On August 2, 2015 I was asked to deliver the sermon for the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, Utah.  The topic was my experiences as a Mormon that led up to my excommunication.


  1. HaroldTheCat August 12, 2015 at 3:38 am - Reply

    Awesome talk…thanks for sharing.

  2. Bill August 12, 2015 at 7:32 am - Reply

    I love the UU and have spent a good amount of time hanging out with them. They are the perfect example of good people doing good things for all the right reasons, not because they feel guilted into it or they fear punishment if they don’t. They have a great history in the US and unlike LDS Inc., they have been on the right side of all of the major social movements in the history of our country. If anybody feels the need for a church community post LDS, I can highly recommend the UU from firsthand experience.

  3. 2Fast4U August 12, 2015 at 7:34 am - Reply

    John – Great talk!!! I am struggling with the church right now and I appreciated your comments. Thanks.

  4. Rio August 12, 2015 at 11:06 am - Reply

    I am struck by how the church constantly shoots itself in the foot! With your excommunication, and that of Kate Kelley and others, it has rid itself of people who represent the highest ideals of Mormonism: Born and raised in the faith, university educated, returned missionaries, married in the temple and, above all, people who demonstrate enormous personal integrity, honesty and love of truth. But as you are finding, you have graduated into a new realm of awareness where the world suddenly becomes much brighter, expansive, interesting, fun and exciting. All the best to you and your family!

  5. Katie Did What? August 12, 2015 at 11:17 am - Reply

    This was one of my favorite posts ever, John! I learned so much about your journey, and it resonated so well with what I have observed and what I am dealing with in my journey. Thank you for your well- prepared remarks, and for sharing this with us. I continue to gain strength and courage from you.

  6. Bob August 12, 2015 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Frankly John, what has made your transition possible (as “easy” as it’s been) is that you were able to take your whole family with you…especially your wife…and your kids. Without them, leaving is brutally hard, if not impossible. It’s been a horrific and mind numbing experience for me, a nightmare that never seems to end.

    • WanderingAengus August 12, 2015 at 1:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks, John, for a fantastic synopsis of your past. I was aware of bits a pieces of it as I’ve heard you talk on this subject before, but I’ve never heard it strung together with commentary. Well done. One of my favorite podcasts so far.

      Bob – I totally understand you. I’m in the same boat, my friend.

  7. Jill Rawstorne August 12, 2015 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    “John Dehlin the Musical!” Great voice!

  8. Gail Nicolaysen-Shurtleff August 12, 2015 at 1:58 pm - Reply


    Great talk. This was a wonderful story. It brings hope.

  9. Bonnie August 12, 2015 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    i am not LDS but for a variety of other reasons I have listened to nearly all your podcasts. This one has nearly broken my heart as I heard the pain of betrayal and of losing the very foundation of your beliefs. I also rejoice that you have found some recovery. May it continue to be so.

  10. DogMa August 12, 2015 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    That was so good. The Renee Zelweger part was hilarious—and sad at the same time.

  11. JC August 13, 2015 at 9:03 am - Reply

    “I love you but over there”… what a great way to react to your transition John and ultimately be able to move on. I’ve always looked up to the respectable, sensible and loving way you have to treat everything and everyone, even in the worst of circumstances. I can tell you I probably would have flipped out after the Renee incident yet you remained cool, steadfast and faithful. Again, hats off to you brother.

  12. J.C. August 13, 2015 at 11:55 am - Reply

    Mr. Dehlin, What do I Do? What do I do? I convinced my mom to join the church a year after I joined the church. My first husband left me and our children because I joined the church. I remarried a man who is a member since birth. Our whole belief system, culture, and marital language is anchored in Mormonism. His children are stalwarts in the church. My children have turned their backs on it and have walked away, blaming it for their parents’ divorce and mother’s religious fanaticism which made them feel marginalized. What do I do? So many tears… The church isn’t true, the church that I based everything on: my divorce to my first husband, the rearing of my children, my remarriage, my internal moral code and belief system. I don’t know what to do! I just don’t know what to do now. Everything I once stood for and based all the major decisions of my life on is now swept away with the knowledge that none of it is true. Please, please…..please, tell me what to do.

    • NMS August 16, 2015 at 4:03 pm - Reply

      Think of yourself as an appeals judge. You now have information that wasn’t available during the first trial. You are allowed to consider this information and give a different verdict. This is a painful process but all you have to do is make the next right choice for yourself. Be kind to your family, be kind to yourself and trust yourself to make the next right choice. Namaste.

      • Katie Did What? August 16, 2015 at 5:59 pm - Reply

        Great advice! I love it! My husband occasionally gives me a hard time for changing my mind about things that I may have been quite decided upon in the past. I always say the same thing: I have new information that makes my past decisions null and void. It is the sign of an intelligent person who makes a change according to new information when it is needed.
        Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” I think it applies to religion, as well as politics and philosophy.

    • Clouds Break August 19, 2015 at 8:44 am - Reply

      I agree that your situation is tough because you love people on both sides of LDS; I face a similar balance. My advice is to not be fanatical in either direction. Find things of value in both camps and emphasize those. Be a peacemaker between the two; God needs people in this important role.

  13. Molly August 14, 2015 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    My only complaint is that it wasn’t long enough. I wish they had given you another 40 minutes! Best podcast yet…really felt the spirit!

  14. Brian August 14, 2015 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    Great Talk!

  15. Drew Davis August 15, 2015 at 9:44 am - Reply

    Great Talk John….Thanks for this. You mentioned in the beginning that there would be a Q&A. Is there a place we can watch that as well? I’m curious to know what people in the audience have on their minds and of course your response.


  16. Diana Kline August 15, 2015 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    Wonderful talk, John. I laughed, I cried. So very heartfelt and appropriate. Thank you for sharing your personal journey so that all can learn from it!

  17. Elle August 15, 2015 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    I loved this talk! Your sincerity, spirituality and optimism come through. A very inspiring, and ultimately hopeful, journey! It’s a big, beautiful world, and there’s room for people of every faith, and even no organized faith. Be true to yourself; that’s the most important thing.

  18. De Wilhelmsen August 16, 2015 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself; in doing so you have affirmed the struggles of so many others. This video will be shared and shared again. Who knows how many it will touch.

    Also, Congrats on earning your PhD. I wish you all the best in this next step in your exceptional journey.

    • Nancy August 19, 2015 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      I have thanked you in person before John but I would like to thank you again for your support of the LGBT community. For seven years I had to listen to the LDS church justify their harsh and unjustifiable treatment of my daughter. We never has a problem accepting her, but I sure had trouble accepting the churches agressive anti gay behavior. I finally left nine months ago and I feel better. It’s hard however to move on to a post Mormon life in Utah where there are do many triggers.

      • Katie Did What? August 19, 2015 at 5:15 pm - Reply

        I feel your pain. I would love to move outside of Utah and feel like I can finally get away from the influence of the church in my family. After the abuse my son has experienced by the hands of church leadership, AKA “The Good-ole Boys Club,” I have come to the realization that the church does not exist to serve the members. Rather, their main goal is to preserve the “good name of the church.” Salvation? No that is not a priority.

        The leadership of the church should take note; when you enrage the mama bears of the church they will do whatever it takes to protect their children. At least I hope they will. It was the turning point for me, and for many others that I know. Go mama bears!

  19. Nancy August 19, 2015 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    What a great talk John. I did really well until you mentioned the LGBT teachings and then I lost it. As a parent of a gay child I cannot describe his incredibly painful it was to hear my child described as either an abomination/ or horribly afflicted. I’m not sure which was worst. She has told us that she never felt that her dad and would reject her irregardless of how we felt about her sexuality , do that’s sone vomfort

  20. Nancy August 19, 2015 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    I have thanked you in person before John but I would like to thank you again for your support of the LGBT community. For seven years I had to listen to the LDS church justify their harsh and unjustifiable treatment of my daughter. We never has a problem accepting her, but I sure had trouble accepting the churches agressive anti gay behavior. I finally left nine months ago and I feel better. It’s hard however to move on to a post Mormon life in Utah where there are do many triggers.

  21. Jason August 19, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    John – thanks for sharing your story. I had no idea of the experiences you had as a youth and missionary, so great to hear the entire story as I’ve been following your podcasts for sometime. Thanks again!

  22. CognativeDissonance August 21, 2015 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have been feeling so alone, hurt, and angry lately but I’m inspired by the love and compassion you show the church.

    I was blissfully ignorant of inconsistencies in doctrine until recently. My husband dropped a bomb on me when he stated he believed in plural marriage and wanted to practice it. This led to a deeper investigation into many aspects of the church. I have come to the conclusion that it was created by man. While I feel this way, I still feel that many lessons are good to help us be better people.

    I’m torn because I believe my marriage is ending. I have taken the stance you mention about your “divorce” from the church. I love you and will still love you but I will not enter into a polygamous relationship that you state is inspired by God because I do not interpret the information that way. So we can be apart but still friends with different belief systems.

    I don’t know how to proceed. Do I continue to go to church? Do I continue to take my children? I want to go elsewhere but don’t wnt to cause further friction in the family. I have a difficult time believing my husband is godly because he believes in something that I truly feel is inspired by man.

    I’m so torn and trying so hard not to be judgmental; to still have an understanding mind, heart, and soul.

  23. JASH August 24, 2015 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    John – This was a fantastic presentation – You conveyed much meaningful information in a most charming way…. Loved the humor!! I thought that you were very measured in all of your comments regarding LDS, Inc. – They are fortunate that your morality and ethical sensibility is much more highly developed than that which they demonstrate. Thanks for such a terrific presentation and congratulations to you on the completion of your PhD….. Many will benefit from the sacrifices you ( and your family) have made by returning to the University for this additional credential…. Warm wishes for your continued success!

  24. bob gill August 25, 2015 at 12:18 am - Reply

    Hey, keep in touch,I am struggling.

  25. Lisa August 30, 2015 at 8:02 am - Reply

    Thank you John. I love watching this because it brings me comfort in a time when I feel isolated and alone trying to find a new normal for me. I think there seems to be more support for post Mormons in certain cities in America. I haven’t come across any groups in Australia, so I am on the look out for a new community that I can feel a connection with. I hate this church culture and have for years, but in saying that, I have experienced some wonderful things and met some wonderful people over the years amongst this church. God bless them but I’m done. I may give it another shot when I move back to New Zealand some day.

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