Brayn King.- The Stake President that Excommunicated John Dehlin

February 2020 marks the 5 year anniversary of my excommunication from the Mormon church.

In a desire to protect myself against the possibility of slander or misinformation from the church or its apologists (as was experienced by former church members such as Fawn Brodie, Simon Southerton, and Kate Kelly during their disciplinary councils), I recorded all of the interviews I had with my bishops (James Stephenson and Brian Hunt) and stake presidents (Mark Jensen and Bryan King) leading up to my disciplinary council/excommunication.  A somewhat comprehensive account of the events leading up to my excommunication can be found hereThis includes a PDF of my correspondence with my stake president, Bryan King.

As I have been opposed to Mormon Disciplinary Councils from my childhood on, it was always my intention to publish these interviews as a matter of public record – but I decided to hold off on publishing them for several years.

In light of the recent changes made to the Mormon church’s disciplinary council process, and on the 5th anniversary of my excommunication, I am publishing them now.

The interviews I am publishing are the following:

  • These first two interviews provide background for the final 4 interviews.
    • 2012-05-01 – Bishop James Stephenson: I was not sure why Bishop Stephenson wanted to interview me at the time.  I was fearful that it was to convene a disciplinary council.  It turned out to be an assessment of my worthiness to baptize my son, Winston.
    • Note: I removed the first 20 minutes of this interview because it was all “small talk.”  The remaining interviews should be 100%

      John and Margi Dehlin


    • 2012-05-23 – Stake President Mark Jensen and Bishop Stephenson: At the time of the interview President Jensen was questioning my faithfulness, and attempting to determine if I was worthy to baptize my son, Winston.  The result of this meeting was for me to meet with President Jensen regularly over the next several months to help me resolve my doubts and concerns about the church.  To be honest – President Jensen was super kind/patient/compassionate with me.  He ultimately judged me worthy to baptize Winston, which I did.  I recorded several additional interviews, but did not feel like they added much of importance to the discussion.
  • The 4 interviews leading up to my excommunication:
    • 2014-01-26 – Bishop Brian Hunt: Bishop Hunt called me in to his office to express concern about my support for Progressive Mormonism and Ordain Women.  He then notified me that he would be initiating an investigation into my membership.
    • 2014-06-29 – Stake President Bryan King Meeting #1
    • 2014-08-07 – Stake President Bryan King Meeting #2.  A full transcript of this meeting is available on the New York TImes website.
    • 2015-01-14 – Stake President Bryan King Meeting #3
  • I did not record my disciplinary council, at the request of Margi.

A few reflections/thoughts about my church membership and excommunication:

  • My sincere anticipation is that few, if any, will care to listen to these interviews.  I am guessing that this is “old news” for pretty much everyone.  I will be perfectly happy if no one notices, or cares about these recordings.
  • I acknowledge up front that I made these recordings without the consent of the other participants.  This was/is a legal act in the state Utah, and because these meetings were held to evaluate my “worthiness” and because I felt as though my church membership was at stake, I believe(d) that I had the right to record them.
  • I do not share these recordings because I feel as though they make me look heroic, or because I want to make the church or the respective bishops or stake presidents look bad.  Listening to some of these interviews has been quite unpleasant for me.  Honestly, it feels like a train wreck for all involved.
  • I want to acknowledge that I take full responsibility for putting these leaders and the church in a difficult decision.  I could have resigned to make the process easier for everyone, and I chose not to.  At the time, I felt as though I was fighting for a worthy cause – to help the Mormon church change, and to shine a spotlight on the Disciplinary Council process, which I consider(ed) to be barbaric and medieval.
  • I believe that Bishops Stephenson and Hunt and Stake Presidents Jensen and King were doing the best they could, under very difficult circumstances.   I have feelings of love, compassion, and gratitude for all of these men, and I wish them and their families well.  I believe that we all were “victims” of a flawed system.
  • I strongly request to all listeners that they not speak or act in ANY way that disparages any of these men.
  • Ultimately, I feel like I understand why the church felt like they needed to excommunicate me, and I am at peace with their decision.
  • Even five years after my excommunication, I am sincerely grateful for my life as a Mormon.
  • I am grateful to see in 2020 that the Mormon church is reconsidering and changing its policies and approaches regarding “disciplinary councils.”  To be direct – one of my primary motivations for recording these interviews, and for attending/spotlighting the disciplinary councils of several individuals (Kate Kelly, Marisa and Carson Calderwood, Denver Snuffer, Rock Waterman, Jeremy Runnells, Elizabeth Grimshaw, Clay Christensen, Sam Young, Bill Reel, Cody/Leah Young, Gina Colvin, Dusty Johns, Amy and Jake Malouf, Jared Lusk, and Stephen Bloor) has been to encourage the church to change its policies.  I am so grateful to see that finally happening, and I want to personally thank everyone who has sacrificed to make this possible.


John Dehlin

Part 1 – Bishop James Stephenson (5/1/2012)

Part 2 – President Mark Jensen (5/23/2012)

Part 3 – Bishop Brian Hunt (1/26/2014)

Part 4 – President Bryan King (6/29/2014)

Part 5 – President Bryan King (8/7/2014)

Part 6 – President Bryan King (1/14/2015)

Part 1

Download MP3

Part 2

Download MP3

Part 3

Download MP3

Part 4

Download MP3

Part 5

Download MP3

Part 6

Download MP3


  1. AEMoss February 28, 2020 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    The last Mormon bishop I ever spoke to in person said to me: “You can believe anything you want….just pay your tithing”. I think it is coming to that. Joseph Fielding Smith/Bruce R. McConkie’s “Mormonism” (the Mormonism I and millions of others were indoctrinated into) is dying, and almost dead. It is being replaced. Mormonism is evolving. It is becoming more permissive, more like the United Methodist Church of the 1970s. Yes, gay is not good, but do your own thing and don’t talk about it at church. Yes, the Bible is the Word of God, but your can interpret that any way you want. Yes, The Book of Mormon is true, but don’t talk about it as history. While I was active “LDS” Sunday School teachers and Priesthood teachers quoted from McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine” like it was the Divine Revelation. Now, they’re telling the Seminary Teachers to throw out their copies (word of mouth only…no paper-trail). Just pay your tithing!!! PAY YOUR TITHING….because the Church can barely operate on what it receives now! PAY YOUR TITHING, because the Church runs on a shoe-string budget, and Jesus will be disappointed as heck if Mormonism doesn’t covert the entire freaking WORLD before He appears standing on a cloud, in broad daylight, clear enough for people in China and Bolivia to clearly see and recognize at the same time, with thousands of angels blowing trumpets, as a thief in the night. It is coming to that. Keep your sex life secret, and pay your tithing. In a lot of Wards, it is there . This ain’t your grandfather’s Mormonism.

  2. D. Alberta. February 28, 2020 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    I’ve just finished listening here in Australia to John’s interview with bishop Stephenson. John was humble, respectful and honest. We give these men too much control and power over us. Instead of being questioned regarding church attendance how much nicer it would have been to simply extend love and appreciation for those times when John did attend. The bishop seemed to be a good man but the idea of “authority” has gone to his head as it does most men. “Many are called ….. ” I never again will allow priesthood to wield power over me.

    • phil February 29, 2020 at 9:15 am - Reply

      My thoughts exactly, the entire conversation just seemed to further brainwash the “authority figures” into believing in their own self-importance. These poor “authority figures” have spent massive amounts of time rehashing the same worn tropes, they have nothing new.

      One may as well converse with an alexa device that has been loaded with back issues of the ensign.

    • Michelle December 10, 2020 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      I wish I could say that. I have to stay active for husband and kids. I am very jealous and love that you have that freedom. This is a man’s church and I have about had it with 35 years of oppression. I call it “the asshole complex” that men get when they are made bishop. I’ve never been proven wrong yet and I’m getting older…

  3. DAVID LARSON February 28, 2020 at 10:17 pm - Reply


    • v March 3, 2020 at 11:08 am - Reply

      Me too..I found myself saving an episode for the next day for something to look forward to. My love to Margi for the way she was marginalized, not by John…but whatever authority they think they had. I congratulate the Dehlins…..yeah…for THRIVING!! Should for any reason that Brian King and John Dehlin meet…it will be with honesty…a much needed humility….and with a load of “I apologize…I am sorry”.

  4. Joseph Watts February 29, 2020 at 9:15 am - Reply

    His surgeon stake president has a real attitude problem. John never got a fair trial. This leader comes across as small minded and makes the church look weak. John has come to these doubts honestly. The church essays did more to hurt my testimony than anything mormon stories ever said.

    • Mitch February 29, 2020 at 1:38 pm - Reply

      Ya, it’s obvious he doesn’t care to understand John’s point of view. As an active member of the church, and as a human being I was disgusted by his attitude. Man, I hope he never performs surgery on me or anyone I know. I doubt he would care about them either. Pathetic.

    • Anonymous May 30, 2021 at 3:10 pm - Reply

      I have personally worked with King and his wife in a professional capacity and I must say he is a backstabbing, self-righteous, hypocritical man and his wife is judgmental and condescending. He had no problem sharing things he knew were confidential just to get ahead. Horrible people. He is currently my stake president and one of the main reasons I no longer attend church.

  5. AEMoss February 29, 2020 at 10:44 am - Reply

    Why did the Church appoint a bone doctor as a Stake President? The Brethren see “wealth” as a reward for being a good Member of the Church. If you are active in the Church, and you are rich, that is a “Sign” that you’re very righteous and God has blessed you. God never blesses Seventh-day Adventists with wealth (even though many are wealthy) nor Jews with wealth. He only blesses Latter-day Saints with wealth. Bone doctors make good money. Bone doctors pay a lot of tithing. There you go! Most wealthy Mormon men I knew were not humble, but some were. Unfortunately, if an arrogant self-righteous man becomes a Stake President, he will appoint his friends, the men most like him, to become Bishops. That is how arrogant a-holes become Bishops and Stake Presidents in this Church. I’ve seen them cover-up, lie, threaten, bully. NOT the reason I lost faith in Mormonism! I lost faith in Mormonism because the Mormon Truth Claims don’t add up with the facts.

    • Eric April 29, 2020 at 1:57 pm - Reply

      This is true. The church glorifies men who make a lot of money. Several years ago, before I started reading about evolution (Richard Dawkins, etc.), I was moving up in the church. Making great money as a corporate attorney. You are simply treated as though you deserve the money because of your righteousness or specialness. Those large tithing checks are noticed. Of course you have the benefit of an education and leadership experience too, which helps in any endeavor.

      What’s interesting is the really rich people I’ve worked with, usually former business owners, don’t seem to believe in any religion. I think it’s true to a large extent that religious beliefs tend to limit people to a smaller life lived, even if there is some comfort to be found at church

  6. Jed February 29, 2020 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    Jim my teacher that I student taught under. Very disappointed that Jim dosen’t use his training in physics and engineering to do some church history studies. He is completely spellbound by orthodoxy. Sad.

  7. clh February 29, 2020 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    Appreciate your openness and compassionate review of progress in your life, changes in the church and well wishes after 5 years.

    I would just add:

    Good job, John Dehlin!

  8. Dan R March 1, 2020 at 1:54 am - Reply

    As a progressive Catholic with degrees in philosophy and theology, what I hear is a leadership that lacks the ability to think and use words in an analogical way and engages in either/or thinking (as opposed to both/and thinking). There’s a lack of nuance in the leadership’s approach to faith and a reluctance to admit that doubt is an essential element of faith. Some Kierkegaard would be helpful here! I find Mormonism fascinating because of the way the church uses language. There’s an obvious need for a philosophical underpinning to what they want to do but, to an outsider, there seems to be a real fear of that need. There seems to be a belief that that being able to speak with nuance will lead people away from the church’s doctrine.

    • Susan March 5, 2020 at 11:55 am - Reply

      This is a fascinating observation. I, as a born and raised Mormon, grew up with that “language,” believing everyone spoke that way. I was surprised to find out when I married into a non-mormon family, that they had no idea what I was talking about.
      Can you give me some examples of your observed use of language within the church?

      • Fanofjohn March 25, 2020 at 3:09 pm - Reply

        Second this my wife complains about this with Mormon relatives

    • FTX March 5, 2020 at 5:14 pm - Reply

      Ironic or systematic? In 2010 in a Logan singles ward I to was referred a wolf among the sheep when I voluntarily went in and confessed to violating the of chastity. That comment damaged the way I viewed myself for a quite a while.

      Thank you for sharing John, it was very engaging to get to be a fly on the wall in those meetings! The leaders stammered and struggled to make a coherent reason for their investigations. The dialogue on their end was strained so unwillingly to engage. The interview with king trying to tell you why you can’t speak publicly seemed like what he wanted to say the difference between you and a Richard Bushman is he doesn’t mind you studying, but the problem is the conclusions you come to. I don’t think he had enough guts to say the truth “The church doesn’t care about truth, it cares about supporting their worldview.”

      Must be hard living in a complex nuanced world but at church dumping all critical thinking skills, put on your binary thinking cap and still come up with a coherent position. So glad I’m out.

      Additionally, your example of being angry at the system rather than people is giving me a better approach to talking about the faith with TBMs.

  9. Pat Clark March 1, 2020 at 2:59 am - Reply

    Just a few thoughts…..
    *This is interesting, I have no expert knowledge of authoritarian societies be they religious or political, but these interviews must conform to normal relationships within totalitarian organisations.
    *We have to be thankful that there was an underlying creed of the profession of love which was expressed with formal good manners. Just imagine if actual violence, rather than the threatening undercurrent we can hear, was the norm.
    *I found the professed interest in John’s family chilling.
    *All of these interviews, and of course all of the Mormon Stories, are a wonderful resource for examining humanity. I hope they are being used as data by academics.
    On a personal level I have learned a lot from this website, from John Dehlin. Thank you.

  10. Kathy March 1, 2020 at 9:25 am - Reply

    John thanks for sharing your journey. I remember Listening to you at that time. I went through my devastating faith crisis with you… and you were a great rock in the sea of confusion. Your sincere love for those of us suffering meant so much .

    You have been deeply deeply hurt by the church and you were devastated. I believe that the leaders who treated you this way had a choice to make. they did not choose the path Christ would have chosen rather the path of the Pharisees
    Although I’m sure they were highly influenced by the leaders. they are responsible for their own choices

    You were striving to be like Christ in your love for others…… your forgiveness understanding and acceptance of others. it is obvious that the leaders in this church don’t really follow christ

    They are responsible for what they did to you, just as the Pharisees were responsible for what they did to Christ

    You were searching for truth. you didn’t really believe in most of the doctrine —and they rejected you from their fellowship. that’s the way the Mormon church does things. that’s the way it’s been run since Joseph Smith‘s time!! Loyalty to the Mormon church comes before love and truth

    Your wife was right when she said you were more Christlike than the leaders in the church. it’s hard to let go of the culture and the people you love, but you were rejected by them.!! they hurt you deeply!!!. the problem is they’re continuing to do this to many many people everyday. if members don’t support and agree with the churches doctrine and policy This is how JS dealt with those that didn’t agree with him

    Since leaving you have been free. free to be who you want.Free to be truly loving and compassionate to everyone, And free to seek the truth snd share it .

    You were loved conditionally in the church-as long as you did what they thought you should. they accepted snd loved you. That’s why it is a cult.

    You could have never done all the great work of love and truth if you had remained constrained in the church. you had a choice— to stand for love and truth —-or to withdraw and keep your mouth shut

    Where would thousands of us be if you had chosen to withdraw? We felt alone and in the dark

    You don’t need the church which has hurt you so deeply . You have all of the rest of us . we need you and love you .

    It doesn’t matter what they do and say about you any more.

    • Michele Reber February 28, 2021 at 3:27 pm - Reply

      Replying March 1st 2021. What you said was beautiful and so heart felt. And I agree with it all. I am 68…a member for 57 years. I studied my way out. So glad to be out but still so angry with all the lies and cover ups of the Mormon church. And don’t even get me started on their wealth and that they ‘demand’ money from even those living in poverty. Disgusts me.

  11. Tahna Elwood March 1, 2020 at 9:28 am - Reply

    John, (and Margi)
    That was enlightening and hard. To hear you guys go through something so gross and rediculous. Was just wrong on so many levels. Thank you for being once again, vulnerable for our sake.
    Here are my take aways… (I listened all night and it’s now 7:44 a.m. but I couldn’t stop… 🙃)
    I have recently along with you and others, found out that
    The church started on shaky ground. It started with false doctrine. And that is very ironic and also traumatizing when you find out.
    Christ is all about love and humility. Patience and kindness. The Stake President that happily excommunicated you showed none of those qualities. Very disappointing and sad. I am really sad you and your family had to go through that. And I am sad for him and all the other members who are fine with sticking their head in a hat, looking at a rock that is supposedly telling them the truth.
    I will pray for them.
    I am sad that the church believes in a God that would put anyone on this earth, born the way they were meant to be born, then turn around and say I didn’t do that. It wasn’t me..
    My God is an all loving all inclusive Higher Power that has nothing but love, and respect towards women and not only thinks they are equal to men… but has such high regard for everything about them. And believes beauty comes from within. And wants us all to feel empowered and courageous and to love ourselves and not feel we have to be in competition or in a fight to be heard and loved and believe our thoughts and feelings matter. Again I don’t believe he would make us how we are and then make us feel belittled and be an addition, a baby machine, an after thought…. while the men go off and can choose as many partners as they want and we are stuck in a self loathing, unhappy marriage. I just don’t see it…

    I am bummed that some of us are not sure what our Higher Power looks like now… we were told and were taught one way. And we were the only ones that believed this certain way. And we “knew” it at the core of how and what we were taught.
    Then when we learned that our church didn’t start the way we thought we knew, it was devastating and confusing. No wonder we don’t know anymore.
    However a new adventure or scary road? Its what we get to choose it to be. Freely choose.
    We now get to navigate that. And that’s a bit scary.
    I want to believe in Jesus Christ. I love everything about him. Atleast his authentic self. Meaning all the goodness he stood for. Charity, kindness, love, humility, forgiveness, honor, sacrifice.
    I don’t know exactly who my Higher Power is now. I definitely believe in a Higher Power. Since my faith crisis, in my journey, as I have prayed and turned things over, I have seen too many miracles. More than I have ever seen. But I don’t believe my Higher Power is bothered by me not knowing right now. I have a new life journey to go on and even though its been really hard and confusing and painful it is what and where my journey is right now. There is still so much good in my life and finding support like mormon stories and other humans going through the same thing has helped more than you will ever know. I still am struggling but by far less than before. I thought and felt alone. As long as goodness is in my heart and having love for others genuinely, I feel he is good with that.
    One thing I learned in recovery is if your praying and asking or telling God what you want or what you think he should do, aren’t you then basically saying you know more than God?
    I had a counselor put me in my place with that and she said she has a magnet on her fridge and it says…
    Good morning, this is God. Have a great day, I don’t need your help!
    That smacked me good on the head. So i no longer pray for things that I want or need or think I know what he wants. I share what I’m going through and then turn people, places and things over to him as he sees fit and my experience in doing that, (And I have been doing that for 5 years now.)is things turn out 10 times better than I ever could have imagined and I have and Express gratitude through out the day and it has been a beautiful uplifting cycle. Freeing really. Because if I let my ego and myself out of the drivers seat, life just is all around so much better. And by doing just that I came across mormon stories and it changed my life. It gave me love and hope and support. (Sorry got off track)
    Ok back to this…
    Your Stake President clearly believed the “believing” mormons over the confused and humble mormons that just wants to know the truth and answers of the true origin of the church. It was our whole life. We based our faith from what was presented to us. Truth and righteousness right!? That’s why he still has this testimony. It hasn’t been ripped away from him. Or he or his family haven’t yet experienced the kind of hurt from being ostracized or told their evil or born wrong or the list goes on…. or he truley hasn’t authentically searched and read the hidden history of the church.
    And when he did a little bit back in his mission field. He was told it was anti and evil and just have faith. Faith will set u free…
    The people in the church fear thinking on their own. (Because that’s when “satan” can get you.) They try Making sense out of their own nonsense. (Because we were taught these things. They must be true. why would we question it?) We were told what to believe, how to believe, where to believe, how to believe and especially how to believe, yet we were told we were sent down here to be free to choose…
    we shouldn’t question things that don’t seem right or are clearly wrong. Something must be wrong with us if we are doubting. Even though the true history of the church has been secretly tucked away…

    He clearly believed “real mormons” over someone authentically doubting, for real and true reasons caused by the church.
    I don’t believe at all that he was not persuaded by men from a higher ledge to talk to you and handle you. I believe he was sent to put a cork in you. And because he couldn’t make you choose the right he had to punish you and I feel he had a little secret pride doing it. But isn’t that what we were taught about satan?. Satan wanted to force us to believe and choose his way?

    I don’t feel he had your best interest. I feel he came to the table with an agenda and he never faltered from that agenda. I think he went by what made sense to him. And the fear he faced, I believe he turned it around and used it as a negative thing against you.
    I don’t think he is a bad person. I don’t think he used an all open mind to whatever the universe was going to tell him though. I believed he was warned to be careful because the “wolf” might get him so have your guard up. And I think it was the only way he was able to even talk to you. I believe it was very calculated all the way from the start of firing the old stake president that couldn’t stand up for what he believed was right because of fear of being condemned. Again very sad. The whole thing was sad but still at the end of the day Margi and you stood strong. Told your truth of standing up against this new ugly truth and its hard for everyone involved. But you handled it with grace and poise and kindness and strength and sincerity and vulnerability. Both of you did. And once again, Margi didn’t get the respect of being addressed. I think he was afraid of you being real and acpainfully emotional mama bear that is their too, to stand up for her family. I think you were definitely stronger than I would have been. It would have been very hard to hold my tongue. But ultimately you both acted and followed a very Christ like and what an example! Thank you both for being willing to share. Thank you for all you do. This was profound and I respect why you didn’t record the hardest part to endure. That was yours to hold and let go the way you felt was right. And I support sharing what you did share. It’s part of the healing process I believe. I am sorry you had to be triggered in the process. But nothing but love to you both!
    Tahna ❤🧡💛💚💙💜💗

    • BDDavis March 3, 2020 at 8:45 am - Reply

      Tahna, after reading all the comments up to today, I feel your comments fit most closely to what I wanted to say! Thank you!
      I resigned from the church in 2011, found John early in 2012 and he helped me through my anger days! Now, in 2020, I can honestly say I no longer have that anger. It has been replaced with freedom for myself and sorrow for those TBM’s that can’t see, let alone hear, all that I KNOW. I’m so thankful that I no longer need the leadership of the LDS church in order to KNOW what to believe. Thank you John for recording these meetings so I could be reminded of what I left behind! And Thank You for continuing to bring all these mormon stories to all of us!

  12. Phil March 1, 2020 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    Very moving. Sorry how they treated you and your family.

  13. Wondering Wanderer March 1, 2020 at 11:00 pm - Reply

    This demonstrates why there is such a need for your services on-line, John. You have addressed the needs of so many people by providing a safe place where they can say what they really think and feel, share their experiences, and realize that they are normal human beings and they are not alone. Your stake president wants members to take their hurts and questions only to church leaders, and in private, but guys like him who are trapped in the bubble, who have no satisfactory answers (because there are none), and who are living in deep denial of reality are no help. Your point about having to put faith and trust in things that are demonstrably untrue in order to be a member in good standing was so well stated! That was the highlight of the interview for me. Putting a spotlight on truth should never be the grounds for excommunicating someone from a church if it were truly based on Christ’s teachings. And yet over and over again throughout history, it is the messengers of truth and peace and love who have been attacked and silenced, from Christ to Galileo to Luther to Ghandi to Martin Luther King, Jr. The church reminds me of the many, old, outdated, declining, high rise apartment buildings in Chicago. When you enter a dark apartment at night and flip the light switch, the cockroaches scurry into the woodwork to escape exposure by the light.

  14. Margaret McDonald March 1, 2020 at 11:47 pm - Reply

    What I heard listening to the Stake President was that he has no answers. He only has the party line. He does not want to engage. He stammers a lot. He has a blind belief and nothing other than that to offer. He thinks that those who don’t have this blind belief are lost. He has no idea what to say, is very uncomfortable, and is compensating with a bit of bluster. The laugh at all the odd moments is very awkward and says “nervous” to me. John, on the other hand, is poised and confident in his speaking. He is not afraid to ask questions, spell it out. The Stake President dances around.

  15. Andrew March 2, 2020 at 5:22 am - Reply

    Wow, crazy dialogue, if you can call it that. From the outside world’s perspective they would believe King is delusional with his belief of being in direct contact with ‘the Lord’. This was very triggering for me, but still helpful, and reinforced my desire to never associate with the Mormon Church again. To be put in these circumstances, and to allow ignorant men to have this much power is reflective of the cult like nature of the Church. Damn, if I only would have gotten out 20 years early.

    Thanks again John for being brave and open in sharing the podcast.

  16. jessica brown March 2, 2020 at 7:47 am - Reply

    Thanks for your courage!

  17. Debbie Allen March 2, 2020 at 9:23 am - Reply

    I am thankful that John recorded and published these conversations. It is a rare window into the roles played by church authorities when they are at odds with a member — especially interesting for someone like me who was never LDS.

    I have followed John since 2007, after I became interested in learning more about Mormonism since I have close Mormon relatives, and the “Mormon experience” factored into my life in a meaningful way since early childhood. I also started listening to John because I was so impressed with his willingness and determination to allow people to explore what they think and feel about a wide variety of issues, feelings, and experiences. I too am a mental health professional, and I know the healing power of finding connection with likeminded others, especially during our greatest struggles.

    As an atheist (since Jr High) who was able to be extremely active and happy as an adult in a Reform Jewish congregation—precisely because of the fact that Reform Jews care almost exclusively about what you DO, and not what you BELIEVE, I can understand John’s hope that the LDS church can change, and “reform”. It actually is changing! Interesting, however, what aspects we hope will change to make it all acceptable. Even the most progressive among us might have different hopes for any religion (like its stance on gender equality, sexual orientation, professional training for clergy, etc.).

    I relate to John wanting to dwell in the Truth, while hoping to not offend or upset. Wanting to encourage change while hoping that others will see the wisdom in change, rather than seeing him as a destructive threat. But John…. you cannot hope that all the oppressors will change, or “catch on”, or to tolerate in you what they experience as intolerable. I want to offer a loving, gentle reminder that others are on their own journey, and church leadership is more concerned with their survival and flourishing than they are with the Truth (especially “THE Truth” as you see it). As much as I agree with you, this is a private club, and they have the right to exclude members that do not fit. Your excommunication was a lesson to thousands of others. That lesson mattered.

    But please, do not stop investigating, questioning, learning… You are a force that, in my opinion, is doing your bit to help society support greater well-being for others.

    Since I have been opposed to religious dogma all of my life, and have advocated against the intrusion of archaic religious sensibilities into government institutions, social policies, public schools, etc., I find myself these days battling with a dilemma. On the one hand, I commend those who wish to change institutions from within. On the other, I wonder whether this is a waste of time — an attempt to soothe personal wounds of separation and loss? I honestly do not want to improve, and make more acceptable and attractive, any institution that teaches lies. I do not want to encourage the continuation of any missionary program that is unethical and racist. Religions teach tribalism… some less than others, I suppose.

    Another great series of programs. I love Mormon Stories Podcast. John, you have done good. I’m sorry that it has been so difficult. Hugs to you, your family, and all of your supporters.

  18. cl_rand March 2, 2020 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    Just finished Part 4, the first interview with Mr. King. His repeated claims that this wasn’t coming from any higher offices made me wonder why he felt the need to keep making that point. His claim that he’d be taking these matters up with the lord blew my mind. That’s precisely the kind of arrogance that turns a whole lot of us off about this church and its’ leaders, all the way from top to bottom. Their imaginary dialogue with the almighty has repeatedly led them to indefensible positions with no graceful way out, i.e., polygamy as a requirement for full exaltation, the priesthood ban for blacks, everything they’ve ever done concerning lgbt issues, and yet they continue to make the claim that they speak with, and for, God. Utter rot!

  19. Mandy Plumridge March 2, 2020 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    The church encourages arrogant, entitled men and the proof is clearly demonstrated in Mr King’s attitude.

  20. Matt Klingler March 3, 2020 at 7:49 am - Reply

    You brought scary things to light and they had to shut it down for their world to continue as they’ve known it. They are happy in their ignorance and you challenged that. You can tell these individuals weren’t anywhere close to being qualified to assist you.

    Unfortunately even though you were very consistent and articulate, and your belief’s aligned very closely with what they reluctantly agree are in harmony with a good-standing member of the church, it didn’t sway them in any way. This makes it seem as though the agenda was set very early on and they chose to not deviate.

    So sad but so revealing. Ignorance is not bliss but unfortunately a lot of people choose to believe it is.

    You’re my hero John! Please keep up the good work.

  21. Mike Loose March 3, 2020 at 8:38 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing that Dr. John, can relate in many ways to how you were met by church leadership in those early meetings. I admire you and your colleagues efforts to put a spotlight on difficult issues, often at great personal cost.
    All the best.

  22. Dave C March 3, 2020 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Thank you for posting these. Its helpful to see the church confronted with these issues. I’m sorry John, Margi and their kids had to go through it like that. I like what John says about loving these guys. Its easy for me to get really angry at them, but I remember that I had similar thinking when I was in. I had similar responses. We do need to love them and help them. All of them.

    There are several big issues in the interviews, but one that really struck me and had me pull my car over and yell at the podcast. (true story) That was was when the Stake President is presenting the alleged negative things that John reported to have said, but refused to give sources (I can somewhat understand keeping the identity of the person anonymous – …mmm ok kind of) but refused to give John the reference to the source of his comments so he could look it up blew my mind.

    Now, if the Stake president had been anyone other than a surgeon (and an orthopedic surgeon at that) I could give a little allowance to not understanding the full importance. BUT! I am a surgeon, and I have worked closely with orthopedic surgeons for MANY years. Almost everything we do in the operating room is based on some sort of research. Research legitimizes what you do as a surgeon. That research, especially during residency training, is constantly quoted and demanded by peers and superiors. If you are going to make a claim about anything, you have to back it up with research and site your source, PERIOD. Otherwise it doesn’t mean very much and you shouldn’t be opening your mouth (ya, its that serious). This is standard. I’m extremely confident he could give 5 references of different studies regarding the last surgery he did. I’ve spent time in many hospitals across the country. This is standard in all types of surgery, x10 in orthopedic surgery. To hear an orthopedic surgeon-stake president make a claim and then refuse to give reference had my blood boiling.

    This is so interesting how Mormons can be the most rational, intelligent people, but when it is challenged by provable evidence, licence is freely given to throw it out the window and not think about it. I was there too. Many of my friends and family are there still. I don’t mean to say that you can’t be spiritual and rational/intelligent at the same time; likely more nuanced than religious orthodox, but its possible. But not in Mormonism.

    Being out of a controlling organization allows you to realized the true gift of human brain and that doubts are good. We need to listen more to OUR still small voice.
    BTW, if you haven’t listen to Margi’s interview about a year after this all happened- one of the best.

  23. Vickie Duncan March 3, 2020 at 10:54 am - Reply

    Rarely can anyone see first hand, the war between ego and truth. Not once did Brian King mention anything of the truth that mattered. Thank you so much John even many years ago when you called to get me stay in the church. Just can’t find truth in a world of lies and lack of discernment in what was at first a core.

  24. joe March 3, 2020 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    The end of Part 4 when Margi gets her opportunity to speak was POWERFUL! Thanks for sharing John!

    • Carol Ransom March 4, 2020 at 7:04 pm - Reply

      I agree Joe. Margi was a strong mama bear for her family, and you could sense the guy backing off. When Margi spoke you could really feel all the pain she was feeling. I bet this moment is one that he will remember.

    • Cory March 12, 2020 at 3:05 pm - Reply

      Yes! Margi hit it out of the park. Powerful!

  25. Greg March 3, 2020 at 11:48 pm - Reply

    It’s okay to have doubts. (But not really).

  26. Jana Halverstadt March 4, 2020 at 9:14 am - Reply

    John, thank you so much for sharing. I’ve not yet made it through all of the recordings, I’m currently in the middle of the second recording with Stake President Mark Jensen. I have been continuing to read the book “The Good Heart,” with words and commentary by the Dalai Lama at a conference he was invited to speak at, where he was surrounded by those whose spiritual views differ from his own in many ways. Something that one of the other religious leaders, Father Laurence Freedom, said made me think of you and your interview with President Jensen (p.128) – “The point of the exercise of dialogue is not to come up with final answers but to find a deeper and fuller vision of the Truth, which contains and fills all — and which ultimately, as Jesus said, will set us all free from fear and ignorance.” I wish for more people to be comfortable doing what you did and being where you were in your mind at the time of this interview – being okay with saying, “I don’t know.” I wish for more church leaders to be comfortable with members being in this place of unknowing and for leaders themselves to be okay with not knowing, and to not shame themselves or others for feeling the way they feel. I wish for all of us to honor the truth of ourselves and others and have compassion and respect for each individual’s spiritual path in life. John, my life is better because of you and your efforts to keep asking questions, your efforts to be open and transparent with yourself and others, and your practice of compassion and love. May you be well and continue to feel loved and supported by many. Thank you for loving and supporting us, your fellow-human beings, no matter our differences in views, feelings, outlook on life, and experience.

  27. Barry Smith March 4, 2020 at 9:27 am - Reply

    I have been listening for years. I am not Mormon but taught school in Mesa AZ, and so I am interested. I am stressed and exhausted listening to these interviews. I have a much better appreciation of the pain John and other go through. I was supportive as fellow teachers went through a faith crises, saw the pain, but this was tough to listen to. Thanks

  28. Wendy March 4, 2020 at 10:00 am - Reply

    episode 5

    Amazing that president King has no problem with the influence that he or another TBM might have over individuals, even when they know (as he must) that there are issues around the truth claims, history and even behaviors of church leaders. The only acceptable story is a faith promoting one – truth is not important when encouraging someone to accept their version. Encouraging conversion or activation is paramount and avoids the messy issues. Milk before meat. LOL.

    John is correct in that no one “knows” and that is absolutely true. The veil is one way, if there was a preexistence that has been erased from our memory if there is an afterlife that is also unknowable. Pres. King does not come off as a loving individual, he admits he is less patient than the previous leaders that have dealt with John and somehow sees that as being Christlike.

  29. B-rad March 4, 2020 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Bryan King: I don’t want our interview recorded because “things can be taken out of context.”

    Also Bryan King: Here are a bunch of out-of-context John Dehlin quotes from hundreds of hours of podcasts. Explain these to me, John, and without being able to reference to the actual podcast.

  30. A March 4, 2020 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    In your comments in part 3 you mention that your previous stake president only served for nine years instead of ten. I believe the standard length of service for a stake president is actually nine years. Our last four stake presidents all served for nine years. I know our current stake presidency and as well as the presidency in our neighboring stake are all planning on being released after nine years. That doesn’t disprove anything as far as your disciplinary counsel being pushed from above. But, it’s possible that your stake president wasn’t released early.

  31. Lefthandloafer March 4, 2020 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    God Bless you, John (and your family) for sharing these recordings. I’m truly appalled at the way you were treated and the hubris displayed by these “so called” leaders. In my opinion these MUST BE PART OF THE PUBLIC RECORD. The world needs to know that what “happens behind closed doors” is vastly different than the beautiful facade thrown up in front of people. I’m so very sorry this happened to you.

  32. Lefthandloafer March 4, 2020 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    John: Out of curiosity – Do you know what (if any) leadership roles these men have in “the Church” in 2020?

  33. red-ite episode 700 March 4, 2020 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    One Agenda I would like is to reduce missions to One Year and have families only pay $100 per month.
    This and the other recent podcasts have helped me to see understand your concern for the LGBQT community has been a cause of yours for quite a while and it is the hill on which you made your stand
    I ask why is “Reversion Therapy” so abhorrent or even discussing Homosexuality with a Therapist/Psychologist To be outlawed by the State of Utah while “Puberty Blocking Drugs” are good practice, Leaving the child in a permanent state of partial development The Internet is full of cases of parental disputes and the drugs damages. This lopsided position and others removes most all sympathy for Gender Dysphoria Syndrome people.

  34. Another Jensen March 4, 2020 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    The first two interviews with James Stephenson and Mark Jensen were great. I kept thinking about how kind and Christlike they were and what nice people they were.

    The Bryan King park was so disturbing that it was hard to listen. King is everything that I hated about the church – the judgement, the leadership arrogance and how little Christianity is in the Mormon church. King is every leader that ever embarrased me, lectured me and yelled at me. He is the kind of leader that when I was a believer made me wonder if Satan really was at the head of the church. Now, I know that it’s just another high-demand and destructive restorationist church like the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
    I fear for his wife and children and for every church member ever to have the misfortune of being under his thumb.

    This makes me sad thinking about the abusive leaders I grew up with, but happy to be out of a destructive false religion.

  35. Lefthandloafer March 5, 2020 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    The incredible level of presumptive arrogance, which comes with a statement like ” I will go to the Lord and seek his counsel and direction as relating to YOUR life” is simply staggering! To think that the LDS Church has trained people to believe that they can dictate to another person – what “the Lord” wants THEM to do – makes me sick to my stomach. I’m so glad that so many are leaving this horrible organization.

  36. Chantine March 5, 2020 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    I’m listening to this today and my brain is exploding. When he continues to double down on the “you’ve opened up a platform that can cause doubt in members” nonsense, I just want to scream. If a person can be swayed, that means their personal testimony is weak and needs work. That is not on you, John. I’m so sorry you’re reliving this right now.

  37. Jane March 6, 2020 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    I listened to Parts 4-6. I couldn’t handle the ridiculousness of the Stake President telling you that YOU need to be accountable and renounce your negative statements despite any positive statements you’ve made. The LDS church refuses to be accountable, renounce, apologize for any wrong they’ve ever committed or harm they’ve caused people, but YOU must be held to a higher standard than the church if you want to stay. Lord almighty, help them.

    And all the flip-flopping… saying you are allowed to state your doubts, but not too publicly, but they dont want to tell you you can’t say it publicly, and they don’t want to tell you to take down material… but hint-hint…you should remove material… and don’t quote anything they are telling you publicly. Really shows where the priorities are. It’s not on helping people. The priority is hiding the truth.

    Listening gave me flashbacks to every male church authority who felt it their place to tell me how I needed to think and feel, with this false authority that they are more righteous through blind-faith, and I’m soooo glad I left. I’m so sorry you had to go through this experience.

  38. Mark Renfro March 7, 2020 at 9:23 am - Reply

    Guided by love the Church should have been happy that a family was willing to come and contribute to the “greater good.” Instead, we have another example of intolerance the opposite of love. Ignore historical facts (embrace the narrative) believe how we do or get out… I don’t blame Bk he’s simply acting upon a 200 year old construct, he thinks he’s doing the “right” thing. Sad to think the “right” thing can actually be the “wrong” thing to do, why I look at religion & politics very critically now-a-days. I won’t simply get-in-line with a religion or political affiliation anymore, issue by issue.

  39. DAN BOYLE March 7, 2020 at 11:34 am - Reply

    King’s arrogance is STUNNING (well maybe not, he sounds just like my SP when I was growing up). John Dehlin deserves some kind of award for keeping his cool and not calling out King for the pompous ass he is. I am so glad these were recorded for the world to see just how things work. Thanks !!

    Oh, by the way Bryan King, I took it to the Lord and he told me you are an arrogant blow hard and you need to humble yourself and change your ways. Sorry, but that is what the Lord told me. I am just the messenger.

  40. Marlene Smith March 7, 2020 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    I am 67 years old and was was a member in good standing for 50 years. I was excommunicated but refused to attend my ‘court’. When I found your podcast I found a peace that I had been searching for. Your strength and courage to be public has been the greatest blessing in my life. Though I am not a member , most of my family and 5 of my 8 living children are very active. Living in their world but not of their world has been a huge challenge for me. Knowing that I can turn on an episode, and listen to words that reaffirm that I am not crazy or a lost sheep or an apostate has kept my anchored in this Mormon world that I was kicked out of but must remain a part of due to my family. As I listened to your interviews that led up to your excommunication there were two things I was reminded of. One: the church exists to protect the church. You can ‘sin’ against your fellow man and be forgiven and re-baptized within a year or so, but if you ‘sin’ against the church you may never be forgiven. Second: When you knew the truth, the knowing of the truth was what set you free! I no longer believe that I know what may come after I die, but I will die peacefully knowing that I was a truth seeker. Thank you again for having the courage to proclaim the truth.

    • Michele Reber February 28, 2021 at 3:50 pm - Reply

      Feel a connection to you. I am 68 and was a member for 57 years. I have 9 kids and thankfully only 2 are still members. I still have a lot of anger towards the church. Mainly with all their lies. And their extreme wealth. And of course anything LGBTQ+ related. Just moved to Utah from California and am having a hard time with seeing a Mormon church on every corner. And alllll the temples here. And what the church could have done with the millions instead of building another temple. So they can show how the church is growing. Thankfully, it’s not growing but declining in members.

  41. Adam March 9, 2020 at 10:50 am - Reply


    I completed listening to all the episodes. Wow. Respectfully, I don’t know how you maintained your composure in dealing with church leadership at this time. I dont know how you are able to pull up and remember pertinent facts of history on the spot without getting flustered. I don’t know how and why these leaders listen to these facts/issues and yet never respond or respond that you are the problem?

    How can King claim to know all these issues with the BOM and still have a testimony – oh, ok, of his feelings? A Dr. with education and background one would hope in critical thinking, and weighing evidence, still following basically magic tricks and feelings as the truth?

    I am Physically in, mentally out (PIMO) and my wife and family know I am out. Life-time member Born in church, Nauvoo heritage, family names in the quorum of 70’s book in Nauvoo, and Great grandfather born on the plains of Nebraska.., served mission, temple married, held all leadership callings up to and including Branch President when we lived back east for a couple of years. Was challenged by a man at a non-denominational open house where we had a BOM and Scrolls of Papyri display, that I should really learn the truth about the book of Abraham. That sent me down the rabbit hole – to prove this gentleman wrong, that was 5 years ago, -and here I am.

    I had a discussion with my Bishop about it one time only, he never had me back in even though he promised to look into some of the things I brought up that he was unaware of and to meet again. When he was released recently the new bishop assigned me to be his ministering elder, but we have never had any discussion about where I am.

    With all that said, thank you for these podcasts and the many others found here.
    Keep up the good work and love for everyone.
    We can all get through the anger phase, there is joy and happiness on the other side! Thanks!

  42. Trent March 9, 2020 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    This both shreds my heart and infuriates me. I’m sorry, but the church (and much of religion) is simply ugly, oppressive, and dehumanizing. THIS is why religion should have no place in government or law! And while I have empathy for the fact that these tiny-minded men are so, in large part, because they are also victims of it, it cannot be accepted, tolerated, or justified. What they did to you, John, is WRONG! Not just a little. It’s like Orwell’s 1984. It’s like some kind of mildly-spoken, carefully-worded, passive-aggressive mind-rape. I’m literally sickened by it. What horrible, inhuman thinking and behavior– telling you what you may and may not think, say, do, and feel. Saying both yes and no. Telling you that you’re committing all these infractions, but not telling you what they specifically expect you to do or not do otherwise. Telling you that if you “just had the spirit” you’d know. Telling you to simultaneously give everything to the church, but you can’t even ask a sincere question that is weighing on your conscience. Calling you “insensitive” for having a conscience and standing up for others they oppress and denigrate and drive to suicide. Telling you to ignore empirical reality. I half expected them to start asking you how many lights you could see. And all of it justified under the sincere belief that they are anointed, authorized, and charged, by a god, to do it. Horrid! I am so glad you escaped! May everyone escape. If faith means submitting to that, may faith fade and die.

  43. Jared March 9, 2020 at 11:05 pm - Reply

    I hope this will be accepted in the most positive light…

    I’ve visited Mormon Stories many, many times throughout the years. I’ve listened to many of the podcasts. I got tired of it all about a year ago when I realized that neither John, nor those he interviews, nor a single commentator that I read ever considered the possibility they could be the one who is wrong or misguided regarding all this stuff on this website. Everyone here is so fortunate to be wiser, more genuine, and more righteous than the other guy. But I’m the guy that would sit across the table from a bishop, a stake president, and even anyone of you and be judged as unrighteous and unworthy. If there is such a thing as sin, I am a sinner. John is lucky to have all you seeing that he is not, and that he was right and honest while his stake president were not. I would not have that luxury from you. And I ache to confess my sins and have for years but have been too weak and too terrified of the church’s response and the impact that response would have on my good family. So I’ve decided to take it all to the grave. And it sucks. Even though I’ve viewed the very act of walking into a bishop’s office as a sign of a broken heart and contrite spirit, I know this church doesn’t see it that way. To walk into the office and confess is the moment the clubs just might come out, although you never know for sure. These leaders talk of love and help and support. They have no idea what that looks like when it really matters most, because they’ll just get rid of you. Nor do they have any idea the agony a person will carry and endure simply caused by the fact there is a club the church is more than willing and often eager to use. How much repentance and change could occur if they simply followed the Savior in this one thing? I know in my case it would revolutionize my life. But maybe I’ve got it wrong and the Savior would club me too. According to the Mormon church, he would club me. I’m not rebellious, but I am weak. There is no difference in the Mormon church. The sad thing is I have confessed my wrong doings to others, even most of it to my wife, but the idea that it has to be a bishop or no forgiveness is so ingrained in my head that I worry the confession is insufficient. That’s what we’re taught after all. It’s quite pathetic. So you’re all lucky and should be grateful that by all normal standards you’re the ones who are sincere, good, and honest in all this confusion. And that you have a bunch of people online who support you. And a church that is slowly but steadily changing in your direction. I fear the changes for my situation won’t happen in my lifetime. So it’s a lifetime of no forgiveness for this guy. Homosexuals are close to getting the better deal than a guy like me. It’s unbelievable.
    It really is too bad John has never considered interviewing the guy who is truly wrong and who truly is the sinner. To be interviewed here is to be worthy and right. As far as Mormon Stories is concerned (and as far as the church is concerned, for that matter) it is only the righteous that are worthy of consideration and acceptance. I just realized this place is just like the church, just a different venue.

    As a side note, it has been the goodness of God, not his punishment, that has changed me most and caused me to feel that I might just be able to be forgiven without the church. That’s a work in progress. Maybe before I die the church will see it the same way, because I really, really don’t want to get kicked out of the church or voluntarily leave it.

    • Henry March 14, 2023 at 4:06 pm - Reply

      God bless you. I am much like you, a weak sinner, who went & confessed, but that isn’t what I’m writing about. I’m only writing to say hang in there, don’t quit, never give up, go forward, “forget the past & focus on the future” as Elder Boyd K. Packer told me personally once, which leads me to the message of Luke 17:32. I know the agony & anguish of sin, of conscience, of guilt, and it is good because it directs us to learn what actually, really works in life instead of all those who think that by ignoring it it won’t make any difference. But it does. I also know the freedom & peace of deliverance, the pure confidence of being able to look anyone in the eye, just like Alma felt in Alma 36. Hang in there, and God bless you and your family.

  44. J Jones March 10, 2020 at 10:17 am - Reply

    John – I listened to one interview and found it very insightful. When I mentioned the interview to my wife, she questioned why the names of the Bishop/Stake president were included at all? If the intent is to raise awareness and not to point fingers at any specific individuals, why include their names? Wouldn’t it be just as easy to post this with the photo and names of these individuals removed? You state openly that you do not want people to vilify them and yet their names and photos are prominently displayed. That seems like it is only distracting and potentially moving attention away from the more global/general issue at-hand. Would you consider removing their names / photos? If not, why?

    This is a sincere and honest question raised by my wife that I agree with. We have no idea who these folks are and are not associated with them in any way. It just feels like publishing that information is unhelpful to the intent and risks unnecessary finger-pointing.

    • John Dehlin March 10, 2020 at 10:23 am - Reply

      Jeremiah – I’m not sure that I have a satisfactory answer for you. Other than that I didn’t have the time to scrub out names (I have no staff at this point), and it is all a matter of history.

      But your wife makes a super fair point. All I can say is, I have ZERO desire for anyone to treat my inquisitors with anything but love and empathy…and I did my best to repeat that over and over again.

      • J Jones March 10, 2020 at 1:46 pm - Reply

        John – thanks for the prompt reply. I was not asking with any judgment in mind, just curiosity; so your transparent answer is fully satisfactory. 😊

    • Henry March 14, 2023 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      You are certainly right. There are other incongruities here. There’s only two things I know about those Bishops & Stake Presidents, and a third thing I believe: (1) they didn’t ask for their callings, (2) they were never paid a dime for their time, and (3) they’re probably trying their best. How would anyone like to be so personally vilified as they are here, with their names, photos, and personal practices/business contact information so easily accessible? What volunteers ever bargain for this? I hope you’ll compliment your wife for being considerate of them & their families so many years ago when you posted this.

  45. Penni Daun Eads March 10, 2020 at 11:08 am - Reply

    I have a question. I stopped at the beginning when Pres King introduced himself to you and Margi and your father so I could ask a question. My question is: why did the church call for your excommunication when you had met with Jeffrey Holland and Marlin Jensen and others when you shared the results of the survey? It seems so ungrateful and brutal of the church to shoot the messenger. Did the church think you wouldn’t know it came from the top down, especially when you had never met the Stake President before?

  46. Penni Daun Eads March 10, 2020 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    I was schocked at min 56 of part 4 that Pres King said he needed to protect the members of the church. Really? I am still an active member, and I don’t need church leaders to protect me from seeking/knowing the truth.

    • Penni Daun Eads March 10, 2020 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      Margi Dehlin, I love you!

  47. David March 11, 2020 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    Listened to all of it.

    At times it felt like John was trying to interview the Stake President and not the other way around. He was intentionally trying to play dumb knowing full well he knew the church didn’t have any good answers but the point was to get that in writing and on record.

    So what is a church supposed to do.

    The writing was on the wall and everybody knew it. There was no easy way of handling this, it played out over years. The church will slowly transition but John was just way too ahead of the curve and too public about his positions that were in contrast to the church at the time.

    For the record, I hold many of the views that John has in part thanks to him. I know this is not the preference of church leaders, but his perspectives have helped me define mine. There is little we can do, except for perhaps us less active and nuance members become more active to the point where we can sway the church in a non literal (mystic & symbolic) perspective

  48. Jared March 12, 2020 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    The biggest error in all this is the stated reason for which John was excommunicated. It should not have been for apostasy and framing it this way did everyone a disservice. The real reason John was, and should have been, excommunicated was for leading people out of the church. The church has failed to accurately understand Alma’s rebuke of his son Shiblon. A bigger picture reading of that part of the Book of Mormon seems to be saying that the sin next to murder is murdering people against the light and truth. It’s just like what Jesus said about it being better to have a millstone around one’s neck and being cast into the sea than to offend one of these little ones. The “little ones” were new converts, not children.
    In this particular matter, it’s irrelevant whether or not the Mormon church has light and truth. It’s that he was and is a facilitator or shepherd in a movement to lead people out of the church. The church was right and had every justification to excommunicate him for this, as many organizations do. All of us can have spells or degrees of apostasy. That’s normal as we work things out. But they made a huge mistake framing his excommunication under apostasy. That might be why “apostasy” is apparently treated differently in the new handbook.
    True believing Mormons, luke warm Mormons, ex-Mormons, very few of these people have properly understood just what the Mormon church has to offer. Even it’s leaders seem to not get it. John helped take away any chance many people had at finding out really what it does have. This will extend generations. He should have been excommunicated, even though the process was bumbled.

    • Henry March 14, 2023 at 4:45 pm - Reply

      I could not have said it better. The connection between offending “the little ones” and the murdering of people in Alma 36 is exactly the principle that is at play here. People do not realize the seriousness of what they do, but Alma did, and he humbled himself and repented, and his story is gloriously told. It makes me think of Genesis 3:1, the subtlety of it all.

  49. Sandy March 13, 2020 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    As somebody who didn’t follow closely when you were being excommunicated because I was locked into my own battle to stay active and who hasn’t followed Mormon news much since I lost that battle in Nov 2015, I found this record to be a fascinating glimpse into the church disciplinary process and what at least some church leaders expected of members in terms of conformity of belief in action at the time. I share the view that things seem to be changing for the better in the church in that regard and that that is a great thing for the members. Thank you for sharing!

  50. Paul Innis March 24, 2020 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    I found listening to your interviews interesting and sad. I am a progressive mormon who navigates a middle way of full church activity and service while carrying the burden of things l can’t accept about the church. I feel that your work via the stable of mormon stories podcast has helped me stay active in the church. I am a monthly subscriber too as a sign of how much i value your work.
    I feel terrible that the the church cannot make a space for you. I don’t agree with the fact that John was excommunicated. He has helped so many people both in and out of the church. He is doing a divine work.
    I feel, as a mormon stories supporter who is active in the church, I am not supported by mormon stories podcast in navigating the middle way. I would really like to hear stories of peoples struggles that don’t end in leaving the church. I want to hear the stories of how people manage to stay in spite of the troubles with the church.
    I feel that John was counselled extensively over the time before his excommunication. I don’t agree with the outcome but I do feel his leaders along the way did show him love and patience. The help he was offered was limited by time, so long suffering was not extended to him. I wish he was recognized for the good work that he has done over his life.
    My life has been blessed by John and his work. I’m glad that he chose to continue his work.

    • John Dehlin March 24, 2020 at 2:46 pm - Reply

      Paul – I very much appreciate the kind words of support! Also, I very much want to interview people who have remained active. Did you get to hear my series with Joe Tippetts? I definitely plan on doing more like that in the coming months. Thanks for providing the feedback!

    • Henry March 14, 2023 at 5:11 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your positive, uplifting, and big perspective comments. There are so many on here that are vilifying the Church and its leaders that they are a turn-off, because I know too many of those leaders who are trying their best and truly love those they serve. But, unlike so many, I do not expect perfection of them, or even such a high standard so many want to hold them to. Heck, if I were ever held to such a standard I would be worthy of nothing. For those who say those leaders have not been Christlike because the Lord was always humble and kind, well, they ought to try reading Matt. 22-23, Luke 11, and a few other places. The bottom line is that we’re just a bunch of imperfect humans doing our best, and it behooves all of us to give plenty of slack to others, especially those carrying so much responsibility they never asked for, like the Presidents of the Church and others that have served with them.

      • Maven March 15, 2023 at 8:22 am - Reply

        I guess the problem is then, that EVERY human being on earth “isn’t perfect” so we can expect no accountability from anyone. If there is a standard at all, then the leaders of the Church should not be excepted from it. The problem is, that they are, and they KNOW they are.

  51. Strangerbird May 16, 2020 at 11:14 am - Reply

    Bryan King dismisses problems about the historicity of the Book of Mormon by simply stating his “testimony” that it is the word of God. It is quite impossible to have any rational argument with such an individual. If there is a lesson, first from the sixteenth-century Reformation, and later the Enlightenment, it surely is that “reason” is an essential constituent of faith in God. Christians were forced to accept that the earth was not the centre of the universe etc. The thing that I find so remarkable is not that Mormonism still holds to the slightly ridiculous ideas it does, but that obviously some well-educated people still subscribe to them – at least vocally. But it seems that some have compartmentalised minds. In one part there is the Church, but in another one hopes (especially in the case of Surgeon King) the central axiom is the force of reason.

    • Aeren July 4, 2020 at 7:00 pm - Reply

      Hello, John : )

      Thank you for sharing these audio logs. In your concluding remarks, you mentioned that you/your loved ones believe in social justice. What do you mean by ‘social justice’?

      Peace be with you.


    • Henry March 14, 2023 at 5:53 pm - Reply

      Strangerbird, and John, I too have listened with interest, and I found John’s statements in his meeting with his Stake President interesting, such as “Galileo was executed over the earth is round…” conflict with the Catholic Church (he wasn’t); and “there weren’t any horses here in America until the Spaniards brought them” (oh? I know that’s what history books say, but they base that on the simple fact that because where Cortez landed he didn’t find any there, so it has stuck, etc. (since then Pre-Columbian cave dwellings have been found with horses in wall art); and no steel? The Iron Age was 1,000 years B.C., and the difference between steel and iron is a matter of mixing carbon, and the Hittites made a carbon-steel alloy in 1200-1600 BC, so these points regarding the historicity of the Book of Mormon, do not stand; and the same can be said for the lack of understanding of just what DNA can and cannot tell us; we could go on with the glass of the Jaredites–in at least three places in the Old Testament, twice in the pre-Patriarchal book of Job, glass is referenced, and puts it in Mesopotamia in 4,000 BC, and while iron requires melting ore at 2,700 degrees F, & steel requires melting ore at 2,600 degrees F, glass requires melting sand at 3,100 degrees F.; really now, do you think people should run around spouting things they haven’t researched just because they’ve been told it? I was actually enjoying the podcast until John lost me there, (but John is not an archeologist, but a psychologist) but anyone with a PhD should know to research anything before he publishes it, especially if he is shaming someone else publicly as he is here, nor should people repeatedly insist “it’s a fact, its a fact” or “its the truth, its the truth”, conflating it with divine truth. Its okay to say we don’t know divine truth, or have our doubts, or aren’t sure of it, but to conflate that with what we “believe” are facts and truth, well, that’s like saying God can’t know more than what science currently believes (but states as fact & truth), that the threshold on what God can know is what man knows.

  52. ཞཇའཇམ June 28, 2020 at 7:22 pm - Reply


    Long ago
    On silent Seas
    Rippling quiet
    In windless breeze

    The rising sun
    Did touch the dawn
    Calm and quiet
    The Maker’s Song

    In this hush
    The void gave form
    To a world
    Newly born

    The mirrored starlight
    Azure blue
    Perfect, peaceful
    Eternal hue

    Upon this sphere
    Our Maker born
    In eons distant
    In Perfect Form

    Endless pages
    Of single Word
    Spoken silent
    In waves long heard

    The Music written
    The Song e’er sung
    Within the waves
    Of moonlit sun

    The Music speaks
    E’er rolling on
    The Maker’s Voice
    Eternal Song

    Within the waves
    The Music speaks
    Soft, eternal
    Calm and deep

    Through this Music
    Our World was formed
    Without number
    In Light adorned

    In the Seas
    The Music plays
    Its soothing quiet
    Stream and rain

    Unquenched our thirst
    For what we hear
    The Maker’s Word
    In water’s tears

    This is why
    The Sea does call
    In loving quiet
    To us all

    In water’s breath
    In ocean deep
    The Maker’s Word
    Doth never sleep

    In Sea’s soft voice
    We all find peace
    Not knowing why
    Its sound we seek

    Within the Seas
    The Music glistens
    Yet few doth know
    For what they listen


    • Detached Insight December 15, 2020 at 10:05 am - Reply

      Thank you for sharing this. Reminded me of some of JRR Tolkien’s prose.

  53. ཞཇའཇམ June 28, 2020 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    I wrote that poem (‘The Music’) when my faith crisis in the LDS Church had finally come to a peaceful and circle-completing conclusion last year. I share it here because I know how painful, stressful, upsetting, angering, and unending a faith crisis is, seems, and or can be. “The Music” spoken of in the poem is the transcendent; the Source of Consciousness; the Force (an ancient, universal concept expressed through the comparatively recent pop culture phenomena we know via “a galaxy far, far away…”). Tapping into this “Music” finally relieved me of my faith crisis…so…..I wanted to share that joy.

    Thank you.


  54. Detached Insight December 14, 2020 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    Dear John,

    Thank you for posting these recordings. I want to congratulate Margi and You for having the courage, perseverance, good judgement necessary to go on with what you are doing. But most of all, I want to thank both of you for the inherent sense of justice that both of you have.

    I come from a different place than most listeners here. I am not Mormon, but I have been born and raised in a high-control group (or cult if you prefer that term). I knew the episode about Your excommunication would be a hard one for me to listen to. I knew would either have to instantly recoil from, or listen passionately to the very end – it turned out to be the latter.

    I too had gone through an equivalent process to what John and Margi went to – I was expelled from the group and as a result lost contact with my family, including my sister and my mother. But that is not why this episode of Mormon Stories podcast made such a powerful impression on me. Or why it was so difficult to listen to.

    The reason behind that is because in my group, I’ve gone through this process several times and saw it from both angles. In the cult-drama I not only played “John Dehlin’s role”, but many times I also played “Brian King’s role”. For several years I had been what can be described only as a cult enforcer and thought-cop. I’ve walked many people from their first problems and doubts down to the very end of expulsion and condemnation. I ran investigations, interviews, consulted people’s personal files and not infrequently sat on our version of the ‘disciplinary council’.

    Listening to Brian (someone from a different culture, faith and background) being tasked with the same duties that I once had and performing the same ‘rite’ that I used to perform… that was not easy. Seeing suddenly from a “3rd person perspective” was disturbing, sad, emotional and hard. But it was also cathartic and I feel I am stronger now than before listening to this.

    Thank you again John for posting these recordings, I want You to know that they had a profound impact on this strange person from a different high-control-group. What you are doing has an impact far beyond just the world of LDS and ex-LDS members. I wanted you to know that.

    yours sincerely,
    Detached Insight


    I recognize the problematic nature of “hidden recorders” and a certain unwholesomeness this brings, yet at the same time I recognize the church leaders were also not sincere and were using covert means themselves to try to “expose” you. Last but not least, a church leader acting with good intentions and with full backing of his Church should not be afraid of having his voice heard in public. This sort of hush-hush “only-behind-closed-doors” meetings, that is very cult-like and reminds me of my own group. I think taking all of this into account, I believe that you John have made the right decision to release the recordings.

  55. D March 4, 2021 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    It appears to have been just over a year since this material was posted. Oh how I wish I could have discovered this site, the content, the history sooner. Thank you for your work. I’m sorry for what your family was subjected to and wish you all the best. I’m moved by your courage and draw strength from it as I continue my exploration of the church and the great confusion and disappointment I feel.

    All the best

  56. Mike Larsen August 17, 2021 at 8:27 pm - Reply

    Listening to the 3 conversations with the Stake President I kept having the scene pop into my mind , in Breaking Bad Walter’s DEA brother in law was shot and helpless on the ground and Walter was pleading for his life to be spared and His BIL says “ Walter you are the smartest man I’ve ever met but you’re not smart enough to see the decision has already been made .”
    Not to disparage your intellect John ….just that there is no other way the church could go with your situation . They cannot and will not tolerate public criticism from its members . They tried to force you to stop and you made your choice . The correct one I might add . After all is said ….we must be honest with ourselves .
    I have long believed that women and the priesthood and full fellowship for same sex couples will happen. The only question is ‘ when .’ And of course it will take public pressure from outside the membership . When the world turns we will turn . We will have to . Just as we did with Blacks getting the priesthood . When missionaries knock on a door and the occupant says “ Oh , you’re the church that discriminates against women ( or gays ) “ ….that’s when we will change . Why then ? Because it effects the bottom line . Convert baptisms / tithing . And ….little tolerance for bad press . Can’t have it . I also enjoyed your use of the Socratic Method to ask questions of the Stake Pres and put some pressure on him to respond . You did get to some truths through those great questions . I could sense him squirming quite a bit. I didn’t do that in my court process but I was much younger and I knew exactly what was going to happen and just wanted to get it over with .
    I had a lot of questions and finally arrived a point in my life where I could no longer ‘ pretend ‘ to believe . I spent two years studying as best I knew how , and tried to do it from a neutral position , and I came to my own conclusions . I’ve never been better off . To have peace in this life we must be honest to ourselves . And peace is what we all seek . Love your conversations and am grateful to you John and the honesty you portray and your guests also . I have learned a great deal . Keep it going !

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