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  1. Jason and Taryn are two very beautiful, loving and smart people. Further, they have come to the only valid conclusion smart people
    like them, based on reason and evidence, can come to. In fact, for the researching and reasoning person. there is no question that the basic foundation of Mormonism is not valid. In this respect the Mormon system is no different than other dream-based, faith-based religion.

    But aside from the non-validity of the Mormon foundation, Mormonism has something very valuable, which I would hope, could be separated from that which is not valid and which can be preserved. But it is NOT the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith or the bogus claim to having a direct connection to God. It is the MORMON COMMUNITY–a love-creating, love-driven community born and perfected on the Mormon
    frontier. The reason why this community is valid, and why it has survival advantages, is because this is the way we evolved to live
    and survive– in small, loving, caring communities. And in fact, this is the way we humans lived for millions of years, before the human pattern was destroyed by the explosive rise of the hierarchy and weaponry of our brief Civilization, which externally redefined us according to their purposes. The love and the spirit of Mormon community should be kept alive. But though Mormons still have remnants of this small loving community we evolved to live, it is difficult for the honest, smart and loving person to live in it. The Mormon system puts up too many barriers to living in it–the non-valid theological framework, too many Mormon hoops to jump through, too many personal litmus test questions that block people out and which screen out a large percentage of smart, beautiful, loving people–the kind of people the church should be seeking. There are so many smart, beautiful and loving people in these pod casts that would be so valuable in such a community, if it were not for the fact that the Mormon church, itself, the Mormon barriers, kick them out and stop them from coming in. I would hope that those in the upper hierarchy could see this and develop a system that would make it possible for thinking, loving people to feel at home in the Mormon community, and could live in the Mormon community without church-dictated barriers and conflict.

    1. Unbelievably arrogant to write that rejecting the church is the conclusion that “smart” people come to. I suppose you consider yourself a member of this “loving” and “caring” class of people that trip over themselves to disparage people of faith.

      1. I tend to take Pres. Hinckley at face value when he said “Well, it’s either true or false. If it’s false, we’re engaged in a great fraud. If it’s true, it’s the most important thing in the world. Now, that’s the whole picture. It is either right or wrong, true or false, fraudulent or true.” I am a lifelong member and have spent many years researching our doctrine and structure as a believer, becoming disaffected when evidence came to show that our church fell solidly on the premise of its claims. I don’t see much wiggle room in terms of a faithful, loose interpretation, but more an orthodoxy of black and white, true or false, revelation or fraud, regardless of how the apologists and liberal believers want to hope for loose interpretation, or obfuscation and watered down bulwark theology.

        Probably the most poignant and obvious test of all the orthodox truth claims made by our Mormon church is the Book of Mormon. With this book we are beyond faith, beyond spiritual claims, as this book tells an account that makes truth claims about the natural world, claims that are now under the purview of the scientific method. It shouldn’t be surprising that religious claims about the natural world are almost always shown, by a method that actually gets consistent results (as opposed to the burning bosom method), to be errant. The Book of Mormon is spectacularly disassembled and falsified as not only an incorrect narrative of the history of the Americas, but goes further and perpetuates harmful, immoral ideology of racial purity and cultural imperialism (robbing the Mayan and their ancestors of their heritage, claiming it had to be fair skinned Israelites that built the great civilizations).

        The Book of Mormon is the keystone of the religion. If it fails, so does the truth claims of its author. I think it fails. Many members and apologists admit to the lack of evidence, holding on with hope that it may be found in the future. That is another thing, we call ourselves a people of faith? Mormonism is nothing of faith. The opposite of faith is not doubt, doubt has been called the handmaiden of faith. The opposite of faith is knowing with surety. Knowing with surety is the hallmark of my Mormon upbringing, and the “knowing” praise is sung every Sunday I attend church. In fact to say “I believe”, or “I hope the church is true” actually will raise eyebrows. It seems that “faith” is not readily found in our worship.

        The whole issue of this podcast and the one before it with Brad Kramer is that those who examine these issues and the evidence critically cannot come to any other conclusions other than what tropical animal articulated. Most have moved on and are asking the questions asked here, and that is “what now”, “what can we do with the positives that are left?

        I now you’re holding out hope. But there comes a time to admit that the earth actually does revolve around the sun and move on.

        1. Thank you for your comment. I agree with you totally. After all the discussion and justification; the base question is true or false. Either it is or is not what it claims to be. And like so many after a lifetime of belief, I now stumble back and have to try and find truth on my own.

      2. Your right TJM, it’s hard to be humble when I’m so perfect.
        But seriously, as much as I criticize the church, I know the Mormons are THE LOVING PEOPLE and that the Mormon church is made up of SMALL, LOVE-CREATING, LOVE-DRIVEN communities around the World. Indeed, you won’t find a more loving and caring people, anywhere. The SMALL Mormon community activates love. But the Mormon community realizes only a small fraction of it potential,
        because I believe they don’t know what they have.

        Further I believe the Mormon community model is precious. But this is why it is so frustrating. Because of it’s built-in barriers, it is unworkable for many intellectuals and personality types. It needs to be researched, improved, and the barriers eliminated. Especially, it needs to be opened up to a growing population of increasingly educated, knowledgeable and internet-wise people. This is a trend in all churches. Intellectuals are leaving.

        How do you open up the church and remove its barriers?

        The Mormon community should become a MULTI-TRACK community. There should be one track for TRADITIONAL BELIEVERS and another track for creative, critical thinkers with a scientific orientation. In these classrooms, free thought, creative thinking and open uncensored dialogue would be encouraged, and in fact, a requirement.

        This track should (and I strongly believe this) bring Dehlin’s pod casts into the church. John has developed a very valuable tool that not only provides critical analysis which could help guide the church, but even greater, also helps people deal with serious overwhelming emotional conflict. John’s pod cast style would would be of great benefit to the church in any classroom. These interactive pod casts would make the church intellectually acceptable and emotionally therapeutic.

        The main mission, and missionary effort, of the church should not be the controversial Joseph Smith, but should be LOVE. Missionaries hit people over the head with Joseph Smith and get a reaction. “How can I get rid of these nice, but misguided young people.”

        But who can argue with love? The litmus test questions? “Do you believe in love?” “Would you enjoy interacting with loving people in a loving community.”

        The Mormons have their legendary leaders, their colorful history and the core of a fantastic church. But we are not in the 1800s any more.

        THE CHURCH NEEDS TO CHANGE.

        If it did, it would have explosive growth, and go viral, not to mention the awesome benefits to members of its loving communities around the world. To list the benefits of the SMALL, LOVING, CARING COMMUNITY would require a large book.

      3. I have thought a lot about this. Are people who leave the church or see the discrepancies in the church just smarter than the True Believing Mormon? I don’t think so. There are smart people in the church and there are smart people out of the church. There are just as many smart people who are of other faiths and their are other smart people who are Atheist. I think it comes down to peoples experiences and perspective. It is a very hard thing to step out side ones own perspective and view the world from a different angle. Its almost impossible for me who was raised in the church to divorce my self from being a Mormon completely. So my conclusion is there are smart people every where. Its not a matter of IQ or smarts. We are all ignorant to some degree.

        1. Even many, if not most, ‘smart’ people don’t want to follow Christ’s teachings. It’s not a matter of IQ, but one of humility or pride. Only truly humble people, smart or not, are willing to follow Christ’s difficult and near impossible commandments.

          I don’t know anyone who really follows Christ’s commandments, in or out of the Church, though most think they do.

          I don’t believe any of the leaders of the Church, past or present, follow or even believe in Christ either, except maybe Joseph Smith to some degree.

          The Church preaches and practices opposite to Christ, in many vital ways. So I believe true followers of Christ would be repulsed with the Church and have nothing to do, despite whatever good it may do or teach. Nor do I believe God or Christ would have any thing to do with an apostate Church that is anti Christ.

          Every Church, no matter how apostate, preaches some truth and does some good, that doesn’t make it worth staying a part of. Joseph Smith warned that if we support or follow a false church or prophet then we will lose our salvation. But few seem to compare what their or the Church preaches and practices to what Christ said.

          If the Church that Joseph set up was true, which is a big ‘if’, since it appears Joseph had too many weaknesses, bad discernment and false doctrine or false practices, to trust that he was a true prophet, then it went apostate and lost all authority after he died, and Brigham led the members who liked ‘polygamy and blind obedience’ out west, while those apostles & members who remembered & heeded Joseph’s constant warnings against polygamy and followed Christ saw through Brigham and thus weren’t deceived to follow him.

          Whether Joseph was a true prophet or not, he and Brigham taught completely different doctrines. Their churches were complete opposites.

          LDS who do their homework and study church history and the scriptures, must decide if they are going to follow Christ and his teachings or Brigham and his teachings. For LDS leaders today still teach BY’s teachings, instead of Christ’s or even Joseph’s.

      4. Well, TJM, I think the more unbelievably arrogant part is to claim something “true” without any good evidence to back it up and still stubbornly stick to it. That is dishonesty. So far, you cannot prove Mormonism’s theology true but you can surely prove it is false. Rejecting something that is false “IS” what smart people do. Besides, read before you respond — tropical animal praised the LDS community highly about their beautiful and loving “culture” — there is nothing disparaging about that.

      5. Whatever faith is represented by people that call others “unbelievably arrogant” for expressing their opinion is one I’m not interested in joining.

      6. You don’t see the arrogance of the church and how its stance on many issues takes advantage of its own people? For those of us who have figured that out, we do indeed wonder how plain facts don’t speak for themselves and help “smart” people make it out of the church.

        1. Leaving the church has to do with being able to over come cognitive dissonance. For myself, I had all the facts to get me out of the church. However, the one thing I couldn’t explain for years was the FEELING it was true. Once I realized the church had me manipulated there, too, I was all too willing to leave. Nothing wrong with my IQ, but we are all vulnerable to manipulation. But there are facts out there on how organizations manipulate. Its out there if you look, the facts are there.

  2. A great conversation here, folks. Thank you for sharing your stories again, Jason and Taryn. Far from feeling threatened by your choice to part ways with the Church™ I felt a kinship with articulate fellow travelers blessed by loving hearts. Like all of the Mormon Stories podcast, your stories reaffirm my kinship with our human family. I wish the two of you and John much light.

    Your moment of speechless cognitive dissonance, Jason, when you found yourself sitting with the branch president in judgement against LGBT members reminds me of a moment in high priests quorum several years ago. Our ward high council representative got up and cheerfully announced our group was going to volunteer to man the phones in support of Prop 8 in California. I remember thinking Jesus Christ wouldn’t lead his followers into something so hateful and just plain on the wrong side of history. I knew then that I loved Jesus Christ more than I love the cultural baggage being carried by the church that bears his name.

  3. I too have taken medications that has changed my perceptions of what I used to think was the Holy Ghost. I too have wondered why God would create a system of communication that can be broken so easily. Especially when that line of communication is said to be so important.

    I used to have wonderfully manifestations of the spirit in my life. I would have promptings by the spirit. The Holy Ghost would tell me things and I would act on them. The medication I take has taken away those “spiritual” experiences. The medication changed my thought process and feelings. I now have to use other means to find evidence for the existence of God. I now use logic in conjunction with my feelings because I have learned that even feelings/Holy Ghost can be manipulated. This is what lead to my rational questioning of what is preached in the church.

    I asked my self, Why would God create a fallible way of communicating truth? I emailed my experience and question to a couple of professors in the psychology department at Brigham Young University. One said he is not surprised that drugs/medication can change the feelings we have but did not have an answer for why God would do this. I am glad to hear some one is researching the feelings of “elevation”. I had had the experience but had not been able to find any research on the subject. I have shared my experience with some members of the church and they look at me blank faced and unable to understand. I am great full for this pod cast. I am great full for rational thinking people.

    I look at members who believe because of a feeling/Holy Ghost and I feel for them. I used to be in their position. My experience has really opened up my eyes.

    1. It’s almost as if God, if he is real, would want us to use our mind and our heart to know what is true (hmm, that sounds familiar). But so many church members throw the mind out completely when they decide what’s true.

    2. Taryn and others mention a correlation between their spiritual experiences and brain chemistry changed by anti-depressants.

      Great observation. You are brilliant.

      Research shows a strong linear relationship between low serotonin level and spiritual experiences. This brings up ideas and questions: Missionaries would have greater success, if they would ask their target subject the simple question: Do you tend to be depressed?

      Also, if you don’t want to lose the Holy Ghost and your testimony, don’t take anti-depressants. Curiously, women tend to have lower serotonin levels, and also participate in church groups more than men do.

      Something more to think about. Utah is the anti-depressant capitol of the World and also ranks highest in teen suicides, all indicative of a low serotonin level. Further research needed.

      The Mormon concept of perfection, sends members on a guilt trip and to a lower serotonin level. Great method of control by guilt and brainwashing. And unfortunately, Mormon teenagers take it seriously. They are put on a super anguishing guilt trip when they are told that if they think about sex, look at an image of a naked body, or explore their bodies, they are impure and unworthy, when these are normal and natural things that teens do. Recently, the church keeps coming out with speeches in which they preach that the natural man cannot know, love or relate to God.

      What a stupid God. God creates a natural man that can’t relate to him!

  4. I listen and I hear a choice made of two seemingly beautiful people who have thought through all the paths I have also wandered down. I still wander, searching for truth. I am Mormon, that’s what I do. I search. I ask. And I choose belief in God. But I don’t believe this is the one true church, blah, blah, blah. I don’t believe in the literal temple-need for the entire human race, blah, blah, blah. Or that god hates the lgbt community, etc.

    But I believe I can live a good life in Mormonism. These are my people. So I stay.

    I stay, but I certainly appreciate the thoughts of this articulate, thoughtful couple and the reasons they give for leaving. I guess I am just amazed at how I can stay myself… Just can’t let it go.

    It’s like parents who have children and each child experiences similar upbringing, while some thrive and some spend the rest of their lives frustrated at their experience. It just really makes me wonder… For now I stay, searching for truth wherever I can find it, knowing that Mormons certainly don’t have a monopoly on truth. Basically, doubt and I are cozy. And I’m good with that.

    Interesting podcast, John. I enjoy hearing people’s journeys–including your own. Many, many thanks.

  5. Jason and Taryn have come to the wrong conclusion. The “Mormon system” is different from all other religions. It is more than dream-based. It is more than faith-based. It is the most logical, sensible, reasonable, scientific, and scriptural religion in the world. The basic foundation of Mormonism is valid along with its doctrine, organization, and ordinances because the basic foundation of Mormonism is the same as the basic foundation of the original church that Christ himself established while he lived upon the Earth. In addition to the valid Mormon foundation and its sense of community, Mormonism embraces the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the blessings of direct communication with God.

    It is just as easy for an honest, smart and loving person to live in the Mormon community as it was for an honest, smart, and loving person to live in the community of the church Christ established in the Meridian of Time which has now been restored in our day through a living prophet of God. The Mormon Church does not put barriers to living in it any more than the Church of Christ did at the time he set it up. The Church of Jesus Christ today has the same valid theological framework, the same types of hoops to jump through, the same types of personal litmus tests that Christ originally laid down for entrance into the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom of Heaven.

    There is also a place in the Mormon Community for those who like the social, cultural, and sense of community aspects of the Church but don’t like hoops to jump through or so-called barriers to cross. These are they who want the Church to focus on the no-hoops-required Terrestrial Kingdom of Heaven rather than on the Celestial Kingdom of Heaven. It’s their choice, and we should love and accept them no matter what they decide. But we should hope that those in the upper hierarchy will continue to understand the difference between a Terrestrial church and a Celestial church and not surrender to the pressures of political correctness and the “philosophies of men.” In the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom of Heaven we can receive a fullness of all that our Heavenly Parents have in store for us and our loved ones on condition we strive to keep the commandments, endure to the end, pass the tests, and jump through the hoops that some good, smart, loving people consider too onerous.

    1. There is not enough information in the New Testament to figure out what the ancient Church looked like. There simply isn’t enough information. What we think we know about the ancient Church we know through what we call modern-day revelation. However, we can’t be sure if our “modern revelation” is correct because the New Testament is so short on content about the makeup of the Church.

      Another conundrum: Joseph Smith organized a group of men called the Council of Fifty. It was rather significant, because at one time, he turned the power of running the Church over to them if he passed away. Of course, we all know what came of that, but…

      Anyway. This Council of Fifty, where is it today? We don’t have one. If the Restored Church looks just like Ancient Church, do we or do we not need a Council of Fifty? It’s absence now draws suspicions about whether it was essential then. And it presence back then makes us wonder where it is today.

      There are just too many problems with this notion that the Restored Church is patterned after the Ancient Church.

      Where do we read in the New Testament about the “same valid theological framework, the same types of hoops to jump through, the same types of personal litmus tests that Christ originally laid down for entrance into the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom of Heaven.” Where do we find this information? Where do we read Christ saying that one must pay 10% of their gross income to enter a temple to receive ordinances essential for salvation in the Kingdom of God? Even the Book of Mormon is strangely silent about post-Law of Moses temple ceremonies. In fact, in the Book of Mormon Christ says in 3 Nephi 11 that the kingdom of God in inherited by believing, repenting, and being baptized, and anything MORE OR LESS than this is not of Him. And in 2 Nephi, he says salvation is given free. It is free! If we believe on his name.

      And as far as this idea about Celestial Churches and Terrestrial Churches – we gave up the Celestial Church when we proved incapable of practicing the Law of Consecration, or the United Order. That is the Celestial Law, and we aren’t even trying anymore.

      1. There is enough information in the New Testament to know basically what the doctrines, organization, and ordinances of the ancient Church looked like. Take for example church organization: Apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, high priests, seventies, elders, bishops, priests, teachers, and deacons. The New Testament mentions them all, but we know more about them from modern revelation.

        The restored Church today may not “look just like” the ancient Church but it is far, far closer than any other church on the face of the earth. We shouldn’t expect perfectly exact correspondence in every detail because times are different and the Lord commands and revokes “as it seemeth him good.” “Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good” (D&C 56:4).

        It is true that the Church today has same valid theological framework as the ancient Church. The doctrines taught by the restored church are the same or similar to the doctrines taught at the time of Christ on Earth. (See Volume 1: “The Everlasting Gospel” of “1000 EVIDENCES for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Allen H. Richardson, et, al., Artisan Enterprises, allenartisan.richardson@gmail.com)

        Note the word “types” in the sentence: “…the same TYPES of hoops to jump through, the same TYPES of personal litmus tests that Christ originally laid down for entrance into the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom of Heaven.” (Emphasis added) Each question of the temple recommend interview can be tied in with a TYPE of counsel or instruction given by Christ in both ancient and modern scriptures. You mentioned tithing.

        There is no requirement to pay 10% of our gross income to enter a temple. The requirement is to pay 10% of INTEREST annually. “And after that, those who have been thus tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord” (D&C 119:4). (Interest is different from gross income.) See also http://www.i4m.com/think/intro/mormon-tithing.htm. Payment of tithes is a TYPE of requirement similar to Jesus’ reference to the widow’s mite and Jesus telling the rich young man to sell all that he possessed and follow him in order to be saved. Other New Testament statements and parables including the parable of the talents could also be tied in as a “type.” Finally, Jesus did not revoke the command to pay tithing as recorded in Malachi 3:10.

        It should not be surprising that the Book of Mormon does not go into detail about the “post-Law of Moses temple ceremonies.” The Book of Mormon is an ABRIDGMENT of other records. The other records probably did contain that detail. The Lord doubtless had his reasons (we can postulate some) for not instructing Mormon to include that detail in the Book of Mormon.

        In 3 Nephi 11, Christ says “that the kingdom of God in inherited by believing, repenting, and being baptized, and anything more or less than this is not of Him.” If we truly believe in Christ, we will keep his commandments and strive to do his will which includes implementing his recommendations. He recommends the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. Salvation in general is free to all in the sense that all will be resurrected. Also salvation in the Terrestrial and Telestial kingdoms of Heaven is in a sense free (no hoops required) to all who believe but perform little or no good works (e.g. tithing, temple work, service to fellow men and women). However, exaltation in the highest kingdom of Heaven requires some good works of the type that some are reluctant to do: “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20). That scripture indicates that unless works are involved somehow, a person doesn’t truly believe or have faith and therefore is not a candidate for exaltation in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom of Heaven.

        In the temple, we covenant to accept the Law of Consecration and that we will practice it if commanded. Again, the Lord commands and revokes certain practices as it seemeth him good. So far, the actual, literal practice of the Law of Consecration is not commanded. Tithing is its substitute, and covers our promise to obey the Law of Consecration—another reason why tithing is required for exaltation. Tithing funds are used “that there may be meat in mine house” (Malachi 3:10) to help the poor and the needy, to build up the Kingdom of God on Earth.

        1. @whynot I am glad you know the Mormon doctrine. What has been spoon fed to us. But what do you know and how do you know it? Do you distinguish a difference between knowing and believing? I can see you believe what you say but I am afraid to inform you that you don’t know it. So, You think because the church to day kind of looks like the church Jesus set up then that makes it true. Do you have any better evidence to prove your statement of authenticity for the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints?

          also, I gave you a why not reason in my post about the Holy Ghost but you did not respond.

          1. People who laugh at the testimonies, doctrines, practices, and positive interpretations of scripture and Church history should keep in mind the scripture: “Fools mock but they shall morn.”

            I understand why you don’t feel that “there isn’t direct communication with God when using the Holy Ghost.” That is one opinion which you and Taryn have clearly explained. However, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of others living and dead hold a different view. They testify that the prophets of God of the past, present, and future not only have had, have now, and will have direct communication with God through inspiration of the Holy Ghost but also through personal appearances, visions, dreams, and voices from God, Christ, and his heavenly messengers.

            We have not been spoon fed. We have feasted at the table of the Lord. You asked how we can know it is true. One way to know is by striving to do God’s will. “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).

            You said, “Do you have any better evidence to prove your statement of authenticity for the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints?” In addition to the best evidence which is personal revelation, here is further evidence:

            “1000 EVIDENCES for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Allen H. Richardson, M.Ed, David E. Richardson, Ph.D., Artisan Enterprises, 10787 S. Coral Dune Dr. (3970West), South Jordan, Utah, 84095, 801-446-2392, allenartisan.richardson@gmail.com

            Volume 1: “The Everlasting Gospel”
            (500 Evidences are presented in the following chapters:)
            The Greatest Evidence
            Evidences from the Prophecies of Church Leaders
            Evidences Concerning the prophet Joseph Smith
            Evidences Concerning the Pearl of Great Price (including Book of Abraham)
            “By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them”
            Doctrines and Ordinances of the Church
            Organization of the Church
            Miracles in the Church
            Evidences Concerning the Temples of the Church

            Volume 2: “Voice from the Dust:”
            (500 Evidences are presented in the following chapters:)
            Witnesses of the Book of Mormon
            Another Testament of Jesus Christ
            Book of Mormon Prophecy
            Book of Mormon Geography
            Book of Mormon Culture
            Names used in the Book of Mormon
            Book of Mormon Literacy
            Ancient American Science
            Warfare in the Book of Mormon

          2. @whynot I was not mocking you. I was laughing because I thought there cant be a person out there who is this gullible posting on this site. I thought your post was a person joking at first. It was funny. But then I realized there really is some one like you posting on this site. Then my laughter turned to sorrow.

            I do live Gods will according to the way the Mormon church says to. I pay a full tithe with fast offerings. I do my home teaching. I served a mission. I accept and hold a church calling. I attend more than three hours of church services a week. I have a temple recommend. I pray daily. I hold family home evening with my family each week. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink and I don’t look at pornography. And yet I do even more. But still because of my experiences the Church of Jesus Christ still fails to prove its validity. What more are you saying I have to do?

            Just because millions of people believe one way does not make it true. There are more Muslims than Mormons by a long shot. Are you saying their religion is true because of the millions of them who profess it to be true?

            You say personal revelation is the best evidence. But I have just shared with you how your personal method of receiving revelation is flawed. You don’t know it because you have never had the experience of seeing it from a different perspective. I used to believe just as you do. I used to believe the Holy Ghost was personal revelation. The Holy Ghost told me it was true. I know now that our feelings and the Holy Ghost are not infallible.

          3. Why Not,

            I believe that you have not studied or understand the teachings of Christ if you believe the Church teaches his same doctrines.

            The LDS Church is one of the most ‘un’christlike churches I know of. Almost any other Christian church is a closer relica of Christ’s original church then the LDS Church is.

            Just because the ‘structure’ may be similar doesn’t mean the doctrine and practices are, or that the leaders are even ‘true prophets and apostles.

            Anyone can start a church or continue a break off branch (like Brigham did w/o authority) and call themselves prophets & apostles, etc.

            But Christ warned us how to tell true prophets & apostles from false ones and clearly the ones in the Church, past & present, are completely false and don’t even believe in Christ, let alone follow him or have Charity, which is the hallmark of a true prophet or follower of Christ.

        2. I thought this post was parody for a moment….and then “why not” hit the gas pedal. Brainwashing at it’s best.

      2. You are absolutely right, the LDS church is a universe away from what Christ did (that is if you would even consider that Jesus intended an institutional church! Some would consider that such things didn’t even exist back then). Mormonism in 2014 is totally different from the church in 1835 or 1840 or 1900. I was baptised in 1975 when I was 8. I would suggest that the church was different back then. Whatever else you might call it, the church today is not a ‘restoration’ of anything that went before. If I was lucky enough to get a hold of the carcass of a Classic Silver Ghost Rolls Royce and some components, I might wish to embark on a restoration project. But if I then rip away those aspects that make it a Rolls Royce and add other things like monster truck wheels, super duper, chrome exhausts, a huge flame icon along the side, then whatever else I have, it isn’t a restoration,

    2. @WhyNot I have to apologize because I laughed at your comment. I thought you where making a joke. I stopped laughing after reading the entire thing and realized you are serous.

      You made the comment “Mormonism embraces the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the blessings of direct communication with God.” Both I in my post and Taryn in the pod cast have shared with you how there isn’t direct communication with God when using the Holy Ghost. Are you saying the prophet today receives communication in some other way?

      1. I thought you must have been at least a hairbreadth away from mocking because you didn’t seem to be aware that most devout members of the Church feel the same way I do—that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the most logical, sensible, reasonable, scientific, and scriptural religion in the world and that the basic foundation of Mormonism is the same as the basic foundation of the original church that Christ himself established while he lived upon the Earth. A further shock was to read that you feel sorry for people who have the same conviction I described. Surely you ought to rejoice for them and wish that you will feel the same way someday.

        I admire you for staying faithful to the Church in all the ways you mentioned despite the suffering which your family has been called upon to endure. You asked, “What more are you saying I have to do?” That is a hard question to answer. But could an analogy be made with the following Bible incident: “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? …if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions” (Matt. 19:16-22). What if the possessions which the Lord asks us to give up are our criticisms and objections of the true church of Jesus Christ including the way the Holy Ghost operates and the way the Lord sometimes asks us or allows us to suffer:

        “… we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things” (13th Article of Faith). “…willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19). “For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory…” (D&C 58:4).

        1. @whynot I have felt the joy the church brings. Ignorance is bliss. I was blissful in my ignorance. The church and its doctrine gave me warm fuzzys all over. I don’t doubt it does that for you. Some one once said religion is the opiate for the masses. The church is an opiate. Part of me has wanted to go back to that blissful state. I can not lie. But like a child I have had to grow and mature.

          You say my family has had to endure suffering? You don’t know any thing about my family. Unless I know you from some where. Do I? Because of my experiences I am a better father, better husband and better son. I love my family and they love me. There is no suffering because of my views of the church.

          Your story of the rich young ruler does not apply in this situation. I have done all that the church has asked of me and still I stick around. The young ruler went away sorrowful. I am not sorrowful. I have great joy in life. I see things so much clearer than I did when I was TBM. I have a greater appreciation for this life. I no longer live my life expecting the reward in the life after. I value friend ships and relation ships more deeply because I have a realistic view of death. I value this world knowing its the only one we have and its not going to be turned into some celestial sphere some day. We need to take care of the earth. I love nature. I love science. I love discovery. I value others religions and traditions. I still value much about the Mormon faith. Its a beautiful faith to me. I also value Muslims, Buddhists, Jews and Atheists. Now is the time to live. But yet the story is about the Savior and not the church. I love the Savior. I value the teachings of Jesus Christ. Your analogy doesn’t work.

          I endure much. I endure going to church and listening to the kind of stuff you believe preached as truth. I feel for members. That’s why your post became very serious to me once I realized you where not joking. That is why I apologized.I hope for many things. I hope for my TBM friends to stop living in the box they live in and see the church for what it is and what it is not. I hope for there to be understanding and compassion for those who do not all believe the same way. My heart goes out to you now that I know where your coming from.

          1. Big J…extremely well put. When my wife and I realized the “untruthfulness” of the LDS faith, we couldn’t run away fast enough. We were very active for 40 years. We sacrificed so much for “the only true church”.

            We grew up ignorantly bliss with a gratefulness that we were so worthy in the pre-existence that we got to be born into loving LDS families, ringing in the second coming of Christ.

            In some ways, I admire members who realize what the church is really about and continue to stay in spite of it. I hope that you can be a force for change within the organization. It’s the attitudes of people like WhyNot that are so stifling.

            When we realized the church is falsifying doctrine, outright lying, and omitting dirty truths, we could not stand to listen to the falsehoods and ignorance being preach every Sunday. It’s hard for me to understand why anyone who knows the truth remains associated with the organization.

            Why continue to put up with judgmentalism, bigotry, misogyny, totalitarianism, etc? For those of you who stay because you can’t let go for your specific reason, PLEASE be a means for change. I have too many family members who could be posting as WhyNot. 🙁

  6. Great experiences and thoughts —— Thanks for Sharing! Really enjoyed hearing about the “elevation experience” (why we have strong feelings about certain things). I totally agree you should not rely on feelings when it comes to truth —– no where in the bible it says to trust your feelings. Totally agree many organizations teach what appears to be “loving/good” things but the orgs never quite live up to what they teach and actually do much harm (your example of the church is a great example). Enjoyed your experiences and insights but feel bad you have thrown out God because of your experience with a church that thrives on lies. I don’t think you discussed why you threw out God. I certainly did not find him in organized religion even though many of their teachings are good and worth considering in establishing a personal relationship with God. That is one good thing LDS inc. did for me —– I think, got me concerned with my relationship/communication with God. I just can’t imagine you never had ‘spiritual experiences'(not necessarily feelings — answers to prayers, peace, insights, knowledge, protection, voices, documented support, etc.) working in the church/raising your family, even though lds inc. or any church should not be given total credit for your attempt to get a personal relationship with God. I left the church based on an answer to a prayer and only confirm that answer as I study and learn more —– obviously I cannot prove there is a God but my numerous experiences are either coincidental or from God or somehow from a marvelous brain I am able to tap into by using prayer. If you would respond to the question — Didn’t you have any ‘spiritual experiences’ if so where did they come from? I would really appreciate it as maybe my numerous experiences are unique —– I only heard a few people in my 40+ years in the church with what appeared to be numerous ‘spiritual experiences’ except people in Bishoprics in getting answers to who to call to certain positions.

    1. I heard her share in the first half of podcast that she did have a spiritual experience where god told her to go back to the mormon church. She says she later reolized it was this elevation feeling she had and not god. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

    2. Stormin, thanks for your comment. I think, however, that I addressed my loss of faith in God pretty thoroughly in the podcast. My belief in God was never dependent on my beliefs about or relationship with the Church – in fact, I only rejoined the Church because I believed firmly that God wished me to do so.

      I ceased to believe in God because I had no evidence for such a being, or at least no evidence I could consider reliable. I spent my childhood and adolescence attempting to believe in God, but never had any sort of spiritual witness except during severe depressive episodes. When I was in my mid-20s I was born again during such a serious depressive episode. Then I began to take a first-generation SSRI to treat insomnia. After I began the medicine, I was for the first time awash in exactly the sort of spiritual witness I had always heard about from others; not delusional, but powerful. When my meds changed, though, my experience of the holy spirit always changed drastically. One change led to revelation by the still small voice, for instance, and the change to my current medication led to complete silence. If I stop my meds, I have the occasional and powerful experiences I had before my meds. Notably, I always have them in circumstances which correspond to laboratory conditions which induce elevation. While this does not disconfirm God or the holy spirit, it does indicate that the experiences I took to be witnesses of the divine are easily manipulated by both social stimuli and material alterations to my brain. At the very least, such witnesses are therefore unreliable as evidence for anything supernatural. The truth claims of scripture are tautological without supernatural evidence such as that which I have come to condsider invalid. I cannot justify a belief in God based entirely in a desire to believe, which is what I would have had left had I not realized that I am in fact happier as an athiest. Frankly, I’ve found that loss of belief isn’t really such a loss at all. I have to admit this came as a shock to me; I do understand how horrible it must seem to you, and so I understand your worries.

      I should note, by the way, that I’m taking antidepressants, and I am not now and never have been psychotic. No hallucinations, no delusions, nothing. I strongly suspect that depressive episodes and different medications allow me different access to a small but normal range of human neurological experiences which I generally don’t get otherwise. I don’t think that people who experience the holy spirit or revelation are mentally ill; just mistaken about the value of such experiences as evidence.

      1. Thanks for your answer —- I think I got it. Maybe I am just different and had significantly more spiritual experiences (not related to the elevation feeling) than others, I guess I realized this to some extent previously when teaching in lds inc. asking for ‘spiritual experiences’ in certain areas and just blank stares or someone would usually bring up “some experiences are so personal/sacred” (in other words we haven’t had any in any area) it would be inappropriate to tell everyone. Even though now I realize my experiences had everything to do with faith and nothing to do with lds inc., My spiritual experiences are the main thing that kept me in the church —– then when I found something I finally HAD to question concerning the truthfulness of the church/policies — brought me out of the church. I know my TBM wife has had them as well as TBM past friends that didn’t involve “just a feeling” but pretty miraculous —- at the time I just assumed active people had them just didn’t feel like sharing them often because I didn’t share all my experiences in teaching/testimonies.

        1. Stormin, I feel as though you’re minimizing my experiences, though I understand the impulse. I didn’t just have a feeling, I had a rock-hard conviction burned on my soul like fire. And then I didn’t. You’re right, though, that you may have very different experiences than my own. It’s one of my great frustrations that we can never truly understand exactly what other people are feeling :).

          1. Sorry if I appear to minimize anyone’s experiences I really don’t want to do that. However, because you and others bring up the insignificance of having a “feeling” experience alone (which could be caused by drugs or normal hormonal functions which I totally agree with by the way) I need to ask additional clarifying questions. Therefore, “conviction burned on my soul like fire” sounds to me like a feeling or was that a metaphysical change in your mind? Finally, just to make it clear, you or your husband have never had —– voices to your mind warning you of danger or instructing you, revelations/dream-like communications, an answer coming into your mind after praying that you never considered, a born again type experience where your whole outlook on life and the way you look at Gods creations change immediately (normally accompanied by strong feelings so maybe not a good example) and without specifically looking for found a specific website or book/documentation that answered a question you recently prayed about? That is the type of ‘non feeling’ experiences I wonder if you/husband or someone like the TBM “Whynot” ever had that to me somewhat validates a relationship with God or with some higher power (maybe subconscious brain that we are not consciously aware of).

          2. @stormin These non feeling experiences you say you have. I have had them too. I have heard a small voice in my head from time to time. I have also prayed and given blessings and had thoughts come to my mind that I other wise would not have. Some of these experiences have changed my outlook on life. Those are still internal experiences and does not prove to me they are from God. Those thoughts and ideas can come from any number of neurological chemicals with in the brain.

          3. Stormn, as I said above, I was born again. I was a new person in Christ. Think Evangelical christianity kind of born again, with all that implies. I didn’t expect it. I asked for it, yes, bit I didn’t expect it. Years later I read C.S. Lewis’ conversion account; my own was very similar in consequence if not in precursor. “Metaphysical change of mind,” while painfully vague, does capture it. (How else can we describe it except vaguely?) I was different, the world was different, and God and Christ were real.

            Jay and I have both experienced exactly the kinds of revelation you discuss, yes. Voices, answers, unexpected revelations in dreams. If you listened to our old interview, you’ll have heard about some of that. Unfortuately, I have since learned that some of these things can be induced experimentally, and the interpretation of others as divine communication seems to be culturally dependent. I no longer trust my own early interpretations of these things.

            When you say not-a-feeling, I think you may be defining feelings more narrowly than I do? We live in a culture which tends to view feeling and thought as two separate things. However, a good deal of our cognition actually is emotion – just not an easily named emotion like happy, or sad, or angry, or afraid.

          4. Taryn, I am sure you are very sincere in your beliefs and truly believe you have been born again, but you realize don’t you that there are people in every religion that have the same conviction and feelings and spiritual experiences that you claim, thus they believe their religion/church is right, despite how contrary it may be to the Gospel.

            I have found the Holy Ghost conveys ‘truth & knowledge’ much more or maybe even instead of ‘feelings or burnings, etc.’ We can thus prove whether that truth is correct by comparing what the Spirit teaches us to what Christ taught, while there is no way to ‘prove’ or be sure that our feelings or burnings have really come from the right source, thus why everyone is at times easily deceived by ‘feelings, etc.’ even prophets are too, for they feel so right and strong and good, yet that is something Satan or even our own mind can cause us to feel or experience also, so we never know for sure.

            Thus I believe we should only base our actions and beliefs and support of a church or person or principle on pure knowledge, not any type of feeling, burning or even vision, dream or visitation by an angel or so called Christ. For they can all easily be from the wrong source and deceive us.

            Only pure knowledge can be tested and proven, that is why we are commanded to ‘prove all things’ before believing or putting faith in someone or something.

            I also don’t understand how a person can be truly ‘born again’ and then support the LDS Church, which is anti Christ and preaches and practices so completely contrary to his teachings? Yes the Church teaches & does some good things, but the bad far out weighs the good, and destroys families/marriages in the process, while leading people totally astray to believe in and support falsehoods and false prophets and their evils.

            Joseph Smith said we will lose our salvation if we follow men who teach contrary to Christ and the scriptures, like the LDS Church & leaders do.

            I believe we must only follow Christ and his words if we want to be considered true followers of Christ and truly born again.

          5. Lilli, thanks for your questions. I believe that if you listen to my original interview before listening to the second one, you’ll find I pretty much covered these things already. If you’re wanting a doctrinal debate, you’ll find I’m not a good opponent, as I’m no longer a Christian of any variety. In any case, I’d never have been able to defend the parts of Mormonism to which you refer, as I never held those positions. Sorry.

      2. Thanks Taryn,

        I love Sam Harris’ contribution about the biology of the brain, and how our basic personalities are influenced so much by the basics of its physiology. There is very precise mapping of the brain with distinct sections that light up with our experiences, including the experiences of religion/spiritual/faith. There are many psychotropic drugs that tend to light these same areas as well. I researched people who have had a “DMT” (dimethyltryptamine) drug trip. It has profound similarities to many near death experiences, including the latest and famous one by the “Proof of heaven” guy, Eben Alexander.

        I say this because as I listened to your experience, some of the reasons I understood maybe why you may have left the church were because of personal, human experiences, like how those in the Sunday school may have mistreated or mishandled your child, or how there may not have been empathy towards yours or your child’s condition.

        I think there are many valid reasons (obviously) to leave the church. I think leaving the church because of messiness of working with groups of people is probably one of the lesser valid reasons to leave. What would you say was your balance between the personal and the empirical reasons for eventually leaving (this time) the church?

        1. Rude Dog, I had ceased to believe. Otherwise, I’d have gone to the teachers and if necessary the bishop with my concerns about the nursery, or we’d have just skipped out after Sacrament. I didn’t leave because of mistreatment, but because of my reassessment of the community.

  7. It was so refreshing to hear a thoughtful couple express why they feel they can’t stay in the church. I’ve been struggling with staying or going, so I’ve been listening to some of your past podcasts about why people who know the history choose to stay. While the podcasts have been fascinating, I don’t understand that path. It doesn’t feel honest to me. Before I knew more about church history I could put up with the social issues in the church, I could even be comfortable with the role of being the good example of the liberal, believing mormon. But, now that I know more about how the founding stories aren’t real, I no longer see the point of putting up with the cultural crud anymore.

    Choosing to leave is the hardest thing I’ve ever even thought about doing. I hope my experience will be like taryn’s in that the cliff really does turn into a hill upon actually living through the experience. I was truly inspired to hear from a couple that is showing their integrity with their words and actions. I look forward to hearing your conversation with brad Kramer!

  8. Let’s see now. Where’s that temple list? Only 6,999,999,000 people to go. Oh and yes, how about the Neanderthals, do we need to baptize them,too? We need to dust off that hat and seer stone, go to a few more Free Masonry meetings and come up with a better system. Though you could’t come up with a better system for making money. The temple is a terrific business, in fact, the best moneymaker the church has. Even better than the Roman Catholic business in the “sale of indulgences” during Martin Luther’s time. If you can make people
    believe it. “Your money or your life.” “Your money or your children.” Wow. Could brain-washing get any stronger than this. Could anything be more cruel!

    And how do you prove this stuff. Oh yes, “the burning in the breast.” But your saying why didn’t I get this feeling? Perhaps, you have never heard of “self-suggestion.”

    After Joseph is convicted of taking people’s money for using his hat and seer stone to find hidden treasures. (Joseph never finds any hidden treasure) but no problem, he goes from finding hidden treasures to finding hidden “golden plates,” which are conveniently buried within walking distance from the family farm. Joseph never finds any hidden treasures from putting his head in a hat, but he “translates” the Book of Mormon this way. Interestingly enough, Joseph “translates” “golden plates” without ever looking at the so-called “golden plates,” whatever they are, which at one time are even hidden out in the woods, while Joseph is inside his step-father’s house with his head in the hat translating them. Curiously too, Joseph stages the “witnesses” (mainly the Smith and Whitmer family)
    to “golden plates” which are never used in the production of the Book of Mormon. Moreover, Joseph himself, writes up what the witnesses, witness, some of the stuff, they couldn’t possibly have witnessed, in the same stylized language that Joseph uses in his production of the Book of Mormon. But anyway, witnessing “plates” that have nothing to do with the production of the Book of Mormon, does nothing for proving the Book of Mormon.

    1. The words of “tropical animal” sound like the words of a typical character assassin. That same perverse approach has been used on other great persons of history including Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Mother Teresa, and Jesus Christ himself, the most perfect person who ever lived on Earth. Hopefully “tropical animal” is quoting someone else, not reflecting his own views. Here’s a specific response to tropical animal’s (TA) quotations:

      TA: Let’s see now. Where’s that temple list? Only 6,999,999,000 people to go. WHYNOT (WhyNot): Not to worry. There will plenty of time during the Millennium, especially considering that the baptisms would be performed only for those who accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and chose the Celestial Kingdom rather than the Terrestrial which is much closer to the Catholic/Protestant view of Heaven. TA: Oh and yes, how about the Neanderthals, do we need to baptize them,too? WHYNOT: Only those who accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and choose the Celestial Kingdom. TA: We need to dust off that hat and seer stone, WHYNOT: Not necessary. Again there’s the Millennium to take care of this crucial ordinance for exaltation. Also if “tropical animal” overcomes his rebellion and is given a white stone, he should make sure he never puts it in a hat or he will be subject to ridicule. “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Rev. 2:17).

      TA: go to a few more Free Masonry meetings WHYNOT: Freemasonry and Mormonism are co-witnesses to certain truths they both possess—one by tradition and the other by revelation. TA: and come up with a better system. WHYNOT: There has never been and never will be a better system than the true Church of Jesus Christ. TA: Though you couldn’t come up with a better system for making money. WHYNOT: You couldn’t come up with a better system for helping the poor and helping to build up the Kingdom of God on Earth. TA: The temple is a terrific business, WHYNOT: The temple is a terrific sacred institution for helping people reach exaltation in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom of Heaven. TA: in fact, the best moneymaker the church has. WHYNOT: In fact, he temple is the most sacred institution the Lord has for and helps encourage people to pay their tithes and offerings to assist the poor and the needy and build up the Kingdom of God on Earth and for blessing the tithe payers themselves: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 3:10-11).

      TA: Even better than the Roman Catholic business in the “sale of indulgences” during Martin Luther’s time. WHYNOT: The sale of indulgences was for an entirely different purpose than doing temple work for the living and the dead. It is bearing false witness to accuse God and Christian churches of using tithes and offerings for any purpose other than to bless the lives of all people on Earth and in he Spirit World. TA: If you can make people believe it. “Your money or your life.” “Your money or your children.” WHYNOT: There you go again, bearing false witness if you relate those threats to Jesus Christ and his sacred temple work. TA: Wow. Could brain-washing get any stronger than this. WHYNOT: Wow, could bearing false witnes get any worse than what you just said? Teaching the importance of tithes and offerings to help the poor and the needy and to make all people happier is not brainwashing. It is helping God to bring to pass the glory and eternal life of men and women. TA: Could anything be more cruel! WHYNOT: Could anything be more cruel than pulling people away from the health and happiness they could have by following the teachings of Christ and keeping his commandments? Teaching the importance of tithes and offerings to help the poor and the needy and to make all people happier is the opposite of cruel—it is love, compassion, kindness, charity.

      TA: And how do you prove this stuff. Oh yes, “the burning in the breast.” WHYNOT: The correct terminology is “burning in the bosom.” That is one of several ways that the Lord uses to reveal information. Some people like to mock each way the Lord uses. “Fools mock but they shall mourn.” TA: But your saying why didn’t I get this feeling? Perhaps, you have never heard of “self-suggestion.” WHYNOT: The fact that self-suggestion exists doesn’t preclude or prevent the Lord from using any one of several methods of revealing information.

      TA: After Joseph is convicted of taking people’s money for using his hat and seer stone to find hidden treasures. WHYNOT: “There is disagreement regarding certain details of the 1826 court case involving Joseph’s use of the seer stone to find treasure. It is unclear who brought the charges, whether or not Joseph was actually convicted.” TA: (Joseph never finds any hidden treasure) but no problem, he goes from finding hidden treasures to finding hidden “golden plates,” WHYNOT: The Lord would have directed Joseph Smith to find and translate the golden plates no matter what his background might have been. TA: which are conveniently buried within walking distance from the family farm. WHYNOT: Mt. Sinai was within walking distance from the tent of Moses.
      TA: Joseph never finds any hidden treasures from putting his head in a hat, but he “translates” the Book of Mormon this way. WHYNOT: He translated the Book of Mormon using three methods: (1) Urim and Thummim (two seer stones in a breastplate). (2) A single seer stone. (3) Pure revelation. TA: Interestingly enough, Joseph “translates” “golden plates” without ever looking at the so-called “golden plates,” WHYNOT: How do you know he didn’t? He would have looked at them sometimes, especially when receiving translation by direct revelation. Having the golden plates at his side or in the room or in the house would have helped him tune in and be more receptive to translation revelations. TA: whatever they are, WHYNOT: They are at least an alloy containing gold, giving the plates a golden appearance. TA: which at one time are even hidden out in the woods, WHYNOT: That fact makes the existence of golden plates even more credible, along with the fact that robbers tried to get them. TA: while Joseph is inside his step-father’s house with his head in the hat translating them. WHYNOT: You are relying on a suspicious source, Joseph’s antagonistic father-in-law, Isaac Hale. He’s the only one who made that spurious claim.

      TA: Curiously too, Joseph stages the “witnesses” (mainly the Smith and Whitmer family) to “golden plates” WHYNOT: Those witnesses were not more staged than the witnesses of Christ’s resurrection recorded in the Bible. TA: “golden plates which are never used in the production of the Book of Mormon. WHYNOT: How do you know? On many occasions, he could have been looking at the plates while the translation was being revealed to him. Of course having the plates present is not an absolute requirement. God can still reveal translations without external devices such as seer stones or Urim or Thummim. TA: Moreover, Joseph himself, writes up what the witnesses, witness, some of the stuff, they couldn’t possibly have witnessed, in the same stylized language that Joseph uses in his production of the Book of Mormon. WHYNOT: It is possible that Joseph Smith recorded what the witnesses claimed, but it is far more likely that the witnesses wrote their testimonies themselves and agreed on the final wording. Claiming Joseph Smith wrote the witness testimonies is like claiming that someone else wrote the witness testimonies of Christ’s resurrection.

      TA: But anyway, witnessing “plates” that have nothing to do with the production of the Book of Mormon, does nothing for proving the Book of Mormon. WHYNOT: Witnessing the plates has everything to do with establishing the authenticity; of the Book of Mormon and helps prove that the Book of Mormon is true.

      1. @whynot Your preaching to what once was the choir. Speaking for my self. I am aware of all the arguments you give. I used to spew the same rhetoric your preaching now. I am able to see it from your side. I was once there. You fail to be able to see it from another persons perspective. You don’t have the life experiences that allow you to see the story from a different view.

        1. Thanks Why Not, for reading my post. You outlined it quite well. Love you, my friend, but can’t find real provable evidence for all the assertions you made.

          All witnesses, with no exceptions, who observed Joseph “translate” including his wife, Emma, say he NEVER looked at the “plates,” whatever they were, while “translating.”

          Putting his face in a hat seems like a strange method of translating. Have you ever heard of anyone translating this way? Neither have I.

          And why?

          Because putting his face in a hat is NOT a method of translating.

          So what is Joseph doing then when he puts his face in a hat and dictates?

          He is NOT “translating.”

          Joseph’s face-in-the-hat technique is, without the slightest doubt, a method for inducing a trance state, or a state of self-hypnosis.

          An expert in trance states and self-induced trance states, having studied it, researched it and conducted experiments similar to this, for over thirty years, there is not the slightest doubt that Joseph’s face-in-the-hat technique is a self-induced trance state. Could write a book on this.
          In fact, have a book in the first draft. Anybody out there want to help me finish it?

          Producing written material during a trance state experience is not unusual. Ellen White, prophetess and co-founder of the Adventist religion, almost contemporary with Joseph Smith, dictated trance-produced written material, in fact, more pages than Joseph Smith. Her material is basic to the Seventh Day Adventist church, a church that has grown as large and as fast as Mormonism. There are many other examples.

          Trance produced material is sometimes deceptive to the subject who produces it. Because the brain, during the trance state, is responding just like it would if it were an external real-world experience. (When I coach someone who wants to have these kinds of experiences, I tell them about this possible self-deception.) Thus, I think that Joseph, responding like the usual trance-state subject, actually believed he was “translating” by the power of God, which would also make him believe that he was a “prophet.”
          Though, he would have to know that some of his behavior was deceptive, like putting a layer of coins on top of buckets of rocks to make inventors believe the failed Kirtland Safety Society was back by hard currency.

          Curiously, Joseph has witnesses, witnessing “plates” which have nothing to do with the actual process of producing the Book of Mormon. The so-called plates, were only used as a prop or gimmick and were essential to his original story, but had nothing to do with the production of the Book of Mormon.

          Why Not, most of us have been where you are now. And eventually, I think if you research further, you will free yourself. And I say this with an attitude of caring.

          1. TA; Thanks Why Not, for reading my post. You outlined it quite well. Love you, my friend, WHYNOT: Thanks for the nice introduction. Credibility is always suspect when a critic resorts to harsh, ridiculing language. TA: but can’t find real provable evidence for all the assertions you made. WHYNOT: For real provable evidence see Volume 1 (“The Everlasting Gospel”) and Volume 2 (“Voice from the Dust”) of “1000 EVIDENCES for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Allen H. Richardson, M.Ed, David E. Richardson, Ph.D., Artisan Enterprises, 10787 S. Coral Dune Dr. (3970West), South Jordan, Utah, 84095, 801-446-2392, allenartisan.richardson@gmail.com.

            TA: All witnesses, with no exceptions, who observed Joseph “translate” including his wife, Emma, say he NEVER looked at the “plates,” whatever they were, while “translating.” WHYNOT: The witnesses, including Emma, didn’t use the word “never” in this context. Emma only said the plates were covered while she was present during translation. What difference would it make anyway if the plates were covered or uncovered especially during the times Joseph was translating using the Urim and Thummim or the seer stone? The plates would probably have been uncovered sometimes when Joseph was translating by pure revelation. Even then the plates did not have to be uncovered or even in the same room.

            WHYNOT: Also it is possible that Joseph received the translation while studying the plates with no scribe present, then dictated that translation to a scribe when the plates were covered or perhaps when they were not even in the same room. This reasonable possibility is supported by D&C Section 9 in which the Lord tells Oliver Cowdery about the means of translation, i.e. why Oliver failed in his attempt to translate part of the Book of Mormon: “Behold I say unto you, my son, that because you did not translate according to that which you desired of me, and did commence again to write for my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., even so I would that ye should continue until you have finished this record, which I have entrusted unto him… And, behold, it is because that you did not continue as you commenced, when you began to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you… Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me. Now, if you had known this you could have translated…” (D&C 9: 1-10).

            TA: Putting his face in a hat seems like a strange method of translating. Have you ever heard of anyone translating this way? Neither have I. And why? Because putting his face in a hat is NOT a method of translating. WHYNOT: What seems strange to us is not strange to the Lord. For example, healing a blind man by covering his eyes with a mixture of clay and spittle seems to us like a strange method of healing. “When (Jesus) had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay…” (John 9:6).

            WHYNOT: If a person is someday blessed with a seer stone, what would be so strange as putting that stone in a hat or a boot or a bucket or something else to block out the interference of external light to make it easier to read what is written on that stone? If you choose to “overcome” (including overcoming rejection of the scriptures), even you may be given a seer stone some day: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Rev. 2:17).

            TA: So what is Joseph doing then when he puts his face in a hat and dictates? He is NOT “translating.” WHYNOT: Wrong. He is translating through the gift and power of God. TA: Joseph’s face-in-the-hat technique is, without the slightest doubt, a method for inducing a trance state, or a state of self-hypnosis. WHYNOT: Wrong again. Just because trances and self-hypnoses can be induced, that fact does not paralyze or preclude or prevent God from giving true revelations, even by God having writing appear on a seer stone or on anything else including a wall:

            King Belshazzar’s wall: “In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written. And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians” (Daniel 5: 5, 24-28).

            TA: An expert in trance states and self-induced trance states, having studied it, researched it and conducted experiments similar to this, for over thirty years, there is not the slightest doubt that Joseph’s face-in-the-hat technique is a self-induced trance state. WHYNOT: On the contrary there is huge, overpowering doubt about the trance explanation of the translation of the Book of Mormon. On the other hand, there are huge, convincing, overpowering reasons to believe that the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God as stated in the introduction to the Book of Mormon and that the translation is just as true as the translations or interpretations we read about in the Bible such as the writing on the wall of Belshazzar and the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar Joseph, Pharaoh, Peter, etc.

            TA: Could write a book on this. In fact, have a book in the first draft. Anybody out there want to help me finish it? WHYNOT: Yes, I want to help finish it. My help is to recommend that you include counterarguments to your thesis such as those mentioned above. Fairness and objectivity demand it.

            TA: Producing written material during a trance state experience is not unusual. Ellen White, prophetess and co-founder of the Adventist religion, almost contemporary with Joseph Smith, dictated trance-produced written material, in fact, more pages than Joseph Smith. Her material is basic to the Seventh Day Adventist church, a church that has grown as large and as fast as Mormonism. There are many other examples. WHYNOT: All of that does not paralyze, preclude, or prevent God from revealing information, interpretations, and translations to true prophets. TA: Trance produced material is sometimes deceptive to the subject who produces it. Because the brain, during the trance state, is responding just like it would if it were an external real-world experience. (When I coach someone who wants to have these kinds of experiences, I tell them about this possible self-deception.) WHYNOT: All of that does not paralyze, preclude, or prevent God from revealing information, interpretations, and translations to true prophets. TA: Thus, I think that Joseph, responding like the usual trance-state subject, actually believed he was “translating” by the power of God, which would also make him believe that he was a “prophet.” WHYNOT: Joseph literally was translating by the gift and power of God the same as prophets of the Bible who received true revelation from God. You ought to be able to believe that it is possible that Joseph Smith received revelations from God just as you ought to believe prophets of the Bible and Jesus Christ himself received revelations from God the Father.

            TA: Though, he would have to know that some of his behavior was deceptive, like putting a layer of coins on top of buckets of rocks to make inventors believe the failed Kirtland Safety Society was back by hard currency. WHYNOT: Bearing false witness again? Joseph was no more behind anything like that than accusations that Christ faked his resurrection and that all the miracles recorded in the Bible were faked or nothing but fables. TA: Curiously, Joseph has witnesses, witnessing “plates” which have nothing to do with the actual process of producing the Book of Mormon. The so-called plates, were only used as a prop or gimmick and were essential to his original story, but had nothing to do with the production of the Book of Mormon. WHYNOT: Not true. See above. Your accusation is like accusing Moses of faking the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written by the finger of God. TA: Why Not, most of us have been where you are now. WHYNOT: It is extremely unlikely that I’ll be found among the number who ceased following after Christ and his true Church: “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66).

            TA: And eventually, I think if you research further, you will free yourself. And I say this with an attitude of caring. WHYNOT: Thanks for your concern, but I’ve already read or viewed practically everything critics and anti-Mormons have written or made films about. I’ve also had countless hours of face to face conversations with priests, ministers, pastors, missionaries, Jehovah’s Witnesses, dissidents, apostates, agnostics, atheists, anti-Mormons including the Tanners. The result? There is a logical and reasonable explanation for each and every one of their objections based on positive interpretations of the same words and actions of prophets of the Bible and modern prophets which opponents negatively interpret in order to discredit Christ, the Bible, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, the Book of Mormon, and in some cases, almost everything, it seems, that is “virtuous, lovely, and of good report and praiseworthy” about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

          2. @whynot I want you to personally know that I believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, I may say that I follow the admonition of Paul-I believe all things, I hope all things, I have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, I seek after these things
            I think stating the fact like there is no evidence of elephants on the American continent during Book of Mormon times is not being negative. There is no negative interpretation here. Its just a fact. The evidence shows that the closest relative to an elephant (mastodon) died out over 9,000 years before Nephi. Joseph Smith putting his head in a hat and calling it weird by standards custom to the average person in the 1800 or today is also not a negative interpretation. Saying that people who translate something generally look at and transcribes from what they are translating is also not a negative statement.
            Please don’t turn a blind eye to the obvious when trying to hold fast to your beliefs. Think out side the box. Look out side your own understanding. Embrace that you might be wrong. I think it is beautiful when people can admit this about them selves. I think it shows a level of maturity and confidence in ones self, the universe and God. Because you like sharing scriptures I’ll share one with you. You might want to brush up on it. Jacob 6:12 O be wise; what can I say more?

          3. “Think out side the box. Look out side your own understanding. Embrace that you might be wrong.”

            @whynot, WHY DO YOU THINK WE ARE HERE?? You should consider taking your own advice seriously rather than just giving lip service to it. While you’re at it, please explain to us all how all the anachronisms in the BoM make any sense. Please provide peer-reviewed scientific studies only.

        2. I wonder if one of the reasons why some of Christ’s disciples stopped following him while he lived on Earth was because they went through trials similar to yours. “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66).

          1. Why Not, we have heard these assertions all of our lives. Unfortunately, repetition establishes belief or “truth” more strongly than real evidence.

            You just heard Taryn and others say they discovered their
            reinforcing and guiding spiritual experiences came
            and went depending on changes in their brain chemistry.

            Material from trance experiences comes from the person’s own cultural background. And this was one of Joseph’s fatal flaws, he included items from his own background that should not have been in the Book of Mormon, for example, elephants, steel, steel swords, horses and a list of other things. And certainly, Joseph’s translation of the Egyptian funeral document, including his by-the-numbers translation of its facsimiles, which Joseph erroneously translates as coming from the hand of Abraham, wipes out Joseph’s credibility.

            And further, people reading from walls or from a seer stone does not surprise me and does not surpass what I have experimentally done–subjects telling a fascinating story from a television set with a blank screen that is off and unplugged.

            Or the subject who writes fifty pages of revelation in one evening, and is quite insistent that the revelation be delivered, at all costs, to the intended person.

            I can make a “prophet” out of someone if they are highly susceptible to trance experiences.

            You might ask why believers don’t want to see the elephant in the Book of Mormon. The short answer is
            the avoidance of anxiety.

  9. One of the best parts of the original interview was hearing JD crow about 350 downloads! Great job since then!

    I certainly agree with what they say about the UU. That is where my family has landed and it is a great home. The thing that always hits me is that all of these people are here because they want to be here, not because they think their eternal souls depend on it. I have often said that if there was a “cash only” box in the back of every LDS chapel where nobody would know how much you paid, tithing receipts would plummet. The main goal of the UU is to give you opportunities to help make the world a better place. The strange (sad?) thing is that I feel more compelled to share my excitement about the UU than I ever did in 50 years as a Mormon.

    1. Bill, yeah, exactly. Your last point is something I have experienced, which would probably frustrate our minister. He talks a lot in church about how UUers don’t proselytize, but I really want to.

  10. I loved the conversation/interviews.

    In addition to the great insights into Mormon culture provided, I really appreciated your descriptions of autism. Silly me but I didn’t know that there are different levels and that you could be moderately to severely autistic but still functional.

    I demonstrate a lot of the tendencies the two of you described so I took a few tests from reputable sources online. I’d say I’m at the threshold but I always appreciate awareness given to mental health issues.

    1. Sker, yes, many people are surprised when they learn that autism is a spectrum disorder. Notably, we tend to be born in families full of people who have some of our more useful traits but who have typical social cognition; early genetic research suggests that we are essentially suffering from pathological development of those traits due to some difference in prenatal circumstance.

  11. Thank you for sharing your story. I am a TBM. I like the fact that you have found a certain calmness in your lives; a new equilibrium.

    In my mind, the worst case scenario, assuming there is a God and that Joseph Smith is His prophet, is that you will pass from mortality and be welcomed into the presence of all good and charitable people regardless of their belief or affiliation.

    I truly believe the teaching of the Bible and B of M: How you treat your fellow man is how you treat God.

    On another matter, the issue of homosexuality. I am a middle aged man, married to a wonderful wife with 3 great Kids and I have ssa. I do not sit around beating myself with stripes over it. I know Jesus loves me just the way I am. I mention this only to preface the question I am going to ask. I don’t understand how homosexuality or SSA could be considered as an eternal trait. Doesn’t it seem to contradict the principle of eternal increase? It seems to also contradict the theory of evolution ( which I believe is true).

    It just seems like there’s such a foundational difference in core belief of the two sides. To ask me to change my belief system to allow for homosexual eternal marriage would be like kicking one of the legs out from a 3 legged stool. It’s not that I have anything against people who like 2 legged stools.

    I believe I’m empathetic to the LGBT cause but I don’t believe it’s fair for them to come at me and my 3 legged stool wielding a chainsaw.

    I am very genuine in my feelings about this issue. I have SO much compassion for people on both sides of this dilema.

    Thank you for sharing your story here and to John for all he does ( even if he does flip a few more times over the next decade 🙂 )

    All the best to you and yours.

    1. The principle of eternal increase? Sorry, not quite sure what you’re referring to. Probably one of those things with slightly different names in different regions. In any case, though, I don’t actually think we’ll experience an afterlife, so I’m fine contradicting principles of eternity.

      There are some really interesting ideas about homosexuality and evolution, actually. I think it’s essential to remember that homosexuality doesn’t preclude reproduction, as you yourself demonstrate. There’s also the question of whether kin selection is involved: birth order seems to be a factor in the likelihood that an individual will be homosexual, with younger brothers in large families particularly likely to be gay. If the research which suggests this holds up over time, then it may well be that women who eventually have homosexual male offspring have some sort of advantage – for example, the sons who are less likely (though still able) to reproduce may instead act as alloparents for their nieces and nephews.

      There are a lot of other ideas about homosexuality and evolution. It’s fun to run the terms through Google Scholar together, and to see the literature on the subject. The important point for lay persons such as ourselves is probably that traits which don’t greatly diminish a species’ long-term survival prospects don’t need to be selected /for/; they simply need to be /not selected against/.

      I can totally see why the idea of changing norms for marriage would suck for someone such as yourself who has dedicated his life to living the current norms in the face of considerable difficulty, by the way.

  12. Thank you for this podcast! Taryn, you spoke to my heart, truly. I have one question for you, it’s something I have always felt and struggled with and have not known why. You talked about how you couldn’t be a mormon and a stay at home mom. While you were mormon you felt like you needed something outside of both church and family, but without church you don’t(sorry for my rough paraphrasing). Why is that?

    1. Jill, I think I worried that as a Mormon SAHM, I’d end up with mostly Mormon SAHM friends – and I’d lose myself in their expectations for me. As a Mormon grad student mom, I had both Mormon SAHM friends and academic friends, so I kind of had countervailing sets of social expectations pulling on me. It made it easier to disregard things I disliked about both sets of norms and just be myself.

  13. I am assuming the ward you attended in Chicago was the north shore 1st ward. I attended this ward for a few years while in grad school and had a great time. Especially looking back now that we live in another mid west ward that seems much more orthodox. There were some fairly progressive families in that ward. An editor of Dialogue comes to mind (though I didn’t know that until moving away). I miss the NS1 ward. It’s all perspective I guess.

    1. We liked the people a lot, actually, both those who were orthodox and those who weren’t. I think we mentioned Linda Kimball in the podcast; she’s one of my Mormon feminist heroes, for instance. On the other hand, there were people who treated progressive mormons in the ward like crap. It just wasn’t Berkeley, where we really fit in, and were everyone was too laid bsck to take ideological disagreements seriously. In Chicago, the emotional costs of attendance were therefore higher for us, which I think made us more aware of the other tradeoffs involved. Especially the moral ones.

      We attended one ward in California which was so generally right-wing that Relief Society occasionally devolved into arguments about whether the 700 Club was good because of its moral conservatism, or bad because it was run by people who disapproved of Mormonism. Seriously, this happened. But at the same time, everyone seemed really fine with the fact that I was a socialist and that Jay’s talk about patriotism one July 4th focused on his view that nationalism was a bad thing which damaged the church. They were like, “I was kind of offended until I talked to Brother Pierre [a French guy in the ward], who says this is a real issue for Mormons outside the U.S. Huh, never thought about it before.”

      I think the difference with NS1 was that it was full of really wealthy folks (not the grad students, obviously) whose culture we had a hard time relating to /and/ for whom ideological differences were a bigger deal. The California ward I mention above was composed of working-class people who could generally barely make ends meet. I think that made ideology and even doctrine less salient as an indicator of social identity, That led to less internal division in the ward, which reduced the costs of involvement.

      1. What I thought was funny about the wealthy in NS1 was that many made no effort to interact with the grad students because of their transient nature. It’s like they knew the students would be gone in a few years so it wasn’t worth the effort to make friends.

        1. Yeah, and that was a real loss to the congregation. Some university-area wards embrace student families and keep track of them forever, and I think it really enriches the community. I remember that when we first moved into NS1, every non-student family and individual except the RS pres and the bishop flat-out ignored us for months. When the MBA students found out Jay was on faculty, they suddenly started to ignore us. I mean that literally. They refused to make eye contact and tried not to speak with us, as they seemed to do with all the lifers. The few grad students seemed uncomfortable with us as well. As the long-term residents figured out that we were going to be around for awhile, they began to talk to us. Often they talked to us to badmouth the MBA students, actually. (Gee, I wonder why the MBA families were uncomfortable?)

          A long-term resident made absolutely heroic efforts to heal the breach after she began having kids, as that gave her access to both groups. She instituted giant weekly playdates at which all were welcome, and pressured women from both sides to attend. Previous to that, the MBA families had a private play group for their kids, and they generally werent’t invited to other play dates. I really admired her effort and sheer productive stubbornness in the face of what had seemed sisyphean odds. Last time I went to RS, things seemed to be improving.

  14. Thank you both for a lovely interview. My path has been very similar and I have come to the same conclusions that you have come to: I want to participate in a group that is a moral leader, not a moral laggard. I agree that there are so many wonderful people in Mormonism, but from my perspective, the group has done much harm. Thank you for sharing your truth!

  15. John first off I want to say that mormon stories has been a wonderful resource of support for me as I’ve suffered through my crisis of faith and my current faith transition. Your openness to all sides and your honesty in my opinion is what makes you such a great and credible host. As a self described moderate myself, I would simply hope to remind you however that not all your listeners are liberal democrats even though we do share many of the concerns regarding LGBT and woman issues in the church. It just seems lately there has been this implicit message within the podcasts that this community of support is primarily for those of a liberal ideology. I just hope there is room for everybody along the political spectrum in the mormon stories family. I understand the importance of progressive thought as we grapple with all these difficult issues but I would hope that we could do that without unnecessary barbs against people or movements of a more center right philosophy. Connecting a political ideology to the battle of faith discovery and exploration in my opinion is simply not helpful and may even taint an otherwise unbiased medium for thought and discovery.

    1. Adam, I’d point out that John didn’t connect religion and politics in this interview. Taryn and I did, because the political value that all people are of equal worth and dignity is central to our moral world view. I agree that it’s possible to disagree deeply with us about such moral questions and still have a Mormon story. But it would be a different story than ours. If you don’t agree with me about morality, let’s talk about that. But let’s not start from the claim that my moral views are illegitimate as a component of my own religious story.

      1. Actually Jason your story has many similarities to mine. As a fellow northern Californian I too was extremely annoyed with stake leaders coming to my ward asking us to campaign for prop 8 against the threat that eventually the church could be forced to preform gay marriages in the temple. I also was a branch president and participated in an excommunication that to this day troubles me. I think your story is beautiful and genuine and I admire your courage and honesty to follow your conscience and do what is best for your family. My only point is that sometimes the interjection of political favoritism(which understandably in this forum is most often left leaning) only muddles the discussion. This is not a critique of you two at all nor your story it is just a general comment from a more politically moderate listener of this podcast that loves John and the community and who is extremely appreciative of amazing guests like yourselves that choose to share with us their stories. Sorry if I came off critical. That was not my intention.

        1. Adam, I totally agree. Thank you for speaking up. I often feel that I do not belong in the Mormon Stories community because it does often seem to be liberal leaning.

        2. I believe the Church will eventually, in the not too distant future, accept Gay marriage, even in the temple, once ‘same sex marriage’ becomes legal nationally and once most LDS want it accepted in the Church and temple, and we are almost there it seems.

          I see the Church and most of it’s members have softened alot already on same sex issues, just like it and members did with polygamy, divorce & remarriage & racism, etc. (1st totally against certain things, then they changed and were totally for them.)

          I believe the Church changes it’s stance and doctrine in order to keep it’s members and stay afloat in a changing world, despite what they used to say or do in the past about the issue.

          I see polygamy coming back too in the Church, on the heels of same sex marriage, once that is legal in the nation too, for most people and members seem to be fine with or want or would support polygamy too.

          1. But I believe it will take much more time, if ever, for the Church to give up it’s control and disrespect for women. They will probably concede a few more small things for women, but I don’t see church leaders respecting women’s full God given Priesthood and complete equality in authority and position anytime soon. They are too deep in abusive tradition, which I believe is totally contrary to what Christ stood for or did.

          2. I think we can only hope that the church will change over time, unfortunately I am less optimistic than you are. The way I see it, a lot of the issues people want addressed are public relation nightmares for the church. In fact, I would say that many of these issues are lose-lose battles in the church’s eyes.

            Take the ordain women movement for example (which I am a firm believer in). If the church never changes priesthood policy for women then they will look sexist, old fashioned, and non-progressive. If they DO change the policy then they will appear to be fickle to TBM’s and people will believe the church only changes under social pressure. There’s really no way to please everyone. Hopefully though, the church will just do what is right and let the consequences follow…

          3. Tunflog,

            There won’t be much ‘public relation nightmares’ to worry about once most everyone inside and outside the Church clamors for ‘same sex marriage’, the Church can, and I believe will, just cave and change and allow such, with the support of most everyone.

            And yes, someday the Church will have to accept and respect female prophets, apostles and every other leadership position and full Priesthood to women, but it will probably be one of the last things they are willing to do.

            And the Church has appeared very fickle and willing to change because of social pressure many many times before, and most everyone hardly notices or cares. I don’t think most members will leave the Church if they allow SSM or Polygamy, etc. for the Church already allows far worse things then those and far worse things were done through it’s history and few members seem to mind or care.

            And the Church doesn’t seem to care if what they do is ‘right, but only what is ‘needful’ to stay afloat, no matter what the consequences are now or in eternity.

          4. Lilli, I can’t help but wonder what you are basing your opinions on. I personally know very few members of the church who are in favor of gay marriage or polygamy.
            I agree with the church that gay people should be treated with love and respect just the same as anybody else, but that does not make homosexuality right or normal. I believe that it is some kind of disorder and normalizing it does not change that.
            As for polygamy, I think that was a mistake from the start.

  16. @John You mentioned an analogy to the church being like a rose. Your stake president said that by examining the church with scrutiny it is akin to plucking the pedals from the rose. I think the analogy would be more like comparing the church to a sophisticated machine. Lets call it an airplane. The church asks us to climb into their airplane and then they tell us they are going to run it off a cliff and its going to fly. Before I get in that plane I want to inspect it from top to bottom. I want to check the durability of its parts. I want to check its aerodynamics and be ensured that the plane will fly. We are asked to place a lot of our life into the church. Even our eternal salvation. Why would we not inspect it? Take apart the plane and put it back together, bolt by bolt if need be. Regarding the rose, is the church truly so fragile that it cant be put back together? Why is it so easy to pluck apart in the first place? If I kick the tires on the plane I don’t expect it to fall apart.

    1. Church leaders who don’t want us to examine them and the Church and the history, doctrine and practices with a microscope are knowingly hiding something. They don’t want us to look under the bed because they know what we will find.

      Christ and his apostles, including Joseph Smith commanded us to do just the opposite, to ‘prove all things’ before following something or someone, and prove whether a person or leader was a true follower of Christ by whether they had charity or not and by whether they preached and practiced the exact words of Christ or not (which the Christ does not, in fact just the opposite. Thus of course church leaders don’t want you questioning, studying or thinking for yourself.

      Joseph and Christ constantly warned how easy it was for everyone, even in the Church, to fall for false prophets, while thinking they are true prophets. They warned that we will lose our salvation if we are deceived by false prophets, false doctrine or false churches.

      Only false prophets and false teachers would tell someone to not question, not study too deeply, not scrutinize the Church and it’s leaders, doctrine and practices. That should be a huge red flag for those who are watching for deception.

      The church seems to want only ‘yes men & women’, those who are willing to blindly obey whatever they say. And this does appeal to most people it seems, for it is far easier to play ‘follow the leader’ then accept personal responsibility for our own salvation, revelation and discernment of truth and follow Christ on our own.

      It seems that one of the fastest ways to get exed is to follow Christ and openly teach his Gospel, which of course quickly shows how the Church is not following him.

  17. Thank you so very much for doing this podcast. Just listened to the entire program. My husband and I left the church in February along with our 6 children. I felt a kinship with many things you both said and you opened my mind to many new concepts and ideas I had not yet considered.

    We have a son with high functioning autism, and your comments in regards to the disorder and spirituality hit home for me, as he has been telling his Dad and I that he doesn’t believe in God for many years despite our faithful church activity. He is 14 1/2 years old. Having been diagnosed with a disorder that has kept me on psychiatric meds myself, I was amazed when you began discussing your spiritual experiences being directly correlated to various medications, as I too have experienced this phenomenon.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to do this program. These types of programs are proving to be extremely helpful during this time of transition out of Mormonism. Mormonism is all we’ve ever known, and this can feel like a lonely side of the fence at times.

  18. Just finished the podcast and I couldn’t resist leaving a bit of feedback. What a fascinating, beautiful, honest and heartfelt interview. I really appreciate you two sharing your experiences. It would be easy to deny an interview after leaving the church and I’m glad that you didn’t. Cheers to not living in fear!

    I learned much about Autism Spectrum Disorder and was pushed to think about people in a different/more understanding way.

    The wrap up was beautiful and I loved both of your final comments. The present is truly all that we have and I’m grateful for the reminder!

  19. Can anyone send me to some info/research/explanation of “elevation” effect of the Vagus nerve? That has been my assumption of spiritual experiences for years, but I’ve never heard of that term.

  20. Jason and Taryn, I second Carson’s interest in the “elevation” and vagus nerve studies. This rings true to me and I am very interested to learn more about it- particularly too about confirming the “in- group” status. My very TBM spouse is very interested in neurology and this might help him understand at least one concern of mine…even if he cannot entertain any of the other problematic aspects of Mormon history, etc.

    Much gratitude as well to John, Jason and Taryn for this episode of MoStories. One of my favorites!

  21. Taryn, your story resonated deeply with me. Thanks so much for sharing. Best of luck on your journey forward with Jason.

  22. To J (Jason), but “tropical animal” should also pay attention to this: J, you said you do “seek after ANYTHING virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.” Seeking after “praiseworthy” information “of good report” includes the following. It would be negative not to accept it (or at least its reasonable possibility) now that you have sought after it, and you said you were not negative.

    Although some of the evidences of ancient man with the elephant in America predates Book of Mormon times, much evidence is dated concurrently with the time of the Book of Mormon (2200 BC to 400 AD). For example, Scientific Monthly reports that a pictograph near Moab, Utah “appears to be an authentic link between aboriginal man and the elephant or mastodon, for it is highly improbable that any primitive artist could have achieved so good a likeness without having seen such a creature or having at least seen a picture of one done by some fellow artist.” (See Scientific Monthly, [1935], vol. 41, pp. 378-379.) See also J. Eric Thompson, Mexico Before Cortez, (Charles Scribner’s Sons: 1933), p. 5; Douglas Leechman, American Antiquity, (1950) vol. 16, p. 157; J. L. B. Taylor, “Did the Indians Know the Mastodon?” Natural History, (1921) vol. 21, p. 591; Loren C. Eiseley, “Men, Mastodons and Myth,” Scientific Monthly, (1946) vol. 62, p. 517; W. Balfour Gourley, Man, (June 1940); and W. D. Strong, American Anthropologist, (1934), vol. 36, p. 81.

    M. F. Ashley Montagu in American Anthropologist, (1944), vol. 46, p. 568, says: “There is even a possibility that in certain parts of the country the mammoth may have lingered on up to as recently as five hundred years ago. In several conversations with the writer, Professor William Berryman Scott, the dean of American paleontologists, has given it as his opinion that, had the first of the Spanish discoverers of America penetrated into the interior, it is quite possible that they might have met with the living mammoth.” (See also Science, [1942], vol. 95, p. 380; M. F. Ashley Montagu and C. Bernard Peterson, “The Earliest Account of the Association of Human Artifacts With Fossil Mammals in North America,” American Philosophical Society Proceedings, [1943], vol. 86, p. 236; L. H. Johnson III, “Men and Elephants in America,” Scientific Monthly, [1952], vol. 75, pp. 216, 220; M. F. Ashley Montagu, Introduction to Physical Anthropology, 2nd Edition [1951], p. 221; Helmut de Terra, Ameri­can Antiquity, [1947] vol. 13, p. 40; de Terra, Man and Mammoth in Mexico, [1957] p. 102.)

    The following quotes are from Ludwell H. Johnson III, “Men and Elephants in America,” Scientific Monthly vol. 75, October 1952, pp. 215-21: Strong, in his valuable article, reproduced a Naskapi account concerning a creature called Katchee­tohuskw. The story is too long to be set down in full here, especially as the body of it is not particularly significant; the really important point is the Indians’ description of the monster. “When asked to describe Katcheetohuskw, the informants said he was very large, had a big head, large ears and teeth, and a long nose with which he hit people” (italics supplied). “His tracks in the snow were described in their stories as large and round.” (See W. D. Strong, American Anthropology, [1934], vol. 36, pp. 81‑86.)

    In another narrative the beast is described as having teeth “long enough to pierce seven hunters, a lip as long as seven paces, and an unconquerable strength….” Only one animal could fit this description. (See F. G. Speck, American Anthropology, [1935], vol. 37, pp. 159, 163, 161.)

    Strong gives a number of other, less graphic, legends that may be briefly itemized. (1) Ojibwa and Iroquois: a vague belief concerning a large animal which could crush trees in its path; (2) Algonkian: the “Great Moose,” which used a fifth leg rooted between its shoulders to prepare its bed; (3) Alabama and Koasati: insist on translating “man-eater” (Atipa teoba) as “elephant;” (4) Chitimacha: “A long time ago a being with a long nose came out of the ocean…. It would root up trees with its nose to get at persons who sought refuge in the branches, and people lived on scaffolds to get away from it…. When the elephant was seen it was thought to be the same creature….” (5) Atakapa of Louisiana: one of the earliest records of this tribe “tells of their tradition that a beast of enormous size perished in one of several nearby watercourses. Duralde, the chronicler, adds that the subsequent discovery of an elephant skeleton in Carancro bayou seemed to realize this tradition.”

    In short, although it is not difficult to disbelieve one tradition, or two, or even three, the cumulative effect of all the available stories is irresistibly persuasive. That there have been misinterpretations, distortions, leading questions, and outright inventions cannot be denied. But when all due allowance has been made for these, there remains a solid foundation of genuine folk memories of the elephant that refuses to be explained away.

    A. L. Kroeber said “In an earlier stage, while man’s numbers were few and his arts and weapons undeveloped, these species may have continued to live alongside him without serious molestation. Once better equipped and organized, Indian tribes may well have put an end to piedmont bison, horses, camels, mastodons, and mammoths; possibly in a few centuries in a given terrain.” (See A. L. Kroeber, The Maya and Their Neighbors [Appleton-Century Crofts, Inc.: 1940], p. 475. See also, Ivan T. Sanderson, Living Treasure [1941], pp. 39, 53, 126, 127. (Above data compiled by AHR)

    1. There is much good in the church and I seek after those things that are good and praiseworthy.

      I carefully considered the references you gave. I would love for those stories to be true. I would love it if Indians lived side by side Elephants or Mastodons (not the same thing). I think it would be great if they could find a mastodon living today in the woods some where. I was hoping you where going to share some evidence but instead you shared stories and opinions of people. The stories are compelling and fun to think about. Who is to say the native Americans didn’t pass down stories about mastodons? But circumstantial stories are not evidence. There are circumstantial stories told by people who where abducted by aliens. Do you believe aliens visit the earth whynot?

      What we do have now days since the late 50’s is radiocarbon dating that can tell us how old a mastodon skeleton is. They are older than 2,600 years old. That is evidence.

      I am starting to doubt that you are hear other than to argue and be contentious. Remember, contention is of the devil. Are you here to learn and explore your understanding of your beliefs or just to beat others over the head with argument? You do seem to fish up an argument for every little point some one makes. Poor argument that is not backed up by evidence.

      1. J, that is good that you say you seek after those things that are good and praiseworthy. But doing that that should include seeking after POSITIVE POSSIBILITIES that are good and praiseworthy. You are missing at least one good and praiseworthy POSSIBILITY, i.e. that elephants, or mastodons that resembled elephants, lived during Book of Mormon times. It is good and praiseworthy to seek after such evidence, not only because it is highly interesting but because some people lose their testimony because no panel of peer reviewing atheistic scientists has as yet dared publicly admit the evidence gathered by some of their scientific colleagues such as those listed in the references proved in my previous post. It is doubtful that credible scientists of the reputation and caliber of those in the references can be found for aliens. However, even then, we should admit that there is a scientific possibility that advance civilizations have existed or do exist on other planets, especially in view of science supported theories of habitable planets in this universe and in parallel universes.

        If you had really carefully considered the references I quoted, you would have noticed that they are scientific references. They are not just stories or opinions of ordinary people. For example, again M. F. Ashley Montagu in American Anthropologist, (1944), vol. 46, p. 568, said: “There is even a POSSIBILITY that in certain parts of the country the mammoth may have lingered on up to as recently as FIVE HUNDRED YEARS AGO. …Professor William Berryman Scott, the dean of American paleontologists: “…had the first of the Spanish discoverers of America penetrated into the interior, it is quite possible that they might have met with the LIVING MAMMOTH.” (See also Science, [1942], vol. 95, p. 380; M. F. Ashley Montagu and C. Bernard Peterson, “The Earliest Account of the Association of Human Artifacts With Fossil Mammals in North America,” American Philosophical Society Proceedings, [1943], vol. 86, p. 236; L. H. Johnson III, “Men and Elephants in America,” Scientific Monthly, [1952], vol. 75, pp. 216, 220; M. F. Ashley Montagu, Introduction to Physical Anthropology, 2nd Edition [1951], p. 221; Helmut de Terra, American Antiquity, [1947] vol. 13, p. 40; de Terra, Man and Mammoth in Mexico, [1957] p. 102.) Note that these references are not books about stories and legends.

        The fact that some Book of Mormon people might have used the word “elephant” to describe a “mastodon,” would be expected because the Jaredites, Mulekites, and Nephites came from the Middle East where elephants were probably fairly common. So they logically would have called elephants a type of mastodon or vice versa.

        We should not be so foolhardy as to say that no elephant bones dated to Book of Mormon times will ever be found. It took only until relatively recently to find bones of lions dated to Biblical times in Israel and for scientists to admit that there is such a thing as a giant, rogue wave. “Over the decades, skeptical oceanographers have doubted their existence and tended to lump them together with sightings of mermaids and sea monsters. But scientists are now finding that these giants of the sea are far more common and destructive than once imagined, prompting a rush of new studies and research projects.” (Reference: “ROGUE GIANTS AT SEA,” by William J. Broad, New York Times, July 11, 2006)

        Paraphrasing your words, I am starting to doubt that you do seek after that which is of good report and praiseworthy, at least with respect to the Book of Mormon. You seem to want to hear only arguments you want to hear and reject all others even if they are scientifically possible. Surely rejection of reasonable possibilities (e.g., possibilities which support the Book of Mormon) is of the devil. Are you here only to learn and explore your understanding of your disbeliefs or just to justify bailing out? It is not being open minded and objective to reject the hints, clues, and tantalizing evidence which support the Book of Mormon and dredge up the same tired old excuses for rejecting that sacred record. It is a poor approach to reject all evidence (including that which is scientifically possible) in support of the Book of Mormon unless it is proven to the (highly skeptical) satisfaction of a panel of atheistic scientists and printed by them in peer reviewed journals where they define who and what the peers and journals should be.

        1. @Whynot Believing something hook line and sinker is not a sign of weather some one seeks after the good. I sincerely looked at the information you provided. There was not substantial evidence given. It is possible that Mastodons walked with Indians. It is also possible that they walk today some where on the American continent and we have not found them yet. Though the probability is very unlikely. It is also a slim probability that aliens visit earth today. I never said any thing about the possibility that alien life might live on another planet some where. In that case I think the probability goes up just by the shear number of planets there are.

          I did notice they where scientists in the references you provided. The majority of Scientists you quoted are all speculating with the information they had at the time. A time before radiocarbon dating.

          I am open to learning more about my beliefs. I welcome new ideas. That is what has brought me to my conclusions. I think it is perfectly ok to reserve belief until evidence is provided. I do not believe in ghosts, leprechauns, unicorns, aliens or mastodons walking with Indians after 600bc. I reserve the right to not believe in them until I have evidence. I used to be as TBM as you. I used to be as a child. I walked by blind faith just as you do. I’m still very active in the church and look for the good in all things, even the Book of Mormon. If you met me at church you would think I am one of the most TBM members you know. I go to church to listen and learn. I do not discus these things there because it is not an open and friendly environment for those who view things differently than the robotic conformity of those who attend. I wish you luck in your journey threw life and hope you broaden your views if that is what you are in search of. I can see you are here just to argue.

          1. This post is addressed to “kinglamoni” or J. I say “J” because of this post: “This is still J. Just in case you’re confused.” So in the following dialog I will use KLJ to make sure I’m discussing with (not arguing with) the right person.

            KLJ: @Whynot Believing something hook line and sinker is not a sign of whether someone seeks after the good. WhyNot: No one said to believe “something hook line and sinker.” What we are saying is to fulfil the Lord’s injunction: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 1:18). It is being judgmental to accuse someone of just wanting to argue when they just want to reason together and to seek for “ANYTHING virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.” Doing that includes seeking for hints, clues, positive possibilities, and tidbits of scientific evidence that support the Book of Mormon. Some people apparently prefer seeking for or swallowing anything that is unvirtuous, unlovely, or of bad report or unpraiseworthy about the Book of Mormon.

            KLJ: I sincerely looked at the information you provided. There was not substantial evidence given. WhyNot: “Substantial evidence” is in the eye of the beholder. Many find the information provided to be substantial evidence. But since you disagree, you should keep in mind that Paul of the Bible and the Articles of Faith do not say, “If there is anything of substantial evidence or articles that have been peer reviewed by scholars and scientists, we seek after these things.” Seeking after hints or clues or scientific tidbits supporting the Book of Mormon is seeking after that which is virtuous, lovely, and of good report and praiseworthy because it builds or confirms people’s testimonies and keeps them faithful and true rather than being “tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine” or keeps them from being deceived by faith-destroying skepticism and criticisms.

            KLJ: It is possible that mastodons walked with Indians. It is also possible that they walk today somewhere on the American continent and we have not found them yet. Though the probability is very unlikely. WhyNot: As long as there is a reasonably likelihood that elephants and/or mastodons (which the Nephites probably called elephants) existed during Book of Mormon times in the Americas, that is all we need to hold fast to the iron rod rather than falling for the cunning craftiness of men or the sincere disbeliefs of skeptics and critics.

            KLJ: It is also a slim probability that aliens visit earth today. I never said anything about the possibility that alien life might live on another planet somewhere. In that case I think the probability goes up just by the sheer number of planets there are. WhyNot: Slim probabilities are included in seeking after tht which is praiseworthy and of good report. Slim probabilities can dissuade some people from throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

            KLJ: I did notice there were scientists in the references you provided. The majority of scientists you quoted are all speculating with the information they had at the time. WhyNot: They are more than speculations—they are scientific conclusions by credible scientists reporting in credible scientific journals. KLJ: A time before radiocarbon dating. WhyNot: It covers times before, during, and after carbon dating. KLJ: I am open to learning more about my beliefs. I welcome new ideas. That is what has brought me to my conclusions. I think it is perfectly ok to reserve belief until evidence is provided. WhyNot: A better approach is to retain belief in the Book of Mormon based on reasoning (Isaiah 1:18) and on seeking after that which is good and praiseworthy about the Book of Mormon based on testimony, witnesses, hints, clues, positive possibilities, and tidbits of scientific data, observations, and conclusions.

            KLJ: I do not believe in ghosts, leprechauns, unicorns, aliens or mastodons walking with Indians after 600bc. I reserve the right to not believe in them until I have evidence. WhyNot: Of course you have that right. We all have our free agency to believe or not believe. But we should respect those who have chosen to believe in testimony from the Holy Spirit supported by hints, clues, positive possibilities, and tidbits of scientific data, observations, and conclusions and emulate their example. KLJ: I used to be as TBM as you. I used to be as a child. I walked by blind faith just as you do. I’m still very active in the church and look for the good in all things, even the Book of Mormon. WhyNot: Even better is to add testimony from the Holy Spirit supported by hints, clues, positive possibilities, and tidbits of scientific data, observations, and conclusions. No blind faith required. Brigham Young railed against blind faith.

            KLJ: If you met me at church you would think I am one of the most TBM members you know. I go to church to listen and learn. I do not discuss these things there because it is not an open and friendly environment for those who view things differently than the robotic conformity of those who attend. WhyNot: “Robotic conformity” sounds like an unfair judgmental accusation. It is more charitable, objective, and open minded to say that most of the people who attend are there to be spiritually uplifted as they feast at the table of the Lord. You can always discuss controversy after class or in private conversation in homes, on the telephone, and visits to homes like I like to do.

            KLJ: I wish you luck in your journey through life and hope you broaden your views if that is what you are in search of. I can see you are here just to argue. WhyNot: I hope you are not saying that in order to “broaden my views” I have to CHANGE my views. I cannot do that and still preserve my integrity. How can I be honest with myself and change my views when they are based on testimony, reasoning, and looking for that which is good and praiseworthy. How can I change my views when I’ve empathized with others and tired mightily to walk in their shoes, but those just don’t fit. I’ve read or viewed practically everything critics and anti-Mormons have written or made films about. I’ve also had countless hours of face to face conversations with priests, ministers, pastors, missionaries, Jehovah’s Witnesses, dissidents, apostates, agnostics, atheists, anti-Mormons including the Tanners. I’ve attended symposiums and conferences sponsored or favored by critics. I keep up to date on anything and everything critics say. The result? There is a logical and reasonable explanation for each and every one of their objections based on positive interpretations of the same words and actions of prophets of the Bible and modern prophets which opponents negatively interpret in order to discredit Christ, the Bible, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and the Book of Mormon.

          2. @Whynot
            Your delusional. See dictionary.com
            2. psychiatry illusion See also hallucination a belief held in the face of evidence to the contrary, that is resistant to all reason.

        2. WhyNot said, “The fact that some Book of Mormon people might have used the word “elephant” to describe a “mastodon,” would be expected because the Jaredites, Mulekites, and Nephites came from the Middle East where elephants were probably fairly common. So they logically would have called elephants a type of mastodon or vice versa.”

          This is why I get so frustrated with unapologetic apologists. You can’t say the word “elephants” would have been the “tight” translation because that’s what the Book of Mormon peoples would have used, but then say words like “Adieu”, “Satyr” and “Cimiters” were simply based on Joseph Smith’s “loose” translation of words he would’ve known.

          Any rational thought shows the immediate fault with this logic.

          WhyNot said, “…no panel of peer reviewing atheistic scientists has as yet dared publicly admit the evidence gathered by some of their scientific colleagues such as those listed in the references proved in my previous post.”

          That’s a funny statement. I don’t think any scientist outside BYU gives a rat’s behind about what the Book of Mormon contains. Please keep in mind, Mormonism encompasses only .2% of the world population (and much less than that if you only take the active LDS).

          1. Lance: It’s the attitudes of people like WhyNot that are so stifling. WhyNot: You mean it’s the attitudes of opeople like WhyNot that are so troubling to those who have decided to bail out of the church. Lance: When we realized the church is falsifying doctrine, outright lying, and omitting dirty truths, WhyNot: The Church does not falsify doctrine, lie, or omit “dirty truths” any more than the Jesus Christ and his Church did when he lived on the Earth. Lance: we could not stand to listen to the falsehoods and ignorance being preach every Sunday. WhyNot: “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him (Christ)” (John 6:66). Lance: It’s hard for me to understand why anyone who knows the truth remains associated with the organization. WhyNot: Most of those who leave the Church do not know the truth. They have been deceived by negative interpretations of words and incidents in the Bible and Church history. Had they given fair minded, open minded, objective, consideration to a wide, logical, reasonable, scriptural, positive interpretations (some of which they evidently missed) of the same words and incidents, they would not have left the Church.

            Lance: Why continue to put up with judgmentalism, bigotry, misogyny, totalitarianism, etc? WhyNot: Because those words bear false witness against the true Church of Jesus Christ. Lance: For those of you who stay because you can’t let go for your specific reason, PLEASE be a means for change. I have too many family members who could be posting as WhyNot. WhyNot: For those of you who stay because you have testimonies of the gospel and have accepted the positive interpretations of the same words and incidents which took some out of the Church, PLEASE be a means for changing the critics, dissidents, apostates, atheists, skeptics, and agnostics who fight against Jesus Christ and his true church. Thank goodness for those who could be posting as WhyNot.

            Concerning Lance’s other post: The words “elephant” in the Book of Mormon would be similar to the words “adieu,” “satyr,” and “cimeter,” i.e. words as readers of the translation would be better able to relate to when they read the Book of Mormon. Another possibility is that, during Book of Mormon times, there literally were elephants of the type the Jaredites, Mulekites, and Nephites would have known in the MidEast, but that type of elephants became extinct as the mastodon later became extinct.

            Revised sentence: If atheistic scientists ever decided to look at the evidence for the existence of elephants in the Americas before Columbus, no panel composed of peer reviewing atheistic scientists would dare publicly admit the evidence gathered by some of their scientific colleagues such as those listed in the references proved in my previous post.

    2. Whynot, science has moved on. Most of your references date back to the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. We have much better information from recent archeologists, geologist and DNA scientists from the 1990’s to today. You are dating and embarrassing yourself here. Let’s keep up.

  23. Thank you all for your time in making this very informative and helpful pod-cast. I especially enjoyed the discussion about incidents that happen in Nursery and Primary (restraining your child in the circle). I saw this sort of thing all the time while my wife and I were helping out in Nursery together. I always tried to be aware that the kids in our class were not OUR kids, and that we were only there to guide them along for two hours while their parents were away.

    But I’ve also noticed a lack of general structure in Primary as a whole. For instance, your child’s experience at church can be wildly different depending on what type of teacher they have, or who the primary president is. I’ve seen Primary leaders organize lessons and teachings based on their own personal standards and beliefs, which in my opinion is a little unfair and inappropriate. I realize it’s hard sometimes to stick to the manual all the time, but the kids shouldn’t have to be subjected to one person’s individual ideas every week.

    My wife and I are currently primary teachers for the CTR 7 class, and even we deviate from the planned lessons every now and then. For example we totally skipped the modesty lesson (I’m not teaching “modesty” to 7 year-olds that aren’t mine). Anyway, thank you again for sharing your experiences, this really has opened my eyes to some of the problems we deal with every Sunday.

  24. I don’t know if anyone else has had a similar experience, but in an attempt to corroborate my “spiritual confirmation” of the validity of LDS gospel it occurred to me to ask God with a sincere heart (in other words whipping myself up into a state of earnest belief and extreme emotion) if the Catholic Church was where God’s truth was to be found, and if the Pope was Jesus’/Peter’s rightful successor here on earth as head of the church. I don’t know if I’m somehow more predisposed to psychological elevation (as so eloquently explained by Taryn)but lo and behold those petitions were generating the exact same response as those rendered when inquiring about the BOM and Joseph Smith divinity claims.
    So therein lied the death knell of my testimony. I can generate false positives asking for just about anything if I try hard enough. I don’t think God would just toy with me or expect me, with such limited understanding, to be able to ferret out which of all the spiritual witnesses I’m supposed to accept and subsequently devote my entire existence to. This of course all took place on the heels of learning about all the historical anachronisms/inaccuracies and outlandish, whitewashed doctrines/positions of the BOM and church respectively, while still grasping at straws, desperately hoping that the church could still be true despite every logical fiber of my being telling me otherwise.
    Really enjoyed your story guys.

  25. I know these people are sincere to their convictions, however, I’m often just struck by the pettiness of people who are disaffected by the church. I mean, there are Christians being routinely killed by the rebels in Syria right now… Various Islam sects prohibit women from driving, by threat of death. Some of you make the Mormon church seam like the pit of all evil on earth. It’s pretty petty.

    I’ve seen first hand, the tremendous service that the church gives in the world to members and non-members alike.

    If everyone on this forum has a surefire platform to go outside themselves and really serve humanity…. Then go out and use that platform. Help someone. Belittling those who want to believe in the gospel by saying how intelligent and insightful you are is a great way to make people resent you… You wont win people over with a condescending or mocking approach. There’s plenty of extremely brilliant people in the church.

    Another thought I have is how politically motivated this podcast seems to have become. It generally has a very politically correct tone and bias toward secular progressive themes. I think John started out pretty balanced, but has given way to his own motives and biases over time. This secular progressive push really comes out in the overall victimization complex that that movement really exudes. Everybody comes off as a victim… Again, very petty and irksome.

    Maybe get some more libertarian or conservative input… This podcast wreaks of an NPR vibe much of the time. Listening, I envision a bunch of people wearing turtlenecks and tweed jackets with the leather patches on the elbows. Smoking their pipes and patting themselves on the back about how much smarter they are than everyone else, and proclaiming how bad the Mormon church is, while diverting attention away from real problems of gravity that are prevalent around the world.

    1. I think it was shared in posts above that several people on this thread feel that there are smart people both in and out of the church.
      Issues with in the church may seem petty to you but to some people they are real issues. No one is minimizing the problems in Syria.
      You sir sound like the one with the chip on their shoulder. Thank you for your conservative input.

    2. If there are issues that are broached that you feel should be corrected, I think we would all be better served if you brought them up for discussion. They ought to be isolated case by case in order to be scrutinized in a dialectical fashion. Just as you’re pet peeve may be beard stroking liberals in tweed jackets speaking critically of the church, mine is blanket statements made by extremely defensive Mormons that arguments averred by “non-believing/unorthodox” Mormons are inherently tainted, QED they shouldn’t be countenanced or trusted.

      When you make an accusation that anyone dissenting is just a chip off the old stereotypical liberal block, you out yourself as being cut from the Fox News/Tea Party cloth. The irony at least for me is pretty straight forward.

      1. I never said opponents of the church were tainted. I was making the case that they often come off very crass and snooty. That’s my perception… and I’m often right in this assessment. I can’t possibly make a blanket generalization. I’m just going to assert the fact that many anti/ex Mormons carry a very crass, holier than thou attitude.

        On the political end, this podcast consistently asserts the liberal position as the correct one. The same position that upheld our current president who has been a key factor in bailing out big banks and corporations, while drone bombing people. On this program, it usually revolves around the gay rights issues. Liberals often want the legal right of gay marriage. I would suggest that we take the traditionally religious institution of marriage, and get the government out of it. Fortunately DOMA has been rightfully found unconstitutional. Now the government needs to honor contracts between consenting individuals, instead of blowing millions on trying to define what marriage is. The church has taken an empathetic stance on those who have homosexual tendencies, but families within need to raise their level of tolerance and empathy. The church has a right to disallow gay marriages, although the government should completely honor contractual arrangement between consenting individuals.

        Anyway The example above is just one example where I find holes in the liberal stance. Not all, but many liberals find themselves embracing very authoritarian positions, with the mask of protecting civil liberties.

        Those are my thoughts for the moment

          1. Some do, of course. They’re all human beings. I just made a correct observation. I didn’t have to make reference to what you pointed out, because it’s obvious.

        1. NC,

          I have found that the ‘pride’ you speak of is a universal sin, but I have found it especially rampant in the Church, especially among active members and leaders who are so sure they are right that they won’t consider any other views or even look into their own history or scriptures. They have been so conditioned to have blind unquestioning obedience and that they are in the only true Church and that the Church has the only true authority and is led by true prophets who can’t fall or lead them astray or even be wrong.

          But when you search church history you can quickly see that those things just aren’t true, but few members are willing to search their own history to find that out. And yet they talk about the Catholics who won’t search their church history either, yet have the same blind obedience in assumed ‘infallible leaders’ just like LDS do.

          Most members don’t seem to want to admit they may be wrong or deceived, yet they are quick to call ex-mormons apostate, not even understanding why they left or whether they had very valid reasons.

          Most active members that I know refuse to even talk about, let alone study, the vital issues that are causing so many valiant righteous members to leave the Church. Most don’t even seem to want to follow Christ’s teachings to loving try to talk to and understand their issues and try to reclaim what they believe are ‘lost sheep’. The LDS seem just like the FLDS to me, in how they act towards those who don’t believe the same as they do. Most all members and leaders seem to pridefully shun and label those who leave the Church, usually without any proof of wrongdoing, but just because they disagreed with the history or doctrines or practices or leaders of the Church and thus left.

          While I have found non-members and ex-mormons far more willing to talk about religion and share beliefs and reason together respectfully. These non-members and ex-mormons usually concede how easy it is to be deceived by even so called ‘prophets’ and have been in the past and so they understand how vital it is to question and test every leader and doctrine in the LDS Church (as Christ commanded us to) or in any Church, before believing in it or putting faith and trust in any leader.

          I believe if members would follow Christ’s command to ‘prove all things and persons and prophets’ before believing in them, then members would not be so easily deceived by false doctrines and false prophets in the Church, as Joseph warned most all members would be.

          1. There are plenty of active members like myslef, who are fully aware of the history of the church. I listened to a huge portion of this podcast. I just don’t know where you’re going to find your monopoly of truth??? Live and let live.

            There’s millions of people who believe in man made climate change, yet the science shows an 800 year lag of temperature to carbon content in the atmosphere, according to polar ice core sampling. Yet, this is considered completely settled. At least in the political realm.

            Human fallibility all over the place. I suggest you exercise faith in something, and give back to society

        2. Invariably any topic discussed on MS will almost always assert very liberal positions (at least as far as a TBM is concerned). If you want an echo chamber-to have your own opinions reinforced-crack open an Ensign.

          I read your brief ‘in defense of traditional marriage’ and I’m not quite sure you appreciate the implications of your words. Maybe I misunderstood, but you feel that it is not the government’s prerogative to get involved in marriage. I agree, the fact that our gay brothers and sisters haven’t been able to marry is expressly BECAUSE of government intervention. For the longest time, if a gay couple showed up to a courthouse in CA for example, petitioning a marriage license, their request would have been denied out of hand. It is my opinion and earnest hope that the government would get out of the business of dictating what rights people of differing races and religions, and sexual orientation can have.

          Why do I feel this way? Am I an angry anti-Mormon with an ax to grind, bent on tearing apart the very fabric of Mormon religion and culture? No, I feel I am very compassionate and understanding towards all people irrespective and race and creed. I don’t know if there is a God, part of me really hopes there is. Operating under the assumption that He/She/It does exist then I don’t believe we, as His creations have any right to impose our own prejudices or strictures based on contemporary culture.

          Religions since the beginning of time have gotten in hot water trying arrogate to themselves the right to dictate their own unique interpretations of proper social conduct. And any cursory look into our own history will show that even our own Prophets, Seers, and Revelators screwed the pooch on occasions (a huge understatement for many). Polygamy, Blacks and the priesthood are the most glaring examples that even for the most ardent TBM cannot be dismissed without first jumping through many hoops.

          So my hope is that you may see that people don’t disagree with the Church because their inherently angry or liberals, but logically come to these conclusions because of historical evidence and scientific inquiry. Instead of attacking character, attack arguments-much as you did in asserting your opinion on traditional marriage.

  26. I think 40 years of anti/ex-Mo’s blogging about the “holier than thou” attitude of the Church would still pale in comparison to the “holier than thou” attitude the Church has inculcated in its members over the past 184 years. Just pick any gospel topic and you’ll find pride. The “only true church” mantra is the obvious one that comes to mind.

  27. Great podcast. John, are you planning to have any other follow up podcasts with some of the early participants on Mormon Stories? I’d be particularly interested in hearing an update from Dan and Laurie Gallagher, Jacque in episodes 123-125, Brian Johnston, and Janelle from episodes 207-208.

  28. This post is in response to the post of tropical animal (TA) of April 27: TA: Why Not, we have heard these assertions all of our lives. Unfortunately, repetition establishes belief or “truth” more strongly than real evidence. WHYNOT: Repetition can also verify and authenticate belief, if it is based on truth. TA: You just heard Taryn and others say they discovered their reinforcing and guiding spiritual experiences came and went depending on changes in their brain chemistry. WHYNOT: Changes in some people’s brain chemistry do not preclude or prevent God from revealing truth to other people through the Holy Ghost. By the way, Jason revealed his true colors and lost all credibility when he resorted to insult and ridicule. For example, he called someone delusional who politely disagreed with him in another of these posts.

    TA: Material from trance experiences comes from the person’s own cultural background. WHYNOT: Trance experiences based on a person’s own cultural background do not preclude or prevent God from revealing truth to people. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that, in certain cases,God might use trances to reveal truth if he chose to do so. In any case, the Lord has said that He reveals information in the native language of the recipient. Furthermore, he often couches those revelations in the context of the recipient’s culture. Case in point: John not only received the Book of Revelation in his own language, he received it in the form of a common Greek drama. Both the drama and John’s book are structured in seven acts, each including 7 episodes, and with a chorus of 24. Many parts of the Bible parallel non-Jewish and non-Christian literature. Some are direct quotations. The Bible acknowledges the use of non-scriptural support in teaching certain concepts in such verses as Acts 17:28. In the same chapter, Paul’s reference to the “unknown God” served as a visual aid in making his point. He claimed it represented the true God.

    TA: And this was one of Joseph’s fatal flaws, he included items from his own background that should not have been in the Book of Mormon, WHYNOT: Joseph did not include anything from his own background that should not have been in the Book of Mormon. The angel told the Book of Mormon witnesses that the Book of Mormon had been translated correctly. A certain type of skeptic might argue that Joseph simply translated cultural words used by the original prophets of the Book of Mormon so that Joseph Smith would not have been at fault if he translated exaggerated cultural terms and definitions used by the original Book of Mormon prophets, e.g. elephant, horse, steel, etc.

    TA: for example, elephants, steel, steel swords, horses and a list of other things. WHYNOT: We already covered elephants in another couple of posts in this discussion. Here are abbreviated comments on the other issues TA mentioned:

    HORSES: The following references contain evidence that horses existed in the Americas before Columbus: Chester Stock, Rancho Labrea, A Record of Pleistocene Life in California, pp. 42-43; Alvin M. Josephy, The Indian Heritage of America (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1968), p. 44; National Geographic, October 1969, p. 437; Graham E. Clark, World Pre-History, 2nd Edition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1969), p. 272; Alma M. Reed, The Ancient Past of Mexico (New York: Crown Pub., 1966), p. 3; Matthew and Chubb, Evolution of the Horse, p. 13; University of Nebraska News Museum Notes, January 1963; and Leo Deuel, Conquistadors Without Swords (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1967), p. 538. The above nine sources also cited in Cheesman, The World of the Book of Mormon (1978), pp. 91-92. See also Professor W. D. Matthews, American Museum Journal, supplemental edition 2 (1905); Touring Topics, November 1932, p. 22; W. H. Proctor, Life, October 24, 1938, p. 9; George C. Marshall, “Giant Effigies of the Southwest,” National Geographic, September 1952, p. 389; Setzler, Frank M. and Richard H. Stewart, “Seeking the Secret of the Giant,” National Geographic, September 1952, p. 390-404. M. F. Ashley Montagu says the following concerning the existence of the horse in America: “Another distin¬guish¬ed American paleontologist, whose special interest is the horse, is, I understand, of the opinion that the horse never became extinct in America.” (See M. F. Ashley Montagu in American Anthropologist, [1944], vol. 46, p. 568-69.) *** The following sources document both the horse and elephant living coincidentally with ancient American man. Hannah Marie Worm¬ing¬ton, Ancient Man in North America, 2nd Edition (Denver: Colorado Museum of Natural History, 1944), pp. 5, 13, 15, 35, 38, 57, 58; Early Man as Depict¬ed by Leading Authorities at the Academy of Natural Sciences, edited by G. G. Mac-Curdy, (Philadelphia: March 1937), p. 192, contains papers of 36 experts; E. N. Fallaise, Science Progress, vol. 32, p. 132 (1937-1938); *** Frank Roberts said: “The first migrants were unquestionably hunters, and many of the animals that served them as game were essentially the same as those existing today. In addition, there were a number that now are extinct. Among those represented by the bones associated with the remains of camps and tools left by these hunters are … mam¬moth … and the horse.” (Frank H. H. Roberts, Essays in Historical Anthropology of North America Published in Honor of John R. Swanton, Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, [1940], vol. 100, p. 104. ***Twelve petroglyphs of men on horseback are depicted on a section of rock in Indian Creek Canyon near Monticello, Utah. Bows and arrows are depicted, but no guns. (See Christensen, Progress in Archaeology, [1963], pp. 97 98. Horses may have become extinct at the same time (after the Book of Mormon period) as the mastodon and perhaps for the same reasons (weather, disease, hunted down and eaten for food, etc.

    IRON/STEEL: Tools, decorations, and weapons made of meteoric iron have been found in ancient Amerioa. Therefore some of the iron tools, decorations, and weapons of Book of Mormon people would have been made from that material. Absolute scientific proof of the existence of the use of smelted iron and steel in the Americas during Book of Mormon times is hard to find because so many centuries have passed. Mines containing iron ore (especially after being played out) would have been covered with vegetation which became soil for more vegetation/soil cover as buildings and entire cities were slowly buried. Iron and steel corrode faster in high humidity, in water (e.g. the Titanic), or moist soil as so common in MesoAmerica. Evidence of the use of steel in ancient America includes: A. Hyatt Verrill, “The Pompeii of Ancient America,” in World’s Work, vol. LIII, #3, p. 286, January 1927. Also Radomir Pleiner “Rediscovering the Techniques of Early Blacksmiths,” Archaeology, (1963), vol. 16, p. 242. *** A book by Arlington H. Mallery claims the discovery of prehistoric iron smelting furnaces in the Ohio valley, which show resemblances to European smelting sites of the Middle Ages. (See Mallery, Lost America; the Story of the Pre-Columbian Iron Age in America, [Washington, 1951]; cited in Christensen, Progress in Archaeology, [1963], pp. 113-114). *** “When Cortez had completed the conquest of Mexico, the Spaniards… were particularly struck and puzzled by one fact. They noticed that the Aztecs possessed certain implements, such as knives, daggers, etc., made of iron, (H. Hensoldt, The American Geologist, [1889], vol. 4, pp. 37-38.) *** Other evidences of ancient American iron-working can be found in Foster, Prehistoric Races, p. 333; Kansas City Post, October 19, 1915; Bradford, American Antiquities, p. 431, 1841; W. H. Holmes, Smithsonian Institution Annual Report, 1903 (1904), “Traces of Aboriginal Operations in an Iron Mine Near Leslie, Missouri”, p. 723; Samuel F. Haven, “Archaeology of the United States,” Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, vol. 8 (1956), p. 34

    TA: And certainly, Joseph’s translation of the Egyptian funeral document, including his by-the-numbers translation of its facsimiles, which Joseph erroneously translates as coming from the hand of Abraham, wipes out Joseph’s credibility. WHYNOT: BOOK OF ABRAHAM: Joseph correctly translated the Book of Abraham originally written by the hand of Abraham on papyri. After translation, these sacred papyri were delivered into the hands of a heavenly messenger, possibly Abraham himself as the plates of the Book of Mormon were delivered to Moroni. Joseph retained possession of the Sen Sen “Book of the Dead: funeral papyri. Joseph and/or his scribe cut, pasted, and sketched the Book of the Dead facsimiles to represent the original facsimiles in the Book of Mormon papyri. These modified Book of the Dead facsimiles became visual aids for people to learn approximately what the original Book of Abraham facsimiles looked like.

    TA: And further, people reading from walls or from a seer stone does not surprise me and does not surpass what I have experimentally done–subjects telling a fascinating story from a television set with a blank screen that is off and unplugged. Or the subject who writes fifty pages of revelation in one evening, and is quite insistent that the revelation be delivered, at all costs, to the intended person. WHYNOT: Those facts do not preclude or prevent God from revealing truth to a true prophet or a sincere seeker of the truth who asks with a sincere heart and real intent in accordance with scripture: “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with A SINCERE HEART, AND REAL INTENT, HAVING FAITH IN CHRIST, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5). When a person receives some other answer, one of the first questions is whether they really and truly fulfilled all three requirements: (1) a sincere heart, (2) real intent, and (3) faith in Christ. And we might add a fourth: “Waiting on the Lord” for an answer and being willing to accept the type of answer the Lord decodes to give.

    TA: I can make a “prophet” out of someone if they are highly susceptible to trance experiences. WHYNOT: False prophets can be made in many ways including trances. However, the Lord can and does make prophets out of people whom he chooses, especially those who were preordained to that calling in the preexistence TA: You might ask why believers don’t want to see the elephant in the Book of Mormon. The short answer is the avoidance of anxiety. WHYNOT: Another short answer is that they do not want to see elephants, horses, steel, etc. in the Book of Mormon because that would mean they should consider living the principles of the gospel rather than retiring from Church activity and doing their own thing. This has got to be one of the main reasons why some of the disciples of Jesus ceased following him: “ From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66).

    WHYNOT: Before rejecting references such as those above on horses, iron, and steel, people should keep in mind that Paul of the Bible and the Articles of Faith do not say, “If there is anything of substantial evidence or articles that have been peer reviewed by scholars and scientists, we seek after these things.” Seeking after hints or clues or scientific tidbits supporting the Book of Mormon is seeking after that which is virtuous, lovely, and OF GOOD REPORT and praiseworthy because it builds faith and confirms people’s testimonies and helps them remain true to the faith rather than being “tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine” and helps protect them from the faith destroying criticisms and “cunning craftiness of men.”

    1. @Whynot
      Allow me to address the topic of delusions. I did not intend for it to be an insult. I am sorry if you took it that way. Many bright, intelligent people have been delusional in their thinking. John Nash, a brilliant mathematician was delusional threw out his life and did remarkable work regarding game theory. Joseph Smith was delusional. I do not believe he was lying about his experiences. I believe he was a man of integrity. I think he whole heartedly believed what he reported. I admittedly have been delusional in my thinking during my life time. Your in good company whynot. I actually believe you to be an intelligent person. A person who probably has an education. What concerns me is that you say you can not “CHANGE”. Your in fear that you can not change and still maintain your integrity. I know people who change their opinions and still hold on to their integrity. I know many people who have actually left the church and they still maintain their integrity. They say they did it because they do have integrity. What is worrisome is when a person says they can not change. I seek for knowledge and change threw out my life. I admit that I make mistakes and scientific discovery is on going. I am open to change. People can have harmless or harmful delusions, what is troubling is when those delusions are resistant to change.

      It is pointless for me to argue tit for tat with some one who manifests symptoms associated with a mental illness. Before you jump to conclusions I am not saying you have a mental illness. Besides, there is nothing wrong with a person who has a diagnosed disability. Its like a person with cancer. It does not make the person a bad person.

      Something ells I’ll address with you. You are on a kick about how the church would be seen to be true if only people would keep a positive interpretation of things. Many people would not find believing in angels visiting in the night and a glorified man sitting on a thrown near Kolob as a positive interpretation. Just as believing in little green men is not a positive interpretation. Some would believe it to be negative interpretation and possibly harmful. Our emotional ties to a belief can strongly influence us from making an evaluation from a neutral position. It colors our judgment.

      I care for you. I do not wish to argue with a person who admittedly says he can not change.

      Those are my true colors. Thank you.

        1. It’s amazing to me why anyone wants to keep bla, bla, blaing with anyone like whynot who is more than likely working for lds inc. and paid to try to divert these type of forums to get maximum lds propaganda out there —– which you all are allowing him to do on this forum by continuing to argue with him. I praise God everyday that he led me to the truth —- that doesn’t mean I have to argue truth with every person that chooses to live under a rock or in a cave to avoid the light of the sun!

          1. “Stormin” is stormin way out in left field. WhyNot has no relation whatever to lds.inc and is certainly not paid for his “Defender of the Faith” efforts. Some Church authorities or faithful members probably wish WhyNot would not present counter-arguments to the critics because we are asked to avoid contention and because it only angers or inflames critics, especially the most vocal ones. ”Behold, I am laboring with them continually; and when I speak the word of God with sharpness they tremble and anger against me; and when I use no sharpness they harden their hearts against it; wherefore, I fear lest the Spirit of the Lord hath ceased striving with them” (Moroni 9:4).

            WhyNot’s posts are purely a private, voluntary, unpaid missionary effort in the spirit of “Come now let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18) and “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). (OK, admittedly, WhyNot is lacking in the meekness area.)

            It is amazing to WhyNot why some critics like to keep attacking Christ, his Church, and his true prophets when there are always positive possibilities and reasonable interpretations of the same words and incidents which critics are so fond of negatively interpreting.
            Again, there is a positive interpretation to each and every negative interpretation of the recorded historical data. It makes one wonder whether some critics are being paid money or at least trying to claim fame and build up their egos, or whether they are at least trying to justify their skepticism and disbelief by savoring and spreading anti-LDS propaganda. Such a thing is an unfortunate consequence of posting their bitter accusations or sour-grape objections on websites without encouraging polite counter-arguments. If Stormin had his way, any disagreements with his opinions should be censored, e.g. no one should counter-argue with WhyNot because it only opens up a platform for people like WhyNot to defend the faith.

            Stormin said he praises God every day that he led him to the truth. People who claim to be directed by God but who fight against Christ and his true Church founded on apostles and prophets, should be especially careful: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

            Dissidents and critics show their true colors when they abandon reason and resort to scorn and ridicule such as “that doesn’t mean I have to argue truth with every person that chooses to live under a rock or in a cave to avoid the light of the sun!”

      1. To call anyone delusional or mentally ill whether they are Jesus, Joseph Smith, John Nash, Taryn or Jason Nelson-Seawright, or WhyNot is insulting and politically incorrect. I did not say I cannot change. I only said that it is highly unlikely that I will change my belief in Christ, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the true church of Jesus Christ. It is highly unlikely because, in addition to testimony, there is too much logic, reason, and scientific evidence to support them. A highly unlikely event that would cause me to change is if God himself appeared to me and/or to a panel of atheistic scientists and declared that God does not exist (a bit of paradoxal humor there) or that they are all wrong—Jesus, Joseph Smith, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the church that Christ established while he lived upon the Earth. Until either of those events happen, my integrity demands I remain true to the faith no matter what other people choose to do with their integrity or free agency. In the meantime, I shall continue to study, investigate, empathize with, and try mightily to see if I can, in all good consciences throw away positive interpretations of the same words and events that critics give negative interpretations to which in turn lead them carefully down to you know where (skepticism, disbelief, dissidentism, agnosticism, and even atheism).

        You say it is pointless for you “to argue tit for tat with someone who manifests symptoms associated with a mental illness.” By your definition, it sounds like you want to throw out anything Jesus or his original apostles or his modern apostles have said that you disagree with. It sound like you are averse to objectivity and open mindedness and that you are uncomfortable with the scripture: “Come let us reason together, saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 1:18) because you would fear it might somehow involve trances.

        The possibility of angels visiting in the night and a glorified man sitting on a throne near Kolob is a positive interpretation. To judgmentally assume that a person is delusional (or like people who believe in green men) because they claim to have received visitations of angels and revelations about the throne of God is a negative interpretation of the original account. We have our choice. We can assume a positive or a negative interpretation of the same data whether it is found in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or Church history. “Choose ye this day which interpretation you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the positive” (apologies to Joshua) where the positive is defined as leading to that which is “virtuous, lovely, and of good report and praiseworthy” and that which is logical, sensible, scriptural, scientific, and reasonable.

        It is true that emotional ties to a belief can strongly influence making an evaluation from a neutral position and colors our judgment. That is why we don’t have to take a neutral position even though by the above criteria that would work too. Rather than focusing on a neutral position, we are counseled to study the scriptures, pray, and keep the commandment to attend Sacrament meeting. If we truly want a testimony, we should have faith in Christ and ask with a sincere heart and real intent per Moroni 10:5. God can penetrate the storm clouds of doubt arising from negative interpretations, critics bearing false witness, trances, fits, hypnoses, hallucinations, auto-suggestion, and winds of doctrine from skeptics, critics, frauds, apostates, atheists, agnostics anti-Mormons, those who “lie in wait to deceive,“ and those who “draw near to the Lord with their lips but their hearts are far from him.” God is all-powerful.

        By the way, Lance should remember that there is a big difference between “listening” and “obeying,” e.g. obeying the siren call to throw the baby out with the bathwater, cease walking after Christ, and link up with the dissidents.

      2. To call anyone delusional or mentally ill whether they are Jesus, Joseph Smith, John Nash, Taryn or Jason Nelson-Seawright, or WhyNot is insulting and politically incorrect. I did not say I cannot change. I only said that it is highly unlikely that I will change my belief in Christ, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the true church of Jesus Christ. It is highly unlikely because, in addition to testimony, there is too much logic, reason, and scientific evidence to support them. A highly unlikely event that would cause me to change is if God himself appeared to me and/or to a panel of atheistic scientists and declared that God does not exist (a bit of paradoxal humor there) or that they are all wrong—Jesus, Joseph Smith, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the church that Christ established while he lived upon the Earth. Until either of those events happen, my integrity demands I remain true to the faith no matter what other people choose to do with their integrity or free agency. In the meantime, I shall continue to study, investigate, empathize with, and try mightily to see if I can, in all good consciences throw away positive interpretations of the same words and events that critics give negative interpretations to which in turn lead them carefully down to you know where (skepticism, disbelief, dissidentism, agnosticism, and even atheism).

        You say it is pointless for you “to argue tit for tat with someone who manifests symptoms associated with a mental illness.” By your definition, it sounds like you want to throw out anything Jesus or his original apostles or his modern apostles have said that you disagree with. It sound like you are averse to objectivity and open mindedness and that you are uncomfortable with the scripture: “Come let us reason together, saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 1:18) because you would fear it might somehow involve trances.

        The possibility of angels visiting in the night and a glorified man sitting on a throne near Kolob is a positive interpretation. To judgmentally assume that a person is delusional (or like people who believe in green men) because they claim to have received visitations of angels and revelations about the throne of God is a negative interpretation of the original account. We have our choice. We can assume a positive or a negative interpretation of the same data whether it is found in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or Church history. “Choose ye this day which interpretation you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the positive” (apologies to Joshua) where the positive is defined as leading to that which is “virtuous, lovely, and of good report and praiseworthy” and that which is logical, sensible, scriptural, scientific, and reasonable.
        It is true that emotional ties to a belief can strongly influence making an evaluation from a neutral position and colors our judgment. That is why we don’t have to take a neutral position even though by the above criteria that would work too. Rather than focusing on a neutral position, we are counseled to study the scriptures, pray, and keep the commandment to attend Sacrament meeting. If we truly want a testimony, we should have faith in Christ and ask with a sincere heart and real intent per Moroni 10:5. God can penetrate the storm clouds of doubt arising from negative interpretations, critics bearing false witness, trances, fits, hypnoses, hallucinations, auto-suggestion, and winds of doctrine from skeptics, critics, frauds, apostates, atheists, agnostics anti-Mormons, those who “lie in wait to deceive,“ and those who “draw near to the Lord with their lips but their hearts are far from him.” God is all-powerful.
        By the way, Lance should remember that there is a big difference between “listening” and “obeying,” e.g. obeying the siren call to throw the baby out with the bathwater, cease walking after Christ, and link up with the dissidents.

        To call anyone delusional or mentally ill whether they are Jesus, Joseph Smith, John Nash, Taryn or Jason Nelson-Seawright, or WhyNot is insulting and politically incorrect. I did not say I cannot change. I only said that it is highly unlikely that I will change my belief in Christ, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the true church of Jesus Christ. It is highly unlikely because, in addition to testimony, there is too much logic, reason, and scientific evidence to support them. A highly unlikely event that would cause me to change is if God himself appeared to me and/or to a panel of atheistic scientists and declared that God does not exist (a bit of paradoxal humor there) or that they are all wrong—Jesus, Joseph Smith, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the church that Christ established while he lived upon the Earth. Until either of those events happen, my integrity demands I remain true to the faith no matter what other people choose to do with their integrity or free agency. In the meantime, I shall continue to study, investigate, empathize with, and try mightily to see if I can, in all good consciences throw away positive interpretations of the same words and events that critics give negative interpretations to which in turn lead them carefully down to you know where (skepticism, disbelief, dissidentism, agnosticism, and even atheism).

        You say it is pointless for you “to argue tit for tat with someone who manifests symptoms associated with a mental illness.” By your definition, it sounds like you want to throw out anything Jesus or his original apostles or his modern apostles have said that you disagree with. It sound like you are averse to objectivity and open mindedness and that you are uncomfortable with the scripture: “Come let us reason together, saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 1:18) because you would fear it might somehow involve trances.

        The possibility of angels visiting in the night and a glorified man sitting on a throne near Kolob is a positive interpretation. To judgmentally assume that a person is delusional (or like people who believe in green men) because they claim to have received visitations of angels and revelations about the throne of God is a negative interpretation of the original account. We have our choice. We can assume a positive or a negative interpretation of the same data whether it is found in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or Church history. “Choose ye this day which interpretation you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the positive” (apologies to Joshua) where the positive is defined as leading to that which is “virtuous, lovely, and of good report and praiseworthy” and that which is logical, sensible, scriptural, scientific, and reasonable.
        It is true that emotional ties to a belief can strongly influence making an evaluation from a neutral position and colors our judgment. That is why we don’t have to take a neutral position even though by the above criteria that would work too. Rather than focusing on a neutral position, we are counseled to study the scriptures, pray, and keep the commandment to attend Sacrament meeting. If we truly want a testimony, we should have faith in Christ and ask with a sincere heart and real intent per Moroni 10:5. God can penetrate the storm clouds of doubt arising from negative interpretations, critics bearing false witness, trances, fits, hypnoses, hallucinations, auto-suggestion, and winds of doctrine from skeptics, critics, frauds, apostates, atheists, agnostics anti-Mormons, those who “lie in wait to deceive,“ and those who “draw near to the Lord with their lips but their hearts are far from him.” God is all-powerful.
        By the way, Lance should remember that there is a big difference between “listening” and “obeying,” e.g. obeying the siren call to throw the baby out with the bathwater, cease walking after Christ, and link up with the dissidents.

        1. No one should infer or conclude Whynot is delusional or mentally ill —- he can obviously parrot out propaganda a lot better than any general authority I know of in the corporation —— He has been brainwashed Mormon (some would argue mind controlled but I think brainwashed is more descriptive) like I was for 40 years until I learned the truth and understood I had been brainwashed! PS —- brainwashed is not a negative thing in all cases. Almost all people in this life are brainwashed to believe a lot of things that are not true so it is not something to claim I am insulting you on unless you agree that to be brainwashed Mormon is a bad thing.

          1. No one should infer or conclude that people like Stormin are delusional or mentally ill. They can obviously parrot out anti-Mormon propaganda a lot better than most agnostics, atheists, apostates, or anti-Mormons in the world. People who think and talk like Stormin have been brainwashed (some would argue mind controlled but perhaps brainwashed is more descriptive) like some who remained faithful to Christ for a time and then ceased to walk after him (“From that time MANY of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66).) Doubtless many of those disciples Had run across accusations, distortions, misrepresentations, and misinterpretations promulgated by certain critics. Likewise, some disciples who walk no more with Christ fail to realize that they have been brainwashed or indoctrinated until their minds have become darkened and their hearts hardened.

            P.S. The term “brainwashed” is an insulting, negative, judgmental, politically incorrect tool of the Adversary which he and his disciples use when criticizing and rejecting the truths of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Almost all people in this life are brainwashed to believe a lot of things that are not true about the scriptures, Jesus, Joseph Smith and Church history. So it is sad to observe ex-disciples of Christ abandon reason and resort to ridicule and insult when confronted with reasonable possibilities, alternate explanations, and positive interpretations of words, events, and actions of the Bible, Christ, the Book of Mormon, and Joseph Smith so that they can justify their new lifestyle.

          2. Whynot, I am amazed you do not totally appreciate your Mormon brainwashing (mind control) as it keeps you valiant without regards to historical truths in LDS incorporated —– which you apparently love. Brainwashing is not always as you claim ‘insulting, negative, judgmental and politically incorrect’ or the brethren would not use it on Mormon children —- if anyone really cared about any of those words for the poor persecuted Mormons. Brainwashing does not always involve totally false information. Myself (not necessarily a great athlete) and many athletes apply brainwashing to improve our performance or at least attitudes (that appear to lead to better performance) in both life and sports. We make affirmations (similar to your testimony of the T glove). We keep saying/or listening to things like —– I watch the ball closely and get great shots (for tennis), or I am always 100% positive in my self talk (sports and life).

            Don’t be too critical of the brethren on brainwashing Mormons with Mormon affirmations , requiring what they wear , maintaining their own unique guidance from God , and requiring strict obedience to living prophets versus God, or you could find yourself apostatizing from God’s one true church!

  29. Thank you so much for doing this podcast. John, while the comment about you activity/inactivity was “cute,” it was hardly fair. Everyone of us went back and forth. I was excommunicated when I was 19. When I was 38 a very sincere SP meet with me every week for months. I was re-baptized. I must get restless every 19 years. As I approach 57, I am debating with myself whether it is worth having my name removed. I must admit, I was disappointed when you started studying with the SP–not because you (both) were not sincere, but because my story was similar and I knew it wouldn’t be your “final answer.” And, that comes with some emotional pain. Thanks for doing what you do. Much good has come from your personal and public struggle.

  30. To Whynot. You lived up to every expectation I had of you. Thank you, you certainly made my day. Praise God he made people like Whynot to defend Mormonism and he led me to the truth. Hope everyone in this forum (including the less than meek whynot) enjoys this Sunday in whatever way they chose to spend their day!

  31. Thank you Jason and Taryn for sharing your story. Best of luck to you both in this wonderful journey of self actualization and self discovery. I agree with your assessment that the now is life, and learning to best that here and now is lifes quest. As someone who has also left the LDS church, I share similar sentiments and appreciated your thought provoking message today. You both have depth that allude many. Cheers to you!

  32. I really don´t agree with the main issues this couple present. Sure there are insensitive members or members who make mistakes in their treatment of others, but we all are imperfect. But that isn´t a reason to leave the lord or to stop praying to god our father. I wish they would turn back to him to find a new peace and move forward.

    The here and now is lifes quest, sure, but we don´t need to do this alone nor without Gods company.

    By the way, on a peripheral issue, Elder Ballard addressed clearly the question of same sex marriage yesterday in the CES fireside. I´d recommend people here listen in to what he said to understand why the church opposes it and why this issue is completely different to the blacks and priesthood issue of the past. (https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/watch/ces-devotionals/2014/05?lang=eng)

  33. Great episode, thanks to all involved in it.

    Taryn and Jason mentioned some research about the vagus nerve and spirituality, I was hoping some links could be provided so I can have a clearer direction on where to go to better understand the research.

    Thanks again!

  34. After the first couple of comments I feel disinclined to wade through the rest, but just wanted to stand up as at least one person who was TBM, was out for about five years, and is now active (but no TR) as saying that I learned a lot from this podcast. This is not the choice I would have made, but if I’m going to contribute to the institution in a substantial way it’s important to walk in the shoes of those who are more deeply disturbed about the issues than I am. I especially benefited from J’s comments about having to be in a position of authority over LGBT folks being disciplined and not being able to support that. I often say I can live with the church’s positions on things I disagree with, but it’s vital to put a human face on those things at times.

    1. You “can live with church positions on things you don’t agree with”?! REALLY?! Well, most people call that “compromising your principles”… something that I personally decided to stop doing. That helped me a lot, and upon leaving the church, have felt significantly more at peace knowing that I can oppose that which is unacceptable (e.g. racial, gender, religious, or sexual discrimination… all pervasive in early and current LDS culture) and do so whole-heartedly, without the fear of losing my TR, not being “worthy” to take the sacrament, being sent to the “telestial kingdom” or becoming a “son of perdition”. All of those are punishments that would fit better those who compromise their integrity, cower their heads, silence their mouths, and mindlessly follow “the Bretheren”.

  35. Whynot

    You said:

    “the actual, literal practice of the Law of Consecration is not commanded. Tithing is its substitute”

    It is true that consecration is not commanded right now, according to scripture:

    “Therefore, in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion…. And this cannot be brought to pass until mine elders are endowed with power from on high…For behold, I have prepared a great endowment and blessing to be poured out upon them, inasmuch as they are faithful…Therefore it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion….And let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her law be executed and fulfilled, after her redemption.”

    It is true that the elders have not yet recieve the true endowment and power from on high and therefore we are still not required to live the laws of Zion including the law of consecration.

    HOWEVER- There is no passage of canonized scripture that replaces the law of consecration with a lesser law called the law of tithing. That is a modern day Mormon myth.

    You quoted verse four of Section 119 as if it authoritatively applies to Latter day Saints who have not entered into the law of consecration, yet verse four applies specifically and exclusively to those who have consecrated, per the terms of verse one, by initially putting all of the surplus property into the hands of the bishop.

    In other words, this is how the law of tithing works:

    First you consecrate (or tithe) by giving all surplus property to the bishop. (as stated in 119:1) That is the first act of consecration. It represents the Biblical definition of what tithing is, just as the term is used in verse four: “..And after that, those who have thus been **TITHED** SHALL PAY ONE TENTH OF ALL THEIR INTEREST ANNUALLY”

    The passage is defining the initial consecration of all surplus property as “tithing” and differentiating it from the second step, which is to pay one tenth of all interest annually.

    You are using the term tithing to refer to the paying of all interest annually when in fact the scriptures use the term tithing to refer to the initial consecration of all surplus properties.

    Nothing in section 119 applies to you or any other church member living today, because you have not consecrated. You have not been tithed according to the commandment given in the scriptures.

    The modern church has created their own heretical definition of what tithing means which is unscriptural.

    It is fine for church leaders to create their own system of a “lesser law” if they want to, and it is fine for members of the church to pay anything they want, but PLEASE don’t wrest the scriptures to them conform to a corrupted system. Don’t make it sound as if the Lord created or endorsed the current corrupt system of LDS tithing.

  36. Wonderful podcast! John, a few years ago, I volunteered to come on a podcast to explain the church experience for someone with Asperger’s, but Taryn made just about every point I wanted to make. The only thing I would add is that I know several folks on the spectrum who are diehard TBMs. I believe for these folks, the black-and-white, all-or-nothing nature of the church meshes very well with their black-and-white tendencies. However, church is also a very intense social experience, and as a result, many folks struggle even though they do well otherwise.

  37. I enjoyed the podcast. One comment, which is something I felt was lacking in the into is the fact that Taryn is autistic herself. From the moment she started talking it was obvious to me that something was up with her. Socially she was strange, she seemed hyper-sensitive, and her attitude towards others felt very abrasive and completely lacking empathy. Very self-centered perspective.

    She insisted she wasn’t offended by the nursery workers holding her child still, but that’s exactly what she was. I mean come on. This explanation that the church culture somehow causes people to think that autistic children should be tortured is ridiculous. This is like an educated way of saying she was offended.

    When she started talking about autism and referring to everything as “we this, we that” and it became clear that she is autistic herself, suddenly it all made sense. And then the money quote, “ummm, let me see, I used to spin around a lot, ahhhh haaaa, it’s a complex of social cognition deficits, a lack of the ability to understand other people’s points of view, lack of awareness that they have a different point of view very often, umm… and… all kinds of sensory problems and lovely disruptive repetitive behaviors.”

    That’s her!!! It sounds exactly like her perception towards church members, the nursery leaders, and even just the church and gospel in general. Not to be rude, but this seems so obvious to me. Everything about her perspective was just “me me me”

    I enjoyed Jason’s perspective a lot more. He’s obviously a very tender man, Taryn found a match made in heaven, seriously. Few men could handle living in a house with two autistic people and handle it as well as he obviously does. Having served on disciplinary councils I can also empathize with what he experienced, it’s a tragic thing and often just seems to absurdly arbitrary.

  38. Finally got around to listening to this garbage. These are exactly the type of people we don’t want in our church. Good riddance and enjoy your new life without God.

  39. Stormin, I am amazed you do not understand that Mormons are no more brainwashed to stay faithful to Mormonism (Christ’s original truth church restored in our day) any more than critics and dissidents (such as Stormin) are brainwashed to stay faithful to their religious devotion to anti-Mormonism. You also fail to understand that LDS people do accept all truth from whatever source. LDS accept the same truths that you profess but LDS interpret those truths differently. For example we both accept the truth that Jesus Christ drove moneychangers out of the temple twice with a whip. Some critics (you included?) assume that the truth is that Christ was a militant messiah figure who tore through the temple, smashing tables and physically whipping people trying to make a living to support their families.

    The truth is that Christ was and is and always will be the “Prince of Peace” who held the whip as a symbol of authority and tipped over some money changing tables to dramatize the seriousness of stealing other people’s money and defiling the temple. “And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matt. 21:13). Contrary to what a militant messiah would do, Christ suffered under the whip, in the garden, and on the cross in order to save all who are willing to be saved. Rather than being a militant messiah figure, he was the Son of God, a divine teacher and leader who taught the Beatitudes, the Golden Rule, turn the other cheek, walk the extra mile, love your enemies, and do good to them who hurt you.

    Most, if not all, of what critics consider “historical truths” are not truths at all. They are supposition, assumption, misinterpretation, and misrepresentation of historical truth (facts). Each and every “historical” truth critics are fond of cherishing and harping on, after having been thoroughly brainwashed by their fellow critics and deceived by the “cunning craftiness of men,” can be explained and harmonized with the true gospel of Jesus Christ by positive interpretations of the same “historical truths” as in the above example of moneychangers at the temple.

    I am also amazed, Stormin, that you go to such lengths to whitewash the term “brainwash.” No matter how you try to justify using it, it is demeaning. Continually trying to whitewash the term “brainwash” reminds one of the scripture: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20). This scripture also can be considered an indictment of many critics of the true Church of Jesus Christ and their tactics.

    The brethren do not brainwash Mormons. They teach correct principles to the Church members and let them govern themselves, as Joseph Smith said. Our brothers and sisters in Church leadership positions teach ideals and encourage modesty in dress but leave it up to each Church member to wear what they choose to wear except in the temple. They teach obedience to God’s commandments for those who want to attain the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom, but teach that free agency is a gift for everyone. If someone does not want the highest degree of heaven, that is their choice. They can do what they want. They can choose any degree of Heaven they want even if it isn’t the highest. But they are still welcome to meet and mingle with us.

  40. Taryn,

    You are an inspiration. My experience in the Church with my daughter sounds so much like what you and your daughter have gone through – including walking into Nursery to find that she’s being forcibly restrained….

    My daughter (now age 11) was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder at age 4 and finally Asperger’s syndrome at age 7. She does fine academically, but socially it’s been a real challenge.

    We’ve been able to help her focus on art as an outlet for her emotions and as a way to connect to others. But she tends to set the bar for herself very low and her life goals and aspirations are far below what she’s capable of, I think in large part due to her frustrations in dealing with other people and her negative experiences with classmates at school (i.e., making her not want to go to school beyond the mandatory 12th grade).

    We are constantly searching for powerful female role models that we can point to as examples of how her Asperger’s doesn’t limit her, even though it might provide different obstacles along the way. And now I can point to you among that group! It’s especially nice, as the previous examples we have found have been in the area of arts and entertainment (e.g., Heather Kuzmich, from America’s Next Top Model, and Ladyhawke, the musician). Now we can point to someone who’s academically and intellectually gifted as well. Thank you so much!

  41. Nice interview. I always find it fascinating that so many people can find and identify the things that are wrong with religion and articulate it well but then turn around and don’t see the same problems with government which exhibits the same or very similar problems as religion has.

    The conundrum of leaving faith and turning around and worshiping government.

  42. Did anyone catch what study they were talking about on how the brain causes warm feelings? Where can I find this material?

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