Open Thread.

Many of you are visiting for the first time, or are visiting after a long hiatus. I’m fascinated by the glimpses I’ve caught of many of you in the comments. I wanted to open up a post so that you can introduce yourself, if you so desire. No pressure! Whether or not you’re a regular, a lurker, or just happened by in the past two days, please tell us who you are, a little bit about your spiritual history, and feel free to promote your own blog if you have one!

I’ll go first:

I’m John, mild-mannered database administrator and project manager by day, SF writer and iconoclast blogger at night. I avoid long walks on the beach and will kayak, bike or swim instead. I’m half-Japanese and was raised partly in Japan, so that makes me culturally Buddhist and Shinto, like most Japanese. I joined the Mormon Church when I turned 18 and went on a mission to Japan at 19. I’m in my late 30s now. I spent much of my twenties becoming an atheist, and a good chunk of my thirties trying to separate from the church. I have two brilliant children and my partner Jana also blogs. We are now affiliated with the Orange County Friends Meeting (a liberal Quaker meeting). I currently use the Quaker label to define my core values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community and equality, and the terms atheist, skeptic, non-theist, absurdist, and secular humanist to describe my beliefs.

I’ve been blogging here since August of 2001, and much of my journey out of Mormonism is buried here somewhere. I will try to link to some of the critical moments. I invited xJane to join me a few years ago, and we’ve been a blogging duo ever since.

Tag! you’re it!

61 Comments

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  1. I’m Brecken, ardent fan of John, Jana, and their minions. College professor by day, yoga teacher by night, charity director by every spare moment in between, and mom perpetually to an amazing teen daughter from China.

    Joined the LDS Church during senior year of college, spent a decade and a half trying my best to reconcile my actual beliefs with the Mormon culture around me. My husband (also a convert, and who was serving as bishop at the time) and I left the Church in 2005. My temple is now the lake near my house, and my “community” is my amazing little idealist community of Greenbelt, Maryland, where I can usually be found at farmers markets or singing kirtan (Sanskrit chant) with true-blood hippies.

  2. Hi,

    I go by Koda online right now, because I’d prefer to remain anonymous – But I have no problem coming out to people who share my appetite for truth and knowledge. Some of my extended family have found my blog and I’ve pretty much been disowned by my parents, but I’d rather avoid Church discipline for now – especially since my wife and her family are still fairly active.

    I was born to recent converts of the LDS Church in Southern Africa and spent the first 28 years of my life as devout and dedicated to the Mormon faith as possible.

    Served a mission in Africa, got married to a young girl from the US, and we now have 5 kids. Up until a few years ago, I worked for LDS Church headquarters, and it was there I experienced a number of things which got me questioning the truth. It seemed the harder I prayed for answers for why I was seeing what I was seeing, the more of the corruption and abuse of power I saw. The more I studied, the more disturbing facts I learned. The answer to prayer that the LDS Church is not in fact the true Church of God came more powerfully than any other answer I have ever received.

    I’m in somewhat of a twilight zone now. I still teach Sunday School, but that’s the only meeting I attend. I haven’t held a recommend since I quit working for the Church, since I can’t in good conscience say that I support my leaders any more.

    I’ve been a regular visitor for a couple of months now. Really appreciate different insights, and trying to find a way to keep the good of Mormonism, while protecting my kids from some of the more pervasive practices.

    I’m a web developer by day, aspiring IronMan triathlete on the weekends and loving father whenever I can. Occasionally I sleep as well, but that’s highly overrated!

  3. hi, I’m G
    🙂

    I first stumbled across Mind on Fire somewhere in 2006 when I was doing some personal searching about the divine feminine.

    At that point I was a lurker, an uninitiated novice in the world of blogging, and was so thrilled to have found a place where questions similar to mine were being discussed that I made a journal entry about it. 🙂

    Since then I have had the pleasure of meeting the Remy’s in real life and am completely blown away by their beautiful brilliant family and the authenticity they live by.

    John and Jana and Mind on Fire (as well as the blogosphere in general, both LDS and otherwise) continue to be a source of guidance, inspiration, community, comfort and hope to me as I work out my own way.

  4. I’m a librarian-in-training in Seattle, graduating in June 2010. I’ve lived in Louisiana, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles (so far), but I’d really like to make Seattle my home after graduation.

    I grew up as a devout Catholic, but became an atheist at 13. I’m now something like a pagan-atheist-yogini with Quaker tendencies and a lot of social connections to that community (including my partner, a birthright Quaker), but my experiences with organized religion have left me very gun-shy about even the most disorganized of organized religions, which is something I’m trying to figure out.

    I blog at http://www.athenasbanquet.net, mostly about library-school-type things, but also about food and crafts.

    I’m 26.

  5. ‘ello. My name is Isaac.

    I work in IT for a major research University in California, loving the academic mission but hating the budget.

    I am an ardent and life-long scholar of religion–and I have the degree to prove it-a degree proves all knowledge, dont’cha know? I am particular interested in taoism, 2nd century Christianity, modern-day apocalyptic cults™. However, don’t let the religion emphasis fool you. I am an atheist through and through. If you are interested, you can see my atheist story here: http://www.mindonfire.com/2008/02/22/leaving-the-garden-isaacs-journey/

    I also love and play hockey. It’s quite an obsession really.

  6. I’m Andrew S.

    I blog at Irresistible (Dis)Grace, and because I’m there waaaaay too much of my time, I don’t often get a chance to see all the blogs on my blogroll (shame on me), but every so often I’ll just click down the list (or if I get a tweet, then I’ll click into it).

    I grew up in the church, but it’s been relatively recent for me to admit that I don’t believe, but more importantly, that it’s ok not to believe. It’s not a sign that I’m some defective person or whatever. At the same time, I recognize that Mormonism is integrated into my culture, so I like to write about how different people play Mormonism as an identity against their relationship with the LDS church (so I guess that’s why I’ve been posting here more frequently).

    I like to fence (epee), I’m an accounting major, etc.,

  7. Hi. My name is Robert. I’m a former Mormon who attended BYU, went on a mission, and even got married in the temple before I realized that the LDS church wasn’t going to fulfill my needs. I made an open break, in terms of letting my friends and family know, but didn’t bother with the membership issue for a long time. When the LDS church starting getting involved more actively with the anti-gay-marriage political cause (Prop 22), I realized that I no longer wanted to be affiliated with the organization, even nominally, so I tendered my resignation.

    In truth, I had hoped I might get the chance to be excommunicated. I edited a short story collection, In Our Lovely Deseret, that included such heresies as gay Mormon missionary stories and people drawing temple recommends out of a bowl for the purpose of swapping partners (a story that I have it on good authority was based on true incidents). But alas, the collection didn’t make enough of a splash to get me tossed. Maybe something about the internet has changed all that, and made it easier to make some waves.

    In any event, I’ve greatly enjoyed your writing, and look forward to seeing far more. I love your Jesus thing on Twitter, BTW.

  8. Clay Whipkey

    I’m Clay. I’m an active non-believing Mormon. I’m as good (or bad, depending on your angle) as Atheist, but I just choose not to make any definitive statements about what might exist out there. Contrary to fundamentalist opinions, you can actually find happiness, spirituality, and deep joy without a personal god or dogma.

    I know John through Sunstone, having worked a bit together on their website. I am also on the Sunstone board of directors with Jana. I also follow John on twitter, and he is one of the more active users in my feed.

    @isaac, I also love and play hockey!

  9. Hey, I’m Sean, and I blog over at Alone and Unobserved. I started my blog in 2005 when I was still a BYU student and was contemplating coming out as a gay atheist ex-Mormon. Lots of angst and long, rant-y posts. Now I’m most active on Twitter as pizzocalabro, and my blog has devolved into a random series of conversations from my job at the downtown Salt Lake library. Maybe I’ll revive it after I graduate from library school this December.

  10. Hi, John. (And others?) This is currently the only Mormon-related forum I read, if that tells you how much mormonism I can take. I have been inactive for about a year, but mentally opposed to mormonism for over 3. I think.

    I live in Ohio, having graduated from BYU and married in the temple, both of us RMs and all that. My partner got his PhD there, even. Then, when I had stewed over my doubts for long enough that I thought I was going crazy, I told him, and he responded with the lovely news that he didn’t care, and didn’t really believe in it either. His mom “cried as if he had died” when we told her. Yes, those are her words.

    Anyway, I care for 3 kids, just started my first college art class today, learned to play the organ in college the first time, so I could grow up to be one of the tabernacle organists, which dream has fled the building,.

    I’m still incredibly bitter about having been deceived by the mormon church, and I don’t like getting into conversations about it because I can’t control my rage. I still have VTs who come every month, all cheerful and ready to invite me to pampered chef parties.

    I read MoF because I can relate, I feel like I can understand you, I feel edified by your personal, religious, and political writings, and because I have a crush on your wife.

  11. I am Bonny, currently working on a Masters Degree in Urban Planning at UCI. If you click my name you can see my blog, which I haven’t been much for updating lately. I met John and Jana via the OC Friends meeting, that my other half was attending before he met me.

    I converted to Pentecostal Christianity at 14 and then converted my family as well. I attended a Pentecostal Christian University in S. Cal, at which point I decided that the religion really wasn’t tolerant enough for me at all- so I think by the time I ended school I was pretty much done with the whole church part, althought that had been coming for some time. I dabbled a bit on Catholicism until I found the Quakers, because I thought I still believed in the Christianity but not my former church.

    Anyway, at this point I don’t know what I believe. I am a bit scared of the word athiest for myself. It sounds too dogmatic for me at this point. I am really just okay with not knowing what is up with a god or lack of god and trying to embrace the human spirit of love, compassion, and tolerance that I see here on this pretty little earth planet.

    I love cats, cooking, board games, photography, and time with my loved ones (friends/family.) I recently traveled around Europe a bit this summer and it was pretty awesome.

  12. Hi, I’m Kaimi. I have one wife and three children. We live in San Diego, where I teach at law school. In a previous life, I was an attorney in New York City.

    I co-founded the Mormon-themed group blogs Times and Seasons and By Common Consent. These days I generally blog at T&S. I also blog on law issues at Concurring Opinions, and I guest post sometimes at Feminist Mormon Housewives, and I have a personal blog that I update sporadically. So yes, I’m a blog addict. But I’m sure that I can quit any time I want!

    I know Jana from Sunstone and Miller-Eccles and lots of personal chats and blog comments and discussions, and John from that unforgettable evening we spent sharing a hotel room. 😛

    I attend my ward regularly, and serve as choir accompanist and Elders Quorum instructor (and was ward organist till recently); my wife is YW president.

    On matters of personal belief, I’ll just say that I try to live up to my name, which means “seeking for righteousness” in Hawaiian. (I would go further and claim to be a Feminist Universalist Neopagan Marcionite Gnostic Pastafarian Mormon, but that description would frighten small children.)

  13. Let’s see – I found mindonfire through Jana whom I found through… no idea now! I’ve enjoyed reading about the thoughtfulness and integrity you both show in your evolution from Mormonism.

    My mother is from old polygamous Mormon stock, my father a convert. They became devout and active when I was six (JUST in time my mother liked to say – saved from venal sin in grade school!) and by the time I was in junior high my father was a bishop.

    I believed it all – the personal revelation, the promise of Moroni, the whole thing. Unfortunately I also believed absolutely that if the promise were not fulfilled, if God did not speak to me ‘of the truthfulness of these things’ the fault must lie with me. My own innate perfectionism, combined with an apparent spiritual tone-deafness caused years of terrible, crippling guilt and pain. I left the church quietly, out of desperation and found, to my enormous surprise, happiness and a sincere and deeply held set of personal ethics external to the church.

    I left it there for years, slowly learning not to worry whether the church was true or not; knowing absolutely that it was not true for me. I didn’t explore the problems with the Book of Mormon, wasn’t concerned about whether the Book of Abraham was a genuine translation, never even knew there were multiple versions of the First Vision. I dealt with the pain and horror of my parents with as much care as I could and the constantly reiterated assurance that I was happy and I loved them.

    Then Proposition-8 happened and I was horrified, disgusted by the actions of a church I had continued to feel, on some level, was doing good in the world. I researched online and offered my letter of resignation – unable to be affiliated in any way with a religion of hate and repression.

    For the rest, I’m a mother of three nearly-grown and thoroughly wonderful children, a web and graphic designer and a widow who is finally trying to learn to be alive again.

    John – I admire so much your determination to follow through with your Court of Love. I admire it not only for the reasons you list, but also for the people who were put through the ordeal before resignations were accepted or clearly understood – people who have lived with a stigma ever since. I admire you for helping to reclaim ownership of church membership and giving a voice to those who choose to dissent.

  14. I’m Craig. I’m a gay Canadian who was once very, very Mormon and is now very much not. Ironically, I live in down town Salt Lake City across the street from the Mormon HQ.

    I’ve come to identify as an atheist, environmentalist, rationalist, naturalist, secularist, liberal socialist, & strong advocate for universal human rights and equality, among many other things. I don’t consider myself to be spiritual.

    I absolutely love to cook more than anything else in the world. Besides that I love the outdoors (especially camping), gay culture & history, activism, politics, music, languages & linguistics, reading, science, gardening, and partying (in whatever form that takes) with friends. Over the past year I’ve developed a very keen interest in all things alcohol, and love exploring new and interesting spirits, liqueurs, beers, and wines – my favourite drink being a good, dark Belgian ale.

    I speak Canadian English, Standard German, and a tiny smattering of Modern Hebrew, and even less of French.

    My blog, which started out in early 2007 as an outlet for my intense frustration with being gay and Mormon, has morphed into a blog about an atheist’s view of religion, politics and some of my favourite recipes, along with whatever is amusing me at the time.

    That’s all for now.

  15. Hi. I’m Keri. (It’s a pseudonym, but it’s the consistent pseudonym I’ve been using in the Bloggernacle for the past 3 years, so although I occasionally toy with the idea of coming out with my given name, I’m keeping the pseudonym for brand identity.) I blog at The Posts of My House, and I comment on other blogs occasionally as well. (I’m more of a lurker, though.)

    I followed the link over here from Mormon Matters, and I’m interested in your points of view. I’m an active, believing LDS member, but I respect the viewpoints of others and I’m interested in the varied experiences that people have.

    Like probably half the Bloggernacle, I’m involved with that nefarious legal profession. 😉 I’m in law school, and I aspire to be a law professor someday.

  16. Hi. I’m Elaine.

    I stumbled across Mind on Fire a few years ago (has it been that long?) and have been a regular ever since. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting John and Jana and their family, human and furry, since I landed up here. Wonderful people (and cats), all of them.

    I was a convert to the Mormon Church at the age of 16 (a long time ago). I was convinced almost immediately that I had made a mistake, but being one of those folks who take their commitments seriously, I thought I had to stick with the commitment I had made at baptism. It took me over 30 years to realize that the fact that I never got the “right” answer to my prayers asking if the church was “true”, didn’t mean that there was something wrong with me and got myself out of the church.

    Soon after the end of high school I spent two months going to school at BYU, but that was all I could stand, even as someone who was ostensibly a good Mormon. Subsequently, I got my education at Reedley College, Fresno City College, and Fresno Pacific University, all in California, earning associate degrees in social sciences and paralegal studies and a BA in Intercultural Studies, which makes me an undereducated anthropologist. I hope to continue on to grad school someday, but I’ll probably be about 80 by then.

    I’m a writer now and am in process of returning to private tutoring because while the writing pays some of the bills, it doesn’t quite cover all of them, and the savings account isn’t going to last forever. 🙂

    When I’m not writing, I’m usually either reading or knitting or, more recently, attending SCA events. My blog is called “I Was Just Thinking”, and you can reach it by clicking on my name at the beginning of this comment. I don’t blog exclusively about Mormonism, but religion and politics do rear their adorable little heads over there from time to time, along with my observations on my world, absurdities and all.

    I consider myself to be an agnostic these days, since I don’t believe that it is possible to prove the existence or nonexistence of deity either way. Therefore, I don’t practice any religion, although I hang with the pagans fairly frequently.

  17. Rigel Hawthorne

    I’m Rigel, hello.

    I never heard of John Remy until last weeks post on Mormon Tarot on MMatters. I’m a visiting lurker, viewing some old posts and finding some links to youtube. I was baptized at 8, served a mish to Japan, and lived a life as a menace2society for years until an incredible life-changing relationship popped up in the most surprising of ways. It was an answer to prayer and resulted in a number of life issues sublimating into rebirth as a TBM. I’m enjoying parenting at long-last, and staying as hands on as I can, which limits how much I can blog–usually only during my lunch hour. I enjoy learning from the experiences of others and am at peace with choices of those who follow the dictates of their own conscience.

  18. ECS

    I’ve started to write something to introduce myself three or four times before I realize I don’t know exactly how I first met John and Jana, how to describe my relationship with/to the LDS church, or what I’m doing with my life in general.

    What I do know, however, is that John and Jana are some of my favorite humans on the planet, and that I’ve learned so much from them. I also know that I love reading John’s (and xJane’s) posts here. Keep writing.

  19. I don’t remember how I first found your blog, but I really enjoy your blog and your wife’s blogs.

    I’m an exmo atheist, and I love socializing with other former Mormons. For a few years I’ve been maintaining a list of former Mormon blogs called Outer Blogness, and I read them all and do a weekly roundup (linking to posts of interest) for the group blog Main Street Plaza. If others on this comment thread would like to be included, I’d love to add you to my big list! 😀

  20. I go by Marcus here in blog-o-world. My wife and I have a blog that talks about our doubts concerning the LDS church and our decision to leave it behind and seek enlightenment wherever it may be.
    We met at BYU and I was a returned missionary. We got married in the temple and had a baby girl. We both arrived at the same conclusions independent of each other concerning the church a few years into our marriage. We recently started blogging about it, and very recently ( in the past 48 hours) our parents have found out that we don’t want to go to church anymore. It’s been brutal.
    Anyway we found Mind on Fire and I loved the fantastic title and have been reading for a few months. I usually don’t comment cause I don’t know that I have anything to contribute. I sure like to read though.

  21. I’m xJane—John’s coblogger (by night!) and law student by day. I found MoF while I was on my way out of Catholicism (a long and arduous road) and discovered that here was a group of people who didn’t like religion but weren’t excessively bitter about it. I felt that the exCatholic groups I found were extremely bitter and I didn’t think I needed that kind of negativity. So I hang out with exMos! I’m an atheist/pantheist/goddess-pagan/aweist who’s trying to figure out what label really defines her. And I do judo, a subject which occasionally hijacks the theme of MoF for a few moments (although I try to keep it to a minimum), but which I also feel is essential to where I am, spiritually.

  22. Rainey

    My name is Rainey. I’ve been reading Mind on Fire quietly for a couple months.

    I’m an ex-Catholic agnostic. I’m married to another agnostic who was raised in a loose Protestant tradition. We’ve raised 3 pretty terrific, public spirited adult children. Two identify as atheists; the other is completely disinterested in the concept of religion and doesn’t feel a need to define himself in those terms.

    I retain my interest in person spirituality and I encouraged the kids when they were growing up to experience organized religion with their friends.

    I feel pretty open to wherever spiritual growth comes from but my long life experience has brought me to distrust organized religion. I think it’s an impediment to rigorous personal inquiry. I also think, sadly, organized churches tend to have a negative influence on society, particularly in terms of their regressive, conservative and self-serving political tendencies . I did, however, recently attend a Quaker meeting with a very old friend who’s a lifetime member and I was very moved.

  23. Hi, my name is Becki.

    I stumbled upon this blog via Jana’s blog, which I stumbled upon via Dooce. I’ve probably been reading both blogs (yours & Jana’s) now for about……..I don’t know a year or two?

    I have never been a Morman, nor will I ever be, but I have had several friends who are. I was raised Lutheran and since college have considered myself a non-denominational Jesus lover. I am passionate about what I believe and am also very interested in what others’ beliefs are and why they believe them. I recognize that people in churches/organized religion are just that – people, and subject to humanness and therefore human error. I try to have patience with those who negatively represent the heart of God with their actions (i.e. abuse of authority, pride, greed, etc.), though sometimes it’s not easy.

    It saddens me deeply to hear when others have been hurt or spiritually abused by religious institutions/churches, and I’m intrigued in seeing how (and if) people rebound from those negative experiences and work through them. The heart is such a complex thing!

    I blog (more sporadically than I’d like these days) at Overground about anything and everything that’s going on in my world.

    I love reading your posts John! (You, too Jana!)

  24. Great idea, John. I love reading these comments. You so rarely get to know the background of readers & writers who just pop up and join an existing conversation.

    So, um, hai. I’m Chandelle. I have no idea how I found MoF, but it’s been my favorite blog for years. Last year, during Sunstone, mfranti from fMh asked if I wanted to meet John. The John? From Mind on Fire? OMGOMGOMG! I had a little meltdown about meeting such a rock star, but John was all cool about it, like, I’m just a guitar player in tight jeans, fangirl, it’s just a day gig, ya know, relax and chill, have a beer, enjoy backstage.

    My background, hm. I grew up secular, joined the Church at 18, met my love at 19, married him in the SLC temple, had a baby a year later – quintessentially Utah Valley. My partner grew up in the Church; his family goes back to Nauvoo on both sides. He went on a mission to Taiwan and he was a temple worker attending BYU when I met him. And I was that “golden” convert, as in I called the missionaries to ask them to baptize me. So we should have been destined for the CK.

    Instead, after our daughter was born in ’06, we resigned. The road from there to here is boring and painful and not a little bit trite.

    As of now, I’m an atheist. My partner is not so much an atheist. He’s a sort of mystical Christian-type in the tradition of Rudolf Steiner. He’s a Waldorf teacher so I guess it was inevitable.

    We don’t talk about it a lot. He knows that it’s hard for me, right now, to be respectful or open-minded regarding religion or spirituality, especially Christian varieties. I admit that I’m bitter about religion. But it pains me to know that he’s exploring these important avenues and that he’s changing as a result, and I can’t share it with him.

    But I’ve had my own explorations into Buddhism, and he can’t follow me there so much, either. We rest on our common ground and just try to keep the big picture in mind. This situation has very little bearing on our overall partnership. I feel incredibly lucky that we were able to navigate our way out of the Church together. Issues with his family have been the most difficult; two years later, it hasn’t gotten any better. Actually, reading about John’s impending ex’ing has made me a little wistful. We’ve refused to discuss our reasons for leaving. Now I wish we’d been braver.

    I blog at http://www.phytophiliac.com, which is VERY new, less than two days old, so many kinks are still unraveling. I also post photographs at http://www.uncommon-gifts.blogspot.com and recipes at http://www.wholefoodwholefamily.blogspot.com. I’m finishing a degree in nutrition and also certifying in herbal education.

    I just moved from Salt Lake City to Northern California. I have no friends. No, really. I lived in Utah for 6 years before I made friends. And then I moved and abandoned them all, and who knows how long it will take me now that we’re kind of isolated. I’m pretty depressed about it, but also not willing to actually make an effort or anything.

    So that’s me. I love MoF and the community that has developed here. Even though CAPTCHA hates me.

  25. My name is Stephanie and I happened upon your blog through postmormon.org . I am 34 and up antil February 15, 2008 I was a Mormon. My mom’s family was converted. The missionaries found my grandfather while he was “seperated” from my grandmother and their children at the time. He came home and converted the rest of the family. My mom was 7 when this happened.

    My dad was converted after he knocked my mom up and had a shot gun wedding 3 months later (they were 17 and 18). It took my dad several pushy missionaries and a voice from the back of the car to scare him into finally joining. I was around 6mo-a year old when this happened. So I pretty much grew up in the church, but I never believed in it.

    I think the biggest “ah-ha” moment came when my dad was ‘called’ to be Bishop. All of us kids (5siblings and me) thought it was a joke because my father was not a pure, righteous, follower of Mormonism. To him the Word of Wisdom was a suggestion and not a commandment.

    I can’t ever remember a time when I ever fully believed in their teachings. I know I tried very hard at times, but it never felt right in my heart and in my core being, but I continued to go out of habit and fear. When I finally started learning the truth of the church and of Joseph Smith I finally started my journey on out of the Mormon Church. I explored the Unitarian Universalist church for their openess and diversity and a few months later I was given the same letter you were given, asking me to their “court”.

    I’m a wimp and don’t like confrontation so I just printed up a family resignation letter and we sent it to Utah and delivered one to the Bishop.

    My husband grew up Catholic but converted to Mormonism for me to make my family happy. With me not being very involved or a “true” Mormon we never went through the temple or formalities like that. He just converted for me. So leaving the church as a family was nice and easy for us.

    We are much happier, and the hubby is enjoying his ability to drink coffee and beer more freely again, now.

  26. PS. I consider myself a “Rationalist” as Bill Mahre puts it. DH considers himself more of a Christian though. He does believe in a higher being than us, but not necessarily “God”.

  27. Hi, I’m BiV, and I blog at Hieing to Kolob and wherever else the wind listeth to blow me. I became part of the Mind on Fire community a couple of years ago because I was drawn to all the spiritual agony that was going on. I have met all of the Remys irl now, and I love each of them.

  28. SteveS

    I’m SteveS, and I followed a link from Mormon Matters yesterday to this site. I’m a disaffected, but active member of the LDS church: I cannot quit because my employment depends on my church activity, and truth be told, I’m still striving despite doubts, frustrations, and anger because my DW is completely invested, and because I love her I try to honor her faith and wait for something to change. DW and I have recently talked openly for the first time about my doubts.

    I believe in love, and try to practice my belief with everyone I meet. That’s pretty much where I am on the faith spectrum.

  29. amelia, but i go by amy. i’ve probably known john IRL longer than most people here, other than jana of course. 🙂 i met him first when he was my brother’s best man, back when john was a truebluethroughandthrough mormon with conservative social and political beliefs to go with it (did i get that right, john?).

    i was also once a truebluethroughandthrough mormon with conservative political and social beliefs. now i’m something else entirely. i still (mostly) practice mormonism, but i’ve got rather heterodox understandings of its doctrine and teachings. i’m politically and socially liberal. i’m a feminist (gasp). i occasionally buzz my head which increases the frequency with which i’m called “sir.” i study literature and maybe, just maybe, someday i’ll be a doctor of philosophy in lit. god willing.

    i blog at laughtear.blogspot.com and once a month or so at the-exponent.com but only occasionally about things mormon. i don’t have the strength to publicly declare all of my thoughts, not with my family reading…

    that’s me. in a nutshell.

  30. Mike

    Hi, my name is Mike. I met Jana at a Sunstone several years ago. She surely doesn’t remember me, but I remember her well. Ever since, I’ve tried to read her writing, and learn what I can from her about spirituality and life. From her blog I discovered MoF, and have been reading here for a long time. John and xJane have taught me about spirituality and tea and beauty. I am no where near California, but my thoughts are there tonight.

  31. I’m Melanie. I joined the church as a teenager and left after being quite devout during my college years. I couldn’t get around the denigrating singles culture, conflicts with the priesthood’s interpretation of doctrine and application of policy, and my desire to be able to drink with my family, so I decided to take a break from Mormonism 2 years ago. I’m really glad to have been restored to full membership in my family after my sojourn with the saints.

    I now consider myself, like Gonzo, a “whatever” and just try to live life to its fullest and find worshipful, spiritual moments where I can. I’m still a Christian I guess but I don’t think about it all that much.

    I recently moved to Philadelphia to start a PhD program in American History. I study New Right activism, and the highlight of my life was meeting Phyllis Schlafly. Now that I have nothing else to achieve, I blog about bikes and whatever I find interesting.

    I came to this blog via Jana’s blog. She is an awesome internet friend.

  32. My name is John White, and I met the Remy family in the neighborhood of four years ago at the Orange County Friends Meeting. I knew them as a family for a while before I started reading MoF/Pilgrimsteps. They’re among the coolest, most genuine people I know, and I’m honored to know them.

  33. Hi, I am Hellmut.

    Jana’s caring and loving presence on the bloggernacle caught my attention a couple of years ago, which led me to John.

    I have been unhappy in the Mormon Church since my mission in 1987 but did not give myself permission to leave until I found out about the September Six a few years ago.

    God would not require scholars to lie about the results of their research. And I couldn’t be associated with the reenactment of Galileo Galilei in the 21st century.

    It has been liberating. I don’t need to find excuses for ignorance and domination anymore. I can live with a coherent worldview and a consistent set of values.

    I don’t know what to think about God but I love the Sermon of the Mount and the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I consider Catholic ideas about man’s fallen condition a useful corrective to modern arrogance.

    I love the history of ideas since the renaissance. Although I have strong ideas about justice, I consider myself to be a conservative in the sense of Edmund Burke, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

    In the United States that makes me a fire-breathing liberal, which is quite amusing, especially, since I not only hold an officer’s commission in the German army but also belong to a dueling fraternity.

    Currently, I am indulging into nostalgia and my family’s history. I also love to campaign for my friends and my causes and blog at Main Street Plaza.

  34. I’m Walt.

    I reside in Utah. I’ve lived in Germany (LDS mission), Illinois, California, and Idaho.

    I’m 61 in body but act like a two-year-old in mind. Now retired going on three years from a taxing career in an appealing position, I write a little, read more, and lurk a lot. I blog at wreddyornot and Death & Taxes 4 Writers, Artisans and Freelancers.

    I stumbled onto MoF a year or two ago and check it out most days, but only in a lurking mode.

    I spring from disaffected Mormon grandparents on both sides of my family. On my mother’s side, all three uncles spent time in the penitentiary (armed robbery, rape, nonpayment of child support, etc.). My father’s side was somewhat similarly arrayed. My mother graduated from seminary, but I never knew her to have much of anything else to do with the church. My father never joined. He had nothing to do with any religion whatsoever. They were both smokers and occasional drinkers. My folks occasionally used the LDS church to babysit me and my two siblings as kids. My siblings had little or nothing to do with the church after they started driving.

    On the other hand, after contrasting my families’ (immediate and extended) lifestyles (crime, alcoholism, etc.) with those I witnessed in most active LDS families, I opted to stick around: LDS mission, temple marriage, various callings and positions.

    Like Ursula LeGuin’s Genly Ai, I believe truth is a matter of the imagination. My wife and I remain active LDS (mostly), but I don’t have a recommend. I passed through earlier eras with twinges of conscience but always buckling under (priesthood and the blacks, the endowment, the ERA, the September Six — or seven, etc.). I decided not to buckle after Prop 8. I admire the chutzpah of Paul Toscano and the courage of Lavina Anderson. I have faith and feel it can manifest itself better within a religious community I am familiar with and love in many respects than outside any religious community whatsoever.

    Of course, I admire John, xJane, and Jana and all who believe in and nurture the imagination.

  35. I’m Erin. I’m a mutt Christian. I was born into a Christian home, stop attending church from age 18 – 27, then returned on my own.
    I live in NYC. I’m an actress and managing director of a small theater company. I’m liberal. I am a fan of Jana. I like simplicity and I love her photography.
    I started reading John’s site because I just like listening to other people’s stories and beliefs. I like the community here.
    I started my blog many years ago when I was pursuing work on Broadway. My blog still leans toward theater, but it’s less about that singular goal now and more about living my life in NYC.
    Glad to meetcha.

  36. Cate

    John – I am so happy to read your twitter update. Glad you feel peaceful. A huge hug for both you and Jana!

    Cate

  37. marta

    found jana at ExII as soon as it appeared online. followed her to mind on fire. met her irl last summer at sunstone and at retreat last fall. thoughts and prayers with you both this evening.

  38. I’m Lessie. My blog is linked to my name above. Be aware: I’m the TMI queen. So don’t click lightly 😛 (actually, I don’t post as frequently as I’d like. ah well)

    I live in a little town in Idaho. I grew up in Oklahoma, but went to BYU-Idaho for my undergraduate degree. I’m an ex-Mo divorcee with two small boys. I started having issues with the church almost as soon as I married my now ex-husband. But at the time, as many have said here, I thought it was my fault rather than the institution’s. I stopped attending church about 2007 and sent in my letter of resignation last month. I consider myself an atheist. My idealism, tempered as it is now by cynicism and practicality now, is what keeps me getting up in the morning. I proofread obituaries and letters to the editor for my local newspaper. It’s a crazy job, but I’m enjoying it for the time being. Ideally, I’d be a rock star or a philosophy prof.

    I found MoF through FMH (Feminist Mormon Housewives) when John was guest posting there. Reading his journey out of the church helped me give myself permission to admit that I didn’t know what I believed anymore. But even then, I wasn’t a regular reader for another six months or year. Now I stop by a couple times a week and have enjoyed getting to know John and xJane 🙂

  39. I am Gwennaëlle and as you can tell from my grammatical mistakes I am not anglo-saxon.
    My mother joined the church when I was 2 I think. I grew up in the church, was a good girl, went on a mission, came back from my mission and got excommunicated.
    At one point I had realized that my mother had used the church to feed her personnal little nevroses which included controling each aspect of my life until she left because the bible would not bend to her will. This is kind of a really too short way to tell the story but I am doing my best not to bother you with my sex stories…oops
    Her nevroses got really worse and she eventually spent some too short time in a mental hospital and up to this day I am glad that I was already excommunicated because dealing with all this AND the church would have been truly suicidal.
    I came back to the church not because I was looking for some kind of family because through my mother’s trial I found out that I did have a family and a wonderful one.
    I came back because I have gain a strong evidence that this is the place for me to be.
    There are things that hold for true no matter what God means by “true” and there are things that I just can’t testify of because I just don’t know them and won’t say “I know” if I don’t.
    What I have learned during my time outside the church is that the LDS church may be the right faith for me but it is not ALL there is to know and there is much to learn from others.
    I like to read what people who are excommunicated or leave the church have to say. Sometimes I just don’t care for their feelings because they just remind me of my mother and how she mastered in bending the truth and then blaming others for her own faults.
    She could seriously prove you that the sky is truly red no matter what you see and you could just not prove her wrong. Thus she is right!
    But sometimes I find some very chalenging material that help me grow and understand things better and I am thankful for those who have the courage to stand up for what they think is right without any bitterness. It is not easy to do and I highly appreciate those who make this effort because it helps me listen to them more carefully and become a better person 🙂
    I am happy to be LDS again and I’d rather die than to lose this membership again. But I am not stupid and I believe that I can learn from you guys, no matter what it is, better than I would in my little LDS corner.
    🙂

  40. My name is Sara and I found MoF about three years ago. I listened to some of the podcasts Jana and John did and mostly lurked.
    I am an atheist who was raised a Bahai.
    I have a lot of Mormon and ex-Mormon friends now- fMh was my gateway drug; Sunstone was my heroin.
    I read a lot, have an almost two year old son, a 17 year old son and an amazing partner, Jason.
    Until a few months ago I had an artisan bread business, now I am casting about for what to do next. Maybe go back to school.
    Maybe read Mind on Fire and other blogs incessantly…

  41. Hi, I’m Bill Shunn. I’m a full-time science fiction writer in Chicago, Illinois. I was born into the church and grew up mostly in Kaysville, Utah. I left the church in 1995, not at all quietly, but that separation has never been, um, formalized.

    I served a mission in Calgary, Alberta, from 1986 to 1987, then was transferred to Spokane, Washington, where I finished up, after a little brush with the law. Having been a miserable missionary, I drifted away from the church in the years after my return. In 1995, I moved to New York City and really started studying church history. That’s when I realized I was out for good. This was, for me, a much easier step to take in New York than back home in Utah. (I pretty much broke off contact with my family for a couple of years after that, though we’ve long since reconciled and reached a detente on the topic. It’s helps that four of us out of eight siblings have left the church! My poor parents haven’t had a great batting average.)

    But I was so exercised by what I learned in my studies that I started a web site to talk about it and my reasons for leaving. It wasn’t the first such site (I think exmormon.org holds that distinction), but it was right up there. A fraction of that old material is still available at my site, but most of it I retired early in this decade (though you still can find that stuff in the Internet Archive, if you’re curious). The arguments it started were getting repetitive, and I just didn’t have the same interest in continuing them. My status as a recovering Mormon had become less and less relevant to my daily life, and it was time to move on.

    I still write and comment about Mormonism from time to time, and I’m shopping around a book about my missionary experiences, but John’s is the onlyrelated site I visit with any frequency these days. I admire his writing on the subject because he’s far more compassionate and patient about it than I ever was!

  42. Late to this thread (great idea, BTW, John!).

    I’m Elissa, a college English instructor and fiction writer. Born and raised LDS, as was my husband. Both of us are from good old, plains-crossing pioneer stock. We met in junior high–he served a mission while I finished college and we married just before I started grad school and he finished college.

    I was very active my entire life, but I can’t remember a time when I did not harbor serious doubts or was not frustrated every week on Sunday. I was always able to talk myself out of that, or push it aside, with the help of a caring and similar mother and very understanding partner.

    What finally made me ready to break away and live my own truth was my father’s diagnosis and subsequent death from brain cancer. I have a vivid memory of sitting next to his bedside in the ICU, this 54 year old man who was so vibrant and alive, and thinking: “I can go at any minute. And I want to be authentic while I’m here.” I thought about all the inner turmoil I felt regarding the church, about the hours spent devoted to callings each week and the money gone toward tithing. And I decided to live the life I had secretly wanted to live since I was a child: as a person who did not believe. I turned to Quaker meetings and founds what I had been looking for for so long.

    That was over four years ago. My husband left the church a year after I did. I found Jana’s blog and felt strongly that I had found a kindred spirit who had walked a similar path as mine, and I found John’s blog through hers. I’ve never met them, but I feel I know them and have gained much inspiration and courage by watching them share their beliefs and journey so publicly.

  43. I’m Steve. I do visual effects for movies and theme park attractions during the day and at night and on weekends I’m a Dad. In my copious free time I’ve been working on a Steampunk film; writing it, building props for it, and gathering a pretty talented crew for it. I like to write horror stories about zombies and ghosts. I’ve been to all the Disney theme parks around the world. Heck. I’ve been around the world. If I were a superhero, food would be my Kryptonite.

    I was raised to ambiguously believe in god, but despite a few years in high school when I really wanted to have more friends and the local Presbyterian church provided them, it never really stuck. Of course, the next ten years took me on a path through all sorts of other religions and philosophical meanderings, but in then end, I’m an atheist.

    While I mostly lurk here, I love your insight and a lot of what you write about resonates, which is why I keep coming back.

  44. leisurelyviking

    I’m another Sarah. I was raised Mormon and very serious about the church until I decided to call it quits about two years ago after I realized that none of my questions were going away, I took an institute church history class that gave me some glimpses of disturbing things, and decided I needed some serious prayer, for the first time accepting that the answer might be no. I didn’t get an answer, and concluded that if God existed, he wanted to leave the decision up to me.
    Now I no longer consider myself a member (though I’m still on the books), live with my wonderful partner Chris, and drink plenty of delicious tea. I went through a brief stint at the United Church of Christ where I met great people and slowly weaned myself off of church attendance. I think the probability of God is rather low but am willing to change my mind if new evidence presents itself. My parents are still getting used to me, but have gotten much more sensitive, to the point where my dad pulls me aside to ask if I’m comfortable with saying blessings on the food, etc. I passed my defense of my master’s thesis last week and am job searching and moving to Seattle. I found John’s blog during an angry period (can’t read too much church history or I’m mad all day) and enjoyed his perspectives. He and Jana seem like awesome people. Mostly I lurk, but some posts pull me out into the comments.

  45. leisurelyviking

    Wow, that’s a run-on sentence. Oh, I’m an ecology/evolutionary biology geek. Forgot to say that.

  46. Fully Caffeinated

    I didn’t want to be the wierd caffienated person offering your wife hugs so I’m offering some info about me. 🙂

    I’m not going to give my name because it’s distinctive and when you google it you will only find me. My mom is very TBM and would be greatly distressed by my internet tendencies.

    I’m a 37 yo SAHM with 4 children (3 girls and 1 boy). I haven’t attended an LDS meeting in 20 years. My mom has high hopes to change this.

    I found your blog via an online forum I frequent and have been reading on and off ever since but haven’t been big on commenting. I just felt that this was a time that a little extra emotional support might be helpful for you and your wife.

  47. I was raised LDS (BIC). I left Mormonism before I was out of high school, in my head and heart. Completely when I was in my early 20’s. Became an atheist, or maybe what my friend calls a laissez-faire agnostic. 🙂

    I didn’t think much about Mormonism for 20 or so years until one day I Googled Mormon, just to see what was on the internet. whoa. That began a renewed interest in studying Mormonism, which led to an interest in studying Christianity. Long-short of it, I eventually was baptized as Roman Catholic.

    I never removed my name from the Mormon membership list. I didn’t know it was an option until a few years ago, and now, I figure what’s the point. I haven’t considered myself Mormon for a very long time (decades). Someone told me that being baptized Catholic was grounds for a Mormon excommunication. I don’t know if this is accurate but I think it would be more devastating to my still-Mormon family than it would be to me. (To me, not at all.)

    God bless you on your journey.

  48. oh yeah, I am a wife (my husband is atheist), mother (my offspring are agnostic) and systems administrator for a non-profit org that promotes independent film makers, theatre and audiences.

  49. John

    I think this is one of my favorite posts/threads of all time on this blog. You are an amazing, brilliant, compassionate, articulate, passionate and complex bunch. This may sound hyperbolic, but I’m honored that you all even consider gracing this little corner of the web.

    It’s going to take me some time, but I’m looking forward to clicking through and meeting those of you I haven’t met yet. And some of you I haven’t visited for a while (apologies), and I can’t wait to come a-knockin’!

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