Dr. Gina Colvin is an essential progressive Mormon voice in 2015 for many reasons:
- She is a “multi-generation life long Mormon” with a multi-racial/international perspective on Mormonism. Specifically, she is a New Zealander of Māori, English, Irish, Welsh, German and French descent.
- She is a professor (i.e., lecturer) at the University of Canterbury, with an emphasis on “the history and future of ideas.”
- She is an insightful thinker and writer, and writes for a fantastic blog called KiwiMormon. She also hosts the A Thoughtful Faith podcast.
- She is an important and somewhat fearless voice for progressive Mormon thought, and advocates very publicly and strongly for issues such as female ordination (serving on the Ordain Women board), same-sex marriage, and intellectual freedom within the LDS Church. She is also a staunch opponent of polygamy (including Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants), and of the recent round of excommunications within the LDS Church.
- While retaining her activity in the LDS Church, she is an unflinching supporter of “Mormon heresy,” and openly expresses doubt and/or disbelief regarding various orthodox LDS teachings including the idea of an anthropomorphic God, the LDS Church as the “One True Church,” exclusive LDS priesthood authority, and the historicity of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham.
- She also has an incredibly fascinating story, which includes an adolescence of considerable trouble-making, a scandalous early divorce from her own bishop/husband, and several other stories of general delight and intrigue.
This is Gina’s story. I am certain that you will enjoy it immensely.
I very much enjoyed the interview and hearing your truly unique perspective on Joseph Smith … painting him as a mystic who channeled inspired literature (Book of Mormon, etc.), and that you are able to dismiss his sexual achievements as evidence of his human flaws. Also, your courageous refusal to kowtow to your local Priesthood authorities objecting to your outspoken beliefs diametrically contrary to Mormon doctrine is very commendable.
I empathize with John’s anger that you are getting away with open heresy (so far) when he was eventually excommunicated for objecting to Church practices and beliefs (far more diplomatically IMO) than your style of expression.
Permission to speak frankly, Gina?
You are clearly NOT an actual TBM (True Believing Mormon) at all … not even close. You do not believe or accept the foundational truth claims of the Church, which insists without compromise, for example, that God and Jesus physically appeared to Joseph Smith, and that Joseph translated the Book of Mormon from actual Golden Plates. If you lived in the United States, you would not qualify for a Temple Recommend issued by any bishop who follows his handbook of instructions from The Brethren. You seem to be a member of a very idealized Mormon Church that exists only in your imagination … a church that has no chance of ever materializing in Real Life. John could comment about the dissociation in your psyche making that cognitive split possible for you … to accept the Mormon Church based upon your own personal redefinition and repainting with colors you find tolerable.
Back to Reality … you have an amazing fire in the belly with a nontrivial gift and talent for expressing your honestly held views and stirring the pot of public conversation about the multiple systemic illnesses within the Church.
YOU GO GIRL!
Once you start to understand more deeply the damage the Church inflicts on vulnerable, innocent and brainwashed human beings, you may eventually remove the rose colored glasses and see the Church for its true colors.
In the meantime, I wish you increasing success with your blog and podcast. People will listen to you, Gina, because you are eloquent, honest and fearless.
Thanks to you and John for a great Mormon Stories interview. All the best to you both!
I don’t that its fair to say that I don’t believe in the foundational claims – I just don’t think its the point. I frankly don’t give God’s body too much thought because I don’t think those claims are essential for my spiritual growth. But if its a real thing that I’m all good with it!
Thanks for responding! More permission to speak frankly?
Your statement suggesting that you DO believe in the Church’s foundational claims does not logically coexist … vis-a-vis … “I frankly don’t give God’s body too much thought” and your podcast indication that you don’t buy the Golden Plates story or the Book of Abraham tale.
Gina, what you are saying is that you do not let the Church’s cartoon version of its own History interfere with your own spiritual growth. Stated that clearly, you make sense to me.
That leaves the other Big Question about why you want to remain affiliated with a Church that simply cannot tell the truth about its own origin and development. I am sure you have a long list of reasons why you want to remain a member … and all of those are valid if they make sense to you.
The Book of Mormon is fiction. I think you do agree. Inspired fiction? Well, that assessment would depend on the eye of the beholder. Lots of creative writing on the planet is inspirational … and there is a large body of higher consciousness spiritual literature at your fingertips (free downloads).
So a question for you would be: Why invest your spiritual education energy in a book known to be a fraud: the Book of Mormon? If it were advertised as inspired fiction, it would not be a fraud. You can say you don’t care if it’s a fraud … because you find it inspiring anyway. That’s your choice to make.
Anyway, Gina, from the 10,000 meter view, it looks like you are skillfully doing your best to not allow the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to interfere with your own spiritual growth. (And it’s only a matter of time until the Church gives you an inflexible ultimatum … in alignment with its refusal to tolerate open, notorious dissent.)
BTW, I listened to the first part of your interview of your husband. It’s clear that he has fully bought into the Church’s paradigm that people should fully rely on their FEELINGS to determine the truth of all things. If you would like to poke a hole in that method of truth validation, take a look at this video and show your husband:
I love your story.
I find it so frustrating that the TBM believe a person who thinks is not TBM and those who have moved on to become agnostic, atheist or have another belief system don’t accept you as TBM.
There has to be a place in the LDS faith for the 20% of the LDS faithful who want to fully participate, but who refuse to accept teachings without analyzing the reason behind them.
In my BYU biology 101 class, the TBM professor taught us about evolution. I assure you any answers reflecting the factualness of creationism would have resulted in a failing grade. The professor explained that the Apostle James Talmadge, who was a scientist,taught and believed in evolution. To the best of my knowledge there is not any doctrinal link between creationism and the LDS faith. Yet I have read that 80% of the TBM also believe in creationism.
I would guess that it is these same 80% who take all teachings in the LDS church as factual without analyzing them.
Gina, I love your blog and appreciate a TBM who is able to think for herself.
Love Gina and her story !…….the church would be a much more attractive environment with more Ginas !
As a convert to the church, it was not exactly a natural fit….the only reason for me to participate was because of it being all that it claimed to be….when I found everything it stands on just doesn’t stand up well to reason, I just had to move on….for me, authenticity is a must. Even so, I have fondness for the church and can understand where Gina is coming from, great interview !…..watch out for the hammer, Gina !
I loved this episode. I forget how limited my experience is with the church until I hear an outside perspective. I love the idea of working towards Zion instead of more city creek centers and I like to think the only way that will ever be possible is through honest and open dialogue. Thank you John for introducing me to Gina’s podcast and I’m going to go listen to it now, keep up the amazing work.
Thank you John for taking the time to interview Gina. Hopefully it won’t lead to her being hunted down for church disciplinary action but if so, I’m sure she could handle it and show us how it’s done! Haha. I agree with Gina that the church (members in the US especially) needs to see a perspective outside their own country. Her thoughts on tithing, the message of the Book of Mormon (albeit even if it is fictitious and simplistic), etc. I loved how she said that New Zealanders (or maybe more specifically, Maoris) don’t view America (and never have) as the promised land (at least not ours). We view the lands we lost, Aotearoa, as our promised land and if anything, the Book of Mormon was what gave us this hope when certain Maori tribes accepted the church over other Christian denominations. We understand what it is to be Lamanite.
I love her idea of working towards Zion too. From listening to her own experiences of growing up outside what we might call, a traditional Mormon family, her experiences living from one spectrum of society to another, you begin to understand how it has shaped her philosophy of life and of humanity! If you want to hear a testimony of how the church has changed one’s life, her’s is a good one. The church should be about changing lives and she has every right to be there because we see it in her story—but alas if it’s not changing lives, then it’s time to reform it. Also, I love how she refers to the church as something that is in her “mind” too. A great message that we should always be more “mindful” about what a church should be—you know, using our minds, our brains and questioning. As Raymond E. Brown would say, not “draining off energy into the creation of ingenious implausibilities and turning exegesis into apologetics.”
Thank you Gina!
[…] Worth a listen. Check it out here. […]
Gina is awesome. I’m happy to be a monthly subscriber to A Thoughtful Faith to keep her work on the podcast going.
Gina & John
I’m really glad that John interviewed you. John, as you know Gina is one courageous kiwi. Thank you for getting her story out to the larger audience. AMEN Gina “he was a very naughty man.”
Thanks John for this fascinating interview. Its only the social glue that keeps me attached to the church, and Gina expressed this concept very well via sharing her life experiences. And bravo Gina for being an agent for positive change within the church! I especially enjoyed Gina’s international perspective on the church; its really tragic that LDS church leaders have become a mouthpiece for conservative American politics rather than a Christlike candle in the darkness of “Christian” demagoguery. The church needs more Ginas and far fewer excommunications.
I’ve often felt that the cause of my faith crisis is believing too much in the literal narratives of the gospel. Black and white thinking. Now I’m learning to accept my own voice and getting used to feeling uncertainty in many things. In many ways that is very freeing and forces one to self accept ones limitations and be humble. The path of my journey is becoming exciting. Thanks John for brining this lovely woman on your podcast. I still feel the need to hold those who preach black and white thinking and hold their feet to the fire, but I appreciate Gina’s perspective on life and her lack of mormon belt culture and thinking.
Fortunately or unfortunately, “those who preach black and white thinking” within the Church starts with Thomas S. Monson, his counselors, the Quorum of the Twelve, the Quorums of the Seventy, etc. It’s only the membership with enough self-honesty who employ shades-of-grey, non-literal interpretations of Gospel Doctrine as the grease required to jam that square peg of Church teachings into that round hole of truth. It still does not fit, but if you apply enough grease and hammer hard enough, you can pretend you haven’t deluded yourself.
I loved this episode! Gina, you are a fun and inspirational woman. I feel inspired by your words.
Interesting interview. I don’t have much to say except that I really liked the following quote that you said and which I’m now going to steal and use everywhere now, “You can’t step back from authenticity.” I totally agree.
On the eve of Memorial day in the United States I was struck by Gina’s description of America, 9/11, and Hinckley’s talk in Oct 2001 conference. While I empathize with her story and issues with the church, her comments about 9/11 attacks stuck me as anti-American propaganda as well as factually inaccurate. To imply as Gina did that no one should have been surprised by the 9/11 attacks and that America’s interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan led to the attack and maybe even we deserved it were so offensive they needed to be challenged (I know she did not say we deserved it, but listen to her words and one could conclude that it was implied). I don’t know what she is referring to when she said our interactions in Iraq prior to 9/11 (unless referring to the 1st gulf war, where we liberated Kuwait along with a 30 nation coalition and after enforced UN resolutions), nor what intervention there was in Afghanistan prior to 9/11 for which we deserved to be attacked (unless referring to our support of the Mujahideen in fighting the invading soviet union in the 1980’s) anyway her comments on the 9/11 terrorist attack on America were disturbing.
Also, Gina stated that she was bothered by Hinckley talk in conference Oct 2001 where he said “we stand with the president” meaning Pres Bush. She stated this made her sick to her stomach and she didn’t go to church for 2 weeks. I too was surprised that he would say “We”. So I looked up the talk and what he actually said was, “Those of us who are American citizens stand solidly with the president of our nation. The terrible forces of evil must be confronted and held accountable for their actions…”
Maye he should have been clearer that he was not speaking for all church members but his statement is quite different than what Gina implied he said “We stand with the President” vs. what he actually said, “Those of us who are American citizens stand solidly with the president of our nation” and actually at that time right after 9/11 most American’s did stand with Bush on retaliating against terrorist. It was only later with Iraq that there were huge mistakes and public opinion turned.
Anyway, as someone who was deeply affected by the attacks of 9/11, Gina’s comments needed push back.
He definitely indeed needed to speak more clearly and not include “Those of us who are American citizens” either. I did not stand with the president in that decision to invade Afghanistan. What he should have said was nothing.
Listening to Gina’s interview this Memorial day in the United States I was struck by her description of America, 9/11, and Hinckley’s talk in Oct 2001 conference. While I empathize with her story and issues with the church, her comments about 9/11 attacks stuck me as anti-American propaganda as well as factually inaccurate. To imply as Gina did that there is no difference between the terrorist who targeted civilians and America’s actions is deplorable. She stated that no one should have been surprised by the 9/11 attacks and that America’s interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan led to the attack and maybe even we deserved it. This idea is so offensive and wrong it needed to be challenged (I know she did not say we deserved it, but listen to her words and one could conclude that it was implied). I don’t know what she is referring to when she said our interactions in Iraq prior to 9/11 (unless referring to the 1st gulf war, where we liberated Kuwait along with a 30 nation coalition and after enforced UN resolutions), nor what intervention there was in Afghanistan prior to 9/11 for which we deserved to be attacked (unless referring to our support of the Mujahideen in fighting the invading soviet union in the 1980’s) anyway her comments on the 9/11 terrorist attack on America were disturbing.
Also, Gina stated that she was bothered by Hinckley’s talk in conference Oct 2001 where she believed he said, “We stand with the president” or we as church members stand with Pres Bush. She stated this made her sick to her stomach and she didn’t go to church for 2 weeks. I too was surprised that he would say “We”. So I looked up the talk and what he actually said was, “Those of us who are American citizens stand solidly with the president of our nation. The terrible forces of evil must be confronted and held accountable for their actions…”
Maybe he should have been clearer that he was not speaking for all church members but his statement is quite different than what Gina implied he said “We stand with the President” vs. he actually said, “Those of us who are American citizens stand solidly with the president of our nation” and actually at that time right after 9/11 most American’s did stand with Bush on retaliating against terrorist. It was only later with Iraq that there were huge mistakes and public opinion turned.
Anyway, as someone who was deeply affected by the attacks of 9/11, Gina’s comments needed push back.
I see how you might think me heartless or entirely off track with respect to my foregrounding my trouble with the Hinckley’s GC 2001 statement. The hard copy has been edited to reflect what he might have said (although I hardly think an international conference of the church is a place to talk about US politics). What he said live was ‘we..’ not ‘we the citizens of the US’. He caught a of flack for that internationally, hence the reason for changes in the print version.
I don’t think any nation state deserves violence but I am never surprised when it happens to a violent nation. Violence begets violence (a notable theme of the Book of Mormon). And to give you some context why our lack of surprise its worthwhile pointing just a smattering of the US recent history of poor judgement in terms of foreign policy that might raise the ire of the enemy and cause a retaliation (although in the Iraq/Afghanistan instance if you follow the money corporations were and continue to be the winners).
So let me catalogue some US foreign interventions that have been problematic even though the rhetoric has been that the US has a ‘responsibility to protect’ since appointing themselves international moral arbiters: Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, Vietnam.
The US has also self appointed as a security patron in the Persian Gulf in order to protect their oil interests there. Two important agreements that signalled the US’s early interest in controlling gulf petroleum were the Red Line Agreement in 1928 and the Anglo-American Petroleum Agreement of 1944. The most important outcome of these agreements was to fend off rival powers over the control of Middle East oil. The trouble is foreign powers can’t suck up the resources of another sovereign state without them getting pissy and in the face of growing Arab Nationalism in the Middle East America was making enemies like crazy. Notwithstanding post WW2 it has doubled down in the Gulf States stating over and over again how strategically important the Middle East is/was. And this is because of its economic interests there. ie. Oil.
So my heart breaks for those, everywhere that are caught up in corporate violence and the US has been playing in that mud puddle post war with complete abandon, trying to convince its citizens that they should be on high alert for the defence of their freedoms – which in turn justifies militarism. When in fact invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq are really corporate wars that ordinary citizens of the US are sacrificing their lives and the lives of others for.
Thanks, Gina, for a thoughtful and thorough response. Regarding GBH’s GC talk edits, any Church that thinks it’s OK to edit its Holy Scriptures with impunity thousands of times (without telling anyone) has no trouble “adjusting” conference talks. I resonate with your view of the U.S. being controlled by out-of-control megalomaniacs with no regard for anything or anyone beyond their own self-serving interests. I think we in the U.S. are slowly waking up to the fact that our government is radically disconnected from the core values of the average American. Thanks for shining more light on the reality that’s so obvious from off-shore where the media is not completely censored.
I am an american and I wholely agree. The US government has the view that every other country should bow to our megominical ways. The USA govermemt are warmongers. I once read a book by an Russia author who said “no one morns a collapse super power” refurring both to the USSR in the early 90’s and the USA in the future. The USA will lose this hyper distractive power like every other empire in history.
For anyone disgusted with the lies in the LDS faith, it takes very little effort to research the USA’s involvement in world affairs to seen the US has blood stains on way too much stuff (look up the USS liberty for an obvious war starting false flag blunder that didn’t work out to start a middle east war with some country in the middle east)
You seem to view American politics and Americans as one and the same (we’re all willing-to-glad participants in a society of violence). That doesn’t even touch on generalizing members of the Church, or any geographical breakdown of members For someone presenting themselves as a thinking person that’s beyond simplistic. Not only does every state have its own “feel”, concerns, issues, and attitudes so does every county, along with every stake, area and ward!
As to the Afghanistan invasion – Neither support nor solidarity isn’t the same as agreement. All the same, I “stood behind him” in the sense that it was his role to act on an attack more calculated and “in your face” than anything I can recall since Munich. It also affected a good deal of the world, as did Munich, and in a wide variety of ways. I don’t know anyone who wasn’t deeply, and constantly, aware that there is no simplicity to 9/11 and no “good response”. I stood behind Bush in the sense that there’s one individual who has information given to them, all major decisions are theirs, all responsibility is theirs, and with all the knowledge in the world and perfect understanding I wouldn’t have wanted to be in his shoes. “Support” in those circumstances I hope and pray they make thoughtful decisions. Heaven knows that was being voiced world wide so I had no qualms with President Hinckley’s comment.
Another way to look at it is I distrusted Obama as a person, even more as a President, but Then I’ve been iffy on (at minimum) at least a few aspects of every President since Reagan so i take my own opinion with a grain of salt. When Obama was elected I knew for a fact that he would never be able to just pull troops out of Iraq. Every sitting president backs up on some promises made and the quick turnabouts happen because no presidential candidate has been briefed about anything at all – they get briefed and regardless of their views they’ve all had to adjust their world view in a few areas. And I do tend to assume that any country’s leader, in any sort of crisis has a Lot of information unloaded on them in very short order, and every politician will do the best they can, at worst because they don’t want to be maligned for generations to com!
I’m a Californian who lives in Utah but I don’t know many people who didn’t have friends/family of friends/family die or were downtown, in Pennsylvania or by the Pentagon on 9/11 – and every event was 2,000 miles away. Terrorist attacks change things. You’re going about your everyday life’s relationships and responsibilities – trying to make a home, take care of those in our own circles of influence, keep stability and hopefully growth in your own life….. to have a major attack inside your home land is gut wrenching. 9/11 because of many factors, but while natural disasters are horrendous, Christchurch, Florida, France and England’s bridge attacks feel worse to me and break my heart in a different way. I’ll stand behind those leaders too, and will equally hope and pray for them
I love this expanding trend of thinking LDS radicals. To add further perspective, you will appreciate an informative website– (https://www.bookofmormonlit.com)that gives a pretty good analysis of Joseph and why he wrote the Book of Mormon, not intended as a basis for restoring Christianity, but for injecting an eclectic blend of doctrine built around skepticism from the recent (18th century’s) Enlightenment. The biggest surprise was recognizing Joseph as a closet intellectual hiding behind his facade of “ignorant backwoodsman.” He was in actuality a literary sophisticate–perhaps the 19th century’s most exceptional fraud.
Any bets on whether or not Gina’s local leader suddenly feel inspired, wink wink, to call her in now that she’s been on Mormon Stories? I know where my money is.
I have only listened to the first half and Gina – I enjoyed the heck out of this so far to get to know you better, but dang did this make me feel like my life is dull and boring…. :-)
You are a wonderful part of Mormonism.
John hit the nail on the head. The church works best for people that don’t take the doctrine too seriously.
LOL! He totally is right! Lower expectations, and don’t require stuff to be right and Mormonism is a toddle.
Truth be told, when it comes to Pray-Pay-Obey, The Brethren couldn’t care less about Pray and Obey, as long as you keep quiet and don’t mess with Pay.
I love how Gina admits something I’ve yet to hear anyone else say who knows most of the concerns with doctrine and history and yet still chooses to participate actively. Several times in the interview she talks about the church as it exists in her head, or in her imagination.
I’ve tried to explain this to several “middle way” Mormons…that their version of Mormonism exists only in their head. I respect her choice based on that acknowledgement.
I saw a FB post just the other day by a semi-prominent LDS scholar/teacher who criticized fundamental apologists. But by his definition the First Presidency and Q12 are fundamental apologists and therefore, they set the tone and foundation for the church as fundamentalist (interpreting scripture word for word). So, his little brand of kinder, gentler Mormonism really only exists in his head.
Interesting observation! :) I don’t think its just in my head. When I think about the church as I was growing up it always as a rag tag group of wonderful people who loved me and who I loved. They were less interested in ‘correctness’ than they were in building a community that served each other. That’s the church I’m thinking of. I also currently have a wonderful ward filled with warmth and acceptance. I can be as cross as I like about things and they still love me (for the most part). That’s both a privilege but also a possibility for everyone – at least it should be. When it comes to our attachment to doctrine as far as I can tell its important to have those conversations and to think through questions of belief and teachings – but in the end my belief isn’t what is going to save me (in this life or the next) – its my compassion for others and my willingness to see the flaws in my lack of attention to those who could do with my acceptance rather than my judgement.
Great reply. I think your version can even be supported by The Book of Mormon, but it’s not the version I grew up with in the USA or the one that is now excommunicating vocal doubters, feminists and homosexuals, or the one that tends to speak in Gen Conf or write lesson manuals.
I totally agree with dadsprimalscream who wrote:
“So, his [her] little brand of kinder, gentler Mormonism really only exists in his [her] head.”
OK, kids. Is that not a fair definition of DELUSION?
“an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder.”
Gina’s imaginary Mormon Church works for her because it seems that most of the members of her ward generally share the same delusion. Gina wrote down her perception of what qualifies her for “Salvation”:
“… in the end my belief isn’t what is going to save me (in this life or the next) – its [it’s] my compassion for others and my willingness to see the flaws in my lack of attention to those who could do with my acceptance rather than my judgement.”
Gina clearly does not accept or believe what Mormon Doctrine requires for Salvation … if we are talking Ticket to Kolob here. If we are talking about a lesser kingdom where the kind and decent people who emulate Jesus will end up, then Gina and her ward members should be pleased with their afterlife accommodations.
BTW, the party with the actual mental disorder is The Brethren, not Gina.
I totally applaud and support Gina and her local ward where loving and supporting each other is more important than the Pharisaic condemnations meted out by leaders who follow the prophet … who would not hesitate to excommunicate Jesus from His own Church for apostasy … if Jesus ever comes again.
ooh i love this post. I think if there’s anything I’m literal about, it would have to be with words; their meanings and where they come from and the word “church” is one word I’ve been curious about. Interestingly enough “church” isn’t mentioned in the gospels and Jesus didn’t seem to be about proclaiming or creating one. Anywho, I spent a couple years in France years ago and became very familiar with the word “eglise” (church). I always thought it sounded like angel or English. The word “eglise” actually derives from the Greek word ekklesia which, interestingly enough, is the word used in the NT to mean “assembled” or “community,” not church. Which makes sense because Jesus was concerned with the salvation of souls and bringing forth the kingdom of God (still trying to understand what that means too) and his parables and miracle stories all seem to deal with helping and healing people. There is nothing in those stories that mention anything remotely related to what churches have come to be or mean today as some organizational power structure. I’m currently reading Alfred Loisy and he calls the development of “church” as the progressive abasement of religion! So I think Gina has hit the nail on the head with what a church should mean. Maybe the Community of Christ hit the nail on the head when they changed their name to better word how to describe their community!
(I posted earlier but didn’t see that post appear so I apologize if my post gets duplicated but I did add a line more in this post. :) )
Thoroughly enjoyed your discussion with John. Thanks for your candor and transparency. Best to you always.
Yes, a totally wonderful interview! What a beacon Gina is for so many who are now struggling in our Church.
John, your account of your interview w/ Elder Holland, wherein he said that doubts are OK as long as you keep them to yourself, was appalling. What a deep dark hole our dear old men are digging for themselves. Climbing out of the one created by the priesthood ban was nothing compared with this, which constitutes the intimidation and silencing of the general membership. Do the Brethren really want their activities in this regard compared with Joseph Goebbels’? – because that comparison is apt.
For the record the United States is not a capitalist society. It gets tiring having intelligent people get on these podcasts and others and claim the the US is a capitalist society and claim that the ills that plague it are caused by capitalism. Capitalism, or the free market, is when people voluntarily interact with one another and exchange goods or services. When a company does crazy and irresponsible things and then has the consequences of those actions socialized it is not capitalism, it is closer to fascism or some other ism, but not capitalism.
I forget exactly what the interviewee said that got my goat. So, sorry I can’t refute the exact claim made by the interviewee. But she does sound intelligent and I hope she will not make this mistake in the future.
FYI, the Economic Freedom Index puts New Zealand higher on the economic freedom index than the US. So, New Zealand is probably more of a capitalist society than the US is.
By the way, I’ve been down there once on holiday. Beautiful country and friendly people!
If it’s not capitalist then what is it?
Not sure what the exact term would be but I would call it a mix of some capitalist, fascist, and socialist. There are aspects of all of those. But I would say it is mostly fascist, where I define fascism as the merging of corporations and government. The central bank (federal reserve) in the US is a private/government entity and as long it exists it is impossible for the US to be a true capitalist society. A capitalist society implies that when a company when it does stupid things will go out of business, but in the US we find that if the company is large enough the risks the company takes is socialized. I could go on, but won’t.
OK – I’m OK with fascist. I was just trying to be polite. But you said it!! :)
It is what it is. I can’t change it, but I can try the best I can to recognize reality for what it is.
The US has a state sponsered capitalism system, not a free market capitalistic system. The government decides who wins and loses in the market place, with a lot of help with lobbiests from very big companies.
Where’s your blog? I had it bookmarked. What happened?
Its still there Ozpoof! Good name BTW.
Thoroughly enjoyed this interview John. I started reading Gina’s blog and what a smart, thoughtful lady she is. I truly wish her leaders don’t change and adopt the American way (which lately seems to be a “my way or the highway” way). Having grown in a Mexican LDS environment I would say our wards were also somewhat similar to how Gina described her LDS experience. We were allowed to enjoy the benefits of the Mormon church without the harshness of the culture and crazy doctrines. Having moved to the US, I miss it sometimes.
Thanks again for such a great interview! :)
Gina, what a breath of fresh air you are! I too believe that the crux of the Gospel is to love our neighbors and treat them as we would want to be treated. To the extent the church serves as a vehicle to accomplish that purpose–and to bring Jesus’ message of love and hope–the more valuable it will be.
Though the church’s historical issues raise many difficult questions, I am far, far more troubled by the increasing rigidity, lack of transparency, lack of humility, lack of awareness, lack of truthfulness (Prop 8), lack of kindness–coupled with demonization and fear-mongering (Prop8/SSM). It greatly troubles me that we have members receiving public assistance–barely able to feed themselves or their families–struggling to pay a 10% tithing. I think God would be pleased for whatever meager amount they could offer.
I find it difficult to feel uplifted by church attendance where I live–a very conservative area. Few and far between is instruction on hope, charity and love. The church here is a perfect vehicle for authoritarians and authoritarian followers, who derive great comfort from the superficial “rules” (white shirts, no beards) and black/white framing. That fewer people might attend/engage merely provides evidence to those who love the rigidity that they are on the right track.
Thanks John and Gina for your time and effort spent on this podcast!
Great comments about rigid, authoritarian Church leadership these days.
If Jesus were a member today, he would soon be called into a Disciplinary Hearing and then excommunicated for multiple infractions of current terms and conditions of LD$ Inc membership.
The Brethren consistently FAIL the litmus test: What would Jesus do?
I don’t know if I’ll want to listen to this one. I used to read the kiwi mormon blog when I was still in the church and I got sick of the generalizations about Americans, once or twice is a mistake we all make but again and again is probably an indication of a real deep seated prejudice. To be fair I don’t know if she still does this. My main reasons for leaving the church had to do with bigotry (against Black people and women in that case) so I wasn’t really up for any more of it.
that’s probably a good idea Cassie! It would upset you no end.
Gina, what ward were you in when you lived in Wellington? I’m from Wellington and joined the church in 2008, but I remember having very friendly conversations about less savoury aspects of the church with the bishop (whose thoughts you have previously published on your blog), but then that may have been courtesy being extended to a new member.
We were in Upper Hutt. In retrospect we should have gone to Wellington Ward and lived in town. Nathan had visited a couple of times and suggested it might suit me a bit better. Was Ganesh the bishop then?
I have never commented on Mormon Stories before, or really any website, but I am compelled to because of how meaningful and timely this particular interview is for me. I love the insight of someone who didn’t grow up in the American church, and I love the perspective of making the church all that it can be. It has reminded me of why I stay. Thank you!