Resource: Choosing a Church

As a pastor in Utah, Jonathan Stoddard has frequent conversations with people on their way out of Mormonism who are looking for a new spiritual home. He often is called on to counsChoosing a Churchel transitioning Mormons about what to look for in a new church. He has boiled down his wisdom about the topic into a short handbook called Choosing a Church.

The book is written for those who are interested in Christianity but unfamiliar with the Christian movement, or for those who want to learn more about Jesus, but don’t know where to turn. Stoddard answers common questions like: Why are there so many different churches? Does it matter what music style a church employs? Is there one true church? How do I know what beliefs are essential?

This book is very helpful for anyone looking for a new church home, but especially to those coming out of the LDS culture. It answers questions that former Latter-day Saints are likely to have. It answers with theological and historical depth.

Choosing a Church is available in Kindle format at
for only 99 cents.

Pastor Stoddard serves at Jordan Presbyterian Church in West Jordan, Utah.

Posted in Ministry in LDS Culture, Transitioning from Mormonism | Leave a comment

Resource: Journal Your Journey from Mormonism

Mormonism encourages journaling, and many Mormons are pretty faithful at keeping a journal. Keeping a journal can also be a great way to process the journey once a person decides to leave the LDS Church.

My friend Tracy Tennant has produced a wonderful tool to help. It’s called Confessions of an Ex-Mormon Recovery Journal. It’s filled with open-ended questions about your experiences as a Mormon, your journey in leaving, and how it affected your relationships and your life. There is plenty of space to to document events, record emotions, and plan for your future.

This tool will help you or a friend sort through all the difficulties associated with separating from the LDS faith community. To can find it at, click HERE.


Posted in News & Updates, Transitioning from Mormonism | Leave a comment

Support Utah Advance as you Shop on Amazon

If you want to support the work of Utah Advance Ministries, you can do so without any cost to yourself, just by shopping on Amazon.con through their AmazonSmile charitable foundation. Go here to get started:

It’s simple and automatic. When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Utah Advance.

How do I shop at AmazonSmile?
To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.

Which products on AmazonSmile are eligible for charitable donations?
Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. Recurring Subscribe-and-Save purchases and subscription renewals are not currently eligible.

Can I use my existing account on AmazonSmile?
Yes, you use the same account on and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

How do I get started?
Go to this link: to select Utah Advance Ministries as your charity of choice before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at will automatically result in a donation.

How much of my purchase does Amazon donate?
The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the base purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. From time to time, we may offer special, limited time promotions that increase the donation amount on one or more products or services.

Posted in News & Updates | Leave a comment

“Faith After Mormonism” on YouTube

This summer I started a YouTube channel to provide resources for people making the transition from Mormonism into traditional, biblical Christianity. It’s called Faith After Mormonism. The videos are not just designed to help former Mormons, but to help the people who are in a place to help (mentor) former Mormons.

I’m encouraged to report that the library of videos is increasing. I’ve been able to post one new video every week. Mainly I’ve been interviewing former Latter-day Saints about the kind of issues that transitioning Mormons often face on their journey to a new faith.

I encourage you to subscribe to the channel and share it with others!

Here is a list of some of the topics you can find at the Faith After Mormonism YouTube channel at this point.

Help Build This Library!

If you are a former Latter-day Saint living anywhere in Utah or Idaho, I invite you to join me to have a conversation on camera about the issues you faced and overcame in your journey. Contact me at

Posted in News & Updates, Transitioning from Mormonism | Leave a comment

How God Works Through Internship

Maddie Tallman, who completed an internship with Utah Advance this year, recently posted these reflections. It’s worth taking a minute to read! This describes very well what our internship program at Utah Advance is all about.

Maddie Tallman

Ever since I graduated high school in 2012, the question that has lingered in my mind has been “What are you going to do with your life?” That’s also the question that I got from friends and family almost every day that I was out of high school, but also not in college pursuing a degree. According to Myers Briggs, my personality type is the most likely to struggle with finding or deciding on a long-term career.

I know I am not the only one who has struggled with “finding my niche” or even just the next step in life.  If you are unsure of what to do with your life, I pray that my story will encourage you in a new way, and that you will be able to find hope in God’s mysterious plan for your future.

A year ago today…

I was scared and I was hopeless. I was a month back home from living in Europe the whole summer doing ministry, and in the time it took to fly back home, I suddenly went from fulfilled and purposeful to “I am as self-sufficient as I was the day I was born.” I was deeply missing my friends from the summer internship and all I wanted to do was go online and re-apply to go back next year. I was jobless and anxious and I didn’t even know where to begin looking for my next life step. Nashville seemed to be burned out on me, which made me burn out on it. Not a single inquiry for portraits, no new job opportunities, and the large community of friends I once had was now a dry desert. I felt like I had nothing to offer the world anymore. I was stuck in limbo.

A year ago today…

My mom and I were getting on a plane to Salt Lake City to attend the Doterra Essential Oils convention. Yeah, I know, we are dedicated essential oilers. I put aside all of my self pity and worry about my future and decided to have fun out west. It was my last hurrah of the summer before I had to hunker down and really work at building a life and career for myself, whatever that would look like.

I had no idea that God was about to completely flip my world around.

Immediately, I mean walking-to-the-baggage-claim immediately, I was struck with the reality of how different the religious culture is in Utah from everywhere else. I drained my phone battery by noon the first few days just from googling questions about the Mormon religion every few minutes. I just wanted to understand. I wanted to grasp the weight of it all.

“How many people here are actually Mormons?”

“Wait, how many people here are Christians?”

“Mormons are known for knocking on doors, but is anyone here knocking on theirs?”

One of our days at the convention, my mom and I set out to find a store before the morning session and stumbled upon Temple Square. I had never heard of Temple Square, but as soon as we walked up to it we knew we had hit something big. In fact, I think the words “Oh my, we hit the motherlode.” came out of our mouths.

I forgot for a few minutes that we were originally looking for a store. All I could think of was how the whole summer in Slovenia, we were brushing shoulders with Mormon missionaries on the streets. As far as I know, they were the only other “religious group” in the country trying to reach people with the message of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, their Jesus is a lot different from ours. And here I was, standing in their capitol. I was finally realizing the reality of this widespread religion of idolatry and deception, and the kingdom that darkness has built for himself here in this square in the middle of the city.

And so began the relentlessly nagging feeling in my soul that I had to come back. 

I should mention that I am not the kind of person who typically claims to hear specific instruction from God. I usually just do something that sounds good, and pray that God can somehow use what I do to bring glory to Himself. I’ve always been more of a thinky than a feely when it comes to spiritual revelations. But this was different. This feeling that I needed to come back to Utah was unmistakable and persistent.

Long story short, God opened the first door I knocked on (Haha get it? Cause Mormons?) which just so happened to be an internship working with the largest evangelical Christian church in Utah.

The plan was to come out here in February, and go back to Tennessee in May. At the end of May, thinking about going back to Franklin seemed so premature. I wrestled with the idea of staying longer, and as friends and family grew more supportive I began to pray hard about what God wanted me to do. God continued to pave the way for me to stay in Utah. All I needed was a full time job and a place to live, and both of those things pretty much just fell into my lap the week I started praying for them. I took that as a sign that God still wanted me here.

It’s now been one year since the first time I stepped foot in Salt Lake City and felt the calling to come back.

A year ago today…

I didn’t know that only 2% of Utahans are evangelical Christians. I didn’t know that God was about to break my heart for Mormons, or that I would soon be calling Utah home.

I didn’t know that I would be working at 2 jobs that I love, and surrounded by a community of people who are genuine and fun and challenge me to pursue God fully. Praise the Lord. Good community is hard to find.

And if you had told me that in exactly one year I would be celebrating 3 months of dating my dream guy, I would have cackle-laughed at you.

I think the best part though, is that a year ago today God knew exactly what He was doing. As unexpected as this year was for me, it was just another year in God’s eyes. I find comfort in knowing that nothing surprises God. I think that most of the time God likes letting us choose our own life steps, as long as we are still putting Him first and not compromising our values. But, it has been exciting to also experience the unfolding of a very specific calling according to His will. He has been so evident in this past year, and I am still just in awe of how beautifully everything was orchestrated.

I frequently wonder what I would be doing right now if I had ignored that pull in my heart to return to Utah. I would have missed out on the incredible opportunities, relationships, and growth experiences that God had ready for me.

I love reading this verse as a reminder that life really is about abandoning my own agenda and saying “yes” to whatever God puts in front of me.

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16:25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God is the only one in the universe that is able to give you a truly fulfilling life. It’s not our natural instinct to deny ourselves, but I’ve learned that once you begin to take small steps in obedience, God’s fulfillment in your life just grows from there.

If you are stuck in a rut, trying to figure out what to do with your life then please send me a message. I would love to pray for you!

Also, please take a look at the resources I have put below:

One of my new positions is editing videos for If you want to watch a great video (It even includes discussion questions!) on the topic of “Did I Really Hear From God?” check this one out:

If you are interested in learning more about the Mormon culture in Utah take a look at this video, and many more in the Mormonism section of pursueGOD.

And this is a good one for those who don’t feel like they have a specific calling right now, but want to continue living for God wherever they are.

Posted in Internships, Ministry in LDS Culture | Leave a comment