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Radio Free Mormon: 105: Lila Tueller’s Faith Journey

Lila Tueller is the daughter of  Hartman Rector, Jr.

Lila talks about what it was like growing up with a famous General Authority for a father, and how her faith journey ultimately led her out of the LDS church.


38 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 105: Lila Tueller’s Faith Journey”

  1. I feel like this is an important episode. We still hear statements from general authorities that the Church does not try to hide its history, but again, yet another first-hand testimony of a church leader pleading with someone he can influence to keep them from publishing unsavory facts. I know the Church is not alone by a long shot in this behavior, but the phrase “we are not afraid of our history” absolutely does not fly. Thanks for this episode, RFM and Ms. Tueller!

  2. Thanks Mike!
    Yes you are right about that. They have tried VERY HARD for decades to hide their unsavory history. To say otherwise is a blatant lie. The age of information is here and it’s not going back!!

  3. Thanks RFM, Bill, and Ms. Tueller for a great episode. Thanks especially Ms. Tueller for sharing your personal stories with us. One of my biggest issues with the Church is the lack of transparency and so I greatly appreciate your transparency and openness in discussing your experiences.

    I especially found it interesting to hear about your brother’s time at Sunstone and his phone call with Pres Packer. I think it’s crazy Pres Packer asked your brother to shut down Sunstone. Has Pres Packer not read our Church History? (The destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor printing press didn’t go so well for the Church Leaders in 1844) Does he not understand that trying to silence the Press is highly frowned upon in the United States? It’s the 1st Amendment of the Constitution for Pete’s sake. Well, at least Pres Packer didn’t issue an order to have someone physically destroy the Sunstone printing press (as far as we know).

  4. According to Wikipedia, it looks like Daniel Rector was the Publisher of Sunstone from 1986-1991. Ms. Tueller, do you happen to know the reason behind him ending his stint as publisher in 1991? Just wondering if the pressure he felt from the Church, friends, family, etc. caused him to turn over the job to someone else who maybe was not as connected to the Church leadership.

    Thanks again Ms. Tueller. I think these types of podcasts are great for helping us members get a better look at what is happening behind the curtain. The Church leaders tend to share very little with us regarding the reasoning behind the decisions that are made so insights like yours are helpful.

    1. One can only guess that Daniel was immediately afflicted–struck dumb or such–by Brother Boyd’s apostolic curse, and thus was unable to be publisher or anything else–to this very day! – Really, Packer’s “curse” would be incredible except for the fact that in his case it is so very believable (and laughable). Almost deserves an episode of its own.

    2. Yes, I do believe it was the pressure from my Father and of course the Apostolic Curse! Poor Dan… he was the best of the best❤️

    3. Sorry I replied to the wrong person so I’ll just repeat that I believe Dan quit as publisher because of the heat he took from my father about it. He didn’t want to quit.

  5. RFM and Bill, I think it might be interesting to hear a future podcast that compares and contrasts the Nauvoo Expositor events (1844) with the September Six events (1993). I’m guessing there are probably many similarities. Has anybody done a compare/contrast analysis on these events before?

  6. Wow! Thank you Lila, RFM, and Bill. Ryedog3 the Ironrodpodcast did an episode on the Nauvoo Expositor which gives much insight but not the comparison contrast to Sunstone. It is a starting point. I used to listen to Hartman Rector Jr. with such wrapt attention that I would sound much like him when discussing things with other missionaries. I liked his accent a lot. Back then as missionaries we also shared Paul H. Dunn tapes with great enthusiasm. I remember a missionary couple in my first area.They were salt of the earth but one time he shut down a discussion with her by saying “I have the priesthood.” I thought then about D and C 121:41. “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion by long suffering by gentleness and meekness and by love unfeigned.” I didn’t preach that to him: I just thought about it. This scripture came to mind again while listening to this interview. I find now ( which I seemed oblivious to for years) that “the most correct book” must not have been consulted, pondered, or prayed about in regard to polygamy as in Jacob chapter 2 and blacks and the priesthood as in 2 Nephi 26 …”and denieth none that come unto him, black and white bond and free”. Thanks for mentioning those other podcasts. I’ll have to look them up. I have also found the Puremormonism blogspot by Rock Waterman helpful. That was my starting point about four years ago while trying to make sense of things and he strongly recommended RFM. Thank you very much,RFM, Bill, and especially Lila. I thank you for your courage and communication skills. This has been most helpful.

    1. I really enjoyed your comments Lila I’m sorry you missed out on time with your dad when you were young I’m about your age but was raised by a jack Mormon he became active as I left on my mission and stayed active till his death he really enjoyed your father’s talks and his military service he especially loved the way your dad described feeling and understanding the spirit your dad ounce poped in on my elders quarm lesson out of the blue in kuna Idaho to the 10 or so 20-30 year olds we really enjoyed his take over of our lesson and he even stayed a few minutes late to get to know us individually I’ve been very active my whole life my wife and kids don’t know what to do with their rock solid father who is suddenly asking questions and avoiding church at every turn it s just not working anymore this has been just down right tough to find these things out from the gospel topic essays I got up in testimony meeting 6 months ago and blurted out that I would have shot Joseph Smith too my stake president and bishop will not let me approach the podium now but that’s ok lost sheep don’t have the value they ounce had but these are things that many of us who so enjoyed teaching gospel doctrine and the so called history of the church must now live with its all good. We too will be blessed for the things we are called upon to endure thanks so much for sharing your experiences forgive your father he lost out on a lot also keep your will and your life inside your own navigational beacons listen to some good music most of all do some more interviews you were great to listen to just hang in there life will give you all you deserve

      1. Bill… I can’t seem to get my comments to apply to the right person, but you said some very kind things. Thank you! I’m mostly happy now, all the time! Life is great post-Mormon!

    2. Thank you Jim! I appreciate your comments. I have been very confused about these same topics and the discrepancies in the scriptures and doctrine.

  7. This was absolutely wonderful. Such courage and integrity goes to Lila. Lila, hoping the rest of your life that you live in the reality of your true self. Thanks guys for another wonderful podcast.

  8. As I was listening to the part of the Podcast where you were describing that General Conference talks were written out in advance and that transcripts were given to the press ahead of time, I am reminded that before the Internet broadcasts, we used to go to the chapel to listen to Conference. The closed captioning would usually be on in the broadcast in my chapel. It would not be at all unusual to see President Monson’s talks drift away from the pre-prepared closed captioning. Suddenly the closed captioning would stop, and then it would start again but it would be jerky and hesitant, and contain misspellings and grammatical errors, as the people running the closed captioning were actually trying to type and keep up with Elder Monson in real time. He really couldn’t be kept “on book.” 🙂

  9. Hey RFM! Around 57:00, you mentioned wanting to check an article in the May 1981 Ensign. While I’m afraid you’ll have a hard time finding a digital copy of this issue online, you might be interested to learn that many of the official Conference Reports have been published on (, including the April 1981 issue.

  10. The Church seems to be thoroughly scrubbing all of their online searchable content of anything they want to currently revise in its history, except the apologetics; hence the transcript edits. You can Google search any website & its subpages by using the following pattern in the Google search bar, as an example I’ll use “second anointing”:
    “second anointing”

    (Which they missed one reference last time I searched that). I’ve just given you the (search) keys to the kingdom (until they figure this out & information hiding/control & revisionist history continue). Happy searching!

  11. This was one of my favorite episodes because we got to peer into the heart and experience of a fellow traveler.
    Please consider including more interviews.

  12. I thought Brother Rector’s talk on being nice was probably the best I have ever heard in conference -certainly the most basic rubber hits the road daily life message for me. In Moroni 7 it goes over the importance of charity and ” patient, kind, and not easily provoked” are three things I say to myself every day. There is much of charity that is covered in the word NICE. I have got to read that talk again. Thanks for the reminder.

  13. Great episode! Lila’s story and insights were a joy to listen to. A childhood friend of mine was Hartman Rector Jr.’s grandson and shared the name Hartman. Perhaps Lila’s nephew? Would love to find out where life has taken him.

  14. Gaylon Vorwaller (gvsurf)

    This hit close to home with me, since Elder Rector stayed in our home for a week or so when I was a teen, and he subsequently stayed in close contact with my dad. I was disappointed (but not surprised) to learn that he wasn’t the easy going guy at home, that his remarkable public persona showed. And learned more of the dark side of BKP (I also had first-hand shaming experience with his dictatorial style while I was in a stake presidency). Thanks for this interview. I felt Lila as a friend, with our tiny slice of shared experience.

  15. I shared with a friend some of the stories from Lila of her father. This friend shared that his father met Elder Rector and asked him how to get his boys to cut their hair. This would probably have been in the late 70s or early 80s. Elder Rector told this father that if hair length was the only thing that worried him about his boys, then he should let it go, there are bigger things to worry about. I then shared with my friend Lila’s story about Dan. We couldn’t help but conclude that perhaps Elder Rector regretted the episode with Dan and so advised this father not to repeat his action. It made a difference in the life of my friend, until he got old enough that he lost all his hair anyway. 😀

    Lila, thank you for the stories!

    1. Rob… that’s really interesting! I overheard my father say those very words to someone he was on the phone with!
      I remembered thinking the same thing… that he had not followed his own counsel.

  16. I think this is my favorite episode you have done. Thank you to the woman who felt it important to share her story. I find it very important and will be helpful for others in her same situation. I recently saw Gong’s son post about some difficult issues. The family members of the leaders have a voice, and a lot of us want to hear it. Thank you!

  17. Thank you Lila for your honesty and articulate manner. You have hit so many nails right on their heads. “Too little, too late” exactly fits how I feel about blacks in Church history.

    An amazing episode, thanks for sharing Lila, and thank you RFM and Bill Reel!

  18. Lila:

    It takes a long while to get to Oz. We walk the yellow brick road, fight off witches and monkeys, serve the youth, go to the temple, teach Primary and have Family Home Evening only to end up narcotized in the poppies. Once in Oz we might imagine that we have finally arrived only to be disappointed to learn that “the man behind the curtain” is a fraud. But Kansas does exist and there is a way back home but it will require yet another journey. Good luck on yours, Lila. Don’t give upon God or those few who speak truth and righteousness but give up on frauds, false shepherds and seers who do not see.


  19. Lila thank you for answering the many comments. The journey of life really is an amazing one and it is unique to each of us. The patterns in my mothers quilts are represented by all that is important in her mindset. She is quietly waiting to pass over to be with her eternal family on the other side. Yet she still quilts and looks forward to another grand baby or great grand baby now she has a few great great grand babies. She is the most beautiful person I know inside and out . And it is her faith and her love that keep me going back to church each week . The hope I find in her is constantly being tested by the current attitudes of leadership in s l c and the actions of general authorities who teach that only the second anointed can have an audience with the savior. Well we know who ultimately paid the price to get us to where we are now . Can you imagine the topics covered in the quilting bees of old ? The widows mite is where the word mighty is rooted . At least to this old son who has witnessed enough of these apologetic theologens and they miss the pattern because they are critical of the stitch. Something tells me you understand. May the good lord bless you on you path . May he be near your heart . Most of all step a ways back look at the pattern . Perfection to the mother of a 3 year old is easily seen . She adorns her refrigerator with every scribble. Maybe our father in heaven sees each of us this way . I sure hope so . And because of my angel mother. I believe that is the way it is.

  20. Lila,

    When I was a new convert and living in Lexington Kentucky, I met one of your brothers. I remember being in his apartment. Seemed like a temporary house maybe. I remember him advising me to not put the general authorities up on a pedestal, because his dad told him that they were just fallible men.

    This would have been perhaps in 1989 – 1990.

    Can you tell me which of your brothers was living there then? If I recall, he would have been in his late twenties then, I think.

  21. Hi Lila , wanted to join with others to personally thank you for your personal story . You are helping many others through your honest sharing . We are all connected in many ways and others stories can help us feel that way . I tried your email address for your business and it said “ not in use “ and I would like to talk with you a moment if you would be so kind . My email address is [email protected] Cheers , Mike Larsen

  22. Hello Lila,

    Hard to express how much your words resonate with me. As a lifelong member, I’ve journeyed on a similar road. My father (also a military guy) progressed in the church throughout my childhood to a position of an area authority. I was also brought up to fervently protect his/our family name above all else. Getting beaten with a stick by my (then-Bishop) father was painful and confusing to my 10-year old mind, and I believed that I was deserving of the abuse. Through the following years, I continued to feel more personally ashamed for having been so insubordinate and undeserving of being the Bishop’s son…requiring the necessity of such corrective measures by my father, priesthood leader and resident church authority. Hearing you describe your similar experience after being ‘caught’ after watching an unapproved movie was all too familiar, and heartbreaking.

    I recall meeting Paul H. Dunn as a youth and feeling the awe of of being in the company of the ‘Lord’s anointed’. Likewise, when meeting your father after he spoke at the MTC in Provo in 1986, I was equally impressed, and carried his book throughout my mission. Both influences, and others, resulted in extensive journal entries reflecting on the truthfulness of the gospel, and supported my testimony whenever it felt in need of bolstering.

    Having served in the church in various leadership positions myself for the bulk of my life, I am now a recently disaffected member, and am going through the same process you’ve described so candidly and eloquently here and on other forums. At 54, it feels terribly late for me to become aware of so many of the troubling truths that somehow have eluded me for the bulk of my life. Nonetheless, despite the feeling that real truth has been methodically and purposefully hidden from me by those whom I’ve trusted most, that search for meaning and real truth continues. Ironically, it’s that philosophy – desire for and acceptance of truth in all its forms and from all sources – that has held me committed to the gospel for years. The 13th article of faith was the one I chose to recite at the podium upon graduation from Primary.

    At this point, I’m torn. My parents, both alive but in poor health, carry the ongoing understanding that I am still a believer in the gospel doctrine as reflected in the volumes of church books on our respective library shelves… your father’s books among them. I love my mother and father, and my overriding feeling and concern is that I want them to enjoy peace and happiness during their last years. On the other hand, doing so means hiding truth myself – that is, the knowledge I now have that divinity is not the source of our common religion. I know now that the very foundations of the church are based on fraudulent factors, and ‘living the gospel’ can and does result in fractured and damaged families in far too many cases. I need only look at how the church (and my father, to be honest) have marginalized women and others, and the strong desire to correct those views (at least in my own family) becomes evident. I have felt and acted upon that desire, entreating my father on several occasions to treat my mother gently and with equality, and to seek forgiveness from her.

    And though I suspect that my parents have noted some of my changing views, I have stopped short of revealing that my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, Joseph Smith’s prophetic role, the BoM, and the veracity of the beliefs that led our pioneer ancestors into the Salt Lake valley is void. Supporting my parents completely in their desires would necessitate continuing to provide priesthood blessings when they ask, and assuring them of a testimony which I no longer truly have. Perhaps loving them enough to fake it for a few months or years is the right thing to do. As their eldest son, I feel some compulsion to do so until they are no longer with us, despite the inherent hypocrisy that comes with it. Besides, it’s not as it I haven’t been a hypocrite for quite some time, as it turns out, given how many times I professed knowledge of things that were completely false. Anyway, despite my lack of credibility on religious issues after decades of doing so, I believe my moral compass is intact… it’s just a little stuck.

    Thank you again Lila. Your willingness to share your experiences is enlightening and appreciated.

  23. What Bill Reel was saying at the end about the church giving cover for human weaknesses is profound. I know it applies especially to men (because of the priesthood). But it also applies to women. Once I left the church, I realized that I had some seriously unhealthy control issues. All along I thought my issues were justified and what God would want because I was controlling my husband and family in the direction of the celestial kingdom. When I brought this up to a TBM friend, she acknowledged this same idea in the way the church fostered her tendency toward black/white thinking.

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