Today on Mormon Stories Podcast we are interviewing Anastasia Bigun. Anastasia was born in Ukraine. She and her mother met the Mormon missionaries when she was 10, and she began attending the Mormon church then, though she was not allowed by her father to be baptized until age 18. After joining the Mormon church, Anastasia moved to the United States at age 21 to attend BYU.

The themes for today’s interview will include:

  • Learning more about living in Ukraine, and Ukraine’s relationship to Russia,
  • What it is like to be Mormon in Ukraine,
  • Anastasia’s own faith journey, and
  • Anastasia’s perspective on the U.S./Ukraine/Russia news stories this year.

Part 1 – Anastasia shares her background growing up in Ukraine and describes how her family came into contact with the LDS Church:

Part 2 – Anastasia shares her journey coming to America:

Part 3 – Anastasia shares how her faith has changed:

Part 4 – Anastasia and John have a conversation on politics and Ukraine:


Part 1

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Part 2

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Part 3

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Part 4

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  1. Vickie Duncan March 7, 2020 at 11:05 am - Reply

    I enjoyed all 4 interviews. I wish in some ways I could have had her experiences. I marvel at people like this…how quickly they learn…even in hard ways. The acceptance of they are in manifested in who they become. They only change when the change is for good. I admire this woman so much!! Politics aside, I hope you will be my sister.

  2. Mark Blanchard March 8, 2020 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    Anastasia has a very sharp mind and her story is very interesting, but even I had to laugh when she said that she hasn’t been to Church for fours weeks now and that her faith crisis only started in November.

    What’s next for Mormon Stories, are we going to see a live feed of a faith-transition-in-progress as they read the CES letter for the first time?

  3. Christopher Lee March 11, 2020 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Loved this interview!

    Anastasia named a historical novel in Part 1 (I tried to write it down… something that sounded like Blugok of Masarem Norgrita right after she mentioned Shevchenko… any way to find out what that book is in English, if there is a translation?)

    Thanks for a great Mormon Story!

    • Dubs March 11, 2020 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      The novel is The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.

  4. Dan Boyle March 15, 2020 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    That was so interesting. Thank you Anastasia for a fantastic story. I learned so much. Thanks!,

  5. George March 20, 2020 at 2:18 am - Reply

    John, Anastasia,

    Please share your thoughts on the truth.

    You say that the church provides identity, community, the meaning of life.

    But all of it is based on the foundation of falsehoods, not truth. The good things it gives members are on shaky grounds. At any moment, a believer can stumble upon the CES letter and descent into the world of pain and hurt. And the cause of this suffering would be the same teachings which gave the person meaning and identity just the day before.

    Wouldn’t it be better for you, John, and for you, Anastasia, to set a goal of bringing as many people out of the church as you possibly can and arranging a soft landing for them?

    You say that the church brings poor Ukrainians into the prosperous US and gives people education opportunities for cheap. But all these charitable deeds come with strings attached; it is not charity for its own sake. To be given these chances in life, a person has to believe falshoods. Two credits out of five in the educational program you praise have to be the courses of religion, which teach falshoods.

    Anastasia, you say that your mother has fulfilled her dream of becoming a teacher, and she is excellent at it. But what does she teach? Bible, LDS doctrine, etc.? Falshoods.

    You had a good time being a missionary. What did you proselytize on your mission? Falshoods.

    I have a strong intuition that truth is very important in these matters, that ultimately everything positive the church does will be spoiled by the falsehoods at its foundations.

    What do you think?

    Best wishes.


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