In this episode John and Zilpha Larsen of Mormon Expression Podcast interview John Dehlin.



  1. Anonymous January 4, 2012 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    Hey hey,

    I’m the first post …. Oh… now I see … well, let’s just ignore the fact that this interview originated at that “other” podcast.

    Very enjoyable conversation!

    I liked it so much I wrote a poem about it.

    Johnny D,
    You’re “loose” enough for me.

    Johnny L,
    I think we’re going to hell.



    P.S. Zilpha … sorry … you’re just beyond my rhyming ability.  But thank you too.

    • Jason January 5, 2012 at 12:02 pm - Reply

      JT,  How bout:  Zilpha, you are one serious Milpha!!!  

  2. Penny Brewer61 January 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    I’m loving the Interview!!! Could the web page person move the live feed bar? it runs onto the pics of John and consequently you can’t pause and restart the audio properly…..THANX!!

  3. IcarusArts January 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    I’m surprised that John L keeps harping on the doubt that what John D is proposing is possible. Other than the Mormonpalooza dance party, it seems to me that John D is ALREADY largely accomplishing everything he set out to do–and on a pretty large scale. It will just continue to grow. John may inspire a lot of vitriol in some online communities, but he just plain inspires in others. My experience is that the “talk-backers” (people in the forums) are not representational of the community at large. They (like me) are simply the most overtly opinionated.

    Just by way of anecdotal evidence, I personally know about 70 people (almost all believers) who listen to MS and/or MM. Only 3 of them are part of the Facebook Group and only 1 of those (a post-mo) actually posts in the group.

    I also know 2 bishopric members (from 2 separate bishoprics) that are MS listeners, who have told me that they’ve used information from the podcast when counseling members (particularly women, and referring to the Jennifer Finlayon Fife and Tresa Edmunds episodes) and when considering messages to the congregation.

    Both are also BYU professors and one teaches religion. The religion teacher told me that he has used information, that he first encountered on MS, in his BYU BOM course. None of these people are in the online community to give direct feedback, yet the effects of the podcast are spreading across their wards and BYU classes, inoculating the ears of hundreds of young people who aren’t even podcast listeners. That’s just 2 guys.

    I think John’s work is having a much bigger impact than we really have data for at this point.

    • Anonymous January 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm - Reply

      Thanks for sharing, IcarusArts. Seriously. Very cool.

  4. Kevin January 6, 2012 at 1:29 am - Reply

    As a long-time Mormon Stories listener, knowing a little about the man behind the interviews has always provided a useful context and a framework for the conversations. It’s intriguing, John, that your testimony of the power of goodness and fellowship has continued to grow while your belief in God and Jesus has dimmed. Thanks in part to your podcast my conviction of God and Jesus has deepened while my concern for the organic messiness of the mortal church has dimmed over time. 

    Good strength to to us all in our efforts to bring more inclusion and friendship to our shared Mormon culture. Thanks in part to your podcasts I’ve become empathetic and fiercely loyal to several gay relatives and completely at peace with the temple ceremony having been influenced by Masonic rituals.A refreshing, candid conversation here. I chuckled when the conversation turned to how Zilpha is trying to curb John L’s inclination to call irritating folks vulgar names. You’re a fortunate man, John. At the risk of offending you I’d submit that  it’s evidence that God loves you. I’m going to check out Mormon Expression podcast.

    • Anonymous January 6, 2012 at 7:11 am - Reply

      Thanks, Kevin. :)

  5. Chris R. January 6, 2012 at 7:55 am - Reply

    John, I cannot adequately express my appreciation for what you have done with Mormon Stories and the Open Stories Foundation, and for your personal bravery, integrity, and candor. You are a true pioneer who has created an enormously valuable resource and community, despite imperfections. While endeavors such as yours will always have their critics, this will never diminish their positive impact on those who so desperately need them. All pioneers face adversity; I urge you to continue despite the adversity you may experience from narrow minded critics or institutions. Thank you, John, for your love, time, and passion. And may God bless you.

    • Anonymous January 6, 2012 at 8:30 am - Reply

      Thanks, Chris! So kind of you to write!

  6. Charles Carnevale January 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    I was rather surprised to learn that John Dehlin has left the gospel to this extent. There certainly wouldn’t be an issue for church discipline since its is just a loss of belief in the church. 

    I’ve listened on and off since 2006 odd to these podcasts and I always thought that John Dehlin was a believing mormon helping others who struggled with their faith. But seems he isn’t a believing Mormon anymore and honestly I’m a bit disappointed about that. Not believing in Jesus as your saviour and redeemer, considering it a low possibility that God exists, plus all the other doubting points on BoM and church practices surely means that he has lost all belief in the church as the one true church.

    But honestly I can’t understand how people continue to go to church, even if once a month, or continue to call themselves cultural Mormon when the very basics aren’t believed in, like Jesus as your personal redeemer and saviour. I honestly can’t understand it because if it was me, that I’d stop believing, then I’d be down at the beach every Sunday instead of bothering with church. But anyways, I guess different people have their own ways of reacting towards a loss of faith to this extent and in Utah things are probably different to outside of Utah with regards to church and how people react to it. just a thought though.

    • Jack Rodwell January 7, 2012 at 7:51 am - Reply

      its not a loss of belief of jesus christ its a loss of belief that joseph smith was a prophet of god and restored the true gospel ,  but ya i wouldnt go to church either 

      • Charles Carnevale January 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm - Reply

        I’m sure he said that he both doesn’t get the atonement nor understands why a guy ‘over there’ should be punished for what he did or words like those, unless I completely misunderstood him. If you don’t get the atonement then you can’t say that you believe in jesus and accept him as your saviour and redeemer imho….

        Going to church for me is a bit of a sacrifice. Here we just started summer and its a real pain having to rock up in garments and shirt and tie when its almost 86oF and leave when it’s well over 95o at midday. So yeah, if I didn’t believe, I’d be going to the beach every sunday…..

        • Jack Rodwell January 8, 2012 at 3:35 am - Reply

          i just have a smokin hot blonde that is mormon and that is what i believe in so i go to  church and temple for that

        • Kevin January 8, 2012 at 6:26 am - Reply

          John mentioned his great regard for Eugene England. One of my favorite England essays is That They Might Not Suffer – The Gift of the Atonement. Written while England was the editor of Dialog in 1966 as a way of introducing Mormonism to nonmember students at Stanford, the essay is a timeless, practical meditation on Jesus, the atonement and the plan of salvation.

          “Although we certainly can’t begin to understand all that happened in Gethsemane, especially how it happened, we can begin to feel the impact in our hearts of the divine love expressed there. Jesus Christ has somehow created the greatest possibility we can imagine: that our common lot of meaninglessness and alienation can be redeemed, that we might not suffer if we would repent.”

          I love that last sentence. As fresh and moving today as the day he wrote it 46 years ago. Don Wotherspoon has done the world a favor in creating the Eugene England Foundation website: If you haven’t already, make sure to read England’s classic essay, Why the Church is as True as the Gospel.

          • Kevin January 8, 2012 at 6:29 am

            Dan Wotherspoon!

  7. Jonah January 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Refreshing podcast! Thank you! So refreshing to hear honest discussions about belief. I see more exciting (and huge) opportunities for discussion in this honest context than I do in the discussion of Mormon apologetics, which grows insanely repetitive and full of obviously biased distortions.  I personally would like to see Mormon Stories put the tiresome apologists in the rear view mirror and from here on out, just post hyperlinks to historical podcasts.  I could be way off and I’m willing to admit that my tastes could be the aberration.

    There are so many questions that arise from this type of honest discussion.  We should get as detailed and thorough in our discussions of “what’s next” as we do in our discussions with apologists about nuances of book of mormon archaeology.  Moving forward–philosophically and practically–should be full of conversations rich in detail and nuance and variety. This is an exciting opportunity.  I’m not a source of help or guidance here as I’m still figuring things out myself, but I would at least love to listen and would noodle on it and give positive feedback. I also loved the community-centric plans for coalescing the red-pill Mormon factions into a big event.  Brilliant. Do it. Unite the clans.

    I agree in spades with one thing John said about the community and the “immediate” friendship that arises among red-pill Mormons.  Every time I meet with another red-pill Mormon, I’m blown away at how much we enjoy each other.  I truly enjoy these people and we immediately form bonds as though we’ve known each other for a long time.  The best people in the world are red-pill Mormons because they understand the value of structured living and community, but they’re also independent, intelligent, and ultimately flexible and humble enough to submit to the overwhelming truth and find their way out of the Mormon matrix.

    I would love to see more of this as well as more detail in this direction.  Thanks!

    BTW: I sense a lot of “Fowlerian phases” discipleship around here. Is that accurate?

  8. Cam January 7, 2012 at 2:05 am - Reply


    You hit the nail on the head. The is a paradox in which it is both hard to believe God does and doesn’t exist. As the late Rev. Dietrich Boenhoffer said “the world exists as if there is no god.”

  9. Anonymous January 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    Hi John, I’ve listened to your series from the beginning, as I have also listened to Mormon Expression. Your interview with Brant was well done. I have never posted here even though I have been active for years and years in online discussion boards. After having been through the refiner’s fire, so to speak, since the mid nineties as I’ve traveled the hard road of faith vs. doubt, I’ve gravitated and moved very gradually towards belief rather than doubt. So I have to take exception to the earlier poster who said, “The best people in the world are red-pill Mormons because they understand the value of structured living and community, but they’re also independent, intelligent, and ultimately flexible and humble enough to submit to the overwhelming truth and find their way out of the Mormon matrix.” 

    I think that it is somewhat disingenuous to insinuate that the independent and intelligent people who take the time to investigate the mormon story are ultimately going to find their way out the chapel door of the LDS church. I’ve been on this journey for much longer than many and have ultimately ended up in a place where I can comfortably attend church and do so with a hope and faith that its core doctrines and teachings are actually true. It’s a good place to be.

    Anyway, I appreciate all you’ve done over the years. I actually met you and your mother up at a FAIR Conference a number of years ago. You’re a good man. As we move along a path of investigation in looking for truth there are forks in the road that we take. I’ve gone down a fork in the road and then come back and taken the other fork many times as I’ve traveled up and down paths in my personal faith journey. Ultimately, at least for me, the path of faith in Jesus and the restoration story makes more sense than defaulting to disbelief and doubt. But I can understand fully why many people default to the other. My worry, however, is that there are too many that are doing so with out really giving faith and belief the time and effort which they require, for some of us anyway, in order to actually arrive at a place in which one can be comfortable exercising “a particle of faith.”

    Your work has been a catalyst in helping many people seriously entertain and give thoughtful consideration to their own faith and what it means for them as they find that things are a bit more messy and nuanced than they first appear as we “look through a glass darkly.”

    Thanks for your efforts and I wish you the best on your own journey of discovery.

    • Jonah January 7, 2012 at 6:09 pm - Reply

      You misunderstand what I believe to be the proper definition of what a red-pill Mormon actually is.  To be a red-pill Mormon does not imply that you cease to have faith, attend church, believe, and serve.  Being a red-pill Mormon means that you’ve found your way out of the false dogma, the artificially shrunken system, and if you do choose to go back into the matrix to attend church, hope, believe, worship and serve, you do so understanding and seeing it for what it is: a small subset, and in some ways an artificial and erroneous subset, of a much larger universe. 

      I myself am active and attend weekly and hold a major calling and am temple worthy. Having said that, I do not feel the same way about the church’s truth claims.  I must take it for what it is.  There is much good in the church that I love and value and cherish.

      “Red-pill” is an awareness designation and has nothing to do with what one actually does with that awareness. It’s the Matrix metaphor: Morpheus and Neo go back into the Matrix, right?  But Neo has become a “new” man, reborn, born again to a larger world, to the real world as it truly is (“welcome to the desert of the real”), and when Neo goes back into the matrix, he has greater understanding of it and greater power over it. It’s not about going back in or staying out.  It’s about seeing it for what it truly is.

      If you want to know what I think about Apologists and the deleterious effects they exert–especially in the long run–on Mormonism, I’m happy to share more with you.

      • Anonymous January 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm - Reply

        How can you say you are “temple worthy” if you do not believe in God or Jesus Christ or the restoration of the Gospel and don’t sustain the first presidency and the twelve as “prophets, seers and revelators”?  It just doesn’t make sense for you to claim that.

        • Jonah January 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm - Reply

          You’ve just stated some claims about me that I don’t see in my posts.  One thing is true: I no longer believe the Book of Mormon or the Book of Abraham to be historically authentic records. They are fictional works.  Absolutely no other conclusions can be drawn honestly from the facts.  Where does that realization lead me?  I don’t know yet.

          Perhaps you have something to tell me about the conclusions I’ve drawn…

    • Anonymous January 7, 2012 at 8:53 pm - Reply

      Thanks, skimnonfat. I really appreciate the kind words.

  10. Noel Hausler January 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    Hi John, I was interested in your comments about Lowell Bennion and Eugene  England. I had a letter exchange with both of them years ago when I was in the church and having issues with the church. If you are interested please email me at

  11. Anonymous January 7, 2012 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    Hi Jonah, I’ve seen the Matrix series more than once. It’s one of my all time favorites. You said, ” It’s the Matrix metaphor: Morpheus and Neo go back into the Matrix, right? But Neo has become a “new” man, reborn, born again to a larger world, to the real world as it truly is (“welcome to the desert of the real”), and when Neo goes back into the matrix, he has greater understanding of it and greater power over it. It’s not about going back in or staying out. It’s about seeing it for what it truly is.”

    What I attempted to say, but apparently not very clearly, is that it is possible after having traveled what may be a very similar road in regards to a faith vs. doubt journey as it intersects with mormonism, one can come out the other end “seeing it for what it truly is” and come to the conclusion that it may be true. My issue is with those that have taken a dogmatic approach in saying that there is only one true way for an intelligent person to believe/disbelieve after having the facts put in front of them. 

    I am not at odds with you in respect to the deleterious effects some apologists can have in some cases upon the faith vs. doubt debate. But that doesn’t have much to do with making personal choices in reference to having faith/hope in the particular truth claims of the LDS Church. Simply put, I’ve spent years studying the mormon story, the scientific story, the Christian story, and so on, and have not felt pressed to take your approach in seeing the world of mormonism “for what it truly is” in the same way that you have.

    But as I said earlier, I can fully respect and empathize where you may be coming from. I’ve been there.

    • Eddie January 8, 2012 at 4:05 am - Reply

      Jonah wrote something in a previous podcast that has stuck with me.  The Book of Mormon makes secular claims as well as spiritual claims.  The secular claims are testable and verifiable by secular methodologies.  I’ll grant you this fact. I had a lot of spiritual things rumbling around in my soul as well as a lot of scientific things rattling around. The two worlds were at war.  I was trying to reconcile the two worlds fighting inside me, but they couldn’t be reconciled.  

      It is possible to know whether the Book of Mormon’s secular claims are true or false.  The apologists want everyone to think that the picture is fuzzy and that we should just rely on faith.  I’m here to tell you that you can indeed know and it’s not a matter of faith.  You can test the scientific claims.

      The once you know the Book of Mormon’s scientific claims are false, then you have to reevaluate your beliefs. That’s when you start to realize that your beliefs were all based on feelings and that the feelings can be interpreted in a lot of ways. The beliefs and the feelings are fuzzy, not the science.  That’s how I feel at least.  It’s a lot like trying to believe the world is 6,000 years old.  The science is clear, but a lot of christians believe it’s fuzzy and that the Bible is a better source of truth than carbon dating.

      I respect your thoughtfulness. You seem intelligent and informed. I just don’t see how we can make the scientific picture seem so fuzzy when it’s not. It’s clear as day.  watch the podcast by michael coe.  It’s pretty good.  No serious anthropologist believes the Book of Mormon’s scientific claims except the Mormon apologists.

      Good luck to you skimnonfat.  I wish you the best.

  12. Anonymous January 8, 2012 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Hi Eddie, thanks for your comments. I’m assuming that you’ve listened to John’s interview with Brant. If not, I would recommend doing so. Some of the issues connected with archeology and anthropology are approached in what I believe to be a rational sort of way. I don’t think that science and Christianity have to be in conflict. I know that sounds like something that rolls easily across the tongue, but that’s where I’ve arrived after years of reading/thought. BTW, I’m reading a book right now called, “Understanding the Book of Mormon” by Grand Hardy. If you have interest in really getting into the textual analysis components of the BofM and what part they may play in its historicity, I’d recommend it.

    Best wishes to you also.

  13. Anonymous January 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    Regarding public opening prayers at Mormon Stories support community meetings:

    For me the imposition of public prayer is the subtle misappropriation it asserts – even though it is not intended.

    In effect, it sends the message that the group’s common values and goals need extra validation by a NOT-commonly held supernatural authority.

    This is offensive to secularists because they constantly contend with the deeply ingrained, often unconscious, religious attitude that a person cannot be moral without God.
    It seems that religious people can be as insensitive to this prejudice as some whites are blind to the implicit racism that still pervades American society.

    Still, rituals ARE effective for affirming and focusing a group’s shared values, purposes, and identity.  And indeed, rituals, if they take living open forms, can do much to negotiate and develop increasingly inclusive and benevolent values.  

    So, why not keep the Mormon Stories support group rituals firmly planted in the COMMON GROUND of living, breathing earthy humanity. Members of these communities should be clever enough to adapt or invent ritual forms that don’t require a metaphysical scaffolding.  After all, their intent is not to replace the Church.

    Catholic and Episcopal services incorporate short “intermissions” during which people are invited to turn to their neighbors and “pass the peace.”  I know some find this awkward – but it is a moment when all the Priest-directed metaphysical stuff is set aside and people connect with each other directly.  That seems to be a good form to emulate and expand.

    • ind January 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm - Reply

      within, “the COMMON GROUND of living, breathing earthly humanity” exists the phenomena (for the majority of humanity) of the unknown/spiritual/metaphysical. ritual such as prayer gives embodied experience to that. ritual will exist whether or not it is deliberately planned or not. 

      • Anonymous January 11, 2012 at 5:24 am - Reply

        Thanks for your thoughts.  You write:”within, the COMMON GROUND…  exists the phenomena (for the majority of humanity) of the unknown/spiritual/metaphysical.”I would replace “phenomena” with “perception” because I, being in the minority, am persuaded by the naturalist position on such things.  So yes, people are natural dualists. They intuit the existence of a supernatural realm occupied by supernatural agencies – persons – who “listen” and respond – who express intention convey meaning.   Social psychology, cognitive science and neuroscience have a lot say about its “embodied” origins.  Consider the work of Antonio Damasio, Paul Bloom, Pascal Boyer, Justin Barrett, Andrew Newberg, V. J. Ramachandran, Michael Persinger, and others.  Don’t take me wrong. Pointing to scientific/naturalistic explanations of what people experience as the spiritual is not meant to “explain it away.”  I am confident that I have these same experiences.   I simply do not attribute them to some transcendent realm.  I enjoy them in the realm of my living, breathing, earthy humanity.  I suspect everyone does and this spiritual attribution, aside from being routed in a compelling intuition, serves to validate or bolster the meaning of these experiences (“value added”_With regard to the Mormon Stories event attendees – it seems to me that they might not be representative of the “majority.” An acceptance of the “spiritual” (supernatural) may not be their most common ground in terms of “acreage.”   I suppose that if the majority that wants to pray is large enough they can have their way.  And if the minority finds it too much of an imposition, they can just go somewhere else – they can form their own group.  I suppose, in a nutshell, this is why we have so many religions and so many ritual forms.Then you write,”ritual such as prayer gives embodied experience to that. ritual will exist whether or not it is deliberately planned or not.”I agree.  But I still think that people can reflect on the forms it takes and unpack the presumptions (even prejudices) that are being “embodied” in the service of becoming more inclusive.  But again, the majority might not be willing to let go of some things they hold most dear and those who do not share them will either have to tolerate it of go somewhere else.



  14. Eliza January 9, 2012 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    John, I felt like you were saying in this interview:  “I’m not trying to get people to leave the church, but I’m trying to help people leave the church.”  This was disappointing to me, but I still support your effort to encourage church history to be told in a straightforward way. 

    • Anonymous January 9, 2012 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      Eliza – I’m sorry it came across this way. I’m finding this line to be incredibly difficult to walk. So sorry you took away that impression.
      Sent from my iPad

    • Anonymous January 9, 2012 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      It means I failed In the interview in some sense.

      Sent from my iPad

    • Katie L. January 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm - Reply

      I got the same impression too, John.  It was when you said that your goals were to provide the “real” truth, because “people need to know what they’re getting into,” and then for you to be there as a supportive resource so that whatever decision they make (but which is almost always leaving) less painful. 

      Which is a perfectly legitimate mission, but it was kind of surprising to me, because I was under the impression that Mormon Stories had no particular agenda except, well, telling the stories of Mormons across the wide spectrum of Mormon experience.

      I’ve had enough interaction with you, John, to know that your intentions are very good — and as I’ve shared with you in the past, I have been greatly blessed by your efforts.

      I might suggest, though, that the moment you start making the “real truth” a critical part of the equation is the moment Mormon Stories starts being about something more than just Mormon Stories.  Which isn’t wrong, but it’s different, perhaps, than what I kind of thought Mormon Stories was about (and what, perhaps, you mean for it to be about).  For what it’s worth.  :-)

      All my best, always,
      Katie Langston

      • Anonymous January 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm - Reply

        Katie – I’ll work on refining how I talk about things. I probably could have described things a lot more accurately. This was just my first attempt to articulate a few new directions for MS.

        I certainly don’t believe that there is a “truth” out there to be evangelized.

        I do believe that there are credible historical facts that should be more widely known…and that has always driven Mormon Stories.

        Thanks for the feedback. Sincerely.

  15. edward January 9, 2012 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    Sorry John but this interview was a dud for me.  Those two from Mormon Expression couldn’t have sounded more arrogant.  No intellectual humility whatsoever (as I think you have).  I’ve heard them before and had the same impression.  Perhaps they are not that way off the air–I don’t know.  Rather than responding to open questions (as in Mormon Stories) it seemed you had to be on the defense the entire time.

  16. MoHoHawaii January 11, 2012 at 11:03 am - Reply

    I watched the entire interview and thought the McLays’ sincerity was
    completely evident. It’s tragic that the cost of leaving has been so high
    for them.

    I got the sense that if the CES curriculum’s treatment of LDS origins had been other than blatantly
    fraudulent, these folks would likely not have
    left. The cover-up is worse than the crime in this case. Falsifying its own history is something the Church could have chosen not to do. Of course, as was discussed in the interview, at this point the Church has pretty much painted itself into a corner and would have a difficult time if it undermined the edifice of historical myth it has spent so much effort creating.

    It was also interesting that Sister McLay’s friendship
    with non-Mormons played a role in their disaffection, including a significant friendship with a
    gay man and his partner. In my experience, discomfort over the Church’s very out-of-date attitudes toward gay people is very common among younger members.

    I wish these good people the best of luck. It breaks my heart that they are perceived by their family and friends as radioactive.

  17. mike January 11, 2012 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    As a believing mormon I love this website and having a number of friends and family who have left the church, being able to come to a safe place for believers like this site is, where I can also better understand the problems people have with the church, has helped me in my faith, and helped in my relationships.   Thanks for walking the difficult line that you are walking. 

  18. Wogglebugs January 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    Nice interview.  As an x Mormon I just want to say that I appreciate the gray area you three seem to be in.    Whether you stay in the Church or leave, you still have difficult questions,  the questions are just different.

  19. Wayne Wilson January 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    I love the idea of a Mormon palooza, and thanks for considering the ex mormons.   We are a peculiar people and we need a peculiar event, that is less boring than the exmo conference.     Consider including main street plaza.   Have you had the chance to interview Carol Hanson?

  20. Curtis January 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    John, is there a reason you chose these two to conduct your interview as opposed to asking Sis Brooks or even your wife? Honestly, I found your interviewer’s gushing similarity to Smigel when referring to brandy being “special”, a bit of a turn off. How surprising that they have chosen to make pennies off of the culture they flip the bird to. There has to be better money out there. Unless, of course, they are both humanities majors… I prefer your interviewing style to theirs.

    I also find it intriguing that you choose to walk the “mostly” atheist fuzz. You could do an equally good job of running the podcast (and it is very well done, I’m impressed with your guest credentials) as a non-member. Why torture yourself?

  21. Melanie D January 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    John, I loved what you said about both ideas being equally ridiculous.  That one comment summed up my dilemma… Thanks for being so open and honest John!

  22. Jbrineholt44 January 31, 2012 at 2:52 am - Reply

    Great interview.  I felt like you explained your beliefs well. 

  23. Kevin January 31, 2012 at 9:40 am - Reply

    I marvel at your ability to choose, John, to define your approach as seemeth you good. We’re so conditioned in the Church to see the world in terms of black or white that a course like yours surprises us. Good strength to you!

  24. Britt February 24, 2012 at 2:11 am - Reply

    Thank guy’s.. a very interesting interview.. we need u guy’s :)

  25. reformer1 February 27, 2012 at 8:39 am - Reply

    This is the second interview that I have responded to on Mormon Stories,  Denver Snuffer
    being the first.  I’m real new to the social media and it’s going to take awhile to get up to
    speed.  I dabbled about six months ago with a couple of excellent MS interviews but somehow
    got sidetracked.  But the “spirit” hit hard recently to get back to MS and now quite frankly,
    nothing has ever quite felt like this. 

    I’m 54, a seventeen year dissatisfied convert (investigated for 10 years before that), single male.
    For various reasons I think I bring a very unique perspective to this “disaffected Mormon”
    phenomenon.  I’ve always known the Church had serious problems but never had a powerful
    forum to express myself or interact with others who felt the same way.  This feels so huge
    it gives me goose bumps.

    As I said in my other entry, I think Mormon Stories and John Dehlin’s visions for it are a
    modern miracle from God of huge proportions (along with the internet of course).  I thank
    you John for your efforts!  (I tryed to donate but my card got rejected for some reason; I’ll
    keep trying).  But to have this much momentum already underfoot is an increible blessing
    for those of us coming along looking for  voice.  

    Now for the interview.  Very interestig and well done.  I’ll have to delve into Mormon
    Expressions also but honestly they seem too reckless (or smug) and far afield from the
    Church to have the impact of Mormon Stories.  And that brings me to an important point
    that I think is being overlooked;  the  tremendous energy behind the “Mormonpalooza”
    phenomenon I think comes from the remarkable traditional Mormon story, like the one
    Missionaries give.  They took me, a complete agnostic, and had me believing (for which
    I’m eternally grateful because even if the LDS Church falls,  my belief in the Bible and
    Christ’s teachings will not waver one sentilla).  And by far the main ingredient of that
    story is the Book of Mormon.  I don’t think it’s going to be proven false and therefore
    will continue to drive this whole  phenomenal controversy!

    The conversion experience, in general, is maybe the most important thing that will ever
    happen to us.  A lot of “lifer Mormons” take it for granted.  So the Book of Mormon
    and Missionary presentation can convert a lot of people that otherwise would reject the gospel.
    That sets many of us on a headlong path of further truthseeking.  If that path leads to
    shenanigans and inconsistencies within the Church so be it.  Let’s get to the bottom of
    it and let the chips fall where they may. We do’t give a damn about a loss of tithings or
    anything else.  The beauty and inspiring things of the Church will only be enhanced.

    And (as I try to wrap this up) that brings me to an area where I respectfully disagree
    with you, John.  I  think the leadership is listening and listening intently.  I really believe
    they have our best interests, and the truth, in mind.  Remember, this is the church
    that brought you polygamy and then took it away. Nothing could be as traumatic as
    that.  I think we are all in for a big big surprise at how dramatically this Church is
    going to act and going to change.  It’ll be like Blacks getting the priesthood, sudden
    and unexpected, but much bigger than that.

    I believe they need and want our (your) well thought out and responsibly offered input.                      In the
    meantime keep up the pressure and thank you very much!

    • Anonymous February 27, 2012 at 8:57 am - Reply

      Great feedback. Thanks, reformer1.

  26. reformer1 February 28, 2012 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    To Br. John Dehlin and the followers of Mormon Stories,

    Thanks John for your amazingly fast reply to my last comment here.

    Just listened to the most recent interview with Grant Palmer.  I feel like I’m absolutely
    about to explode with excitement, but I’m sure not for the reasons people would

    First and foremost, John Dehlin (and  Mormon Stories), you are whitehot, just
    whitehot!  Historically whitehot!  Revolutionarily whitrehot!  That’s right all you
    Mormon Stories fans, we’ve stumbled onto something of revolutionary proprortions
    here.  You can take that to the bank

    Now for the interview:  The most important parts of that interview were not what you
    think (I’m guessing).  (I had heard Grant Palmer briefly  about a year ago).  Here,
    in my opinion, are the subtle and most vital overriding important aspects of that interview:

    First of all (and it was almost an after thought in both cases) was a comment when
    talking about the Nauvoo Expositer;  despite all the unbelievable debaucheruos
    activities of Joseph Smith they still would not deny the validity of the Book of Mormon
    or the restoration.  That attests to me that something incredibly unusual was going on
    with this guy and the circumstances around him.

    Today, the people in the LDS Church are hearing all these things about Joseph Smith
    and his proclivities and many are saying, “yes that’s disturbing but it doesn’t cancel out
    all the good I’m getting from the Church”.  And in fact in our day now, the Church has
    repudiated all activities like those the Nauvoo Expositer people were complaining about.

    Secondly,  Grant Palmer has the exact perspective I think we should have twards the
    Church (LDS) today (as well as you do too, John Dehlin);  If it’s working for you, great.
    Keep on keeping on.  It (the Church) is good for people coming out of the hedonistic “drug
    culture”.  (I’m one of them. Though the LDS Church isn’t working all that great for me now it is 
    still playing an important role, if only for Mormon Stories.  And there is a good Christian spirit
    there that I can enjoy and be inspired to be better by.  Or I can simply enjoy going to most any
    other church (love the singing wherever it is). 

    Also he can’t understand, nor can I, why so many people coming out of the LDS Church
    abandon Christianity altogether.  Your children still need to learn and be around peers who
    share the important Christian ethics that you were surrounded by.  Do you know how much of
    a blessing that was?

    And Palmer’s suggestions that the LDS Church move more tward Christ is right on, though
    without detail.  Which brings me to my final comment:  What I think is going on here is the
    “reformation of the restoration” and,  thanks to John Dehlin and others, it’s coming hard and
    fast.  I think we need a “reformation of the restoration” conference where specific ideas can
    be elucidated (hopefully in a reverent, conscientious manner) all in one place, and then the
    best ones sent on to Temple Square.

    Hang on to your seat John Dehlin.  This is going to get wild.

  27. reformer1 March 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    To John Dehlin and Mormon Stories fans,
    Sorry I didn’t get any reaction to my last comment, especially about the “reformation
    ot the restoration” concept, but something has occured that has compelled me to make 
    another entry so soon (again, I’m still very new to this social vehicle).
    A possible solution to this huge LDS Church problem brought on by all these Internet
    revelations and all the people leaving because of them, amazingly came to me two nights
    ago (after my last entry).  I’ve been thinking about  this complex dilemma for Church leaders 
    for quite awhile and it did seem like it was too overwhelming for them to address without
    tremendous collateral damage.  I don’t think so any more!
    This idea is so simple, and would not only stop the hemmorhaging, but could cause great
    rejoicing and possibly be a bellwether mark for  Church history.

    I’m not going to give it right now.  I’m sure others have thought of it, but I haven’t 
    actually heard it suggested.  I’m not trying to tease here. I’m considering going
    to the Stake President.  There is a high probability I’m overlooking
    something.  But I’d love to hear if anyone else has come up with a simple
    change the Church could make that would eliminate much of the groaning and
    gnashing of the teeth going on today.  I think I have one (I will tell you my idea soon).

  28. reformer1 March 8, 2012 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    To John Dehlin and Mormon Stories followers,
    Time for another entry.  For whatever reason this particular window is where
    my fast orientation to the “Mormon intellectual” world is being documented.
    Just finished the first 3 parts of the Terryl Givens interview.  Must stop for the day
    but I want to comment on my emotions.  If I thought something big was going
    on before guess how I feel now.  Even more impressed with John Dehlin’s
    interviewing capacity for starters.  I mean to be able to stay with an obvious
    intellectual giant like Mr. Givens was spectacular!

    The main point is, why the hell haven’t I heard of this gentleman before?
    This is who intellectuals (and intelligent people) want to hear at General
    Conferance, answering the exact questions John gave him, not some old rehash
    of a talk given hundreds of times not specifically relating to the vital issues of today.

    This is something substantive I can offer the many intellectual people
    I know outside the LDS Church as a reason to become a Mormon!!! 
    I’ve been looking for this since I heard of the Church more then 25 yrs ago.
    Why have they buried people like this??

    John Dehlin, you’re even more critical than I thought.  Please, please stay
    on this same path.

  29. reformer1 March 8, 2012 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    P.S.  I’m making my third donation this month right now.  Thanks again.

  30. reformer1 March 8, 2012 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    PSS.  That was the greatest “missionary discussion” I’ve ever heard!

  31. reformer1 March 9, 2012 at 9:16 am - Reply

    One more comment please on the Terryl Givens interview (it was so outstanding).
    First of all what I meant to say to John Dehlin at the end was;  John, I believe
    you and Mormon Stories have a more immediate and critical role to play in the
    restoration story than even I thought.  It seems you’re an obvious showcase for the
    incredible Mormon intellectual talent we have in our midst that has been shunned for so
    long.  So please stay the course and stay healthy.
    A sidenote here, speaking of health:  I am very glad you do not drink, or make
    light of it as John Larson and Zilpha seemed to be doing during this interview.  I have
    a lot of experience in that realm and that is one thing that could screw up this beautiful
    unfolding picture. Believe me, they are talking from a place of complete ignorance. 
    Joseph Smith had this one exactly right in D&C 89.

    Now in closing, I think maybe I’ve gotten a small inkling of what the fishermen
    felt when the Savior came beckoning and they simply dropped their nets and followed.
    That’s how Mormon Stories feels.  This is the real deal.  Nothing takes precedence.
    Wherever Mormon Stories leads us or needs us, we’ll be there!

  32. reformer1 March 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    OK, that did it.  I can hold back no longer.  I hope and pray what I am about to
    say can have a positive impact on the current problems facing the LDS Church.

    Just watched the fantastic interview of Paul Toscano from 2007 on the “September
    6”.  Another amazing masterpiece by John Dehlin.  These guests are absolulely
    priceless with all the passion and eloquence they possess for spiritual matters.
    Exactly the type of people we need more of around our local Ward halls.

    After listening to Br. Toscano’s impassioned and inspired final minutes of the 
    interview I feel compelled to go with my emotions and divulge, right here right now, 
    the major part of my idea to help the LDS Church which came to me recently.
    I don’t care who gets credit for it, I just want to get it out there.  It is very simple.  

    Here it is:  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints must allow for the
    immediate reexamination of all Church disciplinary action based solely on a 
    person’s expression of conscience or intellectual ideas which may have differed
    from established Church norms or been in disagreement with Church officers
    at the time, which ideas do not call for specific  harm or damage to the Church.

    All such cases shall be subject to dismissal.  In addition, no further Church
    disciplinary action shall be pursued in future such matters.

    That’s it.  Welcome home Paul and Margaret Toscano, the “September 6”,
    Grant Palmer and all the others.  Let the celebration begin! 

  33. reformer1 March 23, 2012 at 10:27 am - Reply

    Holy crap!    After about two or three weeks of Mormon Stories, Shawn
    McCraney, the Ex Mormon Foundation, and many of those heart felt “I’m
    an ex Mormon” spots, I have come to a shocking realization.  This Church has
    way way bigger problems than I realized!  Oh my God, this thing could be about
    to blow sky high!
    Like I said in one of my earlier entries, I’m fine with where the truth is leading me,
    even if it’s to the disgrace of the LDS Church.  Yeah they helped me gain my
    testimony of Jesus, and I’m grateful for that, but my quest for truth didn’t stop
    with my conversion.
    It’s unbelievable;  all these credible, sincere, wonderful people have obviously
    seen the light.  And all the facts absolutely point against the credibility of the
    Church.  And really, who’s going to argue the Church’s case unbiasedly and
    effectively anyway;  the Church has gutted itself of  intellectuals, independent 
    scholars, and deep thinkers.  That’s why FAIR and FARMS are such an
    But this is still a huge (even bigger than I thought) delicious story.  It’s going
    to be marvelous to see how this group of self righteous,  pius, oh so authoratative
    know-it-alls at Temple Square squirm their way out of this mess. They better start
    getting real, and fast, and I mean with this General Conference.

    One thing is quite clear with all the facts that have been brought to my attention
    on the matters of;  1) polygamy 2) denying blacks the priesthood
    3) the Book of Abraham 4) the Book of Mormon 5) this repulsive persecution of
    those in disagreement with the “acceptable thinking”.  What’s absolutely clear is
    this group of leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, there in
    Salt Lake City, has lost the moral authority to call themselves prophets.  They
    never had it.  They need to repent of this charade!

  34. Anonymous April 11, 2012 at 9:49 pm - Reply


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