Mormon Stories 2.0 – And How You Can Help

John Dehlin Mormon 36 Comments

Hey Folks,

Some of you may have heard that I’ve decided to bring back Mormon Stories Podcast.  For those of you who are new to the ‘Nacle or who never listened previously, Mormon Stories is an audio podcast interview series (kind of like Fresh Air with Terry Gross or Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippet), where I interview Mormons of all types — from Richard Bushman to Grant Palmer — and give them a chance to tell their stories.  The full archive of my past interviews can be found here.

Mormon Stories 1.0 (2005-2007) was focused on two main things:

  1. Exploring LDS church history, “truth claims” and social issues in depth, and
  2. My own personal faith journey — trying to figure out what I did and didn’t believe about the church, and how to navigate that transition.

Now that I’ve worked through my own faith issues for the most part (back happy in the church as a radically heterodox/mostly orthoprax Mormon), I plan on changing the focus for Mormon Stories 2.0.  The focus for the forseeable future will be on the following things:

  1. Mormon Culture: Interviewing interesting people from within Mormon culture, including artists, writers, film makers, bloggers, politicians, athletes, professionals, activists, etc.
  2. Faith Strugglers: Helping to build awareness and empathy for, and provide LDS church members who are currently struggling with their traditional, literalistic LDS faith/testimony, including those who have either gone inactive or have left the church.  The goal here would be NOT to encourage people to either leave or stay in the church, but instead to provide role models across the faith spectrum (Apologetic, StayLDS, New Order Mormon, ExMo, PostMo, etc.) to support them in making their own decisions about how to best navigate their faith journey.
  3. Mixed-Faith LDS Marriages: Provide support to LDS marriages wherein one or both within the couple have lost their traditional, literalistic LDS faith.  The goal here would be to reduce the number of Mormon-related divorces by providing role models, tips and tricks to help couples get on the same page faith-wise (where possible), and  to support them in their transition/renegotiation in a way that preserves and even strengthens the marriage.  We also hope to focus some on raising children within a mixed faith or non-traditional LDS paradigm/belief structure.
  4. Mormon Mental Health: Because of my interest in Psychology, I plan to do a deep dive into Mormon-related mental health issues including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, abuse, sexual addiction/pornography and addiction.

For those interesting in supporting Mormon Stories, here are a few things you can consider:

  • Subscribe to the podcast: To subscribe to the podcast in advance of the new episodes, make sure you have iTunes installed, click here Subscribe to podcast and then follow the instructions until you see a “subscribe” button, and click it.  This will allow you to download all the past and present episodes (to your preference), and will automatically provide you with new episodes as they are released.
  • Help me find great guests to interview: I am always looking for high quality guests to interview.  I not only need ideas, but I also need your help in asking them to participate.  If you have ideas, and are willing to contact the potential interviewee, that could be super helpful.
  • Sign up for the weekly Mormon Stories email newsletter: Click here to sign up for the weekly Mormon Stories email newsletter.  Here I will share the latest releases, ask for advice, and provide special bonus content to regular subscribers.
  • Donate (if you can): At the top right of the Mormon Stories home page, there is a “Donate” button.  If you are willing/able, please donate to support Mormon Stories.  I am operating on the NPR/PBS model (donations support the time/effort/expenses of the production).  I promise that this $$$ will be used to extend and improve Mormon Stories.  I am currently in the process of setting up a 501c3 (non-profit) for Mormon Stories, so soon your contributions should be tax deductible!  I fully plan on making Mormon Stories finances transparent once we are up and running.
  • Fan us on Facebook, and help us promote the episodes on Facebook and Twitter: If you are interested, consider becoming a fan of Mormon Stories on Facebook.  Also, each time we release an episode, please consider tweeting or Facebook-ing the episode to share w/ family and friends.

I will need support to make this work.  Please email me if you are interested in helping out at mormonstories@gmail.com.

Can’t wait to be back in the saddle again!

John Dehlin

Comments

comments

Comments 36

  1. Great news John! In my humble opinion there is a dire need for Topic #3. There are too many forces in the Church that drive a wedge between husband and wife. I seriously wonder if that is what the Church wants, especially after listening to a couple of the last General Conference talks. Exploring this issue and providing suggestions for and examples of successful interfaith or inter-ex-faith marriages would be wonderful.

  2. Having heard most of your podcasts and given your statement above “Now that I’ve worked through my own faith issues (back happy in the church as a radically heterodox/mostly orthoprax Mormon”, I’d like to hear your lastest personal victories over self.

    Thanks for your willingness to do the podcasts again.

  3. John,

    This is of course great news. May I make an observation?

    I think #3, #2, and #4 are fascinating and compelling. But frankly, #1 is a big yawn. Would you be interested in using #1 only as a filler or only as a value added proposition for episodes that meet 2, 3, and 4?

    Would you be interested in Richard Dutcher? I may be able to help.

    Tom

  4. Groveling For Dollars is back. Why does Mormon Stories think the world should pay its way when all the rest of us bloggers pay our own bills?

  5. Legacy,

    I challenge you to find me a podcast of any substance that doesn’t request donations to survive. Basically, either they are supported by sponsors or they request donations. I’m sure there are exceptions, but this is the rule (in my experience)

    Blogs are very easy to support. A weekly podcast, on the other hand, takes a TON of work….like 6-7 hours minimum per week. So I have to solicit donations to be able to do this. The good news is…you don’t have to support!

  6. I really enjoyed Mormon Stories. I don’t know that it affected my personal faith all that much, but it sure helped me understand others more. I’m looking forward to Part 2.

    By the way, I don’t consider #1 to be a yawn. For example, I’d find it very difficult to be LDS and a successful politician, and I’d love to hear some explain how they do it. John, I recommend you start off with Harry Reid, Glen Beck, and Mitt Romney!:) Good luck with that…

  7. John–

    Great news!

    I hope to see an additional kind of interview added to Mormon Stories: Those who have the companionship of the Holy Ghost to the extent that they not only have a testimony but are experiencing answers to their prayers.

    And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.

    (Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 12:6)

  8. John-

    I’m not familiar with your earlier podcasts, but I look forward to hearing what you have planned for future podcasts. Maybe no one else cares, but I want to know what happened to Bryce Neubert. He was an LDS artist who was pretty popular in years past and he just kind of disappeared off the LDS scene. He is very talented and I wonder what he has been doing lately.

  9. John,

    IIRC, in your appearance on Mormon Expression you hinted at a meeting or conversation you had with high-level church authority (perhaps even an apostle?). I’m sure that is a private matter, but can you share with us how it has influenced your new views of Mormonism, your current opinion on the historicity of the Book of Mormon, and how the Church might address the Book of Mormon’s historicity in the future?

  10. Martin, good point about politician. Getting me thinking. Of course Mormon politicians are a dime a dozen and as old as the hills. But your comment makes me consider life paths that may be less common among Mormons. It would be really interesting to see interviews of atypical paths for Mormons such as

    -Filmmaker
    -Actor
    -Charity director
    -Professional student
    -Monk/nun (voluntary poverty/celibacy/non-resistance)

    Tom

  11. This news brought a smile to my face, John. 🙂

    Something I’d be interested in is seeing how other people deal with family or friends that are naive or unfamiliar with the colorful aspects of Mormon history. There are so many topics I’d love to discuss with, say, my mother-in-law, but she’s firmly in the staunch traditional conservative Mormon position, and can only worry when topics like blacks and the priesthood or masonry arise. Mind you, I’m not very far from the orthodox path myself, but still…

    Why do my friends say “Just be careful…”, etc. when I mention the topics I read or my opinions or criticisms? That I am willing to explore my doubts troubles some people, and I haven’t found a way to put them at ease.

  12. So glad that Mormon Stories is coming back John. It helped me through some challenges in the past and I look forward to the new content. It would be great to hear podcasts with CoC and Restoration Branch contributors. An interview with Michael Quinn would be interesting. The Mormon Mental Health issues sounds facinating too.

  13. I’m not sure why this all makes me a bit uneasy and suspicious. First there was your efforts with Sunstone, then Mormon Stories, then staylds. And between each one a long period of nothing. Now you’re back as a “radically heterodox mostly orthoprax mormon” with another project and what appears to be a groundswell of fans and support. Just what is it you want or need? Do you believe or not and does it matter? Are you trying to save us all again? Just curious.

  14. Well, John, for better or for worse, I suppose you are going to do what you are going to do. I found some Mormon Stories podcasts helpful. But others I think were not that great where you were giving voice to certain people that I didn’t feel comfortable with. So perhaps we should try to bring some good content to your efforts if you are going for a comeback.

    One issue that I think should be covered that has become quite a big thing lately in the Church is Rod Meldrum and his various DVDs on Book of Mormon Geography, DNA, Evolution and so on, and how he thinks he can divine the Church’s position on these issues, because some prophets in the past said this that or the other, and how he claims he has been persecuted. Perhaps a dialogue between members of FAIR and Meldrum on your podcast would help to show people what Meldrum’s claims are truly made of, as well as to show Meldrum that people just differ with him on his claims and are not out to get him.

  15. Oh, and for the record for the “management” of Mormon Matters, for lack of a better term, since there were issues with you in the past. I am using the name SkepticTheist now, and I am Ed Goble, and that is my real name. So you don’t have to wonder about my identity.

  16. #27 – Skeptic… “Well, John, for better or for worse, I suppose you are going to do what you are going to do. I found some Mormon Stories podcasts helpful. But others I think were not that great where you were giving voice to certain people that I didn’t feel comfortable with. So perhaps we should try to bring some good content to your efforts if you are going for a comeback.”

    I don’t know if this was meant to be written in a condescending tone, but it sure came off that way to me. You didn’t feel comfortable? I thought that “stretching our comfort zones” was the entire point of Mormon Stories, this blog, and every other outlet for critical LDS thinking out there. Sites, blogs, and podcasts of this sort are BADLY needed for those who can’t find an intermediary between the official voices from the pulpit and the voices of cognitive dissonance in their minds. If you ask me, the more we’re uncomfortable about something, the more we should seek to understand why.

    John – keep it up! Make us all squirm a little more this time! Your work, particularly as it relates to helping members understand how torn some of us can be as we confront the underbelly of Mormon history, has filled a great need. Too many of us have been dismissed with simplistic accusations that our doubts have come as a result of: A) general sinning; B) struggling with some secret WofW problem C) listening to Satan, etc. If more people gave voice to the issues you do, perhaps more struggling members would be able to navigate the turbulent waters in between staunch traditionalism and complete inactivity and disbelief.

  17. Hi John,

    I may be able to help with your #3. I’m not sure that I have much of a “radio voice;” I believe John Larsen is going to have me participate on a Mormon Expression Podcast panel next month, so I’ll get a test run there.

    I’m also not sure how useful the evangelical Christian side of an LDS-evangelical interfaith marriage would be toward your goal, but let me know if you are interested. I believe you have me as a friend on Facebook.

    You might also try looking up one of the following people:

    Jana Riess, LDS historian & religion writer, is married to a Methodist.

    Juliana Boerio Goates (and possibly her husband, Steve Goates), both are chemistry professors at BYU. Juliana is Catholic and Steve is LDS.

  18. Hi John.

    Great to see that you are back up!
    As a non US LDS I discovered your podcasts 5 months ago when I was at the bottom of my faith crisis.

    They really helped me gain a perspective and bring me back up.
    Whatever difference in opinion there may be of what you do, for me you were just what I needed.
    If all I had to go by were the apologist and anti pages, Id have few options but leaving by now.

    One thing I would love is if you can get people from other faiths talking about their testimonies.
    Similarities in us feeling the holy ghost vs other ppl from different faiths experiencing the same in their religion.

  19. Raymond,

    I’m not comfortable with giving voice to those that are dissidents to the Church. The reason I don’t feel comfortable about this is because my loyalty is to the Brethren in spite of their imperfections. I know this Church is going in the right direction in spite of the fact that we don’t know all things and a great many things may go wrong here and there along the way. It isn’t meant as condescension. It is that I wish John wouldn’t give people that voice, but that is his own business. If he intends to start it up again, then people like me should give him ideas to have people come on that are more in line with what we feel comfortable with.

    Another thing, it seems that no matter what I say on these forums, everybody seems to think my tone is somehow something in it that they don’t like. I have tried to correct my tone sometimes and figure out ways to make myself sound better, but I’m abrasive by nature, and its a hard flaw to overcome. So for the most part I have decided to stay away from this place except for when I feel especially compelled to say something. And even then, after that, I am walking away for several days before I even look at the posts again to not even respond, or I may end up with foot in mouth again.

  20. John,

    I used to think a few years ago that you provided kind of a “service” in trying to help people stay in the Church in giving them some “options” in re-defining their faith. Now after you have brought the Danzigs and others on, and you plan to bring the Born Again Mormon character on, I think that you have gone over the line in allowing those who have gone out of the Church to have a voice on your podcasts. Before, I was just uncomfortable with this type thing, where I thought you were merely exploring your own faith journey and had to get their side of the story.

    But now, I have changed my mind about what I thought you are trying to do. It is now clear to me that you have come to believe that for someone to end up out of the Church, that it is an “honorable choice” in some way, and that it is an acceptable alternative. If people end up out of the Church, that is certainly something they can choose with their free agency, and it may well be that they were on their way out if they end up there. But you are now facilitating it, planting in people’s minds that it is an acceptable alternative. This, I believe, has gone over the line now, and I don’t consider what you are doing at this point as something friendly to the Church. I have now changed my mind about what I think of you. I now believe that you are no longer providing a service, but that you are doing the Church a disservice, and I can no longer intellectually support what you are doing. I now believe that the Spirit of the Lord is not leading you to take this course you have taken, but that some other spirit is leading you in this effort.

    Sincerely,
    Ed Goble

  21. A week after i discovered the truth I started this blog. Complete with pictures and positive thinking. An overwhelming number of people have contacted me thanking me for the blog and even opened up to me.

    I have just begun my Adventures into the secular world. And I’m absolutely clueless. Drinking, Sex, and skirts above the knee:P Check out my blog to hear my story. It keeps me sane and it’s anonymous

    http://breakingmormon.blogspot.com/

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