Conversations about the religious and spiritual life on the other side of fundamentalism
344:  Mormon Divorce:  Les Butterfield

344: Mormon Divorce: Les Butterfield

‘Divorce’ by Gerard Van Der Leun at Flckr

Not all Mormon marriages are doomed, but some are. When divorce happens acrimoniously it’s never a better time to observe the LDS church’s position on the wellbeing of women and children.  

The wife of a physician and the mother of four children Lesley felt that she was fulfilling ‘the measure of her creation’ until she found herself fleeing from abuse.   However, the involvement of church leaders, that Mormon divorce often requires, complicated financial, legal, relationship and spiritual matters again and again.

Les Butterfield joins me to discuss the pastoral care (or the inadequacy of it) when her own marriage was in free fall. 


  1. K. A.

    A really important topic that many may be intimidated to speak out about. Women are continually the bearers of the burden when it comes to the abusive traumas that are only perpetuated by a very broken system that has no business interfering in a situation like this. This is representative of so many stories of women experiencing divorce in the church.

  2. Anonymous

    This was a particularly challenging conversation to listen to. I’m sorry to say that it’s true that the members of the Church are ill-prepared to deal with abusive situations in their midst. My daughter is currently in a marriage where her husband is occasionally emotionally and verbally abusive. (Thankfully, they have no children!). But one night, she left their home and called a member of the ward that she knew and was kindly allowed to spend the night at her house. But since that time, this woman has not spoken to my daughter. Another time, she left and went to the house of a friend for the night. Now that friendship is strained and her friend seems embarrassed to be associating with her. The result is my daughter doesn’t dare reach out to anyone in her ward or social circle for help given these experiences. As if her marital situation isn’t bad enough, now she feels stigma for even having the problems and is even more isolated. And where is this happening? The heart of Utah County. They’re trying to work things out but the cycle of conflict and abuse continues. We live far away from them and don’t know how to help her and she doesn’t seem to know how to help herself. It is a heart-wrenching situation. And the LDS Church seems to have few resources available to help.

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