Recovery Board  : RfM
Recovery from Mormonism (RfM) discussion forum. 
Go to Topic: PreviousNext
Go to: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 06:01PM

Got this email today:

". . . There is a podcast that I recently started listening to called 'Mormon Stories,' which is produced by a guy named John Dehlin.  

"It's a podcast that looks at Mormonism from different perspectives than what's typical.  They deal with such topics as disaffection with the church, marriages where when spouse is a believer and the other has lost their testimony, feminism, sexuality, etc.  

"John has interviewed such people as Carol Lynn Pearson, Bruce Bastian, and Richard Dutcher, just to name a few. . . .

"I thought that you would be a really interesting person for John to interview.  I would love to hear your story of growing up in the LDS Church, your very public resignation from the church, and then your life since leaving the church.  

"I emailed John and asked him if he had ever thought about interviewing you, and he said that he had thought about it a lot, but hadn't reached out to you.  I volunteered to approach you about it to see if you would be interested in being interviewed.  

"I think it would make a great podcast, and I hope you'll give it some consideration.  You can check out 'Mormon Stories' at ."

Kinda weird, maybe, that Dehlin wouldn't contact me directly but he's probably got bigger fish to fry--or he doesn't want to ask me himself for fear that his bishop will find out. :)

Anyway, what do you folks think of the podcast (me not being that familiar with it) and should I do an apostate chat-up there? :)  

Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 12/14/2010 06:26PM by steve benson.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 06:15PM

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Observer ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 06:16PM

Just last night I listened to their interview with Bengt Washburn, & the interviewer (can't remember his name) seemed like a decent guy.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: anagrammy ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 06:18PM

It is high school for him to ask a friend to ask you. IMHO you should wait until he himself approaches you, to avoid misunderstandings which end acrimoniously, like,

"Wait a minute, didn't YOU contact ME wanting to insert yourself into this?"


Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 06:24PM

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: OnceMore ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 06:31PM

I would suggest that you go ahead with interview -- unless there is some indication that you would be waylaid by an interviewer who talks over you and won't let you explain yourself. Doesn't seem likely in this case.

The more opportunities we can give mormons a chance to hear other viewpoints, the better.

Yesterday evening a female missionary stationed in Salt Lake called me. Apparently one of my former neighbors had given her my name and number. I think the missionary got more than she bargained for.

She tried to tell me not to read anti-mormon writings, and to read the BoM instead. I told her that within official mormon archives there were records of 14 and 15 year old girls being pressured to marry Joseph Smith, records of multiple and contradictory first vision stories, records of the church excommunicating women for backing the Equal Rights Amendment, and (in BYU libraries) records of Dallin Oaks and Tommy Monson participating in "treatment" of gays that amounted to torture.

I also told her that I had already read the BoM and that I found it to be stultifying.

She ended the conversation by telling me she had read the BoM, prayed over it, and found it to be true. "Well," I replied, "you can check off the 'gave my testimony' box, but there's no way you can turn the BoM into anything other than a pastiche of questionable worth and probably evil intent." She wished me a Merry Christmas and I happily wished her one too. I think she was about ready to cry.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 06:33PM

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: 3X ( )
Date: December 15, 2010 08:12AM

I also told her that I had already read the BoM and that I found it to be stultifying.

She ended the conversation by telling me she had read the BoM, prayed over it, and found it to be true. "Well," I replied, "you can check off the 'gave my testimony' box, but there's no way you can turn the BoM into anything other than a pastiche of questionable worth and probably evil intent."

That's it in a nutshell: remove the orientation of faithful/prayerful adoration, and the essence of the BoM is revealed: stultifying pseudo-biblical nonsense, unremarkable in its own time, or ours.

Positing angelic delivery can't save the BoM from itself, anymore than delivery by space aliens would.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: SpongeBob SquareGarments ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 06:33PM

I listen to Mormon Stories all the time. I think that there's a lot of people out there that would love to hear you tell your story.

John's a good guy. I've chatted with him many times. Just email him. You won't regret it.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 06:36PM

John Dehlin walks a very fine line. His series of podcasts indicate that. The people he interviews range from devout Mormons to angry exmormons. This means also that all kinds of people listen to them, both believers and non-believers. Each one (John has told me) gets several thousand downloads, even those that are three or four hours long.

I would suggest that the writer of the e-mail Steve quoted should simply suggest to John that John issue Steve the invitation to be interviewed.

Remember that a lot of people who listened to his podcast about why a Mormon should stay in the church ended up being convinced by that podcast that they should leave.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: WiserWomanNow ( )
Date: December 15, 2010 11:15AM

I have also read John Dehlin's post way below (I only now discovered this thread) and my impression of John from the interviews I have listened to is consistent with what he says about himself below. Also, John is very respectful and appreciative toward interviewees.

If you are inclined to do the interview, Steve, probably everyone who posts or lurks on RfM will be the first ones to watch it!

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Ishmael ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 06:40PM

I have listened to several of the interviews all the way through. He is a fair interviewer; the people he interviews tend to be more interesting than he is, and he lets people talk without talking over them. I think his collection of interviews is valuable now and will gain in value over time for the perspective they will bring. He most often represents the "inside" point of view.

Dehlin said something in his interview with Dr. William Bradshaw, who just co-wrote an article for the SL Trib about parenting gay children, that I transcribed that part of the interview. Dehlin catches himself in a Freudian slip that belies a perspective that gays should sacrifice their lives, then recovers, but the language is there. The thought is there. He suggests that he is offering a critique of Bradshaw's argument from an orthodox position.

Dehlin says:

"Homosexuality is clearly outlined by modern-day revelation as being—not the orientation—but what your son has chosen to do is a transgression. It’s an abomination. And there is no place for it in the plan of salvation. Carnal passions should be bridled outside the bands of legal and lawful marriage, and if Brett [Bradshaw's gay son] is not able to have a happy, fulfilled life with the woman of his choosing, then he should consider himself like the single sisters of our church who are unable to be married, and might offer his life as a sacrifice—the intimacy part of his life—as a sacrifice to the Lord much like Abraham and Isaac, and he can look forward to the day in the resurrection where that wrong is righted, and he can be rewarded by God for his sacrifice and commitment to the church, like many of our single brothers and sisters have had to do, with all of that being righted, and his celestial increase made sure."

I cannot believe that a rational human being could articulate those sentences and leave the recording on the internet for all to hear.

I would listen to a Dehlin interview with Benson. I would be even more delighted if Benson were to interview Dehlin. Not that I'm saying it would be a fair fight . . .

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Freevolved ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 08:50PM

Dehlin was not being serious when he said that. If you listened to more of his stuff you would know that. He was being sarcastic and acting as a TBM. Also John has been interviewed. If you go to this link you can hear more about him

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Ishmael ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 11:48PM

I recognize that Dehlin is not being totally serious in his capsule version of Mo-perspective. However, the language of the slip happens so quickly, and he catches himself and rights his verbal kayak in such a way that I think the slip reveals something he did not wish to be revealed quite the way it surfaces there. Just a language issue? Something more?

(The suicides of gay Mormons is one of the most haunting elements of my perspective as an ex-Mo, so maybe my ears are a size larger than is worthwhile when I hear about this issue. And the reasons for that are deeply personal. So I hope not to have offended you, Freevolve.)

Bradshaw replies, "So would you like me to respond?" and Dehlin is laughing so hard he does not reply, and then he says, after Bradshaw's response, "You are a child of God," quite earnestly.

The speed with which he articulated the party line chilled me; its accuracy produced a deep freeze.

Serious or not, the words stand on the record. And people die because of statements like that. I would have felt slightly more comfortable but for the verbal slip--and if Dehlin had verbally distanced his person from the perspective he so hastily articulates. But you are right: my comfort is not the issue.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: What is Wanted ( )
Date: December 15, 2010 10:09AM

Anybody who listens to JD podcasts knows he will present a Devils Advocate position to further the discussion.

He is not saying because that is his belief but rather the thoughts of the other side.

It is a technique Phil Donahue used for years on his TV show and a common interview technique.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 06:46PM

My reply:

"I think the best thing for me to do would be to wait until (and unless) John chooses to contact me himself to extend a personal invite on to his show.

"I think that’s the appropriate approach to take and the one with which I feel most comfortable, but thanks for your suggestion."

(Personal observation here, not sent as part of my reply: This way, should Dehlin contact me directly, he and I will have a chance to chat, which will give me the opportunity to assess the proposal and ask him some questions to better see where he is coming from. That said, his attributed comments about gays concern me).


The correspondent answered as follows:

"Thanks for writing me back, Steve.  I understand why you would want to wait for a personal invitation.  I'm going to pass that along to John and then let him decide what he wants to do."

Edited 10 time(s). Last edit at 12/14/2010 07:40PM by steve benson.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Emma's Flaming Sword (not logged in) ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 06:59PM

"If any of you have ideas for new guests on Mormon Stories, please post them here. If they’re aligned with the new direction, great. If not, that’s great too.

What’s even MORE helpful is if you’re able to contact these people in advance and ask them if they’re willing to come on the podcast. That could save me a TON of time.

Thanks for everything. More soon." I think he is just trying to find people that are interested without having to beat down doors all the time.

I'd go for it!

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: OnceMore ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 07:18PM

Thank you for the reference to the interview with Dr. William Bradshaw. It's not overstating the facts to say that Bradshaw is a great man.

Part 4 at this link is where Bradshaw talks at length about his gay son, and about his own effort to educate himself about homosexuality:

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Ishmael ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 08:00PM

It may, indeed, be an understatement. My respect for Dr. Bradshaw increases all the time. He has inspired me in my professionalism for decades, but his Radio West interview a few summers ago helped me move in a long-postponed direction--toward a far more authentic life lived with greater integrity.

Long may he run!

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Twinker ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 08:21PM

Even more surprised that you aren't a regular listener to the podcasts.

I agree with R. Packham. Let it be known that you are available for John to talk to about the possibility and go from there.

I for one would be fascinated to hear you on Mormon Stories.

And BTW, you can put Mormon Stories on your Facebook page so you can tell right there if it's an interview you're interested in hearing without going looking for them.!/pages/Mormon-Stories-Podcast/73624634300

PS The Will Bagley interview is priceless!!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/14/2010 08:22PM by Twinker.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: OnceMore ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 08:23PM

I do recognize that Dr. Bradshaw is in la-la-land, in hopin' and wishin' land, when he says that he doesn't think the DNA evidence we have invalidates the Book of Mormon. He's hangin' on by his fingernails to his church in that instance, and if he weren't so old, I'd predict that he would drop that bit of the fairy tale in much the same way that he dropped most of the mormon myths about homosexuality.

Unfortunately, I think Dr. Bradshaw is too old to heal himself completely before he dies.

He's well on his way, though. I give him credit for having come as far as he has.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Skooby ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 09:31PM

This guy is a Larry King style interviewer. He asks a question and doesn't interrupt. You can expect to speak around 95% of the time. And his audience is wide and varied. And I would love to hear that interview.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 10:07PM

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Skooby ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 10:22PM

Really? I've only watched a few interviews by him. How about Charlie Rose then?

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 10:41PM

Charlie's much better!

King is also insensitive and abrupt. To a woman who had just been rescued after being held captive in a South American jungle for 7 yrs (iirc), he abruptly jumped in and asked her, "Were you raped?" She was much taken aback, as anybody would be.

That is just one example of a really bad approach he displays in many of his interviews that I've seen.

Sorry for the derail, folks, but I couldn't resist commenting on the Larry King remark. I guess I just really don't like Larry all that much.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Skooby ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 10:43PM

Wow. Uncomfortable. I think the interviews I watched were people that King wanted to listen to.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: December 15, 2010 02:30AM

I'd want to know the purpose of it and how the material would be used. I remember the debacle around Richard Packham's interview with Mr. Dehlin. That at least makes you stop and think it through carefully. I think control of material (the podcast) is a big issue.

I guess it depends on how important we think are the source and the conduit and the intent of anything in which we participate. I wouldn't want someone to use my work or words in a campaign to get people to stay in a situation I deem to be undesirable or wrong. However, equally, perhaps if the platform or audience lends itself to me getting my own points across it could be worthwhile.

While John Dehlin could be hoping for a certain outcome from an interview with Steve Benson (for example, at least that it wouldn't be faith-destroying as he is apparently dedicated to supporting the Mormon Church) maybe someone will hear Steve's point of view who may not otherwise (eg: perhaps wouldn't read/listen to "anti-Mormon" books or other media but Dehlin's pods are "safe" as he's a faithful member).

If it's primarily a platform designed to be neutral that could work. Again, it depends on the objectives of the participants.

But I don't know about SB being "neutral" in any way. That just doesn't seem to be his style.

Many who have read his personal accounts about talking to GAs and his grandfather, a former Mormon "prophet", among other experiences, have found it surprising, shocking, enlightening, freeing (takes away the mystique, uncovering useful facts).

So, I guess I'm equivocal on it. I don't know Dehlin's style all that well. I don't see a major down side, on the face of it.

But I'd examine the heck out of that point of munchy's about Dehlin's reasons for what he does. Obviously, most exmos wouldn't want to support or assist in the promotion of Mormonism. Even if Dehlin tries to be or is objective, still he has a purpose that isn't in line with that of most exmos.

However, I doubt that Steve would leave any listener in doubt as to where he stands. Any peepstoner will likely see that this podcast will be a popular one if it gets made.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/15/2010 02:34AM by Nightingale.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: munchybotaz ( )
Date: December 15, 2010 06:17AM

If I had left the church in a way that was difficult enough to be very interesting, I'd want to do one of these:

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/15/2010 06:20AM by munchybotaz.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Raider ( )
Date: December 14, 2010 11:32PM

I know I have enjoyed hearing your story both reading it on RFM and visiting with you in person and I believe on some levels you are misunderstood ,I don't agree with every thing you believe but enjoyed very much getting to know you better and the motorcycle ride was a blast . I think your side needs to be heard rarely do members of the church get the opportunities you have had to ask the questions you have ask of the top 12, I think that would be enlightening for many members to hear, I think John is very fair and would be tame compared to breakfast with your riding crew. LOL!!

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: What is Wanted ( )
Date: December 15, 2010 10:01AM


It would be great and very informative. He has interviewed many exmormons and your interview probably would break all records for his podcasts.

I say go for it. I would love to hear what you have to say and it would then be recorded for posterity as well.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: John Dehlin ( )
Date: December 15, 2010 10:11AM

For the record (@Ishmael)...

I have worked very hard for many years now to be a positive, public advocate for gay rights generally, and for acceptance/progress of/for gays in and out of the church. I am the co-founder of , I am the owner and creator of (I did all those interviews on my own dime, of my own accord, pre-Prop 8). If you go and watch my interviews with Carol Lynn Pearson, Bruce Bastian, Buckley Jeppson, Clark Pingree, Peter and Mary Danzig, the one on reparative therapy, etc. -- you'll know that my questions for Bill Bradshaw represented my attempt to take on the role of the TBM in the interview -- so that he could make as strong of a case as possible for love/tolerance/progress for homosexuals amongst believing Mormons.

I have covered the homosexuality issue on Mormon Stories so thoroughly over the past 6 months that I've actually lost listenership over it...but I don't care. This is THE civil rights issue of our time (in the U.S.), and I won't stand silent. So Ishmael (with respect), your assumptions about me and my motives on this issue couldn't be further off target.

Regarding my "encouraging members to stay in the church" -- this was my position for a time while I was trying to figure out my own relationship with the church (I've vacillated over the years about my own level of activity just as many of you here have), but the StayLDS position is no longer something that I push...and I've been very public about this on my podcast a few times now.

I now believe that people should follow their joy....period. In or out of the church. That said, I would guess that many more people have left the church than have stayed because of my Internet work -- and I'm perfectly happy if they're happy. I mean that.

I sent Steve a direct email last night. I only asked someone else to approach him because I'm swamped working on my PhD -- focusing on Religious OCD or Scrupulosity (see last Saturday's Salt Lake Tribune), developing a treatment for couples when one loses their testimony and the other remains a believer, and seeing if I can help develop a psychological treatment for gay Mormons who are in crisis to help reduce suicide, etc.

Anyway, I didn't have Steve's email, and my policy these days is that when someone recommends a specific interview, I usually ask them to approach the person first...partly because I just need all the help I can get trying to produce the podcast.

Steve -- I meant no disrespect, and I'd love to have you on if that works for you. I think your story could help a lot of people. It certainly helped me through a though spot back in early 2000.

Peace to you all. Sorry for the confusion.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: December 15, 2010 11:03AM

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: angsty ( )
Date: December 15, 2010 10:27AM

John's podcasts are high quality and very interesting. I found them helpful while I was processing the realization that the church wasn't what it claimed to be. It was a relief to find a person who was affiliated with the church who took apostate perspectives seriously.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: OnceMore ( )
Date: December 15, 2010 10:50AM

John, thank you for your post up-thread. That clarifies a lot of issues for me.

In future, it might be helpful for occasional listeners, as opposed to your regular listeners, if you would preface the most egregious TBM remarks with something like, "Just to present the other side of the argument...", or perhaps, "While this is not my personal view, some members of the Church say ..."

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: XX-Man ( )
Date: December 15, 2010 11:12AM

wait until John invites you himself and you are able to have a chat with him about this.

My personal feeling is that John is a good guy and will certainly let you tell it like it is for you. I think he is very interested in letting those who want to listen to the podcasts from his site be able to hear from many different people with varying perspectives on questioning or leaving Mormonism for whatever reason.

Should you hear from John and get an invite for an interview, then I, like so many others, would be very interested in listening to that interview, and gaining a perspective from your point of person.

Hope it works out.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: danboyle ( )
Date: December 15, 2010 11:22AM

Options: ReplyQuote
Go to Topic: PreviousNext
Go to: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In

Sorry, you can't reply to this topic. It has been closed. Please start another thread and continue the conversation.