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Mark Schultz was a 3-time NCAA champion, Olympic champion and 2-time World champion wrestler. He also joined the Mormon church in 1991 shortly after being hired as a BYU wrestling coach. Mark coached wrestling at BYU for around a decade.

A few months ago, Mark started studying factual LDS church history – focusing specifically on Joseph Smith’s polygamy revelation in D&C Section 132 – and lost his Mormon faith. He reached out to John this week requesting to tell his story.

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  1. Dawn December 29, 2022 at 9:54 am - Reply

    I am a non-Mormon who has enjoyed your podcasts over the past few years. I live in Idaho and have many strong Mormon friends in eastern Idaho. I have shared things I have learned through your podcasts, which has sparked several of them to do their own research into the doctrine of the church. However, today I may have watched my very last episode – Olympic Champion Leaves Mormonism. I didn’t find the episode as interesting as others you have done, but I was determined to watch to the end to see how his journey developed. Then he made the comment about the wives of Joseph Smith, and how some of them should have felt lucky to have at least married someone because they were ugly. And since you made no effort to disclaim his statement, I can only assume you might agree with him. Your opinion of someone’s looks is just that, your opinion. But to make a public statement of another human is offensive. How would you feel if people said the same thing about your wife? I can’t believe Marco would have sat quietly after hearing the statement if she had been part of this particular podcast. Your podcast is a tool to many Mormons struggling with their beliefs, don’t tarnish your message with such hatefulness.

    • Maven December 31, 2022 at 3:39 pm - Reply

      Hello Dawn,

      Maven here. Those comments bothered me too. John did bring it up later and Mark apologized (kinda) for it. The comments in the live chat started talking about me because they KNOW I get really bothered by that kind of stuff. I did recommend that part get edited but since John did bring it up later to address it, I think it might be left in so that part makes sense.

      I appreciate your commenting about your feelings here. There’s a lot of misogyny (and racism and homophobia and transphobia etc etc ) in Mormonism and it takes time for people to deconstruct. It seems Mark has a bit further to go, but I think he will based on other things he has said.

      I hope we can keep you as a supporter despite this hiccup.

      • Heidi January 15, 2023 at 6:29 pm - Reply

        Having been a licensed therapist for over 20 years, I get annoyed when people refer to John as a “psychologist” because he has a PhD in psychology. To my understanding, he is neither a licensed psychologist or therapist. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  2. Randal Boretos December 30, 2022 at 4:53 am - Reply

    You are a lifesaver! Your work and dedication are of immeasurable value to mankind and The Lord!
    There has no other place for healing and clarity to reach so many with professional expertise for free and freely accessible.

    Your excommunication will be looked upon as a serious mistake one future day and The Lord sees the fruits of your immeasurable contributions to humanity !

    You have personally brought me peace I could find in no other resource. Yes, I started with the mentality that your program was anti, now i have grown. Thank you.

    Bless you for all your courage, dedication and sacrifices.

    It’s necessary to break a few eggs to make an omelet. You were excommunicated for offending the dishonest propaganda machine. Yet your fruits have made me more equipped to navigate “the mess” that the church has become from being under many many decades of condemnation from The Lord.

    Bless you brother John Dehlin

  3. Randal Boretos December 30, 2022 at 11:07 am - Reply

    you are basically holding testimony meetings with professional skills.
    Your testimony meetings are more legitimate than the ones in church.
    You are a hero serving your fellow man and the Savior.
    I love you for helping me and mankind

  4. Timmy Tim January 4, 2023 at 10:50 am - Reply

    I’d love to see y’all provide more coverage of divorce & parenting in a Mormon context, especially “mixed faith divorce” in a Mormon context.

    During divorce, Utah and other conservative states financially and emotionally eviscerate dads far too often. LDS ex-wives/moms take advantage of the discriminatory family law system. And then they label the men “deadbeat dads” when they can’t take it anymore. And worse, garnish their wages, further reduce their parental rights and visitation, etc. It’s an immoral travesty and is a blight on our society.

  5. Debbie Skomer January 6, 2023 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    I was listening while driving and missed Mark Schultz commenting on the appearance of Brigham Young’s wives. However, as soon as I returned home, I looked for Mr. Twain’s comments. Descriptions of Brigham Young’s wives, by Mr. Twain and other gentiles in 1861, were of the sort that Mark Schultz repeated. I am not expecting any of your guests to be perfect. I certainly do not want to be too critical of someone who is only three months into his discovery and serious consideration of LDS history and teachings.

    I love Mormon Stories Podcast, and I can’t thank John enough for creating the show and working so hard to bring it to its current success. I know that it has been helpful to many who suffer and has brought joy to those thriving outside the church.

    While I might squirm when I disagree with a guest, I also squirm when John tries, almost desperately, to put words in a person’s mouth. He often says, “I do not want to put words in your mouth, but…” People have their own experiences, realizations, and ways of speaking about them. It’s great that John is a psychologist, but this IS NOT therapy, and (as a therapist) it strikes me as somewhat inappropriate for a guest to be forcefully guided to an opinion or a way of expressing it. People leave the church for many reasons, and we should hold space for them to share their thoughts out loud. I hope Mark does not feel criticized for “not saying it right.” This could stop him from sharing in the future.

    • Maven January 8, 2023 at 5:04 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Debbie. That was an uncomfortable moment for me as well. I am unmarried, and while I would just roll my eyes at being called a “dog” or told that I was ugly, I would certainly have something to say to anyone who implies that marrying such a horrible person was doing me any kind of favor! I can be ugly and HAPPILY SINGLE without any “favors” from anyone, but yeah.

      People deconstruct from things differently, so it’s not surprising that some harmful ideas can still come out, etc. It was an awkward moment and I think John tried to handle it as best as he could. I personally am glad that he at least came back to it without just letting it drop. Calling a woman ugly as an excuse for justifying being married to a man such as Brigham is a sad thing to say about women who were victimized by this man and the times. I think Mark handled the critique well. To me, it seemed he may have felt a little bad/embarrassed but not overly so. I hope he continues to share as well.

  6. Charles hawksford January 6, 2023 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    A raw, honest man. So much better than most of your progressive followers. I especially love his use of profanity.

  7. Gideon January 9, 2023 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Hello Mark,

    Your integrity comes shining through in this interview.

    My father worked all his life at BYU. I remember when you fought in the UFC -it was a scandalous affair. Many of the faculty and professors used their disapproval of it to display their piousness to colleagues. I think their concerns were only a reflection of their egos and hypocrisy; It really had little to do with your fighting.

    I regard this as one of the best episodes on Mormon Stories because you are a true champion in the world and a champion for honesty. Thank you for telling your story so clearly and powerfully without embellishments.

    Mark, I’ve also had a lot amazing events happen that make me believe in a higher power -even if that higher power is the miracle(s) of divine love.

    Live long and prosper

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