John Dehlin, a psychologist and researcher best-known for his 12-year run of podcasts Mormon Stories that tries to answer questions members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have about their faith, was excommunicated by the LDS Church as an apostate more than a year ago.
Following his excommunication, Dehlin and his family were shunned by their Mormon neighbors. “One moment you have the love and support of your community—then you’re in a spiritual ghost town,” he says.
Dehlin and his wife were able to deal with having neighbors isolate them—refusing to even acknowledge them on their block, but the impact on his children was heart-breaking. Mormon kids were no longer allowed to play or associate with the Dehlin children. “Young men in the high school who used to date my daughters thought they were going to have sex with them because their dad had been excommunicated,” Dehlin says. “Your kids wonder, ‘Why do these boys assume I’m a slut?’ You are shamed and you are shunned.”
The Dehlins ultimately fled their Logan home to Salt Lake City where the culture is more diverse and accepting.
Dehlin spoke frankly with Salt Lake magazine about the price he paid for seeking answers about his faith, how his family is rebuilding its spiritual life as outsiders and the future of the Mormon faith.
Go here for our two-part podcast on the cost of questioning the LDS hierarchy.