Episode 44: An Interview with Zilpha

John interviews Zilpha. She reveals the painful process she went through in coming to the conclusion to leave Mormonism.

Episode 44

72 comments on “Episode 44: An Interview with Zilpha”

  1. Glenn Reply

    Zilpha and John,

    Thanks for the interview. It was nice to get to learn more about both of you. I can relate a little to the fertility issues you discussed – at least the question “why would God allow this for some people, but not for us… we’re good.” If I actually knew you guys, I would joke that the reason God didn’t give you children earlier is because he knew you would eventually become apostates. But I don’t know you, and my wife and I had some similar experiences with the month-to-month disappointment in our history, so I won’t joke about it. I’ll just joke about joking about it.

    Zilpha, I think it is very interesting that some of your early questions came from reading the faithful LDS books. I think the problem was that you actually used your brain to think about what you were reading and try to figure out how it “fit” with everything else you were seeing (there I go not joking again). You said in a previous podcast that you read a lot but don’t ever remember any of it afterwards. I think you have just proved that that’s not true.

    The coffee story cracked me up. But it wasn’t a hot drink, so I think it was OK. Was this you going crazy back to your teenage days?

    I am glad you gave some examples of the things you found damaging that you didn’t want your kids exposed to (men as authority figures, etc).

    One question for you: do you feel sad when you say that you don’t believe in God? I can’t say that because I just have so much emotion attached to it. Have you had a similar experience with that? I can relate to the peace you describe with “no satan” and can take that even further with the possibility of sweet peace of oblivion in death (no heaven or hell or eternal progression, etc). But I just have too much emotion tied up in the belief in God.

    And Zilpha, I was touched by the times you teared up reading your journal entry. Very brave and admirable sharing those thoughts and emotions. I have such respect and admiration for both of you. I wish I could really hang out with you two, but this virtual hour a week will have to do. Thank you!

  2. Glenn Reply

    Zilpha and John,

    Thanks for the interview. It was nice to get to learn more about both of you. I can relate a little to the fertility issues you discussed – at least the question “why would God allow this for some people, but not for us… we’re good.” If I actually knew you guys, I would joke that the reason God didn’t give you children earlier is because he knew you would eventually become apostates. But I don’t know you, and my wife and I had some similar experiences with the month-to-month disappointment in our history, so I won’t joke about it. I’ll just joke about joking about it.

    Zilpha, I think it is very interesting that some of your early questions came from reading the faithful LDS books. I think the problem was that you actually used your brain to think about what you were reading and try to figure out how it “fit” with everything else you were seeing (there I go not joking again). You said in a previous podcast that you read a lot but don’t ever remember any of it afterwards. I think you have just proved that that’s not true.

    The coffee story cracked me up. But it wasn’t a hot drink, so I think it was OK. Was this you going crazy back to your teenage days?

    I am glad you gave some examples of the things you found damaging that you didn’t want your kids exposed to (men as authority figures, etc).

    One question for you: do you feel sad when you say that you don’t believe in God? I can’t say that because I just have so much emotion attached to it. Have you had a similar experience with that? I can relate to the peace you describe with “no satan” and can take that even further with the possibility of sweet peace of oblivion in death (no heaven or hell or eternal progression, etc). But I just have too much emotion tied up in the belief in God.

    And Zilpha, I was touched by the times you teared up reading your journal entry. Very brave and admirable sharing those thoughts and emotions. I have such respect and admiration for both of you. I wish I could really hang out with you two, but this virtual hour a week will have to do. Thank you!

  3. Jon Reply

    Wow… this was beautiful, guys.

    You got me to tear up, laugh, and then tear up again.

    (Also, I did the same thing with the iced coffee… lol)

  4. Jon Reply

    Wow… this was beautiful, guys.

    You got me to tear up, laugh, and then tear up again.

    (Also, I did the same thing with the iced coffee… lol)

  5. Zilpha Reply

    Glenn,
    Strangely I felt a lot less emotional pain when I concluded that I didn’t believe in God than when I concluded that The Church wasn’t true. It might be because the good experiences I’d had and investments I’d made in The Church were much more organic and palpable. My experiences with what I considered “God” occurred completely internally so in that case I was letting go of something that was more a concept than a reality.
    After that initial coffee experience a year and a half went by before I tried breaching The Word of Wisdom again. By the way, I didn’t mean to get preachy at the end. It is true that most people who leave the church feel compelled to experiment with things that were once forbidden. I think this can be a very healthy and rewarding process to work through (it was very much so for me). However, some people jump into risky behaviors with reckless abandon and end up hurting themselves or those they care about. I only meant warn against this type. Thanks for listening and commenting!

  6. Zilpha Reply

    Glenn,
    Strangely I felt a lot less emotional pain when I concluded that I didn’t believe in God than when I concluded that The Church wasn’t true. It might be because the good experiences I’d had and investments I’d made in The Church were much more organic and palpable. My experiences with what I considered “God” occurred completely internally so in that case I was letting go of something that was more a concept than a reality.
    After that initial coffee experience a year and a half went by before I tried breaching The Word of Wisdom again. By the way, I didn’t mean to get preachy at the end. It is true that most people who leave the church feel compelled to experiment with things that were once forbidden. I think this can be a very healthy and rewarding process to work through (it was very much so for me). However, some people jump into risky behaviors with reckless abandon and end up hurting themselves or those they care about. I only meant warn against this type. Thanks for listening and commenting!

  7. NightAvatar Reply

    Zilpha that was excellent. It made me tear up a little actually – which was embarassing as I am sitting at my work desk surrounded by collegues. 🙂

    I can totally relate. It sounds very similar to my own story except I went through it alone. My wife doesn’t want to hear anything about my journey or loss of faith.

    Another difference is that “God” kept giving me too many kids, rather than too few. I even had a vasectomy (sp?) but that didn’t work either! We now have 5 kids and am struggling to keep our sanity. This was in fact one of my big assists in the direction that there is no personal god. He certainly doesn’t know me if he thinks I can handle so many children (emotionally, psychologically or monetarily) and he certainly doesn’t answer prayers.

    I’m going to listen again and maybe make another comment or two.

    Although I disagree with Glenn’s apparently apologetic view on god and Mormonism, I certainly agree with him on one thing: I have much respect and admiration for you and John and wish I could hang out with you both in person. Oh well, maybe one day. 🙂

  8. NightAvatar Reply

    Zilpha that was excellent. It made me tear up a little actually – which was embarassing as I am sitting at my work desk surrounded by collegues. 🙂

    I can totally relate. It sounds very similar to my own story except I went through it alone. My wife doesn’t want to hear anything about my journey or loss of faith.

    Another difference is that “God” kept giving me too many kids, rather than too few. I even had a vasectomy (sp?) but that didn’t work either! We now have 5 kids and am struggling to keep our sanity. This was in fact one of my big assists in the direction that there is no personal god. He certainly doesn’t know me if he thinks I can handle so many children (emotionally, psychologically or monetarily) and he certainly doesn’t answer prayers.

    I’m going to listen again and maybe make another comment or two.

    Although I disagree with Glenn’s apparently apologetic view on god and Mormonism, I certainly agree with him on one thing: I have much respect and admiration for you and John and wish I could hang out with you both in person. Oh well, maybe one day. 🙂

  9. Swearing Elder Reply

    I listened to this on the way to work this morning and I teared up when Zilpha was reading from her journal. I felt the emotions right along with her. It was really moving. (I usually save the second half of the podcast for the commute home, but this time I listened to the rest once I got into the office.)

    Thanks for making yourself vulnerable and sharing that; truly wonderful.

  10. Swearing Elder Reply

    I listened to this on the way to work this morning and I teared up when Zilpha was reading from her journal. I felt the emotions right along with her. It was really moving. (I usually save the second half of the podcast for the commute home, but this time I listened to the rest once I got into the office.)

    Thanks for making yourself vulnerable and sharing that; truly wonderful.

  11. Oz Reply

    “You gotta go figure out what beer tastes like, that sorta thing”….classic. That’s really funny!!!!

    Really interesting story, thanks for your honesty Zelpha. I can surely relate to the reading of history, and figuring out “the how” and “the why” we do certain things in the church. The pain of recognizing the distortions of faithful stories. The true details of much of our history has dulled the bright luster it once had for me. Experiencing all of this while currently being the Gospel Doctrine teacher has made it challenging.

    There are good days and there are bad days. Thankfully, I have my wife and my brother to lean on for these types of discussions of the challenging issues, who, like me, struggles with the church. My brother and I are huge fans of Mormon Expressions. Had, I gone through this alone (I am still going through it), I can’t imagine what my emotional state would be. I feel for all those who struggle, I tend to tweak my lessons and my words to those who are silently struggling, to let them know they are not alone. Majority of my ward must be struggling, because I always get real good compliments. 🙂 LOL. But, I really do envy those who have found that peace in and/or out of the church.

    I can’t say I cried…but I did feel the tug of my heart strings as you spoke. Thanks John and Zelpha for being so open with your lives!!!

  12. Oz Reply

    “You gotta go figure out what beer tastes like, that sorta thing”….classic. That’s really funny!!!!

    Really interesting story, thanks for your honesty Zelpha. I can surely relate to the reading of history, and figuring out “the how” and “the why” we do certain things in the church. The pain of recognizing the distortions of faithful stories. The true details of much of our history has dulled the bright luster it once had for me. Experiencing all of this while currently being the Gospel Doctrine teacher has made it challenging.

    There are good days and there are bad days. Thankfully, I have my wife and my brother to lean on for these types of discussions of the challenging issues, who, like me, struggles with the church. My brother and I are huge fans of Mormon Expressions. Had, I gone through this alone (I am still going through it), I can’t imagine what my emotional state would be. I feel for all those who struggle, I tend to tweak my lessons and my words to those who are silently struggling, to let them know they are not alone. Majority of my ward must be struggling, because I always get real good compliments. 🙂 LOL. But, I really do envy those who have found that peace in and/or out of the church.

    I can’t say I cried…but I did feel the tug of my heart strings as you spoke. Thanks John and Zelpha for being so open with your lives!!!

  13. Happy Lost Sheep Reply

    Wow you guys I was really touched by this interview. I was impressed by the love and commitment you two have maintained through all of this.

    Zilpha, I was really moved by some of the thoughts and feelings you shared – especially when you read from your journal…seriously getting me choked up here at my cube listening to your podcast.

    Listening to your podcast has been helpful in so many ways. Thanks for doing this.

  14. Happy Lost Sheep Reply

    Wow you guys I was really touched by this interview. I was impressed by the love and commitment you two have maintained through all of this.

    Zilpha, I was really moved by some of the thoughts and feelings you shared – especially when you read from your journal…seriously getting me choked up here at my cube listening to your podcast.

    Listening to your podcast has been helpful in so many ways. Thanks for doing this.

  15. Glenn Reply

    NightAvatar,

    Wow, that’s the first time I’ve been called an apologist — even an apparent one. Just to clarify, I am not saying that my emotional connection to the idea of God is anything more than my own personal emotional connection to the idea of God. But my emotional reaction is certainly no proof of God, so if that came across the wrong way, I apologize (DOH!)

  16. Glenn Reply

    NightAvatar,

    Wow, that’s the first time I’ve been called an apologist — even an apparent one. Just to clarify, I am not saying that my emotional connection to the idea of God is anything more than my own personal emotional connection to the idea of God. But my emotional reaction is certainly no proof of God, so if that came across the wrong way, I apologize (DOH!)

  17. accidental Reply

    Great episode. However it made me sad at the same time because it gave me a glimpse of what it would be like to go through this with my spouse. Both of you are so fortunate to go through all of that together. Its a lonely road to walk on your own.

  18. accidental Reply

    Great episode. However it made me sad at the same time because it gave me a glimpse of what it would be like to go through this with my spouse. Both of you are so fortunate to go through all of that together. Its a lonely road to walk on your own.

  19. NightAvatar Reply

    Glenn, yeah I added “apparent” because I thought it might have just been my (mis)interpretation of your comment. No offense. I get what you’re saying now. Sorry. 🙂

    Accidental, I am totally with you on that one. I so wish I could have taken this journey together with my wife or even with a sibling or any friend. Going it alone was very hard, and when I finally broke the news to my wife she… well lets just say we were as close to getting separated as is possible without actually taking the step. She still refuses to hear anything I have to say about the church or religion. The topic is in fact completely taboo. She says she WANTS to believe, even if it may not be true. And she wants to raise our 5 kids in the church.

    Zilpha and John, your experiences are very similar to mine, in that I too was very active and believing (TBM) and simply wanted to learn more about our church’s very interesting history. I read the same books as you both, all written by faithful LDS. It was actually Bushman’s book that opened my eyes the most, and then I read In Sacred Loneliness followed by Mormon Enigma (Emma’s biography) which pretty much set me down the path of doubt. I then read Quinn’s scholarly works followed by Brodie’s excellent book. I think that was all it took for me to realize, as John put it: It all makes perfect sense when you can look at the church as a man made product of the times, rather than God’s restored gospel.

  20. NightAvatar Reply

    Glenn, yeah I added “apparent” because I thought it might have just been my (mis)interpretation of your comment. No offense. I get what you’re saying now. Sorry. 🙂

    Accidental, I am totally with you on that one. I so wish I could have taken this journey together with my wife or even with a sibling or any friend. Going it alone was very hard, and when I finally broke the news to my wife she… well lets just say we were as close to getting separated as is possible without actually taking the step. She still refuses to hear anything I have to say about the church or religion. The topic is in fact completely taboo. She says she WANTS to believe, even if it may not be true. And she wants to raise our 5 kids in the church.

    Zilpha and John, your experiences are very similar to mine, in that I too was very active and believing (TBM) and simply wanted to learn more about our church’s very interesting history. I read the same books as you both, all written by faithful LDS. It was actually Bushman’s book that opened my eyes the most, and then I read In Sacred Loneliness followed by Mormon Enigma (Emma’s biography) which pretty much set me down the path of doubt. I then read Quinn’s scholarly works followed by Brodie’s excellent book. I think that was all it took for me to realize, as John put it: It all makes perfect sense when you can look at the church as a man made product of the times, rather than God’s restored gospel.

  21. NightAvatar Reply

    I’m listening for the second time now and it’s pretty cool how much Zilpha’s life story is similar to my own.

    My parents are both converts as well, my Dad was a Marine. Both attended BYU (although for only a short time due to fundage).
    My parents had 3 kids in 3 years, I am number 2.
    My parents were very conservative with music, and we listened mostly to LDS music, including “I’m a Mormon!” which we kids sang all the time! (and you have a beautiful voice Zilph!) 🙂
    John noted that your family actually “lived” Mormonism, reading the books, listening to the tapes, etc. Sounds exactly like my childhood, with nightly scripture reading and weekly FHE.
    My parents believed the “world” was full of Satan’s influence – so much so in fact that they pulled us out of public school and taught us at home (home-school).
    We moved ALL OVER the Western states, including Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, and even up to Minnesota. All before I was in my Teens! I think we averaged less than one year per place we lived.
    I guess your married life differs from mine in that my wife and I had children immediately (pregnant only a month or two after our wedding in the temple).
    The other similarities are mostly in the way you started learning the real history of the church (as I mentioned above) and eventually came to the conclusion that there is no god.
    My Patriarchal Blessing even told me to read lots of good books, which my mission pres and I interpreted to mean I should learn as much about the church (and its history) as possible.
    Finally, we differ in that I took my journey out of the church very much alone. Even my family (parents, siblings) don’t want to hear about it. But especially not my wife. It’s the biggest wedge between us, imo. It is very sad not to be able to talk to my best friend and partner about all things important to me – regardless of having to agree on a topic or not.

    Anyway, sorry to post so many comments. I just enjoyed this very much and since I don’t get to talk to anybody about it I guess I use this as my outlet. 🙂

  22. NightAvatar Reply

    I’m listening for the second time now and it’s pretty cool how much Zilpha’s life story is similar to my own.

    My parents are both converts as well, my Dad was a Marine. Both attended BYU (although for only a short time due to fundage).
    My parents had 3 kids in 3 years, I am number 2.
    My parents were very conservative with music, and we listened mostly to LDS music, including “I’m a Mormon!” which we kids sang all the time! (and you have a beautiful voice Zilph!) 🙂
    John noted that your family actually “lived” Mormonism, reading the books, listening to the tapes, etc. Sounds exactly like my childhood, with nightly scripture reading and weekly FHE.
    My parents believed the “world” was full of Satan’s influence – so much so in fact that they pulled us out of public school and taught us at home (home-school).
    We moved ALL OVER the Western states, including Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, and even up to Minnesota. All before I was in my Teens! I think we averaged less than one year per place we lived.
    I guess your married life differs from mine in that my wife and I had children immediately (pregnant only a month or two after our wedding in the temple).
    The other similarities are mostly in the way you started learning the real history of the church (as I mentioned above) and eventually came to the conclusion that there is no god.
    My Patriarchal Blessing even told me to read lots of good books, which my mission pres and I interpreted to mean I should learn as much about the church (and its history) as possible.
    Finally, we differ in that I took my journey out of the church very much alone. Even my family (parents, siblings) don’t want to hear about it. But especially not my wife. It’s the biggest wedge between us, imo. It is very sad not to be able to talk to my best friend and partner about all things important to me – regardless of having to agree on a topic or not.

    Anyway, sorry to post so many comments. I just enjoyed this very much and since I don’t get to talk to anybody about it I guess I use this as my outlet. 🙂

  23. Zilpha Reply

    Night Avatar,
    It’s really too bad that your wife won’t even talk with you about your concerns. But I understand why she would chose to leave it as a “taboo” topic. There are many people who make a conscious decision to not think about problems with the church. I think they are afraid that they, too, would find things that would change their beliefs and they feel they couldn’t handle losing something so dear to their hearts. It’s a very difficult situation you and your wife are in. I’m sorry.

    You’re right, there are a lot of similarities between our childhoods. Also like you, I am the only one in my family who has stepped away from the church. The sad thing is that based on the way I was taught and raised, my own family likely thinks I’m doomed to outer darkness. And they also likely think that despite my apparent contentment, I’m just pretending to be at peace and happy. My mom in particular believes that only through “the gospel” can people find true peace and happiness. It’s funny, though, that this concept has never been manifest in her own life which has been laced with depression and chaos.

  24. Zilpha Reply

    Night Avatar,
    It’s really too bad that your wife won’t even talk with you about your concerns. But I understand why she would chose to leave it as a “taboo” topic. There are many people who make a conscious decision to not think about problems with the church. I think they are afraid that they, too, would find things that would change their beliefs and they feel they couldn’t handle losing something so dear to their hearts. It’s a very difficult situation you and your wife are in. I’m sorry.

    You’re right, there are a lot of similarities between our childhoods. Also like you, I am the only one in my family who has stepped away from the church. The sad thing is that based on the way I was taught and raised, my own family likely thinks I’m doomed to outer darkness. And they also likely think that despite my apparent contentment, I’m just pretending to be at peace and happy. My mom in particular believes that only through “the gospel” can people find true peace and happiness. It’s funny, though, that this concept has never been manifest in her own life which has been laced with depression and chaos.

  25. Zilpha Reply

    Three Things:
    First, I really don’t think my family seriously thinks I’m “doomed to outer darkness” (although the thought may have crossed some minds). I was exaggerating to make the point that my family is scared for me and desperately hopes this is just a phase and that I’ll come back to The Church eventually.

    Second, although John and I were “on the same page” as we worked through our faith crisis, we have had other struggles. I say this just to make sure people don’t have an overly romanticized view of our relationship. Overall we have a great marriage and friendship,maybe even above average, but no relationship is all good all the time. 🙂

    Third, you likely can’t hear it in his voice, but John got choked up too. I certainly wasn’t planning on crying in my interview, but it does serve to emphasize that the process of “losing my religion” was bitterly painful and in many ways is painful still.

  26. Zilpha Reply

    Three Things:
    First, I really don’t think my family seriously thinks I’m “doomed to outer darkness” (although the thought may have crossed some minds). I was exaggerating to make the point that my family is scared for me and desperately hopes this is just a phase and that I’ll come back to The Church eventually.

    Second, although John and I were “on the same page” as we worked through our faith crisis, we have had other struggles. I say this just to make sure people don’t have an overly romanticized view of our relationship. Overall we have a great marriage and friendship,maybe even above average, but no relationship is all good all the time. 🙂

    Third, you likely can’t hear it in his voice, but John got choked up too. I certainly wasn’t planning on crying in my interview, but it does serve to emphasize that the process of “losing my religion” was bitterly painful and in many ways is painful still.

  27. Nathan R Kennard Reply

    I was lucky to have had the chance to listen to this interview a few times yesterday. It was wonderful. Thank you. I will put a few of my thoughts down before I forget them.

    1) I liked how you spoke about an exmormon wanting to experience some of what they perceive they missed out on. Personally, I have enjoyed learning about various things that were not part of my Mormon experience. For me, some of these include alcohol, evolution, atheism and mormon history. Thank you for your perspective. Also, hearing John’s comment about ‘sowing your wild oats’ provided a useful and fun point/counterpoint. Overall, I never felt bad about missing out on normal teen experience. Everyone around me was Mormon so the things I did not experience or learn about, I did not even know others experienced those things in their youth.

    2) How wonderful that you two were able to process this part of your faith journey together. The comments about marriage requiring work match my experience. When people get married for primarily ‘spiritual’ reasons, a change in their ‘spiritual’ point of view can be extremely challenging. It seems like John said that divorce was now a possibility and that this was good in that he became increasingly aware of what was important to him and the necessity of effort. My experience is along those lines. I got married to my best friend. No religious glue keeps us together. I hope we continue to work together toward what is meaningful and I appreciate that this is a deliberate choice we make continually.

    3) Thanks for expressing the difference between ‘being a Mormon’ and ‘living Mormonism’. Interesting wording. In that part of the discussion, I thought hearing Zilpha sing was nice. What a beautiful voice. My family also grew up ‘living Mormonism’.

    4) The distinction between Utah Mormons and those in the ‘mission field’ was interesting. I grew up in Utah and always thought that people in the ‘mission field’ would know more about the gospel and have a more healthy point of view. I was surprised to hear how Zipha’s BYU experience included cliquishness. I was left with the impression that ‘mission field’ Mormon experience was more one of ‘being a Mormon’ than ‘living Mormonism’ whereas this seems to have been opposite your experience.

  28. Nathan R Kennard Reply

    I was lucky to have had the chance to listen to this interview a few times yesterday. It was wonderful. Thank you. I will put a few of my thoughts down before I forget them.

    1) I liked how you spoke about an exmormon wanting to experience some of what they perceive they missed out on. Personally, I have enjoyed learning about various things that were not part of my Mormon experience. For me, some of these include alcohol, evolution, atheism and mormon history. Thank you for your perspective. Also, hearing John’s comment about ‘sowing your wild oats’ provided a useful and fun point/counterpoint. Overall, I never felt bad about missing out on normal teen experience. Everyone around me was Mormon so the things I did not experience or learn about, I did not even know others experienced those things in their youth.

    2) How wonderful that you two were able to process this part of your faith journey together. The comments about marriage requiring work match my experience. When people get married for primarily ‘spiritual’ reasons, a change in their ‘spiritual’ point of view can be extremely challenging. It seems like John said that divorce was now a possibility and that this was good in that he became increasingly aware of what was important to him and the necessity of effort. My experience is along those lines. I got married to my best friend. No religious glue keeps us together. I hope we continue to work together toward what is meaningful and I appreciate that this is a deliberate choice we make continually.

    3) Thanks for expressing the difference between ‘being a Mormon’ and ‘living Mormonism’. Interesting wording. In that part of the discussion, I thought hearing Zilpha sing was nice. What a beautiful voice. My family also grew up ‘living Mormonism’.

    4) The distinction between Utah Mormons and those in the ‘mission field’ was interesting. I grew up in Utah and always thought that people in the ‘mission field’ would know more about the gospel and have a more healthy point of view. I was surprised to hear how Zipha’s BYU experience included cliquishness. I was left with the impression that ‘mission field’ Mormon experience was more one of ‘being a Mormon’ than ‘living Mormonism’ whereas this seems to have been opposite your experience.

  29. NM Tony Reply

    I think this interview was very poignant in the simple fact that the loss of faith is often difficult and painful. Many of us still feel a sense of pain when reliving those moments when our faith was shattered and our world view drastically changed. I fear that too often those still in the faith think that “apostates” lose their religious identity on purpose for sinful reasons or just don’t have what it takes to push through the “satanic” doubts. If pain is shared as the loss is happening it appears to be a sign to believers that we are “kicking against the pricks” and that pain we feel is a sure sign of making a wrong choice. It is a difficult path, but I don’t think too many of us regret the decision of using our minds, even if it is heartbreaking, to come to a valid conclusion that our faith was misplaced.

    I admire the honesty of this episode and the willingness that you two, Zilpha and John, have in sharing your experiences with us, the listening audience. I think you have validated for some of us that it is okay to still feel hurt, angry, sad, and a whole host of other emotions with respects to our disaffection. Thanks for the podcast!

  30. NM Tony Reply

    I think this interview was very poignant in the simple fact that the loss of faith is often difficult and painful. Many of us still feel a sense of pain when reliving those moments when our faith was shattered and our world view drastically changed. I fear that too often those still in the faith think that “apostates” lose their religious identity on purpose for sinful reasons or just don’t have what it takes to push through the “satanic” doubts. If pain is shared as the loss is happening it appears to be a sign to believers that we are “kicking against the pricks” and that pain we feel is a sure sign of making a wrong choice. It is a difficult path, but I don’t think too many of us regret the decision of using our minds, even if it is heartbreaking, to come to a valid conclusion that our faith was misplaced.

    I admire the honesty of this episode and the willingness that you two, Zilpha and John, have in sharing your experiences with us, the listening audience. I think you have validated for some of us that it is okay to still feel hurt, angry, sad, and a whole host of other emotions with respects to our disaffection. Thanks for the podcast!

  31. Sam Andy Reply

    Zilpha – perhaps God delayed your childbearing so that you and John would be on your way out of Mormonism by the time your oldest finished nursery 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your journey. Like a few other commenters, I’m going solo. Spouse is as TBM as they come. I’m always happy to hear of couples that can brave it together. Gives me some hope. I hope someone, somewhere will be made accountable for the anguish they’ve caused in my and other’s lives (hope you’re reading, Elder Holland, Kim Farah, et.al. — you can and should do something). Only those who have been through it can really understand.

    John – thanks again for keeping your podcast going. I look forward to it.

  32. Sam Andy Reply

    Zilpha – perhaps God delayed your childbearing so that you and John would be on your way out of Mormonism by the time your oldest finished nursery 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your journey. Like a few other commenters, I’m going solo. Spouse is as TBM as they come. I’m always happy to hear of couples that can brave it together. Gives me some hope. I hope someone, somewhere will be made accountable for the anguish they’ve caused in my and other’s lives (hope you’re reading, Elder Holland, Kim Farah, et.al. — you can and should do something). Only those who have been through it can really understand.

    John – thanks again for keeping your podcast going. I look forward to it.

  33. Gunnar R. Reply

    Zilpha, I too was touched by your story. It is similar to mine in significant ways. I had the most wonderful, loving Mormon parents you could possibly imagine. They immigrated to the U.S.A from Norway when I was five to be closer to mainstream Mormonism, and so they would they could be sealed in the Temple (there were no temples in Europe at the time), and because economic prospects didn’t seem very promising in Norway right after WWII. I greatly enjoyed my activity in the Church as I was growing up and have very fond memories of my childhood. Like you, what I read in Church approved sources did far more than any “anti-Mormon” literature to shake my faith in the Church. That and, like you, not ever receiving a confirming answer to my prayers about the truthfulness of the Church that I could unequivocably attribute to anything more than my imagination and desire to believe. Reading Alma:32 about how to gain faith actually raised serious doubts because I could clearly see it as an blatant prescription for how to go about deluding oneself. It seemed crystal clear that if one started out investigating something with an initial desire to believe (as advocated by Alma), and worked on that desire long enough, that there was a very good probability that one would eventually wind up believing it whether or not it was true. This was further confirmed to me by meeting people of other faiths who testified just as fervently as any Mormon to having come by their own faith in answer to prayer and scripture study as advocated by Moroni 10:4.

    My wife is still a true believer, and I still attend church with her sometimes and support her in her church callings because I love her so much (and also many of the members of our local ward), but I don’t pretend to still believe it is of divine origin. I quess you could put me in the “post Mormon” category.

  34. Gunnar R. Reply

    Zilpha, I too was touched by your story. It is similar to mine in significant ways. I had the most wonderful, loving Mormon parents you could possibly imagine. They immigrated to the U.S.A from Norway when I was five to be closer to mainstream Mormonism, and so they would they could be sealed in the Temple (there were no temples in Europe at the time), and because economic prospects didn’t seem very promising in Norway right after WWII. I greatly enjoyed my activity in the Church as I was growing up and have very fond memories of my childhood. Like you, what I read in Church approved sources did far more than any “anti-Mormon” literature to shake my faith in the Church. That and, like you, not ever receiving a confirming answer to my prayers about the truthfulness of the Church that I could unequivocably attribute to anything more than my imagination and desire to believe. Reading Alma:32 about how to gain faith actually raised serious doubts because I could clearly see it as an blatant prescription for how to go about deluding oneself. It seemed crystal clear that if one started out investigating something with an initial desire to believe (as advocated by Alma), and worked on that desire long enough, that there was a very good probability that one would eventually wind up believing it whether or not it was true. This was further confirmed to me by meeting people of other faiths who testified just as fervently as any Mormon to having come by their own faith in answer to prayer and scripture study as advocated by Moroni 10:4.

    My wife is still a true believer, and I still attend church with her sometimes and support her in her church callings because I love her so much (and also many of the members of our local ward), but I don’t pretend to still believe it is of divine origin. I quess you could put me in the “post Mormon” category.

  35. jax Reply

    Thanks Zilpha. Really, thank you for opening yourself up like this. As I listened to you I walked back through my own journey out of the Church and it was very cathartic. Hearing your journal entries and thoughts made it clear why this Podcast is so important. There is nothing more lonely in the middle of the night when you think you are the only one who is losing sleep or shedding tears over your loss of faith in the Church.

  36. jax Reply

    Thanks Zilpha. Really, thank you for opening yourself up like this. As I listened to you I walked back through my own journey out of the Church and it was very cathartic. Hearing your journal entries and thoughts made it clear why this Podcast is so important. There is nothing more lonely in the middle of the night when you think you are the only one who is losing sleep or shedding tears over your loss of faith in the Church.

  37. Gardner Reply

    Great interview. Thanks Zilpha for your interesting story and insights. You two are a wonderful couple-thanks for working together to make these podcasts happen!

  38. Gardner Reply

    Great interview. Thanks Zilpha for your interesting story and insights. You two are a wonderful couple-thanks for working together to make these podcasts happen!

  39. RhiannonRings Reply

    I rarely comment, but enjoyed hearing another woman on the podcast, speak of things that I myself have felt. Every person’s story is different, inside and outside of religion, but having a similar thread that runs through some common LDS living themes can certainly assist in bringing forth more change and forward movement. I find that if I’m stuck on a notion or belief, it just takes someone else to voice their own personal experience and it can move me out of that funk. And open a new door for me.

    Thanks again, and as always great podcast! (Both of you!)

  40. RhiannonRings Reply

    I rarely comment, but enjoyed hearing another woman on the podcast, speak of things that I myself have felt. Every person’s story is different, inside and outside of religion, but having a similar thread that runs through some common LDS living themes can certainly assist in bringing forth more change and forward movement. I find that if I’m stuck on a notion or belief, it just takes someone else to voice their own personal experience and it can move me out of that funk. And open a new door for me.

    Thanks again, and as always great podcast! (Both of you!)

  41. badseed Reply

    Great podcast. Zilpha, thanks for sharing your journey and very personal feelings (like nightavatar my co workers are certainly wondering why the guy with the headphones was getting all misty). I also enjoyed the back and forth between you and John.

    I’m really jealous of the fact that you two have shared your journey out of the Church. My wife is less than thrilled with my disaffection and it has caused a lot of pain. That said we’re working our way through it.

    Keep up the great work guys. I think these types of podcasts will be really helpful not only for people who are doubting but also for the family and loved ones who feel hurt by the process.

    Thanks for your hard work.

    PS: I also found the coffee story hilarious.

  42. badseed Reply

    Great podcast. Zilpha, thanks for sharing your journey and very personal feelings (like nightavatar my co workers are certainly wondering why the guy with the headphones was getting all misty). I also enjoyed the back and forth between you and John.

    I’m really jealous of the fact that you two have shared your journey out of the Church. My wife is less than thrilled with my disaffection and it has caused a lot of pain. That said we’re working our way through it.

    Keep up the great work guys. I think these types of podcasts will be really helpful not only for people who are doubting but also for the family and loved ones who feel hurt by the process.

    Thanks for your hard work.

    PS: I also found the coffee story hilarious.

  43. Walt Reply

    Another great podcast! I am still laughing about the Starbucks Coffee drink. I had images of Eve coming to Adam with a bottle of Starbucks, “Do you want a sip???” Too many temple sessions back in the day I guess.

  44. Walt Reply

    Another great podcast! I am still laughing about the Starbucks Coffee drink. I had images of Eve coming to Adam with a bottle of Starbucks, “Do you want a sip???” Too many temple sessions back in the day I guess.

  45. Eric Comstock Reply

    Love the podcast. Thanks for sharing your story Zilpha. Fortunately for me my wife and I are also on the same page. Oh and I’ve tried coffee but I didn’t like it.

  46. Eric Comstock Reply

    Love the podcast. Thanks for sharing your story Zilpha. Fortunately for me my wife and I are also on the same page. Oh and I’ve tried coffee but I didn’t like it.

  47. Clay Painter Reply

    Beautiful, heartfelt, raw and articulate.
    Thanks for sharing, Zilpha.

  48. Clay Painter Reply

    Beautiful, heartfelt, raw and articulate.
    Thanks for sharing, Zilpha.

  49. RKD Reply

    Thank you so much Zilpha for a really touching podcast. Like so many others I am still stuck between shores and feel pretty alone often.
    Listening to you both brings hope and comfort and I hope you’ll both keep doing these podcasts. They truly are so helpful to so many of us. I also have a very believing spouse and most of my adult children still believe. I really have a hard time not being very angry at a church and it’s leaders who use the family as a weapon to plant fear and guilt to keep you paying tithing and to cause you to be afraid to question or listen to doubting loved ones. They have no qualms about driving wedges between us and those we love the most if it will protect their organization and its lies. I believe it is wicked and that the GA’s will have a lot to answer for one day. Sorry about the rant. You guys are awesome and I’m so grateful for what you are doing.

  50. RKD Reply

    Thank you so much Zilpha for a really touching podcast. Like so many others I am still stuck between shores and feel pretty alone often.
    Listening to you both brings hope and comfort and I hope you’ll both keep doing these podcasts. They truly are so helpful to so many of us. I also have a very believing spouse and most of my adult children still believe. I really have a hard time not being very angry at a church and it’s leaders who use the family as a weapon to plant fear and guilt to keep you paying tithing and to cause you to be afraid to question or listen to doubting loved ones. They have no qualms about driving wedges between us and those we love the most if it will protect their organization and its lies. I believe it is wicked and that the GA’s will have a lot to answer for one day. Sorry about the rant. You guys are awesome and I’m so grateful for what you are doing.

  51. Shlooper Reply

    Thank you for Zilpha for sharing with us. Your journey was really touching to me, and I related to it a lot. Most of all, the song “Losing my Religion” was one that I also listened to and thought about a lot while I was struggling with the church. The coffee part made me laugh, but overall, this podcast was beautiful.

  52. Shlooper Reply

    Thank you for Zilpha for sharing with us. Your journey was really touching to me, and I related to it a lot. Most of all, the song “Losing my Religion” was one that I also listened to and thought about a lot while I was struggling with the church. The coffee part made me laugh, but overall, this podcast was beautiful.

  53. sean Reply

    Loved the podcast. I always enjoy hearing others experiences and their journey in reaffirming, changing, or evolving in their belief and thoughts regarding God/religion. Losing my faith in Mormonism and God was the most painful process I had ever had to go through and perhaps will remain throughout my life as the most shattering and devastating time of my life. It was a process that began when I was a teenager, reversed when I decided to serve a mission, and then began to surface again towards the end of my mission. Its been 3 years since my mission and the process is finally over in terms of belief in God and Religion. Though I have arrived at a final conclusion that there is no God and Mormonism is not true in a sense the process is still an active part of my life and I am in a ” what now? ” type of stage.

    My entire theological and philosophical world was absolutely destroyed so recently and hearing others share their experiences and trials helps me come to terms with the new world that I live in. Oddly enough I think about those times and though they were the worst I have ever had I think about where I am now and I am grateful that I went through that process. I suppose one could say that I hold those experiences and trials close to my heart as it is part of who I am and what I now believe no matter how painful. I loved the comments regarding communication with God and realizing that there is just nothing out there. When I finally had the “epiphany” that there was nothing out there I was finally able to move on. In a sense it was a beautiful experience and everything fell in to place. Thanks again.

  54. sean Reply

    Loved the podcast. I always enjoy hearing others experiences and their journey in reaffirming, changing, or evolving in their belief and thoughts regarding God/religion. Losing my faith in Mormonism and God was the most painful process I had ever had to go through and perhaps will remain throughout my life as the most shattering and devastating time of my life. It was a process that began when I was a teenager, reversed when I decided to serve a mission, and then began to surface again towards the end of my mission. Its been 3 years since my mission and the process is finally over in terms of belief in God and Religion. Though I have arrived at a final conclusion that there is no God and Mormonism is not true in a sense the process is still an active part of my life and I am in a ” what now? ” type of stage.

    My entire theological and philosophical world was absolutely destroyed so recently and hearing others share their experiences and trials helps me come to terms with the new world that I live in. Oddly enough I think about those times and though they were the worst I have ever had I think about where I am now and I am grateful that I went through that process. I suppose one could say that I hold those experiences and trials close to my heart as it is part of who I am and what I now believe no matter how painful. I loved the comments regarding communication with God and realizing that there is just nothing out there. When I finally had the “epiphany” that there was nothing out there I was finally able to move on. In a sense it was a beautiful experience and everything fell in to place. Thanks again.

  55. Chris J Reply

    Zilpha – (Jon as well). Thank you so much for your insightful interview. I also was touched by your sincerity. I really appreciate your perspective. I certainly agree that by not believing in the devil it can free your mind and heart. So much of Mormonism is based on fear. Fear that either God will stop loving/blessing you for not doing certain things, or the devil is around every corner trying to destroy/tempt you.
    To be honest I think my favorite part of the interview is when you and Jon expressed your love for each other at the end (I thought apostates were only full of hate and anger j/k). Thanks to your both for opening up and sharing your journey. My wife and I are on the same path.

  56. Chris J Reply

    Zilpha – (Jon as well). Thank you so much for your insightful interview. I also was touched by your sincerity. I really appreciate your perspective. I certainly agree that by not believing in the devil it can free your mind and heart. So much of Mormonism is based on fear. Fear that either God will stop loving/blessing you for not doing certain things, or the devil is around every corner trying to destroy/tempt you.
    To be honest I think my favorite part of the interview is when you and Jon expressed your love for each other at the end (I thought apostates were only full of hate and anger j/k). Thanks to your both for opening up and sharing your journey. My wife and I are on the same path.

  57. Zilpha Reply

    Wow. Thanks to all of you who have posted comments. I’m glad that my story was both enjoyable and meaningful to so many people. To those who are “going solo” hang in there. My heart goes out to you. To those of you who have, like me, found peace after belief; congratulations! It was a painful process, but definitely worth it!

    Gunnar R., I had exactly the same thought process when I read Alma 32 as a skeptical thinker; “if one started out investigating something with an initial desire to believe (as advocated by Alma), and worked on that desire long enough, that there was a very good probability that one would eventually wind up believing it whether or not it was true.” I realized that what I had thought had been “confirmations” in the past had been me trying SO HARD to believe and wanting it SO BAD that I basically had worked my feelings up into a bit of a frenzy. Nice to see that you (and others) have had the same epiphany about that particular chapter.

    To everyone who listened and commented: I would love to keep in touch with you about how your journeys are coming along. Feel free to “friend” me on facebook if you like (if you use it). I can’t “friend” you since I don’t know your full names. 🙂

  58. Zilpha Reply

    Wow. Thanks to all of you who have posted comments. I’m glad that my story was both enjoyable and meaningful to so many people. To those who are “going solo” hang in there. My heart goes out to you. To those of you who have, like me, found peace after belief; congratulations! It was a painful process, but definitely worth it!

    Gunnar R., I had exactly the same thought process when I read Alma 32 as a skeptical thinker; “if one started out investigating something with an initial desire to believe (as advocated by Alma), and worked on that desire long enough, that there was a very good probability that one would eventually wind up believing it whether or not it was true.” I realized that what I had thought had been “confirmations” in the past had been me trying SO HARD to believe and wanting it SO BAD that I basically had worked my feelings up into a bit of a frenzy. Nice to see that you (and others) have had the same epiphany about that particular chapter.

    To everyone who listened and commented: I would love to keep in touch with you about how your journeys are coming along. Feel free to “friend” me on facebook if you like (if you use it). I can’t “friend” you since I don’t know your full names. 🙂

  59. Jiggs Casey Reply

    Excellent podcast. I also enjoyed the bit about the iced coffee. I, too, wondered if the sky would fall in on me when I went off the reservation regarding the Word of Wisdom. It didn’t. I did not become a raging alcoholic or a coffee addict. I did discover a love for good old southern “sweet tea”, being from Texas. I have no guilt left for that kind of thing.

    I tasted my first beer in over 20 years in Belgium at a swanky military officers club – what better way to acquire a taste for beer than in Belgium or Germany? Now I drink beer regularly, but usually not more than a few beers in a month.

    Your podcasts are very entertaining and relevant. I’m a big fan, and I hope you continue for a long time to come.

  60. Jiggs Casey Reply

    Excellent podcast. I also enjoyed the bit about the iced coffee. I, too, wondered if the sky would fall in on me when I went off the reservation regarding the Word of Wisdom. It didn’t. I did not become a raging alcoholic or a coffee addict. I did discover a love for good old southern “sweet tea”, being from Texas. I have no guilt left for that kind of thing.

    I tasted my first beer in over 20 years in Belgium at a swanky military officers club – what better way to acquire a taste for beer than in Belgium or Germany? Now I drink beer regularly, but usually not more than a few beers in a month.

    Your podcasts are very entertaining and relevant. I’m a big fan, and I hope you continue for a long time to come.

  61. Mister IT Reply

    OK, you guys are trying to kill me!

    The story of the shared Starbucks Frappacino was so gut busting funny for this old hippy that I nearly got in an accident I was laughing so hard!

    The language and tone that you all used and the behavior being described was exactly like what you hear from newbies describing scoring and toking their first joint. And to hear it in the context of passing around a bottled Starbucks Frap from the local Supermarket was so just so rich that I was nearly being kill by my own laughter.

    Priceless just priceless!
    (and don’t think that your nervous giggles were missed – you all were enjoying the bitter irony just as much as I was!)

    Thank you so just for lightening my day just a little for just a little while.

    And Zilpha I know how hard this journey was for you. Let me just say that I am awed and inspired by your courage and integrity. What an amazing story!

    Bless you both.

  62. Mister IT Reply

    OK, you guys are trying to kill me!

    The story of the shared Starbucks Frappacino was so gut busting funny for this old hippy that I nearly got in an accident I was laughing so hard!

    The language and tone that you all used and the behavior being described was exactly like what you hear from newbies describing scoring and toking their first joint. And to hear it in the context of passing around a bottled Starbucks Frap from the local Supermarket was so just so rich that I was nearly being kill by my own laughter.

    Priceless just priceless!
    (and don’t think that your nervous giggles were missed – you all were enjoying the bitter irony just as much as I was!)

    Thank you so just for lightening my day just a little for just a little while.

    And Zilpha I know how hard this journey was for you. Let me just say that I am awed and inspired by your courage and integrity. What an amazing story!

    Bless you both.

  63. mcarp Reply

    Zilpha, thank you so much. Priceless. Thank you for not holding back your emotions. I can feel your pain and it echos many of the steps in my journey. Best ME episode yet.

  64. mcarp Reply

    Zilpha, thank you so much. Priceless. Thank you for not holding back your emotions. I can feel your pain and it echos many of the steps in my journey. Best ME episode yet.

  65. Hellmut Reply

    Thank you very much for sharing your story, Zilpha. I especially like your advice about not reenacting puberty.

    As a Mormon, I never learned that I was supposed to do what’s good for me. Perhaps, some post-Mormons would fare better if they embraced the concept of self-interest.

  66. Jay R Reply

    Zilpha and John,

    I guess I’m a little late to the game, but I just recently found the podcast (the nudism episode!), and I am listening to all the episodes from the very beginning.

    Just to echo several other thoughts that have already been posted, I think you both are amazing for being so open and honest.  Zilpha, you really encouraged me.  Surprisingly, the part of the podcast where I started to cry was at the very end.  I realize that no relationshipo is perfect, but I felt, for just a moment what a relaionship could be.  And I guees I’m still grievein the loss of my marriage.

    Thank you,

    Jay

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