no es muy conocido entre los “Santos de los Últimos Días” de Hispanoamerica, y la verdad no he leido o visto su contenido, pero a partir de hoy seré un fiel seguidor de su trabajo, aunque me toque apoyarme en Google Traductor las veces que sea necesario.
    En cuanto a “Carta a un Director del SEI”, debo darle todas las gracias a Jeremy Runnels por tan excelente trabajo. Aprendí cosas que nunca había sabido sobre la Historia de la Iglesia Mormona y todas sus incoherencias en relación al Evangelio de Cristo.
    Gracias a su trabajo, he podido explicarle a mi esposa y a mis hijas la realidad de La Secta Mormona y gracias a Dios estamos juntos aún, a pesar de que los líderes de La Secta intentaron sin éxito hacerme divorciar de mi esposa y cambiarla por otra mujer más acorde a los parámetros del Mormonismo y de sus pérfidas creencias.
    También me dí cuenta que muchas de las doctrinas del Mormonismo son en su mayoría plagios de las enseñanzas del Islam, mezcladas con Cristianismo, Paganismo y Sionismo Judío. Actualmente sigo las enseñanzas del Islam Shiita, y me siento mucho más tranquilo, sin la presión social que en La Secta se impone a los que disentimos.
    Yo también pongo mi granito de arena en esta labor de destapar las corrupciones del Mormonismo a través de mi canal de Youtube, en mi blog y en mi grupo de Facebook llamado “Mormonismo Desatado”. De hoy en adelante pondré sus publicaciones para que los Mormones de habla Hispana sepan de su trabajo, y les pido su ayuda para que los videos tengan subtitulos o audio en español en sus videos.
    Las publicaciones las traduciré y las colocaré en el grupo.
    Saludos desde Colombia, y sigan adelante !!!

  37. John,
    I appreciate the thoroughness, honesty, and vulnerability in your podcast episodes. The people you interview speak honestly and openly, and your commentary, although critical, is always fair.
    I have listened to several of your shows while driving by myself in the desert. It has been wonderful to hear the deeply moving stories of your interviewees. I resonated with Sam Pinson’s depiction of that cloying, gaslighting voice that church leaders use to make you doubt yourself. I felt the pain of Ryan and Holly Nielsen. Hearing how Ryan’s suicidality and religious paradigms intersected was very enlightening for me as I have come to the same conclusion. Your interviews with Natasha Helfer Parker and Clarissa Winter were also really comforting, affirming, and validating to hear as I navigate my own sexuality outside a church context. Thank you for the platform you provide for people to share their stories.

  38. The only people that could possibly believe — after spending time with Mormon Stories — that it breaks up families, are those prone to magical thinking.

  39. Mormon Stories is one of the “few” Real-True-Honest Organizations/Podcasts that allow(s) Truth and Honesty to prevail. There is nothing about “Mormon Stories” that is
    Anti-Mormon at all. Shame on any organization, person, etc. that would ever profess such nonsense and or proclaim that it is a marriage destroyer. On the
    contrary, it can/will enhance, fortify, strengthen a relationship and marriage if we are honest with ourselves. However, all parties in the relationship must be
    willing to be completely honest and acknowledge “Truth” no matter how much it may hurt and or be uncomfortable. Honesty and Truth must be present in any true
    -loving marriage/relationship.
    Thank you “Mormon Stories” for all of the “love”, “support”, “encouragement” etc., you have given to all that have at one point or another been deceived and
    lied to by the LDS Church.

  40. S. Wright
    I had been studying in depth about the priesthood in preparation for the April 2020 general conference when I found the church essays. I am 48 yrs old and had been an active, temple going member my whole life yet had never heard about Fanny Alger. The moment I learned about her, I began questioning if Joseph Smith really was a prophet. I started searching the internet and found a community of other members who also were navigating church history facts and Mormon Stories has been a huge part of that community. I have been able to study and learn both sides of every truth claim to be able to decide for myself. Podcasts such as this one are serving the lost sheep. Some stay, some leave but everyone has a safe place to ask the tough questions here at Mormon Stories.

  41. Mormon Stories has helped my wife and I transition into a much healthier space away from orthodox Mormonism. We both had doubts over different aspects of Mormonism, and were at different points in our transition. Mormon stories provided us a forum to discuss the topics and realize that we were really on the same page on many things. It helped to know we were not alone in our journey. I used to read Fair Mormon material in years past and found a lot of what they did helpful in developing a thoughtful approach to difficult gospel issues. I can hardly believe that these videos are from fair Mormon. I am genuinely sad that Fair Mormon has tarnished the efforts of those who in the past provided thoughtful content. These videos are dishonest and offensive to people on both sides of the Mormon belief system.

  42. Mormon Stories has been an invaluable resource for me. When I started learning about the church’s problematic history, I was in a painful and lonely place. Listening to many hours of Mormon Stories episodes helped me get to a place of peace, as well as taught me healthy ways to discuss my changing beliefs with my wife and immediate family. I learned how to communicate with my believing family members in ways that allowed us to maintain strong relationships, despite our faith differences. Mormon Stories helped heal the parts of my life that were damaged from the betrayal of the church I loved.

    1. I’d like to add that FairMormon played an important role in my faith transition. I really wanted answers, so I would check FairMormon for every problematic issue I was discovering. Initially, FairMormon was effective when I was zoomed in on a topic. But the more I read, the more I realized many of the answers from FairMormon were directly contradicting answers they gave to other issues. When taking a step back, it became clear that FairMormon would twist and fit anything into their faithful perspective, often abandoning logic and reason. The more I studied, the more clear it became that FairMormon’s answers were not good or helpful. The puzzle pieces didn’t fit together as a whole. If their answers were the best the church could provide (in fact, the only answers any faithful perspective was providing, because General Authorities don’t provide answers), it became clear that there were no good answers. FairMormon ultimately gave more credibility to the issues and helped me see the church for what it is.

  43. I was born into the church and was a very faithful member. I had an unwavering testimony and followed every aspect of the gospel in full diligence; my religion was my entire life and I never imagined a scenario where that would change. My faith crisis and questioning began at age 15 after suffering immeasurable depression and anxiety as a result of church teachings. I tried following the church’s teachings so closely that I was constantly consumed with guilt and fear that I wasn’t trying hard enough to be a disciple of Christ. As a Mia Maid, I considered suicide on a regular basis because I thought it would be better if I died and didn’t have any more chances to sin or mess up. Going to seminary every day and church activities twice a week surrounded me by the church constantly and made these thoughts inescapable. Everyone in the church told me that it was a gospel of hope, but I felt absolutely hopeless every day. After extensive thought and questioning of my own suffering and whether a loving god running a loving church would cause me to feel like this, I realized in shock that I no longer believed that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was true.

    I couldn’t tell any of my friends or family about my change in beliefs because everyone was Mormon; I’m from a very LDS Utah area and coming out as exmormon would have made me a terrible person in the eyes of everyone I loved. It was a very lonely and confusing experience for me, as I didn’t know a single other person who had had a faith transition like mine. As I started looking to the internet for some kind of hope or community, one of the first entities I came across was Mormon Stories. As I started listening to random stories from other people like me who had experienced faith transitions, it gave me a glimmer of hope because I knew I wasn’t alone. Even though all I saw around me in person was my Mormon community, there were, in fact, other people like me. And there were, in fact, other young people with similar stories to me. In high school, listening to the episodes featuring Savannah coming out as gay at church at age 13, or Brinley having her faith transition as a teenager, gave me a sense of hope and solidarity; I wasn’t the only teenager going through this. Perhaps the series that was most impactful to me was the stories with the people who were negatively impacted by bishop interviews, in relation to Sam Young’s movement. I had some very unpleasant, and frankly traumatic, experiences with bishop interviews as a young teenager, and listening to these stories made me realize that what I experienced was wrong and that I have a right to recognize what happen to me and have space to heal.

    Mormon Stories helped me realize that there are more people like me. It helped me find more online communities and in person communities with people like me. I’m in college now and have a wonderful support group of friends who have also left the church. I’m grateful for all the ways I have been helped and uplifted by post-religious organizations and will continue to be a part of these communities to help others in the same position.

  44. As a former member of the Reorganized church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,I have found Mormon stories to be Very helpful. Lets face it in many ways how the founders of this “ religion” effected Mormons…they also did the same to the many other groups which sprung from the same beginnings. Mormon stories applied in many ways in helping me and my family understand our background better, without saying we need to throw everything which came from it away. Further it has helped me in learning to deal with my future son in law who was brought up Mormon and also his family who still believes. If anything it has taught me how to understand them better, and to NOT feel it is my duty to change their minds on anything. To know the truth and when respectful to share the truth…but then to allow THEM to do what they want with their knowledge. This I have most definitely learned from John Dehlin.

  45. I would have sent a video but I’m ill right now and look like death warmed over.
    I know you want concise, and I could really go novel-length,  but will refrain and try my best.
    Let me start with a quick background picture:

    I come from hardy Mormon stock, from true-believing parents, whom I love dearly. My family tree includes noted Mormon scholar, Hugh Nibley, and further back we can find Alexander Neibaur, my 4th great grandfather, the first Jew to be baptized into the church (1838), who also taught both German and Hebrew to the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr.  Both of these ancestors are bright shining LDS stars on an otherwise average Mormon family tree.

    I am the oldest of four children, and had been active most of my life, been married in the Temple to my first husband, a marriage that ended in 1992.I have four children with this first husband, all grown now.
    I held the normal leadership positions over the years, most notable being Young Women’s President for a number of years, and always tried my best to do what is right, especially when it came to my own children.  I remarried in 1996 to a non-member (with 2 children). He was baptized in 1998.
    Needless to say, I was all in, with both feet.  

    About 18 months ago, I realized what the truth of the LDS church really is, and that it was nothing like that which I had believed it to be– for the entire 58 years of my turn on earth.  

    I fell into a pit of darkness that I could not find my way out of.  I felt utterly alone and beyond isolated.  A kind of isolation I had not ever known, (and believe me when I say that I have faced isolation and despondency in my life, after surviving through eight years of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of two members of my extended family– men who were supposed to love me, yet left me in tatters instead). 

    But this new clarity of the fraud that is the church, hit me like a bolt of lightning, and left me in a sizzling puddle. 
    For days I wallowed in a state of internal panic, a state of emergency even, with literally no one to turn to.  
    After days in a state of panic, I finally talked to my husband, revealing all I had found out about the church.  He himself revealed that though he was present in many Bishropric meetings in his calling as Executive Secretary, he had never really believed in all this “church stuff” and simply joined the church for me.  A shocking revelation in itself!

    Though he did sympathize with my state of mind and apparent visible state of panic, he admitted he could not relate  to what I was feeling and really couldn’t help me, other than to listen.  

    I had no one else to talk to about this. I absolutely could not go to my family with this.  In my search for answers, I had gone to the official LDS church site, absolutely sure I would find an explanation in the so called “Church Essay’s” I had read about in the CES Letter.  

    After much searching, I finally found the essay’s, poured over them, and found that: 
    1) they did nothing to assuage my deepening despair,  
    2) listed as sources somewhere buried in the footnotes (I read all the footnotes), were Hugh Nibley and Alexander Neibaur!  I knew my parents would NEVER listen to what I had discovered if these two were listed as sources of the truth!

    I then proceeded to read about 15 books in less than a months’ time. (I have to say I have never been more studious in the scriptures than I have been in the last 18 months)!
    But still, I was despondent and felt so alone and felt myself spiralling even further down into a pit of despair.  I mentioned above that I was sexually abused for 8 years of my childhood, for which I did receive almost two years of intensive counselling…by LDS Social Services!  My husband could see my spiral as  I started to discount as “null and void” all of that indoctrinated counselling I had gotten!  

    I could not claw myself out and I knew I had to find some new help somewhere else, because my future looked rather bleak, even to me.
    My husband suggested I look somewhere online.
    I did.
    I found Mormon Stories. 

    This group literally saved my sanity and saved my life.

    In a nutshell:
    My parents are still TBM and know nothing of what I have discovered.  I have had discussions with my brothers (who have also all left the church).  Discussions have also been had with my four children, who I feel I have done a grave disservice to for forcing a cult life on them during their formative years.  

    They all say that’s not the case. None of them were real believers anyway and they are just glad that I am “out” now.
    None of my children had ever been very active in the church over the years. They are all grown with lives and families of their own now. One of my children went on a mission at age 19, but returned home within six months, which as you can imagine, caused a great stir at the time.

    I have a child, now in their mid 30’s questioning their sexual identity, and a transgender grandhild trying to find their way in the world. I love them all dearly, however they show up, and cannot comprehend the church’s stand regarding these beautiful children of God.

    I realize I am one of the “luckier” ones, as I still have my family, my marriage and my siblings, though now it feels like my parents are kind of outside of our family circle.  They aren’t really– we are a still a close family, but we have this big “thing” that we never talk about with them  looming between us.  My brothers and I all agree it isn’t wise to break this news to our 80 year old parents, who attend the Temple weekly ( pre-pandemic). It would break my mother, I’m sure.

    It is however, a glimpse at how my relationship with my own children might  have looked like if I was still in… rather shallow, superfical and hollow I think.
    I feel we are MORE close and AUTHENTIC with each other since we left the church.  That said, there is one thing I can take with me from the church, and that is the love of family.

    I feel the church, (actually ANY church), does a good job of separating family, because it seems it’s mission is to squash authenticity and smash individuality, all in the name of obedience.   

    Mormon Stories was a life-line, at least it was for me, a true place that helped me navigate through the mire and muck that the church left me in.  I had looked to the Apologetics for answers but my new found clarity and critical thought saw right through their circular arguments.

    I marvel at where I am right now.
    I would never have imagined that the “war” during the “last days” would look so very different from the narrative that had been washed into my brain over a lifetime of believing what I had been taught.

    Who would have seen that the side that I am on is very far,  almost opposite, from the one where I thought I would be?

    Who would have seen that leaving the church was actually leaving the “great and spacious building”, not the other way around?
    That wandering around lost, through the “mists of darkness”, was actually the decades spent in church pews, and in that incessant, mindless, meaningless obedient busy-ness.
    And that holding to the “Iron Rod” actually led the way out of the grip of a corrupt corporation –the epitome of a wolf in sheep’s clothing of a “church.”

    There is SO much more I could go on about, but this a nugget of the nutshell version. (I am, in fact, trying to write a book about it all…for my kids as kind of an explaination).
    I hope my ramblings help…Feel free to edit.
    Keep up the fight, there are still others that will need you…they just don’t know it yet.

  46. My family could use a bit of Mormon stories. They have never heard nor watched anything the church doesn’t approve of. We are not close. At least not close enough to be authentic with each other. The Mormon church has ruined what could have otherwise been an authentic loving affirming family of 8 adult children who think for themselves. Instead I am the only apostate in a family that doesnt know how to have honest authentic relationships. Anything that might make anyone seem like they are out of line with the church is not spoken of, as we all hide and repress our true selves due to fear of rejection. We all have our secret lives and “sins” that prevent us from getting to know the real brothers and sisters and parents behind this appearance of perfection. I have a mother that can’t tell her children that she loves them no matter what. Instead I hear the adage “Remember who you are.” Which really means, remember not to be a homosexual. My father hasn’t taken a family vacation in years due to all of his vacation days being occupied by scout camps that he no longer has sons in. My brother has severe autism that has gone untreated and unaddressed because the only option in my parents mind is to pray and read the scriptures and it will all work out. The church did a great job poisoning the well when it comes to actual psychology. There is depression, conflict, addiction, racism, homophobia, high stress, low self worth, unemployment and isolation in my family that can all be traced back to adherence to the teachings, doctrine and culture of the Mormon church. Of course as these problems get worse they dig into the church deeper, therefore no one gets the real help they need. They blame their problems on not being good enough to deserve blessings. It’s a vicious cycle that the church depends on in order to keep members in the boat and paying tithing. They are the poison and the fake cure. The Mormon church breaks family connections with their toxic perfectionism. My family could use some raw, unfiltered, honest Mormon stories as opposed to useless platitudes, primary level stories and virtue signaling, which is all they get in the Mormon Church.

  47. My maternal grandfather was not a member of the church, but my grandmother was. After he died my grandmother went TBM and labored incessantly at the Idaho Falls Temple for years after beginning by being sealed to my grandfather by proxy a year after he died- my cousin stood in for Grandpa. (That only sounds weird if you’re a gentile- Grandmothers and Grandsons being “wed” is normal, right?) Meanwhile, “back at the ranch” her middle daughter lost her non-member husband at the age of 38 and she was sealed to my uncle by proxy a year later- a nephew stood in for him. She became TBM PLUS!!! My grandmother’s and my aunt’s incessant nagging that it was time to become worthy for sealing was met with courtesy and patience by my mother; but she’d read No Man Knows My History back in the 1960s because she was forbidden by the church to do so and subsequently took all the pressure from her family in amused stride. She would never become “Temple Worthy” on a bet, on a dare, or at gunpoint. Among factors like her non-member Dad, Mrs. Brodie, and the New Testament, she’d deduced that it was all just bunkum devised to separate folks from their money and/or their autonomy. She couldn’t see much of Jesus in any of it.
    Eventually the nagging stopped, not because my mother argued- she wouldn’t, but because her family just stopped communicating or even trying to be family anymore. Mom supposed their attitude was that since they wouldn’t have us in the next world, why bother with continuing with being together in this one. It made her sad.
    She passed in 2017 and I wish she’d have known about Mormon Stories. She wouldn’t have felt so alone, I suspect.
    The church destroys families at an infinitely greater rate than Mormon Stories ever could. Mormon Stories doesn’t threaten a family the same way the church does. Think about it: I was twelve when the “Ward Teachers” (bit of an age reveal there using THAT term) told my non-member father “We’re the only church that offers you eternity with your family.” And I thought, “Wait a minute- we’re the only church that threatens that you won’t have them!” (I was mama’s and Grandpa’s boy, afterall.)
    Give us all of your time that we demand and 10 percent of your income- OR YOU’LL NEVER SEE YOUR FAMILY AGAIN! That sounds more like the Godfather than God, IMO.
    So, no, John. Neither you nor Mormon Stories harms or destroys families for profit. And even if you do, you do it for free. The church charges 10 percent of someone’s income to do it.

  48. A year ago I became increasingly uncomfortable with the church. I stumbled upon the church’s history, which clearly points out that the church is not what it claims to be. I was (am) in an intense crisis. My life crumbled in a matter of hours. I knew I wouldn’t believe the way I had my whole life. I constantly return to Mormon Stories Podcast and John Delin for help, relief, and support.

  49. You can only have a faith crisis if you belong to a religion that relies on faith for its truth claims. It is these faith crises that lead individuals to leave the cult. Their leaving can lead to family angst and sometimes family division.
    Mormon stories podcast is just a talk show that allows people to tell their faith crisis stories. It doesn’t ask anyone to have faith that they are true stories. You can listen and decide for yourself if it resonates with you. There is no pressure here. In fact John Dehlin goes out of his way, repeatedly, to explain he is not trying to make people lose their faith or leave the church. Paraphrasing here , John emphasized, “ If the Mormon church works for you, GREAT! Keep attending and doing your thing.”
    Most of his guests arrive on his show with intact families or divided families. Either way John tries to apply a soothing balm to both sides. You can tell that it would really upset John if he caused more grief than already exists in these situations. In fact it is just the opposite. He is trying to HELP those that are having a faith crisis, by having his guests tell their stories thereby showing his audience that they are NOT ALONE. Just listening to John you can tell he has no other ulterior motives! Keep up the good work John!

  50. Quite honestly if it wasn’t for Mormon Stories Podcast and The CES Letter I’d be dead. Since I was a child I was taught by leaders and family members of the Mormon Church that I was defective and somehow unloveable if I were to live authentically. I knew at a young age that I liked the boys my age and was very attracted to them. I know that I did not feel the same way for girls. I did everything I was told by leaders to try and “make the gay go away”. I paid my tithing, attended all my meetings, served in many different leader positions, served a mission in Montreal. I did everything short of marrying a woman in the temple. Deep down I knew that I could not do that to someone I could never love fully or that I wasn’t truly attracted to. However, I did start to come out at the age of 30 years old. I decided to maintain my membership and at that time had intended on living a celibate life. Try as I may the attractions never faded and it only became harder to resist my true desires. I wanted to fall in love and have a family. I sat on the benches at church every Sunday, alone. I looked around and saw families. I saw couples holding hands and playing with their children. It stabbed me in the heart every time knowing that in this lifetime that I would never have that. At least not with a man. And if I did try to pursue that with a man, I’d be excommunicated and damned to hell.

    A short few months after I began coming out to family, I realized that they would love me no matter what. I began experimenting with dating guys. It was the most amazing feeling in the world to be able to date guys that I was attracted to. Earlier in life I had tried dating girls and it just never felt good to me. But dating guys and getting to express myself in this way was SO liberating. I became sexually active and it felt amazing. On the other hand I felt an overwhelming sense of shame and guilt that I could not shake. I had believed what I was taught, that I’d be damned to hell and punished if I didn’t repent. So I resorted to confessing to my bishop. I was told that I’d have to have a church disciplinary hearing. I received a formal letter in the mail from my bishop stating my charges and that I’d either face no action, formal probation, disfellowshipment, or excommunication. At the meeting I sat across from my bishop, his two counselors and a scribe who took notes of the meeting. I was asked to discuss in detail what I had done. I was asked if I had been involved with anal and/or oral sex. While my bishop and the second counselor showed compassion and empathy and love the first counselor showed no remorse and made me feel even more guilty for the things I had done by probing further and then meeting me with scorn after my replies. I was then told to leave the room while they deliberated. I sat in the hallway, alone, not knowing what my fate would be. About 30 minutes later I was asked to come back into the room. My bishop told me that I had been placed on formal probation. I was asked not to partake of the Sacrament, asked not to pray in public, to not speak in Sacrament Meeting, to not hold church callings, and that I could not enter the Temple. I was told to keep paying my tithing and to keep wearing my garments and to read some books they had put together for me and to find a mental health therapist to help me “overcome this affliction”. I was also told that I must never speak to the man I had been dating again. I was told that if I didn’t do these things that I would face eternal damnation. I was told that I must do these things to save my soul. I left with a desire to do as they had asked.

    As hard as I tried, I could not get the dating experience with this guy out of my head. I longed to be with him. I feel into deep depression. I suffered in all aspects of life. I struggled to focus at work and soon began to suffer with suicidal ideation. At one point I had even put a loaded gun to my head. I couldn’t move on. I felt stuck, and tortured no matter which direction I went.

    This is where the hope comes back. Because of the pain I was feeling and knowing how much I wanted to be with this guy, I began reading Tom Christofferson’s book “That We May Be One”. I read it in hopes of finding comfort of living a gay “lifestyle” while maintaining church membership. I then stumbled upon a podcast with Mormon Stories Podcast and Tom. After I watched that one I kept watching the other podcasts that came. It was when I came upon Sterling and Melinda Brown’s podcast that I felt comfort. I saw that they were normal people that looked truly happy. I could see that the “light of Christ” had not left their faces. After hearing Sterling’s story I decided I needed to read the CES Letter.

    I didn’t even make it all the way through the CES Letter before my shelf completely shattered. I began watching the pieces fall one by one and knew that what I was reading made more sense to me than anything I had ever been taught by the church. I felt hurt and angered, all while feeling an overwhelming sense of relief and joy. I felt the burden of shame, guilt, and torture lift from my body.

    I then made the decision to come out fully and publicly. I also made the decision to have my name removed from the membership records of the church through QuitMormon.com. Unfortunately, because I had hurt the guy I had been dating, as I had disappeared after being told I couldn’t speak to him again, he no longer wanted to see me either. I couldn’t blame him and I still don’t.

    Since then I met the love of my life. We had met in October of 2018. We dated for two years and were engaged in January of this year. We finally said I do on October 24th. My husband has been the best thing to ever happen to me. It feels amazing being able to live authentically and unapologetically me. If it wasn’t for the work of John Dehlin and Mormon Stories and Jeremy Runnels and the CES Letter, my journey most likely would have ended a few years ago. To this day I am still unpacking the damaging teachings I was taught while a member of the Mormon faith. I believe John Dehlin and Jeremy Runnels and people like Sterling and Melinda Brown are saving lives. These are modern day heroes. They are willing to stand up against the powerful leadership of the Mormon Church. To them I say THANK YOU!!!!

  51. Don’t give Cukt LDS Inc, Fairmormon, & these ignorant agitators the time of day. These Yahoos are ridiculous & Irrelevant. The church & these idiots are Projecting their own greedy malicious thoughts & actions! You give PIMOs a level- headed sounding board. You KEEP us SANE!! Thank you so much for helping us find TRUTH, find our voice & keep our families together!

  52. Hey John!

    Sorry I can’t share a video, since I’m not totally out yet.

    The Mormon Stories Podcast has gone a long way to helping feel like there are people out there who understand and appreciate me. Growing up, I was the star seminary student and I really tried to gain a testimony. I read my scriptures everyday, I always blessed/prepared/passed the sacrament, did my hometeaching/ministering, said my prayers… everything. But I had such a hard time believing it.

    I got into apologetics, at least for myself. I would tell myself, “God works in mysterious ways” and “I just have to have more faith.” Eventually I realised that wasn’t going to cut it. I decided I would just have to go along with it all. After 4 or so years of going along with it – still praying even – I realised it was going to be a miserable life. I started looking for people who got me. That’s when I found the podcast.

    Binging the podcast, I realised there were people like me. I started wondering how many other seminary kids sat quietly with questions because “pray about it” was the only answer we ever got… but of course, we couldn’t leave because the Church would tell us what the apologists would tell you… leaving wrecks families. But that is not at all true.

    Just last week, I told my mother I would be leaving the Church, thanks to the courage I mustered up while listening to the Mormon Stories Podcast. Her response? “I want you to live a life honest to who you are.” For 4 years I lived a complete lie because of the fear of ruining my family. This led to soooo many angry rants about the Church because I didn’t feel I could just say how I felt. Now, I feel closer with my family because they know where I stand with the Church. I don’t believe and I’m leaving it. And thanks to the Mormon Stories Podcast, I could finally be honest. My family is happier because of it.

  53. I donate to very few organizations. They have to be making a huge difference in the world. Or they must have made a huge difference in my life for the good. Mormon stories is one of those organizations. When I found myself feeling the floor falling from underneath me, Mormon stories carried me. I knew I could count on the Mormon stories podcast to give me honest(even if hard to hear) information about the church. I was so frustrated to read the gospel topic essays and be left wanting more information. The gospel topic essays have me enough information to know I should keep learning. But not enough to understand the whole story. With more in depth information on the Mormon stories podcast I was able to get my questions answered. And I always always fact checked. Looking to multiple sources. And I never once found false information coming from Mormon stories. Nor did I find whitewashed truths like I did coming from the church. I could not have navigated my faith transition without Mormon stories. And my faith transition has led me to the most beautiful life I’ve ever known. I’ve learned to be my authentic self. I’ve learned to love and be loved. I’ve learned to see the world with open eyes and enjoy so much beauty. Thank you John Delhin for your work. You are truly a gift.

  54. Mormon stories podcast and especially the CES letter has done more to help me and my family than anything else in this world. It gave us a safe outlet to explore differing opinions than that of the mormon bubble. It gave us the power to choose for ourselves what we really believe in. On the other hand fairmormon has hurt my family in so many ways. Any time there is evidence of the wrongdoings of the church fairmormon has made twisted apologetic answers that only turn our extended and mormon family members away from us. They are literally tearing my family apart by their dogma.

  55. I am not LDS. But I have had many, many high school students who are. Some have become friends since they have graduated.
    Several have left the church and talked about how they have been
    damaged by the church.
    I turned to your podcasts to try to understand and maybe learn a bit about how to support them. They were helpful and seemed respectful and loving.

    Then I read about the Kwaku El videos. So I thought I should check them out.

    Honestly, I tried to watch but the one I started was hateful, mocking, flippant and immature … not at all what I’d expect to the church to condone let along support.

  56. You must be doing something right, Dehlin. The Mormon church is determined to shut you up! Stand strong & defend the pathway to Truth!! It’s a cult. Jesus weeps, as Mormon Prophet Nelson celebrates Satan’s Mormon Victories.

  57. We’re not even Mormon, and Mormon Stories has been a huge blessing to my family. I grew up in a faith environment that was rigid in its belief structure and did not allow room for discussion beyond what was taught. Although my husband and I are still regular churchgoers (when there isn’t a pandemic, that is), I can now hear my husband’s thoughts and feelings and opinions without actively trying to gauge how close/far away he is from various dogmatic teachings. I can just listen.

  58. I can say with all sincerity that John Dehlin and those sharing their journeys on Mormon Stories podcast not only provided much needed support for me personally during a very lonely faith crisis, but also provided my mixed faith marriage and five children with love, support, and hope for healthy healing when no resources were available at church. I am forever grateful!
    Jeremy Runnells has provided honest and transparent church history for all to discover for themselves. His efforts have paved the way for healthy discussion, encouraged further learning within a faith community, and created an opportunity for Latter-day Saints to emerge from limited understanding to full appreciation. Asking questions and challenging systems is a quality humankind needs to continually improve. Thank you so much Jeremy!
    Fair Mormon’s tedious attempts to explain away rather simple history, was a clear indicator to me that their objective to keep minds in a box will only temporarily serve small numbers. Ultimately, the human mind and soul will know the truth, as we are witnessing.

  59. I born and raised in Utah in a huge LDS family. When I was 11 my grandfather molested me. When I entered Young Women’s at age 12 I was taught that I was the way I dress and act will tempt men around me. If I dressed immodestly I could potentially tempt and damage a young man who was preparing for a mission. I was a chewed peice of gum. A depetaled flower. I had tempted my own grandfather!!! I was so ashamed. I hid what my grandpa did to me for YEARS. It came out when I was 17 that my grandpa had molested my 3 younger sisters, 6 of my younger cousins and the next door neighbors daughter. All of the victims younger than me. If I had come forward when he first molested me no one else would have been hurt. My grandfather ran away to Washington before he was arrested. Because all of the crimes happened in Utah and we weren’t a high profile case, they wouldn’t arrest him in Washington. My parents got ahold of the church. Because grandpa hadn’t been convicted they wouldn’t do anything about it. Even though there was 11 victims, he still had a temple recommend and was holding a PRIMARY TEACHER calling (they were keeping a “close eye on him” in his new ward) The church continued to brush our abuse under the rug. If you don’t talk about it, it didn’t happen right?

    I was confused. I felt invalidated. My pain meant nothing. I needed a support system. People who heard my voice, without sweeping it under the rug. I started listening to Mormon Story podcasts and realized I wasn’t alone.

  60. The LDS church has caused a lot of trauma in my life as well as the lives of many of my friends and loved ones. I spent decades in dedication to its doctrine, serving a mission and marrying in a temple. I always had doubts about the veracity of the church’s miraculous claims and also never completely felt that the modern church possessed many fundamental properties Joseph Smith outlined as fruits of prophets, seers, and revelators (such as miraculous healings, speaking in tongues, large scale revelations, etc…) which seemed to be all but absent in today’s church.

    As I served a mission in South America where I first began learning about its ancient peoples and their cultures, architecture, and general lives. I realized that none of their history aligned with the timeline of the Book of Mormon and also completely failed to exhibit the metal workmanship, grains, animals, etc… described in the BOM . From there, as I attended BYU, I only further learned how the claims of JS and the LDS church continuously fell short of reality.

    It was a very difficult realization to learn that I had been fundamentally mislead my entire life and based multiple life altering decisions on fabrications and lies. Mormon Stories Podcast gave me a place to find inner peace and sanity in a culture that would have me not trust my own mind and constantly gaslight my discovery of real history and evidence. It felt good to hear from a community that valued an evidence based assessment of the actual church history and Joseph Smith’s “revelations” regardless of the outcome.

    According to the research of Steven Hassan, one of the trademarks of cults is to smear dissenting voices. This is of course incongruent with the ideals the church purportedly represents, but it is directly in line with their history of treatment of anyone that would hold up their claims up to the actual evidence. “By your fruits shall ye know them”, and the Church’s fruits have been to disenfranchise those who question and to spend vast amounts funding groups that tear these people down.

    I am so grateful for this podcast and this community. I am so fortunate that my wife and I were able to stay together as we came to understand the Church’s inauthenticity in our own ways and on our own differing timelines. Mormon Stories played a pivotal role in helping myself and my wife find our way out of an environment of undue influence and unhealthy paradigms in a manner that allowed room for differing opinions and timing. It has been a huge blessing to my family and to my friends and their families as well.

    Thank you Mormon stories!

  61. If marriages and families are hurt or damaged or fall apart after an exposure to Mormon Stories or the CES Letter, that’s entirely on the Mormon church and Mormon leaders and Joseph Smith. It has nothing to do with “lies” being told by John Dehlin or Jeremy Runnells.but the truths they discuss.

    It’s not totally surprising that a TBM spouse would divorce and take the kids when the other spouse very reasonably loses faith and belief, but that’s a reflection not on Mormon Stories but on the immersive and cult-like and “us versus them” culture of Mormonism. And on official Mormon dictum like “Doubt your doubts” and “Follow the leaders.” And the judge & condemn and shame & blame culture that comes even from Mormon GA’s at General Conference.

    Until today I have always avoided using “cult” for the Mormon church, but stopped at “cult-like.” They have now crossed the line…I finally think that Mormonism is, indeed, a cult. With some good and positive features to be sure, but Kwaku et al., and the Mormon church for supporting this nonsense, taint the whole thing.

    The Mormon church and FAIR and Kwaku, et al., should learn to just admit that the evidence fully supports as honest and legitimate many negative conclusions against Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and Mormonism. It fully justifies a loss of faith and rejecting and leaving Mormonism. Kwaku and FAIR and Mormon GA’s needn’t agree with those conclusions, of course, but they should at least be honest and admit and acknowledge that they are reasonable and legitimate and valid. One of these days they will have a spouse of their own lose faith and leave — or a parent or child or sib — and for their own family’s sake they should learn to deal honestly with the evidence and with reality.

    Good work, John Dehlin and Mormon Stories and Jeremy Runnells. In the end, the Mormon church will end up shooting themselves in the foot with this ‘young stripling warrior’ attack garbage from Kwaku & Friends.

  62. John Dehlin’s podcast, ‘Mormon Stories’ helped me and my husband both immensely during some of the darkest, scariest times of our lives. For me, personally, I felt comfort and reassurance every time I tuned into an episode because by listening to so many other people going through the same faith crisis as me, I knew I was not alone, nor crazy. My husband and I experienced our faith crises at different times, and in different ways, but John’s podcast was helpful to both of us. When you are going through a terribly dark, scary crisis of this kind, feeling alone can absolutely compound your fears and make you feel trapped, paralyzed, out of control and hopeless. Hearing other people’s stories of how they experienced similar hurdles and yet overcame them and finally spoke up, owned their belief/unbelief, and bravely walked forward and resolutely moved on was not only motivating and inspiring, but healing – in every sense of the word. I never once heard John make even the slightest effort to encourage anyone to abandon their faith nor the LDS church, their family nor their marriage. He also never encouraged anyone to silence their fears or hide their true selves which was incredibly inspiring. He simply let people tell their stories, listened and offered reinforcement to them and for all of us who were listening in desperation for a glimmer of hope and consolation. A faith crisis is something that unless you’ve experienced it, you cannot fully fathom how psychologically cataclysmic and world-ending it can feel. Knowing you’re not alone and hearing someone tell their story that sounds SO incredibly like your own is reassuring, calming and hopeful. It was always very clear to me that John’s entire purpose was to offer that reassurance and hope to people who were struggling within the LDS church, whether that personal journey ended with them leaving or staying in the church. The blatantly false truth claims, harmful teaching methods and damaging cultural conditioning of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will continue to cause internal conflict and anxiety in the minds and hearts of it’s members. I am SO grateful for the Mormon Stories podcast and how it helped me to have clarity and peace during the hardest time of my life, gave me a solid footing as I slowly rebuilt my new life outside of Mormonism, and fostered a renewed love and appreciation for my husband and marriage as well. I hope it will always be available to help others do the same. Thank you, John and the Mormon Stories foundation!

  63. Born and raised in church, went inactive as a teenager, later married, became active, and have raised a family in the church. As I have had boys on missions, they expressed feelings of inadequacy. Church missions are not about serving…..they are about numbers. They reward and praise the missionaries that check all the right boxes. “Called to serve” should be “called to be a salesman” The church is a business and they care more about numbers than people. They care more about baptisms than loving as the Savior did. Once I realized that the church was making my children feel inadequate, it made me realize my conflict with the church as a teenager was not my problem. The church has been the root of my depression throughout my life.
    The Mormon church is UNHEALTHY for so many people. For people who think differently, for people who are historians or people who are truth seekers…..will at some point, find themselves spiraling into a faith crises. (As I did)
    Mormon Stories….has helped me continue on…being a temple worthy member. It has taught me, that as a now, non believer, there can be a safe gray area within the church. If others believe that Mormon Stories podcast is about splitting families apart or making money….they clearly haven’t spent time listening.

  64. Having been raised in multiple churches, I can definitely say The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a cult! I initially joined in my early twenties, because I learned about it at work and I wanted what I didn’t have growing up……family.

    Having left this organization in my mid twenties, rejoining in my mid forties (briefly), then leaving once and for all, I will say this is one bad group to belong.
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has never been honest about anything or anyone who opposes them. They have lied, since it was founded in the 1800’s.

    I don’t waist my time listening to Fair Mormon or The More Good Foundation, because the LDS teachings are never consistent with Biblical teaching nor with their own Scriptures.

    Before believing these groups (who the LDS Church endorses), I strongly recommend watching YouTube videos on these channels: Amy Logan, Chrissy’s Corner, Ex-Brother Brice, Exmo Lex, Mormon Enlightenment, My Great and Spacious World, My Spiritual Life, New Carabu, Telltale (EX-Jehovah’s Witness), The Angry Stage, Those Crazy White People, and Zelph on the Shelf.

    Everything the people on these channels say about the mormon church, are very consistent with what John Dehlin says on Mormon Stories Podcast. There is no way, John Dehlin has ever destroyed one mormon family. What he is saying is clearly consistent with what these other YouTubers are saying!

    Also, “Read Cults Inside Out. How People Get In and Can Get out”. If you have any questions about the validity of the Book of Mormon, read the Bible! The Bible is consistent! The Book of Mormon is a fairytale book!

  65. I was baptized into the Catholic church as an infant and my most marked experienced was as a military child living in Germany. My mother was Church of England and my father was Catholic. All my friends were Catholic and I only really went to CCD because everyone else did. Had some great experiences traveling around going to youth retreats in Germany but it was never really about the theology or the faith but more about the social connections. I married my friend from that time but we never really had a particular faith as part of our lives. In 1989 we moved from the UK to Idaho. I had never even heard of Mormon’s until that time. We purchased our home from an elderly Mormon couple and they introduced me to the church. My husband by this time was deployed pretty much 9 months of the year, I was in a what I considered a foreign country (the US) with 2 daughters and to be honest I was lonely. I was embraced by the women of the church immediately. I felt loved and included. I did take the lessons but never really could understand Joseph Smith but thought that would happen eventually. (Faith) My husband did not participate in these lessons but allowed me to make my own choice. So eventually my daughters aged 8 and 11 and myself were baptized and my greatest hope was that I would actually gain a testimony of Joseph Smith. I know now that I joined more on the social aspect of what I loved about the church because I felt so loved and accepted. I did eventually after over 10 years and hoping my husband would join the church eventually if “I” was faithful, I went to the temple. My husband at this point had not joined. I would go to the temple and still not get that feeling in my heart that my friends talked about each time. I felt guilty, if that makes senses for taking someone through the temple that did not give me their consent. I never got that sense of peace once I did a session in the celestial room like my other sisters talked about. I left the church in 2012 after being a member for over 20 years. I went back to the church I believe in 2018 in the hopes my testimony would grow stronger but the more I prayed, read, studied the less I felt connected. Covid hit and it gave me more time to research and I came across Mormon Stories. I know for a fact that if this information was available to me during my initial contact to the church I would have never joined. I feel that if I heard that Joseph Smith had used a rock in a hat to transcribe the Book of Mormon and had heard of polygamy and polyandry I would never have even considered it. I was totally absorbed with the friendship and love of the women from Relief Society but my testimony of the truth of the church never happened. If I couldn’t believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon was true then I could not continue support or pretend to be something I am not. I have never really studied the Pearl of Great Price and so when I listened to the podcast with Dr. Robert Ritner all it did was reinforce what I have already felt in my heart. The Mormon Stories Podcast has only informed me in greater detail of what I have always felt in my heart. As I have listen to more and more stories , they have answered the questions I have been unable to get answered from leaders and friends of the church. I still believe the church has some wonderful attributes but its history is flawed. My husband did eventually join the church but has never been active. We are now in the process of getting our names removed as members and that includes my daughters who have their stories and reasons. I want to thank Mormon Stories for their openness. I don’t feel they have been the deciding factor in my leaving the church but they have educated me and have reinforced what I already have known and felt. I apologize for the rambling, this is not easy and I am not eloquent enough speech or vocabulary.

  66. When I left the church and started looking into church history I went down a dark hole and felt so alone and betrayed. Mormon stories podcasts helped me find hope that things would get better and that my marriage could survive a faith crisis. Finding a community like this was so important to me. I loved connecting through other people’s experiences. Thank you John for all your hard work!!

  67. I will start out by saying I’ve never really had a firm foundation when it comes to the Church, however with everything that has happened in the world lately and with my self-esteem at an all-time low because I felt like I was a terrible person in Gods eyes I realized I wanted answers. I wanted to know for sure whether or not the Church was true and if so, I was going to be all in. Boy was I in for a treat. I came across Jeremy’s CES Letter and was literally shook that I knew almost none of the things that were described. It felt like I was learning about a whole new religion and I was devastated by what I found. I am married to a man who was an incredibly strong member of the Church. His entire extended family is so devout in their faith.

    When I finally told my husband that I was pretty sure I was done he was devastated and shocked. He told me that our marriage will likely not work out because he needed to be with someone that he could have an eternal family with. He did not want to be separated from his whole family either after death. He didn’t want our son’s salvation put in jeopardy because of me. I told him that I would do research with him and reconsider (I had no intentions of reconsidering, however all of this newfound information is not something that you can just dump on someone and expect them to accept it). We started out with the gospel topics essays and found very quickly that there were half answers and plot holes everywhere. There was so much missing information. I then told him that I had recently come across some very interesting information and wasn’t sure if it was true or not (AKA CES Letter). He asked me to show it to him, certain that he would be able to find answers for me to help me come back to my faith. Long story short, he is now also done. If that doesn’t speak for itself then I don’t know what will. I do not know how any member can sit there and say reading this kind of information strengthens their testimony. There is just no way. No explanation for it all. Hearing the stories of other people going through the same thing is incredibly comforting and listening to the Mormon Stories interview was just so showing of your personalities. My husband was the one that showed it to me and said “I thought they would be these evil people just badmouthing the church, but they seem like such nice, genuine guys”.

    I think the way that you present yourself to the public and the way that they do are very telling about your characters. You have done nothing wrong and have both saved my marriage. So tell me. Who is breaking up families and who is trying to shed light on a religion filled with plot holes and lies. Of course members like me had never heard any of this information. It’s because the books, media, and websites are labeled as anti-Mormon. And we are supposed to stay away from ‘anti-Mormon’ material.

  68. Oh I want to cry I just wrote this long message then i got out of this page on accident and lost it all. Ugh

    John,
    You are a selfless, big hearted, caring kind friend to all of us. You have created an outlet. A place we can feel at home. Safe to talk about the trouble within the church. We have no where else to go. The church doesn’t welcome questions or doubt. They want us to just pretend the history is different than what it is. And You and Jeremy Reynolds are brave enough to challenge the church and in return they have people within the church turning ugly and violent and threatening and it’s unacceptable. They are afraid. Scared people who know all of this is real/true and they don’t want to admit it. Because that would mean you’re right and their wrong. And their ego is running a muck. Its too scary. So they turn their fear into rage and meanness. And it doesn’t look good. You have done so much for the community that has been rejected from the church or all of us who just want honest answers. Thank you for standing up for our LGBTQ+ community. The church has seriously failed to love and take care of them. To let them know how much God does love them and has a special place for them after this life. They aren’t bad and it’s not a choice. We are waiting for the church to let go of their ignorance of them as well as our black community. To apologize for all of the past racism. They could do better if they wanted to. And they owe you and Jeremy an apology. We are all behind both of you. Thank you for blessing my life, and standing up for all of us. You and Jeremy and your families and all of your safety are in my prayers! 💜
    God speed, Tahna.

  69. I am in the middle of my faith crisis. I can honestly say mormon stories has helped me more than I can express. For years I have struggled with the mormon church. I married young and got divorced when I was pregnant with my oldest son. The snide remarks made to me for the last thirteen years about getting divorced have been heartbreaking. I remarried when my son was a year old to a wonderful man. We were married in the temple and had three other children. My oldest son has slightly darker skin, dark hair and dark eyes. My three youngest have blond hair, blue eyes and pale skin. My husband has even adopted my oldest son. People in newer wards that I don’t share my previous marriage treat my son bad because he doesn’t look like his siblings. So for a church that family is the most important thing why would they make a young boy feel as though he was some sort of error or the product of an infidelity.
    In the mormon church we are always taught to give, give, give. Give of youth time and experience doing things with friends. Give money. Give service, not that service is a bad thing. Give of your gifts and talents. Give more. You’re not doing enough.
    I have suffered through thirteen years of depression because of this. Feeling like you are never good enough. Following rules that a false prophet decided on. That has hurt my family. Deciding no more has taken a huge weight off my shoulders. My family is happier. I haven’t told my parents or siblings only because I haven’t figured out how yet. If they don’t accept me and my family for our choice. Then it is their problem not mine. The stories help fortify that I have made the right choice. It gives me comfort day by day, and for that I am extremely grateful. Don’t stop. Never stop.

  70. Every impulse I had when leaving the church was… not great. MSP reminded me of the good parts of the church, gave me a safer place to express my anger, and consistently demonstrated a better way to communicate. The Church had taught conditional love to me. The Church taught a few of my family members to reject me out of fear. The interviewees on MSP taught me about the fear response in them and how to show compassion while still standing my ground for what I actually believe. It is like crowdsourcing a better way to disagree.

    Glenn Ostlund often talks of being a young fresh face on a his mission and going into the home of a man much older than he is. Glenn started up talking about the “purpose of life” and the guy told him to come back in 15 years.

    That is all I can think when listening to them. It must be thrilling and scary to sincerely believe you have everything figured out for yourself and everyone around you. I want to hear their stories in 15 years. Not now. They need a bit more time to bake.

  71. Many years ago, long before the CES letter existed, and before everyone had the internet, I learned some things about Joseph Smith that devastated me. As that part of my testimony shattered, I suddenly saw other things about the church in a new light too. I could not stay in the church and maintain my integrity so I felt forced to leave. The church had been my whole life and identity. The pain of betrayal and loss was devastating. I did not want to hurt my believing family or friends, so the church became a giant wall of silence between me and people I love. I went on to build a new life but the people in my new life didn’t really get me. How could they, when the deepest part of me was where my Mormon values and heritage lived, and I had blocked it off so completely?

    Then a few years ago I discovered this Mormon Stories community and finally, there were people who shared my experiences and understood what I had gone through. People who got my corny Mormon humor. These are my people. Through this group and the podcast I have done some long overdue healing and begun to re-embrace my heritage. Mormon Stories has opened communication with family members. It has brought us closer. We have begun to talk about things that we avoided for decades. I am so grateful!

  72. I don’t want to post this for the public. I think the work you are doing is really helpful and I just feel strongly that you need to just give up altogether on trying to prove anything or please anyone from the LDS church / the idea that you are destroying families is probably true from
    their perspective – but they have set up the church to control people
    using the loyalty and love they have for their families. When parents are responsible for
    their children’s “salvation” when a couple depends on each other instead of God to “get into the celestial kingdom” the whole premise is wrong. You do not need to justify your work. People are leaving Mormonism and you are offering solace and good common sense.
    Parents should NEVER feel guilty because their child is on a different faith journey than they are- no one should pressure a spouse or family member into a faith journey that God doesn’t have in mind for
    then. The relationship is between the individual and God – that’s it.
    Necessary .

  73. Here is my story:

    I struggled when I was forced out of the Mormon church when I got pregnant out of wedlock. Because of conditioning I felt so much shame and so much like I was a disappointment to my family. That I wouldn’t be accepted back into a “ward family” because I was choosing a life of sin. That I couldn’t be a good mom if I wasn’t married to a priesthood holder. That my little family wasn’t worthy of the same love from my parents that my sister who was married in the temple was shown. I had a hard time accepting the love of my now husband because how could anybody love me if I wasn’t checking the boxes of a good Mormon girl. How could I be happy outside the church.

    I struggled for years. Finding Mormon stories and hearing people from all backgrounds tell their story brought me peace. Some things I resonated with, somethings I felt at my core. Some things were just a story. But all of them were given a safe space to share their story and relationship with the church.

    It helped me see how the church will push you out when you don’t mindlessly follow. When you question things that don’t make sense. This platform has been helpful to see the behind the scenes/behind closed doors doings of an institution that has many fooled.

    It has been just the last 6 months that I have really dig deep to do the healing required to allow myself to be who I am. To know that I am a good person, a great wife and a good mom even if I’m not going to the church. I can have a relationship with my version of god and I don’t have to only find that or worship in a church. I can still have my intuition and be guided by the universe. I appreciate Mormon stories for giving anybody a place to share their experiences. For helping those transitioning out of the church a safe place to heal.

  74. Mormon Stories was the light at the end of a really long dark tunnel for me. My husband lost his faith in the church 3 years before I did. It didn’t break up our marriage, we respected each other’s choices and beliefs. However, after I had my last baby and it came time to bless them, I was suddenly at a crossroads. I knew I had to figure out for myself what I truly believed and how we were going to continue to raise our children together.
    I did all of my own research, through “church approved” content. I found so much information that was shocking and broke me. My whole world and testimony crumbled within weeks.
    After a couple months of my own reading and research, I was heartbroken and lost. Then I found Mormon Stories. It truly healed my heart and my soul. Even though my husband has already lost his faith in the church, our paths and feelings we’re completely different. Finding Mormon Stories and hearing all of these stories from men and women of all sorts of walks of life and journeys in and out of the Church, it was so validating. I finally found other people who felt like me, and it validated what I was feeling. When you’re surrounded by Church members – family, neighbors, friends, I had no one to talk to who understood how I felt. I am truly and forever grateful for what John Dehlin has done and created. He helped heal me after I was broken. He gave me hope when I thought I had lost it all. He also gave me a lot of tools to navigate my relationships moving forward. I can’t say enough good. Mormon Stories creates so much good and I’m so thankful for it.

    And as for Jeremy Runnels, it shocks me that anyone could ever smear his name when they’ve seen him talk about the CES Letter. He is honest, and was truly searching for answers. He seems like the most genuine honest person. Once you hear him I don’t know how you could call the CES Letter “evil”, that seems the furthest from the truth.

  75. Mormon stories saved my life. I am still here because the stories told showed that my concerns are valid and that I am not alone. Thank you so much for sacrificing so much for complete strangers. I hope you are able to feel our love for you and the work you do.

  76. I turned to Mormon Stories about two years ago as I began my faith crisis and eventual exit from the church. It was the most acutely painful experience of my life: to set aside my entire worldview, to find myself suddenly on the outside of a faith and a culture that had been mine from birth. It felt like I would never come out the other side. I listened to many, many episodes, and found the Young family’s interview to be the most impactful to me at the time. I’m not as regular of a listener now, but I SO value what you have done with Mormon Stories, and the platform you have provided for people to normalize the experience of leaving–or staying in–the LDS Church. I have learned so much about religious history, about different people’s experiences that may be different from mine, and even to value the decision many make to remain in the fold. Thank you for bringing on mental health experts like Natasha Helfer Parker and historians like David Bokovoy and Grant Palmer. Thank you for bringing Sandra and Gerald Tanner out of the shadows and letting her tell their story. Thank you for talking to perfectly average, everyday people, like me, and letting them talk freely (perhaps for the first time) about their experience. I feel that Mormon Stories has helped me make an informed decision about where I have landed with my faith, and for that I am extremely grateful. Thank you, John and all at the Open Stories Foundation.

    1. And in my haste to publish my comment, I neglected to say whether it has strengthened or harmed family relationships. 100% strengthened, both among my believing parents and siblings, and my also non-believing spouse. It has been a net-positive all around.

  77. I want to share my testimony of how Mormon Stories helped me open my eyes and my understanding of how this evil corporation known as “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” has been damaging to my life. Through Mormon stories I was able to recognize the pattern of mental manipulation that is typical of all Cults and totalitarian regimes. Mormon stories helped me to see that what the church says is true is a far cry from the historical truth behind the PSYCHOPATH Joseph Smith who the Mormon sect defines as a prophet, seer and revelator. That he was in fact a charlatan, swindler, pedophile and child exploiter. In addition, Mormon Stories helped me discover current church frauds such as investments with tithing money in the real estate market, shopping centers, hunting grounds, etc. What makes “the true church of christ” nothing more than a mere corporation that seeks profit through the mental control of vulnerable people.

    Quero compartilhar meu testemunho de como o Mormon Stories me ajudou a abrir meus olhos e o meu entendimento de como essa corporação maligna conhecida como “A igreja de jesus cristo dos Santos dos últimos dias” foi danosa para a minha vida. Através do Mormon stories pude reconhecer o padrão de manipulação mental que é típico de todas as seitas e regimes totalitários. O mormon stories me ajudou a ver que o que a igreja diz ser verdadeiro está muito longe da verdade histórica ,que está por trás do PSICOPATA Joseph Smith o qual a seita mormon define como profeta, vidente e revelador. Que de fato era um charlatão, estelionatário, pedófilo e explorador de menores. Além disso o Mormon Stories me ajudou a descobrir as falcatruas atuais da igreja como os investimentos com dinheiro do dízimo em mercado imobiliário, Shopping centers, campos de caça, etc. O que torna “a verdadeira igreja de cristo” em nada mais que uma mera corporação que visa o lucro através do controle mental de pessoas vulneráveis.

  78. I wish I knew about Mormon stories when I left the church. I felt very alone. I did not know how to talk to my family which led to not saying the right thing, arguing over a social media post. Lucky I had my guitar to help me through this. Mormon stories podcast prevents suicide, Period.

    What do the first presidency and these 3 Fair Mormon actors have in common?

    They are paid
    They are men
    And… they All truly believe they are doing The work of God. (That can get dangerous)

  79. Mormon Stories Podcast has been a most helpful podcast/website. Being the spouse of a former Mormon, it has provided me with information that has shown me where I have been wrong and where I have been right in my behaviors and actions towards all my wife has experienced as she navigated through her transition out of the Mormon Church. I appreciate the love and support that I have witnessed through the many stories I have watched over the year + that I have been actively engaging with Mormon Stories. It has been an encouragement to my wife which has also validated for her experiences, feelings and thoughts she had with the leadership in her local ward over the years. I, for one, am grateful that we found you, John, and Mormon Stories. Keep up the good work. Truth will come out regardless of the efforts of the forces aligned against you. Thank you for all you do.

  80. Mormon stories literally saved my life. In 2014, at the age of 41, I had a complete breakdown. Up until that point I had been a faithful mormon, though honestly speaking I never had a testimony. I did all the things I was supposed to do because I was told it was the right thing to do and I believed it. As a result I completely lost every piece of who I was and was suicidal. I ended up seeking treatment which included a weeklong inpatient stay. During that weeklong stay I finally started on my journey to get my life back. However, It wasn’t until 15 months later when I learned via yahoo news that JS was a polygamist. That is when my faith transition began. I found Mormon Stories in early 2016. It helped me know that I wasn’t crazy or severely flawed. I loved hearing stories of others who were or had gone through similar experiences out of Mormonism. It helped me take back my life back. You see, my husband was and continues to be all in. He would say I was influenced by Satan despite my honest desire to seek for truth and happiness. I never fit the mold of Mormonism and always internalized the message that I was the problem. I will be forever grateful for Mormon Stories and how it helped me to get my life back, be authentic and find happiness within.

  81. As a convert at age 16, I have found myself to be on the margins of the church from the beginning. I did not have the status or pedigree necessary nor the correct talents and interests to be a ‘really good mormon.” This being said, I threw myself in 110%, believed it 110%. Living where we have, close to Utah and in largely predominately LDS places, my husband and I found ourselves at odds with church members due to political issues, I am a social worker and he is in agricultural business but he is very much a land and wildlife conservationist. We have been democrats for a very long time (once again…even further on the margins) even when all our ward family members were quoting Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh over the pulpit in Sunday talks-don’t even get me going on Sunday school or RS!!! The hypocrisy of speaking of Jesus, yelling loudly we were Christians but (this truly happened) listening to a RS lesson where the teacher stated she had her food and ammo storage buried and at the time of apocalypse if anyone tried to steal it, she had a gun ready and loaded. I just couldn’t take the dissonance. Fast forward to moving to Eastern Idaho (Little Utah) a year or so and I stared my MSW schooling and that is when things really started to fall apart. I had to take a hard look at my mormon culture from a social perspective and for the first time I really understood what a second-class citizen I was as well as those who were not heterosexual, middle to upper class white males. I actually found out about John Dehlin in a RS lesson during this time; the teacher was speaking of this terrible man in Cache Valley (where I live) and how he was supporting LGBTQ people through a podcast and his wife-gasp-was SUPPORTIVE OF HIM!! I was upset about the meeting topic as I have several loved ones and friends who identified within the LGBTQ community so I Googled it and bam! Mormon Stories. John Dehlin and Mormon Stories did not influence me to leave the church, I had been on that path for a long time. What MS did, however, was help me through the grieving process and identity crisis that I went through after I had already started deconstructing my ‘faith.’ I have to say, sorry John, that during my ‘anger phase’ I spent quite a bit of time with John Larsen’s Mormon Expressions as I needed to listen to snarky yet exceptionally intelligent episodes riddled with cursing and sarcasm to help me through that stage. As a mental health professional, I know how imperative it is to take strong emotions and feelings and convert them into language, either through spoken or written word. There were many times when listening to MS that someone would say something that expressed how I was feeling but I hadn’t found the right words to express it. Mormon Stories has been a way to feel as if you have someone, and I am talking about John as well as his millions of guests, that you can relate to, take the journey with and figure out who you are going to be without the shell of the LDS church around you. As many people have done in the past, present and hopefully the future, John and Mormon Stories came into my life just when I needed them because I have to say, my faith crisis and transition which has now become my faith journey has been extremely difficult and painful. I have felt as if I have had a friend along the way and I thank John for his efforts and sacrifices he has made because I am not sure what I would have done without him and his podcast through my own crisis.

  82. I’m a long time listener of Mormon Stories. The podcast has been there for me as I went from a true believer, to a more nuanced believer, to a non-believer. As I drifted from orthodoxy Mormon Stories was there for my wife when she was struggling, and when she began taking a serious look at her own beliefs. Attending a Mormon Stories retreat a couple of years ago brought us closer together as a couple and with a community of people who were just like us. Mormon Stories has been there for me and my family. Those who distance themselves from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints historically haven’t had a home, or a mechanism to hear from and build community with those they relate to. Mormon Stories fills that gap, and builds community for those who are no longer fully embraced by the LDS church and its more orthodox members.

  83. Mormon Stories and John Dehlin have harmed my family. To be clear, it’s not because John Dehlin is a critic of the church. I think critics are great, and can lead to important reflection from members and believers. Unfortunately, John Dehlin tends to routinely misrepresent the perspective of believers, and this confuses and frustrates people and stifles civil/loving/respectful discussion between believers and non-believers, which leads to harm, at least in my family. Dehlin questions the sincerity and intentions of church leaders (oftentimes outright saying they’re not sincere) without sufficient evidence even as he bristles when his own sincerity and intentions are questioned. He also questions the sincerity and intentions (and often accuses outright of being insincere without sufficient evidence) of believing scholars (he uses “apologist” as a pejorative) rather than seriously engaging their arguments. Dehlin also uses hateful terms like “cult” that are divisive, at least in my family. Therefore, because of the aforementioned issues and more, I would conclude that Dehlin’s podcast has been harmful to me and my family.

    Robert

  84. When LDS missionaries knock on the door of a devout Catholic family, or an Evangelical family where there is unity of faith, and one of those family members joins the Mormon church, causing family distress, hurt feelings and often strife and even division in that family, does this group of apologists call those missionaries HOMEWRECKERS?

  85. I was in a very dark place and ready to end my life. Everyone around me was just telling me to read my scriptures, attend the temple, pray for help. But my prayers were going unanswered and I truly felt that God hated me. I wasn’t worthy enough for him to help me. I asked my bishop for help and he only made me feel worse. I wasn’t sinning or doing anything “wrong” but I just wasn’t good enough or doing enough. I had an end-date set. I was done with life. Then I learned about Mormon Stories on Facebook. I binge-watched video after video and was soooooo relieved to find out I wasn’t alone. I then read the CES Letter and again, was so relieved to find out it’s all a fraud and there was a reason I didn’t fit in that unattainable box. The guilt and shame started to fade away and I’m here today because of the work of John and Jeremy. Thank you for sharing the truth that the church is afraid to share. Thank you for saving my life.

  86. John You held a retreat here in St.George that I attended. I gained a lot of respect for you there.

    – I went in feeling like I would never get out of my “faith crisis” and came out with a different perspective that I was on a faith journey and that was okay.
    -I witnessed your compassion for people both in and out of the church or whatever stage they were at. You didn’t guide people in or out. You showed respect for your Mormon heritage and helped us see many of us needed to remember to be thankful for the way we were raised. If anything you were more catering to the feelings of the believers in the room than the non believers and I was relieved because you seemed far from ill willed and evil and trying to hurt people and marriages which you have been accused of. I would say the same to be true in the way you communicate in your podcasts.
    -I didn’t find a disgruntled belittling presentation I’d say in fact very far from that. You never once made an off colored joke or even rolled your eyes. You were so kind hearted and accepting of everyone and made sure everyone believers and non believers alike felt safe. I don’t think a person in that room would say differently and what I loved most is that there were now some believers that could go back to church with a healthier perspective and help other believing members understand faith crisis/journey as well as their loved ones intentions and your intentions for what they are and not what they hear they must be.
    -You helped us see we needed to move past our angry stages as quickly as possible that it wasn’t a place we wanted to be but you understood our anger and allowed a place for that as well.
    – You helped mixed faith couples see the beauty in their relationships, which comes from them and that different views don’t have to split up a marriage. You taught that we need to listen and respect each other.
    -You asked us to be patient with our loved ones they are not on the same journey and understand that they can’t understand what we are going through because they have not had the same time to process the information and may never or just might not have the same perspective.
    -I watched couples begin to understand and listen to each other. And heard believers and non believers come together in unity and love and in pleasant realization that the seminar did not outcast them or make anyone feel “wrong” There was a place for everyone at those tables, no judgment just love and healing.
    -“This is good, this is real life” were the words spoken by a believing member with a non believing spouse at the end of the seminar.

    There has to be a place for people to discuss these things to discuss feelings and things that bother them. You have created that space. Jeremy did not create this information in the CES letter to ruin marriages, he wanted to understand, he wanted his faith restored and had concerns about his own family. He was treated unfairly and to save his name he defended himself from all the attacks on his character. The information is not false and if it is he has asked people to come to him and would be happy to change it.

    The funny thing to me is people like you and Jeremy they have stood up for things that they see need standing up for and have in many cases in the end lead the church to changing stances or policies. Maybe behind the times but if you, Jeremy and others are wrong then why the change? And if changing then apologize to the people you belittle or excommunicate over their feelings and stances and questions. The history is a real problem with or without Jeremy or you it’s there especially since the church claims to be the fullness, the one and Only. Not everyone will find themselves in a faith crisis or leaving because of the information available but others will. There isn’t a right or wrong here. These fair Mormon videos bash and belittle you guys and all of us who are questioning because there is nothing they can do so gaslighting and belittling is the best approach in their eyes a last ditch effort to drown out the anti Mormons.

    Uggg can “ Anti Mormon”just not be a thing any more! To me it’s just history and different beliefs and feelings and concerns worth hearing. I remember feeling sorry for people upset with the church at temple square when I visited as a youth. You can imagine it came as a shock years and years later to realize they knew more about the history than I did and it wasn’t lies they were spreading. Someone has to be here for those of us going through the rug being pulled out from under us and for those of us that can’t fit the toothpaste back in the tube. Thanks for being there for us and giving our hearts and thoughts a voice. For taking the brunt. For caring about connection more than control. If God is real I don’t believe he dangles a carrot over our heads and those that keep reaching win and those that don’t or can’t loose. While I figure out my relationship with God and Jesus Christ outside the Mormon church I can’t believe that the LDS Church holds the only fullness and I can’t believe that we will have less than or be doomed if we can’t understand him here on this earth. That fear based way does not resonate with me but it’s okay if it does for others. But for me If he is there then he understands our hearts even if they are away from him for a time or for life on this earth. Know one knows what awaits for the dead. I have never felt more at peace realizing I didn’t have to “know” when knowing has been such a huge push my whole life. The church doesn’t hold the corner market on values. With or without the church there are still values.

    So maybe that’s all over the place and way too long winded but there are my thoughts take them or leave them.

  87. Hi John;

    I don’t want to get into my personal story, because it is too long and complicated. I just wanted to say that I had learned many conflicting things about Mormon doctrine over the years that I put on a shelf because I was a TBM for 38 years. It has now been almost 14 years since I have been to church because of how weird it got after my divorce. Over those years I have been able to step back and see the Mormon church for what it is. It makes me angry when I think of how I gave EVERYTHING to the church. I love Mormon Stories because of the validation and proof it gives me, that I am not deceived, but enlightened. The Mormon church lies to it’s members, and seeks to control them. Your podcast shines a light on the “real truth.” No wonder they are going after you. Please don’t stop doing your awesome work! Also, my children and I have never been happier!!!

  88. It will be 7 years this coming March 2021 when I started my journey our of the mormon church. I really thank John and Jeremy for what they have been doing. I paced the possibility of losing my family, but step by step, I shared John’s interviews and Jeremy’s work (CES letter) to my wife, who in the end also came to terms with the mormon church. So thanks to John and Jeremy, I could still retain my family. I still enjoy my wife’s love and my kid’s respect. Thanks again!

  89. John, your podcast gives me a sense of community and validation. To be fair, I had left the church before I had ever listened to your podcast. When I started listening to your episodes, I felt like I could relate to many of your interviewees. Many times, I felt like I was hearing pieces of my own story! There can be a lot of trauma and repression built up from growing up in this church and hearing others’ stories of GROWTH and FREEDOM gave me peace and inspiration. Thank you so much for creating this platform for us to share our stories. This has helped my family by lightening MY burden of leaving the church (my husband and daughter have never been affiliated with the church.) Peace be with you! -Maya

  90. I want to go on record supporting the efforts of Dr John Dehlin the founder of Mormon Stories. Thanks to his efforts and those of other Ex Mormon Bloggers, we have a voice of balance and reason. Fair Mormon has decided to wage a campaign against the truth, which belies its own name sake. There is nothing Fair about attacking the honest efforts of those who ask difficult questions. If Mormonism is true it will stand up to scrutiny, if it’s false, then it needs to be exposed for what it is. I joined the LDS church 40 years ago during a vulnerable time in my life when I struggled to know who I was, and where I fit in. In 1977 I served a mission for the Mormon Church under Hartman Rector Jr in the California San Diego mission. When I returned, I married a beautiful Mormon girl in the Salt Lake Temple. I was Married for 38 years until our divorce in 2018. Our marriage produced three sons and a Daughter. Our youngest son “came out” in 2014, It was a life altering day to say the least. Nothing would ever be the same after that day. Shortly after, the church would come out with it’s “Polices” against the LGBTQ community, which almost took my sons life. Three years later the church would reverse it’s police against Gays. How many innocent and vulnerable youth lost their lives trying to “fit-in” to this fictitious dogma during those three years. During my transition out of Mormonism, Mormon stories and would a sanctuary where I could compare my experience with others going through the same heart ranching transition. Yes! Thank you Dr Dehlin for all you have done to help me and other families during these challenging times.

  91. I’ll tell you that I floundered for so many years after the church kicked me out for being a lesbian. Back in those days, 40 years ago, it wasn’t like it is today. If you were gay there was no way to stay and still practice. There were no groups of people who thought or felt like I did, except for Affirmation. But Affirmation wanted to stay in the practice, while I wanted to move on from the pain. I wanted answers as to what the foundational truths were and why was the church the way it was. For 40 YEARS I went through this. Then I found Mormon Stories and the messages and information helped me to move on from the anger I had for so long. I was angry about why and how could they and so many other things. Mormon Stories helped me to have a better relationship and understanding with the rest of my family. We can discuss and agree to disagree and I am now able to have a spiritual life that I didn’t think I could have for so long. Healing from the trauma of what I went through has come a great deal through the sharing and the counseling education shared through Mormon Stories. Thank you John and to ALL who have shared on this platform. Because of you I am healing and I have a much better relationship with my family through understanding. I found that Fair Mormon really did nothing to assist us in an understanding. They tended to cloud the issues with lack of facts. I have a very scientific bent and see how twisted some of the ‘facts’ can be. They are twisted into narrative that has nothing to do with reality. Anyway, I’m happy to know truth and Mormon Stories gives that to me.

  92. I lost my belief in the LDS church in 2015. There are many different individuals, events, and writings that lead me through this faith journey. John Dehlin and Mormon Stories were definitely a part of my journey. John did not start my faith crisis, but his devotion to shedding light on all parts of Mormonism made my journey less painful and drawn out. I was fortunate to have my wife go through with me. Our marriage has never been stronger. We are more intimate, we have deeper discussions, we are better parents to our children, and our sex life has never been better.

    The information that we got from Mormon Stories was not just concerning the messy doctrine and inaccuracies of the truth claims, it also touched upon the best ways to navigate a faith crisis, both as a single person and in a relationship. There are so many episodes devoted to helping mixed marriages stay together and remain happy in spite of the differences in beliefs. The main focus of these episodes, along with the many workshops that John puts on, is on the individual and the relationship. The goals are not to convince everyone that the church is not true, but instead to find ways of strengthening relationships in spite of the belief differences. In contrast, the church does not devote even a fraction of this kind of energy to helping couples without simultaneously trying to convert or re-convert. John does not encourage divorce simply because a couple does not share beliefs. In fact, he encourages couples to work through their differences. Local leaders of the church, however, often do encourage divorce just because a spouse loses their faith.

    John is a messenger who often gets blamed for both the message and the effects of sharing it. If I had information that proved that a friend’s spouse was cheating on them and shared that information with this friend, is it my fault that their marriage breaks up? Or, is the blame on the spouse who cheated? Let’s not forget that the information shared on Mormon Stories is not his information. He did not pretend to see things in a peep stone and start a religion based on his musings. But, in spite of the fact that John is not to blame for the information he shares, he takes on the task of trying to help people get through the hurt and destruction that this information can cause. Thank you, John, for all the effort you have put in to improving people’s lives.

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    I was in a mixed faith marriage for four years and it helped give me outlet to listen to like-minded and people who had similar experiences as me. It was so helpful and healing in that respect. When my wife did transition out of the church, she listened to some of my fave episodes and that helped her feel like we weren’t alone. And Thrive 2019 was one of the most important and healing days in our 16 year relationship.

    P.S.

  94. Hello,

    No, Mormon Stories has not damaged my family. How can seeking “truth” be harmful. I don’t listen to Podcasts and seek the truth for anyone but me. My family also seeks the truth and has figured out on their own the positive aspects of Mormonism but also the deception and coverup. I do not seek the truth to stand at the pulpit and try and convince others of the truth. I just recommend to others that they need to do the research for themselves.
    The “Inglorious Bastards” knockoff video was ridiculous and only reflects poorly on the Apologists. If I were a leader of the LDS faithful, I would certainly distance myself from these people. Why? Because it isn’t Christ-like…If the LDS Church truly believes in Christs teachings…then they should be truthful and transparent and stop letting others be their mouth piece.

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    Dr. Dehlin,

    I saw your video request this morning. I just wanted to reiterate what I said in the first message that I sent to you. After leaving the church my marriage is better, my family is happier, and my head is clearer. Mormon Stories and The CES Letter helped my wife and I navigate this difficult transition and has helped us reevaluate how we want to raise our kids.

    It has also helped me reconnect with cousins that left the church years ago. I was never explicitly told to shun my friends and family who had left the church, but it was definitely implied in the way that I was told that they must be in the grasps of Satan.

    Taking a step back from the church has been refreshing. Mormon Stories and the CES Letter have given us further clarity and a new, accepting community. It has helped us develop a more accepting and loving outlook on life. Our family is better for it and my children will (hopefully) grow up without stigmatizing people based on their differences.

    Keep up the good work! We love your videos, podcast, and support. All our love to your family.

    J and H B.

  96. Mormon Stories has been one of the tools in helping me understand the details of why scriptures don’t line up with one another. It has also helped me remain empathetic to my past-self, and to my believing family.

    I had one particular sibling with whom I have always been close. Our relationship was strained because of my belief shifts. One of the episodes titled, “Top 5 Myths and Truths about Why Committed Mormons Leave the Church” was recommended to this sibling. From this episode grew healing and acceptance. They are able to remain faithful and I am able to remain skeptical, and our relationship has gotten back to what it used to be.

    Learning and growth, and truth, can’t tear apart families. Only fear, lack of understanding, and lack of compassion can do that work.

  97. I’m healthier, happier, and (to me, most importantly) have good relationships with my believing family because of JD and Mormon Stories.

    1. YES! Yes to all of this! Mormon Stories saved my relationships with my believing family and friends. It gave me the tools to not drive everyone I love away as I struggled in my faith.

  98. I also am not comfortable with having my real name used publicly, but here is a very brief version of my long story:

    I resigned from the “Mormon” church in early 2005. At that time I had never heard of John Dehlin or his podcast. I discovered it several years later, and it has helped me to keep my feet on the ground, so I have been an avid listener ever since then. I know more about “Mormonism” now than I knew when I was a member the first time around, and I cried when I found out that he was being excommunicated.

    My beloved husband has remained devoted to the church, so for his sake I have tried to get back in several times in the last 15 years, but the answer was always NO. However, in January of this year, John interviewed a man named Joe Tippetts, who had left the church and then returned. It got me thinking how easy it could be, and sent me off on a path that led to my being rebaptized later this year, and plans to go back to the temple in a year from then, if all goes well. I have promised my husband that I will not resign again, even if I get hurt and need to take some time off. I intend to keep that promise, and he understands. But as a returning member, I also still intend to continue to listen to John Dehlin’s epic podcasts whenever I have time.

    So bottom line: No, John Dehlin did not break up my family and no, he was not responsible for my departure from the Church. Rather, he is partially responsible for my return to it.

    I hope this helps.

    EDiL13 (Elohim’s Daughter in Law)

    1. PS Recent events in my life have led me to believe that I need to be a Christian, and my husband’s religion is the only form of Christianity available to me since I want to be at church with him, instead of having him drop me off at a Unitarian Universalist Church like he did for 12 years. Both that and John Dehlin’s podcasts have given my religious experience a richness and nuance that it didn’t have before. I don’t know what the future holds, but for now, this is “Testimony 2.0.”

  99. Mormon Stories has helped me show more kindness and acceptance towards more orthodox members of the Church, including family members. I wrote a letter of support for John Dehlin in 2015 during his excommunication for the local leadership of his ward to read. Here is part of what I wrote, ” Thanks to John’s podcasts, I’ve been able to look for the good within the Church. I am on good terms with my family, and I think that John’s podcasts have helped me with this.”

    I am on even better terms with my family five years later. Although Mormon Stories hasn’t been a continuing influence on me during this time, it did set me on a trajectory to be more open and accepting of people with different religious perspectives.

    I strongly disagree with and take offense to the recent assertion that John Dehlin and Jeremy Runnels “homewreck for profit.” I have listened to many of John’s podcasts and have seen him treat many believing guests with kindness and respect. I have also read the CES letter, and I see it as a sincere approach to deal with the questions many of us have had when we were trying to figure out Mormonism. My impression of Jeremy from his interviews is that he is a kind, honest, and interesting person.

    I have met John Dehlin a few of times in person. On a hike to the top of the Y I noticed that he helped a struggling mother (who I think he had just met) carry her baby to the top. We were apart from the main group that had met up to hike that day, and he noticed that she needed help. I am recounting this experience, because I think it illustrates John’s character much more accurately than the recent accusations.

    There is a lot more that I could write. If anyone wants to know the truth of the matter who is unfamiliar, just listen to John’s podcasts (and not just clips and quotes compiled by unsympathetic critics). You can click on a random one and see how it matches what you have been hearing. Members of the Church should appreciate better than anyone the problems of being misrepresented, and the value of going right to the source to judge for yourself.

    I think that we need to engage in fact-based conversation, not mean-spirited personal attacks. There is a lot of potential good that comes from conversations about Mormonism that foster thoughtful perspectives from many different angles, including the part of the conversation that John’s work facilitates. The personal attacks against John are not just attacks against him; they are attack against our entire community of orthodox and unorthodox thinkers for daring to challenge traditional ways of thinking in the hopes of creating a better future for everyone whose life is affected by Mormonism.

  100. The Mormon scam significantly harmed my family emotionally, mentally, financially, developmentally, relationally, temporally, and sexually. I could go into great detail for each, but I won’t as they are mostly typical of what are discussed on Mormon Stories. Mormon Stories has helped heal me from some of these harms inflicted over three decades. Some of my Mormon in-laws have tried to convince my wife to leave me after I broke free. I would imagine it is based on Russell Nelson teaching to remove yourselves from vocal dissidents (I can’t find the quote).
    The scam also teaches Luke 12:51-53
    51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
    52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
    53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
    and Matthew 12:30
    30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

    It is the height of hypocrisy and dishonesty to claim John is in the family destroying business, when it is actually those who perpetuate the 200 year old, all-encompassing, harmful con. Discovering the truth and liberating myself from its system of control and lies (in part due to Mormon Stories, The CES Letter, and other resources) has only made me a better person for my family.

    It is absurd that anyone would make such a patently false accusation.

  101. The first time I questioned whether the church was true was 2 days before my wedding in the temple receiving my endowments. I bawled. Everyone thought I was feeling the spirit, but it was anything but that. If I had left then, my pending marriage to my love would have been called off in a split second. The doubt sown by the church in that one ceremony would have detroyed my life before it even began.

    I carried on faithfully for 10 years. Hoping that my doubt would be pushed out by my faith. As time went on, each Sunday when I had questions about what was being taught and would turn to the church and apologetic sites like FAIRMormon, I would be left feeling like I was wrong and I was the problem. I felt broken and inadequate for a decade. At the time I didn’t understand the term gaslighting. Now I do. It didn’t seem to matter how hard I tried to make it all fit together from a faithful prospective, it never did for me. My marriage was suffering from years of faithful questioning and carrying on like the good Mormon girl I was.

    Enter John Dehlin. I lived in his Stake at the time of his excommunication and I was so faithful that I stumbled on his podcast by mistake TWO YEARS after his excommunication. I lived two miles from him and had no idea while I was struggling that this was my answer! Is he homewrecking for profit? Could not be further from my reality!! Mormon Stories helped me remain active longer than I would have been able to without it. Finally knowing the truth and that I wasn’t broken helped me immensely. It saved me. It saved my marriage. It saved my younger children. My biggest regret is that my oldest daughter was the collateral damage in the years I spent hanging onto the church. The very thing that was supposed to be our safe haven and protection from the world was destroying us and we didn’t even see it. After my years of questioning, listening to Mormon Stories and helping to remain active, it was actually the lies and gaslighting in the Gospel Topics Essays that caused me to leave. I remained active and faithful in the middle of my doubts because of Mormon Stories. I left Mormonism because of the Gospel Topics Essays. Why did no one know about them? Why didn’t Bishops know about them? Why were they lying in them? My daughter deserved better; I deserved better; my marriage deserved better, and my family deserved better than the lies, manipulation and gaslighting we endured in the Church as faithful members.

    If anyone is homewrecking for profit, look at the LDS church and it’s 100+ BILLION dollars. Look at the financial sacrifice of its poorest members and the damage that causes! Look at the families that are not able to be ‘sealed’ because they’re not funneling money into an obscenely rich corporation, I mean church. Look at the exclusion it fosters within families.

    Mormon Stories saved what the LDS Church destroyed in my life.

  102. I was in a mixed faith marriage for several years. Mormon Stories saved my marriage and as an added bonus, all of the relationships with my believing family and friends. It gave me the tools to navigate this difficult situation thoughtfully not drive everyone I love away as I struggled in my faith.

  103. My LDS family was in shambles long before Mormon Stories came around. Ours is a sad, even tragic tale. The church was always there, a town in Utah is named for a few of my pioneer relatives. The town I was raised in was small enough that separation of church and state was negligible. Although we weren’t devout members and I have resigned from the church, I am a thoroughbred mormon. My silent beliefs and view of life is mormon.
    Mormon Stories has helped me to realize this. Helped me to come to terms with a shattered life and years of wandering in a repentant madness. I was 30 or so before I let myself hear the rumors about Joe Smith. I would not believe at that time that he used a magic stone to see things. It took another 3 years before I could fathom the idea that he might have made it up. Another couple of years before I could see harsh negative criticisms of the church as most likely true. Now, I am in despair and have to laugh at just how dishonest the founders and leaders have been and are. I imagine Joe and Brigham to be like our current president, lying beligerantly without shame to create his own reality and people blindly pledging their lives to him for some reason that is beyond me.
    I found Mormon Stories years ago while researching Sandra Tanner, a name I’d heard serious talk of when I was a kid but didn’t understand why. It was about the time i was letting myself believe some of the rumors. They are still my favorite episodes. John’s candid interviews let me see that she wasn’t misguided or evil. To see and hear grown adults with good hearts talking critically and seriously about the church was and is golden.
    It helps very much to see people chase logic and not pretend when it comes to life. It also helps to see how others dealt with the mysteries they were born into. Most of all it is wonderful to see people searching for truth, even it it leads outside or inside the box. Mormon Stories is therapy for the watchers as well as the interviewees. You can feel their relief of getting to talk openly about these things.
    And finally, I have been a bit vengeful lately, maybe it’s because of our president and the assault on our democracy, maybe its because I’m researching early mormon and utah history with all its atrocities and many assaults on democracy. Doesn’t really matter but the hate is there. John Dehlin has helped to calm these feelings with his Christian conduct. Thank You!

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    If a family converts to the LDS church and one sibling doesn’t pay tithing, the church has no problem letting the rest of the family be sealed together in the temple while the sibling who doesn’t pay tithing waits outside and is separated from their family for eternity. That, would be the definition of splitting families up for money.

    BW

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    John, I know by now you’ve received a lot of messages of support but want to add mine. For several years my wife would come to me in tears with questions and doctrines she didn’t understand in the church. I would do my best to adopt the faithful apologetic position to hold the family together. Our conversations were frequent and deep but there was a divide there. This summer I noticed that she was coming to me less often. It was at that point I knew that I needed to set aside my biases and research her questions with a totally open mind. I feared that if I didn’t do that our relationship would suffer and I didn’t want to lose my wife. I started reading the church essays and Fair Mormon. These resources only opened old issues I had buried. A year or so before I started reading Saints. It was so unsettling that I quickly stopped and never read more. I read the essays this time with a more open mind and was shocked that they were admitting to things that were never talked about and viewed as anti-Mormon in the past. That history was not what I learned in primary and young men’s. The alarm bells went off. The true church had lied, so could it be true? Could it tell us to do and be one thing and then do the opposite? My wife during this time suggested I listen to Mormon Stories. I reluctantly started listening as I knew you had been excommunicated for “leading people out of the church”. The stories were amazing. It gave us a platform to talk to each other about what episode we were listening to and things we were learning. I discovered that there was history, real history that the church was not talking about. In one of the first episodes I listened to, someone said that if their spouse wasn’t going to be in the celestial kingdom then they wanted to be where their spouse was. At first I was shocked. How could you willingly give up exaltation? You’d rather live with your spouse than Heavenly Father? But then I realized that he really and truly loved his spouse and her happiness was most important. I thought back to when I met my wife. Did I love her like that? What made me want to marry her? Was it because she was a member? No. That was not most important. It was a bonus for sure and who knows what I would have decided if she hadn’t been a member but I married her because I didn’t want to be with anyone else. We loved to be together. We were in love and I love her even more today. So not only did the podcast not divide our family but helped us connect on a deeper level. It helped us know how to talk to our kids about these issues. It guided us as we unpacked years of conditioning and feelings of unworthiness. It made us realize that we can be happy after deciding to leave the church. There have been and will be more hard times but we can get through it and come out the other side happier and more complete. We know this because we see that in the couples you interview. We can learn history and science and know it’s not anti-Mormon just because it doesn’t prove the faithful position of the church. We can do as it encourages in D&C 9:8 study it out in our mind and come to a different conclusion than the church would encourage us. Reason is a gift. So I can’t thank you enough for what you do. We are just one family you have touched and our lives are the better for it. If you have done this for us, there must be many many more that have had similar experiences. We don’t know what the future holds but we have never been closer as a family and a couple as we are right now. Thank you and keep up the good work.

    J.G.

  106. Mormon Stories allows for the freedom to express, discuss, and recover from something that members were taught their whole lives to stay silent and unquestioning about. The range of participants includes those who devoted their lives to Mormonism, those who still do, and those who struggle to leave or stay. A bridge of understanding now exists.

    Many members see any questioning discussion outside of the parameter of faith promoting material as ‘anti’ or apostasy. That doesn’t change the benefit of discussions on concrete facts and processing an entire experience in this corporation. Validation and comprehensive healing is essential to being human. Resources for those who do not resonate or struggle with Mormonism is necessary. Lives are literally lost and destroyed in the LDS Corporation and met with a set of fantastical religious dictates when seeking refuge. Dr. John Dehlin allows a space for open, non restricted discussion, development, and growth beyond these all consuming control mechanisms.

    Mormon Stories helps those in any journey around Mormonism begin to process reality, especially in contrast to the former fantasy idealism and cognitive dissonance. These real people and stories facilitates freedom of the mind. What that freedom means is different for every participant and viewer, and that is what full right to be human is.

  107. Several years ago, I started questioning a lot of things in the Mormon church, mostly things with the church history. But when I brought those things up to anyone, they made me feel like I just didn’t have enough faith, I was a bad person for questioning, or I was crazy. I ended up leaving the Mormon church after several years of some really hard times trying to figure out the truth and being made to feel like a horrible person in the process.

    I had heard of Mormon Stories before, but only just recently started listening to it. I wish I had listened to it during my faith crisis. I truly and honestly believe it would have helped immensely. Even now, it’s been extremely helpful. So many of the stories have been extremely validating and have made me feel less alone, because there are so many stories that are similar to my own.

    The Mormon church, and people like those who run FairMormon, try to hide things away and hide the truth. Mormon Stories tries to bring things to light and have open and honest conversations. For a church that claims to be the one and only true church it’s amazing to me how upset people in the Mormon church gets when people speak the truth.

  108. Just to say, the irony of accusations that you break up families when actually families are put under pressure when the Church takes punitive action against anyone who asks difficult questions. I’ve felt too worried to discuss my church related concerns because of the impact on my church member family. Mormon Stories has helped me realize there are many people who are in a similar position to me. When I discovered Mormon Stories I breathed a sigh of relief.

    D.S.

  109. Mormon Stories has been very comforting and helpful to me as I go through my faith crisis. I am a life-long member of the church, baptized at 8, endowed in the temple, served a full-time mission (as a woman in the 1990s). Only now, at age 45, did I finally start asking questions because there were so many doctrinal issues that I could no longer ignore. I felt lied to when I finally starting researching the history of the church, Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon. I was careful to avoid reading directly “anti-Mormon” literature, staring with the CES letter (which I don’t consider to be anti-Mormon), BH Roberts, and Grant Palmer (An Insiders View to Mormon Origins). I read the gospel topics essays and read Fair Mormon to try to see “both sides.” Honestly, I found Fair Mormon to be insulting to my intelligence. When I watched the recent videos Fair Mormon about the CES letter, they disgusted me. They were condescending and incredibly misogynistic. Having two young men (who appear to have very little actual life experience), tell me how to feel about Joseph Smith’s polygamy, and making a big joke about it, made me irate.

    Even when you have doubts about and issues with the church, when you finally realize it’s not true, it’s like a death. You are losing a part of yourself and it’s hard not to feel very hurt and alone. The Mormon Stories Podcasts have made me feel understood and less alone. I find myself nodding along or feeling validated. I believe they give people a platform to tell their stories, to explain what they have gone through, and dispel so many myths about people that leave the church. The podcasts do not destroy families – I can’t say the same thing for the church unfortunately.

    John, thank you for making and sharing these podcasts. Any money you make doing this work is well earned.

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    I have thought a lot about this question. And I think I can sum it up. I recently left a domestic violence situation. My soon to be ex-husband told me, in what I truly believe to be his honest thought. That our whole relationship started out of pitty for me. That he felt he deserved better and that he carried me along. I am not relating this to the LDS church. But from what this profoundly traumatic year, and last 9 years with him. I began to think a lot about the difference between pitty and mercy. Bear with me.

    I believe that through pitty, the LDS church shelters by withholding anything less than a perfect view of “the restored gospel”. I first discovered Mormon stories through a faith crisis. A lot of my faith shattering spawned from my marriage. And I feel the need to share my story because Mormon stories gave me mercy (I’ll describe what mercy means to me shortly).

    Going back to my abusive relationship, he said he married me out of pitty. That I was somehow his cross to bear. I didn’t I know that I was having pitty taken upon me. It was so beyond the word offensive.

    I felt the same way when I learned about the true history of the church. I felt all the pitty the church had for me. Keeping me in this bubble. And that is what is hurtful. That is shameful. So let me now tie all of this together.

    My faith in god vanished. And Mormon stories was there to keep me together. I felt safe listening to any podcast. Knowing that, even when I felt the desire to come back to the LDS church. That all my healing from listening wouldn’t just be another separation of us vs them. I knew there was still a place for me at Mormon stories if I decided to go back to church. Mormon stories is still a safe place for me.

    I feel the need to clarify that, my ex husband scenario sort of ends here. Because I am not going back to him, like I might with the LDS church. But the lesson I learned about pitty still applies.

    So now let me tell you what mercy means to me. It is the bridge through the storm. Out of the troubled waters, but not completely over and out of it scotch free. There is still winds and rains. But crossing the bridge to a place of healing is done through mercy. I still had to take the steps forward. But what you provide through Mormon stories is mercy.

    Leaving my husband and driving off with my kids safely was nothing short of a miracle. I felt like the metaphorical Red Sea was parting. Driving through the Red Sea was where I learned about mercy.

    Mormon Stories provides me a safe place to heal. It is a place to decide for yourself with all the facts, and not discounting spiritual or intuitive feelings. It’s a place where your feelings are valid. And where stories of people are shared in a vulnerable way. Where people share honestly. And TOUGH questions are asked. This is mercy. Honesty was part of why I first left church. And having a place to explore and think critically has helped me navigate myself spiritually.

    I am still working through a lot of trauma. But this is where I am. And I wanted to end by saying thank you. Thank you to everyone at Mormon Stories for your dedication and transparency.

    M.P.

  111. Post
    Author

    Thank you so much John for hosting this podcast. I thought I was alone in my faith crisis until I found this podcast and now I feel empowered in my own spirituality. I could write a whole essay about how Mormon Stories has helped me, but suffice it to say it has helped me move on from negative/unhealthy views about Mormonism/spirituality to a healthier relationship with myself, God, and the Church. People have always had faith crises and always will. I wish the Church would acknowledge that this is normal, healthy, and something that often requires resources outside of the church for help, like therapy, support groups, etc. Mormon Stories is just one of these healthy resources to help people through their faith transitions and figure out how to be healthy, whether that’s staying in or staying out of the church. Trying to cover up or condemn such resources is unhelpful. Honestly, this causes those questioning the church to question it even more if it is trying to hide things or is so insecure about itself that it can’t accept others questioning or having contrary opinions. Faith crises will continue to happen. Faith crises will be exacerbated if there aren’t outside resources to help, like Mormon Stories. People would still leave the church without any kind of “anti-Mormon” resources available. In fact, condemning truth like that found in Mormon Stories just encourages leaving the church. Please keep Mormon Stories around. This podcast saved me from feeling so unhopeful and so alone. It is like therapy for both believers and non-believers. Just like therapy and support groups, it is a needed resource. Thank you.

    Feel free to use this video in any way you need to keep the wonderful work you do going.

    C.T.

  112. I am grateful for the Mormon Stories podcast. I only discovered it in 2020.

    I was born and raised in the church, with strong mormon roots on both sides of the family. I served a full mission, and served faithfully in many callings after my mission.

    I then realized that the Church would never be a place that I could feel comfortable in my skin and asked to be released from my callings. This event led to my excommunication.

    I was excommunicated from the church for homosexuality in 2009.

    Working with a therapist on my severe depression and anxiety, I’ve realized that the Church and its policies have had a demonstrably negative effect on my life and relationships.

    The Mormon Stories Podcasts have really helped me over the last few months. Hearing others stories has helped me. It has helped me much more than any Church doctrine or policy has in the past 12 years.

    I feel that John Dehlin and his interviewees are honest and doing important work.

    Thank you so much for Mormon Stories!

    Caleb A.

  113. Post
    Author

    I finished your interview. It was pretty epic. I was especially interested in your son’s mental health struggles. The church falls down so badly in that regard.
    Six years ago my wife was called as YW President. At the time we told the Bishop she had pretty severe bipolar, but he said she would be “strengthened” and “blessed” to take the calling. Well fast forward six months to the stress of running youth conference. She didn’t sleep for 3 days and had a psychotic break. She came home out of it and asked a bishopric counselor to assist in a blessing. He told us “Satan” was trying to keep her from fulfilling her calling.
    I checked her into inpatient psych the next day. Multiple stints of inpatient and outpatient treatment did not help her stabilize. Eventually she made choices regarding me and the kids that led to divorce.
    That started the unraveling of the Church’s truth and revelation claims for me.
    I’m happily remarried now to a woman who has similar concerns about the church and how it treated her gay RM brother who was driven out of BYU.
    But all of these stories show the real harm the Church does with it aura of infallibility. It would be great if the bishop who gave my ex-wife that calling could have said he messed up. But he couldn’t. Instead he puzzled over what the Lord was trying to teach my family. Revelation was infallible, no matter the clear and devastating consequences of a 35-year-old software engineer in way over his head when it came to the mental health needs of his flock.

    J.K.

  114. Post
    Author

    The Momron Stories Podcast, hosted by Dr. John Dehlin has healed a major wound in my family that I thought would never be mended.

    I grew up in the LDS Church, and while I have many wonderful experiences and memories associated with the organization, it has been a major point of contention in my family. I am the eldest of six and was always the devout and active sibling (the one “success” story for my parents). When my brother was 12 or 13, he no longer wished to go to church. This caused major fights with my parents, and because I was on the “believing” or “faithful” side ( and ready to move up to Priest’s Quorum) I naturally sided with my parents. This caused a major schism in our relationship. My brother was not allowed to exercise his agency and countless fights ensued. I continued on “the path” as my brother “fell away”. It was pretty obvious that my parents favored me, which further distanced him from me. Throw in the superiority complex that comes with perceiving oneself as “righteous” and another as “sinful”, and you have a completely ruined relationship.

    I barely talked to my brother. He rarely talked to me. As life continued, our paths continued to diverge. I went on a mission and decided to go to BYU. Meanwhile, my sister, who was about six years younger than me, also started to question the church and wanted to leave. This caused even more strife in the family, even physical confrontations between my sister and my mother.

    One by one, my siblings all left the church, but I was determined. In striving to be a devout member, I let the relationships with my siblings fall by the wayside. I never connected with them. I never had deep conversations. I never spoke with them like they were human.

    Fast forward some more, and I’m married in the temple. My relationship with my parents is great, but there is basically nothing with my siblings.

    Then I start questioning my own faith. After a while I found the Mormon Stories Podcast. Listening to John and his guests helped me unpack all of my concerns and I was finally ready to make the jump myself.

    I remember the moment that I shared with my brother that I non longer believed and that I wasn’t going to church anymore. It was like an immovable barrier had been demolished. My own personal Berlin Wall came tumbling down, and my brother began speaking with me, sharing his actual thoughts and feelings. we connected. It wasn’t until I was almost 30 years old that I actually had a real conversation with my brother. After the conversation, I cried. I cried for a long while, filled with happiness.

    Similar experiences followed with my other siblings. Until this point in my life, they had always just kind of been the other people that I lived with growing up. Strangers almost. Now, I have five best friends that I can share things with. Five best friends that I can laugh with. Five best friends that I didn’t have before.

    I don’t know John personally, but I do know what his content has done for me and my family, and that’s enough for me.

  115. I really felt John was a informal counsellor who could relate with what I was sharing with him as a person suffering from extremely severe religion-centered trauma. We share much in common, including our mutual, especial love for the church — “the gospel” — growing up as well as our experience of so-called “difficult” LDS missions. I’ve suffered lifelong from a certain strain of perfectionism: something perhaps able to be termed “scrupulosity (which was something John was researching during his then- training in clinical psychology). I mostly just talked & talked & he listened very intently, occasionally plying me with perceptive questions. Our one or two conversations were a very important part of my process of coming to grips with what was ailing me & to a better acceptance of my validity as a person by accepting that these traumas of mine involving religion didn’t mark me as an intrinsically flawed person. These visits-by-way-of-telephone-conversations were extremely healing.

    In more detail … & very TL;DR, so I certainly don’t mind should it be SKIPPED ALTOGETHER! … what-had-wounded-my-psyche follows.

    =========
    I grew up with an inner sense that I possessed a special affinity for … well, /sensing/ things, for my seeming to be able to perceive the true nature of things! As an elementary school child, I was prone to laying out there my unique takes on spiritual things. Many adults would ooh & ahh at my apparent precocity. In some cases some adults found my inklings a harbinger of falsehoods to be authored in competition with understanding that would be legitimate . At the time, I was only vaguely aware of these concerns of detractors, to the extent they existed. (Or else I might be retroactively /imagining/ them into existence. These adults who reacted negatively to my pronouncements might have simply thought I was full of it & nothing beyond & no more complicated of an an appraisal than that!) In any case, upon the onset of puberty, I came to an inkling that the prophet Joseph might be but a gifted individual who believed himself to be channeling the divine. I felt awful that I’d come upon this inkling. It was proof to me that I needed to develop “my testimony.” So I promised myself that eventually I’d get around to developing one, in earnest.

    Various social forces held sway within the California congregation of my teenaged years during the early 1970s. I myself believed in long hair, perhaps unsurprisingly. This I thought would make me an “individual,” not unironically (in that so many many of my peers /also/ thought having longish hair was important, at the time!) I was probably somewhat unique in that I thought longish hair was /righteous/, after a fashion (it’s being, after all, “natural”). After all, the torah after all mentions not shaving the side of one’s head.

    However, my brother-in-law, in particular, was a proponent of almost every popular folk doctrine as tended to be believed in by so-called Conservative latter-day saints & felt strongly that the contemporary symbolism represented by longish hair made the choice completely unacceptable. He seemed to think that what he viewed as youthful indiscretions were best if acknowledgments by the youth as such. Yet there I was, asking him for scriptural, or otherwise-authoritative, “exegesis” for his position (although I didn’t at the time term my requests that), my dismissing out of hand the ones he offered. He felt it was pretty much as plain as the nose on one’s face that longish hair wasn’t appropriate, but since I’d asked he deigned to supply me with halfhearted justifications: His main “go to’s” were: LDS missionaries & BYU students are required to groom a certain way (akin Wall Street’s executives, I might muse?), therefore California high school students should follow suit; also, inasmuch as General Authorities are modern prophets, it would be exemplary to mimic their uniform style of grooming. Although I thought I’d go on a mission & also attend BYU, I didn’t buy into the idea that there was a /divine/ principle that individuals ought to groom themselves within a regimented fashion.

    Finally, in 1977 my brother-in-law — who in the meantime had become congregational bishop — called me in to prepare for a mission. As part of my preparations, I cut my hair (not yet in a banker fashion but rather in a modified, newscaster/Jimmy Carter-ish way).

    The above three paragraphs are all simply to set up the following complete speculation on my part. I have the inkling that my bishop — this brother-in-law — put into my missionary paperwork that I have a hard time “following” leaders.

    I go on my mission.

    My first companion, termed a “trainer,” only pretends to work, calling in his completely fabricated hours every night to our zone leaders. We do absolutely nothing almost each and every day. Day after day after day after day after day we sit at a particular member family’s house and do such things as, typically, my staring at the wall whilst he watches endless re-runs on the tv.

    Well, my mission president is a business man whose emotions and personality (ah, again, at least according to my own “inklings” about things) are utterly stifled; & also, in turn, this individual’s ways of acting is such that he is able, on occasion, to /cause/ the same effect in others (such as me!!!).

    I’m in this initial area but a day or two & … the phone rings! It’s this mission president on the phone. He asks my trainer to speak with me. I pick up the phone & he doesn’t ask me a single question but instead yells at me at the very top of his voice, saying over & over & over & over again, “Follow your companion, Elder (My Last Name)!”

    I’d told a General Authority in the mission home in Salt Lake City that I didn’t yet have a testimony. He’d told me to simply follow along with regard to things & it would come. I believed him. And, my way of following along was to try & figure out the conundrum my mission president’s behavior presented, for me: “Exhibit A: HE was called of God. MY TRAINER was called of God. I was called of God. So, what the er ahm AITCH-EEH-DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS could have President So&so possibly been talking about?!!!!!!” (I silently wondered to myself after he’d hung up the phone).

    Well, I figured he just needed time to figure out what was really going on & eventually everything would work its way out.

    Maybe almost two months or thereabouts later, I finally came up with the idea to tell my trainer I’d be talking to the zone leaders after he called in his numbers for the night & telling whatever we actually did that day. That night I asked to speak with them. I told them that in fact we’d done nothing at all that day.

    Shortly we were both transferred.

    At the next zone conference (the second one I’d attended. My mission president held them often), after the president interviewed every male “elder,” he had me sit in a chair and wait while he interviewed all the sister missionaries and then all the couple missionaries. Finally he called me in. He did not allow me to speak about anything yet started screaming at me at the top of his voice: “Follow your companions!” He repeated this it seems a dozen times. Then he launched into his counselling. I was self-righteous, he said. He already knew my trainer hadn’t been doing the work, which wasn’t a matter that should have been of my concern. All of this was delivered in absolute apoplexy and anger.

    He very angrily told me that a question I’d asked him when I first got to the mission home proved that I was someone who couldn’t follow. This interaction is as follows:

    >>>>>At dinner in the mission home, he’d told us not to say “yes” but instead to say “yeah.” Part of a celestial-level of discipline would be to train us to say “yes.” Each time we said “yeah” we owed a quarter. I ended up owing a bundle of them as I talked some at that table & had a relaxed way of speaking.

    >>>>>I was absolutely desirous to obey this “degree-of-/commandment/” and was curious about its workings. I remembered, to myself, that Paul H Dunn spoke in a matter-of-fact way that included the pronunciation of “ta” for the particle /to/ and in general was less formal than other General Authorities. I mentioned something along these lines to the mission president, sincerely thinking he’d enlighten me with some gospel principle involved. I thought absolutely nothing about the interaction since that time however I endeavored always to say “yes” instead of “yeah.” (Also to always say “elder” in front of a male missionary’s name & so forth & so on.)<<<<<

    When I got back to my area along with my then companion, I mulled over what I'd been taught in this interaction. Firstmost, I sincerely thought that the mission president, according to all appearances, seemed mentally & emotionally unstable; &, I also felt an inkling that he was "corrupt" (… in that missionaries very generally ignored all the mission's directives & this mission president seemed to go very far out of his way to in no ways hear about this same). BUT… for me to (seemingly) "observe" these things ITSELF was proof positive that I would be unable to "follow" this mission president. Which presented me with a for-me unsolvable dilemma. I can trust myself & NOT my mission president, in which case he is right that I'm self-righteous & unable to follow him, or I can trust /him/, this mission president.

    My answer to myself in "solving" this conundrum was to believe: God Himself had set up this scenario for me personally as a lesson for me! Wasn't the president's calling inspired? Wasn't he inspired within his calling? Yes! He /must/ be! That my mind couldn't understand how somebody who rarely — if EVER — broached a spiritual subject & who seemed completely impervious to the same observations & inklings about things I felt were so patently obvious could be explained by the plain fact that my own mind & thinking were so imperfect compared to his. I reasoned that I couldn't trust my own reasonings about things.

    My having been a veritable pharisee, personally, about the very minutest of things (for example, my having come to always saying "yes" rather than "yeah", with such things as that being right in my wheelhouse), I now overcorrected to the extent that I didn't allow myself to have any opinion of my own, WHATSOEVER! Which, needless to say, wasn't particularly healthy for me! Long story short, my native temperament combined with the way I was raised, when combined with the environment in my mission, conspiring to produce in me something akin, I believe, to er ahm affective schizophrenia (should there be such a thing).

    =========
    SUMMARY
    ========= :
    A major part of my eventual healing process, needless to say, was many decades later my coming across Mormon Stories: both back when John was still within his neo-apologetical phase as well as now. It's hard to describe the various geneses of one's completely disabling neuroses to somebody who has no clue about what you've experienced except what they might have read, perhaps, in a book. John, even if he'd never studied such subject, simply /seemed/ to understand.

    Inasmuch as this has helped me, it's also helped me with my relationship with others including my extended family. Indeed, I've been able to accommodate coming to a kind of detente with my active latter-day saint family members. My wife is not latter-day saint but nonetheless is some type or another of believing Christian. We did not use[d] to attend LDS services very often along with these members of my extended-&-mostly-LDS family but during the time of COVID have come to do so with regard to what's called "home church," which is over at the house of my eldest sister's and her husband's (he is the self-same /brother-in-law / referenced above!). I don't partake of the emblems of the LDS eucharist because, in line with my personal convictions, I feel to abide by the orthodox LDS belief that "the sacrament" represents a troth of support to the authorities within the latter-day saint community, something I cannot do. My wife, although not herself latter-day saint, enjoys attending & herself /does/ partake of these emblems & seems to enjoy doing so.

  116. Hello, my name is Mikaela Fox

    I’m an ex Mormon.

    I got my records removed only after listening to thousands of minutes of Mormon Stories. These stories helped me learn that what I was feeling was felt my MANY other people. Especially educated people who had been conned by the church for so long.
    It also helped me see the good parts of the church and why people stay. However, for most of these people, these were not very good reasons to stay. I was one of those people.
    Mormon Stories keeps me thriving when I feel lonely and without a community. It makes me know for a fact that I have done the right thing in coming out against the church.
    It even made me have the strength to start my own Podcast, Quorum of the 2 Apostates, in order to talk about my experience.
    Mormon Stories is an integral part of learning the truth about Mormonism. I even know current Mormons who listen to it and relate to the stories of that toxic positivity culture Mormons have. Or the toxic judge mental culture.
    This is an integral conversation piece when it comes to the church and my life wouldn’t be as positive and glowing with love and life as it is today.
    ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    We love you John Dehlin & anybody else involved with MormonStories. I LOVE seeing the billboards and knowing that there is something out there to help others in a faith crisis. I love every person who comes into the show.

    Keep it going guys! Good VIBES!!!

    -Mikaela Fox

  117. Mormon Stories is a SAFE place to talk about questions you have with the church. There is no room for questioning in the church unless it’s behind closed doors with the bishop. John Dehlin has provided a judge free platform to discuss what many members and post members have difficulties with in the church.
    Mormon Stories has done nothing but bring me peace and greater joy in my life. It hasn’t broken up my family. The only people in my life that CHOOSE to be upset by me living the church are the family members who are still active and are taught toxics messages about individuals that leave. They have been told to look down on me. That I can’t possibly be happy without the gospel. That our family won’t be together forever. That I’m just foolish and mislead by Satan. No one is leading me away from the church. The church is good at pushing people out all on it’s own.
    The church has caused me so much pain and heartache. It is a cult. It controls every aspect of innocent people’s lives. But the people who are in it aren’t stupid. They believe in it because it sounds like a beautiful plan but it’s actually full of lies, and that breaks my heart.
    Thank you John Dehlin for not giving into bullies and doing what you do. You only speak the truth. The facts are back up by evidence. Keep doing what you’re doing. You are loved and supported!

  118. John,
    I am grateful for your podcasts and the work you do to normalize one’s disaffection with the Church, but with all due respect, you simply don’t have the same amount of power as the Church to affect relationships in a family.

    It is because of the church’s encouraged demonization of people who leave the church that there was a schism between members of my family who were active members, and members of my family who had left the church (long before your podcast existed). When my no-longer-believing brother died four years ago from suicide, I realized how hollow the church’s doctrine on eternal families was. Although my brother and I were close, there was always an arbitrary separating point between us, because I was a believer and he wasn’t. That same arbitrary separation point had long existed between my father and me, despite the fact that he was a kind and caring father and I have always loved him dearly. A year ago, the last of my three children left the church (none of whom have heard of you). I went to church on Sunday and only heard that all of the people that I loved the most were lost, unless they somehow re-accepted the gospel. In other words, the people in my life who have done the greatest good for me are not good enough for God.

    I know some people spend their lives praying for their wayward family members while maintaining a proper emotional distance from them. What a waste of life!!!! And who is to blame for that mindset? The Church.

    A few months ago, I took a good look at how the church has encouraged me to “other” not only everyone who is not a member, but pretty much everyone who is not white, male, and heteronormative. I just finally came home one day and said to my husband, “I’m out. I’m never going back.” The next day, I found your website.

    As I said, your podcasts have normalized my disaffection and I think that has also made it easier for me to fill the breaches between myself and my family—breaches that had been created by the Church.

    If we had remained in the church, my husband and I would have been one of those lonely couples that everyone assumes never had children. Now that we’ve left? Our family relationships have never been better.

    I’m not saying that everyone is better off without the church, but some families are definitely better off without that religion. So, no, you’re not destroying families—you’re helping families who were being destroyed by the Church.

    Thank you.

  119. John and Jeremy, I appreciate your efforts very much.

    I was raised in a good family. (a Mormon family, located on a farm along the Wasatch front.) And, I firmly believed as a child and adolescent that what are we were being told was true. (No reason to believe otherwise, at that point in time.) My parents were “salt of the earth” farm people, with Mormon ancestors going back to Nauvoo on both sides. (Several of my great greats were polygamist.) My father explained (and I am convinced that he believed what he was saying) that the reason for polygamy was so that single moms with kids could be part of a family. He said that many of them lost their husband/father in the trek from Nauvoo to Salt Lake, because the father would give up food to his children and wife and would eventually die because there was not enough food for everyone when they were coming west. (He was only repeating what he had been told. And I, accepted this explanation for many years.)

    My dad did tell me in the most general terms about Joseph Smith using a stone in the hat to write the book of Mormon. My father was also adept at using a divining rod to locate water, and he was a a very sweet humble person who tried to follow Christ. He did not have Mormon stories to set him straight, and all he could do was to do his best. He was called on many times to give reassuring, healing blessings to those who were “sick and afflicted” and he was able to do that. I saw many people feel better after he laid his hands on their head and gave them a blessing in the most sincere devout tones of voice and manner that he always had. So, some of the mystical, magical mormon ways of existing percolated down to my sweet, trusting, non assuming father.

    Then I read “No man knows my history” a year after I finished my mission. I knew right away that we were in the wrong place, but could not see any way to extricate myself and family (my “ converted from faithful Catholic wife, and our babies”) from the bad position we were in, as followers/supporters (and yes leaders in a smallish way) in the so-called church. We hunkered down and raised our kids in the Mormon church.

    It wasn’t all bad, because many of the people we got to know have been nice.

    Still, most Sundays I would leave the three plus hours of church meetings feeling miserable , after I had done the mental gymnastics necessary to re-position and stow away all the crazy ever changing mormon teachings back onto “the shelf” in order to “pull up your socks” and continue back in the real world for another week. I think that most devout Mormons families collapse by mid-afternoon on a Sunday after doing all of these things I have just described (Sunday naps ). I know I did.

    The reality is:
    Many of the things we learned in Sunday school were wrong, mis-guided and made up. Every time I learned something new, later from Mormon stories and elsewhere, I felt as if someone was twisting a knife in my side. And, I felt sick in my stomach. It is hard when you realize that you have been lied to for all those years.

    And all the time I knew it was wrong, and had no idea how to rectify it.

    Years later I learned about Mormon stories, around the time that John was in his second year on his podcast. I followed him through his faith crisis for all the years that followed. And my eyes were opened.

    Lately for the last two or three years I have found enough spiritual courage to subtract Mormonism from my life and I have found true Christianity within the Catholic Church. I am very very happy, beyond belief, for being able to do that.

    I have learned that the Catholic Church preserved Christian values and teachings, liturgy, wonderful traditions, and the Bible itself through 2020 years. There was never a great apostasy like the Mormon church tries to say. Catholic adherents have a real relationship with our savior.

    There is no way that a person could say that they are the church of the devil that mormon Doctrine has taught. Listen to Catholic radio for one day and you will know what I am saying. You will find out that we have been lied to by our Mormon leaders about the Catholic Church.

    I am very sorry that I taught the lies that were given to me at the LTM on my mission, to many hundreds of people. I pray these people will be OK. I wish I could take two or three years to track them down and set things straight. Maybe I will yet be able to do that. It is my intention to do that if I can at all.

    The book of Mormon is a made up story by Joseph Smith and other oath-bound con-men. He plagiarized anything and everything he could to make the mess somewhat readable. Many parts are just atrocious, consider the chapter before Moroni‘s promise, totally despicable language and crazy things that I cannot repeat were written into that chapter. There is no way that a family will read that chapter around the breakfast table during 6 AM scripture study. No way that that happens.

    The front page of the first edition says very clearly what he wanted to say: “Joseph Smith author and proprietor” because at the time he wanted to be able to sell this thing. He wanted it to be a best seller, and when it wasn’t, then for the next 10 or 15 years that he lived, he looked for other ways to fleece the faithful of their assets and their daughter’s and wives virtue; including bank fraud, real estate scams; anything and everything he could think of. (Our ancestors were gullible or you might say trusting.) Then when he was caught, after escaping the law and moving one step ahead of prosecutors, from state to state, he was finally apprehended and jailed. At this point, he tried to break out with a gun in hand and, according to John Taylor, shot and killed two people while he attempted to break out. (We would not know these things if it were not for Fawn Brody, John and Jeremy, and the many guests that John has interviewed over the years.)

    The Mormon church leaders need to be held accountable for misleading and lying to us about these things. And, this is what John, Jeremy, many of his guests are striving to do. I applaud them for their efforts.

    I would not have been able to move on from the fake news of Mormonism if not for John and Jeremy, because I would not have been able to move past the place where I was stuck. John and Jeremy have provided us with the information we need to be able to move forward to the positive place that we need to be.

    I hope that John and Jeremy will be able to continue to provide support to the thousands of ex-Mormons who wish to follow Jesus, instead of the so-called church.

    Overall, I am very very grateful to John and also to Jeremy for the strength of fortitude they have had to be able to seguir adelante against all odds.

    May God bless them and keep them, and their sweet families. And, please God, may we find a way to help and support them in their righteous endeavors.

  120. John, I cannot image going through a faith crisis (like you did) without a support system like Mormon Stories podcast. I am sorry that lies are being spread about you and Jeremy. My relationship with my husband and children is so much closer and healthier because of the support I have received at Mormon Stories. My husband can testify that I have your podcast playing almost constantly as I have been going through my faith crisis that starting about nine months ago. Your interviews help me to feel sane in a Mormon-infiltrated area. So, please know that you are doing good regardless of what others say. Bless you!

  121. The Mormonstories website was and still is my go to place to have an outlet for mental health. There is no place in the church for people with certain questions. I am not trying to be melodramatic in saying that I’m not sure I’d be here if it wasn’t for the stories I’ve listened to and read on this website. My wife and children are happy for that. The honesty and truth John promotes here has truly opened my view to be a better person. In the variety of podcasts John has said some key things that have helped me realize the reality of where I was at. One is “dissonance is powerful”. There have been other truthful, helpful statements made.

    It is a very difficult thing to help people be aware of very ‘high level’ principles / psychology. In this difficulty John gets labeled anti-mormon. He’s not. Very helpful and a life saver more like it.

    As an example of how difficult and binding these church led practices are – I know my mother would get depressed if I ‘came out’ as exmormon. So I wait for her to die happily. There is also a six figure inheritance that I will get and John is going to get some of it. He hasn’t sought this, it is the least I can do for all the help he’s given me.

    Thank You John for all you do!!

  122. I am a senior citizen, a woman, an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I attend church every week, and provide service in many ways. I have served in leadership positions in my ward, such as RS president, YW president, and I continue to do so.

    Christ was a member of his Jewish religion, and he spent his ministry teaching, not those outside his religion, but those inside. He didn’t pat them on the back saying “Good Job”, but he worked to help them see they had some things wrong and how they could be improved. I have often wondered if he were to spend time in our current church, would he find everything the way it should be? Would he pat us on the back, saying “Good Job”? Or would he point out where we ourselves need to improve?

    I believe that part of our responsibility is to work in building our religious culture so that it helps us become what we ought to be. Doing so requires that we examine our motivations, our conventions, our actions, not just in our personal lives, but also those of our religion and culture. Without this examination, our religion can grow rigid and complacent, becoming less than what it promises and needs to be.

    Through the Mormon Stories Podcasts, people can express things that have gone wrong for them in the church. It feels refreshingly honest to me, especially since the allowed norm in our church is to praise without criticism. I don’t agree with everything said, but I fully believe in the need to have a way to express concerns. Sometimes they reflect my own.

    If the Church were to support honest dialog where discontinuities were allowed rather than covered or deflected, and some way to voice concerns as well as praise, the podcast would probably not be needed for me. But until it does, I am grateful for it.

  123. Mormon Stories has helped my family through a devastating faith crisis this last year.
    I served as a young RS president , while raising 4 little kids, having a husband deployed for a year, and while working part-time out of the house. I was fully committed to the church, the members blessed my life during that difficult time. I will always love and appreciate the members that helped my family. Something I made sure of while serving was that people felt like they belonged, that there was a place for them in the church, no matter what life looked liked. They were loved, and they belonged.
    Towards the end of my service, I read the gospel topics essays, and felt completely stupid that I didn’t know Joseph used a hat, he was a polygamist, the BoA is made up. I brushed this aside and figured I just didn’t pay attention my whole life(?!?)
    The week my husband comes home from a life-changing deployment, our beloved ward was split, all ward boundaries redrawn, all the people that supported my family were gone. It was devastating, and my husband is now “rough around the edges”. I get asked by a member of the new bishopric, “has war changed him?”, during nursery, where I was now serving. “He served a mission, you guys were married in the temple, what went wrong?” It was so insensitive and unsolicited. But I stuck with it. I hear about the CES letter later in the year. I felt like my world shattered, I wanted the church to be “true” so hard. Maybe if I have faith harder! I stick with it still, so does my husband, who went because he loved me, that’s it. For the first time I’m seeing there isn’t a place here for us, we don’t belong here. We don’t check all the boxes, we are defective. Enter Covid shutdowns (in CA), no more in-person church. This is the break we needed. I try with my kids at home to keep up some church routine but feel so stupid doing so, with all the doubts I’m having. I find FAIRMormon, still feel so stupid and betrayed. Then I find John Dehlin. Finally, I’m LEARNING something. I no longer feel betrayed, I feel validated as I start to understand what really is.
    I have learned more on Mormon Stories than I did during my whole 34 years going to church. I can enjoy life and live life, instead of living for a good death. I love my husband for who he is, not who he could be. Our relationship is closer, things are brighter. There’s a whole world of great people and great things to feel and see and explore. Thank you, John Dehlin for all your work, you are helping people!

  124. ***Can this comment replace my first comment that was recently posted by me, Keren? I found a few errors in my first post and would love this one to replace it, please! Thanks!!***

    Mormon Stories is a SAFE place to talk about issues pertaining to the church. There is no room for questioning in the church unless it’s behind closed doors with the bishop. But even then, you are put on their “radar” which a lot of people don’t want. John Dehlin has provided a judgement free platform to discuss what many members and post members have difficulties with in the church.

    Mormon Stories has done nothing but bring me peace and greater joy in my life. It hasn’t broken up my family. The only people in my life that CHOOSE to distance themselves from me are the active family members who are taught toxic messages about individuals that leave. They are told to look down on me. That I can’t possibly be happy without the gospel. That our family won’t be together forever. That I’m foolish and mislead by Satan. No one is leading me away from the church. The church is good at pushing people out all on it’s own.

    There is so much good in the church, but that doesn’t outweigh the bad. It is a cult. It controls every aspect of innocent people’s lives. But the people who are in it aren’t stupid. They believe in it because it sounds like a beautiful plan, but it’s actually full of lies. It’s wrong and dishonest that the church knowingly deceives the members.

    Thank you, John Dehlin, for not giving into bullies and for continuing to support people in need. You only speak the truth. Keep doing what you’re doing. You are loved and supported!

  125. I am nobody important, but I still want to lend my voice in support here. I joined our former church many years ago because of a dream (yes, really! I did make decisions that way when I was younger sometimes) I had and some impressions I got when I prayed that it would be necessary for my future family. I would not have met my husband if I hadn’t joined our former Church, we wouldn’t have had our beautiful children, so I can’t ever say that I regret it despite what I now know. I was incredibly ignorant of all of the things I didn’t really know about the history at the time I joined.

    Unfortunately, like many claims that our former church has made, every particle of my being that honors the truth as a higher way must say that I find the allegation and/or implication that either Mormon Stories or the CES letter had any form of destructive influence on either our family or my faith is completely false. I encountered both after I had already prayerfully chosen to leave the church over problems and discrepancies I had noticed on my own, and I was the last person in our nuclear family to officially make that choice. I was also the first person in our family to find and read the CES letter and Mormon Stories, so neither had any bearing on the choices others in our family made either. I personally found both to bring some measure of healing and peace to me- a feeling that I wasn’t as alone in my experiences. I do not watch a great deal of your content because my spare time has significant limitations. I am the proud mother of two, one of whom has significant disabilities and requires substantial support. What I have watched though impressed me with the view that you wanted to treat our former church with fairness, with kindness even in the face of a difficult excommunication experience for yourself personally, and that you found things about it our former church that are worthy of praise and continued existence despite the historical problems with the truth claims of leadership there.

    My every impression of what I have viewed is that Mormon Stories exists to create bridges of understanding. In leaving the church, the judging, invalidating, and gaslighting that occurs from people who previously claimed to love you unconditionally can be one of the hardest aspects of leaving to experience. Having people walking away from (or incredibly distance) their relationships with me even when I was seeking to show a complete respect for their own choices and right to choose differently is hard enough without adding all of that in. Watching your interviews with people like Hans Mattson and his lovely wife helped me to feel more peaceful and less angry about every lie that was handed to me as a member of the church by a leadership who knew those lies to be exactly what they were. To be less upset with the apologists for our Former Church, who use the very sophistry decried from one LDS pulpit after another to try and obscure the documentation that exists which refutes the Church’s truth claims. It helped me to move past the hurt I was feeling from friendships that didn’t survive. You can’t heal something with others though when when the other party wants to see it broken. I, rather, lay those experiences of damaged relationships at the feet of the teachings of our former church to members in our generation, who were told by leaders such as Elder Christofferson that “relationships may be interrupted, according to the circumstances…” when loved ones make choices or have beliefs that aren’t compatible with the Church’s.

    And further, I must add that contrary to the typical narrative put out by our former church, my marriage with my husband has only gotten stronger since we left. For the first time, he saw me as I really was and was able to say how much he loved me for it and support me publicly. Neither my husband or I believe exactly the same things spiritually, but we have conversations that are much more honest, much more tolerant, and much more focused on respecting each other and our rights as individual people with differences. I felt like I had to leave to honor my identity, as well as my search for and support of truth. But both Mormon Stories and the CES letter helped me find some healing and peace of mind as I went through that process.

  126. It was two and a half years ago, that a coworker here in Lehi Utah told me about Mormon Stories. An interaction and conversation that day that truly changed my life, and offered the comfort and assurance of what I had felt for some time.

    I’m 63 years old, and was born and raised in the LDS church in Florida. Growing up, there was no internet, no social media. What I learned about the Mormon religion, I learned from my parents, my family, at church, and by reading the Ensign. I had nothing to validate what I was ‘taught’ as being truth; but was assured our church was the only true church. Even as long as I could remember, I ‘accepted’ that what I was told true, but a part of me wondered how that could be. With so many Baptist, Protestant, Methodist, and Catholic friends (whose churches I went t0), it just didn’t ‘feel’ right that there could only be one true church. Still I grew up as an active member, eventually marrying in the Washington Temple in 1976.

    Fast forward through the years and as I matured also there was available to me that I found interested and drawn to concerning the church. Deboom of the Internet and social media it allowed me things that I had not thought about and even 2 validate that sound of what I just could not feel was absolute truth something I began to feel stronger and stronger about my feelings am I doubts..

    There were so many things to me for the last 20 years that just seemed to be hypocritical and also did not have the strength to stand on it’s own. As I listen to the Mormon stories podcast and listen to other people stories I was not persuaded by them to begin thinking any certain way , only that I began to see and hear that many people on a larger scale of the positions they held in the church are those that simply had struggled significantly were some of the many thoughts I had already had myself.

    It was with my own thoughts first, then to listen to what I heard and the impressive people that John found to interview on Mormon stories I knew I had found something that finally made sense. I never had thought that John was trying to sway people towards the left or the right but only that he had tried and still does to bring information to people so that we can make our own decisions. That is something that the church has always not done that I did not ever feel was truly right that is as long as you did exactly as the church instructed you to do, then you were accepted. However, at any moment if you were to slip and fall it seemed almost immediately that the support and love from church leaders and members was no longer there. To this day I still listen to Mormon Stories and have told and referred Johns website and podcast too many of my other friends and family who are not afraid to be open minded. John does not try to brainwash people he only tries to help people and I believe he has helped more people then imaginable I know he has help me.

    I feel strongly that John does not realize the impact, the positive impact he has made on so many peoples lives. Truly John is a spiritual man, in his own ideas and prophecies he has brought to light to so many.

  127. In addendum to my comment above, it’s OK to have the inkling or spiritual conviction that the latter-day saints’ CHURCH IS TRUE. How could it NOT be! I cannot approach a pulpit and proclaim such. I could give heartfealt proclamations, however, regarding John’s work’s being beneficial.

    Yet, according to the person in the clip (either one of Messrs. Witbeck or Ellis), people such as Jeremy, John, myself & others are “banally” evil(*) because we lack the same type of witness regarding the church as Kwaku & they & possess. But is this characterization charitable?

    The Revelatory text of the DOCTRINE & COVENANTS (in section 1 ) professes the Saints the “ONLY TRUE & LIVING CHURCH” (upon the face of the whole earth). But it also, in section 121, admonishes hearts “BE FULL OF CHARITY TOWARDS ALL” — with such an admonition reflected in wording in the church’s current General Handbook enjoining REJECTION OF PREJUDICE, including those [my quoting exactly, only the elipses mine] “BASED ON[…]RELIGIOUS BELIEF OR NONBELIEF[…].”

    _______
    (*) Note: BANALITY OF EVIL was Hannah Arendt’s coinage in describing Adolf Eichmann because this ignoble architect of the Holocaust had said he’d had no ill will personally toward Jews but had only been exemplarily conscientious in following the state’s orders . Yet, Eichmann didn’t express much of a personal witness that these orders were righteous & good—– . (Eugene England [“Dialogues with Myself,” 2013] notes that Mountain Meadows’s scapegoat John D. Lee’s testimony about his motivations to direct the atrocity had strong “echoes of Eichmann.” “This is his description of his feelings upon entering the besieged encampment of emigrants he is about to betray to their deaths … : ‘… God knows my suffering was great …. I knew that I was acting a cruel part and doing a damnable deed. Yet my FAITH IN THE GODLINESS OF MY LEADERS was such that it forced me to think that I was not sufficiently spiritual to act the important part I was commanded to perform. My hesitation was only momentary. Then feeling that DUTY COMPELLED OBEDIENCE TO ORDERS, I LAID ASIDE MY weakness & HUMANITY & BECAME AN INSTRUMENT IN THE HANDS OF MY superiors & LEADERS.’ “)

  128. Mormon stories has helped me tremendously in searching out the ‘full’ story about the church. This knowledge has made my relationship with my wife very awkward. Regardless of how you might be approaching these subjects, if only one partner chooses to listen, then it is going to put a strain on the relationship. So, whether it’s intentional or not, it will cause some contention in the family.

    Does that mean you should stop? Oh, hell no!!!

  129. John, we just wanted to share a few ways Mormon Stories has blessed our lives; especially how your and Jeremy’s contributions have made a real difference in our lives and in our relationships.

    When we reached out to you through your workshops, we were in dire need of help salvaging our marriage and relationships with our kids, and we feared possible alienation from our beloved grandchildren. We had been devastated by the betrayal we felt from a church we had devoted everything to for 40 years. It became apparent that the church hierarchy had lied, covered up their lies, and then persecuted high profile members for publicly revealing the truth. Years later, through the lds.org church history essays, they admitted many of their lies, and even referenced the very authors who they had earlier persecuted. Still, they did not publicize the more truthful information, keeping the false narratives and half-truths in the new manuals that came out that year. Worse, they continued to teach members to deal with ‘us’ by attacking us in some way, instead of encouraging honest dialogue, and promoting other ways of gaslighting us, and sometimes shunning us. That didn’t help.

    So, we were very angry, and only shared my feelings with those we trusted. We did not express this feeling of betrayal to our adult member children, but they soon got wind of it. They reacted strongly, threatening our relationships with them and with their children.

    Back to Mormon Stories, created by John Dehlin.
    It taught us how to
    understand our feelings – that we were experiencing a loss, and that anger is a key stage of it.
    How to understand our children’s feelings, how they might feel threatened, and how to help them feel safer in our relationships
    How to navigate through difficult conversations with kindness and integrity
    How to find and define my identity and relationship with God in my new life

    So, without us really feeling like we were bad people, he showed us what not to do, and cautioned us about how not to create more problems in our relationships.

    My husband was experiencing a few waves of hopelessness, where he contemplated thoughts of suicide. This is where Jeremy Runnells helped. He was interviewed by you, John, and my husband was able to see a kind, gentle man, sharing his story of trying to get a knowledgeable leader’s help with a large number of troubling questions and issues.

    There’s no time to explain it all, but we can fast forward to now.
    We have navigated through the stages of grief, and are very much at peace now.
    Our relationships with our children has been largely restored, and we have every access to our darling grandchildren.
    We have found a wonderful, large non-denominational Christian community where we can exercise our faith in God and Christ as our Savior.
    We are so blissfully happy.

    Thank you, John, and thank you for Mormon Stories. I’ll add a huge thanks to your wife, Margi, also. Mormon Stories only exists because John left a very lucrative job to live off very little. To him, this is a work of the heart, and even now, doesn’t even begin to make the salary and benefits he left.

    And Thank you, Jeremy Runnells. You did NONE of it for money. In fact, I happen to know that you spent countless hours writing your letter to the CES Director (he never even attempted to answer your questions), and in compiling evidence for the critics of your questions.

    By the way; I would not hesitate a second to get toe-to-toe with those who have so recklessly and publicly born false witness against both of you. You want to talk honesty and integrity? Motives? Truth? I’ll be glad to talk personal integrity, sacrifice, courage, and the quest for truth with them. Any time. Any day.

    So, let’s see what the apologists are complaining about:

    Often the most devoted mormons learn the narrative is false.
    Instead of condemning the institution for knowingly lying to us, you (apologists) condemn the person who allows us a forum to tell of our experiences, and who also provides a space for freedom of thought and the sharing of the most sound research and information available.

    Then, you support spouses to leave their marriages instead of encouraging them to understand each other. The LDS institution’s directives encourage separating families, sometimes even getting involved in taking a parent and children from the other spouse, in fear that the rest of the family will learn the truth.

    Yes, your work hurts. It makes excuses for unChrist-like attitudes about anyone who does not have a Western European lineage. Our First Nation friends were raised to believe their dark skin was an indication of their wickedness. How shaming is that?! Our friends with African descent were taught that they were ‘less valiant,’ and that their ‘curse’ was a result of their inferior character before their birth. This hurts all of us who adopt these false teachings, because it’s wrong to think like that. You defend the indefensible. Now that the church has finally come out and decries such reasoning, you have to move the goal post, and make new excuses for whatever they haven’t corrected…yet. It’s a dishonest place to occupy.

    So, who is evil here? Who is splitting up families?

    You chose the wrong people to attack. Their work is honest. It stands the test of time. It must be validating to them (John and Jeremy), because evidence is increasing, and truth is emerging. You (apologists) chose the wrong people to attack because of their personal integrity, sacrifice, courage, and their quest for truth. Let’s raise the level of discourse. Let’s have open, respectful discussion. Let’s do all we can to be honest and let truth lead the way.

  130. To whom it May concern,
    Has Mormon Stories (MS) podcast helped my family? YES
    Has MS helped my family stay together? YES
    Has MS helped me stay in the church despite what I now know? YES
    When I began my faith crisis a few years ago, I had no one to talk to. I had no one to listen to my concerns, and no one who could answer them. When I opened up to my bishop, He spent 4 hours calling me to repentance, and told me all this was “A bunch of Garbage”. He later apologized, but the hurt was overwhelming. I UNFORTUNATELY had to turn to the internet for help, which is where I came upon MS podcast videos. I have spent every free minute of my life in the last many years studying these issues, and trying to make sense of them. I am trying to find meaning in it all. Websites like FairMormon (FM) made matters worse for me, by trying to explain everything in ways that made contortionists feel inadequate. I often felt like there was no way to find peace in it. But watching MS podcast and hearing the countless stories of those Pioneers who have faith journeyed before me, those who have blazed trails through crisis and through the unsurmountable odds of culture and tradition. I was able to find a way to speak to my wife about it, and learn how to work together to make it through. MS has helped my marriage stay together, and JOHN DEHLIN SPECiFICALLY STATES TIHS IS HIS MISSION AND PURPOSE for years and years. When my wife felt like divorce was an option for the first time in our marriage due to losing my faith, We made it work and strengthened our marriage learning from those brave interviewees who taught us what the church should have taught us from the start. I have not left the church, and I have not lost my temple rec. I have not left my covenants. I find Dehlin more helpful to understand our problematic history then anyone I have yet found. I have enjoyed getting to know the apologists, critics, apostates, and church leaders alike who have been on his show. I love how he will challenge even those who try to tear down the church, further demonstrating how he is not about tearing it down. JD has often stated his purpose is the change culture, and raise awareness. He has accomplished this already. There will never be a million subscribers to his channel. He will never have international fame outside the small church culture. he is appealing to a small subset of the world, within the church who will seek the find understanding of this journey.
    Later, I found out that for years my family and extended family have been listening to MS podcast and have had their family helped to stay together in this journey as well, the same as I, Some stayed in the church, and some have left. None have divorced, and NONE feel JD or MS have any other purpose than to keep families together and make it work.
    I have reached out to Fm personally, as has my TBM wife, who has been disgusted by the FM recent videos. They are in poor taste and bad class. It has hurt their cause. And when I shared my concerns with them, the response was only to debate and defend. There is nothing christlike about the videos and their approach. I feel less trust in the church due to those videos. As a Medical Doctor, I believe strongly in treating patients correct principles and letting them govern themselves in their best path. I educate, and teach them the BEST AVAILABLE EVIDENCE, and let them choose which way to go. This is called Informed Consent. The church should have done this long ago and we would not have found ourselves i this debacle. I may have been one of the strongest missionaries in my mission. I may have been the best missionary in my ward thereafter till my faith crisis. And that same Gusto wants to now make every effort to change culture. Kudos and Gratitude to Dehlin and the interviewee journeyers who have been braver than I and publicly stood up for their beliefs and what was right, to help those who crossed the rocky path behind them. For in their footsteps trod in the snow ahead of me I now press my feet into. The gospel sod I used to stand on became shaky and muddy. Learning how to navigate Faith Crisis from MS podcast has helped me learn how to stay in the church and keep my marriage strong through all the deconstruction of my faith while trying now to build again on True-er things.
    Count me as an Active LDS member who is ever grateful for JD and MS for helping me how to make it all work.
    One day I may be brave enough to publicly share my journey, but until then I live vicariously through MS, and enjoy the therapy of hearing others and how they navigated the journey before.

  131. I have a long story of what ultimately lead me to Mormon Stories/CES letter but I won’t share that today for sake of time. I think from the time I was about 12 I started to notice things in the church that bothered me or felt “off”. I prayed, I talked to my very devout parents, I talked to my leaders, I went to church apologetics, and yet NO ONE could offer me an answer that quieted my concerns. When I went to college and got my degree, I learned how to think critically and research all angles. Eventually, I was lead to Mormon Stories and it was so incredibly refreshing to be hearing and learning things from all different sides. Things that were heavily researched and claims that were actually backed up legitimate sources and science! When I read the CES Letter, yes my mind was absolutely blown! At 22 years old I learned for the first time that Joseph Smith participated in Polygamy. I had no idea about 95% of those things in the CES letter and my view of the church was shattered.

    But while my world view was “shattered” it was also one of the most beautiful, wonderful things that has ever happened to me. While my husband is still a faithful member, I can honestly say that me deciding to remove myself from the church is one of the best things I could have done for our marriage. I grew up where fear and shame was a typical method used to control your spouse and your children. A method, I do feel is indirectly taught by the church. I didn’t realize how much of my life was being controlled by the church until I left it. I didn’t now how to love myself until I left it. I didn’t know what it meant to truly love your neighbor until I left it. I didn’t know how to raise my kids without the fear and shame until I left it. I didn’t know what true happiness was until I left it. And the irony is that the church purports to teach you how to do all of those things while simultaneously making it incredibly difficult! It’s the craziest thing.

    I know it takes others more time to find that peace in their journey and this is why Mormon Stories Podcast is so beneficial and needed. People need a safe place where they can learn, explore new options, hear about different ways of life, etc. This is what Mormons Stories did for me and has for so many people. Finding Mormon Stories and reading the CES letter didn’t “wreck my family”. IT SAVED IT. I will forever be grateful to John Dehlin and Jeremy Runnells for being brave enough to ask the questions and strong enough to go and find some answers.

  132. First of all, which of the following is a better description of reality?:

    (1) People in the church are struggling with history and/or doctrine because Mormon Stories and the CES letter exist
    (2) Mormon Stories and the CES Letter exist because people in the church are struggling with history and/or doctrine

    I believe (2) is a more accurate statement. Mormon Stories and the CES Letter aren’t creating the problem, they’re just responding to a problem that existed long before they ever did.

    Second, I think an excellent approach to working out church history and/or doctrine issues and family relations is outlined in David Ostler’s book “Bridges: Ministering to those Who Question”. I learned about this book through… (drum roll)… Mormon Stories (https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/david-ostler-bridges-ministering-to-those-who-question/). If you feel like your home or relationships are being wrecked by issues with Church doctrine and/or history, I recommend listening to this interview and reading this book.

    Third, why did John Dehlin and Jeremy Runnels choose to get involved in this stuff anyway? Was it for profit?

    In John’s case, I think it’s hard to argue that the motive is profit. (You can view his 2019 salary here: http://www.openstoriesfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/OSF-12-31-19-Form-990-Public-Disclosure-Copy.pdf) John left a very profitable job at Microsoft to do this. In the beginning, there was no guarantee whatsoever that this would ever generate a single dollar of profit. I can’t speak for John, but I think his motives were probably (a) he is interested in this stuff, (b) he loves talking to people about it, and (c) he likes the “celebrity” status that goes along with it. I can relate to that. I love speaking in Church because I like to have the microphone and everyone’s attention every now and then.

    I can’t speak for Jeremy either, but based on his interview with John (https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/jeremy-runnells-and-his-letter-to-a-ces-director/) he seems like an honest seeker of truth. And, by the way, you don’t have to give ten cents to Jeremy if you don’t want to, you can download the entire text of the CES letter for free from his own website. That’s a terrible business model for someone trying to make a profit.

    So, in conclusion, I think the claim that Jeremy and John are “home-wrecking for profit” is a smear campaign. Look at the facts and take an objective point of view.

  133. Mormon Stories was a guiding beacon to me and my wife ~7yrs ago as we went through our faith crisis and discovery of the many ways the church lies to and misleads it’s members. During such a lonely time when we felt isolated from our faith, friends and family because of what we were discovering, Mormon stories was full of episodes of people we could relate to. We are still together and leaving the faith has become another moment in our marriage that has only brought us closer together as a couple. Thank you John Dehlin for all you do in supporting and transforming the mormon community!

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