A tribute to Tyler Glenn and his new album Excommunication

John Dehlin Blog, Disciplinary Councils, Ex-Mormon Stories, Homosexuality, Mormon Stories, Music

tyler-glenn-excommunication-400Today is the release of my dear friend Tyler Glenn’s new album: Excommunication.

In my view, this album is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. It is not only a simultaneously raw and joyful listening experience; it is also a singular creative achievement as it explores 21st century religious faith transitions more deeply, more intimately, more effectively, and more powerfully than I believe anyone has ever been willing or able to do.

If I could emphasize one thing – it would be that this is an ALBUM, not a series of singles.  Please give the album a full listen start to finish if you can.  To me, it represents a full spectrum of Tyler’s journey – both in dealing with his faith transition, and in coming to accept and even celebrate his sexuality.

Having said that, my favorite songs right now (in no particular order) are as follows: (including my own interpretations of what the songs are expressing, and/or some lyrics):

1) Sudden Death (OMG) – Tyler expresses/explores the initial shock of his faith crisis. “I never asked to fall from grace. Catch me I’m starting to fall! Don’t know what all this is for! Keep comin at me with your disrespect. You went and started a war. Now I don’t care any more. I keep on living like it’s sudden death.”

2) Gods + Monsters – I believe that this is, in part, an album about a former boyfriend who cheated on Tyler, but I think it is about religious leadership who manipulate and disappoint. “Players only love you when they’re playin. I believed in Gods and Monsters too. Then I found out they’re all imposters just like you. Somebody take me higher, and higher.”

3) Midnight – Tyler’s breakup song with with Mormon God, which naturally follows after one’s own self-acceptance. “I’m giving back to you things I thought were true. God, where the hell are you hiding? My hands are in the air and I’m excited. I’ve been on the run, so I’m not coming. It’s alright. I’ll probably talk to you at midnight. God I could never be like you. I can’t change, I can’t change, and I don’t want to. I’ve been on the run, so I’m not coming. It’s alright. I’ll probably talk to you at midnight. Fear. That’s what it was just to be clear.”

4) John, Give ‘Em Hell – A beautiful personal tribute by a dear friend.

5) Devil – A song of hope. “I’m singing hymns at the top of my lungs. I found myself when I lost my faith. I found myself when I lost my faith. Don’t pray for me. I found myself when I lost my faith. So if I’m the wicked one, I’m still my mother’s son (Deb Christine Glenn, Nan McCulloch), and you’ll never take that love away.”

So honored to call Tyler a friend. But he is also a brilliant artist.

Yes this is an album about anger and sadness. But it’s also an album about personal empowerment, and healing, and growth, and hope. In short, it is an album about the full range of feelings and experiences that accompany an empowering faith transition.

I’m teary as I write this. For all of you who have or who are experiencing a faith transition – I hope you can connect with the album as I have/am. There is something so powerful that music can do that nothing else quite can. And Tyler has done this brilliantly (in my view).

Thanks for the gift of this album, Tyler Glenn. You have become the voice of a generation – and I couldn’t be prouder to have you – YOU – be that voice.

P.S. You can purchase the full album below. Please support Tyler if you are willing/able.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/excommunication/id1158436425