Conversations about the religious and spiritual life on the other side of fundamentalism
096-097: Hard to Stay – Harder to Leave

096-097: Hard to Stay – Harder to Leave

This episode features the wisdom, reflections and insights of several ‘A Thoughtful Faith’

Missionaries Mormon Jesus
Missionaries Mormon Jesus

community members.  Each of them have found both reasons to leave, and to stay faithful in the church.  As they balance both the good and the bad they emerge with a new and ultimately enriching language that characterises the middle road.  What each of them offers is an ‘eye’s and hearts wide open approach’ to the religion that frustrates them and the religion they love.

The podcast is divided into two episodes:

Part One includes:

Brian Dillman

Catherine Larsen

Spencer Lake

Rebeccas Sachiko-Burton

Part Two includes:

Michael Cammock

Gail Nicolayson-Shurtleff

Bryce Egbert

Amy Dodge Aebi


  1. Tessa

    I love Cathy’s point about obedience as the first law of heaven, but as a starting place rather than an end goal. I’ve never put it in those terms, but it really resonates with me.

    1. Cathy

      Thanks, Tessa. It’s seems clear in the temple liturgy that obedience is the beginning of the road – something that happens before “the lights come on” and we begin to see for ourselves. Adam offered sacrifice, we’re told, in ignorance but the progression depicted in the temple implies that we gain light and knowledge as we make each new series of covenants. We aren’t intended to stay in that place of blind obedience. If we do, we miss out on all the growth which Mormonism teaches was the intention of mortality.

      An even greater irony is that our own scriptures (Exodus 20:18-21, D&C 84:23-25) teach that God intended to open the mysteries of heaven to the Children of Israel but they would not. They were fearful of drawing close to Sinai and sent Moses up to intercede on their behalf. It was because they demanded a mortal mediator and would not live up to their right to personally interact with God that they lost the higher priesthood. Now whether you take that literally, metaphorically, or as a midrash – there’s a valuable message in there for the church today.

  2. Marie

    Gina—I adore you. I hope you will continue this podcast for a long, long time.
    So many great ideas discussed and wonderful ideas presented in this episode. Each person you spoke with seemed so genuine. I loved Spencer’s idea of “Mormonism on my own terms.” That is what I will be trying very hard to do.

  3. A Happy Hubby

    Thanks Gina for compiling these interviews. I enjoyed them.

    Brian – I have come to respect you and rational faith website.

    Catherine Larsen – Your statement of (something to the effect of) “I am less worried about securing my place in the celestial kingdom and more about the plight of others” is just rings so true to me as a result of my faith crisis and transition. It is odd that I don’t feel I made an effort to get to this same place, but I woke up one day

    Spencer – I can relate to many of your “why I stay” reasons. You made me thing about my feeling of “I have not question there is a place in this church for me.”

    Rebecca – Too many things to mention, but I sure laughed a bunch. It made me smile! I will remember “Jill Mormon” and needing to be 200% Mormon for the # of kids I have.

    Michael – I appreciate how you (and Gina) how “Americanized” the church tends to be.

    Gail – Since my Faith Crisis I have so much more concern for those that are “different” – which includes so many

    Bryce – Interesting your experience with the “middle way”. Has me thinking, quite a bit about ever considering that. I agree 100% on many behaviours that are driven by fear.

    Amy – I love (and can relate) to feeling that I care more about my relationship with God than what any church or church member thinks about me.

  4. Pingback: Hard to Stay, Harder to Leave | Reflections

  5. Steve

    Hey Gina!

    Knock of the anti-American comments. Unless you are independently wealthy, I’m guessing you want support for your podcast…especially since you directly asked for it. If so, I’m assuming you’d take money from an American and wouldn’t blink an eye. That being the case, I suggest you dial back your hatred of the US and stop mentioning politics in your program. In part 2 of this podcast you took at least 2 snide swipes at my country and I don’t appreciate it at all. I could take SEVERAL swipes at New Zealand…ALL of which would be dead on accurate, but I won’t, because I’m above that. You, apparently, are not. However, I’ll give you another chance. I was considering supporting your podcast, but I absolutely will NOT, unless…you refrain from making ANY remarks about the US at all for at least the next 6 months. After that, I’ll consider supporting you. I don’t give a flying you know what about your political beliefs and neither does anyone else. Keep them to yourself. If you want to bash a country, bash New Zealand.

    1. James

      Gina, as a freedom loving American who holds the US Constitution dear (and enjoys hearing your candid perspective), I hope you will stand firm against Steve and continue to speak your mind. It’s shameful that he essentially told you to shut up instead of engaging in thoughtful dialogue about anything substantive.

      I challenge all those who support the 1st amendment to stand against Steve’s attempt at tyranny and oppression by making a large donation to Gina’s podcast.

      1. Gina Colvin

        Its OK James – I have communicated to Steve that my silence can’t be bought 😉 And furthermore he’s welcome to pull some dirt on New Zealand – I’d welcome it – cause like you James, my humanity transcends nationhood. Thanks for the support.

    2. Steve in Millcreek

      I propose a truce.

      Frankly, I appreciate Gina’s viewpoint of American policy and politics when she’s nice about it; and I feel that she usually is. Members of any group (i.e., race, gender, national alliance,..) can become myopic, blind to failings of their own; it can be good when someone shares their view from the outside looking in; and, to borrow a phrase, “if the shoe fits, wear it.”

      Gina comments on American national policy because America is also LDS HQ; and she is making a point through that lens. If her points fill that purpose, then she deserves clearance; and I want to hear them. Steve, if Gina is off target, critic her logic on the merits. Please do not criticize valid comments upon homeland. I’m American too; freedom to speak true yet unflattering things is an American ideal.

  6. Steve in Millcreek

    Gina, Thanks for this set of interviews; each is valuable. They score Good, Better, Best; not a lemon among them. Each person shared deep sentiments and I love them for their messages and candor. How and where do you meet such people? It seems that your reach spans the globe.

    Two points from Rebecca’s.

    1.) “Rumspringa” is a word that entered American-English from the Amish people, a branch of the Anabaptist religion, a cornerstone of early American migration who settled USA’s northeast quadrant from Swiss-Germany circa 1800. Today, Amish people maintain a life similar to 1800; ultra-conservative, full-body clothing, horse-buggy travel, no cars, no/nominal technology, strong hold on member’s lives (-think FLDS but no polygamy). Rumspringa is one seemingly-radical departure from that conservative life; typically, Amish teenagers spend one year exploring secular life before deciding to formally join the Amish church or leave it. That year is called Rumpsringa.

    2.) The origin and definition of the term, “Jack Mormon”, has shifted over time. When I first heard the term in the 1970s, I understood it to be a contraction of the phrase “Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Mormon”, any baptized Mormon who did not adhere to many LDS Church policies or doctrines (namely WoW) but still valued Mormon affiliation. By 1990, the definition expanded to include any non-Mormon who holds many/most LDS Church views; one who lives like a Mormon without being one. (Note that those two definitions are near-opposite to one another.) Today, it refers to any person who is half-in half-out regardless of the direction that he is trending. The term is moderately derogatory.

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