This is a 2-part interview with Heather, a friend who converted to the LDS church as a college student in Texas, moved to BYU, married the son of a Stake President in the temple, and then afterwards her husband left the church, and she soon followed. Heather talks about why she joined, why she left, and ways that we (as members) can better understand those who leave.

This interview was recorded in 2007.

Part 1

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Part 2

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  1. Happy Lost Sheep April 7, 2010 at 11:52 am - Reply

    Hi John, I really enjoyed this podcast. I could relate to Heather in so many ways. I am a convert myself, and I married an LDS girl that I met in High School. We spent 11 years as faithful members of the church and recently left. We are still happily married and are raising our kids outside the church. Like Heather and her husband, my wife’s family is still active in the church.

    Your comment about drinking coffee as soon as someone leaves the church made me laugh. I suppose you could call coffee and wine the sacraments of apostasy. People that leave the church realize they have nothing to do with a person’s relationship to God or with their worthiness. For some, having a cup of coffee or a glass of wine is a way of asserting that understanding.

    I especially liked the closing discussion. I feel the same way about religion now. I just don’t feel like it is something important to me. I’ve looked around and I don’t feel comfortable with anything out there. My family can still have values and can live a good life without the LDS or any other theology. In terms of where we come from or what happens after we die, knowing or not knowing changes nothing about how I want to live my life. My purpose in life and my identity don’t need to be defined by creeds and doctrines.

    In the end I can look back at my time in the church and can see the positive things it brought to my life. I appreciate your view that there should be more respect and understanding between those that stay and those that leave.

  2. Hellmut April 7, 2010 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    What a tragedy! Thanks for sharing your story, Heather. It reverberates with my own experience.

    Every missionary and every mission president should hear your story to appreciate what they are are doing to us.

  3. R.Walker April 7, 2010 at 1:35 pm - Reply


    That was a wonderful interview. Great job!

  4. R.Walker April 7, 2010 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    John and Heather,

    I really enjoyed the discussion about your temple experience and the garments. I think the temple is one of the cruelest things about the church. It is built up to be an amazing spiritual experience. Yet we are given no information in advance of the ceremony. As a life long member I had no idea of the nature of the sacred covenants I would be asked to enter into. Because my experience was pre-1990, I made death oaths and had a 60 plus year old man (friend of the family) touch me while I was naked. Bizarre and creepy would be the words I would use to describe my first temple experience.

    I then spent 9 hours in the car alone with my parents contemplating the whole strange event. It was very upsetting. It couldn’t have been any further from a spiritual experience, it was horrible. Worst of all I was leaving on a two year mission in less than a week. I was at least familiar with the garments, however they required a major adjustment in my lifestyle. They were the worst underwear I have ever worn. Three years ago I took them off and put on normal underwear, it has been wonderful.

    It took me nearly 20 years to come to grips with my first temple experience. Thank goodness the younger generation wasn’t required to make death oaths and strip naked and have a senior citizen touch their naked (covered with a open “shield”, poncho)bodies.


    R Walker

  5. George Windes April 7, 2010 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    Your interviews with Heather… there are no words. I could be her quasi-brother, Heath. My problem is, I was in for half a century, so never got to ask forgiveness of my dear parents for their hurt over my temple marriage. Continue your good work, I’m sharing it with my grandchildren.

  6. Jessica April 8, 2010 at 12:23 am - Reply

    Great podcast. I too could relate to Heather. I was a teen convert, married to a BIC member in the temple and I had a lot of questions that I couldn’t get satisfying answers to. My husband and I left after finding out the truth about early Mormon church history that neither of us knew about. His family completely cut us off. They won’t return our phone calls or e-mails. We are now a threat to them and their testimonies. I know they blame me for leading their son away. I have tried to explain myself and that we did nothing wrong but stumble upon facts that were hidden from us, but they don’t believe me. My family has been very cool and accepting of our journey out of Mormonism. Thankfully we still have some family support on my side.

    We also tried a Unitarian church, a Bible-based Christian church and a Quaker church. I actually really enjoy the Quaker church. It is a very peaceful and relaxed environment. There is no set agenda, just personal meditation. The people are very nice and genuine. They don’t ask for money or for you to accept callings of any kind. It’s very laid back. At my first visit we actually met another couple who had left the LDS church. It’s nice to know we are not alone.

    We kind of mix it up and go to different churches on different occasions, whenever the mood strikes. My husband and I both work full time and he is going to school full time and we have a toddler so we are realistic with ourselves and don’t make a huge deal about having perfect attendance at any one church. Right now it is an extremely busy time in our lives so we go to church when it fits into our schedule. We go when we can but I don’t bug him if he has to study for an upcoming test or something.

    I believe it is a misnomer that all people who leave the LDS church will eventually identify as atheist/agnostic. Several people in my post-Mormon group still identify as Christians and many of them state they are very spiritual. Personally I believe I was a spiritual person before Mormonism, during and after. That hasn’t changed. I still pray, I still focus on service, being a good person, teaching lessons of morality to my son, etc. I do believe in the power of meditation, prayer and community. I think we are here for a purpose. I believe in an afterlife. I don’t think life is about judgment as much as it is about learning life lessons and learning to love. I believe God is love and I still identify most closely with the teachings of Jesus Christ. I definitely think you can come away from Mormonism with an intact faith and an even stronger marriage. Maybe I’ve just been lucky though. Good luck to all those who are on their own journey.

  7. Aaron April 8, 2010 at 2:01 am - Reply

    I know how this kind of feels. For me, joining the Church (as a convert) was the most amazing experience in my life, initially. After a while, I felt isolated from friends and out of place with the general membership in my Ward. I felt isolated from my friends and a loss of connection with my Navy friends. I have never personally received my temple endowments (difficulties with the Word of Wisdom and I had also developed depression). Right now, at this stage in my life, I do plan to go active again and to receive my temple endowments, but I don’t plan to marry in the faith (my girlfriend is Evangelical Christian). At the end of the day, I decided I feel closer to God through the Mormon teachings more than any other faith and that is why I want to go back. Will the temple endowment ceremony weird me out? Probably. However, I don’t think there is any religious ceremony in 21st century religion that it compares with that would help anyone prepare for a very ritualistic ceremony.

  8. Clay Painter April 8, 2010 at 8:10 am - Reply

    Nice interview, John and Heather. I always enjoy a good personal narrative.

    I couple thoughts, John.
    – I am not sure that I would consider trying coffee and alcohol “running with abandon.”

    -You introduced the interview as “edgy,” and I don’t think that it approached edgy at all. I enjoy the tone of the podcast, but if this is what edgy is, then I fear there is no hope for actual edgy podcasts in the future…

    Having said those things, I really enjoyed hearing Heather’s story and the interview was conducted very well.

  9. Swearing Elder April 8, 2010 at 9:03 am - Reply

    Loved hearing this story. It’s kinda cool to resurrect an old episode that never aired. I would love to hear from Heather and how she’s doing now.

  10. Allen April 8, 2010 at 9:11 am - Reply

    It too bad the 8-10 minutes of Part 2 became corrupted. I would have liked to hear why Heather decided to leave the church. Any chance of doing a part 3 where she is able to explain the whys?

    I would say that Heather’s spiritual experience with the B of M mirrored mine. Just a general good feeling mixed with peace, nothing earth shattering or a clear unmistakable voice. This is the same kind of feeling I have experienced with other excellent literature.

    Thanks for resurrecting this podcast from the discard pile. john, what other podcasts are you you hiding from us? Very timely.

  11. SimplyMe April 8, 2010 at 10:55 am - Reply

    Great interview, John and Heather! At imes I was brought to tears. I can relate to the shock of receiving the temple endowment while a convert to the LDS church. I wrote a paper that I titled, “Self-Inflicted Violence and Religious Ritual-Symoblism”. I talked about the relationship between self harm (cutting, eating disorders) and religion, specifically the temple endowment. I don’t share temple particulars out of respect for active mormons and their beliefs but we are free to refer to temple covenents through tokens and signs as they are discussed in the old testament. Before 1990 temple attendees were bombarded with vows of secrecy in the form of signs and token that expressed potetial for self annihilation ninety-nine times. Currently, without penalties, the vow of secrecy is referred to in signs and tokens fifty-four times. Penalties have been removed so the potential for self annihilation has decreased in the temple ceremony, however, participation in the temple ritual indicates a patron’s commitment to secrecy and perfection regarding church teachings and standards, which continues to threaten patrons with guilt, alienation, and sorrow. if they disclose details outside of the temple regarding the endowment. It is oppressive because temple goers are threatened if they share details of the temple ceremony outside of the temple and because of the measure of perfection that patrons vow to obtain in the temple.

    I agree with R. Walker that the temple as I know it is not the spiritual climax that we are taught to look forward to. I went through the temple the first time one week prior to leaving on a mission and I struggled through the MTC with shock of the temple. That shock continued to resonate with me throughout my mission and activity in the church afterward. The rules of the mission were shocking as well, and like Heather at BYU, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. I thought that I could be trusted but these leaders assumed that I couldn’t be so I needed underwear and rules to keep me in line. I was a good person before I was baptized and I couldn’t believe that God would think me so bad that I needed all these guidelines and reminders to be chaste and a good girl.

    When I left the church I, too, began to have wine with dinner or at a social outing. It wasn’t that I was rebelling. Wine was like finally taking off my garments. When I removed my garments the world didn’t crumble around me. When I drank a glass of wine my heart was still beating and people didn’t look at me like they feared that lightening might strike at any moment. It was empowering to think that I could live like a human being, be kind to others, and still pray, read good books and feel the fruits of the spirit. My peacefulness was not a “reward” for obedience to temple covenants and church rules. I was fine simply being me, who God created me to be. And I could still look forward to having God in my life. The spirit did not withdraw itself from me because I was not obedient to church standards and covenants.

    Thank you for this interview. On my mission and throughout much of my experience in the church I felt isolated. I felt that my experiences with the temple and church culture meant that I must have been God’s weakest link and that’s when I felt low self worth. But I listen to these interviews and I reflect on my own experiences in and outside of the church and I feel that I was fine all along. This particular interview not only normalizes my thoughts, feelings, and experiences, but it helps me to focus on the good that the church added to my life including a sense of community that I’ve created outside of church, a longing to understand and feel for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and hope. Thanks again, John and Heather!

  12. Heather April 8, 2010 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Thanks all for the kind comments. :) And to John for all the hard work he does here! It was fun to talk, and I’m happy that I was able to help bring a sense of Not Aloneness to a few people out there.

  13. Hollee April 8, 2010 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for doing this interview. I have had many of the same thoughts, experiences and feelings as Heather. My husband and I have recently (6 months ago) decided to leave the church. This has been a very emotional and trying time for us. We have felt very alone at times and scared of this new journey we have decided to take ourselves and our 4 children on. Listening to Heather was very therapeutic for me. I am a convert to the church,and both my husband and I are returned missionaries and we were married in the Temple more than 16 years ago. Being all these things you never expect to find yourselves here and it is a very lonely place to find yourself in.

    John, thank you for creating a website that is supportive of people who find that they can no longer stay in the church and at the same time not being negative towards it. When we first started going through this process of leaving, I hated going on the internet. Everything was so negative. We have too many loved ones in the church and the church has brought us many great things, but for many reasons; historically and doctrinally we can not go on in the church. This website seems to provide us with the support we need and a sense of not being the only ones.

  14. Eiken April 9, 2010 at 8:44 am - Reply

    How can you be happy when you are a lost sheep. What an attack to oneself. You are always welcome to come back. God loves you.

  15. Eiken April 9, 2010 at 8:46 am - Reply

    How can you be happy when you are a lost sheep. What an attack to oneself. That is not empowering that is breaking yourelf apart. You are rebelling yourself not God. Your worst enemy is you not God nor the principle taught in the church. All of these are Satan strategy to pull you down to his pit. You are always welcome to go back to the only true church. God loves you.

  16. Happy Lost Sheep April 9, 2010 at 10:27 am - Reply

    I listened to the podcast a second time with my wife, and I agree with many of the other comments that it was very therapeutic. It really helps to see a way forward in someone’s story. I think Heather had a way of putting into words what many of us think and feel in our own experiences.

    Thanks again

  17. Lost Sheep April 9, 2010 at 11:23 am - Reply

    Dear Eiken,

    Thank you! I’ve been waiting for someone to call me back into the fold. Your words of guilt, punishment and shame have motivated me to turn a new leaf. Once you invoked the magic words (Satan strategy), I know I now must return and repent. Your compassion and empathy ooze through your keyboard.

  18. badseed April 9, 2010 at 11:27 am - Reply

    Thanks for the awesome podcast. I think the decision to air it was a good one.

    The more I listen to Mormon stories (and Mormon Expression), the more I realize that there is much more to Mormonism than what is found in Sacrament Meetings, weekly meetings or even in General Conference. This may seem obvious to others but it has been a revelation to me. There are as many stories and approaches as there are people and they are all valid— even if they’re not orthodox. I am disaffected and no longer attend but my story shares as much with my believing family as it does with Heather’s. It (Mormonism) is all a beautiful and at the same time tragic/painful story. Most of all it is a very human story that we, believers and disaffected, share. Amazing.

    Specifically, Heather, your story once again illustrates that it’s possible, after once sincerely believing, to no longer find a spiritual or social home in the Church. Thank you for sharing. It’s good to know I’m not alone.

    I found myself nodding in agreement as you discussed feelings of sadness and exclusion related to leaving. I also was extremely moved by the stories of your temple marriage and also your endowment. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Chris April 9, 2010 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    My temple wedding was very peculiar. I recall us separating to get dressed and prepped etc. My wife did not know that she would have to wear all the temple garb over the top of her beautiful wedding dress. When we met up before entering the altar room her eyes were teary from absolute embarrassment.

    She had some image in her mind about how this was going to go her whole life and now, on the spot, she realizes she has to wear a goofy looking apron. Honestly why does everything in the temple have to be so secret that even lifetime members of the church have no idea what to expect when they get there? All those years that we are looking forward to this amazing event and we don’t even know what’s actually going to happen.

  20. Jeremy April 9, 2010 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    It was interesting to hear about how Heather didn’t have the greatest temple experience when she took out her endowment. I couldn’t help but think that her fiance and his family couldn’t have helped her prepare for the experience. That would have lessened the shock and perhaps helped her have a more positive temple experience. I couldn’t help but wonder why her fiance failed to tell her what to expect when she went to the temple for the first time.

  21. Heather April 9, 2010 at 8:37 pm - Reply


    What exactly would you have had my fiance tell me? We attended temple preparation classes together for weeks. We attended temple preparation classes on Sundays during church. My husband was endowed and had promised not to reveal any of the temple goings ons. Anything he could have told me that would have actually helped would have broken promises that he took very seriously at that time. The oaths taken in the temple put members in a difficult situation. Do you break the promise and share, and put your own covenants in jeopardy, or do you cross your fingers and hope that the newly endowed will have a good experience regardless of some of the more shocking aspects of the temple? I have no idea what I would have done if I had been in my husbands shoes, and I don’t envy the position he was put in.

  22. Heather April 9, 2010 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    Thanks again, everyone, for the kind words, and support for Mormon Stories.

  23. Hellmut April 9, 2010 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    That would be, Jeremy, because you are not supposed to talk about the temple outside of it.

    Please, don’t blame members who are trying to be obedient.

  24. Richard Allen April 10, 2010 at 1:36 pm - Reply


    Actually you can discuss many things outside the temple. You only promise not to discuss certain things, but there is a lot that you can talk about.

    I am glad that my Bishop sat me down a few days before I went in and told me exactly what kind of clothes I will be wearing. He told me how we would be standing up and down a lot and doing various things with our hands and arms. It sounded all so strange when he told me and I am glad he did so I was not so shocked. I consider myself lucky because it is very unusually for a Bishop to do so but I feel that leaders need to tell future temple goers more details of what you will be doing and wearing.

    A few days before my wife went through and told about everything that will happen except for the things that I promised in the temple to not share. Later she told me that she was very glad that I did because the whole thing was strange to her and that was with her knowing what was going to happen.

    They really need to do a better job of discussing more details in Temple prep class. My Temple prep class was pretty much just Sunday School lessons and why temples are important and how it connects us a families.

  25. Amy April 10, 2010 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    I, too, thought it interesting that you didnt’ want to air this podcast at first because it was too edgy. I liked the tone of the podcast. Maybe the edginess you felt at the time came more from your own feelings at the time. I liked the interview, but felt sad that she was so alone in the temple experience. The whole hush-hush thing doesn’t have to be the case and I think it does more harm than good to keep things too unspoken. I felt well-prepared to go and had been told how things would be. I’m grateful my mom filled me in or I would have probably had a similar experience when I went through for the first time.

    My brother’s wife had a similar experience to Heather’s. They were married 7 years ago, and her parents couldn’t come inside the temple. I wish it were different. There is so much hurt and damage to that special parent-child relationship and I just wish it didn’t have to be the case. I appreciated heather’s experience and I, too, would love to hear a follow-up interview.

    Thanks for these amazing podcasts.

  26. Jessica April 10, 2010 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    I agree about the lack of details taught in temple prep classes. I took the whole course and still had NO idea what to expect! Heather’s temple experience was touching because that’s what it’s like for a new member when you go through and it is so different than what you thought. It weighs on you emotionally. Chris’ comments brought back memories of my first experience in the temple.

    I remember thinking it was going to be the most magical and wonderful day of my life but I ended up a little disappointed because (A) My family couldn’t be there because they weren’t LDS, (B) I did not understand what the rituals were about (even though I did take temple prep classes) and (C) I was not expecting to be so exposed! I thought the temple of all places would be the pinnacle of modesty because that’ s what we were taught. But then when I did the initiatory and had to be undressed with just a small bit of fabric covering me and having temple workers touch me under that fabric, it was very shocking. I honestly didn’t know what else they would ask me to do, but I couldn’t leave at that point. I felt very unprepared and uncomfortable with that.

    Thankfully my husband was there and was really open about it. We talked about our experiences later that day and kind of laughed about how different it was and what we thought about it. If he hadn’t been there though I would have been freaked out! No offense to anyone who feels that it’s too sacred to talk about, but when you are a young bride going through it for the first time you feel vulnerable when you don’t know what to expect. Again, I didn’t have an LDS mother or grandmother who could tell me these things. Of course nobody else was willing to talk about the specific details of the temple with me because it was too sacred. I know the initiatory ceremony has been changed now to exclude the touching but the church leaders should really give people more of a heads up about what to expect during your first temple trip.

  27. Eric comstock April 11, 2010 at 7:27 am - Reply

    what a great interview. i realize this is an older interview but I love the direction the Mormon Stories podcast is headed in. I did not feel that this interview was edgy in any way. And I would love to hear an update from Heather on where she is today. you’re doing a great job John. I really feel like this podcast is going to help a lot of people.

  28. Jeff Spector April 12, 2010 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    I was very interested to hear this podcast as I know Heather to be a very sincere person from her time on Mormon Matters. I enjoyed hearing her story but I am, in some way, sorry for the outcome. Ultimately, we have to be happy and comfortable with our own lives, so I respect her and her husband’s decision, though I would not agree with it for myself.

    I do find that the seed of discontent are sometimes sown with a bad temple experience. Without the proper preparation, it can be bewildering at best and horrible at worst because it is so different than our normal worship activities. I was very unprepared as was my wife when we were sealed (we had the benefit of a civil marriage as I was not a member at that time). For example, I had no idea there were marks on the Garment until they mentioned it and I felt for them. But decided to take it on as a personal challenge to understand and overcome my initial reaction. With help from very dear friends, we became much more knowledgeable and comfortable with our temple worship. And now it is a very spiritual experience rather than a difficult one.

  29. Marshall Bond April 12, 2010 at 6:19 pm - Reply


    I have taken some comfort in the fact that the scripture you mentioned (Matthew 10:34-35) doesn’t specifically mention that Christ is come to set a man at variance with his wife. It mentions other relations, including parents. Someone may have mentioned this above, but I haven’t read the comments yet. However, verse 36 says that a man’s foes shall be those of his household, and unfortunately that is how many husband-wife relationships are turning out when it comes to matters of non-belief in the faith claims of Mormonism.

    Heather — thanks for taking the time and having the desire to share your story with us.

  30. Marshall Bond April 12, 2010 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    Sorry for the many “mentions”! I should proofread before posting.

  31. Travis April 12, 2010 at 11:04 pm - Reply


    Thank you for your interview.

    I grew up in the church and my temple experience was a bit shocking. I just never imagined the temple would be what it is. After attending several times before my mission I think the holy ghost helped me realize that the sacrament ceremony isn’t much different. If one had never witnessed the sacrament one might think it to be quite strange. I think all things spiritual have to be learned line upon line. I love the temple experience now and see that all things there point toward the atonement and to my relationship to Christ. I’m sorry your first experience was so upsetting. Cultural Mormons! Sometimes they make me so mad.
    I believe your experience will help me as a church leader think about the parents and loved ones that might be left out of the temple experience. I also loved the advice you gave to LDS members about talking to you before approaching your parents with doctrine. Very wise.

    I’m glad you shared your experience with us. I hope you find peace and happiness with your little family.

    I just discovered your podcast and find it very enlightening. I guess you could call me a true LDS believer and I haven’t found anything in your podcast yet that has threatened my testimony of the church. Nothing I haven’t heard before. However, I think it has helped me think of others more and I think that is what the church teaches if listen. Sometimes we as imperfect humans just miss the mark.
    Love the show!
    Keep up the good work.
    Thanks Again.

  32. Ryan April 13, 2010 at 2:22 am - Reply

    Dear John,

    Loved the interview! You mentioned that, while it is easy to deconstruct the Mormon church, it is then just as easy to continue through to Jesus.

    In my experience, using the same logical skills that tend to weaken belief in Mormonism have actually increased my belief in Jesus (independent of my own experiences, which are also significant.

    Is there proof of Jesus? His resurrection? I would be interested in your thoughts about this. I wrote a post about it here as a place for them:

    Thanks John! Thanks, everyone!

  33. gemstar5 April 13, 2010 at 3:02 am - Reply

    You stated “We attended temple preparation classes on Sundays during church. My husband was endowed and had promised not to reveal any of the temple goings ons. Anything he could have told me that would have actually helped would have broken promises that he took very seriously at that time.”

    I must say as a person who was raised in the church, left for 5 years as an adult and returned shortly before meeting my husband and marrying him in the Temple, that those statements are taking the covenants to an extreme not actually set by the church. I agree with Jeremy, I think it was, that there is sooooo much more preperation that can be done above and beyond temple prep. To me all temple prep did was prepare me to understand the seriousness of what I was preparing for.

    My husband and mother told me so much more than the classes did, even going as far as to say the first few times you go through, it will seem weird. Honestly though, I think that them telling me that and me almost expecting the worst made it easier for me because I kept expecting it to get weird and it didn’t. It is unfortunate that you feel the way you do, and best wishes to you and yours, but I just felt the need to comment because what that guy said regarding further preparation on your husbands part did not seem to me to be a low blow at you. It most certainly would not have caused him to break the convenants he had made just to tell you things that would have prepared you in the necessary ways. While there is a thin line, temple prep classes are far from that line and as members we have a responsibility to inform those who don’t yet have an understanding and also to use the time in the Temple to speak openly and frankly about anything and everything that could be asked.

  34. Glenn April 14, 2010 at 5:53 am - Reply

    Edgy? It was lovely. The part about being shooshed in the temple was especially moving. Glad you were able to put this up after two years.

  35. Christopher King April 14, 2010 at 6:08 am - Reply

    I think you’re on to something. As far as I understand, we don’t need to keep secret the fact that there are signs and tokens, only what they actually are. We don’t need to keep secret the fact that we are given a new name, only what the name is. We don’t need to keep secret that we are given garments, only what their symbols mean.

    As a separate point, I went to visit a Buddhist temple this week. I brought a tri-pod and video camera and took as many shots as I wanted. Monks and nuns were available to explain the statues and symbols everywhere. The vows they took were printed in books and brochures available in their bookstore. The availability of this information doesn’t lessen its sacredness to practitioners because seeing it and reading it barely scrapes the surface. It is only through contemplation and meditation that they arrive at the “realizations” they seek.

    It’s not as if getting the signs and tokens on YouTube is going to give anyone entry anywhere.

  36. Living and Learning April 29, 2010 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    What I found most intriguing about this podcast was not the actual interview with Heather, (who seemed recalcitrant and immature), as much as the comment John makes near the end.
    He has found that most people that leave the LDS faith gravitate initially to Universalism, or Protestantism. Soon after, they drop that too moving on to Buddhism or spiritualism only to leave again to become atheist or agnostics. John speculates that the deconstructive doubt that many use to devalue Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon can also be used against Christ himself. I find this to be additional testimony to the words of the prophet Alma who stated:

    Now Alma, being grieved for the iniquity of his people, ……and seeing that the hearts of the people began to wax hard, and that they began to be offended because of the strictness of the word, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.

    It’s not necessarily the LDS doctrine that drives people away but the current complacent attitude of the world in general. Is the word too strict, would we prefer to be less peculiar and more mainstream? Do we feel the burden heavy and drift towards less responsibility and less accountability. Heather, its time to take your spiritual progression off the “backburner”. If not for you, at least for your children; learn to pray again.

  37. Heather May 1, 2010 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    I really enjoyed this episode. Heather, I loved your honesty; it was refreshing. Thank yo for sharing your experiences with us.

  38. Happy Lost Sheep May 4, 2010 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    @ Living and Learning

    “Recalcitrant and immature?” That’s nothing more than a personal insult which makes you look like an arrogant a$$. Congratulations.

    “It’s not necessarily the LDS doctrine that drives people away but the current complacent attitude of the world in general.”

    Thanks for sharing that. I always like the oversimplified answers best. They make it easier to understand the issues, even if it distorts or falsifies reality.

  39. Davisc May 13, 2010 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Great interview John. It is interesting that something that we feel is such a hugh part of our life and our culture can be disgarded without too much anguish and loss.
    If I left the church, the first place I’d go to is to get a drink of alcohol.
    Don’t care for coffee. Tea would be nice.
    But in the meantime— I just suck it up and turn down all that free alcohol on business class flights.

  40. None July 7, 2010 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    I don’t know why LDS people once they find these darker history of the church etc…they don’t move forward and move on. No church has a clean past and no church is perfect only the gospel of Christ is true. I recently have gone through all of it and got personal revelation about churches….they all have a common goal to turn the hearts of men towards Jesus Christ. Do not judge the the church by the beginnings. Can you be perfected over night? Are prophets perfect? No they can be mislead by the “enemy: if they do not obey and join secret combination such as Mason it does not mean that they were not called to be prophets but they still have their own agency and are still men with flaws. Why be so radical? The world is not all Black and White! The only true church is the church of Jesus Christ….the rest “churches” are made of men for community etc. Satan hates churches and prophets if you know this why attack your old LDS church?

  41. Sophia October 26, 2010 at 3:06 am - Reply

    I loved this interview! I actually did laugh during the endowment session my first time through and learned really fast that laughing is totally UNACCEPTABLE. I worried about remembering everything and was so completely unprepared despite all the books and classes! It truly is an issue. I also notice that you get asked whether you want to proceed unaware truly of what you are even accepting or rejecting. I think they should save that part until the end, and yes, I think more would walk out even with social presssure….then again, naah, it wouldn’t feel right with everyone looking at you. So high school!?

    I also went alot to get comfortable with it and always looked forward to getting through the session so I could meditate in a Celestial room with my husband. When I learned about the older session variation I was completely aghast and knew it was all wrong. All of it. I truly believe temple work is for us. To keep us out of trouble and anxiously engaged in a good cause. I always hope it will end up a place of meditation, an exclusive refuge from the world. I also would love to sit by my husband. Unity people!!! :o)

    What is it with us Texans!!? I loved my LDS upbringing in Texas! I loved all my Baptist friends growing up and being the odd LDS one! As an adult moving to Utah it is so odd. Socially varies in an aukward way. I just assume everyone here in Utah is on anti depressants or something! I also think that so many LDS people in one place really has attributed to me seeing that something is really wrong here. Disingenuous relationships and the culture really pervert the gospel. It distracts us from Love. The ultimate message. I use to jog with my kiddos in workout clothes and got a letter from the bishopric about it! Honestly, if my shoulders make people uncomfortable, something is really messed up!!

    Now I know with clearity that the Lord and my maker do not care about my underwear and that I can make covenants with my maker anywhere and any time. My home is our temple and our creed is Love.

  42. Michael Cagle December 2, 2010 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    Like Heather I am a former convert to the church who was married in the temple without a single family member present – inside or outside the temple. That segment brought back the pain of that experience to me. No adult should be subjected to that isolation. No parent should be subjected to that indignity. No amount of PR radio and television advertising will convince parents and siblings of converts married in the temple that Mormonism is a family oriented faith. No healthy religion contains exclusion as an essential tenet. I know many wonderful people who are Mormons and there are elements of the faith that I consider valid and faithful. But I will forever HATE the church for what it did to me and my parents on my wedding day.

  43. Lynn July 9, 2012 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    Heather, you mentioned why your husband left the church but not the actual reason you did. What is your reason?

  44. Jannet November 24, 2012 at 9:14 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for that interview. It resonated with me on so many levels, particularly the part regarding temple exclusion. I am on the other side of that issue, being a parent who was not able to witness either of her daughters weddings (even though I took them both to church for 20 years and drove them to seminary at 6:00 am over the course of seven years.) But this isn’t about me… Bravo for that deeply touching retrospect.

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