I am incredibly honored and proud to release this important episode of Mormon Stories Podcast. It is an interview with Brooke Bonham Miller (Brooke’s Aunt, Robin Bonham, is on the LDS General Relief Society Board) and Josh Miller.
In this interview, Brooke and Josh:
1) Share the difficulties they faced during their Mormon faith crisis, leading to significant rifts in their marriage, eventually leading Brooke to “want to die”, and
2) They tell the story of a private meeting they had with Dr. Spencer Fluhman, head of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, in an attempt tp resolve their questions and doubts. In this meeting, Dr. Fluhman openly and directly acknowledges all of the major problems with LDS truth claims (e.g., plagiarisms in the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham, the non-historicity of the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham, Joseph Smith’s borrowing from Masonry to create the LDS temple ceremony, LDS General Authorities being deeply flawed men who are often 30 years behind the times on major social justice issues, the failings of the LDS church with regard to its LGBT members, etc.
While both Brooke and Josh were grateful for Dr. Fluhman’s time and candor, they left their meeting with him deeply disappointed at the vast discrepancy between the orthodox version of Mormonism (by which they are now judged and marginalized by surrounding family and friends) and Dr. Fluhman’s neo-apologetic version of Mormonism, which for them makes the LDS Church’s truth claims significantly less plain or precious.
I hope you will tune in to this episode, and share with family, friends, and church leaders.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


  1. mckay March 14, 2018 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    For what it’s worth, I was personally helped by Spencer Fluhman during my faith crisis, and I found his support and perspectives very helpful, even though I was at that point pretty much on my way out of the church. I’ve known people involved with the Maxwell Institute for a long time, and I’ve been impressed by their relatively open perspectives on things. There’s a part of me that wishes the Maxwell institute would stage a coup d’etat on the church leadership ;)

  2. JayH March 15, 2018 at 3:42 am - Reply

    14 minutes into part two, Josh takes 90 seconds to succinctly and beautifully describe . . . the moment a mind is freed.

  3. Gary March 15, 2018 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed this podcast. Brooke’s former magnitude of TBM Religious Scrupulosity was very impressive. It’s sad that The Brethren encourage such a pathological depth of mental/emotional/cognitive brain-trap dysfunction. Mega-kudos to Brooke for finding the courage to free herself from Mormon Cult-ure Mind Control and place a higher priority on her marriage and family.

    I will confess to feeling somewhat intellectually affronted by the height of the pedestal upon which Spencer Fluhman was elevated throughout the discussion. I do, however, acknowledge Brother Fluhman’s nontrivial and extremely rare contribution of actually acknowledging that most anti-Mormon lies are, in fact, anti-Mormon facts. This alone makes Brother Fluhman an invaluable resource for faith-transitioning Mormons.

    He is apparently enjoying some kind of special protection status extended by The Brethren … otherwise he would be fired from BYU and then excommunicated as well for speaking in non-faith promoting (aka evil) tones of the Lord’s anointed … even if the evil happens to be true. Dallin Oaks teaches us that criticizing the leaders is wrong, even if the criticism is true.

    Seems to me that Brother Fluhman enjoys special protection status possibly because he is fulfilling a much-valued (by The Brethren) role formerly occupied by Hugh Nibley and currently shared with Richard Bushman. Both are highly-educated scholars and experts on Church History who have studied the gory details … and STILL retain their Church membership. This alone is enough information to satisfy rank and file TBMs who can go, “These scholars know all of the anti-Mormon lies and stay active in the Church. That’s good enough for me. I will stay active in the Church, too.” Never mind that both of these scholars openly state that the Church’s correlated version of its own history is lie upon lie and decept upon decept.

    I love how Josh just NAILED IT when he compared Brother Fluhman’s pretzel-brained rationalization that Joseph Smith’s serial fraud can be swallowed with a spoonful (make that a 55 gallon drum) of artistic license (like a jazz musician doing improv ??!!??)… comparing Spencer’s gymnastics to Josh answering his son’s questions about Santa Claus’s Christmas Eve logistics. Well done!

    The Miller’s takeaway from time with Brother Fluhman was very valuable, however. He validated everything that Josh and Brooke had discovered about Church History that had been hidden and/or obfuscated by The Brethren. And this Mormon Stories podcast is VERY VALUABLE to help others in transition to get validation from INSIDE the Church that the Church is simply not true.

    I also did not much appreciate John’s cheerful conclusions that parents can raise happy, healthy kids OUT of the Church, or raise happy, healthy kids IN the Church. To flip an often cited cliche’: Active Mormons only THINK they (and their kids) are happy and healthy. The reality is that life as an active Mormon is a never ending endurance swim through the egregiously toxic soup of a full-blown Mind Control Cult … whose leadership does not even blink at sacrificing human lives on a regular basis … necessary collateral damage … to keep the surviving lion’s share of the sheep owned and comatose with their robotic cycle of pay, pray and obey.

    (John, I am a Mormon Stories donor/supporter. Please allow this to post. Thank you.)

  4. Dwayne March 16, 2018 at 7:32 am - Reply

    What is Truth?

    Here’s an interesting Non-Mormon article showing recent archeological discoveries in Guatemala. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/02/maya-laser-lidar-guatemala-pacunam/

    Here’s a couple of links for New Testament debates between two of the world’s leading scholars. This is a scholarly debate, not a theological debate. As you’ll see, two of the greatest minds in the world arrive at completely different conclusions when viewing the exact data. https://ehrmanblog.org/bart-ehrman-vs-richard-bauckham-round-1/


  5. Mark March 16, 2018 at 10:19 am - Reply

    I have listened to parts of Flumans book “A peculiar People” but is is very indirect and full of psychological/sociological nuances. But your relating of his ideas makes me want to re-look at his writings because I like his answers as you relay them. Your were both very strict in conforming your lifestyle to church expetations, do you ever feel that you are too black and white in your view of things. You mention that your faith in life after death is in doubt but it is a hope that still has a hold on you. I feel this life is full of shades of gray and your absolute rejection of the LDS church is another reach for black and white answers. Are you attending any christian church? Do your have any faith in Christ? What about God and the Creation of Earth? And given that you will probably live to see the population of the earth hit 11 to 15 Billion, Do you have any thoughts on the end of the Earth. Or Prophecy’s of the tirbulation of the Last Days. There is much in the church to beleave and much to doubt. We are entering a world where Christians, especially white Christians are now the small minority. Black and white answers will not be clear but will definitely have significant consequences. All this LGBT and other liberal mental disorders will be our downfall. Look at the intolerance of white farmers in South Africa.

    • Robert M Hodge March 20, 2018 at 7:53 am - Reply

      I don’t know you but your comment strikes me as being politically based. What are those “liberal mental disorders” ? Why is the LGBT issue a basis for “our downfall”?

    • Bon March 22, 2018 at 7:48 am - Reply

      “We are entering a world where Christians, especially white Christians are now the small minority. Black and white answers will not be clear but will definitely have significant consequences. All this LGBT and other liberal mental disorders will be our downfall. Look at the intolerance of white farmers in South Africa.”
      What?? No, no we are not. First off all, There are still nearly twice as many Christians in the world as any other religion. Where in the world are you getting info showing white Christians are the small minority?? And what is concerning about black Christians vs white ones? How can LGBT be the downfall, especially with your own point that most of us on this thread will see population go 11-15 billion?

  6. JANICE March 16, 2018 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    Confusing! The whole idea of a Prophet is to give God’s clarity when there is murkiness. Otherwise, what’s the point?

  7. joy March 16, 2018 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    Gary, Your comments above were SPOT ON!!!
    “And this Mormon Stories podcast is VERY VALUABLE to help others in transition to get validation from INSIDE the Church that the Church is simply not true.”

    The whole podcast I kept thinking the same thing! How the heck can Fluhman admit that “Anti Mormon” claims are actually TRUE?? And worse yet, the Church knows they are true and excommunicates members for finding out the truth and being brave enough to ask about them! It is crazy that it is considered apostasy to simply ASK AND QUESTION LEADERSHIP ABOUT LIES THEY HAVE FED PEOPLE THEIR ENTIRE LIFE. Something is just so wrong about this situation. Intelligent people that are brave enough to educate themselves and inquire threaten the Church leadership and their crazy hierarchy. They want to keep all their soldiers in line.. Pay your tithing, do your calling without question and do not question leadership. Very sad situation…
    I’m so impressed with Josh and Brooke. Josh comes across as a very intelligent, patient guy who really thinks about things before making a move. Kudos to this cute couple for being brave enough to stop this craziness now and not put their kids through this process down the road. Thanks John for another great podcast. Anyway you can bring Tom Phillips or Trevor Haugen back on for another podcast? Would love to see where they are now.

  8. Jed R Brewer March 16, 2018 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    Wonder why constructive negative comments are removed.

  9. Lori Maddox March 17, 2018 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this podcast. It was super interesting to hear how Spencer is justifying Mormonism now. I’m sure he is very genuine and sounds like a kind and intelligent person.
    I’ve not believed in the LDS religion for at least 20 years. I raised my oldest son in the church and tried hard, but, I suck at organized religion. My daughter is 16 and has never been to a Mormon meeting. Of the 2 kids, I can honestly say, my daughter is a kinder, more tolerant human. I love my son and am grateful he is married to the tbm wife he chose. She is wonderful and the best thing that could have happened to him.

    Your kids will thank you for not teaching them to think while in a box. I live in Utah County. It’s rough for my daughter to find friends and connect in a meaningful way to people here. I’m super happy to have the Internet. She has good friends there and has found her tribe.
    My folks are tbm and they have tried to teach me their ways. It didn’t stick. It took me nearly 50 years to be ok with myself. I’m lucky it hasn’t taken my daughter nearly as long.
    Thanks as always, John. I’m glad you are there to educate people and show them there is a good life after Mormonism

  10. beth March 18, 2018 at 5:56 am - Reply

    Thank you very much brooke and josh, l so admire both of your courage, honesty and sincerity in finding your way out of the church and in learning that the truth claims just are not what the claim to be, thanks jon for another great interview, l really love listening to these kind of interviews, their personal stories are so inspiring to myself and so many of us.

  11. Julie Bradford March 18, 2018 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    Dear Brooke and Josh,

    Thank you, thank you for sharing your transition story! Honestly, I related to everything you said. I transitioned out of the Mormon Faith just over 5 years ago, and I’ve come so far, learned so much, and I’m incredibly grateful that I gave myself permission to listen to my gut instincts. Even though transitioning isn’t easy, it’s worth it, and I continue to be amazed at the gifts that come to one, when they make the decision that is best for them to live their lives in an authentically as possible. I also really appreciated that all three of you were supportive of those who do want to stay, and for being humble enough to express that. John, as ever, you were awesome! You have the gift to know which questions to ask, giving your podcast listeners, different perspectives than our own to consider. Great podcast you guys!

  12. Mary Beth Garrison March 18, 2018 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    I’m Brookes and Josh’s Aunt on her mother’s side. I’m very grateful for them being able to share with out question their journey! I love them both and hope this will help others find the answer they need to find truth about the Mormon church. Spenser should come clean himself by sharing and being forth coming and proud of his findings and not just through third parties. The church hides too much from it devout members who sacrifice time, dedication, and money and so much more. Let’s just stop the chain of deception. I’m too the point of wondering who really runs the Church.

  13. Aenon E. Moss March 18, 2018 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    NOT ONLY would Mormon women have to share their husbands with other women, but also with some of their spirit-daughters that their husbands “fancy”.

  14. Dallin March 19, 2018 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Brooke, I live in the area where you grew up and am somewhat familiar with your family, but more acquainted with members of your extended family. I can’t imagine going through a faith crisis with such an extremely devoted family like yours. You are very brave to do this interview and have it published for all to see. Thanks to both of you for your honesty and integrity. I can promise you that some friends and family who may currently view you and Josh as apostates will someday apologize for their ignorant judgement and thank you for your brave example.

  15. Eric March 20, 2018 at 4:48 am - Reply

    Good conversation. I can relate to some things said. My faith crisis and disapointment in the church is coming from different points of view. Much of Brooke and Josh’s reasons for leaving are non issues to me and aren’t things that would make me leave. They would make me look at the church differently, which they do but as for things that are tipping me out of the fold, well, there are other things. It just goes to show we all see things from a different perspective and in our own individual light. I’ grateful for this. Love the podcast John.

    • Isaac March 20, 2018 at 1:59 pm - Reply

      I agree. Just curious, if you will, what reasons leaving the LDS church? (I am not an apologist, I too have many concerns, etc. I am sincerely asking for understanding. No snarky trolls here, promise.)

      • Isaac March 20, 2018 at 2:00 pm - Reply

        Correction, sorry: “what are your major reasons for leaving the LDS church?”


  16. Mandy March 21, 2018 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    This was an interesting listen.

    I am sorry, but why is it that men live their whole lives, completely fine with the rumors that their poor wives will one day be required to accept sister wives if they want to get to heaven… but then they learn about polygamy in Nauvoo and that there was polyandry and then their testimonies shatter to pieces? Are these the same men who make taunting comments such as, “polygamy really gets you upset, doesn’t it?” It is interesting how when the tables have turned, this practice is suddenly repulsive.

    I know that people are going to say, “but they grew up being taught about polygamy. Polyandry is new and it was kept quiet.”

    My rebuttal: So it is acceptable to groom young women through rumors that they won’t be able to go to heaven unless they share their husbands, but it’s intolerable to hear that a few people engaged in polyandry 200 years ago?

    And the irony is that so many of these men think that they are now removed from the patriarchy – many of them even call themselves feminists.

    I don’t get it.

    • Steve April 9, 2018 at 10:56 am - Reply

      I thought the exact same thing when I first heard about it. In fact, I thought that polyandry was awesome and showed the church to be much more egalitarian than I thought. It turns out that the term “polyandry” doesn’t accurately describe the church’s position. Women wouldn’t be able to be sealed to multiple men in the eternities. Instead, they will be reassigned to other husbands with higher priesthood, the way the FLDS does it. When an already married woman was sealed to Joseph or Brigham, it effectively divorced her from her first husband, even though she might have continued to live with him to keep up appearances so that Joseph could continue to hide the practice of polygamy from church members who weren’t a part of his inner circle. It winds up treating women like property to be traded and bartered for.

  17. Luke Hanks March 24, 2018 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    Brooke said she couldn’t find resources for Mormons whose spouses no longer believe in Mormonism. I’ve created a directory of sorts for this. https://workflowy.com/s/DTKg.WTE7sgX2PJ

  18. Jose Galdamez March 31, 2018 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    While listening to Brooke and Josh’s story, I couldn’t help but realize the parallels that we had to endure during our faith transition. I was the first to question, and that alone almost lead to our divorce. When the Gospel Topics essays came out, my wife began to understand my position more and doubt Joseph Smith’s truth claims herself.

    When we went to our bishop, he had never heard of the issues and told us he wasn’t interested in finding out more. Our stake president was slightly more informed, but what he didn’t know he dismissed as anti-Mormon lies. Our previous stake president hit the end of his cycle and was replaced with LDS headquarters’ former chief of information technology (CIO), Eric Denna.

    President Denna approached our interview similar to Spencer Fluhman. He was kind, understanding, and confirmatory of the most controversial facts. Like Fluhman, he had his way of rationalizing the history to somehow make it all fit. Rather than excommunicate or humiliate us, he encouraged us to go in peace. President Denna was convinced we would eventually find our way back to the church.

    My heart goes out to Brooke and Josh for all they had to go through. If only there were more Fluhman-type LDS and less Dallin H. Oaks (“it is wrong to criticize the church, even if the criticism is true”) Boyd K. Packers (“some things that are true are not very useful”).

  19. Aaron April 3, 2018 at 3:35 am - Reply

    Coming in really late as I just listened.

    For the most part compelling, I did not have a hard time listening to the entire 5 hours all the way through. Thank you to John and the Millers for taking the time.

    Of course I have a criticism as that tends to be the only time I post (sorry!). And I probably wouldn’t have listened without the Fluhman teaser, so criticisms I have probably make me a hypocrite… but yeah, totally agree with Wotherspoon and (Jerilyn?) about the unethical-ness of this podcast. That Fluhman allowed the recording in the first place and professed to teach and discuss everything very openly is a good defense and I would have been ok with it all were Millers themselves picking out the highlights. But that’s not entirely how things went. It was clear early on that John had pre-listened to the podcast and his questioned were cherry picked for them to answer what HE found interesting. His questions were leading, a time or two him having to embarrassingly nudge them to remember what Fluhman said when they didn’t readily answer how he planned for them to answer. In essence it turned some from their story to what John found most interesting. Which takes away from the argument that THEY were allowed to discuss and share the contents in the discussion.

    Now I know there’s significant overlap and much of what got discussed would have been discussed had John not pre-listened. Still, I’ll bet Spencer Fluhman didn’t include letting very public podcasters listen and discuss the recording when asking the Millers to not post the recording on the internet. I share the concerns that such dishonesty will dissuade others in being so kind to freely give of their time to help in situations like this.

    Disappointing. Hopefully I won’t click on the next time this type of podcast happens.

    • Ricardo Cinnabon September 12, 2018 at 1:14 pm - Reply

      I, however, disagree with the idea this was unethical to share commentary of their conversation. This is not a typical courtroom where hearsay is tossed. The unfortunate thing to me is that they did not share the recording or transcript. Perhaps at lease the transcript to fact check. However as an adult I can listen and make a choice to accept or decline any statements. I listened to the first two episodes and found a level of understanding respect and trust in them. I used my own personal inner intuition, holy ghost or 6th sense – call it what you will. I trust them more than I can throw rusty nails. Here’s the thing. This interview was great for me and enlightening. However I think the recording would be more helpful in regards to having a TBM spouse or TMB friend / family listen to. For that I am highly frustrated that this recording was not released and I will take a poke at another podcast that is related. I am frustrated for the same reasons that Grant Palmer did not state the name of the GA that he spoke with and left.

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