On March 26, 2011 Mormon Stories held its first regional retreat/conference in New York City. This presentation exploring the future for uncorrelated/non-traditional/unorthodox Mormons was given by John Dehlin.  The PowerPoint file for this presentation can be found here.

The music for this episode was generously provided by the Sabre Rattlers.


  1. Sophia April 30, 2011 at 12:32 am - Reply

    It felt good to have a pat on the back from you and an acknowledgment of people like me who choose to happily walk away and move on. I am thankful for every piece of mormonism that culminated to what I am today. I applaud you for your work and honestly don’t know what my experience would have been without Mormon Stories podcasts to listen to. I’m one of the lucky ones who has a supporting spouse. I know my actions have hurt people but it is not my responsibility to worry about everyone and make my decisions on such a delicate personal matter based on others feelings. I don’t consider myself brave but I do consider myself a valiant soul standing for truth and righteousness against all odds! Someone keeps yawning periodically through the podcast and I thought that was humorous!

    • Anonymous April 30, 2011 at 3:45 am - Reply

      Thx, Sophia. I do believe that leaving the church can be an act of great
      courage and integrity.

      It’s time to drop that false stigma.

  2. Anonymous April 30, 2011 at 6:03 am - Reply

    For those interested, don’t forget to check out the PowerPoint presentation linked to above.

    • GatoraidMomma April 30, 2011 at 12:48 pm - Reply

      I have unzipped the PPT download but cannot view it. What version are you using?

      • John Dehlin May 1, 2011 at 12:28 am - Reply

        The PPT should be fixed now. Let me know if it doesn’t work for you…

    • Mhoward April 30, 2011 at 5:29 pm - Reply

      I too have unzipped the Powerpoint, but am having trouble viewing it. Can you post instructions for computer illiterate people like me? Thanks.

      • John Dehlin May 1, 2011 at 12:28 am - Reply

        Let me know if it doesn’t work for you now.

  3. Jeff April 30, 2011 at 7:17 am - Reply

    John, your project of creating a uncorrelated mormon community seems to be a logical and organic culmination of your years of dealing with these issues through thousands of personal conversations and hundreds of podcasts. It is for this reason I feel this particular endeavor for you is more of a “calling” than just a project. I always say it’s a beautiful thing when someone finds their “calling”. Kudos to you for finding one more of yours. I suppose I’m envious in a way, I have two such “callings” in life about which I am passionate and both also relate to mormonism. However, sadly I have yet to find the time and resources to realize them. Hopefully that will change soon. Best of luck John and I look forward to participating in the uncorrelated community.

  4. Goofy April 30, 2011 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Great podcast. Thanks.

  5. Bloorsteve April 30, 2011 at 10:18 am - Reply


    An idea to change the world as we know it!

    I wish you all the best in your endeavour and wish to be involved.

    Good luck.
    Steve Bloor

  6. Maria April 30, 2011 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    Really good to hear many issues that I have had to deal with spoken about so openly.

    Thank you so much.

  7. Brandi April 30, 2011 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    I have no words to describe the kind of good that I believe you are doing.

  8. JackUK April 30, 2011 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    John is there any chance of getting the powerpoint presentation in an unzipped format? I’ve tried downloading them in zipped format and they’re unviewable…

    • Vikingz2000 April 30, 2011 at 10:15 pm - Reply

      It opens up fine with Keynote (Mac OS), if that helps you.

    • John Dehlin May 1, 2011 at 12:29 am - Reply

      Should work for you now, Jack. Let me know if it doesn’t.

      • JackUK May 1, 2011 at 5:42 pm - Reply

        Working fine now thanks John, this is a brilliant presentation that is so helpful. Thanks so much for putting this together…

  9. Ascending the Mountain April 30, 2011 at 10:47 pm - Reply


    Thank you for your dedication, time and effort. I’m inspired by your vision. Recent episodes have been absolutely brilliant (Grant and Heather Hardy, Phil McLemore, Dr. Stephanie Buehler, Mormon Matters …).

    I’m in my mid 30s, married, and father of 5. I had an outstanding mission and YSA experience. I’ve stayed active; however, I experienced a slow religious/spiritual decline over the past decade. Church became lifeless and uninspiring. I felt no spiritual nourishment. Sacrament Meeting = a wrestling match with my children mingled with hymns quietly sung at half tempo. I wonder if the Twelve ever anonymously observe the average LDS church service, or do they only experience what would be to us a very infrequent, exceptional occasion?

    Then came the crisis about 3 years ago: My sister confessed that she was being physically/emotionally abused and financially controlled by her husband (with 2 young children and pregnant, he cut her account access and forced her to dilute their children’s milk with water). Finally, she sought counsel from her bishop and was told that because of her “eternal marriage covenants” she needed to “endure to the end” and not give up on her marriage.

    This crushed me. My faith in my LDS church leaders was shaken. I turned to Google and a few searches later my whole religious foundation was obliterated. I lost the connection with my community and for the last few years I have felt very alone.

    This changed when I discovered Mormon Stories about a year ago. Through yours and this community’s effort, my spiritual journey has been revived. Thank you!

    I feel that the church, through correlation, starves its members. It has been years since I have felt any spiritual nourishment from the church. Sunday School is over simplified, repetitive and dreadful. It doesn’t have to be this way. In contrast, I recently discovered the book “Radical, Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream” by David Platt and his semi-annual “Secret Church”. https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/23/my-take-why-my-church-rebelled-against-the-american-dream/.

    John, thank you again. This community has my support and prayers!

  10. Great and Spacious Building April 30, 2011 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    ‘Amen’ to your comment about the Mall being a factor in disillusionment. I am an active Latter-day Saint and The Mall (City Creek Center) is a big issue for me. Before the Mall, I paid greater than 10% tithing and a monthly contribution to LDS Humanitarian Aid. Now, I have reduced my tithing payment to less than 10% and have cut all contributions to LDS Humanitarian Aid. Instead, I pay the balance (and more) directly to the Red Cross. This is done with a clear conscience and confidence that I am still a “full tithe payer”.

    The Mall, especially at this time, is shameful. I pray for the day that the church will treat us as “full citizens” (Ephesians 2:19) and be financially transparent. The contrast across South Temple Street is disturbing. On one side you have the “Tree of Life” and on the other “The Great and Spacious Building.” Do General Authorities even read the Book of Mormon?

  11. Scott Davis May 1, 2011 at 12:00 am - Reply

    I take offense to this label. I am a correlated-uncorrelated Mormon. There is nothing uncorrelated (or correlated) about me.

  12. Paul Belfiglio May 1, 2011 at 12:26 am - Reply

    “Using data from MRI scans, researchers at the University College London found that self-described liberals have a larger anterior cingulate cortex–a gray matter of the brain associated with understanding complexity. Meanwhile, self-described conservatives are more likely to have a larger amygdala, an almond-shaped area that is associated with fear and anxiety.”

    To wit: Uncorrelated Mormons? Mmm… not cortexy enough. Might I suggest a more erudite moniker? Hence, how about: Anterior Cingulate Cortex Mormons, or for those warm, sunny beach days requiring more revealing nomenclature attire: Grey Matter Mormons?

  13. Chris Brewer May 1, 2011 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    John, this was a beautiful and accurate breakdown of the stages of de-correlation. It was fascinating for me to think back and recognize when I was going through the same phases. What I enjoyed the most was how clearly you defined the real problems that people will inevitably end up facing when they head down this path (integrity). Truthfully it was hard to listen to because it made me realize that I am procrastinating dealing with the real problem. I don’t want to face the fact that my double personality is going to eventually be exposed.

    I suppose I am currently the pragmatic, non-believing participant but there is a deep feeling of isolation and inner-conflict that is churning and coming to a head. I’m genuinely scared about where I am headed but honestly no one in the church seems to respect this position. No honest, responsible seeker of truth wants to continue being viewed as a pariah. The hardest part is when your own family and in-laws still refuse to address your struggle after they have clearly become aware of it. The judgmental silence is just as hurtful as any words could be. I know they are just confused themselves but the silence seriously sucks.

    I don’t know how these uncorrelated Mormon communities could work out but I want to see them succeed. The online forums have been a great start but we are still very scattered and even though you can get validation online, you need to eventually return to the world of being an outsider. I hope these groups help solve this problem. Thanks for sharing this presentation.

    • Anonymous May 1, 2011 at 8:44 pm - Reply

      Chris – Wonderful words. Let’s make it happen….happy to have you in the

  14. Joe May 1, 2011 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    John, if you are going to be so bold to create something like you describe, why don’t you just boldly and directly approach some Church authorities and see if some kind of compromise can be made to have Church sanction for a support group for people that are struggling after the image of the Genesis group rather than starting your own religion. I mean, you might as well come out and say it. You are proposing the creation of an apostate sect of Mormonism for the uncorrelated, another thing without authority. That is all there is to it.

    Your “collective identity” entity is just a politically euphemism for a new religion. It obvious what it is that you are proposing. You might as well come out and call it what it is. There are already plenty of reform Mormon sects, and I fail to see how yours will be any different. You can dress it up in a pretty package. All of the issues you talk about are real. But you are going to get yourself into some Church discipline for attempting to do this.

    • Scott Davis May 2, 2011 at 4:03 am - Reply

      It would be different since it is different. I think he’s addressing an evolving need, which is an organization that feeds human religious needs without being based on traditional religious ideologies. Wouldn’t you like something like that? As an agnostic/atheist, I can say that I hate being a minority with nobody to stick up for me (not that I don’t stick up for myself, but groups are better). And it feels good to be part of something. I don’t know if I would join this group due to location/don’t know what it is/etc., but I would if it was effective enough.

      • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 5:38 pm - Reply

        Scott, just so you know, there are literally hundreds of atheist and agnostic support groups to stick up for you. Let me know if you want me to refer you to one in your area. John’s support groups, I think, offer support to a wide range of believers and non-believers within the context of Mormonism.

    • Sionpiensa May 10, 2011 at 4:34 am - Reply

      i agree, unfortunately John if you lead it you will be discipline, this talks to the orthodoxy of the Church and attacks the strategic leadership of the priesthood. I am with you on the idea, just be aware of the consequences. In my opinion… who cares? as the Church is no giving space for not correlated mormons, is either a new forum or total apostasy… I may vote for the last. lol

  15. Walktheline May 1, 2011 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    While I feel very liberal, my life on the outside just screams “conservative!” I have found great insight and comfort in Mormon Stories, in finding people who think as I do. However, I would hesitate to join an “Uncorrelated Mormon” community. I am a liberal Mormon, working through things, believing less and less in the “truths” I once embraced, yet finding enough comfort and happiness in raising my family in the Mormon Community to keep me in it. I feel that by defining a new group of “Uncorrelated Mormons,” you may be leaving some of us like me behind. Instead of finding support from Mormons who also struggle with their faith, I am again left on the fringes, not enlightened enough to take the leap of becoming secular or atheist, which is what the “U.M.” label seems to stand for to me. I may be wrong in my interpretation. I just can’t bear to be a fringe member of another organization; I have enough fringy-ness in trying to live out my life as an active yet doubting and seeking Mormon mom. These are just my thoughts and I’m curious if anyone else feels the same.

    • Scott Davis May 2, 2011 at 4:05 am - Reply

      I don’t know how you stay in it since that involves maintaining a fake persona (I’m not trying to offend), bearing fake testimonies, saying fake things to the bishop, etc. How do you do that?

      • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm - Reply

        Scott, I am one of those who has chosen to stay in the Church. I am grateful to John because his support groups encompass people like me who choose to stay in the Church (i.e., those that don’t want to “throw the baby out with the bath water”). People like me are often accused by ex- and anti-mormons of being disingenuous or lacking in integrity. Your question is very valid, and I will attempt to answer it from my perspective. First off, I do not maintain a fake persona; however, I’m sure there are many people who do. Secondly, I do not bear false testimony. If I am called to or inclined to offer my testimony, I either decline, or I offer a testimony of what I DO believe in (after all, we are not all complete atheists :). Also, I do not say “fake things” to my Bishop. Luckily, unlike a fast and testimony meeting, a temple recommend interview does not require one to say the words “I know.” Yes, the first three questions of the temple recommend interview are tricky for me. I am honest with my Bishop about this. Personally, I have spent many hours in my Bishop’s office discussing what it truly means to “have a testimony.” Testimony, to me, is as much about experience as it is about faith and belief, and my current Bishop agrees with me on that. I’m sure there will be a day when a Bishop will not share these sentiments and may deny me a temple recommend. Or, I may continue into a deeper state of disbelief, and I may have to give up my temple recommend. I think these support groups will help me to prepare for these possiblilities, as well as support me on the path that I am currently on. Best of all, they will not judge the broad spectrum of belief that the members are on. I think John’s PowerPoint just begins to scratch the surface on potential “levels of belief.” This is irrelevant though. What is important about the “Uncorrelated Mormon” groups is they will not judge their diverse subscribers.

        • walktheline May 2, 2011 at 7:34 pm - Reply

          Scott, maybe Thisiscrazy28 helps clarify. . . Your attitude towards me and why I stay is exactly why I think an “Uncorrelated Mormon” group would exclude me. I find joy in living the gospel of Christ. Yes, it may be a twist on the version of what TBM Mormons live. However, I have found great joy in following Christ’s teachings and I don’t feel fakey. I feel real. I feel hope. I feel doubt. And to me, that is okay. It is part of my journey. I have thouroughly enjoyed and benefitted from these podcasts, mormon matters, etc. and I would hate to see it go ex-mo. My feeling that with the creation of “U.M.” this is where it’s headed. I think we are all on our own journey. Scott, your journey is not mine. Mine is not yours. This is what I have loved about Mormon Stories. I don’t know where I’ll be down the road, but I am content to journey as a thinking, hopeful Mormon.

          • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 7:38 pm


            All we’re hoping to do is create a community of support for non-traditional
            Mormons, and it is an explicit, primary goal of mine (and ours) to ensure
            that faithful, believing members feel welcome in these communities (whether
            you feel like you need such a community or not). It’s not always easy to
            get exMo’s and active Mo’s together in the same room…and to have both feel
            validated and accepted…but that is our goal.

            And for the record…I’d rather retire Mormon Stories or create a separate
            podcast than to have it go “anti-“. If I stray from this promise, you let
            me know, k?

            Thx for being honest. I hope we can continue to meet your needs.

            John Dehlin

          • Scott Davis May 3, 2011 at 8:41 am

            Hey, you know, I’m just giving you the same attitude my bishop gave me. I’m sorry about that.

  16. don'tknowmo May 2, 2011 at 1:16 am - Reply

    I have some of the same sentiments as ” Walk the line”. It feels like unless there is some top down (from salt lake) acknowledgement of the very real issues that we outliers struggle with, we will be consigned to “acceptable collateral damage” on the road to the day when the church is forced to redefine it’s truth claims. I sincerely admire and applaud John’s efforts in our behalf. MormonStories and MormonMatters have been wonderful resources for me. I particularly believe the fact that John, Dan et al consistently maintain a kind and civil tone in all their efforts, paves the way for any progress that may come.

  17. JackUK May 2, 2011 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    John, I’ve just listened to this for the second time, I hope some of your ideas for the future come to fruition, many of us need them to, however I think the brethren will see us searching for ‘alternative forms of spirituality’ or ‘alternative approaches to a moral framework’ as apostasy. Don’t you think the suggestions you’re making will get you noticed on the radar at the COB if they haven’t registered you yet..?

    • Scott Davis May 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm - Reply

      What could they possibly do? Anyway, if he does get noticed, that’s a good thing. But I thought they already knew about John and just felt best to leave it alone.

      • Rob May 2, 2011 at 5:16 pm - Reply

        They definitely know about John, but if they get rid of John they get rid of me…and I don’t think I’m the only one they’ll lose.

        • Scott Davis May 4, 2011 at 9:41 pm - Reply

          They’re right not to address it right now (game of power), but I see that they might have to address it soon. I’ve built many other sites that aren’t religious, and I know Mormonstories has been out since 2005, but based on these trends I see it growing rapidly within the next few years… much more than before. This format has probably been the most effective format ever presented for educating people about the issues, and for this reason, might become viral.

  18. Aaron May 2, 2011 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Love this podcast! I agree that there are two directions we go when we loose a testimony. One is that we decide we cannot be part of Mormonism any longer and the other is that we want to be part of Mormonism, but we have to re-invent what Mormonism is to us. I chose to leave simply because I felt I couldn’t be honest with myself and part of the Church. There are many like John in the Church that reminds me that while I may feel resentment towards the Church, there are many good people that are still part of it that will treat me like an equal irregardless of my choice to leave. I think Mormon Stories has greatly helped me, not in leaving the Church, but in helping me to not be angry at it. We all feel betrayed when we start learning about and dealing with the difficult issues of Mormonism, but like John said, while we have found memories of Mormonism before we started looking deeply into it, none of us would ever want to go back and erase what we have learned. As we learn more, we became better individuals. There is something very liberating about thinking for ourselves and being open with what we learn. Mormon Stories allows for open discourse which many of us really need.

    • Dkphotog August 30, 2011 at 8:36 am - Reply

      Aaron – this is spot on for me.  I don’t want to be angry either, though I let myself feel that emotion if need be & evaluate & grow from it.  Our stories and journeys are all very intricate and fascinating.  Being Mormon created some of the parts of me I still really like.  Leaving Mormonism with my two children and husband has been liberating, refreshing, and scary after 44 yrs. of going to church every Sunday.  This podcast has helped me to see that there is an incredible journey on the other side.  

  19. Kathy May 2, 2011 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    I love ms, mm, me, nom etc. They have all helped me along my path. I suspect I am slightly older than most of the people who are in this community so my neeeds and wants may not be what the rest of the community would like but I’ll just add my 2 cents anyway.

    I would have loved a group that had some programs (steps) attached to it. Dare I say, and although I’ve never been, I think something along the lines of AA. I would like the purpose to be to help people transition to the next phase in their lives whether back to church or elsewhere.

    The programs/steps I would love to participate in would be something around helping people through the shock, grief and anger.
    I could use a program helping me in my relationships with others (members) by establishing boundaries and learning acceptance of my own beliefs and theirs.
    Lots of us write exit and/or resignation letters I would like to see a program that would help us write a “why I’m glad I am/was a Mormon” or “what I have learned” letter.

    This may just be wishful thinking. I could see conferences and socials going along with this kind of group. I can also see people continue to heal by returning and helping others go through this.

    This is the type of group that would interest me.
    Whatever happens I am so grateful to you, John for all the work you have done on this.

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Kathy. Great feedback. We’ll work on it! We might be able to use
      your help, so please keep in touch.


    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 6:55 pm - Reply

      Kathy, I would also like to refer you to the the podcasts on Fowler’s Five Stages of Faith (if you haven’t listened already). I think Fowler is an excellent resource in providing a systematic understanding of the different levels of faith as well as the feelings that may accompany each phase.

      • Kathy May 2, 2011 at 11:54 pm - Reply

        I agree Thisiscrazy28. Fowler’s stages made sense to me and helped me understand a little more about what I was going through.
        (I don’t know if I’m just lazy or dense or whatever but I really like things that are broken down into how to steps.)
        After writing that I wonder if I really know what stage I’m in.

  20. Barb May 2, 2011 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    If I donate (monthly, or whatever), does that money pay for you to fly out to and stay in New York (for example), John? Honestly. Is there any way for donors to know how much is in the kitty and what it is used for exactly? Thanks.

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 9:54 pm - Reply


      I’m a staff of 1 and I’ve hired an accountant to generate a financial
      report. We filed today w/ the IRS…and I’ll publish a report as soon as I

      For the record, when I went to NY I used a frequent flyer ticket from my
      days in business and stayed with friends while in NY. No hotel fees. Very
      little food expenses.

      Contributions to MS primarily go to pay for operational expenses, and to pay
      for my time. A big chunk of the salary I draw goes to paying for my family’s
      health insurance. I’m happy to be open about my expenses.

      Right now I make the equivalent of about $20,000/year for running the

      As we do hold conferences, the foundation will likely pay for my travel as
      an expense (when I attend)…but that’s true of all foundations, no? I hope
      to always stay w/ listeners on these conferences.

      Thx for asking.


      • Barb May 2, 2011 at 10:53 pm - Reply

        Very interesting. Thanks for the reply.

      • Anonymous May 22, 2011 at 4:39 am - Reply

        Coming soon.

  21. Rick Robison May 2, 2011 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    John, your work always amazes me…you certainly have a “calling” for this, it seems!

    I am still quite supportive of this project, but perhaps from an oblique perspective. Back in the early/mid 90s, as I went through my faith crisis, there wasn’t much around as far as support goes. Without it, I had a pretty hard bottom. My way “back up” took much more work and time than what one has available today…and I credit your projects for this. For me, it took a drug addiction, divorce, bankruptcy, and felony conviction to push me to get to my authentic place. I can look back on it now and be grateful for the journey…but it was painful during the process.

    I guess one point I would make is that for some like me, leaving mormonism behind was/is the best thing. The dual life was not worth it in the end, and despite the painful process of rebuilding my entire moral paradigm, purpose for living, and establishing a whole new family of friends, I am happier and more peaceful in my spirituality today than I’ve ever been. Leaving is one option that should always be on the table, IMHO.

    I see your work for many as giving them the self-worth and confidence to choose a faith journey that really is best for the individual…and that’s always good!

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 10:12 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Rick! Hope to see you in June!!!

  22. Kenny May 2, 2011 at 11:15 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the all of your work!! and adding another great insight into the many paths available for those of us who can no longer tolerate a correlated, plug & play life..

    On question though — the audio was a bit rough at times.. But I swear I heard you say the activity rates a crossed the board is currently around 18% — did I hear that correctly ??

  23. Elder Vader May 3, 2011 at 12:52 am - Reply

    I have one question from the presentation. It is about the 18% activity rate overall for the church. That seems amazingly thin. I keep asking myself… Is that real or is that one of those BS statistics? Don’t know why I got hung up on that one thing. It really surprised me.

    Also, as far as making a bigger landing pad for uncorrelated Mormons, John you have been 10 steps ahead of me this whole time. When I first started to have my faith getting peeled away layer by layer, I found myself wishing I could go talk to several prominent players in the LDS world. When I stumbled on Mormon Stories it was a project I would have liked to do myself, only John had already been doing it. So John, thanks for that, seriously.

    As far as relating to the church goes, the word I keep coming back to is “Recontextualization”. The church has already done a lot of this on its own. It has already recontexualized ‘celestial marriage’ to mean ‘temple marriage’ rather than ‘plural marriage’ and has already made a lot of steps in the right direction. But whenever I think too much along the lines of trying to effect change in the church ‘from within’ I look back all the corpses of lives that have tried to do that already. It doesn’t fill me with hope. Yet, I am stuck on it. There are family members of mine entering the missionary program, who desperately need a good strong dose of recontextualization medicine. It would be very damaging to try to talk them out of going on a mission. And at the end of the day, a mission will probably do them a lot of good to serve, just like it was good for me to go on a mission. And yet… not everything is good. But the bad stuff could merely be recontextualized out of the experience. It feels like a fools errand, that nobody called me to do. But for now, I can’t let it go. This is what I kept coming back to in my mind as I listened to John talk about different stages of disaffection. How to recontextualize and simultaneously raise sacrament meeting attendance, and tithing revenue. LOL. Not sure that is even possible.

    • Paul Belfiglio May 3, 2011 at 8:17 am - Reply

      In reference to “re-contextualization”, if we delve into historical accounts of the early LDS church we should attempt to better understand intentions relative to motives based upon points of view (the comprehension of meaning, and/or knowledge within a particular system of education, culture, modes of socialization and innate personal nature or character traits of the people) and other various systems and circumstances of the time. This is what I have come to regard as ‘the necessity of pertinence to the historical contextualization of data’. In other words, to arrive at an accurate conclusion about an historical account of or statement by some authoritative individual that was perhaps deemed as an immutable doctrine at the time, it is necessary to understand what the intentions were relative to the motives based upon the points of view at that particular time or locus. This is often difficult to determine or come to terms with because of our own personal, societal and subjective prejudices, biases and limited knowledge and understanding of the total sum of past issues or circumstances.

      Hence, one ‘medical’ remedy for an ailment of ‘truth dis-ease’ with regard to ‘modified truth,’ is to place little to no emphasis on the notion that there is supposed to be only one capital “T” truth. All ‘truth’ is in flux and is subject to change; it is a constantly moving target. Better to call truth “the historical contextualization of data,” which is just another way of affirming what the Savior might have meant as stated in LDS doctrine, “And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;”.

      Unfortunately, though, that paradigm with regards to truth is one you can drive a truck through, or even get run over by it.

      • Rick Robison May 3, 2011 at 3:41 pm - Reply

        Yes Paul, I agree that it is important to use presentism as it relates to Joseph and his activities. Since we really have no way to get into their heads today, we can only use what evidence and records we have. From my limited studies, I think an area many today don’t take into account is the way he, and others in his day, viewed spiritual experiences. There was an excellent presentation given at Sunstone a few years back on Joseph’s use of entheogens (hallucinogenic substances). There is significant evidence that Joseph used various plants/herbs to induce visionary experiences in the early members, and these experiences stopped after his death.

        As we view that process through today’s lens of evil “drugs,” it appears that using natural plants in and around the areas where Joseph lived, and from his exposure to Native Shamans, it is entirely possible that the powerful experiences these substances induce(d) may have been viewed as true heavenly messages. The understanding of hallucinogenics from a scientific perspective didn’t come until years later, and I am completely comfortable with the possibility that members, the witnesses, and maybe even Joseph himself may have seen the induced hallucinations as confirmatory witnesses of God’s guidance in his work. The actual processes surrounding the “restoration work” may be inconsequential if you view the powerful experiences they had around it as truly from God.

        So it may help to view “intentions” from that angle, since the evidence indicates that he DID use various entheogens ( peyote, datura … and Amanita muscaria mushrooms) at specific events where it was helpful for Joseph to have the members present to experience a “vision” that would confirm that he had God’s mantle of power and authority. Certainly from our understanding of drugs today, we view this process as deceptive and manipulative. But do we really know the intention of how it was done then?

        • Paul Belfiglio May 4, 2011 at 4:35 am - Reply

          Here’s something to think about as an adjunct to theories in consideration of Joseph Smith’s views about (and possible use of) certain entheogenic substances, which he may have considered necessary to enhance God’s ‘magic’: Think about a particular accouterment that is part of the male’s costume worn for the purpose of a particular LDS ritual. Think about the shape of this small costume item, especially when it is enhanced with a round, plastic insert. What’s the visual?

          Now, do some research on mushroom cults and religious worship.

          “There is a world beyond ours, a world that is far away, nearby, and invisible. And there is where God lives, where the dead lives, the spirits and the saints, a world where everything has already happened and everything is known. That world talks. It has a language of its own. I report what it says. The sacred mushroom takes me by the hand and brings me to the world where everything is known. It is they, the sacred mushrooms, that speak in a way I can understand. I ask them and they answer me. When I return from the trip that I have taken with them, I tell what they have told me and what they have shown me.” — Shaman chant of the Mazatec North American Indians

          • Rick Robison May 4, 2011 at 1:37 pm

            Exactly, Paul! That’s my point…from the perspective of what Joseph had been exposed to, this manner of “reaching God” may have been totally ethical and kosher. It certainly was a powerful experience, and left an indullible memory of visions that could not be denied. How can they be faulted for their attempts to have a spiritual witness/experience and testifying of it for the rest of their lives?

            Understanding this possibility allows us to be more compassionate and empathetic to the plight of the saints for what we see today as conflicts. They had their experiences and did the best they could to explain them according to their knowledge at the time…

          • Velska May 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm

            Right, just like Moses was taking “herbal remedies” in Sinai… this is very fashionable! :D

            Now Joseph is not just a folk magician, he is also a Native American Witch Doctor! And he had some now unknown contraceptive, because there are no known children from of his from anyone else but Emma…

          • Rick Robison May 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm

            I’m glad you’re interested in true unbiased history, Velska. Come back and talk after you’ve studies these things a bit. Oh, and don’t just study Mormon.org.

  24. Ashleymerback May 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Claudia Bushman are fairly traditional believers, yes? I enjoyed my morning with you today! I can’t wait for Salt Lake!

  25. Ashleymerback May 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich and Claudia Bushman are both fairly traditional female believers, no?

    I thoroughly enjoyed my morning with you today, John! I look forward to Salt Lake!

    • Anonymous May 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm - Reply

      Nice! Agreed! Thanks, Ash! Hope to finally meet you soon!!!

  26. Mike Griffitts May 4, 2011 at 7:29 am - Reply

    I love where you are taking this John!

    I’m a big fan of Jon Haidt’s moral foundations theory (https://faculty.virginia.edu/haidtlab/mft/index.php) and Peter Block’s work on Community. Let’s get great questions about how these communities can foster a sense of belonging (back) into the lives of unplugged Mormons.

    This is really a meaningful project and I would love to help in whatever way I can. I’ll start with a monthly membership :-)

  27. bh May 5, 2011 at 4:34 am - Reply

    The Mormon Stories podcasts have very informative to me, an active Mormon, and I have hoped that they would remain Mormon-friendly in order to educate other active Mormons. I am afraid that developing this more structured support group will appeal to “uncorrelated Mormons ” only. I certainly don’t want to hear this litany of everything that is wrong with Mormonism over and over again. The recent podcasts have addressed specific issues and have been great. I wish that Mormon Stories would focus on education and not on social structure.

  28. Velska May 5, 2011 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    LOL, I didn’t realize I was a Liberal Believer!

    Also, politically liberal…

    Also, in my community there are 110 active members in an area of 200,000+ people, so I have plenty of exposure to non-Mormons.

    Also, I never thought Scriptures are to be taken fully literally; I’ve always thought of many Scripture stories as metaphorical/symbolic, before and after membership.

  29. Megan May 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    In the interest of aiding understanding – because I think that if you truly want to succeed at producing the sort of self-sustaining support community you’re talking about it is vital to have as much information and as deep an understanding as possible – I would like to strongly refute your opening point about ‘no atheists in foxholes.’ The assumption that all skeptics, all agnostics, all atheists would, under enough stress, revert to a faith in God is, to my sure and certain knowledge, utterly false.

    I am what I call a ‘natural atheist.’ I have no instinct for faith in god – or gods. Having been raised Mormon in this circumstance and been told that righteousness necessitates spirituality (and, by corollary, that sinfulness equates with a lack of spirituality or spiritual experience) was crippling for me. I did not experience real peace and happiness until I left Mormonism and, almost immediately, recognized and accepted my lack of belief in god.

    Years later I went through an unbelievably painful, difficult and stressful experience – one that demolished every part of my life, every solid foundation, everything I cared for. This experience was my foxhole. I know my TBM mother was confident (utterly confident) that I would return to faith and the church. Instead I found myself profoundly grateful for my lack of belief. With all that I was going through at least I did not have to find some justification for god in all of this. I did not have to discover some excuse as to why a benevolent deity would put my family through the torture we were experiencing. I did not have to assume some unbearable burden of guilt for myself or for my loved ones (that somehow this was a result of sin) nor did I have to try to discover some lesson that I had to learn, a lesson that could only be taught with torment.

    If ever there was a time that would have uncovered an innate instinct for faith this would have been it. I would certainly have been willing to discover that faith (as you say, the consolation of life after death is a very attractive thing); there was no room in that extreme experience for anything but utter honesty. But I found that at my very core, all the way through, I am an atheist – and I am perfectly, deeply happy with that.

    Of course I know it’s not necessary to say this, but I want to state anyway that I remain a deeply moral person with a strong set of ethics I have thoughtfully and carefully derived through my own experience and beliefs. I have forgiven, really truly forgiven, the unknown people who caused me and my loved ones so much pain – not because a set of scriptures told me I must, not because I was told it was necessary to please God, but because it is the right thing to do. Morality comes from my humanity, not despite it.

  30. CarlC May 5, 2011 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    I’m curious John, at which point in these “stages” you describe (and I was grateful that you were clear in the podcast that they weren’t necessarily a linear progression) one becomes “uncorrelated.” It wasn’t one of the stages, so I’m curious where you think that comes into play?

  31. […] In recognizing that politics is a topic filled with too much strife and vitriol (and yet many of our permas continue to prod that hornet’s nest), I’ve decided to choose a different topic with which to incense people: the issue of new order, or liberal, or heterodox, or non-traditional, or unorthodox, or most recently monikered, uncorrelated Mormonism. […]

  32. Aloha May 9, 2011 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    This is my first time listening Mormon Stories. I found it rather interesting. I’m wondering which numbered podcasts have discussed the supposed fallibility with the Bible (taken literally or figuratively). I have personally gone through LDS belief, agnostacy, and am now questioning my previous, yet unresearched doubt of the Bible as a historical and potentially inspired document by itself. Thank you.

  33. Mz.Liz May 11, 2011 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    I am so grateful for you John. You have helped me so much in clarifying my experience. Bravo!

  34. […] a problem. I doubt it has anything to do with Middle Way Mormons or New Order Mormons or even Uncorrelated Mormons (John’s latest term for those balancing faith with doubt). No one gets excommunicated for […]

  35. Rich Alger May 13, 2011 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    I think I may have stumbled on MormonStories several years ago.  I seem to remember the time when it went offline for a couple of weeks.  I listened to part of the soccer baptism podcast.  I think I must have filed it under “weird” and “That is disturbing if that is true”.  For Christmas 2009, I got RSR.  I read it over several months.  It was a turning point for me.  I had to recognize several very troubling parts of Mormon history and not shrug it off as untrue or exaggerated.  I eventually shelved it.

    It was earlier this year that a friend of mine switched from identifying as a TBM to an atheist, natural humanist.  His experience caused me to look again at those things I had shelved.  More of this story is at https://richalger.blogspot.com/2011/02/truth-will-prevail.html

    Now several months later I still consider myself a believing Mormon.  There are things that I had believed before that I am not so sure of.  I am a temple-recommend holding, born in the covenant, mission serving, seventh generation Mormon.  I believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that a man will get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than any other book.

    I want to say how much I appreciate the courage John Dehlin and others have had to do these podcasts.  I would not place myself in the same place as most of what I have found here but I respect their experiences.  From what I can gather, it seems that most of them are following what they believe their conscience or Holy Ghost has led them.  There seems to some of the fruits of the Spirit here.

    I am not sure where my journey will take me.  I do believe that things will ultimately work themselves out.  God is just and merciful.  I need His mercy and am grateful for it.

    • Anonymous May 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Rich!!!

  36. Adam May 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Evolution is something you missed.  That’s a big one for many people.

  37. Rhonda May 16, 2011 at 12:24 am - Reply

    RE: Motivators for staying in the church. It would be so easy for me to leave but something keeps me at church. I hear about temple marriage and that the purpose of life is to have children; I am not married in the temple and I have no children, and I have no family of origin in the church. So why do I stay? What would be the formula as to why I am here? I’m not afriad of death. My spouse supports me in whatever I want to do in and out of church. Yet, I feel as intense in my journey as those who have the same issues probably feel.  

  38. Valkirisong May 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    I have an answer to your challenge, what can the church do about all this disaffection.  I wrote an essay about it last week as an exercise to convince myself to stay active, and may try to get it in Exponent 2.  If you’re interested I’ll send it to you, just let me know at valkirisong@yahoo:disqus .com. 

    As thousands have echoed, thanks for your work! 

    • Anonymous May 16, 2011 at 6:25 pm - Reply

      I’d love to read. Please send. Thanks!

  39. valkirisong May 16, 2011 at 3:40 pm - Reply

     And oh, the name of my essay is:  The Church Is Dead, Long Live the Church!

  40. William James May 17, 2011 at 5:42 am - Reply

    Eventually, if the LDS Church wishes to maintain a committed membership, it is simply going to have to change its positions and teachings on a multitude of issues.  Stop condemning masturbation, period.  Stop the overbroad condemnation of pornography, and recognize that it actually has beneficial uses.  Admit that denial of the priesthood to blacks was an error of men, and not a doctrine from God.  Admit that coerced polygyny was an error of men, and not a doctrine of God.  Admit that the BoM may not be what it purports to be, even if it does contain the word of God and true teachings.  Actively encourage members to fully consider church history, and concede the points that must be conceded.  Abondon the condemnation of homosexuality, and allow God-sanctioned civil unions between committed gay couples.  Accept that the law of tithing does NOT demand that people in difficult financial circumstances donate 10% of their income in order to be worthy to participate in temple ordinances.  Give women true leadership positions in the church and seriously consider giving them priesthood ordinations.  Stop branding people as apostates just because they voice their honest opinions which happen to contradict church leaders.  End the cult of personality surrounding the 15 apostles.  Get political on the things that really matter- hunger, poverty, slavery, war, disease, corporate greed and corruption, etc.  Stop pressuring young, naive people to marry prematurely. 

    If I were the president of the LDS Church, I think those are just some of the things I would do.   The church would likely lose some conservative members, but I believe its membership would explode overall because it would be able to reach the hearts of many more honest people out there who are wanting a church whose values are not so repulsive to secular humanism.

    William James

  41. Dan May 17, 2011 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    John, you asked about other reasons people leave the church. What started me questioning was learning about methods of psychological persuasion (I read Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini) and realized that the church uses a lot of them!

  42. Anonymous May 18, 2011 at 3:54 am - Reply

    I’m not sure I understand what “uncorrelated” mormons is supposed to mean.  I have been true and faithful to my covenants regardless of what history I have learned about the church.  You can’t expect it to come out with all its dirty laundry!  I am willing to bet that each of you hides your dirty laundry in a hamper like my wife does ours.

    • Valkirisong May 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm - Reply

       How about washing it out, so it can be useful, and stop smelling up the house?

  43. Jonathan M inalanddownunder June 12, 2011 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    I’ll admit to not having listened to/viewed any of John’s podcasts to date (a fact I need to quickly alter) but, as a Reform Jewish convert to the  Church more than 35 years ago, is it too much to hope that a parallel formal service-holding ‘Reform Mormon’ community might emerge in the foreseeable future? I truly would love to see this happen. Failing that, those who wish the only real organized liberal ‘mormon’ alternative is the CofC….

  44. Jonathan M inalanddownunder June 14, 2011 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    I have just now viewed the powerpoint presentation and lo and behold, it was gratifying to me to see that Reform Judaism was indeed mentioned. I really think this could be the way to go! Problem for me, is that I live in Melbourne, Australia and I’m by nature more of a follower than an ‘initiative-taker’/leader……but perhaps there may be a small handful of Mormons/PostMormons etc. interested in the concept of Reform Mormonism? Probably wishful thinking on my part. Time will tell.

  45. Andrea June 27, 2011 at 1:33 am - Reply

    If Reform Judaism can come out of a heritage/tradition of being God’s chosen people, surely Reform Mormonism (or whatever) could come from a heritage of the Restoration. That’s where our tradition begins, whether we believe in it literally or not. 

  46. Kevin July 3, 2011 at 11:06 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your presentation, John. Your suggestion that the day is coming when we all will find ourselves uncorrelated Mormons was a stunning moment of insight for me. 

    Something you said about your own doubts caught my ear and reminded me of one of my favorite Mormon Stories podcasts. You confessed to being troubled that there has never been any evidence found supporting the historicity of the Book of Mormon. It’s true—not a shred of evidence has been found in MesoAmerica to support the Book of Mormon. However, if you take a look at Rod Meldrum’s work exploring the evidence of the Book of Mormon taking place in the central United States, you may find what you’re looking for. https://www.bookofmormonevidence.org/index.php  Rich, delightful evidence on many fronts await your exploration.

    When I heard you mention how this troubled you I immediately thought of your podcast interview with the master Mason who is also a member of the Church and how his information put to rest any doubt or concern for you over the intertwining of Masonry and Mormonism. For me, Meldrum’s work has done just that for the question of the historicity of the Book of Mormon. 

    • Mark September 13, 2011 at 3:11 am - Reply

      Kevin, what’s even more fascinating than Meldrum’s priestcraft is reading the Maxwell foundation and Fair LDS articles completely condemning the “research.”

      The Fair LDS articles can be found here: https://www.fairlds.org/DNA_Evidence_for_Book_of_Mormon_Geography/

      The Maxwell Foundation article can be found here: https://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=22&num=1&id=793

      • Kevin September 13, 2011 at 5:04 am - Reply

        I’m content to let the MesoAmerican partisans stake their opinions on the wrong side of history. We all get to choose. It’s odd, however, that they would ignore Joseph Smith’s opinion that the Book of Mormon took place in the central United States. It’s a pity to see so many experiencing a crisis of faith in part because there is no physical evidence of the Book of Mormon in MesoAmerica. It’s like becoming disgruntled with Boston because an urban legend placing the Statue of Liberty there—could never be verified.

        To me what’s more interesting even than Fair LDS and the Maxwell Institute beating up on Meldrum’s ideas is the corroborating research supporting Meldrum’s conclusions emerging from a number of non-member scientists in a variety of fields.

  47. dpc August 26, 2011 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    I think Mr. Dehlin should just be honest and admit that he wants to set up, for all intents and purposes, another church separate from the LDS one.

    • Anonymous August 26, 2011 at 8:29 pm - Reply

      Thanks, but hardly. The last thing we need (in my view) are more churches.
      Plus I still attend the LDS church, and am hopeful that the LDS church will keep making positive strides.


  48. dpc August 30, 2011 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    Mr. Dehlin, I might be out in left field, but your response does not seem to square with what I see presented here or your statements in other forums.  We could argue over the semantics of the word ‘church,’ but I’ll stick to a literalist translation of the Greek word meaning a community of believers and suggest that your efforts look increasingly like a movement towards creating a new and separate community of believers.  Or more precisely, it appears that you would like to form a new sect within Mormonism.  Maybe you don’t have plans or even the inclination to formally organize a separate corporate entity, but it isn’t a stretch to predict that some of your sympathizers might be tempted to make that move.  In fact, at a certain point, if your proposed communities of support reaches a certain number of members, I fail to see how they could reject the ‘authoritarianism’ of the existing church and still maintain a desire to be connected to it.  So please explain to me, if you wouldn’t mind, exactly how you want to build communities of support that leave behind the “less desirable” things you don’t agree with while still being connected to source of those less desirable things, especially given your view that most Mormons will unavoidably become uncorrelated in the coming years.  I believe that your Power Point presentation may have inadvertently omitted that part.

    • Anonymous August 30, 2011 at 6:05 pm - Reply


      All I can say is that I have zero intent or desire to form a church. Zero.

  49. […] order phenomenon for a while…but not John Dehlin has a new (catchy) name for his take on it: uncorrelated Mormon. His goals are, as usual, pretty ambitious, as he has begun to create Local Communities of Support […]

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