Mormon No More is a Hulu original documentary series that follows two Mormon moms who fall in love, leave the faith and begin an emotional journey of self-discovery.
The moms in question are Lena Schwen and Sally “Sal” Osborne. Before Schwen and Osborne came out, they did the things that two women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are supposed to do. They married men. They had seven children between them. Then a mutual friend introduced the two women. They became friends, but Schwen and Osborne later realized that what they felt for each other was more than just friendship. The trailer encapsulates this moment in a single line: “We were creating the perfect Mormon family, and then I fell in love with my friend.”
This is where the documentary picks up. According to a release from ABC News Studios, Mormon No More follows the couple as they find their truth, live the pain of losing their faith and navigate their fraught exits out of the LDS church and their “straight” marriages. Through it all, there’s also the practical challenges of learning how to co-parent seven children with their ex-husbands and planning their wedding.
Much of the conflict hinges on the LDS Church’s attitudes and policies towards what the leadership calls “same-sex attraction,” relationships and marriage. While public-facing attitudes have softened toward gay members of the Church over recent years, the Church has held fast to its belief that eternal salvation can only be reached by faithful members who marry in an LDS temple. LDS temple marriage can only be between a man and a woman (or a man temple-married to multiple women, but that’s a discussion for another day).
Surrounding that seemingly firm principle, laid bare in the Church’s Family Proclamation, is ambiguity. We’ve seen LDS Church leadership say there are no homosexual Mormons, create policy excluding the children of gay parents from baptism (then reverse that same policy years later), restrict the membership of transgender members in its recent handbook, deny queer BYU students and allies the right to demonstrate, encourage members at BYU to take up muskets in defense of the Church’s views on marriage, encourage gay members to live in celibacy, encourage gay members to enter or continue “straight” marriages and encourage all members to oppose the legal codification of gay rights. Meanwhile, the church outwardly promotes “kindness and civility” toward all to foster a “warm and welcoming environment” for all members (even the LGBTQ+ ones).
For people in Schwen’s and Osborne’s situation—navigating the intersections of LDS faith, Mormon culture and queer identity—the persistently equivocal messaging can make you feel like the ground never stops shifting long enough to find your balance, let alone figure out where you stand.
“We were creating the perfect Mormon family, and then I fell in love with my friend.”
Sally “Sal” Osborne, Mormon No More
Osborne, who was born in Ogden, Utah to an LDS family, has opened up online about her experience being raised in the church. She says she was bullied most of her life for not fitting a traditional feminine mold within Mormonism, and Mormon No More shows how she and Schwen and other LGBTQ+ ex-Mormons, who struggled to reconcile their identities within the confines of their faith, have to now reconcile their identities outside of the church as well, while confronting shame and possible rejection from their predominantly LDS communities.
Schwen has a unique perspective as someone who converted to the LDS Church as a teenager. She has now had to negotiate “abandoning” two faiths—her LDS faith and her family’s Catholic faith—in the process.
Osborne, who now works as a “coming out coach” and has a podcast Peace Out, has told her story as a way to help others going through a similar faith crisis on her own podcast and with Schwen on episodes of the Mormon Stories podcast.
All four episodes of Mormon No More begin streaming Friday, June 24, only on Hulu.
Official Synopsis of Mormon No More:
Mormon No More, an ABC News Studios docuseries, follows two married Mormon moms who fall in love and leave the faith. The series, streaming Friday, June 24 on Hulu, explores how the couple navigates telling their husbands, families, and the church, and what it’s like to co-parent their combined seven children with their ex-husbands. Their journey includes other Mormon and ex-Mormon LGBTQ+ allies who wrestle with the church’s prohibitive doctrine on same-sex relationships. Their powerful testimonies speak of shame, rejection and ultimately hope. Mormon No More is produced for Hulu by ABC News Studios. Edward Hambleton and Claire Weinraub are executive producers, Keturah Gray is senior producer, and Megan Isenstadt is supervising story producer.
Read Salt Lake magazine’s reviews of FX’s Under the Banner of Heaven and the FLDS documentaries Preaching Evil on Paramount and Keep Sweet on Discovery+ and Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey on Netflix, as well as our coverage of Netflix’s Murder Among The Mormons.