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

June 27, 2014
By

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…

Read more »

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

June 27, 2014
By

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.

Read more »

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

June 27, 2014
By

No.  I want people to do whatever is best for them in their lives.

Read more »

What will you do if you are excommunicated?

June 27, 2014
By

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.

Read more »

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

June 27, 2014
By

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.

Read more »

Do you believe that this action against you has been orchestrated from above?

June 27, 2014
By

Yes and no.  I am certain that local church leadership (including my former Elder’s Quorum President and a close friend of his) have complained numerous times about me to my bishop, and that there are genuine concerns on the local level regarding my activity with Mormon Stories, along with my advocacy for LGBT rights, same-sex marriage, and Ordain Women.  That said, I have also been informed of training activities led by Elder L. Whitney Clayton that have been conducted in my stake, Kate Kelly’s stake, Denver Snuffer’s stake, and elsewhere — wherein local church leaders have possibly influenced the decision to initiate…

Read more »

Is it true that you had never met or spoken with your stake president prior to receive your letter announcing a pending disciplinary council?

June 27, 2014
By

Yes.  This was very odd for all of us to receive a letter from my stake president (whom I had never met) that basically said, “I invite you to resign from the church, otherwise we will be initiating a disciplinary council.” However, in his defense, it is my understanding now that my stake president (Dr. Bryan King) interpreted the letter we wrote to our bishop as suggesting that I did not want him to reach out to me.  I take him at his word. I will say that our clear intent in sending the above email was to tell the bishop and other ward members…

Read more »

Did you ask to be excommunicated?

June 27, 2014
By

Not at all.  In the ten years we have lived here in Logan I have been investigated on at least three different occasions for concerns surrounding my online activities, research, and advocacy.  In the past my wife and I have participated in these investigations voluntarily, and in good faith — always to be vindicated in the end.  In one instance, my Elder’s quorum president/home teacher was secretly assigned by our bishop to investigate my internet activities, and to report this information to the bishop while simultaneously serving as our home teacher.  This investigatory activity continued for months before I was finally informed of the assignment (on…

Read more »

Are you trying to lead people out of the church?

June 27, 2014
By

My original motivation for creating Mormon Stories was to help people stay within the church after a crisis of faith.  In addition, I have personally initiated several projects with the same goal, including StayLDS.com, MormonMatters.org, and AThoughtfulFaith.org — and I continue to support these projects.  I have been told by literally thousands of people over the years that these projects have been instrumental in helping them stay active members of the church.  In several Mormon Stories episodes I have also consistently interviewed people with the explicit intent of helping people stay in the church.  Over the years, however, I have learned that for…

Read more »

Do you believe that excommunication will affect your status with God?

June 27, 2014
By

No.

Read more »

Do you see yourself as a victim?

June 27, 2014
By

Not at all.  I acknowledge the LDS Church’s parochial right to decide who should and should not remain a member.  If the church excommunicates me, I do not plan on appealing that decision.   I do believe that by excommunicating people like me, the church will perhaps unintentionally: 1) send the message to progressive Mormons and doubters that they are also not wanted in the church, and 2) communicate that the church is weakening/fearful/provincial/insular, undermining its recent attempts to portray itself to be a modern and diverse institution (e.g., “I’m a Mormon” campaign).  I honestly believe that the church has damaged, and…

Read more »

Why do you value your membership?

June 27, 2014
By

Up until experiencing my crisis of faith, I have loved nearly every aspect of my Mormon life.  I believe that I have benefited tremendously from my LDS upbringing, and I wholeheartedly affirm that the LDS Church can inspire people to live incredibly happy, healthy, productive, meaningful lives.  I believe that my Mormon identity is “in my bones,” and I do not believe that my Mormon identity can be taken off and discarded at the end of the day like a dirty shirt.  As a psychologist, I know that religious identity does not work this way for many (perhaps most). In addition,…

Read more »

Do you want to be excommunicated?

June 27, 2014
By

No.  I value my membership in this church, even though I am clearly unorthodox and unorthoprax at this point in time.  My genuine desire is that this investigation go away, and that I can be left alone to participate (as I choose), and to continue helping Mormons and former Mormons in any way that I am able.  That said, I believe that the inability to open discuss difficult issues with the LDS church is the biggest problem facing Mormons today — and I am willing to face a disciplinary council if the church gives me the choice of either self-censoring, or losing my…

Read more »

What aspects of LDS Church teachings/doctrine do you still believe in, vs. not?

June 27, 2014
By

I do, of course, have my own perspectives on various church doctrines/teachings.  I will list a few here. God.   I still consider myself to be a believer in “the divine” or “God” — although I prefer to retain a great deal of humility when attempting to assign a specific form, beliefs, or behavior to God.  I believe that all of us are only guessing when we speak about the divine.  While I often question or even doubt the existence of God, it does appear to me as though our creation has some sort of driving force or power, and I…

Read more »

Have you taught false doctrine?

June 27, 2014
By

My overall approach for Mormon Stories has been to interview interesting people, allowing them to tell their stories.  While I certainly have expressed doubts and/or concerns about various historical or doctrinal matters over the years, it has never been my intent to teach conflicting or competing LDS doctrine: only to explore the issues.

Read more »

Do you desire to amass followers?

June 27, 2014
By

Mormon Stories does not market, advertise, or proselytize — other than through posts that I make to my personal Facebook pages, and to various podcast-specific Facebook pages.  Mormon Stories is an opt-in podcast that people can choose to listen to, or not.  It is a resource intended for those who are curious about, or struggling with difficult Mormon issues.  While I have received generous support from many listeners, the podcast has been free to download from the beginning, while consuming literally thousands of hours of preparation, interviewing, editing, and technical maintenance. In the end, I am eager for struggling Mormons to become aware…

Read more »

Why do you believe that you are being considered for disciplinary action?

June 27, 2014
By

 I believe that I am being considered for disciplinary action because of: 1) the popularity of Mormon Stories podcast, 2) my support for LGBT rights within Mormonism, and for the legalization of same-sex marriage, 3) my support for Ordain Women, and 4) I believe that both local and high-level church leaders are blaming Mormon Stories for the fact that some people inevitably leave the church. Unfortunately, I believe that these well-intended leaders are ignoring the facts that: 1) thousands of people have affirmed that Mormon Stories and its associated projects have helped them to STAY in the church, and 2)…

Read more »

Why did you start Mormon Stories podcast?

June 27, 2014
By

During our time in Washington I was unable to find satisfactory answers to any of these issues from the church, local church leaders/members, or from family/friends.  It was a very dark and lonely time for me.  Eventually I noticed many other Mormons suffering in silence over these issues – in some cases leading to serious depression, addictions, marital distress, and even suicidality.  Ultimately I decided to leave my job at Microsoft, and to look for a way to help.  I honestly wanted to be a part of the solution — out of a sincere love for the Mormon people. In 2005 I started Mormon Stories…

Read more »

What past experiences led you to start Mormon Stories?

June 27, 2014
By

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 “True Believing Mormon” up until my mission experience. From 1988 to 1990 I served a mission…

Read more »

Questions and Answers

June 25, 2014
By

Below is a listing of the most common questions that I am being asked about the possible pending disciplinary council. What past experiences led you to start Mormon Stories? Why did you start Mormon Stories? Why do you believe that you are being considered for disciplinary action? Do you desire to amass followers? Have you taught false doctrine? What aspects of LDS Church teachings/doctrine do you still believe in, vs. not? Are you guilty of “speaking ill of the Lord’s anointed”? Do you want to be excommunicated? Why do you value your membership? Do you see yourself as a victim?…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

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.

Read more »

365: Why I Stay — John Dehlin

June 12, 2014
By
391539_181972138602068_1690013793_n

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.

Read more »

Messages to my Family

June 12, 2014
By
1487775_738196073219_1721715103_o

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…

Read more »

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.

Read more »

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

June 12, 2014
By
John

Read more »

397-399: John Dehlin and Faith Reconstruction

June 12, 2014
By
292644_622849289099_301275819_n

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.

Read more »

Understanding Mormon Disbelief Survey – Results and Analysis

June 11, 2014
By

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…

Read more »

Flawed, but Trying

June 3, 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…

Read more »

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.

Read more »

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.

Read more »

Support

Monthly Subscription

One-Time Donation

Subscribe

Subscribe to podcast

RSS Feed

  • Podcast Feed

Facebook Support Group


Mormon Stories on Facebook