Open Thank You letter to Bill Reel
Bill is going like a lamb to the slaughter.
Four years ago, my husband and I reached out to Bill and his amazing wife Amanda and invited them out to Las Vegas to meet with progressive Mormons. They came with no hesitation in order to help us navigate the choppy and scary waters of our faith crisis.
He listened to our pain, he validated us, he mourned with us and he showed us love.
We saw his soft warrior-like heart and knew he was a safe person to send others to.
We did send others and he held space for them and took on their pain. Countless times we would reach out to him late into the night, for hours on end, just to be validated. We know many of you have as well.
Now he will be cutoff from those that need to hear his wise and kind voice the most.
Some might say that he gets what he deserves for pleading with the church for change. Maybe. But doesn’t change really happen when strong people provoke or challenge that which is wrong and hurts others?
Bill has put on his pads and uniform and went out to play the game publicly.
Those of us on the sidelines have been cheering him on and now he will be ejected from the game. He has made himself public even at the risk of losing close relationships with family and friends.
We love you Bill and Amanda and stand with you through this barbaric and medieval excommunication process.
Why Mormon church? Why do you cutoff good people like Sam Young, John Dehlin, etc when they simply point out the pain and trauma? Where is our agency to mourn with those that mourn?
Who’s next ? Gina Colvin, Lindsay Hansen Park?
Patrick Mason for saying we’ve overloaded the truth cart?
Greg Prince for saying the church’s LGBT policy must change?
Richard Bushman for saying the dominant narrative is not true?
Does a good, healthy, and vibrant organization do that when people point out where it can improve?
This will be painful to watch Bill go through, and I hope we can show him some love over the next couple of weeks.
I thought it might be supportive to Bill for us to tell him which episodes were our favorite and maybe why they touched us.
3 Mormon discussion podcast episodes that helped me the most were:
Our Bad Days
Patrick Mason interview.
Please comment with your favorite Episode.
Bill, I started listening to you about a year ago. My husband went down the rabbit hole and it was a pretty scary time for me. We had a few discussions and he was telling me some things he learned and I was doing a lot of mental gymnastics. The first time I heard you it was when my husband was listening to an episode in the bathroom while we were getting ready in the morning, and I found myself agreeing with everything you were saying. That opened me up to listening to you since you were “safe”, thoughtful, sincere, etc and just calling for a little more healthiness in the church. The episode that really got me to think was one about how our LDS testimonies are not unique and you played testimonies from members of all sorts of religions and they all sounded like ours! It was a mind blowing revelation that helped me move out of the “us vs them”, “we are special and unique because we have the truth”, etc mentality. It gave me the courage to ask questions, become more world-focused, have deep real conversations with my husband for the first time, and find my own inner authority. I can’t thank you enough!
Out of the church…probably. Out of the game…Nope. Do what is right, let the consequences follow.
Bill, you and RFM are my favorite. My prayers are with you.
I second that!!! They’re the best, most helpful, revealing, and insightful.
I just finished serving as a bishop last year after completing my five year term. I be been listening to you since your first interview with John while you were still a bishop. I really liked what you said back then. There are things you know to be true, some you believe, and some you hope are true. I took that and “revelation” and used it to help others in my ward who were going through a faith crisis. I can t pick one particular podcast because they are all good. Thank you. As Quin Micheal has wisely said, they can excommunicate whoever they want but those ex communications must still be validated by the Holy Ghost to be of any worth! I KNOW the Holy Ghost simply cannot validate your excommunication. Do you are good brother! Your salvation is not jeopardized by this man-made act of non-sense!
Bill, you have enough character and personality to function brilliantly away from the shadow of the Mormon church. I only know you from your pouring your guts out on Mormon Discussions and RFM, which have been of so much help to so many of us clawing our way out of the tentacles of judgement and the pain of forging a new way for ourselves.
I was listening to John Hamer today and several names came to my mind of people who may find solace in the Community of Christ if they wanted or needed a soft place to land.
I live outside of America, and have never met anyone from that group, but they sound like good folk. Like you.
Loving best wishes to you and your family from the bottom of my cold apostate heart. 💚🇿🇦
I loved the white shirts episode because it was the first one I felt safe to share with my spouse. I loved the Dan Wotherspoon MM interview when it was the first time I was introduced to ethnocentrism and it expanded my mind. As a mom of an LGBTQ kid the episode after Nov 5 was medicine to my broken heart. Also Our Bad Days and Spiritual Trauma are central to my Stage 4 acceptance. Thank you Bill for your gift of reason coupled with a yearning to connect with divinity.
Bill, you took the time to sit and talk with me about several issues that had been bothering me for a while. The well-researched information that you shared with me in such a compassionate manner has allowed me to maintain a slim hope in some kind of god/energy in this existence and to retain an appreciation for the examples of loving kindness that are found in the story of Jesus regardless of historicity. You are an example to me of the best humankind can be. Thanks for being you!
Bill, your thoughtfulness and integrity exemplify the principle of seeking truth and understanding and doing what’s right and letting the consequences follow. You have helped me personally with my life and efforts to help those in this church I have loved. Having me on your podcast to discuss child protection procedures and the Church’s written intentions and claims vs what best practices are in the field of child protection and responses from abuse was helpful in our attempt to help the Church move towards its aspirations and be safer for children and adults and to better help victims.
Your episodes on the November 2015 policy exclusion of LGBTQ members and their children was important as well as your response to the priesthood ban lifting celibation talk by Pres. Oak’s. Your wood tools vs steel tools, Fowler’s stages of faith, your episode on logic vs faith and responses to difficult talks by leaders have had integrity and asked valid questions and raised legitimate concerns which a healthy church membership should be able to discuss.
Thank you. Your efforts and example have helped me stay engaged in the Church I have loved to do what I can to help those who have been with me. Your guidance has made way for a deepening and continuing of my faith journey and deepening of my walk with the divine and empathetic response to humanity and to my own self.
Bill there will be those prophetic voices heard in the wilderness that are essential to have the body of the saints look deeper, to re-evaluate their perspectives to grow and to ask the hard questions of themselves and their community. Without these prophetic voices we are often lost. You are one of those voices. And thou they may reject and persecute you, “So they rejected they the prophets that went before…”
It is clear the current leaders, local and general, oft have great difficulty practicing the first principles of the gospel that they insist youth and members practice, that of repentance and admitting when they have done something wrong or have acted in ways that members have experienced harm. It is profoundly irronic that you are called to repentance for pointing out areas the church policies and practices cause harm and where the church has been untruthful or sought to cover its actions. Unfortunately the scriptures fortell this too and pronounce “amen to the priesthood or authority of that man”.
The fate of the voice of reform, the prophetic voice, is to be ignored largely. This too you may have been foreordained to do.
Your in good company, walk with courage into the lions den. You represent millions of Latter-day Saints as you speak before the tribunal that condemns itself in its inquiry.
Bill, I am so grateful to have found you on Mormon Discussions. I have been in a slow burn faith transition for 12 years and love the community of similar thinkers out here on your podcast. I have loved the humor, honesty, and historical fact checking you and RFP have done on some of your joint podcasts covering topics like the Family Proclamation and others.
Thanks for all you have done and will continue to do. The pending Disciplinary Council and possible excommunication does nothing in terms of your own salvation or your ability to minister to your fellow men and women through your podcast and other meetings you conduct.
I would love to meet you in person someday and will gladly buy you a breakfast, lunch, or dinner, coffee, drink, etc., to have a conversation and to get to know you better. My transition within Mormonism is not complete because my spouse is still fully in as a TBM. However, I am more compassionate and trying to work on our relationship and the relationship with our Mormon disaffected children to keep our awesome family together.
God Bless and know that many people have been helped and influenced for good because of what you are doing. Let the church do what it wants, but it will have no long term affect!