Episode 148: Top 10 Unique Mormon Doctrines

John is joined by Zilpha, Brandt and Jesse to discuss the top 10 doctrines and beliefs that are distinctively Mormon.

Episode 148

111 comments on “Episode 148: Top 10 Unique Mormon Doctrines”

      • brandt Reply

        Oy do I gotta get a new microphone.¬† The difference between John/Zilpha’s fancy-schmancy setup and my cheap USB mic is HUGE.

        • brandt Reply

          I must admit, when he dropped that f-word I had to bite my tongue to hold from cracking up.

  1. Kevin Reply

    Terrific podcast. As usual.

    I was particularly interested in the observations about how Mormonism sort of Americanizes Christianity, especially politically. This goes way beyond a stopover by Jesus on his way to visit the Ten Lost Tribes.

    For example, has anyone ever counted the total number of presidents in the LDS church? There must literally be hundreds. Maybe more.

    Plus there’s the emphasis on free agency, and the on the importance of voting to sustain each of the leaders. But my favorite quasi-democratic doctrine is the old teaching from John Widtsoe and Cleon Skousen, that God could cease to be God if he lost the confidence of the billions of little intelligences in the universe. To a certain extent, this makes even God the holder of an elective office.

  2. Adam Reply

    Hey John, you  made an error in talking about the three degrees of glory.  This revelation was was not given in the Nauvoo period.  It was given in 1832 in Kirtland; only two years after the publishing of the Book of Mormon.  

  3. Tim Reply

    being cut off from everyone for ever is a pretty standard definition of Hell in orthodocx christianity

  4. Anonymous Reply

    John, you should show me the Packer books you referenced the next time I’m in studio.¬† I’m totally intrigued.¬† ūüôā

  5. Randy Snyder Reply

    This exclusion of family from the marriage ceremony is so hard for believers to understand why it is such an insidious practice.  Marriage is a universal ceremony no matter how secular or how religious it is packaged.  I only know of one relevant religion that turns this hallmark ceremony into a divisive event, the Mormons.  

    The solution is so mind-numbingly simple that I guess that’s why those stuffed shirts in the COB can’t figure it out. ¬†You want to keep a sacred sealing ceremony exclusive to “worthy” believers? ¬†Do it after the marriage and treat it like any other freaking temple ordinance. ¬†That’s all it is after all right? ¬†The final ordinance to receive in the temple. ¬†

    But I’m mistaken. ¬†This obvious solution is NOT beyond the collective brain trust of LDS, Inc. ¬†They ALLOW THIS TO BE DONE OUTSIDE THE US!!!! ¬†So, this leaves only one conclusion. ¬†This is a calculated move of creating one more hold on the most financially important members who may be considering leaving. ¬†What a grand spectacle to display if one dares to get out of line either with the “standards” or rejecting the mythology of Mormonism. ¬†Hence, this is insidious no matter how much flowery language members want to wrap it into. ¬†

    • Anonymous Reply

      This temple wedding thing bugs me to no end.¬† It’s so obviously a way for LDS, Inc to manipulate tithing money out of people.¬† I see no other explanation for it and I hate saying it because I really don’t want to be that bitter.¬† But seriously, what other explanation could their POSSIBLY be?

      • Anonymous Reply

        I don’t doubt that your explanation is largely correct, but I think it is also true that part of the reason “LDS.Inc” is¬†so stubborn about changing the policy, despite the continuing and growing PR damage it is causing for the Church, is that they don’t want to be perceived as¬†caving to “worldly opinion” on a policy that is supposed to be “divinely inspired.”¬†

        This is, I am convinced, the same reason it took them so long to end the ban on priesthood eligibility for Blacks.¬† They waited until the furor died down somewhat in the hope of lending credibility to the claim that granting priesthood eligibility to Blacks was inspired by God rather than by the PR damage due to accusations of blatant¬†racism.¬† That the LDS Church lagged so far behind in promoting racial equality instead of leading the way (as a Church really inspired by God should have) is yet another huge reason why I find it so hard to accept the proposition that it is “the One True Church of God!”

    • Kevin Reply

      Aside from its role in separating families during marriage ceremonies, the idea of not allowing “unworthy” people into temples seems strange. Most other religions are concerned with getting the¬†least worthy people INTO church, not keeping them out. This seems more in line with what Christ taught.¬†

      • Guest Reply

        We don’t even allow “worthy” people in the temple.¬† When my oldest son was sealed in the temple his four younger siblings had to wait outside.¬† We were a very active family and the teenagers could get a recomend to do baptisms for the dead but not to attend their brothers wedding.¬† In their place we had family members we are not really close to.¬†
        ¬†In addition one brother and a grandmother was on a mission and while grandma could’ve come home if she could pay for the airfare… that was not an option for the brother.¬†
        How could a 8 year old not be “worthy”?¬† If they were being adopted they would be allowed to be in to be sealed to¬†parents,¬†what’s the difference?¬† It’s still¬†a big family event.¬† Why are my teenagers only worthy to go into the basement of the temple?¬† Why was our family, who served the Lord/church¬†to be best of our ability, having fhe, paying tithing, serving in many¬†callings, etc…,¬†not allowed to be together on this very important event?

        As an aside what mother or father is¬†not “worthy” to see their child marry?¬† I know their may be a few, but most are “worthy”.

        • Snyder Braces Reply

          Wow Guest. I had forgotten about 3 weddings of my older siblings that I was forbidden to see their weddings. Excellent points all around!

          • Maria

            I was forbidden to see 8 of my 9 siblings’ weddings¬† I got my endowments out early (I was engaged or as a women my bishop would have prohibited me) to attend my brother’s wedding.¬† I even had to wait outside while 2 of my college friends were sealed!¬† And my fiance got to go it!¬† It boggles my mind how I could have not seen it all for what it is – a pile of *#(%

    • cam Reply

      Yes yes yes.  You hit the nail on the head.  For all of their missionary efforts, with this blatant disregard of family, they turn off more potential converts than they could tract out in 10 years. 

    • Stewart Reply

      This is dumb….in other countries the goverment does not recognize a temple marriage as a civil marriage….therefore the members must get a civil marriage first, and then be sealed in the temple.
      Please stop putting your human reasoning to sacred things that you have no faith in, that you do not understand, and that is ordained and commanded of God.  Obviously you do not understand so why criticize it?  

      • Fred W. Anson Reply

        This is dumb….in this country the expectation is that marriage is an inclusive, joyful celebration ….therefore it only makes sense that the LdS Church, if it were truly a loving, inclusive institution (as it claims to be) would consider and respect that expectation (not to mention the feelings of those who are not Mormons) and insist that members get a civil marriage first, and then be sealed in the temple later.

        Please stop putting your blind Mormon Dogma above people that Christ loves and stop putting your faith in an intolerant, exclusionary, totalitarian institution that uses marriage has a means of controlling it’s members. ¬†Further since it clearly doesn’t understand what it means to be Christ’s hands and feet in the modern world it has ordained and commanded policies that are clearly NOT of God. ¬†

        Obviously you do not understand what it means to be truly love people more than things (like Christ like did) so why criticize it?

  6. ??? Reply

    Outstanding Podcast!

    Faithful Mormons, please justify the following:

    1.  The LDS church doesn’t believe in hell?  To quote Holland: “We
    believe that marriage is eternal. One of the fundamental premises of
    this church is that family is forever. I know, in my life, that it won’t
    be heaven without my wife, and it will not be heaven without my
    children‚Ķ‚Ä̬† Hell for a Mormon is anything less than the very top of the
    highest kingdom.  If you don’t make it to the top, then you spouse and
    children will become the spouse and children to somebody else (likely
    polygamistly).  To any faithful Mormon, this threat is very real and
    very eternal.  Stop saying that Mormon’s do not believe in hell.

    2.  Requiring tithing for temple attendance is evil and clearly
    condemned by the Book of Mormon.  Mormon 8:32 clearly warns against
    requiring tithing in exchange for salvation and forgiveness of sins.  If
    the Initiatory, Endowment and Eternal Marriage are required in order to
    enter the Celestial Kingdom, then the church is in error for requiring
    tithing for a temple recommend.  Tithing in the New Testament is a Free
    Will Gift!

    3.  The following is a direct quote from my patriarchal blessing given
    to me in the 1990s:  “You are a direct blood descendent of Ephraim.  You
    worked diligently in pre-earth life.  Your blessings included coming
    forth in a land of freedom, under favorable conditions, to parents with
    great love.‚Ä̬†¬† (I am white, blue eyed male born in Utah County.)¬† What
    about the opposite?   Another example from just a few years ago, the
    following is a General Conference Quote from Sheri Dew:¬†¬† “Noble and
    great. Courageous and determined. Faithful and fearless. That is who you
    are and who you have always been. And understanding it can change your
    life, because this knowledge carries a confidence that cannot be
    duplicated any other way.”¬† Until the LDS church clearly, officially,
    and openly defines the Noble and Great as EVERYONE BORN ON EARTH,
    without ‚Äúrespect of person‚ÄĚ, the doctrine of the pre-existence is
    Nazi-Racism.

    4.  What ever happened to “by the mouth of two or three witnesses shall
    EVERY WORD be established‚ÄĚ?¬† The Book of Mormon defines witnesses as
    Nations.  If we put Mormon doctrine to this test, how much disappears? 
    Pre-existence, polygamy, legalistic eternal marriage procedures, … 

  7. Example to follow Reply

    In June 1995 at the 150th Anniversary of the Southern Baptist
    Convention, the SBC adopted a resolution officially denouncing racism
    and expressing remorse over the role that Southern Baptists have played
    in the acceptance of racism in the past. This resolution clearly calls
    racism a “deplorable sin” and apologizes to African Americans for
    “condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systematic racism.

    In June 2011, the SBC elected Rev Fred Luter Jr, an African American pastor, to become First Vice President.

  8. Hermes Reply

    I love how reading the Book of Mormon without the correlation glasses on makes Mormonism more blandly Protestant. ¬†I remember exploiting this to the discomfiture of an evangelical preacher on my mission. ¬†He wanted to argue the Trinity with me (and kept talking for over an hour!), so I finally brought out Mosiah 15:1-4 and told him we didn’t really have anything to argue about. ¬†At the time, I honestly believed that the Book of Mormon account was not in conflict with the edgy Christology of the 1838 First Vision. ¬†I knew they sounded superficially different, but I assumed it was a divine mystery (something to worry about for the future, possibly in a future life: too bad I decided to study religious history). ¬†

    I guess I still don’t see too much really significant difference between Mormon Christologies and others. Christology is basically nonsense (the best versions of it are those which avow the impossibility of its saying anything comprehensible), and all nonsense is fundamentally the same (insofar as it is nonsense). ¬†Why argue how many angels dance on the head of a pin, or how many persons constitute a divinity (whatever that is)? ¬†What does this have to do with anything important? ¬†I look back and laugh at how seriously I used to take all of this. ¬†Today, I couldn’t care less what your Christology is. ¬†What matters to me is how you treat yourself and other people. ¬†If you have integrity, honesty, and compassion, then I don’t care what crazy stories you may tell about the nature of ultimate reality (whatever that is): you’re cool!

    • Kevin Reply

      I always wince when I hear Mormons point out that the doctrine of the Trinity makes no apparent sense. Of course it doesn’t!

      No honest Christian ever claimed to understand the Trinity. It’s one of many mysteries that are nevertheless central to what most Christians believe, just like why Christ had to die in order to redeem humanity.

      One of the ways in which Mormonism is very American is its reluctance to let problems like that remain unsolved.

      Especially in its early history, Mormonism seems to have tried to place the supernatural basis of Christianity into a naturalistic life cycle. Gods make spirit babies out of intelligences, then the spirit babies become humans through acquiring bodies on a planet, then the humans become gods through conformance to eternal laws, then the new gods make more spirit babies and planets. One eternal round.

      In its desire to reconcile the supernatural with the natural, Mormonism resembles other nineteenth and twentieth century religious and quasi-religious movements such as Transcendentalism, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Spiritualism, Christian Science, and New Thought. It even has some similarities to non-theistic systems of thought such as Marxism and Social Darwinism.

      But it’s doubtful that there will ever be a credible scientific mastery of the big questions, such as why are we here, or what happens when we die. No matter how far science goes, there will always be more big questions over the horizon.

      • Hermes Reply

        I think the whole push toward Christian fundamentalism on the right is part of the same “marriage” between science and spirituality.¬† I learned biology (at home) from textbooks published by Bob Jones University Press.¬† I was taught that Adam and Eve were the first human beings (created ex nihilo between 4 to 10 thousand years ago), that they lived contemporary with the dinosaurs (who died off as a result of Noah’s flood; somehow the commandment to gather two of every kind did not apply to giant lizards), and Godless scientists who claimed otherwise were misguided puppets of Satan.¬† I remember several interesting written discussions of the possibility of a human surviving inside a whale (apparently someone did manage to live inside one long enough to be discovered alive; if I remember correctly, he/she died upon being released) and of the medical conditions that might cause a person to sweat blood (as Christ is supposed to have done on the cross).¬† I studied this kind of stuff seriously (as a teenager with no incentive to call the textbook authors out beyond my own skill as a critical thinker).

        Getting into a university where rational thought existed was the beginning of the end of my flirtation with this kind of fundamentalism.¬† Of course it helped that I had some real life problems as I grew older that my divining rod and seer-stones couldn’t effectively deal with.¬† Reading Karen Armstrong and Thomas Merton has been really helpful in putting religion (especially Christianity) into perspective for me (since I am still fascinated with it).¬† I think the religion I believe in is more about a way one lives than the books one reads, the creeds one recites, or the places one goes on a Sunday.¬† The part of religion that really draws me is the community of friends who care enough to be there for one another (to talk, to help out with problems when possible, to be witnesses to one another’s lives).¬† I feel like the guy who spends years going to the pub under the illusion that he is going there to solve the world’s problems with his buddies, only to realize finally that they are not solving anything: they are just shooting the breeze together because they can, because they are really good friends.¬† Their friendship is more than a bunch of drunken plans for world peace.

        • Hermes Reply

          Christ sweat blood in Gethsemane, not on the cross.¬† Stupid apostate brain, making an even greater mess of an already twisted story!¬† My superpowers are totally fading…

          • Fred W. Anson

            We forgive both you and your stupid apostate brain mate!

            ūüėȬ†

            Just charge up your ring from the green lantern and your superpowers will be back in no time at all Mighty Hermes!

  9. don't know mo Reply

    I really enjoyed the podcast.  A question for John and Zilpha:  near the end you mentioned that you were unable to purchase garments.  Does this mean you two have officially resigned, or is there some other mechanism in place that red flags certain people?

    • Zilphalarsen Reply

      From what I understand, in order to buy garments, you have to have been endowed at some point and be a current member of the church. To verify this, they ask for either your church membership # or your temple recommend (kind of like a driver’s license to go to the temple). We could possibly show our expired recommends to buy garments…we haven’t tried that. Anyone know for sure if you can buy garments with an expired recommend?

      • Eyes opened wide Reply

        I did not have a current recommend when I purchased my garments.  They could look up my church membership number by my birthdate.  I know you are still expected to wear them even if you do not have a current recommend.  I wish they would change this policy and not sale them to you if you did not have a current recommend and then I would not feel guilty about not wanting to wear them. 

        • NoCoolName_Tom Reply

          I used to work for Distribution Services (retail). The system merely identifies endowed members for garments sales. A current recommend is required to purchase robes and such, not garments. You could go into a Distribution Center, shop for garments, go to the cashier, say you don’t have a recommend on you, give your name and birthdate, they’d look it up and would only see the date you were endowed, finalize the sale, and tell you to have a good day. For anyone who’s wondering.

          • brandt

            I stand corrected.¬† The only experiences I’ve had with the new system have been them scanning my temple recommend, so I wasn’t sure what other ways they verified membership at the Distribution center.

      • brandt Reply

        A few things:

        First, if you purchase garments online through the church website, you will not only need an LDS.org username/password (which is found with membership record number and/or confirmation date), but a temple recommend (they will ask for your record number when you purchase to verify that you are a temple-recommend holder).

        Second, if you go to the distribution centers in Utah, you will need to present a valid recommend to purchase garments.  With the new temple recommends with the barcodes, they scan the recommend which verifies that the recommend is an active recommend.

        If you were to show an expired recommend without a barcode, which was implemented back in ’07 (if memory serves correct), that would be a sign that it is an old expired recommend.¬† If you were to show a recommend post-2007 with a barcode, a quick scan would show that it is an out-of-date recommend.

    • Anonymous Reply

      On the day we went in to buy garments, the computer link was down. So they said without a current recommend they couldn’t look us up to see that we were “authorized” to purchase garments. It was the fact that I was both required to wear garments and not authorized to do so by some random store clerk that set me off. I went down to the Target and bought my first set of regular underwear that I had worn in 15 years.

  10. Gail F. Bartholomew Reply

    The other problem that outsiders have with the temple is the fact that it is secret. ¬†“It would not need to be secret unless there is something wrong with it.” ¬†It also comes across as¬†egotistical that we Mormons are so better than everyone else that we can’t even tell you what we do in the temple.¬†

  11. Wes Cauthers Reply

    This was a really good one.  Well done.

    I was surprised to learn how much John and Zilpha said¬†they like the Mormon doctrine of pre-existence in light of the Mormon doctrine on skin color. The two are inseparable from each other and the¬†part about skin color has never been renounced. I know you guys don’t advocate that part, but you can’t have one without the other, right?¬† Well, I guess cafeteria Mormons pick and choose what they want, so if¬†you’re taking that approach…

    Zilpha is right that the one true church should be ahead on race rather than behind. Until LDS, Inc. officially renounces all of this crap, whether blood atonement, valiance/less valiance in the pre-existence and the results of that on earth, etc., there are numerous members who continue to believe it and teach it and thus the harm will continue.

    As for the “crown jewel of Mormonism,” aka deification, I personally think that doctrine¬†helps fuel the Narcissism that I have observed among many male Mormons who think they are well on their way to the CK.¬†¬†I mean, how much more puffed up¬†can you possibly get¬†than by¬†thinking you’re on your way to becoming a god?

  12. Greg Rockwell Reply

    Brandt, I love your style of progressivism, and I truly think the Church will follow in your footsteps because it has to… however, you do realize that your progressive viewpoint does nothing but harm for the truth claims of the Church, right?

    If the doctrine of “white skin is a mark of pre-earth valiance” is not God’s honest truth, then the restored Gospel is not God’s gospel. ¬†Same goes for all the other wacky things the Church is trying now to distance itself from. ¬†

    The worst thing the Church can do for any kind of plausible validity of the truth claims is to quietly de-emphasize. ¬†For heaven’s sake, grow a pair and say you got a new revelation from God!

    • brandt Reply

      Wait, how does the mark of “white skin being pre-earth valiance” NOT being true mean the restored gospel isn’t God’s gospel?¬† I know it’s a tired argument that will probably get me flamed, but to look at certain concepts in a vaccuum is discarding the entire gamut of human existence, especially considering outside influences, culture, products of their environment, etc.¬† I know, you can pull out quote upon quote upon quote, as well as the circular discussion of “acting as a man vs acting as a prophet” and all the problems that come with that.

      Would I love to not have to get in here and defend odd statements like those?¬† Of course.¬† I’ll be honest, they’re difficult questions.¬†

  13. Gail F. Bartholomew Reply

    Our deity is an interesting mix of Paganism and Christianity. ¬†The pagans typically personified their Gods and paired them male and female because that is what it takes to create. ¬†On the other hand the God of Abraham had no body parts or passions and ¬†needed no woman to create he could create with his word ‚Äúlet there be light‚ÄĚ. ¬† We Mormons have a God that have the personification and pairing of the pagans and have maintain the completely patriarchal singleness of the Mono theorists.

    I also agree that the idea of eternal progression would be very attractive to the Pagans, New Agers, and eastern religions, if we did not modify it with a final judgment day and only one way to live a life. Which are very western ideas. Also any world view that need an Atonement is a much darker place than any of the Pagans, New Agers, or eastern religions believe in (fallen earth, fallen man, original sin).  We have the weird stuff from everyone.

    Lastly I agree with all the reasons given for the temple to be troublesome to outsiders, but I think one of the most important were neglected.  The secrecy it self is troublesome to many.  The idea is that it would not need to be secret unless there was something wrong with it.  Also it is comes across as a bit superior we are too good to tell anyone what goes on in our temples.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      YOU WROTE

      “Lastly I agree with all the reasons given for the temple to be troublesome to outsiders, but I think one of the most important were neglected. ¬†The secrecy it self is troublesome to many. ¬†The idea is that it would not need to be secret unless there was something wrong with it. ¬†Also it is comes across as a bit superior we are too good to tell anyone what goes on in our temples.”
      MY RESPONSE
      100% agreement.  Plus if they would reveal and openly talk about what goes on in LdS Temples it would end the ridiculous rumors and stories.  And if they did that and put an end to the whole Temple Recommend system it would eliminate a system that is often reasonably and justifiably pointed to as a Mind Control Cult practice/tactic/technique by cult researchers and critics. 

      • Anonymous Reply

        Ummmmm … While I proudly acknowledge the Mormon-Masonic link, I am in the VAST minority on this subject. Also FWIW your apparent belief that Joseph Smith incorporated Masonic elements into the endowment to hide his polygamy is, based on the available data I will show in the next podcast, most likely inaccurate.¬†

      • Anonymous Reply

        Ummmmm … While I proudly acknowledge the Mormon-Masonic link, I am in the VAST minority on this subject. Also FWIW your apparent belief that Joseph Smith incorporated Masonic elements into the endowment to hide his polygamy is, based on the available data I will show in the next podcast, most likely inaccurate.¬†

        • Fred W. Anson Reply

          As always, I anxiously await the next installment Рas do, no doubt, many others. 

          YOU WROTE”¬†While I proudly acknowledge the Mormon-Masonic link, I am in the VAST minority on this subject.”

          MY RESPONSE
          I think that you may be underestimating the enthusiasm that your fellow Masonic Mormon brother share with you George.  

          After all the Greg Kearney has been proudly acknowledging the connections for years and has been encouraging Mormons to be proud of them as well. http://mormonstories.org/?p=14

          And  before Greg, Joe Steve Swick III was leading the charge. http://www.lds-mormon.com/masonry.shtml

          And of course back in the the 19th Century Master Mason Brigham Young was so proud of the Mormon Masonic connections that he was frequently photographed with his Masonic pin: http://www.utlm.org/images/masonictemplearticle/mysteriesofgodliness_p131c.jpg

          So this pride in the Mormon/Masonic connections is nothing new within Mormonism.  

          However, you sir, have presented the most complete, comprehensive, and compelling case that I’ve heard to date. ¬† I’m quite impressed with your work.

          • Anonymous

            If you go back and listen to Kearney what you will find is that he he admits a connection and then turns around and tries to distance Joseph Smith from Freemasonry as much as is humanly possible. He claims that AT MOST Joseph Smith borrowed the teaching framework of Freemasonry to present the endowment, but that the message was entirely non-Masonic.

            As for Joe Swick III, I consider him a dear friend and an admirable man and Mason. If you look at his interactions with fellow Mormons over the years, what you will see is that the majority of Mormons radically disagreed with Joe’s interpretation. (Though Joe’s interpretations were spot on.)

            Of course you are forgetting Past Grand Master Glen Cook who agreed to be interviewed for a video version of Matthew Brown’s book “Exploring the Connection Between Mormons and Masons” in which he radically downplays any substantial connection or influence between Mormonism and Masonry. After my podcast I got an email from a Mormon-Mason in Utah. He had recently been to a Masonic history conference and had the chance to talk to Past Grand Master Glen Cook about my podcast. Glen Cook reiterated his opinion to this young Mason that there was no substantial connection.

            Matthew Brown’s book¬†“Exploring the Connection Between Mormons and Masons” also works diligently to downplay any connection. The same can be said of Gilbert W. Scharff’s book “Setting the Record Straight – Mormons & Masons.” This is of course in long line of Mormon scholar at FARMS/MI and FAIR who have fought to disavow any connection. For that matter I would suggest reading D. Michael Quinn’s treatment of potential Mormon-Masonic connections in “Early Mormonism and Magic World View” in which he addresses potential connections and tries to distance Mormonism from Masonry. Then look at the church’s reaction to Reed C. Durham’s talk “Is There No Help for the Widow’s Son?” and note the church’s and his own reaction to giving that talk. Then go back in history and look at the church’s response S.H. Goodwin’s pieces in the 1920 when a member of the First Presidency felt the need to write a book and distance the church from any connection to Masonry.

            You bring up Brigham Young, but that was an entirely different time and place. You are also forgetting the fact that Brigham Young believed that Joseph Smith’s death was a Masonic plot, and that when discussion of bringing Freemasonry to Utah came up, that he put the kaboosh on the notion.

          • Fred W. Anson

            Actually I was being only 50% serious and 50% tongue in cheek.  

            But that’s OK because I liked your response. I drew you out in a really good way. ¬†Fascinating information – some of it new to me.¬†

            Personally I would like to see the LdS Church embrace the Masonic and stop this silly denial and dance around the subject. But that’s me.
            (and I’m terribly disappointed to hear that my hero Kathleen Flake is in denial on this subject) ¬†

            The evidence, even before I heard your podcasts, was overwhelming.  I just hope that you can get your book out sooner rather than later and set the record straight once and for all.

          • Fred W. Anson

            Actually I was being only 50% serious and 50% tongue in cheek.  

            But that’s OK because I liked your response. I drew you out in a really good way. ¬†Fascinating information – some of it new to me.¬†

            Personally I would like to see the LdS Church embrace the Masonic and stop this silly denial and dance around the subject. But that’s me.
            (and I’m terribly disappointed to hear that my hero Kathleen Flake is in denial on this subject) ¬†

            The evidence, even before I heard your podcasts, was overwhelming.  I just hope that you can get your book out sooner rather than later and set the record straight once and for all.

          • Anonymous

            I was in the same ward as Kathleen Flake for several years. She is a wonderful scholar and credit to academia and Mormonism. Doctor Flake is brilliant and very well educated on most things Mormon, but the Mormon-Masonic connection is not her area of expertise and she should be forgiven so small a misstep.

            I too hope that educated Mormons will stop this “silly denial” of the Masonic connection; and I think a more in depth discussion of the subject and a full airing of in depth research on the subject will open dialogue.

          • Fred W. Anson

            Well there you go George, we’ve points of common agreement through dialog:¬†

            1) Kathleen Flake as a Mormon Studies Scholar is “top shelf”.¬†

            2) But she is out of her league when it comes to Masonic Studies. 3) This ridiculous denial of Mormon-Masonic connectivity needs to stop sooner rather than later.

            At this rate you and I will be writing the forewards to each other’s books soon!¬†ūüėČ

    • brandt Reply

      Secrecy is troubling, I will give you that.¬† However, like I stated to John, for something that is extremely sacred, the apex of the Mormon religion (that being temple worship), should we make it public?¬† It’s not like you can’t find it if you search.¬† All I’m saying is that this is something that many TBM’s take extremely personally, because many of them have extremely profound experiences there, and for it to be made public and open to mockery and ridicule is very difficult for those who feel it holds a very special place in their religion.

      I know we’re going to disagree about the temple, I knew it when I asked the question.¬† I’m not trying to change your mind.¬† I’m just asking for a little insight into ours.

      • Fred W. Anson Reply

        YOU WROTE
        “Secrecy is troubling, I will give you that.¬† However, like I stated to John, for something that is extremely sacred, the apex of the Mormon religion (that being temple worship), should we make it public?”MY RESPONSEApparently YaHWeH Elohim disagrees with that stance since He saw fit to publish for the ages to disclose the most intimate details of the Levitical Temple rituals for the ages in the pages of the Old Testament.¬†And apparently Joseph Smith agreed with him since the Kirtland Temple Rites were openly performed in public. ¬†And as Richard Packham points out so poignantly, to exercise full disclosure of the Nauvoo Temple Rites in these latter-days would merely be a fulfillment of LdS Scripture which says: “Wherefore, the things of all nations shall be made known; yea, all things shall be made known unto the children of men.¬†There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light; and there is nothing which is sealed upon the earth save it shall be loosed.Wherefore, all things which have been revealed unto the children of men shall at that day be revealed, and Satan shall have power over the hearts of the children of men no more, for a long time.” — II Nephi 30: 16-18¬†YOU WROTE
        “I know we’re going to disagree about the temple, I knew it when I asked the question.¬† I’m not trying to change your mind.¬† I’m just asking for a little insight into ours.”

        MY RESPONSE
        Respectfully Brandt, I think that the Mormon stance on this point is both known and understood. However, as it was articulated well in the podcast and several comments here, the secrecy is hurting Mormonism most of all.  Exhibit A would be all the first time Temple goers who are traumatized by the experience.  If the secrecy was dumped then they could go through classes or some other type of preparation that might lessen the psychological impact  of the event. (and I give full credit to John Dehlin for suggesting the latter) 

  14. JT Reply

    With regard to the pre- existence.

    There is a long history of premortal-existence in Western culture. ¬†The Mormon scholar Terryl Givins recently wrote a book on it’s history, When Souls Had Wings.

    I don’t think that this doctrine is so innocuous. ¬†It’s manipulative. It’s telling people they made a commitment to the Mormon God ¬†before they were born – a commitment that they can’t remember but are made to feel responsible for. ¬†Think about the amnesiac being used ¬†by someone claiming to have been their childhood friend. ¬†¬†

    And of course there’s ¬†the even darker side that was mentioned. ¬† The explanation of those people who don’t look like us – the fence sitters who are not worthy of progression. ¬†That is perhaps one of the¬†foulest ideas created by a religion – one that I am sure lingers in the recesses of many believing Mormon minds. ¬†

    Like most other of its key doctrine, this one is designed (evolved) to shore up an ¬†in-group, notwithstanding how well it is wrapped in a “veil” of individual-centeredness. ¬†All religions evolve theories¬†of human existence that serve the in-group first and the individual second. ¬†The human species would not have survived without such social mechanisms. ¬†

    But it’s a good time to start working out better systems using more accurate theories of what it means to be human – systems that are more broadly inclusive than religions have been able to grasp and that pay attention¬†to a whole planet whose climate is changing. ¬†The smallness of the these top 10 doctrines of Mormonism is terribly apparent.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      YOU WROTE

      “I don’t think that this doctrine is so innocuous. ¬†It’s manipulative. It’s telling people they made a commitment to the Mormon God ¬†before they were born – a commitment that they can’t remember but are made to feel responsible for. ¬†Think about the amnesiac being used ¬†by someone claiming to have been their childhood friend.”

      MY RESPONSE
      That’s profound! ¬†I confess JT that I’d never examined it from that perspective and you’re 100% right.¬†Great use of analogy too!¬†

      YOU WROTE
      “And of course there’s the even darker side that was mentioned. The explanation of those people who don’t look like us – the fence sitters who are not worthy of progression. That is perhaps one of the foulest ideas created by a religion – one that I am sure lingers in the recesses of many believing Mormon minds.”

      MY RESPONSE
      This reminds me of the story that Micah Wilder (of Adam’s Road fame) tells about when he was on his mission and he and his companion (who was a big, big Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses fan) were getting no where with an African-American investigator who kept flip flopping on them.

      One day as they were leaving his companion remarked, “Well there you go! They were fence sitters in the pre-existence and nothing has changed!”

      And this story is only a few – at the most 5 – years old. So there’s validation that it does indeed linger in the dark recesses somewhere.

      • brandt Reply

        While the “fence sitter” theology might be folk-doctrine to the all-white Utah population, that wouldn’t last at all out here in extremely diverse Detroit, Michigan.¬† I’ve heard that brought up once out here, and once when I went to school in Idaho, and both times that comment (or something to that extent) was brought up, it was quickly shot down and swiftly discarded as untrue.

        • Kevin Johnson Reply

          It seems to me that Joseph Smith reported that God is white, and that it is pretty much believed that in at least two cases, racial differences were thrust on previously white people. ¬†In the Book of Mormon, there is at least one case of extremely righteous people of color shifting their race. ¬†All of these seem to add up to some pretty toxic racial beliefs…granted you might dismiss the fence sitting–but how do you handle the above?

          • Richard of Norway

            This website covers a lot on this topic.

            Years ago, Vaughn J. Featherstone of the First Quorum of the Seventy gave a talk in Norway, defining this doctrine about the curse of black skin, pre-existence, fence-sitting, white being pure and god-like, etc.

            It is clearly more than just a “folk doctrine” – or rather, at one point in the church’s history, this was a clearly defined doctrine in the church.

          • Anonymous

            You’re so right! Though it is true that that doctrine would almost invariably be shot down and denounced in most any LDS Gospel Doctrine class today, I have lived long enough to have experienced the fact that it was once very openly taught as doctrine with, as far as I could tell, the full approval of the Church’s General Authorities.

    • cam Reply

      Yes! Great insight.¬† The “in” groupness of Mormonism sets apart the members as more “special” than everybody else in the whole world.¬† And to claim that only the LDS religion has the whole truth is the height of arrogance.¬† I think that Mormons are the most disliked religion because everyone has been subjected to 19 year old boys knocking on their doors trying to help them learn the “correct” way to live.¬† For every convert they make, they turn off hundreds.¬† When Mormons proclaim their “specialness,” there is an implied criticism of everybody else.

  15. Kevin Reply

    I really liked John’s discourse at the end of the podcast, where he describes the deification doctrine as the crown jewel of Mormon theology. But I’m glad that another of the panelists pointed out how shockingly blasphemous this doctrine can seem to many orthodox Christians.

    It may appeal to some —¬†especially, as John pointed out, to people interested in¬†New Age sorts of things — but it’s hard to imagine that it would appeal to the paragons of hyper-conservative rectitude that the church seems to want.¬†

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      Good point Kevin and well said.

      From “Mormon America” by Richard and Joan Ostling:¬†
      ( http://www.amazon.com/Mormon-America-Promise-Richard-Ostling/dp/0060663715 ) 

      “The most radical chasm between Mormon belief and the orthodox Judeo-Christian tradition centers on the doctrine of God. This is the great divide.”¬†
      (Ostler, “Mormon America”; p. 300)¬†

      “Educated Mormons are well aware that their doctrine concerning God the Father, particularly the idea that he was once a mortal man and has a literal body, is offensive to traditional Judeo-Christian believers.”¬†
      (Mormon America, p. 301)

      “It seems clear that support for the Mormon doctrines of a corporeal and limited God, eternal progress, and deification can not be found in Eastern Orthodoxy, the early church fathers, or the… writings of C.S. Lewis.”¬†
      (Mormon America, p. 318)

  16. The Teflon Don Reply

    good stuff all – as always an enjoyable discussion. Particularly interesting and compelling is something I’ve felt for a long time now, which is that the church in many ways is trying to pass itself off as another strain of protestantism – especially the right wing segments which make up the most powerful block within the church – really for all intents and purposes the church is or has become in many ways some sort of weird amalgam of protestant type popular beliefs and catholic type authoritarian (priesthood lineage) claims. Its really a fascinating topic and one which is totally under addressed in Mormon thought as far as I can tell. I think someone could write at least a lengthy essay or more about it. Reminds me some of the compelling info in T. Alexander’s Mormonism in Transition. ¬†Would love to see a podcast dedicated most specifically to this concept and its irony as John aptly points out that the one hand bangs the Great Apostasy drum but on the other hand rushes into the arms of the very protestants it decries. Also the point about celebrating our unique beliefs, owning the doctrine of becoming Gods is excellent – I actually know some close family members of Gordon H and have contemplated at times quizzing them about his position on this and what if any back story there was. I think generally he was an exceptionally well meaning man, by far more progressive, kind and approachable than 90% of the men in these positions – so I highly doubt coordinated or premeditated deceptions on his part, in fact I think we should applaud the fact that he got out in front of the cameras and took some risks – think about it ¬†– when does or has that happened with any other church president in recent past? Still it was disappointing that he dumbed it down too much. As a marketing and sales professional I know the benefits of selling your distinction – no matter how different it maybe – you’ve got to differentiate your message. ¬†He had the golden chance but came up short.¬†

    • brandt Reply

      Mormonism in Transition is one of the “foundations” of Mormon books to understand Mormonism.¬† Love that book.

      I’ve heard, and I’ve not been able to substantiate this claim, that after Hinckley made his comment to Time Magazine about God being a man, where he said “I don’t know that we teach that,” that there were employees at the COB that were a bit dismayed.¬† Apparently, (and this is heresay, so take it for what it’s worth), he actually told them something similar to what he said in Conference of 1997, basically, I know what our doctrine is, I know what we teach.¬† I’d love to see if there was some legitimacy to that story as well.

  17. Anonymous Reply

    Great podcast throughout. Especially loved John’s pitch/rant at the end. He is spot on. The more Mormonism moves away from the doctrines that made it unique in the past the less relevant it becomes IMO. I also found the observation that the today’s Top 10 doctrines are not the same as the Top 10 115 years ago very telling. Continuing revelation on the details is fine and all but would God’s one true Church be so all over the map….as it were.

  18. Anonymous Reply

    As a person who was raised jehovas witness till fifteen you guys missed the mark on the Elohim Jehovah thing but im at work and don’t have. Time to explain right now. On another note my local library had a rare first edition of Mormon doctrine. I accidentally lost it and paid the 25 dollar fine. Its on ebay for 2 gs. Cheers.

    • brandt Reply

      That’s one of the rare books I’d love to have in my library.¬† I’ve seen them on eBay as cheap as $1,000, so a $25 fine for that is not too bad at all.

  19. Guest Reply

    Very enjoyable, thank you all. 
    A comment on the garden of Eden being here in the US. I think John mentioned that it’s one of the doctrines that we downplay, and that may be so in a broad sense, though it’s still listed as so on lds.org. I currently have relatives on a senior-couple mission at Adam-ondi-Ahmen, and as TBMs, they couldn’t be more pleased to be maintaining the grounds and mowing the grass in preparation for the 2nd coming. They also make quite a big deal about that mission having the prophet as the mission president. “President Monson is our mission president!” They also have special gold embossed name tags or something like that to specify the unique nature of their mission.When I hear them describe their mission, I can’t help but think they are simply maintaining an exclusive bed-n-breakfast for GAs. The church has certain lodging there that they help upkeep for visiting church dignitaries. Suppose to be a beautiful area though, I’m happy they love their mission.

  20. Kevin Johnson Reply

    This podcast seriously rocked.  I love your top 10 lists.  One day we might get a podcast of top ten top ten episodes, no?

    John mentioned that the doctrine of¬†exaltation¬†is a “profoundly cool” idea. ¬† I used to think so as well, because I enjoy learning so much that I though t the idea of this kind of progression and expansion was exciting. ¬†But I was forced to consider the implications:

    1)  Since god is omniscient, one day the learning stops. To be a god is therefore to be someone who cannot be surprised or disappointed.  I will know the fate of my children before they are born.  I will know I will never see one again even as I wish them good luck in on their test.  What a horrific situation.

    2) ¬†If I’m a man, being a god seems pretty cool. ¬†Being a woman, it’s a mystery. ¬†Their¬†involvement¬†is even sinful to talk about. ¬†They don’t get a name, they don’t get prayed to. ¬†They don’t seem to be involved in visions, or any kind of intervention at all. ¬† ¬†To be excited about this I guess you just have to trust that there’s a whole lot of vital behind the scenes stuff that occupy your time.

    3)  Being a god would mean having to be willing to have the power to stop the torture of children, having to watch and be excruciatingly aware of the torture while it is ongoing, and do absolutely nothing about it.  I do not see how you get around this as a requirement.  I would not want to learn how to do this.  I do not want to be able to do this.  If I have a choice now to prevent this ever from happening, that is what I choose.

    4)  Becoming a god would essentially have to mean losing my entire personality.  I believe my personality is well rooted in my humanity, imperfections and all.  I like being myself.   I do not want to lose my identity, ant to die, either by getting hit by a bus or transformed into a god.

    Those are the reasons that  think, anyway, make becoming a god decidedly uncool.

    Thanks though for the incredibly great discussion.   One of the best to date.

    • Randy Snyder Reply

      Damn. That is such an amazing post. So insightful yet so concisely presented. I will print this and read it to my TBM friends and family. Take this nebulous notion you have about exaltation and godhood and really THINK about it. Take it just a couple of logical steps forward and see where it takes you. Thanks Kevin.

    • almond Reply

      I think you have some interesting thoughts on this subject, but underlying it there seems to be a presumption that ¬†what is enjoyable for you at this stage of your life will always be so. But I suspect, that just as myself as a ¬†child would probably look at how I currently spend my days and think it seemed incredibly boring even though I am ¬†happy with it, our future Godlike selves would have gradually evolved to be so different than we are now it is probably impossible to say what we would or would not like to experience. ¬† ¬†Having tried¬†ecstasy¬†five times, I know that simply causing a few chemicals in my brain to increase ¬†(specifically serotonin, which¬†ecstasy(Mdma)¬† floods the brain with.) can cause me to feel far happier than I have ever felt in my life. ¬†Each time I ‘rolled’ I thought ‘if heaven is even half this good, I will be satisfied’. All the pain I had ever experienced up until that point felt well worth it, just to have what I was feeling. And I felt ¬†so much love and empathy for others that in that moment I would be willing to relive all my pain and suffering just so another person could also have the¬†ecstasy¬†I was feeling. I was completely in the moment and felt at one with the Universe. (Incidentally¬†I found that Mdma¬†feels identical to ‘The Holy Ghost’ only (at least) 100 X’s stronger, which leads me to conclude the ‘Holy Ghost’ is primarily an increase in serotonin levels). Yet if one were to observe what I was doing while ‘rolling’, I mostly did things like, close my eyes, look at my hands, touch one hand to the other and tell my friends how much I loved them. At this moment, those things ¬†sound fairly boring, but because of a minor change in my brain, it was not only not boring, but it was the most profound, enlightening , ¬†ecstastatic, and ‘spiritual’ experience of my life. (and my experience was not unique) As a God, surely we would have the power to feel as good or as bad as we wanted and presumably we would use that ability to feel maximum good all of the time. As a believer, I also found the idea spending eternity as a God to be kind of boring. ¬†Ultimately it is just as meaningless and absurd as doing any other task for eternity, like rolling a rock up and down a hill. But although the idea of it may seem boring, I’m sure the actual experience would be incredibly enjoyable and ‘cool’ for the reasons I’ve mentioned. Perhaps merely meditating on your complete knowledge of the Universe would be pleasurable in the same way meditating on my hands was pleasurable while on Mdma and that even an eternity of rock rolling would be cool if your mental state was equipped to love it.

    • almond Reply

      As for the issue of losing your entire personality. I suspect that after living for millions of years, everyone’s personality, Godlike or not, would change drastically to the point where we would be unrecognizable to people who know us in our current state, just as i would be unrecognizable to people who only knew me as a young child. Sure my basic ‘flavor’ might still be the similar, but everything I like and believe is different than my 5 year old self. And to me that is great! Although I also liked myself as a child, I like myself MORE now and it would be unfortunate if my child self, with my incomplete understanding rejected becoming an adult because it seemed uncool. Yes, I like myself now, but that doesn’t mean their aren’t future manifestations of myself I might like more, even if they are ¬†radically different from my current self.

      • Kevin Johnson Reply

        There would be nothing of human, little old me left in my future god self. ¬†My own moral system would have to be completely destroyed. ¬† My highly profane sense of humor would have to be completely subverted on its head. ¬†There would be nothing new to try, no corner of the universe to explore that I didn’t already know everything about. ¬† If you say god can stop being god anytime he wants and just sit down and play Donkey Kong as a human being, that doesn’t make sense to me either. ¬†God cannot cease being God, from what i understand of the matter. ¬†

        This is all only one opinion. ¬†But I long ago decided I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of exaltation, and the first notions of this were indeed because I felt nothing left of me that made my life worth living would be left–above all, my own sense of right and wrong. ¬† True, I guess I’m giving up on the airy promises of “Oh you’ll only be able to understand it after you’ve learned enough in God school.” ¬†I’ve heard so many airy promises of this kind. ¬† When God asks me to sacrifice my only son on an alter, or an angel comes down and holds a sword on me to get me to take a second wife, I’ll kindly decline in doing something that I know deep within is evil. ¬†And if you’re telling me that God will make sure you know it isn’t evil –I still have to say to do that then, he is changing me from myself to someone else, someone I would not want to be.

  21. Anonymous Reply

    I think Christians despising the temple has more to do with the temple de-emphasizing the atonement as the most important thing to salvation.¬† God is only going to be in the Celestial Kingdom and the atonement alone doesn’t get you there.¬† Mormons are adding requirements on top.¬† To Christians who believe Christ is the pinnacle of the plan of salvation, that’s offensive.¬†

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      Heather you make an interesting point.  

      LdS Soteriology is indeed a key point of division between Biblical Theology and modern LdS Theology – that’s a fact. ¬†However, the LdS Temple system is just one of many, many, many works that LdS Thelogy layers on top of the atonement in it’s Conditional Grace model.

      This model was best articulated by Dallin Oaks this way: 

      “If your friends ask, ‚ÄúDoes your church believe you are saved by grace or works?‚ÄĚ you could say, ‚ÄúWe believe that we are saved by grace after all we can do (see¬†2 Ne. 25:23). We don‚Äôt earn salvation. Heavenly Father and the Savior will bless us with eternal life, through Their grace, if we do our part. They have asked us to have faith in Jesus Christ, repent throughout our lives, be baptized and receive other ordinances, and faithfully endure to the end. If we do that, we are promised eternal life through the grace of God.‚ÄĚ’
      ( http://lds.org/new-era/2005/03/tough-topics-are-you-saved-by-grace-or-works?lang=eng ; bolding added for emphasis) 

      Christians oppose the LdS Temple system in the same way that we oppose modern LdS ¬†Christology, their view of repentance (as best articulated in Spencer W. Kimball’s, “The Miracle of Forgiveness” jokingly referred to as “It’s A Miracle If Anyone’s Forgiven” by even some Mormons I know), the heresy of baptismal regeneration, and many of the other works that have been layered on top of the atonement by¬†modern¬†Mormonism. ¬†

      In fact, it’s my perception that Mormon Christology and dogmatic insistence that Joseph Smith, Jr. was a true prophet of the Biblical God tend to upset Christians far more than the LdS Temple system.¬†

      And, finally and for the record, I think that “despise” is an inaccurate word to use when it comes to how Christians generally feel about the LdS Temple system. I think that “oppose”, “are concerned about”, or “are critical of” are more accurate words to use.

  22. Scottie Reply

    John,

    When you were in the bathtub, you challenged anyone to find a doctrine unique to Mormonism that wasn’t harmful.¬† Then in this podcast you go off about the deification of man and what a great doctrine this is and that the church should run with it!

    Do you believe this is a unique, un-harmful doctrine in Mormonism?

    • Anonymous Reply

      In the tub, I was referring to a uniquely Mormon moral or practice. Doctrines are generally just so stories. But I would say that this doctrine is abused by the Church to force certain behaviors, such as forcing women into polygamist relationships to get into heaven.

  23. Michael Watson Reply

    Hello John and Zilpha.

    I¬†really enjoy¬†your podcasts.¬† They are informative, the logic is tight and you and your panel members seem to take great care in preparation.¬† The last episode was interesting – especially¬† the three degrees of glory portion.¬† For a long time I have thought that Joseph Smith borrowed Swedenborg’s ¬†observation from the New Testament and incorporated it into Mormon doctrine.¬† I guess I did not give him credit for ability to make the¬†association himself.¬† I was a little gratified when I read Quinn’s similar assertion.

    I look forward to each podcast.

    Kind regards from Brussels.

    Michael 

  24. Fence_Sitter Reply

    Somewhere in the podcast it was mentioned that there used to be a requirement to abstain from sexual intimacy for a specified period of time before attending the temple.  Does anyone have a source for this?

  25. Duke of Earl Grey Reply

    In their listing of¬†ordinances necessary for salvation, I’m really confused why John and Zilpha and all¬†were emphasizing that a woman needs to be sealed to a husband, but seem to be claiming that a man does not need to be sealed to a wife. Especially because in the very next point they talk about the doctrine of celestial marriage. I think D&C 131 is pretty clear that a man needs to be sealed (whether you interpret the “new and everlasting covenant” to¬†mean just polygamy, or whether it can include monogamous sealed marriages as well.) The doctrine is that man or woman, a person needs to be sealed to a spouse, am I not right?

  26. Jason Reply

    John, you mentioned teach ye diligently…..can you share a bit more about the chapters you’re talking about?¬† I find that interesting.¬† Also, I live in Utah, don’t have a current recommend, but wear my G’s.¬† Keeps the wife happy, and I honestly don’t mind…they’re comfortable….but I take them off when I feel like it….perhaps need to work on my farmer tan and do some yard work….I know I know, a real heathen!!!!¬† Anyway, they just ask for your DL # or some form of ID to see that you’re in the system and you’re good to go.¬† That would be crazy if they didn’t sell them if you’re recommend wasn’t current.¬† I know 100 TBM’s that would go bizerk if they started that kind of crap!!! ¬†

  27. Another Guest Reply

    I really enjoyed this podcast a lot. ¬†I have a few thoughts/questions that I’d love to hear what y’alls input is:

    A) ¬†I’m confused by how this life is supposed to be an extension of our pre-earth life when we have a vail that forces us to forget everything. ¬†We are then socialized and develop much of our personalities because of those we associate with in this life. ¬†For example, if a parent chose in this life to never teach their child anything and just left it in isolation for the first 6 years of it’s life it would have devastating effects on its later life. ¬†It would likely have major learning disabilities, be socially awkward, etc. ¬†Does that mean that the child in the pre-earth life also have those problems somehow and they just aligned for some reason. ¬†Doesn’t that sound like pre-destination?

    B) ¬†If what goes on in the temple is secret because it’s so sacred, why do we discuss the atonement in church? ¬†From what I understand the atonement is the MOST sacred event and doctrine that we have but yet it’s not reserved for any special time or place for discussion. ¬†Is the temple then more sacred then the atonement?

    C) From what I understand, and according to both the BOM and PMG faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the holy ghost, and enduring to the end is all that’s required for salvation. ¬†3 Nephi 27 even states that those things are Christ’s gospel and anything in addition to that is another gospel. ¬†So as long as you do those things you should get your ticket to the Celestial Kingdom but if you want to be exalted as a god then you gotta do the temple business. ¬†Am I wrong on this?

  28. Anonymous Reply

    Great podcast.

    I’ve got to get me more old LDS books before they disappear.¬†

    • brandt Reply

      Confetti Books in Utah is a great source, as well as any Deseret Industries you can find.  I used to visit  the one in Rexburg multiple times per week as I was coming home from class, and came out with a score of good ol Sunday School manuals by Nibley and others. 

      Ebay is also good for hard-to-find and previous-edition books.

      Amazon is good for getting cheap used books that are easy to find.¬† That’s how I’ve built my collection.

  29. Almond Reply

    This was a good episode, but I do not feel it was as well researched as other Mormon Expressions episodes. Although several of the teachings mentioned are mostly unique to Mormonism, there are many religions which have similar or identical doctrines that I belief should have been acknowledged.

    A multi-tiered heaven is not unique to Mormonism. Islam, certain strains of Hinduism and Baha’is teach of a very similar afterlife (and few others I can’t remember). Of course, when one considers the particular ¬†details of Mormonism’s multi-layered heaven, then yes, the Lds concept is ¬†unique, (except of course ¬†for ‘The New Church’ the religion which arouse¬†Emmanuel¬†Swedenborg’s teachings,) but the general concept is somewhat common outside of Christianity.

    Islam has a concept of the Pre-existence very similar to Mormonism. They teach  that before earth-life souls were  created in an adult form at the same time God created Adam.
    The Baha’i faith teaches of ‘Eternal Unions’ which is basically the same as Eternal Marriage, although it doesn’t have quite the same flavor as in Mormonism. It isn’t necessarily a religious ordinance required for exhaltation, but something that happens when couples stay true believers.
    Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists believe in a Great Apostasy¬†similar to the Mormon view. ¬†To be sure, they don’t place the same emphasis on priesthood and linear authority, but like Mormonism they see their religions as a restoration of the original Christian Church.Two Mormon teachings I had valued as a believer that I THINK are unique: The teaching that all spirit is matter only more refined and it has always existed and cannot be created or destroyed. ¬†And similarly we as beings ¬†have always existed, originally in the form of an ¬†‘intelligence’ which God chose to form into spirits. Both of these help explain certain theological problems such as how spirit, being immaterial, can interact with matter ¬†and the ‘why’ questions. Such as why did God bother creating anyone or anything at all? Because it had ¬†already existed he just wanted to bring order to the chaos.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      YOU WROTE
      “The teaching that all spirit is matter only more refined and it has always existed and cannot be created or destroyed.”

      MY RESPONSE
      Actually as Timothy J. Keller points out in this address ¬†(¬†http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sites/sermons2.redeemer.com/files/sermons/The_Song_of_Creation.mp3¬†) creation from existing matter – be it organized or disorganized – is a common theme in all pagan creation narratives – the cosmos is always created out of some other form of matter be it a sea monster (Aztecs, Vikings), a bird’s egg (Greeks, Egyptians), a slain competing deity, a body of water, mist etc., etc., etc.¬†¬†¬†
      (see¬†http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_creation_myths¬†)And the idea of a pre-existent but undefined “intelligence” is also a recurring theme in some creation narratives. However, the librarian is pushing me out the door . . . so I can’t give you citations right now.¬†¬†

      • Almond Reply

        Thanks Fred. As I wrote it I figured it was likely those concepts probably existed somewhere else, but didn’t know how to find out, so thanks for filling me in.¬†

        • Fred W. Anson Reply

          No problem Almond and you’re welcome – I apologize for that last post but the sweet librarian at the A.K. Smiley Library (one of my favorite places on the planet BTW) had to rush me out of the garden before she could shut up the place and go home tonight.¬†

          (some people shut down bars, I shut down libraries – it’s a blessing and a curse)¬†

          Believe it or not I started on a post nearly point-for-point identical to yours a couple of weeks ago and then got distracted and, poof, it was gone and forgotten after I moved onto chasing the next closest shiny object in my sight! 

          ūüėȬ†

          So I was delighted to see your post – thank you, and great job!

  30. Chris Reply

    Great Podcast! ¬† Brandt is a very grounded debater and I appreciate him joining in. ¬†I also appreciate that the rest of the panel didn’t back off of difficult concepts when discussing it with a more calm debater. ¬†The panel dynamic was excellent on this one. ¬†Great info too!

  31. Troy Reply

    Great episode.¬† I really enjoyed hearing Brandt as a more “mainstream” believer.

  32. Joleyne Reply

    One correction. It is required that men are sealed to a wife. Gordon B Hinckley (I think it was him) said that the man cannot gain exaltation with the woman. 

  33. Zilpha Reply

    I think you may be right about that. After all, wasn’t polygamy a requirement for men? It seems like men were doing it partially because they thought they needed women in order to enter the highest level of celestial heaven.

  34. guest Reply

    On the discussion of the Trinity, John Larsen said the concept is like ‘Avater’ referring to the movie. but the word is actually Hindu concept of a god becoming a man. Was this discussed already? Anyway, listening to the whole podcast I find that all these doctrines are present or were present in other forms of Christianity. It is unique only because they are all in one place in the LDS doctrine.

  35. guest Reply

    On the discussion of the Trinity, John Larsen said the concept is like ‘Avater’ referring to the movie. but the word is actually Hindu concept of a god becoming a man. Was this discussed already? Anyway, listening to the whole podcast I find that all these doctrines are present or were present in other forms of Christianity. It is unique only because they are all in one place in the LDS doctrine.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Actually, I was referring to the concept of an Avatar of the gods from Hinduism and other eastern religions. Such as Krishna was the 9th Avatar of Vishnu.

  36. K_byrne04 Reply

    If John Larsen was Prophet, Revelator, and Seer (with dramatic pauses) I would most definitely be a member of the Church.

    Why does the Church continue to de-emphasise the best parts of it’s doctrine and theology in order to pander to the tea party evangelicals. Sod them, have some conviction and keep Mormonism Mormon. This removal and de-emphasis of the good stuff has definitely lost them one convert – me.

  37. Pingback: Uniquely Mormon Doctrines | Trudging Toward the Telestial Kingdom

  38. Alyssa Reply

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