Look, I’m on camera!

After my presentation in April, I had a chance to do an encore presentation to a group of atheists about what it was like to grow up as a Mormon in Utah and to tell my story of leaving the LDS church and eventually becoming an atheist. This time, the whole thing was caught on video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRHZf9rUoeY&list=PL51A7C4D0693D5B03 Continue reading

Going public

The adventure of life continues. As much as I plan and dream and try to anticipate outcomes, I will never know what lies around the next corner or down whatever road I choose to take. That’s the exciting and frightening reality of life. I wouldn’t want it any other way, however. As a Mormon, life was forced to fit into a master plan. Everything had a reason and a purpose. Screw that! Give me chaos and uncertainty. It’s much more fun. (Written by idiot brother, Trevor Bowen, in a rare moment of lucidity.)

Some months ago, Heather and I started meeting up with a group of atheists in Rochester. It’s led us to meet some great people and we’ve come to be more active in the freethinking community. Last weekend, we went to Syracuse, where I gave a speech on growing up Mormon and later we attended a debate at SUNY Binghamton.

We attended a debate on “Does God exists?” at SUNY Binghamton featuring Matt Dillahunty and Jay Lucas.

It is through the Rochester Atheists that I was invited to speak at the Freethinkers of Upstate New York in the Syracuse area. Prior to my speech on April 21, the group viewed the BBC documentary “The Mormon Candidate.” If you haven’t seen it, you should. Watch it. You’re better off spending an hour watching it than half the other crap that qualifies for entertainment these days. Continue reading

Exit from Mormonism

Today marks a milestone. Ten years ago today, I flew home from my LDS mission in California. I knew at that time that my faith was lacking, but I had no idea that within five years I would leave the church.

And as I approached the 10th anniversary of coming home, I had to write my exit story. At 6 p.m. on June 6 (6 o’clock on 6-6) — 10 years ago — I stepped off the plane at Salt Lake City International Airport. I was home from the “best two years of my life” (I hated almost every minute of it).

I spent two years as a Mormon missionary in southern California.
I spent two years as a Mormon missionary in southern California.

But my path away from Mormonism goes back much further. As a teenager, I attended church because it was expected. I went to seminary because it was expected. I was in youth leadership at church, because it was expected.
Most of my life had been charted for me. I was the fourth of six children and the second of four boys. I was the middle child in the “perfect” Mormon family in the “perfect” ward.

Continue reading


I recently covered a wreck on Highway 6 that claimed the lives of three people in this community. Less than 24 hours later, the paper is receiving calls, emails and visits about the manner in which we covered the incident.

I received photos from law enforcement that showed the burning wreckage that contained the bodies of the three fatalities.

It’s a difficult decision when you choose how to run a graphic photo. However, I maintain that the photo was newsworthy. I will agree that the photo is disturbing, given the context. But despite any impact it may have in this community, I firmly believe that it serves as a reminder to the general public that safe driving could have avoided the wreck.

I rate a photo or story’s newsworthiness on three factors: timeliness, gravity, and proximity. This story and photo met all three. The community is upset. Rightly so. I would be to. In fact, I am upset that the deaths occurred. But It was newsworthy and I am proud that the paper ran it.

I like peanuts, walnuts and cashews — but I hate religious nuts

I hate religious nuts. I hate people that will take advantage of you. And I hate people who think they are so much better than you, just because they are more religious.

My roommate is all three.

I started a new job a couple of weeks ago. For a few months, I’ve been working a couple of part-time jobs, one of which was at the local newspaper. A position as a reporter opened up there at the beginning of the year.

I still work at a hotel (for about 3 more hours) as a night clerk. So I’ve been working my ass off at this new full-time job and finishing my two weeks at my part-time job.

I was supposed to be done with the hotel job yesterday, but one of my coworkers (I live at the hotel, so he’s also my roommate) decided that he was going to go to hell if he didn’t go to church today. You are not going to hell. This is your job. Don’t expect people to work for you so you can go to church. In my mind, religion is a form of recreation. It goes with fishing, skiing and knitting. Asking for time off is crap. I have been good about working for other people when they have a legitimate conflict, such as a funeral or other employment. However, I have a HUGE problem with taking time off for recreation. If he wasn’t taking what going supposed to be my last shift, tomorrow night, I would have told him to forget it.

A few months ago, he had the nerve to ask me to work for him on a Saturday morning. I had been up kind of late Friday night, and he called me in to work at 7 a.m. I would never ask anyone to work for me on such short notice unless I had some sort of emergency. I assumed that he was the same. NO! He was going to a horse auction. With his girlfriend. He didn’t want to be late. I can’t believe that he would do such a thing.