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(gentle guitar music)
John: Now I'm going to go to the rapid firing round
where I'm gonna ask a bunch of just questions.
Brief answers if you can.
John: We'll expand where we need to.
How much money have you made
off of "Letter to a CES Director"?
Jeremy: Um, about a thousand.
John: A thousand dollars.
Jeremy: Yeah, not that much.
John: Just people donating?
Jeremy: Just people donating.
John: Do you want donations?
Jeremy: Um, the donations are mainly there
to maintain the website.
I'm not gonna make a million bucks off of this.
It was never about money to me.
It was about families.
John: So if people want to support you,
do you want support?
Jeremy: Well I'm not gonna turn them down.
But yeah, there is a donation button on my website.
John: Why didn't you just make a book?
A paper book, print, publish it as a book?
Jeremy: I look at my document as a living document.
I like to add stuff to it.
For example, I added the Late War
and the First Napoleon stuff fairly recently.
Because those are newer developments.
I couldn't have added them in April 2013.
So to me, in 21st century,
when you publish a book it becomes static
and almost old within a few years.
I just like the living aspect of it.
John: Somebody mentioned a movie.
Are you interested,
are you looking at making a movie?
Jeremy: Someobdy threw out the idea
of making a movie on Reddit,
and at first I was like, "Eh, whatever."
I wasn't really interested.
But somebody did a trailer,
which is the trailer on my website now,
and after I saw that trailer,
I was like, "wow, that's cool."
So, we started a little group
of really talented professionals.
Andrew James is one of them,
and Brother Jake, his hilarious YouTube videos.
He was another one and a few others.
But after awhile, just exhaustion
from dealing with FAIR
and just a desire to kind of move on with my life,
I just kind of abandoned it.
I don't know, it's really
a considerable amount of work,
and I don't have the desire to do it.
John: So no movie for now.
John: Um, so do you have any idea
how many people have downloaded the letter?
How many downloads by now?
Jeremy: I can't give an exact amount,
because the letter was hosted on MormonThink,
and a few other websites for a long time, months.
And then the other aspect of people,
you know, family members and friends
attaching the pdf in email and sharing it.
But I'm fairly certain that it's
well over 100,000 downloads.
John: Or shares, are you saying?
Or is that just downloads, not shares?
Jeremy: Downloads and shares.
Jeremy: Like, over 100,000.
John: That's starting to reach
critical mass, I'd say.
Jeremy: It's accelerating.
My visits every month is accelerating
on my website and now I'm getting
on average anywhere from 15 to 20,000
visitors on my website,
it's increasing every month.
And I'm noticing a lot more, you know,
it's not just looking at the visits on my website,
but also the emails that I'm getting.
The type of emails.
I'm getting a lot more people
that were true-believing Mormons
yesterday, a week ago, two weeks ago
that are now starting to discover
all these different facts.
John: Well, the church is releasing
all these new essays,
what do you think about the essays
and are they gonna help?
Jeremy: Um, overall I think they're
a good step.
It's a step in the right direction
in terms of more transparency and openness.
I'll take it, but I wish that it was more...
a lot of Chapel Mormons have no idea
about the essays.
So, I wish they would put it in the Ensign,
maybe talk about it in General Conference.
Just be more, like advertise it more,
instead of kind of hiding it
in the Gospel Topics part of the website.
John: The crazy part of that is
a lot of the people I'm speaking with
who have experienced a faith crisis
in 2013 or 2014
are mentioning the essays as
contributing factors to their
ultimate loss of faith.
Are you hearing that too?
Jeremy: Yeah, I'm hearing a lot more people
talking about the Race and the Priesthood essay.
That's a major one.
So, there's a part in the Race and the Priesthood
essay where they talk about
"we disavow the theories" of, you know...
basically, ten prophets from Brigham Young
all the way to Harold B. Lee.
It was their theories
that the blacks can't have the priesthood.
And it's not just the priesthood,
black families can't go to get sealed in the temple.
That's a big thing.
To me that's a bigger issue
than the priesthood thing.
So they were just their theories,
they were just products of their time.
You know, but it wasn't back then.
It was revelation, it was doctrine.
John: And you mention in your CES letter,
is it the '56, '58 First Presidency statement
that says what?
What does it say?
Jeremy: Yeah, the '49 talked about it
and it was basically doctrine,
and the brethren were asked in the late '60s,
when civil rights movement was really heating up,
you know, why not give the blacks the priesthood?
And from what I've read in
Michael Quinn's books,
they had a discussion.
Harold B. Lee was one of the apostles
that was pushing it.
Not Harold B. Lee, Hugh B. Brown
was one of the apostles pushing for it,
like to remove the ban.
But Harold B. Lee pushed against it
so the ban continued until Kimball showed up.
John: Many want to know about
how your family has reacted to the letter.
You sort of said you want to have
a little bit of privacy around your family.
So, I don't want people to get frustrated
that I didn't ask the question,
but I also just want to let people know
that you were receiving some,
you're requesting some privacy there.
So, what are you comfortable saying
about how your family has reacted to this?
Jeremy: They know I wrote the letter.
I'm not sure that they read it.
Well, one family member I know has read it,
actually two family members
I know have read it.
They know about it.
I'm not sure they know how big it is,
you know, how big it has gotten.
When I stopped believing in the church,
my dad, I had a conversation with my dad
and he basically said, you know,
"Whether you're in the church
"or you're out of the church, you're still my son
"and you're still in this family."
So you know, my family,
it's the same with my grandpa.
He knows I wrote the letter, obviously.
He hasn't read it, and quite frankly
I hope he never reads it.
He's 85 years old.
But they don't throw away family over ideology.
You know, you're blood.
And so I really appreciate that with my family.
John: Someone mentioned that,
and just for the record
you'd rather not talk about your wife and kids,
that kind of stuff.
Jeremy: Yeah, I'd prefer not to.
John: Okay, so I just, and I respect that.
You've mentioned a little bit
of wanting to step away from
kind of post-Mormon stuff.
And yet here you are with me,
and do you ever feel like
you go back and forth on that a little bit?
Jeremy: Well, when I stated that,
basically I did like a farewell,
you know in the subreddit, ex-Mormon.
It was more of the day-to-day,
just looking at a forum here and there.
I just wanted to move away from that,
focus on more improtant things.
Not that it was unimportant,
it's kind of like the hospital analogy.
I'm sure you can relate with Mormon Stories,
a lot of people come in
and they're using it as a recovery process
and then it gets to the point where
they're ready to move on.
Similar to me.
So, what I meant by that is,
move away from the forums and that type of thing.
But I'm still gonna maintain the website,
I'm still gonna answer emails.
And obviously I'm not gonna say no
to John Dehlin.
What do you say,
someobdy wrote "how do you explain
"all the intellectuals who still believe?"
We touched on this a little bit.
So, don't go the route of saying
all religions have intellectuals that still believe.
Any other thing you want to say about
how you would explain
a Richard Bushman or Terryl Givens?
Jeremy: Yeah, just um...
John: Or Fiona Givens or Claudia Bushman.
Jeremy: Yeah, they just...
From my point of view,
they look at religion differently
than the Chapel Mormon.
They don't see it as black and white.
They see a lot of grays.
They're very, they're much more
flexible in things.
And I have major respect for Richard Bushman,
he's an amazing scholar.
His book has been pivotal and important to me.
So he, I mean, and he's pushing for honesty.
For example, he has a problem
with the church showing the art
of the Book of Mormon translation
putting the fingers over the gold plates,
you know those pictures on the bulletin boards,
he has a problem with that.
He thinks we need to stop doing that.
He thinks we need to not necessarily
show more pictures of the rock and hat thing,
but to teach the children how it really happened.
So, I respect him.
I see him as pushing for honesty.
His book, Rough Stone Rolling,
has really, to me, changed Mormonism
the last decade.
John: But how do you personally
explain that they're still believers?
Like, maybe if you tried a little harder,
prayed a little harder,
had the right perspective,
you could be still in
and enjoying all these things yourself?
Like, certainly you don't know more than them.
Jeremy: The way I see it
is that it's not just the problems,
there has to be other factors.
You have to feel like the church
is a net benefit in your life.
And it's just different personalities.
Some people can afford to leave the church.
Some people can't.
Some people, to some people
it's a heavy price that they're not willing to pay.
Some people, they might not worry too much
about the doctrines and the history
as they do about what the church
does for them today.
The home teaching, the Elder's Quorum,
the feeling of community in there,
or the Relief Society,
the feeling of community in there.
So, it's complicated, it's messy.
There's no easy answer.
John: Do you have any critique
of sort of the middle way
New Order Mormon kind of approach?
Jeremy: I don't,
I don't judge them.
Like I said, it's complicated.
I don't know their family situation.
I don't know their business situation.
And I think, my hat goes off,
I tip my hat to them
in the sense that they are able
to know the issues and still go to church.
I mean, that's pretty difficult.
Sitting through, you know, for example
Sunday School...how Joseph Smith
translated the Book of Mormon,
you're just sitting there like
"No, that's not what happened."
It's really, to me, it's Chinese torture.
You know what I mean?
So, I don't judge them.
They have their reasons for doing it.
And if it works for them, it works for them.
John: How many hours you think went in
to writing the letter to the CES director,
and the response?
Jeremy: Um, so you know,
I researched for two years
and did research that first year.
In terms of the actual writing the CES letter,
I would say that it was probably about a month.
And then Debunking FAIR's Debunking
was about six months of late nights and weekends.
And part of the problem was
they kept changing their answers
and they kept...
And it got to a point where I was like,
"You know what, I'm just gonna chain it here."
Debunking FAIR's Debunking
was really a tough one in terms of
just the amount of work that was involved.
And it wasn't just,
it's not like responding to an answer.
It's explaining why it's a straw man,
you know, why this argument's a straw man,
you know and giving a quick background
and then answering the issue.
John: Would your goal be that
somehow a copy of the letter
get in the hands
of every Mormon across the world?
I saw in Reddit that someone
I think at LDS Business College
found a way to send your letter
to like hundreds or maybe thousands
of students there.
And that you actually weren't thrilled about that.
So, talk a little bit about
how you would or wouldn't want
your letter to be used.
Jeremy: So basically,
it started about a month and a half ago,
where somebody actually wrote on
a bulletin board page or whatever,
So, basically I went on Reddit,
and you know, told everybody,
"Look, there's a good way
"and there's a bad way to share this information."
I have respect for other people's property,
so, I don't think it's a good idea
to go on Church property, you know,
on the bulletin boards writing this stuff.
I don't think it's a good idea.
Now, the spamming to the LDS Business College,
it was a thousand students from what I understand,
and I was surprised to find out that
the Salt Lake Tribune actually...
they wrote an article about it.
I was like, "Wow, it's news. Okay."
So, I don't...
I do online marketing for a living,
so, I kind of frown on spam
just from a career perspective, as a professional.
So, I don't think spamming people
is the right way to go.
I don't approve of that way.
There's a good way and there's a bad way
of sharing information.
I think we just need to be
more respectful in how we do it.
And this goes with, you know,
grabbing the email addresses and names
on the church's ward directories.
People are giving their contact information
and home addresses because they trust
that that information's going to be protected
in the LDS ward directory system.
So, I think it's a huge violation of just
trust and respect to be going in there
and grabbing all these email addresses
spamming the letter and stuff.
But with that said,
the letter is public domain and it's on the internet,
and I'm not naive to think that I can control
how it's shared or distributed.
So if, you know, it's beyond my control.
But my position is,
it is my hope that we will respect
other people's property and privacy.
John: So, have you been disciplined
by the church at all?
Have you been contacted by the church
in any way?
Jeremy: I haven't.
I'm still a member on record.
John: How do you explain that?
Like, you know, 1993, so 20 years ago
they're ex-communicating people like you.
Jeremy: It's a different time.
It's a different place.
I think the church is realizing that.
I don't know, I can speculate but...
my Bishop knows.
I'm not hiding anything.
I emailed it to him.
He's a very ncie guy, I like him a lot.
I told him I'm not out to de-convert
the ward or anything.
I never told anybody in the ward.
I mean, my home teacher asked once
and he knows, but he approached me on the subject.
But I don't know,
the only think I can think of is
I have a big microphone online
and you know, my letter's on MormonThink,
and you know the whole
David Twede situation back in 2012,
where, I mean the church was going after him
because he was an editor at MormonThink.com
and so I think that blew up
in the church's face,
because of the number of newspapers
and media outlets that were covering it.
So, I think the church realized that,
you know, they gotta be more careful
in terms of who they chase.
But I think we're entering a different time now.
I think the church is accepting that
due to Social Media and the internet,
they're just going to have more criticism,
and it's not 1993 anymore.
It's unrealistic to be going after
everybody that has a negative opinion
here and there about certain doctrines or whatever.
I think the internet's changing everything,
and I think that's evident
with the essays.
That's evident with the Joseph Smith papers.
That's evident with the Uchtdorf
October 2013 talk.
I think times are a' changin'.
I think as the internet evolves,
so does the situation.
So, for example, in 2002,
before Facebook and MySpace and all that,
in order to find this information,
you had to pull up a search engine
and look it up.
Now with social media,
it's basically coming in the faces
of true believing Mormons,
whether they like it or not
or whether they're asking for it or not.
You know, a thing here and there.
So, I think it's creeping down,
this information is creeping down
to the Ward and Stake level.
I've heard that one,
I've heard that my CES Letter was the topic
for a sacrament talk in Heber City, Utah.
An older gentleman, I'm not sure who he was,
a High Councilman, a Mission President,
I don't know.
But he kind of mentioned my letter.
He didn't mention it directly,
but he mentioned a 77-page letter,
and then he kind of goes over
some of the issues and how a member can
reconcile, can come to terms with it.
So, that kind of fascinated me.
I've also heard that Marlin K. Jensen
was given the letter by members in New York.
I'm not sure if that's correct information.
So, the internet's really changing things.
It's going to be really fascinating what happens
in the next 5, 10, 20 years,
how the church is going to change.
It has to change, it's going to change
because it's like the blacks and the priesthood
and polygamy in 1890.
If the church doesn't change,
society's going to change it.
I mean, the rising generation,
they're more sophisticated.
My seven-year-old, I mean
he's obsessed with Minecraft
and he wants to figure out stuff.
So, when he has a question,
he pulls up Google,
and he looks up and he finds a website
with different tricks or tips
on how to do this and that in Minecraft.
And he keeps that window open
with his window on Minecraft.
Or if he has a question,
he grabs my phone and clicks on Google.
This is the generation that the church is facing.
They're facing right now.
And I think the church realizes that
with their essays,
and I think the essays are causing
more problems than they were expecting.
Cause I'm, I mean I'm sure you can relate to this,
but I'm hearing more and more people
that are, I mean, you know,
the shelf broke after reading this essay.
Or that essay.
John: So, the million dollar question
of speculation is:
Do the apostles,
do you think they know the issues
that are in your letter?
Jeremy: Some do.
I'm not sure about all of them.
And the reason why I say some do,
is Boyd K. Packer.
He knows a lot of them.
I mean, this is evident with his speech
in the 1981 CES Symposium,
you know, "All truths are not very useful."
And he's basically telling the CES instructors
to teach faithful history.
So, he knows that there's...
and he was kind of involved
in the Mark Hoffman thing,
not as much as Oaks and *Hinckley,
but I think he knows a lot of it.
John: And the September Six, right?
Jeremy: Yeah, the September Six.
And you know, for example,
McConkie, I think he knew a lot of it.
You know, especially when you look at
the stuff that went on with Eugene England.
Maxwell, in his book "Not My Will, But Thine"
he talks about the rock in the hat.
So, he knew how the Book of Mormon
was really translated,
but here he was looking at the Church Museum
or you know, the magazines or the curriculum
he were seeing that the church
was showing a different story
than the rock in the hat.
So, he knew that something was up.
Same with Nelson.
He talked about the rock in the hat in 1993.
And he knew all these years
how the church was presenting
the Book of Mormon translation
not how it really happened.
So, that's kind of what my sense of things is.
Do I think they're evil men?
No, I don't.
I think they're men that are trying
to do the best they can.
I think they're between a rock
and a hard place.
John: Or a stone and a hard place.
Yeah, and so, I don't know.
I'm just happy I'm not an apostle.
I just, it is my hope
that they'll continue to be transparent
and that they'll continue that direction
and that they'll push harder and quicker.
Do it quickly.
Because, you know, we're reaching a point
where things are really going to blow up.
I mean, the dam is breaking, so to speak.
John: How do you see it playing out?
I know it's speculation, but...
Jeremy: I see a,
I'm seeing something very interesting.
I call them the Snufferites.
Jeremy: Yeah, so Denver Snuffer.
John: And I call them neo-fundamentalists.
Which they hate.
Jeremy: Yeah, they're an interesting bunch.
If I understand correctly,
they basically accept and believe
the foundational claims of the church.
John: Joseph got it right before Nauvoo
and the Book of Mormon got it right.
Jeremy: Yeah, but then the church right now
is a corporation, it's apostate.
It's really interesting, their point of view of things.
I see them becoming more of a movement
in the coming years
with the really strong fanatical,
or, you know what I mean, very strong McConkie,
Joseph Fielding Smith type Mormons.
I see the RLDS church as a model
for how things-
John: For what?
For weakening itself?
Or for doing the right thing?
Jeremy: Well, I see them as both.
They did the right thing.
I mean, I mention it in my
Debunking Fair's Debunking introduction,
about how in the '60s there was a crossroads,
and the RLDS church took the road
where they became more honest and transparent
about Joseph Smith and the problems.
And you know, the women got the priesthood in '84,
and the first non-Smith prophet in '96,
and then the church changed its name
and it's more Protestant now.
And the LDS church did the complete opposite.
I see the church...
John: We're stronger now than they are.
Jeremy: They are?
John: We are, we're stronger.
John: They're weaker than they were.
Jeremy: Yeah, because as a result of...
John: So, who made the right decision?
Jeremy: I think they did,
because at the end of the day
honesty is the best policy.
You can't keep being dishonest to people.
John: What if they're preserving a structure
that allows great individuals to be
raised and produced,
and great families to have a great experience,
so it's a little bit like The Village, the movie The Village
the movie The Village by M. Night Shyamalanadingdong,
or the Truman Show,
but what goes on in that little bubble
is really good.
Jeremy: No, it's not really good, it's fake.
It's not real.
And this whole argument that the church
does great things, it doesn't, I don't...
It's still a fundamentalist
I still, I don't agree that
little children should be put in a
closed-door room with a middle-aged man
asking them *** questions.
You know what I mean?
I don't think that's right.
You know, misrepresenting history and the doctrines
while telling people that they
have to pay 10 percent of their income.
You know what I mean?
I think the church has...
by being honest,
the church is going to lose tithing,
it's going to lose members.
But that's just the natural consequence
of white-washing and misrepresenting the history.
That's just the price that's
going to have to be paid.
I don't think Mormonism is going to go away.
I think it's going to be smaller.
Less vibrant as it was back in
you know, the '70s, '80s, '90s.
John: Will it continue to grow numbers wise?
Jeremy: It might in Latin America,
But as they become more developed
with the internet,
as information comes out,
you know what I mean?
But I see the developed countries
like you know, the United States,
going the direction of Sweden
where the church is basically collapsing in Sweden.
So, I don't know.
I think it's going to be very interesting.
But the bottom line is all the church
can do really is be honest about it
and let the chips fall where they may.
But we know on this planet
that's usually not how it works.
You know, they fight to the death
to keep the status quo.
Especially when you're getting eight billion
or seven billion in tithing revenue every year
and they've got all these investments
like BYU and City Creek and all the temples.
But I see more off-shoots.
I see the Snufferites having their own off-shoot.
You know, I mean...
John: What about some type of
progressive reformed Mormon movement?
Jeremy: Yeah, I see that also being an off-shoot.
So, like I said,
I don't have a crystal ball.
I just think it's going to be
very fascinating to watch
the next 5, 10, 20 years.
John: Many people want to know
where you are now with spirituality.
Do you believe in God?
Do you believe in Jesus?
Do you still have testimony of something?
And most importantly,
are you happy now,
or are you dark and loathsome now?
Jeremy: I'm happy.
In terms of...
John: Are you happier?
Jeremy: I'm happier.
How can that be?
Jeremy: I don't have that...
I'm not at war with myself.
you don't realize that you're at war with yourself.
You're always told that you're broken,
that you need to be fixed,
that you need to keep repenting.
You don't do your home teaching one month,
and you just beat yourself up over that.
You know, like you're always at war with yourself.
The natural man is an enemy of God.
I still live an LDS lifestyle.
I don't drink or smoke, I don't take drugs,
I don't go to the strip club,
I don't have a *** problem.
You know what I mean?
I live that life because it works for me.
I'm a family man.
I'm not a college student.
And life is hard enough, you know,
without those problems and whatever.
Yeah, just going back,
in terms of spiritual,
I'm still in the court with that,
I'm still trying to figure things out with that.
I don't, I'm basically,
I think right now I'm currently a Deist Humanist,
meaning I believe that there's something
more to this, call it a higher power
or a higher force or whatever you want to call it.
I don't know, maybe there's reincarnation,
or maybe we're in a computer simulation program
like the Matrix, I don't know.
But I just think there's something
more to all of this.
I have a hard time believing in a God
that intervenes into human affairs.
So, you know, you've heard the term
the God of Lost Keys.
John: God of the Gaps.
Jeremy: Yeah, so the God of Lost Keys
is going to find my keys
and he's gonna bless my greasy pizza,
and he's going to help me pass my SATs,
but he's going to ignore
the prayer of the kid that's getting molested,
or the kids in Africa that are starving
and getting hacked,
or the kids in North Korea
that are eating bark and grass.
I mean, it just seems wrong.
Something's wrong with that picture.
So, I just have a hard time believing
in a god that intervenes,
because if he can intervene for my greasy pizza,
you know, to nourish and bless it...(laughs)
then you know, why isn't He
nourishing and blessing the,
you know, the kids in Africa and North Korea?
I don't get it.
So, in that sense, I'm kind of atheist.
I don't believe in any religion
or gods that we currently know of.
If a gun was pointed to my head, I would probably...
If a gun was pointed to my head,
and I was foced to join a religion,
I would probably join Buddhism.
It just seems chill.
You don't hear of any Buddhist missionaries
knocking on doors,
or Buddhist suicide bombers.
They're just cool, you know what I mean?
They just meditate.
They're cool, you know?
But I'm still trying to figure things out
on that end.
I just, I think what's important is today.
Love, compassion, being kind to each other.
We have this, we have each other,
we can see it.
Let's focus on you know, humanity
and moving the species forward.
I get my spirituality, if you will...
During my faith crisis...
during my faith transition,
it was around the time when we landed
the Mars rover on Mars.
We landed a freaking car on another planet.
And not only that,
we used a sky crane to land the car
on another planet.
And we're not..
we not only landed a car on another planet,
but we're driving that car around that planet.
We're communicating with it,
we're taking pictures with it,
we're taking samples with it.
I mean, we came out of...
we did that.
We came out of the caves
and we did that.
Science is personal to me,
my cochlear implants.
John: Yeah, what if people
were to say to you,
"That's the answer to that blessing
you got from Wickman?"
That's God's hand.
Jeremy: That's doing a disservice
to the people that,
to the pioneers and the doctors
and the medical researchers.
So, I know his name.
Dr. William House.
Back in the '60s,
he's the inventor of cochlear implants.
So, back in the '60s he had this idea of
putting electricity in the human ear,
through the cochlea,
which is a part of the inner ear.
He was told by doctors,
"That's crazy, you can't do that.
You're insane, don't do that."
The first implant that he implanted
in an individual,
that individual's body rejected the cochlear implant.
It was a failure.
They really got on him.
They're like, "You can't do this, this is crazy.
Just let it go."
He just, he pushed harder,
he knew that he could make it happen.
And because he did that,
I can talk to you right now.
And I'm thankful for him.
For him not giving up, for pushing.
I hear every day because of science.
I can hear...
I go from not being able to hear a jet liner's engine,
to putting my implants on
and being able to hear, you know,
putting the spoon against macaroni and cheese,
or the tick tock of the clock.
It's just, I mean, my job.
I wouldn't have my job without my implants.
To be able to talk on the phone.
So I just, I mean, it's just amazing.
Not just that, but like Felix.
He jumped out of a perfectly good capsule
24 miles up in space.
Remember Felix back in 2012?
He jumped out of it.
But what was really cool about it was
the commander of that mission
was a guy that was the record holder at the time.
60 years before that,
he jumped out of a capsule at 19 miles.
That was his record.
But here he was in 2012, 2013 whatever it was,
he was helping this young man, Felix,
to beat his own record.
So the human spirit,
that drive to become better,
that drive to make progress,
to alleviate the suffering of others,
it inspires me.
I get goosebumps thinking about it.
I share Neil Degrasse Tyson's philosophy of
learn something today that I didn't know yesterday
and to alleviate the suffering of others.
John: So, there are people out there
who are scared.
And they're scared for two main reasons.
One is they're scared that
life will get worse if they move away
from an orthodox believing perspective.
Or leave the church.
And the second is,
their marriage is on the brink
or one is struggling,
and when one is still believing
what would you recommend?
What would you say to those two classes of people?
Jeremy: It's normal to be scared,
but it's worth it.
It's worth it.
It's not going to be easy.
There's going to be a roller coaster
that you have to strap and put your seat belt on
and ride it for a couple months.
But it's temporary,
and it will, it gets better.
When you're in a religion
that's a fundamentalist religion,
a black and white religion,
it's easy to see the world in terms of
you know, your Mormon filters.
You don't know anything else.
But if you just take that leap of faith
and just be honest,
just really ask the hard questions,
and being open to the answers
eventually life is going to be better.
But you're gonna have to go through
the different stages of grief,
because you're changing a paradigm.
You're changing a way of life.
But you have to,
in terms of family members,
that's a sticky situation if you have
some family members that still believe.
Live and let live.
I had a, it was hard for me in the beginning
of my faith crisis with my own family,
because Elder Runnells showed up, you know?
Gotta convert...er, de-convert these people.
I have the truth now.
You know, they're in a fraud.
We've got to save them.
But over time, I've gotten rid
of Elder Runnells, I think.
In terms of sometimes the right thing
is just live and...
it is the right thing to live and let live.
And everybody's situation is different.
In terms of how to present these issues
to your family members,
or how to explain to them why you left,
it's probably best not say, you know,
"The church is a fraud."
"Joseph Smith is..."
John: A ***.
Even though I put that in my letter,
but I think I have a good reason
for putting it in.
But you don't tell them that.
You ask them questions.
Say, "You know, this whole polyandry thing,
Joseph Smith married other living men's wives.
You know, FAIR confirms this.
You can read about it here.
What do you think about that?"
"The gold plates were not used for
the Book of Mormon translation.
You can see this essay.
What do you think about that?"
"What are your thoughts?"
"I'm confused because you know, the gold plates..."
"The church is saying that
blacks and the priesthood,
these men were just men and the church
now disavows their theories.
And you can see the essay here.
What do you think about that?"
"How do you reconcile this with
the revelation and doctrine
in you know, the 20th century,
19th century where
the blacks couldn't have the priesthood
because of the pre-existence
or the curse of Cain?
How do you reconcile this?"
It's basically questions.
Not lecturing them and telling them
that this is a fraud, this is a fraud,
this is a fraud.
John: Final words for the audience?
Jeremy: Just hang in there,
and just be honest.
Not be honest, but be willing to
ask the hard questions
and be honest with yourself
with those questions.
Look at the church the same way
that you would look at other religions.
Because if you're gonna be putting in
all that time and effort and
10 percent of your income
and all that commitment,
you owe it to yourself
to test your testimony.
Because I don't think you really have
a true testimony until you're willing to test it.
To look at the other side, the rest of the story.
It gets better.
And it's worth it.
And I want to thank my readers for
all their support.
And the emails that I've received.
A lot of them have been very touching.
I will try my best to get back to you
on the emails,
I'm sorry that I haven't responded
to some fo you.
But um, thank you for your support,
and it's been a crazy ride. Thank you.
John: Well, excellent.
Well, Jeremy Runnells,
your story inspires me.
So, I see you as another modern day hero,
I'm going to use that word again,
I'll stand by it.
You've helped a lot of people,
and I just want to thank you
for all your efforts.
Jeremy: Thank you, John.
John: The website is cesletter.com
I think, right?
So, check it out.
Please also feel free to ask Jeremy
any questions you have
We love that back-and-forth,
so we hope that we get some good questions there.
Thank you so much, everyone
for your support, for all you've done
to make this possible.
For those who've contributed
or encouraged in some way.
Cause all those things really make a difference
and make this possible.
So, thanks for joining us on Mormon Stories.
We will be following this up
with some in-depth discussions
between Brad Kramer and J. Nelson-Seawright
digging into a bit more detail on the letter
and we hope you enjoy that series as well.
So, thanks again,
and Jeremy, thanks so much.
Jeremy: Thank you.
(gentle guitar music)
♫Nearer my God to thee,
♫Nearer to thee
♫E'en though it be a cross
♫That raiseth me
♫Still all my song shall be
♫Nearer my God to thee
♫Nearer my God to thee,
♫Nearer to thee♫