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  1. In my telling of some stories, I messed up on Rebekah and Rachel a time or two; and I think I got it right a time or two. Anyway, Rebekah is Isaac’s wife and mother of Jacob; Rachel is, along with Leah, one of Jacob’s wives. Sorry for misspeaking there (and probably in other places as well!).

  2. I think this is the first podcast that I have listened to where I have felt my self nodding to every turn of phrase. I do not possess the eloquence or  maturity of thought so self evident in yourself and therefore lack the words necessary to express my appreciation in full to your comments. I have though found this to be of great comfort and hope as I journey in the ‘battlefield’ of religion, life and mystery. This has given me the determination to continue on when so many times I have felt like giving up. Many thanks, a grateful listener.

    1. Very please this connected with you! 

      If you ever feel as if you’d like to chat, hit me up through Facebook and we’ll figure out a time/way.


  3. Is it only me that gets it?  Shouldn’t it be Dan Witherspoon and not Wotherspoon?  Like they call that actress Rooney Mara when she is obviously Mara Rooney.  Who names a girl Rooney?

    1. Someone made a skinny “o” somewhere along the line. Now a whole bunch of folks don’t know how cool their name could have been….

  4. Dan,
    This podcast is such a gift. Thank you for helping me find value and meaning in this struggle. I particularly appreciated the useful tips in your closing remarks. Because I heard this podcast, I attended church today with vastly different expectations of myself, my fellow members, and the experience as a whole. I must say, it was a good day!

  5. Just wanted to say thank you for this, it came at exactly the right time for me. I’ve been struggling in my faith crisis/transition for a couple years now, and often feel that i’m just not getting anywhere with it, not making any progress or figuring anything out. Two days ago I was feeling particularly anxious about it all, and I found your podcast the next day. You have no idea how comforting and relieving it was to hear your words – it sounds cheesy, but it was like a lifeline for me. It just gives me hope that this path will somehow lead to a peaceful place. I’m going to go back and listen to it again and take notes. Thanks again, so much.

  6. Thanks and my best prayers for all of you on your faith journeys. Very pleased this is helpful to you. An open invitation for anyone to reach out via Facebook messaging. I’d be very happy to chat with anyone about anything you’re encountering in your wrestles.

  7. I really enjoyed it, Dan.  Thanks for all your work putting the talk together.

    I was impressed with the wrestling metaphor too.  Next time you’re looking for a movie to watch you might check out a little film that came out last year called WIN WIN.   It’s not especially related to anything in your talk, but it’s a really well-done drama about a high school wrestling coach…makes wrestling seem profound on some level.

    Thanks again for the podcast!

    1. Thanks, Scott! Glad you enjoyed the podcast!

      When it came out, I remember thinking that movie sounded good. Glad for the recommendation/reminder. Thanks!

  8. Dan-  Thank you so much for this.  It has given me so much to think about as I have my own “wrestle with God”.  🙂   It has reminded me that while I wrestle, I may be tired, but as long as neither lets go, it is ok, because it is a wrestle of love.   Thank you so much!

    1. Wonderful, Rachel. I truly believe that what you said about “as long as neither let go” is true. Hope you’ll continue to enjoy your match!

  9. Awesome Dan.  Thanks for posting this and letting us Houston Folks relive the moment!!  It was so awesome to be there for this!!

  10. Dan, this podcast about wrestling with your faith is so
    valuable.  I hope everyone will listen to
    it if they want to understand why a person might remain active in the church in
    spite of having serious doubts about its truthfulness.  I identify closely with the thoughts you
    expressed here and I find myself becoming defensive when people who choose to
    leave the church label me a hypocrite. 
    Mormonism has problems, but its home for me.  After teaching D&C last year, I came to
    appreciate and love Joseph Smith’s vision of creating a Zion
    people, a New Jerusalem. The effort to unite group of people with eternity in
    mind is beautiful. 

    My journey is also similar to yours in that I had a (long)
    period of inactivity from about age 18 to 28. 
    I did a lot of *playing* (sinning?) during this time but I always knew
    that I would eventually return to the church when I had my own family.  I eventually married a member of the church
    and returned to full activity.  We have
    raised our children in the church but we are “destiny neutral” as to where they
    end up.  This has created a much more
    peaceful atmosphere in our home where our children, who are now young adults,
    know they are accepted for who they are. 
    We want what’s best for them whether it is inside or outside of the church.  

    It seems that the faith crisis is much harder for people who
    have been fully vested in the church (gone on a mission and/or attended BYU)
    than for people who were not as fully vested. 
    I think John Dehlin has mentioned this also.  Perhaps people who have not built a deep
    foundation in the church are able to maintain a better balance when the foundation
    crumbles beneath them? 

    One concept you didn’t mention is forgiveness, although I
    heard you insinuate this in your comments.  
    Can we forgive the church and its leaders?  The leaders who are to blame for the
    historical problems are dead and the leaders we have now have been handed a
    HUGE challenge. I don’t envy them.  It
    will take many years for the church to extricate itself from hundreds of layers
    of crazy.  The church is going to have to
    humble itself and accept its own culpability in the disaffection of so many
    people before these people will be able to step back into an LDS chapel without
    gagging.  There are some leaders who seem
    to be reaching out to the disaffected but, in the end, it might be compassionate
    members like you, Dan, who are able to help people to make peace with the
    Mormon Church.      

  11. Dan, This was great.  Thank you for sharing your experience, your intellect, your thoughts, your triumphs, your fears, your knowledge, your doubts, and most of all your love.   A fellow Mapletonite!!!  

  12. Just heard this week’s wonderful podcast.  What I’d like to know is how I find out about meetings of the “Mormon Stories Support Community.”  While I’m not of a Mormon background, I do relate to the struggles and journey you describe and always gain a lot from listening.

  13. Hi JJ,

    Glad you found the podcast! Fun to have another spiritual traveler from a different tradition discover our discussions. (If you feel like writing me via FB about your background and are interested in meeting others who are not LDS but can relate to these issues within their respective traditions, I’ll do my best to connect you.) 

    You can get all the news about the various Mormon Stories Podcast community events at mormonmonstories.org, which is the blog for the MS podcast and Open Stories Foundation, which is the parent organization that our MM podcast is part of). Go there and explore.  I don’t know where you’re living, but at that site you can also discover MS groups in a bunch of cities/regions around the world.

    Good luck! Again, welcome!

    Dan Wotherspoon

  14. Dan,

    What a great podcast! I wish I could have listened to you present your keynote speech. I really enjoyed the cave analogy discussion and how you did not limit it to spirituality. All of us have different caves we are stuck in or are leaving. Perhaps some of the best advice is knowing that despite the traumatic experiences we may receive from leaving our various caves in life it is often the best outcome.

    Dan, never question your ramblings. I am never disappointed when I listen to your pod-casts, they are always full of wisdom and understanding, keep em coming… 

  15. I especially enjoyed your conversation between a father and son where the son had crossed the line with his mother. The dad is ready to WAR with the boy, when suddenly the dad realizes that something bigger has happened, that he needs to ask his son what is wrong. It happened in our house when my older brother Bill was just eighteen (he has missed a year in school, so had just graduated). My twin brother and I were twelve year olds. A big argument developed and Bill threw something small at mom. When our dad got home and learned about it, there was hell to pay. Dad packed Bill’s clothes, drove him to a motel, paid for a room for a few weeks and told him to “have a good life.” We lost the next ten years of Bill’s (hard) journey as he moved to Hollywood and began to live openly gay. Perhaps that was the way the game played out in those days,  but we all suffered; dad, mom, brothers, and especially Bill. When he did come around, he became the best of sons; caretaker, provider, always there for the folks when they needed him. He was not however, able to fully share his long-time companion (they would know 25 years together), before Bill died suddenly of an enlarged heart at 51. My elderly folks missed him terribly then. And I know they missed sharing him with the man who loved him. Bill’s been gone 22 years now, but Jim still visits his grave a couple times a month (we talk several times a year).  Jim was at my parents funerals, representing Bill. Strange thing about love… it is eternal and grows… if you will allow it. How I hated the church’s support of Prop 8, they just don’t get it.

  16. Good stuff, Dan. I’ll listen to it again. When is the book coming out? (Not kidding…I would love to see these ideas fully developed in a book.)

  17. Pingback: When the Levee Breaks - Rational Faiths | Mormon Blog | Rational Faiths | Mormon Blog

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