#305 – Leaving Mormonism With Larry Camp

Thomas Green here with ethical marketing service on the episode today, we have Larry camp. Larry, welcome. Hey, thanks for having me on. Appreciate it. I appreciate you. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do? Sure. So yeah, I connected with Thomas and uh you know, just, we’re just gonna talk about uh things today, I guess maybe my story a little bit. But um I have lived in the United States my entire life and have been really all over. I’ve lived in Hawaii, have lived in uh California as far back as Tennessee in the south. But I now live in the very southern part of Utah about two hours from Las Vegas, Nevada and um grew up mostly on the west coast in California and uh Nevada, Utah, Arizona. And like I say, we lived in Hawaii had a place on the island of Maui for 14 years.

Um I think one of the things that probably has been a big part of my life has been growing up in what is called or what I would call a high demand religion. We were brought up as Mormons. Um I guess the official name is the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is a worldwide uh religion, but primarily in the United States and a big faction of that or a big group of that would be in the State of Utah. So I, you know, pretty much went through all the markers of a, of a young Mormon being that you grow up. You reached the age of eight, you were baptized and then you uh just proceed along. If you’re male. When you hit the age of 12, you get uh ordained into what they called the priesthood. The ironic priesthood. And that goes from usually age 12 to about 1819 when you were then ordained into the Belks priesthood. So I, yeah, I just kind of clicked off all the boxes and grew up that way.

I mean, you are the religion of your parents for the most part. Um And if you’re born in Utah where I was born, your likelihood of being a Mormon is about 99%. So, didn’t know that. Yeah, that’s the way it was when I grew up in the fifties and sixties. Um although, you know, I moved to California, my parents moved there before I was one year old. So I really was raised in southern California. You said it was a high demand religion. Uh What does that mean to you? Well, let me put it this way. I’m no longer Mormon. Um And, and that’s really because of my daughter, um she brought some information to us back at the end of 2016, uh, that could be found really in our own, our own, you know, it was called L ds.org. So, I mean, it was online, it was in the churches approved website, if you will. And in there was church essays which I’ve never heard of. And they had come up with, um, in 2013, so they hadn’t been out too long before she brought them to our attention.

But in there, there was just a lot of information that was different from what we were taught growing up. But since that time I’ve done some investigating. As many people do. One of the things about high demand religion many times is that they, they give you a lot of rules and one of the rules that we had was you’re not supposed to look at information that was not approved by the church pretty convenient for any kind of a group that wants to kind of keep you uh you know, in a bubble. But once she brought that attention to it, um to this, the essays and we looked at them and we could see. Yeah, without a doubt, there’s information there that is very different from what we were taught growing up. I felt like it was then that I was free to go ahead and do a little bit of research. So when people say what took you out of Mormonism, I say Google. Yeah, because, because once you look, once you pull the curtain back and see that man there, uh, you know, standing behind the curtain like in the Wizard of Oz. It’s, it’s all of a sudden, it’s like I just couldn’t believe it.

I just couldn’t believe what the information that was out there and, and the fact that I’d been given a, oh, I guess a different version of history than was, uh, the true history. So I like to refer people to what I call, um, the Bite Model, I guess. And that comes from uh a guy named Stephen Hassan who wrote a book on cults and the byte model. If you can, it’s just that acronym for byte Biteb stands for behavior. I would be information t would be thoughts and e would be emotion and if you can look at any group, I guess, you know, in my mind it’s mostly religions but it could be other, other groups as well if this group is controlling your behavior, meaning that and I’ll give you the examples of uh Mormonism, whether a control was, we were told what movies we could see, like we couldn’t see R rated movies. Uh uh females couldn’t have more than one earring.

Um You know, you’re looking at things like either even your, even your hair, we were encouraged to have no facial hair and, and the men were supposed to have be well groomed and not have long hair. Um So you have, you know, different kinds of music that were approved. Um, it pretty much everything. Then you get down into that information. Again, I already mentioned that we were told not to look at anything outside of, um, approved, you know, I mean, they have their own bookstores. So, I mean, if you want to buy books, then they wanted you to get them from Desert Book, which was a book, you know, chain of stores that they owned. Uh So you have your thoughts, you were supposed to not think of things other than, you know, things that they would want you to be thinking about. So if you saw some girl and she wasn’t dressed properly, boy, you gotta get those thoughts out of your head and then you get down to the emotions. So, I mean, any good religion wants you to have guilt and shame when you do things that are wrong or you step outside the approved boundaries, so to speak so very quickly, I could see.

Wow, I’m, I’m part of a not just a high demand religion, but I’m part of a cult. Now, some would say, well, hey, that’s not like Jim Jones or David Koresh or some of these other cult leaders, maybe not to that degree, but certainly Joseph Smith who started the Mormon religion back in the early 18 hundreds, it was actually organized April 6th, 1830 if you want to be exact. But um for sure you’re, you’re part of a, you’re part of a cult when they control all that, you know, back to that bite model, they’re controlling those elements within your life. Then you can clearly see that you’re part of a group that takes away, uh, free agency. And I think that’s, that’s big to me. I’m huge on truth. I’m huge on free agency. And once I feel like somebody has crossed, um, you know, they, they’ve crossed me up with some bad information or, and many times you’re thinking, oh, well, people didn’t know, well, these people, they knew they hid things away, they changed the stories, they changed the narrative and to me, I don’t wanna be a part of that group.

So, hey, it was a part of my life for almost 60 years. And since that time of, of our daughter bringing the information to us, uh Christmas holiday time of 2016, we have been able to be authentic in how we conduct and live our lives. So, yeah, that, that’s, that’s kind of my story. I know. It’s kind of weird. I have three Children. Um, my wife and I have been married for 43 years coming up in March. So I’m very lucky in that regard that I’ve, I’ve basically been with uh what I consider to be my best friend for 43 years and we get along on most things and we were able to actually both leave the, uh Mormon religion at the same time just a few months apart. Uh I first and then she did her own kind of dive down the rabbit hole and we came to the same conclusion, which is great because that doesn’t always happen. Thank you for sharing that. And um my interpretation of your answer is high demand is essentially about all the rules that’s placed right down to the minute details that probably are a little unfair of anyone to put those kind of rules on anyone else.

Um The question that I follow up with in relation to your answer is around, there’s a couple of follow ups. The f the first is the why? So why do you think that there are so many rules that were put on you, which seem to be and from my perspective anyway, quite trivial I think they’re trying to put uh they, so I, I, one part I didn’t tell you about was of course many religions, you’re, you’re just living to get through this life with the promise that there’ll be this eternal life. And that uh and that, that’s really what’s more important. What we do here in this earth life is just keep the rules or commandments so that we can then live in this celestial glory. Um And I think that that’s kind of the carrot that’s out in front of all of us, so to speak is that we want to maybe you don’t even want to keep some of these rules, but you do because you want the ultimate glory and for the Mormon uh followers, this is a promise of eternal life that you’ll be able to live with your family.

Um Whatever that means, right? I mean, it’s my family, my wife and my kids or what would their families be? My daughter, I’m sure wants to be with her husband and her kids. So, I mean, it’s funny because you have this, this eternal family, but nobody can ever tell you what that really means. And of course, when you’re spinning something, how can you tell people because you’re just kind of making it up as you go. And that’s certainly what Joseph Smith did when he put the Mormon faith to uh together he, his story and his narrative changed so many times. But yet when you’re a believer, you don’t question those things, you just kind of roll with it or if you do question it, they actually have. I remember one of the leaders one time said, doubt your doubts and how convenient that is that to me. Now it just cracks me up. But, but when you’re in it, you don’t see it, you see it’s so easy to see from the outside. And so, yeah, it’s kind of goofy when I think back on all the stuff that I did. But on the other hand, I remember looking and thinking, well, my parents wouldn’t steer me wrong. This is there, you know, this is what they believe. So as a young person, you just go, you just go with it, you know, and it’s not just, and when I say high demand religion, I mean, you have people who go to church maybe once or twice a year if at all.

Whereas in the Mormon religion, in any high demand religion, it’s a daily, if not hourly thing. We had meetings all throughout the week. Uh Every Monday was family home evening with your family. You had daily scripture study and daily prayers, your, your church on Sunday. Uh When I grew up with three different meetings, the men, once you hit age 12, like I said, you’re put into the priesthood. So you have a priesthood meeting every morning. We lived in, we lived in Southern California and we went to Laguna Beach and we would go my dad and I eight in the morning for an hour meeting, then we would drive home and it was 20 minutes away to our home. And then we would pick up the rest of the family. We would drive back to Laguna Beach to the, to the ward chapel there and have Sunday school that lasted an hour and a half. Then we would drive back home again. We would have lunch and then later in the afternoon, we would go back again for Sacrament, which is another hour and a half. That’s just Sunday and that’s all day. Um You’re, you’re not again, you’re restricted from what you can eat and drink.

We couldn’t, we couldn’t, uh, drink any alcohol. Of course, uh, we couldn’t even drink coffee and tea. So, I mean, there’s pretty restrictive and when you go as a missionary, which I was, I served for two years of my life from age 19 to 21 as a full time missionary. So, basically just think of me as a recruiter trying to bring more people into this group. Because once you get in there, one of the big things is you give 10% of your income back to the church, they call it tithing and it’s 10% of the gross. So if you make $100,000 you’re giving them 10,000 and this goes on for years and years of your life. So as you’re out recruiting and knocking on doors and of course, I see it differently now as a older person than I did as a 19 or 20 year old knocking on doors, but you are actually recruiting for them. And not only that you do this on your own dime, you pay your whole way. They don’t pay for you to do this. So, who would do that? Right? You have to be pretty well indoctrinated to go as a 19 year old.

Oh, and there’s no premarital sex. So they’re not even, they don’t even want you to date as a, um, until you’re 16 years old. And then only date in groups. So you’re not supposed to be with anyone else, just one on one. Um, of course, you know, we didn’t all follow the rules all the time. Uh, well, thank you for sharing, um, that part. And I, again, I, I do have lots of follow up, but for whatever reason, this question sort of springs into my head, which is if there was a Mormon recruiter coming to your door. Now, what would you say to them? And we do get him coming to the door? So I just tell them, uh, I’m nice and I just say, uh, hey guys, thanks, we’re good. Um, we know all about your message and, uh, you know, let’s just leave it at that if they persist and I occasionally they do, then I’ll say, look guys, I used to be Mormon, I’ve been on mission myself. I understand what you’re going through. And, um, if you ever want to have a discussion and you wanna know some things you don’t know that I do know I’m happy to do that.

But on the other hand, if you’re not ready to have your world rocked, then you might wanna just go on to the next door and most people don’t wanna know, not even my own family. They know that, you know, I’ve had discussions with each of my siblings and my parents are passed on. So that for me wasn’t an issue. It is for a lot of people when they discovered the uh the truth behind, you know what they thought they knew. That’s the other thing. Uh If you listen to anybody that’s at the top of the Mormon church, they will tell you that we were the only true church on the face of the earth. Wow, how interesting, because that’s exactly what the Jehovah witnesses leaders tell their followers and that’s exactly what the Catholics tell their followers. So, uh one of the things that I found really interesting to me was there’s a short video, it’s 11 or 12 minutes long and I don’t remember the name of it now, but it’s on youtube and it, and it was all these different people telling, you know, speaking to the camera as I’m doing right now and saying, hey, I, I grew up in the seventh Day Adventist church and I know that my church is the only true church on the face of the earth and they have tears coming down their cheeks and they’re, they’re very much believing what they’re saying.

And then they’ll go to a Mormon and then they’ll go Jehovah Witness and then they’ll go to a Jewish person and then they’ll go to a, a Muslim. And every one of these people are saying the exact same thing that they’ve had a special witness that has, um you know, so they, they can now testify that their beliefs are true and that their religion is the only true religion and of course, for somebody standing on the sidelines, you’re hearing seven or eight different people come forward telling you they know their church is the only true church. Well, how can that be? I mean, yeah, obviously there’s a disconnect. Right. It doesn’t make any sense. So, now I view religion very differently. I think religion works for some people. There’s a sense of community, a sense of togetherness. If I was to move today and I was to move to anywhere in the world. If I was moved to London, England, I could find a Mormon church and go on Sunday and feel like I have people who get me who understand me, who are part of my larger family, so to speak. And I think that’s what religion does for a lot of people there that, that just gives them something to, you know, be comfortable in their life in this crazy world that we live in and people who are like minded and I think they like that.

So, um, we don’t affiliate with any religion at this point in our lives. We, I, I am a humanist. I, I like helping people. I like volunteering. I like, you know, being kind and considerate without any um reward coming my way used to be that we would do something we’d say, oh, hey, we’re getting blessings for that, you know, now we just do it because it’s the right thing to do. That’s nice. Um You, you, you mentioned something in one of your previous answers around the intent of, let’s say the leaders within Mormonism and how they sort of knew that it was. Should we say the wrong thing to do? The reason why I asked you the question about the people coming to your door is I wondered whether you have or have had any resentment in relation to the fact that you spent a portion of your life, a good percentage of it, um, towards something that perhaps you don’t feel is, is true anymore.

So, um, how do you feel about that, that topic? I think once you fail or find out that you’ve been lied to, uh, you’re angry and there’s a, there’s a saying that the truth will set you free and I, my joke is the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. And so I think that’s normal. I think that there’s people. Um, I was angry, I went through an angry phase because I was, I was duped. And, um, a lot of the things I did throughout my life I did because of what I was told, uh, what I believed. Did I ever say that I knew the Mormon church was the only true church. I never said that. I never, because I never knew it. I, I would say my prayers and to be quite honest, I never felt like I ever received an answer. When I prayed, some people say they do, they get a warm feeling, whatever I never did. So I never had a confirmation that these things were true. I was just being told this by others. But when you’re told this by your parents and your grandparents and people that you, you trust, then you just kind of maybe hold on to their testimony or hold on to what their beliefs are until you become an adult.

And then, you know, maybe you have your doubts from but you got leaders saying doubt your doubts, right? So you just kind of roll with it until you don’t. And you know, we were like, I’m not saying the word is smart enough, but we believed enough in our daughter and loved her enough that when she came to us with tears in her eyes saying I found these essays, we studied them in our religions class because she was going to a church owned University, Brigham Young University and in her religion class, they were studying these essays and when she was reading these things, she was like, wait a minute, that’s not what I was taught growing up. So she started and there’s footnotes and you can research the footnotes and then, you know, once you’re on the internet, all the information is there. If you choose to look, most people don’t because once again, we were told not to, we were told not to not to look at things that weren’t church approved. And again, when you’re seeing it from the outside, you’re like, well, no wonder they were telling you those things, they want you to stay in that bubble and, and so once you look and once you see what’s out there, yeah.

So there was definitely an anger phase. Um, I know people that have not gotten past that anger phase, they’ve been in it for years and it just seems to fester and, uh, we’re, we’re not like that. I mean, I would love to be able to, to go to my family and to say, hey guys, here’s all you need to do to look at and you’ll get your own answer, but you’ll see that what you’re, you know, you’re giving these guys 10% of your income. You don’t need to be doing that. They’re one of the most wealthy corporations on the face of the earth. They’re worth some people say up to 250 to $300 billion or more because they have so much, um, real estate that they own throughout the world. Uh, they own so many different things. So they’re just this mega rich corporation and yet they still have people giving 10% of their income many times where they can’t even afford to do so. So I would love to see my family and friends get out from under that just the way we have because then you can take that money.

It’s like I got a 10% raise. Right. When you, if you’re not paying tithing anymore, now you can take that money and give it to charities that are helping people. Um, people who are less fortunate, you certainly don’t need to be giving it to a large corporation that’s got billions and billions of dollars already. Would you mind giving a summary of what were in those essays? Because, uh they were a big, a big deal in terms of the, the change in your life. And um I don’t think many people are privy to, to what’s in them. Well, I’ll tell you this, this would probably only make sense to somebody who’s Mormon. But, but, um, but from the standpoint of you can see the change, I’ll include just one that really affected me. I really believe that Joseph Smith did the things he said he did and the things that make his story so unusual is basically, and I’ll give you a very quick little rundown when he was 14 years old. He says he went into um, a grove of trees and that he knelt down and prayed and that God and Jesus appeared to him and he said he went in there to pray because he wanted to know what church to join because his own family, you know, his, somebody was Methodist, somebody was, you know Presbyterian or whatever they, but his family was different religions.

And so he wanted to know which one was true. Now this is, and then that, you know, again, God and Jesus appeared to him and then they said none of them are true. They all draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And that’s a direct quote from Joseph Smith. So this is when he was 14 and then later he uh received more instruction and organized and started the church in 1830. OK. That’s the version that I taught as a missionary when I was 19 to 21 knocking on doors. I would tell that story. Well, that was a, a church approved version of his first vision that came out in 1838. Well, what the essays taught was in 1832 Joseph Smith actually wrote down what happened to him in the grove of trees when he went in there and knelt down. There’s only one version that’s in his own handwriting and it came out in 1832. And it’s vastly different than what I just told you. He didn’t go there to find out what church was true according in his own words. When he prayed, he only saw one personage.

He says, God appeared to him. So not God and Jesus. Um And so you see all these different pieces of that important story. And because that story without, I mean, that’s, that’s what supposedly set this religion apart is that it’s directly. Um It’s, it’s God’s religion. This is his message and that he appeared to Joseph and told him that and he’s restored the church that was on the earth in jesus’ Times. That’s what we’re taught. But then when you look at the version that’s in, like I say, Joseph’s own handwriting vastly different now than the version that the church accepts and uses. That’s just one thing. But if you lose, if you lose your faith in Joseph Smith, that he did the things he said, he did that, you know, he saw God. And the other part is, is that he says he was visited by a ancient um person who lived here in the Americas back in like, you know, uh uh 3, 400 BC or I’m sorry, three or 480 named Moona.

And that he visited him and he told him where these gold plates were hidden in a hill that Joseph got the gold plates and that he translated them. And that’s what they now use as their doctrine, the book of Mormon that they came from these golden plates. That’s what I was taught my whole life. That’s what I was taught as a missionary. Now, now they say that Joseph had a rock and he put it into a big top hat and he looked into the hat and the words appeared on the rock. OK. So that’s quite a bit different than finding gold plates and translating these gold plates which were a history of these peoples that lived in the Ancient Americas. So there’s just two examples I’m giving you. But doctrinally, it changes everything. If Joseph didn’t need the gold plates, if all he did was stick his head into a hat and read the words that appeared on a rock. Then what was the reason for these gold plates being found? What was, why did these guys haul them around for centuries? Passing them down, father to son and keeping these plates with a history of these peoples if they weren’t even necessary, because all Joseph was doing was looking at a rock in a hat which I never heard anything about until about 10 years ago.

So I lived 50 plus years of my life, never even hearing that. And now that’s what they teach. So the one thing I would say at the very beginning that I didn’t say was we were taught that the church doesn’t change, this is the, the same church that Christ set up when he was on the earth and it doesn’t change and yet they change all the time. So, and they changed things that are quite important. It’s pretty important to me that when you realize that Joseph’s story that he talks about going in and praying and kneeling down and having a visitation that that’s changed vastly over the years. But not only that you can also do research and see that there was other people in Joseph’s own area in that time period, which were having the same types of stories. And so what I have found through study is that Joseph just copied a lot of the things that he heard from other people and he kind of cobbled together his own religion. So, I mean, it’s clearly to me something, he just made up the same way that others have made up other religions and, and that’s ok if people wanna wanna believe that as long as they’re not harming other people and they’re, they’re doing good.

But see, that’s, that becomes a question. Is there harm being done? Is there harm being done when, um, people are being lied to and they’re being duped. So, I think, I think there is, but again, that’s, you might say, oh, well, he’s just disgruntled because, you know, he, he no longer believes and, you know, there’d be some truth to that. I am disgruntled a little bit but everything I’m telling you is fact and I’ll take facts over faith any day. I did want to ask you, you mentioned about the fact that, um, there’s no harm done unless people are, are being harmed. Um, did you, did you experience any, any harm or did you see any of that happening in, in the religion that you were in? Well, there’s always bad apples so to speak. I mean, you have people that are in, uh, so this is a patriarchal, you know, religion as most religions are, the men are in charge. The women are in a very backseat uh position. If you will, they don’t hold any positions of authority. The leaders, there’s a prophet and 12 apostles.

All elderly men. Uh for the most part, all elderly white men because the Mormon church had a belief up until eight, up until 1978 that um African Americans could not uh hold the priesthood, they could not participate in these ordinances. And this was a, like I say, this was until 1978. So it’s a very, uh, so if you’re asking me, I believe it’s, it’s a racist religion. It’s certainly misogynistic religion. Um Right there, you could say that there’s argument that people might be being harmed but maybe not in a physical way. But there’s lots of things that go on that just aren’t appropriate when a, a person turns 12 years of uh of age. They have to have a, an interview with their Mormon bishop who is again a male, usually older person. And so you got this 12 year old girl in there with this man, one on one. And things have happened that shouldn’t have happened and there have been some terrible things that have happened.

So personally, I wasn’t affected in those ways. I do know people who have, I know a lot of people who were and males as well. Um So, yeah, there’s things that go on, but I know that that’s not unique to Mormonism. I think that that’s just unique to people in that power dynamic where you have an older person with a younger person and they, and you know, things can happen, that shouldn’t happen. But uh yeah, it’s, it’s, and, and, and some of those things, there are people that try to bring about change. There was a um damn young, he advocated for having no more one on one interviews with bishops and these young people that at the very least let’s include the parents or a parent in with that child. And so he was excommunicated from the religion, but the church has now adopted some of those things at least saying, hey, if you wanna come in, you can. But so there’s small things like that. I think that that will help.

But yeah, there’s some, there’s some, there’s some things that have gone on. That’s unfortunate and, and people’s lives have been altered and changed and you know, just the fact let’s go back to the whole thing about what I mentioned because I think this is a big one that when you teach that if you have sexual intercourse before marriage, that’s second only to murder. And that is a teaching that the Mormons teach out there when it comes to chastity and saving yourself from marriage and all this kind of stuff. Um You get some unhealthy people on some in, in their relationships because if you’re a young lady who’s been taught all your life that you don’t do these things and you have to cover up and you can’t expose your shoulders or wear dresses too short because you’re tempting them in and this is what they’re taught and that if you know, you don’t wanna be, you know, a chewed piece of gum, they use that analogy with these girls a lot of times that, uh, nobody wants a chewed piece of gum. So you need to, you need to keep yourself pure and ready for marriage. And so, and then all of a sudden they’re married now, you know, do whatever you want.

You can see how there’s a disconnect there. How, how do you go from never doing anything to all of a sudden now it’s your wedding night and you’re supposed to do everything and a lot of people struggle with that big time, but it’s not talked about until you get into, you know, maybe you’re a little older or whatever. And then, you know, we don’t have those same filters anymore, especially now that I’m not part of that religion. Um, I can be very authentic and just say, hey, this is, this is my experience, this is the experience that my wife went through. Uh, this is the experience that others that I know that maybe have left the faith have gone through. And we see that there’s a pattern and the pattern there is, there’s some, uh, it it’s just not healthy and people aren’t comfortable, parents aren’t even comfortable talking to their Children about sex and, and of course, you know, that’s just my experience, um, that I grew up with in many other ways. My life has been pretty normal. I was not and I won’t, I don’t try to ever come across and say that I was the most, um, rule following Mormon.

I, I listened to rock and roll. I grew my hair out. I had girlfriends. I mean, so in many respects I, I believe I was fortunate and, and fairly normal but as far as like having, uh, you know, I did wait until I was, you know, married before I, I had sex, you know, I mean, I might have done some other things along the way, you know, maybe push the boundaries a little bit, but I did wait because it was just so much ingrained into us from the time that you’re 1011, 12 years old that, you know, it’s, it’s pretty, it pretty much takes over what your natural instincts are because I think as a young man growing up, it’s just natural to want to do these things. And so you’re basically trying to restrain yourself and, you know, if you wanna use the term, save yourself, I mean, that’s what they would say until you’re married. So, yeah, it’s very, it’s just very different. But, you know, the weird thing Thomas is when you grow up that way. You don’t see it as being that weird. You just see it as, that’s just your life.

And even though I lived in areas where there weren’t a lot of Mormons when I was in, you know, junior high school, uh, there was like, four or five of us in the whole school of 2000. So, and one of them was my sister. So, I mean, there weren’t a lot of us around but my dad took a job when I was 15 years old in Salt Lake City, Utah at the University of Utah in the music department. And so we moved from Southern California to Salt Lake City Utah. And all of a sudden I had Mormons all around me. It was very different. It was different going from not really knowing almost anybody who was, you know, shared your religious beliefs to them being in the majority. So, yeah, but as a teenager, you know, I was more interested in led Zeppelin and deep purple and, you know, Aerosmith and stuff like that than I was in really, in religion for most part. I mean, I went to church on Sundays but I didn’t do any more than I had to. I think I was a typical teenager for, in that regard. Well, that’s kind of, um, a relief that you were in some sense because if, uh, one of my questions was going to be, do you feel like there was anything major that you missed out on as a result of adhering to all the rules.

But, um, if you were somewhat, uh, you know, um normalizing the rest of those behaviors, it kind of makes it, uh, less, less bad. I don’t know if that’s the right way to put it, but I think it is and here’s the other part in the eyes of the leaders. I, I was, I do, I was not following the rules the way they wanted me to follow the rules. Let’s face it. Um But I think part of that was, and I, I touched on this earlier, even though I said prayers and things, I never had any answers that any of this was true. I was just pretty much going on the, the, the, you know, faith of my parents for the most part, especially during those teenage years. So, yeah, I pushed the envelope a little bit. I mean, you know, I drank a little in high school with my friends and, you know, I smoked a little reefer, um, three or four times. I mean, but when I look and talk to other people, my, my, my upbringing was still pretty, you know, pretty, uh reserved. I mean, I, I had girlfriends, there’s no doubt one thing.

I mean, I would have had sex with my girlfriend. Sure, because that’s a natural progression if you, if you like somebody and you start out holding hands and then, you know, over the period of months, you know, it escalates to other things that would have been a normal part of any romantic, I believe relationship, especially as you get older and you’re, you know, 1718, 1920. Um, but what would happen with me after a year or two? And you’re really liking each other? You just had to call it off. You’re too young to get married and that was the only way that you could then take it to that next level is if you were married. So, yeah, a little strange, a little weird as I look back on it. But again, it seemed normal to me because that was my life. So I’m thinking about someone who may have, let’s say, uh, watched the episode so far. Uh, you, you never know who’s listening and let’s say they’re having the realization that you had. So you essentially realized that you had been lied to. But what in your story, um, what happens next for you?

And what would you recommend someone do based on your experience if they’re in that position, if they’re having doubts? And I know a lot of people do, um, I would just tell them to just do the research and don’t feel bad about it. I mean, at the very least I, I, if you want, you can do research, right? That proves that it’s true. So, hey, do your research and if, and I tell people that because I know if they do the research they’ll find it’s not true. But I have run into people that said that they ended up, um, they heard something from a family member or a friend who had left the religion and they were gonna prove them wrong. So they started doing the research, they read the essays. There’s a book that’s put out called the CE S Letter. Um, and you, and that’s available online too. And so some have gone with the intent of proving the religion true only to then find out upo upon further investigation. Well, they got their answers that it wasn’t. So, yeah, that’s what I would say is if you are having some doubts, do the research, I mean, yeah, I wish I would have done it sooner but it saved a lot of tithing dollars.

But on the other hand, everybody has their own path and I even know people who have done the research found out that it’s not true but continue to go because they love the community. And so we call those uh we call them P os pim os. So that means physically in, mentally out. Well, the what I was um partially getting at was like your whole life is geared around this religion, including your community, your friends, your family. And if you wanna leave, uh that’s difficult. Like someone’s, someone’s gonna struggle with that. So how did you, what happened with, with how you left? We lived in Arizona at the time. This is a good example. And this is a good question, Thomas because I, for the most part didn’t do a whole lot of things that were related to the church in my, uh, fifties and forties and fifties. Um, I played a lot of softball. I still do travel around, play on tournament teams. Most of those teammates weren’t Mormon. I had a poker group I played with for 10 years. Plus there might have been one other Mormon person in there.

So, what I’m getting at is a lot of my friends. I had a lot that were Mormon, but I had a lot that weren’t Mormon. So when I discovered and came to the conclusion that the church wasn’t true and it wasn’t right for me. I wanted out. It was very easy because I didn’t have my day to day wasn’t, you know, but my wife, on the other hand, almost all of her friends were members of the church were Mormons, fellow Mormons. And she discovered within just a few months that by her leaving, it changed the dynamic. It changed the way that the others they didn’t include her anymore in going on a hike or going to play pickleball or going to do something all of a sudden she felt like she was being left out of things and, and sometimes it wasn’t even necessarily intentional. But if you’re not at church and you’re not mingling and you’re not having these conversations about, oh, hey, on Tuesday we’re gonna go do this hike. Well, then you just don’t find out about it unless somebody calls you and tells you. So it, it may not have been intentional, but she just felt like she had kind of lost her, her friend base and her friend group.

And so she wanted to move and that’s why we moved. We actually moved here in part because she wanted to start over where people didn’t know our history and didn’t know what we had done. And, and it’s comical to us because we actually ended up moving to Utah, which is the stronghold for the Mormon church. And, and I didn’t know if we could do it. I said to her, I go, man, I, we love Saint George area because of the hiking and the weather. We can play softball here. I played a game uh two days ago. So, I mean, and here we are mid November and the weather is still conducive that we can do these things. We can get out and walk each day and ride our bikes. And so we love being here, but gosh, can we live there where there’s Mormons everywhere? Well, the good thing is there’s not as many Mormons as there used to be and everybody on our street where I live, there’s only two or three Mormon families out of, you know, 12 or 15. So, um we all get along fine. It all, it’s, it’s working out great. We’ve been here about five years. But, yeah, it was, it was hard for my wife to make that adjustment because her friends really did. Um, it became uncomfortable and it just, she just felt like we needed a break and we needed to start over.

So, yeah. Well, that’s certainly one way to do it. Moving location is, is definitely a way to do it. So, um, uh we spoke before, uh, about covering some of the episode on, um, your memoir, which is nobody knows, they just want you to think they do. Would you mind sharing a little bit about the book and also how you came up with that title? Because it’s a, uh it’s an interesting title. So here’s the funny part, you know, Thomas, when I started this book, I was still a member of the Mormon Faith. So I started this book and, you know, II I didn’t even start the book with the intent of really writing a book. Not initially because I’ve always kept journals. I’ve got journals from the time I was born. Now, my mom helped me with the first, you know, 10 years of my life. But from about that point on, I mean, I’ve got them all the way up through maybe two weeks ago when I last wrote an entry. So I thought, well, you know what, I’m gonna put down some of my feelings and this and that. And that’s kind of how my book started. And then it just became, I did decide to write a book at that point. And so, but during that time is when I also found out about the church.

So if you’ll see parts in there that maybe I would write a little differently today. But it’s ok because that’s how I felt at the time. But the title is just the way I believe. Nobody knows. II, I mentioned earlier, the video that I watched on youtube where seven or eight different people were, were, you know, stating that they knew their church was true. The end of the day, nobody knows they’ll tell you that they’ll even get tears in their eyes and be very um passionate about what they believe. Again, I use that term what they believe, but they’ll tell you that they know, but I understand that but I know they don’t know. Um I had a friend come over and he says, yeah, I’m atheist. I, I know there’s no God. I go, hold on. How can you say, you know, how can you say, you know, 100% now, you may not see any evidence that there’s a God. Uh You may not uh you know, believe the things that other people say that there is a God. But at the end of the day, you can’t say 100% that, you know, there’s no God.

And so he says all Right. I’m 99.9% sure. And I said, ok, and, and so that’s what I say. When somebody tells me that they know that there is a God, I’ll just say, hey, nobody knows. And when you come to the religions, that’s kind of, that’s kind of a little bit of a jab at them. Nobody knows. They just want you to think they do because that’s, they’ll, they’ll put the message out there that they do know and that they, some of them will even say they communicate with God, right? And hey, I’m giving you this directive because this is what God has told me. Do you know that Joseph Smith went to a 14 year old girl and he said, an angel with a flaming sword commanded that you and I marry. And I mean, so Joseph Smith was one of the first early guys that he kind of used that. Of course, all these things that they say there’s no way to prove or disprove, right? They’re just saying these things I talk to, I went to the guard or the grove of trees. I knelt down and God appeared to me.

Did he? I mean, you could tell me that right now and I couldn’t say it didn’t, right. But I mean, again, I think, I think sometimes we just have to use common sense and, and if the information shows the side of an individual, if you look through their past and their history and what they’ve done. Um, Joseph Smith did some things prior to this organization of this religion in 1830. I mean, he was arrested for, um, he would go to people and say, oh, I can find hidden treasures in your land and he would go with a and, you know, he was what they called a money digger. And so he was actually arrested for that and find this is before he ever even started his religion. So I think if you have an individual that has a questionable past, that should be, you should be wary of that individual. Well, the, the title actually reminds me a little bit about a story or maybe a parable about Socrates, which is, uh when he was named the, uh the Smartest man or the, the, the wisest man at that time.

And, uh, he says that how, how can I, how can someone name me, the wisest man when I si s openly say that I know nothing. And his conclusion was that he’s the wisest man because he knows that he doesn’t know anything essentially, whereas everyone else claims to know something that they don’t actually know. So, uh that title just reminded me a little bit of that. But, um, thank you for sharing your story, uh, and your expertise on this topic. If people want to buy the book, where do they go, you know, the easiest place to just go to Amazon Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s other places but that’s the easiest place to find it. Um, and I wrote the book because I think a lot of times when we do this, like doing the podcast, Thomas, some of this is therapeutic. Some of this is, um, I enjoy doing it. I got my degree in sports broadcasting. I used to, you know, be on TV, doing sports back in the day, uh, for a short period of time. And uh but I’ve always been a people person. I enjoy communications. I like the interaction and I learn things all the time.

I mean, when I’m interviewing people on my podcast, uh my podcast is nobody knows your story and it’s just people coming on and telling their story. Kind of like we’re doing here today, our podcasts are similar and, but every time I do that I learn something and because when you’re the one in your position today where I’m the guest, I’m doing most of the talking. But when I have a guest on, I’m mostly listening and that’s when you learn and I learn a lot. So, yeah, yeah, you can find the book at, at Amazon though. That’s probably the easiest place to go. And again, i it’s just my take on different subjects. But the whole intent of that book is to get people to think because that’s the one thing if I have a takeaway from this high demand religion is, hey, just think just go, you know, if your gut is telling you something, you better listen to that because a lot of times, yeah. And, and do your research, we have the information at our fingertips now, right? With our cell phones and different things, we can look things up all the time. How many times are you watching Netflix? And you’ll see somebody goes, yeah, I remember that guy.

What show was he in? And then you go in and you check the cast and, you know, we do that all the time and I will say this because I know you’re in the UK, some of our favorite shows are some of the British crime dramas and stuff. We really enjoy watching those. Well, that’s good to know. Um, is, is there anything I should have asked you about today? I don’t think so. I mean, I, I could talk for hours because again, that’s just part of my nature. But I believe that this is our only life. Now, this is me speaking now. I don’t believe in any kind of heaven except that I’m hopeful that there will be something beyond this life. We had a son that passed away five years ago. He was 31 years old and he had a ruptured iliac artery so that when it ruptured, he was actually dead in less than 90 minutes. I was out of town at a softball tournament. My wife was in Hawaii with the birth of our first grandchild. And we, so, and he was in Arizona and that was a traumatic event and, and I’m, I’ll close with this Thomas because in the Mormon faith and in many faiths, but certainly in the Mormon faith, this belief that we will be reunited as a family in the next life that gave a lot of comfort when someone would lose a child or maybe a spouse or a parent.

Um, because, you know, oh, I’ll see them again. Well, once you leave that religion and you don’t have those beliefs anymore and then you experience the loss of a child like we did. Now. It’s kind of like, wow, maybe will never see dusty again. I mean, I hope we do. I hope there’ll be something but I don’t know that. And so, yeah, things change for sure. I mean, and I, I guess if that’s one thing we didn’t really talk about but this belief in what’s gonna happen if anything after this life has definitely changed for us 100 and 80 degrees. So I enjoy each day. I just try, I mean, we, we, we go places, we do things, we, we went to New Zealand and Tonga and Samoa and Fiji this year. We’re just trying to do things because, you know, there’s gonna be a time where we physically can’t and then there’ll be a time when this life is over and this may be it again. Nobody knows. So, um Would you say you’re making the absolute most of you that of the time that you have now? Is that a fair summary?

Yes, that’s a fair summary. Trying to do the best. I’m, I’m happy to talk to anybody about. Um, like I said before, anybody that’s in the Mormon faith, if they wanted to come to me and ask questions, happy to talk to them. Most don’t. I think most people are comfortable and, and sometimes I think they view people who have left as people who have been deceived. Uh, you know, the devil got to them or whatever they wanna believe and, and I don’t even judge them because to be honest, Thomas, that’s what I used to believe too. Well, um, I think you’re a great example of someone who’s done some digging and, uh, made some informed conclusions and I appreciate your time and of you being a great podcast guest today. Thanks Thomas. Thanks for having me on the show. I really do appreciate it.