Episodes

294: Loni Lamm – A Spiritual Awakening- Part 2

Today we hang out with Loni Lamm and discuss her faith journey and the journey of her family.  She has an interesting story to tell.  Some of her story including her time as an up and coming singer and her diverse experience in place like California will take on new ground.  But more importantly the majority of her story is our story.  She puts into words a telling of a faith journey that is your faith journey and mine.  So many part of this interview were interesting to me and felt like things I constantly have on my mind being told in a new refreshing way.  Join us today on Mormon Discussion as we continue with Part 2 of our interview with Loni Lamm

Part 2 tackles her husband’s faith journey, the trauma of a faith shift, an awareness of the changing dynamics of in-group/out-group dynamics and a growing development with herself, her husband and their marriage.

Loni Lamm music album

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17 thoughts on “294: Loni Lamm – A Spiritual Awakening- Part 2

  1. I really enjoyed this Loni. Thanks so much for sharing. I wish the best for you, your husband, and your kids on your spiritual path going forward.

  2. Loved the cast. The idea of letting your husband find “his own path” is not something usually taught. It’s becoming more commonplace, but faith transitions often are deal-breakers, ending in divorce.

    Way to go Loni! WAY TO GO!

    I hope for you many MANY years of happy marriage.

    Emotional intimacy–the really good stuff that makes relationships yummy–doesn’t require spiritual conformity, it requires vulnerability. And you are right in there.

  3. An amazing interview.
    Thank you so much for sharing Loni, you touched my heart!

  4. Great Loni,

    However I felt uncomfortable with the way your family judged the church for it’s sincere but unwanted efforts of bringing your church back into activity.

    Perhaps a little bit more compassion for church leaders would go a long ways too. Just as much as you want compassion you must grant that too others. Mostly everyone is always doing the best they can. There are exceptions where that clearly isn’t the case and I would have very little patience for that.

    But I really felt bad for the Bishop, because in his mind and paradigm he was trying to go beyond his duty to reach out to your husband in the best way he thought he could. None of his business for sure (to contact your in laws).

    Other than that exceptionally well spoken and heartfelt and shared. We felt your pain and trials, and we all have them. Hopefully the church will become a safer place for everyone, but it can’t do that with progressive members going inactive. That’s why I like Bill, because he sticks around.

    But my heart pains to hear that he too is fed up and needs a break from all this. Thankfully he has geared up a team to take over the realms and not just leave us high and dry.

    I will be extremely upset if they force him out the church. Should that be the case, I too may grow less compassionate with Church higher leadership. Local leadership mostly follow the party line, but it’s wrong to just do what we’re told instead of what we believe is right.

    Hopefully your story will reach out to the right people that need it. Thanks again, and I apologize if I come across to judgmental (please excuse the Mormon within me) =P.

  5. *Your family back into church activity (sorry posted without proof reading – I hope what I meant was conveyed).

  6. *Your family back into church activity (sorry posted without proof reading – I hope what I meant is conveyed).

  7. A lot of good points. Some things I would see differently from you, but most of what you said was very relatable.

    I did want to comment on the statement your husband made about “not having you for eternity.” I have experienced something very similar in that I find myself being kinder and working harder at my marriage than I did when I believed in the church. For me, I think the eternal commitment let’s you take your spouse for granted to some degree. The church acts as a HUGE third wheel that holds you together despite your mutual laziness. When that third wheel is gone, that fact makes the disaffected spouse try to compensate for the connection that the Church maintained. I know personally there is also some fear because not having the Church as a unifier in our marriage could easily turn it into a divider. I have to work harder to keep the thing together.

    I think removing the Church from your marriage and mine has resulted in a more honest, open and closer relationship in the now (a beautiful thing). I don’t think Mormon men or women consciously decide to not put in the effort, but the psychology of that eternal covenant is an unavoidable factor for most.

  8. This was a great discussion. I enjoyed both these episodes and I relate to a lot of Loni’s life experience. It sounds like we were going through similar things at similar times (kids same ages, Gospel Doctrine teacher at the same time, husband’s belief in the church changing at the same time, non-believing husband giving baby blessing, etc.). Our stories differ in that I ultimately ended up also losing my belief in the church and in God along with my husband.

    I just wanted to push back a little on both of you talking about Mormons who lose their belief in Mormonism and then also lose their belief in God. It seems like both of you are in a place where you can give room for people not to believe in Mormonism, and leave the church, but to lose a belief in God is still a bridge too far. Both of you seemed to speak of something like this as a tragedy. But my life didn’t suddenly lose meaning once I realized I didn’t believe in God. And to know where I am and feel both comfortable and fulfilled where I am, it seems almost silly to hear you both talk about where I am at as a negative place to be. I understand that belief in God gives many people purpose and comfort, and I am happy for those who take meaning and comfort there. But can people also imagine a world where someone like me doesn’t believe in God but is also feeling grounded, happy, and like my life still has meaning?

    Why is not believing in God a negative thing?

  9. Hey everyone! Between holiday madness (all good madness), I have had the opportunity to sit down and whole heartedly read through each comment made regarding my story.
    First of all, I want all of you to know that I appreciate your responses of enthusiasm, encouragement, questions, and push back. So thank you for being a part of this journey with me.

    From the very beginning, I told myself that if I ever told my story, I wanted it to come from a place of authenticity and vulnerability. I wanted to be able to extend my hand and take any hand that needed a friend and a safe place to land.
    I knew places in my story would create unity as well as discomfort but I also know that this is where we get to all grow together and sit with one another in our similarities and differences.

    David: I really do believe that bishop was doing the best he could that day. Unfortunately, even at our best, sometimes we can show up and cause unnecessary damage.
    I didn’t feel you were being judgmental at all by your comment. I truly appreciate you sharing your thoughts. Thank you!

    John:
    I read your comment to my husband and we both really appreciated it.

    Alma:
    Thank you so much for your sharing your thoughts.
    I absolutely believe you when you say you feel comfortable and fulfilled where you are in your life not believing in God.
    Just like I validate people that leave Mormonism, I completely validate your place as well. I have no place to judge where anyone is at in their beliefs.
    If your truth does not involve God, I welcome that. I do not believe that your place of happiness and fulfillment without God is tragic or negative.
    Thank you so much for reaching out.

    Thanks again for all who have weighed in so far, I truly appreciate all of you.

  10. Scary thoughts. I have been upset with the church for the guilt and shame placed in intimacy. Even after marriage there is nowhere I have found that says go have fun. Or here is a healthy way to find out what works for your marriage. That frustration started my faith de-construct and re-construction. I had a friend my dad trained as an electrician that was electricuded – fell off a ladder and when he woke up thought the kids are out and the marriage has been poor for years, went home and told his wife he was out. I’ve often thought the kids are the glue. What happens in 15 years when there’s no more reason to white knuckle it?
    I loved this two part conversation. I liked that your husband while struggling was wanting to not hurt you or others by sharing his struggles and faults of the church. I didn’t do to well with that – I was needing to talk, or rather just be heard and have three friends that have in their own way tried to help and bring me back. Then last week before I taught EQ I realized the concept from Jack Naneek (sorry for spelling) podcast on Santa Clause – I don’t need to go running down the hallways crying Santa’s not real. I came home that day and took some time in the bedroom. My wife found me and asked. I explained it was a struggle in teaching the Saviors way class and EQ was ok. I explained the Santa concept. I also said I don’t want to harm her faith. I appreciate her listening a little or giving me space and that my focus is on our family. She stated that she has noticed a better family focus since learning of my faith change a few weeks prior. That was a week ago and this last week has been better. She in turn has done better to giving focus on me.

    That is what I heard in this podcast when you mentioned your husband giving more focus on the family. Doing more for you and your kids. I have not like Home Teaching(ers) for that reason – its felt like an un-organic forced friendship. And it takes too much time away from my family.
    I want to talk more with my family and friends but I want it to be a conversation of respect and friendship. Not me or them trying to “get” the other to their spot. I paused this podcast to go See the two tedtalks for Bene Brown.
    I’d love my wife to listen to this – any chance we could get an ESPN 9 minute version 🙂
    Thanks Loni and Bill

  11. I appreciate you and your husband’s efforts to show how to stay a united family without sharing the same faith. I empathize with all of your concerns and pain as I have watched two of my five adult children removed their names from the records of the church. I have read and studied for over ten years all the messy history, but stay in the faith.

    What do you do with the New Testament’s emphasis on authority and baptism and even baptism for the dead? I am the lead ward temple and family history consultant. I have spent thousands of hours researching, teaching, attending the temple too. Why did Jesus get baptized by John the Baptist if priesthood authority and a church organization that aids in baptism for the dead is not important? It’s crazy to think that all the billions of people on the earth are to be given the opportunity to be baptized as Jesus was, but if the restoration means anything that is the mission we are suppose to accomplish, to accept covenants for ourselves through baptism and provide that opportunity for others. This is tough.

    • Allie, I appreciate your involvement in this feed so much. Thank you for caring and studying so much to understand your children.
      Like I said in the podcast, I LOVE the New Testament. I still study it with my kids as often within a week as I can. I love Christ’s journey. I love the curiosity my children have when we discuss the ideas surrounding the stories. Obviously the parts about baptism use to make me pause due to the fact that none of my children are baptized.
      I don’t think I mentioned this in the podcast but when we lived in Dallas, our Stake President at the time was really good. Russ and I went to meet with him because the idea of baptism was causing contention in our home. I wanted my oldest to be baptized, my oldest was expressing some interest, but Russ was having a hard time with it because he really wanted to make sure my son knew what he was getting into. Russ would support him but he didn’t feel 8 years old was an appropriate age for such a step.
      The November policy change had also just happened and exceptions had then been made for the children that fell within the changes to the policy. Supposedly the Holy Ghost would not be withheld from them with baptism now out of there control.
      As I explained to our stake president my disagreement with the policy on all levels, I also explained that if the leaders were going to now add exceptions to baptism for their policies and convenience, then my child shouldn’t have to worry about baptism as well, seeing as it was causing “contention” in our home. At the same time, I started viewing the importance of baptism differently if the leaders were now going to see it differently.
      Our stake president agreed that the Holy Ghost wouldn’t be withheld from my son and told us that if it was the cause of contention, we were to focus strictly on each other and to keep a loving environment in our home. The mental gymnastics around baptism was now exhausting. Did we really even need it? Wasn’t the atonement enough?
      In my prayers I would ask for peace and more clarity as I stayed true to myself and my Heavenly Family. It was then that I started listening to podcasts about the books of the Bible. I was learning about who really wrote each book, the timelines, who was around Jesus and writing about it, and who was actually writing down accounts of the people who had written accounts about Jesus. (Bill has some great podcasts about this)
      It became very clear to me that the Bible is different accounts of all different people with all different kinds of perceptions on what could have happened, what did happen, or trying to make sense of what was happening in front of them.
      So when it comes to baptism and the accounts of what happened in the Bible, I feel so liberated knowing that this is not black and white and that because I wasn’t there to witness how Jesus’s baptism actually happened, I really don’t know what happened. I don’t take the Bible literal anymore. I love pondering about the messages and ideas taught but if I have questions, I take everything to Heavenly Mother or Heavenly Father and ask about it.
      In my mind baptism is intended to be an outward commitment to Christ not to a religious organization ie.. Mormon Church.
      So looking at baptism in the church, if baptism on a global level was supposed to be the “mission” to accomplish, it is my personal opinion, given my own experiences, that our leadership royally missed the mark and has yet to step back and re adjust their bow. Allie, you are so right… this is so so so tough. We are all in this together. Thanks for your curiosity, your love, and your questions.
      Loni

  12. Not even sure how I stumbled on this podcast but this is crazy and amazing at the same time as I was reflecting on conversations we had almost 20 yrs ago. Oh yeah… I would’ve totally considered myself a rockstar! It sounds like your on a fun and exciting journey. Hope all is well!

  13. Hi Loni,
    so eternally grateful for this podcast – my wife and I are going through this as we speak smack dab in the heart of utah county.. so I feel very alone; its like treading water in the middle of the deepest part of the ocean. being a cali boy myself i sure resonated with your journey.. do you know of any support groups in Highland UT.? #godspeed – B.

    • Brandon,

      My heart goes out to you and your wife. I completely see you guys and understand where you are. The treading of water is so so real. Living in UT definitely doesn’t make it easier BUT your family will have opportunities to grow in ways that will contribute to you being able to help out the people that follow behind you on this path. They will need your family.
      Be patient with the process, don’t rush it. Learn from as much as you can and get curious about all the emotions you are feeling.
      It really helped me and Russ to focus on the things we did have in common and could agree on, it was what contributed to keeping our marriage in the front of this relentless storm.
      I highly recommend Brene Brown’s book Rising Strong. It will help you navigate the process. I don’t know of any support groups in Highland. It would help a lot if you could find a therapist that has experience in faith transitions. Sometimes just getting it all off of your chest makes all the difference. Therapy has been very helpful for me.
      Know you aren’t alone and from where I am now, I can honestly say that it eventually gets so much better.

      Loni

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