When I first started to get involved around the Bloggernacle, there was a whole new "world" that I had to discover. Not living in Utah and only being a casual follower of Utah news, I didn't know who the September Six were, I had never heard of Sunstone Magazine, and I sure as heck had never heard of John Dehlin (pictured right).
Since I know a lot of those who stumble across my blog and others like it are still new to blogging and perhaps unaware of some of the best that the Bloggernacle has to offer, I wanted to do a post highlighting a few of John Dehlin's pieces that I've found to be extremely helpful.
Although I've never met John personally, my impression of him is one of a thoughtful, caring, open, honest, very intelligent person with tremendous integrity to say the things he does with conviction, yet humility. I especially admire his courage to put a name and face to the highly personal thoughts and experiences he shares with the listener. That takes guts. (I still haven't shown more than half my face. :) He has helped find many Mormons like me a reason to stay, as well as showing empathy and understanding for those who feel that they need to leave. Whether one decides to stay or leave the LDS Church, I wish that everyone who has ever seriously thought about it would listen to his podcasts.
John has been kind enough to grant me permission to link to his work for those of you who will find it of interest.
This telecast, called Why People Leave The LDS Church And What We Can Do About It, is very helpful because:
- To those who are contemplating leaving the Church -- or even those who already have and are feeling pressured or ostracized by family and friends -- it will either help you find a reason to stay, or help those in your life understand why you feel compelled to leave. Every bishop and stake president in the Church should see this telecast, in my opinion. If you feel that your family doesn't "get it," do whatever you can to get them to watch it. It will help them understand the spiritual transformation you have gone through and -- most importantly -- it will help them to understand what you really need from them. You may also wish to share it with your own bishop or stake leaders.
- It also does an excellent job of summarizing the journey and transformation that we go through after we've studied the Church more in-depth and are feeling disillusioned, angry, and alone. I once told my mother how after finding out the things that I've found out, I will never be able to look at the Church or Joseph Smith or prophets -- or anything for that matter -- in the same way that I did before. I asked her to watch the telecast. She did, and she said she now understood exactly what I meant.
Lastly, this essay, entitled How To Stay, is also very helpful, and touches on a lot of what John discusses in the above podcast.
I think my favourite part of the Why People Leave The LDS Church podcast is when he explains what happens to those who have discovered the troubling details of Mormonism. He says:
"Once this happens to you...
- You never look at Joseph Smith the same way again
- You never look at scripture the same way again
- You never look at the church the same way again
- You never think of "authority" the same way again
- Your concept of God and Jesus and "the one true church" can change dramatically"
Spiritually speaking, the things that were once rocks of your stability are never the same. Suddenly, everything is thrown into question. Everything.
Naturally, as you then begin to re-evaluate things, you start to redefine what they mean to you. And sometimes the change can be dramatic, as John says.
I look forward to hearing any of your thoughts or comments related to what I've shared in this post. I'll leave you with a quote from Part 3 of My Story that really resonated with me:
"I believe that many of the perversions, evils, sadness, and depression in this world stem from people having to hide and cover-up their innermost feelings and thoughts for fear of what people externally are going to think or feel or judge them about. I feel that's unhealthy and wrong."