Authentically Healthier and Happier in Most Ways

I posted this picture, to the right, on my Facebook wall recently, Let Go of Fearalong with this language: “Understood this in a much different, and less powerful way in the past… One of the most important requirements in living a deeply authentic and happy life, in my opinion!”

Among the handful of people that made a comment, was my long time friend Doug who was a missionary companion of mine…and our families have been close over the years, and we have MANY great memories together. Because I have had the experiences that I have in the past year and a half, and have learned of some things that have been absolutely shocking to me, I have decided to respond to Doug’s comment, but I knew that it wouldn’t fit in a Facebook post. And, because I have been fairly silent over the recent months, and I have had so many people asking us so many questions about what the latest is, and I have gained new insights from cordial yet candid conversations with high level Mormons, I figured another blog post might be most efficient. So, the following started as a response to Doug’s comment, but it came together for anyone who may want to know. It is with a most sincere love in my heart, for so many people, that I write this.

For reference, here is Doug’s comment he made on my posting of that picture:

Look unto me in every thought, doubt not. Fear not, D&C 6:36 As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9. Awesome principles and truths!!!!! Love you my friend!

WARNING: Sensitive new information unknown by most about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you are someone who would not like to know this information, then you may want to pass on reading this post.

Doug, although I know your heart is good and that you most likely have positive intentions here, I thought it may be helpful for you to know my thoughts about where I am in my life, and also about you using my Facebook wall to proselyte your belief that those words you quoted are actually scripture that come from a divine source. The last real substantive conversation we had was by email about a year ago, and you never came back to the conversation like you said you would, saying to me that you would answer my sincere questions about the role of a historian, role of a scholar, value of objectivity, etc…, then never doing so, presumably because you realized the communication of your logic had fallen apart about Kerry Muhlestein’s self-admitted unwavering allegiance to his confirmation bias regarding the Book of Abraham. Looking at the BofA with a fuller definition of integrity and courage, it screams fraudulent at every level…like each and every one of the church’s fundamental truth claims…when put under an honest attempt at objective scrutiny. Meeting with Marlin Jensen, repenting multiple times a day trying to make sure there wasn’t anything making us unworthy, and studying our hearts out to try to prove the church right, we tried to find at least one claim. But there is not one single truth claim the church makes that is clean. They are all dirty. And now it is a 100% verifiable fact that there has been cover-up after cover-up, decade after decade. They are admitting some of it…with really flimsy wordsmithing, but admitting some of it nonetheless.

At first, we just really thought we were just being tested, and that we could find at least something, at least one way to hang onto what we had come to treasure as our most valuable asset–our precious belief, faith, and testimony.


Unfortunately Doug, those selected verses you posted in your comment contradict several other verses which creates, among other things, massive cognitive dissonance, a requirement for placing confirmation bias above evidence, and also the breaking of the law of non-contradiction. These other verses of ‘God’s word’ I am referring to, instill deep fear into the mind of the believer, threatenings of the darkness of being ‘cast out’; wo’s pronounced if there is any mocking of the men called Prophet’s; you will be led by Satan; you will be as chaff driven before the wind; threatenings of being burned; eternal/everlasting punishment; damnation to our soul; vengeance; condemnation; the list goes on.

Referencing the scripture in Isaiah is one of the common go-to copouts that I have seen a few of the apologists at FAIRMormon try to use when substantive conversation isn’t working in their favor. “…so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  It doesn’t stand to reason, or make any sense whatsoever that a god who created us deliberately with the limited capacities he designed, and the wide array of social constructs, and the attached seemingly insurmountable pressures that come along with them, that he would have the foreknowledge of, would play a warped mind game like that. Keep in mind what we taught on our mission to be ‘The’ Plan of Salvation and the purpose of our mortal life, and the accompanying scriptures like Alma 12:24…

…nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God;…

doesn’t fit way over 99.999% of the world population throughout the history of the world. Almost every single child of god throughout the history of the world doesn’t fit ‘The Plan’, and it all has to get chalked up to the ‘Millenium’? This isn’t what scriptures say, and this appears to become watered down to the point that the “mortal life” part of  “The Plan” is so insignificant that it makes it meaningless for almost everyone.


Honestly think about this for just two minutes with a best attempt at objectivity. In thinking about it for very long periods of time, really wanting to cling to truth whenever and wherever I could find it, the only thing that started to make sense was to stop trying to fit the square peg into the round hole. In those private moments of personal hell, I reminded myself what I’d heard over and over again since my youth, “Integrity is doing what is right, NO MATTER what the consequences are.”…and, “Courage is one of the noblest of virtues.”

It was in these scary, yet genuinely self-honest moments, the lights came on. Light was finally able to illuminate that particular darkness I had been mentally wrestling with.  My anguished and thirsty-for-truth mind flooded with common sense, with reason, with rationality, with logic, with clarity, and most importantly, with peace. My fear was still there at that time, but the mental and emotional stress from trying to bend all my honest thoughts out of shape was gone. I wasn’t being tormented anymore. I had already verified that the new information wasn’t just lies from Satan trying to lead me astray. It was verifiable truth that changed all the definitions for almost every single thing I had learned and taught over the years…new information that proved that there have been gross cover-ups, deceit, wordsmithing, and mostly all revisionist history pushed forward. I thought about the much larger populations of people in other religions view their contradictory doctrines equally, if not more, emphatically, and the similar ways that I could see them dissociating from anything that contradicted what they taught.

Because it causes cognitive dissonance to think about it, and what kind of God would require such mental gymnastics, absurdities, inconsistencies, etc. to do it like that, most members that I’ve talked to about it, just want to change the subject, and talk about their undeniable “witness”…in very similar ways that I used to do. I can understand, but with new information comes new opportunities to vet believed “truths”. Wouldn’t God be on the side of truth? Within my basic understandings of belief that I used to have, setting aside the scare tactics and fear mongering, the bold claims of truth, revelation, answers, miracles, knowledge, wisdom, our God-given individual agency, wouldn’t you be able to shine the light of truth on any cloudiness that Satan tried to deceive you with.  It boggles my mind that, with the basics of what is taught about Integrity, and Honesty from primary classes on, that most members are not even willing to look at information, and have conversations.

I say this with so much tenderness, and empathy, because I know how difficult it is because of what we have been taught. But, I have a much stronger “testimony”, if you want to call it that, and with “further light and knowledge”, if you want to call it that, I “know” in a more realistic, informed, and excuse free way, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is just another man made religion, and its members are in the same kind of identifiable mind control of other religions. Now, having been liberated from it for a while, and able to really get a good feel for what it is like completely on the outside, it is astonishing, yet very understandable (because I have been there) how so many people are trapped in these kinds of self-sabotaging thinking traps. Now that I have vetted several things up the ying yang, it is more than astonishing, it is also a travesty, irrational, and downright weirdness…just like I used to view several of those “other churches” out there. I am not referring to everything in the religion. Obviously there are some good fruits, and I love those. But, I have learned the things that are good about Mormonism are not at all unique, and the things that are unique about Mormonism are not all good. There are bad fruits that come from it. People are harmed and are suffering because of Mormonism. I was never willing nor able to think that thought before, but in those self-honest thinking moments, it becomes clearer and clearer. Now, since we spoke publicly about our story, having talked to well over a thousand people myself, hearing their stories, and feeling a portion of their pain with them, I now can see how bad and how horrible some of those fruits really are. ‘All is not well in Zion’ seems to have become the understatement of the decade.

Any organization that will not let you leave with your dignity in tact, is by definition, a cult. With my very best attempt at integrity and courage, I now know from first hand experience that Mormonism crumbles under even small amounts of honest scrutiny, and indeed fits that description. Members, though many ignorantly happy like I was, live in fear of speaking up, in fear of thinking for themselves, in fear of questioning (that would be one of the worst and most horrible behaviors… to speak evil of the Lord’s Annointed), in fear of the social, mental, emotional, and spiritual repercussions that have been warned they will experience. “Stay on the boat”, etc. The absolute line gets drawn… The protection of the Church on one side, and being tossed to and fro under Satan’s power on the other.

Modern Mormonism has been built, by accident or design, with very strong and specific language that places high levels of pressure on members if they even think about vocally questioning the official narrative. I was deep, deep, deep within this mindset, and without what I know now to be verifiable actual proof, I would have never been able to see it or admit it. Having seen the difference for quite a while now, I can’t express eloquently enough with words how beautiful it has been to have been liberated from the limitations of my ability to think for myself…to be honest with myself…to be willing to challenge my own conclusions from every angle. It has enriched my life in so many positive ways. RuthAnn has expressed to me several times how incredibly grateful she is to feel safe and secure while honestly questioning the wonder of this life without restraint. Each of our older three kids have come to us and thanked us for resigning all of our memberships instead of keeping our names on the roles. They express gratitude that they are allowed the freedom to think and be without the pressure from us or leaders to conform. We love that we are able to own our own core values, instead of being told what they are. It feels more authentic, more honest, and if feels incredibly good to be building a healthy and genuine life. We all now have our own ‘testimonies’ of how mentally and emotionally healthy it really has been. We were warned so emphatically over and over it would be the opposite. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying its all been wonderful. We’ve dealt with lots of pain and heartache associated with loved ones judging us instead of asking questions, and from some mistakes that we’ve made in dealing with all of the social complexities along the way, but despite what we were warned would happen to our lives, we’ve had so many moments of pure joy, deeper love, more humility, and we have real peace with where we are and the life we are building. Overall, we feel safe, secure, and authentic peace.


Though I acknowledge some definitive collective and individual benefits to what could be considered obedient behavior in society, I have become acutely aware that the picking and choosing of ‘scripture’, within the “obedience is the first law of heaven” paradigm, licenses a variety of behaviors that are not good for humanity in many ways…things that I readily dissociated from in the past, but am no longer willing to do, because I have seen so much suffering of honest and honorable people.

I feel that a part of love, is standing up for injustices when we become aware of them. This happens not only within Mormonism, but within many other groups. Many Mormon’s, agreeably out of love, are full of compassionate thoughts when they see other people who don’t have what they have, or who may not have the ‘fullness’ yet. But, the unwillingness of the Mormon to challenge their own beliefs stems from somewhere. Aside from any of the talks about confusion, and who the author of lies and confusion is, upon a quick search on the church’s website you can find a whole smattering of conference talks and scriptures that are at the heart and soul of this. When viewed at face value in relation to the modeling for mind control, they are by definition scare tactics and fear mongering. temple recommend(i.e. temple recommend question “Do you associate with…” ; “Don’t criticize leaders…even if criticism is true”.-Oaks ; “if you want your testimony to grow, bear it often” – whether the leader understands they are doing it or not, this is a classic mind control technique that has been used by many groups that have been on the wrong side of history, and actually now verifiably bad for humanity; Satan is the author of lies and confusion–now proven to be the church’s own teachings; Ad hominem attacks attempting to discredit the questioner instead of addressing subject matter- Holland, Bednar, Oaks, Ballard, Perry, Packer, and now Christofferson have all become notorious for this…etc…)

If you truly desire to have a relationship with me, my preference would be to have you love me right where I am, right now, without attempting to get me to come around to what you presume is your special way of believing, or using my Facebook wall to bear testimony, or anything else of the nature. Having been over a year and a half now, I am a personal witness to myself, that your analogy about trading a spotlight for a flashlight regarding the gift of the holy ghost, has been, in a very dramatic way, the complete opposite. spotlightIf you could only spend a week with me, you would understand what I mean in a much clearer way, and I would like to hope that you would be willing to back off of that horribly erroneous belief. Those scriptures and teachings that led you, and me to that belief are wrong. I now know that with 100% absolute clarity, for myself. Because you haven’t been where I’ve been, I hope you can see why I am bringing that kind of judgment to your attention.  You can choose to still believe that, as that is your prerogative, but I can assure you that any attempt to articulate anything like that to me again would only be absurdity in my mind, as I now have been within both paradigms, and have learned that the threatenings were not based on truth.


I want to respect you right where you are, but if you are going to, in a drive-by manner, communicate with me regarding topics that I have now seen a whole other side to, and I can now see are divisive and hurtful in nature, I will take it as an invitation to authentically communicate my perspectives. I know how I would have interpreted that in the past, and I know that some people will view it as attacking their beliefs. But, that is not what it is, at all. I am not the one making fundamental truth claims. The burden of proof always rests with the one making a truth claim. So far, I haven’t had any PhD, any Prophet, and General Authority, any Stake President, anyone, back up any truth claim with anything more than logical fallacies, ad hominem attacks, illogical double speak, and licensing their bad behaviors with ‘feelings’ and ‘personal witnesses’. For a very long time, I had all those same kinds of “undeniable” feelings, but I have now learned that so many other people, even in more emphatic ways are also claiming the exact same thing, even though it is in complete opposition to the truth claims of Mormonism. What kind of God would require or allow illogical, irrational, dysfunctional, weird, doublethink, doublespeak, victim glasses/persecution complex mentality, to back up the story of who He is, and how to believe in Him, and how important that belief and faith is to your everlasting condition? I call B.S., because when you look at it honestly, and heat it up, even just a little bit,  that is what it boils down to be.

When looked at with a best attempt at intellectual honesty, organized religion appears to be nothing more than organized superstition-some more superstitious, believing, mystical, good, bad, helpful, harmful than others. Most Mormons are staunch Atheists regarding the other 999 Gods out there being worshipped–all very very different from each other, yet they can’t even comprehend the concept of being an A…theist because of how the word has been demonized… through repetition, scare tactics, and several other types of mind control. I have also learned how brain chemistry is different for everyone, and when these kinds of feelings come from the amygdala or other parts of the brain, the most common behavior is to create meaning and try and protect confirmation bias and other forms of filtering. These protections of our perceived need to be right or certain is not based on a human need, rather gets it’s origin in our fears and insecurities that get their origin primarily from social constructs. Having been there, I know some things that I couldn’t ever see before.  My arrogance, of having been “chosen”…my having things “figured out”…my certainty about how God speaks to me (How to hear my Father’s voice)…all stemmed from the teachings about being special, noble, chosen, valiant, etc. I have now learned how wrong I was, and how blissfully ignorant I truly was. I feel so much better about myself now than I ever did within the ‘Chosen’ paradigm.


Several people ask me, “So then Kenn, what are you?… or, What do you believe now?” I am not an Atheist. I am not a believer. I am not a non-believer. I am not an Agnostic. I am not any label or stereotype. I am just Kenn, and I am as honest and sincere as I know how to be about what I have been discovering once I took off the persecution complex goggles, did my best to give a fair shake to information I had encountered…and decided that I care more about reality than what my perception of it, at any given moment, may be. I left the fear that I didn’t even realize I had with me all those years. I am ‘Open’.

Please don’t misinterpret my thoughts here. I really do hope that you take all of my comments in the positive standing-up-for-injustices-as-a-part-of-love flavor they are meant.  I am really trying my best to live: Love above ideology; Relationships above theology; and Human connection above belief.

I know this may be a difficult concept for you to really allow as a possibility, because I once thought much like you, and I know I would have had a hard time thinking that it was possible. But, in the most authentic way, me, RuthAnn and my amazing kids are much happier 100% outside of the religion. Not that I don’t have my bad moments like most, but overall, I am MUCH happier than I ever have been…and actually those bad moments have dramatically decreased…and I’ve realized most of the bad moments when I encounter judgmental individuals, or when I see someone in a position of authority engaged in some awful behavior that is causing actual harm to someone else. Because I am a personal witness to my own experience, and because I have seen so many real people needlessly suffering, I am 100% convinced that the world is not really divided up between the believers and the unbelievers of whatever may be somebody’s most special way to believe.…even though vast segments of the world have this kind of paradigm.

I can’t, in all honesty, agree with any form of attempting to convince people that the world really is divided between believers and the unbelievers. I have found it more than just difficult to accept any scripture, doctrine, dogma, belief, faith, teaching, that promotes any form of ‘forsaking’ relationships for a belief system because there will be some reward after death. Analyzing this from every possible angle that I know how, it is irreconcilable, and doesn’t fit into Love being the proclaimed central narrative of the belief system. Even though there are many great things that are done and believed by people in religion, and there is much good that comes out of it. divisiveI have learned from personal experience, this underlying divisiveness can be pointed to as one of the worst parts of humanity, and is the bedrock origin for most of the worlds worst tragedies. I would have never been willing to see that when I was thick in the middle of it. In my personal experience, tough love, and loving from a distance, are weak excuses for what some people call love. I was a much worse parent when I was in the middle of it. My efforts revolved around getting my kids to conform to everything I believed came from God as the most important way to live. It was not with respect to their individual agency, nearly to the level that it is now. The kind of love that seems to fit best, with all of the people I have interviewed about it, inside of religion and out, is where I love someone right where they are right now…putting the relationship first. This doesn’t require any acceptance of cognitive dissonance or a watered down version of love.

I have learned from personal experience, that it is difficult for people, to do that within the ‘belief/certainty/absolutes is all important’ paradigm. Because of what I have verified to be the truer truth about Mormonism, I have learned, because I care so much, to illuminate any form of fundamentalism, absolutism, or black-and-white thinking that puts such an elevated status on belief, faith, and trust in leaders in front of relationships. That is not love! It doesn’t feel like love! It doesn’t sound like love. It is behavior typically licensed by allegiance to socially constructed belief, authority, and conformity. When I got to the point of asking myself, “If my beliefs really aren’t true, would I even want to know”, and then finally getting to the answer of yes, because of my personal convictions about integrity, courage, and authenticity, everything started to make the most sense.

Because our relationship has been so seriously strained, because of what I now can see clearly as the result of various aspects of mind control, I don’t know if you will be willing to consider my perspective on this or not. But I will try in the hope that the relationship can improve. To me, it seems like real friends are willing to put something as trivial as socially constructed belief in it’s proper place beneath the relationship. Doesn’t it stand to reason that real friends should be willing to candidly be intellectually honest to talk about anything and everything.Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 9.17.42 PMIf you care to know, I will tell you the crux of who I am. Because I now have a much different worldview than I did previously, and it has, so far, resulted in me being dramatically more humble/teachable-because I love discovering how I may be seeing something wrong, I am more full of love for people right where they are, more tolerant, more patient, care way more about reality instead of my confirmation biases, anchoring biases, sunk cost biases, and any other dissociation or filtering.

I care about people and doing my very best to discover reality. Certainly, if there is a God, then he or she or it would jive perfectly with reality…whatever that is, and not what can be definitively proven false…through a simple series of asking elementary questions. I have learned the benevolent God of Mormonism is easy to deconstruct. I am willing to be wrong about anything. Our confirmation bias, if we were born in some part of the middle east, would most likely license us to hating Jews, beheading Christians, and trying to rid the world of the infidel-“the Unbeliever”. I have learned from first hand experience how confirmation bias in some forms can actually cause horrific harm and suffering to honest people.

I was threatened and warned by leaders, and “sacred scripture”, that I would be leaving the protection of my covenants, and become dark, and be over in Satan’s territory. From now seeing these kinds of teachings harming so many real people and families, I now see many of the ways mind control is harmful. holland-angryBecause I am intimately involved in my own story, I have now learned that it is 100% fact that those scare tactics and fear mongering found in “scripture”, and from the mouths of men who I wholeheartedly believed to be Prophets of God, were not based on truth…like I really believed they were when I was within that belief. If you knew all of the things that I have verified to be more accurate now, and you were willing to accept them, despite powerful feelings that you’ve had (which so many other religious zealots claim as well that they use to license themselves to behaviors that hurt real people as well) you would know that it is literally impossible for the church to be what the leaders claim it to be. The truth claims are easily disintegrated by recent acknowledgments and the ‘current canonized scriptures’.

The church’s recent “disavowal of the Curse of Cain”, the curse of the dark skin, in the Race and the Priesthood essay, while at the same time requiring members to fall into a huge thinking trap (leaving all of the narrative and doctrine in the current ‘canonized’ scriptures–that are supposed to be God’s word to us, the little people who need them and the church to stay out of Satan’s territory, so we can know the right and correct way to believe and behave), Lamanites vs Nephitesis one of many examples. This is not old information that has been hashed through over and over. It is a very recent acknowledgment. Also, it has nothing to do with the weaknesses of men, and everything to do with WHAT IS AND WHAT IS NOT ETERNAL DOCTRINE OR CANONIZED SCRIPTURE WITH A DIVINE ORIGIN. Think of the entire story of the Nephites and the Lamanites. Now, think of all the scriptures that come to mind regarding the curse of the dark skin. Two Sundays ago, we met for 2.5 hours in the living room of Marlin K. Jensen and his wife Kathy. We visited them with Hans and Birgitta Mattsson, who stayed at our home for several days before sharing their heart wrenching yet inspiring story in Salt Lake City. 116coverThe Jensens were so gracious to meet with us, and we are very grateful for them, because it was refreshing compared to what we have experienced from most others. I can only imagine the internal struggle knowing what is asked in the temple recommend interview about associating with people who have made the decisions we have, and knowing that all four of us had spoken publicly about our discoveries, and also about our disaffection from the religion we had grown to love. Among many other things candidly discussed, when we asked Marlin and Kathy how this recent disavowal by the church of the Curse of Cain, can possibly be reconciled with the fundamental truth claims, Kathy didn’t even know what we were talking about, because she hadn’t heard about it yet. There was an awkward moment of her looking at Marlin, and me saying, “Marlin knows what I’m talking about.” Stumped for anything at all that could seem like an answer with any resemblance of reasonability, and Marlin trying to, at first, redefine what has been disavowed, ultimately ,they both said, “yeah….pause….mmmmm…. that’s a tough one.”

Honestly give that some deliberate thought for a full minute or two. Now ask yourself, “If the General Authorities and Modern Day Revelators/Prophets/Apostles/Seers of the church can’t answer simple questions about very simple and faith destroying contradictions within their own current canonized scriptures, and teachings, then could there be another explanation for my feelings, and what if it really isn’t ‘true’? Do I have enough integrity and courage, if that really were the case, to be honest with my loved ones?”

when an honest man

Kathy Jensen also didn’t know about how there weren’t any gold plates needed to be used for the entire translation process of the Book of Mormon we have today…but Marlin did, and apparently, he didn’t want to get into any details of how that creates a whole host of problems because of ‘approved’ correlated materials, because of Joseph’s and many other leader’s emphatic truth claims to the contrary, and because of the MANY scriptural claims, etc. Toward the end of our discussion, Marlin and Kathy both told us, “Well…you four have given us a lot to think about.”

By coming out and verifying the rock in the hat method of translation, which was used for all but the 116 pages (which obviously we wouldn’t be able to verify, and which creates a whole new host of major problems for the truth claim), instead of sitting at the desk and translating directly from looking at the plates with the specially prepared and preserved Urim and Thummim designed for that special purpose, like we have been taught since primary, we are now left to change our definition of what “translate” is, of what “Approved Sources” means, of what the word for word translation that has been detailed by Prophets of God to us, of almost everything about what we thought about it. We now need to ask why Laban had to be murdered…why all the finding and hammering out the metal, inscribing upon it, hefting it around for generation after generation, only to not really need to be used at all for the entire Book of Mormon we have today.

The church has excommunicated people that brought some of these findings up in the past, and now they are admitting the truthfulness of those exact things. Anyone who glances past this kind of thing, either doesn’t know the specifics, or they are apathetic toward the suffering of these real people, and their real families.

Now that we’ve taken a moment to process through that a little, I would like to ask you another very important question. Do you agree with what is being said by Ballard in this short video?

One of the most interesting observations I have made in my life, is that I have found the most peace in uncertainty, and the wonder of it all. Like I said, I now love proactively trying to figure out how I may be wrong. Another interesting observation, is that I have much less fear and insecurity. I feel all around more healthy socially, emotionally, mentally, and physically…again…things that I was threatened would be the opposite. I think it is very sad that, even though history has repeated itself so many times, and it is easy to see, when doing our best to look at it objectively, it is so wrong, and harmful to humanity for the vast majority of people go about their day to day life thinking they have things pretty figured out. Like I said, the most peace I have found, is in exactly the opposite. If you authentically want to connect with me, I authentically want to connect with you, unless, because relationships are two-sided, your reason is not really to connect in the way that I have attempted to describe.

Sincerely hoping for the best for us, and for you and your family,

Your friend,


For those who want to reference some of our other sincere questions that couldn’t ever be answered about the fundamental truth claims of the church, here is the link:

Feel free to send a friend request on Facebook, if we seem like the kind of people you’d like to connect with.Kenn and RuthAnn We have made some of the most amazing and authentic friends. They have been very instrumental in our our therapy, and we are so, so, so grateful to have connected with them. You can also email at: or

Our Story

We have been asked many times in the past several months to share our story, and we have been reluctant to do so publicly for a variety of reasons. After contemplating it for some time, we agreed to share with the hope that it may help someone. We felt that it was important to leave out and not discuss our specific questions or concerns that ultimately led us to leaving. We knew some of our Mormon friends, family, and others may want to know about our story without having to hear about those things. We wanted them to feel that it was safe for them to watch without feeling that we were going to cram anything in front of them. So it is in that respectful tone, and out of love, that we have chosen to tell our story. For those have been asking, this was at the exmormon foundation conference in Oct. 2014. Though we know many people immediately place a negative connotation on the ex part of that, we really want to make sure that our friends and family don’t think that we consider ourselves as ex’ed or removed from them in the least. We did not leave the people, we simply felt it was important to move on regarding belief. If you are one of our Mormon friends or family, hopefully our sincerity of how much we still want our relationships, and to respect you where you are…right now, comes through in the video. We have had hundreds of couples letting us know that it has helped them put love above ideology, relationships above theology, and human connection above belief. Because of this, we are grateful that we were willing to share. Feel free to share with anyone you feel that it could potentially be helpful to. 🙂 Here is the video:

Love is Most Important

Some of Our Sincere Questions

In the past several months, we have seen a lot of human suffering. We have been witness to families being torn apart, hearts wrenching as husband or wife or both decide to call it quits. We have talked to people who not only contemplated suicide, but also attempted it. We have had many people reach out to us to tell us that they are living in fear—some called it hell. We have many long time friends that have a lot of honest questions, but they are afraid to talk to their spouse, or their family about them for the perceived fear of losing everything. We have talked to many others who feel like they are forced to live a double life, because of what is at stake. We have also seen quite a bit of the darker side of humanity in the form of harsh criticism, passing hurtful judgment, and filthy gossip. All of this has been weighing on our minds daily.

Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 10.01.04 PM

We have been extremely hesitant to share some of the details of our story, because we learned early on that most of our Mormon friends and family didn’t want to know. And, because we love them all so much, we want to respect them right where they currently are. We don’t feel like it is our place to cram it in front of them. We have labored over this decision to share, and speak publicly for those who want to hear, because so many people have told us that our story is helping people, and can potentially help others.

Our decision to share here should not be construed as us trying to justify our decision to leave. We do not feel the need to do that. We feel like we are moving forward in healthy way, and finding increased happiness, joy and fulfillment each day that goes by. The reason we are sharing, is in the hope that it may be of help in any way that it can be to anyone who may be struggling. In this spirit, we have agreed to list a handful of some of the honest sincere questions that we weren’t ever able to get sound answers for.

WARNING! DISCLAIMER! These questions, concerns, acknowledgments, and contradictions, amongst others, are some of the reasons that we were no longer able to believe that the Mormon church is what it claims to be.

Pulling away from our membership in the Mormon faith and untangling from several of our previously held beliefs has been a difficult process. We did not want to leave. We had no desire to change our lifestyle. We love and have tender feelings for the community that we were very attached to. So, it is in this spirit of not wanting to share our reasons for leaving with anyone who doesn’t feel that they are willing to hear them. We are not listing the questions here along with other blog posts, but on a stand alone page, and only giving a link to that page for those who want to know. Once again, if you do not want to know, then please do not click on the link below.

—-> Click here to see some of our questions, concerns, and contradictions we discovered

Belaboring Belief?

RuthAnn and I have been asked by quite a few people what our beliefs are currently. As we have mentioned, our attention has been on: Love above ideology; Relationships above theology; and Human connection above belief. We don’t think it really matters a whole lot what anyone believes as long as it doesn’t get in the way of that paradigm.

However, as some have asked to know if our beliefs have adapted since we first made our announcement to leave the Mormon church this past March, the short answer is, YES. For me, I can’t think of any year in the past that I have seen such a dramatic change, and intense evolution in my thought processes. As we have mentioned, ultimately we left because of integrity and wanting our kids to grow up with a healthy respect for the truth as their standard.

It was incredibly painful at first to separate my allegiances from those I previously considered to be Prophets of God. Once I recognized and set aside my confirmation biases, it genuinely pained me to learn about several things that I hadn’t ever been taught before that contradicted what I knew to be the absolute truth. I was bitter and angry–at times. I repeatedly felt that I had to bang my head up against ideas that I have been indoctrinated with over the years. This still happens occasionally. I went back to the drawing board regarding most everything…asking some tough questions.

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Eventually, I came to a place where I realized that my own happiness, and the happiness of my wife and kids mattered more to me than anything else. And, that it was going to be very important to get through the natural process, that I could feel myself going through, as quickly as possible…so that I could move on with my life.

In a nutshell regarding beliefs, going through everything that we have has created a real love inside of my mind for openness. While I was serving my guts out as a Mormon, I didn’t think it was possible for anyone to have a fullness of real peace, happiness, and joy without having what I did. I found such comfort in having the answers to life’s most difficult questions.

Now, here I am, having been outside of Mormonism for the past eight months or so, and I can honestly say that I have that real peace being in a place of: I don’t know, but I want to know, and I am searching. In reading tons of material…in watching countless hours of debates, and seeing each side fall on their faces from time to time, I have a hard time calling anything absolute anymore. Rather, I have grasped being okay with the process of learning about many topics without feeling the need to come to definitive conclusions or label myself as anything in particular. This place of openness feels safe, and I feel that it has helped to live authentically when it comes to our paradigm of love above ideology. I could not overstate how much this has helped both RuthAnn and me, especially in our interactions with all of our Mormon friends and family.

Naturally, RuthAnn and I have differences in thoughts and the manner in which we have navigated the process.  But, fortunately we have put those differences in their proper place. I feel like being aware of, and talking about these differences has helped us intimately practice putting the relationship in front of any specific ideas, beliefs, views that either of us may have, or develop. I am sure I am preaching to the choir here, but talking about these differences has not always been easy. We have had to apologize to each other plenty of times. We are still going through the process, but, we can both say that it gets better all the time, and we now know that there is true happiness outside of our Mormon minds…something we didn’t know would be possible a year ago.

In gratitude,



Love above Ideology

Our current paradigm that is bringing much happiness, joy and fulfillment to our lives personally, as a couple, and as a family– Love above ideology; relationships above theology; human connection above belief. Screen shot 2014-10-22 at 2.37.36 PM

The Value of a Value

One of the most rewarding things we have done in the difficult untangling process of leaving Mormonism, is make the effort to intently ask ourselves (as individuals) what are the values, ethics, and morals we personally want to have at the core.  It has been a very laborious and rewarding process so far, to glean through all of the different ways different peoples attempt to articulate what they consider to be the best ways to live. We are posting what we have come up with below, in case it may help someone else who may be going through something similar. It is a work in progress….so feel free to make recommendations. We are as open as we know how to be these days, love new ideas, and have come to really appreciate discovering when we may be wrong 🙂


Core Values: To guide our lives and have priority over any institutional loyalties

  1. Accountability– I am accountable for all action, reaction, and inaction. I give no excuses. I am a problem solver, not a problem haver
  2. Adventure– I create fun, life experiences, and lasting memories as often as possible
  3. Apologize– I will make amends when I’ve harmed anyone intentionally or otherwise
  4. Authenticity– I am genuine. I have the confidence to allow my vulnerabilities to be deeply seen by others
  5. Balance– I am moderate.  I avoid overindulgence.  I look for harmonious outcomes
  6. Change– I Welcome it, Seek it, and Embrace it. I make restitution
  7. Community– I am a productive, supportive, and contributing member
  8. Courage– I am respectfully willing to face fear and take a stand, even though the fear remains real. I bravely confront pain, danger, or attempts of intimidation. I am bigger than the crisis
  9. Empathy– I am a quality listener, and do my best to put myself in other’s shoes
  10. Forgiveness– While remembering lessons learned, I abandon my grudges…so that others won’t be taking up rent space in my head
  11. Generosity– I am generous with my time and resources. I am willing to serve alone, or linking arms with others…without expectation for acknowledgement or recompense
  12. Gratitude– I appreciate, adore, and receive all the good that life and other people have to offer
  13. Honesty– I Think, Live and Inspire what is real, unless it puts others in danger
  14. Humility– I am teachable in every moment. I am “Open” and highly value discovering I am wrong
  15. Humor– I love a good healthy laugh
  16. Integrity– I am true to my core values, because they are mine, even if I fear the consequences. In so doing, I limit harm caused to others
  17. Joy– I choose to create moments of joy and happiness each day
  18. Knowledge– I always question, seek, and do my best to incorporate what I find to be based on reality
  19. Love– I love even though there isn’t a guarantee of being loved back. I stand up for injustices and help alleviate human suffering. I deeply value personal connection. I do not need to be right or certain
  20. NO– I say no to anything that compromises my core values. I reserve the right to discontinue contact with non-loving entities
  21. Patience– I am flexible to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting bent out of shape
  22. Persistence– I am persistent, and willing to do whatever it takes to finish
  23. Praise- I offer, never withhold, sincere and specific praise. I see myself as a people builder. By lifting others, I am made stronger
  24. Presence– I live in the immediate “here”. I will never get the past back, and the future is not real
  25. Proactivity– I make things happen, instead of always being reactive. In the next moment, anything can happen
  26. Quality– If it is worthy of finishing, it is worth doing my very best
  27. Respect– I will respect myself, and my health. I am enough, and so are others, right where they are, right now, unless they are causing harm to me or others
  28. Sexuality– I respect reproductive capability, and the sexuality of others
  29. Talent– I will develop my talents, for my own benefit and to contribute positively to others
  30. Trustworthy– I keep promises to others and myself. I am a safe place for the confidences of others
  31. Work– I value hard work and do my best to keep it positive or make it fun

Morality is doing what is right regardless of what you are told. Obedience is doing what you are told regardless of what is right. -Unknown


Tongue twister of the day: “People passionate about helping other people become passionate about helping other people” 🙂


Light at the end

Because we have had some asking, and by way of clarification, currently, Linking Arms is not an organization of any kind; nor is there any current intention to make it an organization. To be clear, we have not asked for, nor plan on asking for any kind of financial support. Linking Arms is meant to be a thought platform, an idea, hopefully the beginning of something that can inspire others to living outward more fully. It is a safe place where people can chime in, bring forth ideas, connect with or inspire others to go forth helping people in need, regardless of the specific beliefs of those serving or those being served. Feel free to connect with us to help shape how this can be done in the best way possible. We are very open, and welcome the help.

To give you an example of people linking arms, here is a video from a recent trip that my son Morley and I were able to be a part of and witness many coming together to help this family in need. The feelings we came away with were priceless.

Optimistically, 🙂

Kenn and RuthAnn

A Mile in Our Moccasins

Hello everyone:

RuthAnn and I just recently got back from celebrating our 19th anniversary. It is hard to believe how fast the time has gone, but what a sweet 19 years it has been. Not perfect by any means, but perfect for us.  It was so good to come back and reunite with Morley, Briannon, Jaclynn, Jake and Koenn who mean everything to us… who we would give anything for. Ruthie and I have spent considerable time and energy trying to decide how to tell you what we are about to tell you. We have been laboring through this together, because what we are about to share with you affects both us and many other people in profound ways.

Those who know us best know that we live our lives full of love for others. We like people. We like to be around other people–especially nurturing family and friend relationships. We are honest, and want very badly to, in each circumstance, “do the right thing”. We love God, and see ourselves as “people builders”. We have come to learn that this is one of the most important facets of life. In fact, we believe that it is at the heart and soul of our primary purpose of life. Most that know us well, have learned that Kenn is the kind of guy that really enjoys a good laugh, and at times loves to ruffle feathers, all in good fun, and with respect of course.


But this is not one of those times. Be assured this is no laughing matter…not in the least. This letter is a little long, and very serious. For most, this will be very unusual and seemingly uncharacteristic to hear coming from us, but it is indeed the truth of what is happening in our lives right now. This will, for some, be somewhat difficult to hear. If you feel that the timing may not be right to read something heavy, then feel free to refrain from reading the rest of this letter. From personal experience, we know that this announcement (of sorts) leads to a wide range of emotions and our words may be very difficult to understand and comprehend at first.

To get right to the point, currently, we do not have the same belief and conviction that ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ is the “only true church upon the face of the earth”. We say this with all soberness, honestly, and sincerely… before our Maker, whom we love and respect. At the point we are, it has become a matter of integrity.

As we are sure you can imagine, we have gone through a very difficult process arriving at this conclusion. The last few months have been the most challenging of our lives. There have been a lot of tears, emotions, prayers, and pleading for a different outcome. We feel that we haven’t ever had to exercise (even close to) as much faith or courage as we have experienced recently.

With that being said, we feel the need to clarify a few things:

We believe in God, and that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer… that what He did for us is beyond our comprehension.

Also, we are worthy and living clean in every way. Those who know us well know that we have never been “cafeteria line” members…picking and choosing our favorite commandments, and leaving aside others. We have always lived our faith with fullest commitment…not perfect, but constantly repenting. We have no desire to change our lifestyle.

Most who know us well know that we have always loved to share our convictions with others. I put together an audio CD years ago, and we, as a family, have handed out thousands of them…in hopes of planting positive seeds and furthering the work of the Lord. This has been the central theme of our entire identity for many years now.

God is still at the heart of our marriage and family. We are still holding our family devotionals daily, trying to instill a love for all things good, and of God, in our children.

We haven’t left or turned our backs on anyone. In fact, this is the most difficult part for us; knowing that there will probably be some that feel that we are abandoning them. That is as far from the truth as possible.

For those interested, if others are asking our kids questions…they are handling it similar to this, “God has us on another path right now, but we love, respect, and support your beliefs. We share your values, and we want to be a part of all of your activities…” We have talked to our older three who are incredibly sensitive to the need to let people continue to believe as they do. They have a deep respect for that.  Jake and Koenn currently do not know more that what is stated above.

We have not come to these understandings because we are offended in any way about the actions of others, past or present. We are the kind of people that have always done our very best not to judge people based on their weaknesses, as we don’t want to be judged based on ours. We believe that everyone has a lot of value that they can contribute to the lives of others.

linking arms

We don’t want any harm to come to anyone or to their beliefs. We have been very deliberate here in not sharing any of the issues as to how we have come to this conclusion, because we know that God is fully involved in the lives of Latter-day Saints. We have an enormous respect for the pathway, and do not want to try to persuade anyone otherwise. We know from firsthand experience how many good fruits come from it. We have loved every minute of our journey there.

We are not bitter or angry.

We have had the experience that living a life dedicated to Christian values has given us a lot of peace and happiness. We plan on still living the same way. Please forgive us if your personal beliefs differ in any way. One of the main things that we have gained from this journey, is a heightened sense of tolerance and respect for the beliefs, views, and pathways of others. We believe it is a healthy tolerance. In our understanding, being tolerant does not mean that we condone the specific beliefs or actions of others, it means that we acknowledge they, like us, are individuals with thoughts, feelings, needs, hopes, and desires like our own.

We have gone through a very difficult and heart wrenching process of coming to our conclusions, but hope and pray that all of our LDS friends will know that we are very supportive of their beliefs and path. I don’t think we can overstate that fact. We know that it leads to good fruits. Please hold out the possibility that God is walking a different path with us right now.

With as many different, and sometimes contradictory interpretations of what certain things mean, we don’t believe that God is going to judge us based on our specific beliefs. We know that the way we live our lives and our beliefs are inseparably connected, but we think and feel that what matters most is to look to God and make our best effort to follow. We know that this is our interpretation, and we respect the views of others. This just happens to be what makes sense to us right now.

If you are someone that we know and love, we are also very sensitive to the fact that you might feel hurt after reading this, and hearing from us in this way. We sincerely and whole-heartedly apologize. There was simply not enough time in the day to contact everyone we love, to meet in-person, to announce our decision. We care very much about you. We want to talk to you, and please know that we are open and willing to talk about anything or answer any questions you may have, now or in the future. Please keep in mind we have decided not to talk about the specific issues out of respect for your beliefs, whatever they may be.

We think it is also important to mention that this is not stemming from any kind of long term issues of any kind. Rather, we have made this decision from recent discoveries (starting in the fall of last year) that have changed some of our beliefs about key aspects, doctrines, and claims of the faith.

Please do your best to give us the respect of not passing judgment or being critical regarding this sensitive and complicated issue that is now part of our lives. How does the old saying go? “Never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins.” We know that many will think and feel what they will, but we make this request because we have already experienced many of the ill effects that come from lack of respect, and the incorrect assumptions and judgments of others. In these cases, we know that they meant well, and they felt that their intentions were good. The timing of this announcement, and our feeling the urgent need to share was brought about by some of these circumstances outside of our control.

You may be having or will have an emotional reaction of some kind to this information. We want you to know that we anticipate that will be the case, and we do not blame you for any kind of feelings you may be having or will have toward us.  We have experienced the gamut ourselves, many times now.

Perhaps it is hard for you to wrap your head around how we could make a decision that you may disagree with. We don’t judge or blame you if you feel that way. Please know that we have not made this decision lightly. If you could know every thought, hear every prayer and pleading we have made, see every word we have written, read every word we have read, and felt every desire of our hearts, you would know how dedicated we have been in this process, and how much courage and faith this is taking right now. Like we mentioned, we have been turning to the heavens more diligently than we ever have before.

Perhaps it is hard for you to believe that someone could honestly have such a strong testimony of the claims of Mormonism, and then seemingly contradict that testimony later. We don’t judge or blame you if you feel that way. Please know that between us and God, we now have answers as to how this could be.

Perhaps you know someone, or are someone, who has been affected by a loved one who has left behind some or all of their Mormon beliefs. Perhaps and you have seen the bad fruits that have come into their lives as an apparent result, and you feel that we are now on, what you perhaps consider, that slippery slope. We don’t judge or blame you if you feel that way.

Perhaps this news makes you angry with us right now. We don’t judge or blame you if you feel that way.

Perhaps you feel or think that anybody in these circumstances will inevitably find the rude awakening and unfathomable consequences that are sure to follow. We don’t judge or blame you if you feel that way.

Perhaps you feel that we have now become a threat to your faith, or the faith of some of your loved ones. As emphatically as we can state this, we want to make sure that you know that our family respects your faith and beliefs, and have an immense amount of respect for the path of the devout Mormon. If you do feel any kind of threat, we don’t judge or blame you, but pray that you will, if not now, then someday…see and feel of our love for you and our desire to be a part of your life.

Perhaps you are someone who is on, or has been on a similar path to us, but you cannot understand why we believe in the goodness of the Mormon pathway. The reasons would fill volumes. We don’t judge or blame you if you feel that way, but please allow for the possibility of an increased perspective of tolerance, as we think and feel it fits into the much bigger picture of linking arms.

Perhaps you are on a similar path to us right now, and feel like we may be a safe place to go to discuss what you are going through without any judgment or prejudice. Knowing first hand how hard this has been to navigate, especially at first, we want to be able to help others who are struggling or hurting in any way. If you are someone like that, we’d love to help you see the hope that will surely come. Keep in mind that we are wanting to keep all of our momentum constructive and not destructive in any way. If you would like to talk to us privately, we can be reached at: and or we can be privately messaged on the Linking Arms Facebook page.

Perhaps you are feeling totally supportive of us right now.

Maybe you will think or feel something entirely different than anything mentioned, or maybe have loads of questions for us.

Whatever thoughts or feelings you may have, we want you to know that we do not blame you or judge you for any of it. Understandably, this could be incredibly difficult information to process when you first read it. Please know that we are doing our very best, and we are definitely prepared with an open mind when it comes to the wide range of ways people may react to this.

Light at the end

Whatever your feelings on the subject may be, you are receiving this from people who first and foremost love God, care about other people, believe that the kind of life that we live matters, want to find ways to build bridges with everyone who cares about others, believe in the innate goodness of people,  are addicted to the truth, have desires, hopes and dreams the same as you do, and want more than anything to be able to continue to rub shoulders with ALL of our family and friends without any prejudices…full of tolerance, charity, and love.

We know that we make this decision and announcement at great risk. We do so, after much prayer, and in spite of possible backlash from people we love. We do so knowing that we will be misunderstood, and know that we will be told that we have now lost the Spirit, have become dark, are a part of  “the very elect being deceived”. Some may even feel that we are now fighting for the wrong team. We may even be called weak, prideful, or judgmental.

Like we mentioned, we have never before had to muster as much courage and faith as we are at this time. We do so, but feel to remind you that our principle thoughts and feelings are love for you, respect for you… whatever you believe, and a firm determination to stand for goodness wherever it may be found.

Every last word of this has been truth, and integrity, as we know it. Please allow God to be our judge, whether your mind or your heart is allowing you to believe of our sincerity or not.

I had a powerful dream that I can never forget. It has contributed greatly to my perspective on life, and the bigger picture of the real battle that is taking place. I was hovering over a large battlefield. I perceived that I was being shown and taught something very important. As clearly as anything I had ever been taught, I could see the battleground tactics of our real enemy, and I could see the simplicity of the winning strategy to overcome his craftiness. The enemy was spending all of his time trying to find ways to incite divisions and skirmishes amongst his opponent, (all those who love and want what is good)…and it was a very successful strategy. But the opponent, the vast majority of all people, didn’t even have a clue that the enemy was there… or that this was the central aspect of his strategy. All they could see were the seemingly huge problems they were having in every direction. The enemy was very satisfied with the apparent winning strategy; he knew that all he had to do to prevail in the battle was to keep the opponent divided…fighting with each other. People were fighting amongst themselves because of beliefs, race, culture, skin color, religion, and politics, in addition to all types of philosophical worldviews. As I was hovering over and watching all of this take place, I instinctively knew that the enemy would win some skirmishes, and take large numbers of casualties, but he would not prevail if we come together; if we find common ground and link arms.

Now I’m not trying to make any statement about whether or not the substance of dreams has any real meaning or not. What I do know, is that when I make a conscious effort to be less judgmental and more tolerant, while working to benefit those around me, it just feels right. In the past, when we have been willing to work together to help others, it feels right at every level: emotionally, mentally, socially, spiritually, and even physically. As a good friend of ours recently told us, “I feel like a magnet is pulling me” toward helping and lifting others. This has only intensified for us.

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We look forward to building bridges, and linking arms with any and all who care about making the world a better place. We feel a strong need to contribute, and be a part of helping others become increasingly service-minded, more faithful, tolerant, inclusive, loving, respectful, kind, and less judgmental.

We believe that this is what God wants us to do at this time. We don’t have a crystal ball about what the future holds, but we have a hope and desire to be an integral part of bringing more peace of mind, and goodness into people’s lives.

Thank you for your willingness to read this. Again, please feel free to contact us. If your primary reason for contacting us is to vent, debate, or prove anything, please use discretion at this time as we have already gone through so much. Our preference is to spend our time and energies building and linking arms. We really feel to move on, primarily for the sake of our kids. We have had some people contact us, feeling the need to share their testimonies, in hopes to help us feel the error of our ways. Please don’t reach out to try to bear witness to us that you know that we are being deceived…we’ve heard it all now. We know in these cases, that desires have been to help, but these kind of “good intentions” don’t help at this time.

We have also had several people trying to “help” in very un-Christlike and judgmental ways. What you may think we really “need” may be much different than what it is that we really do need…please be OK with that; and please resist any strong feeling to let us know how much you disagree with our path, remembering that you have not been where we have, and are not in our moccasins.

We are as sincere and as diligent as we know how to be about all of this. Please remember that we are people just like you—tender and in need of love and understanding, especially from those who we are closest to…more now than ever.

We pray that those who are having a hard time with this will allow for the possibility that God is working in our lives in ways that you may not understand. We have learned that this allowance fosters tolerance, respect, and Christ-like love…which we are sure most would agree, are what we could all use a little more of.

We are immensely grateful that the vast majority of those that we have talked to so far are choosing the higher road of respect, love, and lack of judgment toward this news. It has helped so much at this time. You all know who you are. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. In means the world to us right now.

We feel at peace with our decisions up to this point, and we feel God’s love for us. As for what we are doing to move forward with our Christian values and church attendance, we are still navigating those waters. Be patient and we will have additional information to share here on the blog.

Comments can be made by clicking on “Comments” right under the title of the post (back up to the top of the post). Please keep your comments respectful.

May we all come together to love, to serve, and to make this world a better place.


All our love,

Kenn and RuthAnn Sullivan

March 9, 2014