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  1. A couple of thoughts: The Q15 don’t care if you believe they are fallible as long as you obey as if they are infallible. Obedience to their authority is their main concern. Also the notion that you need religion to be a good or better person is ridiculous. All that is needed is empathy, which , BTW is totally lacking in the policies for LGBTQ in Mormonism. By their fruits you will know them.

    1. The Brethren KNOW that many or most Mormons think they speak with God and/or Jesus in the Temple, like one man speaketh to another, weekly. Of course, they DO NO SUCH THING! The Brethren don’t “claim” to do that, but they “let” Members believe that. Because it increases their “power” (authority).

  2. Thank you Jon for a very good interview, thank you bert for your honesty and integrity, for standing up for truth and your sincerity.

  3. Where Bert is, is where I was 30 years ago. And what I have learned in the 30 years since, I hope can be useful to him – and that is that religion is not what he thinks it is. It’s a meme system that has co-opted spirituality in an attempt to legitimize itself. Yes, true spirituality (Gandhi was an example of true spirituality) is exceedingly valuable and important, and the world needs more of it. But conservative and/or fundamentalist religions pay a lot of lip service to spirituality, but fail utterly to actually promote true spirituality. Some religions embrace it, to varying degrees, but very few make it their focus, because it does not draw large numbers of adherents (no one wants to be told that they’re there to do a lot of hard work on themselves, but instead, as in many fundamentalist religions, many adherents are looking for a license for moral nihilism and bigotry, and they often find those in conservative and/or fundamentalist religions). And that is what Bert has yet to learn. As soon as he does, he can embrace true spirituality and throw the junk that is religion away. And doing so will help him to learn what few religions he should embrace and the plethora he should reject. He is a man of great intellect and erudition, and I hope that he learns this sooner rather than later. It took me a very long time.

    1. Speaking of Gandhi and his spirituality…

      As his wife lay dying of pneumonia, Gandhi refused to let British doctors inject penicillin to her because it was a “foreign medicine.” So he let her die rather than be saved. Yet when he himself contacted malaria, he allowed the “foreign medicine” quinine into his body to save himself. That doesn’t sound like a spiritual person to me.

      That account is not popularly known. In fact, many of Gandhi’s not-so-spiritual moments are no longer known today. The Gandhi we have come to know is largely the product of “Gandhi” the 1982 movie starring Ben Kingsley as Gandhi. That movie was funded by the government of India, and therefore, its screenplay and other aspects of its production had been thoroughly reviewed, censored, and approved by the Indian government.

      Allowing your wife to die when it is possible to save her is something that makes sense under Hindu spirituality. It does not make sense to Western Christianity. That is why not all “spiritualities” are equal. Some spiritual systems are better than others. Gandhi the movie was not created to convince Indians of Indian spirituality, but to convince a Western audience of the goodness of Indian politics.

  4. This ship would have run aground and sunk if you hadn’t constantly made course corrections, John. This guy is hard to listen to when he can hardly finish a sentence without drifting off subject.

  5. Bert, you will make a great pretentious academic, and I mean that as a compliment. I really enjoyed your analysis and insight, even the tangents. So, for you and John, I need to read more about the ‘ritual abuse’ mentioned. I know nothing of this. Any suggestions?

  6. The last segment where he discusses politics and economics is trite, shallow and often wrong. He apparently asserts that only the right wing has power, that only the right wing attempts to silence dissent, and that economics is sort of a right wing conspiracy. In other words, all the things he complains about on the right, he is blind to on the left. I have no problem with his having a faith transition, but what the simplistic arguments he makes in this last segment diminishes his credibility.

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