new-apostlesIn this episode an EPIC panel reviews the October 2015 General Conference wherein:

  1. The LDS Church misses an incredibly important opportunity to fill 3 vacancies in the quorum of the 12 with a person of color, and instead selects (again) three white males from Utah, and
  2. The LDS Church doubles down on its “the Internet is evil,” “doubting is bad,” “choose to believe,” and “stay in the boat” rhetoric.
  3. Elder Devin Durrant publicly apologizes after attempting to merchandize (along with his son) his usage of the word “ponderize” from his general conference talk

Panelists for this conference review include Dr. Gina Colvin, Sean Carter, Andrew Ainsworth, and Jamie Hanis Handy.

These panelists are incredibly passionate, insightful and witty.  I hope you enjoy.


  1. J. Crown October 6, 2015 at 10:38 am - Reply

    Theme from this conference: Doubt is the new pornography.

    • David Sheppard October 6, 2015 at 2:24 pm - Reply

      Haha, I had the same thought exactly!

    • John October 20, 2015 at 11:05 pm - Reply

      It’s so interesting that you say that. Hasn’t Elder Holland (among others) given numerous Conference talks over the past few years for the specific purpose of telling members it’s ok to have doubts?

      Were there specific talks in this past Conference that you felt were an attempt to paint doubt as shameful?

  2. Ephima Morphew October 6, 2015 at 10:39 am - Reply

    The Chosen Chooses to Ponder

    Go forth and Ponderize the Ponderizable, again and again, ad-naseum until you realize it’s all about the choices of the chosen. I guess those who choose to Ponderize would be named Mormonite Ponderroonies, another mormon off-shoot. A new movement is born.

    The verb to ponderize is now in our All-American Mormon Lexicon. When one ponderizes one weighs the persistence of doubt over the fullness of the gospel as it was translated correctly. With the Liahona and testimony gloves all will become clear. Mormons say, “It’s all right to do it but don’t get caught.”
    Now, to Ponderize is a new verb in the Mormon Lexicon given to us by one of the Pondering pharisees testimonials on what it is to be mormon.
    Thanks to Devin Durrant for involving your children in this effort. We Pray it all turns out all right and it will be sorted out in the end in Ponderikystan a place where tone deaf dog whistles rule the brethren.

    • DarkShadow October 6, 2015 at 3:43 pm - Reply

      “Go forth and Ponderize so you can Monitize”

      • DF October 6, 2015 at 10:30 pm - Reply

        It’s like grandpappy used to say “Ponderizin’ n monetizin’ lead to panderizin’ n apologizin’!”

        • Frank Burns October 30, 2015 at 11:40 am - Reply

          “Do you sustain Elder So-and-So as Profiteer and Regulator?”

    • wtaylor October 7, 2015 at 6:14 am - Reply

      I hear that Webster’s Dictionary is adding “ponderize” to it’s next edition. The definition of ponderize is “to use one’s ecclesiastical position for monetary gain…also see Priestcraft.”

  3. AMEN!! October 6, 2015 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    I’m only 20 minutes into the first episode but already….

    Amen Sean! – 100 for 100 white guys, organization is tone deaf, trotting out people of color to be a mascot but aren’t seen as being able to contribute value & lead… AMEN!!

    Amen Gina! – watching all the GA’s shaking hands congratulating each other, celebrating each other, they have arrived, testifying about each other… gross… AMEN!

  4. TMITC October 6, 2015 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    Thanks John for having this podcast! I can’t wait to listen. So far, the best part is finding out about “Ponderizing” from reading the title of this podcast. I didn’t hear this talk and this is the first I heard of it. Classless. I was busy running the St George Marathon and “ponderizing” with my family and friends whether or not any diversity would finally make it into the Q12. I can say EVERYONE I spoke with was certainly hoping for more diversity, even all of my 100% white friends. But ALAS, as is probably no surprise…we still have Wonder Bread. No I must go ponderize some more by listening to this podcast!

  5. Kate Benson October 6, 2015 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    Jamie. I appreciated your thoughts so much. I gained a lot of insight through what you had to say. How is it that you’re still in the church? In all sincerity, how are you making it work?

    • Goto October 7, 2015 at 10:20 am - Reply

      Jamie broke my heart at the end of the first podcast. So sad to be marginalized!!

  6. Monty Stewart October 6, 2015 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    Thank you, thank you all! Everything spot on!
    I wonder what was wrong with just simple “ponder” in the first place? To “ize” it adds nothing other than $$$.
    I was livid to hear that an Apostle was called without his spouse being present. All the condescending accolades, praises, and tributes to women, wives and mothers are nothing more than meaningless platitudes and placating intelligent women into submission by unrighteous priesthood authority. As a man, I am embarrassed by my gender!

    • liz October 6, 2015 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      Thanks! I wish there were more that were.

      • monty Stewart October 7, 2015 at 3:57 pm - Reply

        Liz, you are welcome. True, we do more male feminists. Is that even a term? 😄

        I am incredibly frustrated that women are not given more authority (priesthood) in helping to lead the church. What an incredible untapped resource the church would have with the female perspective and the natural intuitive and loving nature that women possess, not to mention intelligence far beyond archaic male dogma.

        The church needs a breath of fresh air. Women are the solution!

  7. Yellowstoneman October 6, 2015 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    John – I was touched by the comments of your guest Jamie about where women fall in the church. As a former bishop (one who, by the way, has lost his faith in this church) realized very early in my calling as a bishop that the daughters of God are special and are, in fact, left behind in so many ways. This is why I spent my entire 4 years as a bishop putting the sisters of my ward on a pedestal. I learned early on that “As the Ward Relief Society Goes, So Goes the Ward”! The church GA leadership would probably argue that “As the Priesthood Goes, So Goes the Ward” but I proved that to be wrong. I could really feel Jamie’s hurt and it really touched me. Please let her know that she does not stand alone and that many brethren feel as I do. Women in the church should occupy greater roles and, if they did, the church would flourish in ways unimaginable.

    • Jim October 6, 2015 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      As self proclaimed truth-seekers, you guys should at least acknowledge Elder Holland’s talk about Mothers and women in the church.

      • John Dehlin October 6, 2015 at 2:58 pm - Reply

        Jim – Before you comment, you should actually listen to the podcast. We did, indeed, mention Elder Holland’s talk quite extensively. Please actually listen, then return and report. Thank you.

        John Dehlin

        • Jim October 6, 2015 at 3:03 pm - Reply

          Oh, sorry John. I was replying to the comment above (Yellowstoneman) who didn’t acknowlege it in HIS comments. But you’re right. I will listen to it, as I have many of your podcasts (although they are all sooooo long it’s hard to withhold comments until I have listened to all 5 hours!).

          • John Dehlin October 6, 2015 at 3:11 pm

            Only 3 hours this time, Jim! :)

          • Rude Dog October 9, 2015 at 8:10 am

            Yea Jim, 3 hours and it went by way too fast.

    • tropical animal October 6, 2015 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      Male hierarchy wipes out the rights and influence of women, and treats women as subservient. This is obvious throughout Judeo-Christian history and also applies to Mormonism, which is run by a hierarchy of old men who are stuck in the past. As Heber C. Kimball said, buying a cow is no different than getting a wife. However, the attitude today, is, why buy the cow when you can get the milk free.

      Don’t hate me ladies. I’m just teasing about getting the milk free. I love you.

      I really believe that females are the center and purpose of life and that human life would be happier and better off if life did rotate around females.

      Research shows that women are better communicators and can plan and run things better than men. Today, the church is run by old men stuck in the past. Don’t they ever get on the internet? Like John said at UVU, they don’t really want to know what other people think.

      Research at BYU shows that when a there is a female in the family, whether the female is a few months old or a grandmother, it changes the entire nature of the family in a positive direction.

      When will they ever let the Mother in Heaven come out of the closet.

      Love you all.

      If I see you in church . . . Don’t tell anyone where you saw me.

      • Rico October 9, 2015 at 8:08 am - Reply

        The idea that “Male hierarchy wipes out the rights and influence of women, and treats women as subservient. This is obvious throughout Judeo-Christian history” is not true.

        The great Catholic saint Teresa of Avila helped reform the failings of the Catholic church in the 16th century by recruiting St. John of the Cross, another great Catholic saint-priest, and St. Anthony of Jesus to establish reform houses for men. There are many like her in the list of women Catholic saints. St. Catherine of Siena had a long correspondence with Pope Gregory XI telling him to return the seat of the Papacy from Avignon back to Rome. Then there’s St. Joan of Arc, the national hero of France, whose life story inspired Mark Twain to write his most important work. In our era, we had Mother Teresa of Calcutta who preached the Christian faith by her shining example, and who influenced many women to join her order. These women aren’t exactly the kind who don’t have influence in a male-dominated institution.

        Many of the great Catholic cathedrals of Europe were built in honor of a woman. The Roman Catholic cathedral in downtown Salt Lake City is named after Mary Magdalene. America’s largest basilica in Washington DC was named after the Mother of God. Where Mormon leaders only mention in passing a “heavenly mother” whose name they don’t even know, Catholics honor her and other women saints lavishly with the best worship houses money can buy.

        If you pray the Catholic Rosary, you will be asking the intercession of a woman to bring your petitions to God.

        For many secularists looking at Judeo-Christian history, the Catholic Church is the elephant in the living room. Many secular claims appear to be true as long as you ignore the Catholic presence. It’s about time we put an end to this claim about women being downtrodden in a man’s world by looking at how the Catholic Church actually treated its women.

    • Charie Francom October 7, 2015 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      So beautifully said. I was also deeply touched.

  8. anonymousfeminist October 6, 2015 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Is there a way to highlight/share just a part of the podcast? I’m particularly moved by Jamie’s comments after the 55 min mark in Part 1 and think people might be inclined to listen to a small excerpt rather than the whole podcast.

    • Richard Wellington October 6, 2015 at 3:56 pm - Reply

      Amen to that. What is it about men that gives them the need to crush women’s voices. It makes me embarrassed to be a man. I have taken Jamie’s comments and added to them to my 3 x 5 cards that I read at Church that help me try and keep a balanced perspective. Jamie, you are now in there with the likes of Dr Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa! Thank you for sharing that.

    • Scott October 9, 2015 at 9:20 am - Reply

      Check this out for a video clip comprised principally of Jamie’s closing comments:

  9. AMEN! October 6, 2015 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    Jamie Amen! So powerful. Thank you, thank you, thank you for what you said!

  10. emily October 6, 2015 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    I haven’t listened to the podcast yet, just the beginning, but my MIL who has been a lifelong member mentioned that this is the first conference she can remember in her life where they didn’t talk about the numbers of the church. There was no accounting talk. Did we miss that? Do you think they just decided to not talk about it because it might be bad news…?

    • John Dehlin October 6, 2015 at 3:10 pm - Reply

      The accounting and membership report happens in the April conference.

  11. Q October 6, 2015 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    The reasons that all 3 new apostles are “lifers” from Utah and that one of them was called without his wife present are one and the same: unquestioning loyalty. They have all been in church leadership for a long time, so the existing Q12 knew they would accept the call and that their wives would go along before they even asked. I honestly wonder whether there isn’t a significant concern now that not all lower level leaders will be willing/able to stick with it for life, so they had to pick people they trusted completely.

  12. Jim October 6, 2015 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    Have you considered that maybe these new apostles were the best guys for the job at this time? Maybe even inpired choices? Even if you do not believe in the divine nature of the church anymore, you should not discount that these white men might actually be decent fellows who are interested in serving their fellowmen (and women, and LGBT, and all races, etc). I was impressed with Renlund, and more impressed when I read his biography.

    But of course, you would have to allow for the idea that our G.A.s are not all bigoted evil-doers to lean in that direction. ;)

    • John Dehlin October 6, 2015 at 3:29 pm - Reply

      If God/Jesus makes these picks, it’s just really, really hard for me to believe that they only have faith/confidence in white males from Utah.

      • Jim October 6, 2015 at 3:48 pm - Reply

        Respectfully, I think that is where a lot of post-mormons are deficient in their thinking and what has led you all down the paths you have taken… You have your own perception about how things SHOULD be in your own mind, but have a hard time putting it on a shelf (as Michael Quinn said) and acknowledging that it is the mind of God and HIS program that we are talking about.

        For me, it is easy to both acknowledge the “issues” and concerns that so many of you find problematic but still accept that these might just be men whom Monson and the other G.A.s had worked with in the past, were comfortable with, and their names came up when the call came, and it was confirmed by the spirit. Just because a bunch of old white guys know a bunch of other old white guys and that is what God was working with and through is fine. Not some evidence of untruth. God only worked through the Jews until after Christ. Is that evidence of God being bigoted?

        Just my 2 cents and a needed opposing viewpoint among the growing throng. :)

        • John Dehlin October 6, 2015 at 3:52 pm - Reply

          FWIW, and respectfully, I think it is arrogant and often dangerous for any human to claim that they know God’s will, or speak for God. Obviously this is a key area where I differ from the LDS Church and its believing members.

          • Jim October 6, 2015 at 4:36 pm

            Yes. That is why assuming that God would automatically choose ethnicly diverse apostles just because it is what progressives NOW think should be done in order for God to be more politically correct in this day and age is exactly at issue.

          • Bob Hall October 6, 2015 at 5:30 pm

            Wanting leadership that consists of more than rich, white Utahns is not only what progressives want: it also happens to align with the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount.

            Here’s a quote from Eugene Debs that is, as Kurt Vonnegut called it, a moving echo of the Sermon on the Mount:

            “While there is a lower class I am in it.
            While there is a criminal element I am of it.
            While there is a soul in prison I am not free.”

            Jesus taught that it’s easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. He preached that we should give away our riches to the poor and to follow Him. He sought out the meek, the criminals, the destitue. He was a symbol of the poor and the suffering.

            The appointment of these three men more closely follows earthly preferences, not those of Jesus.

          • Bob October 6, 2015 at 6:13 pm

            It sounds like a group of movie executives who go with the tried and true formula and A list of stars to keep doing what they think works. On the other hand, given a rapidly changing world, it’s like in the book, “The Power of Impossible Thinking” which talks about when to maintain the old business model, or when to change horses. The Church is so well funded with revenue, they make decisions that aren’t practical at all and wouldn’t work were it not for the money that’s coming in. Bookstores are failing, even large national ones, but they keep buying up bookstore chains. Malls are on the decline, yet they build a massive billion dollar mall. The temples aren’t being used…they keep building more…the Book of Mormon isn’t being read…but they keep printing them so they can say prophecy is being fulfilled. I suspect there are those who are the back stage hands who know what’s really going on and with the right monetary incentives will come out to share what’s really going on behind the scenes. The outward image is “we’re the fastest growing Church” and “successive years of ever increasing growth” (a little like Starbucks”. But as John discovered, the stakes that we dissolved in South America…the truth will come out and the world is bigger than the church. I think the Church is making all of these major real estate investments to make up for the loss of tithing income as more and more people are leaving the Church. Money is the fuel for keeping up the image. They need “leaders” with a narrow perspective and lock step devotion.

        • RLeeG October 7, 2015 at 2:08 pm - Reply

          Jim, if you ever break the spell you have over you, maybe you will realize how ignorant your unfounded assumptions are towards those that have left the church. Until then, I am not sure any amount of discussion will be of any use. I have several friends that once assumed they knew everything about those that left the church and how they thought. Now they find themselves on the same side of the fence. We all talk and are amazed at our thought processes then vs now.

          until you consider the possibility you might be wrong, you won’t ever really understand anyone’s point of view here. You talk about how posters here haven’t considered it might actually be true. Trust me. I considered it. For about 30 years of life I considered it, served it, and fought for it. I think I gave it a fair shake buddy as has been very one here most likely.

    • RLeeG October 7, 2015 at 1:52 pm - Reply

      Jim, have you considered it’s just a safe choice? These men know the drill and have low expectations. These are not men that actually believe they will see Christ or have any amazing experience. They have been in the “business” among the upper echelon for so long, they know how it all works. They won’t take a chance on a Tom Phillips again who was naive enough to think it is actually true and might have some amazing personal visitation as an apostle and then apostatize when he sees behind the curtain. This is safe.

      When people in power start to see their ranks shrinking and some of their foreign leaders questioning and apostatizing, they do what any great tyrannical leaders in history have done. Shrink your inner circle of trust and call into power those that fit within that shrinking circle. They are done taking chances. It probably took too much brow beating to get Uchtdorf in line and they have seen too much insubordination from foreign stakes.

  13. Jim October 6, 2015 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    Another possibility… Maybe the G.A.s are actually thinking about all “mormon transitions” going on in North America at the moment. How would 3 more apostles from other countries speak to that issue?

  14. AJ October 6, 2015 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    You know, I had the same thought when I heard one of the new apostles talk about receiving and accepting the call, and that he told his wife later. I agree with an earlier commenter who suggested that that this apostle accepting the call was inevitable. My guess is that his wife would have been right on board one way or another. I guess it just begs the question, why would they leave her out of what would have probably been an incredible spiritual experience for her? I think back to my TBM self and can’t help but imagine that I would have been absolutely thrilled to be sitting by my husband holding his hand during such a life-altering moment.

  15. Bob October 6, 2015 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    I just read a post about the background searches on each of the men asked to be apostles. Clearly, it’s an executive search to administrate, not administer the affairs of the Church. The reason, they continue doing the same thing because there’s a lot of money at stake literally.

    There’s nothing spiritual about this at all.

  16. Tory October 6, 2015 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    Great panel and discussion. Given the way media has abused the panel structure, I was a little nervous, but the series was one of my favorite. Thank you for taking the time and please don’t be sensitive about the duration. I know John gets a lot of grief for the length of the podcasts. I hope it never results in them being edited or shortened. I really enjoy their unscripted, organic nature and I always wish they would last longer than they do.

    • Jim October 6, 2015 at 5:45 pm - Reply

      I actually like that John does long interviews. More meat there to digest. And I have in fact, “used his podcast to fall asleep”. Although, I always go back where I dosed off in the morning.

  17. David Sheppard October 6, 2015 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    John, thank you and especially all of the people who joined in the panel. You were all able to articulate the feelings I had inside while listening to General conference, and put them so beautifully into words. I was touched by each of the panellists when they spoke about the subjects that moved them about conference, and I can’t thank you all enough for the candid, raw discussion about these things.
    I want to see these panellists much more – especially Sean Carter, but just because he had me cracking up and I really needed a good laugh!

  18. Janna Taylor October 6, 2015 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Jamie, for your profound summary of the “status” of women in the church. I wept hearing the truth and power of your words. I continued weeping while hearing Sean and Gina’s validating responses to what you were saying.

    I will add: for those of us women who have never had and never will have children, we won’t vanish because we never existed.

    John, would love to hear more episodes with this panel. My mind was blown.

  19. j-leav October 6, 2015 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    This podcast meant so much to me. I watched conference in a room full of pioneer stock, blue blood mormons. I felt so alone. So many of the talks just hurt. I went in to conference sure that I would hear something that would help bridge the gap between those who have concerns and those who are towing the party line. I carry a temple recommend, my husband is in the bishopric, I just finished being primary president and yet I feel so dismissed. I walked away thinking I was unwanted. That the meager faith I had left to give was unwanted.

    When it was finished everyone talked about what an inspiring conference. My husband and I just frowned and sat silently, thinking that this conference was just full of quotes and tidbits that will be thrown at me if I ever vocalize my questions, concerns or doubt.

    How young the church seemed this conference….

    While I loved each panelist, jamie spoke comfort to my soul. I’m a little less alone today. Thank you for that.

  20. J. Reuben Clerk October 6, 2015 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    The panel missed the point of Uctdorf’s talk. His message was NOT don’t look on the Internet because it doesn’t have useful information. His message was that looking on the Internet is pointless because the Church leaders, like the doctor, already have the relevant information and, like the doctor, isn’t trying to hide anything. He’s attempting to reassure them that anything they would find has already been considered by the Brethren and they have your best interest at heart. The essays are completely consistent with this message because the essays are the evidence they are not hiding anything and proof the Brethren have considered the information that’s out there.

    While I don’t agree with this argument, it appears the panel missed this point, at least up to the point where I paused listening to write this.

    • Bob October 6, 2015 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      Proof positive of the “Power of Myth” that Joseph Campbell referred to. The leadership of the Church has had a 185 years of working on and crafting the story so that people don’t question what they’ve been told (since discovering it is so troubling, that feelingT has been defined as “from the devil” so as to keep members from digging deeper and putting those questions “on the shelf” and not expecting even a reasonable answer.) It’s a typical sales technique to bring up an objection before it comes up. Given the history of the leaders of the Church to misrepresent their history and to only present partial bits of truth, I’m not sure why any of the panel is inspired by anything any of these men say. I’ve been waiting ever since I joined the Church for even one “revelation” that is meaningful in any way. Like the doomsday people expecting the world to end. When it doesn’t happen, the leaders blame the unrighteousness of the people. Just like the gold plates that were never used…like a rock that used in a hat…or paintings and art and music and film to create feelings that are suppose to be “the spirit” It’s all horsepucky!

    • Andrew Ainsworth October 7, 2015 at 12:38 am - Reply

      J Reuben, I see your point and agree Uchtdorf was saying: you don’t need the Internet to form your understanding and opinion of the church because you have us, and you can trust us to do that for you.

      • J. Crown October 8, 2015 at 1:38 am - Reply

        I believe Uchdorf’s analogy on the wisdom of using the Internet to verify the doctor’s orders would have been more apt had the following details also been included:

        This doctor had previously kept from you vital information about your health and about his own background (let’s say, for example, he’d been caught in flagrante delicto with teenage candy stripers and the wives of his colleagues, but he lied about it and deemed it a religious practice). When you later learned and then confronted him about it, he blamed you for not learning about those things previously because, after all, you’re probably lazy and he can’t be expected to spoon feed you everything there is to know about your medical condition or his past. Some of the medical procedures he’s performed now seem questionable so you ask him to explain the large bill he’s sent you, but he refuses to provide an accounting. When you tell him the Yelp reviews of him aren’t so flattering and that the criticisms appear to be accurate, he tells you to stop reading the anti literature and that you’ve allowed the devil to poison you (for which, of course, only he has the antidote to save you). And besides, can’t we all just give the doc a break?

        Am I going to the Internet? Hell yes.

        • J. Reuben Clerk October 10, 2015 at 3:55 pm - Reply

          Delightful! Yes, that would be a better analogy.

        • Tory October 13, 2015 at 11:25 am - Reply

          Well said! Wish there was a like or share button.

        • A- October 18, 2015 at 8:19 pm - Reply

          Perfectly stated!

          • wilburson November 16, 2015 at 2:16 am


  21. Paula October 6, 2015 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    I am loving this panel, Jamie speaks directly to my heart and gives voice to all my concerns and feelings!

  22. Rob Hastings October 7, 2015 at 4:43 am - Reply

    BTW, I missed the talk. Is the word Ponderize or is it Ponderize™? I have a mental image of Dr. Evil saying it while his fingers are making quotation marks.
    It has the same feel to me as the word Synergy or any of a number of words used in business jargon which sound cutting edge but are really just fluff and pablum.
    It’s regrettable that the incredible tackiness of using this venue for a personal infomercial has overshadowed the sound concept that he was trying to promote: Lectio Divina has been practiced for well over a thousand years. I would do well to Ponderize a good many things. However, right now the word itself feels kind of vulgar and dirty.
    I owe it to Mormon Stories for contributing the word Gas-lighting to my lexicon. However from here on out the word Ponderize for me shall be anathema.

    Good podcast Guys

    • wtaylor October 7, 2015 at 1:42 pm - Reply

      The definition of ponderize is “to use one’s ecclesiastical position for monetary gain…also see Priestcraft.”

  23. zoo October 7, 2015 at 6:04 am - Reply

    Also, we do not like how an Ensign articles starts out talking about the poverty and the economic status of the area before starting every article about an area.

    Does an article of Utah start about talking about the Industrial refinery zone west of town? What reverence does putting the populace in a negative light ever have to do about the article? If the Mormon corridor population would travel elsewhere and realize there is a world out there…they would stop this.

    Ana Visbicut leans back against the wooden slats outside her home with a smile on her face.
    What do wooden slats have to do about spirituality ?

    Dear ensign: please stop writing culturally biased articles.

  24. BD October 7, 2015 at 8:03 am - Reply

    I love Jamie. She is awesome. So smart and insightful.

  25. Amy October 7, 2015 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Jamie I sobbed as I listened to your comments about disappearing as a woman. Just two weeks ago my husband was called into the Bishop’s office without me to issue a call to ME! He asked him first before he even spoke with me. I love my husband and my children but I am so exhausted with this business of making me only his and theirs. Thank you so much for validating my feelings.

    • Jamie Handy October 29, 2015 at 7:12 pm - Reply

      I’m so sorry. {Hugs}

  26. Coriantumr October 7, 2015 at 10:23 am - Reply

    What’s missing here is the opinion of….err… the persons that are “unrepresented” by the choice of the Brethren. Besides Gina and Sean [who are the usual suspects] I don’t see any other minorities rioting in the streets of Salt Lake. In the 1960’s The 3 American Automakers assembled cars outside the US for sale in different markets. Those cars were really not up to date VS. a Detroit assembled car and sometimes they’d be different in parts, BOM etc. But in the end you got a Ford or a Chevy and even a Dodge. Same thing here. You’ll get someone that is in line with the official policy and belief. The blowback might come from the most CONSERVATIVE side of the Church here in the US. There is pushback against this globalization “thing”, specially from conservatives of all sorts. If Jesus the Christ was the source of the decision, quite honestly he did the right one for the conservative majority. Only in parables the Shepherd leaves the flock open to wolves, bandits and marauders to go after the lost sheep. Either he hires someone to look for that sheep or cuts his losses and moves on.

  27. Elle October 7, 2015 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Wow!! This is an amazing podcast. Great panelists, all of them. Very insightful, as well as entertaining. I was laughing out loud at times. And I wanted to cry at others.

    John, it’s great to see that Mormon Stories has survived and is thriving. There seems to be a new “spring in your step.” Keep up the good work, and congratulations, Dr. Dehlin!

  28. Lightmom October 7, 2015 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Jamie! Oh blessed words of my heart came off your lips! Thank you for giving voice to so much pain and invisible bludgeoning of women. Conference for me felt like my father telling me he loves me, bending me over his knee and spanking me and letting me know it would hurt him more than it would hurt me. Why must we beg for the morsels off the table of your most exquisite associations?! Why Elder Holland, must you pull the mother strings and attempt to exploit the doubters and homosexuals as those who cause the mother’s the most grief and then twist it again to make it sound like a tribute to mothers? What you fail to realize is that it is the mothers who are tired of picking up the marginalizing mess of the patriarchy.

    • Brenda October 15, 2015 at 1:47 pm - Reply


  29. Kelly October 7, 2015 at 11:57 am - Reply

    Amen sisters and brothers! As a woman, I especially appreciated Jamie and Gina’s insights. Jamie, I loved your comment about a woman’s eternal goal in the church is to disappear. This is so damaging to all of us. When I left the church mainly over feminist issues, no one understood me. The complete blindness the church has toward women’s existence is shocking! Please let me be more than a uterus, and please let men be more than a pay check. I think we would all benefit from talks about the intrinsic value of our souls: no matter what we produce or accomplish; we are worthwhile.

    • Kelly October 7, 2015 at 8:31 pm - Reply

      Just finished the entire podcast. I loved the discussion about Holland’s talk and that gods default rule is that you don’t get to be with your family. Definitely the most hurtful part of the church. Thank you for explaining that so well.

  30. Great Speculations October 7, 2015 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    If you did not watch the live broadcast, you missed some important clues for the calling of the new apostles that have been edited out of the published version. I cannot confirm this because I was not recording it, but I was taking close note of the reactions and camera shots and here is what I remember (perhaps someone who recorded it can substantiate this):

    1) When Rasband’s name was read there was an immediate zoom to his chair with someone sitting two seats away (probably Hallstrom) reaching across Clayton’s lap (who was sitting next to Rasband) to squeeze Rasband’s hand. Clayton’s reaction was interesting, facial expression seemingly pulling inward and very rapid eye blinking.

    2) When Stevenson’s name was read there was an immediate zoom to his chair and one of his counselors reached out to him.

    3) When Renlund’s name was read the camera shot a wide angle of the Seventy’s rostrum–perhaps the same shot that is used throughout the edited/published version of the proceedings.

    INTERPRETATION: Here is what I speculate from these and other clues. First, any senior member of the presidency of the Seventy would be on anyone’s short list for being called to the Q12. So the videographers, even not knowing who would be called would be prepared for that. There was definitely something strong going through Clayton’s mind as judged by his body language. In the first video it almost seems that he is pushing Hallstrom’s arm out of his lap, although the edited version shows him reaching over to congratulate Rasband.

    The presiding bishop would also fit on anyone’s short list and so he gets a zoom in as well. I found it hard to really believe that when he got an appointment with the first presidency, that his first though was he was going to lose a counselor to the calling, but it was a nice compliment to his counselors and a very typical Mormon thing to say (see his comments on

    Why couldn’t the camera find Renlund? I think that he is the true outsider. He would not be on any short list. Why pick him? There is a great piece about his international experience on the Deseret News that was completely overlooked by this panel and so although he is White, rich, and from Utah, he does have some experience that should have attracted greater merit from the panel (ok, I have not finished listening yet, but I do not think that the panel is going to get there).

    Did anyone consider that Renlund might have been Nelson’s suggestion? They were both heart surgeons (the occupational tie might sound silly, but consider Oak’s recommending Turley for the position of Assistant Church Historian–they have very similar backgrounds). If Monson was not able to pick a third person in just a few short weeks and had help from his counselors, why wouldn’t they go with Nelson’s pick since he will be the next prophet. The counselors know better than anyone that Monson is fading fast (and now the Church knows it after his near collapse at the podium at conference). They will be looking towards the reality of possibly working with Nelson in a short period of time.

    I think it will be very interesting to see if Clayton gets picked when Monson passes. He has been everywhere recently (priesthood restoration site, keeping the Sabbath day video, trainings, etc.) and is now the senior president of the Seventy. Also, wasn’t Clayton the one to give the training to Stake Presidents on excommunications for Dehlin and Kelly? I wonder if publicity of that hurt his chances.

    Again, I would love it if someone has the live recording and could see if my memory is correct–it would make a great YouTube video!

  31. teelea October 7, 2015 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    While I really liked April’s conference, this one left me cold. I noticed little that was intended to “heal the wounded soul”–it was mostly the periodic retrenchment that comes along every few years, with a lot of “don’t question, don’t read non-church materials, don’t examine things too closely”. Am I the only one who sensed some barely-masked desperation at the number of members the church is losing? It really seems like they ramped up the rhetoric regarding the evils of “the world” and “the church has everything you need, so don’t go elsewhere”. (Or could that last one have also served as a means of increasing Deseret Book’s sales?)

    One final question: where was Christ in all this, besides being used as the ultimate appeal to authority?

  32. Doubting Thomas October 7, 2015 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    John mentioned how great the panel was for this conference review and I have to say I agree 100% This was a solid review. Funny. Insightful. Emotional. Thanks to all the panelist and I hope John does these for EVERY general conference in the future.

    • cl_rand October 7, 2015 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      I’d like to second the motion of Doubting Thomas. Great discussion!

  33. Jill O. October 7, 2015 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    Like many others, I really loved these episodes and particularly the thoughts on women. I happened to listen to the Mormon Mental Health podcast #4 on female sexuality ( on the same day and was blown away by the explanation of how men putting women on pedestals furthers the bonds of patriarchy. It is something many of us felt, but I, at least, was never able to understand my qualms in this area. How could something negative come from something so seemingly positive on its face? I think the Mormon Mental Health podcast goes a long way in clarifying this, and why all the praise of virtuous womanhood in conference is ultimately harmful. Thanks, panel, for some great insights.

  34. Marie October 7, 2015 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    I agree 100% with Andrew’s summation of Holland’s talk. So manipulative. It’s the church’s teachings on the afterlife that break mother’s hearts and cause so much pain not their children. What kind of God would want to separate families just because of different beliefs?? The church ends up being the cause of so many families being destroyed simply because of these harmful teachings. It’s incredibly ironic. And sad.

    • Rude Dog October 9, 2015 at 11:44 am - Reply

      Well said. Keep saying it.

  35. Phil October 7, 2015 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    Mormon stories at its best..keeping me apprised of what silly nonsense the so called authorities are indoctrinating my elderly tbm parents with lately.

    I haven’t heard a general conference in over 20 years, and thanks to mormon stories brilliant summary of the proceedings, I can continue the proud tradition of not listening conference.

  36. Cory October 7, 2015 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    Sean Carter, don’t go down the John Dehlin “ec” cetera track! All nitpicking aside, great episode coming very quickly after General Conference. Great job!

  37. Dewayne Korth October 7, 2015 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    John I can’t express how grateful I am of you and the John Dehlin brand. Thank you so much for everything. I absolutely loved Jamie Hanis Handy and her sincere authentic openness on these episodes. There is a lot of pain that many of us can understand and I’m a fan. I’m also a fan of Gina once again or becoming such. When we see authentic people voicing concerns and disagreeing with the church it gives us courage. You all voiced so much of how I was feeling. I’m still not out of the church, trying to keep my marriage going, but I’m emboldened to stand against harmful beliefs and practices.

    • J. Crown October 8, 2015 at 1:34 pm - Reply

      Dwayne – I’m right there with you re doubts and trying to keep the marriage intact. Always nice to know there are others experiencing it as well. Be strong, brother.

  38. Sara October 8, 2015 at 8:04 am - Reply

    Great podcasts!

    Where can I find the interview with Daymon Smith referred to in your podcast.



  39. Cory October 8, 2015 at 11:28 am - Reply

    I’m listening bit by bit: Jamie, wow! What a great speech–sermon?–at the end of the first section. Very, very powerful.

  40. Angie October 8, 2015 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    Hey John…’re saving my life here!

    i looked up the words General and Authority in the dictionary and swapped out those words for same meaning words and I came up with “Undiversified Last Word”

    Need I say more??

    • RLeeG October 8, 2015 at 2:27 pm - Reply

      that’s great. So fitting.

    • CG October 8, 2015 at 2:40 pm - Reply

      Why stop there?

      General Authority
      Undiversified Last Word
      Unchanging, Omega, Logos
      Jesus Christ

      Angie has created a new version of the game telephone!

  41. EDiL13 October 8, 2015 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    Wow. It’s a little creepy for me to realize that even though I resigned from the LDS church over 10 years ago now, I’m still so desensitized to business as usual that I didn’t even notice that the new apostles were 3 more white guys from Utah, or even worse, how much wrong was done to Gary Stevenson’s wife when her husband accepted the call as an apostle before she had any say at all about it, at least not until I listened to this podcast.

    I do remember one of the speakers in a previous general conference being a black man with an African accent, and being surprised at how strange that seemed to me — had I really never seen that before?

    I’m debating whether or not to risk another religious argument by reminding my TBM husband about this talk, along with a pop quiz: “What is wrong with this picture”? I have often begged him not to accept church assignments without checking with me first; even home teaching is a problem because his time and my energy are so limited and because I need his help at home so much nowadays. Sometimes he promises to put his family first, but other times he promises to do his “duty to God” whether I like it or not.

    Someone (Gina or Jamie?) mentioned that wives are supposed to be included when callings are extended to their husbands, so I looked it up in the watered down version of the church handbook that members have access to, and it says that they “may” be included but not that they have to. I tried to check Wikileaks for the one only bishops and stake presidents get — last time I looked, the previous edition but not the current one was there, but the website’s been down all day, at least at my end. I wonder if it got shut down? And meanwhile, does anyone know what the rulebook the leaders are using actually says about including married men’s wives when callings are extended to them? I’d been told by a previous bishop that I would not be included now that I’m not a member, so I was curious to see if the handbook explicitly stated this. Fortunately, my husband’s current bishop and elder’s quorum president seem to be willing to be a little more considerate of my needs than some of the previous ones, and my husband himself has also improved somewhat as far as this issue is concerned.

    And BTW, I haven’t gotten around to saying congratulations, Dr. John Dehlin, and I’m so happy to learn that you’re launching another project (Mormon Transitions) and that you plan to keep doing this for the next 35 years, until you’re 80 if I did the math right? I hope you will have a long and successful life and career, and lots of listeners who can support you (I wish I could too, as much as I enjoy these podcasts, but I’ve lost my earning power and my sole breadwinner insists on paying a full tithe whether we can afford it or not). Then I hope that you will be able to enjoy a nice comfortable retirement, unlike poor President Monson…

    (Elohim’s Daughter in Law)

  42. Petra74 October 8, 2015 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to all 3 hours of this podcast session and felt very in-tune with your panelists in their thoughts and interpretations concerning the conference talks. I told my daughter-in-law that I had lost all respect for and hope in Elder Uchtdorf. I was jumping for joy in April at his “Grace” talk and now I feel that he was manipulating us and merely using lip service to a concept the Brethren know has always been lacking in our doctrine. And I was very offended at being labeled “foolish” for seeking honest answers to my sincere concerns. He was very harsh and unloving; I felt threatened, if I didn’t shape up, fall in line, and stop asking questions. Also, I saw a meme on Facebook about Mormons falling out of the ship and I wanted to comment that some people haven’t actually fallen out of the ship, they’ve purposely stepped out of it in order to walk towards the Savior. (ref. Peter) But I’m not ready to out myself yet, so I didn’t.

    Finally, I’m curious as to whether anyone else was as extremely concerned as I was about Elder Vinas’ talk on Saturday morning about The Pleasing Word of God and how “in Jesus Christ our joy is full.” I had to listen to it 2 times just to understand him to begin with. Then I had to listen to parts of it again to try and follow his thinking which turned out to be very convoluted, disjointed, and totally nonsensical. Then, I listened to one particular part of it several more times because I was horrified at what I thought (and confirmed) he was saying. He was talking about how sometimes suffering and affliction enter our lives if we fail to truly repent of our sins, emphasis (I guess) on truly. Because if we don’t accompany our intent with obedience to commandments then the LO-O-O-NG period of time it takes for the process of repentance and remission of sins to take effect can be interrupted when we become entangled in the vanities of the world. Whew! That’s not the bad part.

    The part that sent me into a tizzy was when he began to tell us what some of these vanities might be that “can interfere in the process of receiving a remission of our sins and that are associated with keeping the Sabbath day holy.” What? All of a sudden it’s a talk about keeping the Sabbath holy? So… the very first example on his list was: ARRIVING LATE TO SACRAMENT MEETING WITHOUT A VALID REASON!!! Are you kidding me? Arriving late to church keeps Jesus Christ from remitting my sins!?! Oh, and don’t worry, the 4th and 5th unforgivable sins are being irreverent by exchanging messages on our electronic devices and leaving the meeting after partaking of the sacrament. Holy moly ~ this guy is a moron! How did they ever let him give that talk?

    But I am curious about

  43. Rebecca October 8, 2015 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much Jamie for speaking so accurately, and in such a heartfelt way about the situation of women in the church. Your words spoke to my soul, because I was marginalized by church culture and policy on a personal level when I chose to divorce my abusive husband. I had “disappeared” in my efforts to be the best Mormon woman I could be, and in an effort to keep my family together. In my opinion, due to my ex husbands white, male, privilege he was believed by our priesthood leaders instead of me. This devastated me and sowed the seeds of my faith crisis. As a lifelong member of the church, and as a former YW president, I fully subscribed to the YW values and taught YW of their Divine Nature and Individual Worth, only to discover that those things don’t really matter when you are faced with a situation where your husband and priesthood leaders devalue you and your abilities. Choice and Accountability only apply when it suits them. I made the disappointing discovery that many men in the church have a completely different view of what a woman’s value and worth are. Thank you for so passionately expressing the reality of the position of women in the church. Your words helped me remember that I am not alone.

  44. ameliafyoung October 9, 2015 at 9:04 am - Reply

    Just finished listening to all 3 podcasts. Excellent commentary. I liked all 4 perspectives. This panel was funny, interesting, thoughtful. So many things I wanted to comment/reply; I listened while walking the dog so couldn’t take notes and now I can’t remember specifics.

  45. Frog October 9, 2015 at 10:58 am - Reply

    The church is a Corporation Sole. Property is held by the “sole” office of the Presiding Bishop. Obviously, the person holding this office changes. Currently, Gary E. Stevenson is listed as the Presiding Bishop.

    From – The Presiding Bishop and his two counselors also serve under the direction of the First Presidency to administer the temporal affairs of the Church.

  46. Janice October 9, 2015 at 11:45 am - Reply

    Thank you for these wonderful panel discussions. Love the flow allowing people to express their perspectives without watching the clock. Great blance of personalities mixing humor with the heartfelt and soul wretching.
    I no longer attend meetings and I did not listen to the conference so my comments are a response to the podcast.
    1. The conference talks seem like simple damage control. Like any political group when they have a captive audience.
    2. By putting so many negative labels on members attempts to make some sense of their spiritual life investment it is an obvious move to continue grooming through calculated deception. Just more of the same.
    3. The power of the internet to offer information can only be controlled by demonizing it.
    4. Any member called to the 12 must be seen as a possible future President and Prophet of the Church.
    5. Realizing gross deception on a spititual level is so deeply painful. It is difficult to hear blatant deception once you have seen “behind the curtain”.
    6. Jamie’s comments about women in the Church is an echo of my heart experience over 40 yrs ago and those of women since the time of Joseph Smith. Emma’s soul was crushed. Can you imagine the man you love putting such nonsense on you in the name of God? How much abuse should she have accepted because of Joseph’s indescressions? Jamie your pain is understood far more deeply than you may know by women all over the Church. It has not changed and will not change as the very foundation of the Church structure and message depends on the cancelled expression of feminine power. Her submission, labor, love and SILENCE are intrinsic to keeping the machine running. She lives with mens voices directing her in how to worship. what she needs, what will satisfy her, what to eat, wear, how to use her time, express her sexuality, how she can exercise, what questions she can ask, what inspiration she can validate, etc… Oh and the very small detail of eternal silence amonst throngs of women sealed to her husband. Really? How did we ever buy into this mind game? Only careful grooming allows such abuse. I think it is called gaslighting.

  47. Eric October 9, 2015 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    What terrific conversation. What a privilege to listen in. Thank you all.

    Andrew, your discussion of the dark side of “forever families” is very important. The LDS Church’s doctrinal exploitation of family attachments to serve its institutional fitness is one of the more grotesque innovations of Mormonism.

    This doctrine is but one example of the manufactured moral obligations and life-scripts that, while overtly presented as wellsprings of individual flourishing, serve the institution’s first and foremost. Think of how the LDS Church wraps tithing, temple rites, missions, sexual morality, and restricted gender roles in such saccharine coatings of promised personal blessings – with rarely a mention of how they corporation benefits.

    And yet the reality is that any causal connection between an individual’s honoring of these strictures and receiving blessings is at best tenuous (inflated as it is by the fundamental attribution error). On the other hand, the benefits to the institution are measurable, notwithstanding the Church’s nondisclosure of its finances.

    Perhaps the most telling indicator of this “bait-and-switch” doctrinal transaction is that when push comes to shove it’s always the individual who sacrifices, suffers, and shoulders the responsibility and blame – not the institution. The institution is immune from such things by its very constitution – and passes on this immunity on to those who find themselves leading it.

    I don’t think these doctrinal “bait-and-switches” are consciously perceived and perpetuated by church leaders, or by most members. But there they are in all their intuitively evolved self-perpetuating glory – robbing otherwise good people of critical aspects of their individual humanity and substituting the amoral impulses of an institution. Ergo, all the gross insensitivity and blind spots that you, Jamie, Sean, and Gina so eloquently called out.

    Thank you all again.

  48. ChrisWir October 9, 2015 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    The global [sic] LDS church picks its leaders from the imminent surroundings of its headquarter in Utah. Then those heterogeneous old rich white male neighbors spend the rest of their lives in a vacuum, complaining about the diversity in the real world… How everyone else must conform to them, in order to get to Heaven, and the evils of those are who cannot conform.

  49. ChrisWir October 9, 2015 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    100 whites out of a 100…

    Maybe Dr. John Dehlin – who wrote the code for the apostle-tracking-program – can use a “backdoor” to get in and change the parameter COLOR from “white” to “random”.
    However, when they notice that change they are likely to switch back to the previous(!) apostle-tracker; Brigham Young’s peep-stone with “keep it vanilla” in permanent marker.

  50. J October 9, 2015 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    Ponderize … panderize, plunderize, polygarize, patririze, priesterize,…

    • J October 10, 2015 at 6:04 am - Reply

      … profitize and prophetize

  51. Chilean October 11, 2015 at 3:02 am - Reply

    I think the problem is in the eye of the beholder, USA is a very race concern society, it shocks me when I go up there. For us in South America (I’m from Chile) is not an issue! You are hoisting a flag that looks good in front of your own history guys, but we down here do not feel it, dont have the same background, is not an issue.

  52. Marney October 12, 2015 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    Just finished all three sections. Fantastic. Thanks for all of your wonderful insights. And hey, I live in Auckland so I fully support the trip to New Zealand!

  53. Anna October 12, 2015 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    John, I’d love to have episodes featuring Jamie and Sean and their stories. They are both insightful and Sean had me laughing out loud in this episode and in the previous episode in which he participated.

  54. Mona October 12, 2015 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    Jamie– I really appreciated when you talked about a fathers and their ability (and the amazing power it is) to love and nurture. I mean, isn’t it human nature to want to nurture those you love? And I feel like that is something we can all develop to some degree or another. I have felt so much pain from the fact that my husband’s role as a father is not supported in a family focused church. Luckily my husband never bought it–but men are not encouraged to develop their ability to nurture–cuz that’s the woman’s job. Its the mother’s job to emotionally nourish her children alone. And then disappear when they no longer need much of that nurturing whether it is for a few days, months, or years. Crappy stuff.

  55. Paul October 13, 2015 at 5:15 am - Reply

    As usual, I highly enjoyed the insight and ideas in this episode. One thing I’m torn on is the use of humor/sarcasm. On one hand, it was really enjoyable. On the other, I think it discredits the true things that are being said. I know when I was a TBM, if I had heard the snide comments about the new apostles being “Jesus’ choice” I would have dismissed the whole discussion as slanderous and worthless (and I would have missed the good and sometimes stunningly insightful points that were made throughout the podcast). I think I come down on the side of those of us who see problems with the church need to have the highest respect and dignity when discussing it so others can’t easily dismiss our views.

    • Bob October 13, 2015 at 8:15 am - Reply

      I have mixed feelings too. But, I have a tough time listening to conference and taking any of it seriously. Church leaders clearly have an agenda and it certainly isn’t about the welfare of the members or spirituality. It’s a corporation masquerading to be a religion. As I see it, they were simply making comments on a very elaborate work of fiction which deserves to be brought under scrutiny and the criticism people are finally starting to give.

  56. Ephima Morphew October 13, 2015 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Topic, beyond goji juice or noni juice and fraud:

    John, a followup to the conference might include the weaving of Psycology into the fray. As one who can appreciate the moral hazard of the Mitchell / Jessen law suit you might host some comment on compromised ethics promoted by Mormon Thinking. To compare and contrast might serve to clarify some of the ethical conundrums of the devout.
    I hope a discussion might follow. Beyond Pearls to Swine, $81,000, 000, not crumbs destine for bishops storehouse or to build a better world.

    You don’t have to post this but do consider the topic please,
    thank you, Ephima

  57. Tim Savage October 14, 2015 at 7:09 am - Reply

    The church has often perpetuated the concept of the characterized version of the noble savage, which in my opion, is a patronizing euphonism for a naive person of color who against all odds has managed to reach a level of aptitude beyond his/her ordained place in the world, and has miraculously not been corrupted by the complex nature of modern society.

    I attended a a Spanish ward for a number of years and I couldn’t begin to tell you all the explicit and implicit racist comments I heard both from lay members as well as leadership.

    This is the biggest irony of all of the Book of Mormon. I guess the Lamanites may never flower but there will always be a noble savage here or there.

  58. Wondering Wanderer October 15, 2015 at 3:52 am - Reply

    Thank you, John, for putting together this thoroughly delightful group. The podcast was not too long! All the panelists are intelligent, articulate, insightful, honest, sincere, witty, down to earth, lovable, and worthy of respect. They have the same great personal integrity and courage you have shown throughout your ordeal. I enjoyed all the comments, and I found myself wishing I could hear more from them. It is a shame for the church to lose people of this caliber, yet I am not sure the leaders think of it that way. The leaders will be better able to “protect” the testimonies of the membership if those with questions and doubts are thinned out, because the answers to the questions are devastating. I think the leaders see the church as stronger If they retain only those who can ignore or reject any inconvenient truths. As Mark Twain said, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” The church wants people who can do the mental gymnastics. Those who find the cognitive dissonance intolerable will find no solace here.

    • John October 20, 2015 at 10:58 pm - Reply

      I don’t think church leaders, in general, are at all pleased or even indifferent about losing members who have doubts and questions. Are there individual leaders who think that? I assume so, but I don’t believe that’s a common view. Maybe you’ve had a different experience. If so, I’m grieved to hear it.

      • Wondering Wanderer October 29, 2015 at 2:32 pm - Reply

        The only views that count are the ones at the top where the policies are made and passed down. Of course they are concerned with dwindling numbers, because the survival, success, and growth of the institution is top priority. Surely John Dehlin’s experience alone shows that it is fine to have questions and doubts, but only as long as you keep them to yourself, and only if you are ultimately satisfied with the incomplete, evasive, convoluted answers crafted by the lawyer who was appointed to write the apologetic essays. If the top brass told the unvarnished whole truth and nothing but the truth, it would scare away prospective converts, and cause the loss of TBMs along with the doubters. Isn’t it obvious that honesty and the individual become expendable commodities once the image of the church in the eyes of TBMs or the public is at risk? As long as the church sticks to its story and succeeds in discrediting anyone who openly questions, becomes disillusioned, leaves, or is excommunicated, they can always replace the numbers by increasing the missionary force.

  59. Nancy October 15, 2015 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    Jamie my heart goes out to you. I’m a Mama Dragon and I appreciate your kind remarks. I have no advice for you other than “to thine own self be true” The one thing I have learned from my experience is that we don’t all have the same path. Only you can discover what that is. Search your heart.

    • Jamie Handy October 29, 2015 at 7:09 pm - Reply

      <3 thanks

  60. John October 20, 2015 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    Am I the only one who feels it’s off base to focus on the predominance of white males in Church leadership?

  61. Emma October 23, 2015 at 7:16 am - Reply

    John I am so glad you are really in tune with those of us questioning the church these podcasts that on the disturbing things about the current or past church are extremely helpful
    Even those of us who have come to the conclusion that it is based on lies we still have an internal struggle especially with loved family members who still believe
    Please keep them coming

  62. Cardon October 26, 2015 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    Three hours well spent! Thank you all. For the first time in my life I felt actively uninspired to watch or listen to Conference. Increasingly it strikes me as less meaningful than it should be.

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