Episode 31: An Interview with John Larsen

The tables are turned as Tom interviews John Larsen.

John’s Interview with the Ogden Standard Examiner

Episode 31

30 comments on “Episode 31: An Interview with John Larsen”

  1. Eric Comstock Reply

    John I really enjoyed hearing your story. If it is possible could you post or send me a list of the books you have written. I am especially interested in hearing what books you read covering the history of the new testament.

  2. Eric Comstock Reply

    John I really enjoyed hearing your story. If it is possible could you post or send me a list of the books you have written. I am especially interested in hearing what books you read covering the history of the new testament.

  3. Eric Comstock Reply

    Sorry John. I meant the books you have read. I would love a list of the books you read.

  4. Eric Comstock Reply

    Sorry John. I meant the books you have read. I would love a list of the books you read.

  5. Wes Cauthers Reply

    Hey John,

    Great hearing more about your story. I very much related to the experience you have had with your family since leaving Mormonism. While no criticism has been verbally directed towards me, the silence is deafening and the elephant in the room is always there. Growing up in my family, it was made clear exactly how the currently active members feel about people like myself and thus the silence could be accurately described as a passive violence or a violence of omission. There is an unwillingness to engage in an real and authentic relationship where both parties can be honest about their feelings. This unfortunately indicates anything but health in a relationship. Anyway, those were the thoughts I had as I listened to that part of the podcast. Thanks again for all the work you put into Mormonexpression.

    Wes

  6. Wes Cauthers Reply

    Hey John,

    Great hearing more about your story. I very much related to the experience you have had with your family since leaving Mormonism. While no criticism has been verbally directed towards me, the silence is deafening and the elephant in the room is always there. Growing up in my family, it was made clear exactly how the currently active members feel about people like myself and thus the silence could be accurately described as a passive violence or a violence of omission. There is an unwillingness to engage in an real and authentic relationship where both parties can be honest about their feelings. This unfortunately indicates anything but health in a relationship. Anyway, those were the thoughts I had as I listened to that part of the podcast. Thanks again for all the work you put into Mormonexpression.

    Wes

  7. Jay Reply

    Loved your story. I related a lot to many of the things you said. Especially the part where you wanted to bring things up in Sunday School or EQ and when you did you were patronized. This has been my experience as well. No comments are welcome unless they follow the Church’s set explanations.

    I also feel quite alone in my doubt. Though several of my Bishops have known of my disaffection they choose to ignore it. I’m not sure if this is on purpose or if they just don’t know how to handle it, being untrained, temporary clergy.

  8. Jay Reply

    Loved your story. I related a lot to many of the things you said. Especially the part where you wanted to bring things up in Sunday School or EQ and when you did you were patronized. This has been my experience as well. No comments are welcome unless they follow the Church’s set explanations.

    I also feel quite alone in my doubt. Though several of my Bishops have known of my disaffection they choose to ignore it. I’m not sure if this is on purpose or if they just don’t know how to handle it, being untrained, temporary clergy.

  9. Randall Reply

    Excellent interview. Had been looking forward to John’s story. Anyway, John, that was the best articulation of how a mission is difficult. I can remember longing not only for days where I could do whatever I wanted, but longing for days where I had specific places to be and specific, defined things to do. The anguish of waking up in the morning, looking at a blank blue planner and thinking, what the hell am I going to do today that will make me feel good about it? I also liked your 2 factors in leaving the church. I had been, most of my life, a person who never really enjoyed church (if I was honest with myself) but I went because I believed it was true. Now I don’t believe it is true so…

  10. Randall Reply

    Excellent interview. Had been looking forward to John’s story. Anyway, John, that was the best articulation of how a mission is difficult. I can remember longing not only for days where I could do whatever I wanted, but longing for days where I had specific places to be and specific, defined things to do. The anguish of waking up in the morning, looking at a blank blue planner and thinking, what the hell am I going to do today that will make me feel good about it? I also liked your 2 factors in leaving the church. I had been, most of my life, a person who never really enjoyed church (if I was honest with myself) but I went because I believed it was true. Now I don’t believe it is true so…

  11. Swearing Elder Reply

    Loved this interview. Was really great to hear more about John’s story and his motivation for starting Mormon Expression.

    I didn’t listen to Dehlin’s podcasts as he was producing them, but downloaded a bunch this summer and listened to them. Listening to this interview helped me understand much better the difference between Mormon Expression and Mormon Stories — all a matter of perspective.

  12. Swearing Elder Reply

    Loved this interview. Was really great to hear more about John’s story and his motivation for starting Mormon Expression.

    I didn’t listen to Dehlin’s podcasts as he was producing them, but downloaded a bunch this summer and listened to them. Listening to this interview helped me understand much better the difference between Mormon Expression and Mormon Stories — all a matter of perspective.

  13. John Dehlin Reply

    John,

    Great, great episode. You are super talented, bro. Your work here has been amazing.

    Most days I practically sit at my computer hitting the browser refresh button…waiting for another episode to arrive.

    Thanks so much for all you and the other guys do.

  14. John Dehlin Reply

    John,

    Great, great episode. You are super talented, bro. Your work here has been amazing.

    Most days I practically sit at my computer hitting the browser refresh button…waiting for another episode to arrive.

    Thanks so much for all you and the other guys do.

  15. jean Reply

    I wouldn’t have been nervous before our interview if I had listened to this first; glad I have heard it now.
    Oh how I can relate to what you are saying. The fact that the new friends who were part of the ex-Mormon community made you feel like you had come home was something that I wanted to say when we spoke but it was off topic and I have a tendency to wander off into subjects that are nor relevant at the moment.
    I had even written this:
    I love the Mormon people. In fact, the new friends I value the most now, are those who used to be Mormons themselves. They still have the ‘want to do good’ attitudes that are an endearing trait of many good Mormon people. They are thoughtful, considerate individuals who care very much about the state of the world, fairness and equality.
    Thank you for sharing your story John.

  16. jean Reply

    I wouldn’t have been nervous before our interview if I had listened to this first; glad I have heard it now.
    Oh how I can relate to what you are saying. The fact that the new friends who were part of the ex-Mormon community made you feel like you had come home was something that I wanted to say when we spoke but it was off topic and I have a tendency to wander off into subjects that are nor relevant at the moment.
    I had even written this:
    I love the Mormon people. In fact, the new friends I value the most now, are those who used to be Mormons themselves. They still have the ‘want to do good’ attitudes that are an endearing trait of many good Mormon people. They are thoughtful, considerate individuals who care very much about the state of the world, fairness and equality.
    Thank you for sharing your story John.

  17. JackUK Reply

    I really enjoyed this episode guys.I always look forward to new episodes and this was one of the best. I thought John (and Zilpha’s) story was really powerful, particularly John’s reflections on the Church’s missionary programme and also how he and Zilpha were being used as ‘service mules’. Some good friends of mine were in a similar position a few years ago and because they didn’t like to say ‘No’ to leaders they were worn into the ground and left the church. I don’t think it was intentional but I just don’t think the local leaders appreciated how many burdens they heaped on these good people.

    I’m stll active in the church right now and although I love the church it is still one almighty frustrating place to be sometimes. Actually make that ‘one almighty frustrating place to be most of the time’!!! I think I’m still active due to the perspectives I gained, initially from Mormon Stories and now from Mormon Expression. I’ve tried switching off my belief but the damn thing won’t go away so I’ll stay for now.
    Please keep the podcasts coming, this project is worth it…

  18. JackUK Reply

    I really enjoyed this episode guys.I always look forward to new episodes and this was one of the best. I thought John (and Zilpha’s) story was really powerful, particularly John’s reflections on the Church’s missionary programme and also how he and Zilpha were being used as ‘service mules’. Some good friends of mine were in a similar position a few years ago and because they didn’t like to say ‘No’ to leaders they were worn into the ground and left the church. I don’t think it was intentional but I just don’t think the local leaders appreciated how many burdens they heaped on these good people.

    I’m stll active in the church right now and although I love the church it is still one almighty frustrating place to be sometimes. Actually make that ‘one almighty frustrating place to be most of the time’!!! I think I’m still active due to the perspectives I gained, initially from Mormon Stories and now from Mormon Expression. I’ve tried switching off my belief but the damn thing won’t go away so I’ll stay for now.
    Please keep the podcasts coming, this project is worth it…

  19. Allen Reply

    John, your missionary experience was similiar to mine. So much time to kill and so little or no interest in the people. When I was released, I felt the a gigantic burden being lifted off my shoulders. At the time I thought it was the “mantle” of a missionary being removed. I now feel the burden was massive cognitive dissonance. When the responsibility of fulltime missionary work went away, it went away.

  20. Allen Reply

    John, your missionary experience was similiar to mine. So much time to kill and so little or no interest in the people. When I was released, I felt the a gigantic burden being lifted off my shoulders. At the time I thought it was the “mantle” of a missionary being removed. I now feel the burden was massive cognitive dissonance. When the responsibility of fulltime missionary work went away, it went away.

  21. NightAvatar Reply

    Eric, here are some great books I have read on the New Testament and early religions:

    1) Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium
    ~ Bart D. Ehrman
    (This is my personal favorite!)

    2) Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
    ~ Bart D. Ehrman

    3) The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions
    ~ Karen Armstrong
    (I’m not Armstrong’s biggest fan. I don’t agree with all of her ideas. But this and the next in the list are pretty good and full of interesting info.)

    4) A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
    ~ Karen Armstrong

    5) Who Wrote the Bible? ~ Richard Elliott Friedman
    (By far the best book on the Bible I have ever read! Very informative, very interesting, short, and even cheap at $11.)

    6) Christianity: The First Two Thousand Years
    ~ David L. Edwards
    (Written by an Anglican (Church of England) scholar and priest the vocabulary is often tedious and boring, but it is full of amazing stories from early church history.)

    There are others but these (especially Ehrman’s works and “Who Wrote the Bible?”) were enough to convince me that the Bible and Jesus are very far from what Christians today think. And Talmage was so very wrong. Jesus The Christ is hardly an accurate picture of historical Jesus.

  22. NightAvatar Reply

    Eric, here are some great books I have read on the New Testament and early religions:

    1) Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium
    ~ Bart D. Ehrman
    (This is my personal favorite!)

    2) Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
    ~ Bart D. Ehrman

    3) The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions
    ~ Karen Armstrong
    (I’m not Armstrong’s biggest fan. I don’t agree with all of her ideas. But this and the next in the list are pretty good and full of interesting info.)

    4) A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
    ~ Karen Armstrong

    5) Who Wrote the Bible? ~ Richard Elliott Friedman
    (By far the best book on the Bible I have ever read! Very informative, very interesting, short, and even cheap at $11.)

    6) Christianity: The First Two Thousand Years
    ~ David L. Edwards
    (Written by an Anglican (Church of England) scholar and priest the vocabulary is often tedious and boring, but it is full of amazing stories from early church history.)

    There are others but these (especially Ehrman’s works and “Who Wrote the Bible?”) were enough to convince me that the Bible and Jesus are very far from what Christians today think. And Talmage was so very wrong. Jesus The Christ is hardly an accurate picture of historical Jesus.

  23. Wompus Reply

    Yes, leaving Mormonism is a great idea, especialy if your an idiot. It’s amazing to see people nic pic at everything, oh no, I have to plan out my day as a missionary and use a blue planner, I’m so oppressed!

    Good grief, and the moron above who lists all these books about the bible, who’s to say those books are true. He says Talmage is wrong when this other author is right, why, how? Where you there? How do you know those are right? Did God tell you personally, did you talk with him face to face, or do you like what he has to say because it supports your believe’s?

    Anyways, everyone I’ve seen who has left the church is miserable and can’t find anything else to do other than bash the church! Wow, what great christians, oh wait, I don’t really know what a christian is because I can’t read and understand the bible on my own without reading your books, how lame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Wompus Reply

    Yes, leaving Mormonism is a great idea, especialy if your an idiot. It’s amazing to see people nic pic at everything, oh no, I have to plan out my day as a missionary and use a blue planner, I’m so oppressed!

    Good grief, and the moron above who lists all these books about the bible, who’s to say those books are true. He says Talmage is wrong when this other author is right, why, how? Where you there? How do you know those are right? Did God tell you personally, did you talk with him face to face, or do you like what he has to say because it supports your believe’s?

    Anyways, everyone I’ve seen who has left the church is miserable and can’t find anything else to do other than bash the church! Wow, what great christians, oh wait, I don’t really know what a christian is because I can’t read and understand the bible on my own without reading your books, how lame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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