Episode 227: The Divorce

42 comments on “Episode 227: The Divorce”

  1. Dave Reply

    Very brave of you both. Very thoughtful and powerful. Must have been painful sharing such a personal moment, thanks for that. Best wishes for the future.

  2. iamse7en Reply

    It was inevitable. As soon as you lose the Spirit of The Lord, a marriage will fail, whether you choose to stick it out or not.

    • Matthew Asay Reply

      It is inevitable. Read comments anywhere on the internet, and you will find at least one asshole.

    • Ryan Swallow Reply

      Did you listen to this? Point to one mormon divorce story that ended as well as this. The spirit could give a rat’s ass.

    • Sophia Reply

      So True. Thank you for pointing that out! Threesomes are only okay if the Lord is the 3rd participant…. even though droves of people possessing the spirit of the Lord are, in fact, divorced!? Wait… Who’s on the Lord’s side who?? WHOOO????

    • Dave Reply

      You sound like a Pharisee (ie the people who crucified Christ). Rather than offering empathy and support in what is clearly a difficult season for two decent people, (As we assume Christ would), you point a finger of scorn from the great and spacious building which is your church, rejoicing in the misfortune of those no longer of the faith. How insipid, wicked and devilish. You reveal yourself!

    • Angela Reply

      Thanks iam. I put my heart and soul into the gospel and my marriage for 12 years. Going through a really painful divorce currently. Guess I somehow screwed up and lost the spirit along the way and am being punished. My fault. Thanks for that.

      • Glen Fullmer Reply

        Be of good cheer, this too shall pass. Sometimes the Spirit works in ways that are not readily apparent. All experience happens for a reason and in the long term, for you benefit.

  3. jeanbodie Reply

    I am surprised at the impact this podcast had on me John and Zilpha. I’m sitting here in a flood of tears
    and I yet need to sort out why it has had this effect on me. I divorced
    many years ago when I had three children and went through the hating
    the other person period and made a lot of mistakes. I did not make any
    allowances for the humanness of both of us – it was his fault.

    is strange about this is that since leaving the church I have learned
    how much of it was actually ‘my fault’. Despite the fact that I did not
    grow up as a member of the church, I married young and had no
    experiences that would help me make a good, solid marriage where the
    partners were not co-dependent – we really don’t have a clue and even if
    someone told us the way to do it, I’m not sure that at that young age
    we could pull it off. All the life experiences we have ARE as you said
    part of who we are and we never arrive at ‘who’ we are.

    recently posted an anniversary photo of ‘us’ together on our
    anniversary. There comes a point where we can recognize that this really
    is as good as it gets. If I had been 40 when I left the church, I would
    likely have given up on my marriage for his sake as well as mine, but
    we both accommodated the changes in one another. I think it was a huge
    shock for my husband when I became a person who disbelieved ‘everything’
    that our marriage was founded on; a mutual love of the LDS Church
    rather than one another. We are re-focusing that now and it’s still not

    I wish you both, loads of love and validation in your
    future as flawed human beings, may you never forget that. We are not
    perfect and were never meant to be. Growing in different directions is
    normal and if that struggle no longer brings you happiness I applaud
    your efforts to remain friends and do the best you can for your family
    and yourselves. Love you both.

  4. Thomas Conklin Reply

    I admire both of you for being able to discuss this so openly and amicably. I could never do this with my ex even now when we have been divorced for seven years and have both remarried. Part of it is because I left the church and she became even more entrenched, and part of it is that we have such radically different views about some very fundamental issues. The biggest issue is a deep mistrust. I wish you both the best. I am now married to a wonderful woman who is also exmo. We met on the New Order Mormon message board. She was a moderator and I was there discussing some of the issues surrounding my disaffection from the church and my subsequent divorce. I think that you are both approaching this an emotionally healthy way and that you have great futures ahead of you. I look forward to meeting you in person this fall in Las Vegas. We are planning on driving over from the LA area.

  5. Glen Fullmer Reply

    Loved it. Thanks guys! I sensed the love that was there and between both of you. Begs the question, why divorce?

    John mentioned a 65-year old walking down the street with a much younger woman! I represent that! No, I am not a “dirty-old-man”, just a “soiled senior citizen! And with a “young lovely” what does it matter? 😉

    Ziphia, want to make the old man jealous? And if you want to be that “young lovely”, I could volunteer! 😉

  6. kaylayale Reply

    It was interesting how you talk about not really knowing all the reasons why the divorce is happening. It took me at least 2 years after the divorce for me to be objective enough to really understand that we just had different ideas of what we expected within a marriage. He expected me to serve him, to be submissive, to take care of him. I expected to have a marriage based on equality, of mutual respect. No matter how long we stayed together, those two ideals were never going to be compatible.

  7. Porter Reply

    I felt that exmormon men typically continue to do what they did before, which is work hard for their family. Men are measured by this by society, religious or not.

    My experience looked like exmormon women who did not work, suddenly find themselves drifting and wondering who and what they are and want to discover who they are. My ex-wife fit this to a T.

    My wife left our 20 year marriage(cheated) a few years after she finally left the church; I had left earlier. Apparently, she was finally able to “be the party girl” that she wanted to be.

    Yes, it was hell at first, but time _and_ two younger girlfriends(15 years younger) heal all wounds! Still with the hot little Catholic girl 🙂

    My ex basically gave me a hall pass to go find a better woman for me. 🙂

    At the end of it, she is where she wants to be and so am I.

    Fortunately, the divorce recorded completely in my financial favor. She walked away with no alimony and I did not ask for any child support(kids with me).

    By her moving on to mooch off her “boyfriend”, I essentially plugged the hole in my bank account.

    John, you still look great, you have all your hair and teeth! You will soon discover that there are younger women who prefer us older guys 🙂

    The best way to get over someone is to get under someone 🙂

    Zilpha, you will find yourself.

    Good luck to you both!

  8. LordofDarkness Reply

    I was totally caught of guard by this podcast and, frankly, was a bit saddened. You guys seemed to be a perfect fit for each other. Having gone through a divorce myself, I know that it’s a rough stretch of road, but it sounds like you are united in raising the kids, and I have found w/my ex that if the kids are truly the focus, most of the trivial bickering goes away.

    I just want to wish both of you the best. I could never thank you enough for the podcasts over the last two years of my life…they genuinely made a difference. One of these days, I will overcome my anti-social tendencies and attend a ME event.

    Take care.

  9. PayLayAle Reply

    As always: honest and upfront.

    Thank you for all the work, dedication and insight. It has meant much to me and helped undo so much of the Lies, Deceit and Spin that blocked a happiness I thought not possible.

    All the best to both of you and your family.

  10. Sophia Reply

    My parents are divorced and so are my husbands. To me a divorce is a life event that belongs in a card section between grief and get well soon. I hope more people do it as well as you two! I love it!! Thanks for having this discussion out loud and honestly. The world is thirsty for it!!! I don’t really believe in marriage anymore so if and when I get divorced it will be awesome!

  11. W D Reply

    This was bizarre. I don’t know what to make of how and why this was made into a podcast.

  12. Gail_F_Bartholomew Reply

    Thank you both for sharing so much of yourselves from the beginning.

  13. vikingz2000 Reply

    Mormon, Shmormon, ex, NOM, Non, whatever, listening to you two was like listening to two very immature, very selfish people. Talk about the ‘me-me’ generation. I have lost complete respect for both of you. What is there to respect? You have kids! They deserved better. You two are educated, have all of your mental faculties, are not suffering from any mental or some such pathology (wife-beater, sociopath, whatever). But to dismiss your marriage like it was ‘just a date’ or “Whatever (teenage female voice here)” and a “Good luck with your journey! Toddle doo. Love you,” in a certain way you came across as some kind of reprobates. I know that may be over-the-top harsh, but we’re talking about a long-term marriage with kids. Disgusting. Totally.

    • Porter Reply

      So, you are saying that they should stay together because they have children?

      Their kids will be fine.

    • johnmormonexpression Reply

      Keep in mind, Viking, we never discussed the causes of our divorce. While I admire your enthusiasm, I respectfully suggest that you have no idea what the fuck you are talking about and you should evaluate what would inspire you to post such things on a public board.

      • vikingz2000 Reply

        What would inspire you two to ‘post such things’ in a public podcast?

        I am not trying to pick a fight with you or Zilpha, but I know from first hand experience the deleterious effects of divorce. And while it’s true that you two didn’t come out and say what the underlying cause(s) is, I still know what the f@#k I am talking about with regard to how you two came across, i.e., like it’s no big deal for you and your family of kids what you are doing.

        Well, I beg to differ. Divorce *is* a big deal, and numerous studies and first-hand narratives have shed a clear light on the fact that a lot of them don’t have the best effect on children of a divorced family. Do the research if you think I’m just blowing smoke in your ear about this. Will the children survive? Sure, in all likelihood they will, but so did the girl running naked down the road after she and everyone else in her village was napalmed in the Vietnam War. But no decent person, or someone in his or her right mind is looking for opportunities to play the “I’ll survive” card.

        I don’t know you guys; I will never meet with you in all likelihood, and other than these brief postings there won’t be any more direct interaction. However, I still stand by what I said: you two came across as very immature, selfish, me-me types that do not honor or take serious the marriage covenant. And “as for me and my house” that’s sad; sad for you; for your wife (ex); and especially for your children (even though they may present as having no problems with your decision to divorce — kids say that all the time as an emotional ‘defense mechanism’). And I think that it’s also sad that here are two more people caving in to the destabilizing effects of ‘easy’ or ‘convenient’ divorce, and then seemingly rationalizing it’s harmful effects.

        In the grand scheme of things I am nobody and neither are you two, or your children for that matter, and your divorce will have no big deal of an effect on that ‘grand’ level. But as for the immediate scheme and the notion that ‘every little bit counts’ it very well may be ‘big deal’ at that level.

        It’s none of business anyway, and me wishing you luck would be like saying to a guy who wants to willfully play Russian roulette, “Maybe you’ll get lucky and nothing bad will happen, but wow think of the rush and excitement!” No, don’t think I’d feel like saying that. But I don’t wish you any harm, either.

        It’s just a very sad situation, and sad if you don’t realize that it is.

        • W D Reply

          That may be a little bit of an overreaction. I’m not too worried about this one becoming a hell for the kids. They’re both intelligent and empathetic and frankly I don’t think either of them are interested in fighting each other at such a level that would cause serious problems for their children. It’s just not in their natures. Another benefit is they’ve both been through a lot over many years and understand each other. There are many times divorced people who do so mutually can end up great friends still; that seems more likely to me.

          Best wishes on the transition for both of them.

        • Megan Reply

          Viking –

          Given that you acknowledge that you do not know John nor Zilpha, you do not know their children, you don’t know their particular circumstances nor do you understand the complex reasoning that has gone into their decision to divorce… don’t you think it is unjustified to then come to the absolute and rather simplistic solution that they are immature and selfish?

          I think you’re ignoring the very point they are trying to make. They aren’t minimising the severity of divorce, but they are also trying to demonstrate that there is an equal and perhaps greater severity when it comes to an unhappy marriage.

          Because our culture has given the message that marriages should be saved at all costs, regardless of the pain and suffering, regardless of the unhappiness of the people involved, naturally divorce is traumatic and damaging. To claim that divorce as a concept is inherently destructive to children is a drastic oversimplification and is also not supported by the evidence. As divorces have become more common and therefore divorce practices have gotten better the trauma to all the parties involved has reduced. In fact the most recent studies show that it is better for children to have divorced and happy parents than to have a whole but dysfunctional family – hardly surprising.

          It feels a bit as though you are judging John and Zilpha for taking a measured, balanced and reasoned approach to their marriage – ending it as happily and respectfully as they can. Why is it selfish for them to split now, when they can do it with as little acrimony and pain as possible (sustaining their very apparent friendship)?

          What the podcast is trying to do, IMO, is to demonstrate a model of a better approach to divorce, one that reduces the very traumas you’re accusing them of ignoring. By being thoughtful, careful, and pro-active in the end of their marriage, John and Zilpha are showing how, when a relationship really should end, it can do so with the least amount of harm to all parties and in a way that recognises and retains the good that relationship contained.

          Divorce isn’t evil, but the wrong approach to it, the approach that has been taken throughout much of Christian history, certainly increases the chance that the consequences will be. And applying black-and-white labels like ‘selfish’ or ‘immature’ to those who find themselves at a point where divorce is the best option only perpetuates that evil rather than resolving it.

          • vikingz2000

            @ Megan, John and Zilpha, et al:

            I’m already way out of order, but begging just one more comment:

            Let’s say someone like ‘God’ were to say to John and Zilpha something like: “If you two don’t find a way to resolve your differences and find a way to be fulfilled (or, as you earthlings say, ‘happy’) in your marriage, and as individuals while remaining and being faithful in your marriage, then you will both die — I will end both of your lives right way, and the place I will be sending both of you for a very long time (some refer to it as ‘eternity’) isn’t very appealing. In fact, you could say ‘it’s like hell.’

            Okay, what would you end up doing? Would you say, “Well, it looks like we are both done for. It’s IMPOSSIBLE that we could manage to find a way to do this.” I don’t think so, especially when dealing with two, well educated, sane, and even affable people. If any couple was to say that it couldn’t and wouldn’t be worked out, then THAT would be insane, considering the ultimatum put to them.

            But of course there is no ‘God’ announcing an ‘ultimatum’ like this, so many suppose it’s fine to just divorce and ‘move on,’ and hopefully everyone — the kids especially — will ‘survive.’ But is this ‘right’ thing’ to do? “Right? What’s your, or the correct definition of ‘right’ in this situation?” someone might ask. And this is what I think results in the separation of the goats from the sheep, the weak willed from the strong willed, the givers from the takers or keepers, the selfish from the selfless, etc.

            Yeah, making some marriages work is a hard row to hoe; no doubt about that, but is it worth it in the end? I am more than positive that in a lot of cases it is. I have had conversations with, I know for sure, two separate parties of people who did ‘work it out’ and felt that they became more loving and more compassionate and even ‘smarter’ in one case. In fact, one of the people (a male) said that it make him feel like more of ‘moral’ person. I might also add that one time, sitting near an older couple in a plane, my wife told me she commented to the lady of the couple while both she and her were standing at the back of the aircraft, “You two look as if you’ve had a long and wonderful marriage.” The woman responded, “Well, ‘long’ yes, but ‘wonderful,’ no. It’s only been in the last (I can’t remember how many years she said) ‘few’ years that it’s finally been like heaven.” My mother used to say, “All good things come to those that sacrifice and endure.” I believe that’s true in a lot of cases, especially working out the difficulties in a marriage. Marriage IS a challenge, and as suggested, it can also be a great ‘schooling,’ although a lot of people don’t seem to want to graduate with that kind of ‘degree.’ They think that dropping out, or enrolling in another perhaps easier or less demanding ‘school’ will be better. Whatever the case, they will have, in all likelihood, missed out on what might have been a more disciplined and difficult course of study, which I’m sure would have given them a better ‘education.’ Not necessarily in all cases, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that it would be in a lot of them.

            Okay, I’m done. Like I said, this is none of my business anyway, and I’ve already stepped way over the line.

            I wish everyone (which includes me, as well) ‘true’ peace and happiness, although I can’t just grant this wish like a ‘fairy god-mother’ — we all have to work for and earn it.

        • Carl Youngblood Reply

          Viking’s claim that marriage is somehow automatically safe and divorce is like playing Russian roulette is totally false. These choices are completely contextual and can’t be made into universal rules.

  14. LoganJohnson Reply

    John and Zilpha, thanks for the many hours of entertaining listening you have provided me — a recovering Mormon — over the years. I wish you both nothing but the best in your new adventures in life.
    Divorce is not easy, but time does heal. I know I am happier now than I was before my divorce almost 10 years ago and I think my still very-LDS wife would say the same thing. Our three kids are doing great too, with two loving parents in addition to two loving step parents to help them as they grow into adulthood and have their own challenges.
    Again, I just want to thank you both for the podcasts and look forward to listening to more in the future.

  15. Pingback: Coming or Going? Perspectives on Divorce, Faith Transition, and Graduation | Irresistible (Dis)Grace

  16. Spotify John Reply

    Well, if it wasn’t clear before, there’s no denying now that you guys don’t give 2 shits what people think about you. I know people say that all the time, but you’ve basically proved it emphatically by playing right into the disaffection doom scenario. And you live in Utah to boot!

    • hetaira Reply

      So you’d like them to just suck it up and stay together for the sake of appearances? Sounds like a great recipe for happiness. Please note the appreciative comments preceding and remember that not every podcast is everyone’s cup of tea and no one is forcing you to listen to each one.

      • Spotify John Reply

        “So you’d like them to just suck it up and stay together for the sake of appearances?”

        You mistake my meaning hetaira. I’m actually trying to congratulate them for sticking to their guns – even when it looks bad and typical to those on the outside.

        • hetaira Reply

          You’re right, I totally took that wrong, sorry. I agree with you it takes a lot of integrity and guts. Sadly tone of voice sometimes doesn’t convey in brief written form.

  17. Nicéphore Jünge Reply

    We know from the application of ethology to humans that passionate love
    lasts a few years (I can’t remember if it’s 3 or 7, typically, or maybe
    it is 3 and typically marriages who believe that marriage ought to
    implicate passionate love throughout tend to hold out and divorce after 7
    years, something of the sort) and then either becomes a form of
    settled-down cooperation, involving trust and codependancy in the
    continued raising of the children, economic interest of the family unit,
    etc., or, when people don’t realize that it’s natural to fall ‘out of
    passionate love’ – so to speak – or know it but just want to fall in
    passionate love again, ends in divorce. That said, divorce could be
    justified in an evolutionary sense in that the ex-married could bear
    more children (divorced and remarried men tend to have a lot more kids
    than men who stay in one marriage, for instance, so there is a strong
    evolutionary pull for wealthy, still relatively young and attractive
    men, to divorce) or could find for instance wealthier partners who would
    better contribute to ensuring the survival and optimal development of
    the children they already have. Anyhow, poignant podcast. I’ll end this
    comment on the note that you guys might fall again in passionate love
    after a significant time and intensity of separation (recreating the
    conditions of the initial phase I’ve been talking about, but would still again be only temporary, it’s in our genes) ; you might even get remarried to each other one day – it’s not that rare, in fact. But anyhow, it’s not my business, I just wanted to mention the ethological fact.

  18. Francine Johnson McGee Reply

    I am currently in a “faith crisis”, and nearing the end of a dirvorce after 7 years of separation I joined the church 18 years into our marriage, and his family just happened to be very anti-mormon, and went about trying to get us divorced. I won’t blame them for it, we really didn’t have a healthy marriage, and had many of the sorts of issues you spoke of for different reasons.

    It was very very hard in the beginning, I was very bitter, and his parents were trying to drive us to a nasty divorce. Fortunately we both had the example of my parents and step parents who all used to come over for Christmas and Thanksgiving, who sat playing cribbage at our wedding.

    My point is, it’s ok to get angry, sometimes the other person becomes a real jerk, sometimes you both do, and you can still grow out of that and be friends, even with another relationship in the middle of it, as long as everone is on the same page.

    I get along with his partner, and am better friends with him than I was when we were married. We help each other when we can, but really don’t see each other often. 2 of our children grown, and we still have a 14 year old daughter we are co raising. I imagine we will see even less of each other when she is grown, but we will always be connected.

    It takes work and energy and compromise to get along, but personally it seems to be a lot less work than hating each other and fighting. That is so negative and tiring. I also realize there are some instances where it isn’t possible to get along. Ours was VERY close to that, had it gotten much worse, it would have been irreparable. As it was we both had to eat a lot of crow, and be very self honest, and his partner actually facilitated some of this, which I think is very mature of her.

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