Jeremy Runnells, Ex-Mormon and Author of the CES Letter

Jeremy Runnells was raised in the Church of Latter Day Saints as a 6th generation Mormon. He went on his two year mission. He graduated from BYU. He was an Eagle Scout. But in 2012, he began doubting some of his beliefs. He was asked by a Church Educational System (or CES) director to share his concerns. Jeremy did that in what became known as the Letter to a CES Director, or the CES letter. It is a damning document that exposes so many holes in the Mormon faith and it quickly went viral online, giving a lot of people reason to leave the Church themselves. And then, earlier this year, wouldn’t you know it, Church officials began a process to kick him out. Before they could excommunicate him for good in April, Jeremy announced he was resigning from the Mormon Church himself. He wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction of kicking him out.

We spoke with Jeremy about what led him to start doubting his faith, how the “Mormon moment” from a few years ago has come to an end, and why he left the Church before it could get rid of him.

This episode was sponsored by Foundation Marketing, which offers all-encompassing solutions backed by 20 years’ experience. This includes professional web design, graphic design, printing, and online marketing solutions. If you let them know you were sent by the Friendly Atheist Podcast, you’ll get 10% off any sale. They’re also donating 20% of all sales driven by this podcast to the Clergy Project and Foundation Beyond Belief.


Be sure to check out Jeremy’s interview on the Mormon Stories podcast.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Nobunaga73 May 8, 2016 at 1:28 am

    Thank you for the great interview. Jeremy’s CES Letter is an amazing resource for LDS members who have doubts about all of the things that aren’t quite adding up. I actually left Mormonism decades ago but still have strong ties to Utah and members of the Church and have seen the impact it’s had.

    I believe there was one point of confusion between the interviewers and Jeremy during the interview – about the knowledge of polygamy among members. All LDS members know very well about polygamy in the Church but it’s that Joseph Smith himself was such a prolific polygamist that is/was not taught or (when I was a child) admitted. Most members believe that polygamy began after his murder…and they certainly don’t know that Joseph married other men’s wives and young daughters in secret.

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