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  1. Beautiful Dan. Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share your story. Given that you have the microphone and the audience you do, I’m sure you wrestle with how you might be perceived by posting something like this. Rest easy. I hope you understand that your voice, your stories, your interpretation of your experience all brings great value to your listeners.

    This is immanent religion is it not? I love how much of your “reason for the hope that is in you” is rooted in your experience of self discovery. As difficult as problems of faith transition may be, I think your story speaks to the idea that there is a current that runs beneath questions of historicity, scripture, theology, etc. and that current deals, in part, with “coming to ourselves”, and allowing ourselves to reorient to life as that newly discovered being.

    It is no small thing to note, as you do, that more than ever before your natural response to pain, questions, suffering, joy, life…(as a 55 year old man) flows more freely, is less cognitive, less negotiated, but rather more imbued with grace – an organic result of this thing that you’ve become. That is what religion, when it is at its best, when it is doing its work, is all about.

    Thanks my friend. Thanks for the work you do.

  2. This was a fantastic episode, Dan. The insights about the prodigal’s older brother, and, your feelings about receiving and giving grace were really fresh and mature. I love your panel discussions but sometimes I actually crave hearing your insights and experiences more directly. So, naturally I dug this episode. Thanks!

  3. I’m a contractor, I live in Kansas City. My work day is very physical and often long. I listen to your podcasts all the time, they keep my mind alive while I labor. Thanks Dan, I just wanted to tell you that before I become a regular commenter and contributor to your cause. You’re cool. I haven’t even listened to this one yet but I will.

    1. Kim, thanks for sharing this! I had never seen it. Great to see some focus on the different kind of being lost represented by the elder brother.

      1. Sometimes the folks there at church headquarters do indeed get it right. I shared my VHS copy of this video with a Methodist minister I was then working for – and he loved it.

        Glad you liked it.

        1. D. Kim,

          I was thinking of the same video all throughout the podcast. “I’ve been the good guy!!” Thanks for all you do Dan.

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            Thank you, Greg! I wasn’t aware of this talk. He introduces new angles to this that I really appreciate, even as he doesn’t go exactly to the same main point I do. Even as he focuses on the older brother as also “lost” he doesn’t push quite as hard as I’d like the more mystical message of no matter how lost we are, or in what ways that loss manifests, we don’t lose our essential core divinity and there is always a way back “to ourselves.” In this talk, we don’t get enough affirmation, for my taste anyway, that the younger son is fully restored to his position within the family (still with lots of work to do). It seem to still favor the elder brother’s lostness as less severe (implied that he hasn’t blown his eternal inheritance, whereas it’s unclear if Elder Holland thinks the younger son has). My contention is that the father’s message to each is neither of you have! Let’s just work together to uncover all the places where you’re being tripped up, where this true identity of your is being hidden from your sight/experiencing.

            Not ripping on this talk at all, though! I will definitely use it and have it in my hands next time I have a chance to teach this parable! Thank you, again!

  4. Very nice Dan. I appreciate your thoughtful and heartfelt expressions of reason and faith in the context of your personal experience. And my personal experience with you has been that you walk the talk. Thank you.

  5. I am a student at BYU that has always kind of seen things a little differently than most members, and I’ve sometimes looked around here in Utah and wondered, where are the thinkers? I came from a very abusive home where I sometimes wished I could cease to exist, just because of all the pain that was there. I think something about being shaken to the core really gives you perspective (or at least the questions that you need in order to glean perspective) about life and God and how the experiences of everyone else don’t always have to align with one standard chord. As I’ve learned more and more about the gospel and through life experience I have felt the only thing to do is to be open minded, be willing to ask questions to yourself and God. Because I have been given this gift I often find myself in a position of influence for other people who are struggling. While I’m constantly influenced indirectly by others, I am so rarely directly influenced by others, because I guess I feel I’m usually further or deeper in my ideological framework than most the people I associate with. I love you Dan, and as I’ve come to listen to your podcasts over this past year or so I have resonated with your perspective more so than with any other person I’ve ever met. The first time I listened to one of your podcasts I instantly felt like I wanted to suck up everything that was in your brain and just understand life better for it. I will forever consider you a kindred spirit, though I know you much better than you know me. Thanks for the podcasts, and this one especially was really something that I’ll hold onto.

  6. I am listening to this podcast for the third time. Your message of “You cannot blow your own core goodness” and “don’t sweat it” is so powerful. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thanks Dan. Understanding the other prodigal son is what I have not fully explored or really understood. You have five years on me and I appreciate your wisdom and thoughts. I have experienced moments of that grace you speak of but need to better extend that grace when I get a bit down and feeling empty. Letting go of needing others to come with me or wanting them to acknowledge a greater meaning has been my struggle for the past five or so years. I struggle with going it alone and letting go of the safety net ingrained in me by experiences of mortality which I now realize has been my stumbling block. I hesitate to believe that I can be encircled about with a robe of righteousness and find contort with deity separate from my religious community circles of association. Keep queuing the music!

  8. “Blessings are not just for the ones who kneel
    Luckily
    Luckily we don’t believe in luck
    Grace abounds
    Grace abounds”
    —U2, ‘City of Blinding Lights

    Thank you, Dan.

  9. Thank you, all, for your kind and thoughtful remarks here. I am glad my winding tale and some of the things I have learned along the journey have been meaningful for you. I hope for nothing but the best for all of us lost folk, and I hope we’ll each find our way (through our own unique paths) home.

  10. Dan, thanks for sharing part of your personal journey–and the wisdom you have gained as a result. I appreciate the example you set for us in your approach to others, for that, I think, is exactly what the Savior wants from us.

  11. I’m late in the game here to finally comment on this episode but I listened to it right when it was posted. Actually, I’ve listened to it at least 3 times now. I’m losing track. WOW. This is the gospel in it’s finest capacity. Dan, I cannot express enough how grateful I am for your willingness to share your story and insights with the world. It is edifying beyond my ability to describe, and has given me courage to begin owning my own stories in a way that allows me to be known more fully, without guile or shame. Thank you for being you, and for sharing your soul with us.

  12. I just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and the message I walked away with was the same one I heard here. I haven’t really seen this journey as a crisis, though it as been painful sometimes. It’s been an incredible journey because my heart has been stretched wide open. I see beauty all around in every person, circumstance, and thing. I have found God in places I would have never expected. I see myself a lot more clearly than I used to. I extend compassion to myself and others because I’ve felt God extend compassion to me. I can’t say anymore that I know what God is beyond this: God is love. And that turns out to be okay with me. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  13. Thank-you for sharing your experience of the grace that you’ve found…it is infectious and comes through very powerfully in all of your podcasts.

    I’m currently teaching youth Sunday School and have considered asking to be released as I struggle with some parts of the curriculum; I’ve wondered if I’m best suited to teach the way that the institution of the Church would want the youth to be taught.

    After listening to this episode and being blessed by your emulation of the grace that you’ve received, I’m reconsidering. As someone who has been broken and has found grace, my hope is that my acceptance of grace can be as infectious as your testimony is to me. Because the church teaches one straight and narrow path of the older brother, I think that those who find themselves in the younger brother situation as I did need people who have experienced grace from being broken.

    Thank-you so much for your work Dan and for looking ahead with such optimism.

  14. Thank you for sharing this, Dan. People’s own stories of their spiritual journeys are always so worth having. The reflection on Luke 15 was really instructive, for those of us who feel organisationally out of the fold and really dislike the Pharisee aspects of many Christian religious organisations. It’s a neat way to approach this problem. God bless and keep you and take care! 🙂

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