For today’s Mormon Stories Podcast episode we interview Ryan Nielsen and Holly Parson Nielsen, who were both raised as devout Mormons in Rexburg, Idaho. After marriage, Ryan worked as full-time BYU-Idaho faculty for twelve years in the Department of Music, while Holly taught middle school art.
Important themes for this episode include:
- Ryan's perfectionism and guilt/shame as a Mormon youth.
- Holly's closeted feminism as a Mormon youth and adult.
- Holly and Ryan learning to listen to their own inner voices, which also involved navigating a religious faith crisis.
- Navigating BYU-Idaho while one is full time faculty, and in a mixed-faith marriage. This story includes harassment from bishopric over maintaining continuing faculty endorsement (mostly related to Holly’s resignation from the Mormon church.
- An insider’s view of BYU-Idaho administration, including difficulties dealing with BYU-Idaho executives related to Title IX issues (e.g., sexual misconduct of Mormon ecclesiastical leaders towards BYU-Idaho students and faculty).
- Navigating and healing from religion-based depression, including suicidality.
- Deconstructing Mormon literalism and reconstructing a nuanced worldview.
- Learning to choose love over ideas.
Additional Resources mentioned in the episodes:
- Ryan's AMAZING faith crisis/transition Reading/Podcast list can be found here, and has also been included below, after the video and audio links. This is probably the most impressive and thoughtful resources list I've ever seen for Mormon/religious faith transitions.
- Holly's Art: https://www.artbyholly.com/abstract.html -- This link goes straight to the art Holly has done related to her faith transition, and her reclamation of motherhood.
- Ryan's Music: http://www.ryannielsenmusic.com/music -- This link goes straight to the music portion of Ryan's website. Several pieces there are related to my faith transition, including "Prayer for Peace" and "Requiem."
- Support Ryan! Ryan has written a 9 movement suite that explores his experience of a faith crisis, through the lens of the life of Elijah Abel. It's time to get this recorded. Ryan has created a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for the project. Please support this worthy project!