Leaving Religion & Those We Leave Behind

Jon Ogden. How to give your kids a healthy foundation after leaving.

December 22, 2021 Amanda Joy Loveland Season 1 Episode 23
Leaving Religion & Those We Leave Behind
Jon Ogden. How to give your kids a healthy foundation after leaving.
Show Notes Transcript

I like you, just the way you are.

My guest today is one of great wisdom and resources and I was thrilled to sit down with Jon Ogden!

After going through his own faith crises, his main one on his mission in Ventura California, Jon co-founded a company called Uplift Kids. Uplift kids is a beautiful landing place for those who are still wanting something after religion. Through their online library and lesson approach they offer resources through many different religions and through science as well.  "We integrate the best of modern science and ancient wisdom."

Jon asks the beautiful question, are you honest in your pursuit of truth, beauty & goodness? This is a question that he posed in his book that he wrote called, When Mormon's Doubt.

Head over to https://upliftkids.org to get your membership started today! Use coupon code, "holidays" for $10 off your membership. This code is only good until Sunday night so snag your membership today!

Follow Uplift kids on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/upliftkids/

Grab Jon's book, When Mormon's Doubt! https://www.amazon.com/When-Mormons-Doubt-Relationships-Quality-ebook/dp/B01D7T93CQ

For Jon's Medium writings, check him out on his webpage at: https://jonogden.medium.com

Last but not least, you can grab my book at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09MG18YYT

And head over to my website to take my relationship quiz and get access to my mini course:


Welcome, welcome, welcome to my podcast leaving religion and those really behind. I am your host, Amanda J. Loveland. And as always, I am so thrilled that you are here, make sure and head over to Amazon to go grab my latest book, Love in the spaces in between. This is a book that goes through my journey and my navigation of the things that I learned through each of my relationships. And it has a lot of really beautiful resources and tools for anyone that is in a relationship. And guess what we're all in one because one of our most important relationships is the relationship we have with ourselves. So this book is for everyone, regardless of your relationship status. And because at the end of the day, I think we all would be on the same page that we want to have a better relationship with everyone in our life. So head over and grab my book on Amazon, I'll put the show in the shownotes. I'll put the link down below. And then also, you can go over to my website, Amanda J loveland.com. Don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter, and head over and grab go through the relationship quiz. This is a really cool quiz that at the end, you'll get access to a mini relationship course that I have created, and you'll get access to it for free. And without further ado, I want to introduce our next guest, John Ogden, he has co founded and CO created I think with one or two other people, I can't quite remember a company called uplift kids.org. And this is a really, really, really beautiful resource. And I think it's perfect timing that I got to interview him this week, and just the week after I interviewed my son, because there's definitely a need in the community for families that are going through faith transitions and where to land and uplift. kids.org offers a really safe place for families that feel that feels like there's a foundation and they offer lessons and resources that you can go and sign up and get a membership, they actually are offering a $10 off a membership through Sunday evening, using the code holidays. And I will put this in the show notes. So make sure to go to the link, grab the coupon code to get your discount. But they offer lessons for families that cover all sorts of religious beliefs. So whether it's the Bhagavad Gita, or it's the Bible, or the Tao de Ching, they offer a lot of different perspectives and from different religions. So it's a really, really beautiful resource. And I'm excited to sit down with John Ogden and share this interview through zoom that I did with him. Well, welcome, John, I'm so thrilled to be sitting with you. And I know we're gonna try and do this in person. But as luck would have it, we're doing it over zoom. And thank goodness for technology to be able to do this. Yeah. Thank you. having me? Yeah, of course, I'm really really, um, I'm looking forward to this interview, because I know a little bit about you. And you were someone, somebody had referenced you to me, as far as you know, that you'd be a good interviewer to have on my podcast. And yeah, I love what you're doing now, which we'll talk about in a minute. But I would love to know your your Mormon story. You know, were you born and raised in Utah. What? Now? What's your Mormon story? Yeah, I'll cover briefly. I was born in Utah, grew up for a little while in Spanish Fork and then moved to Springville, Utah, so just south of Provo, and yet just grew up Springville high school, went on a mission went to BYU Where did you sir? Ventura, California. Oh, cool. What was your missions? I liked my mission. I had challenging times in terms of faith and belief. As I talk to people about things and realize that I didn't know, things that I well, I realized that I knew I didn't know things that were true, that were negative about Mormonism. And that was difficult that to face Crisis there. But overall, it was great. Awesome. So you went on a mission? went to BYU? Yep. I went to BYU. I studied English literature and met my wife there and then did a master's degree there. And then have just worked various company sets. Cool. So what was your I'm done with Mormonism? I'm out. I mean, you I'm you're where you're at now in your life is actually assisting people who left religion and their children is is that correct? It is, though. The line between left and stayed is kind of blurry. I'll say for me personally and for those who belong to uplift So, yes and no one can Yeah. Elaborate on that. Yeah. So what we found is that people who still attend Mormonism there are many people who are interested in a more expansive view of spirituality. And they want to pull from the world's wisdom traditions. They don't want to be limited to just Mormon Mormon isms approach. Yeah. And there are many people who have left Mormonism, who also want some way to give their kids a foundation after leaving. And so, I personally, don't attend church at this time. But there's still so much of me that feels Mormon and feels okay with claiming Mormonism at some level, while being completely honest about things that don't work for me. And the things that don't fit my current beliefs. So the the goal of uplift kids is to give people a foundation, whether they're in or out of religion. And we pull from the wisdom traditions without saying that anybody has to subscribe to any certain tradition. There's not just one, let's say yes. Going to all of them. Yep. Awesome. Why did you start doing that? Why did we start up lift? Because I, it came about because there were four of us, including me in a nine month course, from Laura lights, which is a mindfulness meditation community in Salt Lake City that Thomas McConkey runs. And we were talking about what do you do with kids? Yeah, after a faith crisis, whether that faith crisis, after the faith crisis, you still remain in Mormonism or after the faith crisis, you leave Mormonism, what do you do with your kids? Yeah. And it's a need that I felt really sharply in my life. Because I want my kids to be well versed in their wisdom traditions, I want them to have spirit to be spiritually healthy. I want them to be ethically upright, I guess, and to have good emotional regulation. And so these are the things that led us to say, hey, what if we started a curriculum and lesson library that could help kids navigate these things? And not only that, but help parents figure out like, well, what, what is the foundation now? What do I actually believe? What do I want to teach my kids, I want to teach them something. It doesn't, I don't want to just teach them like the opposite of Mormonism, and leave it at that. I want to have them be spiritually healthy, as well. And so it grew out of that concern and those questions that we had ourselves. That's awesome. So how long has it been that you've, I mean, you say you're not attending now. But do you feel like you've stepped out of Mormonism? Or you're still kind of doesn't matter. So let's see. How long has it been? Um, mmm, 334 years, in that? That range? Yeah, I lose track of time, especially with COVID. But it's been it's been around that time. I still I so I'm not as involved in my word. But I'm still like involved in Mormon conversations, and conversations about faith, and conversations about spirituality. So sometimes they overlap with people who were actively attending and sometimes they don't. And I don't, I don't feel hostile toward people who choose to stay. And I can see a lot of legitimate reasons to choose to stay broke down for me for a number of reasons. My me primarily because of just differences in belief, as I realized things on my mission that is like, Oh, the dominant narrative of Mormonism doesn't quite add up. And then realizing more as I read about the historicity of the New Testament and things like that, that there's a lot more metaphor than I had initially thought, when it comes to something like the the New Testament, so that led to me feeling like oh, I, I believe something different when I go to church and that that feels really tense for me. And then at the same time, my wife was having increasingly problems with the feminist issues of around Mormonism. And so, and I know Stand doubly. So kind of came to a headway with just disagreements in the ward and kind of something of a falling out? Yeah, that's not I know that there's been a lot of women, especially women that are, if that was a tricky one with how to navigate that within the Mormon religion because there's not Yes. And that was one of those things that I, what's the same now put on your shelf? I mean, I, I know a lot of people still do that just gonna have to put on my shelf because there's no place for it. And I don't believe that this, you know, what God would not have a balance between male and female. Yeah. And and that is, that is a tricky one. If I was still in, yeah, I left back in 2012. So it's been a little while. But that would have definitely pushed me. Yeah, it's definitely. So how many children do you have done to? How older than 11 and six? Have you? It? What's interesting is just the timing of me interviewing you. And I know, we had to kind of push it back a little bit because I was sick for a few weeks. And I ended up interviewing my son, my 19 year old son on my last Did you listen by chance. And it was a really interesting thing to sit down with. Because I feel like most parents, I think this is just such perfect timing that I interviewed him. And now you and I are chatting to to have a resource available to parents because I have found so many parents will not leave because they're so afraid of what that choice will do to their kids. And now what do I do, and I even noticed when I left my mom, my family is still in except for my sister. My mom was so well, your kids aren't gonna know about God, you need to take them to another church. And she was so nervous that my my kids wouldn't have any kind of religion. And so I think it's really cool that you offer some sort of a resource that is available for parents who have left so they feel like like you said, that stable ground that stable footing with, Hey, here's a myriad of things that they can learn because there's truth in all things. Yeah, that's right. Yeah, there's so much power in being able to know the wisdom traditions, including Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, stoicism, secular humanism, etc. There's wisdom in all these traditions, and there's so much power in spiritual practices. And there's a reason that billions of people around the world do choose religion, because that power is real. What, as I see it, what, when it gets corrosive is when any single one of them says, Oh, we're the only ones. And all the other ones are wrong. And they're not only wrong, but they're harmful, rather than this more ecumenical, universal approach, which is to say, like, Oh, we're all we're all trying to align ourselves to our inner compass. And we're all trying to align ourselves to a greater mystery that's transcendent. And we have these spiritual practices that help us do those things. And so uplifted really says like, well, how can we focus on the spiritual practices that can help us have higher well being, and the practices have increasingly been validated by researchers, including researcher out of Columbia University, we pull from quite a bit her name's Lisa Miller, and she's a psychologist who studies spirituality. And she's one of several. But it's clear and clear from neuroscience and from other other forms of research, that these spiritual practices do lead to higher well being. And so there are so many parents, like you're saying, who are saying, oh, man, I know that there is a problem, say with feminism in Mormonism, and I don't like some of the social political positions that many of the fellow members have. And the truth claims don't quite add up. But I don't know what to do about my kids. And so I'm gonna say, for that reason, I think that reason is valid, because they can get that can be helpful. I don't know if it's always sufficiently valid, but I think it is a valid reason. And so yeah, again, uplift aims to be a way for parents in this who are facing these problems to better Let's say, you know, we can still have this spiritual resource, whether we stay or we leave Mormonism or any other religion, and it can help us find higher well being as a result. Yeah, that's beautiful. I know in my experience and others when they leave Mormonism, a lot of times they feel jilted. It's almost like the layers come off, you know, they nine times out of 10, right, especially new top people are born into the religion. This is all they know. So it's embedded in their, in their psyche and their subconscious. And then things start happening to make them question in the Lair start coming off to where they feel they have been lied to. And as they go through this process, God in the conventional sense of the Mormon God dies, right? And so shifting into any kind of religion is really, really struggling. It's a challenge, because it's kind of like wanting to give the finger to any kind of religion, including God, when we step out of Mormonism, and I would say, and I'd be curious, your thoughts on this? Because I would say probably 80%, maybe it's not that high, go through something similar to that with, you know, what, screw this. All religions are ridiculous. I'm out. And they go through that angry, bitter face. And what have you found? I'm just curious, your thoughts on that, I guess. I've seen the same thing. I would be so interested to know the percentages on that. But I've seen it happen over and over. There are some former Mormons who do start attending evangelical circles. But the majority, in my experience, have said, I'm just going to be done with it. Yeah. And so what that can, what can happen as a result is that they're skeptical of anything that talks about spirituality. They are spiritual, I don't want to. And I think there's a loss in that. And I think that even the most secular minded or atheistic minded person doesn't necessarily have to give up on anything spiritual. For instance, Sam Harris has his waking up, app and podcast. And he's, he's one example of many people who are secular and spiritual. And yet, I can also relate and sympathize with people who say, I just want to give it all up, because there's a huge pain with that. Yeah, there's a loss the death. Yeah, yep. Yeah, exactly. So what have you done, when you went through your process of choosing out it sounds like it wasn't something. And that was a very emotion. I mean, there's emotion in it, but it sounds like it was a little bit more of a logical like, this just doesn't compute. And so I'm going to shift into something, something else, what have you found, because when you start going into Buddhism, and all the different religious beliefs that are out there, or just rigid religious contexts, and, and literature that's out there, I mean, it's quite, it's quite massive, and it sounds like you're well versed in, in most of those that are out there, especially if you're doing uplift. What has your belief gone to now from Mormonism to hey, you know, we're here to get a physical body eternal families. And, you know, that's the main reasons why we're here then then there's three degrees of glory. You know what, I'm curious if you wouldn't mind sharing what what's your belief system? Now? That's a big question. I would I know, the big question. I would start with the mystery. Like that. And maybe this is a paradox, but I'm a firm believer in the mystery. Like, just the AI. The notion that there that whatever is true or ultimate reality, is just so much more mysterious than I ever thought. And I also have a firm belief in the power of spiritual experience that we can have these experiences in Mormonism, we'd call it feeling the spirit. Like you think that I think that feeling the spirit is real. And it's not necessarily that the interpretation of that experience and the Mormon interpretation of the experience is the valid interpretation of the experience. Because it gets usurped, it gets it says Like, because you had a spiritual experience, therefore, you know that Mormonism is true. This is the same method methodology that many religions use. And yet, the experience is real. Right. So I don't know if that clarifies anything, it might just muddy the waters even further. But I do hold that spiritualities real, that the reality is very mysterious. I also hold that we're all in this together. And that we what we need to expand our view of the world to include each other and to include all beings so that we can live more ethically. And so the the tribalism and minor divisions are often off putting, and very difficult to navigate in practice. But that's another aspect to it is that, like, we're all we're all trying to align to this greater mystery. Yeah. I mean, at the end of the day, I think I just actually posted about this, at the end of the day, everyone's doing the best they can with what they have. And it is that there is a you sound like a seeker, one that's always seeking which you and I are similarly minded in that way, I'm always fascinated by truth. And I think what with what you're saying, with the spirit or feeling the spirit, it's just there to validate the truths that we're, we're experiencing. And, and, and at the same time, truth is subjective. And that is what I find fascinating in our society is, depending on the eye of the beholder, something to one person can be truth and to another can be completely false. And so in that moment, I can have a spiritual experience with that thing that I'm viewing is true to me. And someone else would have a completely opposite experience. And so this comes down to that fact that spirituality should be a very personal thing. You know, when you're talking about I don't know if you use the word tribes, but as you were speaking, I think, even tribes and the tribal systems, and it should be a very, very personal thing or connection to God, whatever that looks like. And you had said something earlier, as far as Oh, with religion, saying that, you know, they're the one true church or the one true religion, and that you think that that is one of the biggest downfalls. And I would agree with that, along with, I feel I feel with religion, where I struggle is when religion gets in the way of our connection to God, and having that direct source and that direct connection that I, as a woman, since we were talking about the feminine, the feminine aspect a minute ago, I have every right and access to have a direct communication with God, or to my higher self source, whatever you want to call it. And there doesn't have to be an intermediary that's in between us. And that's one of the things that in my experience, and it's not like Buddhism doesn't teach that there's several things that don't teach that. But there's a lot of religions that do. And I, for me, I feel that that is one of the biggest disservices that religion does to humankind. We're taking that ability to connect directly with source and with the ability to receive our own answers. And yeah, I think I know, that was a big question that I had asked you. Yeah, there's a lot more to say on it. But just to riff off what you were just saying, that point is the first point in our approach at uplift, which is that we all have an inner compass. We all have direct, we all can have a direct experience with spirituality. And so that's kind of our North Star. When we, when we're whenever preparing one of our lessons in our curriculum, it's that how can we help kids and families really attune to their inner compass? Because Lisa Miller, again, and others have found that those who really practice that aligning with their inner moral compass, have higher well being. And this can happen in religious settings, and it can happen outside of religious settings. And yet, that is the thing that can really make a big difference in people's lives. 100% Because that's your foundation. That's when you really know who you are, because you've gotten so familiar with with that ability to ask yourself what the answer is to something which most people through religion, give that power away. And so trying to reclaim that is is challenging, and people will naturally move to other types of gurus or other types of spiritual thought leaders to tell them what to do, because they're used to being told, you know, they're used to giving the power away. And in any scenario, claiming your power back, and owning that would be beneficial for all of us. I love that. So with uplift, are you guys teaching classes? are you what are you doing? We have a lesson library and curriculum for families, so that they can talk about values such as kindness, compassion, generosity, etc. We also do have a module on emotions. So how do you deal with grief? How do you work through anger, and other big emotions? We have a module on wisdom practices, meditation, journaling, expressing gratitude. Gratitude is always such a big one. Yeah, that's an easy practice to Yeah. And so we have more than 70 of these lessons at this point, that include multimedia, include selections from the world's wisdom traditions, they all include also research from psychologists, and therapists from a variety of universities. And so we're really about integrating the wisdom, wisdom, ancient wisdom and modern science, and pulling from wisdom wherever it is, and pulling from truth wherever it is. And so that's, that's what we offer. And so families can sit down and do these lessons. They're typically like 20 minutes, they can do a lesson altogether. Or they could pace it out through a week. And so we have it, so you can break it down and just say, like, hey, let's just sit down for five minutes, and watch this video, and discuss, or let's do this one activity, or let's read this one, quote, this one wisdom, quote, and talk about it. And so we really make it flexible, so that it can fit different families needs. And really give people a sense that, oh, we do have a foundation. Like there is a lot here. We're not starting from square one. Just because we happen to say, for instance, leave a religion, we actually have lots of wisdom, from a variety of traditions that we can stand on. And we know that there are a lot of good resources as far as retreat research goes, that we can stand on. And so suddenly, our intention is that people find uplifting, they say like, oh, here's a foundation. And we can explore it and be and be flexible with it. We're not, it's not dogmatic in the sense that any, no part of it has to be accepted. And it's all up for debate. But at the very least, it gives people a sense that oh, there's ground here. Yeah, so it's like, like you said earlier, they have they feel like they can have a foundation, which I think is is beautiful, because most people do feel like they're they're treading water when they step out is something that they have known for a very long time. Yeah, exactly. So with your children, because they're pretty young. Have you? I assume you practice this with your family? Yep. How's it gone? It's gone. Well, we, yeah, we typically do it on a Sunday. But then we also will break it up throughout the week, in addition, and it's led to a lot of really productive conversations and interesting conversations. And one thing I've noticed is that say, we'll have the lesson on let's say, gratitude on Sunday, then, we'll be watching a show together. And we'll notice like, Oh, see that character, actually just express gratitude. And it just makes the car it makes the, whatever topic we're talking about alive through the week. And so we can refer back to it. And so it just has this natural organic quality to it. Yeah. Yeah. So what have you noticed with the families that have come to uplift how to? I mean, I'm sure I'll make sure I share your website in the show notes. But how have people found you what have you noticed when people do come in what they've liked what they don't like, you know, with the winds that you're experiencing, he was sharing? Yeah. So we started a prototype, this was a year and a half ago, we started doing prototypes. And we found quickly that families really like videos. So we curate videos, because it's just an easy way for families to push, play, and then talk about it, and then move into an activity, move into discussion, etc. So, particular big fans of the videos and the activities. And then we also found this kind of surprised me, every single lesson has a parent, a parent guide, just to help the parent get oriented to the lesson topic. And this is where we have wisdom and the research. And I've we found repeatedly that parents will come to us and say, like, hey, that that's actually one of the most helpful aspects of uplift is that we didn't even know that we should be talking to our kids about this topic. But now that we can see the research, and see like, how the research validates teaching your kids in this topic, that'd be about consent, sexuality, LGBT stuff, racism, you know, we cover all those things as well. And then it's like, oh, here are all these aspects that therapists and researchers have said, are helpful. And so just by having that parent guide, and sitting down and looking through it, they say, Oh, that's really that's really useful for us. But the best stories are those were families will come to us and say, like, Hey, I had really had this problem with my kid kept coming up again. And again, we did this lesson, and it actually helped with them. Just interacting more positively in home. One example is the lesson on our lesson on chores. Like a family who was having a hard time getting their kids actually do chores and want to do chores. They sat down and did the lesson on chores came up with a game plan. And it went far more smoothly after that. Oh, that's awesome. Do you dive into things like um, energetics being empaths? Do you do anything like that? I'm just curious. Yeah, it's a good question. We haven't gotten to that yet. We're building out our wisdom practices section. And yeah, want to explore various aspects. I mean, I'm a shaman. So I love anything energetics and, and I just, especially with kids, that the empathic piece is been huge in my, in my arenas, and where I travel, and how many times these kids are picking up emotions that are not even theirs, and not recognizing that, hey, that's this, this headache, or this pain I'm feeling or this emotion that I'm feeling, it's not even mine. And it's huge with our kids. And I have a belief that the kids that are coming into our world are because our more and more in tune and more and more able to have energetic and spiritual connections more than we were. And and I think I feel very strongly that there's gonna be people like you, and I don't know if I'll do anything down the road that help to teach these tools to parents, so that we can help navigate the world that they're living in, because it's completely different than the world that we grew up in. And our parents grew up in and yeah, so that's awesome that you're, you're starting to cultivate that. Super cool. Yeah, I'm curious. I mean, it's okay. If I ask a question. How have you seen that work in your own? Like, have you talked to your kids about that topic? Yeah, seeing a result. So we're extremely open. And with those topics, mainly because that is my world. And I communicate with with the sounds, I guess I was gonna say I communicate with spirits all the time. And I work in the mystery realms. I mean, I'm always moving in between the realms. And so I have tried to always keep that open with my children and my youngest when he was quite young, probably too, and just being able to even younger when he was just starting to talk, he could see spirits, and it would freak out the babysitter's and so then they would, you know, get scared, and it would naturally shut that gift off. And you'll find that and because of our society, because of the things that we've been conditioned to fear, that we have naturally conditioned those things out of our kids, because they aren't. So it's not normal. It's not okay, it's not acceptable. And my daughter is extremely empathic and so I've had clients at the house to where they'll, we'll move through some emotions and my daughter afterwards, she'll tell me she's got certain pain or certain emotions that are up that were identical to my client. So I had to start working With her of hate, just ask the question, Is this mine? Or is it someone else's? And even just that question, would instantly send it away. And nine times out of 10, especially with her, and that's all she had to do is just ask that question. Is this minor is this is this not mine? And so yeah, we have a lot of, I mean, for me, and I shared some the last podcast with my kids, when I first left religion, we would practice meditation. And I would teach them quite young to still the mind and quiet and we play with, I've gotten chastised for this because we play with energy balls, and use our imagination because when we use our imagination actually opens the god brain, which is the pituitary gland. And the pineal which one's the crystalline, I always get those mixed up. But, um, anyway, so a lot of it's been play and creativity and fun. And, and I do a lot of I've done a lot of different things with my kids. And our, My house has turned into a house to where a lot of their kids, their friends are very comfortable here, and I am Buddhists all over the place and my crystals and but they, yeah, they feel like they can ask things here, where I have this issue or wait, you can feel that and someone else kind of kind of questions that I feel like our kids are craving and just striving for this knowledge and this understanding and, and tapping into wisdom that's within them. That's not being managed correctly. Does that make sense? Yeah, does I think that there is a Oh, great hunger, because the overriding culture is secular and is consumeristic hmm. And so everything becomes transactional. And there's no, there's no soul in that. And I think that people sense that this is empty, like, and it's painful. And it's depressing. Like an anxiety inducing to have like, our whole lives be centered around transactions and buying things and, and, and then shutting down all mystery. And so I think there's a great hunger for a degree, spiritual connection and spiritual health. And people, even and sometimes, especially within religion, are struggling with it as well. Because the, again, the overriding culture is this secular culture that seeps into the religion and then it becomes bureaucratic. And it becomes like, like a business in its own way, I have them. I think that's yeah, exactly. Yeah, exactly. I just have to listen to this other person. And then I know I have to do X, Y, and Z. And that is spirituality. It's like, no, that's not really spirituality. Yeah. Yeah. So well, even the ceremony, right? I was just writing about this in my book yesterday, ceremony is something that we've had as far as our, our, the Earth has had since the beginning of time. Yep. And some ceremony slows us down and connects us to not only the elements, but especially to the Earth energies. And there's a lot of different research in different belief systems as far as why anxiety is so rampant, especially in our in our teens and our youth. And part of it, I think it's Tic Toc, frankly, and saying that there's now Oh, my daughter, I remember what she's like, I think I had a panic attack. And I'm like, What do you how do you even know what a panic attack is? And it's because of TiC tock and social media and, and but I think the loss of connecting to the earth, I mean, I grew up as a total tomboy, I was out in the mountains all the time, barefoot, and, you know, and our kids now are on the computers and completely detached from the elements of the earth that are part of part of who we are. And, and so I've, I've done fire ceremonies with my children. And the other day, and I it's not like I've done a ton, and then they see me do different things like this. And the other day, my daughter was struggling with something and oh, it was a friend issue. And she's 16 So that's a big deal friends, and all of a sudden I see her walk outside she's got paper in hand she turns that we have a little gas fireplace outside she turns it on, she doesn't help are her own little ritual, her own little ceremony and and comes in says Mom, I feel so much better I went and she did you know something that I've told her to do before? Write it out, get out your emotions, write everything out. You want to say to this person, and then go burn it because fire transmits energy. And it was one of those mom wins. It's like Oh my gosh, she's been on the road, I didn't even have to say anything. And so I think it our kids are so impressionable, and with technology and the scenes that are coming in, and this, this gap between the wholeness of the element, I keep saying the elements, probably because it's snowing outside, and that are just lost. And so as parents for us to even suggest these little tools that have such a quick effect, and is is powerful for kids. But I don't know, I love I love this stuff, don't you and I also becoming an NLP practitioner. And so the other day with my son, I'm practicing this, this little thing on him and how quickly you know, even our kids, knowing how quickly they can change these old programs and our old thought beliefs or limiting beliefs, it can be so fast, and just teaching ourselves and our kids that we can be like, we're the masters of our fate, like we're 100% in control of what happens, and how quickly we can, we can shift things is pretty, pretty powerful. It is. And I love you bringing up the elements because this is increasingly on my mind as well, just like how do we get in the rhythm of nature and kind of live in accordance with the rhythm rather than out of step with the rhythm. And it manifests and uplift is like we have many lessons for the holidays, like things to do on the holidays, and then tuning into equinoxes and solstices, which I I'd never really been aware of growing up. But, you know, the rhythms of nature are another way to have a foundation. So again, like after a faith crisis, you're like, Well, what do I, what do I hold on to now? Like, Well, every year, they're the, you know, the natural rhythms of nature, are giving you a foundation, if you just kind of step into those rhythms, and do things with those rhythms, then you actually have a very strong foundation again, when again, those are things that go back to the beginning of time, that there's a beautiful series on Gaia that goes into ancient mysteries, and one of them is on Stonehenge, that my daughter kind of binge watched because she was fascinated with it. And it is fascinating when we start opening up to what's possible and what's out there, and kind of what you spoke to earlier with mystery of beings. And, and I mean, even when we start going into space and how things have been aligned with the Astros and with the star constellations, and how, how our ancestors and how societies for centuries, they didn't necessarily worship, but they did go into the cycles and honored those seasons, and Stonehenge, the way that it's set up and the way that the magic was actually brought in, and the power that was actually able to be cultivated, and is fascinating. I don't know if you've ever watched it, I'll have to send I'll have to send you the link because it's quite, especially because the connections with Mars Planet Mars anyway, you'd like to have another whole other conversation? Sure, sure. But But yeah, again, this I think goes goes to really the when we don't, maybe dumb down is the wrong when we start removing the layers and we simplify what really matters to me. And for me, some of my deepest moments are when it's the stillest when it's the quietest when I am out in nature, when I am doing my first fire ceremonies when I you know, all sorts of things that are not all the themes, but are connected to the elements. It brings us back to our roots and who we really are in my opinion. Yeah, I agree. Well, I know I'm like, we could probably keep talking for quite a while about these kinds of spiritual truths. And I, and I love this stuff. I mean, this is I absolutely love this stuff. Is there anything else that you would love to share as far as what you do what you've learned? What you've experienced? I'm kind of curious what your relationship with God looks like now. It's changed. Yeah, it's changed dramatically. And it's in flux. I'll say I feel at times I feel more and more comfortable reclaiming that word, God. It has been difficult because the word just in culture has its own denotation and connotation that don't necessarily love, because it's like so rooted in the Bible, and culturally, and I think God is far bigger than the Bible. And God is bigger than any religion, and God is bigger than I can fathom. And so again, that's like, the mystery. God is the mystery, source spirit, you know, it's hard to, it's hard to put a label on it, but I have increasingly felt more and more comfortable just claiming the word. Yeah. And just saying, like, well, people may misunderstand what I mean by it. And so be it. But there's also like this, there's a power in the Word. And so in terms of practicality, I still pray. And in some ways, my prayers still look, Mormon. In other ways they don't, but it is a time to just have a formal way to express gratitude, and to visualize, and to be still. And so I still pray regularly and pray with the kids and really aim to have it be heartfelt and intentional and focused. And so I still find a lot of power and all of that. And so I still feel like my connection with God is very strong. I no longer feel like I need to worry about not measuring up. Like, I feel like, well, I have plenty of flaws. And there's so many things I can do better. I don't fear that, that there are some transcendent being that is disappointed in me. And is even hostile toward me because of the decision I made. To feel like the the that which is transcendent is always rooting for me to do my best and to be my best. And at times. I mean, it's as simple as just really in intuiting, and really taking to heart a line from somebody like Mr. Rogers, who says like, I like you just the way you are. And I feel that that's a transcendent voice. Yeah. And that what that does is it makes me want to increasingly be better and more generous, and kinder. And so that whatever that is, is God, to me. Beautiful. I love that. And I do agree that you know, that phrase that you use for Mr. Rogers, if we take that idea, the judgment, we're being judged out and off the table, it does leave so much more room to have compassion for the self and then for others, and has your this is a loaded question. How does your view of Christ change? Oh, yeah. Yeah. Do you mind sharing? Yeah, I can share. This is this is what kind of really shifted things for me. So I had my I had my faith crisis on a mission, which was 2004. And it was really devastating. To learn things about Mormonism, and feel like oh, I can't talk to anybody about any of this. But I can see that the dominant narrative is does not align with what I've learned about Joseph Smith and about other aspects of Mormon history. But then when I got to BYU, kind of put all of that on the shelf and just kind of focused on school. Then when my best friend from high school and my sister, my younger sister left Mormonism that kind of stirred all that back up, and I was like, 2013 when I was like, Okay, I am certain that now that the dominant narrative isn't true when it comes to Mormonism, but then I continue to participate in Mormonism for the next five years, so I guess, yeah, it has been for years. And so yeah, it was five years of being completely within Mormonism, doing everything. And then every single Sunday being like, yeah, I don't, I don't believe the same way. But I like the community. And I like the people. And I like the structure of having some place to gather I love seeing hymns. I love the intention for spirituality here are so much that I love and I just don't believe The same things. But it wasn't until around that time 2017 Or so that I really started doing a deep dive into New Testament history. And just realizing like, oh, here again, there's so much that biblical researchers know about the New Testament that wasn't known 100 or 200 years ago. And it still isn't widely known. And it's really powerful and really convincing. But it does change it did for me, I'll just speak personally, it did change my view of Jesus in the process. Now, I did find out that in the course of doing this, that like somebody like Martin Luther King, also had a very similar thing happened to him in the 50s. And yet, he still used the Bible, for its power to move people. And he still use the stories of Christ and Jesus, to move people. And so that's kind of the place that I've ended up. When you asked me like, what's my current view on Christ, it's like, I, I find so much power in the New Testament. And in so much in the New Testament, there's still there's still plenty of things that I don't love in the New Testament. But I find so much power and so much in the New Testament, and I don't want to see that power. Go away. I want to keep that alive. And so I view Christ as such an amazing role model for me. And I think about Christ a lot. And I take his words very seriously. And I think about his words. Very often, they move me and yeah, at the same time, the the whole theological component has completely changed for me. And that's why I just do wrap up that thought, I feel it's so important at Apple f to be able to have sections from the New Testament, alongside sections from the Dhammapada, alongside sections from the Bhagavad Gita, alongside sections from the doubt aging, etc. Because there's power in all of these ancient wisdom texts. And the secular move is just to say, Oh, they're all stupid. Let's get rid of all of them and forget about all of them. But where do you want to have a post secular move where we say like, Okay, we we've listened to the secular viewpoint, and we value the secular viewpoint. But it's not sufficient. There's still more to life than just transactions. There's, there's more to it, and there's power in it. And so therefore, we hold to the words of Christ. Alongside these other words, that was beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I'm curious, do you still hold the belief that he died for our sins? I don't. I don't either. I'm just curious. And it's very, especially with the transactional PC. Do you all do still? How do I phrase this question? You know, the research that I've done, I've come across several things that have highlighted that there have been several types of Christ's throughout history, right. And one of them is actually cats a model that was in back in Mayan times that had the same kind of story that Christ did was teaching the tree of life, all sorts of things, was crucified. And and I believe it was tough. I think it was taught and Egyptians. I can't remember that had a similar similar, you know, and it's really interesting when you start looking at that and going, okay, there wasn't just this one person. Yahshua been Joseph, who became Christ later in his life, not, in my belief, I don't believe he was, anyway, the whole Christ, the virgin birth, and that kind of stuff. That was up up for debate for me. And but he became Christ later. And there have been several people that have come into Earth to be an example, in my experience, and I think this idea of putting Christ on a pedestal creates a shadow that we then live in. And actually I want to do an episode on this of the shadow living in the shadow of the cross. Because there's such an archetypal holding within our especially in the United States within Christianity, have, you know Christ were alive today? Would he be mocked and persecuted? More than likely? Yes. So do we not have that same fear? Hey, if I stand up for what I really believe, will I be crucified? Yeah. Yeah, I feel that very strongly. And I live with that every day. I don't know what to make of it. But yeah, I think I think people don't fully wrestle with why Christ was crucified. And what it means he gets diluted into this person who's like, nice, and always compassionate, perfect, perfect. And it's like, well, he was, he was crucified for a reason. And he wasn't crucified for being nice. Who's crucified because he stood up against the powerful. And he didn't do things the way society thought they should be done. And there's a ton of power in that, but it gets kind of gets washed aside. It's like, Oh, he didn't really mean the things that he said. He was just nice. And right. Yeah. So So here to save us. He was born to save us. And I, that is, that is the belief system. I do not buy into any, any longer. So he's curious, your your beliefs, especially when you start reading all the different texts that you've been reading? I was yes. Yeah. Yeah. And before we wrap up, because it's almost Christmas, with up lift, I'm sure this is a big one for parents, you know, I went through the Do I even have any tivity? Set? What do I do a? What do I want to do on Christmas? And we've kind of just shifted, I'm curious what you do what you found helpful to parents. Yeah, we're still in flux on that, personally, but I, I think that I hold most to his family stories. And so one thing that my family of origin did that I really appreciated at Christmas is that we would, with our extended family, we would have, everybody would write out a memory of a person in the family one year went through every single person in the family, or like a place or an event. And they would type it up. And then they would get together and they would read their memory about the person. And then they would put those papers in a binder and it would keep getting bigger year after year as the memories accumulated. And so it's a beautiful practice. Yeah, yeah, it was really powerful, really moving. And I feel more and more called to do things like that in my home. Because this, this worldview of like expanding beyond Mormonism, makes me even more interested in family history and lineage. Because I'm just realizing, like, I, my family history was Mormon for 200 years. But we were Protestant for way longer. And then possibly Catholic, for longer, and then possibly pagan for way longer, you know, I, I haven't covered all of my family lines is the farther back it goes. But it's all it's all family history, like, and those stories matter to not just the Mormon Stories, and those stories are mine as well. And so I feel more and more interested in including all of the stories. So not necessarily getting rid of an activity set. But putting the nativity set in context with like owning the full the full tradition of the solstice season, you know, and Christmas season. Like you said, the stone Stone had my essence just came from England. And so it's like, well, that's part of my lineage, too, you know, at some level. And so how can I integrate all of these traditions without it rather than cut off all the traditions? And say like, okay, Christmas is just about exchanging gifts only. So it's about including more and more, rather than excluding more and more of that. That's awesome. Well, thank you for sharing that. I keep. I want to ask you two questions that keep popping. Have you ever heard of the zohore? Czar? Yes. It's not coming to mind right now, though. I know the word. Okay. Well, I I I'm going to talk to you about that after this. I'm just curious, and the Keys of Enoch. I don't think so. Well, I'll have to ask you about those two points. Those are some older texts that I have come across that are quite bad. They're quite interesting. The Zohan just for the sake of context. And is, and I am going to botch this. I know I am, but it is essentially a secret of texts from the Cabal that was held in Jewish communities. And that was only for certain people the lack, and there was a family that just felt very cold to go and translate it, because they felt that everyone should have this wisdom. And and it's really it's really interesting, the book series, it's also 27 volumes long, and I barely even tapped into the first one a lot. And then the Keys of Enoch. Is that one is a that one's a little bit of an elusive text. For me. It's it's a book that costs around $400. And I've heard within Mormon communities that it is one that circulated within the elite within Mormonism, and which I'm not sure if that's true or not. But anyway, since you have, you know, shared with different, different texts, I was curious if you had heard of those before, to dig in, on my last question to you, do you believe in multiple lives? That's a good question. I haven't given it enough thought to have an opinion. So I'm open. But I have to give one more thought. Yeah, that's good question. Well, is there anything else you'd like to share? Huh? I don't think so. Yeah, I don't think there is. And I'm trying to think badly. Other questions for you. I mean, I do we could, like I said, you can I love having conversations like this. And if there's any advice you'd give to anyone that is, I mean, you stayed in five years after you felt like you were done, which is a quite quite a long time. Right? What What advice would you give someone that there's a lot of listeners that have one foot in one foot out that are struggling? And is yeah, what advice would you give to them? So I wrote a book called when Mormons doubt. And the book says that when we, if we can focus on truth, beauty, and goodness, wherever we find it, then we're going to experience higher well being in our lives. Yeah. And so I, my personal creatine, people can take it or leave it, but it's if it if it's true, beautiful or good, I want to keep it. Yeah. And if it's not true, beautiful or good, then I want to cut it. And so I think of a story from Henry iring, which is Henry B iring. His dad, when he told his son, go to university and whatever is true. He and very, I'm paraphrasing, whatever is true keep, and you don't have to believe anything that that isn't true. And so I take that as my personal greed. Like, if somebody if somebody says something, and I discover, oh, that's not true, you know, historically, or any, any other sense of the word, then I just say, Yeah, I don't have to believe that. Yeah, I don't have to hold that. I'm in the same with the others, beauty and goodness. And so if you're in a religion, meaning like attending actively, I think it's really important to be authentic, to to be able to own and not have self deception. Yeah, it's just not true. Just not beautiful. It's just not good. But there are all these aspects that are true, beautiful and good. And to get clear eyed about that, and firm about them, otherwise, you're lying to yourself, and that is really damaging. Yeah. And so, again, for me, it's not so much are you in Are you out? It's more about are you? Are you honest, in your pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness. Are you not on a serious pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness. That's beautiful. I love that. I love that. Thank you. And I think one thing that we forget is that we also can change our minds. You know, a lot of times we have to everything that you're saying it's like right now this isn't like truth. I might change my mind later and I'm open to that. Yep. But this is what my belief is right now. And I'm Oh, exactly, exactly. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, John. Where can people find you? The best place is up, lift. kids.org. Awesome. And then I also right at John Ogden, calm. Oh, perfect. And John is J. O. N. Correct. And then Ogden perfect.com. Yep. Awesome. Well, thank you. It was a pleasure. Yeah, thank you. As always, thank you so much for joining me and such awesome connections. And I really enjoyed the conversation, they got to have a John and the resources that he is offering. Again, a reminder to head over to uplift kids.org. And if you use the coupon code holidays, you'll get a $10 off their membership. And that is available through the end of Sunday. Again, follow the link in the show notes along with the coupon code to get your $10 off. And to follow John, I'm going to provide his website he is a beautiful writer, and has also written a book called when Mormons doubt. And I will provide the link for that as well as his website and where to follow up, lift kids on social media and really have access to those resources. So wherever you are in your life, I know this is a week of Christmas that this podcast releases. I just want to offer love and support. And if you're struggling at all, I invite you to call in an angel call in someone that just shows you that there is kindness and love on this planet. And or maybe you get to be that angel for someone else, whether it's through a smile or an act of kindness. I just invite you to try and slow down a little bit more as I'm recording this. It is on the solstice and Solstice is a magical day. It's the shortest day in the longest night of the year. And in many, many cultures and for many, many years this day has been celebrated. And I invite you to see the magic of life and to see the unfolding and the beauty and the brilliance of the things of how they're unfolding in your life. And as always, I'm sending you so much love know that you are not alone.