Episode 71a: The King Follet Discourse for Dummies Part 1

On the 7th April 1844 Joseph Smith gave one of the most important discourses of Mormonism. Join Tom, Mike, Glenn and John Larsen for the discussion.

The King Follet Discourse: A Newly Amalgamated Text

Episode 71a

58 comments on “Episode 71a: The King Follet Discourse for Dummies Part 1”

  1. NightAvatar Reply

    “If the bartender’s mixing confidence and humility he’s definitely putting more confidence in there.”

    ROFMAO! Classic Tom.

  2. NightAvatar Reply

    “If the bartender’s mixing confidence and humility he’s definitely putting more confidence in there.”

    ROFMAO! Classic Tom.

    • David Clark Reply

      I second that. An evangelical would have made a great person to explain why the ideas of the King Follet discourse are not so appealing from the perspective of mainstream Christianity.

      • John Larsen Reply

        Bridget would have had interesting perspective, but I am not sure that I agree that evangelicalism=mainstream Christianity.

          • NightAvatar

            That’s not how I interpret the article. It says:

            Mainstream Christianity is a widely used term, used to refer to collectively to the common views of major denominations of Christianity (such as Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Anglicanism, Orthodox Christianity).

            I don’t see Evangelicalism listed there. But I guess it’s not worth arguing about.

          • David Clark

            Evangelicalism is not a denomination, nor is it an exclusive grouping in Christianity. This who self identify as evangelicals are always a member of one of the main groups in Christianity. Usually, they will be evangelical Protestants or evangelical Anglicans. A very few will self identify as evangelical Catholic or Orthodox.

            The point is they will always be a member of one of the main groups listed and they are not their own separate group. They will always affirm the basic creeds of the church which is why a synonym for mainstream Christians would be Nicene Christians as all those groups (evangelicals included) affirm the Nicene Creed. It’s also why Mormons don’t qualify to be in that group, they don’t affirm the Nicene Creed.

            Anyway, that’s why evangelicals are not explicitly listed there, they don’t have to be as they are implicitly included.

            John, an idea for a show: “Christian Divisions for Mormons: A Guide for the Perplexed.”

    • David Clark Reply

      I second that. An evangelical would have made a great person to explain why the ideas of the King Follet discourse are not so appealing from the perspective of mainstream Christianity.

      • John Larsen Reply

        Bridget would have had interesting perspective, but I am not sure that I agree that evangelicalism=mainstream Christianity.

          • NightAvatar

            That’s not how I interpret the article. It says:

            Mainstream Christianity is a widely used term, used to refer to collectively to the common views of major denominations of Christianity (such as Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Anglicanism, Orthodox Christianity).

            I don’t see Evangelicalism listed there. But I guess it’s not worth arguing about.

          • David Clark

            Evangelicalism is not a denomination, nor is it an exclusive grouping in Christianity. This who self identify as evangelicals are always a member of one of the main groups in Christianity. Usually, they will be evangelical Protestants or evangelical Anglicans. A very few will self identify as evangelical Catholic or Orthodox.

            The point is they will always be a member of one of the main groups listed and they are not their own separate group. They will always affirm the basic creeds of the church which is why a synonym for mainstream Christians would be Nicene Christians as all those groups (evangelicals included) affirm the Nicene Creed. It’s also why Mormons don’t qualify to be in that group, they don’t affirm the Nicene Creed.

            Anyway, that’s why evangelicals are not explicitly listed there, they don’t have to be as they are implicitly included.

            John, an idea for a show: “Christian Divisions for Mormons: A Guide for the Perplexed.”

    • scottro Reply

      This was a great line. It is totally one of those things though that people say and repeat their whole lives but never think an extra little layer deep, just like the resurrection discussion on the previous podcast, I can’t think of which one that was, where you were talking about higher criticism, Ehrman, etc. I can remember the parking garage I was in when you said that but not the episode.

      • Glenn Reply

        That was the infamous “after podcast” discussion from the Lost Tribes podcast — bonus episode 61.

        Tom had some killer lines in this one. He’ll hate me for saying this, but I think he is the most likeable guy in the internet-mormon world. And that is mixing my praise-drink with a whole bunch of sincerity.

    • scottro Reply

      This was a great line. It is totally one of those things though that people say and repeat their whole lives but never think an extra little layer deep, just like the resurrection discussion on the previous podcast, I can’t think of which one that was, where you were talking about higher criticism, Ehrman, etc. I can remember the parking garage I was in when you said that but not the episode.

      • Glenn Reply

        That was the infamous “after podcast” discussion from the Lost Tribes podcast — bonus episode 61.

        Tom had some killer lines in this one. He’ll hate me for saying this, but I think he is the most likeable guy in the internet-mormon world. And that is mixing my praise-drink with a whole bunch of sincerity.

  3. Swearing Elder Reply

    “I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it … I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don’t know a lot about it, and I don’t think others know a lot about it.” – Gordon B. Hinckley, 1997

    Sorry, guys, I’m not listening to this episode. The prophet has spoken and he says: a) We don’t really teach it and, b) Others (meaning YOU guys) don’t know a lot about it. Case closed.

    So, I really see no reason to listen to this.

  4. Swearing Elder Reply

    “I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it … I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don’t know a lot about it, and I don’t think others know a lot about it.” – Gordon B. Hinckley, 1997

    Sorry, guys, I’m not listening to this episode. The prophet has spoken and he says: a) We don’t really teach it and, b) Others (meaning YOU guys) don’t know a lot about it. Case closed.

    So, I really see no reason to listen to this.

  5. scottro Reply

    Tom – great quotes from this one man. I was cracking up.

    Glenn – True story. I listened to this while running today. Right as you were talking about having all these paints before you and a big canvas to work on, I rounded the corner and there was a buff looking guy painting the side of his house with a big paint roller. I’m pretty sure it was a sign, possibly one of the three nephites (he was painting the house white, which I’m assuming is the only color a righteous nephite would use). Really happened.

    John – I’m glad you brought up the doctrine of adoption and the MLM scheme. I think adoption could use its own podcast. I like it when the podcast goes deep on this kind of stuff and ties it into the topic. There are a lot of similar topics (like say, multiple baptisms) that are rarely discussed even in DAMU circles, but were important at the time. Great work!

    Mike – can you articulate, briefly, what you believe regarding the idea that God was previously a man? Where did the progression start, if ever? Can you clear up what you were saying in regard to the points being made about our intelligences having never been created? If our intelligences are eternal, and God’s plan is eternal, are there an infinite number of intelligences out there? At some point is all the work done? I am trying to conceptualize your idea of infinite/finite universe and how it lines up with your idea of God, other Gods, and eternity.

  6. scottro Reply

    Tom – great quotes from this one man. I was cracking up.

    Glenn – True story. I listened to this while running today. Right as you were talking about having all these paints before you and a big canvas to work on, I rounded the corner and there was a buff looking guy painting the side of his house with a big paint roller. I’m pretty sure it was a sign, possibly one of the three nephites (he was painting the house white, which I’m assuming is the only color a righteous nephite would use). Really happened.

    John – I’m glad you brought up the doctrine of adoption and the MLM scheme. I think adoption could use its own podcast. I like it when the podcast goes deep on this kind of stuff and ties it into the topic. There are a lot of similar topics (like say, multiple baptisms) that are rarely discussed even in DAMU circles, but were important at the time. Great work!

    Mike – can you articulate, briefly, what you believe regarding the idea that God was previously a man? Where did the progression start, if ever? Can you clear up what you were saying in regard to the points being made about our intelligences having never been created? If our intelligences are eternal, and God’s plan is eternal, are there an infinite number of intelligences out there? At some point is all the work done? I am trying to conceptualize your idea of infinite/finite universe and how it lines up with your idea of God, other Gods, and eternity.

  7. Ryan Reply

    Great show guys. The King Follett Discourse is one of the things that propelled me to leave the church. Is any further proof needed that Smith had left Christianity behind? The whole worldview of the King Follett Discourse is completely antithetical to Christianity. It’s good that you brought up Hinckley’s prevaricating; he just didn’t want to admit to the wide world what his church actually teaches because he knew that it would sound silly.

  8. Ryan Reply

    Great show guys. The King Follett Discourse is one of the things that propelled me to leave the church. Is any further proof needed that Smith had left Christianity behind? The whole worldview of the King Follett Discourse is completely antithetical to Christianity. It’s good that you brought up Hinckley’s prevaricating; he just didn’t want to admit to the wide world what his church actually teaches because he knew that it would sound silly.

  9. Jon Reply

    You guys talked about how fun and exciting it can be to speculate and draw these various doctrines together. In the comic-book world, this is called “ret-conning” and it is indeed a lot of fun. (You see it with Star Trek fans as well… or Buffy fans, or whatever.) You have a huge fictional world filled with its own rules, powers, characters, and history written by multiple authors over a long period of time. There are bound to be continuity errors and it falls upon the fans to retroactively maintain continuity by theorizing solutions to the holes in the story and ensuring everything remains consistent. This often means picking through the vast literature and reinterpreting one or two lines with a slight twist. (“When Han Solo said “parsec” what he meant was…”)

    It is fun… fans write entire books that do nothing but this.

    Also, Utahn affinity for MLM schemes makes a lot more sense now.

  10. Jon Reply

    You guys talked about how fun and exciting it can be to speculate and draw these various doctrines together. In the comic-book world, this is called “ret-conning” and it is indeed a lot of fun. (You see it with Star Trek fans as well… or Buffy fans, or whatever.) You have a huge fictional world filled with its own rules, powers, characters, and history written by multiple authors over a long period of time. There are bound to be continuity errors and it falls upon the fans to retroactively maintain continuity by theorizing solutions to the holes in the story and ensuring everything remains consistent. This often means picking through the vast literature and reinterpreting one or two lines with a slight twist. (“When Han Solo said “parsec” what he meant was…”)

    It is fun… fans write entire books that do nothing but this.

    Also, Utahn affinity for MLM schemes makes a lot more sense now.

  11. Carey Reply

    I’m just finished this podcast and here’s my thoughts:

    I agree with John I totally love the idea that we must progress to become like God, and that without Christianity loses most of its appeal. I don’t think this mitigates the Atonement however but instead puts the oneness on the individual to use the Atonement to achieve Exaltation.

    Although I’m glad the TBM view is representative by Mike to give the debate balance, I always cringe a little when he speaks ill of other churches and faiths.

  12. Carey Reply

    I’m just finished this podcast and here’s my thoughts:

    I agree with John I totally love the idea that we must progress to become like God, and that without Christianity loses most of its appeal. I don’t think this mitigates the Atonement however but instead puts the oneness on the individual to use the Atonement to achieve Exaltation.

    Although I’m glad the TBM view is representative by Mike to give the debate balance, I always cringe a little when he speaks ill of other churches and faiths.

  13. Gail F. Bartholomew Reply

    Mike,

    When you talk about our Mormon concept of God being something lost and now restored it really does not match the historical record. Yehweh, at the time of Moses was seen as a Volcano God. The Pagan gods before Yehweh’s time were always parred Male and Female. The idea being that it took both sexes to create. The God of Abraham rejected this idea, he did not need a woman to create he could do it with his words. Even in the days of David and Salomon the concept of no other Gods before me was not even a monotheistic idea. It was merely Yehweh came first. Worship the others as long as he comes first. In Saloman’s temple there were Pagan Gods just none of the female ones, and none were more prominent than Yehwey. It was not until the Babylonian captivity that the Jews got a since of God that was monotheistic in any way. This God was not physical. This was a God in everything and was everywhere. This is the God that Jews believed in and taught about at the time of Christ. During early Christianity the idea of who God was became more personal, most historians call this a Hellenization of Christianity. Josephs Idea of a Mother in heaven is really a some what pagan one, but also incorporate a lot of Christian ideas. Throughout Mormon history our idea of God has changed and evolved for what seem more like social, political, and cultural reasons than revelation.

    • Randy S Reply

      Gail, you are presenting a history of god through anthropologic, archeologic, and literary analysis. In other words, reality. Mike only sees the world with a very thick pair of Mormon world-view goggles which distort reality even more than beer goggles.

  14. Gail F. Bartholomew Reply

    Mike,

    When you talk about our Mormon concept of God being something lost and now restored it really does not match the historical record. Yehweh, at the time of Moses was seen as a Volcano God. The Pagan gods before Yehweh’s time were always parred Male and Female. The idea being that it took both sexes to create. The God of Abraham rejected this idea, he did not need a woman to create he could do it with his words. Even in the days of David and Salomon the concept of no other Gods before me was not even a monotheistic idea. It was merely Yehweh came first. Worship the others as long as he comes first. In Saloman’s temple there were Pagan Gods just none of the female ones, and none were more prominent than Yehwey. It was not until the Babylonian captivity that the Jews got a since of God that was monotheistic in any way. This God was not physical. This was a God in everything and was everywhere. This is the God that Jews believed in and taught about at the time of Christ. During early Christianity the idea of who God was became more personal, most historians call this a Hellenization of Christianity. Josephs Idea of a Mother in heaven is really a some what pagan one, but also incorporate a lot of Christian ideas. Throughout Mormon history our idea of God has changed and evolved for what seem more like social, political, and cultural reasons than revelation.

    • Randy S Reply

      Gail, you are presenting a history of god through anthropologic, archeologic, and literary analysis. In other words, reality. Mike only sees the world with a very thick pair of Mormon world-view goggles which distort reality even more than beer goggles.

  15. Molskinner Reply

    Hi guys, Just wanted to say really enjoyed this episode. This and the First Vision episodes are my favorites and I thought well balanced and well put together. I would say the doctrine revealed in the King Follet discourse is definitely not gone from mainstream Mormonism. I hear it from time to time. I am in a ward up here in Seattle where we tend to have more academic discussion than a typical ward (maybe we are not mainstream…) I agree this kind of discussion is what makes Mormonism fun to talk about… trying to put the puzzle pieces together with all the ideas Mormonism brings to the table. I don’t know about the diss on Mormonism that we do not do any work in the community. You guys should meet my Relief Society president… Thanks from a new listener.

  16. Molskinner Reply

    Hi guys, Just wanted to say really enjoyed this episode. This and the First Vision episodes are my favorites and I thought well balanced and well put together. I would say the doctrine revealed in the King Follet discourse is definitely not gone from mainstream Mormonism. I hear it from time to time. I am in a ward up here in Seattle where we tend to have more academic discussion than a typical ward (maybe we are not mainstream…) I agree this kind of discussion is what makes Mormonism fun to talk about… trying to put the puzzle pieces together with all the ideas Mormonism brings to the table. I don’t know about the diss on Mormonism that we do not do any work in the community. You guys should meet my Relief Society president… Thanks from a new listener.

  17. Mike Tannehill Reply

    Scottro,
    You said:
    “Mike – can you articulate, briefly, what you believe regarding the idea that God was previously a man? Where did the progression start, if ever? Can you clear up what you were saying in regard to the points being made about our intelligences having never been created? If our intelligences are eternal, and God’s plan is eternal, are there an infinite number of intelligences out there? At some point is all the work done? I am trying to conceptualize your idea of infinite/finite universe and how it lines up with your idea of God, other Gods, and eternity.”

    In regards to God being a man – We know that the Father at some point gained a resurrected body, Beyond that we really dont know anything. We know that Christ is God and that he emulated his Father by being resurrected himself.

    We also know that the Plan of Salvation involves organizing both material and intelligences to bring about the greatest good both are capable of. As Gods move through the universe they organize these intelligences and give them a spiritual body in a similar manner to how our spirits inhabit our physical bodies. In our fallen states we learn what it is to bear the burden of creation and the responsibilities associated with matter.

    I do not believe the work will ever be done. As the hymn “If you could hie to Kolob” states: “Do you think that you could ever,through all eternity,find out the generation where Gods began to be? Or see the grand beginning where space did not extend,or view that last creation where Gods and matter end?”

  18. Mike Tannehill Reply

    Scottro,
    You said:
    “Mike – can you articulate, briefly, what you believe regarding the idea that God was previously a man? Where did the progression start, if ever? Can you clear up what you were saying in regard to the points being made about our intelligences having never been created? If our intelligences are eternal, and God’s plan is eternal, are there an infinite number of intelligences out there? At some point is all the work done? I am trying to conceptualize your idea of infinite/finite universe and how it lines up with your idea of God, other Gods, and eternity.”

    In regards to God being a man – We know that the Father at some point gained a resurrected body, Beyond that we really dont know anything. We know that Christ is God and that he emulated his Father by being resurrected himself.

    We also know that the Plan of Salvation involves organizing both material and intelligences to bring about the greatest good both are capable of. As Gods move through the universe they organize these intelligences and give them a spiritual body in a similar manner to how our spirits inhabit our physical bodies. In our fallen states we learn what it is to bear the burden of creation and the responsibilities associated with matter.

    I do not believe the work will ever be done. As the hymn “If you could hie to Kolob” states: “Do you think that you could ever,through all eternity,find out the generation where Gods began to be? Or see the grand beginning where space did not extend,or view that last creation where Gods and matter end?”

  19. Mr. IT Reply

    Your discussion of Joseph Smith, Jr.’s 1844 hubris reminded me of some of my favorite quotes on the subject. Please indulge me – I always enjoy these:

    In 1843 Charlotte Haven wrote some letters from Nauvoo which contain some candid observations about Joseph Smith:

    “Joseph Smith … is evidently a great egotist and boaster, for he frequently remarked that at every place he stopped going to and from Springfield people crowded around him, and expressed surprise that he was so ‘handsome and good looking’
    (Overland Monthly, December 1890, p.621).

    He talked incessantly about himself, what he had done and could do more than other mortals, and remarked that he was “a giant, physically and mentally.” In fact, he seemed to forget that he was a man…. They say he is very kindhearted, and always ready to give shelter and help to the needy. We may hope so, for a kind heart in this place can always be active.
    (p.623).

    I rushed out with the umbrella to shield Mrs. Smith, the others followed…. Mrs. Smith was pleasant and social, more so than we had ever seen her before…. while her husband is the greatest egotist I ever met.”
    (p.631).

    And, of course, no discussion of Smith’s megalomania would be complete without this gem:

    “No man can learn you more than what I have told you….I know more than all the world put together…”
    (Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, p. 614)

    My name is Mr. IT (well not really) and thank you for letting me share!

  20. Mr. IT Reply

    Your discussion of Joseph Smith, Jr.’s 1844 hubris reminded me of some of my favorite quotes on the subject. Please indulge me – I always enjoy these:

    In 1843 Charlotte Haven wrote some letters from Nauvoo which contain some candid observations about Joseph Smith:

    “Joseph Smith … is evidently a great egotist and boaster, for he frequently remarked that at every place he stopped going to and from Springfield people crowded around him, and expressed surprise that he was so ‘handsome and good looking’
    (Overland Monthly, December 1890, p.621).

    He talked incessantly about himself, what he had done and could do more than other mortals, and remarked that he was “a giant, physically and mentally.” In fact, he seemed to forget that he was a man…. They say he is very kindhearted, and always ready to give shelter and help to the needy. We may hope so, for a kind heart in this place can always be active.
    (p.623).

    I rushed out with the umbrella to shield Mrs. Smith, the others followed…. Mrs. Smith was pleasant and social, more so than we had ever seen her before…. while her husband is the greatest egotist I ever met.”
    (p.631).

    And, of course, no discussion of Smith’s megalomania would be complete without this gem:

    “No man can learn you more than what I have told you….I know more than all the world put together…”
    (Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, p. 614)

    My name is Mr. IT (well not really) and thank you for letting me share!

  21. Brandon Reply

    I found this episode by chance while surfing at work. I listened and I was hooked. It spurred a non-stop binge of reading and learning all I can about church history for 2 weeks now. Thanks for opening my eyes to a larger world. My doubt shelve was crammed full and 2 weeks ago it came crashing down. What a great podcast.

  22. Brandon Reply

    I found this episode by chance while surfing at work. I listened and I was hooked. It spurred a non-stop binge of reading and learning all I can about church history for 2 weeks now. Thanks for opening my eyes to a larger world. My doubt shelve was crammed full and 2 weeks ago it came crashing down. What a great podcast.

  23. Brandi Reply

    I was thrilled that all three of our speakers were women, and their assigned topic was to speak about the women who have influenced their lives for good.

    I stopped believing the church was true more than a year ago. But the ward I’m currently in has kept me coming back week after week anyway. This ward has been the example of the exact opposite of all the things I dislike about the church.

  24. Alan Reply

    I’m a male and really never understood the negative impact of the church’s sexism while growing up. Then I had 4 daughters, while my siblings were having sons. While I don’t think anything malicious was intended, it seems that suddenly all I could see was sexism everywhere. From my mother, it was always “Your nephew just got ordained, or “he just got his Eagle.” Now, it’s “look at him, he got his mission call!’

    Well, dammit, my daughters are every bit as smart, talented, and they’re cuter to boot! Why doesn’t anyone notice?

    • Tierza Askren Reply

      You are so right! I only went in the hopes of hearing my daughter sing with the primary . . . and would you believe, the primary didn’t even sing! On Mother’s Day! I did get a nice bag of chocolates and a potted plant.

  25. Zèle Chyrème Reply

    A logical next step would probably have been for JS to claim to be the Paraclete (advocate/defender/comforter) announced by Jesus in the New Testament. In orthodox Christianity, this figure is identified with the Holy Spirit; but Montanus, Mani, Muhammed, Baha’u’llah, and probably others still, have already identified – or been identified – with it in efforts to legitimate new religious movements claiming some kind of biblical affiliation.

    Funny fact, on that point : the Muslims even ‘replaced’ the meaning of the name Muhammed – extremelly probable translation in Arabic of the Hebrew prophetic title, from the Book of Daniel : “ish-hammudot”, meaning “man of predilection” – so that it could be made to correspond, unto Judeo-Christian and Christian Semites, with the Paraclete. In the Syro-Aramean/Syriac Bible, the Paraclete (i.e. the Greek word “parakletos”) was rendered : PRKLTS (no vowels written). So the Muslims claim, and have done so to my knowledge since the basic institution/formalization of their religion, that Muhammed means “much-praised.” Which while it is philologically erroneous, happens to be translatable in Greek as “periklutos,” and thus we have our PRKLTS again… Man, investigating the praxis of religious engineering is fun. 😀

  26. Zèle Chyrème Reply

    So is JS the god of this world, now?

    And does the LDS Church recognize the apotheosis of Julius Caesar?

    And are the major books of Hermeticism canonical?

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