At least once each week a listener will ask me (John Dehlin) about my testimony of the LDS Church. Liberals or ex-Mormons sometimes call me an apologist. A few conservatives have accused me of being a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” So, to dispel the speculation–and in response to lots and lots of requests–I recorded a 3 part episode sharing a bit of my own story within the Mormon context.

For more details on the episodes, see below:

  • Part 1–Mormon to the Bone: In this episode, I discuss my childhood, youth, and missionary experiences within the Mormon church, through the end of my university years at BYU. To listen directly to this episode, click here.
  • Part 2–Losing My Religion, and Finding it Again: In this episode, I discuss my marriage, the importance of the church to my family, and the experiences I had as a seminary teacher in Seattle that led to the dissolution of my testimony in the LDS Church (as I knew it). I also discuss how the writings of Eugene England, Lowell Bennion, T. Edgar Lyon, Leonard Arrington, and others (in Sunstone and Dialogue) helped me to reconstruct my faith. To listen directly to this episode, click here.
  • Part 3–What I Do and Don’t Believe, and Why I Remain a Mormon: In this episode, I discuss aspects of the LDS Faith that I do and don’t believe. I also provide around 13 reasons for why I choose to remain a Mormon.

A big thanks to my buddy Paul for coming to Logan to interview me. He’s a stud, and I fervently hope that this is not his last interview. :) And a big apology to Paul for not making this interview public. Believe it or not, I may be even sadder than he is about it.

Part 1

Download MP3

Part 2

Download MP3

Part 3

Download MP3


  1. Anon May 10, 2006 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Hello again John. I would appreciate hearing your story, if you could email it to me I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.

  2. Johnny Rotten May 10, 2006 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Hello John,

    I enjoy your podcasts. I listen to them when I am traveling for work.

    I have been struggling with my faith for several years. Issues like the historicity of the BOM, DNA, the multiple accounts of the first vision, early church history, Joseph’s “life”, faith promoting history and others have caused me to question my faith.

    I was raised in a very committed, literalist TBM LDS home, served a mission, graduated from BYU, happily married in the Temple and have a home full of wonderful children. My questions began when I taught seminary (early morning) and continued to expand while I served as the EQ President. Today I am not sure what to believe, each day is a struggle. I love my Family and I enjoy the fellowship of the church, however, I am troubled by trends within the church and the mainstreaming of our doctrine and history. Although I have concluded to my own satisfaction that the older doctrines for the most part are not true, it remains difficult to break from tradition.

    I have days when my heart breaks, I wish I could recapture my faith.

    I would really like to listen to your story, I am hoping it helps me.

    Johnny Rotten

  3. jordanandmeg May 10, 2006 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    Well said, Johnny. Breaking from tradition is the key. It’s a difficult but beautiful process to realign our testimonies. We learn to rely more on Christ. We let go of the ‘ideas’ or ‘doctrines’ we used to rely on and are forced to focus on what really matters. So difficult, but so essential, don’t you think?

  4. Derrick C May 10, 2006 at 10:49 pm - Reply

    John D, and everybody, I just have this to say. When I discovered Mormon Stories, I really felt like I had found something great. I feel like I relate with John D’s way of thinking more than any other podcast host that I found, so I always really love to hear his perspectives on things. When he interviews guests, I often find myself thinking a question only to have John articulate the same question in a really great way. I believe that our peers (be they Internet, in person, or whatever) have a huge role to play in our own cultivation of a way of thinking (call it a testimony if you want). Even though spiritual findings in my own life have been of a very personal nature (more personal than anything), it is amazing to me how outside influences can help a person discover life.

    When I saw that John was going to have to a podcast about himself, my first thought was, “wow this is going to be really interesting,” and since iTunes downloads new episodes automatically, I was able to hear John’s story. John, you have your own reasons for unposting it, but I will just tell you that I thought it was great. In addition to having some really unique experiences as a Mormon that are unique to the traditional Mormon model, your perspectives on those experiences really are interesting and inspiring. But you shouldn’t feel like it was the wrong thing to unpost it if that is what you want to do. As I first started listening to your podcast, I found myself starting to exalt your words to a level that you are not responsible to live up to. I found myself HOPING that you’d say something really faith-promoting, because then I could have faith. But what I realized is that you are not the reason I have faith, and while your podcast has in many ways helped me, it is not up to you that I nurture my spirituality. So for listeners who want to listen to your story, I will definitely say that as someone who heard the whole thing I believe it will be. But it is dangerous to our spiritual health to give any one person’s story too much responsibility, unless that person is God. And God doesn’t run a podcast. His story is sort of what we’re all out there trying to find, right?

    John, to do an episode all about yourself was a very big mountain to climb, and it is a very different premise from all your other shows. I have to just say a huge congrats, and of course, a huge keep up what you’ve BEEN doing. I won’t put your way of thinking on a pedistle, just like some of my BYU roommates were unwise to put Mormon Doctrine right next to the Book of Mormon. I hope I’ve been able to express something that would help someone, it’s something that I’ve been thinking about.

  5. jordanandmeg May 10, 2006 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    Wonderfully said!

  6. Me May 10, 2006 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    Although I haven’t had the same type of struggles with Church history and doctrine that you and many of your listeners have had, and though I feel very comfortable being a member and am not now nor ever have thought of leaving, I would enjoy hearing your story in more detail. I appreciate what you are doing with Mormon Stories, have been a listener almost from the beginning and have listed to just about every episode (some more than once), and would hate to be left out now just because you were the subject of the podcast!

    I have a few friends who have either lost or are struggling with their faith, and hearing other stories gives new light and perspective as well as confirms my faith. I have come to most of these issues not through apologetics but rather through my desire to understand and know and embrace the gospel as well as through the questions that others have come to me with. I am sure there are others like me who would love to hear your story even though we don’t fit your three stipulated points.

  7. KLC May 12, 2006 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    John, I listened to all three episodes over the last few days. Well done. One thing that wasn’t covered was callings. Do you have one? Is there any that you would not accept if extended to you? Or has your visibility from podcasts and alternate fora guaranteed you a lifelong calling in Cub Scouts?

  8. Hal Hendrickson May 12, 2006 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    Hi John,

    Thank you for your wonderful Podcasts!! I listened to your latest three on an airplane from Boston to San Francisco today. I truly appreciate the work you are doing, your dedication to helping those without a voice and the intellectual honesty to bring to the table.

    Your latest has given me much “food for thought” – My story, struggles and perspective is a little different than yours but similar in many ways as I try to sort out what I can accept on “Faith” and am willing to accept from the bureaucracy of the Church.

    Thank you again and keep up the GREAT work. You allow us to consider perspectives that we have not considered in the past and it is vary valuable.

    By the way – I will be in contact for the “Ice Cream”!!

    Your Faithfully,

    Hal H

  9. John Dehlin May 13, 2006 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Hey KLC,

    I am currently serving as Elder’s Quorum instructor. I find that I’m willing to teach as long as the leaders know that I won’t teach straight out of the manual, and that sometimes I’m unorthodox. So far it’s worked remarkably well.

    There are definitely callings I’d have a hard time accepting….temple worker…..early morning seminary teacher….ward mission leader…..but I still want to be open and serve where needed.

    My favorite callings……primary chorister, primary piano player, nursery. :)

  10. Kempton May 14, 2006 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    I applaud Dehlin’s honesty and respect his choice to remain a Mormon attempting to reform it as an insider. I respect his desire to be an inside reformer helping the truth to be heard. He appears to be a religious humanist and seems to take a Joseph Campbell approach to Mormonism and treats it like a good family fraternity. There was a time when I felt like Dehlin and considered staying in the church. Like him I also acknowledge the good in the LDS church, but in the end the bad far outweighed the good in my mind. The bottom line is, is the church’s central claims facts or fiction? When I concluded that the central claims of Mormonism are fiction how could I support an organization that openly declares, demands, and proselytes fictions as facts? I wrote a short essay explaining why I resigned rather than remain a liberal Mormon that you can read at

  11. Kempton May 14, 2006 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    For some reason the link to my reasons for resigning didn’t go through, so here it is again

  12. Aaron Brown May 16, 2006 at 2:16 pm - Reply


    I just finished listening to all 3 podcasts, and I enjoyed them immensely. They reminded me much of your comments in Colloquium class back in 1990-91, and it’s been interesting to hear where life has taken you since then.

    I am also struck by how both your faith journey and your ultimate destination have been so similar to mine. Not identical, mind you, but very similar in many ways.

    Aaron B

  13. Sid May 19, 2006 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    Hey John,

    You may remember me from a while back. I wrote to you after your podcast about the stages of faith. I have to admit that I was a bit bitter with you and with mormonism for a while and that i was having a hard time reconciling it and so I just stopped listening for a while. But after I heard your story, I better understood your philosophys and ideas. I feel as though i can better understand these things and reconcile them for what they are and move on with what I am and my testimony in the church. Thank you very much.


  14. pellar May 25, 2006 at 11:37 am - Reply

    I really liked listening to your story. Personally I feel you are accomplishing what you set out for, namely identifying a place for people with wavering faith and, consequentily,unstable identities. I’ve listened to almost all you podcasts and look forward to more. Sharing your personal story was a great way to bring listeners closer to accepting the church for what it is and not necessarily what it claims to be. And if I make it to Logan I’ll take you up on the icecream.

  15. sean August 16, 2006 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Hi John,

    Like you I’m a lifelong member of the church, served a mission, attended BYU (about the same time as you), etc. Unlike you I never held such high expectations of the church, its leaders, and members. Consequently I never experienced a drastic disconnect as you shared with us in this podcast. I’ve always been lumped in with and drawn to the “liberal” members of the church. I attribute this to the way my parents raised me, my study of the gospel and church history, and to amazing institute teachers (and a rare few BYU religion professors–although my favorite institute teacher is now at BYU. There’s hope for you current BYU students!)

    The purpose of my feedback is to act as the church’s advocate and answer the question you posed at the end of the podcast: What is the role of the church for people like you? My answer: be yourself!! The church is already full of people like you. Everyone has their own testimony and their own understanding of the gospel. We are NOT expected to think, believe and act in homogenous step with every member of the church. Unfortunately some of those you’d label as “traditional” members assume, comment and act like we should.

    Take the church as the body of Christ analogy. If we were all skin cells what kind of body would we be? I messy puddle of flesh, neither desirable nor effective.

    So keep the stories flowing! I applaud your efforts and really appreciate you deciding to remain faithful and active for all the reasons you stated. Too many of my friends, many of whom attended BYU with me, have regrettably chosen the easier path of checking out.

  16. Brian January 8, 2007 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    John, I’ve listened to parts 1 & 2 of your story, but the link for part 3 is broken (possibly by design). It’s a bit of cliffhanger, and I’m anxious to listen to what I hope will be the best part. The part that I believe I really need to hear right now. Please reactivate the link or send me the means to download episode 29. Thanks.

  17. Paul Kenny January 24, 2007 at 10:58 am - Reply

    Hi John,
    A an older convert to the Church I’ve gone through my own personal struggles regarding faith and truth. I would appreciate it immensely if episode #29 was reinstated as it could be a tremendous help to me along this journey of mine.
    Thanks for everything so far,

  18. Aaron L. January 29, 2007 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    Hi Johan,

    Excellent! I’ve just stumbled onto your website and am listening to a lot of your old podcasts.

    Part 3 of this has a dead link though. Any chance of re-upping it?


  19. rd February 4, 2007 at 2:30 am - Reply


    I’ve been listening to your story with great interest. I found a curious discrepancy (probably just an innocent mistake) in the first section of your story. You say that you thought President Hunter was the Prophet when you were in the MTC in 1988. I find it hard to believe that you could have been as gung-ho for the Church at the time and not have realized that Hunter was only the Prophet for 9 months, from summer 1994 until his death in March 1995.

    Anyway, I’m with all the others here clamoring for the return of part #3… pretty please?

  20. John Dehlin February 4, 2007 at 8:11 am - Reply

    Ooops. Yeah…it was President Benson for sure. Not sure why I said Hunter. I’m pretty sure that President Benson gave his “Flood the earth with the Book of Mormon” speech while I was in the MTC. I used to try to give a box of BOMs out a week because of that talk.

    Brain blip, I guess. Sorry about that. Thanks for catching it.

  21. John Dehlin February 4, 2007 at 10:07 am - Reply

    From my journal:


    “We had our weekly visit from a GA, but today it was kind of special: Howard W. Hunter, President of the Quorum of the 12. He was a lawyer. Hmmmm. He spoke simply, but profoundly about the restoration. See Franklin for notes.

    I also sang in the missionary choir. We sang a special arrangement of How Great Thou Art. It was awesome, and it was a good way to end (my time in the MTC), singing in the worldwide missionary choir.

    I always feel the spirit of contention when I play (basketball) on the fiberglass, breakaway. I usually win, but I win at too high a cost. I had to pray for repentance, and I decided to only play on the side, less contentious goals until I can prove myself.

    I went on a $5 shopping spree today, and bought microwave popocorn, chips, dips, and cornnuts. I downed a whole pack of chip and dip tonight. It was great. I worked really hard today. I think I deserved it.

    I loved reading teh scriptures today. I’ve got about 7 themes that I’m keeping in my mind as I read, so that I can augment them. It’s cool. There’s nothing like being in the MTC, and having the Spirit as a constant guide. Good day.

    Now 13 more, and then 670 more.

    Love Elder Dehlin II”

    Thanks for reminding me to go back and read my journal, rd. It’s been very enjoyable. Hunter was Pres of Q12, not prophet. But I think (if I recall correctly) they brought him in in a wheelchair, and it was quite dramatic. Must have left an impression on me.

    Anyway, sorry for the mistake!

  22. Razorfish February 4, 2007 at 5:29 pm - Reply


    Many thanks for your high quality medium you have created to exchange ideas and issues that are so invaluable to many who wrestle with questions of faith. And that provides points of reconciliation to not only understanding our faith, but also giving us the strength to press forward. I read Bushman’s book last year and your interviews have been extremely thought provoking and well done. In reading Bushman’s book, I was exposed to many aspects of Church history that I had never heard. While the tapestry of Church history is more frayed than before, it is however, more complete and in my own mind more beautiful because of the idiosyncrisies.

    Your own personal odyssey and background is important in that any listener / reader should know what the “agenda” (or hidden agenda) may exist and what your intentions ultimately are trying to accomplish. I appreciate these series of interviews that helps give the listener the perspective needed to understand your intent better.

    As a tangent, your interview with Greg Kearney was a “watershed” moment in my own faith where I was able to reconcile and understand things through a lense I had never before considered. You removed a fairly large stumbling block from my own faith and I was able to bridge what was an unbridgable chasm and crisis of faith through a very meaningful and thoughtful discussion of facts, perspective and an understanding of issues that never were able to co-exist and coalesce in my mind before.

    I may view the estoric and ritual aspect of my faith differently than before, but in my own mind it is much more understandable, reconcilable, and meaningful. So I wanted to thank you for sharing your gifts to give a voice to issues and concerns that often are not discussed, but at least for some, must be discussed and wrestled with so that we can continue to “press forward and endure to the end.”

    Many sincere thanks,


    PS – Is part 3 of your interview available (bad link?)

  23. John Dehlin February 4, 2007 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    Anyone who wants my story should just email me, tell me a bit about their story, and I’ll provide a link.

  24. David March 6, 2007 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    That’s true. I heard it through that link. Because I had to ask and wait for it I listened to some more of your other podcasts first, which was probably good. I could be even more sympathetic. On the other hand I’m always very conscious of the point of view of the interviewer no matter what I hear or read and I couldn’t quite read you -which is a real credit to your open and honest style. And I was eager to know where you were in your thinking because I could relate so well to your story so far.

    Amazing. Amazing what you can do with an honest podcast. I wouldn’t have been inclined to contemplate certain horrifying ideas if your podcast hadn’t been just as it is.

  25. […] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerptAt least once each week a listener will ask me (John Dehlin) about my testimony of the LDS Church. Liberals or ex-Mormons sometimes call me an apologist. A few conservatives have accused me of being a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” So, to dispel the speculation–and in response to lots and lots of requests–I recorded a 3 part episode sharing a bit of my own story within the Mormon context. For more details on the episodes, see below: […]

  26. LaDean Johns Johnsonon October 15, 2022 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    John you talk about how the church waited up to 20 years before the church authorities changed their views about racism. Yes that was a huge opportunity for change. But look at the way they continue to treat women?
    Utah and Idaho show outrageous statistical figures of rape. Utah is currently #9 in the entire 50 states for rape! Rape numbers show 55.5% of unprosecuted rapes in Utah as opposed to 48% for the rest of the United States. Idaho is almost just as bad.
    These statistics tell me that the mormon church as a mysogonistic culture in general. Political leadership opportunities for women in Utah is almost nonexistent. Look at the statistics. They don’t tell any kind of story of christ like belief or righteous living.
    I don’t advocate for women to hold priesthood authority. I believe that mormon culture is rooted in misogynistic beliefs. When does this horrendous situation change?

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.