Dear dear friends,

Family and work duties are demanding that I (as I’ve done in the past) take a break from Mormon Stories for a bit. As a parting gift, I wanted to leave you with a few extra goodies (some of which many of you will have already seen/heard/watched):

I will dearly miss corresponding with you all for the next little bit. Please understand — and know that I hope to resurface someday soon. Knowing all of you has been the joy of my life (outside of family stuff).

I love you all….Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!!!!


  1. Kevin December 22, 2007 at 12:42 am - Reply


    Enjoy yor respite and rest. Merry Christmas to you nd yours and don’t stay away too long!

  2. Ronan December 22, 2007 at 2:52 am - Reply

    Happy Christmas, John. Mormon Stories remains the second best thing about the Mormon internet (BCC is first, of course…). What you do is remarkable.

  3. Stephen M (Ethesis) December 22, 2007 at 11:42 am - Reply


    I enjoyed your essay. One thing you miss, though it is within the structure of the essay is that most general authorities will have three types of narratives that are a strong part of their experience.

    First, “Many (not all) of the people I see leave the church are struggling emotionally, in addition to whatever they are feeling about the church. Maybe they have poor health, a really cruddy marriage, a job that makes them miserable, etc.

    I’m not saying that these folks don’t have good cause to be frustrated with the church at times. What I am saying is that some people who leave the church might also have personal problems that extend way beyond the church. Instead of facing those difficult problems, they might focus all their anger at the church. The church is an easy scapegoat because it’s a human organization being expected to live up to “only trueness.” So, of course it let them down.”

    Second, the returning lost sheep narrative, of people who have left and then returned.

    Third, mission experiences with people feeling the witness of the Spirit and joining the Church. These are often reprised in their callings, over and over again as God works with then or through them (just as God does with others who are engaged in the service of love).

    Taken together, those form a strong cultural narrative in favor of orthodox thought.

    BTW, there is a reason God told the early brethren to “preach only repentence unto this generation.”

    Wish you well this Christmas season.

  4. Stephen M (Ethesis) December 22, 2007 at 11:45 am - Reply

    I would note that I’ve had two side effects from reading the Arbringer Institute materials. First, I am noticiably more thoughtful, to the point I’ve had it mentioned.

    Second, if I don’t catch myself, I tend to think of any resentment anyone has as purely self generated.

    I am more empathetic, but often less sympathetic.

  5. David S. December 22, 2007 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    John, Thanks for all you do. Congratulations on your recent graduation and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  6. Stephen M (Ethesis) December 22, 2007 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    John, you’ve inspired a short post of my own.

    I need to write some time about speculation, preaching repentance and the gospel as seen through the lense of our experience and language.

  7. Terry December 22, 2007 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    *Sniff* Even though I’m a relative latecomer to Mormon Stories, John, I feel like like we have become great friends over the past few weeks. This is truly a remarkable community where the open exchange of ideas is encouraged regardless of viewpoint. I see this as the 21st century equivalent of what the School of the Prophets might have been. I wish you the best and ask you not to be away too long–we’ll all miss you!

  8. Kevin December 22, 2007 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    I just listened to the Other Heroes webcast.

    Excellent. John I think you may end up being added to this list if you keep up what you do through Mormon Stories.

  9. austin smith December 25, 2007 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this amazing website, John, and Merry Christmas!

  10. […] We also have created a few other documents and multimedia presentations for your enjoyment, which you can find here. […]

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