Blog Archives

Questions and Answers

June 25, 2014
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(This document is a work in progress.) What past experiences led you to start Mormon Stories? Prior to my LDS mission, I considered myself to be an orthodox, literalistic, believing Mormon.  To give some sense, I was regional scripture chase champion as a Freshman in high school, seminary president as a senior, and to this day have never tried alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, etc.  Bruce R. McConkie was my favorite church leader as a youth and young adult, and I devoured the Doctrines of Salvation trilogy (by Joseph Fielding Smith) as a missionary.  In short, I considered myself to be a highly devoted…

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Flawed, but Trying

June 19, 2014
By
Flawed, but Trying

I’m going to say a few things that are completely obvious, but I want to say them anyway. Many, many people have been very kind to me recently, showering me with descriptors such as “hero” and “saint.”  Others have been not-so-nice, accusing me of deliberately contriving and manipulating the past and present situations for various motives (e.g., attention, money, career, narcissism).  As I imagine that both types of descriptions will continue into the next few weeks (months/years) — I would like to be “on the record” as stating two things. First…the obvious.  I am a flawed individual who is simply trying to do what he…

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480-482: Jeremy Runnells and his Letter to a CES Director

June 18, 2014
By
jeremy

In February 2012, Jeremy Runnels experienced a crisis of faith, which subsequently led to a faith transition in the summer of 2012. In the spring of 2013, Jeremy was approached and asked by a Church Education System (CES) Director to share his concerns and questions about the LDS Church’s origins, history, and current practices. In response, Jeremy wrote what later became publicly known as Letter to a CES Director. Letter to a CES Director very quickly went viral on the internet. The CES Director responded that he read the “very well written” letter and that he would provide Jeremy with…

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476-479: John Dehlin and Kate Kelly Discuss Possible Disciplinary Action

June 18, 2014
By
dehlin-kelly

In this series we share four interviews in response to John Dehlin and Kate Kelly being informed about pending disciplinary councils.  The interviews include the following: Episode 476: A June 13th, 2014 interview with John Dehlin for Utah Public Radio. Episode 477: A June 16th, 2014 interview with John Dehlin and Kate Kelly for RadioWest. Episode 478: A June 17th, 2014 interview with Ally Isom, Senior Manager of LDS Church Public Affairs. Episode 479: A June 12th, 2014 interview with Jennifer Napier-Pearce of the Salt Lake Tribune.

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365: Why I Stay — John Dehlin

June 12, 2014
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This presentation was delivered as part of the 2012 Salt Lake Symposium held on July 27th. To listen to the entire session, click here. The text for the talk can be found here.

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Messages to my Family

June 12, 2014
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It’s a surprisingly heart-wrenching experience to tell your wife and children that you are being put on trial for apostasy by the church you love. What I learned today is that it’s even more difficult to receive this news as the spouse or child of an alleged apostate — especially when you happen to live in a very conservative Mormon town, and will likely face considerable social stigma as a result of your father’s decisions (for no fault of your own). The decisions I’ve made have certainly led to this week’s events.  I desire no pity. But if you have a word or two to…

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400: Top 5 Myths and Truths about Why Committed Mormons Leave the Church

June 12, 2014
By
WhyMormonsLeave2013

I created this video/presentation for two reasons: To dispel any misunderstandings about why people leave the church (and what happens to them when they do) that came about as a result of my recent podcast interview, and I’ve been wanting to update my “Why people leave the LDS church” youtube video for some time to include the results from the “Why Mormons Question” survey. Please watch and provide feedback if you can…and then share w/ family, friends, and church members/leaders who lack understanding or empathy.  Powerpoint presentation can be found here.

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My TEDx Talk: The Ally Within (On Being a Mormon LGBT Ally)

June 12, 2014
By
John

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397-399: John Dehlin and Faith Reconstruction

June 12, 2014
By
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In this three-part interview conducted by Sarah Collett of A Thoughtful Faith podcast we discuss: My ups, downs, and ups with the church The story behind the “Why Mormons Question” survey, including my interactions with a few church leaders A discussion of the Daniel Peterson/Neil A. Maxwell institute incident last year The reasons behind the discontinuation of the Mormon Stories conferences and communities Interactions w/ my bishop and stake president over the past year How and why I’ve returned to full activity in the church Big thanks to Sarah and Micah for all of their hard work.

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Understanding Mormon Disbelief Survey – Results and Analysis

June 11, 2014
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Click here for the full report.  Description below. This survey represents the first in a series that will explore the beliefs and practices of current and former Mormons (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). We recognize that there are many different decisions and experiences in the lives of Mormons. Our initial area of exploration relates to reasons that Mormons question their belief in the Church or experience a “crisis of faith.” Many believing Mormons never experience a faith crisis, and many Mormons who do experience a crisis of faith do not ultimately lose their faith in…

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475: Sandra Tanner Pt 4: “Anti-Mormonism,” Her Christian Beliefs, the Future of the LDS Church, Jerald’s Passing, and Final Testimony

June 2, 2014
By
a-foto

In part 4 of a 4 part series, Sandra Tanner discusses her views on being called an “anti-Mormon,” her Christian beliefs, her views on the recent candor/openness and future of the LDS church, the passing of her husband (Jerald — Alzheimer’s), and shares her final testimony.

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474: Sandra Tanner Pt. 3 — Treasure Digging, Polygamy, Thomas Ferguson, Eugene England

May 26, 2014
By
SandraTanner

In part 3 of a 4 part series, Sandra discusses several issues including Joseph Smith’s treasure digging, connections between the Masonic Lodge temple ceremony and the LDS Church temple ceremony, polygamy, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, blacks and the LDS priesthood, the Thomas Ferguson story, the Eugene England/Bruce R. McConkie letter exchange, the LDS church’s law suit against UTLM, and the Godmakers film.

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473: Sandra Tanner Pt. 2 — LDS Apostles, First Vision, Books of Mormon and Abraham, and Mark Hofmann

May 22, 2014
By
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In part 2 of our interview with Sandra Tanner, Sandra discusses challenges that she and her late husband had with Joseph Smith’s First Vision, the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, along with her interactions with Joseph Fielding Smith, Legrand Richard, and famous Mormon forger and murderer Mark Hofmann.

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472: Sandra (and Jerald) Tanner Pt. 1 — The Early Years

May 19, 2014
By
100tannerfamily

Sandra and the late Jerald Tanner were raised in the LDS faith, both with a strong Mormon family history. Jerald was the great-great-grandson of John Tanner, well known for his sizable financial contributions to Joseph Smith and the LDS church in 1835 when the church was deeply in debt. Sandra Tanner is a great-great-granddaughter of Brigham Young, the second president of the Mormon Church. As teenagers, before they met, Jerald and Sandra were challenged by different people and events to examine the origins of Mormonism. Soon after their introduction, they jointly began researching Mormonism and became engaged. Both accepted Christ…

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470-471: Adam Miller’s Letters to a Young Mormon

May 13, 2014
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Adam Miller has been described as one of the most interesting and important writers in Mormonism today.  In this episode we speak with Adam about his new book, “Letters to a Young Mormon,” published by the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship.  According to Adam, this book attempts to address the real beauty and costs of trying to live a Mormon life. Adam is a professor of philosophy at Collin College in McKinney Texas.  He was born and raised in a small Pennsylvania branch, and served an LDS mission in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  He has been married for 15 years…

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469: RadioWest on New Order Mormons and StayLDS.com

May 9, 2014
By
JohnAndDougFabrizio

Over the last decade, there’s been a small group of Latter-day Saints carving out space for themselves in the Mormon community. They are often called “New Order Mormons.” They don’t believe everything the Church teaches, but they stay because they love the culture and are spiritually nourished by their involvement. Wednesday, Doug Fabrizio of RadioWest sits down with John Dehlin, co-founder of StayLDS.com. They’ll talk about this progressive strain of Mormonism and what it means for a church so defined by orthodoxy.

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467-468: Taryn and Jason Nelson-Seawright on Leaving the Church after Returning

April 23, 2014
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467-468: Taryn and Jason Nelson-Seawright on Leaving the Church after Returning

In November, 2005 Mormon Stories interviewed Jason Nelson-Seawright (known online as “Roasted Tomatoes”) and Taryn Nelson-Seawright (“Serenity Valley”).  In this touching, 2-part series Taryn discussed how she resigned from the church as a teenager, but ultimately felt called by God to become re-baptized into the LDS church — ultimately becoming sealed to Jason in the temple.  You can listen to this original episode here and here. In this episode, nine years later, Jason and Taryn discuss their decision to leave the church completely.  They also discuss how their experiences with Autism Spectrum Disorder affected this decision.

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465-466: Brad Kramer on Faith Paradigms and Letting Go of Eden

April 16, 2014
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465-466: Brad Kramer on Faith Paradigms and Letting Go of Eden

Brad Kramer represents a rising generation of young, thoughtful, faithful Latter-day Saint scholars.  In this two part episode, Brad briefly discusses his own faith/intellectual journey within the LDS church, and then offers a parent/child, developmental framework for approaching a more mature LDS faith.  Brad also briefly discusses a new approach to LDS apologetics, often dubbed “pastoral apologetics.” Brad is married to Tracey von Bose-Kramer, and is the father of five children.  Brad holds a B.A. in Russian from Brigham Young University, a B.A. in History from the University of Utah, an M.A. in American History from the University of Utah, and is…

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463-464: Rock Waterman and Pure Mormonism

March 31, 2014
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Today we interview Rock Waterman – the founder of the blog Pure Mormonism.  Rock’s basic position is that he believes in the LDS restoration (e.g., Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, Book of Mormon is scripture), but he also believes that the current LDS church has gone astray.  In this two-part series, we discuss Rock’s views on several topics including: How we (as church members) are engaging in idolatry through leader worship. Why we (as church members) are paying much more tithing than the Lord requires, along with a guide for how to calculate your own tithing, based on…

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460-462: Lindsay Hansen Park on Bulimia, Body Image, and Faith

March 18, 2014
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Today we interview Lindsay Hansen Park, wherein she discusses her battles with Bulimia, body image, and faith.  

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459: Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin by Nicole Hardy

March 13, 2014
By
NicoleHardy

In this podcast, Heather Olson Beal interviews Nicole Hardy, author of the stunningly beautiful memoir, Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin, with readers and fans Claire, Mel, and Maren. From amazon.com: When Nicole Hardy’s eye-opening “Modern Love” column appeared in the New York Times, the response from readers was overwhelming. Hardy’s essay, which exposed the conflict between being true to herself as a woman and remaining true to her Mormon faith, struck a chord with women coast-to-coast. Now in her funny, intimate, and thoughtful memoir, Nicole Hardy explores how she came, at the age of thirty-five, to a crossroads regarding her…

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458: Ordain Women Spring 2014

March 13, 2014
By
10WaysToSupportOW

On April 5th, 2014 Ordain Women will again be seeking entrance into the LDS General Conference Priesthood session.  Details can be found here.  In this episode we interview Nadine Hansen, Kimberly Brinkerhoff, Katie Hyde, and Debra Jenson about their participation in Ordain Women.

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456-457: The LDS Indian Placement Program

March 3, 2014
By
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As stated Wikipedia, the Indian Placement Program was a program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1947 to 2000, in which LDS Native American students were placed in LDS foster homes during the school year, with the hopes that they would assimilate into American/LDS culture. Beginning in the 1970s, however, the Indian Placement Program came heavy under criticism. Supporters believed that exposure to white culture was beneficial to Native American children, and that it improved educational and economic opportunities, while critics believed the program undermined the children’s Native American identity.  In 2000 the last student graduated…

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My Initial Reactions to the Church’s History Essays

February 11, 2014
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A reporter asked me to share with him my initial reactions to the church’s recent history essays (e.g., First Vision Accounts, Race and the Priesthood, Plural Marriage and Families in Utah, Book of Mormon Translation, Book of Mormon and DNA Studies)….and here’s what I wrote: A positive step forward, even if forced: I think that the essays are definitely a positive step forward in terms of candor/openness/honesty for the church.  Of course I cannot help but wish that the church would have taken these steps a few decades ago (instead of punishing the scholars who first brought these issues to light),…

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455: Mormon Women Have Their Say

February 11, 2014
By
MormonWomen

In this podcast, Heather Olson Beal interviews three essayists who contributed to the book Mormon Women Have Their Say: Essays from the Claremont Oral History Collection: Caroline Kline (who also co-edited the book with Dr. Claudia Bushman), Anna Rolapp, and Elizabeth Mott.  In this podcast, we discuss the Claremont Women’s Oral History Project in general and then discuss four essays in greater depth:  Caroline’s essay on Mormon women’s conceptions of the self, Anna’s essay on Mormon women and California’s Proposition 8, Elizabeth’s essay on Mormon single women, and Caroline’s essay on Mormon women’s attitudes towards and feelings about patriarchy. From…

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454: Josh Hanagarne on Tourette Syndrome, Faith, Family, and being the World’s Strongest Librarian

December 30, 2013
By
JoshHanagarne

Josh Hanagarne is a father, husband, avid reader, librarian, weight lifter extraordinaire, and the author of the amazing book The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family. In this podcast, Heather Olson Beal and John Dehlin interview Josh about his childhood and adolescence, his Tourette’s diagnosis and treatment, his LDS mission experience, his marriage and family, his educational and work experiences, his body building experiences, and his faith/spirituality.  Josh is open, honest, and frank about all of the above. The book is delightful and thought-provoking and full of humanity and beauty.  We can’t…

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452-453: Mid-Stage Parenting with Nest & Launch

December 21, 2013
By
AnnieNestAndlaunch

In this two-part episode we interview bloggers Sarah Brenner Jones and Annie Bentley Waddoups.  Together they run a wonderfully delightful blog on mid-stage parenting entitled “Nest & Launch.”  In this interview Sarah and Annie share their approaches to thoughtful parenting during this unique stage of life — from the teen to the early adult years.            

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451: A Discussion of the New Race and the Priesthood Web Page (RadioWest)

December 11, 2013
By
RacePriesthood

In this episode, Doug Fabrizio of RadioWest interviews Margaret Young, Marvin Perkins, Russell Stevenson, and John Dehlin about the LDS church’s new web page entitled “Race and the Priesthood.”

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445a-445b: Ordain Women Concluding Dialogue (For Now)

December 2, 2013
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        To conclude our series on the Ordain Women project (you can find part 1 here, and part 2 here), we bring together Kate Kelly, Heather Olson Beal, Neylan McBaine and Sara Vraneš for a concluding dialogue. We’d like to thank all of the participants in this discussion.  

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A New(ish) Mormon Hero – Dr. Lowry Nelson

December 1, 2013
By
Alpine-Summer-School-Staff-1920s

I have a new hero in Mormon history (alongside Juanita Brooks, Lowell Bennion, T. Edgar Lyon, Eugene England, etc.).  It is LDS sociologist Dr. Lowry Nelson. Check out his correspondence with the LDS Church First Presidency dating back to 1947 regarding racism and the LDS church. …and a Dialogue article about him here (hat tip to Paula Goodfellow). So instructive for our day. This was a great man, folks.  A great man. May we all follow his example.

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