Episode 187: Doctrine and Covenants 129 for Dummies

47 comments on “Episode 187: Doctrine and Covenants 129 for Dummies”

  1. Richard of Norway Reply

    Great episode!

    Loved having Glenn and Mike back in the mix. Brandt and Meghan are excellent panelists. This was the best combination of panelists in a very long time.

    Looking forward to more like this. Kudos to all involved! 🙂

      • Richard of Norway Reply

        Thought so. But then the description above (now fixed) had your name spelled with an H. I figured it must have come from some official place. 😉

        Yes, you were absolutely fantastic! Very fair to the believers, and snarky enough (with the monkey comments) for some good laughs. Very nicely done! 🙂

  2. Anonymous Reply

    Well done.  The quality of your analysis and banter is exceeded only by your punctuality.  Everybody else in the MoPod world feels like they can mess with us and post stuff just any old time.  Thanks for being so reliable. 

    John – I love your work, and you’re a smart guy, but I grew up in NY, and “Chutzpa” is pronounced with a “gutteral” Kh sound in front.  Most Americans revert to the H sound, but nobody employs the Ch sound.


    • Bruce MacArthur Reply

      Don’t you think that’s kind of nitpicky? Newscasters try to do what you are describing. My last name is Scottish and I don’t ask people to roll the R’s.

      • brandt Reply

        Bruce, now that I’ve read that, I will always pronounce your last name with rolled R’s.

      • Anonymous Reply

        If you were at a restaurant and your friend said, “I think I’ll try the FIL-ette MIG-nun” would you offer the correct pronunciation, or would that be too nitpicky?  People can’t say the Kh, so they use the h sound.  That is the accepted Anglo alternative. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go eat some pie and Cool Hwip.

  3. Anonymous Reply

    Really enjoyed the podcast. Your deep dives into Mormon belief are hugely interesting, except that I always need a nap afterward.

    John made an especially good point about how Mormons and atheists are both philosophical materialists — i.e., they believe that everything is composed essentially of matter. This is part of why Mormonism can be described as a post-Enlightenment, quasi-scientific, very naturalistic faith. 

    Mormonism really has no supernatural in the more generally Christian sense. Everything exists in space and time, is subject to natural law, and cannot be created ex nihilo. Even gods reproduce themselves sexually, generation by generation.

    This may be part of the reason why so many ex-Mormons become atheists: the Mormon worldview is about half atheist to begin with.

    Incidentally, I don’t mean to offend anyone with this small observation. I’ve known lots of wonderful Mormons and lots of wonderful atheists. 

    • Truth Free Reply

      Mormonism doctrine makes a point of debunking everything else in its teachings, so when your belief in Mormonism dies, you are pretty much left with atheism.  I guess some can try to hang onto Christianity, but I don’t know how you can do so in an organized way.  My favorite things about Mormonism were the pseudo-science about spirit being fine matter and eternal progression to Godhood.  To see Hinckley and the other brethren downplay the godmaker thing in the media to suck up the evangelicals is kind of pathetic.  Not only is it the core of the plan of salvation, temple ceremonies, etc, it is much more inspiring than some amorphous afterlife.  The other thing that I liked about Mormonism is it seemed to contend that God is rational and that he is subject to a higher law and would cease to be God if he didn’t obey it.  Too bad that doctrine is pissed on so much too.

      • Anonymous Reply

        That’s a really interesting belief about how “God would cease to be God” if he offended too many other intelligences’ sense of justice. I first ran across a reference to it in the Nauvoo Expositor. Cleon Skousen believed it, and said he learned it from John Widtsoe.

        That doctrine puts God in the position of being almost an elected official. Probably no surprise that it had some appeal in Jacksonian America.

  4. Nathan R Kennard Reply

    The math about how many spirits there are based on the reported idea that 1/3 of the hosts of heaven rebelled and therefore never received a body is improper. The total number of these spirits cannot be calculated as 1.33 times the number of spirits which became embodied by birth, but can be calculated by multiplying embodied spirits by 1.5 or 3/2.

    Believing relatives probably do not apply very much analysis to these teachings.

    Anyway, thanks for discussing these things taught in Doctrine and Covenants 129.

  5. Elder Vader Reply

    Totally enjoyed.  I burst out into laughter multiple times.  And I just want to say that I thought of Roger Rabbit being unable to resist shave and a haircut, then seconds later Brandt brought it up.  So golden.  

    The D&C for dummies podcast episodes almost makes me want to go and reread the D&C.  Almost.  

  6. Steve & Hollee Tippetts Reply

    Another good one!  John and Glenn can always get me laughing and say exactly what I’m thinking.

    • Mike Tannehill Reply

      I was still trying to figure out John’s segueway from angels into the priesthood ban. In my befuddled state my mind was blank, lol.

  7. Troy Olsen Reply

    This one was a classic.  Probably my favorite episode since the Mark E. Petersen steps to overcoming masturbation episode.  I laughed out loud several times.  Best commute listening material I’ve had in a while.

  8. Anonymous Reply

    Why we are tested here when it’s done too in the pre-existance?

    Based on PoGP, God looks to create a world to test all those who weren’t great or Angels in the pre-existance ie “where these can be tested..” , including the fence sitters and those who will become telestial and terrestrial beings. Therefore the earth is more for their good (later two) so they can find which kindgom they fit in best, and have proof for it. The elect, or celestial persons will find their way back to God no matter what happens.

  9. Oz Poof Reply

    The more I hear such doctrine discussed, the more ludicrous Mormonism sounds – especially when John pisses himself laughing!

    Mike’s reinforcement of the Mormon dogma where it is believed the children succeed based on the worthiness of the parents is damaging in the extreme. Mormon worthiness does not include such things as play, homework and honesty with children – honesty with regards to sex, real “sin” and true history. 

    At 40, when I discovered my parents had been lying to me about the church – or at least not having the desire to check whether they were teaching me the truth – I was shattered. After that, everything they had ever said was up for question.

    Children who “fail” in the eyes of Mormonism but who are actually just finding their own way are made to feel terrible because parents see them as so much worse than they really are. Parents feel like failures. The entire family is stressed unnecessarily.

    It’s another reason Mormonism is not a good way to raise kids.

  10. Mike Michaels Reply

    The first half of the podcast where everyone was taking the subject seriously was so incredulous to me.  I couldn’t believe that anyone in their right mind could honestly believe this bullsh!t – and I don’t use that term loosely.  

    The second half of the podcast was entertaining and gave the subject its due respect – which is to say, not very much.

    Rarely have I read or heard something in Mormonism that made me embarrassed to have ever fallen for the faith.  It’s quite clear that JS made this sh!t up as he went along.  And Mormons wonder others don’t give them any respect for their faith.  

    • Hermes_Trismegistus Reply

       As a little kid, it did not seem so far out to imagine that angels might actually visit me in person.  But when I became a man, I put away childish things.

  11. Paulette Baretsky Platt Reply

    I just wanted to inform Mike that in 1888, the Fox sisters both confessed to faking the spirits that they “talked” to.  They even explained exactly how they had faked the tapping and the strange noises their parents had heard in the night.  Unfortunately, by the time they came clean, spiritualism had become so popular that people would not believe them.  Just wanted to let you know, there were no spirits.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Well…since Joseph didn’t get a real revelation on how to deal with spirits, I suppose then…um… two negatives combine to make a positive…carry the one…compensate for Saturn being aligned with Mars in the first quadrant…sprinkle liberally with cinnamon and fairy dust…and…CRAP! The Church is TRUE…I really didn’t see that coming.

      I thought it was really funny that Mike used the Fox sisters as evidence for the need for a revelation of how to deal with spirits.

      • Mike Tannehill Reply

        I read that later on about the big public confession the one sister made. The example Joseph gives stil stands as it explains exactly how a real spirit works. Somewhere in BH Roberts History of the Church is a terrific story about some church members chasing a phantom red ball through town. True spirits dont function that way, as Joseph explained.

  12. Mike Tannehill Reply

    Some points to add:

    1) As this episode aired Glenn was in Ireland. Henry Hill moved around less than Glenn does.

    2) “The blood He (Christ) spilled upon Mount Calvary He did not receive again into His veins. That was poured out, and when He was resurrected another element took th eplace of the blood. It will be so with every person who receives a resurrection; the blood will not be resurrected with the body, being designed only to sustain the life of the present organization. When this is dissolved, and we again obtain our bodies by the power of the resurrection, that which we now call the life of the body, and which is formed from the food we eat and the water we drink, will be supplanted by another element; for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” – Brigham Young, JD 7:163, June 5, 1859

    3) In regards to Blacks and the Priesthood ban: There was no need for an angel to ever appear and discuss the subject since the various Prophets who prayed on the matter were told to wait on the matter over and over again. After World War Two the Church was contacted repeatedly by those who had found Books of Mormons left by various soldiers. Apostles visited Africa a number of times to speak to self formed Wards who desired to join the Church, but not until Spencer W Kimball did the Lord give permission for the Priesthood to go to the Black race.

    • Anonymous Reply

      I think you are getting rid of the blood and transfusing the body with something else, but the flesh is just as bad as the blood.  Did BY make an oops?

      There were already many with black blood that were receiving the priesthood, especially in Brazil before Spencer W made it official. 

    • brandt Reply

      There’s no way Glenn was in Ireland. I always figured that as soon as you set foot in Ireland, you could hear the song “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” off in the distance 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. I didn’t hear that on the podcast.


      OK, he was in Ireland.

  13. Oz Poof Reply

    This stuff TERRIFIED me as a kid. I remember my TBM parents and their church friends talking about this stuff around the dinner table with us kids listening. I lost many night’s sleep worrying about what a demon would do if I shook its hand and it realized I knew it was an impostor. In Primary I was told if I tried a cigarette there would be the spirits of evil doers grabbing at my face to try and have my cigarette – so craving for evil they are. In my opinion this type of garbage is psychological abuse of children. 

    The LDS church is so heavily reliant on the threat of evil spirits as a control mechanism. They warn constantly of demons and evil out there in the world, however it is amongst TBMs where the discussion and belief in evil spirits is pervasive. Personally, I have never heard non Mormons discuss demons and evil spirits, even amongst those Christians I speak to. As an adult man I can honestly say I was afraid of being alone in the dark due to this nonsense.

    Since realizing the true nature of Mormonism, I am no longer afraid of demons or evil spirits. I feel strong. I don’t need a belief in a silly handshake test either.

  14. Anonymous Reply

    Finally this section of the D&C gets the analysis it deserves. 129 shows the control that JS had over his followers. Pure and utter nonsense.

  15. Megan von Ackermann Reply

    Quick note. The footnote type link for ‘keys’ in the online text for D&C 129 produces ‘discernment, spiritual’. I’m not sure how that affects the idea that the text is really about temple rituals – does it imply that the actions in the temple are about discernment? Anyway, thought I’d throw that out there!

    • Mike Tannehill Reply

      Megan – When you go through the Temple and learn about the signs and tokens to work your way past the guardian angels it is really instructing you about how the angels will be discerning you as you meet them. They will be judging you in terms of the degree of spiritual light you have allowed into yourself through your choices and to what degree you have allowed base materials to influence you.

      • Megan von Ackermann Reply

         That’s intriguing, Mike. Like Jeremy I’d really be interested in the scriptural or doctrinal documents on that because it’s a very interesting idea.

        The thing is that 129 is very specifically a physical and practical guide – and from what you supplied about the historic background (the Fox sisters etc) that would be entirely reasonable.

        That makes it seem then, if the ‘keys’ referred to are the ‘spirit of discernment’ that there is a very physical element to this ‘judging’ that you’re talking about. It makes it seem that – and I’m trying to be delicate in referring to temple things – the actions learned in the temple are very direct and physical and not a general metaphorical sort of thing.

        I’m not entirely clear why the angels would need to shake hands in order to judge someone? I don’t quite understand how a handshake, rather than an evaluation of a person’s life actions, is a reasonable means of checking for ‘spiritual light.’

        Could you maybe lay out what you mean by spiritual light? How do choices relate to a physical change in the body that can be evaluated through a handshake? I’m really fascinated by all this – just as I am by the idea that somehow blood allows someone to be temptable – and I would really like to have a better idea of how that works.

  16. LA_Lurker Reply

    Thanks for the great podcast – this is another excellent example of the dungeons and dragons-like mind of Joseph Smith where he was so good at simply making crap up as he went along.  The church has painted itself in a corner with some of these more embarrassing doctrines and they are clearly trying to pretend that they don’t exist by never including them in the current gospel discussion manuals.

    Speaking of the corporeal nature of resurrected beings, I find it curious that our major organ systems’ sole function is to keep us alive on this planet whereas once we would hypothetically become immortal, all of these major organ systems would be relatively useless.  

    Once a person is resurrected, the entire intestinal tract serves no purpose, including 28 feet of intestinal tract, the liver (detox and storing glucose) serves no purpose as well as the pancreas (producing insulin to regulate blood sugar levels and enzymes to aid digestion), the kidneys (waste removal, regulation of electrolytes and blood pressure), the heart (pumping blood to oxygenate the body), the gallbladder (bile production for fat digestion), the anus (no more pooping), etc. etc. all useless…

    The only functional organs left in the trunk of the body would be the lungs to aid in speaking, the stomach to hold token food that may be eaten for pleasure or other non-nutrition purposes, and perhaps the reproductive organs for eternal sex (unless one is relegated to be an eternal eunuch servant to those who are exalted – this thought always scared the hell out of me when I was a sex-crazed teenager).

    So essentially, the vast bulk of our innards will be relegated to “appendix status” and serve no purpose whatsoever once we are resurrected – the mark of a rather inefficient designer. Some of the strongest arguments in favor of atheism are the “unintelligent design” problems as just illustrated.  Clearly Joseph had a lot of success shooting from the hip as long as his followers did not follow his logic to its inevitable conclusion…

  17. Gunnar1961 Reply

    Joseph Smith’s success depended on finding and exploiting gullible people.  I can just imagine him thinking to himself when he created section 129, “Anyone who will fall for and accept this nonsense at face value, should be easy to convince of almost anything I choose to tell them.”

  18. vikingz2000 Reply

    As “a just man made perfect” — a Canadian, the graphic for your topic heading confirms my long-time suspicion that Jesus stands on the right side of the 49th parallel, and that Satan… well, he’s on the other side.  I know this because Niagara Falls is the background of this illustration.

    Also, with regard to your wonderful graphical heading, I now have a clearer understanding of “If it be the devil … he will offer you his hand” as stated in Section 129: 8. I never realized that “offer(ing) you his hand” the devil wants to arm wrestle because after loosing to Jesus he’s major pissed and is out to prove himself to be ‘the Man’ to us mere mortals.

  19. chuckborough Reply

    If Jesus were arm wrestling the devil and could have pressure against his hand, then He could feel the devil’s hand. His hand should just slip right through.

  20. chuckborough Reply

    If Jesus were arm wrestling the Devil, his hand would slip right through; otherwise he would feel the pressure and thus the hand.

  21. Pingback: Pesquisas Mormonas: Blog | Los mormones y el diablo

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *