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129: Dark Night of the Soul


Today we talk about James Fowler’s Stages of Faith but we do so using two perspectives that have built on Fowler.  As a background for our episode we use the following articles

With these as a backdrop we will discuss how hard the Dark Night of the Soul is but also show it is a call to God rather than a push to discard him and your faith.

Other Resources

Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning (1981) ISBN 0-06-062866-9
Becoming Adult, Becoming Christian: Adult Development and Christian Faith (1984) (revised 1999 ISBN 0-7879-5134-X)
To See the Kingdom: The Theological Vision of H. Richard Niebuhr (1974), ISBN 978-0-687-42300-2
Faith Development and Pastoral Care (1987) ISBN 0-8006-1739-8
Weaving the New Creation: Stages of Faith and the Public Church (1991) ISBN 0-06-062845-6
Faithful Change: The Personal and Public Challenges of Postmodern Life (1996) ISBN 978-0-687-01730-0


15 thoughts on “129: Dark Night of the Soul”

  1. Excellent podcast as usual. Very helpful and needed, thanks for doing this Bill! On a side note, it’s funny how Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing has become the go to song for so many Mormon podcasts. I used to love this song but unfortunatley it’s become too typical to listen to…for me anyway. That being said, it won’t keep me from listening to your show!
    Thanks Bill!

    1. Stay tuned…. I have 40’something episodes recorded and in the que. Many of these introduce new music at the closing. That said Come Thou Fount is the perfect description of a faith transition “prone to leave the God I love” and it emphasizes Grace!!! so hang on….. music is one thing that will take on some new life!

  2. Excellent post and helpful commentary of Fowler’s stages. I appreciate the time you and effort you put in here! A friend marked this one for a group to listen to, which I was invited to be part of, and generate discussion….needless to say, you are not alone in your stage 4/5 journey. Much appreciated-

  3. Thank you. Thank you. This is just what I needed. This resonated so deeply with me. And I find courage to go another day – in my faith walk with God and with the LDS Church.

    I appreciate your even tone, your thoughtfulness, and your insight. Thank goodness Chris Bloxham turned me on to this podcast.

  4. Early this morning I followed a link from Staylds, and listened to this pod cast. I so appreciated listening to your perspective. I have heard others refer to Fowlers stages but was not fully aware of them. Your comments resonated with my own experiences and gave me a new hope and perspective. Thank you. I have been bouncing back and forth from stages 3 and 4 since I was 16 (now 51). My hope is that with a new fresh perspective, I be able to manage through stage 4 with out feeling so much hopelessness, shame, and despair.

  5. I really needed to hear this today. I am trying to progress in my stages of faith which of course is difficult. I have avoided a TBM friend for few months. I invited her to go somewhere with me today because I feel like I’m at a better place spiritually but it is still not easy. When I asked for advice from my husband (who is also experiencing a faith transition) he suggested listening to this podcast). I no longer feel the need for my friend to understand how I feel. I can also better understand where she’s at (stage 3) & respect that. Your podcast had helped me immensely, not only with a better perspective to foster healthy relationships with others but also myself. Lately my mind had reminded me that my God has not forsaken me, but you have helped my heart to feel that. I am shedding tears of joy right now. Thank you for helping me with spiritual healing.

  6. Bill – Thank you so much for this message. I have been going through a major faith crisis during the last two years, and though I have had some supportive friends and family, until I heard this podcast, I didn’t really feel understood. I have actually stayed away from the internet because I know there is so much “anti” stuff out there, and I didn’t want to dive deeper into the fog of confusion and doubt I was feeling, afraid I was perched on the edge of a point of no return. So much of what you said resonated with what I have felt. I have been largely alone in figuring this out, but now I see that I had to be if the transformation is going to be real and lasting. I’m not out of the fog yet, but listening to people like you who are further along on this path, I see that there is still light and hope, and this dark place is just a step in the journey. I am not alone, and there is nothing wrong with me. In fact, now I see that so much is right about me, and I’m going to be okay if I stay on this path with humility. Thank you for helping me to see this. I look forward to hearing more of your discussions and reading more of the amazing articles you have highlighted in your discussion. Thank you so much!

  7. My Mind is currently being blown! I have been spiritually stagnant for so long, bucking against the wall.
    Staring into the abyss which is the dark night of the soul has been terrifying, but coming out with a deeper since of love and passion has been indescribably beautiful.

    I can’t thank you enough for helping me through the darkness. I am so thankful I stumbled across you and John’s podcasts to explain fowlers stage theory.

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