Saturday, November 19, 2011

"The Cultural Hall Podcast" Interview

A few weeks ago, I spent a few hours with Richie Steadman and Lauren Johnson of The Cultural Hall Podcast.   

The Cultural Hall is the brainchild of Richie and Lauren, who both worked independently of one another in the radio and television business, but combined forces to form this unique venue to share Mormon related stories, history, and perspectives.

I will openly admit this was probably close to the most fun I’ve had with any interview. Both Richie and Lauren are witty, bright critical thinkers—and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. We ended up talking for so long, in fact, that we split the podcast into two parts. I’ve shared the links below.

And as is almost always true, it was the reaction of the listeners that was perhaps the most interesting. I think Lauren said it best on her blog, and I’m sharing her words directly with you here:

The amount of feedback and listeners we’ve received since posting Episodes 13 and 14 with Mitch Mayne show me just how many people are searching for answers when it comes to understanding our homosexual brothers and sisters. And Richie and I are among you—also searching and trying to understand. Brother Mayne has been a bridge, so it seems, to bring light to the world of being both Mormon and gay. I think that soon we’ll have many more members who act as bridges, but Brother Mayne will always be remembered as one of the originals. One who was willing to share his experience, his testimony, his hope for the future, and most of all—his deep and personal relationship with the Savior. And for that, I thank him.

I received a letter from a friend, who spoke about how Mayne’s interview moved him. He requested to remain anonymous, but said I could share his words.

“I was touched and enlightened by Mitch Mayne’s thoughts on “owning your relationship with the Savior.” This struck me powerfully. No one can dictate or control or even fully understand your relationship to God. And you alone have that unique relationship and can choose how you participate in it whether you are gay, straight, married, divorced, single, old, young, active, inactive, etc., etc., etc. I enjoy your light approach to our Mormon culture, but I was surprised how your guest started me–a straight, middle-aged, rather cynical LDS guy– thinking. This intelligent gay man inspired me and I felt moved to take some steps to alter my relationship with the Savior. Mayne taught me something about spiritual yearning and reminded me how powerful the spirit moves in each of us. This seemed all the more profound for me because he is gay. Thank you for this interview.”

Some people expressed disagreement in Mayne’s sexuality, strongly believing it was a choice. Some thanked him, because they too were gay and Mormon, and were attempting to collide these worlds in the way that Mayne had. But no matter the view, I don’t believe anyone can deny the spirit, or the strength that Brother Mayne carried as he spoke of his relationship with the Savior and his love of the gospel. Whatever we each brought away from this interview with our Brother Mitch Mayne, I hope that the one thing we can all agree on is a loving God, and that we truly are all brothers and sisters—here to care for each other and lift one another up. Mayne has lifted me with his sincere testimony.

I also know many more are talking, sharing, and many continue to listen. Please share your thoughts. Share what you have taken from this podcast, and let us know. No matter your view, it is worth sharing as we are all brothers and sisters. And we are all in this thing called life, together.


Listen in as we chat. Regardless of where you are on the issue of gay Mormons, you’re sure to learn something new. I know I did. Enjoy.


  1. Wow, I already thought highly of what you're doing, but after hearing more detail on this podcast about your personal circumstances and the whole dilemma you faced in accepting the calling and then the reasons you chose it I have just even greater respect! What you are doing is thrilling to me, and I want to follow your example as a gay Mormon, however that ends up. You are right on with the personal relationship with the Savior. Very inspiring. Thank you!

  2. Thanks, Trev. That means a lot. Not an easy road, but one that I think will have good consequences for all of us. I'm just the instrument--and humbled to be so!

  3. I just had to say that I sat and listened to this entire podcast in one go while doing never-ending heaps of laundry. I had it streaming on my laptop while my little toddler sat playing on the floor. When you began speaking of coming to own your relationship with the Savior, she came over and sat next to me on a chair and laid her head on the computer desk and quietly sat and listened as you bore your testimony of those experiences. This is no small feat for a 2-year-old, but I know that she recognized and felt the Spirit that I felt listening! Thank you for all of your genuineness and honesty in all that you shared! I can only pray that she will grow up to live in a more accepting and tolerant world :)

  4. I have traveled a great distance on my life's journey since I first heard your name and visited this blog. First time I was here I was critical of how you dressed because it did not depict the standard of the church...If you couldn't even mirror what I believed the the standard of the church to be in your dress then how would anything you have to say do any such thing either?

    Lucky for me I guess, I had already come to an understanding of the Saviors love for me and we had already built a great relationship so when I felt his promptings to have me take a closer look, I did. Now I'm going through the somewhat painful process of knowing all my sins (as King Lamoni's Father describes in the BOM). It's not pleasant to see where I've made so many mistakes but the joy of redemption is so worth it, that I'd do it again and again.

    Thank you for being out there so people like me (who don't have gay friends, or at least they do but don't know it because those gay friends have no interest in being judged by people like who I've been) can open their heart to understand something new.

  5. Apron Appeal- I think this is among the most awesome comments I've ever gotten. :-) Thank you so much--you made my Monday, and that is no easy feat! Welcome to the journey, for it really does belong to us all!