Episode 165: Articles of Faith for Dummies Part 2

John and Zilpha are joined by Nyal and Richard to discuss the Articles of Faith 4, 5, 6, and 7.

Articles of Faith

Episode 165

57 comments on “Episode 165: Articles of Faith for Dummies Part 2”

    • Anonymous Reply

      It was great to hear your voice again on the Mormon Expression site.¬† The first time, of course being your essay (which I also enjoyed).¬† I greatly appreciate your perspective on religion and philosophy–probably because it is so similar to mine. ūüôā

        • Anonymous Reply

          I’m flattered that you think I should do one too, but I am not sure I am up to doing that.¬† Plus, I would probably need to upgrade and/or service my computer hardware and software before feeling confident about doing any such thing (at least the microphone input to my computer).

  1. DefyGravity Reply

    With the “organization that existed in the primitive church,” Julie Beck and parts of Daughters in My Kingdom that the church just put out are both attempting to claim that the Relief Society also existed in the days of Christ, which of course makes no sense. So we’re not getting away from this, we’re trying to make it worse by claiming women organized themselves in the same way in the days of Christ.

    • Megan Reply

      Do they provide any support for this? I mean, I haven’t exactly been biblitastic in my reading lately, but I don’t remember ANY mention of a strictly female organization in the NT.

      • Alyssa Reply

        The support for this statement in Daughters in My Kingdom is very thin. It makes this claim in chapter 1 of the book. In this chapter, it quotes Eliza R. Snow twice (once in the chapter heading and once in the actual chapter) as saying: “Although the name may be of modern date, the institution is of ancient origin. We were told by our martyred prophet that the same organization existed in the church anciently” (1, 7).

        The chapter does equivocate a little bit on Snow’s statement by stating: “While little is known about a formal organization of women in the New Testament, evidence suggests that women were vital participants in the Savior’s ministry” (3). Although this qualifying statement is an indication that the church is unwilling to fully commit to Eliza R. Snow’s assertion that the Relief Society existed in Christ’s time, the chapter ultimately allows Snow to have the last word on the matter by including her quote in the chapter’s final section. In this way, the book subtly gives an official church endorsement of the idea that the Relief Society existed in the primitive church.

        I think that the book’s purpose in asserting that it is of ancient origin is to justify the church’s current auxiliary structure as being divinely mandated (e.g. instituted by Christ as part of the church in his day) and therefore cannot be changed (to give women the priesthood, for example).

        • Megan Reply

          Thank you!

          I agree that women are important in the evangelical record and it’s an interesting thing to explore, particularly in the way women are recorded across the evangelists vs Paul’s rather more dodgy and difficult ideas. However the concept of an organized structural women’s auxiliary is ridiculous – particularly when you set it against the church’s contention that Christ didn’t need to set up a church structure during his lifetime!

          I think it’s fascinating that the early church desire for antiquity is still felt, that it’s not enough to say that there is a need for a structured organization for women that can be constructed on the basis of the needs of the members – no, we have to claim that CHRIST HIMSELF set this up (without record) and therefore it’s totally part of The Plan.

          Fact is, the gospels are a bit exceptional for their record of women, which is exciting and interesting, and that is what is important, not whether or not there was an ‘official’ separate organization of women. In fact, frankly, I think the gospel record rather argues against that and the radical twist comes from the way that women were accepted, and NOT shunted off into a totally different group where they could play nicely in their own sandbox.

          Christ surrounded himself with men and women, lauded both genders, healed with more concern to nationality than genitalia. Not only is there no mention, in my memory, of a Men’s Group and a Women’s Group, there is NO NEED which is far more exciting and revolutionary, certainly for the biblical time, but (sadly) even for today!

  2. Larrin Reply

    The washing and anointing was still done with nothing on but the shield when I did it two years ago. Just this Sunday we had a confirmation in our ward in front of the congregation.

      • Megan Reply

        Well, okay. I will try to feel retroactively offended in a filthy-mouthed viking kind of way. I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to have to picture you and Nyal with rather a lot of facial hair and some very interesting head-gear.

  3. Kevin Reply

    Great podcast! I especially enjoyed hearing John speak in tongues, which was a great blessing for some reason that I can’t talk about because it’s too sacred or something.

    I propose that on an upcoming podcast, John speak only in tongues. We fanbrothers and fansisters will then submit possible translations on the website. The Prophetess Zilpha will announce the translations which come closest to what John was saying in the pure Adamic.

    The winner will receive a blessing of his or her choice. Runners up will be cursed.

    • Megan Reply

      I’m in, but only if the blessing get to include either egregiously massive monetary rewards (I will accept winning the lottery for example) OR super powers. In fact, scratch the money, gimme the super power, ’cause with the super power I will TOTALLY get the money… oh yes I will…

  4. Anonymous Reply

    Anybody know the policy on giving multiple blessings?¬† I had an experience in my family where my grandfather wanted an additional blessing when he was struggling in the hospital with painkiller withdrawals.¬† My dad refused saying only one blessing was allowed and my grandfather had to exercise his faith to receive help.¬† Is that standard?¬† People can’t ask for more than one?

    • Megan Reply

      Maybe there’s an issue with blessing-interactions?

      I had a relative who would demand a blessing, not like what she was promised and go for a second spiritual opinion. Maybe the policy is to avoid blessing abuse?

      But I’ve never heard of a limitation on blessings – seems a bit harsh under the circs. Since blessings are, as I was taught, meant for comfort as well as possible healing/guidance then I don’t see how it’s right to withhold that comfort from someone who clearly needs it.

      • Anonymous Reply

        Well, there are some family dynamics there.  Maybe my dad thought he was abusing the priesthood blessing system.

    • Robert Reply

      Why should that concept be restricted to priesthood blessings? Why should we have to ask more than once about anything?¬† if God hears all of our inquiries than shouldn’t once be enough for anything?¬†

      For example: my car breaks down on the side of the road, so I call my friend to come pick me up but before he can assist me he has certain requirements
      1) I have to ask multiple times
      2)I have to promise to be a better friend to him
      3)I may have to fast to really prove sincerity  

      Who would still trust this friend on any level?? So why is our relationship with God that much more arduous?¬† Does God really want us to beg and plead him to death until He finally gives in? What’s the purpose of that, if no other relationship is based on such tortuous standards?¬† Out of all the people living on this planet wouldn’t it tickle God’s fancy to answer prayers and blessings coming from his children that actually try to connect to him on some personal level?

      Sorry for that rant, to answer your question I believe it shows less faith in the first blessing and typically its looked downed upon. 

    • Mike Tannehill Reply

      I dont have the reference in front of me, but I recall Joseph giving instruction at one point for the brethren to bless an individual “..continuously until one of you receives the inspiration from the Holy Spirit that the man will be made whole..” And so they anointed and gave blessings until I believe Hyrum received a revelation that their prayers were accepted.

      • Zilpha Reply

        Joseph said, ‚ÄúWeary [the Lord] until he blesses you.‚Ä̬† [The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph, compiled and edited by Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, p. 15]

  5. Will D Reply

    Love the Cocoa Puffs comment!  

    It’s so true when healing ‘miracles’ take place in hospitals after they’ve been treated and the blessings get all the attention and credit, it’s exactly like the old commercials that show Cocoa Puffs around a bunch of healthy food that say, “Part of a balanced breakfast!” ¬†

    • Megan Reply

      Exactly. I just had surgery and my darling TBM parents told me that, willy-nilly, they would be praying (which, dude, okay? I mean it just shows you love me, right?).

      Now, I had a fab surgeon who has had a great deal of specialized training AND has done this particular procedure A LOT. Not to mention I’m in very good health, I did my research and I took my recuperation seriously, doing as much as (and only sometimes more than) was suggested for recovery.

      Now, what do you imagine my folks will put my text-book response to surgery down to?

      • Nikewales Reply

        My wife and I had a similar hospital experience. ¬†Our baby was born 8 weeks early and spent 6 weeks in the NICU. ¬†We were no longer believing members, so we did not even consider our baby getting a priesthood blessing. ¬†My wife’s TBM parents kept asking us if we were going to give him a blessing. ¬†It was quite entertaining to watch them squirm, as the weeks passed and we did nothing to ask God for help. ¬†

        Our baby did fine and is happy and healthy, all without a single blessing. ¬†I did feel a little pressure, because it was like my in-laws were just waiting for something bad to happen so they could say “I told you so.” ¬†Good thing I had “faith” in the super advanced medical care our baby was receiving.

        It really makes me think there is an element of OCD in the church when it comes to blessings and prayers. ¬†When we did not follow proper mormon hospital procedure and get the immediate priesthood blessing, it was like their programming went haywire. ¬†They were as stressed, much like a person with OCD gets when you force them out of their habits and rituals. ¬†I’ve been experimenting more with this when they come over for dinner. ¬†There is always the awkward pause when the food is ready and they are waiting for someone to bless the food. ¬†I will just start eating and ignore the cues for praying first. ¬†The OCD is always manifest, as they cannot eat a bite until either someone speaks up and just prays, or they do it silently.

          • Nikewales

            Sure, just do it to make them happy. ¬†Why stop there? ¬†They obviously would be happier if we showed up for church sunday. ¬†What would 3 hours a week hurt. ¬†I know they are also uncomfortable with my wife and I not wearing garments anymore, better put those back on as well. ¬†Oh, and I can’t forget my mother in-law cried her eyes out because we don’t read scriptures with our kids, and they are being raised without bible or BOM stories. ¬†Guess we should add that back in too.

            We have done all the “little things” for a long time, just to make our families happy. ¬†There comes a time when you just have to do your own thing, and live with consequences.

      • Tierza Reply

        When our oldest was born she was sent to the NICU because she had low blood oxogen levels (which turned out to be nothing), but a mixed-up story about her kidneys circulated around the ward. ¬†When our home teachers came to give her a blessing they blessed that her “kidney’s would work as they should”. ¬†Later our home teacher’s wife asked me about the kidneys and I tried to explain that they were fine and always had been, there was NOTHING ever wrong with the baby’s kidneys . . . and you know her response . . . “Aren’t blessings AMAZING!” ¬†

  6. Kiley Reply

    About 13 minutes in you are discussing who gets into the Celestial Kingdom and you were discussing that temple ordinances were required to get into that kingdom. The belief is actually that you get into the lowest level of the CK with baptism, but if you want to reach Exhalation (the you become a god level of the CK) you have to have the temple ordinances and temple marriage. 

  7. Ipse Dixit Reply

    For those hopeless pedants (like myself), Nyal’s reference to a different method of measuring a year refers to a “sidereal year,” which is the time it takes the sun to return to the same position in the sky relative to the stars. This is opposed to a solar (or tropical) year which is (vastly oversimplified) the length of time between northern or southern equinoxes. The Western Calendar follows solar years, whereas the sidereal year is more useful in physics and astronomy.

    One sidereal year is roughly equal to 1.00003878 solar years. So, if one needed to be 8 sidereal years old to be baptized, he or she would need to be 8.00031024 calendar years old. The difference is only about 2 hours and 43 minutes; not a huge deal, but really, is one toe sticking out of the water really that big a deal either?

    • Megan Reply

      Are you kidding? That could be The Toe Of Ultimate Evil! How silly would you look if that toe took over the world and subdued us all to its satanic influence whilst you, lax person, could have prevented it all if you only understood the Power of the Toe.

    • cam Reply

      I remember, and it was looooong ago, that I had to be careful of how I tied my hair back when I was baptized because if even one hair floated up to the surface, I would have to be dunked again.¬† And in those days we didn’t have fancy pants hair scrunchies, we used rubberbands from the newspapers (always green or red) and wrapped ribbon around them.¬† But not appropriate for the baptism.¬† We turned the search for a white hair elastic into a mythic quest.¬† In the end I think we just wrapped white yarn around my hair as tight as we could.¬† Well, at least I can be sure it was “legal.”

  8. Ipse Dixit Reply

    My problem with the current LDS position on the gift of tongues is that it tacitly elevates those who serve foreign-language missions above those who serve in their native languages. When I was waiting for my mission call, I hoped and prayed that I would get a foreign-language mission because that would mean either that I was worthy of the special blessing of the gift of tongues, or that God knew I was intelligent enough to learn the language on my own. I know it only speaks to my untamed teenage ego, but I was quite disappointed when I was called to serve in my home country, speaking my native language. I thought, and I percieved that others around me thought, it reflected poorly on my spirituality and intellect. I guess that means people like Glenn and John were just more spiritual and intelligent than I was at that age.

    It also seems to me that a mission-language-based spiritual class system exists in the members’ perceptions of returned missionaries in the greater church. Has anyone who served in their native language felt‚ÄĒor been made to feel‚ÄĒinferior to those who served foreign language missions?

    • Ipse Dixit Reply

      And, of course, the converse: has anyone who served a foreign language mission felt superior to those who served in their native languages?

    • cam Reply

      When it was announced where people were going to be sent on their missions, the foreign language missions were always spoken with a kind of awe.  Foreign language missions were always perceived as more prestigious.

  9. Nate Reply

    Very interesting podcast! In regards to the laying on of hands section, I was absolutely sure that Matthew 10 talks about Christ laying his hands on the apostles and setting them apart. Much to my surprise when I went and read it again today to find out that it never says that — just says that he gave them power. I did some searches and can’t find any example of Christ “setting apart” the apostles.

  10. Hermes Reply

    John, “viz.” is short for “videlicet” (which can be pronounced “weede/leeket” or “vide/lichet” depending on whether one wants one’s Latin to be classical or ecclesiastical).

  11. Mike Tannehill Reply

    I was stunned at the discussion surrounding the 4th Article of Faith. I consider Nyal, Richard, and John to all be intelligent men and for them to stumble and trip over the simple concepts here was unbelievable.

    As we have discussed many times in the past there are different types (or degrees) of salvation. There is a general type of salvation that comes by grace alone to all of mankind. These individuals become immortal but they are saved in body only, their spirits left to themselves (D&C 88:32, 2 Nephi 9:23-26, Alma 12:18)

    In regards to the ordinances of Baptism and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost these are both together the Articles of Adoption. King Benjamin stated : ”¬†And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the¬†children¬†of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are¬†changed¬†through faith on his name; therefore, ye are¬†born¬†of him and have become his¬†sons¬†and his daughters.
    ¬† ¬†And under this head ye are made¬†free, and there is¬†no¬†other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other¬†name¬†given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.” – Mosiah 5:7-8.Because the love of God is manifest through Christ, we can know God only through Christ. We can experience the fulness of God’s love only by entering into a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. By maintaining our covenantal status, we are born of God and thus become the sons and daughters of Christ. Elder Bruce R McConkie further clarified the connection between rebirth/adoption and Jesus Christ when he explained: “Those accountable mortals who then believe and obey the gospel are born again; they are born of the Spirit; they become alive to the things of righteousness or of the Spirit. They become members of another family, have new brothers and sisters, and a new Father. they are the sons and daughters of Jesus Christ.”Although this adoption is necessary, it is not the culminating event but part of a continual process of change. While the First principles and Ordinances are the means of Salvation they are not the covenants of Exaltation. The Covenant of Exaltation is found in the temple and its higher ordinances where we learn to seal and bind our family to our name the same way we are sealed to the name of Christ through baptism.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Chance? Who believe that human beings were the product of randomness? No one that I have ever heard of. Your refutation is of a strawman. I do not believe that the production of human complexity was the product of “nothing behind it”.

      Your argument is barely coherent. Please revise and strike again.


      • Jack Rodwell Reply

        thats what an atheist is . maybe your confused and are actually an agnostic but ive heard almost every episode and on multiple occasions heard you say your an atheist . my bad if i am mistaken¬†…….love the show by the way..look forward to it every tuesday when im walking my dog. thanks

        • Anonymous Reply

          Atheism merely means “without god(s)”. Atheism says nothing about the origin of the universe other than it couldn’t be from a god.

          • Jack Rodwell

            how can you rule out a god for sure no questions asked though.  no one can rule anything out because no one knows.  hard core atheists are just like hard core christians.  anything is possible in this universe even if its less then one percent

          • Richard of Norway

            @twitter-372973877:disqus¬†I think you should look into the difference between “possible” (less than 1%, as you say) and “probable” or even “likely”. Why believe in something simply because it is minutely “possible”?

          • Megan

            @twitter-372973877:disqus : The ‘hard core atheist’ argument is one of the most tired straw men in the debate. I have yet to meet one of these individuals, yet to read the writings of one. In fact, paint me an a-hardcoreatheist because I simply lack belief in this mythical construct that insists there is ‘no god for sure no questions asked.’

            It’s not really useful to engage atheists on that level because you are misunderstanding the basic premise and therefore arguing past the point.

            Personally I consider I am an agnostic atheist – I dunno if there’s a god (a-gnostic, lacking knowledge) and I also don’t believe in/worship one (a-theist, lacking belief in god). I will quite happily admit that there is a veeeeeery small possibility there is a sentient uber-power in the universe. I will also happily admit that the closer you get to a human-concept deity the more vanishingly small that possibility becomes, and that I tend to think that the Mormon god with the additional limitations of a physical body is particularly hampered in the probability stakes.

            But ‘no god for sure no questions asked’? Silly and pointless statement.

            HOWEVER, given a) the veeeeery small possibility AND b) the uknowability of said improbably deity, I find it much more interesting to talk about the believers than the gods. [nb, outside of Norse mythology which totally rocks]

          • Jack Rodwell

            megan…. i like it. good way of thinking

            richard….i dont believe anything but simply¬†acknowledge it as a possibility . something atheists and TBMs both do not¬†

        • Richard of Norway Reply

          I identify as an atheist and confess there is a possibility of some higher power that many on Earth might call a god. I think you are wrong about atheism or simply no very little about it. John is right: all it means is a lack of belief in god(s). Doesn’t mean we say it is impossible that there is something out there. We just don’t believe there is.

          • Nathan R Kennard

            I agree with what Richard is saying. The word atheist is generally used by those lacking god belief to express such. People who ascribe different meaning than this are probably injecting their own understanding into the term.

    • Randy Snyder Reply


      If you really want to understand the naturalistic position (not sure you really do) and the robustness of the arguments and evidence, I suggest you read The Blind Watchmaker. ¬†Dawkins gets into the number of planets in the Universe (100 billion billion-that’s right, that’s two billions in there) and the notion of probability theories of at least one of them having life sprout, what is needed to happen and what are possible theories for abiogenesis (the emergence of a single self replicating molecule), then natural selection which has overwhelming evidence in favor of it. ¬†To take blind hip-shots at naturalism/atheism like “[humans] were just created by chance and nothing was behind it…” really just falls flat and no informed believer would use such flimsy and, frankly, false assertions. ¬†You say you don’t “believe in anything”. ¬†That means you have nothing to fear by exploring the evidence and I think you will find a beautiful world when you explore evolution by natural selection, the greatest show on earth, the only show in town…(I stole that from the sequel of The Blind Watchmaker) ¬†ūüôā

      • Anonymous Reply

        I liked Dawkins’ Climbing Mount Improbability even better than The Blind Watchmaker.¬† Those two books complement each other very nicely and together make a convincing case not only for the possibility of evolution by natural selection, but the near inevitability of something like that eventually occurring somewhere, sometime, God or no God, given what we now know about the laws of physics and probability.¬† Another excellent discussion of this issue is Isaac Asimov’s article, The Unblind Workings of Chance.

  12. Gail F. Bartholomew Reply

    I believe that the washing and anointing was¬†symbolic¬†before as well. ¬†My father told me that when he first went to the temple in 1952 you needed a towel when you got done with the washing and anointing. ¬†I also wonder if the places that people actually touched you changed since Joseph’s time.

  13. Eric Reply

    There was a baptism on Dexter the other night and it was by immersion.  That adds nothing to the conversation, I just love Dexter.

  14. Jason Reply

    Hey Nyal (I think it was Nyle), where did you get that information about the Scandanavians being granted and exception, or special permission to drink Kaffe into the 20th century?  Just Curious.  Love the podcast guys!!!

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