Mormon Stories viewers are in for a treat with this series of episodes as we interview married couple Lizzy and Spencer Bean. In part one, we dive into Lizzy’s story and unique upbringing as just one of two siblings in a Mormon family with convert parents in Upstate New York. We discuss the influence of her involvement with the Palmyra Pageant on her developing testimony as well as the Mormon propensity towards music and theater. Other topics include the culture shock after arriving in Provo when her dad’s career led him to teach music education at BYU, and acclimating to the very LDS saturated environment as she developed her musical and theatrical talents. We named this series “Loving and Leaving Mormonism” to allow our guests to speak authentically to their all-around good experiences being raised members of the LDS faith and hope you’ll stick around to listen to part three as Lizzy and Spencer describe the events and information that made them think twice about their membership in the religion they love.

In part 2 of their delightful Mormon Stories interview, we have Spencer tell us about his upbringing in Orem, Utah as the son of the bishop and what led him to develop a testimony of the church. We hope you like our chat as we let it take us into discussions on missionary work in the developing world, undue influence, death, and the Plan of Salvation. Stick around for some interesting insights from Spencer’s mission to Sweden and even a story about Midsummer with Hans Maddsen’s brother, Leif. We named this series “Loving and Leaving Mormonism” to allow our guests to speak authentically to their all-around good experiences being raised members of the LDS faith and hope you’ll stick around to listen to part three as Lizzy and Spencer describe the events and information that made them think twice about their membership in the religion they love.

In the third and final part to their delightful, authentic, hilarious Mormon Stories interview, we dive in head-on in this episode hearing about how marriage for these two young Mormons was not what they expected. But with an interesting reframe to spirituality from an LDS therapist, Lizzy and Spencer’s autonomous spirituality began to emerge like never before. After having enough of spiritual gatekeeping and finding a way to make marriage finally work from them, Spencer describes almost being kicked out of BYU and the situation he was put in by a bishop telling him he had one week to read the Book of Mormon or lose his ecclesiastical endorsement. There are too many topics to list that we cover in this epic final episode with Lizzy and Spencer, but among them are: How and why some Mormons decide to supplement LDS church teachings with New Age spirituality, how wearing garments and Mormon body standards affect women, how empathizing with friends in the LGBTQ community can wake a person up to the realities and harms of Mormon doctrine, and so many other great insights and analogies that help describe why a couple would love Mormonism and choose to leave it!

Part 1:

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Part 1 Show notes:

Part 2:

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Part 2 show notes: 

Part 3:

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13 Comments

  1. Tina March 10, 2022 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    Hans Mattson (not Maddsen)

  2. Arl March 11, 2022 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    What a frustrating interview! I played a drinking game; drink every time John said “in the interest of time” to Spencer and then rambled on. Can we please hear the story of the person who came to tell their story?

    • Jim Jones March 12, 2022 at 9:07 am - Reply

      I respectfully disagree….If anything, John Delin needs to move the guests along when the guests start to ramble. This interview as over 4 hours long! The guests surely had enough time to tell their story! I appreciate it when the host can provide commentary to relate what the guest is talking about back to the church.

  3. Freedom with pain March 11, 2022 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    One of my favorites. I’m into stringed instrument playing by ear, but I enjoyed Lizzy’s stories. And my wife and I were in a ward in Idaho where many were into Mormon woo. But the best part was the last part of part 3 because what happened with Lizzy’s mother is almost exactly what has happened with our only child and we think about her every day. We were in our mid 60’s when we discovered what we did. Our relationship with our daughter just kept getting worse after that. And a close LDS neighbor keeps telling me that she thinks we are in the wrong for not believing and that she is sure that our daughter is doing the right thing by shunning us. So much for enjoying our 5 grandchildren in our golden years! Thanks for this podcast.

    • Lizzy Bean March 17, 2022 at 3:37 pm - Reply

      Hey there! Lizzy Bean here. I’m so glad a lot of the interviews resonated with you! I’m so sorry you’re feeling shunned by your daughter and her family. It makes me sad that a change in belief can be so divisive, when there is so much else about each and every one of us that makes us wonderful beyond our belief or participation in church!

      I’m not entirely sure what part, specifically, you’re referring to with my mom. I don’t wish to have painted her or my dad in a negative light and want to clarify that our story of sending an email to my parents and them taking a while to respond to it was around 3 years ago now. While it took a minute for them to wrap their heads around our change in belief, we have been able to establish a new groove and have enjoyed many good things together over the past few years.

      I wish we’d handled things differently at the onset of our faith transition. I do think the church intentionally builds fear into the decision to leave as a tactic to persuade you to, well, not. And that worked on me – I really internalized the possibility that I might be left behind and wished I gave my parents more of the benefit of the doubt. That said, it seems being left out is a distinct possibility, as in your case. I’m so, so sorry to hear it.

      If I could do it again, I’d talk to them more. Invite them to ask questions and check-in more regularly to foster discussions. Gauge my fears against them directly, “The story I tell myself is you’re thinking “XYZ” about me…is that true?” and be prepared for whatever answer. Doesn’t matter – at least I’d know, you know? I’m lucky to say we have been able to have more of those conversations, with time.

      I hope you can reach out to your daughter and find a common ground of love and respect. Ironically, I think it’s love for one another that can cause so much hurt and pain and misunderstanding. Love makes the stakes high! But love exists outside of and beyond personality, belief, or anything else. I’m sure she misses her relationship with you as much as you do with her. Don’t give up.

  4. Jim Jones March 12, 2022 at 9:00 am - Reply

    The interview took a surprising turn going into the power of crystals and all the new age energy stuff…kind of made me chuckle! All that new age stuff almost makes mormonism seem reasonable! But I guess at least the new age beliefs seem more exciting than mormonism, and hopefully it won’t require 10% of the believers’ income. New age beliefs also seem more harmless than the tbm members who go the other way into hardcore right-wing apostasy.

    On my mission we visited an inactive, middle class housewife who spent the entire visit telling us about her new age beliefs involving “seth material.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seth_Material

    At first I thought this inactive member might have a serious mental issue believing in this crazy new age stuff, but then I realized we had visited her to tell her about our equally unbelievable claims that god, the creator of the entire universe, and jesus had visited joseph smith to bring forth the BOM through supernatural means.

    Added alot of weight to my shelf! At the time it caused me look at mormon beliefs as an outside and helped me realize the ridiculousness of the mormon beliefs that I was on my mission trying to convert people too. I realized that to people outside of utah and unfamiliar with the church that I probably seemed as crazy at the inactive member! But, I rationalized that at least I was born into Mormonism and was primarily on my mission because of the social pressure and culture, and not because I had some personal belief or knowledge that it factually happened.

    • Lizzy Bean March 17, 2022 at 3:44 pm - Reply

      Hi Jim! I love your comment and totally see where you’re coming from. I think I could have done a better job of bringing my thoughts about this home. As I started reading about and “playing with” some alternative spiritually-minded things, I really wasn’t putting much stock into any *actual* power. Like I mentioned in the interview – it’s more a personal symbolism. Almost how hanging a picture on the wall reminds us of a specific memory, holding a certain stone in my hand can remind me to be more mindful.

      But I, too, couldn’t help but think about the parallels. Here I was able to see the symbolism was a personal opt-in, but by the same token I was learning with the church’s baby steps into transparency about Joseph’s seer stone. What’s the difference?

      I appreciate how John talked about how dangerous this stuff can get. I was never inclined to put all my eggs in the “new age” basket – just viewed a lot of that as options and tools. But it was good to highlight that things like that can, indeed, get out of hand and sometimes to a dangerous extent!

      • Cory April 13, 2022 at 11:35 am - Reply

        Hi Lizzy, I mentioned in a general comment that I play trombone, and you can read about it there. I will have to say, I was loving your interview, but you lost me at crystals, essential oils and reiki. I understand that you don’t put as much emphasis on it as others may, but it seems like you still do reiki and think it might be potentially effective, that is as more than a simple practice? If so, that is little different than believing in the power of the Mormon priesthood (perhaps you do). And as far as the global consciousness project is concerned, I had not heard about it, but after reading around a bit, it seems that the “spikes” you mentioned are not statistically significant. I am glad John pushed back on you on this, but I wish he had pushed back harder, because what you are describing is pseudoscience, little different than some of the theories Rod Meldrum was propounding in a recent episode.

        All of this is not to say that you can’t believe as you wish: go ahead. But then, so do Mormons, and most of us who listen to Mormon Stories do not put much stock in that.

  5. VFanRJ March 12, 2022 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    Good discussion about the moral blind spot of those that control the Mormon narrative to hide real Mormon history from its members. When one figures out true Mormon history after crossing some of life’s most important cross roads (mission, where to go to college, who to marry, how many kids to have etc.) some really bad things can and do happen (divorce, etc.). Like many, I disdain the Church for this.

  6. Teresa Hicks March 17, 2022 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    loved every minute of the three podcasts.
    so glad you made it out of Utah!!!
    such an inspiring story in many ways and taught me so much.
    Thank you for being so open and vulnerable

  7. Laura March 18, 2022 at 12:13 am - Reply

    BYEEEEEEE! Yeah, I listened to very end! Carah, I know all the best people on the Wasatch Front and I don’t know whether not knowing you personally means that you are not among the best people or if it means that I don’t really know ALL the best people. . . We are going to have to get together and clear this up

  8. Stew March 21, 2022 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    Loved hearing from another Western NYer of convert parentage. I always hated how transplants from the west would try and change the NY church when they moved there. Then I moved west….so glad that didn’t last.

  9. Cory April 6, 2022 at 9:46 am - Reply

    John, as a musician, a trombonist (I also played my trombone in the chapel once) and a musical theater lover, I’m sorry: Lizzy’s top ten musicals list tops yours. Pirates of Penzance is one of the greatest of all time (especially the movie version that Lizzy referenced). And, Andrew Lloyd Webber is a hack! Let’s just put it this way: he is the McDonald’s of fine cuisine.

    I could go on, but rant over. Love the show!

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