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Radio Free Mormon: 183: An Evening with Carol Lynn Pearson

Carol Lynn Pearson, the Poet Laureate of Mormonism, drops by RFM’s underground bunker to chat about her life, her loves, and her latest projects!  Prepare yourself for a very special experience!


30 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 183: An Evening with Carol Lynn Pearson”

  1. I am listening to a podcast that she did many years ago. (2010) I can’t express how much that podcast has meant to me. Carol, thanks SO MUCH.

  2. That was pure gold! Thank you! I only ever read poems here and there by Carol Lynn. Now I will look up her other books. I would like to see the play or even read the script to that one on Orderville. I remember reading how the boys used a grinder to try to wear out their everlasting pants. I saw My Turn on Earth in a nearby city probably in 1978. That was much appreciated. The songs even cross my mind once in awhile all these years later. Early in the interview I was reminded of the Puremormonism blog entitled Why I’m Abandoning Polygamy. Rock points out how when he was younger, and I heard it also, that someday polygamy would be reinstated in the church. I have a close friend, a brother, who is now married to another man. He never was married to a woman. I have got to read that book that Carol Lynn wrote on this topic. That four minute book about being a friend I’ll Walk With You is exactly on track with that part in the Sermon on The Mount, you know, where it talks about freeing the prisoner. I really had no idea about the depth of Carol Lynn’s work. Now I need to find some Walt Whitman to tead and find what truths he has to share. I know I have found some points to ponder in Robert Service poems. The Spirit of the Unborn Babe and The Outlaw are worth considering. The Outlaw is about an outlaw who died and faces judgement. I will relate some of it. “A wild and woeful race he ran Of lust and sin by land and sea; Until, abhorred of God and man, They swung him from the gallows tree. And then he climbed the Starry Stair, And dumb and naked and alone, With head unbowed and brazen glare, He stood before the
    Judgement Throne. The Keeper of the Records spoke, “This man O Lord has mocked Thy Name. The weak have wept beneath his yoke, The strong have fled before his flame….Look down decree his doom O Lord! Lo! There is none will speak for him.” The golden trumpets blew a blast That echoed in the crypts of Hell, For there was judgement to be passed, And lips were hushed and silence fell.” The Lord wants to know if anyone will plead the case of this sinner. A mongrel cut comes up to the feet of the outlaw and shows his love for the man. The Judge/Lord recognizes the dog as worthy to plead for the man. ” So let this man to glory win; From life to life salvation glean; By pain and sacrifice and sin, Until he stand before me – clean. For he who loves the least of these (And here I say and here repeat) Shall win himself an angel’s pleas For mercy at my judgement seat.” Thank you Carol Lynn Pearson and Brother RFM. What the world needs now is love sweet love and try a little kindness is the message I got from this podcast. Once more – Thank you! ❤️🔥That was heart warming.

    1. Glad the interview was so moving to you, Jim!

      I think you will find lots to appreciate in the works of Carol Lynn Pearson as well as Walt Whitman.

      Thanks for the passage from Robert Service, too!

      There is just too much inspired writing in the world to fit between the covers of one book.

  3. I could write pages about the healing I received from reading The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy. No church topic has been more taboo, and more silently cancerous upon the church than polygamy. To hear a well respected author such as Carol Lynn Pearson speak out for marginalized groups was so validating and restorative. While Carol Lynn can probably never convince me to feel warm fuzzies toward Joseph, brilliant as he might have been, I did love reading of real LDS women and men speaking the fears and sorrows that can never be expressed in church. She has risked losing her community in order to speak the truth and I only wish I could have seen her portray Joan of Arc because women who stand up for their truth make such a difference in this world—they lead the way. I mean, who else but CLP has actually publicly issued a manifesto against the doctrine of polygamy? Thank you to RFM too—I so appreciate it when you address the Mormon silent majority. (Here’s the manifesto–it’s so bold!) I can’t wait to get my copy of Finding Mother God.

    1. Thanks for the link to Carol Lynn’s “Manifesto.”

      I don’t think I had seen this before.

      It is less than five-minutes long, and I encourage everybody to click on the link and listen to it for yourselves.

      Carol Lynn really knocks it out of the park!

      “We are better than this, and we can do better than this!”

  4. Thank you for the link E.Woo. I listened to it. You said that it was healing. I know people who need some healing. Thank you. Carol Lynn said, “We are better than this and we must be better than this.” (That’s not exact but close.) She certainly has courage and love and compelling reasoning. I also googled Carol Lynn Pearson podcast 2010 thanks to Roger’s comment and it took me to a Mormon Stories podcast. I expect that I, as Roger, will find value in that. Thank you E. and Roger

    1. Hi Jim—I’m glad you found value in the manifesto. I always laugh when I hear someone has produced a manifesto—-I know it’s popcorn time. But not this one. She said everything I’ve ever wanted to say but said it well. Healing to your hurt ones!

    2. Thanks for the reference to Carol Lynn’s Mormon Stories interview, Jim.

      For anybody interested in hearing a more in-depth relating of her story, I encourage you to go there and give it a listen!

  5. RFM, E. commented that she would have liked to see Carol Lynn portray Joan of Arc. I would have liked that as well especially after hearing her read that I’ll Walk With You book. Do you think you could phone her and have her come back on, even for a few minutes, and read some of her lines from the play about Joan of Arc. I read about Joan of Arc years ago, what a courageous human being who was unfairly treated. Oh right, that Japanese singing sounded real good.

    1. Ok i have listened to some of the John Dehlin interview with Carol Lynn Pearson. Thought provoking. Thanks again, Roger. Years ago my wife wondered why women are second class citizens in the church. It was interesting to hear that Carol Lynn had the same thought. The interviews cover her career,marriage, and struggles. I guess you could say that her efforts to sort things out constitute “a wrestle before the Lord.” If you want to learn more about her journey check that out. I checked online for Walt Whitman poems. There is a whole new unexplored territory. I just learned that one about My Captain was a heart felt grief expression after the assassination of President Lincoln. Wow, up until now I only knew about that poem at all from Dead Poets Society. Thanks for clueing me in to Walt Whitman.

    2. I will see about Carol Lynn’s willingness to reprise her role as Joan of Arc.

      And I want extra credit for resisting the temptation to bring up the English view of Joan as portrayed in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 1.

      File this under the heading of how RFM doesn’t actually say everything that pops into his mind!

      Glad you liked my Japanese ditty, too! ;^)

  6. Dave
    There is another Dave who has already posted a different Dave a sensible intelligent Dave no doubt but it’s not me.
    I am the Dave who gave a blessing to Joey Mum’s budgie, the Dave whose mum rang him on his 65th birthday 3 years after she passed away, the Dave who is convinced he was abducted by aliens after losing 4 hours of his life and the car battery was completely drained of all its power.
    I am the Dave who is still waiting for your enforcer, Guido, to turn up and I am so looking forward to meeting him as we have his new very heavy overcoat ready and a quiet spot in the canal where he can have a peaceful deep sleep after his long journey.

    So I need a new name and I prefer X-FILES Dave because weird things are always happening to me but I will leave it to you to call me what you like even if it’s Dave the annoying little sod from Yorkshire.

    Ok that said 4am Sunday morning 28th June 2020 wondering how I could get back to sleep I immediately thought of you RFM that usually works but an hour later I was still wide awake because of Carol Lynn Pearson and her wonderful way of dealing with the problem of the awful let down one feels after being touched by Mormonism and then punched hard in the face by discovering the awful lies behind the paper thin façade like a beautiful painting depicting scenes of Angels descending from Heavenly Temples on high that suddenly evaporates leaving nothing but a dirty black canvas.
    A way through according to Carol is to keep the good and get rid of the rest and this I will put into practice for despite the let down much good did come from our 40 years a Mormon.

    I must confess the name Carol Lynn Pearson was unknown to me so I began to listen not expecting to be unduly moved but moved I was by a very impressive and refreshing take on what our attitude to life should be the basis of which is to Love one another, Forgive one another put forward in words and phrases filled with kindness and love.
    Carol Lynn Pearson her initials CLP rhyme with TLC Tender Loving Care and she exudes that thesis and her initials fall in line with that thought CLP Caring Loving Patience is what she is all about and she puts it all into a poetry of words that are just sublime. Oh how I wish I had just a fraction of the talent for brushing the canvas of my life’s story with her talent for bring words to life.

    Thank you RFM and please thank Carol for sharing her wisdom with us that sensibly point us way forward out of the black hole left by our discovery Mormonism is after all just make believe.

    1. Jim
      Thank you for your kind comments and the suggestion of my new name a Dave Y.
      So I say Y not (Dave Y) if RFM agrees let it B.
      I read through your stuff Jim and it is very apparent to me that you are a man who is an intelligent cohesive thinker bursting with curiosity with an insatiable thirst for knowledge.
      I believe that I am similar but way down the league from you. I was impressed with Carol Lynn Pearson and have searched out more of her work and I will search out the John Dehlin interview.
      Thanks for all the knowledge you share.

  7. Dearest Carol Lynn,

    Do you remember Relief Society being a place that empowered women? I do. I remember stories about how the RS women bought and sold on the stock market and made good money doing that. Also they donated tons of wheat that they owned to starving people in Europe, to help alleviate that starvation. They sewed for the poorly dressed. Charity never failed them. Women in RS were a force to be reckoned with. None of this disempowering cowering before ‘the brethren’.
    Women could use a good dose of empowerment right now.

    A second thought is about wives of high-powered men dying before their husbands. How is it that ‘supportive wives’ of GAs die sooner than their husbands? On the average in America women outlast their husbands by 5 to 10 years.

    I would welcome any thoughts you may have on those two topics?

    Very sincerely yours,
    Linda Gale

  8. Of course those leaders and their spouses would never acknowledge those signed books nor repudiate Polygamy, just as they will never acknowledge the priesthood ban never was of God. To do so would be to admit these things were Brigham Young’s doing, which in turn would be to admit the Church has no legitimacy mor authority — since it claims such THROUGH Brigham Young.

    1. I think you make a good point here, Nunn.

      Although the church’s stance on LGBTQ issues has its own set of problems, it doesn’t threaten the legitimate succession of priesthood and prophetic authority the way polygamy does.

      Nice call!

      1. Thank you, RFM. Regarding the
        Church and LGBTQ issue: I truly view that under the larger umbrella of the issue of the Church literally keeping men and women, both Black and White, both LGBTQ and Straight, from Salvation — yes, Expeditious, Extravagant Salvation, in THIS life, free for the asking and by turning and looking, as advertised in the Book of Mormon but as effectively negated by the dumbed down, inert (“GRADUAL, IMPERCEPTIBLE”), replacement salvation doctrine taught in LDS classrooms, across LDS pulpits, and in LDS lesson manuals, as so aptly explained in your recent episode — yes, I too know it by number, #175! — “Born-Again Book of Mormon.” That in my view is by far the most egregious way that LGBTQ’s, along with Straights (though LGBTQ’s have a more raw deal), are being wronged by the Utah LDS Church. Whereas admitting that the priesthood and temple ban and D&C 132 were Brigham Young’s doing would immediately undermine the Utah Church’s claim to authority and legitimacy (since it claims such authority and legitimacy THROUGH Brigham Young), allowing the saints to actually be Born of God would perhaps pose an even more direct threat to the Church’s power, dominion and control over the people (and to the income that goes with that) — since they would come to discover not only what being Born Again REALLY is; they also would discover that they don’t need the men at 47 East South Temple standing between them and God in order to obtain it. I realize how cynical that sounds. I also have come to realize they are that bad — just as bad as the Public Domain Book of Mormon itself says they are, as irony would have it.

        “…for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”

    1. I wanted to know the answer to this question, too, and asked it twice but it seemed Carol Lynn wasn’t hearing the question, and I forewent asking a third time because I didn’t want to get in the way of what she was talking about.

      I did some research, though, and I expect she was referring to the 2017 paperback, “Douglas MacArthur: American Warrior.” It has splendid reviews, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize!

  9. Okay RFM, I absolutely adored this episode. It was so wonderful to hear from Carol Lynn Pearson! I didn’t know much about her before, but I am blown away by all of the creative works she has created and dispersed. I can’t wait to read The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy. I left the church before ever getting married or endowed, but I am still working on cleansing myself of the internalized sexism that comes with being submersed in mormon doctrine and culture for 2 decades. I can only imagine how much more emotional work I would have to do if I had been more heavily exposed to and personally affected by the sexism in temple ordinances and the variation of polygamy practiced in mormonism today. I am looking forward to learning and understanding more about how polygamy continues to affect current members and exmormons in Carol Lynn’s book.

    Carol Lynn also invited me to see Joseph Smith in a different light, and THAT is saying something. For years, Smith to me has been little more than the no-good con man who created a scam of a religion that caused me a lot of pain. Carol Lynn paints him as a kind man who made errors. I don’t know if I would grant as generous of a description to Smith, but Carol Lynn’s words about him are a good reminder to me to check my black-and-white thinking, and to remember that none of us is as bad as the worst thing we have ever done.

    It is so empowering and inspiring to hear from a strong, smart, empathetic, powerful woman such as Carol Lynn. It was such a delight to listen to and learn from her—she is very wise, balanced, and has a bold and compassionate soul. Basically, she’s what I want to be when I grow up. When she read those poems about heavenly mother, I was brought to tears. Like, sobbing tears. I felt this strong connection to a divine feminine energy while I listened to Carol Lynn read those poems. It was a very beautiful and meaningful moment for me. Very moving. I can’t wait for August, I want to read more!

    Thank you for interviewing this exceptional woman. A fabulous episode indeed. Thank you RFM, and thank you Carol Lynn!!!

  10. Gen. MacArthur was an Episcopalian and happened to be christened at my church in Little Rock, Arkansas, Christ Episcopal Church.

    Enjoyed the episode and Carol Lynn Pearson is always a delight to listen to.

  11. I hate to be a negative Nancy, although that is my name lol. However I was very uncomfortable with the way she still seems to defer to her leaders- men of course- telling them and sending them copies of her book. I wasn’t much of a feminist as Mormon but her book about her marriage to her gay husband really affected me positively and helped me become an lgbtq ally and eventually free myself from the church. So I love Carol Lynn. I’m kinda of a born again feminist now ,and I realize in retrospect how much I hated polygamy to the point that I was terrified of dying before my husband. It wasn’t sharing him per say but that polygamy in the Mormon church is 110% coercion. Submit or be destroyed, it’s there in the D&C in plain English. How liberating to discover it was all a fraud!
    I was lied to though, because as an investigator the missionaries said the church gave up polygamy. Her book puts up front and center what a lie that is.

  12. RFM

    I have listened to many of your podcasts and have enjoyed them and found them informative.

    I am curious, I am not a member of the LDS Church. I haven’t been for many years because they excommunicated me, my wife, and my oldest son the same night.

    I have seen much research and information derived from the actual records now available through the Joseph Smith Papers Project to show that Joseph was not the instigator of the abomination that is polygamy. That infamous title goes to Brigham Young in my opinion.

    In your two-part podcast about Brigham Young’s hostile takeover, you demonstrated very well how ambitious Brigham young was and what lengths he would go to in order to gain power.

    I also believe he was an adulterer and interested in the wealth he could obtain through his power; the perfect trifecta, power, money, and sex.

    As a defense attorney, wouldn’t you want through the discovery process to present or find evidence that could very well be exculpatory in nature?

    Only a dishonest prosecuting attorney would seek to bury possible exculpatory evidence.

    Wouldn’t that be the only way to present a case to a jury that is fair in order for them to decide the guilt or innocence of the individual, Joseph, on trial here in peoples’ minds?

    There are many books, authors, online resources, etc. to look at this from an angle that might possibly exonerate Joseph of almost two centuries of defamation.

    If as you say in this podcast you feel love for Joseph, then why not try your hand at a little discovery that might prove his innocence?

  13. Love, love, love this interview. Love, love, love Carol Lynn Pearson. I got her book Beginnings as a teen. When she sang “Barbara, it’s time to come home”, I remembered it and teared up.
    I love the connection I feel to our Heavenly Home when Carol Lynn speaks.

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