On December 2, Dr. John Dehlin gave a “Mormon State of the Union” presentation to a group of Davis County post/ex-Mormons. This presentation highlights many of the major changes John has witnessed during his lifetime, especially those that have taken place during the past 14 years in the new Internet age.  Part 1 focuses on the cultural and doctrinal LDS Church of the past, while Part 2 focuses on the LDS Church of today.

A copy of the outline for this presentation can be found here.

Part 1 – The cultural and doctrinal LDS Church of the past :

Part 2 – The LDS Church of today:

Part 1

Download MP3

Part 2

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  1. Rod December 14, 2018 at 6:46 am - Reply

    To me, it was kind of a mixed bag. Overall, the church seems to be a less vibrant and healthy place today than it was years ago. All of the fun and speculation and certainty seem to have been sucked out of it. All of the fun programs have disappeared. Fewer resources are being invested in the remaining local programs. Growth is stagnating. More and more people are having faith crises, and dropping out. People within the institution seem to be less happy than ever based on all the statistics you quoted about society in Utah. Sure, there has been some progress regarding the way the church treats minorities and women and they are reluctantly starting a path to greater transparency regarding their history. Due to grassroots movements, they are taking baby steps to reforms. But they are doubling down on the LGBTQ community, modesty, loyalty signs, excommunications of dissenters and intellectuals, etc. Prophets are not sticking their necks out on any theological subjects. They are making it clear that there is no safe space for the open and honest expression of doubts, concerns, and independence. You even mentioned that the dismal state of the BYU sports program might be a litmus test of the health of the church. The only thing that seems to be getting better is the massive wealth they are accumulating. So if you are measuring the state of the union of the church, you have to give it very low marks. On the other hand, if you focus on the available facilities for doubting Mormons to get answers to their questions, to get support and community in their journey and transition, the happiness they are finding on the other side, the reduced social cost to make a transition, and the sheer numbers of people going through this, then yes, the state of the union of the NOM and EXMO communities gets very high marks and leaves much room for optimism.

  2. Ursela December 14, 2018 at 8:37 am - Reply

    I enjoyed this bird’s eye view very much. We really are living through a huge transition in the church. Some of it is infuriating, like the slow but steady changing of the narrative. I told my husband that what the church is doing with it’s history fits the famous “frog being boiled slowly” analogy used so often in the youth programs to a tee.
    One thing that goes along with the scrapping of the pageants, but is more significant, in my opinion: in 2017 (approximately) the First Presidency sent a letter to local leaders informing them that NO church wide commemorations of upcoming 200 year anniversaries of church history milestones will be held. That is staggering to me. In 2020, apparently, the church will not have any celebration of the First Vision, nor any of the other foundational events that follow in the next 15 or so years. Just blows my mind. This, combined with the ridiculous forbidding of the use of Mormon, and the elimination of the pageants, is a rebranding of epic proportions, in my opinion. I totally understand why they don’t want to draw any attention to these problematic issues, but still. That’s a huge sign of institutional distress. Thanks again

    • Penni D Eads December 29, 2018 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      Wow to the church NOT planning a 200 year celebration of the first vision. Thanks for sharing. I had not heard that.

  3. Ursela December 14, 2018 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Here is a link to an article about the First Presidency letter. https://www.google.com/amp/s/bycommonconsent.com/2017/01/31/significant-anniversaries/amp/

  4. Dot December 14, 2018 at 8:52 am - Reply

    Blessings be upon your head, and the heads of everybody helping you. From far, far away, where missionaries still come for the vulnerable. All I do (not a lot, because ancient in years) is sprinkle sunshine on the heads of the hurt and the harmed. You guys are the real pioneers. 🙃🤟👵🏻💚☘️

  5. DK Butcher December 14, 2018 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Fear, censorship, and shaping a message that did not include many important facts has sadly been the history of Mormonism.

    In the information age the expanding circle of light is bringing many facts to light for those who have eyes to see.

    The reconciliation, including a “faith crisis” for many, is in cue.

    Thank you Dr. Dehlin for adding insight, voice and purpose to this important chapter with the Mormon Church.

    I would rather know all the facts than be unconscious to this generational history.

  6. Square Peg December 14, 2018 at 11:16 am - Reply

    Very much enjoyed this! I am very much wanting to feel hopeful as well, but as long as the love of my life, one of my children and my parents, brother and many in-law’s continue to see me as deceived, misguided and problematic for having left-there will be no true peace. Yes, I know that what I did was right by leaving. I know I allowed my integrity to dictate the course of my feet. However, the depression that looms from living year in and year out having people you love more than life merely “tolerating” you and “pitying” and “praying” for you is very heavy to continue to carry!

    I can respect myself and my decisions, but struggle to find happiness and full purpose in life when those closest to me see me as broken. I am doing the best I can to move forward, but due to the fact that I suffered significantly with depression prior to my faith crisis makes it that much harder to shake it now that I feel looked down upon and like I am a trial to these dear loved ones because of choosing to walk away from the church. I am constantly as baffled that the things that caused me to walk away don’t bother them as they are as to why on earth I would turn my life upside down by leaving!

    It is not just the youth suffering with depression and suicidal thoughts. I am in my mid-40’s and it is a very REAL battle for me everyday. Yes, it is awesome to have the support groups of others who have left, but it pales in comparison to having those you love most be on the same page and share in the warmth of the respect I used to glean from our shared beliefs. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life being seen as weak and broken. That unsolvable scenario keeps me drained and overwhelmed. But, I do continue to remain grateful and appreciative of all of those like John who continue to speak out and help so many by doing so. Keep up the good work! Thank you!

    • Penni D Eads December 29, 2018 at 6:16 pm - Reply

      So sorry for your suffering. Remember that we can always rise above the trials of life. Be a light and a beacon of truth to your family. Nothing can stop you from loving them. I started my faith crisis in the fall of 2017 and am gradually letting it happen, while loving my neighbors and ward & stake members, until I know for sure what I should do. My heart cannot tolerate deception. I love truth. I am sure that I will not be a member in the near future. We have depression in our family, so I understand. I am listening to the audio book “Mind Set”, and it begins mentioning the author’s depression. I believe it will assist you in your journey.

    • Penni D Eads December 29, 2018 at 6:37 pm - Reply

      Concerning deception starting 57 min, do you feel like you should continue A Thoughtful Faith Group?

  7. VFanRJ December 15, 2018 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    Until religions are financially transparent and taxed, they will remain extraordinarily rich and powerful.

  8. Ed Goble December 18, 2018 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    To Mr. Dehlin,

    You claim in part 2 here emphatically that “apologists have brought forth no credible evidence to support the historicity of the Book of Mormon, of the Book of Abraham, uh, of any of that stuff….” Sir, please back up your statement. I am a neo-apologist of a sort.

    Mr. Dehlin, I acknowledge that my tone in previous messages was not the best, and I will try harder, as the tone in the Bill Reel interviews sort of rubbed me the wrong way, and I should have been better about that.

    But now sir, I cordially say that I *invite* you to directly deal with the evidence that I have for the Book of Abraham and back up your statement.
    It is in my paper linked to at https://egyptianalphabetandgrammar.blogspot.com

    Thank you sir. Nobody from your side of things that I know of has dealt with my evidence. I invite scrutiny to this new evidence.

    Ed Goble

    • Robert Hodge December 28, 2018 at 8:54 am - Reply

      Ed, as to the historicity of the Book of Mormon, it seems to me that the burden is really on you to demonstrate its historicity. There is a plethora of data demonstrating for objective viewers that it is a 19th century production. As to your site regarding the Book of Abraham, it strikes me as a snow job worthy of Hugh Nibley who famously obscured the issue by ignoring legitimate translations from the Egyptian in his published articles in the Ensign and his 1981 book “Abraham in Egypt”.

  9. Peter December 20, 2018 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    John, at the beginning of the talk, the second podcast you mentioned was called something like Catholic Mormon. Who ran that podcast? I’m having trouble finding it online. Thanks!

  10. Kristen December 28, 2018 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Thank You…HOPE is alive!

  11. Lei February 9, 2019 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    I appreciate your final remarks that encourage positive change to benifit all. Thank you for acknowledging the strength of those who choose the path that differed from the plans laid out in their youth.

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