Conversations about the religious and spiritual life on the other side of fundamentalism
067-068: Voices from Scotland – Emma and Roy Hann:  13 Mormon Kids and Counting

067-068: Voices from Scotland – Emma and Roy Hann: 13 Mormon Kids and Counting

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 10.33.31 AMIt gives me great pleasure to introduce  Emma and Roy Hann from Dundee in Scotland. Life members of the LDS church Emma and Roy are the parents of 13 children, which in the UK is more than unusual. So unusual in fact that over the last 3 years their family has captured the attention of the British media and are featured in three reality TV shows Channel Four’s 15 Kids and Counting, 16 Kids and Counting, and My Big Family Wedding (produced by the CBBC). Along with countless print media articles, and television interviews their family has achieved not an inconsiderable amount of recognition in the UK and beyond – not just as a large family but as a large Mormon family.


While Emma and Roy are Mormon to the bone some of their experiences over the last while have caused to reflect upon how much they want a church experience for themselves and their 13, soon to be 14 children that is loving, empowering, full of discussion, cooperative and ultimately compassionate. A church experience where everyone is welcome, able to tell their own stories without fear, and where the church’s considerable resources are put to good use in local communities.


Join me as I chat with Emma and Roy through childhood, children, missions, marriage, nursing, their American sojourn, television work, charity work, faith transitions and their hopes for the future.

Link to My Big Family Wedding


  1. Free thinker

    Thank you Emma and Roy for your interview. The only way the LDS church will survive is if they provide a safe place for a variety of belief. That’s how other religions have navigated difficulties in their history. Me, my immediate family have left the church. It has come at a very high price. Our relationships with family are strained or non existent. It has caused terrible distress and pain. However, our immediate family is very strong. We feel for the first time in our life we are free. Free to think and believe what we feel is right based on our integrity. There is no right and wrong in any of this. Everyone just has to do their best and follow our hearts. Good luck on your journey. Love is the only answer to any of this and you certainly have displayed this ‘love’ for human beings in your interview and they way you live your lives. Mormonism is transactional – building a reward for individuals. Christianity is about what you do for other people – just for the sake of doing it, NOT for the blessings. That to me is the real message. You get the reward anyway. The feeling of love. Thank you and good luck on your journey.

  2. A Happy Hubby

    Emma and Roy – thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences. My life is better after hearing from you. I just wish

    There are so many topics you hit on that are exactly how I feel. So many things in the church wanting to CONTROL. The church not trusting the good and faithful members. Some in the church wishing you wouldn’t even mention the essays. Dealing with the issue on Blacks and the Priesthood and how you have to realize that leaders (including ones we will hear from conference this weekend) can be wrong. How we need to BE Christians and get outside our meetinghouse/ward and help those around us no matter what their status is. I would have to listen to the entire 2+ hours again to get all the topics.

    You have motivated me to look harder for opportunities to serve OUTSIDE of the church – even if that means I can’t help with some things inside the church as much. Remember the, “Good, Better, Best” talk? Sometimes sitting in another church meeting might be good, but not be “best” when compared with helping another sole feel the love of God. I thank you for that. I have had some thoughts about this, but hearing what you are doing has spurred me to take it past thinking to doing.

    And please forgive us (sometimes) ignoramus and innocently arrogant Americans. I had to laugh at some of the crazy things you mentioned.

    Oh and about the kids. I am surprised that Rob being in the medical field doesn’t know how kids are made. Medical science has figured out the cause! (I hope that sarcasm translates from Yankee English to the queen’s tongue and across the pond as the humor it was intended to be).

  3. (I am mentioning here only the points I disagree with; they are rather brief).

    It is not clear that the chuch is wrong in wanting the control; especially in the second part.

    It was clear that members generally were not willing or able to sustain the effort for the homeless feeding (neither was the guy who started it); and that being so, the church would not be wrong to avoid long-term projects that put additional obligations on others.

    Should the church control and dictate how and when others should excercise their Christliness?

    The account in the podcast indicates that the Hann were to co-ordinate the meal, not to do it all; they chose to do it anyway which is a good example of personal Christliness.

    I agree that the media control seems laughable and yet just as not all church members seem to know about the “murky past” not all know about or have experience of the dishonest media representations of the past. That the church control now seems laughable is great, it means experience of dishonest media is fading out of living memory — and yet in the podcast they referred to somewhat dishonest [perhaps a strong word] media as the discussion between father and son in relation to spitting was not included in the programme.

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  5. A. Yim

    Thanks for a very interesting and informative podcast!

    Could you explain more about tithing, getting percentages of tithing back in your local areas, and the difference between tithing in the US vs. outside the US? As an American, these were all new ideas to me, unfortunately. Could you expand on this so we Americans can understand the differences between our experience and what the rest of the world is experiencing?

    1. A Happy Hubby

      I would also like to understand this. For those outside the US, I can give a quick recap of how it works here in the states.

      If an organization is designated by the government as a charitable institution (I think the main type is “501(c)(3)”), then if you make a donation to that institution you are allowed to have that amount subtracted from your taxable income. There are of course some limits. My teenage son does not make enough to itemize these types of deductions and I think there are some limits on the max allowed.

      So to make it clear (and very oversimplified and very round numbers). Suppose I make $100,000 a year. So I then pay $10,000 in tithing. I am able to deduct the $10,000 and make my taxable income to be only $90,000. If my tax rate was 25% (I wish, just keeping it round and simple) my taxes on $100,000 would have been $25,000, but only $22,500. So I “get back” $2,500 from my $10,000 donation by paying less in taxes.

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