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  1. Our discussion went a bit long again! Sorry. We aim for an hour but seem to always get rolling and hate to quit in the middle of an interesting discussion. Please advise: REALLY try to hit that hour mark or quit worrying about it?

    1. Quit worrying about it.  Your discussions are always compelling enough that I’m happy to listen clear through.  I can always pause and come back if need be 🙂

    2. Quit worrying about it.  Your discussions are always compelling enough that I’m happy to listen clear through.  I can always pause and come back if need be 🙂

    3. I like the podcasts that are longer and can go more in depth to the issues.  I could have listened to you guys go on for another hour!

    4. If it went over 2.5 hours, I would be hard pressed to find the time to listen to it but this podcast was great!

  2. Our discussion went a bit long again! Sorry. We aim for an hour but seem to always get rolling and hate to quit in the middle of an interesting discussion. Please advise: REALLY try to hit that hour mark or quit worrying about it?

  3. I am much older than the commentators, but have had similar questions since high school.  Besides gender issues, the dogmatic approach of CES and the odd “mormon myths” about polygamy and race that were said commonly always bothered me.   I am still single and live in DC, and the only reason I have stayed active is that I do believe in Christ and find that going to church gives me a separated time to reflect on his mission, even when the speakers fail to mention his name. Lately I have found this to be less comforting than I have in the past.   I also dealt with the sense of hypocrisy by granting that everyone at church is simply doing their best and failing as humans do, and I would include the leaders in that.  

    I wish these commentators good luck on their journey, but if my experience is typical in any way, it will be life long.  

  4. So so, good. Well done Dan, Natasha, and especially Kayla and Cam. So many times I would pause my iPod (I was listening while cleaning the house 😉 ) and bring up a point to my wife. 

    It seems the message that keeps getting repeated is the *disconnect* between teachings and reality that leads to a feeling of irrelevance and even betrayal. 

    Interestingly I heard on NPR that the Republican Party is having the same problem… so many of the conservative positions in the platform just don’t relate to how the under 40 members feel. 

    I feel that optimism and pragmatism both are moving the same direction… either the Church will change or (continue to) cease to thrive. 

  5. Natasha, I loved your phrase, “living in a bubble that no longer exists”. The “information age” as you put it is radically restructuring society. I hope the Church gets with it so people can benefit from all the good it has to offer.

  6. Haven’t listened yet but will very shortly.  I am curious however: do you have a source for your data that nearly 80% of Mormon singles become inactive?  I have heard that number thrown around a bit and I have looked for stats about the rate at which singles and women leave the church and have found nothing.  I’d love to see a source.

  7. Wow! This was really great. I was glad to see some of the issues that I found missing last time were addressed this time.
     
    To start off, I thought both Kayla and Cam were very articulate, so great choices there.  I’m going to start off by addressing some of the things that were talked about, and then I’ll throw in a couple smaller ones that I have thought about.
     
    First of all, I really liked how social issues were brought up (they were in the last one as well, but this one hit home).  I think our generation is particularly sensitive to civil rights.  It’s a given for us.  The past generations have fought for them and I think many of us now think of it as a “no duh.”  Feminism is a huge deal for me.  The fact that submissiveness to males is looked upon with such respect in Mormonism is something I cannot get behind.  Prop 8 was also definitely a chink in the armor for me.  I remember the year that was going on I didn’t pay a full tithe–because I wasn’t sure if the money was going to be spent on taking someone’s rights away (I’ll talk more about tithing and transparency in a moment).  I also think the church is losing members due to racial problems, both then and now.  I have some Mormon friends of different ethnicities who really don’t like being treated so differently, they’ve told me so.  When you add on the history of racism, it’s enough to make me leave, not to mention the people who have been ill treated.
     
    I was also happy to see politics mentioned.  I find many of my inactive friends are more liberal and I think they feel marginalized.  I can be pretty liberal myself so I understand the frustration of having to deal with comments in Gospel Doctrine that sound something like, “thus saith the lord ye must be a republican.”

    The “google generation” comment was spot on.  I remember when I finally gave myself permission to use google.  I went with the intention of taking things off the shelf…finding people with answers.  I ended up on FAIR and before I knew it my shelf was so full that it broke.  But the internet is not just a problem because it can deconstruct a member’s view of Mormon History, it can also show them the beauties of other people’s faiths.  Not only can I wiki Joseph Smith, but I can wiki Buddhism and see that it can give answers…and why are the church’s answers better than theirs?

    The problem of Jesus Christ being rather small in Mormonism is also something that, like Kayla and Cam said, can drive people away.  Jesus is used as a symbol in Mormonism but that’s about it.  He’s a symbol of tithing–Jesus was a good tithe payer.  He’s a symbol of obedience–“Jesus obeyed the Father.”  In essence he’s a symbol of being a Mormon–“I’m Jesus and I’m a Mormon.”  When Jesus is mentioned in Sacrament Meeting, which isn’t that often, it can often be in relation to our relationship with the church.

    I think another thing that I’ve thought about is it’s easier for inactives to find a support group now.  There are more exmormons than mormons.  I think the process of being shunned as a Youth for dating before you are 16 or watching R movies leads many to find a group that won’t be so judgemental.

    I was going to say some other stuff about missions and such, but I’m realizing this is really long…so I’ll hold off til another time.

  8. I’m half way through and I am super excited about this podcast. I can really relate to this issue. I became inactive, found a non-member to marry and now we’re both active members. Please don’t worry about the time!

    1. Actually it may be better if church headquarters doesn’t tune in because then the discussion group would likely be facing a disciplinary council for daring to have their own opinion and take on things that differ from what the sanhedrin- I mean- “brethren” have to say.

  9. Dont worry about time, The longer the better when it’s an interesting discussion. I listen to it at twice the speed on iPhone and it works really well.

    I can just chime in, that we need to stop the guilt cycle, which starts from a very early age. Growing up I did the M* and remember feeling so guilty ‘I’ve just committed the 2nd worst sin next to murder, I’m little better than a murderer’… And then you are to scared to admit to the bishop. And you feel pressured to pass out/prepare/bless the sacrament with filthy hands, the guilt just heaps on. And you feel pressure to go on youth temple trips, feeling awful that you are the only unclean person there…

    I felt like I’d been cast off forever. Just gives this dark and gloomy feeling over the whole teenage period. Which should be a time of exploration, fun and discovering your identity. Not about being racked with eternal torment for insignificant ‘sins’, which are part of normal behavior…

    Thanx so much for this podcast, these issues needs to be talked about alot more, now if we could only bring the discussion into the ward setting…

    1.  That’s the same kind of attitude that I let hold myself back for a very long time. I also felt like a “failed” missionary when trying to be the “perfect” elder just led to an ever-increasing burden that gave me a nervous breakdown and got me sent home early. It took a long time to realize this, but God still loves me.

      I’ve learned that laying guilt trips on people does not work because it just leads to the same experiences that we’ve gone through, which is why I tell people that Monson had no right to basically insult us singles and lambast us for being “slackers” during the last conference. I nearly stepped into a marriage that would have crushed me just as much as my mission, and I never want to repeat that same mistake and, right now, I’m just not interested in dating right now.

      I’m also definitely not even going to pretend to be “Peter Priesthood” and put up the facade of being a gal’s “knight in shining armor” who will take her to the temple and give her a fairytale marriage. I tell it like it is to people (especially church leaders), I’m better at communicating in writing than in speaking, I indulge in fetishes that people will automatically label as porn, and I drink the occasional beer. Is there any Mormon girl in Utah who would even think of talking to me once she found out those things (and more) about me? If not, that’s their problem. What they fail to realize is that I remain in control of my passions/desires rather than let them control me and, most important of all, God still loves me.

  10. Kayla brings up a very good point at about the 30-minute mark when she relates her discussion with the bishop who accused her of thinking the church isn’t true. So many people love to quote D&C 1:30, which says, “And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually—” This scripture is often misinterpreted as the corporate, institutionalized LDS church as being the “church” spoken of in this verse. It is not what the Lord refers to.

    Follow this up with Section 10:67, “Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.” Nothing in there about becoming a Mormon, and accounts of early church missionaries support that notion. Parley P. Pratt’s autobiography contains an account wherein he healed a woman from blindness and her neighbors told her that he was “just trying to make her become a Mormon.” Her reply, “He said nothing about Mormonism, but rather taught me the gospel.”

    Thus, when speaking of “the church,” the Lord is talking about anyone and everyone who repents and follows Him by being baptized by the proper authority.

  11. On a related note, here is a recent Elders Quorum lesson from a Singles Ward in the Midwest.  The instructor (a married church leader) encourages the single young men to stop delaying marriage, because 1) The prophet has counseled it, 2) temple sealing is the next saving ordinance, 3) you’re never going to find a “perfect” match and 4) life is better married, 5) you’re not getting any younger.

    http://soundcloud.com/115a6b7/ysa-marriage

  12. Bravo,  beautiful job on this one.  I have lots of thoughts I will attempt to limit it to a few. 

    Natasha once again you have done a fantastic job.  I love your comment and I am paraphrasing that we spend all our time in the church teaching people about the 5 to 14 years they are to avoid having sex instead of teaching them about the 40 to 60 years we hope the will be having sex.  This  fact hit me in the face during prop. 8  my wife of 15 years had recently come out to me. I knew through the spirit that God created her that way and I also knew that as we were preparing to finish raising our children not married I watched the church through prop. 8 dismantle my ability to teach my children about sex in the easy I was planning “don’t do it until after marriage.”  My wife coming out to me help me understand why our sexual relationship had not been the sacred thing we both thought living the gospel would make it.  The church actions in prop. 8 help me understand that the Church was doing all they could to insure that the sexual relationship I wanted and prayed for my wife to some day have would not be inside marriage.  I also knew if any of our four children were gay that the same would be true for them.  These facts together helped me see clearly that teaching my children the easy way “don’t have sex before marriage” not only did not help them to have a sacred sexual relationship I hoped they would have it was likely a sure way to insure they would not unless they some how figured it out on their own.   They certainly were not going to figure it out through their parents example so far. I began working on figuring out how to teach them how to have a healthy sexual relationship: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  This is I needed to figure out for myself first because I was never taught that in the church.Kayla your comments on the proclamation made some since.  My problem is it is unambiguous, unclear, and contradictory document. My other problem is the way church leaders and members teach things from it it does not say.  It says nothing about homosexuality or gay marriage, but the assumption is continually made that it justifies homophobia and the destruction of certain families. Also when it says that gender is eternal people assume it means anything from homosexuality is not real to gender ambiguity is not there.  I wonder why it does not mean if your spiritual gender is not the same as your physical you need to surgically change it.  Why not?Thanks again to all of you.

  13. Excellent podcast, especially good to hear Kayla and Cam’s voices! They sound a lot like my older two offspring (ages 24, 20). Jared and Joanna referred (episode #31) to today’s YSA’s as “Millenials.” The other buzzword that gets tossed around a LOT is “Digital Natives.” 
    Marc Prensky, who coined the term, makes a good case for how educators, parents and leaders need to better serve their Digital Natives, by partnering with them. (http://amzn.to/j6SXZ0)  Jared also made the point that being a Digital Native is more about technology than age demographic. So for a guy like me, who has been squatting in cyberspace since I graduated from HS (’79), while I may not exactly qualify as a Digital Native, I am definitely a Digital Settler. I think that Prensky’s views on “partnering” goes to the “keeping it real” comments that got tossed around in episode #31. It also applies to the call Kayla made for more transparency. I know I keep beating on this term, but I prefer to call people like us Open Source Mormons, as opposed to Uncorrelated. I’ve also made the analogy before to Jono Bacon’s work with herding the worldwide federation of cats who have produced the excellent open source Ubuntu OS. (See www.artofcommunityonline.org). True partnering involves trusting the Digital Natives to create and moderate their own content. If you look at what the church is trying to roll out on their new portal, it is true they are moving to allow members to share profiles and creative talents. But they simply refuse to release the reins, and do so in an uncurated and still very siloed, correlated fashion.  If there is no true partnering, and no keeping it real, the Digital Natives will just go off and create their own curated supersecret Facebook groups.

  14. Great podcast! I love these discussions.

    I’m 28 and have been very active all my life. I followed the path laid out before me–served a mission, graduated from BYU, got married, found a great job, had a child. Now I find myself divorced, sharing 50/50 custody of my spectacular 4-year-old daughter, underemployed, dating a wonderful non-member, and less active in church than before. And strangely enough, my life is kind of a mess, but I’m happier than I’ve been in years!I find that I don’t fit in with my family ward, and the singles ward just looks too depressing. I’ve realized that the church really doesn’t have any resources for a single father; I’m not invited to playgroups, etc. due to being male. I wonder if there’s a way the men in the church could support one another the way the women do? I’m doing well on my own, love being a father, and have found people to socialize with outside the church. Overall, I feel myself drifting from church activity. The reason is not that the church doesn’t serve me well, or that I lack a sense of belonging there, or even that the history seems mighty questionable (though all of these are true, none of them would be a reason for me to leave the church). I just find that God is so much bigger than this church, that his Love expands so far beyond what we get at church. For years now I’ve found God in a variety of other religious traditions, in poetry, painting, and classical music, not to mention loving relationships and service. I have to ask myself why I sit in sacrament meeting every week holding my spiritual bowl and hoping for crumbs of spiritual nourishment, when there is such florabundance outside.But at the same time, I love what Mormonism theoretically has to offer. The opportunities to serve, the sense of community, and the astonishing beauty of it’s largely undiscussed doctrine. My heritage is in the church, and I know if I left it, I’d never really leave many of it’s teachings. The Church seems to me, at times, to be an irrelevant corporation standing like an eclipse in front of the light of it’s Gospel. I feel like the church has so much to offer us, but settles for easily digestible platitudes.

    I love Christ, I love God, I love my daughter, I love creation, I love people. I’m not sure anymore how the church helps me foster any of that love.

    1. Your metaphor of the spiritual bowl and crumbs of nourishment reminded me of something I learned recently: Originally the sacrament consisted of enough bread for everyone in the congregation to eat as much as they wanted, whereas today of course we have to resort to mere scraps in order to compensate for the larger crowds.

      Here’s the “But!”

      No one is stopping you from administering the sacrament as it was originally done in your own home and using your own priesthood (forget about the false requirement to get “permission” from the bishop) to administer it. Eat until you are filled, just as you’re seeking to find new ways to fill that spiritual bowl. A friend of mine said that he and his wife partake of the sacrament that way and, to them, it is much more spiritual and bonding experience than eating a sliver of crust in the meeting.

      Truth can be found in all kinds of places, and we’ve been invited to feast. Don’t give up and life will continue to be great!

      1. While I agree with you, I feel I ought to share my personal experience with this.  When I was very young, my family lived abroad in a country with only one other LDS family.  As such, my father administered the sacrament to the family himself.  No problems.  However, when I was a teenager, and shortly after I was baptized at age 12, my family had a major…falling out with our Church leader.  The Branch President spread vicious lies about my parents and warned the congregation against associating with us.  As such, my father once again began administering the sacrament in our home.  For which he was then punished.  My parents were disfellowshipped for a period of four years because of a petty, gossipy little man.  

        1. Sorry to hear that as it sounds like a classic case of D&C 121:39. I hope your parents were able to realize that they don’t need the church(tm) to be able to live the gospel. People who abuse authority will lord over us only if we let them. However, because Christ is the true head of the church, He is the only one who can legitimately disfellowship or excommunicate people.

    2. “I just find that God is so much bigger than this church, that his Love expands so far beyond what we get at church. For years now I’ve found God in a variety of other religious traditions, in poetry, painting, and classical music, not to mention loving relationships and service. I have to ask myself why I sit in sacrament meeting every week holding my spiritual bowl and hoping for crumbs of spiritual nourishment, when there is such florabundance outside.But at the same time, I love what Mormonism theoretically has to offer. The opportunities to serve, the sense of community, and the astonishing beauty of it’s largely undiscussed doctrine. My heritage is in the church, and I know if I left it, I’d never really leave many of it’s teachings. The Church seems to me, at times, to be an irrelevant corporation standing like an eclipse in front of the light of it’s Gospel. I feel like the church has so much to offer us, but settles for easily digestible platitudes.”

      So, so beautifully expressed LoveIsBig. Thank you. 

  15. I’ll echo one of Cam’s point: it is VERY difficult to be progressive or radical in the Church (I’ve been a socialist and now a libertarian socialist [anarchist]) and not have your devotion or even basic goodness questioned. I had my temple recommend nearly yanked four years ago (my bishop then let me go on a technicality), I had it pulled three years ago for six months until we got a new stake president, and have been cornered periodically by church leaders. And this is in a remarkably open and progressive stake (Pittsburgh, PA).

  16. The pressure to get married too young causes many to leave. I just read a conference talk where it was repeated AGAIN here in 2011 that it is not pleasing to the Lord to “postpone” (I do say that intentionally in quotes since I see it as *preparing* for) marriage.

    Some of us saw our young-BYU-temple-married parents not getting along our entire childhood and realized that simply believing in the church doesn’t make a good marriage and getting married before you’re ready is a SERIOUS mistake.

    Not to mention, we all have different personalities. If you’re an INTP, you’re not going to behave like an ESFJ. Unfortunately, the church views those who don’t behave as ESFJ’s as sinners. That’s fine. Weed out the thinkers. But that’s not healthy in the long run for the church. Look at the Amish.

  17. I haven’t  read through all of the comments to find out if anyone agrees with me or not but I LOVE what they have discussed about sex!  I’m not a perfect TBM and I have had to confess my sins to bishops before only to have awful experiences, the worst being when I was too ashamed and timid to explain what really happened but because of the vernacular I used the bishop was under the impression that I had lost my virginity, he then pressed me for details!  I was released from all my callings, told to dumb the young man or marry him, and when I didn’t do either I was called stubborn and told I wasn’t truly penitent.  It is awkward, uncomfortable, embarrassing, and shameful.  If I could have had my mother, a close roommate, even the bishops wife in the room with me to just hold my hand and tell me that everything was going to be okay, it would have made the whole thing 100 times easier. 

    When teaching lessons on chastity it would seem natural to bring in the Atonement but the two are rarely connected. 

    And to teach that sex is a GOOD thing and should be looked forward to and revered and prized seems like the natural and most healthy thing to do; I advocate that type of teaching!  It would save hundreds, maybe thousands, of newly weds fear and embarrassment about their wedding night.

    All in all a great podcast!!  Bravo

    1. I hate to say this, but sometimes the bishops are part of the problem as there have been several who even give young couples the ideas behind sexual experimentation and they later go ahead and do so. But does the bishop ever accept any responsibility for poor advice? Not that I know of.

      Personally, if a bishop ever asked for intimate details of a sexual encounter, I’d tell him to stick it where the sun don’t shine because that much isn’t any of his business. That type of request should creep any normal person out since who knows what kinds of thoughts begin to go through his head once he hears those details.

      1. I agree in that it can be uncomfortable and even embarrassing..however, I have some sympathy for the poor Bishops who have to figure out what details ARE relevant and helpful and what aren’t….I once in my foolish youth 🙂 had to go to a bishop to confess some very personal sins – the bishop proceeded to ask me what the circumstances were…had I “snuck out ” , was I “intoxicated ” , what time of day it was, etc, …all of which were a No. At the moment, sure , I was a little offended, but I can see now why he needed to know what circumstances may or may not have contributed. Like a good counsellor, they may want to know if there are patterns or underlying reasons, etc. And actually, may years late, I was engaged to a man who, unbeknownst to me at the time, had developed and extraordinarily complex, long-term, very sabotaging sexual addiction. He had not needed to come to terms with it for many years as he had ‘gotten away with’ simply going in , confessing he had made a moral mistake, a bishop kindly and simply taking his word he would try not to do it again…until one wiser bishop was alerted to ask a few more details and only then did the stories really unfold and he was able to realize it was a major addiction. So, actually, I have changed my tune and think there should actually be more onus on those in that authoritative position to delve deeper and help keep us out of denial.Addictions are more prevalent than most of us are comfortable believing.

      2. I agree in that it can be uncomfortable and even embarrassing..however, I have some sympathy for the poor Bishops who have to figure out what details ARE relevant and helpful and what aren’t….I once in my foolish youth 🙂 had to go to a bishop to confess some very personal sins – the bishop proceeded to ask me what the circumstances were…had I “snuck out ” , was I “intoxicated ” , what time of day it was, etc, …all of which were a No. At the moment, sure , I was a little offended, but I can see now why he needed to know what circumstances may or may not have contributed. Like a good counsellor, they may want to know if there are patterns or underlying reasons, etc. And actually, may years late, I was engaged to a man who, unbeknownst to me at the time, had developed and extraordinarily complex, long-term, very sabotaging sexual addiction. He had not needed to come to terms with it for many years as he had ‘gotten away with’ simply going in , confessing he had made a moral mistake, a bishop kindly and simply taking his word he would try not to do it again…until one wiser bishop was alerted to ask a few more details and only then did the stories really unfold and he was able to realize it was a major addiction. So, actually, I have changed my tune and think there should actually be more onus on those in that authoritative position to delve deeper and help keep us out of denial.Addictions are more prevalent than most of us are comfortable believing.

        1. Helpful distinctions mo6. I think it is a “know it when you see it” situation with bishops and follow up questions. The ones you cite are quite reasonable, if understandably uncomfortable. Other questions I have heard of, such as positions, underwear details, etc… not so much.

      3. I agree in that it can be uncomfortable and even embarrassing..however, I have some sympathy for the poor Bishops who have to figure out what details ARE relevant and helpful and what aren’t….I once in my foolish youth 🙂 had to go to a bishop to confess some very personal sins – the bishop proceeded to ask me what the circumstances were…had I “snuck out ” , was I “intoxicated ” , what time of day it was, etc, …all of which were a No. At the moment, sure , I was a little offended, but I can see now why he needed to know what circumstances may or may not have contributed. Like a good counsellor, they may want to know if there are patterns or underlying reasons, etc. And actually, may years late, I was engaged to a man who, unbeknownst to me at the time, had developed and extraordinarily complex, long-term, very sabotaging sexual addiction. He had not needed to come to terms with it for many years as he had ‘gotten away with’ simply going in , confessing he had made a moral mistake, a bishop kindly and simply taking his word he would try not to do it again…until one wiser bishop was alerted to ask a few more details and only then did the stories really unfold and he was able to realize it was a major addiction. So, actually, I have changed my tune and think there should actually be more onus on those in that authoritative position to delve deeper and help keep us out of denial.Addictions are more prevalent than most of us are comfortable believing.

      4. I agree in that it can be uncomfortable and even embarrassing..however, I have some sympathy for the poor Bishops who have to figure out what details ARE relevant and helpful and what aren’t….I once in my foolish youth 🙂 had to go to a bishop to confess some very personal sins – the bishop proceeded to ask me what the circumstances were…had I “snuck out ” , was I “intoxicated ” , what time of day it was, etc, …all of which were a No. At the moment, sure , I was a little offended, but I can see now why he needed to know what circumstances may or may not have contributed. Like a good counsellor, they may want to know if there are patterns or underlying reasons, etc. And actually, may years late, I was engaged to a man who, unbeknownst to me at the time, had developed and extraordinarily complex, long-term, very sabotaging sexual addiction. He had not needed to come to terms with it for many years as he had ‘gotten away with’ simply going in , confessing he had made a moral mistake, a bishop kindly and simply taking his word he would try not to do it again…until one wiser bishop was alerted to ask a few more details and only then did the stories really unfold and he was able to realize it was a major addiction. So, actually, I have changed my tune and think there should actually be more onus on those in that authoritative position to delve deeper and help keep us out of denial.Addictions are more prevalent than most of us are comfortable believing.

  18. What a great podcasts (part 1 & 2).  A lot to think about, guys.  Thanks for your work.

    Had to laugh as I was listening to Part 2 while doing some grocery shopping today.  Heard Kayla talking about a blog post she had read . . . and it was my husband’s post!  How funny.

    Here’s a link to it:

    http://wisdomlikeastone.com/04/10/elder-packer-axis/

    It’s a great post.  Very well written, if I may say so myself.

     

  19. One more thing and then I promise I’ll shut up. 

    Just got an email from a friend with this new (?) video re: chastity:

    Was very surprised to hear that we’re now expecting youth to not do anything they wouldn’t feel comfortable doing in front of their parents.  Wowza!  

  20. The part about sexuality is what really hits home with me. The whole masturbation and arousal thing caused a lot of pain for me as a single adult male in the Church. Being told you are unworthy to date and losing your temple recommend for long periods of time because of things like masturbation is a form of social abuse. Then you add in the weekly meetings with the Bishop, everyone in your singles ward finding out that your meeting with the Bishop, and dating becomes impossible. 

    I spent 10 years dealing with this and it was the final reason for me (31 and still single because I was never worthy to date) leaving the Church entirely. Cam’s comments about helping the single adults rather than punishing would be a huge change from what my experience was in the Church. It’s too late for me I have had too much of the shame, guilt, and social ostracization over that last 10 years that I doubt I will ever return, but if the leaders of the Church want to keep more people in the Church they need to change the way they deal with this topic especially.

  21. I’m a 38 year old adult single convert with a recommend.  I have a double whammy of sorts in that after the ‘sales presentation’ from the missionaries, there was no support in place after I converted.

    At 31, I was too old for YSA.  I envy my sister brethren as theres no ‘relief society’ type thing to encourage us to be better males, and ultimately better husbands, and better fathers.  I have attended adult firesides and I was the youngest person there.  Went to adult conference and felt like a fish out of water.  People looking for time only marriages — doesnt do me any good.  I have since went back to college and find myself unwelcome at Institute — too old — and instead being offered a book to go home and read.  I am not even on a home teaching route.  No fellowship. No coming together of zion or perfecting the saints.  I may as well be a gentile in Jerusalem.

    I only have contact with the church on Sundays for the three hour block, listening to how wonderful families are while the children scream and run up and down the aisles of the chapel.  Its sad when the stake president visits and states “little children are like good intentions, they must be carried out.” I cannot help but feel some apathy.  I read my scriptures and pray for the spirit to guide me and comfort me that I am not destined to be a righteous single but feel that church is deaf to my situation and instead considers me a pariah.

    I get the feeling from the church that I’m not welcome after all and it is really disheartening.

    1. I empathize with what you are saying.  As a thirty-four-year-old single Mormon male, there is no place for me at church.  The twenty-somethings don’t want to be pressured into marriage, and the Church does nothing to help the thirty-somethings marry.

      Marriage is at the center of Mormon theology, so it shouldn’t be surprising that it is at the center of Mormon culture.  When I show up at Church, there are a couple of people that really understand me, but everyone else has no way of relating.  They (sometimes openly) question whether I’m addicted to porn, or gay, or both, or what else must be “broken” about my sexuality.  Being shy around women doesn’t help allay either fear, nor does being an outspoken proponent of gay marriage.  After all, porn and masturbation is what turns people gay, right?  Even the so-called liberal crowd thinks this way.  Remember Nicole Hardy’s New York Times article on sexuality:  “The leftovers were left over: closeted gay men, porn-addicted virgins…”  I wouldn’t care at all that my ward members erroneously believed these things about me, except that for them, both are terribly bad, and inherently untrustworthy.

      So the truth is that until I marry, I’m not just ineligible for exaltation, but I’m already damned.  There is no fellowship, there is no service.  But there is no structure to assist Mormons my age to marry — let alone a structure to help Mormon men who want to marry someone who (1) views marriage as an equal partnership rather than as a relationship requiring someone to preside, or (2) will teach our daughter(s) to pray to Heavenly Mother, or (3) believes in the institution of marriage’s ability to bring us closer to Christ so much that she wants gay people to benefit from marriage too. 

      As an orthopraxic Mormon, I’m the last choice most non-Mormon women would pick for a partner, but as a heterodoxic Mormon, I’m the last choice of most Mormon women as well.  If there were a structure to help people our age, I’d probably have to change my beliefs in order to be married, but without it, appealing to non-Mormon women by stopping my practice may be the only avenue to marriage.  In the end, I hang my hat on my witness that “it is not good that man should be alone.” 

      The Church is losing me (or perhaps recently did), because it provides a theology based on marriage, and then does nothing to help me achieve it.  Is being a late bloomer really a damnable offense?

    2. I welcome you Chris. As I cannot relate to your individual circumstances however I can say that ldssingles.com is pretty good about getting together like minded people.

       Keep the faith. I did and it was the best choice I have ever made.

  22. First of all, the podcast was a great discussion.  I don’t fully agree with 100% of everything that was said, but I do empathize with both Kayla and Cam.  Second, as a person who is a student at USU and a member of the ward that Kayla referenced (I think, and yes, we’ve met) I do see many of the things that she talked about such as the heavy pressure on marriage, the taboo subjects of LGBT persons, sex, gender roles in the church.  I personally would love to have a frank, open discussion about those topics.  I’m quite tired of just being fed the “milk,” or the standard answers.

     I feel that our current leadership at the ward and stake level are doing what they are able to do.  They are good and just men.  However, from my own personal experience I have come out of meetings with my bishop where I feel like I have more questions than answers.  I believe that some of them simply haven’t had the life experiences that my generation has been through.  Those men may be inspired but inspiration can’t replace experience.  If it could we would have no need of being on earth.  Perhaps a little more training and practical applications of the principals of the gospel would help.

    All of that being said, the view points of both Kayla and Cam are NOT representative of the LDS community at Utah State.  I feel that there is a great deal of stratification in the community, which, I believe is congruent with the fact that we have such open access to information and we come from many different backgrounds, we had different leaders when we were younger, we have different proclivities and different spiritual gifts.  What I fear is that this stratification is going to lead  to the a pride-type cycle that is spoken of in the BOM.  Just as in all social evolutions, things happen by degrees.  We must be vigilant in keeping our discussions framed by the principles of the gospel and not by popular thought.  Now, I certainly believe there is room for improvement.  The church as an organization of people isn’t perfect – only the doctrine is.  There must be a way in which we can find applicable solutions to our every day challenges.  Agree?

    1. Ty, I appreciated your post and think you made some good points. I’m sorry to say that I can’t remember who you are. Is Ty short for Tyson or Tyler? If so, that may help me pin down your identity. 

      While I appreciate your comments, I’d like to respond to your comments that Cam and I are unrepresentative of the YSAs in Logan.First of all, I think the point of Mormon Matters is to demonstrate that there are different ways to define oneself as Mormon. Cam and I may not be representative of YSAs as you define them, but I imagine that your opinion of the YSA population is determined largely by those with whom you associate, most of whom I would guess are active. About two thirds of the YSAs in the Logan/USU area are inactive (and that is by the Church’s own admission.) If you do not include inactive or questioning people in your definition, then I suppose you are right, we aren’t representative. But if you do include those of us who are still on the Church’s records despite our decision to not attend Church at this time, I think you may find that we have more in common with a large portion of the YSA population than you think. While each person who is inactive, chooses to become so for different reasons and no one can be neatly placed inside a box, I think that many of the reasons Cam and I gave for our own inactivity and struggles with the Church are common themes among other inactive YSAs. Since the majority of YSAs in the Church fall into the inactivity category, I think it is fair to say that we are at least somewhat representative. Furthermore, Cam and I never claimed that we represented every single Mormon in our age group. We were just trying to offer some perspective on the way YSAs in our situation (meaning those who are at least temporarily at odds with the Church) might feel.

      This podcast was prompted by reports of  mass inactivity among young single adults within the Church, and that was what we were speaking to. I hope that helps you to better understand our position and the claims that we made.

    2. Ty,

      I actually really like what you had to say, especially about pride interfering with good interaction between people from different walks of life. Both sides of the fence need to open their hearts and be willing to talk without being too quick to dismiss the other.

      In addition, I would never claim to represent the LDS community at USU. I am aware that my views differ from most LDS members. However there are more like me than you might think.

    1. How about:  “Unrepresentative.  These two are anything but representative of young adults in the church.”  To paraphrase Joanna, I’m alergic to your judginess.

    2. My views definitely fail to represent likely most of the LDS YSA population, but I am sure they are similar to some. Shall their voices go unheeded simply because they are a minority, if they are such? 

  23. Mormon Matters does indeed have some unorthodox Mormons promulgated. I found from this discussion many of the themes I have seen in my life. Mormonism is so dynamic because of the doctrine of agency.

    After a stupid mistake a year into my mission I was sent home. That same “mistake” stuck around after the mission and resulted in an ever bigger mistake that lead to disciplinary action of disfellowshipment for 2 years. The personal history is important because during those two years that I was disfellowshiped I had immense spiritual growth, but more importantly I didn’t “jump off the ship” that would have been convenient. I have since been married in the temple for almost a year now and I couldn’t be happier (newlywed goggles).

    So apparently I am a very unlikely statistic, I was sent home at 21 years old. Stats say I go inactive for sure. I didn’t. Because I exercised my agency well, but more importantly I repented. YSA and millennial (and pretty much everyone else now that I think about it) don’t know how to repent. I know plenty of people that made the same mistakes that I did in high school and college (and on missions too)  that have since left the church and some completely inactive. Some of the people want their theology to fit their lifestyle. I knew I could never attain true forgiveness from God without true repentance and that meant paying the penalties.

    I really believe that the notion of “spiritually is more important that a religion” is our Achilles heel as a generation. Our generation is very very image conscious, thus we go to extensive lengths to protect our image. For example, we would rather not confess sins to bishops and pays the penalties because “people will notice that we do not take the sacrament.” Well, that notions seems to place our own selfishness over the love for our Christ and his atonement.

    Bottom line is that the YSA in the church today face a terribly difficult task keeping and understanding the spirit and mustering up the courage to let the Lord take care of your sins. That is his job.

  24. [on who would be attending the non-correlated mormon meetup]
    “you could be a TBM and come to broaden your horizons –I guess.” -KaylaThe smugness is astounding.

    On top of that, the echo chamber of “non-correlated mormons” is getting pretty entrenched. So no one who identifies as “mainstream” is willing to talk to you? or is it the other way around?   It sounds like it’s not only the TBMS that need to have their horizons broadened.

    1. First of all, you cleverly edited what should have read, “You could be a TBM, and come to broaden your horizons I guess,” to “You could be a TBM and come to broaden your horizons — I guess,” thus turning what was my way of giving a suggestion for a reason to come to what seems like a hesitance to associate with TBMs. 

      I clearly stated on the podcast that I still have several TBM friends and continue to associate with the ones who are still willing associate with me. 

      In no way did I mean to be smug. You, however, have selectively interpreted things that I said to fit your own meaning and agenda.

      Furthermore, I don’t understand why the term “horizons broadened” has to be condescending. I meant that a TBM could come to discuss harder issues with us that they may not have the chance to talk about with other TBMs. I never meant that we were more enlightened or somehow better than them. 

  25. Speaking of the paucity of mainstream LDS commenters…
    When Cam says he doesn’t attend lds church meetings (approx 20min in), and attends other churches regularly, if at all, has very few if any friends that are LDS, and is generally at odds with the church as an institution……how is it that he’s an example of a YSA church member?  Does “non-correlated mormon” really just mean “used to be mormon?” 

    1. You misquote me, N. If you were to go back for another listen you would discover that I state my attendance at LDS Sunday services is not weekly, and I attend the religious services of other churches just as frequently. I never said I do not go.

      I have numerous LDS friends. However, the majority of my friends have usually been non- Mormon or inactive Mormons. Keep in mind that most of my childhood was spent outside of Utah so this was hard to avoid. 

      I am an example of an LDS YSA because I am LDS and I am young and single. This podcast never claimed that I am the norm. It sought to draw attention to a different type of single adult.

  26. The fact that these discussions are taking place is incredible.  The panel is for both of these podcasts was terrific.  Joanna Brooks kicks ass.  When I consider that 80% of the under thirty crowd is leaving the church, well it is staggering to me.  Not because they are leaving the church but because of the pain, the loneliness, the family problems etc, they are going through simply because they are not jumping on to the narrow life script of the church.  It is the amount of pain these singles are going through that is really staggering……..and tragic.

    Which brings me to my point.  In light of literally thousands of lds kids feeling guilty, alone and feeling like they not only don’t fit in but are not good enough, in light of this why in the hell is nobody talking about WHY the church does not fix this problem?

    The top 15 are old to be sure but there is no way they don’t really know the reasons why these singles are struggling and they as a church are losing them.  Of course they know.  It is their business to know.  Consider the kind of hold and control they have over the church and does anyone honestly believe they “just don’t know what to do?”

    I have heard that the “brethren” have such a hard job.  I have heard that it is just so hard for them to fix this problem.  Look, this is a smoke screen and complete bs.  These guys run the most vertically integrated and obedient corporation in the US.  If they really want to fix a problem, cultural or doctrinal or historical, they sure can.  However, they don’t help the singles.  Their idea of help is to re organize em and track the even more.  Are you kidding me?  This is an insult not only to single members but to any mormon who values Christ and the Gospel.

    The real reason why it is so hard for the top 15 to fix this problem is because the only solutions they are interested in are solutions that benefit them.  Think about it.  Any solution that they could implement immediately to help these members feel loved, respected, heard, relevant etc, any solution that would be in the best interest of the single members, well, it is not in the best interest of the church.  I love how Brooks talks about creating new narratives that are stll under the large church doctrinal umbrella.  How easy it would be for the brethren to emphasize a narrative of free agency (the drum of obedience has really drowned it out) and how their lives are their own and their paths are respected and the church is there for them and NOT the other way around.  Think of the powerful and healthy narrative that could be built around free agency.

    Of course, emphasizing free agency and respecting singles enough and trusting them enough means they can’t convert them on their own self serving time table into young married tbms with kids, their ideal profile of a productive worker/member for the corporation.

    The Church puts forth no solutions because there are not that benefit them first.  They have literally come to the end of the road.  They are now to the point where to keep this group, they have to, gasp, do what is best for THEM and not for the church……..and they don’t want to, like at all.  How else do you explain so called men of God standing by while singles of all ages are alone and in pain and leaving the church.   This needs to be discussed.  It is outrageous that we are not talking about why the church is doing nothing for such an inportant part of their demographic, a demographic that is in freefall………..yet they do nothing.  I want to talk about why.

  27. great podcast. 

    a book about young adults is coming out later this year from a well respected sociologist at notre dame. looks to be very interesting. 
    the amazon description:Life for emerging adults is vastly different today than it was for their counterparts even a generation ago. Young people are waiting longer to marry, to have children, and to choose a career direction. As a result, they enjoy more freedom, opportunities, and personal growth than ever before. But the transition to adulthood is also more complex, disjointed, and confusing. 

    In Lost in Transition, Christian Smith and his collaborators draw on 230 in-depth interviews with a broad cross-section of emerging adults (ages 18-23) to investigate the difficulties young people face today, the underlying causes of those difficulties, and the consequences both for individuals and for American society as a whole. Rampant consumer capitalism, ongoing failures in education, hyper-individualism, postmodernist moral relativism, and other aspects of American culture are all contributing to the chaotic terrain that emerging adults must cross. Smith identifies five major problems facing very many young people today: confused moral reasoning, routine intoxication, materialistic life goals, regrettable sexual experiences, and disengagement from civic and political life. The trouble does not lie only with the emerging adults or their poor individual decisions but has much deeper roots in mainstream American culture–a culture which emerging adults have largely inherited rather than created. Older adults, Smith argues, must recognize that much of the responsibility for the pain and confusion young people face lies with them. Rejecting both sky-is-falling alarmism on the one hand and complacent disregard on the other, Smith suggests the need for what he calls “realistic concern”–and a reconsideration of our cultural priorities and practices–that will help emerging adults more skillfully engage unique challenges they face. 

    Even-handed, engagingly written, and based on comprehensive research, Lost in Transition brings much needed attention to the darker side of the transition to adulthood.

    http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Transition-Dark-Emerging-Adulthood/dp/0199828024/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1

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