amyallebest400Amy McPhie Allebest is a lifelong member of the Church, a returned missionary, a temple-married wife and mother of four, a writer, and a graduate student at Stanford University. Last month, her article “Dear Mormon Man, Tell Me What You Would DO” went viral and caught Mormon Stories’ attention as a unique voice in Mormon Feminism.

In this episode, we discuss Amy’s trajectory from her unquestioningly trusting childhood through her tumultuous, prolonged faith transition, brought on by the problematic language of the temple and a deep dive into Church History, to her current commitment to remain active in the Church despite her rejection of Patriarchy.

Check out more of Amy’s writing in this Fall’s issue of Exponent II, and on, a publication on

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  1. G- November 20, 2016 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Great interview! Women need to speak about this – openly.

    This is the picture that sums it up for me and what it is all about as a woman in the LDS church, yesterday, today and forever. When you can actually visualize it, it turns your stomach.

  2. Jeralee November 20, 2016 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    Such a great interview John, thank you for this interview.
    The timing of both the recording and the release of this interview is so interesting to me.
    No way you could have known at the time (including the results of the Presidential election), and so thought provoking.
    Amy’s voice speaks for my thoughts and feelings about feminism so much more clearly than some of the louder voices I hear.
    Again, I do appreciate this interview. <3

  3. kinglamoni November 20, 2016 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    Two thoughts,

    1) Its really long! I also got tired half way through. Cant imagine what its like to live it for 40 years.

    2) “Just bow your head and say no.” Who new there was another option?

    Great interview.

  4. Amber Shepherd November 20, 2016 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    I have had many of these same thought processes & I, like you, have to get to the bottom of them or they eat away at me. I have put them into the avenue of “I have a testimony of….” like a testimonial on a product you buy & love & why you are recommending it to everyone.

    I have always felt this immense love from God that is unwavering no matter what choices I am making in my life. I remember the 1st time I read the old testament in it’s entirety & it leaving such a bad feeling in my heart because that was not the God I knew in my heart. He was not this un-compassionate, angry, revengeful man. He was a father who wants his children to learn, wants them to progress, a man who see’s their weaknesses & turns them into strengths. Along those lines when I read the New Testament in its entirety I could feel how Jesus & Father are one in purpose. How similar they are in demeanor & I too loved what an advocate Christ was for women. How all that he was saying & doing was radical for his time & he did not hesitate or hold back. How He could of slipped into a domineering role & his apostles would remind him of the mindset of the day & he would let them know they had the wrong perspective…well an incomplete one.

    So when I 1st heard about women throwing protests to get the priesthood with such passion I though I would read about their perspective. I thought about things I have heard or read over the years that gave me a different come from. I could see how this was triggering so many women into this energy of deprivation & in all reality it made me sad that they felt that way. I don’t remember the order in which I heard these things over the years…just that they are all layers…which is how God teaches…and then over time they blend together into one beautiful masterpiece…

    Women are more like angels–Boyd K Packer

    In the initiatory women are forgiven every jot & tittle & men are only forgiven as much as they

    Mothers are responsible for the fabric of society.

    Motherhood is the other side of godhood as we work in combination with Father to create bodies for our brothers & sisters spirits to come into this lifes experience.

    Men need to be given authority to help them rise to their responsibility level.

    The power of prayer of a righteous mother.

    I have had this grinding feeling from he 1st time I went to the temple. I had a hard time going back after the 1st time. Once I wrapped my brain around “the nature of God” & that He doesn’t want to offend me. He doesn’t want to put me in my place. He doesn’t want me to be anything less than my magnificent self I started looking at every layer that bothered me through different lens. All of this of course took years it was never an overnight ah-ha moment..ever..

    So the whole Adam & Eve story. I know I have so much more to learn…but I thought about how I have this insatiable desire to learn & to know..& to learn for myself…if I take that energy & apply it to that story in the way that it is told I can see myself being pricked by my curiosity…applying WORDS that Father had said to us before…not just doing things “because someone told me to” & wanting the experience myself. (Isn’t that the same energy we are feeling now & calling it following patriarchy blindly?) So if I put myself in Eve’s place I believe I would of made the same decision. Do I like that somehow that depicts that I was duped by satan..NO! Does he use our curiosities & lack of understanding against us..Absolutely! When you know better you do better…Do I think somehow Adam was the more valiant spirit..No..Do I think that we know both men & women who have personalities that can learn from others mistakes or take advice out of love & respect & honor it. Yes! Do I know others (like myself) who have to learn things the hard way..absolutely…So it has more to do with personality & less to do with the sex of the individual.

    Originally the division of men & women really bothered me but over time I have come to the understanding that for the majority women have a deep sense of commitment & responsibility to their children (Just look at the millions of single mothers raising children) So if I look a it as an opportunity for God to help his sons develop that part of themselves that innately comes in most women it makes me feel differently. If I look at the structure that God puts in everything & see how the “rank” has more to do with ego not with who actually gets the job done it takes a sharp edge off. Like if you exchanged it for a sense of rhythm…lets say women are born with that…then from a parents perspective you would not be looking for ways to teach that to your daughters because they were born with it…it is a godly attribute that you would want to foster in your sons if that makes sense?

    I am all about women’s power but I don’t believe it ever has to come at the price of taking something away from men. There are ingredients that each of us bring to make a wonderful end product. The eb & flow, the yin & yang . If we were all meant to do all things there would be no need for there to be different sexes. We could all just be unisex & then work on developing all parts of everything.

    When all is said & done I ask myself if my soul cares about this or if this is my ego speaking….mostly when I am triggered it is my ego that wants recognition, or clout, or praise…I remember one story I red was a lady saying that she wanted to be the bishop so she could sit up on the stand looking out over her congregation, & she could hear & help people with their problems. I laughed out loud as I thought she has never been in the relief society presidency where she can feel the full weight of that statement. He does get to do those things but he will have to answer to God for all of his decisions & the mantel of all of that you can see takes it’s toll on every bishop I see called. I remember feeling as a RS counselor that I was glad that I was just there to “assist” the RS Pres with her mantel & that weight was hers to direct & delegate. I remember as the Primary President that mantel never left. I dreamt daily about those children & felt the love & worry God had for each little kid. I knew each of their names & situations ( and my brain is terrible with names so that was a small Christmas miracle just in itself*lol*) So while we focus on making our home a heaven on earth, & weaving the fabric of society I think it is a relief to know that we can assist our husbands with their “calling” but that is their responsibility & they can help us with ours but it is ours. And remind ourselves that satan is all about the divide & conquer. What a powerful force we are when we are united. If someone breaks into my house is it sexist for me to want my husband to be the 1st responder? Is it sexist for a father to want his children to have their mother to care for them instead of a business or institution? Is it possible he could stay home & do it while she worked, of course, do I think the job would be done the same, I personally don’t . Do I think I am a different person when I don’t have to focus on paying bills, absolutely. Do i think that I am able to look around & see those in need & be able to make my house a home & create a different energy a safe haven, without a doubt! Do i have such a debt of gratitude that thanks to my husband who is willing to now be the sole provider that I am able to develop another part of myself, absolutely. To me family s another word for TEAM & every member have roles to fill &m things to do. Should I be mad that my finance guy is not doing human resource things? I say no. When each member is empowered to do the things they are best at or interested in you get the full power of people doing things out of passion instead of expectation & you get a different end result. SO I ask myself am I listening to the world in it telling me that there is somehow an imbalance? Well my ego can pick it apart like no tomorrow but my soul can see that the sun shining gives food to the trees growing. That when I feed my ego it gets in the way of my soul growing.

    I am totally triggered by the word “submissive”. it took me years but I can see that is a part of my soul that i need to work on. Being submissive does not mean that I need o be weak, or less than. TO me the saying from a movie that goes something like ” The man is the head but the women is the neck) says it all for me. It brings something good out in men when they feel they are the kings of their castle. (of course some men take this too far but that can be said about most things) Even if we look at this from our “caveman brain” subconsciously we like that they are strong, protective, providers, leaders, confident, fixers, etc..& they will mostly rise to the occasion. Perhaps we are naturally drawn to take over & do things a certain way & so it is in our best interests to let go a little & let someone else develop that part of themselves & in-turn that lets us develop another part of ourselves.

    As for Mother in heaven…I believe you can speak to her whenever you wish. I believe that she is safeguarded by Father. I believe He doesn’t want her name taken in vain. I believe He holds her in a sacred place & He see’s all he blasphemy done in his name, in Christ name, in Mary’s name & if you think about it that is one of the 10 commandments. That has repercussions that we don’t fully comprehend. (Like the Law of the harvest type things, etc.)
    I can’t tell you how many flowers I have looked at & just had the overwhelming sense of a Mother in heaven who “drew them up” at the least. Such intricate detail & beauty & variety. And that Eve is ” the mother of ALL living” is so encompassing.

    I have not yet wrapped my brain completely around polygamy. The only layer I have come to terms with is the BLOOD aspect of things but I know there is so many more layers to delve into. I love that you have articulated publicly your struggle & thought process. I too love words & also the psychology of it all & so I thank you for a look inside your psych in all it’s layers. I am glad to see that you have not let it put out the fire of your faith & that you continue searching for answers to your many questions. *tightest hugs*

    • Bonnie November 20, 2016 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      Amber, this response is a dang blog! Couldn’t get through it!

      • erin December 18, 2016 at 9:57 pm - Reply

        no need to be rude : ) she had things she wanted to say- her thoughts are valid, too

  5. Michael Surkan November 20, 2016 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    Sadly, reform in the LDS church as constituted just isn’t in the cards, at least not at a rate that moves faster than glaciers. The only sane thing for members like Amy who are struggling for air is to leave. Pushing for change will only serve to cause pain and disappointment.

  6. Gary November 21, 2016 at 4:10 am - Reply

    Amy. What a wonderful and uplifting interview! The way that you combine dedication, research, critical thinking, compassion, integrity, fortitude, intelligence and perspective is inspiring! I love your respect for words and their importance. I love the imagery of the tectonic plates. I love how you’re willing to openly cherry pick the Scriptures for the good stuff and discard those pieces that threaten your integrity. I have distanced myself from the Church and I do not consider the Scriptures to be revealed truth, however, I do recognize that they certainly contain truths.

    In both the Scriptures and in the Temple, Eve has been one of my main heroes. She was a critical thinker! She considered two opposing commandments and saw a higher law and lesser law and chose her actions according to the higher law, the commandment that would bring the most good! Then she expressed her decision to Adam after she had already taken action. Like Eve, he considered the situation and acted for the greatest good.

    If someone were to ask me what my favorite scripture from the book of Mormon is, the answer is easy: Jacob 2:17. The verse that precedes the famous “before you seek riches seek the kingdom of God” verse. A verse that was seldom emphasized or directly discussed. It reads:

    “17 Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.”

    When examined, this verse speaks volumes! I love it because it suggests that we need to really know people as well as share our good fortune.
    As a sidenote, John Dehlin, Mormon Stories Podcast has been an excellent way for me to become “familiar with all.” Thank you!

    I was a TBM all my life until a couple of years ago. My most recent calling was teaching in our high priest group once a month from the “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church.” For five years I taught lessons from those manuals and grew more and more concerned at the way the manuals seemed to glorify these men. If the manuals are to be believed these presidents were a perfect example of every principle that they ever taught. I may be exaggerating a bit, but not much. I began to see that presidents of the church were not seers and revelators, that doctrines regarding homosexuality did not square with objective reality, that the fight against marriage equality was a fight to make government adhere to religious doctrines. I saw that these good men, and yes I do see them as very good people, were not seers but blinded by lifetimes of indoctrination. A simple but dramatic example can be found in their instructions to “gain a testimony by bearing it.” Tell people that you believe something even when you don’t, until you hear yourself say it enough times that you begin to believe it? Brethren, can’t you see that is simply brainwashing?

    When it broke, I had no idea that I had put so much on my shelf! It was not just my shelf of questions that broke, it was also my shelf of firm beliefs. What evidence did I really have that allowed me to say what I have said so many times, like: “I know there is a God in Heaven and He loves me?” No actual evidence at all! Just feelings. Emotions. Everything that had fallen was now piled on the table in front of me and it seemed impossible to sort through. My solution? Clear it all away. Every bit of it, then start putting back everything that I could verify was real. I think in the interview you said something to the effect of “you don’t have to do anything the violates your integrity.” Believing assertions without evidence violates my integrity.

    Now, after a full year, it is still entirely blank. I do good because I like good. I feel a greater desire to do meaningful things because I don’t see any way to do them when I am gone. I do believe in hell because I’ve been there. It’s that place where you don’t get a moments rest because you have to juggle contradictory beliefs continuously. I believe in people! They are good! I believe in knowledge. It is the power to overcome fear! I believe in science. It is the power to equip people with the tools of prosperity and communication! I believe that every decade the world gets better!

    I’m sorry to turn this comment into a condensed version of my story. Your interview caused me to look at most of my experiences from an additional positive perspective. You’re awesome and making a difference!

    • Roger Parkinson November 26, 2016 at 3:45 pm - Reply

      Great comment. I love your embrace of goodness.

  7. Kristen November 21, 2016 at 8:08 am - Reply

    Thank you Amy and John for this incredible interview. It was very helpful and healing to listen to someone express so many of my own thoughts and feelings with so much strength, clarity, honesty and humility.
    John, thank you for this work you do. I am sure you know on some level how much hearing discussions like this one helps people (that is why you do this), but it just needs to be reiterated. You are doing such an important work. For some reason, during this interview I found myself feeling emotional for the harm that has been done to you, myself and other by this church. And yet, there was a feeling of real love which reminded me of Rumi and his words: “Out beyond ideas of right and wrong…there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

  8. Cliff Crosland November 21, 2016 at 8:14 am - Reply

    This was so deeply moving! Thank you for sharing your story Amy! Was moved to tears when you talked about striving to live up to the examples of those Revolutionary War era women like Abigail Adams and Phillis Wheatley. Thank you for your courage!

  9. Chiaroscuro November 21, 2016 at 9:07 am - Reply

    This interview resonated so much with my experience as a woman in the church. For years I felt that I was broken and something was wrong with me since I felt uncomfortable with the deeply ingrained patriarchy in the church and beat myself up for not being the right kind of woman who felt totally fulfilled by church service and raising my children. It is so validating to hear it expressed so eloquently in a public forum. I’d love to hear more stories from women and their personal/spiritual development

  10. Miguel November 21, 2016 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Interesting listen. Do you do any exmormon stories as well?

  11. Steph November 21, 2016 at 10:29 am - Reply

    I’ve been waiting for this podcast ever since I read Amy’s essay. I made my husband read her essay and he was shocked as well that he never realized the wording in the temple. I loved the comparison to The Giver (great book!) and how many women in the church remain stagnant and don’t see the issues there, but once you look at the issues it becomes so blatantly obvious. I got emotional when she talked about her girls and how she didn’t want this for them. I often feel very similarly about my own daughter. Thank you for this podcast!

  12. Anon E Mouse November 21, 2016 at 11:08 am - Reply

    What was the name of the author and book she mentioned around 30 minutes into the second part?

    • Kelly November 21, 2016 at 11:50 am - Reply

      Sue monk Kidd

    • jamie November 22, 2016 at 8:00 pm - Reply

      The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd. It’s a must read.

  13. DS November 21, 2016 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    It’s interesting that John had not picked up on the temple wording. Having been hundreds of times, I have it memorized. A lot of the problems that women (and men) have with the temple would be overcome if they simple understood the underlying symbolize. For example: We are told to consider ourselves “as if we where Adam AND Eve.” That “AND” is so important! Here is what it means. I hope those that read this will understand the sacred nature of this topic. I hope it will bring understanding and healing for women who feel they are being demeaned. Please considers this: Adam represents our SPIRIT (strong and wanting to obey God), and Eve represents the BODY (the natural man). Eve (BODY) is the Mother of all living (Mortal or Natural Man). It is the BODY (which Eve represents that succumbs to Satan’s temptation). Remember that this is a “story.” We don’t know if it is even real (how it really happened). The “story” is meant to “teach you.” When Eve covenants to “hearken to the council of her husband, as he hearkens unto the Father.” What she (ALL OF US) are doing is promising to have our BODY (Natural Man) hearken to our Spirit (represented by Adam), which promises to hearken to the Father. The meaning is NOT to put down women or make them subjugated to their husband, but the BODY (Eve) promises to hearken unto the SPIRIT (ADAM) as he (your spirit) hearkens unto God. Again, consider that word “and” which I talked about above. This covenant is meant for BOTH man (husband) and women (wife).

    There are many other hidden meanings in the temple that could clear up many peoples problems if they had “ears to hear, and eyes to see.” Pray that you can see through the areas (problem items) that concern you, and find there hidden meaning. It just might surprise you that you just didn’t understand, even after 20 years of going to the temple! Hope this helps someone.

    • Elder Van Halen November 21, 2016 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      DS…….with all the respect I can muster, I think that sounds like BS……..that all started from JS. Your optimistic apologetic tone is dismissive to everyone that doesn’t have ears to hear. I first went through the temple weeks before my mission in 1980. I hated the experience but kept a good face for my parents like a good son is supposed to do. I never ever ever returned to do an initiatory session in my life. I thought that experience was awful having old men put oil on my body under my poncho. Yes…. I know everything changed in the 90’s because the church gave into pressure from members complaining about how inappropriate it was.

      How do you explain your Adam/Spirit concept and the Eve/Natural Man concept to the old penalties we all signed up for when we would act out how we would kill ourselves rather than reveal signs and tokens of the priesthood? It doesn’t fly with me. When you say the story is meant to teach you…. I am drawing a blank as to why the temple ceremonies completely bypass the atonement of Jesus Christ. It is my understanding that Christ’s atonement covers everyone. But apparently according to the arrogance of the temple message, his atonement only applies to temple endowed members who have studied and memorized the script and story as you have. You can only come into Gods kingdom (The Celestial Kingdom) if you get all the passwords and secret combinations right. For women, they can only get in if their husbands remember their new name correctly and allow her to come forward through the veil. The rest of us are SOL.

      I have ears to hear and eyes to see. I have given myself permission to explore the dark history of Joseph Smith, Polygamy, Polyandry, The Book of Abraham, and many other disconcerting things of the church’s truth claims. It all comes up short or outside of the message of the atonement of Jesus Christ. I will risk my soul on Christ and His atonement, not on what Joseph Smith learned at his Masonic Lodge Classes!

      • DS November 21, 2016 at 6:43 pm - Reply

        I am sorry you feel so bad about the temple. I can see were you are coming from. I’ve been down that road too. We all struggle to some degree with all this. Most are disappointed in the temple the first time they go. Pres. McKay even was! Maybe if you would have allowed yourself to return often as we are taught you might have change your opinion of thing. It sounds like you still are not allowing yourself to understand the experiance and the messages taught. Yes, I understand all the Masonic connection. I could list everything I’ve done in the Church and life (I’m a history teacher) to show I’m not stupid. I have spent years with the stuff you mentioned. Yes, it takes you down the rabbit hole. I have no idea who JS is by the way. I thought it interesting that Amy said she studies in Jerusalem. I also spent four months in Israel with BYU. It has only been because of that wonderful time that I have stayed in the Church. I because so depressed on my mission that I ended up spending four weeks locked up in a mental hospital in Provo, so to say I don’t understand your expereiance with the Church or the temple is a understatement. Believe me when I say I have been in the hole, and very deep in. Only by the grace of God am I still on this earth. I understand as few will what the Church can do to you (for good and ill). I went to the temple before the 1990 change, so yes I remember all that was taken out.

        I feel your pain brother as few do. I have been to the point of ending my life and blamed the Church for it. I still struggle daily. Check out the site Put your focus on Christ. Stop blaming the Church for things that have gone wrong in your life, or didn’t turn out as you thought (I am telling this to myself too). It’s okay to say “no.” Do what can. Go were you find spiritual happiness. God is more loving and kind than you believe. He is a successful Father and God. More people will make it back to Him than will not! Throw out your negative perceptions of the temple. The things you listed as troubling items, can be seen in a different light that you given them. All religions have things that are hard. Jesus asked the Twelve if they also would leave him after he had taught some teachings. Anyway, I could go on, but will stop. I hope you can see I have been to the bottom and am still trying to climb out of that hole. We all seem to fall back in. It’s the continual climb back out that counts. Christ will one day extend his hand and pull you in, as taught in the temple – at the veil (there you go – the atonement taught in the temple, that you thought was not there). I hope you are not offended by anything I said, as none was intended. Point is: been there, done that, trying to move on. Remember God is love. There is good and bad in the modern LDS Church. Stay, leave, fight, we are all given agency – and that agency has cause so many problems for us all. Only a God (Christ) will be able to fix it all. Joseph, to Thomas they all had agency and there is both God mixed with Man in all religions. Just remember He loves you. It will all work out.

      • Shelama December 4, 2016 at 11:53 pm - Reply

        (Interesting. The thing that first led me out of the Mormon church and Christianity was “the atonement of Jesus Christ.” The more I studied the Bible the more it became clear to me that Judaism had been right about Jesus and and Paul the NT and Christianity all along. That was at least helpful in turning the disdain and contempt for Mormonism and Joseph Smith that I might otherwise have felt into a mild curiosity into the religious genius of Smith. But I admit… the disdain and contempt crept in anyway.)

    • Dan Lowe December 6, 2016 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      DS, I call that gas-lighting. Because it still doesn’t explain things like:


      Ephesians 5:22:

      22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.


      Colossians 3:18:

      18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.


      1 Peter 3:1:

      1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

      1 Timothy 2:11-13:

      11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

      12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

      13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.


      And here is something from the Adam and Eve story:

      Genesis 3:16:

      16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.


      But there is more:


      Boys are cleaner than girls:

      Leviticus 12:1-5:

      1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

      2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.

      3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.

      4 And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.

      5 But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.


      Men are worth more than women:

      Leviticus 27:1-7:

      1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

      2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, the persons shall be for the Lord by thy estimation.

      3 And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary.

      4 And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels.

      5 And if it be from five years old even unto twenty years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels.

      6 And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver.

      7 And if it be from sixty years old and above; if it be a male, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels.


      When counting numbers, only include the males. Females don’t count:

      Numbers 3:15:

      15 Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them.


      Men get the inheritance before the women do:

      Numbers 27:6-11:

      6 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

      7 The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father’s brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them.

      8 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter.

      9 And if he have no daughter, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his brethren.

      10 And if he have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his father’s brethren.

      11 And if his father have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his kinsman that is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it: and it shall be unto the children of Israel a statute of judgment, as the Lord commanded Moses.


      And with that, I leave you this link to an Ensign article from 1973:

      Now, are you going to tell me how all that I have quoted is ONE BIG MISUNDERSTANDING still? The thing is, I just posted a tiny fraction of this type of stuff.

      • Carrie December 7, 2016 at 3:48 pm - Reply

        This is exactly my thoughts. There is absolutely nothing in religion to say that God believes in what Amy wants. I wish it weren’t so. This is what led me to be atheist. As a woman I could not agree with christianity and how they fit women into the gospel. If I am wrong then I don’t want to worship that God anyway and will gladly go to hell. Yup. :)

      • Wondering Wanderer December 9, 2016 at 7:08 pm - Reply

        Agreed. The ancient scriptures you spotlighted are the basis for, and the origin of, the current sexism and patriarchal structure in the LDS church. Thank you for taking the time to list them and the Ensign article, and for not being afraid to offend someone by speaking out.

        The fact that by openly dissenting, a member can be excommunicated, seen as a traitor to the cause, discredited as sinful or misled, and his relationships with family and friends adversely affected, reveals the tyranny over our lives that religious traditions can wield.

        In religion people find a support group to help them get through this life, and a reassurance that there is life after death. To many, that is all that matters. In exchange for community and family support, and for the hope of eternal life, people are often willing to ignore, rationalize, or accept almost anything in their religion that might be amiss.

        It is not good enough for me anymore that churches do some good and have some good intentions. The damages done are what matter a great deal to me, especially when the actions of the church, which my name is attached to, do not exemplify the Christlike principles it espouses, and when its “inspired” writings, leaders, and policies do not really reflect my genuine convictions.

  14. Sam Young November 21, 2016 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy,

    Highly interesting. I’m a privileged white male priesthood holder. Feminist issues have not been front and center in my mind. Thanks for helping me understand and empathize. I have a long way to go on this one.

    But, I can relate to looking for ways to stay in the church. I really appreciated the perspectives you shared.

    You encouraged women to express their voice. That they don’t need permission to speak. Well, I think that applies to both men and women. As a man, I have found our culture grates and punishes when someone offers an opinion that goes agains the concensus. At least in my part of the country.

    I love your daughter’s wisdom regarding moving to Canada because of Trump’s election. She says that now it’s even more important that your family stay to fight for the vulnerable and those on the margins. That’s been one of my rationalizations for staying in the church, especially after last November’s gay exclusion policy.

    Perhaps the church can’t be changed from the top down. However, it just might be changed from the bottom up by means of the very Law that Christ mandated for the governance of the church—the Law of Common Consent. 242 members voted opposed during October’s General Conference. One in the conference center and 241 in local venues. 310 are now prepared to vote opposed at conferences in 2017. You can see who they are here:

    You mention that many of your friends have left the church. Obviously, they have voted their opinion with their feet. 310 other members have decided to stay in the church and vote with their hands. That number’s growing. To me, one of the most gorgeous commandments Jesus gave as a part of the restoration is the this Law of Consent. It’s time that we as a church fully embrace it. But, this will not happen from the top down. It will only occur by the general membership finding and raising their own voice and authority.

    All my best as you continue your journey!

  15. Tracie November 22, 2016 at 6:09 am - Reply

    This is exactly where I am and I am so thankful Amy is telling her story and it is shared here. I wish I’d gotten to know her in Jerusalem!

  16. Draperville November 22, 2016 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    I think this two-episode podcast interview with Amy is a landmark for Mormon Stories (and for me and my wife). It documents a young Mormon woman’s experience navigating and researching the origins and culture of patriarchy in the Mormon church. The key element here is that she is a YOUNG, smart, rational Mormon woman with above average “Mormon-Cred” who has figured out that Patriarchy, particularly the Mormon brand is not the way of God. My dream is that every young Mormon woman can have some exposure to the Amys of the church who have figured it out and are modeling rational thought processes in doing so. Amy is using critical thinking rather than emotion, “a burning bosom” or “the spirit” to reach some very important conclusions about her life and her church. I hope my own daughters would choose to listen to this someday and realize the cliff they are hanging from has a drop of only a foot and that’s quite manageable.

  17. H- November 22, 2016 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    I think this might be one of my favorite episodes ever, John. Certainly ranks in the top 5! Thank you for sharing your story, Amy. I can relate on so many levels. You have inspired me to keep writing and keep doing the lateral work. I just received a new church calling and while I am so irritated with the overt sexism I’ve been feeling since being set apart Sunday, listening to you, Amy, helps me to see this opportunity with new eyes and to commit to the work it will take to use this new “platform” and challenge myself to grow. Sincere thank you!

  18. Scott Turley November 22, 2016 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    I’ve only listed to the first part of the first podcast, but so much of this resonates (as a man with plenty of women in my life). I need to have my wife listen to this. I see far too much deference with women, to the patriarchy, to male leadership. I also have three daughters and I want them to feel fully empowered to do all they can.

    This is a great podcast.

  19. Melanie Lindholm November 23, 2016 at 1:27 am - Reply

    What amazing interviews! Thank you so much! So much of what Amy said resonated with me! I experienced many of the same thoughts/feelings but Amy was able to articulate her experience so much more beautifully than I could. I can’t thank you both enough for having these conversations!

  20. RM November 23, 2016 at 4:33 am - Reply

    Thank you for your daughter’s comment about the election. Your interview was amazing but this part struck me. My husband is from Mexico and our children are at a bilingual school. We speak Spanish at home and the fear has been out of control for my husband lately. Knowing there are people who love us and will stand with us is a huge deal. Recent events have left him scared to go to church. Thank you!

  21. Kendall November 23, 2016 at 7:48 am - Reply

    Wow! Such great episodes. It amazes me how much I didn’t notice growing up in the church and going through the temple as a man. Thank you so much for this.

  22. Bert November 23, 2016 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Very inspiring.

  23. Scott Turley November 23, 2016 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    I’m finishing the podcast and wanted to push back a little bit on some of the conclusions to trust only in one’s one intuition and conscience. A part of this I love, but another part of me realizes it may be an over-reaction to giving all of our opinions and ideas over to our prophets and scripture. Because how untrustworthy are we? Especially since we are all just as flawed and in some cases more so than others around us.

    Which is fine, but there’s something about institutions, culture and community that provides a foundational baseline – not a perfect one, but a vetted baseline. I value my institutional memberships and even those I don’t belong to because they consolidate and vet expertise and act as a powerful balance to my own worse impulses.

    It’s why I don’t think it’s good to just go out on our own. I’m not saying Amy McPhie Allebest believes this, but it’s the way it came out in a fairly casual conversation (so I get that)…

    • Mark A November 23, 2016 at 10:39 pm - Reply

      I understand that different listeners will to interpret Amy’s words differently, but I liked Amy’s comment that all we have to go on is our own conscience and our own perception. Each of us has to interpret for ourselves any spiritual feelings that we may experience. We each have to decide how much we are going to trust information that we get from the LDS Church and from other institutions.

      • Scott Turley November 24, 2016 at 1:42 pm - Reply

        I liked it too, but I’m extra sensitive to this because I worry we’re on the whole making an over-correction, not just here, but systemically. A lot of people are leaving church. I think we need church, not just for us personally, but to live for a variety of reasons.

        Also, each of us needs something to challenge us, to conflict us, to rub up against our own opinions. We’re all so deeply, deeply fallible. It’s this middle way where we both honor our own feelings and we honor our heritage and the institutions we support and belong to. Not just Mormonism but where-ever we find ourselves.

        I don’t think this is necessarily meant to be a push-back, more a clarification and a supplement to the thoughts I heard in the podcast.

        • erin December 18, 2016 at 10:04 pm - Reply

          Maybe the people who need it stay in, and the people who don’t- don’t.

          Do addicts need their drug? What does need mean?

          We need food to live. That doesn’t mean I need specific food, or even all food.

          • Scott Turley December 19, 2016 at 5:45 pm

            Thanks Erin, this wording is off a bit “I think we need church, not just for us personally, but to live for a variety of reasons.”

            I just think to have a full, well balanced life we need to incorporate spirituality. And I believe spirituality should have both individual and communal components to it.

            I also think our societies function better with well functioning, empowered and vocal spiritual voices – churches and church leaders who are in the conversation with the scientists, academics, politicians, etc.

            We just don’t know anything, any of us, we need to talk our problems using every tool we’ve got.

    • Wondering Wanderer December 1, 2016 at 12:44 am - Reply

      Scott, the institutions that create and enforce codes of conduct to protect us from being harmed by one another, institutions that defend our right to freedom of thought and speech, institutions that provide education and seek to irradicate ignorance and superstition, and institutions that provide support for those in need are definitely of mutual benefit to individuals and society as a whole. Religions may serve some of those functions some of the time, but ultimately their main focus all of the time is on indoctrinating minds, winning hearts, retaining loyalty, and collecting the cash to secure the perpetuation of the institution and its traditions. As a means to that end, the best interest of the individual and the very ethics and principles taught by the institution can often go by the wayside. The LDS church makes no bones about it . . . it requires one to sacrifice everything to the church, all of one’s time, talents, and means, as a condition of salvation. It asks us to suspend common sense, logic, and reason, to accept the stories of the scriptures literally, to ignore or dismiss any science that contradicts scripture or doctrine, to follow and support leaders be they right or wrong, to be silent if we have questions and doubts, to acquiesce to homophobia, and sexism. We don’t need this kind of institution. There are so many needs in the world, so many good causes, and so many good people whom we could join in working on them, that we need not hide out in a protective but stifling bubble and “lay waste our powers” on a belief oriented organization rather than an action oriented life.

      • Scott Turley December 1, 2016 at 11:31 am - Reply

        Regarding this quote:

        “Religions may serve some of those functions some of the time, but ultimately their main focus all of the time is on indoctrinating minds, winning hearts, retaining loyalty, and collecting the cash to secure the perpetuation of the institution and its traditions. ”

        First of all, think this is a cynical view of religions and one I just don’t share. I think religions like all institutions do worry about self-preservation, but I also feel most of the time, most religions are actually trying their best to do good and help people find God. Second, I think this can easily describe non-religious institutions who are also worried about many of those same concerns.

        I also don’t share you view on the church, not that it’s perfect and is prone to some of what you describe, but I also think it has and can improve over time. I also believe again that much of this is not unique to religions, including ours.

        All institutions are flawed and prone to the human flaws of those who run them. I don’t think we should completely give up our identity and agency to the institutions and religions we belong to. Likewise, I don’t think we should divorce ourselves from all of these memberships either because individually we are all subject to prejudice, fear, sexism, etc. We’re all evolving.

        I’m just suggesting some natural checks and balances. I believe that religions have a unique perspective and goal and deserve a seat at the collective table. We would all be worse off without them whether or not we actively attend, in my opinion.

        • Wondering Wanderer December 1, 2016 at 11:14 pm - Reply

          What you call cynicism I see as reality. Vetting? Let’s vet the Bible. The LDS church adamantly insists that we wholly embrace the Bible and accept its stories literally. Yet these are writings which were set down thousands of years ago by men who thought the earth was flat, and whose explanations of the phenomena in the world around them, and opinions about life, and death, and afterward were shaped by their imaginations, fashioned into myths, and based on prejudices, superstitions, emotions, fears. Plenty of vetting of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith has been done, and I don’t think they have passed muster. I do not agree that we are all better off with religion in the world. I think we would be much better off with a world full of people who value knowledge, facts, common sense, reason, freedom, and equality more than they do myths, and who let emotional impulses, their feelings, and religious fervor (all of which can shift with the wind) have less influence upon their decisions and the conduct of their lives. I know too many people who have been worse off because of religion, and many who feel lucky to have survived psychologically and emotionally in spite of religion. This is because of the emotional screws it turns, how it plays upon our fears, the guilting and blackmail applied, the opportunity for misuse and abuse it provides mere mortal flawed men. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. What greater, more absolute power can men have than to convince others they know the mind and will of God and speak for him? Along with whatever good influence religion may have, there always seems to be the need and the attempt to force the human mind, to pressure people to believe in and accept absurdities, almost as if it were a test like fraternity initiations to see how far they are willing to go, how much intellectual integrity they are willing to sacrifice, how much subjugation of their own dignity and individuality they are willing to endure, in order to belong to the tribe. Most religions always seems to have to involve some crazy rituals, without which you can not make it to heaven. There is ecclesiastical, peer, and family pressure not to leave, not to question, not to criticize but just accept for the sake of harmony, because the institution is very fragile without a united one-mindedness. But that one-mindedness stifles diversity, variety, openness, creativity, discussion, growth, progress, change. Then there is always that huge emotional trump card . . . if you don’t be good and go along, you will break your mother’s heart. There is the implication in the LDS church that it is OK, that it is for your own good, to not be completely genuine or true to yourself, that it is better to bear your testimony even if you do not believe it, so that by repetition you will convince yourself. If churches are just as flawed as secular institutions and church leaders are just as flawed and evolving just like the rest of us, why follow their their guidance, why trust their inspiration, why revere and follow them, rather than our own instincts, intellect, and common sense? I believe it is sheer folly to ever attribute to mere mortals the right or ability to speak for God. That is what makes the separation of church and state so important, and it is what makes the difference between secular and religious organizations significant. You can suspend the credentials and certification of a man who is doing a bad job at his profession. You can vote out of office a political leader. How do you override a chosen mouthpiece of God? How dangerous is it for him to have his calling and election made sure, and for him to believe that after that point, he can never lose his salvation, no matter what he might do? Just some food for thought.

          • Heth December 3, 2016 at 12:01 pm

            This is mostly in reply to the beginning of this comment, to add a little perspective. The LDS church is not adamant that the Bible must be taken literally. In fact because we don’t necessarily see all stories as factual, we too believe the Bible was changed throughout history, whether intentionally or not, and that’s why we have the Joseph Smith translation, the Book of Mormon, and continuing revelation to give clarification or add to the teachings of the Bible. Other religions really don’t like LDS people because of our non literal view of the Bible.

          • Wondering Wanderer December 8, 2016 at 9:06 am

            Heth, what scriptural stories do you know of that have been officially treated as NOT factual by the church? I joined the church in my mid twenties and was very active for forty-two years, and I have never ever heard a church official characterize the LDS view of the Bible as non literal. You may be confused about what the 8th Article of Faith of the church means. It states “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.” It does NOT say “We do not take the word of God literally.”

            If correctly translated scriptures are the word of God, then those scriptures must be true and real, because God would only tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, wouldn’t he? If the scriptures include tall tales, the implication is that God is a liar. All religions back themselves into this same kind of corner. When their “holy writ” contains absurd claims and very hard-to-believe stories, the only alternatives to concluding that God is a liar are (1) believing that the scriptures are NOT His words, or (2) choosing to believe the scriptures no matter how unbelievable. That is why Mark Twain said, “Faith is believing in what you know ain’t so.”

            Regarding why some people don’t like Mormons, maybe the Mormons they know are unlikeable. If what they don’t like is the Mormon church, it is probably about polygamy, discriminating against blacks and homosexuals, patriarchy and sexism, abuse of women and children swept under the rug to protect priesthood holders, the secrecy of temples and the ridiculousness of garments, and/or the beliefs and practices that contradict those of other Christian churches, such as personal accountability rather than original sin, and different degrees of glory according to our works rather than being saved by grace with equal salvation for all simply by professing belief in Christ.

            The last church meeting I attended was a Gospel Doctrine class in 2014 where the story of Noah and the flood was presented as a true story of a literal event, not as an allegory or a cautionary tale. The literal interpretation of the Noah story by the church is affirmed by the LDS Bible Dictionary. Under the topic of “Noah,” it states “The authenticity of the Genesis account of the flood is confirmed by latter-day revelation as recorded in Moses 7:34, 42-43; and 8:8-30. Cf. Ether 13:2.” The Book of Ether is in the Book of Mormon (which is the word of God, according to the 8th Article of Faith). The Book of Moses, found in the Pearl of Great Price, is an excerpt from Joseph Smith’s Inspired Revision of the Holy Bible (which is the word of God, according to the 8th Article of Faith).

        • Wondering Wanderer December 2, 2016 at 12:46 pm - Reply

          One more comment. It is regarding finding God. Consider the diaries of Mother Theresa. Seen as one of the most spiritual and exemplary of Christians to have walked the Earth, this unselfish soul who dedicated her entire life to the poor, in the end, was very disappointed and disenchanted with the Catholic Church and even doubted the existence of God.
          The gap between your and my thoughts can probably not be bridged, Scott, because I am pretty sure there is no God to be found, and there is no afterlife, especially as they have been fashioned by religious gurus. I am content to say I really do not know, and I don’t think that anyone else can really know that either. I am OK with uncertainty, with the assumption that death is final, and with the belief that we should make the most of the time we have now, and fight for a better world rather than just accepting current conditions and looking forward to a better life after death. Just as children must eventually leave behind their belief in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, I cannot hang onto religious myths just because it is more pleasant and less scary to do so than to confront the abyss.
          Once upon a time I shared your viewpoint, so I can respectfully agree to disagree with you. But now I think that if there were a God worth worshipping, he would not be found in a church. He would be out in the world fighting to stamp out injustice and looking for real life, real time ways to solve the world’s problems. He would be helping people on a battlefield, veterans suffering from PTSD, refugees fleeing a war zone, prisoners in jail, people dying of AIDS or cancer in a hospice center, patients in a hospital, children and women taken into sexual slavery, people living under bridges and on the streets, and those in mental institutions, political prisoners who are suffering because they have fought for freedom and civil rights, those caught in disaster areas . . . hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes, etc. If someone wants to find God, I think they should go out into the world to serve human need, not to convert others to their thinking or to peddle a belief system. In that way perhaps they will find real meaning and purpose in their lives, and will find that the divine is within themselves.

          • Cheryl Kosmo December 2, 2016 at 4:18 pm

            Your points are well taken. I do not attend any church regularly, though I was baptized in the Eastern Orthodox rites and am married to a Roman Catholic who is active in his church faith. I have also considered the analogy you made that God is the Santa Claus for adults. I hope not, and continue to have faith in the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I certainly don’t think there is anybody on earth who has that definitive knowledge, be they a member of any Christian rites.

      • Scott Turley December 2, 2016 at 4:43 pm - Reply

        Wondering Wanderer,

        Keep in mind I’m trying to carve out a middle way, so I think your critique partially goes after mine in some cases it reaches beyond where I’m at. In other words, at some of the things you say, I agree.

        A couple of things:

        1) Just because something is old and based on a flawed, limited understanding of reality, doesn’t mean it has nothing to teach us – I think most religions are old, most of our sacred books from these religions are old. It means we should consider them in that context. I don’t believe it means we should dismiss them.

        2) You may not believe in God, but I think you would agree you’ve come to that point from a very secular approach. The thing is such assertions are flawed. Our rational understanding of the world is still so darn limited. Human understanding while developing rapidly is still developing. In other words, I don’t believe anyone has (or can) prove that God does not exist (or does). To say that the only thing that exists is that which we can demonstratedly prove exists is probably not the right approach. I’m assuming you agree…

        So, if you can grant me there’s a lot we don’t know… Why limit ourselves in how we approach the world? In practice none of us really do. In reality, we all use our emotions, our intuition, our feelings, our relationships, our community, our sense of ethics.

        In my mind, religions approach the world using some of these tools. I think there’s a ton of intersection between a spiritual person and an artistic person, between something seen as beautiful and something felt as religiously true.

        I think the point of a religion is to carve out some space in our lives to interact with others in trying to get a sense of our connection with others, with God – whatever you think God really is.

        I think where religions fall is when they try to claim too much of a place in the world – if they try to claim a place meant for scientists or historians. To a theologian, whether or not scripture is historically accurate is completely beside the point. That these books are rooted in stories tied to historical narrative doesn’t make them history books. They could be literally wrong in all kinds of ways, but it’s a mistake to even approach them trying to improve our understanding of history.

        I get that we’re all on our own individual faith journey, so it’s fine if we disagree on these particulars. The only point I’m trying to get across is that we need churches.

        Just one quick (and hopefully obvious) example – the civil rights movement in America got its power from churches.

        Among all of its other jobs, churches speak in terms of community and relationships. Through these relationships and through their community we draw strength and power to move society forward – or at the very least to act as a counter-weight to governments, companies and universities.

        • Wondering Wanderer December 3, 2016 at 1:22 pm - Reply

          Scott, much of what you say is true and I completely understand and respect your viewpoint.

  24. Michael Surkan November 24, 2016 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    One thing that confused me a bit was John’s comment that he had never realized that women take an oath to hearken unto their husbands and take a subservient role in the temple. Later in the interview John recounted how a friend of his at MIT had told him how much the temple endowments hurt her.

    What was new in what Amy was talking about that John’s MIT friend hadn’t previously said?

    • Ryan November 29, 2016 at 9:52 am - Reply

      John didn’t know the specific wording that women would be priests and priestesses “TO THEIR HUSBANDS.”

      He IS aware that they take an oath to hearken unto their husbands, they veil their faces, etc…. You are misunderstanding. He just wasn’t aware of the exact language of that one particular phrase. I’ve heard him talk about all the other patriarchy temple stuff in other podcasts.

  25. Cheryl Kosmo November 24, 2016 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    I am not a Mormon, so it is hard for me to always understand why it is so difficult and painful to break out from a church that you love. Clearly Mormons live their religion every day more devoutly than most folks I know from the east coast. I am from Boston. Hearing you talk about the statues on Commonwealth Ave was so moving for me. I am going to get in there this weekend to pay homage to those 3 women. John seemed so full of hope that Hillary Clinton would be elected. A visit to those statues will be one small way to feel better about this election.

    • Wondering Wanderer December 3, 2016 at 1:34 pm - Reply

      Cheryl, just curious about what brings you to this site.

      • Cheryl Kosmo December 3, 2016 at 2:48 pm - Reply

        Well it is a little bit of a ridiculous reason, but I am a Donny Osmond fan so when I searched for videos on YouTube, Mormon Stories came up. I watched John’s interview with Carolyn Pearson, and have watched many since. Since I am interested in how other women grapple with religious beliefs, I started watching more that came up in terms of women in your church!

        • Wondering Wanderer December 4, 2016 at 2:36 pm - Reply

          Haha! Donny certainly is a cutie! You wondered why it is so hard for disenchanted Mormons to let go of the church. A big pull is its many good hearted people like Donny. Their association and support help to compensate for the absurdities of the religion and the unpalatable parts of its policies.

  26. Bonnie Flint November 25, 2016 at 11:18 am - Reply

    One of my all-time favorite podcasts. Thank you.

  27. Lane November 26, 2016 at 6:11 am - Reply

    Thank you for your insights, I really appreciate your story. When my youngest daughter went through the temple before getting married, she came out sobbing. She caught all the wording, she understood, the only thing she said was “I thought god loved me and now I know he doesn’t.” I went again a few weeks later and realized everything she said was true. Woman are nothing in the Mormon church. I began a study of Mormon history that lasted two years. I came to the conclusion it is not true. I had to choose to be brave and leave, it was very, very hard and painful but it was the correct choice for me. I hope my daughters and granddaughters will know that they are loved. Good luck to you in all you do, thank you for your writings, the words you wrote are very powerful and will help many women.

  28. Carma Hyde November 26, 2016 at 8:37 am - Reply

    The essay “Dear Mormon Man” reminded me of Carol Lynn Pearson’s “Walk in the Pink Moccasins.”
    Thank you for the interview! God bless us all.

  29. Emma November 26, 2016 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    John you were fantastic! such a skilled and insightful interviewer! you asked the important questions! thank you thank you thank you for asking her about some of the historical facts that were bothersome to her. it rounded out the picture. she was amazing! it takes so much courage to speak out

    I realized I have become insensitive to my own experience with the patriarchy in my life–even after so much study about the history–I realize how much she has taught me about the negative effects of the patriarchal order in my life

    I love that she said we each can listen to our own heart and head and know what is true and good–and how great it feels to be authentic

    She’s on her own path and timetable
    But I appreciate her being honest about the disturbing things she sees in history and the present Church Organization

  30. Greg November 29, 2016 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Good interview but I don’t understand why Amy remains active. There are so many people that John interviews or other podcasters interview or you read about that have issues with the Church that go to core principles, core doctrine but choose to remain in the Church. As if somehow they are going to remain and right some wrong. I don’t get it. The Church is patriarchal. It has been from the beginning. It always will be. The day it ceases to be patriarchal is the day it ceases to be Mormonism. The Church is polygamy, male only priesthood, women needing men to get into the Celestial Kingdom, women having spirit babies eternally with their sister wives to populate her husband’s worlds, etc…. These are doctrines and beliefs taught and held from Joseph Smith down. This is nothing new. Saying it is wrong is basically saying Mormonism is wrong. So why stay? Clearly it is just nonsense.

    • CJ December 4, 2016 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      Agreed!!! I really don’t get it! I feel like they are very honest about these beliefs. They don’t hide it. There is nothing in the religion to say otherwise.

  31. jim November 29, 2016 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    I loved the article and interview but was floored by the answer to the tithing question in part 2. “I don’t earn money so I don’t pay tithing…Eric earns the money”…..blew me away this was the same person who wrote the article

    • Amy McPhie Allebest December 5, 2016 at 7:18 am - Reply

      Jim, I had the same response when I heard myself say it. Ugh. That was the one question I had not mentally prepared myself for, and my mind raced to find a loophole to get myself out of answering it. I wish I had just said “too personal; let’s move on.” The truth is that I have not earned money since giving birth to our first child (I address my feelings about that in my follow-up article,, but the prospect of turning that decision over to my husband without my equally-weighted input is of course contrary to everything I stand for. That’s not how our marriage works… so while I’m embarrassed that that’s the best I came up with in the moment, I’m relieved that you (and hopefully other listeners) will know that it was a split-second error of judgment, not an indication of my real principle or practice.

      • Jim December 6, 2016 at 12:32 pm - Reply

        It was a little unfair of me to point that out but I just had to. Your response to my comment was exactly what I expected after reading your article and hearing your interview. My wife was a little miffed at me for pointing it out publicly but I just had to. Primarily because I think it is part of our patriarchal culture that women don’t really feel like it is “their” money because the check isn’t in their name. It has been a small argument in my marriage from time to time as well when my wife points out that I am rewarded with money for what I do and being a stay at home mom is so thankless most of the time. She said she would have answered that question from John the same way you did. I get it, but I happen to be one of those men who believe it is “our” money. I would say the majority of the Mormon men I know feel like they have control of the money. There are a few I know in our ward for example that “give their wife an allowance”. 😑

        Thanks for the response and again, powerful article!

  32. Wondering Wanderer November 30, 2016 at 5:27 am - Reply

    I have a friend who calls herself a Cafeteria Catholic, picking and choosing what she believes and what she rejects. The Catholic Church does not apply a litmus test of faith, or have monthly testimony meetings to pressure members into expressing total belief. They are just glad if you show up and throw something into the offering basket as it goes by. I didn’t think it was possible to be a Cafeteria Mormon, or at least not to be open about it, but it seems you are finding a way, Amy, to walk that tightrope. You are a very impressive, intelligent, generous, loving young woman, and my heart goes out to you in your spiritual and emotional struggle to remain in the church and to help other LDS women use their voice. If the time comes that the pain and dissonance become too much, I hope you will not feel any guilt whatsoever for moving on. If and when that time comes, it might help to look at thIngs with a twist. Instead of a boy living in a girl’s world, imagine your spouse behaving toward you as the top church leaders continue to do toward the membership.
    Let’s say your husband had been a friend since childhood, and was always an integral, essential part of your life. When you both grew up he became the perfect, attentive suitor, and you gladly embraced him in marriage. It was only later that you found out many disturbing things about his past history which he had kept from you, and when you found out, he made excuses and dismissed those things as inconvenient truths, saying that you should just ignore them because they would not be helpful to your marriage, and in the end God will make everything right anyway. You realized that all this time you had been blind to who he really was because you did not have all the facts. Over the course of time, it became apparent that besides being deceptive, he was anti-intellectual, in denial of scientific facts, racist, homophobic, and misogynistic. He did not care to hear your thoughts, feelings, and opinions on things that were extremely important to you. He expected you to always follow him and agree with him without discussion, whether you felt in your own heart and mind that he was wrong or not. Under these conditions, no one could fault you if you finally decided you could no longer stay in this kind of personally damaging relationship and if you did not want this kind of man to be the role model for your children.

    I interpreted the Nov 2015 homosexual policy (revelation) as a huge step backwards and a knee jerk reaction from the church in response to the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage. Trying to discredit and silence those who dissent by excommunicating them is an archaic, draconian measure that is another signal of retrenchment. The essence of the LDS church is still its scriptures, prophets, and priesthood authority, and I don’t see how the genuine goodness of the rank and file and their voices can ever trump traditions that the fifteen at the top are bound to uphold and perpetuate. I am not sure that future generations of leaders will be different. You don’t get to the top fifteen unless and until you are so totally entrenched in the myths, and have so much invested, and so much to lose, that no matter what, you fall in line and dedicate yourself to preserving established tradition. Check out how one of our most progressive leaders from the past, Hugh B. Brown, was treated.
    I wish you the best and hope I am wrong and you are right that things will change, but I won’t be around to see it, and it is already way overdue in coming.

  33. Heather Campbell December 1, 2016 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Please, please, please have more interviews with women! Whether they decide to stay in or move on from the church we need their voices. I am no longer active but my sister was just called to be the YW pres. in her ward. That is such an important position of influence, an opportunity to help empower girls to take ownership of their own lives if she has access to diverse opinions and dialogue. Their are so many daughters, granddaughters, nieces, etc…in my family that won’t listen to me ( I’m a scary apostate) but may listen to women like Amy. Thank you Amy for your courage in writing that article. Women in the church are hurting and there are few honest voices to help them identify and validate their feelings.

  34. Shelama December 4, 2016 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    One of the very best things about Mormon Stories is the level of candor, honesty, authenticity and integrity of the interviewees. And, of course, the safe, respectful and inviting space from John that allows it to happen. (I have often thought that Mormon Stories could have taken a different and ego-driven agenda & tack that would have been counter-productive for transitional and ex-Mormons, and for John, but am continually impressed by how well and balanced, fair, affirming and professional. Kudos…. very indicative of John’s own integrity and the value and purpose of his mission.

    I’ve listened to only 20-30 episodes and have never been more aware of or moved by it all than this interview with Amy Allebest, including her balancing act, backpack, and choosing what is right and good for her, and comfortably and adamantly rejecting what is not.

    This plus her essay has also been the single greatest eye-opener for me about patriarchy and feminism inside the Mormon church. And how one can then stay with a highly flawed and imperfect church in a way similar to keeping a highly flawed and troubled but beloved, life-long friend.

    Great episodes!

  35. Merissa December 8, 2016 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Wish Amy could hear my applause through the internet. Cannot tell you enough how impressed I am with how you have handled taking your faith into your own hands. Embracing good and rejecting bad, not in a cafeteria style or just what is easiest or most convenient, but truly what you feel God is telling you. Brilliant.

  36. Martine December 15, 2016 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    Don’t feel bad, John, about not noticing the language women are subjected to in the temple. I’m a woman. A 62 year old woman who attended the temple faithfully from 1974 to 2010. Who knew the ordinances by heart. Including women being promised that they would become “queens and priestessess to [our] husbands” part–as opposed to men being “kings and priests unto the most high God” and it NEVER bothered me. I studied, I read and I interpreted some of the symbolism in the endowment, but the sexist stuff NEVER stood out for me. I’m embarrassed about that now.

    So, don’t feel badly, John.

  37. Nathan Perry December 18, 2016 at 11:45 am - Reply

    My greatest unsettling moment was when she claims that she “knows” the church is still true. It’s so tough to reconcile a church that seemingly pushes women down but still believe that it’s true. I have removed “i know” from my vocabulary about anything religious now. I cringe anytime I hear another person say they “know” the church is true.

  38. Magpie January 7, 2017 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    Sexual egalitarianism is not very useful outside the artificial environment humans are attempting to create as a replacement for the physical world where the reality of life and the threat of death really exist. In the real world, the physical world, there are reasons the male brain and body evolved the way they did, and reasons the female brain and body evolved the way they did. Time and likely tragedy will reveal those reasons. One can extrapolate that the first domino to fall could possibly be when your boys don’t grow up to be men.

  39. Reagan March 19, 2018 at 4:16 pm - Reply


    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story. It was very timely for me to have just found it and listened to it, because after spending months and months studying church history, I got to a point where I felt like I was just breaking after listening to a 6 part podcast on Mormon Expresssions about Mormons and Masonry. I didn’t wear my garments for two days after that because I felt like they just didn’t mean anything anymore. And I’d had a hard time with them ever since I first got my endowment as well. I’ve been spending the last week in torment wondering if I could be a Mormon who just didn’t wear garments or go to the temple, but still went to church on Sundays. Luckily I live in a more open-minded ward (the Bushmans are actually in my ward) where I feel like doing this would actually be possible.
    But hearing that there are other Mormon women out there doing the same thing I’m thinking of doing is giving a lot of salve to my soul. Thank you.

  40. Norm August 15, 2021 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    It was a good interview.

    I would love it if John would ask Amy for an updated interview.

    In my mind John and Amy held a correct view about the Temple ceremony that required the women to promise to submit themselves to a”righteous” husband. It should at least trouble anyone. And who determines if a husband is righteous? The husband? His golf partner, who might be the Bishop?

    So how do you, John and Emily, feel about recent changes in this part of the Temple Ceremony?

    You Both seemed convinced of a Hillary Clinton victory in November of 2016. Both seemed to nonverbally Telegraph their belief that Donald Trump was anti-woman. You both are brave enough to open your minds that The Church is not the “only true and perfect” church, so how open minded are you about the current political mess?

    I am an ex-communicated former Member who had visible Ward and Stake positions and family still prominent in the local Church community. My standing on the outside has allowed me to see THE Church in new light, especially in view of the things John often discusses with his guests.

    Hope your life, Amy, has been blessed, and that you are happy in all areas of your life 7-1/2 years after your interview.

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