Karen Adam was raised in a same-sex household in Scotland (her mother identified as Lesbian). She joined the Mormon church at age 17 in 1992 after a teenage pregnancy. Karen lived as a member of the LDS Church in Scotland for almost 20 years – maturing from a young teenage mother to serving as LDS Sunday School teacher, Young Women’s President, Compassionate Service Leader, Relief Society Teacher, Primary Presidency, etc.
Karen was married and sealed for eternity in an LDS temple, and for years helped raise six children, living a very traditional LDS family life.
When Karen’s marriage fell apart she found solace in serving the wider community in Scotland outside the confines of her Scottish Mormon ward. This led on to a political awakening, and ultimately to her leaving the LDS church, and running for political office in Scotland.
Topics covered in this episode include:
  • Converting to the LDS Church in Scotland,
  • Teenage pregnancy.
  • Being a devout Mormon in Scotland.
  • Navigating an abusive marriage that included drug addiction.
  • Navigating divorce and remarriage within the Mormon church in Scotland.
  • Dealing with harmful messages and policies regarding female sexuality as a Mormon Scot, including damaging bishop interviews.
  • Responding to the Mormon church’s harmful LGBTQ policies as a Mormon Scot having been raised in a same-sex household.
  • Experiencing a Mormon faith crisis in Scotland.
  • Rebuilding life as a post-Mormon divorced Scottish mother.
  • Throwing her hat into the political ring in mid-life as a Scottish ex-Mormon woman.
This is Karen’s story.

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  1. Paul September 4, 2020 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    John, just a small correction. Scot is the correct spelling when referring to national it’s, Scott Is a man’s name..

    • John Dehlin September 4, 2020 at 5:43 pm - Reply

      Fixed it! Thanks, Paul! And Scottish with two t’s is ok, correct?

  2. Paul September 4, 2020 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    It is indeed, great work as usual John.

  3. Go2 September 5, 2020 at 10:10 am - Reply

    That was amazing!!!!

  4. Cate September 6, 2020 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Loved hearing about the Scottish Mormon experience. Very impressed with Karen’s activism. Where did her daughter serve her mission?

    I look forward to more interviews with UK ex Mormons.

  5. VFanRJ September 7, 2020 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    Insightful interview. Yet another example of institutionalized religion falling short.

    My guess is that Karen was actually remembering the dates correctly about LGBT headlines occurring about the same time as the new November policy against them. Earlier in 2015 before the November policy, the supreme court issued a ruling extending marriage rights to LGs. Not only was the ruling itself big news, it was also a topic that dominated the news for months. My guess is that all these headlines and debates is what Karen was trying to recall and that her initial 2015 timeline leading up to the November policy was correct. Not the 2008 CA LGBT campaign.

  6. Ray September 8, 2020 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    Loved this. One of my favorite MS podcasts. Karen, you are so strong. Thank you for sharing your story.

  7. cl_rand September 10, 2020 at 10:51 am - Reply

    Loved Karen’s honesty when asked about the reasons she left. Was it because she wanted to sin? Was it because she had been offended? To paraphrase, “Well, being human, there were plenty of times I wanted to sin and of course I was offended many times, as I probably offended many myself, but that’s not why I left. I left because I still believed it was true and it painted such a dismal picture of the eternities that I wanted nothing to do with it. It was too depressing.” That’s one you don’t often hear but is probably more common than any of us know. I too wanted to break the rules (sin) as a believer and of course nobody can be part of any group without being offended from time to time but none of that was the reason I left and I suspect that’s probably true for most folks. Anyway, great to hear the perspectives of ex-Mormons from around the globe. Thanks Karen and John.

  8. Marlbey September 14, 2020 at 11:09 am - Reply

    Karen was advised not to talk to exmormons if she wanted to learn about the church. The missionaries told her “if you want to know something about me, you would ask me, right, not someone else?”

    That’s the wrong analogy. The correct analogy is only to consult approved WPK sources if you want to learn about about North Korea. Never mind speaking to anyone who has defected from North Korea

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