I am incredibly pleased to interview my dear wife of 23 years, Margaret (Margi) Weber Dehlin. In this three-part interview, I ask Margi a series of 46 questions focusing on thee parts:

  • Part 1: Margi’s life as a believing Mormon.  This includes questions about how her family joined the LDS church in Washington D.C. during the 1970s, reflections on her own “conversion” to the church, Margi’s favorite parts about being a believing, active Mormon, and the most challenging parts as well.
  • Part 2: Margi’s faith crisis and transition away from Mormon orthodoxy, including our time trying to remain LDS as semi-believers, and her experiences and reflections on my excommunication.  Topics include the impetus for Margi’s faith transition, how she/we “came out” to our children parents, extended family, etc. as unorthodox Mormons, and what the most difficult and rewarding parts of the transition were.
  • Part 3: Margi’s life and perspective now, as a post-Mormon, including reflections on her current beliefs and non-beliefs, her approach to nurturing a healthy/happy family without religion, how she approaches raising children without the church, and why she feels as though she and our family are happier and healthier than ever before after leaving the church.

Margi recently certified as a Life Coach to support people in things like faith transitions.  If you are interested in reaching out to Margi, click here.

If you support Mormon Stories please consider a donation today.  You can donate via any of the “donate” buttons on any of the pages.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:


Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:


  1. Frank,befrank December 27, 2016 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    How wonderful to get to know Margi! What a sweet, intelligent, quality person she is. Very genuine indeed! How fortunate you are to have her as your companion, John. I am sincerely impressed with her obvious goodness!

    • Jay January 2, 2017 at 4:04 pm - Reply

      Please pray for my son, Preston. He has not been employed for a year. Out of high school, he learned graphic design but was unable to find employment in that and has probably lost his edge. He said he is or has been depressed. Please pry for him and put energy his direction. Send him the message that he has value and worth. He is inherently value and worth just the way he is he does not have to prove anything, he does not have to prove his worth. Pray and send universal energy his direction. Thank you, sincerely, Jay

      • erin January 3, 2017 at 1:33 am - Reply

        i’ll pray for him, Jay. :)

  2. Bob Walton December 27, 2016 at 10:12 pm - Reply

    You John are indeed a lucky man..

  3. mary December 28, 2016 at 4:45 am - Reply

    It is a privilege– the whole thing. Mine has been a long life and you are telling my story with your every experience . Life is an ordeal but when you know the “secret” (unconditional love) and that you are “made” that way, what an adventure! So thank you both , my children, for letting me know you. P.S. Couldn’t help but notice, Margi, how very expressive and beautiful your hands are–I think they must have healing in them.

  4. Amanda December 28, 2016 at 11:38 am - Reply

    Margi’s words speak to my soul! I’m listening right now and I have stopped the recording several times to write down a particularly poignant quote from her interview.

    Thank you so much for sharing such a vulnerable, powerful message.

  5. Bob December 28, 2016 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    Wow!, loved hearing this.

    The part in Part II was wrenching, where Margi described getting “othered” by those in your community. Or how none of John’s family has ever bothered to ask her about her faith transition. This is exactly the type of thing to keep in mind the next time someone says “The Mormon people are so loving and wonderful!” Well, yeah, to those who they choose to be loving and wonderful towards. Remember: Jesus taught that we’re judged by how we treat the least among us, not how we treat those who we choose to include in our tribe.

  6. Jared December 28, 2016 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    Margi, your story is moving. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

    • dthomas December 28, 2016 at 4:05 pm - Reply

      Margi is an intelligent and articulate woman.

  7. Leslie December 28, 2016 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    Could you two BE any more adorable together? I loved this. A lot of it resonated with me. Loved the book recs!

  8. Mensch December 28, 2016 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    I finally understand why John loves this woman so much. Thank you, Margi, for being vulnerable and letting us see and understand you. You are an inspiration.

  9. Mensch December 28, 2016 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    Also wondering if the video and Margi’s visage transitioning from darker to lighter as Margi described her transition out of Mormonism was intentional? :)

  10. Kristin December 28, 2016 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    Margi, I loved listening to your story and would love to hear you interview others or be a panelist on a future podcast. You have a unique experience and the articulate voice, introspection, and self-knowledge to express it effectively. I particularly loved the way you spoke about your children and how thoughtfully and warmly you used the term “mother” as a verb. Your experience also reminded me of my husband, who was extremely annoyed when my parents assumed that he was merely following me out of the church like a sheep rather than as a result of his own study and feelings. To this day (6.5 years later), that bothers him more than any other interaction he has ever had with my family.

  11. Ryan December 29, 2016 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Many people will benefit from the wisdom, vulnerability, and experiences that Margi shared in this interview. Wonderful! Loved it!

  12. Becca December 29, 2016 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    This was a spectacular interview! First off, I loved hearing you two interact. So much love between you both. I would say the thing that resonated with me was Margi’s observation of the learned helplessness. That hit me so hard. I didn’t even think of it that way before, but that is definitely something I have struggled with and continue to struggle with. Thank you for voicing that as it has given me a lot to think about as well as allowing me to be more kind to myself as I work on realizing my own power. Really fantastic!

  13. Andrea December 29, 2016 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Thank you Margi! I love listening to strong, thoughtful women express their opinions and ideas. As I listened, I felt inspired to mother my children with greater connection and less control and judgment. Death has scared me a lot since I have transitioned out of the church. It brought me a measure of peace to hear your take on death and our surrendering to the losses that life brings. I can relate to so much of what you shared. Loved this interview!

  14. Prufrocks December 29, 2016 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    John, did you learn anything about Margi that you didn’t already know? Did you ask her questions about things you’d not already discussed and shared at length, and for which you didn’t already know the answer? I ask only because a couple or three times you almost sounded surprised, especially in #1.

    Great interview. Each one, it’s like, “This is one of the best” but this one really was (again). It’s so nice that each contains things that resonate and connect with ones own experience, and those of family and friends –– it’s knowing that the feeling, or insight, or doubt that intruded growing up or later in life has been validated.

    I’m more and more inclined to think this is one the best and most important things happening in or to Mormonism. Kudos.

  15. Craig Keeling December 29, 2016 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    Loved these episodes! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and perspective Margi. I share your introverted personality characteristics and it’s great to hear from “our side” of the social equation :)

    Thanks for everything you guys are doing!

  16. JW December 29, 2016 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    Wonderful, touching, inspirational! Thank you both for the honesty. I think John needs to take Margi to Hawaii and let her relax. She has had a rough ride as a patient and devoted partner through all of this turmoil. It broke my heart when she said that no one asked her how she felt, even family. It’s hard not to lose your own self when connected to a strong and public partner. At times she sounded overwhelmed and I wanted to give her a big hug. Glad John did (I was only listening, but it seemed like he did). So many important points were made, but one that really reasonated were the comments about conditional love. Somehow I never made that connection. A lot to think about.

    I also want to say to those who leave the confines of the Church, please remember, you now have the freedom to believe as you wish. If you want to continue to believe that your family will be together again someday, somewhere… go ahead. LDS Inc doesn’t own that thought. If it brings comfort to you, continue to believe.. it’s all up for grabs and doesn’t need to be abandoned for ‘nothingness.’ Does that make sense? Have hope, I believe the afterlife will be better and MORE positive than any scenario we were told to believe.

    • Carrie December 30, 2016 at 1:10 pm - Reply

      Thank you. I had settled on “nothingness” and was feeling unsettled. Your comment has given me hope. :)

  17. Brett December 30, 2016 at 4:43 am - Reply

    What a great way to start the new series. You are indeed a lucky man to have the love of such a phenomenal woman.

  18. KAREN R. SWEET December 30, 2016 at 8:49 am - Reply

    Non-Mormon here. I continue to return to John’s podcasts because I’m interested in religion and its effects, and I’ve found Mormon Stories a consistent source of thoughtful, honest interviews on this topic. This interview of Margi Dehlin was no exception. Incredibly thoughtful, intentional person.

    Margi’s discussion of her tower – of having to rebuild it – reminded me of my own history of rebuilding identity. Mine was less directly related to religion, but the process sounds very familiar. And I too can attest to how rewarding it is to come out the other side.

    Thank you, John Dehlin, for the continued quality product. And thank you, Margi Dehlin, for telling your story. Your transition story has something to offer those in non-Mormon transitions too. At least it did for me. I value people who value this life we’re living now and pour everything they have into making the most of it. You’ve offered a lot to apply in my own quest, thank you.

  19. Lisa December 30, 2016 at 10:22 am - Reply

    Margi, just listened to part 1 and thoroughly enjoyed your story. We were at BYU at the same time and my early doubts about the church pretty much mirrored yours. Can I make a small request? Will you please change your podcast cover photo? I’d love more of you and who you are and less of John (and his cap and gown ). No offence John. Just a small favor…

    • John Dehlin December 30, 2016 at 11:19 am - Reply

      Lisa – Your wish is our command! (In my slight defense, I recommended a solo shot and Margi requested the one we went with…but I agree with you!!!!).

      • Lisa December 30, 2016 at 3:28 pm - Reply

        John, the new photo is perfect! Good choice. I didn’t think anything of the first photo until after I watched part 1 and thought it didn’t quite reflect her. She definitely holds her own. Thanx!!

  20. Carrie December 30, 2016 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Wow, listening to you talk about garments was incredible! You have been able to put into words things I have felt but never have been able to express! Wow! Thank you!

  21. Guy Montag December 30, 2016 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for this set of episodes. These stories really speak to me. So many times I was moved to tears. I’ve been struggling with my belief for the past few years, and I’ve been unable to be open about any of it with my wife or anyone else in my family. My wife knows a lot of my struggles, because sometimes I can’t keep it in. But most of the time she retreats into her shell and I don’t know what she thinks about it. All I know is that she’s cried on several occasions, like when she thought my cocoa was coffee, or that I was not wearing my garments when I actually was. None of my family — my parents, my siblings, my in-laws — are aware of any of my doubts. Right now I cannot see any way that I could possibly believe that the LDS church is actually what it says it is, and I don’t know what to do and I have no one to talk to about it. I long to have what you guys have, and I have no real hope that I ever will. I’m in the closet because I’ve seen my family attack other “apostates”, and I know that they see them as a threat and actively work to eject them from their lives. They have tried to break up marriages, they have tried to poison children against their unbelieving parents, and so on. Being open with my unbelief would risk losing everything I have, and it’s not worth that to me. I’ve been stuck in the depths of depression and suicidal ideation for years because I’ve been unable to live my truth, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make to keep my kids. Anyway, I’m rambling on now…. I just wanted to say thank you for your words, because they filled me with some hope that has become very hard for me to find. It’s helpful for me, for a few brief moments at least, to live vicariously through you guys and dream of a future when I might, at last, be loved for who I am and not merely for how I fit into “the plan”. I love my wife, and I love my kids more than life itself, and I hate this church and its culture for holding them hostage against me. I don’t wish to destroy others’ faith, but I wish I could have been born outside of the church instead of being locked from birth in this cage.

    • Brett January 3, 2017 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      Guy – Your situation is sadly very common, so there are a lot of people that can support you in this. Copy your comment to the exmormon Reddit site, or if you are on Facebook to the Mormon Stories Podcast Community group on Facebook.

    • Rob January 13, 2017 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      Sam may be able to help. He has a support group in Houston, but they might be able to help remotely.


  22. steve December 30, 2016 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    Thank you Margi .. I think this qualifies as the most beautiful episode of Mormon Stories yet.

    My mother died on the 24th after a three year run with dementia and your comments mirror my own feelings, but you’ve expressed it better. Your defense of being an independent thinking and loving person free from the control of an institution and idea was worded so well.

    I left the Church when I was about 13.. it just didn’t make sense to me at the time and that view has only intensified since. There was a lot of pressure from the organization, but my parents loved and protected their own.. enough to allow me choice. By the time I went to college religion was not part of my life , but I had a good moral background and learned to build on that on my own and later with my wonderful wife.

    I still have to interact with members who either shun me or try to force me back into the fold. Having a heritage of the culture gives me an interest and these podcasts have been informative and useful.

    Fortunately I live in a part of the country where the Church’s influence is weak. I developed a strong interest in math and science and ended up a physicist. I also don’t use the word belief, but am probably closest to being a poetic naturalist.

    It was great hearing from another non-extravert. I dislike large gatherings and shirttail friends, but have about a half dozen close friends who we call chosen family. Such a rich life and one that would probably be impossible to have if I were a believing active member.

    thank you so much!

  23. Melissa December 30, 2016 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    Margi, I appreciate your story so much. Many parts of your story spoke to me. Particularly your perspective towards death and also parenting. I am a fan of Dr. Shefali as well. I would love to hear more from you on thoughts on parenting from this perspective. That last video I am going to go back through and write down a few of those things you said like “Connect not Control”. You also spoke of being in nature with your family quite a bit. Any recommendations during the winter? Thanks for being willing to share with us in such a honest way. Your journey has made a wonderful turn I can tell.

    From another Cache Valley Mom,

  24. Michelle December 31, 2016 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Margi, thank you so much for sharing your story. The part about conditional vs unconditional love really spoke to me. Rebuilding the tower, being an ally to your children instead of using control and obedience… so many things you said really resonated with me. This is definitely one of those episodes I will listen to again and again and glean more wisdom from. Many thanks!

  25. Steve December 31, 2016 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this, Margi is incredibly thoughtful and wise. I am so glad that you both came out of your transition stronger individually and as a couple. John, I may be wrong but it seems like for the most part you have had stories where spouses and or their children all come out collectively. Could you do a story with a person who is in the unfortunate circumstance of having a spouse and adult children who are firmly entrenched? It is very painful to be the “other” with your immediate family and within your own home- with no hope of them even seeing a different perspective let alone transition their beliefs. Maybe I have missed these podcasts but transitioning when you are older I think creates a lot of different issues- foremost I think is a sense of incredible aloneness as well as seeing a marriage destroyed or on autopilot without any feeeling or intimacy. This along with the loss of relationship with children with whom you loved and sacrificed for your entire life is literally devastating. I’d just like to hear the perspective of a person who is forced to deal with this situation with no hope of coming out whole on the other side with their family intact. Thanks and know that there are many silent sufferers out there that take comfort in your great work.

  26. Jessica Brown December 31, 2016 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    I’d never heard anything about Margi (unless she popped in to say hello in an interview) and I was blown away by how incredibly intelligent and thoughtful she was! Thank you for this fantastic interview.

  27. lonely in utah valley December 31, 2016 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Wonderful interview. I have a personality a lot like yours Margi. How do you find new close friendships after moving? Especially in Utah?

  28. Lois December 31, 2016 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    I loved this! There were so many things that resonated with me. Thank you so much for doing this interview, Margi and John.

  29. Kristyn Decker January 1, 2017 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    What could I say that others didn’t? I concur with all. It was such a pleasure getting to know you from these interviews.
    Thanks so much John and Margi!

  30. JASH January 2, 2017 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful podcast!!! Margi… you summarized so eloquently many of the issues related to the LDS experience and the consequences of leaving its structure. As a never-Mormon married to a BIC Utah native who has formally resigned from the church, I have watched with great sadness as the LDS family has treated us as ‘less than’, shunned and excluded us from meaningful family relationships . Your observations about unconditional love, authenticity and living fully with all of life’s struggles and joys is an important contrast to the control obsessed, fear based and conditional acceptance often encountered in the course of relationships with TBM family. You and John have made such an important and meaningful contribution to the many who are transitioning to a more complete spiritual life. Many thanks for sharing …….. it is most helpful!!!!

  31. Bryce Thomas January 2, 2017 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for doing this interview. It touched me deeply and has helped me to put my faith transition into perspective. Specifically with helping me be able to accept the inevitability of death and loss. I have a space in my mind where those things have a positive outlook. Thanks again and best wishes!

  32. Elyssa January 2, 2017 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    Thank you Margi for your thoughts. Your wisdom and voice helped me feel a measure of healing on this journey. Thank you.

    Is there somewhere you have the full list of 46 questions? I’d love to use them as prompts for personal reflection or journaling. Thank you.

      • Carl McGrath January 4, 2017 at 12:18 pm - Reply

        Thank you for sharing your list. I’ve downloaded a copy to reference as I write my memoirs.

      • Melanie Flake January 9, 2017 at 10:06 pm - Reply

        Thank you John and Margi. My husband and I listened to all of these podcasts together. John, you have an amazing wife. I loved how thorough and thoughtful every question was. Over and over my husband and I said that we would love to ask each other all of the questions that you posed your wife.

        Thank you for sharing your list of questions. We plan on answering all of these questions ourselves. I am confident that these questions will help us to better understand our feelings before, during, and after our transition.

      • David January 12, 2017 at 7:09 am - Reply

        Thanks for posting these, John. I also plan to use some of them with my mom and some of my adult children.

  33. matt January 3, 2017 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story. The things I really enjoyed were the ideas of moving from an environment of conditional love to an environment of unconditional love and how you live after leaving. This also showed me a lot about how my wife might feel because I also found my way out first.

  34. Chelsea Horsley January 4, 2017 at 7:26 am - Reply

    I have said this about a lot of your interviews, but once again another one has topped my favorite! Margi is such a wise, genuine soul with so much to give! She put into words so much of how I feel but can’t express quite so beautifully. What lucky children to have such a strong female role model to lead. I cannot wait to hopefully hear more from her also this next year. I appreciate so much everything you both have done and given of yourselves!! Thank you so much for all you’ve done and sacrificed.

  35. Jim January 4, 2017 at 8:04 am - Reply

    Fantastic interview. Loved every minute.

  36. joy January 4, 2017 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    What a lovely gal! She was so much fun to listen to because she had such an intelligent, grounded answer to every question. I loved how she has embraced loving relationships with her children/family and unconditional love rather than control over people. Also, I loved how she focused on growth and that struggle is okay because it fosters knowledge. Smart gal!

  37. Barry January 4, 2017 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    I am a non Mormon who lives in Arizona with many Mormons. I had a transitioning Mormon friend who recommended Mormon stories years ago. I am hooked and now have listened to all the episodes. It is amazing how many times I have cried over the years. For the trials faced by Ex-Mormons. I cried like a baby listening to Margi. Great work you are doing.

  38. Andrew January 5, 2017 at 4:15 am - Reply

    What a splendid, heart-wrenching episode–and what a brave and honest moment for any couple, to open up like this and to share so publicly the huge emotions and long process that comes with growing up Mormon and then leaving. The Church should be horrified to lose someone as wise, loving, and thoughtful as Margi. She’s a hero and the example of true integrity. Thank you both for making this episode, for not flinching away from any aspect of a long and difficult path.

  39. Jill Rawstorne January 5, 2017 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    What a bright and articulate young woman Margi is! She is so wise. I found myself stopping the interview so I could write down some of her insightful beliefs. I came from a TBM background that took it hook, line and sinker. Relief Society Presidency, Young Women’s and Primary Presidency were a high priority in my life. It took me a long time to leave and I felt it very important to have my name taken off the Church records.

    Margi said in many of her words things I would like to have said but didn’t articulate the words well enough. Thank you for opening up your life to us and to me!

  40. Glenn Hole January 5, 2017 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    This is the most real and engaging episode of Mormon stories I have heard in a long time. Margi glows with a warmth and a powerful intelligence that is inspiring. I needed this.

  41. Kelli January 6, 2017 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    This interview resonated so much with me. I felt so many shared feelings, especially in the second interview. Her transition while attending church and the experience of feeling trapped battling your personal integrity in not speaking up and yet at the same time not wanting to derail the train and add contention to the room, was the same battle for me. It is exhausting and emotionally expensive. I too would come home grumpy and agitated. I also very much related to her sense of protecting her family. It has struck me many times that the very fact that we feel we must protect our children from the possible social marginalization from our communities speaks volumes of its dysfunction. I also have struggled with transitioning while at the same time allowing my children and my husband time and space to come to their own conclusions. I was struck by how many similar feelings and experiences felt shared even down to finding similar books and authors and enjoying many walks and hikes to heal. Although I don’t know Margi personally, I feel like she is a kindred spirit and her words felt soothing and validating. I admire her love and concern as a Mother and Wife. Her goodness and her kind heart shines brightly in this interview. I agree that the transition can be excruciating at times but on the other side there can be wholeness in a life without dissonance, inauthenticity, and conditional love. Thank you Margi for adding your voice, it’s a beautiful one.

  42. Emma January 6, 2017 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    What an amazing woman no wonder you married her John!
    your interviewing skills are so in tune with the person you’re talking to
    Margie you were so vulnerable and sharing the pain and the fear a person feels being a member of the church– I didn’t hear much anger
    And yes the devastating realization that it’s all a lie is like a person dying — you have to grieve
    I can understand why you might not want to talk to much about Joseph Smith or history
    But I can guess you have some strong opinions and feelings about it

    I personally am extremely disgusted by Joseph Smith — The more I study I realize how much he lied and how egotistical and power-hungry he was
    It is a shame that 90% of the members don’t know all the truth and about where the religion came from– because they give up so much of themselves to be part of that organization
    Keep up the good work
    I think I’ll use the questions you interviewed with my own documentation of my transition for my personal history — for my friends and family who I choose to share it with
    You’re both so courageous and doing a great work that will affect thousand as they come to the realization of the truth
    My daughter is starting to become aware and I am looking forward to directing her to your interviews when she is ready

  43. Jennifer January 7, 2017 at 12:41 am - Reply

    I loved this. I really, really appreciate your thoughts on death, Margi. My dad died when I was 6. My stepfather was a great man and I dearly loved him but I lost him too when I was 17. He had cancer for 5 years. I was having nightmares about death in high school. I was very concerned about not being sealed to my stepfather who was the only dad I knew.
    I had struggled with the church long before I actually left because I felt they had me by the neck in fear I would never see my father’s again. Anytime I’d go to any of my family with my grief I was told not to worry; you’ll see him again. I just kept putting my grief off. It’s been very painful to work through as my faith is transitioning. I have a lot of regrets. Listening to your experience helped me process some of my own feelings of loss so thank you for sharing those tender moments.
    I just wanted to say I loved this interview. I laughed, I cried, I felt validated…
    It was so great to get to know you through this episode. Thanks again!

  44. David January 8, 2017 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    I love this series and love the questions you asked. I’m wondering if the list of 46 questions can be posted here on the website. I’d like to do some interviews with my mom and adult children and use these or some of these same questions but can’t remember them all. So could you possibly post the 46 questions?

  45. Jimbo January 9, 2017 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    This looong podcast was GREAT. I am an LDS member with major doubts, and have been listening to Mormon Stories for about 1.5 years now. Margi is a WONDERFUL woman, and I loved everything she had to say. Thank you for having her on. Keep up the good work, and may this transitioning research of your bear fruit to help us all out. I have a feeling I’m gonna need it especially with a full blown TBM spouse, as well as children, and the rest of active family members on both sides.

  46. Lisa January 9, 2017 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    Thank you Margi for laying bare your soul in a unique way with your deep heartfelt feelings, articulate intelligence, and deep love for John and your family. The process and pain you experienced was palpable and profound. Thank you for being authentic and real. Thank you for your story. I cried. Your private story and words have helped to heal me in a way that I have never experienced since leaving eight years ago. Thank you.

  47. Josie January 10, 2017 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    This interview has really moved me. Thank you Margi! A fellow introvert here! I especially love what you have to say about conditional and unconditional love. I know I’ll be coming back to this.

  48. Wondering Wanderer January 10, 2017 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Margi, for so openly, honestly, and generously sharing your experiences, feelings, intellect, and wisdom. Your comments about learned helplessness and unconditional love were very insightful, just brilliant. You have a way of describing things that others are feeling intuitively, but have not yet been able to put into words. There is an old adage that a man needs a good woman to keep him in line, and I have heard men comment that they need religion in order to resist their own worst impulses. There are comments that women are more naturally spiritual and nurturing, that girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice, but boys are made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails. I think there is learned helplessness and the feeling of being unworthy of love built into the system for both genders. It may be that women are made to feel more helpless, while men are made to feel more evil, but both are living in fear. Helping our children and grandchildren develop confidence, goodness, and strength inside themselves certainly seems a better approach.

  49. Rob January 13, 2017 at 11:59 am - Reply

    I really enjoyed hearing these podcasts. I am an active member, but feel so much compassion for the journey you two have taken. I have an odd question but before I ask, Just keep in mind I’m not judging. I’ll ask myself the opposing question.

    What if you die and realize there is a God and He / She says, oh by the way the LDS church is true and the inconsistencies or issues you had with the church are solely because I was testing your faith and belief in God. I have allowed it to be an imperfect church led by imperfect men.

    1) Do you see yourself in a different paradigm where you see yourself following God’s and humbling one self? On your current path you are walking, do you find a place for God in your life and humility towards a God?
    2) Do you see yourself saying, well I can’t believe you would test us this way, and no I’m good, I’ll stay in the Terrestrial Glory?
    3) Or something else?

    And on the other hand…. What if I die and find that I still exist and a God but that that the Church isn’t true. God is like, well “what did you do with your life, the LDS church isn’t true, but based on your teachings, how did you live”? “Were you true to yourself”? “Were you true to what you said you would be and do”? I honestly have a lot of work to do to be who I say I am compared to how I truly live. We all do, but I think the LDS church magnifies those weaknesses and enables them due to the cultural constraints we have imposed on ourselves. And culturally we take it out on those that don’t seem to measure up to the perceived measurement we have created in our minds and in our congregations.

    Don’t feel like you need to answer… No right or wrong, just interested in your insight on these hypothetical mysteries.

    I commend you all for having integrity and finding what works best for you. I believe you are great people trying to do the best you can with what you know. I think you are an example to those that may be hiding in the shadows of their true selves, finding that they don’t match up to the mark of perfection that we portray on Sunday. If we lived in Logan, I wouldn’t have a concern with being your neighbor or associating with you all, or your kids. I hope that your community can embrace the teachings of Christ rather than continue to have the fears of the social constraints put in place around them.

  50. Diana January 14, 2017 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    A truly thoughtful, intelligent, beautiful interview Margi! I cannot express to you in words how inspiring it was to listen to your feelings on conditional and unconditional love. Your insights struck me in so many ways. I felt validated and understood, and that is not something that I find very often, but it is something that I desperately need, I guess we all do. I’m so very grateful that you were willing to be vulnerable and honest about your life experiences. I had to stop listening a few times because I was crying, so much of what you said spoke to me on a very deep level. Your thoughts on creating connection with our children were so poignant! Somehow you’ve managed to confront many difficult issues head on, and you’ve done so with grace and compassion. You are an example of dedication, service, love, and perseverance to me and so many others. You and John are such a wonderful couple and I wish the very best to you and your family. Would it be possible for you to make a recommended reading list? You referenced a few in the interview, but I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind posting the titles and authors of any and all books you love. Thank you!

  51. Marianna Blake Taylor January 15, 2017 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    Margi, thank you for your story. It SO makes me want to share mine! You have won over our hearts with your story. I recently listened to a TED Talk by Sisonke Msimang called, “The Dangers of a Single Story.” I have shared so much of your journey and, still, aspects totally different. I think it is shortsighted of many in the Church to paint us all with the same “story” in order to minimize what they need to understand about us. My journey began with becoming more educated and especially, during a Master’s Program studying women’s Issues, all the while raising my children and having my 5th baby in the middle of my Master’s Program. Believe me, it did not come without criticism! Msimang states in her talk, “I think there’s lots to celebrate about the flourishing of so many stories and so many voices. Stories are the anti-dote to bias.” I TOTALLY agree. My story is born more out of feminist thought and that still seems to make even the most liberal thinkers in Mormonism nervous. It seems as though they believe I must harbor anger, resentment, distain for men, etc, etc., etc., which is just one more stereotype we need to get over. In the beginning, I was going to change the Church. I thought by pointing out the obvious second class stature of women, the men would just fall all over themselves to say they “just did not realize.” Obviously, that did not happen and so my journey intensified in defense of the dreams of my daughters. I did not worry about my boys because they seemed to know they were entitled to pursue whatever education they wanted. I now have a daughter who is a dentist and a daughter who is a doctor. A son who is a CFO, a son who is a doctor and a son who is an attorney. We are CERTAINLY and unusual family coming out of Rexburg, ID. I would love to tell the story of what that was like. I still love so many of the people there, I can only say it was keeping a fine balance of never wavering about what my daughters could do and maintaining a sense of humor sprinkled with insight that kept us somewhat acceptable. I have a nephew who committed suicide who was gay and, now, have so much love and support for his brother who is, also, gay. . . which really has so little to do with who they both were. I have a brother who is a Bishop and a brother who has been a Bishop and, although, they are troubled by my disaffection with the religion they are still so very good to me. My daughters pretty much exited from the Church after the way they were treated by Mormon boys in the respective dental and medical schools. They were treated with open hostility and criticism. Yet, they are not bitter nor surprised by it all. Such a long journey for me to go from a completely Myopic Mormon to Hypermetropic Freedom Fighter! Margi’s description of juggling so many tops that she did not even know who she was or much about herself at al, speaks to so many Mormon women. One only has to listen to the anguish and angst in a Relief Society meeting to see it up close and personal. It is a phenomena that is absent in Priesthood meetings. I think as Mormon women we have to CELEBRATE the flourishing of so many stories as we follow the Underground Railroad out of a religion, that, although, may have a “kind” Master, certainly a “Master” who wants to keep women in their place and people obedient! Thank yo Margi and John for doing this!

    • Wondering Wanderer January 17, 2017 at 7:47 am - Reply

      Marianna, I enjoyed reading your story. Thank you for sharing. With each story, I continue to be impressed with the caliber of the people who participate in John’s podcasts. Your comment on the angst expressed in Relief Society meetings resonated with me. When I was still active, and my husband would ask, “How was Relief Society?” often my answer was “More weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.” He would laugh, but it is actually quite sad, isn’t it?

  52. Gary January 18, 2017 at 12:18 am - Reply

    Dear Margi,

    Getting to know about your life and times and what you care about was the most entertaining, inspiring and heartwarming experience I have enjoyed on Mormon Stories to date. I could not help but fall in love with the uncommonly beautiful and so deeply loving woman you have become. You are blessing the lives of John and your children in ways I did not even know were possible. Thank you for your courage to “put yourself out there” with such candor and authenticity. It was such a touching and meaningful gift to all of us who invested a few hours of our lives to finally Meet Margi!

    To say thank you more meaningfully, I have a gift for you. If you accept it, it could turn out to be a true Pearl of Great Price for you and for those whom you love. I want to share with you what I consider to be the most priceless discovery of my post-Mormon lifetime.

    Your story surrounding your father’s death touched me deeply.

    Two days before Christmas two years ago, I lost the brother I had been closest to for decades. Heart failure at age 60. He was my best friend and left a huge hole in my own heart. As I navigated and coped with my deep loss and celebrated the memories of great times (including years of irreverent humor) we shared, I naturally wondered where had my brother gone? What might he be up to?

    I had discarded the Three Degrees of Glory story decades ago. Where could I turn for a better explanation? Well, when you need information, where do you usually go first? You guessed it. I googled “life after death” to see what would show up.

    I eventually landed on links to Michael Newton. I watched a video or two and then ordered his book, “Journey of Souls”. It turned out to be an amazing exploration of where people go and what they do and with whom after death. It’s particularly poignant that Dr. Newton (a PhD psychologist) was an atheist with no religious affiliation. The information in the book was gathered during over 7,000 hypnotic regressions of his clients who re-experienced past life death scenes and went on to describe what they encountered as they reunited with their Soul Families in the Spirit Realm. Dr. Newton was amazed to witness that these many clients who did not know each other were clearly describing individual views and experiences of the Same Place.

    Imagine this: If you have never been to Iceland, if you got to interview 7,000 people who have actually visited Iceland personally, wouldn’t you end up with a fairly realistic idea of what’s it like in Iceland? Even though you have never been there yourself?

    Margi, as well read as you are, it’s likely that you have read one or more of the myriad Life After Death and Near Death Experience books out there. Michael Newton’s books are very different. His writing is a compilation of the stories of thousands of witnesses, as opposed to just one person’s “after death” experience. I found his writing to be mesmerizing because it made so much sense and rang so true for me.

    Please think about taking a Leap of Faith, Margi, and check out “Journey of Souls”. If you resonate, as I expect you will, you’ll want to also read Dr. Newton’s later books on the same topic. It may give you a beautiful sense of peace and perspective about your father, more profound than you thought possible here in the flesh. I felt like I understood where my brother had gone and what his nonphysical spirit essence was seeing and doing. Plus, the unparalleled new perspective on the human experience, both on and off planet, was mind blowing for me.

    I posted at length on the RfM board a couple years ago about my personal experiences reading Michael Newton. If you are curious, take this link:


    I was not kidding about offering you a gift, Margi. If you get my email address from John and send me your snail mail address, I will have Amazon dispatch a copy of “Journey of Souls” to your door. It would be my privilege and pleasure to share a real Pearl of Great Price with you.

    Thank you again for being who you are, Margi, and for letting your Beautiful Life as Art and Art as Life shine so brightly!

  53. Ice Cream Sundaes January 24, 2017 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    Thank you. I see myself in your story. Thank you for your strength, gentleness, and courage.

  54. Will Bass January 31, 2017 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Margi . . . . will you marry me?
    Kidding, of course. But what a remarkable woman. Thank you both so much for sharing Margi’s story.

  55. Bryce Thomas August 8, 2018 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    When Margi talks about death it really got to me. It was the first time I felt hope after my faith crisis. Acknowledging death gave me hope in life to make every second and every breath count. It gave me purpose and direction to live my best life. Thank you Margi and John.

  56. Mary Moon September 1, 2018 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    I am not now nor ever have been a Mormon but lately I’ve become obsessed with listening to Mormon Stories. There is much to be gained from listening to the journeys people take from religion to freedom of thought and I respect those who have done it a great deal. What courage it takes! And I love hearing what their truth sounds like after they have given up believing in the truth of their church. It’s beautiful.
    And I would like to say that the people who can call themselves Margi’s friends and all of her family are very lucky people to have her in their lives. In fact, she is one of those people whom I would say bless the entire planet with their light.
    Thanks, y’all, for the work you’re doing on behalf of those who until recently felt powerless and voiceless.

  57. Leana January 25, 2019 at 11:53 am - Reply

    I could not have been more impressed by Margi’s candor, honesty and graciousness in explaining this painful but freeing experience! I wish I would have had someone like her to talk to when I was marched out of Mormonism in one of their the “courts of love.” I did not have the courage to attend my official day of shunning. After hearing Margi’s story of that day in her life, I am more certain than ever that I would never be able to erase that day from my memory. So, I feel blessed to have not attended. I want to add that I never met one of the men that sat on that “court of love” and they never once spoke to me about anything, ever. What information did they have to go on? I had never said one single word against the church, and at that time I would not have. They simple listened to a disgruntled man who was pulling the last trick out of his hat to get me to stay with him.
    Thank you for this story; it is a validation if nothing else.
    (I have never been back in a LDS church except for the funeral of my parents and other family members, since that day.)

  58. JJ July 30, 2019 at 7:56 am - Reply

    Very heart felt and sincere! Some things I didn’t really follow. You talked about how living in the church you felt love was conditional. Are you referring to God’s love? It doesn’t seem like the church teaches that God’s love is conditional. Being an active member I believe that God loves me (and everyone) regardless of what we do and regardless of where (or who) we worship. Does that mean that God doesn’t care about the choices we make? No. Because He loves us, He wants to guide us to the path that leads to the most happiness which is why we have instruction from scriptures and prophets. However I do not subscribe to blindly following church authorities. I view their instruction as points to take into my life and choose how to implement it in my own personal way. This path is very personal and different for each person. Do I think the church needs a lot of change? Yes. But I don’t expect it to be perfect.

    • Lisa July 30, 2019 at 10:33 am - Reply

      The LDS gospel plan has certain requirements or ‘conditions’ which must be in order to live with Him. Otherwise you will be banished to a lower heaven. The Mormon God is very much conditional.

      • JJ August 1, 2019 at 10:07 am - Reply

        If ‘conditional blessings’ equates to ‘conditional love’ for you then yes. I personally do not view it that way. Do you believe in God? If so, what is your philosophy on our purpose here and what happens after we die?

      • GaryC August 1, 2019 at 3:11 pm - Reply

        Mormonism is in reality FEAR based.

        Mormons obey The Brethren to AVOID PUNISHMENT.

        If you don’t believe me, try DISOBEYING The Brethren … and watch what happens.

        “Oh NO! Not at all! The Brethren excommunicate the disobedient in a COURT OF LOVE!”

        And Utah is sporting its ultra-high suicide rate … and excessive consumption of anti-depressant meds … because of all the LOVE oozing from Salt Lake City.

  59. Larry Ballard December 18, 2019 at 11:24 pm - Reply

    Fantastic Margi. You stood by your husband. You cared about that closest person to yourself outside of you enough to do so. You stood by yourself. You cared about you. You bless your children in a healthier way than the average bear. Your abilities to work through the fears and anxieties is wonderful to hear. Your will to good is commendable. To be willing to share your most vulnerable self with the world shows a heart of gold. Someday I hope to meet you. Someday I hope to share a personal experience with you that might put your heart at ease regarding the death of your father. I am sure that day will come. I love the tower metaphor. Your pain and suffering has allowed you to build a structure of wisdom and true care. This is my favorite podcast of them all.

  60. Larry Ballard December 19, 2019 at 10:30 am - Reply

    My wife and I are almost finished reading the two volume book set titled The Golden Bough. It is written by Sir James George Frazier. What I am learning from a long and, at times, tedious read is an historical perspective regarding the concept of “atonement” or the sacrificing of an incarnate god for the benefit of the community. During this interview the issue of the atonement of Christ came up. I had always had an uncomfortable feeling regarding a creator god having to suffer for my sake. This idea tied me to that concept of god deeply. Yet, I wanted to shout…’No…this is too much even for a god.’ The concept made me feel subservient and ashamed. Now The Golden Bough does not totally resolve this issue for me. In some ways it opens up the conversation regarding what the mass mind is capable of and who might be manipulating these constructs from the wings. At any rate, I would highly recommend this to you or anyone who wants to gain an historical perspective that enlarges and expands the mind to new understandings of the human condition. If you cannot find a copy, you should have my email address. Let me know and I will lend you my copy if you have an interest. Thanks again for this interview. It was touching and full of the good, the true and the beautiful.

  61. A. Hamilton April 30, 2023 at 11:48 am - Reply

    Hope it’s OK to comment here as someone without a Mormon background. I had a few Catholic years when my family joined the church (I was 8) until I declined to be confirmed at 13. I have had none of these challenges or tests or journeys, and yet I find myself at 57 seeing things and aspiring to be and act exactly as Margi does in the post-Mormon segment. How we act and experience and spread love is of such primary value and importance! I’m so impressed and inspired to hear about what you’ve made for yourselves and others who need love, acceptance, and care.

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