Episode 67: Guns, Germs, Steel and the Book of Mormon

Guest Host Seth Leigh is joined by Jonathan, Lorin and John Larsen to discuss Jared Diamond’s Work Guns, Germs and Steel and its implications for Mormonism.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Episode 67

66 comments on “Episode 67: Guns, Germs, Steel and the Book of Mormon”

  1. Glenn Reply

    Excellent discussion guys. Now I know why the Lord inspired me to invest all those hours in Sid Meyer’s Civilization.

    • Gunnar R. Reply

      I know what you mean! I was pretty much addicted to that game myself for awhile. It’s embarrassing to me now how many hours I used to waste playing one or the other versions of that game! I still indulge occasionally, but not near as often as I used to.

    • Lorin Reply

      Interesting comment Glenn. I’ve run a number of LGT scenarios in Civ4 and concluded it’s pretty much impossible. A Hebrew settler vs. Pacal’s Maya is pretty much no contest, even if I give Lehi all the BoM technologies (Iron Working, Metal Casting, Alphabet, Monotheism, etc.) and put him on the lowest difficulty (representing the guiding hand of the Lord).

      I would have mentioned my study if there had been more time, but it looks like you will have to wait until it’s published. πŸ˜‰

    • stjimmy Reply

      Just catching up on some POD casts. I guess this is another nail in the coffin for the BoM being literally true. But if it is a fraud by Joseph Smith or was written by Sidney Rigdon etc etc etc then this leaves me with I big question. What did they have to gain from it?

  2. Glenn Reply

    Excellent discussion guys. Now I know why the Lord inspired me to invest all those hours in Sid Meyer’s Civilization.

    • Gunnar R. Reply

      I know what you mean! I was pretty much addicted to that game myself for awhile. It’s embarrassing to me now how many hours I used to waste playing one or the other versions of that game! I still indulge occasionally, but not near as often as I used to.

    • Lorin Reply

      Interesting comment Glenn. I’ve run a number of LGT scenarios in Civ4 and concluded it’s pretty much impossible. A Hebrew settler vs. Pacal’s Maya is pretty much no contest, even if I give Lehi all the BoM technologies (Iron Working, Metal Casting, Alphabet, Monotheism, etc.) and put him on the lowest difficulty (representing the guiding hand of the Lord).

      I would have mentioned my study if there had been more time, but it looks like you will have to wait until it’s published. πŸ˜‰

    • stjimmy Reply

      Just catching up on some POD casts. I guess this is another nail in the coffin for the BoM being literally true. But if it is a fraud by Joseph Smith or was written by Sidney Rigdon etc etc etc then this leaves me with I big question. What did they have to gain from it?

  3. Swearing Elder Reply

    Thanks a lot guys…you just ruined my testimony of the Book of Mormon! πŸ˜‰

    I love this kind of episode — like the one on 19th century occult and religion in the U.S. — because it has nothing to do with Mormonism while at the same time having everything to do with it. Great episode.

  4. Swearing Elder Reply

    Thanks a lot guys…you just ruined my testimony of the Book of Mormon! πŸ˜‰

    I love this kind of episode — like the one on 19th century occult and religion in the U.S. — because it has nothing to do with Mormonism while at the same time having everything to do with it. Great episode.

  5. Gunnar R. Reply

    I agree with Swearing Elder. That book is one of my all time favorite books. This discussion gave me a strong urge to go back and read it yet again. If my testimony of the Book of Mormon had not already been shattered by other evidence, both external and internal to the Book of Mormon, reading Guns, Germs and Steel would very likely have at least severely shaken that testimony. Though Church authorities and, perhaps, even Mormon apologists might be loath to admit it, that book cannot reasonably or honestly be classified as “anti-Mormon literature.” As was pointed out during the podcast, the book does not even mention the Book of Mormon or make any overt attempt whatsoever to address or refute its questionable historical claims. Yet, it inadvertently does that merely by letting the evidence speak for itself.

    About the only even slighty viable recourse LDS authorities have to respond to evidence like that contained in Diamond’s book is to argue that there is a massive, worldwide, Satanic conspiracy to obscure the truth and falsify evidence in order to discredit true, divinely inspired religion. The problem with that kind of argument is that it can be and has been used to defend almost any kind of nonsense imaginable, including the Flat Earth or Geocentric Universe concepts. Merely having to fall back on that type of apologetic is as damaging to the credibility of whatever is thus defended as anything I can imagine!

    Though I agree that it is very highly improbable that refugees from the Middle East arrived on American shores and cultivated staple food crops from that region here in the Americas, as described in The Book of Mormon, a Mormon apologist familiar with the nature of Rain Forests (such as those that abound in Meso-America in which many Mayan and Toltec ruins are found) might try to argue that the Nephites’ attempts to clear these rain forests and intensively cultivate the thus cleared land might have been largely to blame for many of their problems and conflicts and the eventual demise of their civilization. In a typical rain forest, nearly all of the nutrients are in the living organisms endemic to them, and are quickly recycled and re-incorporated into newer organisms as older ones die and decay or are eaten. When such forests are cleared, and the vegetation removed, what is left is “lateric” soil that is extremely deficient in nutrients and becomes almost immediately depleted when one tries to cultivate it, and turns into a cement-like pavement unsuitable for plowing and sustained agriculture. Central and South American farmers have repeatedly learned this hard lesson whenever they tried to farm cleared rain forest land, only to find that attempting to do so only left them in far worse economic straits than they were before they cleared the forest. It has been surmised that the Mayans’ own demise was precipitated largely by agricultural practices that were simply unsustainable in the rain forest environments of Meso-America.

  6. Gunnar R. Reply

    I agree with Swearing Elder. That book is one of my all time favorite books. This discussion gave me a strong urge to go back and read it yet again. If my testimony of the Book of Mormon had not already been shattered by other evidence, both external and internal to the Book of Mormon, reading Guns, Germs and Steel would very likely have at least severely shaken that testimony. Though Church authorities and, perhaps, even Mormon apologists might be loath to admit it, that book cannot reasonably or honestly be classified as “anti-Mormon literature.” As was pointed out during the podcast, the book does not even mention the Book of Mormon or make any overt attempt whatsoever to address or refute its questionable historical claims. Yet, it inadvertently does that merely by letting the evidence speak for itself.

    About the only even slighty viable recourse LDS authorities have to respond to evidence like that contained in Diamond’s book is to argue that there is a massive, worldwide, Satanic conspiracy to obscure the truth and falsify evidence in order to discredit true, divinely inspired religion. The problem with that kind of argument is that it can be and has been used to defend almost any kind of nonsense imaginable, including the Flat Earth or Geocentric Universe concepts. Merely having to fall back on that type of apologetic is as damaging to the credibility of whatever is thus defended as anything I can imagine!

    Though I agree that it is very highly improbable that refugees from the Middle East arrived on American shores and cultivated staple food crops from that region here in the Americas, as described in The Book of Mormon, a Mormon apologist familiar with the nature of Rain Forests (such as those that abound in Meso-America in which many Mayan and Toltec ruins are found) might try to argue that the Nephites’ attempts to clear these rain forests and intensively cultivate the thus cleared land might have been largely to blame for many of their problems and conflicts and the eventual demise of their civilization. In a typical rain forest, nearly all of the nutrients are in the living organisms endemic to them, and are quickly recycled and re-incorporated into newer organisms as older ones die and decay or are eaten. When such forests are cleared, and the vegetation removed, what is left is “lateric” soil that is extremely deficient in nutrients and becomes almost immediately depleted when one tries to cultivate it, and turns into a cement-like pavement unsuitable for plowing and sustained agriculture. Central and South American farmers have repeatedly learned this hard lesson whenever they tried to farm cleared rain forest land, only to find that attempting to do so only left them in far worse economic straits than they were before they cleared the forest. It has been surmised that the Mayans’ own demise was precipitated largely by agricultural practices that were simply unsustainable in the rain forest environments of Meso-America.

  7. Gail F. Bartholomew Reply

    This is one of my favorite books. The first time I read it I was an active Mormon, but I had long since given up all concerns defending any literal nature of the Book of Mormon. Why can the church not just focus on what is redemptive in their theology in stead of arguing literalness?

    I am not sure what the difference is between living with the fact the earth does not have four corners or that the Sun does not actually mover around the earth and not knowing if the Book of Mormon is a literal history. As time goes on and more and more scientific evidence becomes less and less deniable is this not the process that happens when people that can no longer deny the scientific evidence and choose to remain religious do? They just choose to believe things in less and less literal way?

    For me I took science and religion as two completely different things. One is there to redeem you and the other is about taking observable reactions and working to explain it. It was when the church or religion started hurting my family when literal practice ended. That is when I started reading apologetics. They are wack jobs. They argue points that not only make no sense, but seem to have little significance whether right or wrong. When I read apologetics I seem to always be asking: “you are arguing this why?” or “and if what you say is true it matters how?”

    • Astounded Reply

      When I first started going to the aplogetics they were so blasted confusing that I figured I just didn’t understand. They would make excellent politicians.

      • Mister IT Reply

        >They would make excellent politicians<

        That's funny – I thought that they were before they "failed" into LdS Apologetics!

  8. Gail F. Bartholomew Reply

    This is one of my favorite books. The first time I read it I was an active Mormon, but I had long since given up all concerns defending any literal nature of the Book of Mormon. Why can the church not just focus on what is redemptive in their theology in stead of arguing literalness?

    I am not sure what the difference is between living with the fact the earth does not have four corners or that the Sun does not actually mover around the earth and not knowing if the Book of Mormon is a literal history. As time goes on and more and more scientific evidence becomes less and less deniable is this not the process that happens when people that can no longer deny the scientific evidence and choose to remain religious do? They just choose to believe things in less and less literal way?

    For me I took science and religion as two completely different things. One is there to redeem you and the other is about taking observable reactions and working to explain it. It was when the church or religion started hurting my family when literal practice ended. That is when I started reading apologetics. They are wack jobs. They argue points that not only make no sense, but seem to have little significance whether right or wrong. When I read apologetics I seem to always be asking: “you are arguing this why?” or “and if what you say is true it matters how?”

    • Astounded Reply

      When I first started going to the aplogetics they were so blasted confusing that I figured I just didn’t understand. They would make excellent politicians.

      • Mister IT Reply

        >They would make excellent politicians<

        That's funny – I thought that they were before they "failed" into LdS Apologetics!

  9. Joseph Reply

    Great breakdown, guys! As far as I can tell, this book is just the tip of an immense iceberg of new information that is poised to crush renascent religious fundamentalism for anyone who cares to look closely at myths dressed in the guise of history.

    An interesting follow-up to this podcast (in my opinion) would be a discussion of your collective take on mythology: does it have a place in our modern world? if so, where? I think it does (just to tip my hand) and have my reasons, but I would love to hear what the panelists think.

  10. Joseph Reply

    Great breakdown, guys! As far as I can tell, this book is just the tip of an immense iceberg of new information that is poised to crush renascent religious fundamentalism for anyone who cares to look closely at myths dressed in the guise of history.

    An interesting follow-up to this podcast (in my opinion) would be a discussion of your collective take on mythology: does it have a place in our modern world? if so, where? I think it does (just to tip my hand) and have my reasons, but I would love to hear what the panelists think.

  11. Gunnar R. Reply

    Joseph, I find your statement, “As far as I can tell, this book is just the tip of an immense iceberg of new information that is poised to crush renascent religious fundamentalism for anyone who cares to look closely at myths dressed in the guise of history.” to be a very astute observation. I think that religious fundamentalists leaders of all stripes are becoming increasingly aware of this and increasingly fearful of losing what influence and power they have as a result. Their very livelihoods are at stake, in many cases. This is causing a type of “siege mentality” among them which is why many of them are so desperately trying to legally suppress the teaching of evolution, for example, or require that creationism be given equal time in school science curriculums under the guise of protecting the religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment. I think that some of them would actually favor using violent means, if necessary, to prevent dissemination of this information, if they thought they could get away with it. In some fundamentalist Islamic countries, they actually have the governmental authorization and power to do just that, and do not hesitate to use it.

    I would think (and hope) however that in countries blessed by a secular, democratic type of government (such as the U.S.A.) that the more extreme and militant fundamentalists become in trying suppress this information and push their own religiously skewed notions of human history and progress, the more they will damage their own credibility and weaken their influence and hold on people.

    I do agree with you that mythology does “have a place in our modern world.” At its best, mythology can express noble and worthy ideals and motivate us to aspire to great things. If we were to lose all of what is contained in the best of Greek, Hebrew, African, Indian and other existing mythologies, even some more modern mythologies, we would suffer great cultural impoverishment indeed! The important trick is to avoid letting mythology, however appealing, distort and cripple our perception of reality.

  12. Gunnar R. Reply

    Joseph, I find your statement, “As far as I can tell, this book is just the tip of an immense iceberg of new information that is poised to crush renascent religious fundamentalism for anyone who cares to look closely at myths dressed in the guise of history.” to be a very astute observation. I think that religious fundamentalists leaders of all stripes are becoming increasingly aware of this and increasingly fearful of losing what influence and power they have as a result. Their very livelihoods are at stake, in many cases. This is causing a type of “siege mentality” among them which is why many of them are so desperately trying to legally suppress the teaching of evolution, for example, or require that creationism be given equal time in school science curriculums under the guise of protecting the religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment. I think that some of them would actually favor using violent means, if necessary, to prevent dissemination of this information, if they thought they could get away with it. In some fundamentalist Islamic countries, they actually have the governmental authorization and power to do just that, and do not hesitate to use it.

    I would think (and hope) however that in countries blessed by a secular, democratic type of government (such as the U.S.A.) that the more extreme and militant fundamentalists become in trying suppress this information and push their own religiously skewed notions of human history and progress, the more they will damage their own credibility and weaken their influence and hold on people.

    I do agree with you that mythology does “have a place in our modern world.” At its best, mythology can express noble and worthy ideals and motivate us to aspire to great things. If we were to lose all of what is contained in the best of Greek, Hebrew, African, Indian and other existing mythologies, even some more modern mythologies, we would suffer great cultural impoverishment indeed! The important trick is to avoid letting mythology, however appealing, distort and cripple our perception of reality.

  13. Phil Reply

    You should do an episode on Charles Mann’s book “1491”. Or, if not an episode, at least read it. It provides further evidence against the Book of Mormon by describing the recent research on New World civilizations before Columbus. For instance, it would have been difficult for Kosher Jews to settle in some parts of the South American Pacific coast where an entire advanced civilization ate oysters as their staple food.

    I also think it tempers the result implied by Diamond and the popular historical myths that the New World civilizations were somehow “backward” or “unadvanced”. Rather, “1491” shows that New World cultures were quite advanced and sophisticated (unfortunately no Nephites or Lamanites, though). For example, Teotihuacan was more populous than the largest European cities during its heyday–all due to beans, maize, and squash.

  14. Phil Reply

    You should do an episode on Charles Mann’s book “1491”. Or, if not an episode, at least read it. It provides further evidence against the Book of Mormon by describing the recent research on New World civilizations before Columbus. For instance, it would have been difficult for Kosher Jews to settle in some parts of the South American Pacific coast where an entire advanced civilization ate oysters as their staple food.

    I also think it tempers the result implied by Diamond and the popular historical myths that the New World civilizations were somehow “backward” or “unadvanced”. Rather, “1491” shows that New World cultures were quite advanced and sophisticated (unfortunately no Nephites or Lamanites, though). For example, Teotihuacan was more populous than the largest European cities during its heyday–all due to beans, maize, and squash.

  15. Joseph Reply

    I think myth is something of a necessary evil: everyone makes sense of life by telling stories, and these always incorporate some “coloring of the facts.” But there is a material difference between (say) the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the work of Jared Diamond. Both are stories, but the latter is a story that maps reality better (or perhaps some significant pieces of it, anyway) than the former. Both should exist, and we should not have to pretend that they are equivalent when, in fact, they are not. In short, we need to separate fairy tale myth from historical myth (or myth from history, though history is not immune from incorporating “mythological” lies: that is why we keep on telling new stories about things that have already happened and been recorded, and why I hesitate to refer to history as being categorically outside of myth).

    Ultimately, I think everyone (religious people included) is served best when all kinds of storytelling are allowed. The cream rises to the top as people use the most useful myths and leave the harmful ones. This approach throws the doors wide open to all kinds of innovative thinking that unsettles powerful interests (churches, corporations, political communities, governments) by pointing out the lies that they are based on. (I never thought that studying mythology would turn me into an anarchist, but I have always been a little naive.) In the end, the “one true myth” in all forms needs to die, because the fact of the matter is that no one story on its own can tell as much truth as all of them together. This happens because to articulate one truth is to ignore another: if we allow all myths, another may catch the blind spot in yours; if we allow only one, then we are all blinded, heading for disaster without the tools for perceiving and dealing with it.

  16. Joseph Reply

    I think myth is something of a necessary evil: everyone makes sense of life by telling stories, and these always incorporate some “coloring of the facts.” But there is a material difference between (say) the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the work of Jared Diamond. Both are stories, but the latter is a story that maps reality better (or perhaps some significant pieces of it, anyway) than the former. Both should exist, and we should not have to pretend that they are equivalent when, in fact, they are not. In short, we need to separate fairy tale myth from historical myth (or myth from history, though history is not immune from incorporating “mythological” lies: that is why we keep on telling new stories about things that have already happened and been recorded, and why I hesitate to refer to history as being categorically outside of myth).

    Ultimately, I think everyone (religious people included) is served best when all kinds of storytelling are allowed. The cream rises to the top as people use the most useful myths and leave the harmful ones. This approach throws the doors wide open to all kinds of innovative thinking that unsettles powerful interests (churches, corporations, political communities, governments) by pointing out the lies that they are based on. (I never thought that studying mythology would turn me into an anarchist, but I have always been a little naive.) In the end, the “one true myth” in all forms needs to die, because the fact of the matter is that no one story on its own can tell as much truth as all of them together. This happens because to articulate one truth is to ignore another: if we allow all myths, another may catch the blind spot in yours; if we allow only one, then we are all blinded, heading for disaster without the tools for perceiving and dealing with it.

  17. NoCoolNAme_Tom Reply

    For those who haven’t read the book and want a (relatively) quick overview, National Geographic teamed up with Diamond to produce a three-part documentary also called “Guns, Germs, and Steel”. It’s a fascinating watch and does a rather good job of giving an overview of the book and its conclusions. Great for Family Home Evening (we actually did watch it for three weeks in a row for FHE a few months ago).

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/guns-germs-and-steel/

  18. NoCoolNAme_Tom Reply

    For those who haven’t read the book and want a (relatively) quick overview, National Geographic teamed up with Diamond to produce a three-part documentary also called “Guns, Germs, and Steel”. It’s a fascinating watch and does a rather good job of giving an overview of the book and its conclusions. Great for Family Home Evening (we actually did watch it for three weeks in a row for FHE a few months ago).

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/guns-germs-and-steel/

  19. Mr. IT Reply

    Hey guys, I’m doing the “homework assignment” and have watched the “Guns, Germs, and Steel” video while listening to the “1491” audio book – I just received the “Guns, Germs, and Steel” audio book last week and I’ll work my way through that next.

    So far I’m seeing that both books appear to devastate Book of Mormon claims but I’m not seeing the same impact on Bible claims (Old Testment, Genesis claim in particular).

    Just my 2p.

  20. Mr. IT Reply

    Hey guys, I’m doing the “homework assignment” and have watched the “Guns, Germs, and Steel” video while listening to the “1491” audio book – I just received the “Guns, Germs, and Steel” audio book last week and I’ll work my way through that next.

    So far I’m seeing that both books appear to devastate Book of Mormon claims but I’m not seeing the same impact on Bible claims (Old Testment, Genesis claim in particular).

    Just my 2p.

  21. Megan Reply

    I have a quick question –

    At one point in the discussion someone mentioned that old-world immunities would have quickly left the population and therefore we have to drop the argument that the BoM can’t be true based on immunities because native American populations were devastated by the diseases brought by the Spanish conquistadors.

    While this is definitely true of the individual immunities acquired by personal exposure to and survival of viral infection (such as small pox) it’s not true for genetically derived resistances. I don’t know a whole lot about it, but I believe that disease resistance for epidemic type, ancient illnesses is pretty complex and that for much of the old world there is a genetic component even when it comes to things like small pox.

    Since these genetic aids wouldn’t be bred out in the population (unless they have an additional, negative effect such as the sickle-cell link to a malaria resistant gene in African populations) but simply lie dormant, moving through the population pretty passively, wouldn’t the massive deaths due to the epidemics brought by the Spaniards have actually acted as a concentrating agent for any old-world genes? In other words, wouldn’t Native Americans who carried some ‘Lamanite’ genes in them have a greater chance of surviving the epidemic over their pure, non-Lamanite neighbors, leaving a far greater ‘Lamanite’ footprint in the whole population?

    Just saying…

  22. Megan Reply

    I have a quick question –

    At one point in the discussion someone mentioned that old-world immunities would have quickly left the population and therefore we have to drop the argument that the BoM can’t be true based on immunities because native American populations were devastated by the diseases brought by the Spanish conquistadors.

    While this is definitely true of the individual immunities acquired by personal exposure to and survival of viral infection (such as small pox) it’s not true for genetically derived resistances. I don’t know a whole lot about it, but I believe that disease resistance for epidemic type, ancient illnesses is pretty complex and that for much of the old world there is a genetic component even when it comes to things like small pox.

    Since these genetic aids wouldn’t be bred out in the population (unless they have an additional, negative effect such as the sickle-cell link to a malaria resistant gene in African populations) but simply lie dormant, moving through the population pretty passively, wouldn’t the massive deaths due to the epidemics brought by the Spaniards have actually acted as a concentrating agent for any old-world genes? In other words, wouldn’t Native Americans who carried some ‘Lamanite’ genes in them have a greater chance of surviving the epidemic over their pure, non-Lamanite neighbors, leaving a far greater ‘Lamanite’ footprint in the whole population?

    Just saying…

  23. Pingback: “My name is Shane Jackman and I’m an Ex Mormon.”

  24. OuterBrightness Reply

    Great discussion!

    I’m about halfway through the book now. Diamond just finished discussing the characteristics of large animals that make them more prone to be domesticated. One of the biggest characteristics was the fact that the animals already live in a hierarchical herd society where, for example, 5 young sheep are dominated by 1 older sheep, and 5 older sheep are dominated by 1 stronger sheep, and 5 stronger sheep are dominated by 1 even stronger sheep, etc. I couldn’t help but think of the child, parent, bishop, stake president, quorum of the 12, president of the church hierarchical organization of the Mormon church. It’s as if Mormons are ultra-domesticated human beings.

    It’s interesting also that not all herds that are formed this way can be domesticated. There has to be a lot of other characteristics present in order for the domestication to work. Maybe I’m taking the analogy too far now, but people often say the church must be true because it has survived while the vast majority of other churches founded in Joseph Smith’s time just dwindled away. I say the church that Joseph founded and Brigham refined had all the characteristics necessary for survival/domestication. Like Diamond says about animal domestication, only the ones that meet the Anna Karenina principle could be domesticated.

    I probably am reading way too much into it, but it was still interesting to me.

  25. Anonymous Reply

    This is so true of any fundamentalist, authoritative organization or ideology, whether religious or secular, but especially most religious groups, of course. It is so easy to spot that particular flaw when it occurs in a religious or ideological organization that is not one’s own. I’m sure that no TBM would fail to agree that Khaled Abou El Fadl’s criticism is perfectly valid when applied to Islam, or most any other non-Mormon group that eschews self-critical and introspective insight.

    • Eric Z Reply

      It is an interesting trait that people (myself included) have such a knee-jerk reaction to criticism.
      More interesting yet is the idea that people do recognize flaws in other groups, but not their own. I’m not sure if it has to do with effort justification, selection bias, or what. Have you read anything to shed light on the question?

      • Anonymous Reply

        The first thing that came to my mind was Michael Shermer’s Why People Believe Weird Things. There may be other books that shed more light directly on that specific question, but they didn’t immediately come to my mind. In that book, Shermer explains how sometimes even the most Intelligent people stubbornly cling to very irrational convictions. Sometimes, the more intelligent they are, the more ingenious and convoluted are the rationalizations they come up with to justify clinging to their own absurd convictions, while easily seeing what is wrong with and devastatingly refuting others’ absurd convictions.

      • Joy was his neighbor's wife Reply

        I think it is especially difficult for Mormons, who have been told their whole lives that they are superior to the rest of humanity (choice souls, worthy, more valiant in the pre-existence) It is a big pill to swallow that not only aren’t you “special,” you have been completely duped by a made up belief system with no basis in reality. Many religions believe that their beliefs are unique and superior, the Mormon Church is one of the few religions I have encountered that teaches that its individual MEMBERS are somehow unique and superior. At the end of the day though, it makes it so much easier to debunk the faith. You don’t have to hang around Mormons for long to figure out that they are just as flawed and imperfect as the rest of the human family. This is what saved me as an investigator. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” When the Mormons I encountered stopped tooting their own and each other’s horns, I took a look around and wasn’t impressed by the fruits. I think leaving Mormonism is difficult for many because it is a good source of narcissistic supply. The other members will exaggerate your abilities, your attractiveness, how cute your children are, etc, and you are just not going to be able to indulge that level of self-adoration in the real world.

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