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 history, and its leadership.  I also attempted to explain to him my motivations for Mormon Stories podcast.  During this first meeting President King made it clear to us that he hoped to act swiftly.  He also requested that we not speak publicly about our discussions — which I politely declined to agree to (though I have chosen to largely remain silent over the past few months out of respect for the process).

Over the next few weeks, President King met with several members of my stake who volunteered to speak with him about how Mormon Stories (and our other OSF projects) have helped them in one way or another.  Some were active, believing members.  Others had lost their faith and/or left the church.

On 8/7/2014 President King and his first counselor met with me and Margi for a second time.  During this meeting he provided the following conditions for my continued membership in the church:

  1. “Publicly renounce and apologize for the false concepts you have widely expressed regarding God, Jesus Christ, the Atonement, the restoration of the Gospel, and the Book of Mormon.
  2. Cease providing a public forum for any person who is critical of Church doctrine.
  3. Stop promoting groups or organizations that espouse doctrines contrary to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  4. Resign my status as an ordained minister in another faith” (I signed up here once to be able to marry a friend, though the opportunity never materialized)

During this meeting we asked for clarification on each item above.  Some additional points that President King conveyed to us verbally were:

  1. That simply having doubts or criticisms regarding the church are not (in and of themselves) grounds for church discipline. Instead, that it has been my decision to discuss these doubts and concerns publicly (via Mormon Stories Podcast, via radio and newspaper interviews, and via my Facebook page) that is a primary cause of my membership status being jeopardized.
  2. That my continued public support of same-sex marriage would not allow me (or others in our stake) to remain in good standing with the church, because to him, the public support of same-sex marriage constituted the “support of teachings and doctrines that are not in harmony with the teachings of the church.”
  3. That my public support of Ordain Women would also not allow me to remain in good standing with the church.

When asked for additional clarification regarding his conditions for continued membership, President King requested the following:

  1. That I publicly renounce and apologize for any/all past doubts and criticisms that I have made regarding the church, its theology/doctrine, its historicity, or its policies.
  2. That I do my best to remove any past podcast episodes, blog posts, or Facebook posts that contain the public expression of either doubt about, or criticism of, the LDS church – whether these comments were made by me, or by any of the people I have interviewed over the past nine years.

In a follow-up letter, Margi and I offered the following concessions to President King:

  1. To publicly clarify the sources of my doubts/criticisms (as I have already sought to do here: https://mormonstories.org/questions-and-answers/).
  2. To work harder to ensure that the tone and substance of my/our work with Mormon Stories podcast going forward, along with any of the public statements that I make in the future, are as thoughtful, measured, and as constructive as possible.  We were happy to offer this concession, as we had already started moving in this direction (based on feedback from our listeners).
  3. That I would resign from the web site listed above, and seek to find another means to conduct marriages if the need arises.

In that same letter we told President King that we could not concede to his other requests as a matter of conscience (e.g., taking down past Mormon Stories episodes that express doubts/criticisms of the church, ceasing to publicly express or to interview people in the future with doubts/concerns regarding the church, ceasing our public support of same-sex marriage and Ordain Women).

Today we received an email from President King telling us that he was taking a wait and see approach, and that his future decisions will be based on our future actions.

For the record, our plan is to continue doing what we have been trying to do for the past nine years on Mormon Stories podcast: interview Mormons of all types (faithful/believing, struggling, disbelieving) — with as much balance and constructiveness as we are able to muster.  In addition, we are working towards conducting more interviews in the coming months that deal with the practical considerations of those who want to live happy/healthy lives in either a post-Mormon or a post-orthodoxy paradigm.  Some of the topics we hope to focus more deeply on include 1) navigating a mixed-faith or a post-Mormon marriage, 2) raising children in an unorthodox or a post-Mormon home, and 3) how to more effectively communicate with believing family/friends as a non-believer, or as an unorthodox members.

Also, we will unabashedly continue our public support of same-sex marriage and Ordain Women, and I continue to reserve the right to express my beliefs/doubts/concerns regarding the church, its history, and its leadership, as the need arises.

Thanks for everyone’s concerns and support during this difficult time.   In summary, we will seek to be even more balanced and constructive with Mormon Stories podcast, but we do not anticipate that much will be changing on our end in terms of content.  If things change with President King, we will update you as we are able.

149 Comments

  1. square peg August 23, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    I think they are afraid to excommunicate you as quickly as they did with Kate. They saw the backlash that caused, and they know that you have a much bigger following than Kate and probably fear what would happen. I am angry at them trying to get you to remove past pod casts and make apologies for things that THEY should be apologizing for all of us for. They truly don’t seem to want any of us with doubts and legitimate issues stemming from the church to have anywhere to turn!

    • Female Intellectual August 23, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      I don’t have doubts. I am glad there are people that when they have doubts are willing to discuss those openly, because apparently those of us who assert we don’t have doubts slip into the shunning or shaming budket of apostates.

      Now we have doubters who don’t discuss their doubts and remain compliant and doubters that do discuss their doubts and remain compliant. I do not relate, but do listen and support where I am able.

      The doubters are Mormon, those without doubts are former Mormons.

      • Confused August 24, 2014 at 1:30 pm

        The last sentence doesn’t make any sense. Shouldn’t it say. doubters are former Mormons, and non-doubters are still Mormons?

    • Dave August 23, 2014 at 10:33 pm

      Backlash? Most people I know we’re wondering why it took so long for the church to act with Ms. Kelly. I assure you they are afraid of no backlash. You people have these discussions in a vaacum surrounded by a relatively small number of people who agree with you. If the church decides to excommunicate Mr. Dehlin, the “backlash” will be about as noticeable to most people as a moth hitting the windshield while driving down the freeway.

      • LGAJ August 24, 2014 at 12:49 am

        Unfortunately the church is the moth in a spiritual sense. The only windshield are the financial resources of the church. Those resources came from the blood sweat and tears from people no longer alive and the over 60 age group. If the church had to survive on the current tithes only, with none of those other assets, it would be bankrupt in 10 years because the tithing is going down as membership faith wanes and world including the US economies are faltering. On tithes alone, the quorum of 15 would be wearing adult diapers about church finances. The young people don’t have the income and Africa and Latin America and Europe and Asia can’t support their growth. The missionary surge will peter out soon and so will the growth. You can’t convert using the internet because that two edged sword will also slit their throats. Listen for the stats in April conference. The kids going on missions are socially inept and are being enable by the iPad. When it won’t turn on, they leave because the can’t carry on a conversation and know it. They want to show a video and play missionary. It ain’t going to work. Half in our ward have come home early or decided not to accept their call. If you were even partially right the 44% surge would have produced more than 4% increase in baptisms. You can’t just stand at the pulpit and say “our beloved prophet” and have it happen. That revelation and the lamanite placement program and perpetual ed program and I’m a mormon billboards come and go. Be accountable for once. It’s sad. It’s far more sad than bad. Write down your thoughts and in 20 and 40 years you will feel like a fool. I did that and I was right. The church is exactly what and where I thought it would be. No boast just plain common sense and a little honesty.

        • Mike August 24, 2014 at 9:27 am

          LGAJ,
          Perfect post…spot on and honest. For the church and the upper 15 it’s about protect the “brand”. But you have to have income and continued cash flow to protect the brand. It’s no surprise they have purchased “mammon-like” buildings, malls and real estate….they have projected the tithing losses and are left with a business plan that has to sustain them. It’s the business of Jesus folks….whether you believe it or not.

        • Steve Lowther August 25, 2014 at 12:56 pm

          Isn’t your post really just wishful thinking? On what are you basing your assertions? Nobody outside of the Q15 and those privy to confidential financial data knows what the Church’s income is.

        • shemseger August 25, 2014 at 2:09 pm

          The church depends little on tithing, tithing goes towards the maintenance of church buildings and ward/stake budgets, if people stop paying tithing, they simply close the building or combine wards. The Church has MANY for-profit businesses that pay for everything else. See for yourself:https://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/2012-07-11/the-mormon-global-business-empire#slide1

      • Don August 24, 2014 at 10:51 am

        To Dave,

        Of course the majority of the Church will see no material effect from the excommunication of Kate Kelly or if a similar action were to be taken with John Dehlin. This is not because a backlash does not exist, but because the control of information available to active, faithful members of the LDS church plus the propaganda that comes out of SLC and across the pulpits through-out Mormondom insures these to be non-events in their realities. It is like the proverbial tree falling in the forest and making a sound or not depending on someone being there to hear it. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

        To drive the point home further with another metaphor – “The Emperor has no clothes!” It is totally understandable that a “faithful” Latter-Day Saint will continue to see clothes where there are none, as to see and admit to seeing otherwise would be evidence of having “lost the spirit” and being left to the buffetings of Satan. How can they truly “see” when the mantra from leadership is “Doubt your doubts”?

        Thank you John and family…I just shared your interview of Benji Schwimmer with an RM daughter who is having questions regarding the Church’s stance on LGBT issues – very helpful to her in validating her own thoughts that God is much bigger than the limitations that the LDS Church puts on Him(Her/Them).

    • anita August 24, 2014 at 9:37 am

      Square peg, the backlash you talk was mostly non existent. The church as a whole barely even noticed it.

      It sounds as though the stake president is very reasonable and trying his best to work with John.

      John, just curious, why do you feel the need to be able to perform marriages?

      • james August 24, 2014 at 6:33 pm

        Good question.. why the need to be able to perform marriages?

      • Steve Lowther August 25, 2014 at 1:04 pm

        Anita, any request for a person to act contrary to his conscience is far from reasonable. I don’t doubt the stake president is an honorable man at heart, but I was struck by how unreasonable his demands are. Delete the podcasts? Apologize for his doubts? Essentially he is demanding a spiritual castration!

    • Dan August 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      Couple things that reason tells me. 1. There is ONE Church of Jesus Christ on earth, or there is NOT one. If there is one; It MUST have a Prophet that communicates with the Godhead to keep the doctrine and tenets pure. (As evidenced by thousands of “Christian” churches). If that Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints then it behooves anyone and everyone to align themselves with the counsel of the Living Prophet. If It is not, one would be wise to run not walk from the Church. If you are not completely aligned with the beliefs of the current Church as led by a Prophet one should quickly resign before the incorrect church had a chance to take action on them. If they don’t have the courage or faith to separate themselves from this supposed Lord’s church at least they could count it a blessing the leaders would help them with the correct decision by excommunication.

      • Christian Schmemann August 25, 2014 at 8:45 am

        What about those of us who dispute that the Church that Christ Himself established fell into error, lost the keys and went into apostasy? What about those of us who believe that the keys have been perfectly preserved in the Eastern Orthodox Church and in the Catholic Church? What about those of us who believe that the Catholic Pope and the Orthodox Patriarchs can speak for God just as well as did the Prophets of the Old Testament?

        I don’t for one minute believe that the LDS Church claims about the Great Apostasy. I do not believe that brutally suppressing even asking questions about the Faith in order to clear up confusions (which is what most “doubt” really is anyway) is any hallmark of the True Faith.

        If I EVER had any interest in being LDS (which I really never have had), the way that John Dehlin, Rock Waterman, Kirk Caudle, Denver Snuffer and Kate Kelly (whose worst “crime” was pursuing a hopelessly failed strategy from what I can tell), has now killed off any such hypothetical interest.

        • dan August 25, 2014 at 6:16 pm

          Do the Catholic Pope and the Orthodox Patriarchs personally claim to speak for God just as well as did the Prophets of the Old Testament? And, if so, which faith is correct? Their doctrines are not in complete harmony with one another as I can only imagine God would expect. I (nor the LDS church)would ask nor expect anyone to embrace any Church that did not enhance their faith and understanding of God and his precepts. Christ and his apostles of Ancient times only invited and allowed all who heard their voice to be touched in their hearts by the Holy Spirit. Many heard, but were set in the traditions of their fathers, thus rejected His message. The conversion had to happen by listening to the message and acting upon the prick in their hearts from the Holy Ghost. That would be all I would ask of anyone.

      • LGAJ August 25, 2014 at 11:50 am

        That sounds too much like the 60’s rant during the Vietnam War, “love America or leave it .” Many of those most opposed to that war were veterans who gave their all and change their minds after coming home about the war once they clearly saw the truth about the falsehoods about that war.

        • dan August 25, 2014 at 6:25 pm

          We are not talking about a War made by man. We are talking about the Church of JESUS CHRIST. Either He directs it through revelation to a prophet or he doesn’t. If He does, one would be a fool not to be on board 100%. (Would you agree)? If He does not, then it surely is not of Him, and therefore we are taught in the scriptures who it is of.(Lucifer) I don’t see how anyone would want to have any association with a church that is not endorsed by Christ Himself?

      • David Macfarlane August 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm

        “Reason” tells you all this? Please share with us the assumptions underlying your “reason.”

        • dan andrus August 25, 2014 at 3:04 pm

          Ephesians 4:5
          5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, Do you suppose Christ at his second coming will go to every Church and teach what they have been accustomed to hearing or His pure doctrine? Why would there be any less expectation of His Church on earth today?

          Amos 3:7
          Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

          Didn’t see anything in there about Podcast hosts. How many of the thousands of Christian Churches claim a living prophet who receives communication to administer His Church?

    • Neil August 24, 2014 at 4:33 pm

      John

      I was told in December 2013 by a Bishop of a Logan student ward that your previous Stake President wouldn’t take any disciplinary action against you so “the church” was replacing your stake president. So this seems bigger than just you and stake president.

    • shemseger August 25, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      They are not afraid, the circumstances are different, John has not marched onto church property with hundreds of followers or made demands against the church. They Church has never, and will never apologize for standing firm in the face of adversity, God’s laws do not bend to align with modern trends. If you have doubts/issues, the church will always advise you to turn to the Lord in prayer. We all have doubts, I’ve had doubts, I still have new doubts that arise on occasion, but communicating with the Lord erases those doubts every time.

  2. Bill August 23, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Elder Holland claims he wants people like you (Us) in the church. He should be happy to speak on your behalf at any (at this point inevitable) action that will happen in the future. Reminds me of David O. McKay offering to speak for Sterling McMurrin in a similar situation. Keep up the good work. Do what is right, let the consequence follow. Godspeed Brother!

    • Ron Proctor August 23, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      Cynical Thought: Holland wants everyone in the church, as long as they shut up and pay up.

      Less Cynical Thought: Does Holland believe he’s doing the right thing? Probably, but he neglects the human need to discuss concerns, find validation, and work toward solving problems. It is unreasonable and unhealthy to expect doubters to quietly go along with the program. If you want to try to make the church better, you are forced to work outside the system (or on the margins, as the case may be).

      • Ephima Morphew August 24, 2014 at 12:12 am

        that is to shut up sit down and pay up

  3. Jeremy August 23, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Such squelching of one’s voice is cultish behavior. My wife and I cited the treatment of you and Kate Kelly in our resignation letter. What has happened to you is not our primary motivation for officially leaving, but it was one of the last straws. The church acts more like a corporation that is more concerned about PR and its coffers than it is with the truth. We’re done with it, but best of luck to you John!

    • Leesa Dunn August 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      I agree fully! Squelching! Heartbreaking!

      • Lilian Shelton August 24, 2014 at 9:33 am

        I couldn’t agree more with you Jeremy !

  4. Wayne Perry August 23, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    I’m listening to your interview with Brent Metcalfe right now and can’t help but hear Mark E. Peterson’s position he shared with Brent echoed in Pres. King’s instructions to you and Margi. Yeah…it’s really not about the truth, is it? Protect the church, protect the status quo, and truth be damned.

  5. Ray August 23, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    You are fulfilling a Marvelous Work and A Wonder, John. This seems to be a manifesto in the face of intolerance and ego based self righteousness so prevalent in man made religions, which all religions are guilty of to one degree or another. Even more Marvelous will it be when the confluence of science and spirituality enables all mankind from the bondage of the false agendas of our ego’s. Bravo to you and your family!

  6. Rachele August 23, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Your bravery astounds me.

    Please don’t cave to their demands.

    Please stay true to your beliefs.

    And I stand with you.

  7. MarkO August 23, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    John, I have greatly enjoyed learning from you and the many interviews you have done. Keep up the good work.

    My thought it that at this point I don’t see why it’s worth the continued effort to battle with the LDS Church. They do good for the world in many ways, but their way is burdensome. However, I am so glad that to be a follower of Jesus one does not have to pledge loyalty the LDS Church or lock oneself in line with such demands as they have given you.

    My suggestion is that you and your family will find much joy in following Jesus by simply following the pattern and picture New Testament paints for us about Him. It beautiful in its simplicity. The it’s not nearly as exhausting to follow Jesus in the NT manner than the way the LDS keeps putting upon you. Walk away from it and stick with Jesus. There’s no doubt a community of Jesus followers somewhere who are already doing this.

    • Female Intellectual August 23, 2014 at 8:04 pm

      Please be specific in the many ways they help the world independent of helping three to five million members be better Mormons so that they can go to Mormon heaven!

      The more specific the better. I know of nothing they do other than high profile yellow vest events and serving their own tithe-paying membership.

      Name one hospital, clinic, school, food bank, shelter, clothing warehouse that is open to all regardless of religious affiliation or compliance. Just sick, hungry, or naked the Mormons are here to help over time.

      The Methodists, Catholics, Baptists, and US government provide such things–Mormons get institutional charity status. Where is the unconditional charity? Seriously, please, one example.

      • Magyar56 August 23, 2014 at 10:35 pm

        I have one example that surprised me. I have a friend who coordinates finances for the Genesis Project church up in Ogden. He is a very good, charitable and genuine man. They run a Dream House here that supplies clothing, food and other essential things to the poor and needy of the community. Apparently every six months the LDS church gives $6,000 in food, clothing and other supplies to this group through the Bishop’s Storehouse to their cause. I was touched by that outreach to another faith in the community. I was surprise.

        You asked for one example. The world is not black and white. It is many shades of gray. And many other colors for that matter. The church does some amazing things for people . But it also causes much pain for any others. It is up to us to decide if we can swallow the bad with the good. As for me, I’m finding the cool-aid too bitter for my taste.

        Good luck John! I’m hoping things work out the best for your family whether you are in or out of the Church. My wife and I really enjoyed attending your latest conference. Looking forward to hearing from you in the future.

      • I mean, August 24, 2014 at 11:27 am

        Actually, the bishop storehouse is open to all denominations and nonprofits for resources and supplies up to a certain (I cannot recall the specific number, but it is in the thousands) amount every year.. I found this out from the compassionate service leader last year. She said we need to be making efforts to make it more widely known in our community. Then again, I live in an urban ward in one of the US’ largest cities, and our stake is incredibly diverse and my RS president is the leader of a local nonprofit.

        Humanitarian aid in the form of food, medical care, and cleanup, is available and utilized for all regardless of religious affiliation, especially following natural disasters.

      • One specific example August 24, 2014 at 9:07 pm

        @”Female Intellectual” — Challenge accepted. Here are a few *specific* examples:

        1. In the U.S., the LDS church sponsors a BSA troop for the young men. Every rank advancement requires community service and the culminating award requires a significant Eagle project (typically around 100 person-hours of service). Those supporting the project are typically the members of the LDS ward, almost exclusively. For my project we went and repaired facilities and volunteered time at the Baton Rouge, Louisiana Food Bank. My nephew just completed his project which consisted of building benches for the neighboring non-LDS church. A young man in our current ward recently prepared school supplies packages for disadvantaged youth.

        “Okay, but that is just part of the BSA program…”, one might counter. Well, the church does pay for the membership fees, and they do have activities frequently supporting these kinds of service projects (e.g., we used Church facilities to prepare school supplies kits), so they should get some credit. [We’ll leave discussions of YM/YW equality for another post]

        2. During hurricane Katrina the Church asked members from surrounding areas to drive over and help with the cleanup. My brother drove from Houston (5 hr drive each way) and worked his end off on more than one occasion.

        So, this is the Church proper asking members to perform significant service at a time of significant need, and involving significant personal sacrifice.

        3. Go over to ldscharities.org and click on “Where We Are”. There you will find a truckload of *specific* humanitarian activities in specific countries.

        Now, I will be the first to argue that the church could do *more* and the church could do *better*. For instance, the LDS church does a pretty crummy job of distributing welfare to those who need it most on a world-wide scale.

        However, your accusation that the Church or its members are bereft of significant acts of unconditional charity rings hollow. It just isn’t true.

    • Christian August 24, 2014 at 8:14 am

      (BravO, MarkO!)
      John Dehlin, your work has helped my husband and me during our “faith transition.” I was a convert to the church at the age of 26; my husband was born and raised in the church. When my husband and I were gospel doctrine teachers, we taught from the scriptures about the simple way Christ defines his “gospel.” It is crystal clear yet contrasts starkly with the way Mormons are taught to understand what “the gospel” is and entails. The simpleness of the Way, which anyone can find and everyone can follow, is marvelous and extraordinarily powerful. I credit the missionaries who knocked on my door all those years ago with teaching me about Jesus Christ, and I am thrilled that I can now continue to learn of, be helped by, and grow with Christ unfettered by the many false notions taught and promoted by the church.
      The kingdom of God IS within you–and within all of us.

  8. Sophia Shepherd August 23, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Kate gets a swift kick in the pants. You don’t. Interesting. Wait and see approach sounds fine by me. Thanks for the update and all the work you do to build Zion. Always happy to bare witness that I am still married because my husband had exposure to your work right when I knew the LDS path was no longer mine. Otherwise, he will also witness he would have left me in a heart beat in the name of weighing his own eternal salvation. He would have shamelessly thrown this wife away, demonize me to my kids, and trade me in for a Molly Mormon. All unnecessary. We stand as a unit declaring our home our temple, our bed an alter, and our family’s health and happiness our devotion. Good luck in your endeavors! Thanks for all you do. Don’t quit.

    • mike August 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      But Kate does get to become the ‘gold standard’ for apostacy, i.e., “Don’t support Kate and Ordain Women, or we’ll boot you, too!”. Interesting honor.

  9. Felix August 23, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks for sharing, John. What a burden for you and your family to carry. Know that thousands of intelligent, thoughtful folks continue to have your well-being at heart.

    I wonder if your stake president understands that by following the directive from the magisterium to muzzle you up or force you out that he is acting contrary to the instructions on the matter laid out in the D&C. Never mind that the magisterium appears to be making up their own rules. If you believe that the word of Jesus Christ is the last word on any give matter, it would appear they’re bringing condemnation upon themselves and poor Brother King.

    I’m an active member of the Church but to see the leadership act like the corporate tigers they were before being called to the work is disheartening. Can the drunkards of Ephraim be far behind?

  10. Randy August 23, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Thanks for sharing the update. Hang in there!

    “In the end, everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not yet the end.”
    ~Fernando Sabino

  11. Joshua August 23, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    I’d like an episode with Bryan King. Got to feel bad for that guy with all the trouble makers in his Stake

    But in seriousness is love to know about his interactions with church leadership over the past few months.

  12. Mindy Gonzalez August 23, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Wow. That’s a lot to take in. I appreciate you updating us and I appreciate your integrity in all of this. Thanks for all you’ve done and continue to do, John. Best wishes for you and Margi.

  13. Marsha August 23, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks for the update, John. I’m glad to hear your SP has backed off a little.

    IMHO, if it is okay to “have” doubts, it should be okay to express them publicly. It feels very oppressive/dishonest to tell members they are allowed to have doubts, as long as they don’t speak about them.

  14. lock August 23, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    I’m impressed by your balance, if someone pushes me I instantly want to push back. Good job on not letting your The Church dictate how you respond.

    • Sam August 23, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      This was my reaction as well – if it had been me, I’d have stormed out by now. I applaud your patience.

  15. LGAJ August 23, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    John, if you were allowed to continue in the path you have chosen, there are some whose faith may be harmed. But according to a well known apostle if the church is not true it should be harmed. I have never once took even your harshest comments as an intent to harm the church. Harm only came from boldly trying to share facts about church history that have been hidden or seriously white washed. You as well as myself and hundreds of thousands of others naturally feel violated spiritually by the church’s stance and conduct in much the same way a person would feel if sexually violated. I can never be “normal” spiritually the rest of my life. I gave the church my very best for 61 years based upon what I thought was the truth. I will conclude that if John Dehlin is further violated through excommunication there will be many thousands, perhaps eventually hundreds of thousand of people who will be further disaffected from the church. I may go personally from feeling that the church in not what it claims to be, yet it promotes “good” actions; TO being an organization only out for self promotion with the costume of the appearance of being good.

    To the COJCOLDS, I say leave John alone. Let the natural equilibrium of the issues take it’s course. To do otherwise will cause a storm that will be on going and self destructing. You are going to lose your very best members and be left with a bunch of spineless spiritually weakened and culturally based members who will never be willing to make the sacrifices necessary for the church to survive. I’m starting to feel that has already ocurred and the church is past the tipping point–never to return to former times in much the same way organizationally as I am as an individual. Shame on you. You are now suffering the same fate you have put me through. I may be able some day be healed from being violated, but you can never get better. Your self inflicted cancer is growing and there is no cure in the course you are pursuing. I take zero pleasure watching you die. In fact it causes me profound sadness. There won’t even be anyone around to give you a decent tombstone. You are in a “Carthage” jail built by your own hands. Very, very sad and unnecessary.

    I’m sorry for your sufferings John. I pray very rarely. But you are in my prayers along with your family. Maybe better than my prayers, let’s me publically say “I love you” as a true brother.

  16. Joseph Nelson August 23, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    It’s ironic how many in the LDS faith admire the reformers of other religions (e.g. Martin Luther), but despise reformers in their own religion. Any religion that has had leaders who promoted racism and created a polygamous society that abused women as badly as Mormonism’s 1800s Utah must be kept in check or the abuses may return. Thank you for the work you do.

  17. BigTex August 23, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    You may want to make “https://mormonstories.org/questions-and-answers/” a clickable link so other can easily view it.

    Keep up the good cause!

  18. Stacey August 23, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Dear John and Margi, Christ came and preached in complete defiance of the Pharesees. I see you doing much the same thing. If there isn’t room for doubters, those with questions or those that live in honesty, then it isn’t Christ’s “true church”, in my mind. Don’t sell your integrity to appease the rulers of this church. God bless you on your journey.

  19. andrea August 23, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    They’re buying time. Why ruin the release of their new feature length film on Mormons with bad publicity and backlash from your excommunication? Maybe they’ll run a couple of surveys first. You’re a goner — they just need to time it right.

    I admire the integrity and strength of both you and Margi. Very inspirational.

  20. Michael Nielsen August 23, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks for this update, John. You know I appreciate the work you do in exploring belief, doubt, history, and the human experience.

  21. kinglamoni August 23, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    As an active member who pays a full tithe, who wears my garments as instructed, attends all my church meetings and do many other things asked of a faithful later day saint. I fallow this part of your journey John with interest. I am hoping the church shows its self to be a place where people can share their beliefs openly. No matter where they may be on the belief scale.
    It makes me a little sic to hear that you are told to keep your thoughts to your self and you cant share what is inside of you with out the threat of being disciplined. I expect this kind of request coming out of North Korea, not out of some one who is in direct connection with God. I have a hard time imagining an all knowing and all powerful God being threatened by a persons beliefs. I have a hard time imagining Gods organization being threatened by your beliefs. I have a hard time believing that it is healthy to promote an environment where secrets like this have to be kept.
    I really hope this goes well for you and the church John. I think its simple. Alma said…
    Mosiah 18:8-10 8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
    9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
    If you can meet these requirements and the requirements of baptism then I think you should be allowed to be a member. I don’t understand all the stipulations your stake president makes. Not to be a member that is.
    I also hope the best for your stake president. Of whom I am sure is a good man doing the best he can. As we all are.

    • Lilli August 25, 2014 at 11:55 am

      The Church is full of ‘good & honorable’ people who are deceived by the craftiness of false prophets, because they do not study and follow the teachings of Christ, or they would quickly see the falsehoods and evils they are supporting and leave the Church and never look back.

      As Joseph Smith taught, there’s a big difference between the ‘righteous’ & the ‘good’, the righteous aren’t deceived, for they have charity because they truly follow Christ, and thus can see through all the falsehoods and false prophets of the LDS Church.

      And as Christ & Joseph Smith taught, only the ‘righteous’ will gain Eternal Life, while good and honorable people will have forfeited it by allowing themselves to be deceived because they refused to really study & follow Christ.

      Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who truly follow Christ and aren’t deceived.

      Most people in all religions are good & honorable, but that doesn’t mean they are righteous and going to heaven. It takes the rare trait of Charity to get to heaven.

  22. Christian Schmemann August 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    I have a friend who was a Latter Day Saint “from the cradle,” baptized at eight years age, ordained to all priesthood offices at the youngest possible ages and faithfully served a Mission for the Church. He started reading Church-approved documents about LDS teaching and theology/doctrine and started asking questions once things no longer added up. He wasn’t even questioning if the LDS Church was true, he only sought clarification about matters. (Apparently, the official LDS documents contain a number of contradictions in his mind.) My friend never went public with his confusions and questions, only expressing them privately. Yet, he was accused of doubting the truth of LDS teaching, and eventually excommunicated from the LDS Church for apostasy. My friend described his apostasy trial as a “kangaroo court.”

    I am glad that you are sticking to your conscious, and that you will cont comply with President King’s irrational demands for blind obedience to arbitrary and self-contradictory authority. Still, I feel yet that I must caution you to be careful. I’m not sure that President King’s condition for your continued LDS membership that you only express your doubts privately will not in reality be sufficient for President King and the higher-level LDS leadership (Elders Boyd Packer and Russell Ballard?); in fact, I think they are lying about these conditions for you to remain in the LDS Church. I know that I have shared a second-hand experience that may or may not reflect President King, but still I suspect that it is a cynical ploy to try to paint you as being dishonest in a future apostasy trial.

    I can only conclude that the reason that the leadership of the LDS Church fear the tough questions that inevitably come the way of every body of religious teaching is that they are not convinced in their own heart of hearts that Mormonism has the Truth- whether they can articulate this to themselves is a different matter, but they suspect in their heart of hearts that Mormonism does not have the Truth. They suppress doubt because they fear the questions that come their way and fear that the questions will reveal what they suspect in their heart of hearts and having those suspicions articulated to them. Those who are convinced in their heart of hearts that their religion indeed does have the Truth (those like Pope Francis I, Pope Benedict XVI, Saint John Paul II, Patriarch Bartholomew, and so forth) do not fear the tough questions that will come their way; in fact those who are convinced in their heart of hearts that their religion does have the Truth welcome the tough questions and are able to articulate coherent and intelligent answers to the tough questions.

    BTW, in my Church (Catholic Church- and likewise in the Orthodox Church), on-line forums like this are actually quite common, and the bloggers do not suffer any canonical punishments like you do. In fact, it is common for clergy in both Churches will run on-line forums similar to your own and take questions from random people; here is one example of many such on-line Catholic forums: https://bloggerpriest.com/

    • Felix August 23, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Thanks for joining the conversation, Christian. It is extraordinary for a friend from a whole other faith to speak up on John’s behalf.

      When I referred to Mormon leadership as the ‘magisterium’ above I meant no ill towards your faith. There is an old joke that Catholics claim the Pope in infallible but Catholics don’t believes it while Mormons believe the Prophet is fallible–and Mormons don’t believe it! I admire the idea of priests reaching out to the layity in honest dialog.

      • Charles August 23, 2014 at 4:57 pm

        There are a lot of Christian lurkers here I suspect.

        I have no doubt John will survive this, he’ll land on his feet. It’s his wife and kids I worry about. You go into a marriage never bargaining for something like this. I’m sure John is super loving and the world’s best dad. Hopefully his family sees what his going on. My prayers go out to them.

        We always quote Matthew 28:18-20, but it’s worth quoting verse 17 as well: “And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.” Maybe that can be John’s new verse.

      • Christian Schmemann August 23, 2014 at 7:01 pm

        Felix, don’t worry, I took no offense.

        • Felix August 24, 2014 at 9:47 pm

          Ever hear of Dan Wotherspoon, Christian? With a background in philosophy and theology, Dan is an amazing intellect and as genuinely friendly a soul as I’ve ever met. Having gone through a faith deconstruction himself he has a lovely nuanced take on what it means to be spiritual and human. Another reason for us to sing John’s praises is his encouragement and support for Dan’s podcast, ‘Mormon Matters’. Every once-in-awhile Dan explores interfaith questions or invites amazing guests on from outside Mormonism.

    • Lorie August 23, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      What about Father Roy Bourgeois? According to an online biographical sketch, “When he participated in a woman’s ordination ceremony in Lexington, Kentucky, he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church for refusing to denounce the ordination of women. At the ordination, he stated, ‘No matter how hard we may try to justify discrimination, in the end it is always wrong and immoral.’

      He believes that “the truth cannot be silenced. It simply cannot be silenced.’” According to a 2012 article published in the Catholic Reporter soon after his excommunication, “Bourgeois’ case is a prime illustration of what, today, the institution can and can’t tolerate. Bourgeois’ major offense, the sin that is unforgiveable in the eyes of the church, for which penalty is removal from the order which he has served for nearly half a century and dismissal from the community, was advocating for women’s ordination.”

      Having worked with my Catholic sisters of the Womens Ordination Conference in interfaith initiatives promoting gender equity in religion like Equal in Faith (https://www.facebook.com/EqualinFaith?fref=nf), I think we share more than your comments reveal.

      • Christian Schmemann August 23, 2014 at 7:31 pm

        Lorie, I appreciate your concern. Roy Bourgeois and non-ordained Catholics is that Roy Bourgeois was an ordained priest and religious in the Maryknoll Order. Lay Catholics (those who are not ordained) are free to express whatever doubts they have. Clergy are the ones expected to educate and clarify and defend the Catholic Faith. How can they do this if they don’t believe what the Church teaches? This is one difference.

        I cannot speak of priesthood matters in Mormonism because the Mormon “lay priesthood” is a very foreign concept to me, and I am not sure that I can ever understand the concept of the Mormon “lay priesthood,” so I shall leave Kate Kelly in peace.

        In the context of my Church (and the Orthodox Church as well), the priest acts in the person of Lord Jesus Christ when administering the Sacraments. Since Lord Jesus was of the male gender in His humanity (though genderless in His Divinity), it is spiritually illogical to have a women minister in the place of Christ God.

        Issues of women in the priesthood are far less of an issue in the Eastern-rite Catholic and in Eastern Orthodox Churches than in Roman Catholic, Protestant and Mormon Churches, largely because priests can be and frequently are married. Women in Eastern Churches are not ordained and as such may not serve at the altar, but must consent to their husbands being ordained and like her priest husband, the priest’s wife in the Eastern Church also devotes her entire life to the Church and is deeply involved in the ministry of the Church.

        Lorie, I don’t expect you to agree with me on women in priesthood matters, nor do I ask that you agree with me. I will agree with you Lorie that women have a lot to offer in the Church, Sacramental ministry aside. I will agree with you that the way Western Christianity operates does neglect the multitude of God-given talents that women offer the Church. I’m just not sure that this extends to the altar, serving the Divine Liturgy and the rest of the Seven Sacraments.

        • Knitressnancy August 24, 2014 at 8:33 am

          I’ll chime in from a different Catholic perspective. I’m a feminist, a supporter of women’s ordination and marriage equality, and I live in one of the most conservative dioceses in the US.

          No one has ever tried to deny me sacraments or excommunicate me. I won’t sign the oath currently required in my diocese for anyone who wants to teach our religion classes, but that’s about it in terms of negative feedback for me personally.

          Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got our own set of issues. But John would be accepted as a member in my parish.

          • Christian Schmemann August 24, 2014 at 12:14 pm

            Thanks for sharing Knitressnancy. I think John Dehlin would be accepted in about any and every Catholic parish.

            Which diocese by the way Knitressnancy?

            Marriage equality: I flat-out oppose sacramentally within the Church. As a civil right, I can say freely and in good conscious that I enthusiastically support civil unions for same-sex couples, but to call this marriage is something I am agnostic, ambiguous about. The last time marriage was re-defined (to allow for serial divorce and remarriage) was a complete social and cultural disaster, and I am very weary of yet another redefinition of marriage. Yet, I see no reason why same-sex couples should be denied civil rights.

        • Jason Rossiter August 25, 2014 at 1:55 pm

          Christian’s note about the role of the priest’s wife in the Eastern church is spot on. I am Orthodox, and in my church the priest’s wife (affectionately known as Matuschka, Presbytera, or Kouria, depending upon your tradition) is held in the highest esteem and, at least in my parish, is deeply involved in the life of the church and of the people.

          Jason

      • Lilli August 25, 2014 at 12:14 pm

        The more righteous a man or church is the more they honor & respect & acknowledge women’s complete equality, in the home, church and society.

        Righteous men and leaders understand that a vital pre-requisite for being worthy to hold the Priesthood themselves is to recognize and support women’s God given right to hold and exercise the Priesthood 1st, in all leadership positions in the home, church and society.

        Righteous men aren’t afraid of sharing power & position with women nor are they afraid of following women’s wisdom, knowledge and counsel.

        The Golden Rule easily reveals false churches and false prophets who deny women’s equal divine right to Priesthood power & position to lead, govern, bless & instruct. For all men know they would not want their equal rights denied either.

  23. John Matthews August 23, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    John,
    First of all I want to thank you for your dedication to those who have felt a little less than excited about the church and religion in general. As you well know I lost a lot of my faith when one of my family was dis-fellowshiped in one of the biggest times in need personally and emotionally. they preach of forgivness and charity as long as it falls into their plan. I also have not been in many years but through contact with members and family I see a turn that is troubling me greatly, in order to begin your teachings of the gospel through the missionaries you must first question your own previous teachings and beliefs and that is what they want you to do so why is it so bad if you start to question their teachings. I have always felt that there should be a group within every stake for people who are questioning their own faith that would listen and discuss their issues in order to continue to build strong members who are not discouraged from thinking or questioning the doctrine. I have listened to quite a few of your podcasts and having known you personally since childhood I applaud your efforts to help those whi needed someone to listen to them and I always felt you were trying to help the church and its members. I wish you only the best and keep up the good work. I wish others in the church would see how many you have helped instead of trying to silence your free will and concern for others.

  24. Sker August 23, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Take this with all the grains of salt that you need to but here is my 2 cents…

    Have you asked him what his purpose in this is?

    *Is it to protect the good name of the church?
    If this is it, he’s succeeding. Is that name worth protecting, however?

    *To protect the teachings of Christ?
    IMHO, the church is acting in a manner which is directly contrary to the teachings of Christ. They worship position and priesthood and deny the New Testament and Book of Mormon in their teachings. They use policy to ignore doctrine.

    *Is he interested in protecting the downtrodden?
    The church has done a poor job in regards to women, blacks, native Americans, non-members in a member majority area, those struggling with faith issues and most of all gays. If protecting the downtrodden is his concern, he should rejoice that you’re involved in your efforts for their sake even if they contradict the church. Requesting you tone down your criticisms may or may not be appropriate here and appears to be a concession which you agree with.

    *Is he interested in the truth?
    With the attempted destruction of documents, probable destruction of documents, whitewashing of history, obfuscation of the truth and lies told in correlated materials while requiring the members to be absolutely honest in all of their dealings isn’t appropriate of the one true church. This is a contradiction of President Hinkley saying the history is an open book. (I consider that to be a blatant lie on his part but that’s a separate issue…) Furthermore it goes back as a slap in the face of the teachings of Jesus where he called the pharisees, scribes and lawyers hypocrites.

    It seems the church is more interested in its good name without showing the integrity of being worthy of that good name. The two great commandments are to love God and to love your neighbor whoever she or he may be. In many areas, the church does well in this area but in far too many the church leads people away from God and causes people to do harm to their neighbors in the name of its good name.

    I think going on the counter attack wouldn’t be inappropriate.

    I reiterate the sentiment that you take this with all the grains of salt that you need to. I’m not in the trenches with you, Margie and your SP. I appreciate you keeping us in the loop but please don’t feel obligated. This is your life and your burden to bear. We are interested and concerned but this is only our business to the degree you want to make it our business.

  25. Chris MacAskill August 23, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    > Publicly renounce and apologize for the false concepts
    > you have widely expressed regarding God, Jesus Christ,
    > the Atonement, the restoration of the Gospel,
    > and the Book of Mormon.

    I am being respectful when I say that is something I think many of us want to see from the church. Surely we owe that to blacks. I think most of us would say we’ve heard corrections and apologies from you when you became aware of errors.

    > That I do my best to remove

    Now that the church has taken the courageous step to disavow the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor, shouldn’t we do our best to remove them from our published teachings?

    • Rude Dog August 25, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      Nailed it.

  26. Guy Colwell August 23, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    The path we walk is the path we choose. Stay on the path of your choosing and don’t allow anyone to coerce you into deviating from that path! Best wishes. Guy

  27. Becky August 23, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    If the LDS church is true, as its leaders claim, and if the work is continuing and will continue to move forward and sweep the earth as its leaders claim, then no one person, small group or large group can stop it. By LDS church leaders making these requests, and conditions of members, they are contradicting the belief that the LDS church is the one and only true religion. If it’s true, it has nothing to fear. And fear, is all I see in the stake president’s conditions.

  28. Darlene August 23, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Great honest response to the Bishop. How could you tell him you’d agree with those requests, when you know otherwise. Truth is truth. Thanks for showing up.

  29. Juhani August 23, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    John the work you are doing is extremely important and much much more appreciated, you are a GREAT example of being unselfish and doing what I think Jesus would have done in many ways. Shame on Mr church for their ugly reactionary behavior.

  30. Heather McCollor August 23, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    God bless you and Margi. You are heroes in my book. Standing up to attempted oppression, in order to stay true to yourselves and your work, takes courage. I know there’s probably nothing I can do but offer my friendship and support, but I want you to know I’m one of many who have your back.

  31. shawn mccraney August 23, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    I’m proud of you, your wife, and your children. I truly pray for your ability to navigate and remain healthy. Institutional religion = men seeking control. Fight it all the way, John.

  32. George August 23, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Don’t give an inch John. That day is far gone. You have been patience, now you must be absolute in standing up for the thousands who have believed in you and found help up the different paths on the mountain. The vista will be well worth the climb, and your Savior will wash the dust from your feet and smile broadly upon you.

  33. Lysle (Lyle) August 23, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    John, thanks for the update. I wish you well. I have enjoyed past sessions on your podcast.
    I left the church formally over a year ago. I am 65 years old, was a high priest, serving in bishoprics and a state presidency. I’m also a 5th generation Mormon. Born and raised in Salt Lake City.
    Four years ago I suffered a stroke that forced me to retire early. One of the side effects was that stress caused me to lose all reasoning and I would get very confused. I was a financial manager for the state of Washington, and too much stress.
    I was also serving as Stake Sunday President under a micromanager of a state president.
    Four months after the stroke I took a terrible fall that dislocated and broke my shoulder. I needed shoulder replacement surgery. Because of that, and the stress of being stake Sunday school president I called the high counselor over me and asked to be released two days before surgery.
    That surgery was horrible. I’ve never felt so much pain. I was on all kinds of painkillers, not even knowing who or where I was.
    The day I got home from the hospital my wife left me for the day to go back to her teaching job. On that day the stake executive secretary called me five different times to set an appointment to talk to the stake president. I answered the phone twice, and let it go to answering machine the rest.
    Two weeks later my wife and I attend church and the stake leaders are there. We get up and leave during church because of the pain. The first counselor follows us out trying to set a time for me to talk to them. Yeah, let’s stop and chat!
    I find out later that this infuriated the stake president.
    Then that next week a dear friend of ours dies in Idaho, with funeral on Friday. We attend the funeral, returning home late Sunday night. Five messages on our message machine each of the three days we’re gone from the stake clerk. Each call he gets more and more angry, until he accuses me of hiding from our beloved stake president. Monday I get a letter from the president that he needs to talk to be by end of the week because my membership is on the line. Favorite sentence, when I call you to a meeting it’s the same as God calling you.
    Stress attack sends me to the hospital. I hear nothing back, I call three times and leave message to call, no return call. A month later I stay home from church, wife goes. After sacrament meeting two priesthood holders show up with letter. Stress attack again; back in the hospital.
    My wife and son open letter, I’m put on probation until I appear in front of the stake presidency and apologize for being rude. My don calls for meeting with him and my wife. They go, he won’t relent. Gives me one month or he’ll hold a court and ex me. My wife says, you can’t do that because he’s ill. His answer: if I could see his illness I’d understand, but I think he’s faking.
    One week later I find your podcast and listen to other’s stories. I decide to beat him to it and resign. Salt Lake throws my request back yo the stake. He sends a letter gushing with love, but tells me my actions towards him were unbecoming a priesthood holder, so he honors my request. Next day the bishop shoes up and tells me he’s acting on stake presiedent’s behalf and tell me the stake president wrote to Salt Lake and accused me of apostasy and it will require their approval for rebaptism.
    I love the church, Book of Mormon and everything else, but I just can’t go back. I found the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Indepedence, Mo. I flew out in June and was baptized a member. Never been happier.
    I tell you all this in hopes of helping you understand that there are good people in the Utah church, but there are also lots of crazies. Hang in there, things will get better.
    My prayers are with you.

    • Christian Schmemann August 23, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      This is one of the absolutely worst stores of betrayal in a time of need by a religious community that I ever heard of!

    • Mark August 24, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      That is an amazing story that is painful to read. I wish it had never happened.

  34. Charles August 23, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    When Thomas had doubts, Jesus showed him the holes in his hands and his feet. Jesus addressed the doubts head on. Maybe the Church could arrange for something similar to that for John.

    • Doubting Thomas August 25, 2014 at 11:43 am

      That’s what I’ve been saying! :)

  35. tropical animal August 23, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    What some lesser authorities may have lost sight of: The most important, most valuable, highest principle(as Jesus and President Monson have said) and as every member has experienced and validated by their experiences within the church, is NOT censorship,

    but LOVE.

    To put efforts on censorship rather than love–is, and will continue to be, counter-productive and self-defeating for the church, driving out thoughtful, intellectual members (as it is now doing)and putting up a solid barrier (as the church is now doing) to smart, intellectual people who would otherwise be interested in the church.

    If something cannot stand up against critical analysis, is it being dishonest and deceptive to compel people to believe it simply on the
    basis of hierarchical repetition? (Prove all things and hold fast to that which is true.) Is it wasting people’s time? Should members blindly believe, without examination, simply because they are told to believe it?

    Can the church continue to ignore the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM, and hope,in a day when everyone is carrying the internet in their hands,
    that members and enquiring people will not notice it.

    The church should see John’s podcasts as valuable. (Corporations pay big money for this kind of information.) It helps determine what areas of the church, (when examined by smart people in the plain light of day) may not be making sense. John is a smart, loving, caring person, and is exactly the kind of person the church should want in the church. If John goes, which is ridiculous, a lot of thoughtful people will be reevaluating their church membership, and be thinking, then what am I doing here.

    The church should not be kicking valuable people out, but rather how to keep them in.

    The Mormon church has valuable and wonderful experiences going for it, for example, the loving, love-creating, love-driven people. Above all, as Jesus, President Monson, as well as the science of survival, all agree, the most important principle and experience is love, a special and valuable kind of love, a special kind of feeling, which develops, not from being told by someone in authority behind the pulpit, but is activated by our nature when we interact with others in a loving way.

    This kind of love was at its highest when Mormon pioneers were trying to survive from scratch on the wild and desolate Mormon frontier.

    Some of this kind of love is still activated today, created by interaction of loving people in the small, loving communities.

    The entire church should get with the message and get with the program as president Monson has said. “The essence of the gospel is love.”
    Thus the church should forget censorship, and encourage members to openly express their inner feelings without fear. If the church would encourage open and loving dialogue, the Mormon experience would become more valuable, more useful, more real, more personal, more loving, more bonding.

    Indeed, censorship PREVENTS the church from accomplishing its goals.

    Love, in a framework of loving people, bond people together. (In fact, repetition and censorship does not release the bonding chemical that creates group bonding.)

    Think oxytocin, a bonding chemical within the brain and body. This brain chemical released by loving, pleasant, playful experiences within the group, bonds the people together. We simply need to learn how to release it and release more of it.

    Understanding oxytocin and learning to activate its release, will
    also bring people into the church better than hours of frustrating missionary work. Group behavior that activates the release of oxytocin fulfills the most basic commandment. In fact, it cannot be activated any other way. What an awesome wonderful experience members will have if they realize their most important task is to activate the group love hormone, as Jesus and brain research tells us to do.
    We need to realize that science can tell us how to implement
    the basic commandment.

    Love above all.

    Love you John. You are doing just fine. It is not you who needs
    to change. Whatever, I will continue with your helpful podcasts.

    Love you all.

  36. T.J. August 23, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Thanks for this update, John. I’ve haven’t been able to think about anything else for the past few weeks. Each of your recent stories has had me going “but what in the world is going on with YOU?!”

    I appreciate that you’re even willing to go through the process with your Stake President. It lends an incredible amount of insight to the process and what the leadership is thinking.

    I personally feel like Kate’s entire Ordain Women organization was a “grab for attention”, that she had intended to leave the church years ago and thought to herself “what could I do to really stir things up? I know, demand priesthood for women!” The “do as much damage as possible on your way out” attitude is deplorable.

    That said, I feel like so many of her concerns regarding female influence in the leadership of the church is valid. Having women more prevalent in the leadership of the church, in key decision making, would be great, whether they have the priesthood or not.

    Kate’s “shove it down their throat, my way or the highway, right here right now, dammit” attitude really was WAY over the top, way too much for honorable men who have literally sacrificed their entire lives for the church. I don’t blame them one bit for booting her, as wonderful as she is. I don’t think she really had the interest of the church in mind, because she clearly had already decided to leave.

    You, John, on the other hand, may have lost much of your faith, but I see what you’re doing on Mormon Stories as a real service to the struggling membership. I wouldn’t mind that you interview disaffected Mormon’s so much if you spent more time interviewing faithful members as well. An equal share of faith promoting stories from people who have survived their faith journey and embraced the church more fully would be extremely beneficial to everybody, and likely soothe the frustrations of the leadership, who currently see the vast majority of your stories being about people who really just hate the church and want to give others as much reason as possible to leave it.

    If you can’t figure out a way to provide a more balanced view, showing equal amounts of both sides, then you just can’t expect your leaders (or your listeners) to believe you care for the church and it’s members.

    I’ve met a lot of incredible church leaders who are as saintly and good as they come, and I’ve met some truly despicable, deceptive, empty people who have left the church and who literally hate the church and every member. I’m grateful that you don’t interview many of the latter, and wish you would interview more of the former.

    I have yet to have anything but amazing bishops or stake presidents. So maybe my experience is better than others. I love the church in it’s current form, aside from allowing women more influence the decision making. Why a woman would want all the responsibilities of priesthood leadership, which is mostly tedious work, is beside me. We have almost as many women as men in our church council, and they do an incredible job. What they say almost always goes, because it’s almost always the right thing to do.

    So I support much of what Ordain Women want to have happen, I just don’t think the way they are going about it is really in the best interest of the church.

    I honestly hope and pray that you can find a way to stay with us, John. I love what you’re doing here, if you could just find a way to provide a more balanced experience so that those of us who want to maintain our faith and enjoy the blessings of the gospel and the church could hear as much positive as negative. Moderation in all things, and all that. :)

    Best to you and your family. Best to Kate and her family and all those in OW. I can only begin to imagine how difficult it is for you, and that little bit of imagining makes my heart ache. I really do honestly wish the best for all involved, including the church.

    • Christian Schmemann August 23, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      I cannot comment on whether Kate Kelly decided to part ways with the LDS Church and chose this approach to inflict as much damage on the LDS Church as possible. That, to me anyway, sounds like a very strong accusation, and I’m not sure what evidence that you have to base that on. I will and do agree with you that Kate Kelly pursued a failed strategy. I will say only two other things about this:

      1. Since I have a lot of trouble understanding the Mormon concept of “lay priesthood,” I will refrain from comment on the theology and philosophy of her position on internal Mormon matters. Still, the excommunication seemed to me anyway a canonical sanction that was completely disproportionate with her “offense.” I was concerned about what happened to Kate Kelly.

      2. By the standards of the Catholic Church, excommunication would have been a very harsh canonical sanction on a member of the laity expressing a dissenting opinion from Church teaching.

      If Kate Kelly would be Catholic and did that protest in front of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome with Francis I as Pope, or John Paul II, either Pope would more likely than not would have came outside and dialogued with Kate Kelly and her sister protestors. Benedict XVI, who is much more reserved and introverted, probably would have had his Press Secretary issue a public statement to the contrary. In any case, Kate Kelly would not have been excommunicated from the Catholic Church, if she were Catholic and not a Latter Day Saint.

      • Felix August 23, 2014 at 9:53 pm

        Ever a group to do things our way, Mormonism calls its heretics, ‘apostates’, a word the rest of the world uses to describe those who desire to be separated from a religious body and/or tear it down. Almost to a person, those in the cross hairs for excommunication–both in the last purge of 1993 and now with Denver Snuffer, Brent Larsen, Will Carter, Kate Kelly, Micah Nickolaisen, John, Rock Waterman and others–actually claim Mormonism as their home and their faith community. We find hope in the broad, Christlike welcoming of President Uchtdorf’s vision of a big tent Mormonism. May he and the spirit have a calming influence on his contemporaries who seek exclusion for doubters from the body of Christ. One of our most beloved modern presidents of the Church, David O. McKay, was such a strong and vocal doubter that people were astonished when he was called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Arguably, the Church and the world were better for his willingness to ask questions.

      • T.J. August 23, 2014 at 11:25 pm

        Christian,

        Only Kate Kelly and those she confided in know what her true motivations and intentions were. It’s very common for a person or organization to give public descriptions of their motivations or desires, but have entirely different goals. It’s difficult to discern in a written statement, but when Kate was interviewed by John and started describing her experience and thoughts, and I listened carefully to her tone, her attitude, and all the subtle hints she kept dropping, it seemed to me that she had decided to leave the church long ago. Listen to the interview, listen to what she’s saying and how she’s saying it. Overall she is very genuine, but then she drops little bombs that hint at motives that differ from what she’s verbally saying.

        I’m not saying she doesn’t have a right to feel how she feels, or think what she thinks. Of course she does. I’m just saying that there is a strong current in the disaffected Mormon community – to stay in the church and make as dramatic a scene as possible in the hopes of forcing the leadership’s hand, or dislodging other active members.

        Of course, they feel what they are doing is right, so I don’t hold it against them. But is it actually right? Two people with differing opinions can both feel they are doing the right thing, and perhaps one is right and one is wrong. Perhaps both are right. And perhaps both are wrong.

        In this case, it feels to me like both parties handled it poorly. If what Kate said about her excommunication was 100% truthful, with no misdirection, no misinterpretation, and no malignant distortion, then her leaders made some pretty bad decisions about how to interact with her. But she put them in a really tough position, and what they did may or may not have been of their own choosing.

        It’s easy for listeners to assume that all LDS leaders are insensitive or clueless, which is certainly not the case. I’ve been blown away by the incredibly sensitive and caring individuals I’ve interacted with over the years, my current Bishop and Stake President included. They are absolutely incredible people. Their wives are equally intelligent and wonderful.

        Kate based her entire life and OW operation on the assumption that she knows how the world and church should operate. She’s not willing to consider the possibility that God might actually WANT things to be the way they currently are.

        By demanding that the leadership petition the Lord for a change in the priesthood (and associated gender roles) for her benefit and the assumed benefit of women everywhere, Kate creates a no-win situation for the church and for herself. If they do go to the Lord, which I don’t doubt they have, and he tells them no, or they get reprimanded for asking a question they already know is wrong, what do they say?

        One thing is for certain: Kate wouldn’t take no for an answer. She’d say they were uninspired, or if they claimed to receive an answer, she could easily say they made it up to shut her up. It wouldn’t matter in the least what the leadership said or did, if she were determined to be defiant, she’d find a way to use their actions against them.

        And what if the Lord says yes? Let’s turn everything on it’s head and turn the leadership over to the wonderful women of the church, and ask the men who’ve carried the mantle for hundreds of years to take a break and instead handle the incredibly difficult tasks the women have to this point done so well. They’ll be way too busy to handle the Relief Society, Primary, Sunday School, and all the other organizations they manage. Let’s have the men do that instead. Or maybe just let the women do everything so the men can go home and do yard work and watch sports.

        OK. Say that happens. Does Kate still leave the church in dramatic fashion because she clearly doesn’t believe in it, and claim that she duped the leaders into giving women the priesthood when she doesn’t believe the leaders are capable of being inspired? What would she really do? I wonder if she even knows or has even given it any thought? It’s possible she knew full well what the outcome would be, and has given the possibility no real consideration.

        Whatever the case may be, you have to ask, is it any wonder the brethren were silent on this issue?

        When you have an entrenched, determined opponent with an unwavering agenda, and if that agenda is to do damage to the you, then sometimes the ONLY course of action is to avoid the person trying to hurt you so as not to make matters worse or put yourself in a compromised situation. It doesn’t mean that opponent still can’t hurt you other ways, as Kate has done by painting a story of an uncaring, detached, even malicious leadership. But think about it. Her bishop and Stake President are bound NOT to disclose or discuss what happens in private meetings with people they interview. It’s against policy to talk about those private meetings out of respect for the church member’s rights and feelings. If they DID, they would be in the wrong. If they DON’T defend themselves, she can say whatever she wants and attribute whatever motivations she wants to those men, and they have no recourse. She can conduct full-scale character assassination if she wants, and there’s nothing her leaders can do.

        I’m not saying she did that, please don’t misunderstand. Kate sounds like an incredible woman, and her husband seems very nice. What I’m saying is it’s difficult to tell the full truth of a situation when you only hear one side of the story.

        Which is WHY I feel that forums like this are both enlightening, and en-darkening (for lack of a better word). It’s so easy to assume that what she says, when she sounds so terribly hurt and so sincere, is the full truth.

        We’ll never know, because we weren’t there, and we’ll never hear the full story. When a church court is held, a lot of effort is expended discovering the truth of the situation, discovering the member’s motivation. How much do her leaders know, how many people did they interview who knows Kate and her intentions? We don’t know. All we know is what she’s said, and that’s a terrible sad thing, for us, for the church, and even for her.

        I personally find Kate and her husband incredibly endearing. I hope that John has them on again as they continue on her faith journey.

        I don’t know if I’m communicating this well. What I’m trying to say, in a roundabout way, is it would be nice if we could hear the other side of the story, what the disciplinary council conclusions were, what they knew, how they arrived at their decision, and ultimately, how they felt about being put in the position to have to make a call that would lead to such an outcome. It’s incredibly sad, the entire affair.

        I’ve asked several female leaders in my local church how they would feel if the priesthood were made available to them and they visibly shuttered. Why any woman, or man, would WANT that sort of responsibility is beyond me. And that’s the part of the story that is always left untold… the part where the leaders of the church, men and women alike, were called out of their normal lives, accepted an undesired and incredibly difficult leadership position, and have sacrificed innumerable hours and opportunities for the sake of serving others. It’s easy to listen to all the disaffected and feel like the entire organization is somehow corrupt, but it’s just NOT true. In it’s current form, regardless whatever imperfect people did in the past, the church in it’s current form is quite remarkable…. imperfect, yes, but remarkable. The fact that the church has become what it is in SPITE of all the silly things that happened in it’s formative years speaks less to the institution, and more to the caliber of men and women who have dedicated themselves to living the gospel of Jesus Christ within the church’s context.

        In this case, we only know Kate’s story… and I ache for her.

        I wish MormonStories had the kind of reputation as a more positive resource for practicing Mormons that current church leaders felt they could participate in the discussion and help us understand all of these controversial issues. It would be an amazing thing, really.

        There’s some wishful thinking for ya!

        • Christian Schmemann August 24, 2014 at 8:10 am

          T.J., did any of the LDS Ward Bishops, Stake Presidents or perhaps also a Regional or General Authority ever show Kate Kelly their weekly schedule? If Kate Kelly were Catholic or Orthodox instead of a Latter Day Saint, she might still want women to be included in the clergy, I don’t know. Priests in both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches have found that showing ladies wanting women in the priesthood quickly change their minds when seeing what a priest’s weekly work schedule looks like. (There is an Orthodox priest in the Western US I know of with a parish of 200 people who particularly comes to mind here, as he is also a tenured university professor and married father of several kids.)

          I’m sure that LDS Ward Bishops, Stake Presidents, Regional Authorities, General Authorities, and especially the LDS Apostles and the First Presidency have mind-blowing busy schedules. I’m also pretty confident that these folks can convince women of a male-only priesthood by showing their weekly (or monthly) schedules. The only caveat of this strategy is that doing this will require the LDS leadership to tolerate expression of doubts concerning LDS dogma, and we all know that expression of doubts is something the LDS leadership does not tolerate.

  37. Robert Flynn August 23, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    More like Fear than Faith.
    More like Control than Love.
    More like Wolves than Shepards.

  38. Charlie August 23, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Wow, King says that you can’t publicly support gay marriage or Ordain Women and if you do you’ll face church discipline. So you tell him that you will continue to support gay marriage and ordain women but King now says that he is taking a “wait and see approach”? say what?

    Seems King is all bark and no bite.

  39. Jeremy August 23, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    I am continually shocked to hear that people are excommunicated for bringing up TRUTHS about church history! These are not anti-mormon lies. They are indisputable, historical truths that even General Authorities of the church have acknowledged and talked about (but in hushed conversations that they even try to cover up)!

    If one cannot speak the truth in the church without fear of repercussion, then I don’t know how any members can trust anything that the church says. My family is active and are on the teeter-totter of leaving or staying. It’s a discussion we have been going through in our minds for 6 months on a daily basis. But when I see injustices like this coming from “men of God” I don’t think I can do it anymore.

    I have been an EQ president, Bishopric in my early 20s, would have been Bishop of my Ward if I didn’t move out and my wife and I are at our breaking point. And I bet you that if we left, we would bring about 10 other families with us with a little education.

    Strengthening Members Committee – if you are listening. Get your act together and make the President of the Church and the 12 apostles understand that if they continue with the lies and the whitewashed history, the church WILL fail. You need to come clean even if it means losing members. By acting like a crazy dictator, who says they are wanting truth and blasting from the rooftops that you have nothing to hide, but then trying to silence people who actually speak the truth, you are going to fail. And you will no longer have the support or money, of me or my family. It needs to stop and it needs to stop immediately.

    • Scott August 25, 2014 at 8:40 am

      This closely describes me and my family as well. Been on the teeter totter for 6 months and keep coming closer and closer to outright leaving–and actions like this don’t make us want to stay. Also agree that the exit of me and my family would likely bring a number of other families along and make a number of others begin the initial stages of questioning.

      I second everything said by Jeremy to the Strengthening Members Committee. This whole thing feels like a massive time bomb and if the Church doesn’t get its act together quickly there is going to be some substantial implosion.

      I WANT to stay part of the Church. I generally like the Church community (despite it’s many, many flaws). I’ve been at this long enough to know that I would live a largely Mormon life whether inside or outside of the Church, so why not keep me in and just allow me to live Mormonism at a level I’m comfortable with and let me keep and openly discuss my doubts. Instead, all this jerking around with John makes me feel like the Church is throwing open the door and inviting me to leave. John’s interviews with Terryl Givens and Adam Miller were hugely influential on my sticking with Mormonism for this long. Instead, it feels like I (along with John) am being invited to leave.

  40. imaperfectrn August 23, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    John,

    If the Stake President has waited negotiated this much (wait & see), I don’t think you will be excommunicated. I think you have made great strides with your podcasts. I grew up in the same era as C. Clark. If a person were to just listen to your podcasts then, I think they would be considered an apostate, and ex’d. Thanx so much for being who you are.

    Imaperfectrn

  41. Anthony Browning August 23, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Thanks for the update John! I am sorry to hear their ‘demands’ to allow you to remain a member of the church. I continue to feel you are totally within your rights to question anything you see fit and to voice your concerns/questions/doubts. In my mind, this only makes sense. I’m sad to see the way they seem to be trying to push you towards disavowing the things that are important to you in order to remain a full fledged member. It seems archaic and fear based. Keep up the great work John!

  42. Kim August 23, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    I appreciate all that you have done with your podcasts and offering a safe place for those who are struggling. Please stay true to yourself and the things you have discovered. To do what they are asking, they are seeking another apologist forum. No thank you. Speak the truth and let the chips fall where they will fall.

  43. annegb August 23, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    You were nicer than I’d have been.

  44. Count August 23, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    John,

    Don’t give an inch to unrighteous requests/demands of your SP. You have done nothing wrong and should not be coerced into modifying your behavior. Your mission is to tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may.

    Continue your ministry of helping Church members by sharing with them your valuable insights and those of your guests.

  45. Santos Dumont August 23, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    The church’s demands make me laugh. Sure, issue threats and think that’s not going right to the internet… I can’t wait until the church starts lawyering up and issuing takedown notices against everyone. Then their true colors will be shown. Anyway their telling of half-truths and deception have already cost them me, my wife and my three kids. I couldn’t bear for my kids to grow up and think that the behavior of the church is acceptable.

    • Christian Schmemann August 23, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      Do you really think that any court in America is seriously going to take sides with the LDS leadership? I don’t.

  46. Clean Cut August 23, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks for the update, and best wishes in the future, John. I don’t know how any stake president can make requests that seem unreasonable and/or violate an individuals conscience/moral compass/freedom of expression.

    Hopefully he takes the David O. McKay approach to Sterling McMurrin and not the Harold B. Lee/Joseph Fielding Smith approach.

  47. seeker August 23, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    John, I have followed Mormon Stories Podcast for the past several years and cannot thank you enough for providing a place “for Mormons like me” to go and express my concerns in which I so desperately want to understand. Being a devout member means giving your all to the Church, donating your life to the Kingdom of God on earth. I believe with all my heart that all of us who do this unceasingly at least deserve to know our own history and especially deserve true answers to our questions. Being a member of the LDS Church is not like being a member of any church. It is all consuming, 24/7 being anxiously engaged and the more you faithfully serve, the more you are asked to do. I was called as a president of an auxilliary when I was very ill and was told God wanted me to do this, so I accepted. It just about killed me, I had to ask to be released and was told that the Lord did not want me to be released at this time. That was my first experience with doubt. Then my daughter left the church due to history issues she found on the internet. In wanting to help understand her pain and suffering, I researched her issues and found myself crying non-stop for months at the time. Depression took over for several years until I found Mormon Stories. Thank-you, your work has been a life saver to me. I believe the LDS church does much good and the lifestyle is absolutely the best. There are no people on the earth as genuine and loving. But, that does not excuse the need for answers to our questions. We give countless hours in our callings, we spend $$$$ on gas and doing church work, we tithe, we give our all…and we need answers to help us understand our questions, true answers from General Authorities over the pulpit to all of us, not ‘smoothing things over complicated apologist answers’ who are not representing the Church anyway. Like so many have said, we must go before our leaders and tell the honest truth every 2 yrs. about our personal lives for a Temple Recommend. Why then is it ok for the Church not to tell the honest truth to it’s members in official publications and etc.? This means I can whitewash my answers on my interview and hide things that might not be uplifting?
    I have listened to every single podcast…some several times…and have never heard you direct anyone to leave or go against the Church. Even in your worst times, you have remained neutral and as honest as you could be. I could tell when you were hurting and upset, but you always remained respectful. And I so much agree with others that in the scriptures, Jesus never ex-communicated anyone, He loved them and helped them understand the error of their ways and lifted them up.

  48. LGAJ August 23, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    I used to be a “full” member. Now I’m only about a 1/10th member. I have my full membership which the church never fails to count. In the last year I stopped paying tithing, don’t have a church calling, do not home teach or accept home teachers, let my recommend lapse, don’t attend social events, attend church once every month or so, etc. there are many of us being included in the 4-5 million active. I believe that number will stay about the same but fewer and fewer will be full members. Within a few years there will be only the equivalent of less than 400,000 full members.

    I attended sacrament meeting last Sunday. A returned missionary and the high councilman spoke on the word of wisdom. It was so boring it could have stopped ISIS terrorists in their tracks. I looked around. Almost no one was listening. The few who were looking at the speakers had their eyes glazed over. Every nonmember knows our word of wisdom policies. The stake presidency has to have more important topics. This meeting nearly drove me to drink and I’ve never had alcohol yet. The pain of enduring the meeting sent me rushing home after the last speaker to see if I had any left over pain killers from my last kidney stone. Every week they tell members to stay the whole 3 hour block. About 1/3 leave anyway.

    During the WOW talks not once was God or Jesus mentioned. We are expected to pledge allegiance to Mormonism to the exclusion of Christ. The church really wants us to be good tithe paying Mormons. All done under the guise of goodness.

    I’m sick of all the tricks to get money like tithing settlement with the father or mother or both in front of their children being asked to declare their status or not able to witness temple marriages unless. To witness our six kids get married has cost me over $150,000 each. What a waste.

    John, this and so much more you have tried to help. Your efforts alone are greater than the 80,000 missionaries the church has. Half of them will soon go inactive along with 80-90% of their converts. John, you have truth on your side. The other only has nice sounding half truths.

  49. Joseph Hutley August 23, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Interesting reading.

    Having Been Methodist and Catholic and then finding the faith and being at Latter Day Saints, I do think that a lot of your podcasts are extremely negative hurtful and misleading.

    Not all of them are as I have downloaded a few which I still have that I highly enjoy but I have deleted many that I found to be incorrect, hateful, and negative biais.

    I like listening to other viewpoints I just don’t like listening to incorrect rantings.

    I think you should still be allowed to voice to talk about it but I think the church feels that with some of your incorrect rantings and your inability to correct those incorrect rantings it does mislead Latter Day Saints and can lead them to harm. I think deep down you know that too.

    I have listen to a podcast where they have people talking and you have one person who believes and one person who doesn’t and they have an equal voice asked to not mislead those listening. From listening to your podcast I see sometimes it’s Lance very negative and that can cause people to doubt and they’re down 10 other people’s lies which sound convincing.

    Just my thoughts but keep up the faith!

    • David Macfarlane August 25, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      In all sincerity, when did it become the responsibility of John Dehlin or anyone else who appears on John’s podcasts to make sure they never say anything that might cause someone to question? Is the church doctrine build on such an unstable foundation that mere suggestion and disagreement is that dangerous? In my opinion, no religion that truly professes to hold the truth could act this insecurely regarding the public presentation of alternative perceptions.

  50. David Osborne August 23, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    I think you should leave the Brighamite branch of the church, and fellowship with the more accepting and enlightened crowd in the Community of Christ. A happier path maybe.

    But then again, if you can help force the Utah church to end the sexism and homophobia then that could benefit millions and stop a lot of senseless pain. A worthy cause.

    I really respect what you are doing, John! It helped me move on and resign from the corporation.

  51. LGAJ August 23, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    We all know this SP is über the thumb of an apostle or several apostles. If your SP declined to excommunicate John the brethren would finally get the message they have to do the dirty work and take accountability for it rather than their minions. The group of 15 would become exposed. They won’t put their names or quorum on The Essays and they won’t do the same if John is ex’ed. What a bunch of cowards. They look so cookie cutter pious at conference time. They aren’t willing to do what they ask us to do. This church is a house of cards.

    • tropical animal August 24, 2014 at 9:53 am

      John, Some are saying become more balanced. Don’t worry about doing a balancing act. We’ve been bored with the the other side of the story every Sunday for a lifetime. This is why your podcast is so valuable, it tells the rest of the story, the real story, the story the church does not tell. Don’t bother putting TBMs on. If they want to hear this stuff, they can simply go to church and hear the repetitious material.

      Changing the subject.

      Temple program. The church has started furiously building temples. Look at the rest of the story. Temples, today, are the church’s best money maker. Give us your money if you want to be with your children and spouse. This kind of cruel extortion is more powerful than the “sale of indulgences” in the Roman church. At least they were able to buy sex with their money. But Mormons are required to buy their wife and children, with worldly dollars, of course. The ticket to the temple is costly, but true believers are to be pitied–those poor misguided, brainwashed, manipulated individuals–they are told by the church there is no alternative. The temple program disintegrates, when you look at reality. Written language goes back only 5,000 years, and during this time hardly anyone could write. So how can the church get the names and “do the work” for those people we know existed previously, for millions of years. You see the church teachings were great for implementing Joseph’s and Brigham’s sex pattern, but falls apart for thoughtful people in a modern world of evidence-based knowledge. The temples should be converted into something useful.

      “Man is saved [from the church]no faster than he gains knowledge.”
      So keep on giving us knowledge, John. Maybe someday, we can get the church to come into the modern world of science and evidence-based knowledge.

  52. Thomas Murphy August 23, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Hold fast to your principles John. You’ve already been more than willing to work with the stake president. I don’t know that my strategy would work for you but I gave no ground at all and encouraged the media to put the heat on the stake president. That strategy worked, at least when a reported from the LA Times called and asked the stake president what it was like to be a modern day inquisitor.

  53. Pro-Mormon August 23, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Dude, you can’t have it both ways…either the church is true or it isn’t…..your strong support of Kate is my biggest concern and why I feel the discipline is necessary. Its not in the gospel for women to get the priesthood or members of the same sex to be married.,..the leaders aren’t the problem they are just living the gospel the way it is taught…..so back to my original statement….either the gospel we teach is true or its not….

    • Frmr_StakePres August 24, 2014 at 4:33 am

      Pro-Mormon,

      “Can’t have it both ways…” Well said. “The Church is either true or it isn’t.” If you combine sincerity and honesty with your black and white view of the Gospel, you’ll find yourself quickly on the outside. If you maintain the aforementioned mantra and desire to be active, stay away from history… even very recent history.

      The Church can’t have it both ways. If they hadn’t painted themselves into a corner by “either being true or not” then there may have been some wiggle room for me to reconcile so many inconsistencies in the doctrine. However, I probably never would’ve been interested in an ambiguous gospel. I liked the black and white, true or not model. When I was more honest with myself and God, it became so easily apparent that the Church indeed “couldn’t have it both ways”.

    • Christian Schmemann August 24, 2014 at 7:56 am

      Pro-Mormon,

      When Christ resurrected, the Apostle St Thomas was not present when Christ God had His first meeting with the Apostles after the Resurrection, so St Thomas did not believe the Resurrection. A week later, St Thomas was present with the other 10 Apostles and Christ showed his nail impressions and the spear wound in His side to St Thomas. Christ God met St Thomas where he was (both literally and spiritually) and brought him back to Faith. Christ God did not castigate St Thomas about doubting or throw him out for doubting, merely pointing out that future generations who would not have the benefit of seeing Him alive would be blessed for their Faith.

      From what I see, most of the people who the LDS Church excommunicates for apostasy are not even doubting the LDS Faith per say; they merely have questions about matters pertaining to the Faith, and even the smallest of questions will get one disfellowshiped or excommunicated. This is NOT what Christ God did or does. Why is it that the LDS Church refuses to follow the example of Christ God?

      This may seem like a fabulistic and “pie in the sky” idealism to you, but I have this weird belief that those who are really convinced that they have the Truth do not fear tough questions and will be able to articulate coherent and intelligent answers to the tough questions. If the LDS leadership is convinced that they have the Truth, then why are they unwilling to freely allow people to ask their tough questions and articulate coherent and intelligent answers to people’s questions and doubts? The only thing that makes sense to me is that the LDS leadership can’t articulate coherent and intelligent answers, there are too many contradictions in LDS dogma and history that the LDS leadership cannot reconcile, or the LDS leadership is not convinced in their heart of hearts that they have the Truth.

      In my Church (I am Byzantine-rite Catholic; I am a Catholic who follows the liturgical and spiritual traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy) or my Churches, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox I should say, people can freely discuss their tough questions and doubts with priests, monastics, monks and religious sisters and so forth without fear of canonical sanction. Priests in my Churches freely invite such doubts and questions and sometimes even solicit these things. The big difference is that there is no doubt that priests in both Catholic and Orthodox Churches believe with every fiber of their beings (both physical and spiritual) that they have the Truth. I don’t know that I can say the same thing about the LDS leadership.

    • E.E.T. August 24, 2014 at 12:45 pm

      OK “dude” or Pro-Mormon,

      I think your heart and intent is in the right place, but it is just not as simple as you make it sound. Please consider, that all church doctrine and religion as a whole, cannot be lumped together as either true or false. It has evolved, changed, and will continue to evolve and change. Sometimes the change comes about, from, “a little help from our friends” (Mormon Stories), such as when Emma helped inspire Joseph with the Word of Wisdom. The Word of Wisdom, was originally revealed as “not as commandment or constraint, but as a word of wisdom”. Since then it has been changed to a commandment (they took the wisdom out of it, in my opinion), or when the Black ban on priesthood was changed. There are many other examples of how changes occur, with the “truth”. The Church even takes surveys to hear what members have to say on issues. The Book of Mormon lets us know its not all “Black and White”, when the ancient prophet declared that God reveals his word to the North, South, East and West and the Isles of the sea, “all which he seeth fit”. To me that hints that maybe we don’t always have the whole story and that from time to time God “seeth fit” to add or change things. “Truth” in regards to “pure religion”, is fairly stable, but religious doctrine and practices vary and change over time, with “a little help from our friends”…our brothers and sisters.

      Sometimes Mormon Stories and comments may get a little rough, but overall, it provides the best survey that the church could ask for…real stories from great people in the church, even if they no longer remain.

  54. Paul Smith August 23, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    John…….far from being “anti Mormon” your Mormon Stories podcast has been a breath of real and fresh air for me. I have found solace and validation in your content. Me, a former Branch President, and up until a few months ago, a High Priest Group teacher, found it increasingly hard to ignore the issues I was having with Church History and doctrine…..when I began looking for answers in studying the foundational events of the church/Joseph Smith, there was no resolution, but in fact deeper questions arose. Mormon Stories has been a revelation for me, thank you. I don’t know what TJ has been reading….. ” vast majority of your stories being about people who just really hate the church”…. I have only found truthful,respectful and authentic people with a desire for honesty….that is not hateful.

    President King, if you are reading these posts…..I am not at all anti Mormon, but I find your statements and ideas to be truly disturbing……. so contrary to what I would expect the response of Jesus to be, and most likely to produce anti Mormon sentiment….Church history is public knowledge/domain and also highly contradictory, and you want to stop people from talking about it ! ?…..totally amazing to me !
    Really,how can you ” instruct” someone to recant the genuine searchings of their soul ?….not at any time have I perceived John to be ” Anti Mormon”, quite the contrary. Time to be OK with honesty.

  55. Chris August 23, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    John, regardless of what some people say, I am happy for your decision to continue your christlike service to others. The podcasts are greatly needed and appreciated, they have helped me stay happy and healthy in the church.

  56. Fun August 23, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    We only know what we personally experience. We choose to believe or not believe everything else. I think one great example of this is scientific DNA evidence that the American Indians are not related to the Jews. When that report came out some members (including one Bishop in Australia) left the church. Then a scientific study came out that said the Indian tribes of the eastern United States share a lot of DNA with the Jews. If you did not conduct the science yourself, you have to choose to believe or not believe what the scientists are telling you. You only KNOW what you experience.

    I don’t believe God wants women to be ordained to the priesthood.
    I don’t believe God wants gay people to be married and have that lifestyle accepted as good in the church.
    I do believe God wants us to have open and honest discussions about what we think.
    I do believe God wants us to treat each other with love and respect regardless of our differences.
    I do believe God wants the people in his church to be safe to publicly discuss what we choose to believe or not believe without punishment or censure.

    This is a short list of what I choose to believe. Consciously recognizing that belief is a choice, I can be 100% tolerant of other peoples choices. I can change my beliefs easily when new information comes along. I do not confuse my beliefs about what is true with the truth itself. I intend to believe the things that are useful in my life right now. This way of thinking seems to serve me well.

    • NS August 24, 2014 at 9:03 am

      I think the wisest statement from your posting so far is “I can change my beliefs easily when new information comes along.” However, the problems are…from where (your church’s approved sources like the apologists? Etc.), when (upon the moment your beliefs no longer serve your life well?), and how (passively believing as in being fed with selective info, or actively believing…doubting and being inquisitive like other healthily intelligent minds).

      “I choose to believe”, then your belief is a cherry-pick…not a fact. A truth comes from a fact (testable, demonstrable, and provable), not experience as what typical religious believers behold. LDS members and vast majority of religious believers alike tend to use the terms “experience” and “feeling” interchangeably and lump them both as the same, which is a very unfortunate undoing for wisdom, for “feeling” (an easily-misguiding so-called divine “testimony”, for example) can be deceptive and therefore deluding. Then they start firmly declaring that they “KNOW” this and that, for sure (really?).

      When you “decide” mostly from your belief alone, even though it suits your feeling (and your life) well, it can discriminate others’ well-being and deprive happiness. Also let’s imagine this — wouldn’t you find it disturbing when some strangers whom you don’t even know declare publicly (on Twitter, Facebook, town square, this blog, etc) with such a list that they know “YOU”, e.g.

      “I believe you (Mr/Ms FUN) want this and that.”
      “I don’t believe you (Mr/Ms FUN) want this and that.” ?

      Wouldn’t you be perplexed or even pretty enraged when some strangers claim/declare something like that about you, as if they knew you well? Therefore, what do you base on when you claimed on that list of yours that you “believed” God wanted this and that as if you had met or known him for real? Then is your list entirely a mere personal assumption, derived from your own personal bias and prejudice?

      Based on what I said above, here is what I just learned about you.
      1. From your belief, “…God wants us to have open and honest discussions about what we think.”, then I believe that you are an open-minded and inquisitive person. That’s the beginning of a wisdom.

      2. From your belief, “…God wants us to treat each other with love and respect regardless of our differences.”, then I believe that you are a very thoughtful and loving person.

      3. From your belief, “…God wants the people in his church to be safe to publicly discuss what we choose to believe or not believe without punishment or censure.”, then you are a true American, defending Freedom of speech & thoughts.

      From all the above, I believe that you are a good and respectful person.

      4. From your disbelief, “…God wants women to be ordained to the priesthood.”, then you’re either misguided or discriminatory from either lack of information or a personal bias. Therefore, your belief is unjust.

      5. From your disbelief, “…God wants gay people to be married and have that lifestyle accepted as good in the church.”, then you are either “selectively” insensitive by “personally” denying the legal rights and other rights for a LOVING relationship of others, who are different from you. Therefore, your belief is not respectful and can be harmful.

      “I intend to believe the things that are useful in my life right now. This way of thinking seems to serve me well.”…but is that useful (and may be even harmful) to others? Does it serve “others” well, as well? Will you vote and act for/against others according to your personal beliefs?

      • Fun August 25, 2014 at 12:54 am

        You dissected what I said very well. I was being a bit succinct and left plenty of room for misinterpretation or contemplation. I appreciate your point of view and it seems to me we are not that far apart in some ways.

        Let me provide a little more detail.

        I only know what I experience with my own five senses. Even then, my eyes can deceive me or someone can create an illusion. I can attach meaning to what I experience but I don’t really know if my interpretation is true. I can remember what I experienced but I don’t really know if I remember things the way they were.

        I am sitting in a chair now. I know this.
        I am typing on a computer now. I know this.
        There is thunder and lightning outside, etc. I know this.
        I realize I don’t know anything else.

        The earth is traveling at 108,000 km/h around the sun. Okay, I’ll take their word for it. But I don’t know this for myself. I choose to believe this is true.
        The gravitational constant is approximately 6.674 x 10^-11 N(m/kg)^2. Okay, whatever they say is good enough for me. This has been verified by a lot of people so I will believe them too.
        Denver Snuffer and some other people said they were personally visited by Jesus. Okay, I would love to have that experience too but for now I have not experienced this with my five senses so I choose to believe Jesus is the person the scriptures describe.

        Our understanding of reality is more complex than what I have described above. Since I don’t know much, faith is so very important to me. I don’t do anything without first believing that what I am doing will produce the desired results. The more direct experience I have that supports my faith, the closer my faith is to becoming knowledge. Eventually I gather enough experience that I can say: “When I do x then I know y will happen.”

        I love logic. It helps me sort out all the information I receive so I can create a complex model of my reality. Out of all the experience I have, the books I read, the thought I have, and the things people tell me, I have to discriminate between truth and error. I would like to think I use logic above any other method to help me accept or reject information. The truth is I also use emotion and other subjective clues. I am just a humble human who believes intuition is also another important tool. Logical conscious thinking is just too slow for most of life’s situations.

        In the end, what I believe is what I choose to believe. I am free to explore new information and choose to believe something else when I get enough information to support a new belief.

        I don’t have many doubts because I know I don’t know. I suspect a faith crisis only occurs when you realize your faith is not the knowledge you once thought it was. By definition faith is not knowledge and once you gain enough evidence you cannot have faith because you have knowledge.

        Based upon all the objective and subjective experiences I have had so far in my life: I choose to believe there is a Father in Heaven. I choose to believe Joseph Smith was a prophet. President Monson is a prophet. The Book of Mormon is a real record of people who lived on the American continent and contains Jesus’ teachings.

        Based upon all the objective and subjective information I have received, I believe God does not want this church to ordain women. If my belief is wrong, I am misguided, discriminatory, and ignorant. If my belief is right, I am aligned with the Supreme Being who’s wisdom is greater than yours or mine.

        BTW, I don’t know Kate Kelly personally but I enjoyed her interview with John Dehlin. I respect her desire to ask the Prophet to inquire of the Lord about women and the priesthood. I think her excommunication is sad and unwarranted. I think it hurts the good name of the church when the church does not allow people like Kate Kelly to have their own opinions and express their opinions openly.

        Concerning gay marriage, it does not make sense to me that God would support every type of behavior. As far as I can tell God is not in support of homosexual activity. I freely admit my belief is not based upon knowledge. God did not tell me what he thinks on this matter in person. I have no intention to harm anyone, deny anyone God given rights, or be disrespectful when respect is deserved. However, I just do the best we can with the information I have. If you believe God supports gay marriage, I think you have every right to express yourself in hopes of convincing people like me. I would like all my beliefs to be aligned with Gods will. This means I must change. I must be open minded. Whether or not supporting gay marriage is a shift I will be making remains to be seen.

        I believe the government should not be involved in marriage licenses at all. Churches and other secular providers should marry people according to their own doctrines and traditions. Why? That’s another topic for another day.

        I would like to add that I don’t believe our laws should include everything we think God is for or against. We have free agency and I believe we should only interfere with another persons free agency when they are harming someone else or their property. Morality is something we should teach each other and then we should govern ourselves.

        I hope for your growth and happiness.

  57. Jay August 24, 2014 at 12:03 am

    Well, the mormon church waved the white flag. No longer does one need to believe Joseph Smith was a prophet and no longer does one need to keep his doubts to himself.

  58. A Poster August 24, 2014 at 1:48 am

    The SP’s demands are ridiculous! They couldn’t scream C-U-L-T any louder.

    Good for you in holding your ground, John. You have many supporters, and I am one of them.

  59. Bishop Earl August 24, 2014 at 3:10 am

    John, thanks for the update. I’m sure the local leaders are just trying to do their best and are good men, but I’m also sure they are hearing from those above them. My active son asked me if I could ever come back (to lds). I answered with: come back to what? Do you realize what I would have to give up mentally, forget, or ignore for me to come back? You also did the worst thing possible – you studied and learned. Taking that honest step back and looking at the facts and big picture answered all the questions I had on my shelf. It isn’t easy I know, but we know what God thinks about hypocrites; and, we have to stand before Him alone. God bless you and your family in your journey! We all care about you no metter what you decide.

  60. Jim T.B August 24, 2014 at 7:04 am

    John, I’m currently serving as a bishop of a large ward. Your podcast has helped me rescued some great members in our ward who were on the edge of leaving the church because of their faih crisises. I love this church but I feel sad at the way your stake President is trying to silent you in the name of ‘protecting’ the image of the church. This is so wrong….it seems that protecting the institution has become more important that rescuing and helping the ‘needy’ (those experiencing faith crisises). Are we seeing the fulfilment of Mormon’s prophecy – that we love the church more than the needy? Are we polluting the true church of God by our non-sense attitudes? (Mormon 8:37-38). Thanks John for your great work and may the Lord bless you and your family.

  61. Rio August 24, 2014 at 9:00 am

    I wouldn’t be too concerned about giving orthodox, TBM’s an equal voice here. We have been saturated with the official echo chamber of the corporate church forever. Most of us are quite familiar with official Mormon views and dogma. The church has unlimited means to broadcast the orthodox version of its beliefs. You don’t need to provide them with more.

    What you are doing is giving voice to the voiceless…providing a place where those who are never allowed space in official publications or venues to express what many other voiceless people feel and experience. Mormon Stories is a place to help balance this enormous disparity.

    Keep up the good work in providing the balance that is so dearly needed.

    • Rio 2 August 24, 2014 at 10:26 am

      What he said

    • Jay August 24, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      What? No equal time between those who think God’s words appeared on a rock in a gentleman’s hat and those who don’t? Don’t both points of view warrant equal time and consideration? : )

    • kinglamoni August 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      This web site is actually good at letting people post their opinions with out much sensor ship. I know of web-sites run by others who take a more orthodox position than John who edit liberally any comment that does not conform to the website owners personal beliefs.

  62. Jonsson August 24, 2014 at 10:06 am

    If simply having doubts or criticism regarding the church is not grounds for discipline, but publicly discussing them is, shouldn’t the remedy prescribed by the stake president be to renounce the public sharing of those doubts or criticisms rather than to renounce the doubts or criticisms themselves? It would sound absurd, but it would be consistent with the ethos coming from church leadership: “I apologize for having publicly expressed my doubts and criticisms. From now on, I will keep them to myself.” Then all will be right with the world. As the church increasingly focuses on appearances, appearances is what they’ll get: millions of nonbelievers just going through the motions of outward expression of belief. Reminds me of a scripture. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” Mat 23:27.

  63. p August 24, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Lest we forget, the Brethren have before them the two-thousand year example of the institutional Catholic Church which, in the interest of survival and expansion, has employed or encouraged intransigence, fanaticism, religious lunacy, duplicity, lying, violence and horror. It is of added significance that Catholics are now our good friends and allies, above all in regard to certain “social issues” such as homosexuality and status of women. Indeed, it took the encouragement of a Catholic Bishop in San Francisco to draw the LDS Church into the Prop 8 fiasco. Now the Catholics are immersed an international child-rape scandal, but that doesn’t seem to bother the LDS leadership at all. Avoiding the very appearance of evil no longer applies – unless, in the eyes of he hierarchy, one happens to be a thinker for whom a large swath of LDS history and teaching creates more questions than answers or a woman who doesn’t want to be treated like a child.

    • Jonsson August 24, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      If only the Brethren did follow the example of modern Catholics on the issue of intellectual dissent. They would never excommunicate people like John Dehlin and Kate Kelly. I don’t disagree with you otherwise.

      • p August 24, 2014 at 4:25 pm

        I will add one more (from Wiki), Liberation theology[1]a political movement in Roman Catholic theology which interprets the teachings of Jesus Christ in relation to a liberation from unjust economic, political, or social conditions. It has been described as “an interpretation of Christian faith through the poor’s suffering, their struggle and hope, and a critique of society and the Catholic faith and Christianity through the eyes of the poor”.[2] Detractors have called it Christianized Marxism.[3] Although liberation theology has grown into an international and inter-denominational movement, it began as a movement within the Catholic Church in Latin America in the 1950s–1960s. Liberation theology arose principally as a moral reaction to the poverty caused by social injustice in that region. The term was coined in 1971 by the Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutiérrez, who wrote one of the movement’s most famous books, A Theology of Liberation. Other noted exponents are Leonardo Boff of Brazil, Jon Sobrino of Spain, Óscar Romero of El Salvador, and Juan Luis Segundo of Uruguay.[4][5]

  64. Diana K. August 24, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    John–You are being so brave, and I admire your courage tremendously. Don’t let these cowards–who are motivated by fear and prejudice– destroy you. You have so much to give and offer, and have made a positive difference to many people, including me. Remember, these leaders are following the gospel of Joseph Smith and not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ would never threaten anyone with disfellowship or excommunication. You simply cannot be cut off from the salvation and presence of God!!! Dear brother, hang in there. You have so many gifts to share. My prayers are with you and your family.

  65. alice August 24, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Well, Kate Kelly has been waiting a month now for a ruling on her appeal. If her SP/the 15 are any indication, John could have a good bit of time before any hammer falls. …especially since he has the holy penishood and all.

  66. Penny Meadows August 24, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    John,

    If you want to still have the authority to marry people, apply to be a “Justice of the Peace”, then you will have it. My grandfather wasn’t of any faith, but WAS a “Justice-of-the Peace. (This was is the 1920-1930’s). My mom saw many marriages as well other legal proceedings take place in her home. I like your humble approach with your interviewees. Continue with your good works.

  67. BAB August 24, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    John
    I just want to thank you for the void that Mormon Stories has helped fill in my life. For many years I struggled with the realization that I was not getting any spiritual nourishment from my participation in the Mormon church.

    I was an active High Priest and fully participating in every aspect of Mormonism. I had even been in a bishopric, however, when my daughter got married in the temple my heart began to change. My daughter’s in-laws were prohibited from entering the temple and participating in the wedding, of their son to my daughter, because they were not full tithe payers. I knew if the roles were reversed, how I would have felt if I were prohibited from attending the wedding of my daughter. That feeling never left me. From that moment on I knew at a very deep spiritual level that excluding parents from the weddings of their children was nothing that God would advocate. My daughter’s in-laws sat downstairs in silence as their sons was married upstairs in the temple. My daughter did not want to have a civil marriage first because throughout her childhood she had been taught over and over again that the temple was the only place for a marriage. However, there was no rejoicing that day, there was just a huge sadness and my daughter regretted excluding her new in-laws from such an important event.

    That day we all learned an important lesson about following the bretheren. The lesson that we learned was that God gives each of us our own conscience and that when we ignore that sacred part of us that we cheat ourselves, even if those that would have us walk in other paths claim that they speak for God.

    Several years later I read an online article about Randy Bott, a BYU professor, who was castigated for simply sharing what he had been taught about blacks and the priesthood. He stated that the church taught that blacks were less valiant in the pre-existence and were therefore not worthy to hold the priesthood. The church PR department censored Mr Bott and claimed that these teachings about the blacks were purely folk lore and were not church doctrine. Being an avid reader of church history I knew that this statement was an outright lie! I was shocked that the church would make such a claim. I had been taught the same thing in my youth and I knew that at least four previous president’s of the church had taught it as doctrine. To my amazement I was the only one that took issue with the church’s proclamation on this point. None of my member friends showed any concern at all. They all believed that it was okay to tell lies if it protected the church!

    At my next interview with my bishop I expressed concerns about how the church PR department had lied and debased Randy Bott in order to cover up the church’s previous teachings regarding blacks and the priesthood. I also expressed my concern about the church’s constant need to interview members to insure honesty when the church in turn held themselves to a different standard. I believe that I may have used the word hypocrite. I also vented that I did not think that the way that the church treated members with same sex attraction was very kind.

    The bishop then asked me if I was participating in homo-sexual activities. I asked him why he would ask me such a thing and he told me that he was prompted by the holy ghost. The bishop asked for my temple recommend and told me that he would not be returning it. He tried to get me to schedule an appointment with the stake president so that they could hold a disciplinary court. It was all just really bizzare.

    Anyway, I felt as though my heart had been ripped out. I discovered Mormon Stories and began to listen to the many podcasts. I soon realized that I was not alone. Many other members were also asking difficult questions. It was a God-send to realize that there were others that were also concerned. I no longer felt all alone! For this I thank you John Dehlin. You brought me peace and comfort when I needed it most.

  68. james calder Marshall August 24, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Your interview with “the church”, makes me wonder how the conversation would go with Edward Snowden and “our overlords”/government if they were in a room in the US and the over lords were telling him what he’d have to do in order to stay out solitary prison for the rest of his life. I think they both use very similar tactics and have very similar principles. I think the light of day on many issues would diffinitely help the LDS church and the US Government, so maybe it’s just basic mode of operation for power hungry and controlling organizations to act very similar when it comes to covering and punishing the wistle blowers, truth seekers, or anything which empowers the grunt to see things how they really are and make up his own mind.

  69. Is John Going Down? | Wheat and Tares August 25, 2014 at 1:00 am

    […] Stake President asks John Dehlin to remove "doubt" podcasts from Mormon Stories […]

  70. Tim Wilson August 25, 2014 at 2:38 am

    John,

    I admire your courage. It’s not an easy thing to stand up to for your right to seek the truth and to voice your opinion–especially in light of the oppressive tactics often used by Church hierarchy. The threatening and oppressive behavior the Church has exhibited towards you, and its members in general, is reprehensible and extremely discomforting.

    Your concerns and actions are obviously sincere. It’s clear you do not have a nefarious plot to lead others away from the church. If I understand correctly, your search has caused you to doubt the veracity of what we all believed wholeheartedly. I reached similar conclusions some time ago and like many, feel outraged I was lied to. I don’t regret the time I spent on my mission, or my time at BYU, but I feel like I was naive to believe the church history and doctrine I was taught without question.

    I know there are many members in good standing who are following your predicament and are sympathetic but are afraid to comment or leave their full names because of the very real possibility of retaliation. It’s fear that keeps a lot of members from voicing their concerns. It’s the threat of reprisal; being accused of apostasy, excommunicated, or disfellowshipped that keeps many members silent. The Church is clearly using those tactics to silence you.

    It’s time the Church became more transparent and less oppressive. The Brethren should open the archives and publish the historical documents they have tucked away. Let the chips fall where they may. We know early Church leaders were not perfect. In the end, the truth will set us all free–or is that what the Brethren are afraid of?

  71. John Matthews August 25, 2014 at 5:13 am

    Fear is the most powerful way to control a populous !

  72. PM August 25, 2014 at 9:39 am

    What exactly is he getting at with the first condition: “Publicly renounce and apologize for the false concepts you have widely expressed regarding God, Jesus Christ, the Atonement, the restoration of the Gospel, and the Book of Mormon.”

    What are the “false concepts” that he is talking about? I’m worried this is an attempt to stigmatize John and his work, much like the bishop’s letter to Kate where he insinuated that Kate was not honest about her interactions with her leaders and the Deseret News then misrepresented her prior statements about the meetings with her leaders. A lot of members now view her as a dishonest, picketing apostate.

    John is trying to find the truth regarding all of those topics and welcoming all viewpoints. This Stake President may have difficulty realizing that something is not false just because it isn’t favorable to the church.

  73. Dave August 25, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Without members’ freedom of speech in the Church™, leaders are on a slippery slope to absolute corruption.

  74. John Dwyer August 25, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Based on Dehlin’s side of the story, this seems pretty straightforward to me; I can’t imagine there are very many among those whom take the covenants seriously who will have any issue with Dehlin being excommunicated.

    As to Dehlin’s bravery – if he is being honest about his beliefs I just don’t see how his very mainstream views are brave.

    • Kinglamoni August 25, 2014 at 11:27 am

      I take my covenants seriously and I take issue when any one is excommunicated. It’s not a light matter to be trifled with.
      As to dehlins bravery- his mainstream views are not popular with in the community where he resides. It’s like being a Christian living their popular Christian beliefs with in ISIS controlled Iraq. Maybe not to that extreme but you get the idea.

    • Felix August 25, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      John,

      In a world blessed by agency we can see things any way we want to. When it comes to running the Church, however, shouldn’t we defer to Jesus Christ? The process John and others have described leading to excommunication is in dramatic violation of the process outlined in the D&C. That alone raises more questions than John’s excommunication would resolve.

  75. yvonne August 25, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I’m not sure what the readers and listeners calling for a more balanced, positive viewpoint want. I have been listening to your podcasts for about 6 months, going thro them as I find a title/person that sounds interesting to me, and I find your interviews to be remarkably balanced, especially considering what your present spiritual viewpoint is. Please don’t change anything.

    At 57 years old, discovering the truth claims are untrue (to put it nicely), and then finding your website and podcasts helped me to see I was not alone. I’m lucky in that my husband was willing to read and learn this for himself after I told him a few things I had discovered. And to be clear: we were as TBM as could be, mission, EQ president, bishopric counselor, stake HC, RS pres, seminary teacher for 4 years, etc.

    I have told 2 of my 4 adult children, none of my siblings (husband was a convert at age 17, so no one on his side would be interested), and have no one else to talk to about all this. Your podcasts have helped. We are still attending but don’t tithe. I’m not sure how long this will be, but that’s where we are now.

  76. Tunflog August 25, 2014 at 11:40 am

    John,

    Thank you for posting this update. I think there are many of us waiting to see what this turns into over time. I’d also like to thank you and your family for being honest about who you are despite the pressure you are feeling from outside your home. I personally believe that they are asking too much of you. Being told to renounce your opinions and apologize feels like a thoughtless effort to make you surrender unconditionally to their ideas and authority. Don’t let them scare you, you are better than they are.

  77. Rude Dog August 25, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    John I don’t ask this to be flippant, but I was listening yet again (I listen to all you podcasts as well as others multiple times to pass the hours on the bike) to your podcast with Dr. Ryan Cragun and what stood out to me was the part when you were surprised that the LDS was grouped in with the orthodox religions. I got to ask buddy, do you still feel the same way?

    • John Dehlin August 25, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      :) Not so much.

  78. Bronwyn August 25, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    It is truly fascinating to me how each of us lives in our own “reality”. My life experiences within the church are so completely different than many others commenting here, and yet we are living within the same church structure. There is black and white and yet there is so much gray. All that gray is defined by life experiences and perspective. So within my “reality” and all the gray, for me it always comes down to an honest assessment of my heart and my intents. I think this life is truly about the experience and discovering myself. Where do I turn and how do I react when things don’t fit nicely into my frame of reference? I hope that I always turn to love, but sadly often I don’t. As a human I want everything to be perfectly outlined and labeled as either “good” or “bad”. We have all turned to an “us or them” mentality at some point. That is certainly the direction I most easily take when I do not relate to the concerns or frustrations of others. But what I have learned about myself is that I know the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth and it is true. The church is no doubt led on earth by men who of course make mistakes, but I also know that these men have pure hearts and endeavor to seek God’s will as they lead this very diverse church. My reality is that I feel peace, hope, and love when I humble myself and desire to love and understand others. When I stand on my own I am left feeling disillusioned and disconnected from my fellow human beings and from my God. I am so thankful to have a personal relationship with my Savior and I am so thankful that He knows me and my “reality” and is ever working to shape me to understand His.

  79. Dave August 25, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    It’s interesting that the Stake Pres. is requiring John to resign as an online minister. On my mission I don’t ever remember requiring converts to resign their membership in their former church before being baptized into the Mormon church…

  80. JHSmith August 25, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Not meaning to do the cliche sacrament talk where one says, “I prepared a talk, but instead of giving that talk, the spirit is telling me to say something else”, I typed out a long response to this information, only to erase it before posting. Instead, I can only say that this is sad. I guess it is sad when I see the church that I loved and served behave in ways that are shameful, prideful, and full of fear. If one has the truth, then there should be no fear. Yet, I observe quite a bit of fear coming from the church. Why fear MormonStories pod casts if the truth resides in the church?

  81. Rock Waterman August 25, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Whooee, these are exciting times, ain’t they, John?

    Since all this buzz first hit the ether about you and Kate, It’s become more apparent than ever that things are coming undone for the Magisterium’s plan to control the brand. In the past month alone I have seen a BIG difference in the awakening among many of the Saints to the realization that their “Church” has been hijacked by some of those in high places. It has been transformed from an authentic Christ-centered religion into something that places control of the membership as its highest priority. And now everyone can see it. This hope they had of controlling our thinking is unraveling fast.

    The gospel of Christ exists independent of the Corporate, institutional Church, and a quickly growing number of members are realizing that they do NOT need to follow the Brethren in order to come to Christ. Jesus Christ does not honor men who abuse His priesthood authority. Church discipline exacted against those who follow the Christ is meaningless and ineffective.

    Stick to your guns, John. They started something you KNOW they wish they hadn’t. They do not have the power to cut you off from God. But they sure are capable of cutting themselves off if someone in upper management doesn’t rein them in, and soon.

    You’re winning this thing, my friend. Stay the course.

  82. James Patterson August 25, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Thanks for all of your comments, thoughts and concerns. As the discussion of the OP seems to have run its course, we’re going to close comments on this one.

Comments are closed.