Ana Reading is one of the most intelligent, thoughtful, and inspiring Mormons I’ve ever met. Born to a semi-functional family in Switzerland, Ana clung to Mormonism as a source of strength and comfort. Ana served an LDS mission in Ireland, went to BYU, married a devout American Mormon in the temple, had four children, sacrificed her career to live the Mormon dream, and served in high-level ward callings (while her husband Bill served twice as branch president/bishop).

Ana’s Mormon dream was disrupted when she began feeling unfulfilled and overwhelmed at church, and then ultimately learned about the church’s troubling historical past. Ana’s story concludes with struggles to survive a mixed faith marriage (facing Bill’s sadness and disappointment), reconstruct a relationship with her faithful children, and pursue a happy, healthy life outside of the church.

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“Alright to Be You” is a collaboration song by electronic musician, Milocraft, and singer-songwriter, Angela Soffe. Raised in the LDS Church, both are returned missionaries, and each chose to leave the Church when faced with a faith crisis. In 2018 they founded the “Be Moved Project” to create music that helps people feel happy and connected. To hear more music or support the project by becoming a patron, please visit: www.angelasoffe.com

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Part 1 – Clinging to Mormonism as a source of strength and comfort in her youth:

Part 2 – Inner resistance to patriarchy while still a believing member:

Part 3 – Cracks in her faith:

Part 4 – Mixed-faith marriage and hope for the future:

 

Part 1

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Part 2

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Part 3

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Part 4

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8 Comments

  1. Stacy January 11, 2019 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    This was my very first Mormon Stories podcast that I’ve listened to and I’m so glad I stumbled upon it. Ana is inspiring and she radiates knowledge and rationality. I got emotional when she was talking about how awful that year of deceit was for her. My husband and I are just starting the process of leaving the church and I’ve been going to church this past year feeling the same way. I wasn’t sure why I was getting so emotional driving home from church alone every Sunday (my husband is a few steps ahead of me and stays home with our two young chirldren) – but it was so validating to hear you both say how damaging it is to put a face on and lie through a smile for a few hours. I appreciate what you’re doing and look forward to listening to more podcasts as my family and I go through this process.

  2. Anne January 12, 2019 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    Yet another fascinating interview. Ana, I’m inspired by your dedication to your loved ones. Your honesty as you navigate in your relationships through your faith loss, is admirable. Best to you and your family.

  3. Bill McClymonds January 13, 2019 at 6:15 am - Reply

    After listening to Ana tell her story I had even more appreciation for the difficulties of leaving the Mormon faith. It is not something I have experienced but I can relate to the deep emotional pain that it must have caused and the difficulties it is still causing. You are a brave intelligent woman Ana. Thank you for sharing your story.

    My perspective is mainstream Christianity for anyone who has not seen my other comments. Ana’s comment about evolution during the third part of the series got my attention during the podcast. It seems to be a stumbling block for so many who are leaving the LDS faith. It seems to cause many think that God is no longer true because the LDS Church is not true.

    Ana said she was told by a biologist that evolution was a scientific fact and that an intelligent person wouldn’t believe in creation as opposed to evolution. Part of the problem with the word evolution is that it can be understood in a number of different ways. The most basic meaning of evolution is change over time. Few people think that use of the word is untrue. It is an observable fact that things change over time. The difficulty comes when evolution is taken to mean that lifeless rocks and chemicals on the early Earth … with absolutely no initial intelligence … somehow produced a living organism that advanced in intelligence to the point of producing humans. Humans have the most complex information processing device we know about in the universe …. the human brain. In my opinion it is a huge leap of faith to believe a natural process that started with absolutely no intelligence, and that was without any external intelligent guidance, first produced DNA and then eventually progressed to the development of the human brain.

    It was pointed out in another discussion that there are many intelligent Christians who believe God used an evolutionary process to produce life. There is nothing wrong with that from a Christian perspective unless an individual thinks the progression from molecules to man was completely undirected. Not even God can direct an undirected process. On the other hand, It is very difficult for me to conceptualize a way from absolutely no intelligence on the early Earth to even the first bacterial life form. I am not alone in that respect. I have the support of a very intelligent PhD synthetic organic chemist named James Tour. I have linked videos by Dr. Tour in my comments on the Mike Licona, Frank Turek podcast. I will link that podcast below. Please read my comments and watch the linked videos on evolution in the discussion section of that podcast if you think it is likely that you were created by a completely undirected process of natural evolution. Choosing to bet your eternal life on an undirected process with zero initial intelligence seems like a risky proposition to me.

    https://mormonstories.org/podcast/defending-christianity/

  4. Mrs Susan-Anne White January 13, 2019 at 11:23 am - Reply

    I can’t understand why this lady says she only learned about polygamy after reading an article in some magazine at the time of Mitt Romney’s bid for the US presidency in 2012. In video number one didn’t she say she discussed polygamy with a Mormon leader who told her to read Doctrine and Covenants 132? Why then in video 3 does she express shock at reading about polygamy. This makes no sense to me and appears inconsistent. I am not a Mormon by the way but I am an Evangelical Christian.

    • Pish January 17, 2019 at 9:59 am - Reply

      I think the issue is that everyone knew about polygamy in the church, but Polygamy involving Joseph Smith is not commonly discussed. Until recently I have never heard it discussed in church. I had heard about it here and there from people who make a hobby of studying things, but until recently there was nothing in standard church approved lesson material that discussed Joseph and his wives, in particular the young wives and for certain the wives that were already married.

  5. Kristen January 13, 2019 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    Thank you Ana, I enjoyed hearing your story! I could relate to so many aspects of your journey. I absolutely love that you are taking a few months to fulfill your dreams! Thank you for being an inspiration…much love from Arkansas 😊

  6. Happy in Oregon January 18, 2019 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    My wife and I really enjoyed this one. John, when interviewing members from other countries, maybe you get them to describe their countries. I have been reading about Switzerland and its great beauty of high mountains, the Alps (Their highest mountain is 600 feet higher than the Matterhorn.), gorgeous lakes and famous rivers. I’ve seen some pretty country in our land, having grown up on an island in Washington, but for such a small country, they really have something.

    Thank-you, Anna, for such an in-depth caring and loving podcast, by a mighty special lady. You are a tremendous example to many people transitioning out of Mormonism.

  7. Vickie Duncan January 27, 2019 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    I am late to this podcast…but even after resigning 11 years ago…I still have problems. I really need to talk to John. I went to a therapist in Nov 2018. It was a middle aged woman in Logan, Utah. I poured my heart out and told her that I would wake up in the mornings wishing I was dead….I told her of course my religions had played a big part of my depression…I don’t know if she was mormon for sure, but there was not much positive response from her when she heard my story. Her answer was to write things down…and go iceskating. I spent an hour and $100 just talking to myself. Went home in tears. She did not want to meet again. Anna’s story is touching nerves that I understand…Thank you for you honesty and courage.

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