Ex-Mormon Narratives – A Discussion at Mormon Expression

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Over the weekend I was fortunate to have the opportunity of participating as a panelist on the Mormon Expression podcast

I found the discussion to be lively, engaging, and challenging. The panel presented some tough questions which have pushed me toward greater reflection on some of the issues dealt with in my original research.

In any case, I do want to outline a few key points in regard to my paper for those of you who may be interested.

  • My study was a preliminary or pilot study. It raises far more questions for further research than it does provide answers.
  • Leaving Mormonism is a painful experience. Unfortunately we, as Mormons, have a hard time letting people go. As a result we tend to complicate the exit process. This is especially true of close friends and family members.
  • Some people who have lost their faith in Mormonism may still want to be a part of the Church. My hope is that we can help people who have such a desire, find a way to retain their rich Mormon heritage.

2008 Sunstone Presentation
Presentation Slides

Early and Extended Draft


  1. The number one, No. 1, reason people leave the LDS church is NOT because they lost thier faith, it is because their faith was based on a lie. Once the history of Joseph Smith is shown, more often then not people leave.

  2. As I have stated before, Joseph was not great because he had no weaknesses, he was great because of what he accomplished despite his weaknesses. I guess I am odd. The more I see him as human, the more impressed I am. God knows I could have not done it.

  3. Bill,

    As you know, I greatly admire Joseph Smith even with all his many faults. He accomplished so much in such a short life. It really is quite amazing.


  4. Smith is “great” and “amazing” to true believers. If you see the con man using everyone else to meet his delusions of grandeur, especially women, then he is a disgusting user and loser.

    He pulled the BoM and BoA out of his hat, literally, so nothing wonderful there when he was just making it up. He made up the First Vision, Angel Moroni/Nephi’s visit, and priesthood “restoration”. He made up the phony Plan of Salvation (using Swedenborg) to meet his own emotional needs over his offspring and Alvin, and now people cling to it. He plagiarized everywhere, with seldom an original thought (except angel with flaming sword, ha!). It’s easy to make things up when it doesn’t need to be based in reality.

    Everywhere he went he caused trouble where it didn’t exist before his arrival. True greatness is peacemaking, not trouble-making. The neighbors who really knew him (and not the sugar-coated version we were taught) mostly said very bad things about him.

    I was always taught to seek the true measure of a person by asking spouse, family, roommates, people who live with the person, instead of the phony public persona. By that yardstick, Smith fails as a decent human being; just ask Emma.

    I DESPISE Smith for all the lives he destroyed in the wake of his selfish ambitions, and I want to hear at the judgment bar how he accounts for his lies and adulteries.

  5. That would make him a literary genius at a minimum. But I can see the charm of being imprisoned, running for your life, walking thousands of miles, sleeping on the ground, almost never owning your own home, listening to more than one wife complain and dying, for a con. Not!

  6. Why would you think it was only Joseph Smith? There were many involved in this thing called Mormonism. Oliver was there from the start, so were many others that formed and guided and probably wrote most if not all of the so called scripture you have today. To say it was all Joseph Smith is not being honest based on the historical records. It is really wishful thinking. This religion is so obviously a fraud and somewhat remedial I am amazed anyone still believes. A stone that illuminates to give so called scripture, or that a flaming sword from an angel dictates commandments from God about taking other women? The absurdity.

  7. True greatness is peacemaking, not trouble-making.
    Spot on bro.

  8. Dee,

    How does “despising” Joseph Smith help you in your life? What are the practical outcomes? Seems to me like a lot of wasted energy.

    I’m a non-believer but I still admire much about Smith.


  9. Good point Seth…hate only hurts the one who hates. An old saying…”Half the people don’t know you hate (or despise) them and the other half does not care”. I marvel at those who so easily discount JS’s accomplishments. But I guess it all it gets back to the audaciousness of Joseph saying that “his name would be had for both good and evil among all the nations of the earth”. Hate him if you will Dee, but you cannot ignore him!

  10. Hammerheart says:

    BraveHeart wrote, ‘…so obviously a fraud. …commandments from about taking other women? the absurdity.’ Actually, that is exactly what an evolutionary psychologist might expect.

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