Song of the Week: Unwell
What I Want for My Son

Mormon Stories #77-83: Paul Toscano

I've just finished listening to my friend John Dehlin's latest podcasts with Paul Toscano, one of the illustrious (or notorious, depending on one's perspective) September Six, having been excommunicated in September 1993 for having ideas that Boyd K. Packer disagreed with.  I have listened to nearly all of John's podcasts at both Mormon Stories and Mormon Matters, and I think this is his best interview yet.  Toscano had my laugh tears flowing in episodes 4 and 5.  I found myself cheering when he said (I paraphrase) that he would put his body count of destroyed testimonies against Boyd Packer's any day.  I found myself once again distressed and distraught at the treatment he and his family received at the hands of church authorities at every level.  His only "sin" was thinking, believing, and speaking ideas not understood or believed by those in positions of authority in the LDS Church.  Many people have commented that the LDS Church used to be more fun and exciting than today's staid, correlated cookie-cutter church.  Part of the reason is that the church has given the boot to folks like the Toscanos.  While I don't think I ever shared either Paul's or Margaret's understanding of Mormon theology, I would have loved to have had people like them in my ward--people who are passionate about studying the scriptures and exploring the ramifications of the doctrines Joseph Smith taught.  I am not really sure what Boyd Packer feared from the Toscanos.  I think the church would be enriched by having a diversity of thought and opinion freely expressed.  I like Paul Toscano's vision of the church as a family, where the ordinances are what make the church unique, and people are free to explore, discuss, and disagree--even with the apostles--on matters of faith and doctrine.

I post the YouTube versions of these podcasts here for your convenience.  Both audio and video versions are also available from the Mormon Stories web site or by subscription from iTunes.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did and will comment freely.  Mormon Stories regulates comments from non-believers, disaffected members, and former Mormons.  Equality Time is the place to comment if you want to say anything that would not be appropriate for Sunday School.



I listened to the entire series on Halloween night. I found Paul's account deeply moving. I disagreed with some of John Dehlin's comments to the effect that Paul's or Margaret's beliefs, ideas or suggestions would endanger the church or threaten members' testimonies. While I don't agree with everything Br. Toscano said he believes, as I understand it, I feel strongly that he had a right to express his viewpoint and that there is indeed sanctity in dissent. I felt ashamed at the treatment he and others like him have received from local leaders and the General Authorities of the LDS church.


I've never met Paul, but after spending a few hours watching his interviews I developed a great respect and admiration for this man (and his lovely wife whose interview I also watched) It is a HUGE injustice that these two amazingly smart and good hearted people are not longer members. It also makes me wonder if the church bosses knew what I think about certain things, if I would not also be asked out of the church!

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