The Why Mormons Question project has three facets: research, podcasts, and screencasts. The March 2012 analysis of our first survey is now available for your perusal. As we anticipate further questions about the factors that were found to be contributors to loss of belief, podcasts and screencasts that correspond with the survey results are in the process of being developed. We hope that all will find our treatment of the subjects to be objective, compassionate and informative.
Why Mormons Question is a service of Mormon Stories and the Open Stories Foundation. Mormon Stories explicitly seeks to align all operations with the Mormon Stories Shared Values Statement. Additionally, we endeavor to ensure that the projects we undertake 1) support individuals in Mormon-related faith crises, 2) save marriages, 3) heal families, and 4) celebrate, challenge, and advance Mormon culture in healthy ways.
The Why Mormons Question project is possibly the least understood of all of the Mormon Stories and Open Stories Foundation undertakings. Many argue that research intended to investigate the phenomenon of questioning and loss of belief in the Internet age necessarily seeks to destroy faith and families and therefore directly contradicts foundation objectives numbers two and three (above). To be clear, Mormon Stories and the Open Stories Foundation do not seek to promote or destroy faith. Rather, we work to maintain a neutral stance in regards to the outcomes of individual faith journeys.
Further, Mormon Stories and the Open Stories Foundation also believe that the Why Mormons Question project does, in fact, have the potential to save marriages and heal families. In many cases, miscommunications and conflict in familial relationships can be avoided when family members have access to information and resources that can help them understand and empathize with one another. The Why Mormons Question project seeks to make this information available as safely as possible to all who genuinely seek to understand what their loved ones are learning and are subsequently struggling with.
Again, the information on this site is not intended to change anyone or to draw individuals into or out of Mormonism, although we cannot guarantee that personal changes will not occur. The information found on this website is simply intended to be information. We have done our best to present it with honesty and compassion for all who now or once loved Mormonism. We understand that God, belief and family cultural traditions are often held close to the heart and that it can be challenging to encounter information that does not always place something one strongly identifies with in a positive light. Although many hearts have been broken by the information that is available on the Internet, we have accepted that the information will not disappear if we choose not to look at it. For better or for worse, we no longer have the luxury of living in a society that will allow us, our children, or our children’s children to protect themselves from information that, admittedly, can be painful when it is first encountered.
Last of all, we sincerely hope that the resources on this website will validate and support those who are suffering because of the information they have accessed online.
What is Mormon Stories?
Mormon Stories is a nonprofit organization that seeks to create online and in-person environments that allow for authentic self-expression and the open discussion of Mormonism. We are a secularly-based organization with no affiliation to the LDS church. We are not a religion and have no intention of becoming a religious organization at any point in the future. Our podcasts, websites, online and in-person communities are conducted in the spirit of the Mormon Stories Shared Values:
- We acknowledge the richness of Mormon heritage, teachings, and community in all of its diversity.
- We believe that one can self-identify as Mormon based on one’s genealogy, upbringing, beliefs, relationships, and other life experiences, regardless of one’s adherence or non-adherence to the teachings or doctrines of any religious organization.
- We seek spaces where we as Mormons can live lives of intellectual and spiritual integrity, individual conscience, and personal dignity.
- We acknowledge and honor different spiritual paths and modes of religious or non-religious truth-seeking. We respect the convictions of those who subscribe to ideas and beliefs that differ from our own.
- We recognize the confusion, distress, emotional trauma, and social ostracism that people on faith journeys often experience. We seek constructive ways of helping and supporting people, regardless of their ultimate decisions regarding church affiliation or activity.
- We affirm the inherent and equal worth of all human beings. We seek spaces where Mormons (and all people) can interact as equals regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. In this spirit of egalitarianism, we prefer non-authoritarian and non-hierarchical means of organization and affiliation.
We recognize that our goals are lofty and that we consistently fall short of our own ideals. We continue in the pursuit of what we hope will empower individuals, strengthen family relationships, and forward healthy Mormon culture despite our imperfections because we believe that goodness and happiness will come from our efforts. At the same time, we acknowledge our own ineptitude and see the advantages of maintaining flexibility in our programming and decision-making. Your feedback is therefore important to us. Please let us know when and how we’ve missed the mark and what you can do to help make Mormon Stories better. Please email us at MormonStories@gmail.com.
Who is on the Mormon Stories Board of Directors?
What is the Mormon Stories Podcast?
In 2005, John Dehlin, a member of the Mormon church, started a podcast dedicated to the open, thoughtful exploration of Mormonism as a religious and cultural tradition. The podcast has since explored many aspects of Mormonism and has featured leading scholars like Richard Bushman, Daniel Peterson, and Terryl Givens, as well as psychologists, filmmakers, artists and everyday Mormons offering their own opinions. Topics addressed include Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, Joseph Smith’s life, Mormon polygamy, masonry, racism, feminism, homosexuality, apologetics, Book of Mormon historicity, the LDS missionary program, the reconciliation between faith and the intellect, and apostasy.
What is a Mormon Stories Regional Support Community?
Mormon Stories regional communities seek to be safe and supportive spaces where community members can interact authentically, develop real-world friendships, and share their life stories. The communities were organized in order to provide an additional dimension of support beyond on-line discussion taking place at Mormon Stories websites.
Communities welcome Mormons from across the orthodoxy spectrum, but they are especially meaningful to those who have undergone or are undergoing a crisis or transition in their faith. Many members of Mormon Stories regional communities have experienced significant pain and distress after discovering information about LDS Church history on the internet, and many suffer feelings of isolation because they believe that speaking candidly about what they have discovered or experienced might lead to church discipline, expulsion from their ward communities, or exclusion from their families. The Mormon Stories regional communities, then, seek to alleviate pain, distress and isolation by providing safe, real-world spaces where Mormons can support and strengthen one another in communities of mutual respect, acceptance, and love as they continue to reflect on the Mormon tradition and its value in their lives.
Mormon Stories regional communities are made up of individuals who voluntarily identify with Mormonism. The Open Stories Foundation, the Mormon Stories podcast, and the Mormon Stories regional communities do not attempt to convince members to stay in the LDS church, leave the LDS church or make specific changes in regards to activity or affiliation of any kind. Consequently, regional communities have a different impact on different individuals. As a result of community involvement, some Mormons have elected to leave the church, others have found the strength they felt they needed to return to church after many years of inactivity, and still others have found the strength they feel they need to continue practicing Mormonism actively. The intent of the Mormon Stories communities is to support and strengthen members regardless of life-decisions.
If you would like to join a community of support, please click here.
What is the purpose of a Mormon Stories Conference?
Mormon Stories conferences seek to be safe spaces where community members can express themselves authentically regardless of activity level in the Mormon Church or belief in any particular ideology. They do not attempt to persuade attendees to subscribe to any specific belief system or to make any specific life decisions. Rather, they intend to be places where community members of disparate beliefs can gather together to share personal life experiences. Traditional believing members, fundamentalists, apologists, atheists, agnostics, community members who adhere to other religions, women, men and people of all sexual orientations are equally welcome and have an equal standing in the community.