Episode 81: Mormon Ad Campaign

Glenn and Jim discuss the new Mormon ad campaign with Holly Welker. Holly is a regular writer for the Huffington Post on issues surrounding Mormonism.

Holly’s Article on the Ad Campaign
Holly’s Article about the Parade

Mormon Ad Campaign
Jeff Decker Ad
Robert the ex-Mormon
Rock Ad:

Episode 81

74 comments on “Episode 81: Mormon Ad Campaign”

  1. Urban Koda Reply

    I suspect I’m just way to eager to listen, but it looks like there may be an issue with the file…
    Looking forward to hearing it though!

  2. Urban Koda Reply

    I suspect I’m just way to eager to listen, but it looks like there may be an issue with the file…
    Looking forward to hearing it though!

  3. Kris Reply

    The ad campaign shows a general disconnect with reality. When you have to go out of your way to say how normal you are, what people hear is how strange you are.

    • Swearing Elder Reply

      Where’s the “Like” button for Kris’s comment?!

      Great episode. I found the campaign odd and disingenuous. How ’bout: Just be good people and stop drawing attention to yourself?

      BTW, I want one of those cross-stitches!!!

  4. Kris Reply

    The ad campaign shows a general disconnect with reality. When you have to go out of your way to say how normal you are, what people hear is how strange you are.

    • Swearing Elder Reply

      Where’s the “Like” button for Kris’s comment?!

      Great episode. I found the campaign odd and disingenuous. How ’bout: Just be good people and stop drawing attention to yourself?

      BTW, I want one of those cross-stitches!!!

  5. badseed Reply

    I personally found the campaign deceptive in that if there is diversity in the Church— and personally I don’t see a lot where I live in Utah— it is because members are individuals/diverse in spite of their religion, not because of it. For better or worse the LDS Church tells it’s members what to think/believe, what to eat, what to where and what hey should spend their time doing. And if you’ve spent anytime in the Church you know it shows. I found Kim Farrah’s comment about the Church being a ‘big tent’ laughable. Conformity is prized and rewarded in Mormonism.

    I think John Dehlin’s comment on ABC— that the ads were in some ways confusing to members— is right on as well. A mother’s place isn’t in the kitchen? Really? Isn’t that what women in Church have and are still being taught? Sure, some LDS women decide to not be SAHM’s but if they do they going against the prophets.

    Over all I found a disconnect between LDS teachings and what these people talked about— what they loved and had passion for. Art Mom says she thinks a woman’s place is not in the kitchen (vs roles teachings). Photographer dude shoots semi nude women (modest is hottest). Motorcycle guy has facial hair and spends a lot of time on motorcycles and sculpting— when does he do temple work, home teaching and callings (dedicate your time, talents, all that you have)???

    It’s cynical but I can’t help but think that the Church only holds these people up as ‘mormons’ because they have PR value— while at Church they would be viewed as less worthy or faithful because of what they do or believe. Saying that people like these are marginalized in Mormonism may be too harsh but I feel like they are being trotted out like some sort of freak show novelty because the Church needs to seem normal. It bugs me a little. Can you tell? =)

    In the end though it doesn’t really matter whether the ads are an accurate representation of the Church and/or what it teaches. As Holly says it in now way explains or makes up for the Prop 8 mess. In fact considering the way that most members heeded the call to support the measure w/o question makes one really think there is no diversity in the Church. Some Mormons ride motorcycles and skateboards, are artists and photographers— but nearly all active LDS are obedient when the prophet speaks. Its what Mormons do.

    So talk about your hobbies and call yourself normal all you want— but that’s the real reason the rest of the world thinks Mormons are weird and scary.

    Good podcast. Thanks all.

    • Richard of Norway Reply

      Excellent comment badseed. I’d click “like” but there’s no such button.

      I love the mock-ads linked above. The “rock” one and the ex-mormon one. Effing awesome!

  6. badseed Reply

    I personally found the campaign deceptive in that if there is diversity in the Church— and personally I don’t see a lot where I live in Utah— it is because members are individuals/diverse in spite of their religion, not because of it. For better or worse the LDS Church tells it’s members what to think/believe, what to eat, what to where and what hey should spend their time doing. And if you’ve spent anytime in the Church you know it shows. I found Kim Farrah’s comment about the Church being a ‘big tent’ laughable. Conformity is prized and rewarded in Mormonism.

    I think John Dehlin’s comment on ABC— that the ads were in some ways confusing to members— is right on as well. A mother’s place isn’t in the kitchen? Really? Isn’t that what women in Church have and are still being taught? Sure, some LDS women decide to not be SAHM’s but if they do they going against the prophets.

    Over all I found a disconnect between LDS teachings and what these people talked about— what they loved and had passion for. Art Mom says she thinks a woman’s place is not in the kitchen (vs roles teachings). Photographer dude shoots semi nude women (modest is hottest). Motorcycle guy has facial hair and spends a lot of time on motorcycles and sculpting— when does he do temple work, home teaching and callings (dedicate your time, talents, all that you have)???

    It’s cynical but I can’t help but think that the Church only holds these people up as ‘mormons’ because they have PR value— while at Church they would be viewed as less worthy or faithful because of what they do or believe. Saying that people like these are marginalized in Mormonism may be too harsh but I feel like they are being trotted out like some sort of freak show novelty because the Church needs to seem normal. It bugs me a little. Can you tell? =)

    In the end though it doesn’t really matter whether the ads are an accurate representation of the Church and/or what it teaches. As Holly says it in now way explains or makes up for the Prop 8 mess. In fact considering the way that most members heeded the call to support the measure w/o question makes one really think there is no diversity in the Church. Some Mormons ride motorcycles and skateboards, are artists and photographers— but nearly all active LDS are obedient when the prophet speaks. Its what Mormons do.

    So talk about your hobbies and call yourself normal all you want— but that’s the real reason the rest of the world thinks Mormons are weird and scary.

    Good podcast. Thanks all.

    • Richard of Norway Reply

      Excellent comment badseed. I’d click “like” but there’s no such button.

      I love the mock-ads linked above. The “rock” one and the ex-mormon one. Effing awesome!

  7. Gifted Fish Reply

    I’m not a fan of the new ad campaign, but I found this podcast to be extremely difficult to listen to. I ended up turning it off halfway through with all the ranting and raving about “civil rights” abuses committed by the church. The church has made many mistakes, and I feel as much as anyone that the ban on blacks was a racist policy and I don’t have much passion for the gay marriage issue one way or the other, but why does a generic ad campaign have to solve all these issues?

    Seemed like the commentators believed the church can’t do any marketing unless it first repents of past transgressions. That makes no sense.

    Where I do think the ad campaign fails is in its attempt to get away from being a “peculiar people” and trying to tell everyone that “we’re just normal people like you.” Watering down the difference the church makes in people’s lives isn’t a message that sells. The church in general and Utah in particular has a bit of an inferiority complex, but it shouldn’t try to gain mass acceptance in this way.

    • Eric Reply

      I’m not a fan of this ad campaign either but I don’t believe that this campaign or any other campaign can solve all of the past wrongs. I also doubt this campaign is boiler plate. There isn’t some kind of service out there for ad agencies to go to, to get boiler plate campaigns. If the campaign seems boiler plate it‘s probably because the church chose the vanilla concept that they were offered. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ad agency offered some other ideas that had a little edginess to them but the church said no thanks.

      I feel like it would have been a better podcast if you could have gotten some more voices in on the discussion. Maybe someone from advertising. Glenn you know someone up in Oregon that works in an ad agency, don’t you?

      And just one more thought, no ad campaign is ever created to solve all problems. If you can evoke some kind of emotion and create some memorability you’ve done a good job. And obviously some good is coming from this campaign because people are talking about it.

      • Glenn Reply

        You mean a certain Emmy award winning voice-your-voice-wishes-your-ears-had-been-listening-to Mad Man? Yes, Eric, I think I do. And he and I have talked about some possible future collaborations, but this one was meant to provide Holly another outlet to express her thoughts on the ad campaign. I did have one other special guest lined up, but it just didn’t work out. And I only let Jim come on because I felt sorry for him. As should we all. 😉

        And Gifted Fish — I totally get where you are coming from, and I think your insights are very nearly brilliant (and if you listen to the second half of the podcast you’ll understand what I mean).

        • Gifted Fish Reply

          You’ve convinced me – I’ll listen to the second half with fresh ears and try to get past the venting.

  8. Gifted Fish Reply

    I’m not a fan of the new ad campaign, but I found this podcast to be extremely difficult to listen to. I ended up turning it off halfway through with all the ranting and raving about “civil rights” abuses committed by the church. The church has made many mistakes, and I feel as much as anyone that the ban on blacks was a racist policy and I don’t have much passion for the gay marriage issue one way or the other, but why does a generic ad campaign have to solve all these issues?

    Seemed like the commentators believed the church can’t do any marketing unless it first repents of past transgressions. That makes no sense.

    Where I do think the ad campaign fails is in its attempt to get away from being a “peculiar people” and trying to tell everyone that “we’re just normal people like you.” Watering down the difference the church makes in people’s lives isn’t a message that sells. The church in general and Utah in particular has a bit of an inferiority complex, but it shouldn’t try to gain mass acceptance in this way.

    • Eric Reply

      I’m not a fan of this ad campaign either but I don’t believe that this campaign or any other campaign can solve all of the past wrongs. I also doubt this campaign is boiler plate. There isn’t some kind of service out there for ad agencies to go to, to get boiler plate campaigns. If the campaign seems boiler plate it‘s probably because the church chose the vanilla concept that they were offered. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ad agency offered some other ideas that had a little edginess to them but the church said no thanks.

      I feel like it would have been a better podcast if you could have gotten some more voices in on the discussion. Maybe someone from advertising. Glenn you know someone up in Oregon that works in an ad agency, don’t you?

      And just one more thought, no ad campaign is ever created to solve all problems. If you can evoke some kind of emotion and create some memorability you’ve done a good job. And obviously some good is coming from this campaign because people are talking about it.

      • Glenn Reply

        You mean a certain Emmy award winning voice-your-voice-wishes-your-ears-had-been-listening-to Mad Man? Yes, Eric, I think I do. And he and I have talked about some possible future collaborations, but this one was meant to provide Holly another outlet to express her thoughts on the ad campaign. I did have one other special guest lined up, but it just didn’t work out. And I only let Jim come on because I felt sorry for him. As should we all. 😉

        And Gifted Fish — I totally get where you are coming from, and I think your insights are very nearly brilliant (and if you listen to the second half of the podcast you’ll understand what I mean).

        • Gifted Fish Reply

          You’ve convinced me – I’ll listen to the second half with fresh ears and try to get past the venting.

    • Happy Lost Sheep Reply

      Blasphemy!

      I agree actually. It sure beats the door to door salesman / missionary approach.

      The only disappointment for me is not in what the church is doing here, but rather what it’s not doing. If the leadership would man up and address the issues that make Mormonism so unattractive to 98% of the population they wouldn’t have to worry about massive PR efforts like this.

    • Happy Lost Sheep Reply

      Blasphemy!

      I agree actually. It sure beats the door to door salesman / missionary approach.

      The only disappointment for me is not in what the church is doing here, but rather what it’s not doing. If the leadership would man up and address the issues that make Mormonism so unattractive to 98% of the population they wouldn’t have to worry about massive PR efforts like this.

  9. Brian Reply

    I was kind of surprised at the overall level of aggression towards the church in the podcast.

    What are the alternative PR ads that people would recommend? The “we are evil weird bastards that have done horrible things in the past” approach? It seems like that would not meet with much success. Of course the church will try to put it’s best foot forward. We all do. If we are dating someone, what do we lead off with, the fact that we like building things and reading, or the fact that we have heinous gas?

    I think this is a great approach. It would be even better if we could stop being so “right” all the time.

    Have a good one

    • Swearing Elder Reply

      Alternative?

      How about nothing? How about not pushing Mormonism on the world 24/7?

      Which are the only churches with ads like this? Scientologists and Mormons, as far I can tell.

      Just stop sounding your trumpet and just do your thing. That would be the best PR.

      • Brian Reply

        I agree with the nothing idea. On the other hand, I hope this is a more of a individualistic bent. It would be nice if the church could incorporate this idea a little into it’s culture.

        By the way, I agree with the “don’t sound your trumpet, do your thing” idea.

        My wife watches the show Better off Ted sometimes. The company raises some money for charity, and then they donate 5% of the money raised. The other 95% they use to publicize their charity work.

        I just hope this ad campaign is a start in supporting this idea of individualism more.

        The whole tone of the podcast just did not hit me right

        • Richard of Norway Reply

          The whole tone of the podcast just did not hit me right

          Hmm. I didn’t get that vibe my first time listening, but since I respect your opinion I will have to listen to it again.

    • badseed Reply

      Personally, I always lead off with the heinous gas…but that’s just me.

      I understand your point and admit I was probably too harsh in my comments. But its dishonest to present these people as the face of Mormonism when these people would never be used in a church video for members depicting Mormonism. I find a disconnect between the implied message of the ads— that LDS are diverse think for themselves individuals— and things like Elder Bednar’s talk saying how important it is to follow the prophet’s direction on how many piercings to have.

      The message of the ads certainly is in the Church’s best interest and they have every right to push it. I just find it contradictory and feel the need to call that out.

      I would actually love it if the ads were aspirational as John D. mentioned. If LDS see the ads feel they’ve been given permission to be who they themselves would like to be, that’s great. I just really doubt that’s what the Brethren are promoting. Perhaps it’s the mountain of internal messages telling members to obey and keep their passions in the bounds set by God (ie the leadership)— that makes me think that.

  10. Brian Reply

    I was kind of surprised at the overall level of aggression towards the church in the podcast.

    What are the alternative PR ads that people would recommend? The “we are evil weird bastards that have done horrible things in the past” approach? It seems like that would not meet with much success. Of course the church will try to put it’s best foot forward. We all do. If we are dating someone, what do we lead off with, the fact that we like building things and reading, or the fact that we have heinous gas?

    I think this is a great approach. It would be even better if we could stop being so “right” all the time.

    Have a good one

    • Swearing Elder Reply

      Alternative?

      How about nothing? How about not pushing Mormonism on the world 24/7?

      Which are the only churches with ads like this? Scientologists and Mormons, as far I can tell.

      Just stop sounding your trumpet and just do your thing. That would be the best PR.

      • Brian Reply

        I agree with the nothing idea. On the other hand, I hope this is a more of a individualistic bent. It would be nice if the church could incorporate this idea a little into it’s culture.

        By the way, I agree with the “don’t sound your trumpet, do your thing” idea.

        My wife watches the show Better off Ted sometimes. The company raises some money for charity, and then they donate 5% of the money raised. The other 95% they use to publicize their charity work.

        I just hope this ad campaign is a start in supporting this idea of individualism more.

        The whole tone of the podcast just did not hit me right

        • Richard of Norway Reply

          The whole tone of the podcast just did not hit me right

          Hmm. I didn’t get that vibe my first time listening, but since I respect your opinion I will have to listen to it again.

    • badseed Reply

      Personally, I always lead off with the heinous gas…but that’s just me.

      I understand your point and admit I was probably too harsh in my comments. But its dishonest to present these people as the face of Mormonism when these people would never be used in a church video for members depicting Mormonism. I find a disconnect between the implied message of the ads— that LDS are diverse think for themselves individuals— and things like Elder Bednar’s talk saying how important it is to follow the prophet’s direction on how many piercings to have.

      The message of the ads certainly is in the Church’s best interest and they have every right to push it. I just find it contradictory and feel the need to call that out.

      I would actually love it if the ads were aspirational as John D. mentioned. If LDS see the ads feel they’ve been given permission to be who they themselves would like to be, that’s great. I just really doubt that’s what the Brethren are promoting. Perhaps it’s the mountain of internal messages telling members to obey and keep their passions in the bounds set by God (ie the leadership)— that makes me think that.

  11. Jason Reply

    A lot of great points were made in this podcast, but I’m surprised that there was little mention of how the PR campaign essentially invalidates the many women who gave up careers in order to follow the prophet. These moms are being thrown under the bus in the sense that they are NOT the type of people the church wants to put upfront to non-members. Rather, it is the women who have disobeyed the words of a prophet by having careers that are getting the media spotlight and, therefore, tacit approval.

    I was a bit taken aback by the overall tone of this podcast, and I consider myself a strong skeptic of the Church. I felt like the female guest was particularly antagonistic to the Church in a way that came off as venting and having an axe to grind. I suppose this podcast will satisfy the anti-base of MormonExpression, but I don’t think it will satisfy those looking for a fair-minded discussion.

  12. Jason Reply

    A lot of great points were made in this podcast, but I’m surprised that there was little mention of how the PR campaign essentially invalidates the many women who gave up careers in order to follow the prophet. These moms are being thrown under the bus in the sense that they are NOT the type of people the church wants to put upfront to non-members. Rather, it is the women who have disobeyed the words of a prophet by having careers that are getting the media spotlight and, therefore, tacit approval.

    I was a bit taken aback by the overall tone of this podcast, and I consider myself a strong skeptic of the Church. I felt like the female guest was particularly antagonistic to the Church in a way that came off as venting and having an axe to grind. I suppose this podcast will satisfy the anti-base of MormonExpression, but I don’t think it will satisfy those looking for a fair-minded discussion.

  13. Gail F. Bartholomew Reply

    As always I enjoyed this pod cast. Although I believe the panelists in this case have made some assumptions which are misguided in some critical ways.

    I agree that this add campaign was aimed at none-members. I also believe it was part of the greater battle like prop 8. I think this is about gaining political capital. My issue with the assumptions of the panelists is that when you assume that it will be ineffective because it would not sway someone like yourself really misses the point, and makes very incorrect assumptions about who the target announced is. Remember everyone out of the church did not vote for Obama and are not member of PFLAG. Remember Fox News is the most popular news network. Remember George W. is still revered by part of the population. Remember Mormons may have given the vast majority in the prop 8 campaign, but there actually were many other church’s in the coalition that are just as homophobic.

  14. Gail F. Bartholomew Reply

    As always I enjoyed this pod cast. Although I believe the panelists in this case have made some assumptions which are misguided in some critical ways.

    I agree that this add campaign was aimed at none-members. I also believe it was part of the greater battle like prop 8. I think this is about gaining political capital. My issue with the assumptions of the panelists is that when you assume that it will be ineffective because it would not sway someone like yourself really misses the point, and makes very incorrect assumptions about who the target announced is. Remember everyone out of the church did not vote for Obama and are not member of PFLAG. Remember Fox News is the most popular news network. Remember George W. is still revered by part of the population. Remember Mormons may have given the vast majority in the prop 8 campaign, but there actually were many other church’s in the coalition that are just as homophobic.

  15. Gail F. Bartholomew Reply

    As always I enjoyed this pod cast. Although I believe the panelists in this case have made some assumptions which are misguided in some critical ways.

    I agree that this add campaign was aimed at non-members. I also believe it was part of the greater battle like prop 8. I think this is about gaining political capital. My issue with the assumptions of the panelists is that when you assume that it will be ineffective because it would not sway someone like yourself really misses the point, and makes very incorrect assumptions about who the target audience is. Remember everyone out of the church did not vote for Obama and are not members of PFLAG. Remember Fox News is the most popular news network. Remember George W. is still revered by part of the population. Remember Mormons may have given the vast majority in the prop 8 campaign, but there actually were many other church’s in the coalition that are just as homophobic. The problem for the church is most of the members of these other church’s think Mormonism is a cult. Most of the homophobes that watch Fox think Mormons do not follow the bible and are wacko.

    This is one of the big problems for Mit. There are plenty of nut jobs that supported Bush that would happy to line up behind Mit, but he is a member of a cult.

    I think what the panelists are missing is that this add campaign can be very effective with a large segment of the population that the church would like more political influence with and currently has none.

  16. Gail F. Bartholomew Reply

    As always I enjoyed this pod cast. Although I believe the panelists in this case have made some assumptions which are misguided in some critical ways.

    I agree that this add campaign was aimed at non-members. I also believe it was part of the greater battle like prop 8. I think this is about gaining political capital. My issue with the assumptions of the panelists is that when you assume that it will be ineffective because it would not sway someone like yourself really misses the point, and makes very incorrect assumptions about who the target audience is. Remember everyone out of the church did not vote for Obama and are not members of PFLAG. Remember Fox News is the most popular news network. Remember George W. is still revered by part of the population. Remember Mormons may have given the vast majority in the prop 8 campaign, but there actually were many other church’s in the coalition that are just as homophobic. The problem for the church is most of the members of these other church’s think Mormonism is a cult. Most of the homophobes that watch Fox think Mormons do not follow the bible and are wacko.

    This is one of the big problems for Mit. There are plenty of nut jobs that supported Bush that would happy to line up behind Mit, but he is a member of a cult.

    I think what the panelists are missing is that this add campaign can be very effective with a large segment of the population that the church would like more political influence with and currently has none.

  17. gazelem Reply

    Wow guys! Drink a little decaf! This was a seriously antagonistic rant-filled podcast, but then what else should I have expected from a Huffington Post editorialist!?!

    I for one am filled with wishful thinking that the ad campaign is at least a tacit endorsement of choosing to be an individual as a Mormon. I hope that the next generation internalizes this message…but John Dehlin is right, this is a confusing message compared to the fact that obedience and conformity is typically talked about over the pulpit at General Conference!

    • Richard of Norway Reply

      Go back to the MAD boards. (Just kidding!) 🙂

      Although I agree Holly was antagonistic (I love her name! I have a sister with that name.), I thought she made some good points and was intelligent and even mostly spot on in her criticisms.

      Jim was surprisingly balanced, even standing up for the church a couple times.

      And Glenn was his usual open-minded, balanced friendly self.

      Why are so many listeners apparently offended by the tone on this one? Who exactly should be drinking the decaf again?

      I guess it should have been kinder towards the church but this is Mormon Expression – where all voices are heard, not just the positive ones.

  18. gazelem Reply

    Wow guys! Drink a little decaf! This was a seriously antagonistic rant-filled podcast, but then what else should I have expected from a Huffington Post editorialist!?!

    I for one am filled with wishful thinking that the ad campaign is at least a tacit endorsement of choosing to be an individual as a Mormon. I hope that the next generation internalizes this message…but John Dehlin is right, this is a confusing message compared to the fact that obedience and conformity is typically talked about over the pulpit at General Conference!

    • Richard of Norway Reply

      Go back to the MAD boards. (Just kidding!) 🙂

      Although I agree Holly was antagonistic (I love her name! I have a sister with that name.), I thought she made some good points and was intelligent and even mostly spot on in her criticisms.

      Jim was surprisingly balanced, even standing up for the church a couple times.

      And Glenn was his usual open-minded, balanced friendly self.

      Why are so many listeners apparently offended by the tone on this one? Who exactly should be drinking the decaf again?

      I guess it should have been kinder towards the church but this is Mormon Expression – where all voices are heard, not just the positive ones.

  19. Glenn Reply

    OK OK OK…. I have lashed my naked back with flagellants (not to be confused with flatulence) for each mention here of how negeative the tone was on the podcast. I got the message, and yes, I agree, it failed to highlight all the multitudenalistic positive spins the ads attempt to place on what it means to be a Mormon. Or something. Ouch — there it goes again.

  20. Glenn Reply

    OK OK OK…. I have lashed my naked back with flagellants (not to be confused with flatulence) for each mention here of how negeative the tone was on the podcast. I got the message, and yes, I agree, it failed to highlight all the multitudenalistic positive spins the ads attempt to place on what it means to be a Mormon. Or something. Ouch — there it goes again.

  21. Jim Reply

    I was a bit apprehensive about the release of this one, as the vibe I got was that it had its fair share of negativity. That being said, I have no regrets concerning the tone.

    Let me clarify what I meant by Boilerplate. The message was a standard method of pitching mormons as hip, cool and “with it”. I thought like I was watching a Gatorade advert.

    So for you mormons, go drink your Brawndo. Be an empowered working mother. Get out the skateboard and the surfboard because Mormonism is going hipster…at least until the marketing plan changes.

  22. Jim Reply

    I was a bit apprehensive about the release of this one, as the vibe I got was that it had its fair share of negativity. That being said, I have no regrets concerning the tone.

    Let me clarify what I meant by Boilerplate. The message was a standard method of pitching mormons as hip, cool and “with it”. I thought like I was watching a Gatorade advert.

    So for you mormons, go drink your Brawndo. Be an empowered working mother. Get out the skateboard and the surfboard because Mormonism is going hipster…at least until the marketing plan changes.

  23. Richard of Norway Reply

    After my second listen, I can understand how some might be offended by the tone. But that is only from the 15 minute mark to about 32 minutes. Holly does go off on a bit of a rant about Mormonism, church leaders, her mission, etc.
    But in general, I think you guys did a terrific job and I do agree with most points that were made.

    At the same time, I think the ad campaign is a smart move for the church and I like the ones I have seen. I think they will probably be effective – for some people. The people who will not be affected by these ads (90% of the population?) are already firmly established against Mormonism, so no kind of ad campaign would attract those people.

    The one thing that might have helped this podcast (at least appeased the complainers here) would have been for John Larsen to take helm, or at least to include one person who was very positive towards the ads. That would have helped the balance a bit.

    However, this podcast is promoted as being a kind of interview with Holly regarding her article, so why should we have expected anything but what we got?

    Bottom line: Quit complaining you freaking wimps! :p

  24. Richard of Norway Reply

    After my second listen, I can understand how some might be offended by the tone. But that is only from the 15 minute mark to about 32 minutes. Holly does go off on a bit of a rant about Mormonism, church leaders, her mission, etc.
    But in general, I think you guys did a terrific job and I do agree with most points that were made.

    At the same time, I think the ad campaign is a smart move for the church and I like the ones I have seen. I think they will probably be effective – for some people. The people who will not be affected by these ads (90% of the population?) are already firmly established against Mormonism, so no kind of ad campaign would attract those people.

    The one thing that might have helped this podcast (at least appeased the complainers here) would have been for John Larsen to take helm, or at least to include one person who was very positive towards the ads. That would have helped the balance a bit.

    However, this podcast is promoted as being a kind of interview with Holly regarding her article, so why should we have expected anything but what we got?

    Bottom line: Quit complaining you freaking wimps! :p

  25. Mike Tannehill Reply

    First let me say to Glenn and Jim.. you guys really need to see New York Doll. I saw it ages ago when it was on pay per view and it was excellent.

    Second…I know that the rule here is not to crap where you eat, but this Holly Welker woman was ridiculous. I’ll refrain from a long diatribe and be as kind as I can be in saying that she was immature and childish and leave it at that.

    The church is sexist? We teach that women can become Gods, that they are the main guardians in ensuring Gods children arrive into this world into a good home, that while men may perform ordinances women provide an enviorment for the Holy Ghost to seal that ordinance.

    The church is racist? Was Christ racist when he refused to teach Gentiles during his earthly ministry? Perhaps we just have a fuller scope of how the Abrahamic Covenant, and the priesthood that confers it, is distributed.

    The Church is Homophobic? The term phobia implies fear, the church does not fear homosexuals, it finds the sinful nature of that lifestyle disgusting and damaging. A short study of the doctrines of the church will be more than enough to explain how homosexuality flows in a vastly divergent path from the plan of salvation.

    This campaign may be seen as ambiguous and fluffy, but thats just the current one. The previous one was more meaty and doctrinal, as the one next year might be.

  26. Mike Tannehill Reply

    First let me say to Glenn and Jim.. you guys really need to see New York Doll. I saw it ages ago when it was on pay per view and it was excellent.

    Second…I know that the rule here is not to crap where you eat, but this Holly Welker woman was ridiculous. I’ll refrain from a long diatribe and be as kind as I can be in saying that she was immature and childish and leave it at that.

    The church is sexist? We teach that women can become Gods, that they are the main guardians in ensuring Gods children arrive into this world into a good home, that while men may perform ordinances women provide an enviorment for the Holy Ghost to seal that ordinance.

    The church is racist? Was Christ racist when he refused to teach Gentiles during his earthly ministry? Perhaps we just have a fuller scope of how the Abrahamic Covenant, and the priesthood that confers it, is distributed.

    The Church is Homophobic? The term phobia implies fear, the church does not fear homosexuals, it finds the sinful nature of that lifestyle disgusting and damaging. A short study of the doctrines of the church will be more than enough to explain how homosexuality flows in a vastly divergent path from the plan of salvation.

    This campaign may be seen as ambiguous and fluffy, but thats just the current one. The previous one was more meaty and doctrinal, as the one next year might be.

  27. reed russell Reply

    I’m a big fan of the show, but this particular episode (aside from some witty comments from Holly) was one of your lamer – almost desperate – episodes.

    It only takes five minutes to say “damage control,” “I’m way smarter than the church,” “Mitt Romney,” yada yada – but the balance quickly turned into presentations I’ve heard at the ExMo Conferences.

    Good points were made – but a tad tedious given the length of the show.

  28. reed russell Reply

    I’m a big fan of the show, but this particular episode (aside from some witty comments from Holly) was one of your lamer – almost desperate – episodes.

    It only takes five minutes to say “damage control,” “I’m way smarter than the church,” “Mitt Romney,” yada yada – but the balance quickly turned into presentations I’ve heard at the ExMo Conferences.

    Good points were made – but a tad tedious given the length of the show.

  29. Grindael Reply

    A lot of Mormon this particular mindset came from Joseph Smith. I always found this particular entry from Wilford Woodruff’s Journal fascinating:

    November 7, 1841: Sunday
    I first called upon Bro. Joseph with some of the Twelve from thence to B. Young
    from thence to the meeting ground near the Temple where I found many hundreds
    of saints. Elder Wm. Clark preached about two hours when Bro. Joseph arose and
    reproved him as pharisaical and hypocritical and not edifying the people. Bro.
    Joseph then delivered unto us an edifying address showing us what temperance,
    faith, virtue, charity and truth was. He also said if we did not accuse one
    another. God would not accuse us and if we had no accuser we should enter
    heaven. He would take us there as his backload. If we would not accuse him, he
    would not accuse us and if we would throw a cloak of charity over his sins, he
    would over ours, for charity covered a multitude of sins and WHAT MANY PEOPLE CALLED SIN WAS NOT SIN, and he did many things to break down superstition and
    he would break it down. He spoke of the curse of Ham for laughing at Noah while
    in his wine, but doing him [no] harm. After this meeting closed, I met
    with the Twelve and High Priest Quorum. The was brought up. B. Young says
    shall I break the word of wisdom if I go home and drink a cup of
    tea? No wisdom is justified of her children; the subject was
    discussed in an interesting manner. All concluded that it was
    wisdom to deal with all such matters according to the wisdom which God
    gave, that a forced abstinence was not making us free but we should be under bondage with a yoke upon our necks. 

  30. True Order of Hair Reply

    Very insightful post and comments.

    In Mormon Stories 150 (and maybe in his book “The Book of Mammon”, which I haven’t read yet), Daymon Smith talks about the extent to which deception, coded language, and disingenuous denial were used in the attempts to protect polygamy. And anyone can read Wilford Woodruff’s remarkable claim of, essentially, “What? Polygamy? Us?” in OD 1, or the Reed Smoot Hearing transcripts in which Joseph F. Smith stated (maybe honestly?) that he had never received revelation.

    There is also John Taylor’s published speech during his 1850 mission to France, in which he denies that LdS practices polygamy, and somehow neglects to mention his wives back in the States. For missionaries who took more wives during their missions, things like that had to lead to some awkward conversations during the return trip to Nauvoo or SLC. 

    Daymon Smith even cites some late 19th century letters in which Mormon leaders worry whether the Church was raising a generation of skilled and practiced liars.

    Every church has done evil, and most have done lots of evil. As Screwtape wrote to Wormwood, “We never tempt so successfully as on the steps of the altar.” Or something like that.

    But Mormonism does seem to have a deeply ingrained tendency toward lying or, maybe more accurately, toward not being too serious about acknowledging the truth if it fails to be faith-promoting. I think it’s rooted in at least two of Mormonism’s unusual characteristics.

    The first is its emphasis on being rewarded by God not for what we believe or what we become, but for what we do. I don’t want to drag out the old faith vs. works dichotomy, but Mormonism undoubtedly puts a very strong emphasis on orthopraxy rather than orthodoxy. For example, consider Hugh Nibley’s comment that a good Mormon works at the welfar farm on Saturday and goes to sacrament meeting on Sunday, but can believe whatever he wants. Or the fact that so much of what Mormons do (with the best of intentions) for non-Mormons consists of things like proxy baptisms and proxy endowments — things that seem of very little practical benefit to a non-Mormon. Well, a live one, anyhow. 

    Therefore, anything that might encourage good works is good or. as the BoM says, “is of Christ.” Hence the acceptance of pious frauds.

    The second characteristic of Mormonism that tends to encourage deception is its belief in direct revelation to a living prophet. If the prophet is ever wrong, then the foundation of the Church comes apart. Therefore the prophet must never be wrong, or if he is, it must be rationaized or even blatantly denied.

    And please, don’t anyone respond that Mormons believe prophets can be fallible. That’s really just an attempt to redefine the word “prophet.”

    Also, please don’t respond by quoting the thirteenth Article of Faith. If you ask a liar whether he believes in being truthful, you’ll get the same answer as you would from an honest person.

    I hope I didn’t offend too many people.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      Thank you for your incredible insight, it’s very much appreciated. You compliment me for the blog but, frankly, I feel humbled since your post was so rich and content filled! 

      And ironically, I had just loaded Mormon Stories 149-152 onto my MP3 player last night – I’ve been itching to listen to them since I discovered an old Rock Waterman blog made me aware of the book and interviews a while back.  

      Here’s a link to the Mormon Stories page for anyone who’s interested: http://mormonstories.org/?p=980

      And here’s that Rock Waterman blog that piqued my interest in the book: http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-corporatism-has-undermined-and.html

      And, frankly, I don’t think that you’ve offended too many – this is a topic that seems to be one of those “dirty little secrets” that’s known about but seldom talked about openly in Mormon Culture. Perhaps I’m wrong – and I hope that I am, especially on the latter. 

  31. Guest Reply

    It is funny that all these people try to fight a church that is growing faster than their church is. And they have no idea that they are going to lose.

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