Episode 204: The Resignation of John and Zilpha

John and Zilpha recall their journey out of Mormonism and explain their recent decision to resign from the Church.

The Resign Mormon blog: http://resignmormon.blogspot.com/

The Mass Resignation Rally will be on June 30th 2012 at 10 am at Ensign Downs Park in Salt Lake City


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Episode 204

73 comments on “Episode 204: The Resignation of John and Zilpha”

  1. Rdr. M. Fillmore Reply

    When I left the IFB (independent fundamentalist Baptist) religion, I tried to get my name off of the records of a couple different churches of which I had been a member. Turns out that they’re so splintered and disorganized that nobody had any record of me anyway. It was kind of disappointing. I wanted a grand, dramatic exit. Instead I was greeted with “who?”

  2. Jack Rodwell Reply

    lol. comparing anything to nazis is never good and is bad form.  nazis never helped millions around the world even if they were not church members. im a big fan of the show but this was a poor analogy. charity never faileth . you have taken a big leap in starting a war against the church proper. you should have stuck with mormon history and interesting topics in mormonism and not turning into ex mormon . org

    • Richard of Norway Reply

      I thought the analogy was pretty apt. Millions around the world? Who aren’t members? Not sure what you’re getting at here with those numbers. I’m pretty sure a lot of Nazis were good, charitable people too.

    • johnmormonexpression Reply

       Jack, I think you missed the point of the analogy. The point is simply that that even the most despicable organizations, such as the Nazis can be good for insiders. I wasn’t suggesting in the least that Mormons share anything in common with the Third Reich.

      The key is that just because something benefits a few or even a great number doesn’t justify the harm of an organization.

      • iamse7en Reply

        Using this analogy, you should renounce your citizenship too. I might come to that rally.

        • Richard of Norway Reply

          That would be a cool rally indeed. But John’s analogy only suits citizenship in the United States if one believes the US causes more harm than good. Somebody may have a good case for that, but I haven’t heard it yet.

        • johnmormonexpression Reply

           Nonsense. First of all, I can’t opt in to being a citizen since I am naturally born. Being a citizen doesn’t require me to believe any one ideology. Also the US has methods of change. And the US is not founded on a fairy tale mythology.

          • Hermes

            The USA also has methods for dealing with “apostates” that are harsher than the LDS church has dared to be since Mountain Meadows.

          • Hayes Bushman

            John, all I gotta say is you’re… awesome. Keep kicking ass and taking names!

          • darkmatter20

            ” I can’t opt in to being a citizen since I am naturally born.”

            Become a Canadian and you will be opting out of US citizenship. But then who would want to become a Canadian?

            “And the US is not founded on a fairy tale mythology” True but the US does kill a lot of innocent civilians around the world, like they did in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afganistan plus a few assasinations. So which is better, the fairy tale story or the killing of civilians? 

      • Jack Rodwell Reply

        but john why start a war with your family and friends . of course its bs but you belive what  u want and let them believe in fairy tales . im 99 percent sure the lds church isnt true but it might be. u dont have any real idea of what happens when you die so stop acting like u do. no one does 

        • Richard of Norway Reply

          It may not be possible to know what happens when you die, but it is possible to know some of what DOES NOT HAPPEN when you die. Even easier, one can know for certain what could not have happened in church history, based on the existing records. It’s easy to see that Joseph Smith was making it up as he went along. There is no reason to believe anything at all that the LDS church teaches about the afterlife. Their track record is terrible.

        • johnmormonexpression Reply

           My thoughts come from my brain. When I die, my brain decomposes. This is well established through science.

          I am not at war with my family and friends, I am simply resigning.

          • darkmatter20

             “My thoughts come from my brain”….. Hence all the problems!

        • articulett Reply

          Scientologists could use the same manipulative “argument”.  What cult… er… religion couldn’t? 

          I don’t know where missing children are, does that mean I should keep open the option that aliens are eating them?

      • Alien_Cowboy Reply

        Maybe this applies to podcasts too? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin’s_law
        “The rule does not make any statement about whether any particular reference or comparison to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis might be appropriate, but only asserts that the likelihood of such a reference or comparison arising increases as the discussion progresses, irrespective of whether it’s appropriate or not. Precisely because such a comparison or reference may sometimes be appropriate, Godwin has argued that overuse of Nazi and Hitler comparisons should be avoided, because it robs the valid comparisons of their impact.”

        • Richard of Norway Reply

          It might, but certainly not John’s statement in this one. He said “good for insiders” which certainly applies. And that the Nazis caused much more harm than good. Does that qualify as “inappropriate hyperbolic comparisons”? No.

        • johnmormonexpression Reply

           I noticed that you edited your comment to take out the reference to the Holocaust–probably because you had second thoughts and realized I was talking about the privilege of the SS and not about the genocide. This just goes to show that people use this stuff as a knee jerk reaction rather than listen to the argument.

          Once again, I don’t think you guys were listening and you would rather trot out you knowledge of internet memes than deal with what I was saying. I didn’t compare the Church to the Nazis. I said that even the most evil organizations can be good for insiders. Thus I used the Nazis since they are consider by many to be the worst.

          • Hermes

            John’s analogy to Nazism was appropriate, and apt.  The Nazis were social conservatives (very big on “family values” — read some of their literature), and flourished by grinding “undesirables” into the dirt.  People today sometimes forget how respectable the Nazis were before the Holocaust became a matter of record.  If you don’t see the downside of the Ponzi scheme, the upside is sometimes deceptively beautiful.

          • Alien_Cowboy

            Never having posted here before, I think I deserved your response, but this is definitely not the first time listening and I don’t mean to come across as hostile. Thank you for sharing your story, and I’m sorry I lead off with criticism rather than praise in my first post.  Poor form on my part.  By way of explanation, I only wanted to suggest that you drop the defense of the Nazi comparison (it’s fine you made it once, I don’t expect anyone to anticipate the outcome of every word spoken/written, I’m obviously not good at doing that) because I think the reference distracts from the point being made. Ponzi schemes or pyramid schemes would work without all this baggage, unless you do want to make a case that the church is on par with the worst form of this behavior.   
            Does the organization of the church benefit it’s insiders at the expense of others?  Absolutely. 

  3. Richard of Norway Reply

    Great podcast. I fully support you guys and agree with pretty much everything you said. Except for maybe the part about M.E. enabling members to remain in the church. I don’t think that happens so much, but maybe I’m wrong.

  4. Elder Vader Reply

    Haven’t listened yet.  Can’t wait to listen.  Earlier this year, when reading some of John Larsen’s blog posts I wanted to resign though.  Kind of a “this is how I feel too, might as well live out in the open about it”.  What I ended up doing was unsubscribing from all the mormon discussion, and postmo internet groups, and shelved most discussion/thoughts of mormonism in favor of working on more secular projects that would actually improve my current physical life situation as opposed to my current mental life situation. 

    John Larsen’s ‘The Vanguard’ essay just felt like it was moving too quickly for me.  Even though I agree with everything in it.  Every time I think of it I feel like a giant wuss.  Anyway…  

  5. Kamon Farmer Reply

    I am currently experiencing the same dilemma, namely, if I
    don’t believe in the Church can I still find value in it?”  I guess at this point I don’t know the answer
    to that question but I am curious about one thing…if I reject the Church and its
    values (judeo/christrian values) what value system will I replace it with? What
    will I use as my moral compass? Humanity? Humanity has a miserable track record.
    This has been the greatest struggle for me. Any suggestions?

    • Rdr. M. Fillmore Reply

      when i left the religion of my you
      th, i simply joined another religion, and have remained happily in that religion to this day. that being said, most of my values come from common sense. my religion teaches me not to be a dick to people, but you don’t really need a church to tell you to be polite, honest, etc. if you grow up being told that you’re incapable of being good without divine guidance, you start to think that leaving a church will turn you into a monster. this is not so. total depravity is total bullshit. if you’re a good person now, you’ll still be a good person after you leave. “do unto others” is in the bible, but you don’t really need a church to tell you that. (as for me, i love religion, and i believe that Christ is risen, so i’d recommend finding another church if you’re so inclined. but if you can’t believe in God at all, that won’t prevent you from being good.)

    • Christopher Wiren Reply

      The LDS church is very different from any other Christian denomination, both when it comes to the doctrine and the legalism. No other Christian church cave to the LDS power structure.
      I suggest you do like my wife and I did – that is, if you still are interested in religious affiliation – shop around!!!
      If you are no longer interested in religion you can surely find values in the spectrum of life. Just give it time!

      • darkmatter20 Reply

         To be the ‘one true church’ as it claims it will have to be very different from any other Christian denomination. It can’t be the same as the others and claim exclusivity.

        Shopping around can be OK but surely you’d want God to tell you which church he recognizes as his and which church has the fullness of his doctrine, would you not?

    • Taryn Fox Reply

      Maybe you could ask yourself what’s important and valuable to you, and what you think that you ought to do for it.

    • Gale3 Reply

      Perhaps humanity does have a miserable track record, but it has a pretty good one too. If we’re going to be fair we need to acknowledge that “judeo/christian” values have a pretty miserable track record as well.
      So long as you retain your thoughtful introspection and continue to seek goodness (whatever that is) and betterment (whatever that is) I think you’ll do just fine.

    • johnmormonexpression Reply

       You. You are your moral compass. Do that which you consider good and reject that which you consider to be evil.

      Why do you assume that you can’t tell the difference?

      • Megan von Ackermann Reply

        EXACTLY! I’ve never gotten the panic over morality without religion. A lot of religious ‘morals’ have nothing to do with being kind or good or whatever and are all about legalistic rule following. Not to mention the really dodgy bits where God is definitely anti-moral (genocide! Rape! ritualized murder! Bears maulling children!)

        We’re social animals as humans and we pretty much know how to be good members of a community.

        Heck, the fact that you say that humanity has a miserable track record demonstrates that you have a very strong sense of right and wrong and you know it when you see it. (btw, I think it’s important to point out that humanity has a damn fine track record as well. We do the good and we do the bad and it’s really important to recognize the good stuff so we can encourage it, celebrate it, and emulate it)

    • cwinchesteriii Reply

       Consider that many of the values we hold today as self-evident – freedom from slavery, individual autonomy, the fact that child abuse, spouse abuse, rape, infanticide (infants younger than one month of age) are terrible evils, democracy, civil rights, freedom from torture, etc, came not from Judeo-Christian scripture, but from the “philosophies of men” from the Enlightenment onward. Secular humanism has more to do with what we consider our most cherished values than does the Bible.

      Morality is evolving. The world is getting better. And religion had very little to do with it.

  6. Christopher Wiren Reply

    JOHN-
    You are a voice of reason, and a beacon of light for many! You are, surely, entitled to live your life as you please, but I doubt that you are keeping people in the church… Likely none has joined the church because of M.E., but many have drifted further from it, and certainly more than a handful have resigned due to it.
    I understand that the ever-looming presence of the church is annoying for you – as it is for most of us – but you are a great help/joy/friend/source of information to many of us, even if we live in the other side of the Globe.
    M.E. – if it would remain – could survive without you (lets be honest) but it would loose listeners and power in the functionality it now serves – as an axes of information, to rally around, to debunk the church, and the companionship that comes with it. However, M.E. could take a different turn, like the rally for mass resignation. There are surely ideas on how to change perspective if the purpose has shifted!
    I would hate if “Studio Fist in your Face” went silent, but you are the master of your domain, and I wish you and Zilpha all the best!
    -Chris (Sweden)

    • johnmormonexpression Reply

       We are not going to go silent and the “ME” project will continue in one form or another. Stay tuned for more information.

  7. cwinchesteriii Reply

    I can understand that in the heart of things you see a lot of people who have been run over by the church, but I don’t think the black and white/good and evil dichotomy is very useful. Mormonism is a rather silly religion, very inward facing, and not tolerant of dissent. But there are good and bad things about it, just like every organization, secular and religious. On the whole I think there is probably more negative than positive about the LDS church, but I still wouldn’t describe it as “evil.” No more evil than Wal-Mart, anyway.

      • cwinchesteriii Reply

         No, but they do oppress their workers.

        So let’s put the LDS church as somewhat more evil than Walmart, but less evil than most nations (if only for lack of opportunity).

        • Christopher Wiren Reply

          Doesn’t the LDS Church oppress THEIR workers? I mean, it is as voluntary to be a member of the LDS Church as it is to work for Walmart… However the drones at Walmart receive some kind of reward while the drones at… (You know where I am going with this.) … and the families do not diss-fellow their relatives once they stop working for Walmart.

    • johnmormonexpression Reply

      We haven’t advocated any sort of black and white thinking at all. I don’t see where you are arriving at that conclusion.

      If a successful business man and loving father commits a felony, is it black and white thinking to put him in jail. No. But why throw out all of the good he has done for that one crime? We are not. He should be punished for his action. Likewise, our leaving the Church doesn’t blind us to the good the Church has done. It is simply a matter of correct response to the Church’s status, teachings and actions.

      Even nuanced thinking must lead to definitive action. Deciding to take a left turn at an intersection is not black and white thinking, hopefully it is the right choice given all of the input.

      • cwinchesteriii Reply

         I don’t think you’re wrong for leaving the church. I think more people should do it. I was just objecting to your characterization of it as evil.

        Anyway, I support you in your decision, and I have to say, thank you for Mormon Expression. It was the final nudge I needed to abandon my faith in Mormonism.

  8. Chris Wheeler Reply

    As usual, insightful podcast. John, near the end of the podcast you state that you can’t be part of any effort that helps people stay in the church and it sounds as though that is one of the reasons you will stop hosting ME.

    However, I also kind of got the impression (perhaps mistaken) that future efforts will be aimed at leading people out of the church. Is this the case?

    • johnmormonexpression Reply

       No. We will have more to say on this later, but we are moving on away from Mormonism. It is time for others to take up the torch. We are simply changing our attention.

      • Teri Givens Braun Reply

        I love the podcasts you do John I like your logic you think like i do.  I will be sad to see you go. We as listeners really need someone as eloquent and logical as you.  But I don’t think we will find him or her.

        This is under my wife’s facebook account I cant change it to mine.  
        I really think you are helping people leave the church way more than you help anybody stay in.

      • Bill Johnson Reply

        I have really enjoyed your podcasts John and listen to them every week.  I hope you will continue doing them in some form.  I would really miss them if they vanished or if you were not the driving force as you make such a good host.

  9. Jean Bodie Reply

    It is a bitter sweet podcast for many of us. We identify with the stages that John and Zilpha have gone through and the necessity of moving forward with our lives. My heart goes out to their loved ones because they simply don’t understand just how necessary this is and they possibly will feel betrayed. Each one of us is in charge of our own feelings though and our own beliefs. I left the church in a flurry of anger and pain; they are doing it rationally. I support you in this decision John and Zilpha.

    I had to chuckle Z at your comments about when you get a baby it is supposed to be Nirvana and it isn’t. Had that same conversation with a young mum. It is wrong to teach people these kinds of things that lead to them feeling less than, if they don’t show the same smiles. Raising babies is hard; it gets better – lol.

  10. Hermes Reply

    This one was great.  “I’m a cheddar man!”  This needs to be on a T-shirt (or something: the analogy to cheese was well put; the ME audience will miss John’s aphorisms).

    I am still not resigning, mostly because I am too busy and I fear the implications with my TBM family.  I guess I am a coward, and an enabler.  (I am actually serious when I say this: to all those hurt by my nominal membership in the LDS pyramid scheme, I can only say that I am very sorry.  Maybe one day I will find the guts to follow John and Zilpha.  Meantime, I figure I have other things to worry about — like getting a job that lasts and can provide my family with financial independence.  I try to do what I can by being honest with others who ask me about my experience with Mormonism.)

    Best of luck to the Larsens, and all of those resigning with them.  If we were in Utah, we would be happy to hike Ensign Peak with you.

  11. Joe Geisner Reply

    Over the last twenty-five years I have seen many great people who are also Mormon walk way from Mormonism. It is always hard for me to see them move on, but I understand their reasons. I wish you two the best in your future adventures. Linda Sillitoe’s poem comes to mind that she sent to Lavina Fielding Anderson after Lavina was fired from Ensign:

    One by one
    they throw us from the tower.
    And we spread our wings
    and fly.

  12. ItsTimeNow Reply

    I agree with the comment that ME was the final nudge to help them leave the church. I’ve been living the double life for 15 years now. Listening to ME for the past 6 months has been the final nudge I needed to finally say enough. I think ME has done that for many people. And although it’s gonna be so hard with family, it is time to embrace my life fully and openly without the church. Since my children and husband are still members, I am not ready to officially resign. But I will send all my best from 2,100 miles away for a glorious day on June 30. 

  13. Elder Vader Reply

    John and Zilpha – I finally listened to this episode and here are my comments, in usual Elder Vader Style bullet points.  

    – I stumbled into the OCD info-gorge phase of my faith crisis in February 2010.  I was keeping my life together, but mentally I was a wreck.  I found John Dehlin’s podcast pretty quickly, but it took me several months to come across Mormon Expression.  Both podcasts have been, for me, something I’m very grateful for.  Very helpful as I have moved toward an orderly exit.  What surprises me most, is that this isn’t the kind of thing you could really ask a good friend to do for you as a favor.  “Hey, could you systematically produce an internet radio program that covers tough topics about a relatively new religion?”  

    – The limited online conversations I’ve had with John in internet forums have been helpful for me.  I’ve always sort of gotten the impression that this is like the 100th time John has been over this material and he’s sort of bored with having the same conversation again and again.  But it was always helpful, because I was grappling with the issues for the first time in this new way.  This is why I think the podcast format is especially good, because if I happen to be grappling with a topic, and I can tell that I disagree with the panel, I can listen to the podcast a few times on my commute or wherever.  

    – I remember in the run up to the Iraq war, I used to listen to the Diane Rehm show on NPR.  At the time I was pretty republican, and pretty hawkish in favor of the war.  But listening to the Diane Rehm show, she would sometimes ask tough questions, or bring up inconvenient facts.  But because her voice was so gentle and calm, she could get away with saying something confrontational that other radio hosts just wouldn’t be able to pull off.  Zilpha has that ability to say things where if someone else on the panel were to say it, it would sound confrontational, but when Zilpha says it, it sounds palatable.  

    – I really appreciate the fact that everybody I’ve met in real life from the Mormon Expression world has been cool.  I’ve been overly cautious, in retrospect, about reaching out.  I appreciate that John and Zilpha have created a forum/community/group that generally attracts reasonable people, and repels obnoxious people.  

    – One effect that listening to the podcast has had on me is I’ve been able to more quickly cycle through the post mo confusion.  One month for every year you’ve been in the church is a good rule of thumb.  

    – Tithing settlement list of all the people you are sealed to… I was not aware of this.  This is so awful.  Ugh.  They’re aware I’m not going, and that I don’t believe.  They’re aware of some of my reasons for distancing myself.  Making it final like that will be like stabbing them repeatedly in the heart.  I remember on my mission, there was a family, who had a 16 year old daughter accidentally back over her 1 year old sister with a van, and kill the 1 year old.  I thought, how horrible it is that their catholic priest told the family that the baby wasn’t going to heaven.  This is kind of the same.  

    – One of the comments above “Why go to war with your friends and family?”  I feel the tension myself when contemplating this.  Its amazing to me that leaving an organization that purports to be good for people generates this kind of dialogue.  What a powerful framing of the discussion on the part of the church to make such a conversation possible.  

    • rufus72 Reply

      John and Zilpha,

      I can only agree with the comments that say they are amazed at how well and consistantly good it is. I listen to many podcasts and this is one of my favorites. 
      I love your analysis but just disagree with your conclusions. 

  14. findngtruth Reply

    I have been more of a new listener and have only listened to a handful of the M.E. podcasts, and I must say that this podcast was bitter-sweet and powerful.
    As someone who has been struggling with finding the power to leave, I feel elated for you both that you have found that ground to stand.
    At the same time, the thought of you leaving M.E. is sad. I have somehow found amazing strength in listening to your voices, in the manor and tone of free speach, and it has given me somewhat of a more stable support in my endeavors in searching for the TRUTH in such a powerful mind-controling organization that tries to hide it. Thank you for that.
    I do hope I am able to make it to the rally to support, but either way, I wish you both the very best. And I hope you will not go unnoticed.

  15. Seth Riggs Reply

    I agreed with everything but the part about Mormon Expressions helps people stay in the church. That’s nonsense. If anything it helps people go the other direction and helps people think more critically about their affiliations. 

    If the mass resignation goes well, maybe it should become a yearly thing. Kinda like a graduation or gay pride parade.

    It’s apparent John and Zilpha are burned out or ran out of things to talk about. Instead of scuttling the podcast, perhaps hand over the reins to other people who are about as engaging and interesting.

  16. LordofDarkness Reply

    John & Zilpha:

    I’m a huge fan, and I’m thrilled for your decision.  ME has been a great resource for me the last 2 years.  Thank you for your hard work and dedication.  I hope you guys continue the podcasts in some fashion.

    ME definitely helped me reach a decision to resign from the church earlier this year.

    http://www.postmormon.org/exp_e/index.php/discussions/viewthread/31945

    I will try to attend the rally but have some practical obstacles (as in visitation w/kids and a non-approving ex-wife) but I will be there in spirit.

    Thanks again for everything you’ve done.

    LoD

  17. Jack Rodwell Reply

    awwww the shows ending . dammm. i look forward to it walking my dog every tuesday morn in cal.  and voices too every wendes /.   why cant you just change to a church history site or something. or do something on youtube. dont just end the show . you have fans. now i gotta go back to mormon stories which is aight and mormon matters which sucks .

    i understand you want to move on but arent you still interested in church history. look at the community you guys have built and there are a lot of people who dont live in utah who cant keep in touch

  18. Natalee Tincher Reply

    I hope that ME continues …. Too many of us, outside “Zion”, have little or no outlet for information or discussion. I’d be hard pressed to have come this far in my disaffection without the many hours spent listening to ME podcasts in support of the tedious hours spent in research. The house of cards came tumbling down and ME helped me make sense of it all.

    I fully support the resignation rally. I recently made the decision to resign, however I was plotting how and when to do it in order to mitigate the fallout. Ahhh, forget the fallout, perhaps a flight is in my future.

  19. Robert Duncan Reply

    Dear John and Zilpha,
    I too, understand the need to move on. I’ve been in this hell of trying to put Mormonism behind me for 6 and 1/2 years now but with so many TBM kids and a still partially TBM spouse, I just can’t get it out of my life. But I was brought to tears the other day thinking how much harder this would have been if you two hadn’t been doing these podcasts. You have often been the only thing giving me any comfort when I thought I was going to lose my mind from being surrounded by all these people who just have no way to conceive of what I’m going through.
    You are both so good at what you do with these podcasts. Please don’t go away if there is some way you can find to stay. Maybe do every third podcast or something. You guys have a real gift and you are fighting a battle that is really so vital. I just think we underestimate the things that are at stake right now. I think that for the first time maybe ever, there is a real chance for rational thinking to start to overcome the myths of religion to actually bring mankind to a higher place. And I don’t think we realize how badly we need voices like yours to sort of lead the way by keeping the fire going and even stirring the flames up. You two haven’t just been fighting the lies of Mormonism. You’ve been fighting the powers that want to keep people divided and afraid and that want to keep people from listening to their own inner voice and reaching their highest potential. This is really big stuff and you guys are amazing at putting it into words that people can relate to.
    So that’s my rant, Zilpha and John. Please stay with us if you can find some way to do it.

  20. Burto Reply

    Before I do that I need to resign from my calling.  Anyone know how to resign from an elders quorum presidency position?  I was called by the stake so I’m wondering if I have to go to them or if I can just tell the EQ president.  Can anyone help me out?

    • darkmatter20 Reply

      you don’t need to resign from your calling first. I guess from this comment you are considering resigning from the church? if so you go straight to the bishop or rather email or send the resignation letter -a legal sounding one is better- and wait for their response. if nothing happens in , say, 4 weeks, then write again commenting that you have not heard back from them. they will probably release you without telling you anyway.

      • Burto Reply

         Thanks for the response.  I’m actually not ready to completely resign.  I’m going to continue to attend for my wife and my kids for a time.  Not sure how long I’ll be able to actually sustain that but I’m going to give it a shot.  But I don’t feel comfortable serving in the EQ given that I don’t share the same beliefs.  I’m thinking I’ll notify the EQ Pres and he can chose to take care of it or tell me to go to the stake.

        • darkmatter20 Reply

           In that case you should talk to EQ president, or bishop, and ask for a release however if you tell the bishop during an interview he will probably try to talk you out of it and then want to follow up with you in the future to talk about your testimony etc. So the EQ president is a better bet to get it done quickly. Note that although it is a stake based calling , because the bishop is the presiding officer in the ward, everything will go through him. So either the high councilman or the EQ president will talk to bishop about this and also obtain bishops approval for the new councilor. good luck and i hope you find peace with your beliefs.

  21. darkmatter20 Reply

    Interesting discussion. I would only add that there should be a clear distinction made between Utah/Idaho and the rest of the world mormons and wards.

    We , in the rest of the world, will add ‘Do not contact’ to the address line in MLS and that is respected -we do not contact them! We had to do this because headquarters will not accept that people do not want to be contacted because they no longer think of themselves as members, so then we come up with alternatives. Plus leaving or resigning should be easier, like closing a bank account. In the handbook book 1 the process of resignation is clearly set out and has been since the 2003 edition (from memory, could’ve been the 1998 edition, can’t remember now). Any bishopric member or ward clerk can show you how to do this.

    Also remember that a non-confirmed child will be taken of MLS at age 18 anyway but they will stay on headquarters list though for geneology and/or if they ever join again.

    Also John is wrong in thinking that we will still follow people who have resigned. If done correctly, ie letter sent to bishop, stake president reviews and authorizes the bishop to write back to you saying that if you don’t change your mind within 30 days you will be removed from membership etc etc, you will be removed from main lists and moved to the headquarters only ex-members lists. So if the bishop and SP work well together and have the time available, it could take only a week between your letter reaching them and an answer reaching you however if they don’t work well together or don’t have the time it will take longer. Email letters are always quicker and I’d recommend that way over snail mail.

    Note 1: money from poor countries going to law school. Not true! no poor country is running a surplus. money goes from the US to the poor countries to maintain basic operations and constructions. Even Brazil which is a middle income country is in deficit.

    Note 2: lost member list. they are ruge. recently we re-attached them to the old ward but the ward itself wont see this, only HQ/General authorities will. The problem is worst in 3rd world countries because people move and leave no trace of where they went to, no forwarding address, no listing in phone books so they are hard to find. However they, the lost members, are still counted as members in that 14 million odd. (ps, i work for office of presiding bishopric)

    Note 3: just for the record saying that the church is ‘evil’ & ‘destructive’ is a bit too much. You can believe that it isn’t true but saying it is evil? nah. We have problems, lost members are one, the process of resignation is too long and its another problem, but the majority of members aren’t crazy or controlled as the nazi’s controlled their people. We aren’t that evil. Saying so is for me the same as wanting to kill apostates or saying that those who resign will go to hell. Most people who leave the church are good and decent and will probably end up in the terrestrial kingdom (based on mormon theology) and aren’t necessarily son’s of perdition -most cause I’m not sure about John here!!

  22. NakedEmperor Reply

    John, I too have benefited greatly from the podcast.  It hasn’t been long since my shelf broke, maybe two months ago.  Anyway I’m always agreeing with you, but there is one thing of interest that I feel I can contribute here.  You’ve mentioned evolution quite a few times.  I’ve come to believe that evolution as an explanation for life is a steaming pile,..  Scientists who push it are driven to believe it because anything but evolution is going to sound silly obviously.  Check out “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel.  Sure he’s an advocate for Christianity, but the case he makes is all science.  From my point of view the TBMs and the evolutionists are equally careful about protecting their dogma and equally contemptuous of those who dare peek behind the curtain.

  23. iamse7en Reply

    I’ve listened to probably half of the podcasts. Studying church history and doctrine is a hobby of mine, and it’s been very in-depth over the past 5 or so years. I’m aware of all of the quote-unquote problems. My faith in and devotion to the LDS Church as actually increased throughout this in-depth study. I do admit many answers from apologists are disingenuous, including the Church, over the years.

    I knew this was podcast a more “hostile” environment when I first chose to listen to it. My faith was never shaken (though it was ‘challenged’), but there were many frustrating moments listening, because I felt there was much misinformation and manipulation along the way, particularly in the episodes where there was no “faithful” perspective from believers, and even then, your “believing” guests were still quite liberal and NOM-ish in their views.

    But I can’t help but notice John’s “coming out” in this episode. Granted, I have not listened to ALL of the episodes, but it’s now clear what was his agenda all along. He feels it’s time to move on from this podcast, especially if it has strengthened people’s faith and devotion to this “evil” organization. I hope everyone caught that. 

    You see, he wants to be no part of anything that would strengthen Mormons’ faith. He wanted to be part of something that hurt people’s faith, that led people AWAY from this “evil” organization. I remember in many episodes, John has tried to say he doesn’t care if people stay or leave the Church, he’s only the innocent guy who’s sharing his story and perspective on Mormonism. He has no hidden agenda. But this was his agenda from the start: to destroy people’s faith to convince people to leave Mormonism. I know people don’t like the label of “anti-Mormon,” but isn’t this the very definition? His hope or agenda now helps to put context to how episodes were prepared and produced. 

    Yes, it’s true, if I were to start a podcast on Mormonism, it would be designed to increase faith. I want people to embrace the principles of Mormonism, because of the happiness it has brought me, but at least I’d be upfront about it…  I’m not saying John was being dark and sinister (I can’t be the judge of that), and it probably went without saying that John would like to see more people leave the Church (I got that from the very first episode I listened to), and his podcast would help that… but this recent episode helped clarify, for me, what John’s agenda has been all along. I feel like he tried to soften this agenda (not quite hide it), so that the middling group of people would be open to listening to it. But his purpose is now clear. In other words, I felt like he was disingenuous. 

    That said, I have enjoyed many episodes. I enjoyed the frank conversations on Church history and doctrine, and those were my more favorite episodes. They would discuss issues that Apologists wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole… I’m not sure if I can say this podcast helped increase my faith in and devotion to the LDS Church and Gospel, but it certainly helped me to research and read things I otherwise wouldn’t have read in my studies… so perhaps it helped indirectly. I’m sorry if that frustrates John, because I know he didn’t want that to happen, but it did for me. So I guess I found some truth to Brigham’s saying, “Every time you kick “Mormonism” you kick it upstairs; you never kick it downstairs.”  I hope these conversations will lead people to take an in-depth look at Mormonism. For me, it has been very fruitful and faith-promoting.

    I know many on this site will either hate or scoff at my comment, but it’s my perspective. 

  24. Spotify John Reply

    John, How did you even tape the podcast without benefiting (as an insider in our capitalist system) from the sweat shop style labor that built your electronic equipment? You may want to look at every other product you own as well and weigh the cost (to others)/benefit (to yourself). Its not pretty my friend.

  25. Jeremy Robinson Reply

    This podcast really got under my skin. I normally love Mormon Expression but what bugs me the most isn’t so much the Nazi comparison. It was definitely hyperbolic but that’s kind of John’s style… (only I used to see it as humor) John thinks the church is evil. The point of the comparison is that it is immoral to support an evil institution when you personally benefit from it, which I suppose most people would agree with.

    The biggest problem is, everybody agrees that the Nazi party were evil but the people who stay in the church probably don’t believe the church is evil. So the annoying part about what he said is not the comparison itself but the disrespect for those who don’t believe in everything but who don’t believe the church is actually evil, or “Middle Way Mormons”.

    John Larson has no respect for Middle Way’ers. This is also evidenced by the comment that Middle Way Mormons are miserable. Personally, I am bothered by some things and I struggled for a time but I am quite happy. I’m in a good place and by no means miserable. So for those who are in a similar boat as me, who aren’t miserable, he aims the Nazi bit. The message is: “Well, if you aren’t miserable, at least know that you’re immoral.”

    The other thing I thought odd was his rationalization for “moving away from Mormonism” and not doing Mormon Expression anymore. He said he doesn’t want to be a part of something which, rare as it may be, might keep people in the church. If he said he’s just tired of Mormonism and ready to move on to something new, I can respect that… but come on! This is one more dig at the middle path. He doesn’t even want to associate with us.

    John Larson ironically only has respect for the Hot or Cold, the TBM or the Anti, the black or white. There is no middle ground. The depressing thing is that a guy so articulate and smart and funny as John Larson has actually become a fundamentalist. We in the Middle are not with him so we are against him. We are the enablers of the church and therefore he cannot support anything which promotes people in that position.

  26. Christopher Wiren Reply

    …First I like to state the obvious. John can – and I hope he will – answer himself.

    Having listened to all (no bragging, just witnessing the full development in a chronological manner) episodes of the Mormon Expression podcast I do not find any hidden agenda in John’s actions – just a natural development.

    Most people who truly investigate and question are/become (by default?!) “quite liberal and NOM-ish” and they end up going inactive. I wish all people dared to dive into the issues, instead of listening to church leaders and obediently [sic] “putting them on the shelf”.

    I believe it is honest to leave the LDS Church, just as any other organization, one no longer support. I know, first hand, that it takes plenty of courage doing so – risking friends, family, job, etc. – since the Utah LDS culture is quite(!) intolerant to diversity. This intolerance also makes it hard to run a show with TBMs and/or for TMBs. If a TMB is on the show, like Mike was, he mostly state what the listeners already knows, and many feel uncomfortable with, it does not really “add” to the discussion… So what remains are the people who are hurt and who do not fit the LDS mold of acceptance.

    Some might experience this “us vs. them” mentality as “evil” and reason enough for leaving – disregarding history and doctrinal issues. Experience this first hand, day in and day out, likely affect any human with a concerned heart and large network. After many years of dedication to knowledge the social aspects, likely, takes its toll.

    I wish that ALL shelves would crumble and that ALL TBMs would dive into knowledge of original church sources. If that leads to strengthened testimonies, so be it. But I would make me mighty surprised.
    This does not make me an anti-mormon, rather LDS Church history has modern day anti-mormon slant – and I can accept that. I.e. quoting Brigham Young could easily make me an “anti-mormon” 2012.

  27. iwillgodown Reply

    I guess we just didn’t donate enough tith…mammon to the podcast.  Maybe if we had a fund raiser?  Pod-a-thon or a Cast-a-thon?  Not to be confused with, cast a thong.

    How are we ever going to know the truth about milk strippings, hanging by a thread, and “I will go down” ?

    Oh well, even MASH didn’t last forever.  Thanks again u guys and I will end like Joseph Smith as he translated reformed egyptian into english……adieu.

  28. Duwayne_Anderson Reply

    I’m probably a month late in commenting, but I will really miss your regular podcasts and comments — especially the comments that come from Zilpha — she really hits the nail on the head. The world would be a much better place, if more people were like you two.

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