Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds Discusses His Departure from Mormonism and Embracing His Truth

Reynolds of Imagine Dragons discusses leaving Mormonism and embracing his own truth

Dan Reynolds in November 2022. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, CASEY FLANIGAN/IMAGESPACE/SHUTTERSTOCK)
Dan Reynolds in November 2022. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, CASEY FLANIGAN/IMAGESPACE/SHUTTERSTOCK)

Dan Reynolds, the frontman of Imagine Dragons, has opened up about his departure from the Mormon faith, a decision that has shaped much of his personal and professional life.

Raised in a “really conservative” Mormon household, Reynolds attended Brigham Young University and served a two-year mission in Omaha, Nebraska, as part of his religious duties. However, in his early 20s, Reynolds began to question his faith, leading to a significant shift in his beliefs and lifestyle.

Now 36, Reynolds has been open about the complexities of his relationship with religion.

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, he shared how he navigates his decision to leave the church while maintaining close ties with his family, who remain active Mormons.

“There are parts of the Mormon religion that I feel strongly are harmful, especially to our gay youth,” says Reynolds, who founded the LOVELOUD Foundation in 2017 to support the young LGBTQ+ community.

“At times, I feel isolated from my family, but I also love them and am close to them. There’s no animosity. I’m on a different path. I have to love myself enough to follow my truth.”

Dan Reynolds performing with Imagine Dragons in August 2023. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, MATTHEW BAKER/GETTY)
Dan Reynolds performing with Imagine Dragons in August 2023. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, MATTHEW BAKER/GETTY)

Reynolds’ journey with religion has been tumultuous. Growing up as the seventh of nine children, he often struggled with the teachings of the church.

“I always struggled with religion,” he admits. His 20s and early 30s were marked by anger and a feeling of betrayal. “I felt I’d been duped,” he says, reflecting on the harm he experienced personally.

Despite this, Reynolds acknowledges that the faith worked well for his family. “They’re all healthy, happy individuals. As I’ve gotten older, I’m not angry about it anymore. If something works for someone, that’s wonderful and rare, and I don’t want to mess with it.”

Despite his departure from the church, Reynolds is committed to ensuring his children have the freedom to choose their own spiritual paths. He shares four children with his ex-wife Aja Volkman: daughters Arrow, 11, Gia and Coco, 7, and son Valentine, 4.

“My greatest goal every day is to not manipulate my kids,” he explains. “I don’t want to tell them what their spiritual path should be. I give them my thoughts and try to protect them, while also making sure they have the freedom and agency to choose whatever they want.”

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Imagine Dragons – Thunder

Reynolds is currently preparing for the Loom World Tour, which kicks off on July 30. This tour marks Imagine Dragons’ largest North American headlining tour since the band’s inception in 2008. “I think this will be our best record to play live.

It has a lot of tempo, a lot of different emotions,” he says. “We’re already in rehearsals, and I just know it’s going to be a party, but it’s also going to be cathartic. It’s going to be sad in the right ways, heavy in the right ways, happy in the right ways. It’s going to be a really fun record to tour.”

Reynolds’ new album, Loom, is now available, and it reflects his journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

The album is expected to resonate with fans who have followed his personal and musical evolution. “This record is really about me finding myself,” he says. “It’s about accepting who I am and learning to love myself.”

For more on Dan Reynolds and his journey, readers can pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, available on newsstands this week.

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