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Radio Free Mormon: 204: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Philip McLemore joins us again to share his fascinating experiences with LDS General Authorities including Ezra Taft Benson, Vaughn Featherstone, Paul Dunn, Marion Hanks, and more!  Philip McLemore tells it all!  The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!


17 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 204: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

  1. LOVE what you said about Phillip’s wife’s blessing before surgery!! I was also moved by your description of the women in the foyer.

  2. Really enjoyed this conversation

    My takeaways:

    1) Human beings (including Mormon general authorities) are complex beings, more gray than black or white.

    2) Authoritarian religions can be hazardous for your emotional/spiritual health.

    3) If you are in an authoritarian religion, it’s nice to have friends at the top!

    4) Kim is a saint.

    Thanks again for the fascinating and inspiring chat.

  3. My understanding was that I was supposed to bless people to be healed, like Featherstone did, and let God take it from there. I never had caveats or outs.

    It was a “bless em all, let god sort em out” approach

    1. Hello Aunt, Please accept my apology for the thoughtless remark I made that RFM’s sarcasm might go too far at times. In truth, it is a refreshing, HEALING tonic for me also.

      1. I appreciated Philip’s moral stand. I’m older than him and spent a total over 40 years in leadership positions in the ward and stake. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chaplain part of the church org chart to use. My moral (common sense really in most cases) stands were inevitably viewed as sedition. Glad you did what you did but, as you pointed out, the damage done is pretty widespread which I also saw when living in 6 states and many wards/stakes.

  4. Philip, I believe that you just described the leadership of a secular organization and my own own story in one. For years I taught collegiate English and Spanish and got to know many of my students quite well because of the nature of my courses in which my students wanted to share their lives commensurate with the literature or the depth of learning a new language and the cultural understanding that must come as a result of such an effort. We often shared our ideas on life and death and our fears and hopes. Sometimes I felt insight about people’s plights and success and needs. However, I never felt inspired of God to think I could see more about people’s lives than that which I deduced from our conversations, and I doubt that LDS leaders have any discernment beyond that which we all have after spending a great deal of time and intimacy with our fellow beings.

    I am reminded about my experiences in reading the Book of Mormon. So much of what I read didn’t seem right to me, but I needed to believe it was true because of my investment in the Church, including my family’s place in eternity, my time, my money, my life in general that I gave because of my total investment in the organization, my fears and doubts be damned. Then, in my 75th year. it hit me one day that my effort to believe had been in vain. If there is no evidence on the ground of a Lehite civilization, including DNA, then there was no people to have written on gold plates, no one to read such plates, nor any society to have left a legacy or history, religious or secular, to tell about; therefor, the BOM is a work of fiction, Joseph Smith is fraud, and any church associated in any way to him is a fraud as well. End of story.

    Now I don’t worry too much about the internecine arguments, pro or con, of the legitimacy of the LDS movement.

    By the way, we must have married cousins, because my wife is almost angelic as well as yours, and she is still a TBM. We don’t agree on much about the verity of the Church, but we seem to cherish each other, for which I am grateful. Now, nearing 80, I am happy she is my mate still, and I am happy to have the freedom of mind to choose whom and what I believe and how I choose to interact with others

    Take care, my bright friend; I found your discussion today informative and insightful. RFM is a capable host and does an intelligent job of interviewing.

    Your friend, Barry Richins

    1. Thanks for the follow up Barry. When I let go of Mormonism in mind and heart, I felt such a huge relief. With that freedom, I assumed personal responsibility for my spiritual life and have pursued God in every way possible. He/She finally caught me!

  5. I tried twice to listen to this episode and found myself angry. I never got through it. I need to move on and become an ex ex Mormon. To belong to an organization that always told me something was wrong with me if I saw the cracks or began loading my shelf with those thousand issues when like Phil said in part 1 , there’s really only one.
    I need to forgive myself for allowing myself to be abused. It still is shocking to me when I find people who really believed it all. I should have said F you in 1983 when I went through the temple and felt dark and icky. I did what every good little Mormon girl does….think something was wrong with me. Only one path was available to a Utah county Mormon girl and I didn’t get to choose much for myself…it was all laid out and
    God did not love women..I could never buy into the idea god knew what would make me happy so quit kicking against the pricks and submit. Have more faith. Oh my favorite….don’t be so selfish and self centered.
    Phil sounds very nice but when I experienced the emotional anger I turned it off, twice. I just had surgery that has left me disabled for 12 weeks and I have felt so vulnerable it has surprisingly triggered past life trauma, a lot. Running has been my sanctuary and I just had my right foot fused.
    Thank you RFM for all your efforts. You really do such a wonderful podcast.

  6. Hello K. I’m sorry for the anger you experienced as you tried to listen to the podcast. My goal was to share these unique experiences and to look at lessons learned. Both RFM and I enjoy the humor in much of this or at much of this but that could be disturbing to someone for whom it is being experienced as “past life trauma”. What I did not share, because it would have overloaded what we were trying to accomplish, were the hours, weeks, months, and years of emotional/psychological suffering I went through as Mormonism collapsed for me. I joke and laugh now since, in hindsight, so much that is taken so seriously in Mormonism is foolish and absurd and I feel a little foolish for having embraced it and defended it. For me, laughter is often the best medicine but there are times when I reflect on specific instances when Mormonism caused damage in our family and I can still get quite angry. I encourage you to forgive yourself. We were both misled and betrayed and probably did the best we could under the circumstances. Will you let me know if you are able to get back to your running? [email protected]

    1. Yes I will. There is a 90 % success rate, so I am hopeful. Now the success rate of being an ex Mormon is hopefully just as high. Thank you for your kindness, it’s truly never wasted.

  7. Thank you to Phillip and RFM, I enjoyed this episode it lightened my somewhat dismal mind. I found it good to hear about Marion Hanks. I had one snapshot of him in my mind. When I was in the mission home in SLC he gave a talk and asked us missionaries to look up a scripture and then he seemed rather cranky that we didn’t know our scriptures very well and some missionaries had those little book marker tabs on our scriptures. He called those an “abomination”. I have often thought there was more to him and wondered what snapshots I might be judged by. Also, the story by Vaughn Featherstone was in the 1974 or 1975 priesthood manual entitled What Manner of Men Ought ye to be. The older dad had run with a friend of the son to where the boy was on a fallen power line. That was near Cody Wyoming, I think. Anyway, I would like to learn more of your meditation and prayer process. Thank you

    1. Elder Peterson was not alive at the time. It was a 70. The fact that it is clear to us that more than one GA could do this is sad.

  8. An okay episode. Phillip seems like a good guy, but frankly, after 90 minutes, it seemed clear (to my pea brain, at least) that his conclusions could be summed up as follows:
    – GOOD = those GAs who agreed with my view of the doctrine
    – BAD = those GAs who didn’t agree with me
    – UGLY = those GAs who didn’t agree with me and It’s clear that they hurt others as they disagreed with me

    But that’s just me.

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