Author of “Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America — and Found Unexpected Peace”

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The Best of Lobdell

Between 1998 and 2008, I’ve written 543 stories for the Los Angeles Times. You can see the entire list here. These are some of my favorites


  1. He Had Faith in My Job. My first-person essay about losing my faith while reporting on religion in American.
  2. Birds, Bees, Sun, Sand: Dad Faces the Facts: First-person account of my annual summer trips to Hawaii with my boys.
  3. Stopping By God’s House on Vacation. Going to church while on holiday.


  1. A Missionary’s Dark Legacy. More than 100 Alaska Natives in 18 villages broke their silence after 30 years and took on the Catholic Church and the priests and missionaries who raped them for years in the villages at the edge of the Earth.
  2. Televangelist Paul Crouch Attempts to Keep Accuser Quiet. This was probably my biggest scoop, which took me several years to track down: Crouch paid a former employee $425,000 to keep quiet allegations of a homosexual tryst (which the televangelist denies happened).
  3. Part 1 and Part 2 of my investigative piece on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Two years in the making.
  4. Priest and His Son Are Bound by Poverty. Details of a court case where a priest gets out of paying child support for his sickly boy. His defense: I’ve taken a vow of poverty.
  5. Bedrock of a Faith Is Jolted. One of the first stories in the mainstream media that detailed on DNA evidence undermines the Book of Mormon.
  6. The Price of Healing. An investigation into the ministry of “faith healer” Benny Hinn.
  7. Orange Diocese Gives Details of Sex Abuse. The Diocese of Orange reveals the contents of its secret clergy sex abuse files and shows how church officials lied and mislead victims while protecting rapist priests.
  8. A Novel Tack By Cardinal. Cardinal Roger Mahony dreamed up a bizarre legal argument in a desperate attempt to keep secret the personnel files of abusive priests.


  1. Onward Christian Soldier. Ole E. Anthony is the scourge of the some of the world’s richest and most powerful televangelists, a man so despised that preachers have labeled him ”Ole Antichrist.”
  2. A Fugitive Priest’s Last, Lean Days. A narrative about the final days in the life of a bad priest.
  3. ‘I Was in This Alone.’ How clergy sexual abuse has affected the life of one victim.
  4. Losing Faith and Lots More. How ex-Mormons are treated in Utah, Idaho and Arizona.
  5. Judging the Sins of the Father. The story of Michael “Father Hollywood” Harris.
  6. Hold the Fire and Brimstone. Hell has gone out of fashion.


Dave Dixon on his boat.

  1. Boater’s Tale of Survial at Sea Has a Theme Psalm. A middle-aged man decided to get off the treadmill and enjoy life — on about $500 a month.
  2. For Aghans, a soy solution takes root. A retired Pasadena man tries to solve the malnutrition problem in Aghanistan.
  3. Eviction is bitter fruit of citrus man’s labor. San Juan Capistrano officials evict one of Orange County’s last citrus farmers.
  4. Santa Barbara industrialist funds major awards to spark scientific research. The new Nobel Prize for the 21st century.
  5. Cougar’s victim won’t let fear win. Finding strength in faith, Anne Hjelle is determined to recover after she was mauled while mountain biking in a wilderness park.
  6. An Amazing Act of Forgiveness. An elderly woman forgives the man who attempted to rape and kill her — and bring him to Christ.
  7. Modest, Style-Conscious and Frustrated No More. Mormon moms talk Nordstrom into holding a fashion show featuring modest prom dresses.
  8. A How-To Kit for the Ministry. Pastor Rick Warren and his purpose-driven ministry is profiled.
  9. Does Communion Cup Runneth Over with Germs? Being a germophobe, I wanted to see if I could get sick by drinking from a communion cup.
  10. A Rapper’s Spiritual Journey. A gangsta rapper converts to Islam.
  11. Millionaire’s Giving Pays Off in Blessings. One man links his tithing to his prosperity.
  12. 8 Brides for 8 Grooms. A pastor finds a way to provide parishioners with inexpensive weedings.
  13. Nothing’s Sacred in a Cellular World. The clash between religious services and cell phone use.
  14. Christmas as It Was 1,500 Years Ago. A very cool way to celebrate Christmas.
  15. Properly Dolled Up. Orthodox Jewish mother makes modest Barbie clothes so her girl’s doll wouldn’t be dressed like a prostitute.
  16. Shelter With Open Arms Faces City With Firm Hand. Two saintly figures in Santa Ana decide to follow Jesus’ commands instead of the city’s.
  17. D’oh God! ‘The Simpsons’ and Spirituality. The Gospel According to the Simpsons.
  18. Wagons Ho! as Trekkers Trace Path of 1851 Trip. On the wagon trail with Mormon “pioneers.”
  19. Interest in Shirtless Guy Is Skin-Deep. A fun feature about a Chapman University student who decided to take his shirt off — and not put it back on.
  20. What Do You Know About the Nativity? A Christmas quiz.
  21. A Breakthrough for the Breakers. A wacky inventor tries to invent the ultimate nose-riding longboard.
  22. Story of Garden Grove’s POWs Gathers Dust. The little-remembered story of how German POWs were brought to Southern California during World War II to pick fruit.