Mormon Stories listeners,

I have five very important announcements that I’d like to make to you… my listeners… so I’ll try to make it brief.

  1. Potential Workshops and Reception at Sunstone Symposium: On August 4th, as part of the Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City, I am considering hosting an all-day, 2 part workshop:
    • Part 1 (in the morning) will deal with “How to navigate an LDS crisis of faith”, and
    • Part 2 (in the afternoon) will deal with “What to do in a marriage when one of the partners loses their testimony.” What I need to know from all of you, is if there is any interest out there in something like this. It will likely cost around $25 for a single session, and $40 for the full session.  I also planning on going to dinner with folks after the workshops, so it could be a fun way to meet some of you. Anyway, Please email me at mormonstories@gmail.com if you or someone you know would be interested in attending.
    • In addition, I am looking into the possibility of hosting a Mormon Stories listener reception, likely to be held on Thursday evening, August 5th.  If any of you would be interested in spending an hour or two with me, former interviewees, and fellow Mormon Stories listeners, please let me know via email at mormonstories@gmail.com.
  2. Mormon Stories Forum: I have recently created a private Internet forum for listeners to Mormon Stories.  The formula is pretty straightforward:
    • Membership in the forum is by invitation only.
    • Everyone in the forum uses their real name. This helps to make the forum conversations more constructive and healthy, and to build a sense of community within the forum.  That said, the membership list and conversations within the forum are copyrighted, and will not be shared outside the forum. Also, if you are unable to use your real name for job or family reasons, I will need you to identify yourself to me, and we can make arrangements to protect your anonymity on the forum.
    • The purpose of the forum is to provide people with a safe place to speak with other like-minded people about their Mormon experience.  We have Mormons of all types on the forum — from true believers to former Mormons.  The only requirement, other than maintaining the confidentiality of the group, is to always treat forum members with respect — regardless of their status in the church.  Violators of this will be removed.
    • To join the community, please friend me on Facebook (both as John Dehlin and as Mormon Stories), and then send me an email telling me your story, and indicating that you are willing to comply with these rules.  From there, I will add you to the community if your story indicates a good fit.
  3. Mormon Stories is now an official Non-Profit: Thanks to Ryan Millecam, a corporate attorney at Gammage and Burnham in Phoenix AZ and a long-time fan — Mormon Stories is now an official 501c3 Non-Profit, which means that all donations we receive are tax deductible.  We did this in hopes that it would encourage you, our listeners, to better support Mormon Stories.Also, As a 501c3, I’m very interested in creating a formal board of directors to help shape the future of Mormon Stories — and maybe even grow it into a radio and/or TV program someday.  If any of you are interested in sitting on the Mormon Stories board of directors and helping to shape and grow our future, please join the MS Community forum (as indicated above), and let me know in your introduction letter of your interest.
  4. A 3 Month Experiment (Donor Drive): Over the past few months I have worked very, very hard to bring you some very high quality interviews.  A few of you have been very supportive in terms of contributions, and I am very, very grateful for that support — but a new situation has arisen where I will need your help.  Many of you know that I just finished up my first year in a 6 year psychology Ph.D. program.  It was kind of crazy for me to leave a six figure job with MIT, with 4 young children at home, to go back to school — but my work with Mormon Stories has really led me to feel like I need to become a counselor – specifically to work with folks who struggle within the LDS church.  Anyway — I was recently offered a $15,000 Assistantship to cover some of my expenses for next year as a grad student — but if I had taken it, I would have not been able to continue with Mormon Stories.  So I took a bit of a crazy gamble.  I turned down the assistantship, with the hope/faith that I could recruit enough monthly support from my listeners to at least make up for the assistantship that I turned down.So here is what I’m going to do.  Over the next 3 months I have planned some of the most interesting and exciting guest and projects to date for Mormon Stories.  In exchange, I am going to see how many listeners I can get to sign up for an automatic monthly subscription to Mormon Stories (which will help get me through grad school).  If I can get enough people to sign up for monthly subscriptions, I will definitely keep Mormon Stories going at the rate of one, multi-part interview per week.  If I can’t get enough listeners to support me in that way, I will probably keep Mormon Stories going, but will likely have to get a part time job in the Fall/Winter to support my family while in school — and will only release episodes as I’m able.  Currently my web stats tell me that each episode of Mormon Stories is being downloaded by thousands of listeners — so I guess I’m asking for those of you who have enjoyed Mormon Stories to please consider signing up for a monthly donation….it can be for as little as $5/month. If I can get only 200 or 300 people (of the several thousand) to make a monthly contribution, I promise to make Mormon Stories even better than it has been to date.  And again — I can also promise you that the people and projects that I have in the works are as exciting and interesting, if not more so than many of my past interviews — so if you do your part, I promise to do mine. To donate — please click on one of the donation buttons at the top right of https://mormonstories.org
  5. Looking for Volunteers:  Finally, in addition to monthly contributors, I am urgently looking for volunteers to help donate their time in various ways to keep Mormon Stories going strong.  If any of you are willing to help out with your time, please join the Mormon Stories Forum as indicated above, and  indicate in your letter to me that you are willing to help out.

Anyway, that’s it for now!   Thanks so much for listening, and for your support. I look forward to making Mormon Stories better than ever…with your support.

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4 Comments

  1. Maria Petrova May 8, 2010 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    John, all great stuff.

    I have another idea about the donations. You can do a membership. People can have unlimited access to the site for $5/mo. That will put you through school, and it will make sure you get what your work is worth. This is all very healing material, John, and I’m afraid you aren’t receiving NEARLY as much as you are giving. There needs to be a balance in all things, if we want you to keep doing this. So a few things on the site can be free, but for most of the material, a monthly fee can be in place. Look at drnorthrup.com. It’s exhausting and draining and uncertain to depend on donations and to have to be asking all the time. And for those of us who are already donating, it makes us want to give even more, because others aren’t giving, just to make sure you keep doing this. And that can be pressure. I also prefer to give one payment of $100 rather than a monthly $10. Easier to keep track of expenses. Anyway, I think the membership model may be a good way to go.

    I also think 3 interviews a month is PLENTY… Or even 2… It doesn’t have to be weekly for it to be incredibly helpful and inspiring.

    Bless you and thank you for all you do.

  2. Maria Petrova May 8, 2010 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    Actually I think $7 or $10/mo is more reasonable as a monthly membership fee (or whatever it needs to be to make things work for you on a practical level).

  3. joseph May 8, 2010 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    sounds like exciting things are going to happen here lol…wish u the best luck.

    im reaserch on the posibility of supporting u financially john, as ive found ur podcast to be a great blessing in my life. but if i cant, i would like to offer my time and talents to help the podcast, im studying software engeenering at the moment.

    if u need any help i would be most glad to be of service.

    may God bless u in all u do, and good luck with ur Ph.D ^_^

  4. Paul May 9, 2010 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    If MS became a pay service, I think its listenership would take a hit. I like the model of soliciting voluntary donations and supplementing them with occasional workshops or social events like the ones in August. I think you could probably charge for the social events. You could even hold a fundraising dinner.

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