As part 1 in a new Mormon Stories Podcast series on navigating mixed-faith marriages, we interview Kirsten and David Udy. The Udy’s story touches on multiple important themes, including:

  • Their brief courtship and marriage after returning from full-time LDS missions.
  • David’s early experiences with drugs and alcohol that resurfaced during their marriage.
  • How David’s “shelf” broke under the weight of doctrinal issues and how he used alcohol to cope.
  • Kirsten’s unwavering commitment to the Gospel, including the Word of Wisdom, and how David’s alcohol use created tension in the marriage.
  • David’s experience in an LDS 12-step addiction recovery program.
  • How Kirsten and David currently navigate their mixed-faith marriage, using love to overcome their obstacles and facing their challenges despite differences in belief.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 1:

Part 2:


  1. Fan of John October 10, 2017 at 10:48 am - Reply

    David & Kristen
    Thanks for sharing.
    Speaking for myself I was a RM went to BYU but came to a realization the church was not what it claimed to be while in college. I refused to get married at BYU and found a never mo wife and am very happy. I would have stayed Mormon if it were true, it would have been much easier. I feel for David torn between truth and family.
    I know you have glossed over many of the details but it seems to me than there is a lot of David Shaming going on here. Now I’m not suggesting that David ever drink based on his family history But Since this behavior is so far outside what you are raised to believe your reaction seems to be extreme like he was strung out on herein. Like leaving him in jail, immediately telling all your children he had a DWI. It seems like you were trying to shame him into compliance. David has provided for his family, stayed loyal to you, puts up with the religion he has come to realize is false. Lives in a community of people who support this religion all for the sake of you and your family. All this while feeling the anger from you about him not believing and knowing you are in pain because of what you have been taught to believe but what he now sees as a false religion. Given this it would be hard to be open with your spouse.
    Kristen you strike me as a kind and compassionate person and I admire how you have stuck by your husband despite his shift in believe. That would be a hard thing and it’s not anything you ever though would happen. I think both you and David deserved to be commended. I hope you find peace

    • David Udy October 13, 2017 at 5:22 pm - Reply

      Learning to move beyond shame was a huge part of my recovery. As you probably know very well, the use of shame is very prevalent not just in Mormon culture but in Western culture, especially during the years that Kirsten and I were raised. Understandably, some of Kirsten’s feelings and comments reflect the culture that we were both raised in. Having said that, I have learned not to rely on others including Kirsten to filter their feelings or walk on egg shells to protect me. All of Kirsten’s feelings and comments are valid and important that she feel free to openly express them. There’s no reason that I have to interpret those feelings as personal shame.

  2. rich October 10, 2017 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    “The moment he first took a drink he was alcoholic.” WTF. This sounds like other areas where tscc implies you’re one and done.

    • Terry October 11, 2017 at 9:14 am - Reply

      I’d suggest a little more compassion for Kristen. Clearly this has been a traumatic time for her and her husband. In regards to that comment, maybe it wasn’t meant to be general (“everyone who takes a drink is an alcoholic”) but instead maybe it was more directed at her specific situation (“my husband who is prone to alcoholism was an alcoholic from his first drink because the way he is made he can’t have a healthy relationship with alcohol”).

  3. Jay Ball October 13, 2017 at 9:16 am - Reply

    Dave, thank you for sharing your story and putting yourself out there in an effort to help others who may struggle with similar issues and addictions of their own. I also applaud the strength of character it takes to stand up against culture and tradition. I know this is not easy. I pray you find ways to make peace with the religion of your youth.
    For me, I’ve come to a realization that religion, at it’s core is deeply personal (institution completely optional).
    In this interview Kirsten talks about living in the present and Dave, you mention that mindfulness and meditation are important to you. Kirsten mentioned that you both are spiritual people. Can I ask you, what is your spiritual ground?
    You didn’t seem to give credit to spirituality in your healing process. Has spirituality played a role in overcoming addiction? Can it?

    • David Udy October 13, 2017 at 5:23 pm - Reply

      Hi Jay, I replied to your comment but I did it under the general comments, I’m just posting this so that you will be flagged via e-mail.

  4. David Udy October 13, 2017 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    Hi Jay, just out of curiosity, would this happen to be the same Jay Ball that I worked with at S&S in Logan?

    I feel like I glossed over or missed so many critical points. The interview felt like it passed by in a flash. I probably needed two more hours and some more preparation to really say it all.

    Spirituality is at the center of my recovery. My upbringing in Mormonism was an obstacle for me, possibly because it was linked to childhood abuse. At a deep level I had tied both spirituality and my definition of God with the version of Mormonism that I was brought up with. When Mormonism was proven false to me, my ability to feel spiritual was broken and my version of God was entirely dysfunctional. I spent years working with a sponsor in AA and on my own rebuilding and redefining spirituality and a much for functional understanding of a loving God. I would say that spirituality is crucial to healthy recovery from any addiction or at least a natural byproduct of recovery.

    • Jay Ball October 16, 2017 at 9:09 am - Reply

      Thanks for your reply. Yes, I am the same Jay Ball from S&S. :)

      I can identify with the cognitive dissonance associated with having your Mormon roots shaken. I wondered as I listened to the interview if you had abandoned God altogether (many do). I was happy to hear you did not lose that.

      I agree that trying to grapple with spirituality separate from culture and tradition of your Mormon roots can be a challenge. I think the biggest challenge (at least for me) is in un-learning the wrong things in order to make room for correct things. Mark Twain said it well, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

  5. Angie October 15, 2017 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Question for John

    I am in a mixed faith marriage. The marriage has been a strong loving Union for 28 yrs. 2 yrs ago , I left the faith with all of our children and my convert husband remains loyal. I desperately want to know if there is a way to have my name taken off the records of the church where I have privacy. I do not wish to further upset my husband and the strain my leaving has put on the marriage.

    We have a deep respect and love for one another , however , my husband will not discuss any of these things with me and I do not push any of it on him.

    I thought I could just leave my name there for his sake, but it’s becoming intolerable for the sake of my dignity and integrity.

    Do I have any option to do this discretely?

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