Conversations about the religious and spiritual life on the other side of fundamentalism
083-084:  Ganesh Cherian – A Former Bishop’s Doctrinal Dilemmas

083-084: Ganesh Cherian – A Former Bishop’s Doctrinal Dilemmas

In January of 2014, former New Zealand Bishop, Ganesh Cherian posted a heart-wrenching blog at KiwiMormon called ‘A Former Bishop’s Doctrinal Dilemmas‘.  This was on the heels of the first of the series of LDS.orgScreen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.12.59 PM essays and was his response, and in many ways his ‘coming out’ as a formerly orthodox Mormon turned ‘doubter’.  In this interview we discuss the origins of his faith transition which began with his realization that US culture has a great deal to do with the current state of the LDS church, for good and bad.  We talk about his life in the LDS faith, his experience as a bishop, we discuss his concerns about the church and where he would like to see the church go and become in the future.

Ganesh and his wife Lyndi are the parents of five boys and live in Wellington New Zealand where Ganesh is a business man, a social entrepreneur, and works with charities both at home and abroad.

Note that this interview was recorded before the polygamy essays were released.  Unfortunately the sound quality of Ganesh’s computer was not great so my apologies for the persistent buzz!  Enjoy.


  1. Anita

    I have listened to part 1 but will not be listening to part two. It is a very disappointing podcast – nothing but liberal rhetoric. The issues mentioned are not New Zealand culture versus American culture, but merely liberal ideals versus conservative ideals. As usual, the conservative view point is misrepresented as being militaristic and over supportive of large corporations – a completely inaccurate, uneducated and disingenuous representation.

    As an English person living in the US I am well aware of Americas faults and weaknesses, but it is still a great country and if you chose to you could also talk all day about the good the US has done in the world. My sister lives in New Zealand and I had a companion from New Zealand on my mission and I am sure it is a wonderful country, but no more perfect than the US.

    I won’t be listening to A Thoughtful Faith podcasts anymore. Very sad!

  2. A Happy Hubby

    Ganesh – there is at least one person that has already listened to the entire podcast (thank you business trip that gave me that time!).

    I very much liked it. I found your life’s journey quite interesting. I sometime wonder why more individuals are not going through the same transition.

    Gina (and Ganesh) – I certainly like how you point out some of the cultural issues in the church. I am in the States, but nowhere near Utah and the Mormon-belt (jokingly called the Jello-belt 🙂 I can see some of this very clearly and agree with what you say. There are some comments that make me say, “what??” I look at these as points to think about – not that you are right – nor is my viewpoint necessarily. Those are the places that it gets interesting to talk about! Please keep it up.

  3. Louisa

    I found this podcast so helpful. I’m sad that Anita was so put off by the “liberal rhetoric” that she allowed it to cloud the entire message and prevent her from listening to part 2–which was really excellent. As an American who has lived in five different states (all culturally unique by the way), I found the political/cultural impressions interesting–but it also highlighted to me how much more complicated any situation truly is. For example, I feel Ganesh painted the founding fathers with quite a broad brush, and I wanted to say, Wait! There’s so much more to that story! And that made me reflect that in all these historical issues there’s so much more to the story that I don’t know.

    At any rate, she missed part 2. And that’s too bad. I relate to his story and so appreciated his perspectives. I loved hearing Ganesh express gratitude for the wonderful parts of the church, and say he felt he could serve as a bishop again. I, too, feel like being a member of the church has given me a wonderful life and family. I think we can make this much needed “sea change” but I hate that there’s no one to talk to without being immediately labeled. I wish the church could see that if they don’t begin to embrace and provide that kind of open dialogue and support, people will find it elsewhere–and it may simply turn into more people leaving.

    One question: What are your thoughts/feelings about the temple, Ganesh?

    Thanks again! I’m new to this website and found this podcast a soft place to fall.

  4. Sirpa

    I really, really loved this! I loved the non-american perspective! There was so much I could relate to myself as a non-american.

    We really need to get these voices out more, if the church ever wants to really be seen as an international church instead of an american church.

  5. Kristen

    I am new to A thoughtful Faith podcast and I just want to say that I was riveted by this interview. It made me feel hopeful and happy that there are people who have such an expansive and inclusive view of life and humanity. It was so good for me to hear how someone could recognize the benefits gained from the church without dismissing the problems. This resonated with me on a deep level. Thank you Ganesh and Gina! I look forward to many more great podcasts.

  6. CaCoast

    I just finished listening to the entire interview and was impressed with the thoughtfulness and intelligence of Ganesh and Gina. Ganesh’s journey is inspirational, and for me as an American, eye-opening to understand how U.S.-centric the Church really is. Its also my view that the Church has correlated itself with conservative republican political attitudes and behaviors, which has marginalized my single, female, liberal lifestyle to the point where I no longer feel comfortable in the LDS culture. I wish Ganesh and Lyndi all the best and fully support them in sharing their views about the Church.

  7. Robert

    Great podcast. How is Ganesh and his family doing now? Is he aware of the Swedish Rescue effort? of Tom Phillips’ experience? or Hans Mattsson’s struggles?

    Since the podcast many things have evolved; Church doctrine is now slowly evolving to a more palatable form of mormonism. The motto “Doubt your doubts” is emphasize in GC. At this pace in a few decades the church will be no different that mainstream Christianity.

    One has to wonder if there is any of the 15 apostles or GAs honest enough to tell the truth regardless of painful that might be.

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