Episode 8: John Dehlin and Mormon Stories

In this episode the panel is joined by special Guest John Dehlin. John Discusses his Mormon Stories project and what has happened since. The discussion includes a retrospective of John’s favorite interviews, the reaction to Mormon Stories by the public,  John’s personal journey of faith and his renewed faith in the Church, issues of faith, and John’s motivation. The original Mormon stories podcast can be found at itunes or http://mormonstories.org/.

Episode 8

112 comments on “Episode 8: John Dehlin and Mormon Stories”

  1. Richard Reply

    Great Podcast. I stumbled upon John’s Mormon Stories Podcast when he released podcast #2 and have listened to all of them over the years. He has made me realize that everything is not so Black and White.

    Thank you for bringing the stories of others and it has been fascinating to listen to your story. I admit that I always wondered where you would end up and glad that you have found a balance that works for you.

    Also Thanks for John Larsen for starting up the Mormon Expression podcast. I have really enjoyed them over the last few weeks.

  2. Richard Reply

    Great Podcast. I stumbled upon John’s Mormon Stories Podcast when he released podcast #2 and have listened to all of them over the years. He has made me realize that everything is not so Black and White.

    Thank you for bringing the stories of others and it has been fascinating to listen to your story. I admit that I always wondered where you would end up and glad that you have found a balance that works for you.

    Also Thanks for John Larsen for starting up the Mormon Expression podcast. I have really enjoyed them over the last few weeks.

  3. Richard Reply

    Great Podcast. I stumbled upon John’s Mormon Stories Podcast when he released podcast #2 and have listened to all of them over the years. He has made me realize that everything is not so Black and White.

    Thank you for bringing the stories of others and it has been fascinating to listen to your story. I admit that I always wondered where you would end up and glad that you have found a balance that works for you.

    Also Thanks for John Larsen for starting up the Mormon Expression podcast. I have really enjoyed them over the last few weeks.

  4. John Reply

    Sorry John! I think I have fixed your name everywhere in the known universe now. That’s what I get for copy and paste!

  5. John Reply

    Sorry John! I think I have fixed your name everywhere in the known universe now. That’s what I get for copy and paste!

  6. John Reply

    Sorry John! I think I have fixed your name everywhere in the known universe now. That’s what I get for copy and paste!

  7. Pingback: LDS Revelations » Blog Archive » Mormon Expression Podcast

  8. badseed Reply

    Thanks for the podcast. I liked Mormon Stories for the most part but was confused a little by John D’s “Stay LDS”, thinking that he was saying that staying was the best solution for all. After hearing his explanation I think I understand his position better. I don’t agree with all he said but think the Church needs more people like him.

    1.
    I do disagree with John D. though about the percentage of LDS who are truly cafeteria. I think it is lower than he claims. But I guess that depends on what you call “cafeteria mormon.” I mean, everyone is cafeteria to some degree in all religions. No one does everything that the hierarchy asks. But in the LDS Church aside from polygamy, race and other big issues, I believe most think that they should follow the prophets rather than not. Many who aren’t following, aren’t doing it because of a conscious choice but instead because of a lack of will or discipline— and often express remorse over it. Most see themselves as out of line and the prophets as correct. IMO by contrast real cafeteria Mormons consciously pick and choose what they will accept, reject and live by— which means they sometimes see the leaders as wrong— and by that narrow definition I think there is smaller percentage of cafeteria members.

    2. A few thoughts on babysteps.
    As was mentioned the Church has not made these changes without external pressure or from members. Call it unfair, inaccurate and purely cynical but I don’t think the Church has not or would not make changes on key social issues without pressure to do so. I think it certainly would not make them as fast as they have w/o pressure applied.

    But credit where it’s due. The Church is better on a number of issues than when I was a kid. Some of the more concerning issues have been partially addressed so it seems the Church does change some things when pressure is applied.

    Unfortunately though it’s like pulling teeth and the baby steps aren’t fast enough for me. I appreciate that John D. fights the good fight but life’s too short to patiently (and quietly) work to change a group that really doesn’t want to change. I always feel like I’m poking someone in the eye in church if I share a contrary view. Very few want to hear it. And since currently the Church really offers very little to me I find it hard to go and provide an alternate voice when it only makes people resent me. I feel like so far I have been rejected as the “bacteria” that Dehlin spoke of. Even if I wanted to stay, I don’t know that here is a place for me in the Church, as of now— unless I just smile and shut up.

    That said I do agree that the tough issues he was criticized for addressing of Mormon Stories are now discussed more regularly on the Web. The father of one of my co-workers was ex’d in the 80s for discussing things in newspapers that I discuss regularly online. I think this is a good thing. I also think it is the result of external pressure and not really anything that the Church has done on it’s own.

    3.
    Last, whether the Brethren/Church are/is really willing to let “a thousand flowers bloom” is not so clear to me. More importantly are those flowers allowed to really be part of the bouquet that is Mormonism?

    Mormonism has always been fine with members thinking what they want— it is the expression of alternate ideas that causes the heartburn. Obedience to the Brethren has always been valued over expression. Will the Brethren allow the expression of other views on Mormonism knowing that it makes them less relevant? Truthfully I doubt it, but I hope I am wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time.

  9. badseed Reply

    Thanks for the podcast. I liked Mormon Stories for the most part but was confused a little by John D’s “Stay LDS”, thinking that he was saying that staying was the best solution for all. After hearing his explanation I think I understand his position better. I don’t agree with all he said but think the Church needs more people like him.

    1.
    I do disagree with John D. though about the percentage of LDS who are truly cafeteria. I think it is lower than he claims. But I guess that depends on what you call “cafeteria mormon.” I mean, everyone is cafeteria to some degree in all religions. No one does everything that the hierarchy asks. But in the LDS Church aside from polygamy, race and other big issues, I believe most think that they should follow the prophets rather than not. Many who aren’t following, aren’t doing it because of a conscious choice but instead because of a lack of will or discipline— and often express remorse over it. Most see themselves as out of line and the prophets as correct. IMO by contrast real cafeteria Mormons consciously pick and choose what they will accept, reject and live by— which means they sometimes see the leaders as wrong— and by that narrow definition I think there is smaller percentage of cafeteria members.

    2. A few thoughts on babysteps.
    As was mentioned the Church has not made these changes without external pressure or from members. Call it unfair, inaccurate and purely cynical but I don’t think the Church has not or would not make changes on key social issues without pressure to do so. I think it certainly would not make them as fast as they have w/o pressure applied.

    But credit where it’s due. The Church is better on a number of issues than when I was a kid. Some of the more concerning issues have been partially addressed so it seems the Church does change some things when pressure is applied.

    Unfortunately though it’s like pulling teeth and the baby steps aren’t fast enough for me. I appreciate that John D. fights the good fight but life’s too short to patiently (and quietly) work to change a group that really doesn’t want to change. I always feel like I’m poking someone in the eye in church if I share a contrary view. Very few want to hear it. And since currently the Church really offers very little to me I find it hard to go and provide an alternate voice when it only makes people resent me. I feel like so far I have been rejected as the “bacteria” that Dehlin spoke of. Even if I wanted to stay, I don’t know that here is a place for me in the Church, as of now— unless I just smile and shut up.

    That said I do agree that the tough issues he was criticized for addressing of Mormon Stories are now discussed more regularly on the Web. The father of one of my co-workers was ex’d in the 80s for discussing things in newspapers that I discuss regularly online. I think this is a good thing. I also think it is the result of external pressure and not really anything that the Church has done on it’s own.

    3.
    Last, whether the Brethren/Church are/is really willing to let “a thousand flowers bloom” is not so clear to me. More importantly are those flowers allowed to really be part of the bouquet that is Mormonism?

    Mormonism has always been fine with members thinking what they want— it is the expression of alternate ideas that causes the heartburn. Obedience to the Brethren has always been valued over expression. Will the Brethren allow the expression of other views on Mormonism knowing that it makes them less relevant? Truthfully I doubt it, but I hope I am wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time.

    • NotMolly Reply

      John (both John’s!) Thanks for a great podcast! John D, I’ve just started following your work and I really appreciate what you do. My husband and I have recently let our families know of our disaffection and your stuff has definitely helped bridged the gap between me and my parents. They are super TBM and think you’re great too. I think they can understand my position a lot better now thanks to you. Keep up the good work guys! I’m loving these podcasts! 🙂

  10. James Reply

    In listening to this episode I am jealous of my cohorts for getting to participate in such a powerful and informative episode. Hopefully after I get done traveling we can have JD back on. John, thank you for contributing to our podcast. This was a great discussion.

  11. James Reply

    In listening to this episode I am jealous of my cohorts for getting to participate in such a powerful and informative episode. Hopefully after I get done traveling we can have JD back on. John, thank you for contributing to our podcast. This was a great discussion.

  12. James Reply

    In listening to this episode I am jealous of my cohorts for getting to participate in such a powerful and informative episode. Hopefully after I get done traveling we can have JD back on. John, thank you for contributing to our podcast. This was a great discussion.

  13. Mike Michaels Reply

    Thanks for providing a forum for John to clearly explain his changing veiwpoints over time.

    I will add that a talk by BKP in a high level welfare meeting in the early 90’s that was published by the Church stated quite clearly that the Church does not deal with people who have legitimate exceptions to Church policy as groups. Doing so would validate the exceptions and undermine Church authority. So instead the GA’s deal with the exceptions on a case-by-case basis and only offer generic counsel to gays, single mothers, women in abusive relationships, the disaffected, feminists, etc… in a manner that cannot be construed as opposite Church doctrine. They seem to be willing to make public statements that soften church members’ cultural attitudes in pamphlets or The Ensign, but nothing can be said that might possibly contradict doctrine.

    I respect John’s choice and those who have deep Mormon heritage to remain in the Church. Having formerly converted to Mormonism I understand the difficulty in changing faith traditions.

    I was glad to hear that John has softened his view on those whom he previously stated had “traded down” in leaving the Church. It is every bit as difficult for a DNA Mormon to leave the Church and follow a positive path as it is for a normal, functional and healthy person to convert to Mormonism and remain active. We know that the latter are not large in number. Changing faith traditions is hard. Period. No one should feel as if he/she has a right to judge another’s success or failure in this arena.

  14. Mike Michaels Reply

    Thanks for providing a forum for John to clearly explain his changing veiwpoints over time.

    I will add that a talk by BKP in a high level welfare meeting in the early 90’s that was published by the Church stated quite clearly that the Church does not deal with people who have legitimate exceptions to Church policy as groups. Doing so would validate the exceptions and undermine Church authority. So instead the GA’s deal with the exceptions on a case-by-case basis and only offer generic counsel to gays, single mothers, women in abusive relationships, the disaffected, feminists, etc… in a manner that cannot be construed as opposite Church doctrine. They seem to be willing to make public statements that soften church members’ cultural attitudes in pamphlets or The Ensign, but nothing can be said that might possibly contradict doctrine.

    I respect John’s choice and those who have deep Mormon heritage to remain in the Church. Having formerly converted to Mormonism I understand the difficulty in changing faith traditions.

    I was glad to hear that John has softened his view on those whom he previously stated had “traded down” in leaving the Church. It is every bit as difficult for a DNA Mormon to leave the Church and follow a positive path as it is for a normal, functional and healthy person to convert to Mormonism and remain active. We know that the latter are not large in number. Changing faith traditions is hard. Period. No one should feel as if he/she has a right to judge another’s success or failure in this arena.

  15. Mike Michaels Reply

    Thanks for providing a forum for John to clearly explain his changing veiwpoints over time.

    I will add that a talk by BKP in a high level welfare meeting in the early 90’s that was published by the Church stated quite clearly that the Church does not deal with people who have legitimate exceptions to Church policy as groups. Doing so would validate the exceptions and undermine Church authority. So instead the GA’s deal with the exceptions on a case-by-case basis and only offer generic counsel to gays, single mothers, women in abusive relationships, the disaffected, feminists, etc… in a manner that cannot be construed as opposite Church doctrine. They seem to be willing to make public statements that soften church members’ cultural attitudes in pamphlets or The Ensign, but nothing can be said that might possibly contradict doctrine.

    I respect John’s choice and those who have deep Mormon heritage to remain in the Church. Having formerly converted to Mormonism I understand the difficulty in changing faith traditions.

    I was glad to hear that John has softened his view on those whom he previously stated had “traded down” in leaving the Church. It is every bit as difficult for a DNA Mormon to leave the Church and follow a positive path as it is for a normal, functional and healthy person to convert to Mormonism and remain active. We know that the latter are not large in number. Changing faith traditions is hard. Period. No one should feel as if he/she has a right to judge another’s success or failure in this arena.

  16. NotMolly Reply

    John (both John’s!) Thanks for a great podcast! John D, I’ve just started following your work and I really appreciate what you do. My husband and I have recently let our families know of our disaffection and your stuff has definitely helped bridged the gap between me and my parents. They are super TBM and think you’re great too. I think they can understand my position a lot better now thanks to you. Keep up the good work guys! I’m loving these podcasts! 🙂

  17. NotMolly Reply

    John (both John’s!) Thanks for a great podcast! John D, I’ve just started following your work and I really appreciate what you do. My husband and I have recently let our families know of our disaffection and your stuff has definitely helped bridged the gap between me and my parents. They are super TBM and think you’re great too. I think they can understand my position a lot better now thanks to you. Keep up the good work guys! I’m loving these podcasts! 🙂

  18. Jay Reply

    As someone that was introduced to controversial issues for the first time through mormon stories, I understand John Dehlin’s concerns. Mormon stories led me to investigate further and ultimately destroyed my faith in the Church. I almost walked away from religion entirely but decided spirituality and a belief in God was something I didn’t want to give up.

    I’m a bit conflicted when I think about mormon stories. On the one hand I’m grateful to have a fuller history of the Mormon faith, but sadly the price I have paid for it is great. It plunged me into a depressed state for over 6 months and has ruined any trust I had in the Church. Three years later I’m still working through my frustration with the Church.

    I totally related to John when he said attending church was like someone running their fingernails across a blackboard. I still go to support my wife, but it is painful and many times I just want to run out of the building. The fact that he is able to attend now without irritation offers me a little hope that one day I can achieve the same nirvana.

    So John if your reading this thanks, sort of.

  19. Jay Reply

    As someone that was introduced to controversial issues for the first time through mormon stories, I understand John Dehlin’s concerns. Mormon stories led me to investigate further and ultimately destroyed my faith in the Church. I almost walked away from religion entirely but decided spirituality and a belief in God was something I didn’t want to give up.

    I’m a bit conflicted when I think about mormon stories. On the one hand I’m grateful to have a fuller history of the Mormon faith, but sadly the price I have paid for it is great. It plunged me into a depressed state for over 6 months and has ruined any trust I had in the Church. Three years later I’m still working through my frustration with the Church.

    I totally related to John when he said attending church was like someone running their fingernails across a blackboard. I still go to support my wife, but it is painful and many times I just want to run out of the building. The fact that he is able to attend now without irritation offers me a little hope that one day I can achieve the same nirvana.

    So John if your reading this thanks, sort of.

  20. Jay Reply

    As someone that was introduced to controversial issues for the first time through mormon stories, I understand John Dehlin’s concerns. Mormon stories led me to investigate further and ultimately destroyed my faith in the Church. I almost walked away from religion entirely but decided spirituality and a belief in God was something I didn’t want to give up.

    I’m a bit conflicted when I think about mormon stories. On the one hand I’m grateful to have a fuller history of the Mormon faith, but sadly the price I have paid for it is great. It plunged me into a depressed state for over 6 months and has ruined any trust I had in the Church. Three years later I’m still working through my frustration with the Church.

    I totally related to John when he said attending church was like someone running their fingernails across a blackboard. I still go to support my wife, but it is painful and many times I just want to run out of the building. The fact that he is able to attend now without irritation offers me a little hope that one day I can achieve the same nirvana.

    So John if your reading this thanks, sort of.

  21. Tom Reply

    C: “you guys are not right”

    Hey C, who are you referring to and what are you referring to that is not right? Something said in the podcast? Are you referring to something J.Dehlin said?

  22. Tom Reply

    C: “you guys are not right”

    Hey C, who are you referring to and what are you referring to that is not right? Something said in the podcast? Are you referring to something J.Dehlin said?

  23. Tom Reply

    C: “you guys are not right”

    Hey C, who are you referring to and what are you referring to that is not right? Something said in the podcast? Are you referring to something J.Dehlin said?

  24. Luigi Reply

    I really enjoyed this podcast. John’s work was very helpful to me and has given me lots of insights as I worked through losing my Mormon belief but has also helped me in dealing with the difficulties of staying in the Church to appease family and friends.

  25. Luigi Reply

    I really enjoyed this podcast. John’s work was very helpful to me and has given me lots of insights as I worked through losing my Mormon belief but has also helped me in dealing with the difficulties of staying in the Church to appease family and friends.

  26. Luigi Reply

    I really enjoyed this podcast. John’s work was very helpful to me and has given me lots of insights as I worked through losing my Mormon belief but has also helped me in dealing with the difficulties of staying in the Church to appease family and friends.

  27. Seth R. Reply

    I agree with the bit about making the Church more open to a variety of people.

    But on the subject of baby-steps…

    Honestly, I don’t think people give much credit to the LDS Church for the steps it does take. So it’s kind of irritating to see people calling for more.

    I’m reminded of something I heard a political consultant on NPR say about politicians. He said that “full disclosure” is actually not usually the best policy. He said that political firestorms are just as (if not more) likely to blow up when you DISCLOSE more. Take Obama – he is a very private and close-lipped president. But it hasn’t really hurt him much.

    Media types, including bloggers are always calling for full disclosure as the highest value imaginable.

    But if it comes down to a choice between the Church being effective in its real mission, or offering up full public disclosure, then I say – accomplish the mission.

    Let the full disclosure statements go-hang.

  28. Seth R. Reply

    I agree with the bit about making the Church more open to a variety of people.

    But on the subject of baby-steps…

    Honestly, I don’t think people give much credit to the LDS Church for the steps it does take. So it’s kind of irritating to see people calling for more.

    I’m reminded of something I heard a political consultant on NPR say about politicians. He said that “full disclosure” is actually not usually the best policy. He said that political firestorms are just as (if not more) likely to blow up when you DISCLOSE more. Take Obama – he is a very private and close-lipped president. But it hasn’t really hurt him much.

    Media types, including bloggers are always calling for full disclosure as the highest value imaginable.

    But if it comes down to a choice between the Church being effective in its real mission, or offering up full public disclosure, then I say – accomplish the mission.

    Let the full disclosure statements go-hang.

  29. Seth R. Reply

    I agree with the bit about making the Church more open to a variety of people.

    But on the subject of baby-steps…

    Honestly, I don’t think people give much credit to the LDS Church for the steps it does take. So it’s kind of irritating to see people calling for more.

    I’m reminded of something I heard a political consultant on NPR say about politicians. He said that “full disclosure” is actually not usually the best policy. He said that political firestorms are just as (if not more) likely to blow up when you DISCLOSE more. Take Obama – he is a very private and close-lipped president. But it hasn’t really hurt him much.

    Media types, including bloggers are always calling for full disclosure as the highest value imaginable.

    But if it comes down to a choice between the Church being effective in its real mission, or offering up full public disclosure, then I say – accomplish the mission.

    Let the full disclosure statements go-hang.

  30. Nathan R Kennard Reply

    I’m glad John D. is in a happy place with his relationship with the LDS church. I resigned before finding his podcasts, but listened to as many as I could find. I appreciated his interviews with Grant Palmer and Richard Bushman. When I heard Bushman suggest apologetic explanations, they provided confirmation that the information offered by Palmer was true. I’m glad John D. interviewed both people, and the combination confirmed my disaffection instead of shoring up my faith. I’m glad John D. is keeping many of his podcasts available.

    Thanks for arranging the interview, John L. It was insightful and valuable, and I look forward to what you do in the future.

  31. James Reply

    Although I can certainly relate to those who see good in continuing attendance after disaffection, for me personally going through the three hour grind is grating agony. On top of this is the total lack of common ground I share with the TBM’s and some cafeteria mormons. To continue to support such an organizsation it antithetical to my personal ethos. Can I applaud those who continue attending? No, I cant. If anything I am bewildered as to why they keep associating themselves with something that at its core is fraudulent and backwards. I still love you all though, even Tom 🙂

    This being said though, everyone has their reasons for their actions. Do what you need to do. Get strength where you can find it. If one finds strength by attending church then thats what you gotta do.

  32. James Reply

    Although I can certainly relate to those who see good in continuing attendance after disaffection, for me personally going through the three hour grind is grating agony. On top of this is the total lack of common ground I share with the TBM’s and some cafeteria mormons. To continue to support such an organizsation it antithetical to my personal ethos. Can I applaud those who continue attending? No, I cant. If anything I am bewildered as to why they keep associating themselves with something that at its core is fraudulent and backwards. I still love you all though, even Tom 🙂

    This being said though, everyone has their reasons for their actions. Do what you need to do. Get strength where you can find it. If one finds strength by attending church then thats what you gotta do.

  33. Brock Sampson (Avard) Reply

    So in listening to the podcast, John mentions an interview with “Hiram”. I wanted to find this specific podcast in the Mormon Stories list, but I don’t see which one it is. Any help with that?

    Also, I loved the podcast as always. I’ve recently started going through the Mormon Stories podcasts, and I thought the Grant Palmer one was amazing. I’m listening to the Richard Bushman one, and honestly, I’m a little dissappointed, not with John, but with Bushman. I know that he is entitled to his opinion, but I feel like he is skirting the issue. He seems to not ever be swayed by any of his knowledge, because he never had even considered the possibility that Joseph Smith wasn’t a prophet. In any case, I really enjoy the interviews.

    Lastly, John, I happen to be attending a BBQ that that you will be at this weekend. I look forward to talking to you in person!

    Brock

  34. Brock Sampson (Avard) Reply

    So in listening to the podcast, John mentions an interview with “Hiram”. I wanted to find this specific podcast in the Mormon Stories list, but I don’t see which one it is. Any help with that?

    Also, I loved the podcast as always. I’ve recently started going through the Mormon Stories podcasts, and I thought the Grant Palmer one was amazing. I’m listening to the Richard Bushman one, and honestly, I’m a little dissappointed, not with John, but with Bushman. I know that he is entitled to his opinion, but I feel like he is skirting the issue. He seems to not ever be swayed by any of his knowledge, because he never had even considered the possibility that Joseph Smith wasn’t a prophet. In any case, I really enjoy the interviews.

    Lastly, John, I happen to be attending a BBQ that that you will be at this weekend. I look forward to talking to you in person!

    Brock

  35. Oz Reply

    Great to hear John D. again. MormonStories truelly exposed me to a whole new side of Mormon history and thought. I came away feeling John always tried to give both sides of the story through his guests. I was so late in the game, within weeks of finding MormonStories he had shut it down…I was so bummed. But I’m glad its back up again.

    I’m a novice and still collecting/sorting through much of the historical problems within the church, please be patient with me. I have a question for you guys or any of you who have posted. I notice the comments about the Grant Palmer and Richard Bushman interviews that John did. Its received as Bushman uses apologetics and Palmer was totally accurate with his facts. I came away feeling Bushman does not use “shaky/unstable” facts, and Palmer used a few (not all), 3rd/4th hand accounts for his work. And some have kinda dismissed him for that.

    My question is what or how is the best way to determine the actual facts to work with or believe? Clearly Bushman and Palmer disagree on some points. At times, it appears that the most negative or damning fact is determined to be the absolute truth. I’m curious what your thoughts are about this.

    Lastly, another good job by you guys. You guys seem to have that knack for carrying an open/fair conversation, I think that value will allow for deeper and honest responses from all sides of the issues being discussed.

  36. Oz Reply

    Great to hear John D. again. MormonStories truelly exposed me to a whole new side of Mormon history and thought. I came away feeling John always tried to give both sides of the story through his guests. I was so late in the game, within weeks of finding MormonStories he had shut it down…I was so bummed. But I’m glad its back up again.

    I’m a novice and still collecting/sorting through much of the historical problems within the church, please be patient with me. I have a question for you guys or any of you who have posted. I notice the comments about the Grant Palmer and Richard Bushman interviews that John did. Its received as Bushman uses apologetics and Palmer was totally accurate with his facts. I came away feeling Bushman does not use “shaky/unstable” facts, and Palmer used a few (not all), 3rd/4th hand accounts for his work. And some have kinda dismissed him for that.

    My question is what or how is the best way to determine the actual facts to work with or believe? Clearly Bushman and Palmer disagree on some points. At times, it appears that the most negative or damning fact is determined to be the absolute truth. I’m curious what your thoughts are about this.

    Lastly, another good job by you guys. You guys seem to have that knack for carrying an open/fair conversation, I think that value will allow for deeper and honest responses from all sides of the issues being discussed.

  37. Tom Reply

    I for one appreciate all of the positive feedback. I for one would like to do a future second followup interview with J.Dehlin, but only if J.Larsen is up for one of course.

    Hey James, I love you too, ya hater.

    Brock, here is the link to the Hyrum interview that we were speaking of:
    http://mormonstories.org/podcast/MormonStories-003-InsidetheMi.mp3

    Oz, as far as your question as to what information is most reliable, for me, it all depends on the credibility of the sources and also to add in the possible motive of the author. I think Palmer is fairly credible and shouldn’t be discounted all together, but Bushman has a strong resume and his Rough Stone Rolling book has endured more peer reviews and is more recommended by scholars. To really get a good balanced view, I would recommend reading Bushman’s “Rough Stone Rolling” and then read Fawn Brodie’s, “No Man knows My History”. One has a more positive spin while the other has a more critical approach. After you read both of them I think you would be more apt to draw your own conclusions more objectively.

  38. Tom Reply

    I for one appreciate all of the positive feedback. I for one would like to do a future second followup interview with J.Dehlin, but only if J.Larsen is up for one of course.

    Hey James, I love you too, ya hater.

    Brock, here is the link to the Hyrum interview that we were speaking of:
    http://mormonstories.org/podcast/MormonStories-003-InsidetheMi.mp3

    Oz, as far as your question as to what information is most reliable, for me, it all depends on the credibility of the sources and also to add in the possible motive of the author. I think Palmer is fairly credible and shouldn’t be discounted all together, but Bushman has a strong resume and his Rough Stone Rolling book has endured more peer reviews and is more recommended by scholars. To really get a good balanced view, I would recommend reading Bushman’s “Rough Stone Rolling” and then read Fawn Brodie’s, “No Man knows My History”. One has a more positive spin while the other has a more critical approach. After you read both of them I think you would be more apt to draw your own conclusions more objectively.

  39. Oz Reply

    Thanks Tom for the suggestion, I have read Rough Stone Rolling and need to read No Man Knows My History.

    Hey, maybe a future topic for you guys: Must Read List of Church History books

  40. Oz Reply

    Thanks Tom for the suggestion, I have read Rough Stone Rolling and need to read No Man Knows My History.

    Hey, maybe a future topic for you guys: Must Read List of Church History books

  41. Ashley Reply

    Thanks Mormon Expressions, for a great interview. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I LOVE John Dehlin! He’s my personal rock star for all that he’s done for those of us so traumatized (and misjudged) by the discovery of the “myth” of mormonism. Thanks for helping me find a new place for myself in the LDS church, John. Similar to what you mentioned here, I’m finding that I can’t be mentally healthy without it. Your plowing a new path for so many of us is truly life altering, in the positive sense. I wouldn’t be sane without you. Thanks for ALL that you have done and continue to do. Your selflessness, positive outlook, and compassion will always inspire me.

    Another podcast topic that I would absolutely LOVE to hear and think a vacant nitch that needs to be addressed is what do people like John Dehlin, with a more symbolic view of The Church, teach their children? How do we help them to value and find inspiration in the church without feeling like we are being dishonest with them? Or, even worse, taking them down the same road to feelings of betrayal, confusion, pain and loss of identity? I am really struggling with this right now.

    Also, I have to ask though…what happened to Hyrum from Church Is Not True? I’m searching the internet and trying to find something but…alas, nothing! Perhaps a future podcast topic for you guys! Thanks again, John.

  42. Ashley Reply

    Thanks Mormon Expressions, for a great interview. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I LOVE John Dehlin! He’s my personal rock star for all that he’s done for those of us so traumatized (and misjudged) by the discovery of the “myth” of mormonism. Thanks for helping me find a new place for myself in the LDS church, John. Similar to what you mentioned here, I’m finding that I can’t be mentally healthy without it. Your plowing a new path for so many of us is truly life altering, in the positive sense. I wouldn’t be sane without you. Thanks for ALL that you have done and continue to do. Your selflessness, positive outlook, and compassion will always inspire me.

    Another podcast topic that I would absolutely LOVE to hear and think a vacant nitch that needs to be addressed is what do people like John Dehlin, with a more symbolic view of The Church, teach their children? How do we help them to value and find inspiration in the church without feeling like we are being dishonest with them? Or, even worse, taking them down the same road to feelings of betrayal, confusion, pain and loss of identity? I am really struggling with this right now.

    Also, I have to ask though…what happened to Hyrum from Church Is Not True? I’m searching the internet and trying to find something but…alas, nothing! Perhaps a future podcast topic for you guys! Thanks again, John.

  43. Andrew Callahan Reply

    I’m one of the folks at PostMo who has been critical of John D.’s approach. I do very much like John, and perhaps I’m just too dense to get out of “black and white thinking” and I keep listening and keep reading.

    I do appreciate John D.’s genuine attempt to connect with those of us who are disaffected, and his desire to build bridges. Those are honorable things.

  44. Andrew Callahan Reply

    I’m one of the folks at PostMo who has been critical of John D.’s approach. I do very much like John, and perhaps I’m just too dense to get out of “black and white thinking” and I keep listening and keep reading.

    I do appreciate John D.’s genuine attempt to connect with those of us who are disaffected, and his desire to build bridges. Those are honorable things.

  45. Polygamy Porter Reply

    Ashley,

    You asked:
    “what happened to Hyrum from Church Is Not True? I’m searching the internet and trying to find something but…alas, nothing!”

    Ask the mighty Google god and ye shall receive!

    Googling “the church is not true podcast” takes you to

    http://churchisnottrue.blogspot.com/

    Enjoy!

  46. Polygamy Porter Reply

    Ashley,

    You asked:
    “what happened to Hyrum from Church Is Not True? I’m searching the internet and trying to find something but…alas, nothing!”

    Ask the mighty Google god and ye shall receive!

    Googling “the church is not true podcast” takes you to

    http://churchisnottrue.blogspot.com/

    Enjoy!

  47. Ashley Reply

    Polygamy Porter –

    Thanks for the link. I followed but didn’t find anything on there about Hyrum and something that happened to him. Still curious:) Thanks!

  48. Ashley Reply

    Polygamy Porter –

    Thanks for the link. I followed but didn’t find anything on there about Hyrum and something that happened to him. Still curious:) Thanks!

  49. John Reply

    Hyrum is just fine. He is living a happy life. He has just moved on from the “anti-Mormon” phase in his life. He has moved past some of the family struggles he hinted at in The Church is Not True podcast. Maybe some day we can bring him on to tell his story.

    John

  50. John Reply

    Hyrum is just fine. He is living a happy life. He has just moved on from the “anti-Mormon” phase in his life. He has moved past some of the family struggles he hinted at in The Church is Not True podcast. Maybe some day we can bring him on to tell his story.

    John

  51. Jeff_Ricks Reply

    John, thanks for taking the time to participate in the interview. I appreciate very much what you’re trying to do, but I have a number of problems with how you’re going about making it happen.

    For instance, I understand that (as you pointed out in the interview) the Church is a corporation and therefore feels the pressure that many corporations do. I understand that there’s cost and embarrassment the Church would have to endure by taking a more proactive (and in my view, more honest) approach to addressing issues, instead of waiting until the public forces them too. Yes, I understand that. However, I also believe that when a person is under pressure, you find out what they’re really made of. It’s then that you discover who has real integrity and who does not, whether it’s a person or an organization. Frankly, I feel the Church has failed and continues to fail the test when forced to weigh cost and embarrassment against honor and integrity.

    In my opinion, the Church continues to demonstrate by its “wait until we have no other choice” approach to addressing problems, that integrity is farther down its priority list than it should be for any organization that pretends to be a good example of moral, ethical behavior. Appearances and dollars (pride and wealth) are obviously higher priorities to them. John you might feel that staying in the Church helps you be a better person but I fail to see how such a poor example can do that.

    I also appreciate that you’ve backed off on some of your previous mischaracterizations of people who leave the Church. I wish you’d back off a little more. Describing my life and the lives of hundreds of my friends as “parched” (as you said in the interview) shows that you’re still largely misinformed about the former Mormon community. I can speak for many others I’ve come to know when I say that my life is so much richer as a former Mormon. I’m more at peace, more content, and to my surprise I’ve discovered a higher moral standard than I was even aware existed as a Mormon. It’s now the standard I’m compelled to reach for, and I do that not because I feel I have to, but because for some reason I simply want to. What compels me? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the deep appreciation I’ve developed for life in general. I’m in awe of this experience we call life and feel so humbled to be one who’s blessed with experiencing it, warts and all.

    So, John, please don’t call that kind of life, “parched.” True, leaving Mormonism is a very hard thing to do, but please understand that it’s not because life outside of Mormonism is inherently difficult. It’s because, sad to say, too many friends and family who choose to remain “good” Mormons do their best to make it difficult for those who leave. Were that not so, PostMormon.org would have no reason to exist. We do our best as a community to try to fill in for the failings of their Mormon friends and family, by providing the kind support, understanding, and love they should be getting from them.

  52. Jeff_Ricks Reply

    John, thanks for taking the time to participate in the interview. I appreciate very much what you’re trying to do, but I have a number of problems with how you’re going about making it happen.

    For instance, I understand that (as you pointed out in the interview) the Church is a corporation and therefore feels the pressure that many corporations do. I understand that there’s cost and embarrassment the Church would have to endure by taking a more proactive (and in my view, more honest) approach to addressing issues, instead of waiting until the public forces them too. Yes, I understand that. However, I also believe that when a person is under pressure, you find out what they’re really made of. It’s then that you discover who has real integrity and who does not, whether it’s a person or an organization. Frankly, I feel the Church has failed and continues to fail the test when forced to weigh cost and embarrassment against honor and integrity.

    In my opinion, the Church continues to demonstrate by its “wait until we have no other choice” approach to addressing problems, that integrity is farther down its priority list than it should be for any organization that pretends to be a good example of moral, ethical behavior. Appearances and dollars (pride and wealth) are obviously higher priorities to them. John you might feel that staying in the Church helps you be a better person but I fail to see how such a poor example can do that.

    I also appreciate that you’ve backed off on some of your previous mischaracterizations of people who leave the Church. I wish you’d back off a little more. Describing my life and the lives of hundreds of my friends as “parched” (as you said in the interview) shows that you’re still largely misinformed about the former Mormon community. I can speak for many others I’ve come to know when I say that my life is so much richer as a former Mormon. I’m more at peace, more content, and to my surprise I’ve discovered a higher moral standard than I was even aware existed as a Mormon. It’s now the standard I’m compelled to reach for, and I do that not because I feel I have to, but because for some reason I simply want to. What compels me? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the deep appreciation I’ve developed for life in general. I’m in awe of this experience we call life and feel so humbled to be one who’s blessed with experiencing it, warts and all.

    So, John, please don’t call that kind of life, “parched.” True, leaving Mormonism is a very hard thing to do, but please understand that it’s not because life outside of Mormonism is inherently difficult. It’s because, sad to say, too many friends and family who choose to remain “good” Mormons do their best to make it difficult for those who leave. Were that not so, PostMormon.org would have no reason to exist. We do our best as a community to try to fill in for the failings of their Mormon friends and family, by providing the kind support, understanding, and love they should be getting from them.

  53. Mister IT Reply

    Fascinating episode – thank you.

    I feel like I have a much clearer understanding of why you [John Dehlin] temporarily shut Mormon Stories down – and then brought it back up.

    As a NeverMo Mormon Studies Scholar while I’m unencumbered by the many of the family issues that you discussed in this episode (and which Arza Evans discussed so eloquently in his superb White Paper, “Families Held Hostage”) I still feel them – which is why I’m still using the same tired old alias on the Internet.

    That’s because I have a LOT of Mormon friends and family members who are blissfully unaware of my scholarly work – particularly the criticism of the LdS Church that I engage in. Someday I will disclose – but not today.

    However, it’s that insidious bifurcating aspect of True Believing Mormon Culture that bothers me the most. I find it ironic that an institution that prides and promotes itself as “good for families” is notorious for destroying them as well as friendships, business relationships, etc., etc., etc.

    That is one reason why I still feel the need to warn others about the LdS Church.

    The reason why I criticize the LdS Church and make every attempt to reason with LdS Church members was articulated well by Richard Packam when he said:

    “If someone (such as a Church) claims to have the truth you should probably first find out if they’re lying to you.”

    And John [Dehlin], you know that I love ya man but, this is where we must continue to disagree. I just don’t see how a church – ANY church – that deliberately lies to it’s members can be considered “good”.

    I also disagree with your assessment that the RLDS/CoC and Protestant Church are “weaker” by choosing to pursue “true” truth (that is “ultimate reality”) despite the cost in membership and lost resources (you didn’t get this specific in this interview but you’ve said this elsewhere – the Shawn McCraney interview for example).

    I just don’t see how an organization that relentlessly pursues the truth is “weaker” than one that feathers it’s nest with lies.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to add my 2-p along with everyone else – and I have really appreciated and benefited from what everyone as said in this thread! Without your thought provoking posts I probably would have just moved along to the next podcast and never bothering contributing my own “NeverMormon Expression”!

    Thanks all – especially the “two Johns”!

  54. Mister IT Reply

    Fascinating episode – thank you.

    I feel like I have a much clearer understanding of why you [John Dehlin] temporarily shut Mormon Stories down – and then brought it back up.

    As a NeverMo Mormon Studies Scholar while I’m unencumbered by the many of the family issues that you discussed in this episode (and which Arza Evans discussed so eloquently in his superb White Paper, “Families Held Hostage”) I still feel them – which is why I’m still using the same tired old alias on the Internet.

    That’s because I have a LOT of Mormon friends and family members who are blissfully unaware of my scholarly work – particularly the criticism of the LdS Church that I engage in. Someday I will disclose – but not today.

    However, it’s that insidious bifurcating aspect of True Believing Mormon Culture that bothers me the most. I find it ironic that an institution that prides and promotes itself as “good for families” is notorious for destroying them as well as friendships, business relationships, etc., etc., etc.

    That is one reason why I still feel the need to warn others about the LdS Church.

    The reason why I criticize the LdS Church and make every attempt to reason with LdS Church members was articulated well by Richard Packam when he said:

    “If someone (such as a Church) claims to have the truth you should probably first find out if they’re lying to you.”

    And John [Dehlin], you know that I love ya man but, this is where we must continue to disagree. I just don’t see how a church – ANY church – that deliberately lies to it’s members can be considered “good”.

    I also disagree with your assessment that the RLDS/CoC and Protestant Church are “weaker” by choosing to pursue “true” truth (that is “ultimate reality”) despite the cost in membership and lost resources (you didn’t get this specific in this interview but you’ve said this elsewhere – the Shawn McCraney interview for example).

    I just don’t see how an organization that relentlessly pursues the truth is “weaker” than one that feathers it’s nest with lies.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to add my 2-p along with everyone else – and I have really appreciated and benefited from what everyone as said in this thread! Without your thought provoking posts I probably would have just moved along to the next podcast and never bothering contributing my own “NeverMormon Expression”!

    Thanks all – especially the “two Johns”!

  55. Mister IT Reply

    Oh and two more quick things that I forgot in my last post – and one mustn’t leave nuggets of gold lying in the dust (yes, indeed, I DO flatter myself!):

    John [Dehlin] I know that it’s impossible to have full recall when you’re being interviewed, on-the-frying-pan, and thinking-on-your-feet but you at one point you challenged the panel to name one, just one, highly visible Excommunication of recent years (since Margaret Toscano was the criteria I believe).

    In response I would suggest that Lyndon Lamborn was highly visible, as was the excommunication of Chad Hardy, finally the disfellowshipping of Grant Palmer, IMO, qualifies as another such incident. So while unfortunately the LdS Church’s record when it comes to loyal opposition continues to be an area of concern. It may have SLOWED since September 6, 1992 but I don’t see it ending any time soon.

    Finally, and in a similar vein, the issue of transitioning from Mind Control Cult (which, sadly, the LdS Church currently qualifies as based on objective, secular, non-religious criteria such the BITE Model) to a mainstream, non-cultic, church I would suggest that the World Wide Church of God has offered the best template to date. Their transition from Mind Control Cult to mainstream Evangelical Church was particularly well documented from within and without and I think that the parallels with the modern Mormon Church’s history and dilemma is poignant.

    For example – and to tie this back to my original point in this post – excommunicating Loyal Opposition is a MAJOR criteria of a Mind Control Cult according to Cult Researchers. Healthy organizations can tolerate – even benefit from – loyal opposition within their ranks. Dysfunctional and cultic organizations, on the other hand, stomp it out with passion and relish. And, another criteria is the public denunciation and shunning of former members . . . but that’s another topic for another day.

    OK, I think that I’m (finally) done now.

    My name is Mister IT (aka …), I’m glad to be here, and thanks for letting me share.

  56. Mister IT Reply

    Oh and two more quick things that I forgot in my last post – and one mustn’t leave nuggets of gold lying in the dust (yes, indeed, I DO flatter myself!):

    John [Dehlin] I know that it’s impossible to have full recall when you’re being interviewed, on-the-frying-pan, and thinking-on-your-feet but you at one point you challenged the panel to name one, just one, highly visible Excommunication of recent years (since Margaret Toscano was the criteria I believe).

    In response I would suggest that Lyndon Lamborn was highly visible, as was the excommunication of Chad Hardy, finally the disfellowshipping of Grant Palmer, IMO, qualifies as another such incident. So while unfortunately the LdS Church’s record when it comes to loyal opposition continues to be an area of concern. It may have SLOWED since September 6, 1992 but I don’t see it ending any time soon.

    Finally, and in a similar vein, the issue of transitioning from Mind Control Cult (which, sadly, the LdS Church currently qualifies as based on objective, secular, non-religious criteria such the BITE Model) to a mainstream, non-cultic, church I would suggest that the World Wide Church of God has offered the best template to date. Their transition from Mind Control Cult to mainstream Evangelical Church was particularly well documented from within and without and I think that the parallels with the modern Mormon Church’s history and dilemma is poignant.

    For example – and to tie this back to my original point in this post – excommunicating Loyal Opposition is a MAJOR criteria of a Mind Control Cult according to Cult Researchers. Healthy organizations can tolerate – even benefit from – loyal opposition within their ranks. Dysfunctional and cultic organizations, on the other hand, stomp it out with passion and relish. And, another criteria is the public denunciation and shunning of former members . . . but that’s another topic for another day.

    OK, I think that I’m (finally) done now.

    My name is Mister IT (aka …), I’m glad to be here, and thanks for letting me share.

  57. Pingback: Main Street Plaza » Sunday in Outer Blogness: Double Edition!

  58. odysseyforme yahoo Reply

    I’m always amazed when reading your blog entries how much we have in common.  Listening to this, I realize we have yet another thing in common:  our husband’s backgrounds in the church.  Which makes this path all the more difficult.

    I really love your analogy to Jenga. 

    Thanks for another great podcast!

  59. Janet Lee Reply

    Excellent jam session with a very happy ending.  It’s great to know we’re not alone here in “zion”.   Loved the song!

  60. Anonymous Reply

    I loved the song too.

    But I have to take issue with something that Heather said toward the end of the interview. If I remember correctly, she said that religious believers think that their moral beliefs come from their religion, while atheists think that their moral beliefs come from cognitive processes.

    From what I have seen and read, most people’s moral beliefs are rooted in the group of thoughts and feelings that are typically called the conscience. In turn, the conscience appears to be conditioned by an intuitive or instinctive understanding of fairness and empathy; a lifetime of learned social responses; and ideas that are inculcated by family and society. So the atheists are generally correct when it comes to the psychological dimension of morality.

    Where believers and atheists seem to differ is in the philosophical dimension of morality. Believers generally hold that their moral beliefs are ultimately grounded in their religious faith, i.e., that morality represents the will of God. Atheists usually hold that their moral beliefs are ultimately grounded in human intuition or evolutionary psychology.

    For believers, the need to stay true to the perceived will of God can enable them to engage in acts of individual moral heroism that run counter to cultural norms, though this can also work the other way — for example, when an intended act of moral heroism creates death and suffering, as in a terrorist attack. Atheists seem less prone to these extremes. This appears to be partly due to the fact that atheists often view morality as being ultimately rooted in the culture or species, which means that morality is more of a group characteristic rather than an intensely individual and personal responsibility.

    • Anonymous Reply

      I’m sorry…. but I don’t see any difference in what you said and what I said.  Can you explain what you mean a little more?  (I can be daft sometimes.)

  61. Hermes Reply

    Thanks for this delightful interview.  I enjoyed learning more about the Rockwells, who are both very insightful, and the song at the end was hilarious.

  62. Anonymous Reply

    Great podcast all. I didn’t realize that Greg was ‘Greg the host’ from other podcasts til the audio started. A pleasant surprise for sure. Yer a funny man, Greg and your lovely wife is equally charming.

    I envy you both— or at least the fact that for the most part you exited together. I have been in disaffection limbo since at least 2004 or so— and my wife is believing and still attends— as do my kids. I attend SM a couple times a year at most. We mostly manage an uneasy detente punctuated by episodes of friction over how to raise kids when we don’t agree on belief. Try not to be too jealous.

    I related a lot to Greg’s comments— not only about issues with Mormonism but about also about the good things the larger world has to offer— music, art, literature. I was a teenager in Northern CA in the 80s and had the same experience with music and art. After my mission though I found myself feeling like I had to choose between so-called worldly things and friends— and being a good Mormon. Wish I knew then what I do now.

    I also loved what Letti said about the whole beautiful world opening up once moving beyond the limited thinking that is Mormonism. I’ve felt that exact thing and have told my wife that Mormonism, despite what good it may have, is just too small to be limited to.

    Thank you all. Rockwells, my best to you both and your family.

    Greg, if you band ever plays gigs let me/others know. I’d love come out.

  63. Elisabeth Oppelt Reply

    Greg, thanks for your description of having kids and how parents of small kids generally look unhappy. I often say that, and people get mad at me. But that’s what it looks like to me. I’ve never wanted kids, and have make the choice not to have them. People keep saying it will make me happy, but it seems like all the evidence is to the contrary. That’s not to say that having kids is a bad thing, but for a women like me who really doesn’t want them, I have major doubts that it will make me happy, because it is hard for women who do want kids. So if it’s hard for people who really want kids, why would it magically make me, a person who does not want kids, happy? So thanks for saying that. 

  64. Stacey Brown Reply

    Aw thanks so much 🙂 It means a lot that you listened to my story. 
    I would love to be a panelist…how fun!

  65. Elder Vader Reply

    Thanks for coming on the show and telling your story Stacey.  Its been a long road for me to empathize with gay and lesbian people.  Coming on the show, telling your story, keeping it real… thanks.  I enjoyed listening to it. 

  66. Truth Free Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story Stacey.  Only when people like you are willing to speak up will the general membership and leadership be forced to face their prejudices instead of being left with only their imaginations to run wild about some satanic plot to destroy the divine family.  Homophobia in the church today is a good example of how easy it is to laugh or get angry (or just be confused if you are trying to figure out God) about past injustices but ignore or promote current injustices in the world today.  I will be much more willing to speak up when I hear stories like yours.

  67. Anonymous Reply

    I enjoyed this podcast very much. Stacey, I was very interested in your story and so happy to hear how well things have turned out for you. Can I ask how your girlfriend from your college years is doing? I felt very tender towards her as well as you! 

    Heather, you are a fantastic interviewer. You are so perceptive and ask great followup questions. 

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