In these episodes of Mormon Stories, we interview Derrick Clements—a new contributor to “The Cheeky Mormon Movie Review” podcast series with Gina Colvin, avid podcaster, and reporter for Provo’s Daily Herald.

Derrick and John begin part 1 by discussing categories of people who remain active in the LDS Church, including those who are:

  • Unaware of church “problems”
  • Unable to leave without massive disruption in their lives
  • Unempathetic to those the church harms
  • Staying to improve the church
  • Genuinely spiritually converted
  • Motivated to stay for tribal / identity sentiments

In part 2, Derrick shares his beliefs and reasons for remaining active in the LDS Church and the important role personal honesty and integrity play in that decision. As a general rule, Derrick avoids dogma and does not rely heavily on truth claims as the root of his faith.

Derrick and John answer the difficult questions such as:

  • “Is it disingenuous to stay active in the LDS Church with knowledge of ‘problems’ of historicity and knowing the harm the church inflicts on groups of people, like LGBTQ individuals?”
  • “Are the people who remain complicit in that harm?”
  • “Should the teachings of the church be taken literally or metaphorically?”

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 1:

Part 2:

The Pixar Podcast:

Column written by Derrick supporting the ability for prophets to retire:

The essay, “What Remains When Disbelief Has Gone?” was published in the Fall 2016 edition of “Sunstone,” and is not available online, but is available for purchase at

An essay published in 2014 on “On Being” about Derrick’s difficult-to-define Mormon identity:

A sacrament meeting talk from 2013 about Mormonism on the margins:

A sacrament meeting talk from this year about Jesus:


  1. Jay June 8, 2017 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    I feel mormonism in another part of my body too. My feet. :)

  2. beth June 9, 2017 at 9:31 am - Reply

    Hi John, it’s good to hear you interviewing people about their own perspectives on olden day and modern day Mormonism, it is kind of freeing to discuss these issues, we all just need to know the truth of the Mormon church and its truth claims, then decide for ourselves where we take it from there, thanks for another good interview.Thanks John, keep up the good work.

  3. Ryan June 9, 2017 at 11:31 am - Reply

    I’m in the group that John articulated, that is, I believe that people who openly espouse Derrick’s beliefs will be crushed/shunned/ostracized in virtually all LDS congregations. To me, one holding such beliefs must remain silent or experience those negative consequences.

    I am active LDS and do not believe any LDS truth/authority claim. Zero. But I remain silent at church and attend because I am in the “trapped” group that attends to keep the peace at home with my wife who wants to attend with our kids. Other than an occasional hymn, I experience virtually nothing uplifting from my weekly meetings because the messages are directly or indirectly based on the truth claims that I’ve rejected.

    I don’t judge Derrick or anyone else who attends the LDS church regularly despite not embracing the truth claims. It’s their choice. However, I think it is super hard to regularly attend in such circumstances without having negative mental health consequences. I tip my hat to those who can.

    Sending lots of love to John. In response to your recent facebook post, you, Mormon Stories and the Open Stories Foundation are not evil. You’re doing good work to help people.

  4. Rio June 9, 2017 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    The shuckin’ and jivin’ needed to embrace the fuzzy Mormonism articulated by Derrick is dizzying. Gives me a headache.

  5. Rude Dog June 10, 2017 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Good to hear Brother Clements take on what Mormonism is. Good start. Now John, you only have 14,999,999 more Mormons to interview.

    Listen, I appreciate the approach, however it was a couple of hours that I didn’t need to spend listening to one man’s take on Mormonism. His take wasn’t even convincing as I’m not sure what I just heard. “What is god to you?” “God is the experience I have when I pray and feel something, it’s also a story I tell to help understand the world.” Why is this even on a podcast? “Is God and external force?” “Maybe, probably, maybe, I don’t know. It’s external from my conscious self for sure.” Man sorry Derrick, that’s some real limp fish handshake right there and is that wish washy flimsy as a reed “enlightened” view that I cannot abide. The one thing great about Mormonism is that when I grew up one knew what one believed, stood for, and worshipped. Between today’s interview, the Givens, the apologetics, the Wotherspoons esoteric and vaguary of something that resembles Mormonism but little, I’m glad I am familiar enough with the church of my childhood to call this approach out as the nonsense film flam claim of Mormonism that it is. It’s only use is an attempt to obfuscate the obvious religious fraud that we all walked away from and trying to hide the fact that there’s never gonna be enough lipstick for this pig.

    • Jay June 10, 2017 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      John asked Derrick is staying in the mormon church with all of the pain you say it causes you – is staying masochistic?

      Great question.

      I think the question points out that some personalities are comfortable in a chaotic, painful, nonsense. We all know people who seek out neurotic relationships. It feeds a need.

  6. Tracy June 11, 2017 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    Mormonism = Twin Peaks. Best witness ever.

  7. churchistrue June 12, 2017 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Thanks for doing this. I really enjoyed hearing Derrick’s perspective. I think the Middle Way is no longer your target audience, and the way you do the interview shows, but I appreciate the air time for the Middle Way, nonetheless.

    • Jay June 12, 2017 at 1:19 pm - Reply

      Maybe John did hit the mark with the Middle Way audience. You acknowledge you enjoyed hearing Derrick’s perspective and I’m of the opinion that challenging questions really flush out someone’s perspective.

  8. David June 13, 2017 at 8:08 am - Reply

    @John Dehlin,

    If the church invited you to be a member again would you consider joining again?
    If church relaxed a bit on differing views would that help?
    What condition would you put or what allowances would you ask for so that could happen?

    As some one who would like to see more people championing the middle way too, (Patrick Mason, Bill Reel, Thomas McConkie, etc). This link seems to provide tools to do just that:

    A cruise full of progressive Mormons sounds nice.

  9. Dot June 13, 2017 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Thanks John, I feel like you and Derrick gave us converts a lot to think about. For one thing, I had a light bulb moment in the last minutes – that my disconnect from the Mormons born in the church can be partly ascribed to Mormonism being their first language, and not mine.

    This notion is helpful to me, having been born a Catholic. Mormonism as a language! A very oppressive language in my opinion, an entrapping language. A judgmental language that instils fear to retain its believers. A language that separates you from your birth family, from your natural feelings for the gay people in your life, from openness with your joy in just Being…..

    I guess I just had trouble being comfortable with my second language.

    Thanks for an interesting perspective on what it means to be Mormon.

  10. Mikhail June 15, 2017 at 9:16 am - Reply

    Middle way? I think John articulated very clearly that there is no middle way. All aspects of the church are funnelled toward one way only – the church is Gods only true church on the earth. What this means is the church will be forever changing it’s narratives as it tries to deal with the true truth of how it had to hide historical events, politically shifting narratives (polygamy, race and the priesthood), and marginalizing policies to accommodate it’s supreme and all-encompassing truth claims. It is only when the true truths are revealed (see internet; not the urim/thummim bifocals), that the church was/is forced to shift it’s narrative yet again (see essays). BTW, we all know the church did not go like a lamb to the slaughter once the true truths were outed. It was more like throwing a rope around a rabid grizzly who tried to obliterate everything in its path to protect itself (see excommunications). The big bear has calmed down and is no longer killing everything which I think deceptively gives the impression the church is shifting toward a more inclusive standard (see middle way) yet somehow the curriculum remains the same. Alas the essays are sanitized and hidden, Joseph Smith is still a prophet, the Book of Mormon is a true historical account of the ancient America’s, etc. – all a must if you want all the tithe paying ants to stop from busting out of the ant farm.

    Truly my heart goes out to Derrick who is struggling to find something that I don’t think exists. The church is true and having the space to find your own way or believe your own beliefs are polar opposites. Middle ground can only exist in the minds of those who ascribe to it – that’s why silence and the pretence that space in the church exists for guys like Derrick are the only ways of believing there is a middle ground where there is none. I also think Derrick and other ‘middle grounders’ are safe because the church doesn’t know what to do with the “I don’t know”s. Here’s a few examples (not direct quotes but implied to make a point):

    “President Monson is only a prophet for LDS – not the entire world . . . but I don’t know.”

    “The book of Abraham was not translated, but a complete fabrication . . . but I don’t know.”

    “I guess I’m complicit in the pain and suffering of others caused by the church . . . but I don’t know.”


    If you are a ‘middle-grounder’, you best have a strong stomach for digesting some ulcerative dissonance. I respect those who can endure the pain and dishonesty that comes with constantly trying to medicate it. I, for one, had to have that part of my stomach removed.

  11. Alan June 16, 2017 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    Was going to skip this one, but I’m glad I didn’t. I enjoyed the conversation. Derrick was given some tough questions, but Derrick answered them honestly and I found myself resonating with some of his answers. I have moved on from Mormonism, but I still try to maintain faith in God. I really appreciate his willingness to be subjected to some very tough questions. I’m excited to check out Cheeky Mormon Movie reviews.

  12. Ryan June 17, 2017 at 11:32 pm - Reply

    I enjoyed this podcast very much and can relate in many ways. One thing I thought about back in the early 2000’s as I slowly lost faith was that once I have nuanced and danced around so much to maintain belief I found myself so far removed from the original message and common belief system that I started to not see any point in continuing. At what point after so much nuancing and dancing to maintain belief the thought that it really might just be made up and total bogus nonsense finally occur? Was I or others such as Derrick so desperate to maintain belief we will invent whatever nuance necessary to maintain belief? I still believe that although I do feel an impulse and desire to rejoin the church and be rebaptized. But as of now I cannot answer the baptism interview questions without admitting that in reality I do not believe and therefore cannot be baptized. I have gone through two bishops now, all await in hope that my belief will return so that I may be baptized. Until then I am enjoying being active while not having any obligation to get a calling or do home teaching, lol.

    • Jay June 18, 2017 at 1:14 pm - Reply

      Spot on. When things get too waffly, it’s over.

      Who wants to go to a church that says “drop by Sunday and we’ll kick some ideas around”?

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