120: Leaving Church as Well as God

Reported percentages vary, but many Latter-day Saints who disaffiliate to some degree from Mormonism who, in the process, also lose their faith in God or even a spiritual path. There are quite a few reasons why many step away from a Latter-day Saint life, but why is it so hard for so many to even want to hold on to belief in some higher power, let alone continue to have a desire to connect with this Source? These are the questions that Phil McLemore and LDF host Dan Wotherspoon take on in this episode. They also discuss the general lack of passion for the gospel that seems to describe what we find in the church today, and also the lack of passion they see even for spiritual pursuits of any kind. What is going on? Are there remedies?

Listen in to what Phil and Dan come up with in this slightly-longer-than-usual but still very engaging episode!



Philip G. McLemore, “The Yoga of Christ,” Sunstone, June 2007

Philip G. McLemore, “Mormon Mantras,” Sunstone, April 2006

2 thoughts on “120: Leaving Church as Well as God”

  1. I have been listening to LDF for 3 years now, ever since stepping away from the Church. This episode above all others, calmed my heart as it put into context, why one day I just couldn’t ‘do it’ anymore. Choosing out of fear is exhausting. Following out of obedience deadens me even though it seemed securest of all choices. I wasn’t growing into a better person. The promise of being temple worthy and attending the temple had the opposite outcome-divorced and estranged from my own children. Church’s fault? No, but my interpretation of what I had been taught there and in my childhood home, mixed with anxiety and a tendency to dualistic thinking, was at the center of it all.

    If you judge people and choices by their fruits, then stepping away has been the better choice. Immediately I was less judgmental because other people’s choices weren’t my business nor did I need to fear ‘their influence’ instead I got to find them interesting, quirky, irritating, troubling and sometimes, actually love one. One of my own adult children noted that I am much more relaxed to be around. Until that point I feared for our eternal salvation all the while missing out on our current relationship.

    What has kept me interested in God is a private spiritual life that grew over the years, one that was informed by but yet separate from the one I developed at Church. It was born out of desperation to survive an addiction. As much as I have loved every ward I have been in, felt supported, needed and valued, I was more focused outward on a ‘list’ of what I should do and be. I didn’t have a private intimate relationship with something ‘greater than myself’. I do now. I have learned that ‘God’ answers to any name, is more interested in a relationship with me and has no requirements for engagement-other than I start talking best way I can.

    Thank you again for your honesty and courage as well as holding a 3rd place for those of us that aren’t in but whose hearts are still connected through history and community. Place and time are your gifts to me, a time to discover for myself what I see as truth and space to flex my budding courage and curiosity.

  2. I was feeling unsettled and out of sorts today as a barrage of seemingly unrelated thoughts passed through my mind, including some about the church and its influence (good and bad) on three generations of our family. I quietly stopped attending about 12 years ago, and there are few people I can talk with openly about the odd mix of feelings I have about the church. I instinctively looked at my podcast subscriptions and found this latest episode. It was a balm to my soul and a reminder that it’s all part of the journey, and as long as I keep moving forward and striving to be the best person I can be, none of it is “wasted.” Thanks, Dan and Phil, for having this conversation and for inviting us to listen in.

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