Episode 129: Duwayne R. Anderson

John Larsen is joined by author Duwayne R. Anderson to discuss his faith journey and his book Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and Science.

Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and Science

Episode 129

91 comments on “Episode 129: Duwayne R. Anderson”

  1. Elder Vader Reply

    I especially enjoyed the part of the podcast where you talked about testifying of gravity. You don’t hear scientists testifying of the truthfulness of the electromagnetic spectrum, or the veracity of the strong force, because truth is self-reinforcing.

    If you don’t teach your children early on to have a testimony of gravity, you might lose them to the buffetings of Satan! Changing the words up. Gold.

    I was also interested in Duwayne Anderson and John Larsen’s comments about the ‘faithful’ that have mentally left the church to one degree or another, but still attend for one reason or another. I see this dynamic all the time. Its like the church has a social immune system in place to enforce cohesion (a religious problem, not just a mormon problem – I see this in other churches as well)

    • Rex Reply

      Yeah, this was another display of sterling logic: people are on their blackberries during sacrament meeting – ergo, they don’t believe in the church anymore.

      • Rich Rasmussen Reply

        I don’t think John or Duwayne either meat causation by pointing out that correlation. IMO, however, your ears seem a bit more sensitive than mine at the moment.

          • Rich Rasmussen

            Sorry, keep “liking” when trying to reply.
            “people are on their blackberries during sacrament meeting – ergo, they don’t believe in the church anymore”
            Do you really think John or Duwayne actually believe this? Smartphone usage during sacrament= disbelief in the church?
            I am just pointing out ho silly your arguments are.
            Whats the time stamp where that happened, I cant remember.

          • Spencer W. Kimball

            I believe it. And I think it is spot on: use of blackberries during church clearly is Sabbath Breaking. Someone is keeping those networks up… and blackberry users are forcing them to work.

            Also… anyone who read’s the Sunday version of the Deseret (made up word – just saying) News, KSL, or the Electric Company.

            Look – either the church is true (ALL true) or it is false. Gotta say, I am just following the Prophet.

      • Elder Vader Reply

        Pretty much every mormon I know is a buffet mormon to one degree or another. Let me give you some examples. For each example I want you to imagine a pie graph with two categories ‘believe’ and ‘do not believe’ and imagine the people in your ward each week, how many would stack up on each side? Here we go:

        Law of Consecration as Taught by Joseph Smith (similar pie graph for each subsequent prophet)

        Tithing on gross rather than net

        Polygamy as outlined in D&C 132

        Blood Atonement

        Every Member a Missionary

        Word of Wisdom as written in D&C 89

        Word of Wisdom as written in Gospel Principles manual

        Man His Origin and Destiny

        Proclamation On the Family

        14 Fundamentals

        Unwritten order of how to round people up for service projects

        Unwritten order of funeral eulogies

        Benson on Pride

        Hinckley – Its all true or its a giant fraud

        Packer – Why would a loving heavenly father do that?

        Jesus drank grape juice, not wine

        Joseph Smith drank grape juice, not wine

        No matter what your opinion is on any one of those items, guaranteed there are people in your congregation who you know and love, who disagree with you.

        Guaranteed, there are people in your ward right now who don’t believe a word of it, who go for other reasons. There are a lot more if you count the people in your ward boundaries who don’t show up every week.

      • Anonymous Reply

        Rex, where did you get “blackberries?” When did I ever say a word about people using “blackberries” in sacrament meeting?

        I *never* said that distracted activities during Sacrament meeting were the basis for my conclusion that many Mormons no longer believe in the church, and are only socially active.

        For the record, my comments regarding Mormons that have mentally left the church are based on many, many first-hand accounts/discussions. One particular person is particularly hateful of the church because his wife told him that she’d divorce if he ever left Mormonism. Who wouldn’t be hateful of a church that uses families as leverage to keep them paying money to the corporation? This person is active in the church, he pays tithing, goes to his meetings and even holds a temple recommend. He goes to the temple often — and when he’s commanded to bow his head and say “yes” he bows his head and, in the temple, mutters “fuck you” instead.

        That’s the sort of hatred and animosity that the LDS Church inspires — the sort of hatred that can only be inspired by a corporation that steals men’s souls. What man wouldn’t be offended upon realizing that his agency was being held in check because the church is holding his family hostage?

        Duwayne Anderson
        Author of “Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and science”

      • Anonymous Reply

        Rex, where did you get “blackberries?” When did I ever say a word about people using “blackberries” in sacrament meeting?

        I *never* said that distracted activities during Sacrament meeting were the basis for my conclusion that many Mormons no longer believe in the church, and are only socially active.

        For the record, my comments regarding Mormons that have mentally left the church are based on many, many first-hand accounts/discussions. One particular person is particularly hateful of the church because his wife told him that she’d divorce if he ever left Mormonism. Who wouldn’t be hateful of a church that uses families as leverage to keep them paying money to the corporation? This person is active in the church, he pays tithing, goes to his meetings and even holds a temple recommend. He goes to the temple often — and when he’s commanded to bow his head and say “yes” he bows his head and, in the temple, mutters “fuck you” instead.

        That’s the sort of hatred and animosity that the LDS Church inspires — the sort of hatred that can only be inspired by a corporation that steals men’s souls. What man wouldn’t be offended upon realizing that his agency was being held in check because the church is holding his family hostage?

        Duwayne Anderson
        Author of “Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and science”

        • Fred W. Anson Reply

          Actually it was John who made the “Blackberries” comment not Duwayne.  

          And I thought that Arza Evans did a wonderful job of outlining and articulating the problem here in his article, “Families Held Hostage”. Here’s a salient excerpt: 

          “A man or a woman who comes to the conclusion that Mormonism is based upon deception and who then decides to leave the LDS Church must also be willing to give up his or her family. It may turn out that the doubter is able to persuade some family members to change their minds about Mormonism, but the odds are against this happening. Instead, a person usually learns that family members have been so thoroughly indoctrinated that their highest loyalty is to the Church, not to a husband, wife, son, daughter, or even to the truth. And a Church member who associates or sympathizes with an “apostate” risks failing his or her temple worthiness interview. (This is one of the questions.) 
           Even though some very expensive media advertisements depict Mormonism as family oriented, it actually breaks up many families and causes a great amount of pain and suffering. As a missionary, I helped break up a number of families when one person (usually the wife) became converted and then divorced the unbelieving spouse. I am very sorry for this and wish that I could go back and undo all of the damage that I have done. Missionaries are still breaking up the families of nonmembers while at the same time claiming to be “family oriented.”’
          http://keystonebooks.com/FAMILIES_HELD_HOSTAGE.pdf

          And Rex, I would encourage you to read the entire article – it’s quite good. 

           

  2. Buffalo Reply

    I feel like Duwayne just related everything I’ve thought and gone through for the last couple of years. Great podcast!

  3. Christopher Allman Reply

    I’m only a little way into this podcast and so far it is excellent, but I wanted to make one comment in regards to the notion of Mormonism condoning genocide. Don’t all Christians (and several other faiths) condone genocide? Ie. The Second Coming/Apocalypse, Ie God’s Holocaust.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Yes, I believe they have to. But, I think all denominations, even Mormons, push off responsibility onto God.

      Several months ago my husband was telling me about some “creepy book by a Mormon nut that described Pangaea reforming and all non-Mormons being wiped off the face of the earth.” It turned out he was talking about the posthumously published Cleon Skousen book. (I think it’s called “The Cleansing of America.”) A few of my friends are Skousen worshipers. So, I asked one about what my husband had said. Her response was that, yes, she did, in fact, believe that all non-believers would be “cleansed” from the earth. When I asked her who would do the cleansing she looked at me blankly and then said, “God.” I’ll admit, it scared me a little.

      • Xolotl Reply

        thats funny, considering joseph smith taught that many heathen, would still be alive after the second coming had occurred. Best yet is the way God was to get the heathen to eventually convert to the gospel. He would cause drought and starve the heathen so they would have to die or come up to zion for the blessings of ephraim and sustenance. They would then come and rejoice and worship the one and only true God. That is how the gospel would truly fill the earth as a flood and all would come to a knowledge of their savior. Or the diety of torture, depending on how you look at it.

        • Anonymous Reply

          Interesting. So Skousen is in conflict with Joseph Smith on this, eh?

          Sources please? I’d love to show this to my Skousen lovin’ friends.

    • Randy Snyder Reply

      The short answer to your question is absolutely. Well, that’s not as short as yes, but still pretty short.

      • Randy Snyder Reply

        The funny thing to me was I didn’t start to question bc of genocide, my faith deconstructed for different reasons but once the scales came off my eyes, I was then appalled at my own and other believers’ casual ability to dismiss genocide as just fine and dandy as long as God wills it. I find that embarrassing to me personally. It helps that correlation does such a great job at side stepping, hurdling, and evading the gritty and gruesome details of the violence in the scriptures, particularly the OT. Out of sight, out of mind…

        • Rex Reply

          Awesome mindfrakking from Anderson here: Dear Stake President, I don’t understand this ancient Hebrew story in the Book of Numbers, so please release me from my calling as Elder’s Quorum President. P.S. I’m leaving the church, too. And so are my kids.

          • Anonymous

            As Duwayne Anderson made clear, the genocidal actions of the Hebrews recounted in the Old Testament was far from the only thing he found problematical. It just happened to be the thing that finally tipped the balance upon being added to the heap of other problems and absurdities in religious doctrine that bothered him.

          • Anonymous

            Your characterization of what I said is factually incorrect.

            First of all, there was no misunderstanding. The events in Numbers 31 are non ambiguous. My stake president didn’t contest the description of what happened.

            The problem had nothing to do with misunderstanding — it had everything to do with the idea that god would command a person to commit genocide, and that a man who committed genocide would then return “keys of the priesthood” to a modern-day prophet.

            Rex, do you believe it was right for Moses to command the slaughter of women and children as described in Numbers 31? That question can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” Both my Bishop and my Stake President said it was right — that it was, in fact, a commandment from god (as described in the Old Testament).

            http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+31&version=KJV

            Here’s the rub, Rex. The description of Moses’ slaughter of the Midianites is factually that of genocide (look up the definition of genocide and see for yourself). The Mormon Church (including you, I’ll bet) thinks that Moses was a prophet, and that he restored “keys of the priesthood” to Joseph Smith. Do you think god would choose a mass murderer to restore keys of the priesthood?

            http://www.preventgenocide.org/genocide/officialtext.htm

            http://emp.byui.edu/SATTERFIELDB/PDF/Priesthood%20Keys.pdf

            Duwayne Anderson
            Author of “Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and science”

          • Anonymous

            As I said to Rex, the genocide described in Numbers 31 was surely far from the only thing you found problematical about religious doctrine, in general, and LDS doctrine in particular, but even if it were, it is so huge and unforgivable an atrocity that no one could be blamed for rejecting religion altogether, or at least all religions that revered the Old Testament as the divinely revealed and inerrant work of a just and loving God.

        • Elder Vader Reply

          Something similar with me. This stuff still comes to the surface from time to time.

          Its like the milgram experiment, but instead of a researcher wearing a lab coat telling you to keep pushing the buttons, you’ve got a religious authority figure appealing to God.

          • Anonymous

            Speaking of the Milgram Experiment, I think that if I were one of the subjects in that experiment, I would have found it hard to believe the researchers conducting the experiment were really telling the truth about the seriousness of the pain or harm that would be caused to someone by pushing the button, or that reasonable “victims” would have agreed to participate if they were. I can’t help but wonder if at least some of the subjects who so compliantly pushed the buttons did so because they were convinced that it was all a farce anyway and that no actual pain or harm was being inflicted.

            Nevertheless, I agree with you how about terribly dangerous a religious authority figure appealing to God (or a powerful political authority figure) can be!

          • Elder Vader

            No. All of us underestimate the degree to which we are susceptible to this kind of persuasion. Authority figures are a huge blind spot for our brains. Milgram wanted to know how the Germans went along with the holocaust. He tried his experiments in all sorts of variations. If you want to lock someone in mentally, using authority figures is a good way to do it. — Great book to read: “Influence” by Robert Cialdini. He’ll walk you through a huge chunk of the relevant research in a very quick, readable way.

            Its interesting to me, also, that it wasn’t the christians who finally decided slavery was immoral. It was the atheists. If you read through all passages in the Bible talking about slavery, you won’t find anything denouncing it. Moses has all sorts of rules of how you treat your slaves. Paul says that the important thing is to be a slave to Christ, but if you’re a slave in mortality you should be a good slave. — Thousands of years people probably didn’t even think to question it. Finally people come along who reject christianity completely.. they’re the ones who start to argue against it. (don’t ask me for more details here, I am far too lazy to look it up)

          • Anonymous

            You are probably right that we all tend to underestimate the degree to which we are susceptible to this kind of persuasion. I have little doubt that at least some, perhaps most of the subjects in the Milgram experiment pushed the buttons entirely because of that. But I still have a lingering suspicion that at least a few of them might not have actually believed that they were really inflicting significant pain or harm to the “victims.” I would like to believe that I would have been one those who would have refused to push the buttons if I believed the researchers’ claims that I would have thereby inflicted great pain or harm. Of course, I was never asked or given the opportunity to participate in that kind of experiment, so obviously, I have no way of proving without any doubt, even to myself, that that would have been the case. Another consideration is that the experiment measured (as far as I know) only the actions of those who initially agreed to participate in it. How well did they understand what would be required of them when they were initially recruited, and how many people declined to participate because of that before they finally got enough recruits to begin the study?

            I am in full agreement with you that it was atheists and/or agnostics who were the real driving force behind the abolition of slavery. It is well documented that the groups who were the most adamantly opposed to the abolition of slavery, especially in the South, were devout Christians, using numerous passages in the Bible that clearly seemed to justify their position. This, in itself, is a strong indictment against Christianity (not to mention the Bible itself). There were a few Christian denominations (the Quakers for one) who were strongly on the anti-slavery side, but even they had a hard time finding anything in either the Old or New Testaments that could be unequivocally interpreted as support for their anti-slavery position. It is notable that Mormons (at least before the Civil War) were not among the few Christian groups who strongly denounced slavery. A few of them still owned slaves themselves even during and after their migration to Utah, apparently with the full approval of Brigham Young and the rest of the Church heirarchy.

        • Anonymous Reply

          I was never fully comfortable with the idea that God would have not only condoned but ordered the atrocities described in the Old Testament. I tried to “compartmentalize” that away for a long time, but it was always like an annoying sliver or burr that I could not get at to remove. I think it is almost infinitely more likely that the ancient Israelites made up the claim that God commanded these genocidal atrocities, after the fact, to justify and salve their consciences for crimes that they or their ancestors had already committed than that a just and loving God would actually authorize or order such abominations.

          Any good Christian today would consider it blasphemous if anyone claimed today that God called for or approved of of brutally exterminating Non-Christians and even other Christian sects that they held to be heretical. I reject the idea that it should be regarded as any less blasphemous or evil for the ancient Israelites to have done so.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Good question, Christopher. Many Christians would, as you have noted, justify Moses’ genocide as described in the Bible — particularly those that believe the Bible to be without error.

      [BTW, when I left Mormonism I didn’t join any other church (I’m now an atheist).]

      On a side note, I think it would be interesting to see the net effect of Mormonism on the Christian/atheist ratio. I suspect that the LDS Church is a net atheist producer. Anecdotally, most ex-Mormons I know are atheists, and (again, anecdotally) I’ve never known an atheist who joined the LDS Church. In other words, the LDS Church seems to produce more atheists than it converts. If that were true it could be seen as invalidating the Book of Mormon promise that it was written to bring people to Christ.

      Back to Moses …. when I first read of Moses’ atrocities I assumed (and hoped) that this was one of those instances where the Bible had been “translated” incorrectly. My initial hope was that Joseph Smith had “fixed” this part of the Bible when he wrote his “inspired” version. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

      However, I understood that the “inspired” version was never completed, so perhaps Smith just hadn’t gotten around to fixing that problem. So, I contacted my Stake President. But the Stake President said the events portrayed were accurate — Moses really did commit genocide. If you look at some of the criticism of my book you’ll find plenty of Mormon apologists agreeing with my Stake President and trying to deal with the issue of Moses/genocide by trying to *justify* what Moses did, rather than claim it never happened. Bennett, for example, said this:

      “That there could be a time, place, and circumstance in which God determined that it was in the best interest of his children to return the Midianite sons to him in the spirit world is simply impossible in Anderson’s black-and-white world.”

      You really have to wonder about guys like Bennett. He makes the process of “returning” them to the spirit world sound so …. antiseptic. I wonder, has Bennett imagined the carnage that would result from butchering thousands of people? Has he seen the images of dead corpses piled high at the German concentration camps? Was Hitler part of god’s plan, in helping Jews “return” to the spirit world? Imagine being one of those Hebrews, and taking your sword into the camp. You’d have to drag the women and children from their holding areas. You’d have to cut off heads, stab bodies. Blood would be everywhere; their blood would be all over you, along with brain and intestine matter. Sometimes you’d miss and only wound the child – then you’d have to take a second swing. Sometimes they’d break free, and you’d have to run them down, and kill them as they ran to get away. There would be guts, and blood, and stench all over the place. Anyone who could *do* that sort of thing would have to be sick and demented. And Bennett thinks this is god’s plan – god’s way of helping the Midianites “return” to the “spirit world?”

      Words fail me. They really do.

      Think about what Bennett is saying. According to Bennett it’s possible for god to act in a way that is outwardly indistinguishable from Hitler. As soon as a person drinks Bennett’s Kool Aid they start down a slippery slope with no end – if it’s okay to commit genocide for god then certainly it’s okay to steal for god, rape for god, lie for god, or do *anything* for god. No behavior is out of bounds — as long as god commands it.

      And don’t forget the enormous theological contradiction in the argument offered by Bennett and my Stake President. According to the LDS Church, the bloody god commanding this carnage was none other than Jehovah – or Jesus. The same guy that said it was a sin to even *offend* a child.

      Finally, in addition to being illogical and morally inconsistent, Bennett’s argument is a coward’s argument. Basically (imagining yourself as a Hebrew under Moses’ command) Bennett’s argument goes like this:

      1) God is big and powerful.
      2) God wants you to kill those people over there.
      3) You’d better do what God wants or God will do something bad to you (send you to hell, give you herpes, whatever).

      In other words, Bennett and my Stake President argued that it’s better to save your own skin and avoid god’s punishment than to piss him off. In my world that argument was (and is) designed for cowards. I hope, had I been in that circumstance, that I would have had the courage to take my sword and kill Moses before I would have killed any of those Midianite babies.

      You know, when I was a kid I would hear my church leaders mock “worldly wisdom” because of its supposed fluid sense of ethics. But what could be more “fluid” than a sense of ethics that says *nothing* is wrong, if god commands it?

      Anyway, sorry for rambling. Thanks for your comments.

      Duwayne Anderson
      Author of “Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and science”

    • Anonymous Reply

      In that article, Robert R. Bennett said referring to Anderson’s expressing his abhorrence of the atrocities described in the Old Testament:

      “The fact that millions of people have read that identical scripture and still managed to maintain both a belief in a loving God and a belief in the prophetic mission of Moses seems beyond consideration for Anderson.”

      Nonsense! That is obviously not at all “beyond consideration for Anderson.” That undoubted fact is part of what Anderson finds so wrong and inherently self contradictory or inconsistent about religious faith! That so many millions of people fail to see these inherent inconsistencies is precisely what is so alarming!

      Bennett said, further:

      “That there could be a time, place, and circumstance in which God determined that it was in the best interest of his children to return the Midianite sons to him in the spirit world is simply impossible in Anderson’s black-and-white world.”

      What compelling justification do we have for concluding that the Ancient Israelites’ claims that God approved or commanded such atrocities are any more credible than similar claims by religious authorities on all sides of the holy wars, inquisitions and witchhunts that plagued the Middle Ages in Europe, not to mention Islamic Jihadists and present day terrorists?

      Bennett again:

      “This passage of scripture, of course, is not unique to Mormonism or even to Christianity. Three major faiths, comprising over three billion of the earth’s population, regard Moses as a prophet and accept the Old Testament as the word of God. Anderson’s argument is actually with all of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.”

      Of course! I’m sure that Anderson does not dispute any of that. That does not weaken the strength of his argument in the slightest!

      I’m could do much more to pick apart Bennett’s argument, but I will leave that to more capable people than I, if they would care to do so.

    • Buffalo Reply

      That was the most unscholarly, dishonest review of a book I’ve ever read. Granted, I haven’t read much from that group.

  4. kkdigger Reply

    I bought Duwayne’s book last year from a used book dealer on Amazon. The book came in the mail and I started to read it. For a couple minutes I was sooo confused. The cover was “Farewell to Eden” but the book inside was some dungeons and dragons book. I thought it was printed incorrectly till I realized that someone bought the book and swapped it out with another one the same size (then sold the D&D book to the dealer I bought it from). I pictured some elders quorum president and his wife reading in bed – him reading “dungeons and dragons” and her reading the Ensign. Haha. Totally cracked me up. I ordered another one and loved the book. ‘Farewell to Eden” is one of my favorite books and I still refer back to it often.

    • Rex Reply

      Yes – if your dream interview would be Aaron Shafovaloff interviewing Tal Bachman, then this interview is gold.

        • Rex Reply

          Yeah, dismiss me as a troll because the interview was such a mess. I listened carefully to the interview – I made my problems with it known in my initial comment. What else do you want? That constitutes trolling? That lazy and trite accusation is just as lame as the interview was.

          • Anonymous

            Rex, when you say things like, “that lazy and trite accusation is just as lame as the interview was,” you’re kinda poking your metaphorical finger into other peoples’ metaphorical chests. (AKA we interpret it as you just wanting to pick a fight.) It makes people defensive and they aren’t really open to what you have to say.

            I’d actually love to hear your criticisms. I hope you’ll post them as you said you would above. I just hope you’ll keep in mind that you’ll turn people off and lose your chance to influence them if you continue with the aggressive language.

          • Rex

            Point taken. I do apologize for being a little snarky with “aggressive language.” I’ll be back with some polite and, hopefully, even comments on the interview.

      • Eric Reply

        John Larsen has repeatedly said that his podcast is biased. He doesn’t pretend to give equal weight to both sides.

        • Eric Reply

          Hey, speak of the devil, the new podcast posted today talks about this exact issue.

  5. Rex Reply

    Jeez, what a sad train wreck this was. I can fully accept Anderson as a cynical, smug ExMo (and the smugness was dripping) – but not as such a dishonest, cynical, smug ExMo. Not just the straw men and red herrings, but the out and out deliberate mischaracterizations and blanket misstatements. And not a single time was he called on any of it.

      • Rex Reply

        This is a comment I would appreciate John responding to. Why do I listen to these (podcasts)? Does that imply that they are meant _only_ for an anti/exmo audience? Perhaps John needs to clarify his intent with these interviews.

        • Anonymous Reply

          We desire all to participate. I believe you are being referred to as a troll because your posts lack any substance. In other words, you have stated that you do not like the podcast but you have failed to say why that is. If you have issue with the podcast, please post what those issues are so that we can discuss them. Otherwise, you are merely calling us poo-poo heads. Which might be satisfying to yourself leaves us with little room for response.

          • Rex

            Okay. That’s fair – although if I had posted favorable remarks without any real substance, would I have been called a troll? I did express my annoyance with the “deliberate mischaracterizations and blanket misstatements.” I was put off further because I was sure that many of these were clear to you, John and instead of calling him just once on them – they were met instead with “Yeah” or chuckling or both.

            So – yes, I will be more specific with these. That will require listening again and making a few notes. Please allow me a day or two to do so. Thanks.

          • Anonymous

            Well, I see no “deliberate mischaracterizations and blanket misstatements” so until you point me to one, I have nothing to respond to.

          • Rex

            Okay – here’s a few from the podcast:

            Anderson: “I told my wife I can’t believe in a church that condones genocide.” (deliberate mischaracterization – really? the church is on record as condoning genocide?)

            John: “The church itself teaches its members that if you don’t constantly put energy in and propagandize and keep them from the media and don’t let them talk to people and don’t believe in science, then they’ll fall away.” (deliberate mischaracterization and blanket misstatement)

            Anderson: “I can recall when my wife and I were married, we openly discussed how many wives I was going to have. The expectation was that the church was going to start practicing polygamy again.” (general mischaracterization.)

            Anderson: “There’s such a rich deep theology which Joseph Smith invented, none of which is in the LDS church.” (I understand the point he was trying to evoke, but when he says “none” he scores a deliberate misstatement.)

            And then there’s the deliberate potshots which he fires off throughout the interview which only serve to minimize any objectivity and highlight his cynicism: “It’s a silly religion.” “Figuring out the Mormon church is false is something any dummy can do.” “A reason a testimony has to be nourished is because it’s such a bunch of baloney.”

          • Richard of Norway

            I really appreciate you taking the time to re-listen and post what you consider to be “deliberate mischaracterization and blanket misstatements”. In that case I take back labeling you as a troll. You are just overly sensitive and not very objective. But I suppose you aren’t a troll.

            I hope John responds to your specific accusations. But until then, here’s my personal take:

            Andersen: a church that condones genocide
            He was referring specifically to Deuteronomy, Chapter 20:

            (v16) But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth. (v17) But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.

            The church is on record of condoning this as it teaches that the Bible is true and the stories literally happened. Anderson explained this, and that he went to his local leader who tried to brush his concerns off. Absolutely NOT “deliberate mischaracterization” by any stretch.

            John: propagandize, shelter, anti-science
            John can speak for himself, but in my personal experience there are plenty of Ensign articles, conference talks, and EQ / Sunday School lessons that support this assertion.

            Anderson: the return of polygamy
            All he said was that he and his wife discussed it and they expected that the church would one day practice polygamy again. He could have meant he and his aife expected that. Or that the general consensus in his local area. Who knows? Keep in mind that Mr. Anderson is over 60 and his experience in the church back then is very different from yours (assuming you are younger or from a different area). I don’t see how you can label something as subjective as this as “mischaracterization”. If that is his experience, I suggest you take him for his word. I have no reason to doubt him. In fact, I am 40, grew up (partly) in Southern Arizona and had a very similar understanding about polygamy. It was commonly understood that the saints would one day be practicing it again. Do you have evidence to the contrary? Are you inferring you can read his mind or that you know he didn’t discuss polygamy with his wife?

            Anderson: No more “deep theology”
            Again, this is subjective. What Mr. Anderson considers “deep theology” may differ from your personal taste. Perhaps, in his view all the deep theology has been removed. At worst, he is exaggerating here. It’s a bit incongruous to call it a “deliberate misstatement.”

            As for the potshots, clearly you were offended. That’s too bad. But again those are merely his (or John’s) views and nobody is forcing you to listen. To many (including the creators of South Park) Mormonism is a silly religion. If “Figuring out the Mormon church is false is something any dummy can do.” than likely the reverse could be also be true: “Figuring out the Mormon church is true is something any dummy can do.”

            Don’t let small stuff like this get you down. It’s just somebody’s opinion. Think what ever you like. Or are you looking for a unanimous vote from peers for your religion to be true?

          • Anonymous

            Rex, do you believe it was right for Moses to command the slaughter of women and children as described in Numbers 31? That question can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” Both my Bishop and my Stake President said it was right — that it was, in fact, a commandment from god (as described in the Old Testament).

            http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+31&version=KJV

            Here’s the rub, Rex. The description of Moses’ slaughter of the Midianites is factually that of genocide (look up the definition of genocide and see for yourself). The Mormon Church (including you, I’ll bet) thinks that Moses was a prophet, and that he restored “keys of the priesthood” to Joseph Smith. Do you think god would choose a mass murderer to restore keys of the priesthood?

            http://www.preventgenocide.org/genocide/officialtext.htm

            http://emp.byui.edu/SATTERFIELDB/PDF/Priesthood%20Keys.pdf

            As for polygamy, your accusations simply reflect how much the church has changed on this matter. When my wife and I attended seminary in the 70s it was common to discuss the return to plural marriage. Furthermore, it was understood that in the Celestial Kingdom we’d all be practicing plural marriage — just like Elohim (see section 132). The fact that you accuse me of lying on this matter simply reflects the extent to which the LDS Church has mislead (lied to) its members regarding its history of plural marriage.

            It was common doctrine when I was a young man that Jesus was going to come back soon, at the beginning of the millennium. Furthermore, it was common doctrine that when he returned the church would again practice plural marriage. For example, church apostle Bruce R. McConkie said “Obviously the holy practice (of polygamy) will commence again after the Second Coming of the Son of Man and the ushering in of the millennium.” (Mormon Doctrine, 1966 edition).

            If you read the Doctrine and Covenants you’ll see that plural marriage is practiced in the Celestial Kingdom (it’s in section 132: http://lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/132?lang=eng ). Since my wife and I were both good Mormons, we expected to (as the D&C describes) practice plural marriage at some time in the future.

            It seems to me that polygamy only became a dirty word in Mormonism over the last decade or two. Prior to that, it was still considered a sacred principle that was suspended because of the US government, but would be reinstated when Jesus was back in control. Now we have prominent Mormons saying that polygamy is “awful.”

            http://evidenceministries.blogspot.com/2007/05/romney-believes-polygamy-is-awful.html

            I have associates who were promised in their Patriarchal Blessings that they would see the second coming. Back in the 70s we expected it any day. So it was common for us to consider the implications of practicing plural marriage again. Romney’s position on plural marriage is a relatively recent abdication – apparently (again) out of political expediency.

            As for Smith’s “deep theology,” the most obvious example is the doctrine that god was once a man. Smith taught this as *core* LDS doctrine. Fast forward 150 years and the Church president (a man named Mr. Hinckley) was asked if the LDS Church teaches that god was once a man, and Mr. Hinckley replied “I don’t know that we teach it.” Hinckley’s response was a lie, of course — the doctrine was actually taught in lesson manuals that year. But just as significantly, Hinckley’s comments show how Mormonism is distancing itself from the teachings of Joseph Smith, and watering them down.

            http://www.irr.org/mit/hinckley.html

            Here’s an interesting paper that deals with some of the reconstruction of Mormonism since Smith. You might like to read it:

            http://www.mormonismi.net/pdf/Reconstruction_of_Mormon_Doctrine_Alexander.pdf

            As for Mormonism being “silly,” well “silly” is in the eye of the beholder. If you don’t think it’s “silly” for a religion to be based on an obvious fraud (the Book of Mormon) then that’s your prerogative. But I certainly find it “silly” to think that god would use a fraudulent bit of supposed ancient-American history to teach truth. God, if he exists, could as easily come up with the real deal – only a charlatan would need to invent a fraud as the foundation of his religion.

            Finally, I’ll note that I don’t have a testimony of gravity. I don’t have a testimony of special relativity or quantum mechanics, either. In fact, the idea of having a “testimony” about scientific theories is absurd. On the other hand, we find testimonies of people who claim to have been abducted by aliens. We find testimonies of people who claim to have seen monsters in lakes. We find testimonies of people who claim to have special powers, speak to the dead, and cure diseases with olive oil and prayers. Whenever you find an unverifiable bit of nonsense you will find “testimonies.” Mormonism is no different. You bear your testimony because in the back of your mind you know it’s all rubbish. Bearing your testimony is an act of desperation as you try to push skeptical thoughts out of your mind, so you can hold onto the illusion that your church is “true.”

            Okay, I’ve said enough. Apologies in advance for all the grammatical and spelling errors. I’m busy, and don’t really have time to polish this article as much as I’d like. But the facts, I believe, are pretty much in order.

            I suggest a change in paradigm – Mormonism isn’t the most important thing; truth is. Follow the facts, let them lead you.

            Duwayne Anderson
            Author of “Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and science”

          • Anonymous

            Duwayne, I was with you until the very end where you said people bear their testimonies because they know it’s rubbish in the back of their minds. I think that’s an unfair attack. When I was a faithful member I bore my testimony often. It was never because I knew it was rubbish in the back of my mind. I bore it because I felt “prompted” to share what I felt was helpful in my life and because sharing faith stories is a part of the religious tradition. (Personally, I think it’s something Joseph Smith picked up from the Quakers.) In fact, I even bore my testimony this past summer when I no longer believed in the church. I said nothing of Joseph Smith or the history of the church. I didn’t say anything about the church being true. I bore my testimony of service. I said that I believed we are “God’s hands” to help and lift up one another in this life. Also, I am a part of an online community of nonbelievers. People sometimes talk about how bearing their testimony changed as they lost their faith. A common thing for them to say is, “I started to talk about what I was thankful for, not what I believed in.” There is even a joke about “thanktimonies.”

            Yes, I have heard the counsel that one should bear their testimony to reinforce it…. that if you don’t believe you should say you do as a way of reinforcing your faith. But I think that if you talk to most members, you’d find that they don’t do that. I think you’d find that most people are averse to claiming to believe what they do not believe. At least that has been my experience.

          • Anonymous

            Heather, thanks for your comments. I’m sorry if my comments came across as an “attack” on you.

            But if it came across as an “attack” on a particular idea …. Well, that’s just fine. You see, I don’t believe that ideas are people; I don’t believe they deserve our courtesy, love, adoration, or respect. I believe that ideas deserve to be tested, roasted, dissected and attacked – because that’s the only way to really tell if the idea is an accurate or inaccurate way of describing the universe.

            I realize that a lot of people don’t share that point of view. Most Mormons certainly don’t. They protect their testimonies; they don’t read books, go to movies, listen to speakers, or entertain thoughts/ideas that might challenge their testimonies. I don’t think a person protects an idea in that way, unless they are afraid the idea is fragile and easily destroyed.

            Here’s an interesting experiment. Go to the official LDS Internet site and search on “destroy testimony” in the Magazine section. I got 1,071 hits. For comparison, when I searched on chastity I got 502 hits. The point being that Mormon leaders (and Mormons themselves) are positively paranoid about losing their testimonies. The “brethren” take an inordinate amount of time/effort instructing members how to “protect” their testimonies, and warning them about how easily a testimony may be lost.

            The very fact that they are so afraid of losing their testimonies indicates that they fear their testimonies are falsifiable. After all, are you in danger of losing your knowledge about gravity? Of suddenly realizing that you won’t fall to your death if you step off a cliff? Are you in danger of losing your knowledge about momentum? Of suddenly realizing that you won’t die if you drive your car into a solid cement building at 100 mph?

            Probably not. We don’t worry about losing our knowledge about ideas that are solidly built on logic, reason, and abundant physical/verifiable evidence. But Mormons do worry – a lot – about losing their testimony that the church is “true.” I think that’s because they realize how vulnerable their testimony is, and I think that vulnerability leads to suspicion and doubt in the backs of their minds.

            Now, I can’t read minds. So all I really know is what was going through mine, not yours. And if you say you didn’t have doubts in the back of your mind, then I’ll have to take your word on that.

            On the other hand, you did imply that you are no longer an active member, which suggests you no longer have the testimony you once had. I’d be interested in knowing how you lost your testimony – how’d it happen without a nagging though coming into the back of your mind, somewhere along the line?

            Duwayne Anderson
            Author of “Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and science”

          • Anonymous

            You said, “You bear your testimony because in the back of your mind you know it’s all rubbish.” That isn’t an attack on an idea. It’s an attack on the “you.” To me, in this context, it read like an attack directed to Rex specifically. But even if it wasn’t pointed at Rex, it’s still an attack on the motivations of a person bearing their testimony… not an attack on the philosophical underpinnings of why testimony bearing is a part of the LDS religious tradition.

            Also, I never said I didn’t have nagging doubts as my faith fell apart. I said I never bore my testimony to things I knew were, or even worried might be, rubbish. Having nagging doubts and publicly claiming to believe in those things which are causing doubt are entirely different from one another. I, personally, have never bore my testimony to things I didn’t fully believe. Nor do I personally know anyone who does or has done so. Everyone who has shared a struggle of faith with me at some point in the past avoided public pronouncements of what they believed. They “sat in the back” and kept their mouth shut. It was only after faith struggle ended that they would start vocalizing what they believe and even describe how they did doubt and how they overcame that doubt.

            If you were to interview LDS church goers, those who claim to have been abducted by aliens, or people who claim to have seen Ol’ Nessie while they’re hooked to a lie detector I think you’d find that every single one of them completely believes in what they are saying to their core. It’s why “pop phenomena” (as Brian Dunning calls it) continues to exist and even be so popular. People actually believe in the stuff. They don’t “know in the back of their minds” that it’s all rubbish and go out into the world proclaiming it to be true in a futile attempt to convince themselves.

            I’m speaking here to the motivation of most people who bear their testimonies. I’m not speaking to the validity of testimonies themselves. I completely agree with you on the fragility of belief and its connection to why members are counseled to avoid movies, books, music, etc that destroy faith. I’m “with ya” on all of that.

          • Anonymous

            Heather wrote: “You said, “You bear your testimony because in the back of your mind you know it’s all rubbish.” That isn’t an attack on an idea. It’s an attack on the “you.” ”

            ——————–

            Point taken, Heather. I didn’t intend it as an “attack” so much as a conclusion, but I see your point and how it could have been seen that way. [Also, I meant it as the royal “you” (a fault of mine) — didn’t mean to apply it to any particular person. Please accept my apologies.]

            I can’t speak to your supposition about putting people on lie detectors — It would be an interesting experiment to conduct, though. Until then, neither of us knows the outcome.

            If I understand you correctly, you think testimonies are honest, even if they are misguided. I’m a bit more jaded — I think they are attempts to maintain faith, in spite of nagging doubts. It’s possible there’s a bit of both those conclusions tied up in many of the minds that bear testimony.

            Duwayne Anderson
            Author of “Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and science”

          • Anonymous

            I’ve done that ‘royal you’ thing online before (several times) and it led to misunderstanding for me as well. So I should have picked up on that. haha. Sorry to have misconstrued.

            Yes, I guess I do believe that testimonies are honest. Mostly because mine always was. Perhaps that is a little too optimistic.

            I’m sure there are people out there who bear testimony to things they doubt in an attempt to comply with the counsel to strengthen your testimony by bearing it. (I even read something to that effect recently. It was something about, “aren’t sure it’s true, say it out loud and it will help you know.” I wish I could remember where I read it.) But even then, I think they believe it’s true and feel they’re at fault for not being able to accept it.

          • Anonymous

            My comments about testimonies must have sounded pretty harsh. Keep in mind that I don’t think there is necessarily intent to deceive (see my comments further down, about the doubts being in the back of the mind) — I think the intent is mostly without guile.

            When I was a young child my dad was in the Bishopric, and Fast and Testimony meeting was a time when “us kids” would trot up to the podium (later they had traveling microphones) and bear our testimonies. I still remember how it goes:

            I want to bear my testimony
            I know the Church is true
            I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet
            I know that President David O. McKay is the true prophet today
            In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

            And then the rest of my brothers and sisters would follow — and like the typical LDS family, there were a bunch of us.

            Was that an honest testimony? Well, sorta, but not quite. First of all, I didn’t “want” to bear my testimony at all. I was a little kid. Getting up in front of all those people scared me. I wanted to be outside playing in the dirt, or hiking, or whatever. But it would be harsh to call the opening line a “lie.” After all, I also wanted to please my parents and *they* wanted me to have a testimony. So I tried really hard to get a testimony – just like everyone in the story “The Emperor’s new clothes” tried really hard to be virtuous enough to see the marvelous garments.

            This process of wanting to believe, and reinforcing that belief with repeated assertions, can (I believe) lead to a level of conscious belief that is without doubt. But that’s why I described the doubt as being in the back of the mind. I think, trying to remember back several decades to the way it was, that somewhere, in the back of my mind, the nagging doubts were always there. Even when I was on my mission — but you (that’s the royal “you”) are trained to react when you have the nagging doubts; you read your Book of Mormon, you stay on your knees and pray, you fast, you listen to other people bear their testimonies, etc.

            When I finally accepted the reality that Mormonism isn’t true, and I no longer had the burden of keeping that testimony alive (through all the mental gymnastics so commonly seen among Mormon apologists) it felt like liberation. It was like discovering you (the royal you, again) were born with wings, and could fly. Suddenly there were no limitations.

            Okay. I don’t know how common my experience was. I think my experience is somewhat common for kids that grow up in the church, but I suppose I can’t know for sure. I suppose it’s natural for us to project our own personal experiences onto others.

            Thanks for your comments ….

            I truly enjoyed them.

            Duwayne Anderson
            Author of “Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and science”

          • Fred W. Anson

            Well after all THAT all I have to say is . . . 

            I would like to bear my testimony:

            I have diligently sought God regarding whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true or not.

            To that end,  I have read the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon and I have prayed consistently for over 30-years.  

            I have felt an intense “burning in my bosom” many, many, many times in my life — in fact, I carry it with me every day of my life.

            And my testimony is this:
            I am utterly convinced that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a non-Christian cult, that Joseph Smith was a false prophet, and Thomas S. Monson is a false Prophet as well.

            Further, I am utterly convinced that the Book of Mormon is an uninspired, man created work of 19th Century fiction. 

            Here I stand before God and before men – I can do no other. 

            In the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, amen.

            (and hopefully Discus won’t indent this post into eternal, illegible darkness)

          • Anonymous

            Heather, I think there are more dishonest testimonies than you realize. I can’t honestly say that I ever had a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Church, yet I used to say I did anyway in fast and testimony meetings, mostly because I wanted it to be true that I really had one, and in the hope that saying I did would help me to gain one. Some might argue that this desire, in itself, qualifies as a “testimony.” I am ashamed and embarrassed now to admit that I ever did that, but I can’t believe that I am the only one who ever did, or even that people who do so are particularly rare.

            Don’t church leaders often say that a testimony can be gained or strengthened in the bearing of it? IMHO that is the main purpose behind the encouragement to frequently bear one’s testimony. It is an effective means of “brain washing” oneself into believing. The infamous “fake it til you make it” advice reportedly given by mission leaders (including some mission presidents) to young missionaries who are reluctant to bear testimonies they can not yet honestly claim to have seems to be fairly common knowledge.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, I did add the exception of people bearing their testimonies in an attempt to strengthen them. Perhaps it is more common than I thought.

          • Anonymous

            John: “The church itself teaches its members that if you don’t constantly put energy in and propagandize and keep them from the media and don’t let them talk to people and don’t believe in science, then they’ll fall away.” (deliberate mischaracterization and blanket misstatement)

            I don’t see any mis-characterization here.

            The Church requires that you:

            * Put constant energy in & propagandizing–here I am referring to what the Church wants us to do with our children. That you should be putting huge amounts of energy and time in the form of scripture reading, family home evening, primary, pray, etc in the interesting of passing along the Churches mission and there version of “truth” to the next generation.

            * The Church also teaching to avoid media and people that aren’t faith promoting. The examples from lesson manuals, Strengthening the Youth, Youth Conference, talks etc. are legion.

            Of course, by propaganda I mean communication that is not interested in the truth per se, but in getting a certain position to the masses.

          • Richard of Norway

            I called him a troll because to me, posting derogatory comments without substance is trolling. Wikipedia’s definition of trolling is:

            Someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community … with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response.

            Rex’s words which I consider trolling:

            Jeez, what a sad train wreck this was. I can fully accept Anderson as a cynical, smug ExMo (and the smugness was dripping) – but not as such a dishonest, cynical, smug ExMo. Not just the straw men and red herrings, but the out and out deliberate mischaracterizations and blanket misstatements. And not a single time was he called on any of it.

            Rex’s statement was full of inflammatory remarks, but what really earned him the troll label was to not post any specific examples of his accusations. I see he has just remedied the latter by posting a few examples. While I disagree with him, I admire him for having specific examples to back up his claims. Had Rex included some of them in his original post, I wouldn’t have called him out, but might have addressed the issues. (which I will now do in a separate post.)

    • Anonymous Reply

      Unless you define smug, cynical and dishonest as pointing out facts and arguments that are contrary to what you would rather believe, I don’t see how you can justify your accusation that Anderson is “dishonest, cynical, smug ExMo.”

      • Fred W. Anson Reply

         Or perhaps the definition of “Smug” is: “Cleared headed, clear eyed, rational, logical, open minded, reasonable, autonomous and willing to let the evidence lead to the conclusion rather than presuming.” Good to know! 

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      Your response is fallacious because you did NOT present any counter evidence, reasoning, logic, or other legitimate arguments – you simply launched into an “ad-hominem abusive” attack on Duwayne.

      From the Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary:      
      ad hominem
      1: appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect 
      2: marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made  

      To quote from the Wikipedia article on Ad-hominem tactics:
      “An ad hominem, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: “to the man”), is an attempt to persuade which links the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise.[1] The ad hominem is a classic logical fallacy.[2] …

      Ad hominem abusive
      Ad hominem abusive usually involves insulting or belittling one’s opponent in order to invalidate their argument, but can also involve pointing out factual but ostensible character flaws or actions which are irrelevant to the opponent’s argument. This tactic is logically fallacious because insults and even true negative facts about the opponent’s personal character have nothing to do with the logical merits of the opponent’s arguments or assertions.”
      ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

      Again, for emphasis: 

      “The ad hominem is a classic logical fallacy.”

      “This [Ad-hominem Abusive] tactic is logically fallacious because insults and even true negative facts about the opponent’s personal character have nothing to do with the logical merits of the opponent’s arguments or assertions.”

      Translated from Latin to English, “Ad Hominem” means “against the man” or “against the person.”

      And I’ve noticed that ad-hominems are about all that TBM Mormons engage in anymore. Apparently they’ve run out of counter arguments to the corpus of evidence that discredits modern Mormonism. 

  6. Anonymous Reply

    This podcast has definitely caused me to move DuWayne’s book higher on the list of books I intend to read than it already was. I can’t honestly say that I ever had a strong testimony of LDS doctrine, unless you consider a strong desire to believe equivalent to an actual testimony. I prayed about it as admonished by Moroni, but never received any strong confirmatory feelings that I could unequivocally attribute to anything other than my imagination and my strong desire to believe. I always loved reading and learning about science and the process by which great scientists arrived at and tested their conclusions. Consequently, I turned to Melvin R. Cook’s book Science and Mormonism with high hopes that this would be able to lay to rest the nagging doubts about Mormonism’s compatibility with reality. Boy did that dash my hopes! Even a bright, studious and unbiased high school graduate who had paid close attention to his science teachers could not have failed to detect the egregious errors and faulty logic in that book! It actually did more to dissuade me from believing that Mormonism was compatible with good science than it could have if that was the author’s actual intent! In general, I have found it to be true that Church approved literature and apologetics have inadvertently done more to damage the credibility of Mormonism’s doctrinal and historical claims in my own mind that overtly anti-Mormon literature.

  7. Buffalo Reply

    When you learn that Yahweh was actually an old Edomite war god before the Israelites adopted him (they worshiped the Canaanite god El previously, and later merged the two gods into the same deity in their mythology), the genocides makes much more sense.

  8. JT Reply

    The center image under this Episode title is used on the cover of John Teehan’s In the Name of God, The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Ethics and Violence

    http://www.amazon.com/Name-God-Evolutionary-Religious-Philosophy/dp/1405183810/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1304338059&sr=8-1-spell

    Review (from Amazon)

    “In the Name of God, by John Teehan, takes the evolutionary framework and applies it to the reading of religious texts. The result is a provocative discussion of the ubiquitous phenomenon of religious belief that can change the way we understand the role of religion in society….Overall, Teehan does a commendable job elucidating his thesis of religion as moral innovation while treating the material with sensitivity and respect … Anyone who has pondered the nature of religion and its apparent contradictions will find In the Name of God a gem and emerge with a deeper understanding of morality and the religious mind.” (Evolutionary Psychology, February, 2011)

  9. Swearing Elder Reply

    Not sure what I enjoyed more — the podcast or reading all the comments.

    I keep trying to think of a single central doctrine or teaching of the LDS church that is not in conflict with science. I can’t come up with a single one.

  10. Fred W. Anson Reply

     This may be the first episode where the discussion board is even better than the excellent podcast! 

    Great stuff y’all – thanks! 

  11. Anonymous Reply

    If you are referring to doctrines or teachings that are unique to the LDS church, I would have to concur with that.  The doctrine of dealing honestly and charitibly with others does not conflict with science, but this ideal is far from uniquely held by Mormons, or even by religion in general.  

  12. Sanford Reply

    Tierza, I am glad you’re back and hope you have more to say. You’re one of my favorite bloggers.Good luck with your journey.

  13. Course Correction Reply

    Nice post. And, of course, none of the time and effort you invested in the Church is wasted. All those experiences have made you the person you are today.

    Thanks for sharing!

  14. mono Reply

    Most of use who have left, agonized through the same issues. It took me a couple of years  before I got over the feeling of being “watched”. Life is now so rich with experiences and living. It was tough to get over being judgmental of others, accepting them for who they really were, not who they were not (well, you know they aren’t members). Guess what I discovered, most of the people you will come in contact with are really decent wonderful, ethical and good. The world is not scary, and there is no cosmic boogeyman watching your every move so he can temp you.

    After nearly a ten years I went to a Sacrament meeting with my daughter. I was absolutely dumbfounded at the numerous references to Satan, Adversary, evil spirit(s), etc. I didn’t do an actual count, but I know I heard more reference to the devil than I ever heard about Christ. I think his name only came up once or twice, not counting the obligatory mention at the end of a prayer, testimony etc. 

    Best wishes in your in you new life journey.

  15. Ann Mere Reply

    Are you searching for an anchor.  Please see my story:  Edy Meredith Testimony
    about leaving mormonism.  And give yourself some time.

  16. mcarp Reply

    Remember, that Hinckley also shared this view:
    Callister:
      ”If [Joseph’s] story is true, then the Book of Mormon is holy scripture, just as it professes to be; if not, it is a sophisticated but, nonetheless, diabolical hoax.”
    Hinckley:
    Each of us has to face the matter—either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.

    That is the way I feel about it. Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud. If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens.

    • Kevin Johnson Reply

      Well, considering the subjegation of race and women that are implied by its truthfulness, I cannot in good conscience sign on to “important and wonderful”.   There is a third option:  the supernatural creator of this book has got some serious issues.

  17. Anonymous Reply

    I liked this post too.  It raises hopes that the same type of transformation might someday be possible in Mormonism, though I have serious doubts that the LDS church would survive such a transformation.  Once they acknowledge that their previous prophets (especially Joseph Smith) were mistaken or lying about any of their core doctrines being revelations from God, I don’t see how they can credibly maintain that any of their top leaders, past or present, are or were the living prophets they claimed to be.  Whether they like it or not, the perceived repudiation of previously taught doctrines, such as Negros and their unworthiness to fully participate in the priesthood and temple ordinances, are already taking their toll in reduced conversion rates and increasing defections (though I suspect they might lose even more if they continued to maintain their previous stance on Negros and the Priesthood in particular).  I can’t help being somewhat astounded at how many Blacks (few though they are, comparatively) are now joining the Church or continue to remain in the Church despite knowing its previous stance with regard to them.

    It would be particularly wonderful if hate cults like the Westboro Baptist Church and radical Islamic factions could reform themselves into more tolerant and less dogmatic groups.  Perhaps there are glimmerings of that starting to happen with the current, popular uprisings in Islamic states like Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc.

  18. Pingback: Episode 129: Duwayne R. Anderson – Mormon Expression | My Blog

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