Nov 16, 2011
Glenn confesses his sins and shares his experiences as a Mormon.
Podcast: Play in new window
By Heather C.
maybe this if for the original mormon expression but i would like to see in depth 5 part series on mormon cosmology in response to yale prof bloom
I’m sure the Professor Bloom is way smarter than me, but his writing has always struck me as being very disjointed, non-linear, and full of unsubstantiated assumptions. He may be the non-Mormon world’s answer to Hugh Nibley.
I apologize for the spotty audio quality on this one guys. We had a few technical complications.
Deeper into the mind of Glenn…terrifying? Nope, a great episode. Thanks guys.
I went looking for the Lost Tribes panel discussion and the after-discussion and though there’s a link for it, the download goes to Episode 48, the Mormon Humor one. Please fix!
Gotta say I love the photos used for this podcast. Glenn, link us to a larger version of that mission photo. Funny! And I love the Joseph Smith head on your (presumably) ex-wife.
One that shocked me when I started this was to see that it was only to last an hour and a half! SHOCK! Thought Glenn could go on for hours… Or is this one of those A, B, C… podcasts?
Nope. Not the ex-wife. The kid sister, Melissa, who thought she had a Chris Farley smile in that photo. (She’s nuts, by the way. She looks adorable.)
I agree, Glenn. She’s super cute in that picture.
AWESOME! Thanks to much. That missionary photo kinda reminds me of Alex in A Clockwork Orange.
EdIt: Aw shit. I replied to the wrong comment. Oh well.
Wonderful podcast. I really enjoyed it.
It was kind of a nice change to have less discussion about masturbation. And to learn that the Teen Elect program teaches which hand to use.
A couple of questions: What’s with the tattered shirt in Glenn’s missionary photo? And what’s the significance of Glenn’s avatar? The Moron-I Ching?
Which hand to use when eating soup, and how to properly bring the spoon up to your lips. You don’t want to grip it and bring it in like a shovel. You want to daintily sip and roll it away. Or something like that.
The tattered shirt was a gag photo I took on my mission. I ripped up the shirt especially for it to represent how I was feeling about being on the front lines of the Lord’s Army.
The avatar is my own personal tribute to Lost. It is not the Moron-I Ching. It is Dharmoni.
I enjoyed listening to your interview on ME voices. A couple of comments.
- I’ve sent John Larsen big long emails before and gotten no, or little response. Glad you pointed it out that that’s typical. I’m sure he gets all sorts of random people sending him email. Honestly I thought I was getting on his nerves or something.
- Beard card. Awesome. My friend, who just moved out of the same city as you, would just print them up on business cards and passed them out. ”Hey man, I got you a beard card. Here you go.”
- Your descriptions of the mental gymnastics, the things you come up with to explain stuff. I’m thinking of your theory on ‘What has been done on other worlds’. I’ve got all sorts of those things. Can totally relate.
You and Glenn should do a podcast (perhaps with Mike, too) on the “deep doctrine” dear to High Priests.
Maybe…. but there is a reason High Priests sleep through that third hour on Sunday.
- Just because it is typical doesn’t mean you/we don’t get on his nerves.
- Nope. Minor deception is permissible. But willfully encouraging others’ disobedience through deception and forgery, now that is where I draw the line. (especially since he was just *giving* them away).
- So let’s hear one of these theories.
- That’s too bad. Oh well. Sorry John!
- This guy is one of those guys who had to shave by lunchtime to take a test. I never had that problem as I didn’t hit puberty until sometime on my mission.
- I’ve put a bunch of my oddball theories in previous comments. I think my favorite one so far is the one about the Holy Ghost being an office, rather than an actual ‘God’, so Heavenly Father could delegate all the prayer answering and guidance. I mean… what are all the faithful doing before they receive their thrones of glory?
This honestly went into overdrive for me when I encountered the writings of Avraham Gileadi. I was really disappointed to hear he got exxed.
I really enjoyed hearing more of your story, Glenn. Also, nice job doing the interview, Heather.
Thanks Wes. When are you going to tell yours?
Heather asked me about it and I am open to the possibility, so I imagine it will likely happen in the not too distant future.
Thanks for sharing this Glenn. After your story I went and listened to that Lost Tribes bonus – man, that was great. You guys should do more of that.
Ah…. but we do it all the time!
Great episode Glenn. I had a run in about my stubble at the testing center too but I handled it with my typical style of blowing up, cussing, and storming out. I got reported to the honor code office and endured a 15 minute lecture on how our language defiles us. Hey, I’m in that main photo…even if I don’t remember that photo being taken…
They also nearly suspended me for one game of intramural basketball because my hair was a little long. It slightly covered the top of my ears. A culture of Pharisees — that’s what it was.
I’ll say to you what one of my goodie-goodie friends said to me when I decided not to go to a church school: “If you were living your life right you wouldn’t have a problem following the rules.”
Yah Heather, to be honest, I always felt at odds with “living right” which to me is a euphemism for elevating mindless conformity above any other aspect of morality. I, even as the most confident in my testimony believer, would blurt out to my friends at BYU, “Why the HELL does it matter whether or not I shave? Does it make me a better person???” But I’d always get the reply, “It’s all about obedience.” If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t feel a need to question what’s behind any given rule, you won’t struggle following them. But if you’re like me, where I always felt a need to ask why all the time, it is hard. Imagine how hard my mission was with that fucking white handbook packed with pointless and meaningless rules. The first law of mormonism is conformity…err obedience…
Sadly, they didn’t really know what they were talking about. Shaving wasn’t about obedience it was about a vestige of BYU’s determination to be part of the conservative moral majority while banishing beatniks and hippies in the 60s and 70s.
Its the mindfetch of framing obedience within the Abraham narrative. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son. God’s university is only asking you to wear knee length shorts, and otherwise not look like a hippie.
Wow. You hepcat.
I had a run in with the honor code office. I was put on probation for a semester. That place is like the IRS, but worse. Intolerable.
Long before my run in with the HCO, a roommate and I referred to the fictitious (or not?) honor code stasi (east german secret police).
Oh, and great interview Heather. Glenn can’t be easy to interview. :-)
It is, actually. Ya just sit back and let him do all the talking.
Thank you Glenn! I am eloquent! And here I have thought for ages that I am never understood, I have been called eloquent and insightful! I feel like Steve Martin who has discovered his name in print! (The best part was Heather’s choked snort/chuckle as she responded to Glenn’s declaration).
Joking aside I gained some insight on what I shared from a Truman Madsen book. I think it was ‘Eternal Man”. He talked about how if a family in a car is struck by a boulder falling from a cliff onto a roadway it was not necessarily an act of God. Chaos is an eternal principle and part of the lesson we need to learn here is how to deal with things like that. (or maybe that’s not what he said and its just how I remember my thoughts at the time). It made sense to me in relation to how I picture God bringing order to chaos as He moves through the universe gaining eternal increase.
Aw, Mike. We all love you, ya big lug.
Yeah, I thought I was going to get totally lit up for calling you eloquent, especially for that comment about God and why he allows (or even requires) for a world of suffering. But I guess no one seemed to mind. Or care. I just don’t have what it takes to be the lightning rod of controversy that you are, Mike. I guess I am just a bit too low on the stalwart meter.
Glenn, I just want to say you have always been one of my favorites on the podcast and I have really missed your input recently. It was great to hear your story and I hope to hear you more in upcoming episodes.
Great interview Heather. Glenn has always been one of my favorites to listen too. He can always get me chuckling and always seems to say what I am thinking. Keep up the great work. Looking forward to more interviews.
I love Glenn. He’s still my favorite!
Thanks Poly. You are my favorite, too.
Glenn, I’m listening to the part of the podcast where you discuss your divorce and upcoming baptism of your son, and it’s really striking a familiar chord with me. I became disaffected with the church 2 months before my daughter turned 8 years old. My situation was different in that my wife and I left the church at the same time. We both decided that she wasn’t going to get baptized, which was confusing to her, but we wanted to be consistent.
What I’m concerned about with you and with others who take a conciliatory approach to mormonism, is that you will not get the same consideration in return. Even though you talk about your ward in positive terms, I fear that the institutional church is fairly unwavering in painting inactive parents as unworthy and not to be respected. The message your children will be getting over time–that good fathers go to church, pay tithing, spend all their Sundays in meetings–will all imply that you do not measure up as a dad. Although I understand your situation is much more complicated than mine, you deserve more that imo.
I meant “than that imo.”
Also, I wanted to add that I’ve always loved Glenn’s take on things. His views have always seemed to have been closest to mine, and he manages to keep a positive tone while at the same time being rational.
Both Positive and Rational — that totally cracks me up. Are rational people typically negative? Are positive people typically irrational? Too funny.
I’ll try that one again, lol. It made sense in my own head but I agree sounds pretty odd. Ahem. I guess where I was sort of trying to go was, it seems that you have exmos who say about the church “I know it’s bunk but it’s a great place to raise kids!” and you have “It’s bunk and they all piss me off!”
It’s kind of hard not to either keep this pollyanna denial or swing over to being perpetually grumpy. I never did the pollyanna thing, but I’m starting to pull out of the grumpy stage, I hope. I like it when you, Glenn, can take an “it is what it is” view of the church. At least that’s how it comes across to me on the podcasts.
I hope that at least makes sense!
Thanks Alan. Now I wish I would have mentioned the Vinegar Tasters in my interview. It is a Taoist allegory that has played a major role in my life — in influencing my worldview. I came across it during a world religions class at BYU — reading “The Tao of Poo” by Benjamin Hoff. A few months after the class, a Chinese terracotta exhibit came to the BYU museum of art, and I found a little ivory Vinegar Tasters engraving in the gift shop. I keep it on my desk at work. I’ll just cut and paste the wikipedia explanation of it below:
The Vinegar Tasters (三酸圖, three sours; 嘗醋翁, vinegar tasting old-men; 嘗醋圖, 尝醋图), is a traditional subject in Chinese religious painting. The allegorical composition depicts the three founders of China’s major religious and philosophical traditions: Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. The three men are dipping their fingers in a vat of vinegar and tasting it; one man reacts with a sour expression, one reacts with a bitter expression, and one reacts with a sweet expression. The three men are Confucius, Buddha, and Laozi, respectively. Each man’s expression represents the predominant attitude of his religion: Confucianism saw life as sour, in need of rules to correct the degeneration of people; Buddhism saw life as bitter, dominated by pain and suffering; and Taoism saw life as fundamentally good in its natural state. Another interpretation of the painting is that, since the three men are gathered around one vat of vinegar, ”the three teachings are one”.**********I guess that is why I adopt the “it is what it is” view of the church. I don’t really expect it to be anything other than what it is. Vinegar is vinegar. Why expect it to taste like wine? Now that I see the church more clearly, it is much easier to accept it for what it is instead of what it “should” be. I take the same view towards Mike Tannehill. Myself as well, as much as I objectively can. Self improvement is still important, of course. I don’t use the VT as an excuse for complacency. Just as a way to not get quite so bent out of shape about things. Mostly. Sometimes. Occasionally.
Thanks Alan. I share your concern. I just have to trust that my kids will see that I am still a good, honest, fun, caring, thoughtful, loving father regardless of any other messages they might get. In fact, that might be their most obvious path to dissonance. It is already happening with my two oldest kids. I suppose if I were angry and confrontational in any way, I would play into the apostate stereotypes and really shoot myself in the foot. Good thing that I am who I am. :)
I have come full circle on you Glenn. At first you reminded me of the smart ass kid in high school who always had to outdo and outsmart everyone else with his knowledge and bravado. But since you haven’t been on many podcasts recently, I have really missed your input. Your unique viewpoints on so many of the issues discussed on these podcasts adds a lot of flavor and color to the discussion.
And after listening to this podcast, I have a much better understanding of where you are coming from. Your comment about how you wanted the church, JS’s bullshit, etc. to be true struck home with me. My older brother frequently calls me up to tell me that I need to come back because I know it’s true. I tell him that I wish it were true, because my life would be a whole lot easier.
Hope to keep hearing you on the podcasts.
Full circle, huh? Does that mean you are back to thinking of me as a smart ass high school kid trying to outsmart everyone again? Doh! Did it again. :)
Great and insightful podcast. I was sorry to hear of Glenn’s divorce. I couldn’t work Glenn out for a long time. I thought he was a TbM (little B) because I’ve heard so many “faithful” members express how frustrating it is to deal with idiots who have the only power they will ever get in life within Mormonism. I sensed Glenn felt some doctrines were silly too, but he seemed to hold back from absolutely tearing them down with reason. Maybe it was part of keeping peace at home.
I think Glenn discovered that the Mormon “house of order” is not really how a God would run things. People who stick by the letter of the law and can’t see the big picture are probably too dopey to appreciate a good punishment, but there needs to be some level of Hell reserved for “Testing Centre Nazis” and people like Elder Williams. Oh please, please, please let the Celestial Kingdom be full of those people. That will be their reward.
Glenn, if you read this, who do you think a God would like to shoot the sh!t with? Glenn Ostlund or some anal retent who ruins people’s day with observations about their stubble?
That’s how I saw the humanity and absurdity of Mormonism and then all religion. If you were a God, why would you require your children to perform ritual, especially repetitively, when there are more serious issues that need attention – like starving kids? Why would you create your children then establish churches that punish your children for being how they were created? It’s absolute insanity.
Glenn, keep contributing to these podcasts. You have a lot to offer. Oh and a pic of Glenn with stubble would be much appreciated.
I have never really thought of it in terms of “who would God want to shoot the breeze with (I’m going to say breeze — is that OK?)” And I don’t really see the “big picture” Mormon concept of God as absurd. I see absurdity in the way things get interpreted — the finding lost car keys, etc etc — but the overall concept of an eternally advanced Being trying to bring us along on that same path is kind of a cool way of viewing God to me. I just don’t think that the source of this info is very reliable and I don’t think there is a lot of consistency between the narrative and the daily application of the “shut off your mind and just obey” type of Mormonism and I really don’t see any evidence of any God in my life, aside from the hope and desire I have for God to actually be what I was taught the he is. Thanks for the nice comments. I plan to keep contributing. Cheers.
It seems some Mormons need to take a trip to Sudan before they attribute lost keys being found to a loving God.
I acknowledge the simplistic beauty of the idea of a God who has “been there done that” and wanting us to come along just as a parent can see their children advancing along the same path they did. I just don’t see how Mormonism helps. If anything it teaches that the trivial is important, lying is noble, and the institution itself is what is important, not people.
That’s what I meant by Mormonism, and for that matter all religion, being very human and un-Godlike. A God would not need ritual. He could present the facts to the dead and say all who agree move to this side of the room, and all who don’t move to the other. The ordinances, if they are really needed, could be done en masse and there would be no need for Temples etc. The church already acknowledges that this will be done for those who’s work can’t be performed in this life. So, temples are there to control the living, and the main sticking point it seems is tithing. You can’t lie when records are kept. Tithing is needed in part to build and maintain temples which are there to control the living and force people to pay money if they want to attend the temple. No God has anything to do with this I am certain.
Many of the beautiful ideas of eternal progression were being discussed at the time Mormonism was established, especially amongst Freemasons. Very little of Mormon doctrine is original, and that part which made Mormonism unique is being eroded by people like Hinckley.
I mentioned how I saw the humanity and absurdity of Mormonism by thinking how a perfect parent would act. Would a perfect parent erase the memories of his children, send them to a place where the punishment begins at birth for some who were less that valiant, where they have less chance of being valiant and hearing about him in this estate, and placing them in families where the idea of Christ as redeemer and God will never be discussed? Would a benevolent parent use someone like Joseph Smith to bring the information needed for salvation to the entire world? What’s the point of erasing our memory at birth if you are to send information that has been erased to a few prophets who also spout hate and demonstrable lies? How is that a fair test? Talk about a disinformation program!
There is also the problem of perfection and eternal progression being mutually exclusive concepts. Eternal progression sounds nice until you think that means the guy running the show is still learning. It also places into question the obsession with perfection here on Earth. Mormons don’t believe God is perfect yet (in some of their doctrine) so why the pressure on us humans?
Anyway, I just wanted to say that the ideas of Mormonism that seem nice were being discussed in other faiths at the time of “restoration”, and even these, when you really examine them, are problematic and human.
Take care Glenn.
Dude…the “I’m-smarter-than-Joseph-Smith?” experience. Totally had one of those, too. As a missionary, I was reading D&C 138 and thought, “wait, ‘Elias’ is just the Greek form of ‘Elijah.’ Why are they being treated as two separate people?”
That experience planted my feet firmly on the feet to apostasy.
Anyway, I really enjoyed this one, as I’ve always related to Glenn.
Yeah, it is interesting (and sometimes a little scary) when you have those ah-ha moments, and the dominos start falling. And it is nearly impossible to ever see the world quite the same way ever again. I had a seminary teacher explain the Elias thing, so I was sort of inoculated on that one — or at least introduced to an acceptable apologetic response early on. But reading through Rough Stone Rolling and seeing how he interacted with people in Nauvoo — fining guys in the audience who dared to publicly lift up their voices against him — those kinds of things were daggers.
The Jagganath Holiday from Hinduism in India (and outside of India) is another example of a portable temple situation where they take the deities outside of the temples and take down the streets for people to see.
Awesome David — I did not know that. Then they must be the Lost Tribes, too!!!!
(cuz heaven forbid different
groups of people come up with a similar idea completely independent of
Subscribe to the Newsletter for the inside track