In this episode Marisa and Carson Calderwood discuss their excommunication from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on May 21, 2015 for apostasy.


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Show Notes:

See here for a list of the five handouts Carson shared with his disciplinary council participants.

See here for statements from Carson’s witnesses in the disciplinary council.

Here is a link discussing how to raise children without religion.

Below is the video mentioned by Marisa.




00:00 Introduction

00:55 Procedural things before the high council

02:33 Right before the council starts

05:03 Short talk before. Possible reasons for apostasy, first counts.

08:33 Into the big room

10:17 Discussion on things they said in public. Marisa and Carson asked separately

14:38 Carson telling about presenting his case

21:58 Council was just silent. Procedure about their own witnesses

22:42 Marisa telling about presenting hers

29:53 Witnesses’ turn. Marisa and Carson leave room. Telling what witnesses later told them

38:08 After council deliberated council asks a question

41:20 Further deliberation by council. Hearing the verdict

46:04 SP ends with prayer. Having to shake hands

48:14 Being outside again. People were still waiting

49:37 Feelings about being excommunicated

52:23 What will the future be like?

59:45 Closing words


  1. cl_rand May 24, 2015 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Good grief, when does LD$ Inc. put a plug in the brain drain and call a stop to these barbaric excommunications? It’s as if there is a self destruct thread sewn right into the fabric of this increasingly toxic culture.

  2. JT May 24, 2015 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    Yes, “the world is so much bigger … and beautiful,” as Marisa and Carson said at the end. That may be the central truth of, and hope for, humanity – because, as they also mentioned, it reveals how much further our empathy and moral concerns can be extended when they are not stilted, constrained, and misdirected by narrow sectarian preoccupations with costly displays (e.g. time and tithing) of in-group loyalty.

  3. St. Ralph May 24, 2015 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    It is so obvious to me, listening to Mormon story after Mormon story, that these church “leaders” are weaselly little minions of the General Authorities who in turn are weaselly little minions of a mammoth bureaucracy that died some time ago. These are not the sort of people you should allow influence over your life. These people need to be soundly IGNORED. You give them ALL of the power they have by paying attention to them. Quit it.

  4. Shelley May 24, 2015 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    I first met Marisa and Carson my freshman year at BYU when Marisa was my neighbor in the dorms. Nine years ago, my husband and I had our own set of troubles with Mormon cruelty while on our way out of the church after a devastating truth crisis. Even though Carson and Marisa lived across the country from us at the time, and the circumstances had nothing to do with them, they reached out to my husband and I in kindness. Only people who have been through something similar will know just how desperate for kindness a person can be while being rejected and slandered by their tribe. I still truly appreciate that gesture.

    I am glad I had the chance to sit and watch this video, because it is wonderful to see Carson and Marisa so very happy and united. I completely agree with Marisa’s interpretation of the song. I was stupefied by how “The World” I had been taught to fear was bursting with goodness and beauty unlike anything I had previously experienced. Free thought felt like my first breath. I am so happy for your happiness!

  5. Koa May 24, 2015 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    Wow, Carson and Marisa are doing what so many people wish they could be–honest with their beliefs.

    My guess is the whole having the kids involved with Mormon activities (I.e., scouting) will come to an end pretty soon. There are a lot of other activities kids can be involved with.

    It was also interesting to read about Carson’s dental practice and how he often provides reduced and free dental to those in need. Thanks for being an example to me as I feel like I need to do more to give back to those less fortunate.

  6. LB May 24, 2015 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    It seems to me that you were not ex’d for apostasy but for a sin these men really can’t tolerate…and that’s telling them what needs to be fixed in the stake. It’s been my experience that it’s all about power, their power! I was once told that people need to learn how to be church-broke, meaning how to act and tow the line at church. Speaking up threatens their power. Isn’t it sad that even your SP whom you say is a good man has swallowed this horrible tripe? It’s about pride.

  7. Sherry May 24, 2015 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Yes – there IS a beautiful world outside Mormonism. While I’m sorrowful that Marisa and Carson had to endure the negative aspects of their journey, the end result – freedom and happiness – more than made up for it. I applaud you for your courage in speaking your truth with strength and dignity. Indeed, you are both a force for good in our world. Thank you for sharing your story. And John, thank YOU for all your good works. Blessings to each of you.

  8. tropical animal May 24, 2015 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    As cl_rand says, why don’t they plug up the “brain drain?” Not to smart to get rid of their “best and brightest.” Not good for business nor the corporate bottom line. And indeed, not good for moving the church forward. EVERYONE they are Xing are bright, talented, creative, with intellectual integrity. Anyone who can get on the internet and does a little research, will likely come to these same conclusion. A friend of mine, a smart computer expert, took his wife and family and left the church the other day, never to return.

    Here’s why they should stop Xing people:

    ‘s They want to end up with a group of

  9. M Ostlund May 24, 2015 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    Thanks Marisa and Carson. What courageous examples of being true to yourselves and being fearlessly open to discovery. I really do think you have helped to pry open a place for more of us to be true to ourselves in the church. Any chance of Carson posting you five pages you prepared for the court somewhere we could access it? Thanks again.

  10. Alyson Draper Dunham May 24, 2015 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    I still stand back and ask, “How does anyone excommunicate us from our people?” We are cultural Mormons, if unbelievers in the religion. Our relatives sailed across the ocean, some died on the hard walk to Utah, and settled and planted Utah for all who came after them. As ridiculous as may be the Mormon doctrine, the heritage is Ameican pioneer, our ancestors paid the dues, and no matter what these narcissistic Mormon Church leaders do, that is who we are. I offer them no power over me and my heritage, and give them no opportunity to take anything from me. I appreciate the Calderwoods and other Stripling Warriors of truth and free speech in the church. But all of these leaders who feel like they have anything on me, my life, and my culture can take their church and kindly eff off.

  11. Storman Norman May 24, 2015 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    You guys did so well I am going to give you a 10% increase in wages and a lot more time to explore this beautiful world we live in!

    • Pia June 9, 2015 at 3:23 pm - Reply

      Your comment made me smile. Sums up my thoughts exactly.

  12. Scott May 25, 2015 at 7:55 am - Reply

    This was such a powerful story. There were so many things that stood out to me but I think the thing that has bothered me the most is the request that the Calderwoods shake everybody’s hands at the conclusion of their excommunication. All power to them for having the strength and grace to do so, I myself would not be near as forgiving.

    Here we have 15 people who have just adjudged this couple to be apostates. They will no longer share eternity with their families in the celestial kingdom, they will suffer for all eternity in the outer darkness. From the point of view of the 15 a more vile and torturous punishment could not be imagined. So please shake our hands as we punish you thus. Show that you accept our supremacy and more importantly acknowledge that we can assert our authority over you one last time.

    I say again that the Calderwoods are far better than I could hope to be. My response to that final request would be to tell them to fire truck off.

  13. tropical animal May 25, 2015 at 9:31 am - Reply

    What a beautiful, intelligent, caring couple.

    How anyone could reject this couple defies reason and the imagination.

    But I do think this. That members of that council were themselves tramatized and hurt by what they did to you beautiful people and will forever regret it. Because they were doubtless, like everything else in the church are controlled by rules not of their own making, and rules that loving people like most of them would never themselves make. (Joseph Smith uses excommunication to get rid of people who did not agree with him.)

    But if their is a divine being, may he or she forgive them for what they did to you.

    I feel compelled to say this from watching the video. Carson, it
    is strikingly obvious, that you are SO loved and admired by that wonderful woman of yours. How valuable can this be! God, I wish we could all be so blessed.

  14. Doubting Thomas May 25, 2015 at 9:35 am - Reply

    This double excommunication makes me angry and frustrated. This couple reminds me of a number of my nephews and their wives. Beautiful people. Intelligent. Caring. Christ-centered. I wonder what they would think of the Calderwood’s story. I wonder how many young couples are out there that are JUST LIKE the Calderwood’s but are burying their feelings. It is a lonely place to be as a person and as a couple.

    If we can’t be honest about our feelings in Christ’s one and only true church, we need to reevaluate that claim. My God isn’t running such a fragile church and my Savior isn’t telling leaders to excommunicate people. That’s where my real anger stems from–leaders blaming God for the stupid decisions they make. Blame the general authorities. Blame the training you receive. Don’t blame God.

    • Donna Ryan May 25, 2015 at 12:44 pm - Reply

      I learned years ago in the Mormon Church that there is no room for even the tiniest speck of doubt. If you have doubts about anything, you are NOT “living the Gospel.”

  15. Lilli May 25, 2015 at 10:54 am - Reply

    You both are so amazing. Thank you for being such wonderful examples of standing for the right and courageously speaking the truth. You will help so many people wake up and seek & acknowledge the truth.

    I’m sure all the men in that counsel room knew deep down that you were right but sadly they didn’t have the courage or understanding yet to stand with you. But one day they will and I’m sure you helped them see more light and truth.

    It is usually a slow process to come to the realization that the Church is not true, even though it has wonderful people in it and teaches some good things.

    But despite the good things that the Church does and teaches I agree with what you said that “the Church causes good people to do bad things”, and to believe in wrong things, often unknowingly, but people like you help others to wake up to those things and the fact that the Church is not a Christlike Church, nor are the leaders following Christ’s commandments, as we see here and everywhere else in the Church.

    Thank you so much for your willingness to stand for truth and right.

  16. Scott May 25, 2015 at 10:58 am - Reply


    Wife and I are in a very similar state of life as you two. Can’t thank you both enough for taking a stand and choosing the higher road. Please know that there are many quiet observers out here that are incredibly grateful for your willingness to stand in the spotlight so that we can point friends and family to your example and show them that the issues are not nearly as black and white as they may think.

  17. Bob Turner May 25, 2015 at 11:13 am - Reply

    Wow. Great job both of you. I left the church15 years ago and totally understand. I listened to your original podcasts on my 3 hour trip from eastern Washington to Seattle. You are both extremely courageous for not only standing up for truth but willing to publicly share your pain and suffering. Your love for others speaks volumes.
    Thank you both

  18. Rose May 25, 2015 at 11:52 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I appreciated your sincerity but also recognised your need to follow your hearts despite the consequences. We choose in life whether our actions are based on humanity rather than ideology. Unfortunately, ideology wins too many times. As it did here. We have been out for nearly 4 years now. It is the best decision we have ever made. We have never done so much good. Been so kind. Loved so much. Achieved so much. More time, more income, but the greatest gifts has been liberation. We feel free. Our children are thriving and thank us for leaving. We have lost nearly all our LDS friends, family relationships are not what they were on one side of the family although improving on another. There is a price to pay for liberation. But it was worth it. You can’t live your life just for some other people. Our own family unit is our priority. Wishing you much joy and happiness. May your journey be one of much light!

  19. Kelli Jones May 25, 2015 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much Calderwoods for your courage, love and compassion. I agreed with so much that you said and have had many of the same thoughts and inspirations. It takes courageous people like you to change the world.

    • Donna Ryan May 25, 2015 at 2:43 pm - Reply

      The more I get involved with “Mormon Stories Podcast,” the more grateful I am that I was a convert to the Mormon Church. Of course, I lost absolutely every friend when I left, but did not have the family involvement that so many of you must deal with when you come to the truth about Joseph Smith. Best wishes, Donna Ryan

  20. Jeff Day May 25, 2015 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Wow, your experience reminds me in many ways of my own Stake Disciplinary Council. Handouts and everything. I legally resigned during the Council before they could reach a conclusion, however.

    Thank you for speaking out about your experience!

  21. A Happy Hubby May 25, 2015 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Thank you Marisa and Carson for spending the time to discuss your ordeal. So sorry you had to go through this. I certainly get the feeling that you are wonderful people.

    I can understand if you don’t want to, but I am interested in what you handed out. I was in the process of creating something like this. But like I mentioned, if you don’t feel comfortable then as always do what you feel is right.

  22. Lightworker May 25, 2015 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    Carson & Marisa, a millyun thanks for standing in dignity and in truth. You and and your witness confronted what is essentially evil in nature. 15 men in suits not having the courage inflicted themselves with a stain that they have no recourse to remove. God bless your family and prove them with your happiness the mockery of their religious practice. What you saw was a “cult” in operation.

    “Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace . The soul that knows it not, knows no release from little things. Knows not the livid loneliness of fear , nor mountain heights, where bitter joy can hear the sound of wings” Amelia Earhart

  23. Jon May 25, 2015 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Would you mind sharing the 5 documents you handed out?

  24. Paul M May 25, 2015 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    Hey John, I know you did the Fabrizio interview, but WILL YOU LET SOMEONE INTERVIEW YOU for a full and detailed report of YOUR “kangaroo court of love?”

  25. G- May 25, 2015 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    This is/was a ‘witch hunt’.

    I am sorry you have had to grow through the ‘burning’and what is so sad is they did this in the name of ‘Jesus Christ’ asking for ‘cuddles’ at the end. Wow – psychological mind games, from beginning to end.

    I am trying so hard to keep my mouth shut at church about my feelings/questions I have had for so many years, but this (and all the other recent ‘burnings’) makes my blood boil and I don’t think I can do so much longer (along with a slew of other intelligent members I know).

    • Jen May 26, 2015 at 1:04 pm - Reply

      You are so right.

      The thing these men sadly don’t realize is that they really excommunicate themselves from Christ’s real ‘spiritual church’ when they excommunicate good people from even their ‘false’ church.

      If there is any hope for the LDS Church it’s in people like the ‘Calderwoods’, yet they seem bent on casting out their best & brightest. It appears that the leaders really don’t want to save the Church and face the truth and repent.

      They are condemning those who stand for truth & righteousness while they themselves support & do evil.

  26. maddy May 25, 2015 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    Thanks Calderwoods for sharing your experience.

    To sum it up:

    “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

    That is LDS leader’s position. If you have doubts, questions, “untraditional” viewpoints, keep them to yourself or you can/will be excommunicated on grounds of apostasy.

    • Donna Ryan June 10, 2015 at 5:45 pm - Reply

      Don’t ask, don’t tell does seem to be the philosophy of Mormon Church leaders. I found no place for questioning or sincere dialogue (mindless obedience was the gold standard) so I left 30 years ago. Donna Ryan

  27. Peterson May 26, 2015 at 6:35 am - Reply

    Carson and Marisa,
    When I first listened to your interview, I wondered why the LDS church was excommunicating so many people. Then I went to your blog and realized that your posts did not seem like they were trying to educate people that the various LDS stories have huge flaws and are difficult to believe, but rather the blogs, to me, seemed to be selling your point of view that only an idiot could believe the LDS doctrine.

    I have not attended the LDS church since 1987. The gaps in other religions I have studied are similar. I stopped asking myself if the LDS church or any religion, for that matter, is true and started asking myself if the organization provides a positive value to its members and society. In my opinion, the LDS church passes this test.

    Why after a lifetime of participation do you find it necessary to try to tear down the LDS faith? Why not just move onto things you find positive in your life? Life is wonderful outside the LDS church and, for me, it was also wonderful inside the LDS church. I only question what benefit you gain from blogs that tear down on old belief. If life is good outside the LDS church, share the good and move on from the past without wasting time on negative blogs.

    • Xposit May 26, 2015 at 10:29 am - Reply

      Hi Peterson, you seem to have an extremely obtuse view of things. What is it about seeking the truth that disturbs you so? The Calderwoods are guilty of nothing more. I’m thrilled that you find satisfaction in living by a lower standard but there are those of us who believe the truth matters. How is that “tearing down” anything? It is simply living up to a higher standard. It’s often not the easiest way to go so I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, especially those of you content with something less. As for the Calderwoods, I congratulate them for seeking after truth and having the courage to follow wherever it leads. They join a growing community that believes honesty always leads to better outcomes than deceit. Those who don’t find value in that are perfectly welcome to bob along like a cork on the ocean of ambiguity, no hard feelings.

    • David Macfarlane May 26, 2015 at 11:19 am - Reply

      Adding to what Xposit wrote, Carson and Marisa are taking the truth claims of the truth at face value. They are taking Joseph Smith and every church leader since at their word. A question for you, Peterson, might be why are you not? It’s a good thing that you’ve found something valuable in church teachings and culture, have remained in the fold and are happy with that choice. But since you’ve decided to no longer entertain the church’s fundamental question, how are you in a position to criticize those who do and feel betrayed by the conclusions they reach?

    • Lilli May 26, 2015 at 1:25 pm - Reply


      You don’t seem to realize that despite the ‘good’ the Church does and teaches (mainly from the good people in it), it destroys people, marriages and families far more then it helps them.

      The Calderwoods are commendably concerned about the welfare of other members, wanting to help them learn the truth and not continue to be hurt, led astray and taken advantage of by the Church.

      • Peterson May 26, 2015 at 9:54 pm - Reply

        When I listen to John Dehlin’s posts I hear comments from someone who does not believe the LDS stories, but who loves many aspects of the LDS church.

        When I read the posts of the readers of Mormon Stories website, I sense the average reader has incredible animosity towards the LDS church.

        If a person hates the LDS church why not just walk away and find something that makes him or her feel better. Why waste timing hating something that you do not appreciate?

        Perhaps my experiences are different than the people who are posting. I do not recall many negative experiences with the Mormon church. I loved my two years in the mission field. I appreciate the education I received at BYU. Nevertheless, once I stopped believing that Joseph Smith was a prophet, I moved on. No hate or bad feelings, just a parting of ways.

        It has been almost three decades since I last attended a Sunday meeting.
        However, I find the stories of other western religions are no more credible than the LDS stories. Is the Moses story really believable? Did Jesus really set up the Roman church which, in turn, murdered his great nieces and great nephews and possibly grand children and great grand children(His Jewish descendents)?

        I personally do not find any of the religions that I have become acquainted with to be credible from a historical stand point. Nevertheless, I admire the good they do for people. I put the Mormon church in the category of doing a lot of good for many people. With this in mind, I just don’t get the antagonism.

        • Lightworker May 27, 2015 at 7:02 am - Reply

          Mr Peterson, With due respect, You walked away and what would be your intention here. Some find it easy to walk away after finding the truth but not going back to the people you converted to the “lie” and leaving them in that state. Some would like to when they are converted to the truth are their brother keeper and want to help them out of the rut. The 15 men in suits will face the music of their united call to excommunicate a good family. We all will stand as a witness for their arrogance and using the Lord’s name in vain. Walking away will not have presented these men with the facts. They with their handlers will face their court of Love in due time. You might want to consider a “restitution” to those you blindsided while on a mission. Remember the Nuremburg trials. you are left with no excuse.

          • Peterson May 27, 2015 at 1:10 pm

            In my opinion, the LDS church is a positive influence on peoples lives. It is like McDonald’s is to the restaurant industry. If you follow the protocol, it usually turns out well. There are better tasting restaurants, but there are many more that either fail or are less successful.

            I personally do not believe the Faith statements of the Mormon church, but the faith statements of the other Christian religions are no more believable if you investigate with the same rigor you seem to be researching Mormon history.

            If the faith statements are not true for any religion(This is my opinion), then I will form my opinions based on how people behave. In general, I admire the behavior of the Mormon people. I chose not to participate, but I have few complaints about the Mormon church and I enjoyed my mission and I appreciate my education at BYU.

        • Xposit May 27, 2015 at 9:20 am - Reply

          All of the religious traditions you mention are inventions of men just like Mormonism. I hold no special regard for any of them either. The reason I focus on Mormonism is because I know Mormonism. I grew up as a fifth generation Mormon. I jumped through all the traditional Mormon hoops for the first 25 years of my life. In addition I’ve seen first hand how the tradition willingly rips families apart when a family member loses faith. I’v seen the devastating effects the tradition has on young and old LGBT members of the faith. I’ve witnessed, up close and personal, the faiths’ subjugation of women. I criticize Mormonism because I come from Mormonism.

          I have no doubt that all the other religions have plenty of their own baggage to lie, deny and obfuscate over. I leave the criticism of those traditions to those who know them best. Those of us who value the truth, and think that it matters, will continue to challenge all those imposters who claim to hold special authority over others when we find the claims to be based on false witness, half truths and outright lies. As I stated in my previous post, I’m happy for folks like you who are able find contentment in ignoring half truths and lies as if the truth is of no consequence, but I happen to believe the truth is of the ultimate consequence. I focus on Mormonism because I know Mormonism. How much do you actually know about it? Would you like to know more?

        • David Macfarlane May 27, 2015 at 1:15 pm - Reply

          Peterson, I would gladly trade my perspective for yours. Indeed, while it’s been more than 25 years since I regularly set foot in a Mormon chapel, I am still processing Mormon experiences. I think this says something about me, just as the apparent ease with which you dropped Mormonism says something about you. Does it say something good or bad about either of us? I don’t think so, since crude dichotomy does little to enhance our understanding of reality (see Mormon doctrine for numerous examples).

          There was a time when I hoisted the banner of truth and made that my argument for countering the claims of the Mormon church. That was and remains wasted effort. I am here to process my stuff, and it may take some time. If friends or family ask me questions back in the real world, I will answer, but I would rather not be in the recruiting game.

          The antagonism I feel and display online is largely the product of my own residual anger, frustration and embarrassment at having ever believed that black people are cursed, that Jews made their way from the Holy Land in the equivalent of wooden submarines, and that a young man could translate ancient records using a rock in a hat. I was duped. Shame on me.

          A couple of posts on this site is very thin evidence indeed, but you seem possessed of a confidence that enabled you to walk away with no lingering rancor. Good for you. I am envious. But, when you see posts from people who are releasing pent-up thoughts and emotions, sometimes most angrily, keep in mind that it’s a form of exorcism for them.

          Hopefully they, and me, will soon become post-post-Mormons. I look forward to the day. Thanks for engaging.

          • Peterson May 27, 2015 at 8:23 pm

            I can appreciate what you are saying.
            I had a bad first marriage (temple marriage) after my mission. The divorce had nothing to do with the Mormon church, but nonetheless it was difficult failing at the marriage.

            After my divorce, I had my “Faith Crisis”. I shared my doubts with a member of the Stake Presidency and the next day I was released from my callings. I was shocked. I had not shared these feelings with any one prior to that and when i shared it with him: No conversation, just a release from my responsibilities.

            Since I was recently divorced, I decided it was better to date outside the church so that I did not have to address my beliefs in a premarriage temple recommend interview. That was the end of my participation.

        • JC May 28, 2015 at 10:12 am - Reply


          I think you say it well in your other response below (I couldn’t reply that one so I reply this :))… you did in fact experience the feeling of rejection from your Stake President but decided in your head that you would not let it hurt you. I say good for you! not all of us can just walk away without feeling anger or antagonism as you call it. I personally went through the grief stages and nearly lost my marriage over it. Even now, still married to a TBM you can imagine the church topic is a sensitive one. Sometimes I wish I had the backbone to divorce like you did and re-start my life outside of the LDS church and with someone that would not feel offended any time I had anything “negative” to say about the church.

          And yeah, I’m also thankful the church guided me through some aspects of my life but would I trade that for the truth and rather not be duped? you bet I would.

        • Ryan Wimmer May 29, 2015 at 12:36 am - Reply

          I can relate to some of what your saying Peterson. The church culture and history fascinates me so that is why I can’t leave it alone. I agree all religions are evidence free and completely emotion based. I was a very antagonistic atheist for a while but got tired of being angry at religion and now agree with you a person can find good and things that are meaningful to them. But others can’t, such as the Calderwood’s, and that is fine. What I don’t like about some of the Calderwood story and other recent excommunication stories is I think too often people get the silly perception that people that get called to church courts or excommunicated are victims of inhumane abuse and want violins played in sympathy. I always remind people the church is like a club that people can freely choose to be part of or not. But if the club leaders decide you can’t be a member of the club due to some violation of club rules, you are not a victim deserving of any sympathy or violins playing if your kicked our of the club. I would have rolled in laughter if a stake president had ever tried to call me to a church court after I no longer believed. They only have power if you choose to grant it to them,

  28. Jerome May 26, 2015 at 6:55 am - Reply

    Based on everything the Calderwood’s have said, there is no way their stake president was acting on his own. He was following orders, implicit or otherwise.

  29. Michael May 26, 2015 at 10:49 am - Reply

    For anyone well versed in church history, these “courts of love” should be no surprise. It was Joseph Smith’s M.O. when he needed to eliminate those who were a threat to his power.

    Of course, “Witch Hunts” ran in Joseph Smith’s blood…

    His great-great grandpa Samuel Smith testified at the height of the Salem Witch trials against Mary Easty’s alleged occult powers. As a result, Mary was condemned and hanged for her sins.

    This hyper-judgmental, holier-than-thou attitude was passed on genetically and traditionally to Joseph Smith. There is no denying it. All who knew Joseph, could attest to his short temper and thin skin. He was quick to judgment and prone to “cursing” people when they didn’t agree with him (see Bushman Rough Stone Rolling). This personality flaw, unfortunately, was woven into the church he established.

    Using the church court system (i.e. Witch Hunts) Joseph was able to eliminate those who presented a threat to his power. Oliver Cowdery? No problem. William Law? Easy.

    If you go back and carefully study Joseph’s history, you will find a man who used the church court system extensively. If you agreed with Bro. Smith — fantastic, if not, well you are condemned to hell until you repent and agree with him. Then he was your best friend. Genius.

    This process of condemning those who are “different” or are “threats” was passed to Brigham Young and so on. It is very effective and is one of the reasons the church is so robust today.

    Then came the internet…

    Now, the acts of oppression, condemnation, irrational judgment and censoring will all be brought to light for all to see. No longer will we stand by and watch the Samuel Smith’s condemn an innocent woman to death because of ignorance and intolerance. No longer will we be led as sheep by wolves in sheeps clothing.

    The day has now come for the legacy of Joseph’s flaw of cursing those who differed with him, to end. The church, if it is to function as organization that teaches Christ, must eliminate church courts.

  30. A Happy Hubby May 26, 2015 at 11:47 am - Reply

    I had asked earlier about the handouts and I found they were already released on the blog:

  31. roy May 26, 2015 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    Let me get this straight … You want us to go commando, keep our money, and drop off my kids for three hours every Sunday?

    Now who’s encouraging who to apostatize?

  32. Ephima Morphew May 26, 2015 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    Mormon Quorum Sensing

    I’m flummoxed by the right of a tax free entity to empower itself to engage in willfully ignorant prejudice –– spiritual repression. How can a tax free entity be endowed with etherial control through conjecture, then punish truth seeking as a “RELIGIOUS RIGHT”?
    If Franz Kafka were to peep into this Court of Love he’d realize the need to mask human intension through doctrinaire precepts and guilt or innocence is feckless This is not going away unless people require liberty of thought not liberty through obedience In the trial the accused is unaware of his guilt yet feels guilty while the judges are empowered to do what they do to be among the few to reach confirmed institutional glory. At the expense of authentic inquiry the Love Court is a tattered facade of desperation ruled by grumpy old men.

    • Ryan Wimmer May 29, 2015 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      I am against any religion getting a tax break but people need to stop the victim whining over a silly church court. A bishop or stake president can only suppress a person spiritually if the person freely chooses to allow that suppression. Church authority can only punish a person if that person freely chooses to allow that punishment and freely chooses to be part of the organization. The only way a church leader is empowered is if that power is freely granted by the follower who chooses to be part of the organization and freely decides to participate in a church court. They cannot force anybody into a church court. Nor can they punish anybody that is unwilling, they are not the government and cannot force anybody to do anything. Sorry it is just getting annoying in a world that has real suffering and inhumane acts to see people whine over a silly and insignificant church court.

      • St. Ralph May 29, 2015 at 5:00 pm - Reply

        Amen. The only truly sane response to the church or anything it does is to IGNORE IT!

  33. G- May 26, 2015 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Losing an illusion makes one wiser than finding a truth – Ludwig Borne

  34. karen May 26, 2015 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    that was an hour very well spent for me. One thing in particular stood out. When Carson said that even if ‘God was mormon’ that he wouldn’t be disappointed in him, because he tried, with what he was given to be a good person. This means a lot to me, because after leaving the LDS church, I have still felt conflicted when I have tried to pray. I wasn’t sure how to address God, and if he was a Mormon God, would he still hear my prayers. Thank you Carson and Marisa for being brave. Thank you for allowing me to come to some great conclusions and comfort in hearing your story. You both have sincerely helped me.

  35. Jay May 26, 2015 at 9:59 pm - Reply

    Marisa. Mind on fire. That’s some intense energy.

    Congratulations to both of you.

  36. Jason May 27, 2015 at 7:55 am - Reply

    Hey John and Carson,
    How about a link to the “handout” that Carson gave to the High Council. Sounds like he put a lot of work into it & I’d love to see it….maybe incorporate parts of it into my upcoming EQ lesson!! ;-) Thanks Calderwoods. I’m sorry, but happy for you.

  37. Justin May 27, 2015 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Great interview! It was very interesting to hear the Calderwood’s story. The only difficult part is Marisa sounds like she is always yelling when she talks (she sounded this way in both interviews) so it makes for very difficult listening. Despite the yelling tone of her voice, great interview!

    • Ephima Morphew May 28, 2015 at 12:48 am - Reply

      First, I think the miking was off,
      Second, as a devotee of a faith that rates people by sex is patiently ignorant.
      Third: If after decades of manipulation one realizes humanity lives in us all,
      If Justin were that person, would not Justin use a higher tenor too.
      Just a thought experiment?

  38. Katie May 29, 2015 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    I don’t get it. They don’t believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. They were excommunicated for sharing beliefs that are against covenants they made. What is the big deal? They obviously did not want to be members of the church and the church cannot condone having members that vehemently don’t want to be members. There is a difference between having doubts and questions, and flat out not believing and spreading disbelief. Most people do not know that even if you are excommunicated, you have the opportunity to come back and be rebaptized at a later time.

    • Jen June 1, 2015 at 11:39 am - Reply

      The Church is a huge social club, which often most people’s friends, relatives and clients are a part of, and who will likely shun and label them if they are cast out. So there is much more at stake here then just a difference of ‘beliefs’.

      Also, the main problem is not ‘questions and concerns’ by good people like the Calderwoods, the problem is the Church isn’t following it’s own scriptures and teachings and especially not Christ. If it did, then it seems people like the Calderwoods wouldn’t have such a problem with it.

      The real question is, why doesn’t the Church repent and follow Christ, or at least it’s founder Joseph Smith? It’s the Church that is really on trial here and they refuse to answer the questions people keep asking, they just cast them out instead, because the Church doesn’t seem to want to repent.

      • R Ob June 9, 2015 at 9:53 am - Reply

        Katie and Jen, I agree with what you have both said.

        I am an X(ed) member. I chose to go through the process because I wanted out–and if I was ever to return, I knew that the process had the option of re-baptism on the other side. It left me with a choice, and I could live with that.

        One of the most difficult and painful things associated with excommunication is the potential stigma that follows you around in your community. In the SLC area (for example), members can often walk the entire perimeter of their ward in 15 min,..we are talking like 500 members! (the concentration is staggering). Because of the tight social networks, many members grow up their whole lives never associating with others outside their faith–which leaves you pretty high and dry if you are excommunicated because it also can rip your social network away. Fortunately, in most of these courts, the decision CAN be kept confidential. In the case of the Calderwoods, it appears it was pretty open, and they indicate social stigma has rippled out, causing problems.

        Anyway, it is most frustrating when questions–honest questions–are not answered. The LDS structure seems more concerned with enforcing conformity rather than cultivating independence and agency. This aspect, this SINGLE aspect, causes me more concern than almost every other aspect combined. If the truth can stand on its own,…then expose the truth and let it stand!

        • Lightworker June 10, 2015 at 7:24 am - Reply

          The adversary (satan for some) rules through “obedience” As per LDS we were presented with a choice to accept the 2 plans offered. Lucifer’s was based on “obedience” Jesus’s plan was about “empowerment” The LDS church is a classic presentation and enforcement of Lucifers plan. The blind could never see this. like those we know of who remain in cults as they are emasculated into slavery.

  39. C June 1, 2015 at 11:42 am - Reply

    I found your story to be very inspiring. It is touching to see the love between you. Best wishes.

  40. Old Dog June 5, 2015 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Clearly, you have outgrown the church. Not everyone has the courage, the energy, or the desire to leave a support system, an emotional comfort zone, like the church, and to strike out on their own, establish a totally new identity. Religious traditions hold tremendous power over people because we want comforting thoughts and tend to succumb to wishful supernatural thinking more easily than we do to facing cold, hard truths. It is truly exhilarating for you to break free because freedom of thought and expression are more important to you than safety and acceptance, but so many others cannot, dare not, even entertain that idea. Be glad you have awakened while still so young. I am an old dog of 70 who finally woke up about 12 years ago, and I can never recover all the misspent resources and years or make right the damage to my children. Don’t’ waste any more of your time trying to enlighten church leadership or warn the general membership. They will want to shoot the messenger and it will only break your hearts. Just let go, walk away, don’t look back, and live your lives to the fullest. Best wishes to you in finding new and better ways to live and love each day. I have no doubt you will. You are an extremely impressive young couple, and your kids are very lucky to have you.

  41. Glen June 6, 2015 at 8:35 am - Reply

    Wow, I can not help but to just Love you guys. I feel the spirit as much right now as I ever have in my entire life. It is so great that you can stand up for truth and do the best you can to live the lives you believe is right. You are a great inspiration. I have felt the pains of learning about the truths that are hidden from us. Being alone, having no one to really talk to, being judged. It is the most emotionally painful thing I have ever had to go through. As I have tried to stand up for honesty and integrity in my professional life, I have lost clients, had severe rumors about me, and put down. All just because ethics and moral understanding appears to be either twisted or not well understood. Standing on your own and by yourself is never easy. Thanks so much for being loving and honest, most of all standing up for what you feel is right. The world needs more people like you guys.

  42. […] those who have been excommunicated for “apostasy” is growing long. Denver Snuffer, Kate Kelly, Carson and Marisa Calderwood, John Dehlin, and last week, Rock Waterman. (I apologize if I have missed any names on the list. […]

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