Blog Archives

518-519: Clark Johnsen – From BYU to Broadway’s Book of Mormon Musical

January 21, 2015
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In this hilarious and touching episode of Mormon Stories, John Dehlin interviews Clark Johnson, an original cast member in the hit Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon. In part one, Clark shares his experience as a young gay Mormon coming from a conservative LDS background, his mission to Mexico, and how he and his family came to terms with his decision to leave the church. In part two, Clark recounts the events and his favorite memories leading him to join The Book of Mormon cast; from the dance department at BYU to the Broadway stage. He goes on to share scene by scene and song by song, themes…

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Stories of Women (and Men) Who Feel They Have Been Harmed by Mormon Patriarchy

January 21, 2015
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If you are a current or former Mormon woman (or man) who feels as though you have been harmed by Mormon patriarchy, please include your story here. Note: Please do not comment on other people’s stories.  For this post, I would like it to only contain people’s direct stories.  Thanks in advance.

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Stories of Marital Distress or Divorce Because of a Mormon Faith Crisis

January 20, 2015
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If you experienced divorce or significant marital distress because of a Mormon/LDS faith crisis, please share your story here.  If Mormon Stories helped you or your marriage through this process in some positive way, please feel free to share that too. Note: Please do not comment on other people’s stories.  For this post, I would like it to only contain people’s direct stories.  Thanks in advance.

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Stories of People Disciplined by LDS Church “Just” for Supporting Same-Sex Marriage

January 18, 2015
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Many people are skeptical that someone could be disciplined in the 21st century LDS Church for “just” supporting same-sex marriage.  If you have experienced church discipline for supporting same-sex marriage, please post your story below. Stories I’ve gathered so far: “My stake president (in Draper) told me a few months ago that church members cannot support same-sex marriage and remain in good standing in the church, regardless of whether they publicize their views on this matter or not. He went on to say that this is not just his opinion or personal interpretation of church policy, but rather, it comes…

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Reasons for the Disciplinary Council

January 17, 2015
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(Updated on 1/19/2015 to provide more detail, based on feedback from Bill Benac). In Peggy Fletcher Stack’s January 16th, 2015 article entitled “Did Mormon podcaster go too far? Dehlin faces possible excommunication,” she attributes the following opinion to Mormon apologist, blogger, and attorney Steve Evans, “Evans questions whether Dehlin’s support of gay marriage and Ordain Women was the main reason for the move against the podcaster.” In the letter I received on August 7, 2014 from Dr. Bryan King, it lists as #3 on his list of conditions for continued membership: “Stop promoting groups or organizations that espouse doctrines contrary to…

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Disciplinary Council

January 15, 2015
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January 15, 2015 (updated 1/17/2015) For Immediate Release North Logan, UT Phone: 435 227-5776 Email: johndehlin@gmail.com Mormon Podcaster and Scholar John Dehlin Threatened with Excommunication Summary: As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS or Mormon church), I have been summoned by my LDS Stake President, Dr. Bryan King, to appear before a disciplinary council to be held on January 25, 2015 at the North Logan Utah Stake Center, located 2750 North 800 East, North Logan, Utah beginning at 6 p.m.  The charge is apostasy, and I have been informed that the likely outcome of…

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Your Questions for John Larsen

January 6, 2015
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On January 21st at 6pm in Salt Lake City we will be hosting a live interview and celebration of John Larsen (former host of Mormon Expression Podcast, and current president of the White Fields Educational Foundation).  Please post your questions for John here, and please RSVP to attend the interview/celebration here.  We hope that many of you will join us to celebrate John’s many wonderful contributions to Mormonism.

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516: 2014 Mormon Stories End-of-Year Update

December 27, 2014
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In this episode I address the past, present, and future of Mormon Stories.  I also discuss my past interactions with Stake President Bryan King, my current beliefs, my current relationship with the LDS church, and my thoughts about what appears to be a pending disciplinary council.  

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Your Questions for Clark Johnsen and/or about the Book of Mormon Musical Go Here

December 24, 2014
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ClarkJohnsen

We will be interviewing Clark Johnsen — original cast member for the Broadway Book of Mormon Musical — this Sunday in Salt Lake City. Please post your questions for Clark about his story, or about the Book of Mormon musical, below. To RSVP to attend the interview with Clark on Sunday afternoon on 12/28,  (it will also be a Mormon Stories celebration), please RSVP at this link.

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514-515: Infants on Thrones Podcast

December 14, 2014
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In this two-part series we interview the panelists for Infants on Thrones Podcast: Glenn, Matt, Scott, Randy, Bob, Tom, and Jake.  These guys do tend to get a bit rowdy (language!)…so listener discretion is advised.

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Why was Kate Kelly Excommunicated, but You Have Not Yet Been?

December 2, 2014
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In Kristine Haglund’s recent article in Slate Magazine regarding the end of the “Mormon Moment,” she wrote: “Around the same time that Kelly was excommunicated, the host of the popular Mormon Stories podcast, John Dehlin, was threatened with disciplinary action as well. Unlike Kelly, he was not excommunicated, perhaps in part because he initially kept details of his interactions with church leaders out of the media.” While I really enjoyed the article overall — and feel that it was a very important piece of writing — I did feel the need to correct Kristine’s misstatement….since in reality, I explicitly declined my stake…

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500: To Be Released

October 21, 2014
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Episode 500 is in the works, and will be released as soon as John can finish it.   In the meantime, we’re going to be releasing some of the other great content we’ve been working on. Enjoy!

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Resources for Married Couples

August 27, 2014
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Some resources for married Mormons or former Mormons.  Topics are relevant for unorthodox LDS couples, mixed-faith couples, and post-Mormon couples: Screencasts: Top 5 Myths and Truths about Why Committed Mormons Leave the Church http://mormonstories.org/top-5-myths-and-truths-about-why-committed-mormons-leave-the-church/ Podcasts: Navigating a Mormon Faith Transition (an overview) http://www.mormontransitions.org/2012/04/05/001-navigating-a-mormon-faith-transition/ 182-185: Navigating a Marriage When One Loses Their LDS Testimony http://mormonstories.org/182-185-navigating-a-marriage-when-one-loses-their-lds-testimony/ 143-146: Raising Children in a Non-Traditional LDS Home http://mormonstories.org/143-146-raising-children-in-a-non-traditional-lds-home/ 123-125: What to do when your husband loses his LDS testimony — Jacque Parts 1-3 http://mormonstories.org/123-125-what-to-do-when-your-husband-loses-his-lds-testimony-jacque-parts-1-3/ 157-159: How to Improve Your Marriage After One of You Loses Their Testimony http://mormonstories.org/157-159-how-to-improve-your-marriage-after-an-lds-crisis-of-faith/ 330: Raising Children in a Mixed-Faith Mormon Home…

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A Thank You to Our Workshop Scholarship Donors

August 27, 2014
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To those of you who graciously supported the scholarship recipient program for our August “Marriage and Faith Transition Workshop” — I wanted to let you know that we were able to fund (by my best count) 12 couples scholarships because of your donations.  Margi, Natasha, and I cannot thank you enough for your generosity.  Below are a few “thank you notes” to you, from some of our scholarship recipients. Participant #1: “To those who helped my wife and I attend this meeting thank you very much. My wife and I have struggled for many years with our concerns for a mixed faith…

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An update on my discussions with Stake President Bryan King (8/23/2014)

August 23, 2014
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It appears as though our discussions with stake president Bryan King have abated for the time being, so I wanted to provide a quick update (for those who keep asking). After sending me this initial letter asking that I resign my church membership or face a disciplinary council, my wife Margi and I met with President King and his first counselor for the first time on 6/29/2014 (at our request).  President King framed this original meeting as an opportunity for him to listen, and so we spent most of our time together with me sharing my beliefs, doubts, and concerns about the church, its…

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A Fascinating Look Into How the LDS Church Conducts Marketing Research Around Progressive Issues

August 13, 2014
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I received these screen shots today from a supportive listener. To me, it’s a fascinating look into how the LDS Church currently conducts marketing research (to its members) around progressive issues such as its disciplining of high-profile members, and the ordination of women.                    

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Questions for Brent Metcalfe

August 11, 2014
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I am very excited to announce that I will soon be interviewing Brent Metcalfe.  Brent is a fascinating interview for Mormon Stories for many reasons, including: He knew forger and bomber Mark Hofmann personally. He worked directly for Steven Christensen (son of Mr. Mac), one of Mark Hofmann’s victims. He went on to author/edit New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology, which examined in-depth the historicity claims of the Book of Mormon. Brent was ultimately excommunicated for editing/authoring this book. Brent has become one of the foremost scholars in understanding the Book of Abraham. Brent is generally a giant…

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488-490: Neil Ransom and Kate Kelly – After Kate’s Excommunication

July 26, 2014
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In this three-part series we interview Neil Ransom (Kate Kelly’s husband, and Ph.D. candidate in anthropology) and we speak with Kate about her excommunication and the aftermath. Some of the fascinating tidbits we explore: Neil’s early years growing up in Africa How Neil’s mission, along with his attending BYU-Idaho, actually turned him into a progressive Mormon How Kate and Neil met (their love story), and what Neil loves most about Kate What Neil is researching for his Ph.D. (hint….it’s super cool) Has Neil experienced a faith crisis? Who “wears the pants” in Kate/Neil’s marriage…also what are the traits of a “real man” according…

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487: An Outsider’s View of Joseph Smith — Alex Beam’s “American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church”

July 15, 2014
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In this episode we interview Alex Beam: author of “American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church.” Alex provides an extremely insightful and compelling “outsider’s view” of Joseph Smith’s final years in Nauvoo, along with his murder and legacy.

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483-486: Christine Jeppsen Clark, Daughter of General Authority Malcolm Jeppsen

July 7, 2014
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Christine Jeppsen Clark is a mother of six, a former Mormon Tabernacle Choir member, a Ph.D. graduate student focusing on dementia, and a dear personal friend.  She is also the daughter of the late Elder Malcolm S. Jeppsen — former LDS General Authority, personal physician and best friend to Elder Boyd K. Packer, and a GA who was directly involved in the excommunication of Avraham Gileadi (one of the September Six).  In this multi-part episode with Christine we discuss: What it was like to grow up in the 1950s and 1960s in Salt Lake City as a very orthodox, devout member…

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Are you guilty of “speaking ill of the Lord’s anointed”?

June 27, 2014
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A few years ago, Elder Dallin H. Oaks was quoted as saying: “It’s wrong to criticize leaders of the Church, even if the criticism is true.” I have worked very hard in my work with Mormon Stories to not criticize LDS church leaders.  That said, I believe that it is generally unhealthy for organizations to shield themselves from constructive, well-intended criticism.  I, myself, am extremely sensitive to criticism — so I am not necessarily a model in this regard…but I still believe that constructive criticism is very healthy….and I actively seek it from people who I do not believe wish me harm.…

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Are there any quotes from LDS Church leaders which either support or inspire you?

June 27, 2014
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“I admire men and women who have developed the questing spirit, who are unafraid of new ideas as stepping stones to progress. We should, of course, respect the opinions of others, but we should also be unafraid to dissent–if we are informed. Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth emerges triumphant. Only error fears freedom of expression… This free exchange of ideas is not to be deplored as long as men and women remain humble and teachable. Neither fear of consequence or any kind of coercion should ever be used to secure uniformity…

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Do you desire to be a martyr?

June 27, 2014
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 No.  This experience has been simply awful for me and for my family.  I would not wish this experience on anyone.

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Why did you go to the media with your story?

June 27, 2014
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In the letter I received from my stake president (Dr. Bryan King), he wrote the following: “You should also be aware that if you choose to have your name removed from Church records, I feel it is important to make an appropriate announcement to the adults in the stake that you have chosen this option.” We also knew that a stake-level disciplinary council would involve at least 15 men, and could not reliably be kept confidential.  After discussing this situation with my wife, we decided that this situation was not going to allow us to leave the church quietly and discreetly (if that were…

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Do you have any regrets?

June 27, 2014
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Yes.  I regret the extent to which my wife, kids, and extended family have suffered (at times) as a result of my work with Mormon Stories. I also wish I had more time to read and prepare for my podcast interviews (over the years). Fortunately, my Ph.D. is almost finished.  

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Are you in any way involved with the “Strangers in Zion” web site?

June 27, 2014
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No, am not involved in the Strangers in Zion web site.  I am friends with Micah Nickolaisen (one of its founders), and Micah did call me before initiating this project to get my opinion.  I told Micah that I did not want to use my current situation to encourage people to do anything that would not be in their best interest.  Consequently, I do not desire to encourage anyone to either stay in or leave the church.  Instead, I want people to do what is best for them.  I will admit that I believe that people requesting disciplinary councils may lead to greater awareness, dialogue, and ultimately…

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If you are asked to take down Mormon Stories as a condition for your continued membership, will you comply?

June 27, 2014
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No.  I am open to feedback from church leaders regarding tone and accuracy of information, but I believe very strongly that our inability as Mormons to openly discuss difficult issues is our biggest problem/weakness as a people.  Consequently, I do not plan on self-censorship, but will listen to feedback from church leadership with an open mind.

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Do you want people to resign from the church, or to request disciplinary action, in support of you and Kate Kelly?

June 27, 2014
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No.  I want people to do whatever is best for them in their lives.

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What will you do if you are excommunicated?

June 27, 2014
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My current plan is to complete my Ph.D. in clinical/counseling psychology, and to spend the next 30 years helping people who struggle with the conflict between religion and mental health.  I plan to continue Mormon Stories Podcast (as long as I am financially able to do so), and I hope to create/lead more projects in the coming years to help people navigate the nexus of religion and mental health.

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Are you worried that publishing your beliefs/doubts/concerns will lead to your excommunication?

June 27, 2014
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On the contrary.  I am sincerely interested in finding out if the LDS Church wants people like me to remain in the church. Consequently, I want all of my/our cards to be on the table during this process, and I am hopeful that my stake president will be open, honest, and explicit about why he takes whatever action he takes against me (if action is to be taken).  If the church is willing to accept me as I am, I will stay.  If the church takes formal action to excommunicate me, I will leave.  It’s that simple.

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