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  1. Great Interview. Jeremy really represents the biggest problem for Mormonism moving forward. Young man in his 30’s that grew up with google and is willing to seek out answers. His summary of the issues in the CES letter are exactly what his generation does best. They can data mine the information and compile it in a concise format that paints the bigger picture.

    It use to be that you needed to read dozens of books on Mormonism. Now with the google generation, that information can be compiled and discussed in a 80 page document.

    I admire Jeremy and the many of his generation that can see the issues and help share it in a simple way others can understand.

    1. I totally agree. The most remarkable thing about Jeremy’s story is that it is so common. Every single day, totally committed and active members are doing the research and realizing that the Church is not what it claims. There is a reason why the Brethren have worked to keep the truth out of their curriculum and outside of the tbm buble and the reason is that the sanitized story provides the foundation for the authority to control their members and enforce their policies and programs without question. Finding out the truth about the restoration creates the opening to give yourself permission to start thinking for yourself and stop giving the Church and the Brethren a free pass.

      If the Book of Mormon is not an ancient record and Joseph Smith was not a prophet, then how much control over your life should you give the Church? The leadership, programs and policies presume the inerrant authority to tell you everything from the purpose to life, to when to get married and have kids, to whether or not you should show your shoulders to men. Today, the Brethren would be better off worrying less about controlling the narrative of the truth claims and more about improving their product because not only are members finding out the truth but they are then deciding that they need to leave.

      1. Exactly. The only reason you give your life and resources over to the church, is because you are taught from birth that it’s Christ’s church, and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. But take that away, and very few people would be willing to sacrifice and serve the way we Mormon’s do, for a man made church. All those decisions we made thinking that the Prophet was talking for God. It’s just maddening. Like Jeremy said, this is people’s lives were talking about. All the money we have paid in tithing over the past 35 years, my husband and I could retire now. My husband says he will never let another person or organization tell him what to do. I think it’s especially hard for men to find out that these men leading this church are just that, men. My husband is mad and says he will never go back. The leasers lied to him, knowing that the story they are telling isnt true, yet they will perpetuate the lie to keep our devotion. And frankly I don’t care that they are in a tough spot, that John Dehlin sometimes refers to. They should try integrity, that’s what we were taught, they should try it sometime. “Choose the right” let the chips fall where they may. That’s something I could respect, but I can no longer respect the “brethren” as they knowingly perpetuate the lie, just to keep the church in tact.

        1. I agree Debbie that people are “taught” that these men are prophets. But, it was your choice to believe what you were taught and your choice to pay tithing. I know taking personal responsibility is not part of our current culture, but dissenters who are mad about all the time and money spent need to first and foremost be angry at the person that looks back at them in the mirror.

          1. @Ryan Wimmer

            I know taking personal responsibility is not part of our current culture, but dissenters who are mad about all the time and money spent need to first and foremost be angry at the person that looks back at them in the mirror.

            Your missing the the culture that people live in from when they are young. A person doesn’t take responsibility until they are adults, their youth is not their fault, but the fault of their parents and those around them. In the church you are surrounded with the culture from when you are born and through (possibly) college and even your married life as the church defines all that you are.

            Jeremy did take charge as an adult for his beliefs by being open enough to change his mind when finding conflicting information. Those before him that heard it, or refused to hear it are the ones to rightly blame as they did nothing to embrace truth – or at least not instill lies upon their children. That is my biggest gripe, you can believe what you want to, but to indoctrinate your children in something that is readily falsifiable is a travesty and a crime.

          2. Jon, I agree that you can use the parental indoctrination as an excuse for following, but after you are grown it is your own choice, and if you CHOOSE to give time and money to the church, you really have only yourself to blame. And I agree, all religion is falsifiable and indoctrination is an issue, but it is not any different than indoctrinating your children to follow your political views, that democracy is better than a monarchy, monogamy is better than polygamy, etc. parents always indoctrinate their own belief system. Certainly not a “crime”, if you really think it a crime than press charges and get laughed out of court.

          3. @Ryan Wimmer,

            I agree it is your own choice but at the same time we shouldn’t blame the victim. Yes, if an elderly person gives his money to a scam artist it was his choice but the scam artist should still give the money back (with interest) and possibly have other repercussions.

            And if you spank (that is, hit) your kids and you try and bring it to court they will laugh at you out of court but it is still a crime, the courts may not recognize it yet but they will eventually as they do in some European countries.

            I understand the complexities of parenting and how we all indoctrinate our children. But eventually certain things become against the dominate culture (that which matters more than law or courts as it eventually shows up in law and courts). Eventually indoctrinating a child to believe in invisible people that can cause you to lose your family forever if you don’t follow certain men on earth will be against the dominate culture, it is just a matter of time.

          4. You could go to jail or be charged for hitting your kids, it depends. What should or should not be considered a crime is an opinion not a fact. Your post is confirming exactly what I said earlier, we live in a growing culture that refuses to accept personal responsibility. I cannot emphasize it enough, as an adult you are CHOOSING, it is your CHOICE and your CHOICE alone to participate and give money to a church. Morons and idiots always cry “victim”, but you were a victim only of your own idiotic CHOICE.

          5. Ryan, yes, as adults everyone must take responsibility for their decisions. However, as in Jon’s example, a person is a victim to some extent if they are intentionally given false and misleading information with the intention of tricking them into handing over money and power. Unfortunately, that is exactly what the Mormon church and its leadership have done from day one. They have intentionally omitted important information, even changed documents, and included information that they know cannot be true. Couple that with children being taught by their trusted parents, not only all of this misleading info, but that the church leaders are speaking for God or have the power of God. Then the leaders also warn you not to look at any info about the church that is not from them or is critical, or you will put yourself under satan’s power and will lose your eternal salvation. From the viewpoint of someone born into the Mormon church, it becomes very difficult to overcome the trust in “leaders” and begin to think critically. There are even more manipulative tactics than I have mentioned here. The point is that it is a bit more difficult for a life long Mormon to begin to see the truth, even as an adult and even though the doctrine is plainly false to most people looking in.

            Sure, all Mormons born into the church should be just as skeptical of church leaders as they would be of anyone else. I wish they were. That is not how human psychology works. Adult Mormons who continue to be duped must take responsibility for that and they do. They will not get that money, time, or all their decisions back. This reality does not mitigate the responsibility the Mormon church and it’s leaders should bear for deceiving them.

          6. It’s the victim’s choice to be involved in a financial fraud, but that “choice” does not excuse criminality of the fraudster.

          7. There’s a multiple part BBC documentary called “Hitler Youth”. The first episode called “seduction” and describes the systematic indoctrination of the youth of Germany to prepare them to be future soldiers for the Reich.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zocAaqp4AG4

            In the opening a woman describes “Every little drop wears away a stone” and “we were like little stones.” They learned “total devotion” and it wasn’t until after the war that they realized what they had been subjected to and how extensive and complete the indoctrination had been.

            Boys were to be soldiers. Girls were to bear children.

            You think members of the Church have any choice about following their leaders, not paying their tithing etc. think again. They were taught to be willing to give up their lives if necessary. It was all regimented and it was every weekend.

            The similarities are quite disturbing.

          8. @Robert Hodge,

            Check out the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study too. Your childhood has immense influence on your entire life. I do think we do have choices in our lives but those choices are severely limited by how we are raised and the environment we live in.

            I found it interesting reading The Lucifer Effect but one of the things the author didn’t seem to address and consider is that the normal person isn’t necessarily a healthy person. So the solution to Situational Influences might be just raising our kids in better and more loving environments.

          9. Yeah, as much as it is a CHOICE for you to believe that the earth revolves around the sun or a CHOICE for you to believe that George Washington was the first president of the United States, or a CHOICE for you to believe that men landed on the moon. You “choose to believe” those things because the people and world around you has told you that that’s the way it is. Absolutely no need to question it. Same with those of us who grew up in the church. We are raised from babies, never to question our beliefs, that those who question in the wrong, that our parents and people around us will be disappointed in us if we “choose” not to believe and that we should do everything we can to keep telling ourselves to believe everyday. So give me a break on the Choice stuff. Be a little more sensitive to those of us who have brainwashed from the second we left the womb.

          10. Sorry Ryan, but your reasoning is awful. Please step back and think about it a bit. Try it in other contexts; for instance, “Company X lied to you about their product and you’re at fault because you believed it and bought the product.” Etc. Children are taught these things in Nursery, for crying out loud.

            Nice blaming the victim. Try again.

          11. Your point would be good if there had been no history of deception on the part of Joseph Smith and the Church. That is not the case. The Church has lied (about the practice of polygamy for example) and covered up Joseph Smith’s and Brigham Young’s polyandry. Joseph Smith lied about this practice of polygamy and did not even bother to follow the outlines for the practice set forth in D&C Section 132.

    2. The biggest problem with Mormonism is enlightened, loving leadership. The history of the early Mormons shows them to be flawed humans. They were committed and believed in something and it made them accomplish great things. I’m not an apologist for the Church because i am also hanging on by a thread. Regardless of where the PofGP and the BofM came from, they have been positive influences on my life. Joseph was flawed, but he was less flawed then those that came after (imo).

      1. “Regardless of where the PofGP and the BofM came from, they have been positive influences on my life. Joseph was flawed, but he was less flawed then those that came after (imo).”

        Seriously?? I can understand where you give credit for what positive influences the BOM/PofGP brought into your life – just as I can give credit for various other author’s works for influencing my life for the better. However…acknowledging that Joseph Smith was flawed and then saying those who came later are worse is hard for me to agree with. Without Joseph Smith’s original fraud the church wouldn’t exist. Therefore there would be no basis for these otherwise well intentioned men to build upon. There would be no history for them to hide or try to defend. Perhaps where you and I differ is on the degree to which we view Joseph Smith’s “flaws.”

        For me, it’s been a life of almost 60 years put into a faith that is a sham. I can imagine that it may have been the same for many of these at the top of the church….that they are now in too deep to get out.

  2. I found these the other day on YouTube and listened to all of them. Jeremy seems to be an honest, thoughtful person. I have read CES Letter, it helped me during my faith crisis. I think he shares very good advice in this interview. Especially what he said about not divorcing over Joseph Smiths church. I was fortunate that both my husband and I were in agreement during our faith crises. But not all couples are that lucky and how sad that belief in this church could destroy a marriage. Anyway Jeremy, like John said, you’re a hero. You are to me 🙂

  3. Thanks Jeremy. Very well done. I’m not sure I would call Joseph Smith a pedophile as the Wikipedia definition is 11 years or younger. I would call it inappropriate age difference and “creepy” for sure though. I appreciate very much your closing remarks especially about not confusing the blessing given to you to restore your hearing with the cochlear implants and doing a disservice to the individual who invented them.

    1. On the subject of Joseph Smith marrying the two young girls. I’ve always wondered how that fit into the cultural context of the time. I remember my grandma marrying young,(16 or 17) and her stating it was “normal back then to marry young” I just wonder if marrying that young was common at that time, or not. Any information on that?

      p.s. I loved the interviewed! Thanks for being authentic.

      1. Sarah, a good book that discusses that issue is:

        http://www.amazon.com/Persistence-Polygamy-Joseph-Origins-Mormon-ebook/dp/B004GNEDIM/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1403227878&sr=8-5&keywords=Newell+bringhurst

        One essay argues it was common and another says it wasn’t. I have seen the state laws of the nineteenth century and most had the common law marriage for females was 13 years old. Modern social constructs of pedophilia had yet to be invented and of course the general definition of pedophilia is pre-puberty attraction. So whether or not it was common is debatable but the legal and social constructs were far different than our own. During the anti-polygamy campaign in Utah of the 1870s and 1880s the age of the women was not an issue like it is now whenever polygamy is discussed, a totally different social world than ours. Laura Ingells Wilder was teaching school two months after she turned 16, imagine that now, sixteen is not even an adult now.

        1. Whether it was “normal” is debatable. Most nineteenth century historians I have talked with on this (two of them at BYU) say it was not normal. But that it was legal and modern social constructs of age really developed after the child labor movement. While Utah polygamy also included young girls that was not part of the anti-polygamy campaign due to the cultural differences of then and now concerning age and adulthood.

          1. Not only was it not normal to marry 14-year-old girls but it was illegal in Joseph’s case. Let’s assume marrying girls that young was legal. Joseph still had zero business marrying them as polygamy was illegal under the laws of the land.

          2. Like I said, “normal” is debatable, but most believe it was not normal. History is not a set of certain facts, but people who are new to looking into history generally make that mistake. Polygamy was illegal but not the marrying of young girls, most states was 13 for females as far as the law goes. The cultural differences is just reality, anti-polygamy campaign was never concerned with the girls age as it is now, that is due to cultural differences. Modern constructs of pedophilia had simply not been invented yet. I do hope with the gay marriage movement we can let grown ups be grown ups who want to practice polygamy as well.

          1. When people supply anecdotes about 19th century teenaged marriages, note that they are between two similarly aged people. It’s one thing for a 19th century 16 year old to marry another 16 year old. It’s quite another for a 36 year old man to marry a 14 year old girl.

      2. I have wondered how he got Emma pregnant multiple times but there is no evidence of getting any of his “other” wives pregnant. Even at least one claim by Fawn Brodie that he had fathered a child to one of those women were debunked.

  4. Joseph having a trinitarian/modalism view until Jeremy thinks he changed it sometime before 1838. It just doesn’t fit with the facts in the historical record, and you only get information from Jeremy that fits his paradigm (this is a common theme throughout the ENTIRE CES LETTER). This whole idea that “Joseph tried to cover up his Trinitarian ideas” in the BoM is ridiculous. He changed a FEW verses. He certainly didn’t do a very good job. There are MANY verses in there that could be interpreted modalist and many others that could be interpreted to be anti-modalist. Which of those verses did Joseph change, and what was happening around that time that might help explain he changed ONLY THOSE verses?

    He only changed a few verses, most likely in response to Alexander Campbell – because the very verses Campbell was criticizing were the verses changed. Perhaps it was clarification not modification. I know that is FAIR’s response, but it seems more plausible than “Joseph changed 3 verses in 1837 but forgot to change many others to hide his trinitarian thinking.” PLUS, there are many anti-modalist revelations very early in Joseph’s history, such as D&C ones as early as Feb 1832, the JST itself, including the Book of Moses, a first draft of which was ready by Feb 1831, and John Whitmer’s 1831 account of Joseph’s vision of seeing Jesus on the right hand of God, all contradict the narrative that by 1837 or a couple years earlier, Joseph had changed his view and needed to cover his tracks by changing a couple verses in the BoM. Also of note, 1832 is also the year of this First Vision account: “I saw the Lord and he spake unto me,” which is used to prove this false narrative, obviously in the absence of revelations that same year that contradict that very narrative. Plus there are many verses in the original printer’s manuscript of the BoM that seem to be quite anti-modalist (I won’t paste all of them here, but there are quite a few that clearly show the separateness of the Father and Son).

    The point of the matter is that the BoM is much like the bible (as is Joseph’s intention), and many verses in both books seem to support and contradict a trinitarian or modal view. PLUS, and this is a big thing, there are no references in critical writings of the 1830s that suggest Joseph Smith introduced the doctrine of separateness of the Father and Son by the mid-1830s. If Joseph had made such a departure, you would think people would notice the change (which really isn’t a subtle one) and take note of it. The narrative promoted by many critics of the Church is also contradicted by much evidence to the contrary. This is why Joseph said:

    “I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders for fifteen years. I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods.” (TPJS, 370)

    Another thing that jumps in me mind: the inconsistency with the stone-in-hat sources… Runnells obviously doesn’t think Joseph used the stone-in-hat method to come up with the BoM. He thinks Joseph remixed/aggregated it using sources around him, perhaps even with some help. He doesn’t think Joseph dictated the entire BoM as we know it from his face buried in a hat, yet he uses those rock-in-hat sources to try and (inaccurately) shoot down the loose translation “theory,” or hold the Church accountable for not telling the truth about “how the book of mormon came to be.” He uses rock-in-hat sources when it suits them, but ignores them when it doesn’t (explaining where the BoM came from). In other words, he uses “FAIR-ish” like tactics. Yet that is what the historical record shows exactly how the book came to be. First-hand witnesses to the translation process, supporters, detractors, everyone somewhat involved during this time period document he dictated the entire thing with his face in hat – a big thorn in his big conspiracy theory. And yet he’ll overplay any 2nd or 3rd or 4th hand source that implies Joseph was a sexual deviant. Unfair treatment of sources, don’t you think?

    1. Extremely one-sided? Right. The letter is so “extremely one-sided” that FairMormon agrees with 79% of the CES Letter.

      Spin it all you’d like. The Book of Mormon reeks of Protestant theology. Mormonism is missing from the Book of Mormon.

      “I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders for fifteen years. I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods.” (TPJS, 370)”

      So says the man after the fact and after he developed his theology, which contradicts his previous Protestant views of the godhead. So says the man who denied polygamy/polyandry to Emma, the Saints, and the world for 10+ years of his adult life. Perhaps we should totally take Joseph at his word this one instance because he’s legit in the credibility department.

      As for the stone in the hat? Of course I don’t believe that Joseph translated the Book of Mormon, let alone from a rock in the hat. The reason why I bring it up is to illustrate and point out the Church’s blatant dishonesty. You say “Yet that is what the historical record shows exactly how the book came to be” yet the Church is not teaching that historical record to the members. It’s teaching a fictional story to the members. That’s my point.

      Let’s assume your assertion that Joseph really translated the Book of Mormon and that it’s legit. What are 1769 KJV errors doing in the Book of Mormon? You going to tell me that the Mormon god gave Joseph Smith the errors to put into the book? If not, where did the errors come from then? If from consulting a 1769 KJV bible, then that’s my point. He consulted other works for the Book of Mormon. So, which is it? The Mormon god gave Joseph 1769 KJV errors to put in the “most correct book” or Joseph consulted from the 1769 KJV bible himself?

      You seem pretty threatened by the CES Letter. This is evident with your extremely hostile and overly use of dramatic language: “Extremely one-sided”, “ENTIRE CES LETTER”, “drive-by literature”, “unbalanced”, “terrible letter”. If it’s all of the above, why does FAIR agree with 79% of it then?

      “Most of the issues Runnells lists aren’t even issues at all.” Denial, meet iamse7en…iamse7en, meet denial.

      1. Apologists don’t need to read something to know it’s one sided — in fact, to them it doesn’t even matter what’s in the letter: their point is to plant weak little seeds of pretend testimony for those who want to pay 10% of their income in order to live their lives in willful blindness.

      2. Have you read the article in Interpreter, or heard their podcast where they read the article where an apologist “answers” your letter? I believe they must agree with 79 percent, since they only brought up a very few of your “complaints”, as they call them.

        While I found your discussion with John to be very clear and easy to understand, the only thing I got out of the entire podcast was needing to “have the right attitude” when reading your “complaints”.

        First of all, after hearing what sounded like a talk from a politician, lots of talk and no meaning, I wonder why they call everything you say in the letter “complaints” when you were asking questions? They seemed to have no answers to your questions that I understood, and only even mentioned a very few of them.

        I listened to their podcast today, after listening to you and John last night, curious how they would answer. They really had no answers, and seemed to spend more time trying to assassinate your character. Pathetic and disappointing. I joined the church 10 years ago, when I was 40, my father was dying, and my marriage was falling apart. I was attracted to the families can be forever, and THOUGHT, because I was told, the church didn’t bash other churches. HAHAHA!!

        The missionaries are trained to know what an investigator is interested in, even if they don’t realize it, you know, milk before meat. I have struggled with so many things the past couple of years, the church was really there for me when my marriage imploded, even paying my mortgage on a couple of occasions. I felt like I belonged, and was loved, and I’m sure I was loved.

        My problems started when I didn’t conform well enough. Slowly I was no longer comfortable, neither was the older lady I took care of. Then we got a new Bishop, and he’s a bit different than the first 2 Bishops I had. At this time, an old family friend became homeless, a friend who I’ve know over 20 years, who helped take care of my dad, but who is a male. I don’t live alone, there is another woman plus my daughter here, and why does the church have to be so sure something sexual will happened when there are a man a woman in the same place? Not even on the table.

        I got the third degree several times, and what bothered me the most is the bishop was more worried about whether he would cost my household any money. You see, he’s made it clear he has no interest in being a Mormon, therefore the church is not interested in helping him. I am still living below the poverty line, and the church wants my tithe before paying my light bill, and then they will help with the light bill I can no longer pay, but only if groveled properly, depending on the bishop.

        Then I find out about the mall. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? They want me to grovel, in poverty, while they BUILD A MALL, AND A HIGH RISE ???
        I haven’t paid tithing since, and I can pay my own bills.

        There are so many other things which have been building up, balancing on my “shelf”, which has now come crashing down.

        Thank you so much for this paper, it puts everything together SO easily! I will be downloading it, and keeping it tucked away, after I read it a few times. If the best answer the church can give to your questions, well, it was more of an attempted character assassination than an answer.

        Your hard work has helped me stop feeling guilty about losing my testimony. Their scare tactics and excommunication of people with questions had been the last straw, but I still felt guilty.

        Now, how do I get them to leave me alone?

    2. Maybe you could write a more eloquent refutation if it’s so terrible. So far, I’m not convinced by your examples but do something better than what FAIR has done in its refutation and maybe we can talk turkey. So far, there have been two refutations of this “terrible” letter and both of them, although having some valid points, have failed the litmus test in my opinion.

      John was on a timeline for this interview and had a lot of material to cover so he was pitching more softballs than usual. I feel like the purpose of this podcast was to get to how the letter was created in the first place. There was also the fact that Brad and Jason have their upcoming debate where he said he’d go into the topics deeper. Hopefully there will be more fastballs and curveballs thrown there.

      As for John being tougher on the critics than the sympathizers, he probably is a little tougher on the sympathizers but he put Sandra Tanner through the wringer a bit, I thought. I just find that the critics, on the whole, tend to give more compelling answers and the sympathizers tend to give answers which require more mental gymnastics to explain. I think it’s because the critics WERE faithful and tried to stay in the church until the church was taken from them for their honesty.

      Those who give honest answers, like Teryl Givens and Richard Bushman require a change in the type of testimony you have to where the church is good rather than true. At that point, I don’t feel compelled to give my Sundays and 10% to people who are businessmen. I felt that way when I was faithful and was trying to find faith-promoting answers.

      I thought that John kept things pretty easy for Teryl and for Brad Kramer because they had straightforward, honest answers. He was pretty easy on Gregory Prince and several other sympathizers.

      Part of the job of an interviewer is to get the information and hold the interviewee’s feet to the fire if the intervieweeis skirting around the subject. This is why Doug Fabrizio was a lot more gentle with John and Kate than he was with Ally Isom in his interviews. They were straightforward and she was sidestepping and using double-speak like crazy. Overall, I think John does a pretty good job of it.

      Find someone who will give you a hug for your hurt feelings and write your counterpoint to Jeremy. If he’s wrong, he needs to be corrected. Thousands of testimonies are being affected by this. If you can’t do better than what you did above, please kill the snark.

    3. “First-hand witnesses to the translation process, supporters, detractors, everyone somewhat involved during this time period document he dictated the entire thing with his face in hat – a big thorn in his big conspiracy theory.”

      These first hand accounts detail how the words appeared, and how the translation couldn’t continue until the words were recorded correctly. If these accounts are accurate the original manuscript would have been free from grammatical errors and misspellings. That isn’t the case. Thousands of changes had to be made. B.H. Roberts noted this problem and stated that the church would open itself to ridicule if they continued to cling to this explanation of the translation method. I believe that’s why the loose translation theory was developed in the first place.

    4. The very first chapter of the Book of Mormon contains Lehi’s vision of God sitting on a throne (1 Nephi 1: 8). The Trinitarian God doesn’t have a body, can’t be seen, and can’t sit on a throne. If Joseph had a Trinitarian view, why is God corporeal in the first chapter of the Book of Mormon?

          1. Jeremy,

            Where in that link does it suggest that the Trinitarian God has a body and can be seen sitting on a throne?

        1. John, how is that comment responsive to the question I posed? The bible is also not Trinitarian. The assertion is that Joseph had a Trinitarian understanding of God. The very first representation of God in the Book of Mormon refers to him sitting on a throne surrounded by angels. He is referred to as a corporeal being. Trinitarians are generally bothered by divine corporeality. The resurrected body of Christ is problematic for thoughtful Trinitarians. It means that the triune God has a body and is, therefore, located in some finite position in space/time. That idea fits poorly with the Trinitarian concept, so some assert that Christ no longer has a body. The bottom line is that the Book of Mormon opens with a very non-trinitarian (I did not say non-biblical) presentation of God.

      1. Pacumeni:

        Good point. Not only in 1 Nephi 1:8 does Lehi see God the Father in bodily form, but in the very next verse he sees Jesus Christ separately in bodily form.

        This corroborates Joseph Smith’s statement that “I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit…”

        1. With all due respect to the arguments pro and con for these and other questions related to the Church, the Book of Mormon. What comes to my mind is “who cares”? All the while we spend discussing and arguing over whether Nephi said this or that, whether puberty starts at 12, 13 or 16? It’s almost like setting an age for when people become adults. Doesn’t it depend on one’s life experience as to when someone becomes an adult? I have a 25 year old daughter who continues to make the same mistakes she did as a 17 year old yet she thinks because she’s “over 18” she should be treated like an adult. I saw a youtube video of a young boy driving a large loader. These arguments can go on ad naseum. All religions, from what I’ve experienced is man made. The Church keeps people worshipping stuff that keeps them in constant state of immaturity. Now that we know the Church isn’t what it claims to be, Joseph Smith marrying 33 different women including young girls and other women who were married to other men, (isn’t that enough proof the guy was demented in his thinking and practice) the question for us is “now what?”

          1. I have done counseling with African refugees here in America that currently practice polygamy. Our government looks the other way because it is their culture. They practice it knowing it is against the law, but they do so out of survival and because it is part of their culture and belief system. Is something wrong with them in your opinion? Polygamy is a highly functional familial system, which is why it has been around for thousands of years and continues to be practiced in much of the world today. Who are we to judge others on this? Are my black African clients demented?

          2. I just read Wikipedia’s article about “polygyny” and it’s purposes in Africa. You expressed that it’s been around for 1000’s of years and is “highly functional”. As I was reading about how wives did most of the work and it provided men with more opportunities to have more children. If you look at the maps where polygamy is practiced these are represent most of the poorest areas of the world and the most violent. If parenting is for the purpose of raising capable children who can make it in the world, I’m not sure that this is accomplished in a polygamous group. One father with multiple wives who each get a small portion of his time and children who get little to no attention hardly strikes me as “functional”.

          3. The fact that polygamy (both kinds) is still around indicates that it is functional, otherwise it would have gone away by now. Social phenomenon go away when they become non-functional. This same argument can be made about religion in general. The fact that religion adapts and does not go away is a huge indication of how functional it is, regardless of how you might feel about it.

    5. Funny, the earliest known version of the First Vision does not mention only Jesus. But by 1842 the trinity doctrine is completely abandoned as is today. But you are right there are many other places in the Book of Mormon where the trinity is suggested. So, Joseph in revising the book for whomever, did a lousy job.

  5. Enjoyed this podcast very much. Jeremy seems like a very thoughtful and sincere man and it was good to “meet” the man behind the wisdom. I wish my husband would watch these as I think he would be more inclined to read the CES letters if he did.
    It has been a hard year, mostly because of my husband being totally TBM.. but also grieving the loss of faith. It has been a little over a year since my faith crisis (which feels more like a transition rather than crisis now). Thank goodness my anger and hurt are much less which helps us argue less.
    I loved the quote that John said about cults. “A cult is a group of people that will not let you leave with your dignity in tact”.. yep, that explains why I had the urge to explain myself.. and am scared to “come out” to my in-laws.
    I also love how Jeremy was saying that now since he has left the church that he no longer is infallible. I feel that I am MUCH more humble now. I am OK not having the answers, making mistakes and I find it much easier to be human than I did as a TBM. I have found forgiveness towards others and myself to be much easier as well.
    Thank you both, John and Jeremy for your time and work. You are both Modern heroes!

  6. I joined the Church in 1974 as a young kid who could barely read and had no critical thinking skills and limited access to any information outside of what Church books were available at the time. Legrand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, Jesus the Christ etc. The leaders of the Church have known about all of this all this time and continued to promote their message for the purpose of getting into my wallet. It’s been brutally hard as I’ve missed 3 of my children’s weddings (so far) which no one said at the time I joined the Church that was even a remote possibility. My wife divorced me when I doubted the Church. Why is all this fraud not grounds for a class action suit?

  7. I thought getting to know Jeremy Runnells was the gem of this interview. “We landed a freakin car on another planet.” I could hear his excitement in his voice when he said those words. I felt his gratitude toward those who had come before him in creating a cochlear implant. I was surprised at the start of the interview that Jeremy had been def. I thought it was cool that he has Cochlear implants. This is my first time seeing and hearing some one who use them. Jeremy has a unique perspective on life. I would never have thought about the sound my fork makes against a plate while I eat. It reminds me to imagine all the little things I take for granted. I am appreciative to be able to hear of his experiences. He articulated his points clearly. He comes across as a humble person doing the best he can.
    Though I do not agree with every thing said. I sure hope you both (Jeremy and John) are able to stay in the church for a long time to come.

  8. I am just a little more than half way through the first part and I remember Jeremy saying that his faith crisis began in February of 2012. That’s when mine began, too.

    I have recently been e-mailing back and forth with a brother-in-law as to why I stopped attending. I have had almost no contact with him in 2 years. And John, I just sent him the presentation on the survey and the 5 myths. I hope he looks at it so that he can see what I was concerned about. If he watches it and comments a bit,I plan on sending this first U-tube presentation with Jeremy.

    John and Jeremy, I want to thank you both for helping to spread truth.

  9. I just finished watching the first part of the interview. I just have to say that it felt so great to hear someone put into words why a relationship with family after leaving can be so hard. Even though not many will actually say it, they DO think of me as broken. It’s incredible how strong the desire is to want to explain myself. Hundreds and hundreds of hours of research, feeling like I am taking precious time from my husband and children to feel sure about what I know and prepare many unsent letters that I will probably never send. I wish “leaving it alone” was easier. You hit the nail on the head Jeremy.

  10. Jeremy and John:

    Thank you, both, for the podcasts. They were wonderful!!!

    Jeremy, thank you for creating the CES document and website. Like you, my shelf fell in 2012 when I found out the truth about Joseph Smith and his polyandry. I joined the church when I was 16 years old and was/am the only member in my family. When I found out about the true church history I was first angry and then felt total devastation for losing my faith and my community – it was a very dark time in my life. Prior to the fall of 2012, I would have taken a bullet for the church and its teachings, needless to say, that has changed. And yes, I DID have a testimony and did NOT leave because that I wanted to sin, lazy or never had a testimony. The reason that I left was because I discovered that the one TRUE church had/has been LYING to me and everyone else.

    John, thank you for Mormon Stories and all of your hard work. When I found out the dark side of church history in the fall of 2012, it was your podcasts that helped me pull through that dark time in my life. From your podcasts I learned that I wasn’t alone or crazy for feeling the way that I did. Also, I want you to know that you and Kate are in my prayers regarding your upcoming meetings with your Stake/Ward leaders.

    Once again, thank you both!

  11. This is an excellent interview. Watching the interview with Sandra Tanner in its entirety and this one offers context to how these different generations approach difficulties. I believe it is a generational thing. People like the Tanners laid the foundation for questioning, but stopped short of questioning everything. There was a point at which they did not allow themselves to question any further. That was the world view at the time, they could not conceive of the possibility that all religions are man-made. The younger generation is in a society and culture that allows the framework to ask this question, which was inconceivable back in the 60’s.

    It used to be when someone left Mormonism over doctrine, they joined the ranks of other Christian sects. If they became outspoken critics, it was from the view that Mormons don’t worship the proper Jesus, or that Mormonism is unbiblical. Nowadays, when you hear of people becoming disillusioned with Mormonism, you don’t hear about them joining other Christian sects. Many become atheists or agnostics, or at least atheists to the Abrahamic God.

    This letter is emblematic of how the younger generation approaches information. These days, if anyone lacks wisdom, they ask Google, for Google doesn’t chastise them for asking the tough questions, and doesn’t obfuscate the answers.

    I also liked Jeremy’s point that it’s not worth divorcing over the church of Joseph Smith. I personally know 3 formerly married Mormon couples that have split over this issue that I know about. I have been fortunate in that my wife has been extremely understanding and accommodating. I hope there are future policies and councils set in place to end all the heartache and contention and people can live in peace. Mormons don’t have to change their mind, but I hope they allow others to exercise their free agency and become respectful to those that do.

    1. I suspect that many of those divorced over this issue used it as a convenient excuse as divorce is quite constrained by those that have take out temple vows.

  12. Really enjoyed your discussion about why some intellectuals are in the church and some not. I use to believe it was because they did not have any integrity —– especially like me and still question their integrity to some extent. However, even though I love the truth it is sad so many will not support the truth/lies of Mormonism by living honestly and seeking the truth. I have come to believe that those still in the church have far different (at least valid in their minds) reasons than I do and I can fully support their decisions. I simply cannot give anyone any indication I believe the church/lies are important for their/families growth and development. Further, it is like hitting my head against a brick wall to hear the lies and the testimonies and spend 3 hours being bored out of my mind, and not be able to speak out. I believe TRUTH is important and all people should be TRUTH SEEKERS.

  13. Appreciated your comments on religion. I don’t believe in any organized religion. I do believe in God or at least God-force and prayers being answered. The issues you raised about love, compassion, etc. are important but the God I believe in is interested in our spiritual development to learn these attributes through experience/learning —– therefore atrocities are necessary. If you are interested in what the people on the other side have given us as far as who we are, why are we here and where are we going —– look up Near Death experiences (nde) and after life encounters (ale) literature to find out what I consider potentially the truth (I am still experimenting with it but it is starting to make a lot of sense including reincarnation/multiple lives).

  14. Speaking as someone who doesn’t really believe truth claims of the church, I was thinking about the CES director the letter was addressed to. What motivation would he have to respond to this letter? Nothing he would write would satisfy Jeremy– he’d already made up his mind about the gospel. No doubt, Jeremy would create a similar “debunking” letter to reinforce his previously held beliefs. It would be a no-win situation for the director. I bet if Jeremy had presented a shorter document, in a more collegial manner, and shown a real willingness to engage, he’d be more likely to get a response. It’s been my experience that CES employees are willing to engage in dialogue if you’re not antagonistic.

    1. The CES Director emailed me first. I didn’t email him until after he emailed me. He emailed me knowing 100% that I no longer believed the truth claims of the Church and he was seeking to help resolve my questions and concerns. So, the motivation was there.

      More importantly, your assumption and theory collapses in light of the fact that he told my grandpa after he received my letter that he “read the very well-written letter” and that he “would be providing a response.”

      Why would the CES Director say that it was very well written and that he would provide a response if it was a “no-win situation” or that I was supposedly “antagonistic” or whatever?

  15. Jeremy, You attempt to create a Modus Operandi for Joseph Smith, implying he was dishonest. It seems to be that he did look into a hat at a rock. It is apparent that he may have lied about living polygamy. He may have got it wrong about the Kinderhook plates, and the book of Abraham. There is some evidence that his theology changed over time (three different accounts of the first vision, The priesthood being introduced not when it said it was, changes in the BOM.) Granted all that appears to be there. I am not turning a blind eye to what you share.
    What I do think is missing in this conversation is a balanced counter view to all these things. What about taking into account all the good Joseph Smith did. Its my understanding that he was not convicted for the crimes he was alleged to have done. Not only did he do good but he deeply believed in being honest and moral. I believe this because of his actions and all of his writings. I believe the accounts of the many people who new him. I have read the book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants and there is an amazing amount of good character found in those documents. The good in the church and its people is a testament to what kind of man Joseph was. I believe he lived his life to the best he could. I believe he lived an amazing life, a life of charity and kindness.
    I think Richard Bushman’s book Rough Stone rolling does an excellent job at balancing the two sides.
    The problem with creating a one sided Modus Operandi is that we then begin to view what Joseph is threw this tinted lens. We begin to come up with ideas that are skewed. We come up with ideas like Joseph was a pedophile. All because it fits this negative Modus Operandi we have built. A person can also then begin to believe that Joseph said and did all this stuff to mislead people.
    I believe that we as humans are complex beings. We are dynamic, we are not all good and we are not all bad. I believe if we had Joseph Smith sitting in your position being interviewed by John Dehlin we would not see a dishonest, immoral individual. You of all people might be one to understand this. Some people do not think your motives in writing and publishing the CES letter are honest. There is some evidence to that, that people point to. How do you feel about that? Are they right? If Joseph was alive and speaking for him self would he be this horrible dishonest pedophile you paint him out to be? I personally don’t believe so.
    I view you like I view Joseph Smith, your both men of good character who are doing or did the best he could in striving to bring about his truth. I think you both have strived to make this world a better place. It is possible that we all make mistakes while we embark on this endeavor.

    1. Eichmann thought he was just doing his job.

      Eichmann, of course, is the right example because it was Hannah Arendt’s book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil that is famously cited for this thesis. Eichmann, like almost all terrorists and killers, was by our standards a perfectly normal and healthy guy doing what he thought were perfectly reasonable things.

      And if that normal guy could do it, so could we. And while we could argue who’s worse — them or us — it’s a pointless game since its our actions that we’re responsible for. And looking around, there’s no shortage of monstrous crimes that we’ve committed.

      So the next time you mention one to someone and they reply “yes, but we did with a good intent” explain to them that’s no defense; the only people who don’t are characters in comic books.

      – Aaron Swartz The Intentionality of Evil

      In other words, just because someone is good in all their other parts of their lives, but a liar in one part, doesn’t make that one part OK.

      1. I did not say that one lie is ok. If there is an error the person should correct it. But it does not make the whole of the person evil. I also do not think Joseph Smith was a terrorist or any thing like it. I think with in most men is the inherent desire to be good. I choose to view people and the world in this light.

        1. kinglamoni, I too, think most people are good. The point of the quote wasn’t to say that Joseph was a terrorist. The point was that good people can do bad things, but just because they are good doesn’t make those bad things OK. People have multiple sides to them and I recognize that. But if they have a lying side to them then we need to throw out those lies and possibly disassociate ourselves from them especially if it harms us.

        2. What you see as “mistakes”, I see deliberate fraud. There’s a major difference between an innocent mistake and a deliberate calculated preconceived fraud.

          The Book of Abraham is not a mistake. It’s a deliberate and calculated fraud.

          Translating the fake Kinderhook Plates was not a mistake. It was a deliberate fraud.

          The backdating and retrofitting of the Priesthood restoration is not a mistake. It’s deliberate and calculated fraud.

          The Kirtland Banking Society was not a mistake. It was a deliberate fraud.

          Lying and denying polygamy/polyandry over and over and over again to Emma, the Saints, and the world over the course of 10+ years of your life while practicing polygamy/polyandry in the dark is not a mistake. It’s deliberate and calculated fraud and deception.

          So, I very strongly disagree with your worldview and ethics.

          It doesn’t matter if Joseph deluded himself to thinking he was the opposite. Actions speak louder than words and Joseph’s deliberate fraud is abundant for those who care to look.

          1. Does any of the CES letter have mistakes? I call them mistakes because I don’t think your trying to mislead any one deliberately and I don’t think you have deluded your self.
            I cant bring my self to calling what Joseph Smith did as deliberate fraud (Wrong yes, if he has done them.) I have not had the opportunities to meet Joseph Smith or live during his time. There are many accounts of people who have and he was placed on trial several times but was not found to be a fraud. So I guess I am placing some faith in those of the time. I also put credibility into those who left the church at that time and their testimony. I try to weigh all sides.
            I just have a hard time bringing my self to being that judgmental of the guy or any one for that matter. That is why I don’t judge you. There are ways in my mind where I can rectify what Joseph did with out being an evil person. I can rectify what you do and your statements and not think your a horrible guy. I do not think Joseph did those things in guile. For starters, think about this. Do you think Joseph believed he spoke for God or do you think he thought he didn’t but he was just faking it when he said he did. Going to your death at Carthage is a long way to go for something he him self did not believe. Or going to prison for that fact.
            Now you believe Joseph was a pedophile. But I do not think you make that statement out of guile ether. I think its a mistake but I don’t think your a fraud for saying it. I think for there to be “deliberate calculated fraud” the person has to be conscious of it. People make mistakes. I don’t know why your hostile to that notion.
            What I understand you saying is that Joseph new full well he didn’t believe what he was preaching. I don’t see evidence for that. I do see evidence for a person who lived and died believing his faith.

          2. @kinglamoni:

            I guess I have to repeat myself here. There’s a distinct difference between an honest mistake and deliberate fraud.

            “What I understand you saying is that Joseph new full well he didn’t believe what he was preaching. I don’t see evidence for that. I do see evidence for a person who lived and died believing his faith.”

            Let’s use a real example from Joseph’s life. A few weeks before his death in June 1844, Joseph said the following:

            “…What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers.” – History of the Church, Vol.6, Chapter 19, p.411

            Joseph had at least 30 wives (including teenage girls and other men’s wives) when he made this denial in May 1844. He lied. You’re telling me that Joseph really believed this when he denied all of his 30 wives? They just vanished in his mind? Really? That this was a mistake? Really?

            Joseph denied over and over and over for 10 years while he was doing it in the dark? Mistake? No. Fraud? Yes.

            “I don’t see evidence for that. I do see evidence for a person who lived and died believing his faith.”

            You’re basing your assumption on false evidence. Joseph died because he ordered the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor printing press that was printing facts about his polygamy/polyandry (this is also further evidence in Joseph’s modus operandi and pattern of deceptive behavior of suppressing truth and facts exposing his lies and fraud). This was the reason why he was arrested and taken to Carthage.

            Joseph Smith made a lot of claims (Book of Abraham, denial of Polygamy/Polyandry, Kinderhook Plates, etc.) that are proven to be falsehoods. If you refuse to accept that he lied about them and committed fraud, you’re facing a dilemma: If Joseph didn’t lie or commit fraud, he was delusional and insane because the facts stand on its own ground that what Joseph claimed about those issues is just not true.

          3. Josephs claims may not be true to the evidence we are looking at. But it does not mean he is disingenuous or a conniving fraud. You your self presented a third option. There may be more options to how things came about and what is the nature of Joseph Smiths character. I see people disregard evidence on both sides of this issue. Some want to call him a fraud and others want to make him out to be this person with out any faults. The more emotionally involved and ardent in believing something the more our confirmation bias kicks in. There is no way of getting away from it. Every one has one. Its impotent to be aware of our confirmation bias but its also important not to let it hit us on the back side. Belief systems seem to swing like a pendulum some times. I have been looking at these issues for the past eight years. I am aware people have looked at them longer and know far more than I do. I am impressed how well spoken you are on the subject. I have had experiences in my life that make me cautious when throwing around judgments. As I study subjects I often find that the truth is often found some where in the middle.

          4. I have following this discussion with interest. I went to Jeremy’s site for debunking the FAIR response. It’s all so frustrating to realize I’ve been mislead all these years. I put my heart and soul into being a member of the Church. To discover that those who were suppose to be looking out for the flock were the wolves themselves. Anyone who can look you straight in the eye and lie to you is someone to be weary of.
            I’ve been following the questions related to Oliver Cowdrey…and Martin Harris. When did Oliver meet Joseph? Were they related? Was Harris gullible and credible? Did anyone actually see the plates?
            If the Book of Mormon contains provable errors from the 17th century bible, what difference does any of the rest of it make? That’s like arguing over the colour of the wires on a bomb that’s set to go off.
            My wife divorced me over my questioning the Church and it’s doctrines. I’ve missed out on getting to be a father to my children while the ward supported my former wife. I didn’t harm anyone, or cheat on anyone. I supported my family for 27 years. I think the faithful here are missing the whole point. If you’re hung up on that, help me to understand why the Church built a multi billion dollar mall. Why does the print image of Joseph Smith now look like a California blue eyed surfer? Check out on youtube, the BBC documentary “Hitler’s Children” and tell me if the Church doesn’t use the same tactics of indoctrination the Nazi’s used? The similarities are striking.

          5. I do believe Joseph was killed in direct connection to the practice of polygamy and the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor. But that is not evidence to say he did not die believing in his faith.

    2. I am not a Mormon, though I have family that joined the LDS Church. I am new to this site and am responding to the question of Joseph Smith’s character and whether he was a fraud or a person of good moral character. Do you accept the “truth” taught by Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses? I believe that he was teaching error and that his religion follows in error. But could he have been a man of good moral character in his own life who taught moral maxims that were to his credit and to his followers? During the Albigensian heresy in 12th cent. France, the RC Church bitterly persecuted them but took note that many of the Albigensians were leading very moral lives and that that was part of what attracted them to their beliefs. I do not believe Joseph Smith was a prophet. Whether he was a man who did good or led a moral life by the standards of his time and place is really irrelevant.That is a separate question than did he think he really was who he said he was? When I ask Mormons about “Reformed Egyptian” they have no idea how to define it or even what the term refers to. I have read Mormon apologists and find their explanations flawed. I am at an utter loss to understand how my family members came into this faith and how they accept it when it is apparent to me that so much of it simply does not stand up under scrutiny. This has nothing to do with my observation that many Mormons lead good, moral upstanding lives. It seems to me that it is far more a question of culture and memory of the Mormon story that holds the LDS community together, and not faith or truth. I find most Mormons avoiding anything that calls their faith into question and that what holds them together as a community is their shared sense of common past, us vs them identity and social exclusion for those who deviate from the communal norms.

  16. I read the “Letter” and thought it was pretty good, outlying in a “concise” manner all the many problems. The main problem that I encountered was the exaggeration and misleading the reader. I think it is important to be accurate when sharing this information, otherwise we fall under the same problems the LDS church does, lying. In the letter it is stated that Oliver Cowdery is the cousin of Joseph Smith. So, it appears that there is a serious conflict of interest. But then you investigate it and it turns out that they were third-cousins. Which is meaningless. a second-cousin would be a stretch but third-cousins they might as well be strangers. This is a big turn off for me and his letter. It would be nice to have a document like this without the lies. We can barry Joseph without lying or exaggerating, so why do it?

    1. There’s no exaggeration or misleading of the reader here.

      You’re incorrect in your conclusion, assumption, and understanding of Oliver’s relationship to Joseph Smith.

      It matters that these men were cousins. Normally I would agree with you that it’s possible that third cousins might as well be strangers but there is evidence to the contrary with Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith.

      There is testimony from Joseph’s neighbor, Lorenzo Saunders, placing Oliver Cowdery on the Smith farm in Palmyra a few years prior to the Church’s claim of their first meeting in 1829, in 1826:

      “As respecting Oliver Cowdery, he came from Kirtland in the summer of 1826 and was about there [i.e. the Smith’s farm] until fall and took a school in the district where the Smiths lived and the next summer he was missing and I didn’t see him until fall and he came back and took our school in the district where we lived and taught about a week and went to the schoolboard and wanted the board to let him off and they did and he went to Smith and went to writing the Book of Mormon and wrote all winter. The Mormons say it wasn’t wrote there but I say it was because I was there…” – Early Mormon Documents, 3:177-79

      So, the claim that Oliver and Joseph never met before 1829 is not conclusive when there is testimony from others, in this case being from Joseph’s own neighbor, testifying of seeing Oliver Cowdery on the Smith farm as early as 1826.

      I go into more detail here: http://cesletter.com/debunking-fairmormon/witnesses.html#5

      1. I just read the comment where you refer your “debunking” the reply from FAIRS. Just wonder if FAIRS has come back and refuted your response to their reply with new reliable information or did they just stop and not reply?

        1. They just quietly changed their website answers or deleted it altogether.

          Unlike FairMormon, I list my mistakes: http://cesletter.com/debunking-fairmormon/errors.html

          And unlike FairMormon, I provide links back to their website showing their response and answers. All FairMormon does is list one URL on their home page that you can’t even click on. It’s dead. People have to copy and paste the URL.

          Is this the behavior of an organization confident in its message and claims? Is this the behavior of an organization that believes in balance and transparency?

      2. Jeremy, I get that Oliver was most likely there with Joseph. My gripe is that when I tell my wife that Oliver & Joseph were cousins as stated in your document, I expect them to be cousins, they are third-cousins. If each generation has 10 kids then Joseph would have 10,000 third-cousins, I’m sure they didn’t have 10 kids each but even at 5 kids it puts it at 625 third-cousins. I’m sorry, but that relationship just isn’t significant. The significant part is the Oliver was at the farm prior to the date they said he was. Why put out this extraneous information when it detracts from the main message?

        1. “I’m sorry, but that relationship just isn’t significant. The significant part is the Oliver was at the farm prior to the date they said he was. Why put out this extraneous information when it detracts from the main message?”

          How do you know what their relationship was and was not, let alone not significant? There is testimony that the Smith family and Oliver Cowdery knew each other well before the Book of Mormon translation and publication.

          This is important because this demonstrates that they were not strangers in 1829 when they got back together for the Book of Mormon.

          It matters that they’re cousins. You want to dismiss this because they were third cousins, fine. What matters more to me is that there is testimony that these men and Joseph’s family knew Oliver Cowdery well before they got together for the Book of Mormon. They were not strangers as the church has portrayed it.

          In the CES Letter, the first mention of “cousin” is linked on page 14. When you click on the link, it takes you to further details on how they’re related.

          1. Jeremy, I did follow that link, that’s how I found out you were being disingenuous. To clarify my statement. I’m not saying the relationship between Joseph and Oliver isn’t significant. I am saying that that the blood relationship isn’t significant. Having 600 common blood relationships from a great-great grandfather isn’t going to make two people connect. All I’m asking is that you not mislead and put third-cousin instead of just cousin. It is misleading and doesn’t help your case. It makes your whole document up for question when you intentionally put in (or keep in) such misleading details.

          2. Jon- this is where I find that those who support LDS theology. Jeremy gives you a hundred other things to consider, and you’re focused on one item about Oliver Cowdrey. Second cousin…third cousin to me is immaterial. That Joseph and Oliver knew each other before then and used a divining rod as his “gift” seems to be more pertinent to the argument presented here.
            If that’s not enough how about the current Church discrediting the 1978 “revelation” because they don’t want to be associated with racist thinking since it’s not a popular position in 2014. Doesn’t that suggest that the 10 prior “prophets” were racist? And wouldn’t someone directed by the Lord support freedom for all regardless of the common opinion of the day was? That’s just like LDS leaders suggesting German the Saints stay true to Hitler and support their leaders. It would seem to me, that if Church leaders had been inspired they would encourage their members to support their righteous leaders, not just support their leaders. Why is it Helmuth Huebener, that 17 year LDS old boy spoke out against Hitler, was excommunicated and then when the Church saw what a hero he was, reinstated his membership and now laud him as an LDS hero.
            And if that’s not enough how about explaining how 17th century biblical errors appear in “the most correct book on the earth” supposedly written 1800 – 2400 years earlier?
            Individually you might be able to find some technical errors in this work, some grammatical errors etc. but all in all, taken as a whole it paints a pretty ugly picture of the Church and it’s history.
            One slight error, and I’m not even sure that it’s an error would discredit the whole argument. How about why John Lee and The Mountain Meadows Massacre and the cover up that followed. For true believing members, there’s no amount of evidence or ugliness that allows them to recognize the Church for what it is.

          3. @Bob,

            Bob, I’m not a supporter of the church. I’m disaffected also. All I am saying is that we need to be accurate when making statements. If we are not then we are being just like the church. Oh, we changed wives to wife, but that detracts from the lesson, so it’s OK, you can look it up pretty easily if you like. Is the same as Oh, I changed third-cousin to cousin, but it detracts from what I was trying to say so no need to put in the single word third. You get my point? Third-cousins and cousins are entirely different! There might as well not be any blood relation by that point. Jeremy went into great detail in his attack of the witnesses by saying they were all related, it is being disingenuous to say that they were cousins and then leave out that it was actually third-cousins. In my mind Jeremy is now to be trusted just as much as I trust the church! And he did say in the interview that people should investigate themselves and not trust him, but at the same time when you are calling the church a liar and then you pull the same garbage the church does it is disingenuous.

          4. You found out your information from my link and yet I’m being “disingenuous”. Got it, I think.

            Let’s tone down on the hostile language, shall we?

            Here’s where I differ from your perspective and characterization: Third cousin does not necessarily mean distance.

            Just because you have no idea who your third cousins are does not mean that Joseph Smith and his family likewise didn’t as well.

            The point is that they were connected through family. This may have been what brought Oliver Cowdery to the Smith family well before the Book of Mormon. We don’t know exactly what kind of a relationship they had or didn’t have but we do have evidence that they connected well before the Book of Mormon and the family connection is a pretty good plausible explanation to their connection and relationship.

            Regardless, I do see your point and I will update the CES Letter with this clarification. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention. I just wish you did it without all of the name-calling and attack on my integrity.

          5. Just saw your last comment. Sorry, I was just getting frustrated because we weren’t connecting on what I was trying to portray. I think the last comment will show you why I think it is so important.

            When I talk to my wife about these things and I bring that up and then I find out that it isn’t true really lowers my credibility when I talk with her about these things.

            If someone has 600 relatives and most of them stayed in the same county or surrounding counties it wouldn’t be surprising that you meet that person as a complete stranger, even back then. Unless I see evidence to the contrary.

          6. Jeremy. I personally think you have great integrity. I have enjoyed the interview and thought the CES letter was “very well written.” =) I think the difference we have is whether or not we think Joseph was disingenuous. You say the evidence shows he was and I say there is evidence to hold reservation. Based on our perspective we can then come to many different conclusions.

          7. An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof. – Marcello Truzzi

            I agree, I think Jeremy is most likely trying is best to be trustworthy. I should learn how to explain myself better.

            The problem with believing in false ideas is that it hurts people. We need to stop hurting people, especially are children. If they believe in gods then they don’t learn how to approach life in a mature manner. It is like people coming out of old communist Russia and going to a free nation, they can’t function properly and so we handicap them. As parents it is not our right to put in the minds of our children ideas that will hurt them in any way, especially when there is substantial evidence to the contrary – no matter how much we would like it to be true.

          8. @Bob,

            “Individually you might be able to find some technical errors in this work, some grammatical errors etc. but all in all, taken as a whole it paints a pretty ugly picture of the Church and it’s history.”

            I think you just summarized all church apologists quite nicely. It’s anything except an honest look at the information. Jeremy put together a tremendous overview that demonstrates mormonism’s founding claims are false. What does an apologist do? Argue over a comma or a cousin. But the mountain of evidence? Ignore it.

            So long as the church continues to reflect this same approach, the institution will never rebound from the gut punch it took when history became accessible. It’s going to hurt to change. It may be impossible. But any hope of transformation will require dealing with reality not quibbling over cousins.

            Again, thanks John and Jeremey. I doff my hat to both of you.

          9. @Jay,

            For the record I’m not an apoligist. I don’t believe any of the stuff the church teaches either. But if you looked at my comments you would have seen one where I compared the church changing wives to wife to Jeremy changing third-cousin to cousin. Those are both significant changes even though they are very small text wise. As people who are criticizing the church for not being forthright and honest it is even more important for the criticizer to be even more forthright and honest without misleading, because, if someone catches you on something, they will be able to discredit the rest of your work, or at least not trust you. That is what Jeremy did when he put that in his letter. I “quibble” with that because it is very important to relay accurate information without our own biases in the way. It is a bias to say that a distant cousin with 600 to 10,000 possible people is the same as 25 to 100 close relatives. That is orders of magnitudes different.

          10. @Jon

            Jon says: “As people who are criticizing the church for not being forthright and honest it is even more important for the criticizer to be even more forthright and honest without misleading, because, if someone catches you on something, they will be able to discredit the rest of your work, or at least not trust you. That is what Jeremy did when he put that in his letter.”

            Jeremy says: I’m going to be as clear and simple as I can be so that perhaps this time around something will click in your head.

            I was never dishonest or misleading. The fundamental difference here is your understanding of what a “third cousin” constitutes and means versus what it really means is misaligned. I explain this below.

            There’s also a background story and connection between Oliver Cowdery and Joseph’s family well before the Book of Mormon, as I explained earlier.

            Stop attacking my integrity. After you pointed out your point of view and considering it, I could see how people could come to the conclusion that you did and thus I agreed to add clarification in my letter on this point. Settled. The end. Let’s move on.

            Jon says: “I ‘quibble’ with that because it is very important to relay accurate information without our own biases in the way. It is a bias to say that a distant cousin with 600 to 10,000 possible people is the same as 25 to 100 close relatives. That is orders of magnitudes different.”

            Jeremy says: Where the heck are you getting all of this “600 to 10,000” numbers? This is not how third cousins work.

            Wikipedia: “The grandchildren of two first cousins; also the children of two second cousins.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cousin#Third_cousins)

            In other words: Your mother/father could have a cousin named Jim. Jim is your second cousin. If Jim has a child, that child will be your third cousin.

            So, you’re way, way off with your “600 to 10,000” number as it’s not distant like you think it is.

          11. @Jeremy,

            Third cousin: A person whose closest common ancestor with another person is a great-great-grandparent.

            So, if each generation has 10 kids each that would be 104 = 10,000. That’s a bit optimistic, so let’s say 54 = 625. So, for first cousins, let’s say 10 kids each that would be 102 = 100 (I have no idea how many kids Joseph’s parents/uncles/aunts had) or let’s say 5 so 52 = 25. They’re just meant to be extremely rough numbers and the lower numbers will likely be more correct.

            I looked at the Wikipedia article and it appears that my numbers should be correct. We would have to look up Joseph’s real ancestry to see what the numbers actually are. But third cousins seem to be really distant to me.

            I totally get that there is a background story with Oliver and Joseph, I have never disputed that. I have only focused on the the third cousin thing.

            I should have never said that you lied. You did mislead though, which I strongly doubt was intentional, but it happened. It’s OK. You put in a ton of work on this project and I am really glad you did. I haven’t. I really respect that. The only reason I brought it up again was because Jay brought it up again. I was just defending my original position with him.

            If I am wrong let me know. But third cousins vs first cousins are significantly different to me.

  17. Just watched the whole interview. Especially loved the points about “Ethans smiths View of the Hebrews”, “The First Book of Napoleon-the Tyrant of the Earth by Modeste Gruau de La Barre”,and “The Late war between the United States and Great Britain by Gilbert J.Hunt”. And the quote i thought was brilliant “A cult is a group of people that will not let you leave with your dignity in tact”. Thank you again John, and Jeremy for sharing your journey, your personal struggles with the historicity truth claims of the church.

  18. Great podcast! I really enjoyed listening and appreciate all the time and effort put into informing others. Thanks

  19. I think Dan Vogel very proficiently put to bed the idea that the Book Mormon is trinitarian. The argument that it is closer to modalism is far more persuasive especially the passages clearly not lifted from the bible about Abinidi and book of Either that present the modalism type view.

      1. I thought about this years ago. Vogel argues that the verses from Moses is biblical type language that modalists had no issue reconciling. I am not convinced of that in the case of Moses due to the story is not a biblical story (not that it wasn’t partly borrowed). I think Joseph’s development to the father and son being separate came very early, even before the 1832 first vision account. Section 76 of D&C as well I believe shows separation and distinction of Father and Son. Moses 4 certainly does not sound trinitarian either. But for the Book of Mormon, it is hard to mistake Mosiah 15, Mosiah 3, and Either 3 as anything other than a version of modalism or sabellianism. Those passages are unique to Joseph and not lifted from the Bible which I think is reflective of what he thought at least at the time he was dictating the Book of Mormon.

  20. I find it interesting that Jeremy talks about his letter being mentioned in a sacrament meeting talk in Heber City on high council Sunday. I was in that very meeting while on vacation in Heber, but didn’t pay much attention to it at the time. I remember the reference. I don’t however recall anything profound concerning how to deal with the information. Fascinating coincidence.

    1. You do raise an interesting question when you note that there was no profound discussion regarding how to deal with the information. How does church deal with the information in the CES letter? I think Jeremy gave the best possible answer when John posed that question to him. Jeremy said “honesty is the best policy.” I’d say its the best answer but a tough path to travel for the church and the leaders. How humbling it would be for the church leaders to be honest and transparent regarding the founding and history of the church. It certainly could be the unraveling of the institution, but if there is any hope of salvaging something worthwhile, I don’t see any option.

      Thanks John & Jeremy for a fantastic interview. Jeremy, your honesty and integrity is inspiring.

  21. I’m close in age you Jeremy and I have to say I had a strikingly similar online experience to you. I also had a “it’s not a tree – it’s a forest moment”. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  22. John – I appreciate and can understand Jeremy’s struggles and current position, having had a faith crisis about 7-8 years ago. However, I believe he still has a long way to go in his own philosophy and understandings. I have listened to your podcasts for years, but what I did have a problem with is your advocacy especially in the 2nd section. Your moderating is much better when you question, but do not so obviously take sides.

    1. “However, I believe he still has a long way to go in his own philosophy and understandings.”

      I do? Care to enlighten?

      1. A counterfeit has no value unless there’s an original. Mormonism has fingerprints all over it–a twist here, a twist there (“You shall be gods.” “Adam & Eve had to disobey God to keep his commandment.” Sound familiar from anywhere?). Come on, Jeremy. Examine the obvious alternative. Something happened 2000 years ago. Don’t throw out the baby with the foul bath water. Otherwise Joseph is still exacting his revenge (“If the Church isn’t true, then nothing is”). I’ll give you a hint as to the true author of Mormonism. Hint: Who always comes away smelling like roses? Figure that out, and go in the opposite direction.

        1. Charles says: “Come on, Jeremy. Examine the obvious alternative. Something happened 2,000 years ago. Don’t throw out the baby with the foul bath water.”

          Jeremy says: The same reasoning and critical analysis which I used to examine Mormonism’s truth claims is the same reasoning and critical analysis I used to deconstruct and examine the bible and foundational Christianity.

          Let’s just say that I am definitely not interested. My conclusion on Christianity has nothing to do with Joseph Smith and Mormonism. I committed myself to looking at the claims of traditional and foundational Christianity on its own.

          1. Well, if you’re not interested, you’re not interested. But note that Christianity doesn’t have the same kind of problems that you encounter with the counterfeit–there are no anachronisms, no money digging, the DNA is all right, there are real people, real archeology, actual texts, the apostles didn’t wear Armani suits and sit in the best seats, but instead all died for their faith. In a word, the problems are of a completely different order.

            Can you do me a favor and think about a couple things? What are the Jews still doing around after so many years against such long odds? That’s one. How did language (which is such a complex system) come about? How did life emerge from non-life? How is it that even infants seem to possess a moral faculty? And if you can stop sinning, why don’t you? Just food for thought, if you ever care to go down that road. All the best, and a great story.

            Charles

  23. One thing I find confusing is that so much effort is put into demonstrating a “tight” translation for the BofM both here and by Dan Vogel, which is that JS saw words or phrases appear on his seerstone which he repeated to his scribe and those words remained until the scribe recorded them correctly. Then this evidence is summarily discarded and we are told that JS wrote the BofM using sources available to him without any direct evidence of how he accomplished this while putting his head in his hat. There seems to be a disconnect here that is never, imo, ever fully explained. What is the explanation of how he accomplished this along with the evidence?

  24. Jeremy, you seem very convinced that you are 100% correct–that it’s all an utter fraud originating with Joseph Smith. You strike me as a very black and white thinker. In terms of the spectrum of where Mormons end up after learning about the issues, you appear to have landed at the far end of the “it’s a scam and I’ve been betrayed” side of the spectrum. Interesting. I enjoyed listening to your story.

    1. “The truth is easier to see when you stop assuming that you have it.”

      How come you’re not joining the Moonites? The FLDS? The Aggressive Christianity Missionary Training Corps (ACMTC)? The Jehovah’s Witnesses?

      You seem like a pretty “black and white thinker” to reject those religions/cults.

      I used to be a black and white thinker as a true believing Mormon. I am no longer. I’ve done my homework and I’ve had so many back and forths with Mormon apologists/scholars. I’ve considered every point of view presented to me. I’ve looked at and weighed the evidence from both micro and macro levels. I’m as convinced that Mormonism is a fraud as I am that the above religions are frauds as well.

      It does help that Mormonism is a fundamentalist black or white religion. It’s “either true or it’s a fraud”, “there is no middle ground”, etc. Mormon prophets and doctrine has set it up as such.

  25. I’ve spent several hours now listening to Richard Bushman’s interview and have learned now a number of other things. Here’s the most revered person in the Church in terms of LDS history having written Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling. He admits there’s no evidence of the use of the plates at all, the use of a rock in a hat was how the Book of Mormon was created, that the story I was trained by the Church about Prof. Charles Anthon was wrong, and I just listened to Bushman say that artist depictions of Joseph Smith methodically “translating” the plates isn’t deliberately fraudulent?

    I’m beginning to think that believing members of the Church are just so delusional, that their whole identities and conditioning are so wrapped up in the Church, that regardless of the mountain of evidence to the contrary, they just can’t and won’t allow themselves admit their crimes.

    I was taught that I had to live with such devotion to be “worthy” to qualify for the “spirit”. Of course, that didn’t come up at all.

    On another matter, I had been taught that it was the “enemies of the Church” or “the mobs” who were responsible for burning down the Nauvoo Temple. I learned today that the Church advertised the temple for sale and had been trying to sell it to the Catholics. Then to the Strangites who weren’t offering enough money for it. Brigham Young was glad that it burned down and there’s some question about whether or not the Church set fire to it themselves.

    Of course having it burn down feeds the storyline of “all the persecution” heaped upon the “Saints”. Never once is there any comment about the part the Church played in starting and flaming the fire. Joseph and Hyrum weren’t martyred. They were armed with a “pepperbox” and another pistol that had been smuggled in.

    I’m beginning to wonder if there’s anything in Church history that’s true?

    To me, Jeremy’s letter becomes even more poignant and important. And those who are concerned about whether it’s a 2nd or 3rd cousin shows how detached people can be.

    I’ve lost my whole family over this stupid nonsense after killing myself off to serve them. It’s been brutally painful and mind numbing wondering how seemingly good people can be so lacking in basic honesty and integrity. Actually, that is the real question? To have to lie and misrepresent your message to get people to join you. These “so-called” general authorities…to get up on national television, knowing what they know, and to deliberately continue at every conference telling me over and over that I’m not good enough and that I need to do more. The bastards!

    1. @Bob,

      What is wrong with asking that the accuracy of the cousin be correct so as not to turn people off to the letter but help keep the message on track? How is that detached? When I tell my wife, a believer, about the letter and she challenges me on the cousin and we find that it is inaccurate? How does that reflect on the information in the letter? It’s a simple thing to keep it accurate, a single word. Jeremy has changed it. I appreciate that he wants to keep his letter accurate.

      Bob, how is it that I am detached when I get angry at the church for lying to me all my life and then to find that even the truth tellers haven’t kept things accurate? All I ask is that is that we try and keep things as correct as possible. Jeremy has shown that he wants that too. It is a good thing.

      1. @ Jon, Because it’s not a critical issue whether it’s a 2nd or 3rd cousin and you’re attempting to point to this one item and discredit the rest of the work. Jeremy has put in years of work on this. Even if Jeremy’s mistaken on this item, it’s almost irrelevant. What matters here is how Cowdrey participated in this whole mess. If you’re in agreement with 99% of what Jeremy has said, isn’t that enough? As for your wife, your family and kids are more important than anything. You explain that Jeremy thinks Cowdrey is a cousin, maybe second or third but I’m (you) not certain on that one. Even more important than this is that if you’re married to a believing member, if you have children together you make sure your wife and family know more than anything that you love her. Learning the truth about the Church is a painful experience. Losing your wife and kids is much worse.

        1. @Bob, It is important. It is important like the church putting wife instead of wives in a church manual. Jeremy built on this and used it to discredit the witnesses by saying they are all related and, therefore, should not be trusted (among other things). So, why misrepresent the information instead of being straight? I don’t know why he did it to be begin with. All that matters is that he corrected it. I never said that the rest of the work is discredited because of this. I’m just saying that those that come across this would trust the letter less. Which would be a shame because he did such a great job on it.

          We’ve been going through this for about a year. The family is good so far. My wife is familiar with the issues but at this point doesn’t want to investigate herself. She grew up in a very devout home where life revolved around the church. So I can understand why she would have a hard time confronting this psychologically. As you can tell from my writings here I’m not the greatest orator so not sure if that would help or not. Who knows, life is so random.

  26. Great podcast! First of all John, I really appreciate you doing this interview. I have been a fan of Jeremy’s work for some time now and I am glad we were able to hear more about his experiences and background. I would also like to applaud your act of posting this podcast onto Mormon Stories so soon after the incident concerning you and Kate Kelly. I feel that when you continue to post these important stories it shows the church leadership loud and clear that you are not giving up on what you believe in. Please keep up the good work!

    Jeremy, I am very grateful for the time and effort you took to participate in this interview. Before I knew about “the letter” I was having trouble organizing all of my issues with the church. I had a desire to put a binder or something together on my own where I could keep track of what was bothering me, and then I found your letter online! It was exactly what I was looking for! It is a very clear and well organized explanation of what so many of us are thinking about these days. Thank you for continuing to update the letter and know that it is helping many, many people. Thanks again!

  27. Jeremy has his head screwed on right. Just so down to earth and honest, which is what I was hoping the church would be when my faith crisis started several years ago, but alas.
    I hope someday my ex will see this and find out for herself. Yes, the church (rather, the members belief in the church) tears families apart when one chooses truth they discovered from church and other credible sources and the other chooses the church.

    I tried going to the website cesletter.com/update but that page isn’t there.

    Thank you Jeremy. Thank you John.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Gus.

      Yes, cesletter.com/update is not yet created. I’ve been slammed the past week or so and need to create it. It should be up in a week or so.

  28. I hesitate to even post for fear of being belittled. But as someone who has listened to, read about and discovered many of these same concerns about Joseph smith etc. I went a different way. My understanding and appreciation for the atonement of Christ and the loving nature of our Heavenly Father has increased. I can analytically tear any individual or organization apart with enough time and resources. About the only thing I can’t refute is the influence of the spirit in my own life.

  29. My faith crisis began a few years back and I have become very familiar with all the church history issues. For a long time I was filled with bitterness and resentment and eventually stopped believing in God.

    Recently I felt compelled to get help for an addiction that had been plaguing me my entire life. I started working the 12 step program which requires you to believe in a higher power. I figured, what the heck, I’ll give God a try and put Him to the test. At very worst, I’ll prove he doesn’t exist.

    While working on step two I let go of my doubts, which I thought impossible at the time. I knew all the issues with the church inside and out, but I stopped caring about them. I felt peace with the church and my resentment faded. Each day since my faith has grown. My life has become more sweet than ever before.

    For years I felt like a victim of my doubts and blamed everyone for my discontent. All along it was me. Once I admitted that my life got infinitely better.

    The Holy Ghost is real and I know now that I will not get closer to the truth by reading books. I found I cannot intellectualize a testimony. The only source of pure unadulterated truth is the Holy Ghost.

    I understand what Jeremy and the rest of you are going through. I’ve been there, I’ve felt your pain. I now believe God is real. And I also believe the church is good. I’m not comfortable calling it the one true church, but I am confident it is of God and I highly respect it.

    1. Just want to congratulate you on your recovery and to wish you all the best in happiness and success in the days ahead.

  30. Very interesting paper…boring interview. He was all over the place with his thoughts and views. Too many platitudes and generalizations. First mormonstories podcast I didn’t enjoy. Hope the upcoming debate on this topic is more enjoyable.

  31. Pingback: Welcoming Difficult Questions | Pearce On Earth - Traveling Family. Entrepreneurship. Homeschool.

  32. @Bob, who said:
    “Of course having it [[the Nauvoo temple]] burn down feeds the storyline of “all the persecution” heaped upon the “Saints.” and “I’m beginning to wonder if there’s anything in Church history that’s true?”

    Did all the Mormon residents of west-central Illinois (U.S. citizens) who were driven out of their homes and country in 1846 burn down their own houses too? Did they decide to up and leave their homes, farms, and property with no remuneration and cross Iowa territory in the middle of the winter just for the fun of it…killing themselves and their families along the way? Are those events just stories made up whole cloth to feed the fictional mythology?

    Why do you put the word persecution in quotes? How do you define persecution? Did they deserve it? Or bring it on themselves…you know, for being foolish enough to believe a charlatan? Or for arming themselves in the face of mob violence? (Whether you like/revere or hate/despise Joseph Smith is irrelevant to this question.)

    Just wondering.

  33. Jeremy,
    Thank you for your honesty and integrity. I have to admit I didn’t really learn anything NEW from your essay (I first learned about these several issues from other sources over a twenty-year period), but it IS a great compilation summarizing these historical and doctrinal problems about the LDS church. And I think it should be read by every serious seeker of historical truth.

    Having said that, I do have a couple sincere questions for you.

    1) I’m curious why or how you went from I believe Joseph Smith is a fraud (pedophile, polyandrist, treasure digger, liar, etc.), all of which are demonstrably true, TO I can’t believe in an intervening God? How did you get from point A to point B? How are those two things related? Surely you knew about human suffering and tragedy before you knew JS was a phony and a lout, right? Man’s inhumanity, injustice, pain, disease, carnage, etc., are not new phenomenon. And they don’t exist because of or in spite of religion. So I don’t understand the correlation or connection. Millions of people who don’t know about let alone believe JS’s words believe in some sort of God… so I’m trying to understand how one epiphany for you led to the other? Shock? Disappointment? Betrayal?

    2) I’m under the impression that every religion’s founding stories are absurd at face value. Judaism. Islam. Christianity. (Buddhism, around which I’ve lived for a long time, isn’t really a religion according to a strict definition, probably lending to its chill factor :)) Those are just the “major religions” but ALL of them have incredible if not downright inane accounts attempting to laud and glorify their founders and founding. In fact, it’s practically impossible to say which one is more irrational and ludicrous than the others. In that light, why do you think Mormonism is scrutinized and critiqued by a different standard of “truth”? Where are all the Youtube videos disproving and mocking transubstantiation? Moses’ desert biscuits? Jesus’ waterwine, Mohammed’s flying horse? The list goes on. Do you think it’s because it’s so new (19th century-based) and easy to disprove with primary source material? The claims aren’t really that unique or crazy compared to any other religion. We do know, and followers don’t deny, that Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, Mohammed, et. al, said and allegedly did a bunch of irrational stuff. Why then the inequitable treatment for the Mormon founder and foundational stories?

    3) Finally. You kind of lost me in the final minutes. What does the Mars rover or extra-atmospheric-skydiving have to do with believing or not believing in a creator/deity? Surely you’re not insinuating that all scientists or inventors are atheists, are you? That seems to be a condescending presumption on your part. I think your strong presentation about LDS history loses some steam when you start ridiculing anyone who believes in God. Even if that’s how you feel today, you might want to take some pointers from Hitchens and Fry who evolved and progressed to an enlightened point where they could at least do it with some self-deprecating humor, charm, and panache.

    Anyway, whether or not you ever see my comments/questions … Good Luck to you on your chosen path!

    1. Thanks for comments and questions. Great questions.

      ABM says: “1) I’m curious why or how you went from I believe Joseph Smith is a fraud (pedophile, polyandrist, treasure digger, liar, etc.), all of which are demonstrably true, TO I can’t believe in an intervening God? How did you get from point A to point B? How are those two things related? Surely you knew about human suffering and tragedy before you knew JS was a phony and a lout, right? Man’s inhumanity, injustice, pain, disease, carnage, etc., are not new phenomenon. And they don’t exist because of or in spite of religion. So I don’t understand the correlation or connection. Millions of people who don’t know about let alone believe JS’s words believe in some sort of God… so I’m trying to understand how one epiphany for you led to the other? Shock? Disappointment? Betrayal?”

      Jeremy says: Joseph Smith and Mormonism has nothing to do with my belief or disbelief in god. When Joseph Smith and Mormonism collapsed for me due to fraud, I applied the same critical thinking, analysis, and scrutiny to other religions, including traditional Christianity.

      I’ve come to my own conclusion that they’re man-made like Mormonism is.

      ABM says: “In that light, why do you think Mormonism is scrutinized and critiqued by a different standard of “truth”? Where are all the Youtube videos disproving and mocking transubstantiation? Moses’ desert biscuits? Jesus’ waterwine, Mohammed’s flying horse? The list goes on. Do you think it’s because it’s so new (19th century-based) and easy to disprove with primary source material? The claims aren’t really that unique or crazy compared to any other religion. We do know, and followers don’t deny, that Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, Mohammed, et. al, said and allegedly did a bunch of irrational stuff. Why then the inequitable treatment for the Mormon founder and foundational stories?”

      Jeremy says: “Do you think it’s because it’s so new (19th century-based) and easy to disprove with primary source material?” That’s one of the reasons. There are materials out there that criticize every religion. They’re just not as relevant or “in your face” as Mormonism is because we’re mostly interested in Mormonism. Scientology/L Ron Hubbard gets a ton of flack. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholicism, Islam, etc.

      ABM says: “3) Finally. You kind of lost me in the final minutes. What does the Mars rover or extra-atmospheric-skydiving have to do with believing or not believing in a creator/deity? Surely you’re not insinuating that all scientists or inventors are atheists, are you? That seems to be a condescending presumption on your part. I think your strong presentation about LDS history loses some steam when you start ridiculing anyone who believes in God. Even if that’s how you feel today, you might want to take some pointers from Hitchens and Fry who evolved and progressed to an enlightened point where they could at least do it with some self-deprecating humor, charm, and panache.”

      Jeremy: Wow, not sure what video you watched but that’s not my position. As stated in the video, “I’m a deist humanist”. I still believe in a higher power or higher force.

      After John asked me that question, I answered it in two ways: the first section was about my belief in a higher power. The last part was about where I get my “spirituality” from. I get it from science, nature, overcoming, human progress, etc. Hence, why I talked about Mars rover, Felix (and his getting help from previous record holder), and my cochlear implants.

  34. Jeremy,
    I’ve spent most of the day watching your interviews with John Dehlin. I wanted to thank you for all the work you have done not only for yourself but for the insurmountable members that are questioning and not receiving answers from the church. Five years ago my interest was piqued when the church historian spoke about the JoshephSmithPapers.org on BYUTV and said some members may have issues with them. I wondered what he was speaking to and checked them out and found Richard Bushman. After many books and lots of research, my world crumbled. At 50 something every aspect of my psyche was intertwined with the church. I wrote a letter to Salt Lake… no answer. My home teacher said I was being influenced by Satan and my bishop said, “You know what the church does with people like you Charlotte.” I found Mormon Stories a few years ago and that helped me so much. I have left it alone for a while and today found your CES letter. Thank you thank you thank you. It ties up any loose ends I might have had. My husband and I resigned a couple of months ago after being in the church for 40 years. There is life after leaving. It’s different, but not impossible.
    Thank you again,
    Charlotte Spaeth Garland

  35. So great to hear references to the Johnson brother’s research (discovering The Late War and The First Book of Napoleon) and their Ask Reality You Tube series, as well as Everything is a Remix, and Brother Jake! These all helped me transition and see the bigger picture as well and I’m glad they’re helping others.

    Other great resources on Mormon Stories for understanding the bigger picture include: Jared Anderson’s “An Academic Introduction to the New Testament”, “The Psychology of Religion with Dr. James Nagel”, Dr. Cragun’s “What You Don’t Know About Religion (but should)”, and on MormonExpression: George Miller’s “Mormonism and Masonry” interviews. Soak it all in, never stop learning the truth.

    1. The Ask Reality videos remind me of 3vid3nce videos (perhaps the inspiration for Ask Reality videos?). Very well put together. Of course, he was coming out of evangelical Christianity so some of his arguments wouldn’t make since from a mormon perspective. But overall it was really good.

  36. I listened to all of Jeremy’s podcast. The information about The Late War was new to me, but I think that the other issues have been discussed in other MS podcasts and elsewhere. I enjoyed hearing Jeremy’s story and wish the best to him. In spite of the historical questions and the organizational flaws, I have found a lot of good in Mormonism. It has had a transformative effect on my life. This is not something that I would want to give up, and no one can take it away from me. No matter what further evidence comes out, I can see that some good and inspired things happened through Joseph Smith. I understand that some people feel that they have been hurt by Mormonism and its culture, maybe we all have in some ways, but I believe that there is a benefit to recognizing and retaining any good that it has had in our lives.

    1. I guess this is where I am stumbling….”I find good in Mormonism….” Bushman also discusses the same theme of too much good to leave. But the church doesn’t claim it is the “good church”, it claims they ARE THE TRUE CHURCH. I’m not looking for good (if so, why not join the Jews, Muslims, Catholics, JW’s, etc, as they all have “good”) I’m looking for the Truth. I’m not willing to accept good when the Truth fails the scrutiny test; that’s just lowering the bar and settling for less.

  37. There is much good in the interview. It is very helpful to me to understand how those who have become disaffected with the Church are poorly treated. Such poor treatment of those who leave or consider leaving the Church should not happen ever. God is a god of love, and so should we, his children, be loving to all–including those who disagree with us.

    I respect Jeremy’s integrity, and I respect his decision, although perhaps not the way he arrived at it.

    It appears to me that Jeremy’s testimony was not so much based on the Holy Spirit but on the emotions of social interaction and social bonding, and thus his decision to leave the Church seems to have been affected far too much by the emotions he felt related to being offended by various people in the LDS Church (for example, see his very sarcastic letter to Elder Quentin Cook).

    I have studied most (if not all) of the same issues that were concerning to Jeremy, and (I think–and I hope I don’t come across as rude, because there is no intention to be) that because my testimony is based on what I’ve been taught by the Holy Spirit and not on social considerations, I was able to follow them through to what I think were logical conclusions. Some issues, such as the Kinderhook Plates, have simple answers. In this case, Joseph Smith originally thought they might be authentic and then found out their weren’t. For me, case closed.

    Issues such as polygamy and the Book of Abraham are very large and very nuanced and shouldn’t, I think, be used in the simplified way that Jeremy and others use them as a reason to leave the Church. In other words, there is room for faith on both sides of the issue. But all in all, that is why I respect Jeremy’s decision to leave and hope that others–especially his family members and close friends–will (a) accept it, (b) not treat him as somehow “broken”, and (c) not treat him disrespectfully for his well-thought-out decision.

    If it really is true, when presented with more compelling evidence, I think that Jeremy and John Dehlin and others will not hesitate to come back into the fold. But even if you never do, I still like you anyway! 😉

    1. Frank says: “There is much good in the interview. It is very helpful to me to understand how those who have become disaffected with the Church are poorly treated. Such poor treatment of those who leave or consider leaving the Church should not happen ever.”

      Jeremy says: I wasn’t “poorly treated”. You obviously either didn’t watch the interview or weren’t paying attention because I didn’t leave the Church because I was “poorly treated”. I left because it’s not true. The truth claims of the LDS Church collapse under the light of scrutiny. My departure wasn’t a social or being offended by others issue. It was a doctrinal/historical/dishonesty/concealment issue.

      Frank says: “It appears to me that Jeremy’s testimony was not so much based on the Holy Spirit but on the emotions of social interaction and social bonding, and thus his decision to leave the Church seems to have been affected far too much by the emotions he felt related to being offended by various people in the LDS Church (for example, see his very sarcastic letter to Elder Quentin Cook).”

      Jeremy: Seriously? Now it’s obvious that you really didn’t watch the interview. I specifically talked about my spiritual experiences and how it was those spiritual experiences that kept me in the Church at times when the social aspect was not fulfilling (Single Wards, crappy wards, being stuck in Nursery callings, etc.)

      You misunderstand what the purpose of the letter to Elder Cook was and you do not understand that it took place at a time when I was in the anger stage of the 5 Stages of Grief. I had already left the Church months before I wrote the October 2012 letter to Elder Cook, so your hypothesis/assumption is incorrect.

      Frank says: “I have studied most (if not all) of the same issues that were concerning to Jeremy, and (I think–and I hope I don’t come across as rude, because there is no intention to be) that because my testimony is based on what I’ve been taught by the Holy Spirit and not on social considerations, I was able to follow them through to what I think were logical conclusions.”

      Jeremy says: This video debunks the Holy Spirit and shows how relying on this method for discerning truth and reality is not only completely flawed and unreliable but completely insane and irresponsible as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycUvC9s4VYA

      Frank says: “Some issues, such as the Kinderhook Plates, have simple answers. In this case, Joseph Smith originally thought they might be authentic and then found out their weren’t. For me, case closed.”

      Jeremy says: Um…the Kinderhook Plates were not discovered to be a hoax/fraud until 1980. The Church and its prophets believed the Kinderhook Plates were legit until 1980. Joseph Smith died in 1844. He never found out they were fake. The fact that he not only claimed they were legit and authentic and the fact that he even translated the fake plates demonstrates that he was a fraud who was perpetuating a fraud. I’ve gone over the Kinderhook Plates at http://www.cesletter.com/debunking-fairmormon/kinderhook-plates.html

      “Case closed”? lol…you might want to reopen the case, my friend.

      Frank says: “Issues such as polygamy and the Book of Abraham are very large and very nuanced and shouldn’t, I think, be used in the simplified way that Jeremy and others use them as a reason to leave the Church. In other words, there is room for faith on both sides of the issue. But all in all, that is why I respect Jeremy’s decision to leave and hope that others–especially his family members and close friends–will (a) accept it, (b) not treat him as somehow “broken”, and (c) not treat him disrespectfully for his well-thought-out decision.”

      Jeremy: I know what the “nuance” claims are on those issues. I’ve gone over them in my Debunking FAIR’s Debunking, which you obviously have not read. I didn’t leave because of a “simplified approach” (whatever that means). I left because I considered all the different angles to the issues. I demonstrate that I’ve considered these different angles in my response to Mormon apologists after the release of the CES Letter. My experience with “you’re not giving enough nuance!” apologists is that they’re all talk until you get into the details only to find that they’re bankrupt with reasonable and logical answers to this issues (especially with Polyandry and the Book of Abraham).

      Frank says: “If it really is true, when presented with more compelling evidence, I think that Jeremy and John Dehlin and others will not hesitate to come back into the fold.”

      Jeremy says: What “compelling evidence”? Seriously? I’m underwhelmed and unimpressed with the responses and “evidences” presented to these issues from a faithful perspective. It requires serious mental gymnastics and contortionist stretches. I’ll even go as far as saying that it requires a sacrifice on personal integrity. This is a sacrifice I never was nor am I willing to make and this is why I left the Church.

      1. Jeremy: I will admit that I didn’t watch all of the last segment. But I watched the entirety of the first two. My apologies. I didn’t mean to anger you. I find it interesting that we can see things so differently. But I reiterate, I never intended to be rude, and I respect your decision.

        1. Jeremy: Also, to clarify. I feel to agree with you that you were poorly treated by the “debunking response” by FAIR Mormon, which poor treatment I think was something that you brought up in your interview. I should have been more clear as to what I meant.

  38. Jeremy,

    I don’t know what you wrote the letter in. But if you wrote it in markdown then you could convert it to PDF, epub, docx, etc with pandoc. Then it might be more accessible. The responses could be written this way too, then a person could just download the epub to their kindle (converting it first to mobi, of course).

  39. Jeremy,

    After reading your CES letter a year ago, I admired greatly your dedication to fact – and let the reader determine truth from these facts – and your clarity.

    After listening to the podcasts and reading your comments above, I, as well, admire you greatly as a person. I would be proud if my children grew to be an adult similar to you.

    Fielding

  40. Great interview Jeremy and for all your work. I completely agree with you although I am still a church goer. I think one of the problems I have with the whole back and forth in all these comments is just how ridiculous fundamentalism is. I think fundamentalism is bad anyway but Mormonism is specifically ill suited to fundamentalism because so many of the historicity truth claims are just false. Mormonism would be far better suited rejecting fundamentalism. Or as my episcopalian mother always says, it’s all made up anyway, it’s all a hoax, but I go to church anyway for community, to teach children basic moral values, serve the homeless, and hopefully hear a message that you can apply in your life in a meaningful way, to be a better person, etc. There are lots of non-believers in the mainline Protestant faiths, including the clergy. It being true is not particularly important. I read so many of these comments here depressingly as people trying to “prove” Jeremy wrong and then him responding when I just feel that to me it probably does not matter either way. So if it’s all a hoax and a fraud and therefore not true anyway, why go? My mother always said, it’s not whether it’s true but whether it’s good, whether it has merit, is what’s left over of any use. Since I tend to think as humans everywhere in every civilization from the beginning of time every group or people has created “something.” atheism being a relatively new phenomenon. Maybe we are hard wired for it and I have resolved myself to that fact and it makes my participation in religion easy now. I very much value my 6 generations of Mormon family in rural northern Utah, families on my dads side who came to Utah in the 19th century. But my mothers liberal Protestantism clearly rubbed off as well – it was a bizarre interfaith marriage because I was baptized Mormon. I really feel that Mormonism needs a reform or progressive version, or perhaps that is the Community of Christ already. I wish you well.

  41. Jeremy,
    Great interview. I really appreciated your reasonable and non-angry approach. It is so great to hear these messages delivered in a “likable” tone–it adds credibility.
    One bit of feedback. I find it interesting how easy it is to desire respect and understanding for our point of view, but then fail to give the same to others. Many people know and study these issues, but draw different conclusion. When you refer to “Snufferites” it is another divisive and demeaning move which does not add to mutual respect and understanding which I believe to be the goal. Can we not respect and validate the quest for truth wherever it takes people?

    1. Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for your thoughts and feedback. I appreciate it.

      Totally get what you’re saying. Honestly, it wasn’t meant as an insult or derogatory term. Perhaps it’s demeaning in the sense of applying a label to a group but in Mormonism, there is a tendency to label groups and offshoots by the name of their leaders (Brighamites, Strangites, etc.)

      Denver Snuffer is held up as a role model with these individuals that I’ve talked to and it’s the only way that I’ve been able to differentiate or identify them. These individuals have not told me or asked me to stop using the term so I didn’t sense that the term is insulting to them.

      Thanks again.

  42. Pedophilia is, in fact, a primary attraction to PREPUBESCENT children. Primary attractions to pubescent people are termed Hebephilia or Ephebophilia. He should change that on his letter. It is clear to me that Jospeh Smith did not fit any of these descriptions because most of his wives were adults; he was obviously primarily attracted to adult women. This is assuming that sexual relations were indeed part of ALL of his polygamous marriages, which is not for certain. I very much enjoyed the interview. I also experienced a crisis of faith and a lot of anger. Sites like this helped me maintain my faith as a practicing Mormon. Thank you.

      1. The definition of Pedophilia on YOUR website includes, “Relating to or in the period of preceding puberty”. PRECEDING puberty. Pedophiles are primarily attracted to prepubescent children, NOT pubescent teenagers. Nearly all 14-year-olds have already hit puberty. This was true in the 19th century as well. This is not Pedophilia by the definition that you use. If anything, Joseph might be termed an Ephebophile (which I don’t believe either because 27 of his wives were adults). He had no prepubescent wives; clearly not a Pedophile. C’mon! Admit you got it wrong. This is my last comment. Have a good one.

        1. “Nearly all 14-year-olds have already hit puberty. This was true in the 19th century as well.”

          Nope. It was 15-years-old (source: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puberty). 37-year-old Joseph Smith married 14-year-old girls who preceded puberty. As per D&C 132 and Jacob 2:30, Plural marriage was to “multiply and replenish the earth”, “bear the souls of men”, and “raise seed” (sex).

          It is pedophilic to seek out and marry 14-year-old girls who have yet to enter puberty to have sex with them.

          1. I know I said I would not comment again, but I can’t resist. Wikipedia is not a great source of information, but since you want to use it, we can. “Pedophilia or paedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children, generally age 11 years or younger. As a medical diagnosis, specific criteria for the disorder extends the cut-off point for prepubescence to age 13.” The age range for Hebephilia is 11 to 14, and 15 to 19 for Ephebophilia. One of these clearly fits better. This however, is all ignoring the fact that most of his wives were adults. So, I don’t think any of them fit for Joseph. And in the first place, it is a huge error to use late 20th century labels for early 19th century people. I am a licensed psychotherapist. I earned the right to diagnose this stuff. As far as I know, you have not, Jeremy. 😉

          2. Oh, you’re a licensed psychotherapist? Well, that settles it then. You’re obviously an expert on everything then.

            37-year-old men marrying 14-year-old girls was not an acceptable practice in the 19th century. It was looked then as it is looked now: unacceptable and demented. This wasn’t backwoods West Virgina. It was Illinois; among the more civilized and developed states in the Union at the time.

            The average marriage age of females in the 19th century was 20-years-old.

            Joseph didn’t just marry one teenage girl. 11 of his wives were teenagers under the age of 20. So, a good size chunk of his wives were not adults.

            The definition of pedophilia that you just listed states “prepubescent children”. 19th century girls did not start puberty until 15-years-old and seeking out 14-year-old girls to have sexual relations with them (as this was the only justification per D&C 132 for polygamy) was pedophilic. Is “pedophilia” a perfect definition of Joseph Smith? No. But it’s a better match than Hebephilia and Ephebophilia in light of later puberty of 19th century girls and Joseph’s marriage to not one but two 14-year-old girls.

            Joseph Smith wasn’t just Joe Schmo on the street. He was supposedly a “Prophet, Seer, and Revelator” who had a direct line of communication with Deity. What he did by marrying other men’s wives and 14-year-old girls was not only vile and despicable, but it was morally and legally wrong in both his society and culture as well as ours. It is not unreasonable for us to expect Elohim to smack him on the head and say, “Joseph, this is vile and sick stuff. Stop it.” If Prophets can’t figure out what’s right or wrong (polyandry, pedophilia, racism, blood atonement, etc.), what good are they? Prophets, SEERS, and Revelators should transcend all of this and be superior in the understanding of morality than their peers in their own society and culture.

          3. “… the disorder extends the cut-off point for prepubescence to age 13.” Don’t use big words for the shock value when you don’t know exactly what they mean.

          4. “…the disorder extends the cut-off point for prepubescence to age 13”

            Of course it’s 13 because 13 is considered late puberty-wise in the 21st century. It wasn’t in the 19th century, which was 15 for girls. The “sex with prepubescent children” definition still applies to both time periods whether you like it or not.

            Nearly 40 year old men having sex or attempting to have sex with prepubescent children was wrong then just as it is wrong now. Call it whatever you’d like. I’m sticking with pedophilia because the general accepted definition is “sexual relations with prepubescent children.” I’m sorry if this nasty fact puts a dent into your belief system and your prophet.

  43. I will say it again: it is an error to use late 20th century diagnoses for early 19th century people. And you continue to side-step the fact that the large majority of his wives were adults. This indicates what his “primary” attractions were. Just give it up.

    1. You’re using a very narrow definition of the term. I’m using the generally accepted use of the term, which is “sexual relations with prepubescent children”.

      Several definitions:

      “Pedophilia is defined as the fantasy or act of sexual activity with prepubescent children.”
      http://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/pedophilia

      “…psychosexual disorder in which an adult has sexual fantasies about or engages in sexual acts with a prepubescent child of the same or the opposite sex.”
      http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/448575/pedophilia

      If clinging to a very tight and not generally accepted/known definition of this helps you in some way continue to sing “Praise to the Man” in Sacrament meeting? More power to you.

      To the rest of us non-“licensed psychotherapists”? 40-year-old men having sex or seeking sex with prepubescent girls = pedophilia.

      It’s clear where we both stand. I’m ready to move on.

      1. I am using the actual definition from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM): “Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger)”.

        You have no actual proof that he had sex with ALL his wives, or when he may have started having sex with them. You are chosing to ignore the 13-year-old cut-off in the diagnostic criteria. You are guessing, and chosing to assume the worst. I chose to assume the best.

        All I am asking is that if you are going to use diagnostic words, please be accurate (it would be Ephebophilia, not Pedophilia). I am guessing you don’t want to use that because it has far less shock value; most people don’t know that word.

        As I mentioned, I also experienced a crisis of faith. I felt anger and betrayal as you did. I can really understand that. At the end of the day, I would rather be like Richard Bushman, and not people like you. My testimony of Joseph is stronger now than ever, although it was very shakey for a while. God saw fit to make me a Mormon. I have chosen to stay and make it better rather than leave and try to tear it down.

        I am sorry you left the Church. I am glad that you are happy though. I am also ready to move on. Best of luck.

        1. Max: “You are chosing to ignore the 13-year-old cut-off in the diagnostic criteria. You are guessing, and chosing to assume the worst. I chose to assume the best.”

          Jeremy: I don’t have a problem with that definition. It’s a focus on PREPUBESCENT children. The reason why it’s “generally age 13 years or younger” is because this is generally when modern children have already reached puberty.

          As mentioned previously, children in the 19th century experienced puberty later but the definition of “sexual fantasies/urges/behaviors involving sexual activity with prepubescent children” still applies.

          You’re so hung up on the “cut off at 13”. You are intentionally ignoring the fact that this age is based on modern children experiencing puberty while ignoring the fact that 19th century children experienced puberty later.

          You kept banging pans and yelling that I was making an error in using “late 20th century diagnoses for early 19th century people” but this hasn’t stopped you from applying the “Ephebophilia” label and diagnosis – twice – on Joseph Smith.

          Pedophilia fits Joseph Smith better than the other terms because he married at least two prepubescent children. No shock value necessary. The term is a better match to these marriages to prepubescent children. If children in the 19th century experienced puberty earlier like 21st century children do? Then I would agree with you on the Ephebophilia diagnosis.

          Max says: “You have no actual proof that he had sex with ALL his wives, or when he may have started having sex with them.”

          Jeremy says: He MARRIED them at 14-years-old…lol. Per D&C 132 polygamy rulebook and Jacob 2:30, Joseph had no business marrying these prepubescent children other than to “multiply and replenish the earth”, “bear the souls of men”, and “raise seed” (sexual relations). If he didn’t marry these girls to have sex and children with them? He was doing it wrong, was violating the polygamy rules and rulebook, and had no business marrying the girls.

          Max: “As I mentioned, I also experienced a crisis of faith. I felt anger and betrayal as you did. I can really understand that. At the end of the day, I would rather be like Richard Bushman, and not people like you. My testimony of Joseph is stronger now than ever, although it was very shakey for a while. God saw fit to make me a Mormon. I have chosen to stay and make it better rather than leave and try to tear it down.”

          Jeremy: Good for you. I don’t judge you for doing so. If it works for you, then awesome. It’s just too bad that you cannot suspend judgment for “people like me”.

          Max: “I am sorry you left the Church. I am glad that you are happy though. I am also ready to move on. Best of luck.”

          Jeremy: I’m not. Aside from marrying my wife, leaving Mormonism is the best thing I’ve ever done. Speaking for myself, I’ve reclaimed my mind, my integrity, and my freedom. Mental gymnastics and contortion in trying to keep a Mormon belief system somewhat intact? Gone.

          I’m so ready to move from on this subject as well. It’s starting to become an annoying tape loop of repetition.

          Thanks for your kind words. Wishing you the best as well.

  44. To clarify, what I find “hard to believe” in my previous statement, I am referring to those who try to counter Jeremy’s powerful points with nit-picking reasoning that ignore the big picture he has presented so well. “They strain at gnats and swallow camels”.

    Jeremy’s view that the Book of Mormon could be a “remix” is quite logical. Just consider how most great artistic geniuses compose works. Musical composers, painters, architects, designers, writers and scientists, all draw inspiration from many sources of previous artists (standing of the shoulders of giants) to “remix” and create their own masterpieces. Such great works are “man made”, and don’t pretend, in most cases, to be anything more than that. Some do express appreciation and thanks to God for inspiration, along with thanks to teachers, parents, and the other artists that inspired them.

    When one considers the ingenious mind that creates a religious masterpiece, it can be seen that such creations are also a “remix” of the great works of others, reformed in a new composition. Each follower of their own religion and church “feel” they have the truth….some even “know” they have the truth. If you consider they are all “man made”, then it makes sense, why there is such a staggering variety of religions.

    Thank you very much Jeremy and John, for your work and sincere efforts to help others see more clearly, and honestly with these important matters.

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