Daniel Miller10885365_10152899889525547_1606470302247914760_n worked for the LDS Church for two years as a Program Manager in the Publishing Services Department. During this time he oversaw all media production for seminary and institute (CES portfolio, broadcasts).  In this three-part series, Daniel and his wife AnnaMarie discuss his early years as a church member in Idaho and as a missionary in Japan, his time as an LDS Church employee, and the factors that led him and his family away from LDS Church activity.

Note: To access Daniel’s original Reddit post, see here.

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  1. David December 14, 2015 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    Hi Daniel,

    Thank you for sharing your time on MS.

    Did you ever consider looking up Mormon Discussion Podcast with Bill Reel, or Mormon Matters?
    I think they provide a more positive balance approach that allows for faith to flourish in a positive fashion than just focusing on the negative aspects of our faith.

    I think as members of the church in the past (and maybe still do) got overly excited about the restoration of the gospel and exaggerated truth claims to the point where we now look at the church as it must be false type of situation. Hopefully in the future we can forge a way for a more middle ground approach to validate other perspectives and different points of view. I think there still many positives that the church provides, I’m saddened that it no longer does that for your family.

    Nevertheless, all the best to you and your family…

    • Daniel December 14, 2015 at 7:53 pm - Reply

      Hi David,

      I have not seen that podcast, but I will definitely look for it. The way I view Mormonism now is that my life is a journey, and at some point along the path, I came to a river that I needed to cross. Mormonism was the canoe I used to navigate those waters, but now that I’m to the other side, paddling in a canoe won’t get me farther along the path. I’ve moved on to the next stage. Staying in the canoe and in the water would have kept me paddling in circles, and I don’t see the benefit and progression in that.

      Also, Mormonism doesn’t want me back. The only way I could go back is to commit intellectual suicide, and I just can’t do it. Here is a link to my teddit post where I explain why Mormonism doesn’t want me back in more detail.

      Do They Really Want Me Back??? I Don’t Think So!


      • David December 16, 2015 at 7:27 am - Reply

        Hi Daniel,

        While I don’t agree with a number of your assessments, I do respect your point of view and overall integrity. The real tragedy to the church is to lose people like you and your family. Without people like you in the inside of the church we won’t be able to learn the valuable life teaching lessons. When you leave the church you take what you have learned from life with you, and God knows that you know a thing or two that could really help the church out.

        Like you, I don’t think people at church are intentionally malignant, they’re just trying to do what is right in the best way that they can. That said, unfortunately most people are unaware and unwilling to learn about the complicated issues, but I believe God is breaking through, and we will get there. It will take longer to get there if the people that think critically leave… but we will get there.

        As for your link about the Bishop trying to be friendly and you giving him a cold shoulder, that wasn’t really nice on your part. While its true that there are some who won’t appreciate your critical point of view, others like myself would welcome more of that. Our problem as a church is that we tried to hard to become a Mainstream Christian church rather that what Mormonism has the potential to become.

        I hope one day you are your family do come back, but when you do come back we don’t want your old self, but your new self with the enriched points of view from you journeys out ward. The vision is to transform this Old ship Zion into Star ship Zion without sinking the ship in the process, I think it can be done by addressing the difficult issues, we will come to grips with them and it will be interesting when we do. I hope you do stick around for this restoration process, granted it will take on average 40 years to see the completion of what I’m envisioning but it will happen, hopefully we don’t lose any more families like yours in the process… sadly I realize this won’t be the case, but more people are becoming aware of the complicated issues and we will learn how to deal with the dissonance.

        • Danie December 16, 2015 at 10:48 am - Reply

          My stake president visited me on Sunday, and we talked about what it would be like for me to come back, and both agree that it would end badly. The church doesn’t want people like me to come prepared to discuss the whitewashing and cover-ups that are so prevalent in the manuals. They want people to only learn from the materials they provide, and not “look beyond the mark”. If I were to attend again, my questions, and information would only cause contention, and I’d lose good friends and neighbors over it. Because I refuse to sit and be lied to, I find no value in repeating over and over to read my scriptures, say my prayers, attend the temple, do FHE, and pay tithing. I’m so far beyond the need to brainwash myself to those points that I need something with more substance that being a cookie cutter Mormon can no longer provide.

          I’m free, I’m liberated, and happy to be who I was meant to be without guilt or shame of not fitting into the Mormon mold. There is no place for me and others like me there, and I’ll never go back.

        • RLeeG December 17, 2015 at 7:51 am - Reply

          David, your point of view is either incredibly naive or just dishonest. You seem really nice, so I am going to assume its just the former. My wife and I finally decided earlier this year to leave the church with our two kids. We were afraid in some regards, scared of life outside. Scared our kids were going to become cocaine fiends and we would devolve into some kind of chaotic mess (alright, maybe that exaggerating a bit). It turned out, it has been awesome. My children are doing better than ever and we are extremely excited for life.

          Daniel should not feel the need to try to help the church change. If the church were led by inspired men, it would be just fine. It wouldn’t need changed from the bottom up, which it is in desperate need of. Life is too short to spend it trying to fix an organization that does not want help. The leaders have been very VERY clear about this. They do NOT want your input. They don’t want mine, they don’t want Daniel’s, and they don’t want yours David.

          When I left, my bishop wanted to have talks about how we could stay in. I explained my position on church history, that its dishonest to leave out the facts. That people should have all the information and then decide for themselves if it makes sense, if they want to still believe, if they want to do the gymnastics it will take. We should be free to question our leaders. Unless they say that the Lord appeared and told them such and such, I have a right to question if new policies are from God if they are not claiming he talks to them. No one should be committing their life to something because they felt good about it once in their living room, and certainly not because someone else of church nobility feels good about it, or once helped a widow or something. There is too much at stake to put your life on a course dictated by some emotional responses. And everyone should be able to discuss these thoughts in church. I also don’t think it is healthy at all for my children. There was no response. He agrees, the church cannot talk about such things and it is not up to us to question, just believe.

          My own brother, the regional coordinator for institute and seminar where I live, has told me, you don’t get to express your opinion on what the leaders say. If you believe they are led by God, you don’t ask them to change things from the bottom. That makes no sense, he explained. And if you do not believe that, then why stay? My brother is awesome by the way. His words though are true. THEY DO NOT WANT YOUR OPINION. they believe they are smarter than you and more inspired and they do not go to the membership for their feelings on things or opinions. Come on David, you know that. And if they are inspired, then why do think anything should change. Cause they can be fallible? I love it when members say the leaders are fallible but get mad when you point out obvious mistakes. #FallibleButNotFallible.

          • David December 17, 2015 at 3:46 pm

            Hi RLeeG,

            I’m one of the people that would like to see things change in the church, and when I see people that can contribute to bringing about change leave its discouraging… because the Church won’t change if the people who would like to see things change just leave. Making it worse for the rest of us.

            We know that certain things were absolutely miraculous, we have an incredible history, the complexity and controversial issues makes us pause & ponder. It would be amazing to return to the vision of what Mormonism was all about rather than just focusing on being another Mainstream Christian church. That said Christ is at the center and stands supreme and above everything else.

            It would be amazing to recognize the following things:
            1) Joseph Smith was inspired but he didn’t get everything right… there are things he said and did that were not right, but overall he did see God the Father, and he did produce the book of Mormon, and he did restored and organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but the work is not yet finished and it will never be until the great Jehovah says the work is done.
            2) The Book of Mormon was translated by the Gift and power of God, even if it mean that it was done through the seer stone. Yes its full of 19th Century Anachronism, but the overall message is what God intended us to have.
            3) Doctrine & Covenants, yes there were tons of revisions, but that is the nature of revelation, it to be updated as we receive further light and knowledge.
            4) Pearl of Great Price – Joseph honestly thought he was receiving inspiration from God, and he obviously thought that Polygamy was from God too. Perhaps he meant to institute Polyandry as well, but the saints were prepared to receive that revelation.
            5) In essence we believe in the scriptures, prophetic voice, so far as the spirit of God bears witness to our spirit that these are true, and that we should accept truth no matter where it source comes from, and that truth ultimately must be in harmony with other truths. Scriptures can be understood as literal or figurative, and that we are responsible of constructing our faith in way that inspires us to be more like Christ.
            6) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only Church that has the saving ordinances, but ultimately the saving ordinances don’t matter much because everyone will have an opportunity to receive and accept them, whether it be in this life or the next, thanks in grand part to the work in the temples.

            This is the Mormonism that I aspire to and hope that we can become… when participating in Church we can share our opinions through thoughtful and respectful commentary. So far, I still feel called by God to participate and serving in the Church, but I keep and open mind and continue to increase my understanding and the understanding of others as well.

          • Daniel December 17, 2015 at 4:25 pm

            Hi David,

            I totally understand why you want to stay. I can honestly say that I loved being an active Mormon. I loved participating in attending church and doing all the stuff that I did, right up until I realized it wasn’t what it claims to be. I believe now that based on the evidence, the points you made me don’t stand up to scrutiny. The manuals that they teach lessons out of today, flat out lie to the people sitting there in the classroom, and the people eat it up like it’s 100% truth. There is no way I could sit in a classroom and listen to that at this point without getting bitter, angry, contentious, and ultimately end up losing good friends and neighbors. I actually made a Reddit post about that recently. Go check it out.

            Do They Really Want Me Back??? I Don’t Think So!


          • Bob December 18, 2015 at 9:06 am

            During World War 2 at the time of the invasion of Normandy by the Allies, German troops were stuck with not taking decisive action because they were afraid of disturbing Hitler who was asleep during the early morning of the invasion and couldn’t take the initiative.

            I had long believed that it was the general authorities, specifically the apostles who wrote all of the lesson manuals since they were the ones receiving direct revelations from God.

            I have long since believed the films made by the Church were specifically designed to make the viewers feel and emotional tug which the Church had always interpreted as “the spirit”. Feeling emotional in a secular movie was just manipulation but anything the Church put out was directed by God. The same thing with garments. If the Church wore garments these were sacred, approved clothing but if another religious faith did it, it was practicing a priest craft and was evil.

            Other Churches have statuary depicting Christ, angels and religious experience. But the Church commissions artists to create art to fit their story and then teaches as if it’s true until they get caught in their lie, in which case it’s just an “artists depiction”.

            Check out the BBC documentary ‘Hitler’s Children”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2O9WB8MRMc on you tube, the similarities between the LDS Church and the Nazis in terms of conditioning the fertile minds of the children and uneducated with repetitive propaganda is identical and very disturbing.

          • RLeeG December 18, 2015 at 9:09 am

            David, I know I am completely butting in on your conversation with Daniel, but it drives me crazy to have people ask others to stay and change the church. its not that I don’t respect your views of Joseph and the church, but i am not sure you respect Daniel’s. Not everyone WANTS to believe in the bullet points you made or finds any valid reason to. If the church is making you miserable, then why are you still there? I don’t know your situation exactly, but if you have to change the church in order to make it more palatable, it might just not be good or right. I think you are failing to realize just how little the church leadership care about your views on polyandry or how you think they should confront these issues. David, paste your comment into word, print it, and send it to the apostles. Send it to your stake president.

            You make the strange assumption that others who want to leave the church might somehow share your views you listed. Joseph was not a prophet. There are no two ways around it. His claims fail to stand up to any serious scrutiny at all. No egyptian translation papyri. No plates we can see. No ability to reproduce when he loses the 116 pages. BOM full of errors, anachronisms, and copy/paste of biblical errors. Revelation changes (D&C/Book of commandments/A book of revelations). A God that sends angels with swords to force you to do what He wants with threats. Marriages to teens under pressure and threat of salvation. Straight up lies about polygamy to general membership. Destruction of printing press that only told the truth. A temple ceremony copy of the masons word for word. Go look up William Clayton and Lydia for a neat little story about on the spot revelation. How much do you need? You want people to go to church and listen to a fairytell version of mormonism and change it for the better? You can’t fix something that was completely broken from the beginning and never true in the first place with people that won’t even bother to read two pages about any of this stuff because apparently Joseph’s own journals (and other early leader’s journals and letters) are anti-mormon literature. For some of us, sitting in a room full of people talking about how incredible the BOM is and how no one can dispute it and how great the prophet was, makes us nearly pass out. That’s great that you think that there are things that are impressive or miraculous about the early church. I don’t see it. You know what is incredible to me? That a guy could craft a telescope and look into the stars and give us theories and ideas of the universe no one ever thought about before. Or a guy that could look beyond the norm and see properties of light, matter, time, and behaviors of photons and energy that would revolutionize our understanding of what’s around us. That is incredible. That is inspiration. If there is a God, He might have been touching the minds of these men. Telling stories about people that never existed full of non complex characters with elementary arguments for and against God, written in amateur fashion without much thought to human experience or behavior, does not seem greatly miraculous.

        • Red March 2, 2018 at 4:09 am - Reply

          You may not realize this but the church has been excommunicating those that ask hard questions.

      • Deanna D December 27, 2015 at 7:03 pm - Reply

        Thank you! Great analogy!!

  2. Bob December 14, 2015 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    Listening to the story about deciding to have another child because of the patriarchal blessing said they should have multiple daughters brought me back to all the wacky stuff one can encounter within the LDS culture. Making such a huge decision based on some blessing you received makes me head explode. I’m fine with Mormons who say they “feel the Spirit” or they feel close to Jesus — because I think we all have positive experiences in life and if you want to call it the Spirit, that’s fine. However, it’s such a huge leap to arrive at the belief that some priesthood holder can predict the number and genders of your children years in advance. The belief in specific, factual predictions is always going to lead to disappointment. There are so many children out there who need good homes; the idea that a person might bring a person into this world because of some thought that passed through a priesthood holder giving a blessing is truly terrifying.

    • Daniel December 14, 2015 at 7:57 pm - Reply

      Yeah, I look back now at how silly it was to follow that magical world view. I have no regrets, but I also hope I can raise my kids with more options than I was afforded in the Mormon bubble.

    • Dr. Robert Anderson December 15, 2015 at 1:13 am - Reply

      LDS priestholders are never taught that they are fortune tellers, prophets or any such thing. I would want to see the patriarchal blessing to believe it has any veracity. If it does exist it is a sad situation. That person has been counselled since youth to determine the truth of all things for himself. Blind obedience is not LDS doctrin or practice.

      Dr. Robert Anderson

      • Daniel December 15, 2015 at 8:10 am - Reply

        Hi Robert,,

        You really should do some research on the history of Patriarchs and the types of blessings they have given, not to mention that they used to charge for the blessings. Michael Quinn has written some excellent historical works on them. These blessings are absolutely meant to tell fortunes, but only as long as you are true and faithful to the Church, which is another way they use fear to control members and keep them in the organization. Below is a link to a screen shot of a page from a paper written about the history of these blessings. It sure looks like fortune telling to me.


    • Daniel December 15, 2015 at 8:09 am - Reply


      You really should do some research on the history of Patriarchs and the types of blessings they have given, not to mention that they used to charge for the blessings. Michael Quinn has written some excellent historical works on them. These blessings are absolutely meant to tell fortunes, but only as long as you are true and faithful to the Church, which is another way they use fear to control members and keep them in the organization. Below is a link to a screen shot of a page from a paper written about the history of these blessings. It sure looks like fortune telling to me.


    • AnnaMarieMiller December 15, 2015 at 10:29 am - Reply

      I would like to clarify that my experience was not the same as Daniel’s, nor did I believe, at the time, that Daniel’s blessing was his only reason for wanting another baby. I did say in the podcast that I had not felt the same way he did, but I’d like to further clarify. Daniel was actually the first to bring up the possibility of having another baby. I waffled back and forth on it, ultimately deciding that I WANTED to have another baby. In fact, at one point, when I was leaning away from adding one more child to our family, he told me he felt like there was one more, and I told him flat out that I did not have that same feeling. In other words, I chose to have one more child because I wanted to have one more child. Daniel’s patriarchal blessing was not even a factor for me in that decision at all. I did pray about it and my personal feeling was that it was our choice. We chose to have another child. I never had the strong feeling or impression that it was a girl, like Daniel did, and therefore, the fact that it was a boy didn’t throw me or cause me to doubt my testimony. Having only one daughter, I had thought it would be fun for her to have a sister and to have one more girl in the house, but it wasn’t because I felt that God had told me we would have another girl. At the time, when Dan told me how confused he was because he was certain he had been told that it was a girl, I told him it was most likely his own desire to have another daughter, not God at all. Anyway, I just wanted to clarify that the two of us had very different experiences with that situation. In no way would we go back and say, “Never mind. We only did this because we thought God said it would be a girl.” I had another baby because I love children and I wanted one more child. Daniel’s experience was different.

      • Bob December 15, 2015 at 10:49 am - Reply

        AnnaMarie: thank you for clarifying that again. I did hear it in the podcast, and I appreciate you making it clear here in the comments. Please don’t take my above comment as being judgmental towards your decision to have a baby — I know you made the choice on your own and for your own reasons. Daniel’s description of his feelings about his patriarchal blessing brought out a lot of memories I have about people getting up at fast & testimony meetings saying how something in their blessing came true and even as a teenager it made me cringe. I don’t even blame Daniel for holding this magical worldview — he grew up in Rigby, where believing in that kind of stuff is common.

        Thank you both for sharing your story!

        • AnnaMarie Miller December 15, 2015 at 10:29 pm - Reply

          I didn’t take offense, no worries :) I just felt immediately after recording that I wished I had been more clear about my experience with it so I wanted to clarify. I totally understand what you were saying and it was not offensive in any way.

  3. Jack December 14, 2015 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    He lost me when he did not know who was Joseph Smith and he was raised Mormon. Not possible.

    • John Dehlin December 15, 2015 at 8:18 am - Reply

      That’s pretty invalidating, Jack. So what you’re saying is….because it wasn’t your experience…it’s not possible. Not super cool.

      • Leslie December 17, 2015 at 2:56 pm - Reply

        John, I think it is contradictory to say we should be skeptical and think for ourselves when it comes to church teachings and leaders yet we should believe everything we hear in these podcasts. Is that what you are saying? I really don’t think that is what you are saying. I get frustrated when someone is skeptical of something and the response is that it is automatically rude to be skeptical. That is the kind of thinking that kept a lot of us from speaking out in church.

        I understand it can be invalidating and I am not saying it is IMPOSSIBLE but it is kind of fishy for some people. I LOVE what you do, you have helped me immensely in my faith crisis. But, sometimes I think it is okay to feel skeptical about statements people make in these podcasts. I guess the “not possible” part was unnecessary and maybe there is a more respectful way of asking about that point. But, I also think it is okay to be skeptical. Not sure if this made sense…

        Really do love your podcasts and am very grateful for what you do.

        • John Dehlin December 17, 2015 at 3:09 pm - Reply

          Leslie – I love skepticism 360 degrees. I just also appreciate it when folks are respectful to my guests. My preference is that people speak to my guests as they would if they were in front of them face-to-face, and I hope that I would never completely invalidate someone’s experience as “impossible” to their face without more questions/discourse first. That’s all.

          • Leslie December 17, 2015 at 3:16 pm

            I can respect that.

      • Fred Marcin December 20, 2015 at 2:15 pm - Reply

        John Dehlin , with due respect, Jack here is actually only pointing out a perfectly valid and literally incredible point, the suggestion that anyone raised in Mormonism would have had no idea about Joseph Smith; I might as well have grown up hearing about the American Revolution and claim, nevertheless, that I had no idea about a man called George Washington. You, John, would have been “lost”, too, to hear me say that. Not “super cool” on your part, John.

    • Daniel December 15, 2015 at 8:35 am - Reply


      Let me clarify this. I knew the name, and that he was one of the prophets, but if asked what his role or significance was in the Church, I couldn’t have told you. I was just talking to my mother about this yesterday, and she also noticed that she doesn’t remember when she realized what Joseph’s role was, but it wasn’t when we were kids. We never did family home evening, and my father worked out of town, and wasn’t active in the Church much at all, so when exactly would I have learned anything of significance of Joseph Smith? How well did you pay attention in primary? I would dare say you could ask several youth today, and they couldn’t tell you his role either.

      As a side note, you can believe that an angel appeared to a guy and gave him a golden bible filled with writings of ancient Americans who lived here, but whose DNA is nowhere to be found, as well as no evidence of said civilization whatsoever, And through the use of a magic rock in a hat, this guy was able to translate the golden bible and publish a book about it, but you can’t believe that as a child I may have not paid attention in class enough to know this story? I sure wish I would have paid more attention, maybe I would have realized it was a fairy tale sooner!

      • Coriantumr December 17, 2015 at 6:46 am - Reply

        I joined the church in my mid teens………..outside the US mind u and I KNEW who Joseph Smith was……………… Ah! I remember now. I was a convert that’s why…….. ………..

    • Kelly December 15, 2015 at 12:27 pm - Reply

      I know many Mormons who went to church every week and graduated from seminary and didn’t know any of the main gospel principles or past church leaders like Joseph smith or Brigham young–my best friend growing up was one of them. She came from a good family and they had family night every week and went to church every week. When I attended one of her family home evenings, I thought it was very simple and somewhat lacking—love your neighbor, be like Jesus…that’s it! No wonder why she didn’t know anything in seminary. My mother and father were into church history and apologetics, so our family home evenings covered gospel doctrine and we read from Hugh Nibley weekly. It was almost like we belonged to two different churches because we learned such different things. I was obviously self-righteous and judgemental about her “lower” understanding because her single-mom wasn’t as knowledgable as my intelligent super-mckonkie/Nibley parents. My friend is still active, and I have left the church. Maybe learning to love your neighbor is more important than learning why polygamy is a truth restored…in the after life…

      • Kelly December 16, 2015 at 9:07 am - Reply

        Of course she was very judgemental of me when I left the true church that she doesn’t know anything about… I guess the goal for us as humans is to understand each other and let everyone take his or her own path.

        • Murdock December 18, 2015 at 9:16 pm - Reply

          I sat through a lesson on my mission where my companion taught his listeners all about how Lehi was commanded to leave Jerusalem and come to a new world to teach the people there about Christ. I never could figure out whether it was what my companion actually thought, or if it was just that he spoke really crappy French…

    • Doubting Thomas December 15, 2015 at 4:45 pm - Reply

      This struck me too as being ALMOST impossible…

      Then I thought of the MULTIPLE people who told me I must be “conveniently forgetting” when I told them that as a former bishop, EQ president, YM president and seminary teacher that I had never been taught Joseph Smith practiced plural marriage.

      It’s possible Jack.

      • Leslie December 17, 2015 at 3:09 pm - Reply

        Yes, I guess I didn’t know that about his wives either! That is what started my shelf collapse.

    • G- December 15, 2015 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      Jack –

      He may have surprised you, but I laughed as I remembered also reading the BofM in the MTC for the first time in my life. I looked at my companion and said ‘Oh my gosh, this is HUGE! Jesus Christ came to America! Do people know this?’ She laughed so hard and said ‘You too huh!’ We laughed so hard we cried. Yes, both of us, born/bred in the church, seminary trained, Bishops for fathers….

      Growing up in the church is like drinking from a fire hose. You are fed so much, so fast, you are lucky to swallow any, and what you do end up with, well….here we are.

    • Dave R December 15, 2015 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      I had a similar experience growing up in SLC. I was only semi active growing up, and only went on a mission because of the cultural pressure to do so, and I wanted to make my grandparents proud. When I arrived in the MTC, I realized I knew almost nothing about Joseph Smith. I had to learn quickly in the MTC and the field.

    • Earl December 16, 2015 at 6:11 am - Reply

      I had a companion like that on my mission back in 1984. He had heard Joseph’s name, but had no idea where the church came from and was just under the impression that all churches were more or less like the LDS church is. I was a convert and joined the church the year before, so having the two of us together must have seemed kind of funny to some of the others around us in the mission!

    • JMG December 16, 2015 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      I was asked about the atonement in my pre-mission interview. I had zero idea what the bishop was talking about. Looking back at it, I have not idea how that possible, but it’s the honest truth. I was a seminary graduate, who’s dad was a bishop. Again super embarrassing, but true.

  4. Jay December 14, 2015 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    Wow! AnnaMarie, you are a saint for standing by your husband. This is very inspiring and I hope many people see this episode! Awesome job, John!

    • AnnaMarie Miller December 16, 2015 at 12:09 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Jay :) I would say that it was just me being open minded enough to not expect my husband, or anyone else, to believe as I do, and consider them less than worthy, if not. I hope I’m always open enough to know that no matter how convinced I am of something, there’s still the possibility that I am wrong. And I’ve ALWAYS believed that it was all about love. What is loving about walking away from love because you don’t agree on something? I kinda like that guy, so… 😜

    • Murdock December 18, 2015 at 9:21 pm - Reply

      I felt the same thing. Our little section of central Utah has a surprisingly large number of unorthodox Mormons, and I’ve gotten to see so many such people struggle with having a “true believer” spouse, who refuses even to talk. I count myself very blessed that my wife and I aren’t among such couples, and to hear your willingness, AnnaMarie, to listen to what your husband had to say, even while establishing ground rules about how it needed to come in small doses, was wonderful.

  5. Charles December 15, 2015 at 2:53 am - Reply

    This is why JS is so pernicious. He took the truth, twisted it, added to it, and then, when people discover the deception, they throw out the baby with the bath water, rejecting Jesus along with Joseph, saying “If the Church isn’t true, then nothing is.”

    • Daniel December 15, 2015 at 8:15 am - Reply

      Hi Charles,

      Once you go down the path of thinking critically, and questioning your beliefs, you tend to want evidence. From where I stand, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, and you’re right, organized religion is all about a bunch of guys who all claim to be prophets. Every religion contradicts every other religion, but they all claim to be the one true religion, with a prophet who speaks the will of God. I suggest you take a look at the origins of the Bible and Christianity. It took me even less time to realize that it was made up to control people than it took me to realize Mormonism was created for the same purpose.

      • Charles December 16, 2015 at 11:28 am - Reply

        I have to respectfully disagree on some points, but these kinds of things take hours to discuss to do it justice. I would just point out this: Joseph wrote the standard LDS works, they all came through one bottle neck: him. But the Bible did not. And (this is important) Joseph gave you your view of the Bible. As you unpack what you’ve inherited from Joseph, I encourage you to revisit that legacy too. The Bible has a robustness that the standard works don’t. For starters: 66 books over 1500 years by 40 different authors.

        I just encourage you not to shut the door on the Bible until you have subjected it to the same scrutiny that you did the standard works. An appeal to authority will get me nowhere, I’m not going to do that, but I think there is at least a kernel of “food for thought” in Sandra Tanner’s story.

        She and her husband studied their way out of the church as young adults before any of the info that we have online was available. And they weren’t looking to leave. But they kept discovering one thing after another (Adam-God, blood atonement, polygamy, etc.), and in the end what they learned forced them out of the church. But this is the interesting part for me: Even though they had a really fine-tuned BS detector (it was Gerald Tanner, for example, who first identified the Salamander Letter as a fake), they never gave up the Bible, and never gave up belief in Jesus and God.

        I’m not saying if you’re a skeptic you couldn’t do that. But the point is that the Bible doesn’t suffer the same order of problems as the BoM, D&C, Pearl of Great Price, etc. (e.g. the flora and fauna are all right, the archeology is all right, the places are on a real map, etc.). And they remained believers.

        I’m not surprised you rejected the Bible in short order. That’s what you do when you’re cleaning house, and the LDS Church has deep anti-Bible currents (Article of Faith # 8, 1 Nephi 13, 2 Nephi 29, Orson Pratt, etc.). It’s a miracle any Mormons read it.

        I’m just saying you still might not be to the bottom of things yet, and encourage you to check it out, even the textual transmission. It’s messy, yes, but if it’s God’s word, it will withstand the scrutiny. I just would hate to see you fall victim to Joseph one last time. He’s the one who told you your whole life that you couldn’t trust the Bible, after all.

        • Daniel December 16, 2015 at 1:53 pm - Reply

          Great points. I definitely won’t throw out the baby with the bath water. This journey will be a life long pursuit for truth, and I do see that there are some great truths taught within the Bible that resonate with me. Life is truly amazing, isn’t it? Enjoy the ride, learn love and light, and seek after those things that will bring lasting happiness. May God bless you on your journey too.

          • Charles December 16, 2015 at 7:06 pm

            Can I offer you a Christmas present? These are my three favorite testimonies (have your own home ‘Fast and Testimony’ meeting!).

            The first is by David Wood, an atheist who became a Christian, unlike anything I think you have ever heard before. (Tell me if Christian testimonies don’t have a different flavor.) The second is by Andy Poland, a Mormon who discovered he was a false prophet (!), one of the most interesting stories I have ever heard told. The final one is by Bart Pascoal, the creator of Mormon Infographics, which you know from the CES Letter (e.g. https://www.mormoninfographics.com/2012/09/the-many-wives-of-joseph-smith.html). John should interview him too. His story is sweet: Spencer W. Kimball and the Miracle of Forgiveness drove him out of the Church (!). { :-o


            If you’ll accept it, Merry Christmas. None of them are trite. None of them are banal.

            All the best,

        • Coriantumr December 17, 2015 at 11:42 am - Reply

          While The Bible may appear to be written by many “authors” the fact of the matter, thanks to good German Science, is that it is an ANTHOLOGY, recompiled after the trip to Babylon…………. Not exactly kosher material either. Quite honestly Brethen all the gospell u need if you’re going that way is Corinthians…………. :-)

  6. Rob December 15, 2015 at 7:41 am - Reply

    Daniel and John:

    The Church is comprised of two distinct parts, the ecclesiastical and the business, which work in tandem to fulfill the objectives of the Church. I believe that a clear understanding of the two can help clarify many misconceptions about the inner workings of the Church.

    The day-to-day operations of the Church are overseen by the Presiding Bishopric. The Presiding Bishop is the equivalent of the President and Chief Operating Officer of the business side of the Church. The departments of the Church are: Seminaries and Institutes (aka CES) , Finance and Records, Meetinghouse Facilities (aka Physical Facilities), Missionary, Priesthood, Temple and Special Projects, Correlation, Family History, Human Resources, Public Affairs, Church Security, Materials Management, Church History, Publishing Services, Information and Communication Services, and Welfare.

    The Managing Directors of each department are the equivalent of Vice Presidents and report to the Presiding Bishopric. The Presiding Bishopric reports to the First Presidency, with the President of the Church being the equivalent of the Chairman of the Board. The business side of the Church has all of the same internal challenges, politics, red tape, etc. as any other business in corporate America. As Daniel noted, the Church strives to follow industry best practices in all areas of business management, record-keeping, budgeting, etc. Often, business decisions are misconstrued as ecclesiastical decisions (City Creek, for example).

    The ecclesiastical side is what most think of as the Church, from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, down to local Stake Presidents and Bishops. Where the Church differs from other organizations is in that the business side exists only to support the ecclesiastical.

    If you have any questions I can answer, let me know.

    • John Dehlin December 15, 2015 at 8:09 am - Reply

      This is very helpful. Thank you, Rob.

    • MTB December 15, 2015 at 9:51 am - Reply


      You stated: “Where the Church differs from other organizations is in that the business side exists only to support the ecclesiastical.”

      How do we know this? How do you know this? It sounds great, but how do any of this know that this is the case? The church has chosen, since 1959, to not disclose any of its financial dealings (in the U.S., at least – some countries require a level of financial disclosure). There is no church-wide P&L statement that I’m aware of. I’m sure a P&L exists, but it’s certainly not accessible to us common people. So, you may be making a very generous presumption about the financial motives of the “business side” of the church. None of us really know, unless you have some source(s) to back up your statement. In some general sense, you may be correct. But, we simply don’t know because the church is so secretive about its financial affairs.

      • Rob December 15, 2015 at 3:07 pm - Reply


        The thousands of current and former Church employees can attest to the mission of the corporate side of the Church. Day in and day out the focus of all Church departments is to further the growth and development of the Church as an ecclesiastical entity.

        People often make the assumption that because Church financials are not public record, it must mean that the leaders or employees are getting rich off of the donations of members. As Laura Roper Andreasen affirmed in a recent MS podcast, even members of the Q12 do not become wealthy from their top leadership positions. Additionally, as Daniel noted in this podcast, Church employees are not paid excessively. I would even say that the higher the position in Church employment, the larger the discrepancy in pay between working for Church and working in corporate America. The opportunity cost is huge. Church employment is definitely not a place for the career ambitious.

        Just because an organization doesn’t make it’s financials public doesn’t mean that there is anything nefarious going on.

        • MTB December 15, 2015 at 5:04 pm - Reply


          Thanks for your reply. I didn’t accuse the church of anything nefarious. There may or may not be anything nefarious. We just don’t know. And that’s the point. We simply don’t know very much about church financials. We can only guess. The church has chosen to be secretive about their financial status and dealings. I guess that’s their prerogative. However, I’m sure the church is fully aware that their lack of transparency causes many to question, and some to become suspicious. After all, if the church has nothing to hide, then why are they hiding their financial information? Why not open their books, like many other churches have?

          So, I guess were stuck with having to take your word for it (as well as thousands of other church employees). You seem like a nice enough guy. Maybe you’re right and the church has a pristine balance sheet and income statement. However, I don’t blame anyone for being skeptical. As the church’s post-WWII wealth began to grow significantly, they chose to hide their financial dealings and status (both from the “world,” as well as members). Why is that?

          Based on your reasoning, I guess I should also give Scientology the benefit of the doubt. Do you also trust that they are not doing anything nefarious? The church of Scientology also chooses to be secretive about their finances. They also have church employees that will “testify” of the truth of their church and to the importance of their cause. For me, however, I’m going to be skeptical regarding Scientology. I think there are probably pretty good reasons that they don’t want anyone looking at their books.

        • Doubting Thomas December 15, 2015 at 5:24 pm - Reply


          A few comments on your post…

          Of course the mission of the corporate side of the church is the “ecclesiastical entity.” That’s the product that generates tithes, offerings and other major forms of donations.

          Laura Andreasen is the granddaughter of Elder Ballard and unless she has access to his financial information, she has no idea what his compensation is from the church and what he’s worth. MOST millionaires don’t live like they are worth millions. That’s how they build wealth.

          Nefarious activities are not the real concern. Full disclosure would be enough to blow the minds of most members. Many who believe that their ecclesiastical leaders are not compensated for their service.

  7. Daniel December 15, 2015 at 8:27 am - Reply

    Hi Robert,

    Thanks for the clarification on this, your description sounds about right. I would like to add that the reason why business decisions are misconstrued as ecclesiastical decisions is because the money to start these businesses came from, and does come from tithing. I often hear people say that’s not true, but if not, then where did the money come from to start these businesses? Did God just make the money appear in the accounts? Also, why does the Church need a business side? It’s because the Church really isn’t a church, it’s a business. It’s registered as a corporation sole, and is subject to the laws of Utah under those articles of incorporation. Below is a link to check out. Notice in article 4, the next president of the church is decided by law, not revelation. It’s always the next most senior guy. It seems pretty easy to understand why people “misconstrue” the two sides when they don’t even realize their Church isn’t a church at all. A couple of items that you might find interesting are the blog post below, as well as the book by Daymon Smith called The Book of Mammon. Best of luck to you, sir!


  8. Becca December 15, 2015 at 9:05 am - Reply

    I had a similar experience, after 40+ years as a TBM. I received a calling where I felt inadequate with the knowledge I had and just wanted to know more about my religion; I was send down the rabbit hole experiencing so much cog dis resultjng in a major shift in my world view. Much of what Daniel spoke about is what I questioned, and no one would give me answers (leaders, temple workers, family). I gave myself permission to explore without fear. A light went on, and I wanted the whole world to know my new found discoveries. The rejection I received was painful, esp in my marriage. Fortunately my spouse stayed by my side and like AnnaMarie, he has chosen me (our marriage) above religion. I have sought for integrity, to be my own authority, and the beautiful thing about this journey is its has caused me to open up to love even MORE than I did before. Thank you for your story Daniel and AnnaMarie.

  9. Tristan December 15, 2015 at 9:39 am - Reply

    I really enjoyed Daniel and AnnaMarie’s journey. Thank you for taking the time to tell us all and help us enrich our lives with your experiences.

  10. Monkeyking December 15, 2015 at 10:38 am - Reply

    This is not so topic specific, but a related observation.

    The more I hear and read these stories, and try and discuss it with current and former members, the more I see black/white thinking. It seems to me to be more prevalent in the LDS community, both in those that remain members and those who leave the church, than the general population. Either the church is all true or all false…there is some tipping point but it is hard to find a member who accepts the flaws or a former member who is not fixated on the flaws and can see the good also. It is almost like everyone has Borderline Personality Disorder and the church is a trigger. Once the topic comes up its is all good or all bad.

    Perhaps this has some genetic underpinning. Perhaps, those who joined the church in the early years (and remained) had this also. It seems like it would make for devoted followers and explain the perception that those who leave the church cannot “leave it alone.”

    • Daniel December 15, 2015 at 11:36 am - Reply

      It is because that’s what the prophets have taught over and over again, it’s either all true or it’s all false. When you start to see things that are clearly false, you take them at their word, that it’s all false. Below are a couple quotes where prophets have stated such.

      “Each of us has to face the matter-either the Church is true, or it’s a fraud. There’s no middle ground. It is the Church and Kingdom of God or it is nothing.”
      April 2003.

      Loyality talk.


      And it gets even better:

      “Well, it’s either true or false. If it’s false, we’re engaged in a great fraud. If it’s true, it’s the most important thing in the world. Now, that’s the whole picture. It is either right or wrong, true or false, fraudulent or true. And that’s exactly where we stand, with a conviction in our hearts that it is true: that Joseph went into the Grove; that he saw the Father and the Son; that he talked with them; that Moroni came; that the Book of Mormon was translated from the plates; that the priesthood was restored by those who held it anciently. That’s our claim. That’s where we stand, and that’s where we fall, if we fall. But we don’t. We just stand secure in that faith.”
      – Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, Interview “The Mormons”; PBS Documentary, April 2007

      Looks like a lot of members have taken him to task!!

      • Monkeyking December 15, 2015 at 2:59 pm - Reply

        I guess my problem is I do not take their word for it. To me the leaders are afflicted by the same black/white thinking that most modern Mormons are. They are unable to articulate anything in the middle. Because I see their statements for what they are, the product of their black and white thinking (splitting), I am completely able to disregard their erroneous statements from those that are helpful. They try and equate faith with splitting, which it is not. (see Kirkegaard) Faith is choosing to believe in spite of the contradictions you perceive, splitting is refusing to perceive/acknowledge the contradictions.

        The way I see it (in Mormon lingo) is that in every dispensation they church has wavered in and out of “correctness/righteousness” to one degree or another. The BofM is full of this. Some times the leaders and/or people followed inspiration, other times they did not but most of the time it was some of both. Unrighteous people being called to repentance by faithful leaders or faithful people in spite of unrighteous leaders.

        I am amazed how members can read the same scriptures as I do and come to the conclusion that somehow the church of our dispensation is different than all those that have gone before. I suspect that it is because they can only consider the church in terms of all black or white. I continue to test this theory by creating non-LDS examples of the same hypocrisies, injustices and contradictions in the church’s teachings/actions and essentially everyone can clearly see and articulate the errors but then I switch it to the church and for most members their minds just flip to another mode and they and begin to argue just the opposite of what they just agreed to. I find it fascinating that otherwise intelligent and rational people have such a giant hole in their thought process.

        Many former members do essentially the same. They cannot accept the church s being just like the thousands of other churches that are generally good and helpful to people. Talk about how certain organizations (i.e. ACLU, DNC) or other churches do a lot of good and provide a way for people to do good things with their lives and they will agree and see those things even though they disagree with many of the fundamental teachings of those organizations. Then when it switches to Mormons it is no longer a generally good organization with some incorrect but benign teachings it is all about how the church is deceptive, manipulative, evil…

        I continue to wonder if this is genetic, learned (brainwashing), created through similar process that create BPD or as is most likely a combination of all. I think that genetics plays some roll. My family has been in the church for many generations. While working on genealogy I have begun searching journals of people who lived at the time and place of my ancestors to find references to them. One of my GGFathers in about 188x was recorded as stating that he did not believe that Brigham Young was a prophet, although he continued active in the church. This, along with discussions I have had with others on that side of my family, seem to indicate that at least that side of my family seems to be able to remain active and yet not believe all that is “taught.” The other side, not so much. Talk to my mother without mentioning the church and she is an outspoken feminist, pro LGBT, equality etc., but try and relate it back to the church and it all changes. Really, just fascinating.

        Two quotes from my favorite Star Trek Episode,”Mirror, Mirror” because it is so similar to TBM’s and those who are not.

        “terror must be maintained, or the Empire is doomed. It is the logic of history.” Evil Mr. Spock
        “in every revolution, there’s one man with a vision.” Good Captain Kirk

        “In every revolution there is one man with a vision”

        • Sheridan December 15, 2015 at 8:33 pm - Reply

          I think this issue really boils down to the truth claim. In other churches you are not required to continually stand up and testify that this is the only true church on the face of the earth. It would be easier to stay if it wasn’t so Black and white. However everything in the church like Daniel described is set in such away to keep people very close as to never question.

          Daniel I live around the corner and if you need help saving your neighbors let me know :). It was cool to hear both of your stories thanks for sharing. Amazing how you learn new things in every story.

          • Daniel December 16, 2015 at 1:01 am


            It’s so funny that you live right around the corner from us We totally know who you are, even though we’ve never met, we have a lot of the same friends in common. I’ll have to drop by and say hello one of these days. I’m laying low in the neighborhood right now so that I don’t get shunned too badly, but so far, everyone has been very accepting of our transition out of Mormonism.

        • Mike December 22, 2015 at 1:09 am - Reply

          This was a great show. Daniel you remind me alot of me because I still get a little angry and it’s been years since Ive been to church. And I love your analogy about the boat.

          I would like to respond to Monkeyking. I think that if you read carefully all the comments you will hear many express how they sometimes wish they could go back to those simpler times of being a TBM. Alot of people would like to be able to stay Mormon, to find a quiet comfortable spot and enjoy it for what good it can bring, for friends, family, community, but the corporation makes it all or nothing. If we were Catholics and all we had to do was show up and listen to a sermon, alot of currently ex-Mormons would be going to Christmas services this Sunday. I know I would, I might go a few times a year. I can deal with all the whitewash history, I can accept that the church isn’t perfect or necessarily true. I love my Mormon friends and heritage. But the church has to accept that it has alot of warts. It has to accept just as I do that it Joseph on down might have been a little full of it. When it can do this, when it can stop acting like it’s totally true in the face of incontrovertible evidence, then we will both be able to see it for the good it could be, and we can both accept eachother for our faults and move on. I guess what I’m trying to say here, (and I realize this might sound a little blasphemous) The church has got alot of repenting to do! And I can’t sit there while it preaches to me when it stinks really bad and needs a good bath and it’s clothing burned. The church has lost it’s way, if it ever found it. I was once there with it when we were both lost together but I’ve grown, and it needs to too.

          • Monkeyking December 24, 2015 at 1:52 pm

            Thanks for the comments. I love this site because of the courteous dialogs. I can work out my own thoughts and belief with others able to help me refine how I express myself and call me out when I get too out of touch with the reality others experience.

            I agree that the church tries to make it seem all or nothing. But why do we let them. This is our church as much as anyone else. The prophets are called to serve the members, members are not acquired to serve the prophets. There seems to be a powerful sub-culture that seeks to control the church through intimidation and fear. Every time that they succeed in driving off those who would believe and serve to the extent of their individual capacity they further drive the church towards destruction. I say this because I do still believe that there is a god who cares about us and cares if this church helps perfect the members. That god will surely put an end to those who corrupt.

            As to those who would attend on occasion. Perhaps an analogy. Lets say you are friends with someone who you date on occasion and have a good time when you do, but they have some quirk which you find so intolerable that you could never consider marrying them. Do you continue to seem them and enjoy that relationship for what it is and the enjoyment you have or do you cut off all contact because that “relationship is not going any where”? If you choose the latter I would conclude that you are still a “Mormon” black and white thinker because if a relationship is not all (marriage…) it should be nothing. I would encourage those who think that way to try and find the joy in the middle ground. That is where joy and happiness come from, not from cutting off relationships because they are less than some purported perfect relationship that does not exist anymore than a perfect church or religion exists. The first step in recovering is realizing that the hyperbole that has been preached all your life is incorrect in all aspects of your life. Then you may be able to see past the dogma and experience what good can be had.

    • Daniel December 15, 2015 at 11:43 am - Reply

      I would also like to point that for the most part, I’ve left the Church, but the Church can’t leave me alone. Why do my friends and neighbors keep trying to rescue me? Why do they keep sending home teachers? Why does the bishop try to “get me back”? Why did the Stake President show up at my door last Sunday and insist on talking to me?

      Every time I speak out against their practices, there are inevitably people who will say, “Yep, there’s another bitter apostate that can’t leave the Church alone.” Yet if you compare the number of times I’ve spoken out against the Church to the number of times the Church has come to rescue me, I’d say the Church is the one who can’t leave me alone. Also, how many conference talks have there been about the bitter apostate? The Church vilifies us time and time again and won’t leave us alone, or even concede that our reasons for leaving are justified.

      You say you allow all men to worship to the dictates of their own conscience, but that’s not the case. You send missionaries out to convert people, and in essence, cause them to have a faith crisis about their own religion. Why don’t you leave everyone alone and allow them to worship to the dictates of their own conscience?

    • Truth Realized December 15, 2015 at 1:25 pm - Reply

      Monkeyking. I suspect it is the church that teaches its members to have black/white thinking, which certainly goes along with your personal belief that members or former members exhibit that kind of thinking more than the general population. Have you never heard that the church is either true or a complete fraud there is no middle ground. That’s pretty black and white.

      There are many other things that purposely or not members pick up on, such as: we are the elect, we have the whole truth, only the LDS church has priesthood authority and only those who have been sealed by that authority will be with their families in the eternities etc That kind of elitist thinking is very damaging and I feel leads many members to feel superior and be unkind to those who can’t see the “truth.” The flip side is that it also assures that members are always working to attain some impossible standard. Daniel spoke very clearly about the guilt he always felt trying to be worthy for whatever was coming next.

      Personally I gave the church a huge part of my life and have finally come to the conclusion that it is a fraud, I am grateful for the church essays, they helped me to understand that. So yes, it is either true and deserves my total commitment or a complete fraud and deserves none of my time and energies, for me there is no middle ground. I expect it will take some time to get over the fact that I was duped even at the risk of being accused of not being able to “leave it alone”.

      As for former members not being able to see anything but flaws, yes some are that way but many try to be fair, and I doubt that is evidence of Borderline Personality Disorder. But then I am not an expert in psychology. I can truly say there were and are good things about the church, it just isn’t “true.” I found Daniel to be extremely fair in his comments there were several times he could have said very damaging things about the church but did not.

  11. Thomas December 15, 2015 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    A friend of mine worked at the BYU Motion Picture Studio back in the early 1970s making church films. He made the same comment that David did: that the GAs would give input that significantly degraded the quality of the products, but no one dared confront them so their instructions were simply followed.

  12. Nik December 15, 2015 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    Daniel and AnnaMarie,
    Thank you for your open and honest thoughts you shared on the podcast. I joined the LDS Church when I was 18 and jumped all the way in: mission, temple marriage into a pioneer heritage family, 4 kids back to back, etc. For nearly 15 years Mormonism defined me. My disappointment and feeling of betrayal cut to the core once I started finding out about some of the history of the Church and started thinking for myself. As I listened to you and your wife’s story it felt very similar to my experience. I tried for 3 years to pretend, served as the high priest group leader, etc., but the doubts running through my mind were making me go nuts. I experienced depression for the first time in my life, and that was very scary. My wife has been extremely supportive, though she was devastated once she found out. Since then she has joined me on our departure from the Church- another story. Leaving the Church has proven to be the most challenging thing I have ever done, I built my whole life around the narrative of the “restored gospel”- rebuilding in my 30’s is proving to be a challenge. However, listening to your story resonated with me and showed me once again that there is hope for the future. Thanks.

    • Daniel December 15, 2015 at 4:45 pm - Reply


      There was a conference talk by Uchtdorf where he said staying in the boat is harder than jumping ship. I completely disagree. Staying in the boat is easy compared to tossing away 40 years of your life, your culture, your community, friends, neighbors, family, and social structure and even your job in some cases. Following your conscience and leaving is much harder than burying your head in the sand.

      I wish you peace and happiness in your journey, and hope you can replace the bitterness that comes from finding out Mormonism isn’t what it claims to be with positivity, love, and light.

    • Daniel December 15, 2015 at 4:56 pm - Reply


      Here is a reddit post I made about why going back is not an option. Check it out, I think it has some additional similarities to things that you may have felt in your transition.


      • Nik December 15, 2015 at 7:53 pm - Reply

        Thanks for the link.

        Just last Sunday my wife and I were visited by the Stake Presidency and the Branch President- not at the same time, mind you this is the first visit anyone from the Church has made since we stopped attending full time in June. During the conversation, with the stake, I mentioned that sometimes I feel like I wish I could hop into a time machine back before the whole house of cards fell down and go back to being a TBM. I know that isn’t possible. No matter how much I try I have seen behind the curtain and see the Church for what it is- and I cannot forget that. I realize that it is a dangerous place to be. However, that nostalgia for a simpler time, in my Mormon bubble, is powerful.
        During this whole process I have begun to see things so much clearer, I’ve found myself to be a more tolerant caring person, I have real compassion for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m a better husband and father, my eyes are opened and I can think critically about things and make my own opinions versus what the Church expects me to think and feel- yet I sometimes yearn for that old me… strange I know.
        Mormonism has blessed my life, but its usefulness is fading. I don’t regret my decision to join the Church- my greatest blessings in my life are a result of that decision, however it is time to move on, and moving on is hard to do.

  13. Jay December 15, 2015 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    I also worked for the Church Publishing Dept. From 2013 to 2014, so about the time after Daniel left. However, my experience wasn’t very positive in working for the LDS church:)
    Love the podcast, keep up the good work.

  14. tlm December 15, 2015 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    Daniel, your description of “Correlation” is eerily similar to Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth” in the book 1984.

    I related to much of your story. I spent almost a decade teaching at one of the Church’s universities, leaving after my “faith transition”. The scariest time in my life was knowing that by professing my new beliefs, I would put my financial well being and ability to provide for my family into jeopardy.

    Thanks for sharing!!!

  15. Nathan Herrick December 15, 2015 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    Daniel, I enjoyed your Mormon Podcast with John Dehlin. Your experience in Mormonism was very similar to mine. If you don’t mind, I want to ask you when you graduated from Rigby High. I too grew up in Rigby, graduating in 2000. I went to school with a Daniel Miller but his older brother was a DARE cop.

    • Daniel December 15, 2015 at 4:47 pm - Reply

      I graduated in 1992. You probably knew Mike Miller, the DARE cop. He was around in my time as well, and still is today.

  16. Tmac December 15, 2015 at 11:16 pm - Reply

    Daniel and AnnMarie,

    thanks so much for being willing to share. I was touched when you talked about your relationship, and wondered if you went to counseling? I have started with my wife, and she’s VERY much TBM, but in tiny ways she’s learning to hear me. Your comments sounded very healthy and validating of one another.

    PS-I live near you, and admit to Googling you to find out if you’re in my stake (you’re not). That lead me to the Utah county property records site. Was you lot deeded at some point to the Church? Did that have something to do with your employment there?

    • Daniel December 16, 2015 at 9:19 am - Reply

      We didn’t attend counseling to aid is in our transition out as a couple. What we found as part of our departure was that everyone is on a unique journey to find happiness, and being different is good. As a Mormon, I personally had a sense of self righteousness that I didn’t realize until I lost my noble birthright, and what I thought was my chosen place as one of God’s elect.

      When I left, the sudden shock and realization that I’m just like everyone else hit me pretty hard. It was a very humbling time for me to no longer feel special and chosen. What I learned though is that we are all equal, and that we are all worth loving. There are many people now that I’m very close friends with that I wouldn’t have otherwise associated with had I remained Mormon. With these nontraditional Mormon looking or acting people, I more love and acceptance than I had ever felt before as a Mormon. I learned that your friends are the family that you get to pick. I no longer had to be friends with someone that I had nothing in common with except being a member of the same EQ. Don’t get me wrong, I love all those people too, but once I was free to be me, and found people who accepted me unconditionally for that, I began to understand how to love others back.

      My wife was one of those who accepted the real me. She accepted the person with all the flaws, weaknesses, and sins that make me who I am. I was very worried that she wouldn’t like the non priesthood wielding head of household, but I found it was the exact opposite. She actually likes that person better! We are now experiencing life and new things together. It has brought us so much closer than ever before. We both know that we love each other with our flaws. The strengths and weaknesses we each have make us complete. Neither of us would want the other to change anything to be a better in some way. The genuine self is all we want, and what we love about each other. No more expectations of worthiness or certain behaviors as defined by the church, just be who you are, become who you’re meant to be.

      Our plot was owned by the church, and we found it through a church realtor that was provided to me as part of our relocation package.

    • AnnaMarie Miller December 16, 2015 at 12:21 pm - Reply

      Whenever I speak with men in your situation, I want to speak to them as someone who was once in their wive’s shoes. I was as “in” as anyone. Don’t give up on the hope that the lines of communication on this issue will eventually open and that she might eventually be ready to try to understand where you are at and why. I’m not going to say that every wife will eventually leave alongside their husband. That’s not the point. She may or may not make that choice for her own life. Your marriage can stay together and thrive either way, as long as both of you are willing to try to understand each other’s perspectives, to listen to each other, to respect each other even if you completely disagree (or can’t understand how the other could believe something) and to commit and recommit, over and over, to put each other first. We had to sit down more than once and say, “Hey, I’m sensing some distance here. What can we do to fix this? What do you need from me?”It wasn’t just a decision to put each other first. It was active, ongoing, and constant (still is). Thank you for sharing your story. 💛

  17. Denise December 16, 2015 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Daniel, I so relate to your story. Five months ago I read the CES letter by accident. Someone posted the picture of the seerer stone (I had no idea what that was despite years of teaching countless lessons) and posted a link to the CES letter. My world of Mormonism fell apart and after 48 years of being a active member, it took only 3 days to because a disbeliever. I was frighten to tell anyone. I obsessively read information and suffered a lack of sleep for 2 weeks. I finally opened up to by husband and grown children. We are all out! It has been devastating. I feel really sad because like your wife, I was happy . Yet, my family is closer now than ever before. Our bishop, SP, and area 70 (my husband has served in many high profile callings in the church) have all called to see if this can be fixed and politely we’ve said no it can’t. I feel a lot of quilt by being the one to force this dialog but I feel blessed that we are all on the same page. I decided to leave with dignity and grace although like you I get angry and bitter and I have to remind myself not to fall into that trap. Likewise, I too feel the true purpose of life is to love and this may be our one shot. Good luck on your new journey out of Mormonism.

    • Daniel December 16, 2015 at 10:55 am - Reply

      Thank you for sharing your story Denise! I was definitely devastated for a period of time, which is why I obsessed over studying Mormonism. I still do sometimes get sad and feel empty when I think about everything that I’ve left, and those who have left me. It’s exactly like morning the loss of a loved one, and coming out of the closet at the same time. I can say though that we have been able to find amazing activities with our family to fill the void that was left when we stopped attending Church. Our family is closer now than ever before. We get a whole extra day to be together talking and doing fun activities, instead of 3 hours of separate meetings, then home teaching, plus ward council and PEC. My children have absolutely blossomed and have such self confidence and assurance of who they are and who they want to become now. They aren’t bound by rules, or forced into conforming to the Mormon mold.

      While at times it is hard, it does get easier. The sense of loss also gets filled as you meet new and exciting people and form friendships that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to make as a TBM. I wish you the best in your journey, and hope you find peace and happiness as you carry on!

  18. Bob December 16, 2015 at 9:32 am - Reply

    I must have nothing better to do. I listened to the entire interview in 2 sittings.

    I always wondered about the inner workings of the Church. I can’t wait to hear an interview with someone in the finance department given the money spent on the “propaganda” machine. This certainly gives a window into the workings of the Church. It’s clear that those working for the Church aren’t acting with any sense of morality or ethics. I don’t think they do it maliciously, I don’t they don’t even think about it at all. A problem of putting your legitimate questions on the shelf is that over time your critical thinking skills, sense of right and wrong go on the shelf too. Pardon the comparison, but Nazis did the very same thing.

    The revelation of the re-using names in the temple was enlightening.

    It’s an excruciatingly painful process and seems to have a common thread. You want to be a more devoted member and so you study more. In the past, there were only Church approved books to learn from. Given the Church essays and the internet, and he media the Church can’t hide their past any more and young people are too smart to follow in lockstep.

    I applaud your family for getting out when you did and that all of you got out together. The truth though is that you’ll always be a Mormon. A lifetime of indoctrination and extended family in the Church and living in a predominately LDS community makes it so it will always be a part of your life.

    • Daniel December 16, 2015 at 10:59 am - Reply

      We WILL always be Mormon. We were molded by it from birth, we live in it, we work in it, and are saturated in it. The deprogramming will be something that will take years, but slowly, we will get there. We love our Mormon friends and neighbors, and all we ask is that as we allow them to worship to the dictates of their own conscience, they afford us the same respect. We are still good people, who still love others and want to help and serve. I hope people recognize that, and accept us for who we are, and not our religious affiliation, or lack thereof.

  19. J. Reuben Clerk December 16, 2015 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Millers, for your story. I think a lot of listeners will benefit from hearing from people like you who experienced emotions/fears that many people experience in faith transitions and were able to successfully make that transition with their family intact. I agree with John that a Mormon Transitions interview focusing more this transition would be helpful.

  20. GP December 17, 2015 at 8:28 am - Reply


    You may be interested in some of the writings of JJ Dewey. His website is freeread.com. I was a very TBM RS President three years ago. Then I had some significant challenges with some of my young kids that created enough upheaval in my life to get me looking for a deeper, direct spiritual connection to God. A woman gave me a book written by JJ Dewey called The Immortal and that started me on a new phase of my journey. Some of your comments at the end of part 3 about us choosing life experiences to expand consciousness, and that life is more about trial and error learning than us “sinning” and being cut off from God resonated with me. There are many principles taught in the Immortal book (fiction story but teaches principles that resonate with me) that helped me navigate my transition in a fairly healthy way. I had to read with a very open mind–that anything is possible, kind of like taking to perspective of an researcher.

    I also loved your retelling of your conversation with your Bishop and Stake President. You had some great arguments and perspectives, ones that I have found myself thinking again and again.

    Thanks for sharing your story in such a healthy, balanced, harmless way. Best wishes to you and Annamarie as you carry on in your journey.

  21. GP December 17, 2015 at 8:44 am - Reply


    Thanks for sharing your story in such a healthy, balanced and appropriate way.

    I was able to identify a lot with certain parts of your story. I was a very TBM RS President three years ago. Then I had some significant challenges with some of my young kids that created enough upheaval in my life to get me asking lots of questions and searching for a deeper, direct spiritual connection to God. A woman gave me a book written by JJ Dewey called The Immortal and that started me on a new phase of my journey. Some of your comments at the end of part 3 about us choosing life experiences to expand consciousness, and that life is more about trial and error learning than us “sinning” and being cut off from God resonated with me. There are many principles and ideas, similar to some of your views, shared in The Immortal book (fiction story but teaches principles that resonate with me) that helped me navigate my transition in a fairly healthy way. I had to read with a very open mind–that anything is possible, kind of like taking the perspective of an objective researcher. Here’s the link to the online version of the book, in case you’re interested: https://www.freeread.com/chapter-one/

    The information you shared on the BITE methodology was fascinating. It’s so true that when you’re in the middle of “it” (the church box) you can’t see it. It requires stepping outside to gain a clearer perspective.

    I also loved your retelling of your conversations with your Bishop and Stake President. You had some great arguments and perspectives, ones that I have found myself thinking again and again.

    Best wishes to you and AnnaMarie as you carry on in your journey. I’m amazed how many people are making a similar journey and it’s nice to know we’re not alone.

  22. Tim Birt December 17, 2015 at 9:13 am - Reply

    Thank you to John, Daniel, and AnnaMarie for this podcast and to those who left comments.

    I was impressed that the positive aspects of working for the Church as well as concerns were brought out. He affirmed that, in general, concern is given to consider Church resources carefully and be planful, accountable, and professional in use of funds. He felt the Church was a respectful employer and practiced what it preached as far as work and home separation. It was good to hear John praising the Church for things it seemed to be doing well.

    A culturally encapsulated perspective often present in the Church iseems evident in Church employees discussed here in that some potential concerns were not noticed or raised by Daniel or other employees.

    For example the following issues: a) No mention of editing of church materials to provide gender neutral language. b) Not noticing that church employment outside seminary and institute did not mirror previous church encouragement of women not being in the work force but staying at home with children as evidenced by women employed at all levels of the organization, yet in seminary and institute, the public face of church education, the long standing ban on full time paid women in seminary and institute positions was evident. C) Evidence of how little general authorities seemed to meddle in micromanaging Church administrative matters as juxtaposed to how much deference their input was given to the point that Church leaders, because of this deference, often were not given important information or feedback. D) A task orientation to approved tasks with devotion with a somewhat limited thought or evaluation or perspective of how the tasks orient into modern cultural concerns on a macro level, but an extensive concern about aduience perspective and riding audience trends. e) The juxtaposition of how innovative the Church experiments new ways of embracing popular technology and advances to attempt to share its message as opposed to how oblivious or insensitive their actions seem to be with regards to women’s issues and religion as benevolent allegory rather than literal unchanging revealed truth.

    A few other issues I thought to were interesting were as follows:
    A) If all the Church materials and talks of General Authorities have to go thru coorelation and be approved before being released publicly, then it weakens the assumption that certain statements or conference talk teachings were just not well thought out and unintentional mistakes. It somewhat gives credence that what they said was what they meant.

    B) Despite evidence to the contrary, the Church, seems to be trying to respond to some issues and concerns for fairness, economic disparities, race, and some cultural differences. It is just stuck with the doctrinal assumptions it has adopted involving women and LGBT issues, and until radical revelation or overwheming cultural change comes, they seem stuck.

    Now understand that I’m not arguing like many Mormons and former Mormons either the validity of truthfulness or the rejection of a system because of a preponderance of questionable truth claims.

    For me. it is not necessary to define the unquestioning reverence for current church authority, as evident in many devote members, as a gulibility or evedence of manipulation by leaders. There can be value in simple faith, as well as, in tenacious questioning, skepticism, and following evidence and literalism in pursuit of answers to foundational questions. My point is that the debate about the Church often seems unnecessarily polarized between those who find spiritual value in following Church authority and perhaps a less critical, faith based, more literalistic perspective for their spiritual path; and on the other side, those who value reason and focus on a literal interpretations of religious teachings then looking for evidence and consistency in adherence to verifiable claims and seem to require spiritual followers to strict adherence to their belief claims and the literal historicity of religious texts for their evaluation and often ultimate rejecti not only LDS religious thought, but also, most other structured systems of belief from a black and white perspective when a number of literal claims are,in their mind ,proven false. This group rejects the whole system. Often this group is left with little to advocate for and so they create an alternate belief system based on reasoning that rejects most truth claims or formal religion in favor of aspiring human moral principles.

    So, for me each side is ok, if that is what they need for their spiritual development; however, I submit there is lots of middle ground or alternate perspectives venturing into neither of these camps and that there is religious and logical justification for a middle or alternate position. This position embraces the potential development of human morality over time as institutions grapple with and change when confronted with the effects and injustice of previously heald beliefs or practices. It accepts the need to adopt new practices and beliefs. It acknowledges that most all humans believe and interpret the world from a bias, culturally encapsulated, emotional, sometimes illogical, historical perspective, and it withholds unnecessary criticism for changes in beliefs. This, my, middle ground attempts to respect each person’s spiritual walk, beliefs, and journey and often affirms the value of a variety of religious scripture and teachings as benevolent allegory in informing one’s spiritual journey with compassion while leaning from understanding gained in understanding the limitations and faults of those who created the religious or philosophical account.

    For looking to the history, beliefs, and personal actions of human luminaries of science, philosophy, or moral civic leadership (for example Einstein, Kant, Frome, Gandhi, etc.) and their revered systems of thought, we often find similar inconsistencies, ill effects, human weakness, and hubris that some use to reject religious faith or scientific theory. So I submit that we can have more reverence for other’s spiritual journeys and not allow their beliefs to threaten us to the point of disparaging.

    It is fine to point out what we see as inconsistencies and stumbling blocks to our reasoning or within a religious system and still value that person and system for what it does and have respect does for those who believe.

    We should acknowledge when our personal emotional or moral distress over an issue has clouded our ability to have respect for an alternate view or individual or perspective.

    Tim Birt

  23. Leslie December 17, 2015 at 12:59 pm - Reply


    You didn’t know who Joseph Smith was until your mission? Did you grow up completely inactive? My children have brought home illustrated coloring pages with his name and picture to color. We sing songs about him in Sacrament. Do you really expect people to believe this? I taught primary for many years and there are lessons that mention him and the first vision is taught in Primary.

    It made me feel skeptical of the entire podcast. Just saying. Whatever your journey is I hope you find happiness. But, come on man… You had to have known SOMETHING about Joseph Smith. Even non-members know who he was.

    • Daniel December 17, 2015 at 1:25 pm - Reply

      Did you read the comments from all the other people above who had similar experiences? It’s good that you’re a skeptic. I hope you apply the same level of skepticism to people who claim to see and/or talk to God on your behalf.

      To clarify, I knew the name, but couldn’t tell you of his significance. I knew there were a bunch of prophets named Joseph smith, but beyond that, I learned about the restoration and his role in the MTC.

      I felt like I was pretty honest throughout the podcast and tried my best to tell the experiences from the position of how I saw things at the time, rather than how I see them today. Like I said in the podcast, I had a great experience working for the church for the most part. If I were making all of this up in an attempt to damage the church, why would I speak so highly of my time there?

      • Leslie December 17, 2015 at 2:41 pm - Reply

        I am not thinking your reasons are to speak ill of the church. I am currently in a faith crisis myself which is why I am here in the first place. I just think it is nearly impossible to escape the story of the first vision. It is everywhere within the Mormon faith. I don’t doubt some of the things you are talking about but I have to wonder how someone grows up in the church and doesn’t know the significance of Joseph Smith. It is deeply rooted in the rhetoric of the church itself. Even if temple recommend interviews (which you do before a mission) they ask if you have a testimony of Joseph Smith and the restoration. I realize you are standing by your statement, and I will go back and read the comments as I didn’t take the time to do so before, but I can’t say that I wasn’t skeptical of that aspect of the story. It may be your truth, but it was just strange to me.

        • Daniel December 17, 2015 at 3:07 pm - Reply

          Yeah, someone else made a similar comment to yours, and several people shared that they too didn’t know a lot of this stuff.

          • Leslie December 17, 2015 at 3:13 pm

            That is just CRAZY to me! But, I guess now I know it isn’t impossible.

          • John Dehlin December 17, 2015 at 3:26 pm

            FWIW, I felt the same way when I heard him say it, Leslie.

        • Daniel December 17, 2015 at 3:42 pm - Reply

          Also, just to clarify if I didn’t I knew the name Joseph Smith, but I also remember being confused as to why there were so many Joseph Smiths. I knew they were all prophets, but I had no clue that one of them claimed to see God, and I didn’t know anything about the restoration story. I knew about the gold plates and that the BoM came from them, but I didn’t know how.

          I think in the podcast when I said “I didn’t know who Joseph Smith was”, what I meant was I didn’t know his importance, or role in the restoration. How it was taken is that I had never heard of the name at all.

          • RLeeG December 18, 2015 at 9:25 am

            I think there has to be something different about Daniel’s growing up experience from our own though that makes this seem so impossible (I am not doubting you Daniel). I mean, I grew up singing songs in primary about Joseph having the first vision. There were paintings in our church and scriptures of him in the grove and God and Jesus above him. It is plastered all over my growing up in the church. It must have been the first thing I learned about and the most nagging thing I asked God about every time i kneeled in prayer for the majority of my life. Did Joseph see God?

            I have no clue, absolutely no idea, how someone could grow up in the church and not know about Joseph and the first vision. Yet here you are Daniel. Proof that it can happen. I guess it just had to be a completely different kind of ward. Like the perfect storm. A family that never talked about Joseph in a ward that focused on behaviors or something more than rehashing the first vision story for the 9000th time like I had. Crazy.

  24. Xposit December 17, 2015 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    It took me a week to listen to the entire interview but I enjoyed it. I left the church in 1974 but I’m always struck by how similar the transition experiences are for so many of us who were born and raised as Mormons. Two things that Daniel said reminded me of my own experience. When I was beginning to see that the church wasn’t what I had been taught I, like Daniel, prayed over and over again asking the lord to lead me in the right direction, to let me know if I was in error, to let me know the truth of the gospel, etc. And, like Daniel, nothing. No answer. I remember after months of beseeching heavenly father for a testimony it slowly occurred to me that the fact that I wasn’t getting an answer was, in fact, the answer.

    For years after I quit attending, home teachers would find me and attempt to reengage me in various ways. I too got the “intellect as satanic meddling” lecture. I find it to be an odd point. Why would any god create a being, giving it one attribute that sets it apart from all other creatures and then brand the use of that attribute to be evil? The one thing that sets humanity apart from all other creatures is the size of our brain and the capacity that comes with it to imagine and reason and do. With that capacity we have not only mapped the entire globe but the stars as well. With human thinking capacities we have eradicated polio and cracked the secrets of DNA. To my way of thinking anyone who would turn their back on the only thing that sets humanity apart from all other things is tantamount to turning their back on whatever may have created them.

    I also enjoyed Daniels’ analogy of sitting at a table facing two balls while talking to someone with their back to the table. Very reminiscent of Plato’s Allegory of The Cave. Anyway, I’m so grateful I was able to walk out of the cave in my early twenties just before my first child was born.

    • Daniel December 17, 2015 at 3:23 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you liked it. I don’t know about you, but I was so confused after praying so hard for answers and receiving nothing. I started to question every answer to prayer that I had ever received and wondered if it was just me making up in my own subconscious mind that I was receiving answers. After many prayers of complete silence, I began to feel silly praying, and today, I prefer meditation to prayer.

      • Xposit December 17, 2015 at 6:56 pm - Reply

        Not only did I start questioning what that, “small still voice inside me”, was but I eventually questioned all customs and mores of the entire culture; Mormonism and otherwise. That led to some destructive behavior, initially, but over time led me to a new way of understanding my own existence. I’m a fan of the personal journey narrative you and Anna Marie expressed toward the end of the podcast. Good luck to both of you and may God, whatever that may be, bless you and your family for time and all eternity! Amen?

        I came to recognize personal prayer as a form of meditation.

        • Bob December 19, 2015 at 10:01 am - Reply

          Sometimes I think that any suggestion to keep praying…fasting…reading your scriptures is in effect to say, “Drink more Kool Aid”. All of it seems to be a self induced coma that creates such craziness as a result of wanting so much to believe so you can keep one’s family together which is a normal human desire.

          Drunk on Kool Aid… putting all of your legitimate questions and concerns (as well as your ethics and morals) on the proverbial shelf… surrounded by people who all chant the same song is a recipe for giving up your entire life and resources to be stuck in place.

          How insidious and deceitful can an organization get?

          • Xposit December 19, 2015 at 1:14 pm

            You’re exactly right. The remedies they most often prescribe for people going through a faith crisis are very similar to brainwashing techniques sometimes perpetrated on prisoners of war. The craziest thing about is that they convince people to do it to themselves. Deprive yourself of food and water, incessantly listen to and read only church approved propaganda and pray to the almighty for affirmation that what you’re trying to convince yourself of is true. As Daniel and I can attest it doesn’t work on everybody but it works on enough folks to perpetuate the aims and goals of the organization. It truly is insidious which is one reason, I believe, it takes awhile for those who decide to leave to decompress as they process how their experiences have effected them.

      • Xposit December 18, 2015 at 8:23 am - Reply

        Yes Daniel it confused me too. Not only did I question the source of that “small still voice inside me” I also questioned everything about the norms and mores of the entire culture, Mormonism and otherwise. There was no internet in the 70’s, let alone a community of exMos that I knew of, and I literally threw out the baby with the bath water for a period. Over time however I gradually reclaimed the values that made sense from a purely humanistic rationale and came to understand prayer as a meditation exercise as well.

  25. Natalie Moon December 17, 2015 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Listening to (almost) 6 hours of your 3 segment interview was time week spent. Thanks John, Daniel, and AnnaMarie for sitting down to tell these stories.
    I enjoyed hearing Daniel and AnnaMarie talk about how they put their relationship first among priorities; they understood that they would support each other no matter what when it came to leaving or staying in the LDS church. Some people do not have that kind of support from their families read: spouses.

    • Daniel December 17, 2015 at 3:28 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Natalie, I’m glad you thought it was time well spent. Honestly I was worried that I just rambled on for 6 hours because by the end I was thinking to myself, what did I even say? LOL. Not to mention, John was falling asleep on me, hehe.

      Our marriage, and family relationships have always been the most important part of this. While we do still have some in and some out, we all love each other just the same. This unconditional love and support regardless of religious beliefs has made our transition out relatively easy. I’ve seen a lot of stories where this is not the case, and it makes my heart hurt. We are all just doing our best to find happiness in this life, so why would we want to do anything to cause a loved one pain and sorrow?

  26. Lance Miles December 18, 2015 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    What an incredible interview! I identified so much with their life and experience! I especially loved the third part and it’d be great to have them do a Mormon Transition podcast where AnnaMarie could tell more of her story. Truth is so universal. Best of luck to them!

  27. Fred Marcin December 20, 2015 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Daniel’s comment “Extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence” beautifully points in the direction of the late great Christopher Hitchens, who would have enjoyed listening to this podcast’s story of emancipation from religious stupidity. His wife’s ability to demand communicating despite what she was hearing, is equally admirable. Kudos to this couple for this story.

  28. DJ December 21, 2015 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    Thank you for doing this interview. I can relate to the patriarchal blessing experience: mine tells me to look forward to “ordaining” my children. Six girls later and no more kids on the horizon makes me wonder.

  29. beth December 22, 2015 at 4:51 am - Reply

    Hi John, great interview with Daniel and Annemarie, l do find these interviews really interesting, l hope you’ll bring more guests on with more insight on church history too, unbiasts views, thanks john, you’re doing a great job.

  30. Lance December 22, 2015 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    Thank you Daniel and AnnMarie for a fantastic episode. Early on, you started to make a comment about discovering how missionaries service areas are chosen using a computer program? Your comment was cut short, would you please describe the process about how missionaries are chosen? Thanks again and good luck to you both.

  31. robert bridgstock December 23, 2015 at 12:22 am - Reply

    I found myself (as do many ex Mormons I’m sure) feeling so much sympathy and similarity between what both of you have said and my own life. Unfortunately, back when I also broached my TBM wife with my concerns, it was mainly an ‘instinct’ that something was wrong; I had no proper evidence or arguments to persuade her differently and before I ever did, she had died of cancer. Clearly, you both love and respect each other dearly – which is wonderful. I was excommunicated back in 2006 – one year after my wife died. Should you be interested in my own story, it is in a book entitled ‘The Youngest Bishop in England.’ You can buy it on Amazon. Should you feel inclined to read it and do not wish to pay, then contact me through personal ‘messaging’ on my Facebook site under ‘Robbie Bridgstock,’ and I’ll give you a link for its PDF version.

  32. Nancy December 29, 2015 at 8:49 am - Reply

    Daniel and AnnaMarie thanks so much for this. As a convert of 40 years I left a little over a year ago. I recently resigned. So much of this story resonated with me but unlike you or some of the other people in this comment thread I can no longer see any good the Mormon Church does that’s unique. And the damage its teachings do can be quite extensive. As a parent of a gay child I have seen it. When I joined a support group for parents of gay kids I went from knowing no parent who had children who attempted /or committed suicide to so many I lost count. I realized it would be very unethical for me to support any organization that teaches such damaging fallacies about homosexuality. ( Such as its a choice, can be cured, is caused by mastutbation). Yes these are not taught now but were taught for many decades. And the expectation now of celibacy is just as damaging. The good in the Mormon Chuch is minuscule and the damage it causes is great.

  33. Joy January 6, 2016 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    In the podcast you started to talk about how mission callings were made but never went back to talk about it. I would be curious to hear more about that. Enjoyed the podcast…

  34. Anonymous--because I am a chicken January 8, 2016 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    AnnaMarie and Daniel,

    What happened with all of your friends and the friends of your children. So much of what we do in life is tied to our friends from church. It’s soccer practice, birthday parties, play dates, etc. etc. etc. When I think of a potential separation, the friendship that my spouse and children would seem to lose would possibly completely change/devastate their lives. It is a scary proposition for those of us who have developed an entire life based on the “community” of the church. If you get this and have time, any insight or thoughts would be appreciated. Still very much active and also am a believer, but find stories like this very informative, important, and enlightening.

    Take care and thanks for taking the time for the podcasts.

    • Annamarie Miller January 9, 2016 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      Hi there! In response to your question, I definitely had all those concerns. As a mother, my number one concern was how this would affect my children, particularly my older ones, who have spent their entire childhoods immersed in the church, including all the social aspects. I was very concerned that perhaps some of their friends’ parents would want them to distance themselves from our children. I was concerned about us losing our friends and social circle as well, but my children were the bigger concern for me.

      Fortunately, we have seen very little “social fallout” for ourselves, and none for our children. We are lucky enough to be surrounded by wonderful people, both inside and outside the church, who love us for who we are. Not a single friend of my children’s has distanced themselves and none of their friendships have been impacted. None of them have been forbidden from our home or anything that would make my children feel alienated or “less than”. My daughter occasionally attends Young Women’s and went to girl’s camp this year. My oldest son has no desire to attend for the most part but his friendships have remained the same. This has been a huge relief for me and a testament to the goodness of most people.

      As far as our own social circle, we have experienced a small amount of distancing from some, but for the most part, our friendships have remained. As adults, it’s easier for us to say, “If you choose to no longer love or accept us because our religious beliefs have changed, that’s your problem, not ours”, than it would be for our children. It’s still hurtful when it has happened, but I guess it just clarifies who our true friends are. Most of our friends and ward members treat us no differently. We don’t see them at church on Sundays, so we don’t cross paths with some of them as often as we used to, but when we do, in large part, we are not treated any differently, alienated or ostracized. We have expanded our social circle to include more people we may not have crossed paths with before, as we’ve gotten to know more people outside of the church, but these haven’t replaced our old friendships.

      Sure, there have been a handful who immediately removed us completely from their lives, blocked us on Facebook etc, but these have been the exception. I’m very thankful that we are surrounded by such good, loving people and that we’ve been luckier in that respect, than some others who have taken the same journey.

  35. Logos January 22, 2016 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    American culture does not teach critical thinking or logic as a standard.
    This is not just a one Church or organizations problem. In fact the church teaches questioning and pondering to a degree.
    Look at politics, look everywhere, people tend to not question things much, and if they do it’s often with an erroneous logical tool set.

    Such is the case even with many on this podcast and this blog comments even.
    Question all things.

    So many views here on this blog, project orthodox practices on the LDS.
    The people then view themselves as un-orthodox when they question things.
    When they find out there is much un-orthodox history to the LDS, they then find issue with this somehow.
    Instead of identify with the un-orthodox practice in themselves and the church, they decide to take issue.

    It’s essentially, expectation someone has set up for themselves in there own head. And when these expectation are not met they find other things outside themselves to take out there issues on.

    To a degree these expectation where a view of things from an orthodox , group think creation, that at some point they accepted within themselves. This orthodox group think is then promoted to others too, not out of ill will, but out of human nature.

    But there is no logical problem with finding out that something you thought was orthodox actually isn’t as much as you like.

    Alot of views on this blog, try and nit pick ideas, they hate and create issues within themselves over the smallest idea of unorthodox creations.
    Only because it’s not they way they wanted it to be.
    These views try to force there own will upon things, saying that if X is not they way I think things should be then X is false.

    In many ways some of this thought is still stuck in the orthodox paradigm, which is only a creations of ones expectations, that in some cases CANNOT be fulfilled. Due to them being a creation of ones own self.

    When God does the unexpected, isn’t that the time to reflect and stand in awe and wonder?

    What happens when someone accepts that the world is a weird place with amazing creations, experiences and lessons to learn?

    Joseph Smith using a seer stone.
    One could place their orthodox exceptions upon this and take issue, claiming it can never be case, because it does not fit ones narrow viewpoint of how one had believed it should have been.
    One could think, wow that is cool, how did that work, isn’t that a wonder? And try to learn from the information.

    Isn’t it a wonder?
    The WORD will come forth from the ROCK.
    And now even it has become a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense!

    Enjoy the journey, and stand in awe!

    What goes around, comes around! PEACE OUT.

    • Coriantumr January 23, 2016 at 8:22 pm - Reply

      I think there is a bit more trouble that it seems to ya, Logos. When I joined the Church the BoM was all about ME….. not you. And ME included all the Americas. Now the Lamanites are a tribe lost in the “jungles of MesoaAmerika” and all these other guys were already here, never mind how…. What you see and feel is the painful evolution, de-evolution and de-construction of doctrine that does not necessarily play in these times. Perhaps it never did. In the same vein that American Catholicism is somewhat out of sync with other dialects of Catholicism in the world the Church in Utah is off sync with the “rest”. Even the Ex-Mormon community somehow expresses exceptional ism comments…….. but the issue is lack of transparency….. being told one thing in a doctrine that is both set in stone and play doh at the same time [Free Agency]……… Try that one to start with Logos.

  36. Jimmy February 2, 2016 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    Daniel, do you remember the year Elder Bednar had that meeting with you all to announce those restructing changes? Thank you.

    • Daniel Miller March 2, 2018 at 10:01 am - Reply

      It would have been in 2012.

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