Episode 133: Feedback

John, Zilpha, Mike, Glenn, Robyn, Rich, and the online community self-reflect upon the intention and goals of the mormonexpression.com project.
Episode 133

97 comments on “Episode 133: Feedback”

  1. Pollz05 Reply

    My feed back is you guys are doing great. I love everything you put out, even the nudey stuff. ; ) I love hearing all the back stories of the podcasts. I wish I could come out to the events out west. Anyway, great job. You guys are very funny.

  2. Anonymous Reply

    Double thumbs up, gals and guys.
    “live out loud”- I like that John. I tire of “safe places” too, but I recognize their usefulness when people are not ready to rip the band-aid off.

    The only critique I would have would be that I feel like some guests are not asked tough questions- not that we should attack their beliefs, but I feel like if the tough questions are asked, we can better understand the guest.

    An example would be Grant Palmer — Why not ask “why should anyone care about Jesus Christ?” It is a valid question and the answer could provide insight into Grant’s mind.

    Other than that, I have no critiques. Every podcast cannot wet everyone’s whistle. There will be some that like and dislike each episode.

    Be well folks.

    -Clay

    • Anonymous Reply

      I think tough questions can be difficult when it comes to faith. Especially if they come from someone who isn’t perceived as faithful. If people feel put on the spot or as if their interview was set up under false pretenses, they might be less willing to come on the show.

      • Anonymous Reply

        You are right, Heather. Tough questions can be difficult. I am not proposing that anyone badgers the guest – just a simple question and listen to the answer…
        You guys just had an entire podcast saying that ME was not to avoid the “difficult” questions. These questions can be delivered without aggression and with respect, but they need to be asked.

    • Alastor Moody Reply

      Something that John said a couple weeks ago I really like — that he is interested in giving people a platform to speak about their thoughts on Mormonism. When it comes to asking the tough questions, you risk losing giving people that “expression” that Mormon Expression attempts to bring.

      Also, you have to be careful about what the tough questions do and their scope. Mormon Expression has done a beautiful job of keeping the scope limited to the wide world of Mormonism. Even in the case of interviewing the Jehovah’s Witness, the purpose was to turn the mirror on Mormonism. If you ask tough questions, then the dialog can be altered and you risk losing the discussion.

      With that said, I love the dummy’s podcasts because that is where some of the deep and heavy questions get tackled.

      • Anonymous Reply

        ConstaintVigil —

        I respectfully disagree. Mormon Expression does not need these though questions to degenerate into debates or arguments, but they should be explored, even if it is on an expression platform:

        For example – In the case of Grant Palmer the question could be framed as, “Grant, tell us why Christ is important to you and tell us what we can gain from Christ that you feel might be unobtainable from anything/anyone else.”

        Would that not give him an opportunity to express?

  3. Anonymous Reply

    John, the whole crew does a great job–including Mike. You don’t need more people on your show like Mike. I think Glenn and Tom provide a great balance in opposition to John and Nyal’s views. When John or one of his fellow heretics (don’t be offended, I’m one too) goes too far, I think there is always a voice that brings the discussion back to the realm of objectivity.

      • Anonymous Reply

        Isn’t objectivity an illusion of sorts? And besides, biaism is what makes things fun and interesting.

  4. Anonymous Reply

    hi everyone.

    i just found out about your website and podcast a few days ago from someone who mentioned it on the boards at mormon mattters web site. it was like finding a treasure chest of entertainment! im having a great time going through the old podcasts although i wont comment on them because the newest post is months and years old.

    im a 28 year old guy from central california . i am not mormon nor did i grow up mormon. alot of the things you say about utah fly over my head. ca and ut are almost two different nations. i have a bachelors degree in history and did my final paper on mormon history so i love mormon history and grew up a devout jehovas witness so i can relate to you guys alot. growing up in san diego as a young boy , i would ask my mom about that amazing building on the side of the freeway(sd temple). she said never to gaze upon it, as it was the church of the devil. on a recent trip to a chargers game for my dads birthday she wouldnt even look at it still.

    i am not an atheist as i lump devout atheists and devout christians and muslims together. no one knows nor can be sure about the universe or what happens when you die. also one trip to yosemite valley close to where i live and there is no way all of this was created by chance . no man made temple can come close to nature in being the house of the lord. i think im paraphrasing ansel andams. i created my own religion a few years back which everyone should do as it creats great peace of mind.

    overall great job guys. i dont know what you look like but you sound like intelligent nice people . the lead guy john larson i think , you are a talanted dude. i have a long commute to work so i listen to a lot of podcasts and radio from sports to science to news and you are second to none as a host for your interview skills and hosting skills and overall intelligence. good examples are utah boys ranch and book of jarraneck episodes. although you do say the word “so” to much lol.

    one criticism is the mormon folklore episode . you spent thirty minutes trying to explaine what folklore is and i got so sick of it i turned it off with out learning about damn mormon folklore.

    great job though. i always look forward to it and am a big fan. i will be donating money soon albeit i will be in the telestial kingdom as i drink gamble and have pre marital sex!

    • Anonymous Reply

      We shall use birth control for our planet though??? Oh dear. haha.

    • Anonymous Reply

      I want to comment about your first paragraph only. Please comment on the older podcasts–even if it’s months later. Many of us check for new comments from time to time and enjoy knowing that people are still listening and have something to express. We might even comment back and might even know some single mormon or ex mormon red heads…

  5. Mike Tannehill Reply

    I was upset that I was unable to label John, lol.

    Also I hope I didnt offend Glenn and Tom with my “repent’ comment. Those two are really good guys and I appreciate their criticisms of me. They both still have some strong beliefs in God and I hope that they continue to follow them (back into the church).

    • Glenn Reply

      I have a strong belief in the belief of God. And I repent all the time in only the best self-correcting directions. (you should try it sometime)

      😉

      • Alastor Moody Reply

        Even the atheist/agnostic/apatheist shouldn’t throw out the concept of repentance. At the core of it, repentence is a systematic method of identification and self-correction of undesirable traits or behaviors. As an atheist, I think the concept of repentance on a personal level (not the way organized religions implement it though) to be one of the beautiful aspects of Christianity — that you transform yourself from the most wretched and debauched individual and become something better and noble.

        As I have moved beyond belief, I’ve continued to “repent” and that has made me a better man and a better husband.

  6. james hafen Reply

    Not to hyperfocus on a single thread of the podcast – but…

    JS had to marry other men’s wives to tie families together? If I understand the Abrahamic covenant, (and I am not sure I do), Galatians and D&C promises that we are all the virtual heirs of Abraham if we simply live the laws and ordinances of the gospel – and thus get the blessings promised to Abraham through our own actions and worthiness. So – I think this is all nonsense – but why pollute the doctrine further by using it as some insane apologetic answer to polyandry?

    This stuff drives me nuts.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Agreed, James. It drives me nuts too. But I also enjoy discussing such craziness.

      For example sake, let’s say there is a guy out there who ends up with an LDS roommate in college and joins the church. And lets also say a girl is converted by tracting missionaries in the same town. They meet at church and get married. According to Mike’s reasoning, they’d have to be sealed to some other faithful family in their ward OR the might as well not even get married in the temple because they wouldn’t be tied into the family chain. Right? They’re the only members of their respective families to have temple work so they’re not tied to anyone. So I guess the husband should marry another woman from the ward…. someone who is sealed to another man…. so that he and his wife are tied into the celestial order?

      Also, the justification also negates the whole “traveling the thorny path back” theory. Wasn’t Joseph promised (like the rest of us are supposedly promised) that if he’s faithful his family will come back to him? But, Emma was warned that she’d burn in hell. So maybe that promise doesn’t apply to her. In which case, it still doesn’t justify the polyandry. He can solve the problem through his polygamy. I mean, wasn’t Helen Mar Kimball sealed to her parents? There you go. He’s in the chain. No need to seduce married women when one 14 year old in the heavenly chain will do.

      • james hafen Reply

        Nuts.

        At some point, using things like the Abrahamic covenant to spin issues like polygamy and polyandry only serves to dilute the original meaning of the Abrahamic doctrine all together. This is where I get lost, when the crazy wires and threads of doctrine are used incoherently in circular evidences for each other as if they are part of a larger, deeper theology when in reality it seems these things are only about an inch deep. It all seems to fall apart once the glossy cover of the book is opened and you start to read the actual details.

    • ff42 Reply

      Mike, the real issue about JS polyandry is not the hocus-pocus ‘sealing’ (magic incantations have no affect), but his SEXUAL INTERCOURSE with 33+ women (including young girls in his guardianship and other men’s wives) [They claimed sexual relations in their diaries and affidavits collected by Pres Joseph F. Smith for the Temple Lot case, etc.]. Can you explain why sex was required for a mere Abrahamic Sealing Covenant?

  7. Shanenhillyer Reply

    John,
    (to be read with a cheerful voice (in you head or out loud))
    Why don’t you call yourself an atheist when asked directly? I heard you say that you find the question uninteresting, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have an answer. If someone asks if you are an atheist they are just asking if you believe that god exists. If your answer is not yes… voila your an atheist. Your answer does not need to be “no”. Atheism refers to ones propositional attitude and nothing more. On a related point claiming agnosticism seems to me to be a much stronger claim (though you said you were agnostic about your agnosticism). Agnosticism is an epistemic claim, and claiming to be one means that you believe that knowledge of God is imposible (at least in this life).

    • Holleehawk Reply

      Labels. Why do we need them? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Maybe John doesn’t want to be tied to a label. I was tied to that “Mormon” label for a long time and after I left I felt desperate to find me a new label; christian, athiest, agnostic, humanist, naturalist etc…. To tell you the truth, depending on the day it changes. I think I’m almost ok with that. I’ve decided to stop trying to get people to label themselves and just start looking at the whole big complicated picture of being human. I guess my label now is “human.” 🙂

      • MormonITC Reply

        Labels are heuristics. We need them like our skin, they define who we are. Labels are not perfect, but there is a color “red”. On the spectrum of light though it is difficult to say where red ends and orange begins. Language is inadequate but we need something to communicate more precisely about who we are more than human.

        I like the sentiment though.

        • Shane Reply

          I am with you. There are things that I am and things that I am not. Now maybe some labels only make sense in certain contexts and we need to be aware of that. But labels are useful. Just be careful or how you stereotype your labels

        • Holleehawk Reply

          I agree with you, but I hate what labels do. In my experience labels can create exclusivity. Also, I just get tired of people trying to squeeze me into another box and I feel like if I claim to be Christian or agnostic or whatever I get squeezed into another box that I’m not sure I want to be in or should be in. In Tolle Eckhart’s book A New Earth he talks about trying to avoid labeling ourselves. But I find this really difficult to do. I think, as you said, we use labels to define ourselves. I love your explanation using the spectrum of light. That’s a beautiful way of thinking of it.

    • Anonymous Reply

      The reason I am not an atheist is primarily because the term is utter nonsense. An a-theist is someone who is not a theist. The term is wholly dependent on the definition of theism. Let us use the common definition, a theist is someone who believes in God. But that central concept, “God”, has yet to be defined, at least collectively.

      Now individually, many people have defined out what God is. But many of these definitions are completely incompatible. Two individuals who have mutually exclusive beliefs cannot reasonably be grouped into a set. So if the set “theist” does not exist, the set “atheist” also cannot exist.

      I am not a atheist because I have not idea what I am not. A meaningless term cannot be negated to create a meaningful term.

      • Shane Reply

        I think it is obvious that the terms theist and atheist are meaningful. If I were to use the term “Atheist” as a predicate in logic it might not work given your objections, but language is not logic. When I use either of these words people don’t tend to misunderstand me, or at least they act as I assume they would had they understood me, so they are meaningful (I think).

        I realize that many people in the Atheist movement are very contentious about labeling and whatnot and I hope that I don’t sound like one of them. I don’t think that people should go around proclaiming what they are not. Thats sounds ridiculous. But if someone asks me if I am something or if I am not something I will answer.

        I am not trying to convince you of anything. I was really just curious what your reasons were.

        Thanks

        • Anonymous Reply

          How do you know they don’t misunderstand you? Because when I hear the term “atheist” applied to me, I feel like they often misunderstand me and my beliefs.

          • Shane

            I can only tell if people understand me by how they act or what information they assume. Really, the same way I tell if people understand me in any context. Sometimes I am misunderstood, but that goes for anything I say about almost anything. Even when I talk logic with other logicians I am misunderstood sometimes. So it is not that I am never misunderstood, but just that I don’t feel as if I am more often misunderstood.

      • Anonymous Reply

        If you thought as hard about theoretical physics we would be in another galaxy by now or maybe even kolob

  8. Kia Reply

    You guys are great entertainmet. Cant tell you how many times you crack me up while listening at the gym. Will you please get more serious so I can finish my workouts!

  9. Jacob Brown Reply

    The Mormon Nudist podcast was the first one I listened to. What an unsafe introduction! Now I listen all the time. I loved the Matthew Gill podcast even thought it made me feel really weird. I loved the podcasts on female sexuality, “Goodbye, I Love You,” and the development of LDS temple worship. I have learned so much all while having so much fun.

    Mike’s podcast on the Abrahamic covenant was interesting. It reminded me why EQ is so boring. I read all the heated comments about his prayer before I listened. I’m glad the prayer was included. I was surprised when I heard how manufactured and stale it was. It was plain and simple like those prayers where we get in the habit of saying the same thing over and over again. I guess I figured he would be one of those passionate and creative prayer performance people. Oh well. I just hope Mike takes the time to visit me in the Telestial Kingdom when this is all over. He never ceases to amaze and delight with the things he says.

    On another note, I do have to say that the cursing on these podcasts has caught me off guard. Listening from the beginning I didn’t notice it much. I would play the podcasts on my home theater system with the kids and wife around. Now I have to be careful because John is getting more comfortable with colorful language. LOL! 🙂

    • Anonymous Reply

      I’ve got to admit…. I have never noticed any swearing. Not even one. Perhaps it’s because I have a pretty foul mouth myself. Or maybe it’s because I’m married to a man whose vocabulary could make a sailor blush. I must be immune.

      • Anonymous Reply

        Heather –

        I’ve noticed John calling “BS” on things occasionally, but rarely. Frankly, when it does call that, he’s usually right. 🙂

    • Mike Tannehill Reply

      Jacob,
      It is my opinion that public prayers should be short and to the point. In this case it was simply to invite the Spirit to participate in the discussion. Long and thoughtful prayers should be saved for personal times.
      In regards to the Telestial… if you plan on having some nice BBQ I would love to visit.I’m a sucker for a well cooked ear of corn with lots of butter and salt.

  10. LSK Reply

    Two comments: 1. Why do Mormons put up with other Mormons spying on them, where else in life does that happen? 2. There are a large majority of Mormons who actually do fear hearing anything that might make them think, and we should all add plenty to our FB friends, it will not make our lives harder, we will not feel more judged, and we will not scream.

  11. LSK Reply

    One more: Glenn is softening up more and more each week, the bishop got to ya huh? I also love listening to you disassemble the word integrity it cracks me up. Hey Glenn if I were working for a large corporation and knew it was involved in fraud, but stuck around would I have integrity? If you answer yes Glenn then you do not understand the value of integrity. It’s measured in the distance between what you say and what you do. Your on a podcast and obviously know the church is false. If you were working for a large corporation right now Glenn you would be justifying staying for the money and painting it the same way. Unfortunately your injuring yourself others and especially your family. If it were a corporation Glenn then when the illegal activity caught up you would be facing charges, and then Glenn no one including you would be twisting what integrity is or isn’t all would know you do not have integrity. Love you all but hey Glenn man up buddy! You can’t live a lie and be happy. You can’t mislead those around you or let your kids be misled and be happy. Yes there is pain at first but in time the truth will set you free Glenn. Many have sacrificed for their integrity Glenn please do not pretend.

    • Richard of Norway Reply

      I appreciate your dedication to (your own understanding of) integrity but think you are being unfair to Glenn and the several others who feel they have reasons to remain in the church.

      You compare the church to a corrupt organization, which I agree with, but you fail to acknowledge that not every aspect or branch of the church is corrupt. On the local level, there can be many benefits to remaining in the church. Glenn even named one specifically: the “moving team” Elders quorum offers. There is also the brotherhood one feels, the sense of community, the focus on service and love and self improvement. There are MANY positive things that come out of being a member, and I think even a sense of integrity can be counted among them.

      Glenn has stated that he is very open with his family and friends and Ward members about his doubts and issues with the church. Is not that what integrity really is? He is not “living a lie” at all, he is doing what he deems best for himself and his family.

      I commend Glenn for standing for what he believes in, even if it isn’t the same thing I (and apparently you) believe: That the church does far more harm than good and is a poison and scourge in people’s lives. After all, isn’t that the true definition of integrity?

  12. Anonymous Reply

    I think it is admirable that you have these feedback episodes once in awhile to assess or reassess what you are trying to accomplish. I agree that you provide a valuable resource for people who are questioning where they stand with the LDS church or religion in general and realize that they are not somehow unique, weird, guilty and/or evil merely for having honest doubts about their religion.

    John expressed the opinion that listening comprehension tends to be better than reading comprehension. I am not at all confident that that is true, at least not in my case. It is my experience that my attention tends to wander less while reading something than while listening to someone speak. If you were to ask my wife, I am sure she would strongly agree with that, in my case at least. Though I do enjoy hearing your voices, I find that when listening to you, one or the other of you will often say something that sends my mind wandering on a related track or series of tracks so that when I get back to concentrating on what you are saying, I find I have lost the thread of the discussion and have to backtrack the recording to where my mind first started to wander because I missed something that was relevant and necessary to understanding what you are then discussing. Certainly it is also true that I could read a written transcript of the podcast in much less time than actually listening to it. This does not diminish the fact, however, that I do enjoy listening to the podcasts. Keep up the good work!

    • Glenn Reply

      Gunnar,

      I had a similar internal reaction when I heard John say that and Zilpha back him up. But I think a large part of what they were saying was that we as humans have been conditioned over the past seven thousand years since Adam (ok, that last part is a joke) to respond to the sound of other human voices and feel emotionally attached to those voices. That’s where I took it, at least. And so it made me wonder if my own preferences towards reading comprehension aren’t more a result of years of training rather than a naturally occurring human condition, as they were suggesting about voice and the power that this podcast format provides using that medium.

      • Anonymous Reply

        Thanks Glenn! As usual, your comment makes a lot of sense. I can accept the possibility, perhaps even the likelihood, that whether reading comprehension exceeds listening comprehension depends on how avidly a given individual reads. I have no doubt that someone who enjoys reading a lot is going to have better reading comprehension than someone who tends to avoid reading, if given a choice. The latter type of individual is more likely to have better listening comprehension than reading comprehension, I suppose.

        The most obvious way that listening comprehension tends to exeed reading comprehension is that it is easier convey and pick up emotional nuances vocally than through the written word (to which you also alluded).

  13. Tony B. Reply

    I thoroughly enjoy listening to this podcast and have to agree with Zilpha that Mormon Expressions is a safe place…for some. It is certainly a safe place for me because I get the opportunity to hear like minds. When I shove in those earbuds, it is an outlet for me to nod my head in agreement at some of the rants and groan along with the others when Mike says something fantastically TBM (gotta love him). It’s certainly not a safe place for TBM’s, but there really aren’t many “safe places” for them when considering their mindset toward worldly realms. Essentially, there are really only two LDS sanctuaries from the world, Sunday services in the chapel and the temple. Not even the home is completely safe if a computer, television, or radio is in the house.

    By the way, Glenn, when you say you have integrity, I believe you, man. Personal integrity is just that, personal and I find it unusual when people try to fit you into their own box of personal integrity. I have to take your word for it when you say you have integrity, especially in the things that matter most, your family and friends who remain faithful to the church. I had integrity when I was a faithful member of the church, and I have it now that I’m “out of the closet” as an apostate heathen. I maintain my morals and honesty, just as I did when I was true blue. Perhaps the time I didn’t have my integrity intact was during my transition period when I was essentially lying to my wife about my feelings toward the church. Currently, I still attend sacrament with her, still have friends there, still let my children go to primary, etc.; but everyone knows my position, including my devout in-laws. My personal integrity remains if I say it does even if it doesn’t fit in the confines of someone else’s subjective moral code.

    Anyway, excellent work, folks, and thank you.

    • Alastor Moody Reply

      I didn’t like the framing of the discussion about a safe place — it is safe and it is also very not safe.

      Mormon Expression is safe for those who want to discuss Mormonism, especially for the disaffected.

      It is NOT safe if you want to have a discussion and keep your faith. If you are a Chapel Mormon, then Mormon Expression could very well be your undoing.

      So it really depends on your point of view.

  14. Anonymous Reply

    I’m listening to this episode again and at roughly the 9:45 mark, John says, “Let’s talk about safety.” Does anyone else hear what sounds like spanking at that moment? Or is it just me?

  15. LSK Reply

    If the church was your former marriage, your ex could have you guys committed for stalking. Heal-let go of it, life is to short. Yes the LDS church is a crock and so is all religion anyone with a brain and the Internet now knows that…so what are you going to do with the rest of your life, and how long are you going to wait?

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      Well I might have “dated” the LdS Church I never married her.
      (Frankly, she’s just too darn ugly and too darn weird!)

      Speaking as a Never Mormon (aka “NeverMo”) I just find Mormonism fascinating in and of itself and worth consuming my time, energy, and resources on. I especially love how the dialog surrounding Mormonism stretches and challenges me.

      Even though I’ve never been Mormon (and never will be – unless it’s CoC, which is still highly, highly, highly doubtful) I feel like I’ve grown and become a better person by making it the central focus of my studies. This quote from LdS Scholar Kathleen Flake describes my Mormon Studies experience to a T:

      “Superficially, one thinks of revealed religions as providing answers, and Smith provides as many questions as he does answers.

      Nobody is exempt from struggling with who he is.

      Whether you’re an insider or an outsider, thinking about Smith causes you to struggle, and that struggle brings as much of you into the question as it does Smith himself.

      He’s a bit of a religious Rorschach test.”
      — KATHLEEN FLAKE, Historian (from the PBS Series “The Mormons”)

  16. Fred W. Anson Reply

    Well I was going to snark that this podcast convinced me – and I mean REALLY, finally, ultimately, and despite all past attempts at denial and self-delusion, convinced me that . . .
    (drum roll puh-lease!)

    . . . Mike Tannehill really is nuckin’ futs!

    However, I’ve decided to stay in denial, it’s just ever SO much more comfortable – right Mike?

    But seriously, there are good reasons why this is my favorite Mormon-centric podcast. I think that you all do a great job and my few “niggling issues” are few indeed. Such as . . .

    A part of me would like to see more of an “outsider” perspective on a more regular basis – say a Bridget Jack Jefferies, Christopher Smith, or Aaron Shafovaloff (please note the left, right and center placement there – clever eh?) but it’s cool, we have the board to express “outsider perspective” on if you start having too many NeverMos on the podcast it will cease to be MORMON expression won’t it?

    All that to say: Keep up the good work – which includes the regular and ongoing self-reflection and “reality checking”

    • Jacob Brown Reply

      Do you think Kathleen Flake would come on ME? She probably wouldn’t come on regularly but she wolud be an fascinating guest. It would be interesting to hear her personal story and her thoughts on Mormonism.

  17. Nonny Reply

    I am one of the people who has downloaded and listened to every ME podcast since the beginning. I have enjoyed each one, if for different reasons, even the infamous nudist podcast. I usually hear an episode within the week of it being released. From some I learn new interpretations of history or doctrine, from others a poignant personal story, from yet another a completely new viewpoint, and more. Even the ones that challenge my thinking, especially Mike’s :), are valuable because they make me evaluate why his ideas challenge my own.

    I think my favorite episodes are the GC reviews. Although there has been some criticism that they are negatively slanted, that’s ok. In SM and RS we will hear numerous reviews that are positive. In this way I think MS provides a needed balance.

    Re: integrity. I belong to a social/recreational club. I don’t think it is a “true” club, or the “only” club, but I enjoy the people I associate with and I enjoy the activities. I accept my share of responsibility for making the club run successfully. Is there any reason why taking this approach to church membership as well is wrong?

    Re: panelists. If you were to add any other TBM members, someone like Grant Hardy would be a good choice, because he is not only well read, but is not afraid to discuss the big issues.

    Thanks for all you do to make this podcast.

  18. Anonymous Reply

    Longtime treadmill-listener, first-time poster. In a committed/open/in-denial/loving/harmful/exalting/confused/faithful relationship with the Church. When it comes to the Handbook of Instructions, survey says… I’m active! Yay!

    Just wanted to chime in to say that I agree with the bit of feedback that a more moderate, rational, and skeptical LDS voice from within the faith would indeed be a helpful addition to the mix. In many podcasts, it seems that it’s a race to the same or similar conclusions. Or it’s sometimes the case that the camps are so far apart that it’s difficult to have a meaningful dialogue. I gain the most from these discussions when there is a bit of respectful friction. Brings the good stuff up the surface. I think that a better balance with some folks in the middle of the spectrum would help with that.

    Keep up the nice work. Much needed, and much enjoyed.

  19. Fred W. Anson Reply

    Oh BTW, I’ve really given it a lot of thought and I think that if you redid the nudist show as a video podcast it could well prove to be your most popular show ever!

    😉

  20. Christian J Reply

    Mike, You seem like a nice guy – I just think your arguments are really bad. Don’t take this personal.

    John, you’ve said that its difficult to find believers to contribute to the podcast. I’m sure its true. Still, is Mike the best you can do? Are you really satisfied with the discussions you’ve had with him? Sure, there are lots of LDS who make bad arguments ( I hear them every Sunday!) but there are also a great number who make really good, articulate, logical arguments too. And I’m not talking about apologists.

    I really appreciate the deep digging that occurs on many of the episodes, but I also like to see a spirited debate. It appears that you, John do not. Instead, its apparent to me that Mike exists to serve as the caricature TBM. Someone to help you remember why you left. I’ve seen you carve him up one too many times – it gets old.

    I should reiterate – I’m not speaking from one particular side of the coin. I just like to see high quality dialogue.

  21. Swearing Elder Reply

    I loved hearing John and Zilpha’s story aobut feeling alone in Cache Valley. This took me a bit by surprise since John has been so “out there” posting under his own name on the boards and, of course, starting M.E. I figured he and Zilpha had made it out into the open early on.

  22. Freefallin' Reply

    I just wanted to take a minute and thank you guys for an awesome podcast. We have spent the last three months losing our testimonies and disaffecting from the church. I love, love your podcasts. I have listened to about half and find them engaging, informative and hysterical. My DH is constantly giving me dirty looks as I fall out of bed laughing at a something that is said. Good work, we are going to subscribe this weekend. All that extra tithing money has to go somewhere. Thanks again, you rock!!!

  23. labguy Reply

    Had a long drive yesterday which gave me a chance to ‘catch up’ a bit on listening to the ME podcasts.  I certainly enjoy what you guys are doing.  I hope that the effort is sustainable.  Sometimes I wonder how many more interesting subjects there might be out there, but so far you guys are doing great.

    As an active (attending with a calling), non-believer (where’s my integrity), Mike certainly has some interesting ideas.  Many of which I have never heard.  Perhaps I should attend SS & PH more often.  I’m guessing that the fact that he is willing to spend time with apostates is a reason that he is on the podcast.  I think of several sharp individuals who I think could represent the active LDS viewpoint.  However, I can’t think of many (any) who would be willing to sacrifice the time or energy to do podcasts with some non-believers.

    Keep up the good work.  I’ve listened to them all, I believe, though sometimes I’m several weeks behind.

  24. Farmdog Reply

    I dont think you have 95 unique concerns ( many are just rehash of others) although I do agree with many. My question is :  does the  LDS church do more harm than good?

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      Thank you for your feedback. 

      This was a common response when we were originally compiling this list.  However, if you stop, read slowly, and really think about the areas that seem redundant, you begin to realize that they’re not. 

      For example the Mind Control tactics that are employed in one area – say The Mission Training Center – are very different than those that are employed than those that are employed once LdS Missionaries are deployed, which are completely different than those that are employed with the rank-and-file members.

      When a church is in this state things tend to get convoluted and complex, thus nuance is required.  

      This is nothing new.   If you read through Martin Luther’s 95-Theses (see http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/history/95theses.htm ) at first glance there appear to be redundancies. However, if you study the history behind the 95-Theses you realize that the situation there is quite similar to the one that we’re addressing here. 

      I hope this clarifies.  

      And, again, thank you for your good feedback.

    • Keithlsmith Reply

      Leading millions to eternal separation from God (Hell) is harm enough. even if only 1 were deceived would be harm enough. IMHO  

      • Farmdog Reply

        so you dont think the LDS religion connects people to God.  Where would one go to find this eternal connection?

        • Martin Jacobs Reply

          Farmdog,In the person of Jesus Christ.That might sound like the promotion of a religion, and Christianity is a religion. Rather, the connection to God is not through Christianity, but through Christ, who (according to the New Testament) is fully and wholly God, and fully and wholly human.

          I could go on, but an intriguing and fruitful area of study here is the relationship between Jesus and the established religion of his time. Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus say “You’ve got the wrong religion, so come and join mine”. Rather, what he does say is “Everything you are looking for in your religion is found in me.”

          His followers backed him up on this. Probably the best way to answer your question in New Testament terms is to consider the role and function of the Temple – one significant function was that it was the place where you made the connection to the heavens. John addresses this issue in Revelation 21:22 “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple”, which I read as meaning that whatever heavenly connections that were foreshadowed by the old Temple System, are now fulfilled and secured in Christ himself. The book of Hebrews also expands on this theme.

          Back on topic, I would fully agree with Fred’s observations on the LDS dreadful exegesis of scripture. It might not mean much to Mormon modernists, but by declaring itself to be the true restoration of early Christianity, and then fatally misrepresenting Biblical perspectives (the Mormon Temple system being a prime example) it destroys itself.

          • Farmdog

            so its somewhere in christianity. so who has the best connection baptists? methodists? catholics?

          • Martin Jacobs

            Farmdog,

            No “it” is not the franchise of the Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, or whatever.

            “He” (Jesus) doesn’t belong to any of these groups because He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, if the Bible can be trusted. Though, we can rightly say that He gave HImself to them.

            I don’t mean to be rude, but your response reflects a typical modernist mind-set; and it is something that Mormonism touts with it’s “Principals and ordinances” of the “One True Church” (which it itself, of course).

            The New Testament, by contrast, does not play by these rules. The NT does not promote a “system” of religion, but a person – Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh (see John 1:14). I believe we could rightly call Jesus the intersection of heaven and earth, which directly answers your previous query, if you think about it. Paul summarizes it in Romans 10:4, saying that “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes”

            Unfortunately, Mormonism renders such statements intelligible by imposing a perspective on Biblical texts that is totally foreign to its authors. It ought to be a discipline that serious “restorers” of Christianity submit to – doing the hard work to understand the Biblical texts on their own terms and not on ours.

            However, I feel that I’m contending with one of the central dogmas of Mormonism, which is that all the “other” churches are apostate because of their perceived disunity (Fred got that right in several of his comments above). While it is true that Christians argue and bicker, the task of responsible Christian theologians is to form a consensus of understanding that orbits the Bible as its central, unmovable truth. In other words, we may argue, but we’re doing so to better understand the message of the Bible. Luther’s attacks on the Roman Church were not simply “I don’t like this because it does not affirm my personal agenda” (per Mormonism and other religionist movements), but “This is wrong because it is not supported by the Word of God”

          • Martin Jacobs
          • Martin Jacobs

            Farmdog,

            Really good questions. I’ll try to answer them as directly and as briefly as possible. I’ll also try to answer them from the perspective of the teachings of the New Testament, as I understand them, which can be radically different from what we 21st century westerners might expect.

            You’re right in observing I have found a church that I like. The community of people there are important to me, but it’s not the most important thing. If I were to leave today, I will not loose my connection to God, because that connection does not rely on my membership of the church (which is something that “my” church recognizes).  LDS movements, by contrast, emphasize that by leaving the LDS church, the ex-member will be damned to outer darkness for his or her apostasy.

            To me, an “acceptable sect” would be one that worships Jesus Christ as fully and wholly God, in the context of the Bible (which faithfully preserves the important and distinctive beliefs of the first Christians).

            Interestingly, I find these communities in a number of “affiliations”, and I don’t particularly care which “organization” they subscribe to. Conversely, membership of the “right” organization (or even “right” doctrinal tradition) does not necessarily produce the “right” sub-culture/outlook/perspective/express teachings, though some “organizations” produce more healthy environments, and others more toxic environments to Christian faith.

            A disturbing feature of Mormonism is its compartmentalization of truth. This can lead to followers changing the message according to what audience they are speaking to and religious schizophrenia. It also undermines the importance of truthfulness and integrity, which are highly valued in the NT perspective, and this is what I mean by a “toxic” environment.

            I’m currently musing about the differences between modernism and the perspective of the NT. I think the waters have been muddied by a number of churches and movements (of all types and stripes) that have promoted modernism as if it were the message of the NT, which it is not. Some have done it deliberately, and some have done it by ignorance. Modern Mormonism tends towards modernism, which is ironic because it’s not a restoration of primitive Christianity, or even a restoration of the “gospel” of Joesph Smith (except in the sense that Smith exploited the modernist tendencies of the prevailing religion of his day).

            I would not say I’ve got the definitive angle on modernism or primitive Christianity, but I believe both have features that are utterly incompatible with the other.

            For example, the Judaeo-Christian tradition believes in an objective truth (God) that is unaffected by how we might perceive it; whereas the modernist would say “it’s true if I perceive that its true”. The Judeao-Christian tradition looks back to what God revealed in the past, on the assumption that what was true then, remains true now. The modernist would ask “what relevance is a dead prophet’s utterances to me?”

            Modernists also presume that they have a more complete knowledge than their forebears (one on-line comment was that “we” have better “crap-detectors” than previous generations). Whereas this is undeniably true in the area of technology, it’s unprovable in the area of wisdom and untenable in the area of “God-revealed” theology.

            The most profound difference in “spirit”, is that the Christian Gospel looks beyond self for salvation, but the modernist looks into self for justification.

            To the Christian, the Gospel is the proclamation of an objective truth that reigns over the cosmos. To the modernist, religion can be assessed by how good it is as a “therapy” to the individual and his or her peer group. (Do you see how this has shaped the discussion in previous comments?)

            Finally (and I apologize for such a lengthy rant) this brings me to a profound and important aspect of faith. It’s connected with the law/grace thing, and you won’t spend long in a Christian/Mormon exchange before you run into it.

            The modernist tends towards justification by works. It’s not that he or she would express it like that, but what he or she sees is a “system”, or a “method”, or a “religion”, or a “program” that sustains his or her connection to God. The critical point here is that the connection to God relies on the believer’s success in following the system/method/religion/program. In other words, it is a modernist perspective because it looks into self – it relies on the efforts of my “self” to keep it going.

            The Christian Gospel, by contrast, states that the connection to God is sustained in the person of Jesus Christ, and He is not part of my “self” at all. He is, actually, “out there”, and it’s my job to acknowledge that and live accordingly. In other words, the Christian Gospel does not promote a faith in my ability to believe, but a faith in the ability of someone else (specifically, Jesus Christ) to deliver.

            This Christian Gospel is immensely liberating because I no longer have to worry about my own piety. I can get on with trying to love other people without the crippling anxiety of how it might affect my connection to God because I might  inadvertently do the “wrong” thing. This is where the Pharisees of the NT got so tied up with their regulations and customs – even to the point where some thought it was sinful to heal somebody of a dreadful sickness if it were done on the Sabbath.

            There’s a curious verse in 1 John 4:2, which I think is directly relevant to modernism; “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God; Every Spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God”

            Like all texts, we ought to take careful note of what the author is NOT saying. I think John emphasizes the “in the flesh” part to counter the notion that Jesus has appeared “in your imagination/heart/mind”.

            You see, the modernist will validate what he or she believes to be true by what he or she sees in his or her own heart (note the value and emphasis that Mormons place on their internal “testimony”). By contrast, the Christian validates what is true by what has happened “in the flesh”, which, in the case of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is beyond our immediate experience or perception.

            If you identify yourself as what I would call a modernist, then my challenge to you would be to consider that you will not find God in yourself, or even in your efforts to find Him. If the New Testament is to be believed, you will find God in the person of an entirely different “self” – the person  of Jesus Christ, and He is the one to whom you ought to direct your faith and worship.

            In other words, the Christian’s aspiration is not to find God in himself or herself, but find to himself or herself in the story of God,which  is writ large in the Christian Bible.

    • ff42 Reply

      Yes it does more harm than good because it teaches and encourages parents to mentally, emotionally, spiritually abuse their children (“the thinking has been done”, “obey authority”, “your normal desires are evil”, etc.) and the cycle continues and increases through the generations.    In my opinion no amount of good can ever overcome “offending a little child”. 

      • Farmdog Reply

        do you believe Mormons get emotionally abused by the leaders of their faith anymore than say a methodist, or presbyterian , baptist or Catholic?

  25. ff42 Reply

    If I post this to my BP and/or SP do you want me to include the “Compiled by..” paragraph?

  26. Sam Reply

    Good post. Let me add, though (or perhaps replace one of the more redundant ones): The LdS Church has never explained why the people who left Jerusalem in 600 BC acted like Christians and never acted like Jews, and why there was no significant distinction between worship prior to Jesus and worship afterward in the Book of Mormon.

  27. Sam Reply

    Oh, and also (sorry for double post): They teach you how Joseph Smith was searching for the true church and explored several different churches, but they strongly discourage members from ever doing the same sort of search, even at the risk of great peril and strain to family and friendships, strongly suggesting that since Joseph Smith examined them and declared they were all wrong, it is pointless to look elsewhere.

  28. Sir Reply

    I have been a member of the LDS church for 67 years and have never confronted anything like what you represent about the church.  Maybe some of the members take it upon themselves to do some of the things you report but the church itself does not.

  29. Elder Vader Reply

    Hey Fred.  Could you elaborate on #68?  I can see why someone would say that, but I’ve more observed it as, once mormonism breaks down, its pretty easy to dismantle other theistic religions.  How do you see it? 

  30. Zèle Chyrème Reply

    Ideas for podcast topics:
    – The Adam-God doctrine,
    – The Spaulding-Rigdon theory of BOM authorship,
    – The FLDS,
    – The similarities between Mormonism and Islam.

  31. Anonymous Reply

    That is an interesting parallel you made between Martin Luther’s 95 Theses and you list of criticisms of the LDS Church.  Thank you for posting a link to Luther’s Theses.  I knew of them, but had never actually read them before.
     
    Luther seems to me quite a paradoxical personality.  He was admirable in many ways, but far from admirable in other ways.  He apparently cared deeply for the poor and sinners, yet was also a viciously intolerant, anti-Semitic bigot.  I also find it paradoxical that the same man who said things like:
     
           Nothing good ever comes of violence.
     
           Peace if possible, truth at all costs.

           When schools flourish, all flourishes.

    Also said:

          Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense and understanding.

          Reason is the enemy of faith.

    And vehemently rejected out of hand any scientific truths or findings (such as Galileo’s evidence of the heliocentric system) that contradicted what he believed the Bible said.

    And, unless I am mistaken, he also advocated the burning of heretics and witches.

  32. kathryn ryder Reply

    Very articulate and solid.  In light of the campaign of the Mitt Romney and the substantial financial support the Church will surely offer his candidacy, ALL Americans need to be aware of what this Church is really all about and their control over Romney!!

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