For anyone familiar with the music of  “Especially For Youth” LDS seminars, singer Jessie Funk’s name should ring a bell. After her career touring with Broadway’s Footloose, releasing several studio albums and books, starting her organization The Ivy Foundation, and raising two children, Jessie recently changed tunes, choosing to leave the Mormon church.

Join John and Carah as they talk with Jessie about her Mormon upbringing, her career inside and outside the Church, her faith crisis, and her new venture “Especially for Truth,” a week-long summer seminar for post-Mormon teens.


Show Notes:



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  1. Tracy August 24, 2021 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    “From gods arms to my arms to yours” was written by Michael McLean with the help of the beautiful birthmother who inspired it. As an adoptive mom, this song helped me to connect to my child’s birth mother in a very real way…

    • Fatfinger August 26, 2021 at 7:58 pm - Reply

      My wife and I adopted through LDS family services and that song really impacted us too. Talk about heartsell!

      But I do agree with the overall message. Some young unwed mothers truly are better off giving their children up for adoption, if that’s what they want to do. That allows the baby to have a life (hopefully a very good one) and allows the birth mother to return to the path of a youth, probably wiser and more mature than otherwise.

      If young unwed mothers are being pressured to give up their babies unwillingly, that is wrong. But for some, adoption is the right choice.

      Just as a side note, I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ve heard that Casey Anthony wanted to give her baby up for adoption at birth and her mother (grandma) talked her out of it. If true, what an incredible shame for all involved.

  2. James West August 27, 2021 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    I just want to comment about the discussion of the temple in Accra, Ghana. I grew up in a small Mormon town east of the Cardston Alberta Temple. It was rededicated when I was age 17. I remember walking through the open house and my mother pointing out a 23 c golden vase that was apparently $35k. I had many Native friends from school who played with me in soccer and other sports. My dad would allow some of them to stay at our house when their parents were away or sadly drunk. I remember thinking why the church would spend $18 million in renovating the temple when two blocks to the north, the Blood tribe lived in third world conditions. I thought of my friends as lamanites of course and wondered to myself why not spend time and money helping the Blood tribe. That was my first real struggle in addition to Blacks and the priesthood and temple restrictions. All my favourite athletes were Black and I loved the rap music coming out of Compton. Anyways, I see these ornate structures as abominations. Why help the dead when there are so many living who need help. Last week my wife and I received our letter informing us that are names have been removed. Glorious day!

  3. Gaylon August 27, 2021 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    Thanks much for this stellar interview. This will make my top 10 MS list.

  4. Mark August 28, 2021 at 11:11 am - Reply

    Lovely interview, Jessie! You expressed many of the same thoughts and feelings that led to my own exit from religion and faith. And on a personal note, it was fun to hear a mention of my uncles (Greg and Barry). Glad to know they were a bright spot in what sounds like a challenging series of experiences. Thank you again for sharing and for doing so much good in a community that needs it.

  5. Reed September 12, 2021 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Jessie, I just donated $100 thru your website. It’s not a lot I know but I wanted to give something. I was so touched by your interview. Your comment that we spend regarding the temple and how members spend hours and hours serving the dead when the needs among the living are so great stopped me in my tracks. I had never thought of it in that way before. I literally found myself saying out loud, “that is so true” as I pulled up in front of the grocery store. Thank you for being you and doing what you are doing!

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