Episode 269: John’s Dilemma

21 comments on “Episode 269: John’s Dilemma”

  1. thenewname Reply

    I’m one of the ten thousand. It’s kind of strange that I know you — but here’s the stranger thing: As well as I know you (from listening to the podcasts) you know me — from sending out the podcasts, I suppose. This is getting weird. Anyway, I get it John and I’m making a small monthly donation. Sorry it took so much pain to spur me on. I’ve been thinking about making a telestial donation for some time and decided what the hell, I’ll just go for the terrestrial that’s where the good people of this world will be: the interesting, intelligent people who will have a glass of wine at dinner with me and who read the SLTrib with their cup of morning coffee — my people. Oh, and I agree, John, those non-wino, non-coffee sinners are my people too! (But I’m not sure I want to hang with them throughout all eternity, which by the way, isn’t anyway.)

  2. OneOfTheGratefulTenThousand Reply

    This podcast has helped me through my transition out of the church probably more than almost anything. I’m a telestial subscriber but I think you do celestial work, so I’ll bump it up. Please know that your work is noticed and appreciated. It helped to hear specifically what you’re bringing in (only $20,000/year!) and it would be so wonderful if White Fields was burgeoning with support enough to pay you all very well. I stopped subscribing to the podcast a few months ago in an attempt to move beyond Mormonism, but I kept listening to it online anyway… It’s just fun to keep in touch with my people. 🙂 Thanks for your work and for your openness John. Please don’t be afraid to ask for money! The best podcasts ask for donations. People want to invest in things that are successful and every time you say how many people download this podcast I am so impressed. I especially appreciate the focus on dealing with the trauma of leaving the church because it’s so real. Thanks again!

  3. james erickson Reply

    John, you’re the best.

    You ask “What do we want to do with Mormon Expression?”

    You ARE Mormon Expression. Do exactly what YOU want. It’s time for you to be selfish, John. You have earned that right 100 times over. Also, you have created a vast repository of Mormon Expression audio for people with a relationship to Mormonism to binge on.

    Beyond keeping the existing podcast episodes available for download, I can’t think of anything that anyone should expect from you. If you want to continue, keep going. But it doesn’t sound like you do. You’ve dedicated a huge part of your life to this project and you have helped thousands of people more than you can know. I for one thank you for your contribution to my spiritual and intellectual health during the difficult transition process.


  4. Jay Reply

    Your podcast has helped me and my wife as we’ve considered our true identities through faith transition. So, the podcast has been helpful. Past episodes can live on forever, so it’s not like all would be lost if you ended up shutting down. I hope you don’t, but I understand if you do.

    Would it be possible to create a kickstarter campaign or some other fundraising activity for a specific purpose? In that way, the community will help decide where it wants to focus its energy/money. Just an idea.

  5. Carol Reply

    John, although you have built an incredible podcast, and started a helpful counseling group, don’t feel that you are eternally tied to either. You are free to do nothing, or go and do something else. What is going to make YOU happy? That is the dilemma that you need to solve.

    Whatever choice you make, I want to take this moment to thank you for what you have done. I have learned so much listening to you and your panels. It has helped me solidify why I have chosen to leave the church.

    Best wishes!

  6. Bonneville2003 Reply

    John, I very much appreciate your time and your work. It sounds like it’s time for you to move on to your next thing. Pass the reins onto someone else and do what you have to do to make yourself happy. Cheers to whatever you decide to do!

  7. Sue Reply


    Yes, this episode was a downer. I regret that I heard what seems to be the beginning of the demise of Mormon Expression. I have been a faithful listener for a number of years now and I have sent you anonymous donations from time to time.

    I have a friend who told me that she sent you a money order and emailed you asking you to confirm that you received that donation. She never heard from you so she didn’t send any more money. If there were a way to guarantee 100% anonymity, I am certain that many people would donate so Mormon Expression, White Fields and everyone there can succeed and make a comfortable living.

    You mentioned that you know famous Mormons who are closeted ex-Mormons. Well, it is time to tap them for donations. You and Mormon Expression can succeed.

    However, if you have lost your passion, your drive to continue with the podcast, then there is no money in the world that can make you change your mind about continuing with Mormon Expression.

    You have helped me and many thousands of still active members of the Church cope with our present situation, see, and learn things that I did not know before. I appreciate your knowledge and wisdom. You ARE Mormon Expression. If you leave, I can see the podcast disappearing completely. I hope that it will not.

    If Mormon Expression goes away, there will be many others of the orthodox membership of the Church and the leaders themselves who will rejoice. I am sure of that. Please don’t give them the satisfaction of you and Mormon Expression going away.

    John, we need you! We need your voice! You are my Monday morning staple every week when I download a new episode of the podcast.

    There is a lot to consider, John. I don’t envy your position.



  8. ChrisWir Reply

    If only each “faithful” listener could make themselves donate $0.5/download…

    If donations can be anonymous more active members should feel safe donating.

    How about launching a podcast everytime White Fields get a fresh $500?
    To post one per week you need to see donations come up to $26,000/year. (If it stays at $20.000/year there will only be 40 podcasts.) I think this will make subscriptions go up.
    You could also state, in each episode, how much donations White Fields have received since last.

    I do not know if people have to chip in part themselves to meet with the White Fields counselor… If so, maybe increase that part.

    I really really hope ME continues, and that you can find some good people to help you out with the work around the podcast – so you only need to put down a couple of hours (hopefully) weekly to hosting the show. That you can manage to delegate!
    With out your participation it is simply not Mormon Expression!!

  9. Lynne Reply

    Yikes. A therapist who tried to gouge you guys? Definite lack of vision.
    What did I hear this time (since you’ve “quit” before)? I heard someone who is tired of fighting. You’ve taken a lot of hits. Some were likely deserved. But when you said this may be something that will stand in the way of you advancing your career, I can only say WTF? Really, John. Did you hear yourself say that? And I’m not talking about just advancement in your career which is likely more money (a total no brainer) but isn’t advancing in this life (and the next) what we are all about. OK, that sounded snarky, but I did mean it. Ignoring any chance for advancement in your career to put more time and talents in ME doesn’t sit well with me.
    Thanks for asking.

    • John B Reply

      Well said. One of my favorite movie quotes is “You got to look out for number 1.” One of the lessons that has most enriched my life post church. Look out for number 1, John!

  10. John B Reply

    Thank you for what you have done so far. I left the church in 2006 and begain listening to ME at the very beginning! The irony is that I am less interested in Mormonism, but am more committed to keep up my donations. The reason I finally arrived at the decision to perpetually donate is one of your earlier podcasts dedicated to explaining the money the church has and what we’re up against (about this time 2013), and the incredible value even a fraction of what we wasted on the church could do, if donated to White Fields or another cause.

    I think you should follow your heart wherever it takes you. If the energy that has brought White Fields this far is waning, maybe it’s time to find someone much earlier in their journey that is willing to breathe their obsession into it. It would be extremely difficult to fill your shoes on the podcast, but there must be someone early in their journey that can bring a kick to the broadcast, and who isn’t burnt out. You could retain some control by being on the board, but go hands off. Retire from the broadcast, and maybe do 1 or 2 appearances a year. Is the problem that there isn’t someone with that kind of dedication, as you mentioned with flaky volunteers? If so that must be frustrating indeed.

    One random suggestion. You mentioned that in the last few months as you have talked less about mormonism and more about identity, listenership is up and donations are down. I think the suggestion for donation that interrupts the podcast lately should be your voice, but it should be a sarcastic or joking remark that underscores the disparity between the amount ME is asking and the amount the church pilfered from us. Also, maybe identity talk appeals to Mormons, ex-mormons and ex-ex-mormons alike? Maybe it’s fodder with a wider audience? Also it’s constructive in nature, so it feels better to listen to.

    Oh, god, I’ve done that long-winded Mormon thing despite my best efforts.

    Cheers to a good run and a new beginning?

    John B

    Oh, oh! What if you start re-releasing earlier podcasts? Re-runs like other public radio shows do? Mix them in so the vacuum to produce content isn’t so strong?

  11. Erick Kuhni Reply

    I have benefited from this program and from what Mormon Expression is doing.

    I am not familiar enough with all of the efforts of WhiteFields, but from what I’ve heard on the podcast I am very supportive of this effort to build alternative communities to those that we used to enjoy in our home Wards. I also sympathize a great deal with the desire to build those communities around something that is less Mormon centric. I’ll be making a donation.

  12. Jan Reply

    John, Thank you for your work and for sticking your neck out. There aren’t a lot of people willing to do that. You have greatly helped me in my journey. You absolutely should be paid for what you do and no one should complain about that. I really enjoy Mormon Expression but I will support you no matter what you decide. You should be happy and should do things you enjoy. You have contributed so much, maybe someone else could step up. Follow your heart and be happy. You deserve it.

  13. Scott Reply

    How about 4 teams of hosts and producers who each produce one podcast a month? (Do something special for 5th Tuesdays.) Each team would have their own style and topics that interest them, and they would have plenty of time to prepare for the podcasts. There have been many great voices on ME over the years, and I’m sure there are others waiting to be heard. This would be a great chance to find the next “John Larsen,” (if such a thing were truly possible.) Maybe John would still have the energy to take part on occasion.

    I realize however that not all responsibilities can be spread out like this, so I hope there is one person or small group of dedicated people who would be willing to take over the reigns behind the scenes. I can only imagine how much work it takes to keep all this going.

    The hard part is, of course, finding all those committed people. Hopefully by spreading the load, it would become a more sustainable activity for people and they would be able to participate over a longer period before getting burned out.

  14. James Reply

    I’m extremely indebted to you and the MormonExpression podcast. These episodes have been extremely valuable in my transition. I echo something Sue said above…
    When I first heard about you putting a community in place (what would become Whitefields, from a podcast in 2013 I believe), I was moved, and immediately emailed you to donate $1,000 to it (you were asking for $10,000 I believe). I never got an email back. I figured you were busy. Then I got busy. However, I’ve been a $50/month subscriber.
    I don’t think you have any idea the people you’ve helped. You given so much, karma’s going to be there for you my friend in spades.

  15. Roger Reply

    John, you might want to consider getting on Patreon. It’s a site that a lot of Podcasts use to generate revenue. You can use different billing models, be it pay/release or pay/month. I’d be happy to support you there since I’m already supporting a few other podcasts, but as you complained earlier, I want to help, but I want to do so on my own terms…

  16. Rude Dog Reply

    Hey John,

    This podcast is one of the best out there. Your content has been exquisite and although your new direction is good, I think that your original stuff is so darn good, podcasts like the gathering of the lost ten tribes, the Nauvoo Expositor, the back and forths with Mike Tannehill, your slow transition from limp agnostic/salty member to proud resignator and atheist. Your podcasts on the nature of god, the hierarchy of the church, top tens and such are spectacular, and people still need that steady flow as new seekers need that type of meat that you have provided for years. So take this in the love that it is meant.

    Stop your bitchin and get back in the chair and persist in your hero’s journey. We all get bored with the job at hand and would like to pursue new and exciting avenues. However it’s only after the long journey the hero can turn around and appreciate the difficult road traveled, and take solemn pride that has to be yours in the massive effort it took. It’s not like you’re going down into the black coal mine yet another day after doing it for 35 years, as have some, many have done just to keep families on their feet. I know you spend a lot of hours on this pod-cast but for chrissakes keep your side computer/whateveritisthatyoudo job to supplement your income. Let guests come in and cover a bit (one of your best podcasts was the “Guns, germs and steel” podcast that you only made a guest appearance on and even that wasn’t necessary. But make no bones about it, it is your intelligence, insight, articulation and content that we need, that the next wave of dissaffected need. I’m saying don’t go away, and I’ll say brashly to not change very much as well. I know you are looking for avenues for your own satisfaction, but cast your own desires aside and show up for duty, like the hero would. I love you man. You’ve done so much for my articulations of a healthy way out and onward. If you quit, I’ll come over twice a week a make you regale me with podcast themes of the past. I will bring the single malt though.

  17. Ryan Reply

    Hey John, I can relate to your viewpoint. I think your mission/passion can continue, but your model needs to change. Here’s a few ideas:
    – Abandon the non-profit/foundation approach. Make WhiteFields a true therapy practice with an emphasis on lds faith crisis/transition. Stress confidentiality and accepting therapists. There are plenty of people that will pay for it. Maybe offer Skype as an option for therapy to expand reach. Work out a program for those struggling to pay. Utilize insurance plans. You’re not a therapist, but you can be on the board. I’ve searched for just such a therapist, as I’m sure others have… impossible to find. I’m not interested in group therapy, and I’d bet many others aren’t either,
    – Let’s be honest, the podcast sucks without you. But, if you do the above, you can flip the model and have WhiteFields support the podcast and pay you. Maybe scale back your production schedule. Use the podcast to promote the therapy practice, where you’ll make an even larger difference. As the therapy practice grows, phase out the podcast.
    – I think you’re feeling the end coming on the podcast. It’s OK. You don’t have to do the same thing forever. You can utilize your influence in other ways… or don’t. It’s hard for people on the outside to understand the toll it takes to do something like you’re doing. Do what’s best for you.

    Good luck brother. These are the most difficult type of decisions.

  18. Bryon Craig Reply

    Go, and take care of your family. Other podcasts will fill the void. You can still contribute and advise from the outside. Guest host for others, maybe write a book and web publish it at $5.00 a pop. Keep your production infrastructure in place just in case you change your mind, if that helps you transition into just being a normal human being. This podcast was especially impactful to me, especially at the 28:00 mark, to just move on. I’m really tired of being the inactive Mormon and a future ex-Mormon. I’ve don’t want to be an ex-“anything.” If it’s time to bail, then bail.

  19. Hayes Reply

    Heya John,

    Not sure if this was covered before or if I just missed it, but will this also affect the reasonability podcast?

    Thanks man.

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