In our role of challenging the Mormon church to do/be better, and in supporting transitioning Mormons, Mormon Stories and the OSF regularly experience two types of detractors:

  1. Believing Mormons and apologists who attack us because we sometimes criticize the church. The Church of Scientology refers to this approach of attacking critics as being “Fair Gamed.”
  2. And more commonly, other Ex-Mormons (often former friends or former employees) who attack us for whatever reason. Sometimes it’s personality differences. Sometimes it’s jealousy. Sometimes there is a need to terminate our working relationship with them for whatever reasons, and they are upset that things had to end. Sometimes it’s a way for them to get cheap attention once they start slipping into irrelevance and/or desire to build up their own brand. Sometimes they try to blackmail us for $$$ with threats of false allegations.  Sometimes we have literally no clue.

Occasionally but reliably over the years (and oddly usually around the holidays), a coordinated group of attackers will try to damage our reputation on the Internet with lies and misinformation.  It’s a somewhat sinister approach, really, since even if the multiple allegations prove to be individually baseless, a general sense of “where there’s smoke there must be fire” tends to accumulate for some/many.

But such is the Internet world in which we choose to engage.  We choose to be in this space, so we can’t really expect much sympathy.

John, in particular, has been falsely accused of endless things, including harming women and children. breaking up families, intentionally monetizing people’s suffering, and not being financially transparent with the podcast.

NONE of these accusations are true. To date (February 2023), John has never harassed, assaulted, or abused a co-worker. Ever. Margi/John and the OSF are financially stable (gratefully) – though we are not wealthy. The OSF has ALWAYS been financially transparent (etc., etc.).

Being “Fair Gamed” or attacked with false allegations sucks, but we have come to accept this reality as part of the job. Critics of high demand religions are regularly smeared – both by the religiously devout, and by fellow ex-religionists. Just ask Leah Remini and Mike Rinder (ex-Scientologists). There’s literally no way to stop it.

We used to feel the urgency to respond publicly to the smears. Trust is an important component to what we do — but such responses are usually unwise, since public responses then help to advertise the smears, which literally never stop. If we were to respond to every smear it would become a full time job, it would drain us of all our emotional energy, and we would never create anything meaningful. Responses also reward those who lie/smear with the attention they crave. And of course, if/when anything becomes a legal matter (which also occasionally happens, especially with former employees), we are forbidden by attorneys (as are all employers) from discussing former employee details until the matter is resolved in court. In these scenarios, silence is brutal for us, because in every case the facts are vindicating, but we can’t share the evidence until the matters are fully resolved. Note: In cases like this we are forced to rely on our supporters’ love of evidence, and skepticism towards baseless truth claims. We never expect anyone to blindly believe our account of things, but we do hope that people will reserve judgment until evidence is provided.

Sometimes this scenario makes us feel briefly discouraged and powerless, but we’re not powerless. There are at least four things we CAN do in response to constant smears:

  1. We can refuse to give the misinformation oxygen or visibility on our platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, my blog).
  2. We can block the smearing critics on social media, which we try to do regularly.
  3. We can continue showing up – producing quality content that helps our viewers and listeners.
  4. In the case of legal matters, we can hire an attorney, fight the false allegations with evidence/the truth, and release the evidence once attorneys give us the OK.

As flawed humans, we always welcome sincere criticisms, especially regarding the podcast or our YouTube channels. We sincerely love, love, love constructive feedback intended to help us be more effective at our objectives.

If someone has concerns about the non-profit, and if they are donors or sincere prospective donors, they are welcome to email John ( or our amazing board ( To date, John and Margi enjoy the full support of the OSF Board.

Finally, if someone wants to use our platform to spread baseless misinformation or even lies about me or us, they are not welcome in our world. We will continue to avoid responding to the misinformation, to avoid giving the critics what they most crave: more attention. They will have to find a more constructive way to get attention. We suggest they consider finding a way to do good in the world.

If you encounter damaging allegations on the Internet and consider yourself a friend to us and/or the podcast, please screen capture or audio/video record the comments and share with us, as we might be able to use the evidence as part of a defamation lawsuit.

If you have questions for me or the OSF Board about anything (including allegations of misbehavior), feel free to message me or the OSF Board directly. We will respond when we can, but please remember, there’s no way to prove a baseless lie false. That’s why baseless lies are so effective.

In fact, that’s how many religions get their start — with baseless, yet undisprovable lies. That’s why we value evidence.

Sincere love and gratitude to you all.

John & Margi Dehlin & the OSF Board

P.S. For a fair and thorough treatment of the “Rosebud” allegations, see here.




  1. David Taylor December 23, 2020 at 8:25 am - Reply

    I believe all publicity is good, both negative or positive. People will be drawn to investigate when they learn about you and your work. “No unhallowed hand” will stop your work. Ignore the jackasses and keep on doing your good works. You are saving lives. As I said on ex-mormon reddit, you and Jeremy have “done more…for the salvation of men in this world, than any other [men] that ever lived in it.”

    I know it is hard, but let Kwaku El and his like wash right over you. They are not serious people and their slander has no weight. His target audience will grow up and become more thoughtful and curious and you guys and your incomparable work will be there for them.

    Keep on keepin’ on.

    • J C December 23, 2020 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      I’m not ex Mormon but was engaged to be married to a Mormon years ago. Although I still feel like he was the love of my life I just couldn’t convert (and this was pre internet..and I broke off the relationship .mainly due to my parents giving me the book The Godmakers). Mormon Stories is a treasure chest of information and I’m in awe of the interviews you do and the resources you provide. Thank you John Dehlin.

    • David Dehlin January 4, 2022 at 9:57 am - Reply

      John, I totally agree with your 3 Points as described, and I totally agree with David Taylor’s intelligent response.
      Keep on keeping on, and ignore the naysayers!!!

  2. J Paul December 23, 2020 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    John, keep up the good fight! You are correct and your detractors are . . . something other than correct.

    The “dare greatly” comment is spot on (Teddy Roosevelt was in a very similar position, in many ways, as you and we are now.)

    You, and we, are not jack-ass whisperer‘s! How true that is.

    You have been in “the arena” for several years, giving all that you can muster, for the cause of truth. It is high time the rest of us (those seeking truth) to step into this arena, in order to provide support, and to become part of this valiant effort!

    Please, do not ever feel like you need to respond to these ingrates.

    Find comfort knowing that you have been blessed (by God) with the unique ability of being able to express, in no uncertain terms, the sum total with details supporting, and easy to understand language, the “running synopsis” of what is really happening to all of us. (you have a clarity of expression.)

    I feel like God has saved you for this very moment, for the purpose of leading us to truth!

    Godspeed to you and your family!

    No one, no one, has pushed the envelope in searching for the truth about Mormonism more than you and also Jeremy. Please go to bed in peaceful slumber, with full confidence, knowing that you’re in the grace of God. (There is no reason whatsoever to lose one minute of sleep about this.)

    We are all with you John!!!

    Have a very good Christmas holiday. You have earned it.

    Know that you have the love, admiration, and support, of all of the mormon story family.

    We love you, and appreciate you, more than we can say.

    J Paul

  3. Cory Jorgensen December 24, 2020 at 7:28 am - Reply

    It is sad when people have nothing better to do than to smear others. Keep up the good work!

  4. kaigh ell December 24, 2020 at 10:03 am - Reply

    I’ve read that 150 prominent personalities including J.K. Rowling and Salman Rushdie penned an open letter decrying the ‘intolerant climate’ in the West with regard to cancel culture.

    One signers was Noam Chomsky, who also has had the following to say with regard the #MeToo movement’s sometimes confusing allegation with demonstrated action: “I think it grows out of a real and serious and deep problem of social pathology. It has exposed it and brought it to attention, brought to public attention many explicit and particular cases and so on. But I think there is a danger. The danger is confusing allegation with demonstrated action. We have to be careful to ensure that allegations have to be verified before they are used to undermine individuals and their actions and their status. So as in any such effort at uncovering improper, inappropriate and sometimes criminal activities, there always has to be a background of recognition that there’s a difference between allegation and demonstration.”

    Societies approach various tension in various ways.

    Primitive societies, for example, tend greatly to segregate by gender.

    In our own society, Mike Pence is careful to never be alone with a woman, in part to shield from unverifiable allegations (say, for example, that an accuser believes she had been in a consensual, emotions-only affair with an him that was inappropriate because of his social standing and because it was in a work environment).

    Just some of my thoughts.

  5. David Witbeck December 24, 2020 at 10:07 am - Reply

    As a natural skeptic, I tend to wonder what peoples true motives are for what they do. In the case of Mormon Stories, I used to wonder if there was some kind of payoff for John Dehlin in the form of fortune, fame, or something else. Just over two years ago, my wife and I met John, at a Mormon Stories retreat. Since then, I have been very fortunate to get to know John and his wonderful wife Margi on a personal level. I have had many one on one conversations with them. I been to their home and observed how they live, and I have seen how they treat people. I have observed the weight they carry when they see people struggle. I have observed things in private that I won’t share here, that have proven to me the Dehlins integrity and who they really are. I can say, without a doubt, that John and Margi Dehlin are the real deal. They are some of the kindest, most caring people that you will ever meet. They truly live the Christ-like lives that LDS and other churches teach. Their critics, are using tactics which promote hatred and stir up contention, which I was taught are the fruits of satan, not christ.

  6. Steve December 24, 2020 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    I have listened to many a Mormon Stories podcast. Never once have I sensed any undertone of secondary gain by John. On the contrary, he has gone to great lengths to be honest in his podcasts. He gives criticism where it is warranted, not just to take cheap shots. When harm is done by an organization, and that organization doesn’t acknowledge or take responsibility for that harm, there is a moral imperative to speak out. To thus speak out is a manifesation of integrity. John sometimes expresses frustration and anger because he personally deals with carnage caused by the Church. Anger can be constructive when it motivates people to appropriately speak out against those who damage the lives of others. We should be grateful for John’s work. The rest of us should also feel that same indignation. Unfortunately, if a person believes in the Church’s truth claims, then everything else has to fit within that paradigm. Thus, in the bubble of that mindset, John is by definition one of Satan’s most effective tools, because he is in fact effective! Unfortunately, this mindset ignores or refuses to deal with realities. These include the now denounced but previously declared false doctrines on blacks and gays, and the unfathomable damage done by those. This mindset also fails to see the damage done to familial and other relationships. This often occurs as those who see the collapse of the Church’s truth claims are demonized and shunned. We need John’s work to go forward and to be seen by more and more people. John, you have our support!

  7. Robert Hodge December 26, 2020 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Ouch John. I sometimes feel a little jealous of your success. Wish I could have done what you did. And I knew a lot about these problems long before you began to let them see the light of day. But overriding my sometimes pricks of jealousy I am just proud has hell that some has done what you have done and are doing. I was called Satan the other day for a comment I made on line that offended some TBM. But what I said was the truth as far as I understand it. So don’t think you are alone…just a heck of a lot more visible, and a heck of a lot more effective. And that makes you a prime target. After all, billions are at stake here against your comparably miniscule compensation package.

  8. Jim Blumel December 28, 2020 at 1:31 am - Reply

    John and family,
    I’ve been around in the church a long time, and left it about five years ago. You are one of my great heroes and I greatly appreciate the work you’ve done. I’m sorry that creeps are attacking you, the possibly most gentle person in the in the world, who would not knowingly harm anyone. Keep doing what you are doing.

  9. Gianni December 29, 2020 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    Honest question? Why no allow constructive critique on this site?
    You encourage transparency yet you filter all opposing views.

    • John Dehlin December 30, 2020 at 11:52 am - Reply

      I’m actually ok with constructive criticism. Just not mean-spiritedness. Or attempts to smear or provide disinformation.

  10. Robert December 29, 2020 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    The one area where you need to be a little careful John is when you accuse others who are making $300k salaries heading up non-profits as immoral and inappropriate, and yet you make over $200k yourself plus income from personal coaching. It could be seen as hypocritical?

  11. Leslie Canfield March 10, 2021 at 6:52 am - Reply

    You have critics. That’s good. It means you’re doing something right. Carry on. Thank you for being you, and the very important work you do for society.

  12. Angela O’Rullian March 10, 2021 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    I’m sorry to hear of those that try to smear your name and spread lies about you. I’m sure that’s very disheartening, but at least you have the ability to respond and defend yourself.
    I have seen you over the years you do likewise. Perhaps you could consider that as you smear the name of Joseph Smith when he doesn’t have a voice to defend himself today….just an honest to goodness thought.

    • Julianne March 11, 2021 at 7:50 am - Reply

      John has never said anything untruthful about Joseph Smith. John talks about Joseph marrying teenagers and having polygamous marriages without telling his first wife. John cites well-researched references about Joseph seeking treasure prior to his claim of finding the golden plates.
      Joseph would often threaten the women he married, saying they would not go to heaven if they refused marriage to him. Then Jo would send the husband off to proselytize for the church as to get him out of the way.
      If after all these true stories, you think old Jo is an outstanding guy, you have more problems than even John can help fix.

  13. Josh H April 19, 2021 at 8:53 am - Reply

    I don’t know John Dehlin. I don’t know Kwaku. I’m in no position to make judgements about their personal lives and I’m not willing to base my opinions of them on Internet rumors.

    Here’s what I do know: I listen to Mormon Stories. I listen to various podcasts that Kwaku has produced. And I can come to my own conclusions about the quality of these productions. Are they credible? Are they mean spirited? Are they fair?

    I have never once listened to a Mormon Stories episode in which I felt JD was being untruthful, unfair, or mean spirited. On the other hand, I’ve listened to Kwaku many times when he has abused the truth and attacked other people.

    So again, I know nothing about these guys personally. But if you believe that “you shall no them by their fruit”, then you’ll agree with me that JD and Mormon Stories provides a valuable resource and Kwaku does not. For me it’s that simple (PS: this is NOT an example of confirmation bias…when I first started listening to these two I was very neutral).

  14. Mark LeBaron April 20, 2021 at 12:58 am - Reply

    I didn’t watch the recent smear video. I saw enough of “you know who’s” deceptive apologetics video on the Book of Abraham to know what “he who shall not be named” is all about. I saw the recent interview Bill Reel and RFM did with that guy and it was obvious that he doesn’t feel the same obligation to play nice or by rules of any kind like BR, RFM, and JD do.

    I’ve listened to nearly every episode of MSP. While John obviously has his own conclusions about the historical and doctrinal claims of the LDS Mormon church at this point; and while he doesn’t always conceal those, my perception is that he actually is about helping the church make good faith, positive change from within while also coming clean about the fraud and subsequent cover-ups. I don’t get the sense that he’s about simply “tearing down the church”.

    He certainly isn’t about tearing apart families; either. I take him at his word about his intention to save families from unnecessary divorce or other estrangement in the case of mixed faith marriages.

    He’s clearly trying to help LGBTQ people; especially youth, find their way through what is a toxic environment for them. What is “what’s his name” doing, other than helping the people who pay him continue to cover up the truth out the historical and doctrinal problems?

    John is clearly not in it for the money. If he’s making a great income at this point, he ( and the whole family) has certainly earned it. It’s obvious John has worked REALLY hard since leaving Microsoft.

    If someone has a legal beef with John; that’s what courts are for; and evidence, not rumors and hearsay, is required.

    Speaking of courts, “that one guy” had better be careful he doesn’t commit slander; if he hasn’t already.

  15. J. Snow April 22, 2021 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    I have a few observations as someone who has been listening to Mormon Stories podcast off and on since 2006.

    Is John Dehlin doing this to get rich? Um…it would have been a strange plan if you consider where the journey started and where it went next—risky compared to his alternative options. Maybe this is because some folks were not blessed with my high school economics teacher, Mr. Jensen, who taught us about opportunity cost, so they get mad instead. See, John very likely comes up net negative money wise in this whole thing (“bigly”)–even if he’s making decent money now, because of opportunity cost. He could have kept his focus on working with Microsoft or some other technology company after that. He’d be busy working with the CEO making sure we were all buying Office 365, Microsoft cloud services for our businesses, searching with Bing, and playing X-Box games, while Mormonism went on re-raising the bar, issuing testimony gloves, and complaining about lazy learner apostates. Having foregone that opportunity, he’s given up something quite valuable to focus on the work of the OSF. I’m glad he can make a decent living doing this work and that he’s now being compensated in a way that is commensurate with his skills.

    That brings me to point 2. John Dehlin put in the front end leg work that created this platform when it wasn’t clear it would catch on. Consequently, nobody (man or woman) would be within their rights to swoop in and demand to be paid as much as him. This rarely works, but we’re all welcome to request this treatment–just be ready for disappointment. Staff rarely make more money than the founders of a firm, or even a non-profit, even when equally, or better qualified, than the founder. People who didn’t put the years of work in on the front end to build the content that makes the brand are pretty brash if they think they’re due equal billing with the person who created the platform they are using to reach their audience. If that’s unacceptable to someone, then parting ways is okay. John Dehlin has a unique combination of talents in technology, counseling, knowledge of Mormon history and society, and business organization that are worth keeping in the effort to provide people the informed consent they deserve when it comes to Mormonism. Others are welcome to create their own podcasts or other media and develop an audience on their own–maybe they’ll succeed and that would be great.

    Now that I’ve praised John Dehlin, let’s get to point 3. He’s not my guru–never has been, probably never will be. When he was shouting “stay LDS” from the rooftops, I had resigned and stuck by that decision as one of my best life decisions. My perspective was different, because I think I was less attached to the culture of Mormonism. Nevertheless, I like this podcast because there are interviews with interesting people who started their lives off in about the same way I did, but also ended up in a very different situation than expected. I like to see how they approach life after traditional Mormonism and find new ways to explore and enjoy their journey. However, this dude hasn’t become my replacement prophet. He just puts on an interesting podcast.

  16. Phil C February 15, 2023 at 8:48 am - Reply

    You are doing good, and you’re doing it well. Keep it up.

  17. Rosemary February 15, 2023 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    John, Margi & OSF, hang in there. You are providing an invaluable resource. Sometimes that negativity just serves to validate all the positivity—I’m just sorry it gets in the way of what you provide to so many of us.

  18. Leana Lowery February 15, 2023 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    I continue support you and maintain my monthly support John and Margi. Some people can’t achieve their goals with integrity.

  19. Sandra Kelso February 15, 2023 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    I started listening to Mormon Stories podcasts after seeing a few interesting videos on Facebook. I am a lapsed Anglican due to my questions of authenticity of everything concerning organized religions, and that’s not just including the Catholic faith.

    As I was curious about some of the things put forth in the videos I watched, I decided to go back and listen to the MS podcast from the very beginning.

    I could tell from the very beginning that Mr Delin genuinely loved the Mormon church he grew up in, but had questions and concerns that tested his faith. It was clear, he was trying to educate himself and others going through similar circumstances, in the true history of the LDS Mormon faith. I don’t know if anyone else feels it when listening, but to me, it felt like Mr Delin was pleading and begging for explanations, conclusions, and/or interpretations that would allow him to stay in his faith comfortably. His hope that the Profits would be “true” and worthy, answering tough questions and addressing prejudices in the church is clear.

    Unfortunately for his faith, even though he found many in the faith that truly believed and gave their stories on how they coped with the inherent problems brought up, his ultimate conclusions came to be the church was not true.

    The podcast was clearly not started to bash the church, but give those going through a faith crisis a platform to ask the hard questions and maybe get some answers even against the people in power of the church’s wishes. How anyone can say otherwise, I have no clue.

    I truly respect John and Margie Delin sharing not only the stories of those who left the church, those struggling with the church, and those adamant in their faith of the church, but their own stories of struggles and feelings of betrayal.

  20. Rosemary February 16, 2023 at 2:44 am - Reply

    What Phil said.

  21. Mindy Maurer February 16, 2023 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    With all that John Dehlin is & all he isn’t, I do believe he tries the hardest of all humans in this space. A space of connection, learning, forgiveness & healing. Who among us has not made mistakes? I would say that were not for John Dehlin there would still be so much suffering in the cult-like work of Mormonism. Thank you, John, Margi & OSF.

  22. Brandee Heppler February 17, 2023 at 10:50 am - Reply

    I’m so sorry John and Margi and their whole family have to deal with the hurt and constant stress of lawsuits, personal attacks and negative comments. I am late to MS but my family and I found it right when we needed it. The positive way they choose to sort out truth claims is why I keep listening. It’s just intelligent reasoning and they are truly taking the the heat for merely taking an active roll in trying to change an organization that can be damaging. The church and those that feel the heat of losing control are really doubling down. The LDS Fight or flight response can only be fight. Those that want attention from the base that MS has built have to find a way to attach themselves to MS to gain any view. I’m sorry there are people like that. But seeing what they’re really doing, just makes me appreciate MS more and all those that work to keep it moving in the same direction it always has; Articulate, fair, informative, and seeking a positive outcome for everyone who listens. It won’t take away all you have to face, but you are doing so much for so many of us John, Margi, your family and the MS family too. I say thank you! And your handling this the only way you can! Keep up all the excellent and life saving work. It really is!

  23. Roger Hendrix February 20, 2023 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    First, that’s a finely written letter.

    Next, simply put, I believe Fichte’s summary of Hegel’s philosophy is a great contribution to intellectual history: thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis.

    Next to last, John has succeeded in creating a legitimate anti-thesis to the Mormon church’s thesis. A gradual synthesis is slowly emerging.

    Last, the genius of John’s work is that he has done this on a shoestring budget that has sparred with the most successful financial theocracy in American history. How’d that possibly happen? Guts and digitization: the New Democratic frontier.

  24. Robert M. Hodge February 23, 2023 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    Well, if you publicly take on the MORG you can expect to be attacked. And don’t expect honesty or decency. Those virtues are not important for those who defend the Church.

  25. Another View February 27, 2023 at 8:02 am - Reply

    Yet it is okay for Smith to screw any woman he wants, including other men’s wives.
    It is okay for him to claim he translated two books that now have close to zero basis in evidence.
    It is okay for the current president to embellish stories and misrepresent what happened.
    It is okay to treat past doctrines as never valid, make up a revelation and 3 years later retire it, again as revelation.
    John and Margi, they just don’t want you telling the truth. It really hurts their numbers.
    If they can get one podcast to fall, they hope they can do the same with all the others.

  26. Cathleen Gates February 27, 2023 at 8:54 am - Reply

    I have learned so much because of MSP. I find John honest and open to all his guests. So much history of Mormonism is confusing and
    frankly weird. He untangles the history, and honestly explains the facts to those of us who seek truth. I support his work, and I hope he doesn’t let the critics cause him to change what is working well!

  27. Will Jones February 28, 2023 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Thank you John and Margi for staying true to the OSF mission—which I think you do with much kindness and generosity. Your patience—even towards those who attack you from the inside—knows no bounds. Just as your contributions to the lives of so many former Mormons is boundless. Stay strong and know you are loved and respected by so many.

  28. David Wallentine March 9, 2023 at 8:04 am - Reply

    Sorry you and your family are subject to this behavior. You both are two of the most decent and admirable people on the planet. Margi, I love your commentary as a co-host. Your compassion and humanity shine through in your comments. Just know that for every detractor, there are hundreds like me who are forever grateful for your courage!

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