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  1. I went to the same Young Adult dances in the greater Seattle area. They had a lot of them, well attended, many of them, in the early to late 1980s. They went down hill after that. I did not know him then (by name). Knew him by sight. I think I know this guy, who I worked with a little as a self-appointed Mormon apologist (long before FairMormon), but we had a falling out. I won’t name him. I highly suspect he is the voice behind “Black Pigeon” a very successful well-known YouTube channel, that is watched by millions every month. Not sure about the Black Pigeon thing, but I highly suspect it, because his voice is very unique. Black Pigeon claims to live in Japan, and this guy went on a mission to Japan. Black Pigeon’s YouTube videos are damn good, and highly professional, as well as very popular. His videos critique politics, culture. immigration, mostly (but not always) from a conservative viewpoint. Quite good. His “Radio Free Mormon” is quite good too.

    1. Darrick: Rational Wiki claims Black Pigeon is Felix Lace, based on a video (which they link) where he allegedly outs himself. Don’t know if it’s true. But it’s good to see you posting. (I dunno, maybe you post all the time, I can’t keep up!) I remember and enjoyed your book “Gainsayers” and how you were later attacked for the crime of changing your mind. And your even worse crime of not having black and white views. So it’s good to see you still do your own research and sharing what you find. Keep up the good work!

  2. Part 4 is a new Mormon Stories classic! My wife came in part way through and started to really get engaged around that section. She related to RFM’s comments about thinking you’re in the deep end of the pool when you’re actually in the shallow end, you’re speaking truth! 😉 She wanted me to pass on to RFM that she’s also been amazed by the wealth of knowledge, research, and literature outside of the Mormon world; our family is overdue for yet another bookshelf in our home! One of her first eye-opening experiences came from Robert Barron. Barron was on some talk show called the Rubin Report in 2017 which was a hit with Protestants, Catholics, agnostics, and atheists; nice to have another intellectual that relates to a wide audience; Now she’s in the middle of a great books series reading Summa Theologica and Love and Responsibility, and doctoral dissertations like Kinship by Covenant.

    I screamed, “Thank you!” when RFM explained his bold stance on Dahlin H. Oaks and shared his counter example about how Oaks’s position was incompatible with the teachings of Jesus. One of many great insights that so many people miss! Same goes with RFM connecting the dots between Tom Phillips not seeing Jesus during/after the second anointing and how Oaks and other imply that they have seen Jesus. I hope more people see (and recognize) the conflicts with many of Oaks’s talks.

    Thanks for coming on to Mormon Stories RFM, looking forward to your next RFM podcast, hope this Mormon Stories episode helps others find it!

  3. Ah! nailed the Radio Operator. He was doing fine until he acknowledged certain associations with our lysergic brother Denver and Waterman. At minute 36:20 Part 7 The Radio Operator states a joke about Thor’s God. Thor, of course, had no God. He sort of revered his father. His father hung from a tree for 9 days in the Tree [not really mentioned by name in the Nordic Sagas] Yggdrasil as a self sacrifice. So in a convoluted way Thor’s Father hung from a tree as opposed to being nailed to a tree. Highly recommend that the Radio Operator reads The Nordic Sagas, specially the Poetic Edda. Also the Popol Vuh just for completion when mentioning Meso-American matter. No cigar here Senor!

  4. RFM-I just went to BYU Studies and searched for the subjects you talked about and found your name. I guess you didn’t really intend to hide it, but just wanted to advertise RFM. I think you said as much.

    I listened to 5 of the 7 parts. I recognized many, very many parallels between your experiences and mine. I really enjoyed much of what you had to say. You’re articulate and fun to listen to. However, we part company on the most important part of the journey Mormons can have. When you read the Book of Mormon as a teenager and felt something very special and powerful each time you read from it over a period of a month or so–you referred to your experience as coming from the Holy Ghost.

    That is where we part company, I’ve had the same experience, but I kept going, and now 53 year later I have grown in the gift of the Holy Ghost. I know all that you and John know about the messiness of church history and etc.

    Long before the internet came into being I learned many of those hidden things from research I did as a student at BYU. Like you and many others, I felt betrayed and wondered why church leaders were hiding the real history of the church. I turned to the Lord and plead with him for help. After doing this for a week, each day, for many hours a day, I was given an incredible experience that changed my life forever. I won’t say any thing more about that experience than it was Enos like. That occurred a nearly 50 years ago. Since then, I continue to have a closeness to things of the Spirit.

    When I visit Mormon Stories and hear all the things you, Mike Brown, John D., and others have learned and how it has destroyed your faith I know where you’re coming from. If I hadn’t turned to the Lord for help as I did, I would be probably be where you are today.

    I believe those who have lost their faith will have the opportunity to change course in the days ahead. As we move closer to the 2nd coming of Christ things are going to get very, very difficult. When that happens you and others who have made covenants will turn to the Lord because there will be no other place to go. It doesn’t matter which side of the veil one is on, the pressure and misery that comes will cause knees to bend and healing will come to nearly all because of Christ atonement–just as it is taught in the Book of Mormon–offering up a broken heart and contrite spirit.

    Until then, the best to you and your family. I hope your daughter is doing well. The one who was on a mission when you started RFM.

    1. Teancum + perhaps Jared below. My thought is this. Do you look at ex jews or ex JW’s or Ex Scientologist or ex muslims or ex Christians or ex _________ – and supposing you know that religions context, blessings and promises – do you get bothered by them leaving that religion. My experience has been I see more Ex’s are sympathetic to believers of whatever to stay then the believer is accepting of the faith transitioning person. Example is the believers need to state “those who have lost their faith will have the opportunity to change course in the days ahead….” or to testify “Book of Mormon. . . Book of all books.”
      To me it more confirms the sunk cost / fear of being wrong theory – that is to say for a believer to allow or recognize the ok-ness of another to leave or no longer believe or flat state mormonism is wrong is to acknowledge that as an actual option with validity. Which in turns means if there really is a different answer on the test of life then there is the possibility the believer picked the wrong answer on the test. Being wrong is uncomfortable.
      I completely welcome the discussion between the believer and myself (I have a small set of believing friends that can handle that). I think that in itself says something about the ego of believers. I have been kicked off the faithful subs a few times. Some for angry post. (i’m sorry) and some for posts that were just not … “faithful”. You won’t get kicked off r/exmormon or r/mormon for telling your love of the BoM. But i can say the joe was making it up on the faithful sub. Its not a field for open discussion – rather is a narrow farming canal with the flow only one way.
      It is subtle but there is still gas lighting / victim blaming. “If I hadn’t turned to the Lord for help as I did, I would be probably be where you are today.” Or If you pray with real intent you will get [the same answer as the rest of us – the one you are supposed to].
      Remember Russell Nelson words from March 2005

      Each religion should be free to propagate itself among present and future generations, so long as it does not use coercive or fraudulent means. Its practices should not interfere with the peace of society. Each religion has a right to present its message in an orderly way to all who are interested.11 How can we have freedom of religion if we are not free to compare honestly, to choose wisely, and to worship according to the dictates of our own conscience?12 While searching for the truth, we must be free to change our mind-even to change our religion-in response to new information and inspiration. Freedom to change one’s religion has been emphasized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.13 One’s religion is not imposed by others. It is not predetermined. It is a very personal and sacred choice, nestled at the very core of human dignity.

      Think about the application of that statement. What if you are using this statement to crawl out of that narrow canal to explore the field of options and ideas. Or perhaps his statement was not meant for an audience of mormons.

      Change of beliefs – – Mormons need not apply!!

      1. Ricardo, reading your comment tells me that you are making assumptions about my intent that I need to explain. Believing Mormons, meaning those who try their best to follow the teachings and doctrine of Christ, accept the principle of agency. To me, that means RFM is welcome to believe as he likes. I am not trying to put him down. I respect his decision and think he is a quality person. Yet, at the same time I think he made a mistake. Why? Because of my experience, I turned to the Lord and received answers. Should I be kicked out of Mormon Stories for relating my experience?

        I’ve watched many Mormon Stories guests relate why that lost their faith. Hardly any of them talk about prayer after experiencing a faith crisis. They shed tears, were angry, hurt, and pained, but where is the “crying unto the Lord”, fasting and prayer, and diligent effort to obtain an answer from Heavenly Father? It is absent for the most part in the many accounts I have heard over the last decade I have been following faith crisis testimonies. I suspect this is an indication that prior to their faith crisis they were active in the church but not too active in applying gospel principles to the extent that they had obtained solid testimonies.

        To see if I am correct, listen to a dozen or so podcast and report your findings. Case in point, I listened to 5 plus hours of RFM. I didn’t hear him tell about turning to Heavenly Father for answers. There was no mention of fasting and prayer and going to the temple to find help and guidance of the Spirit. I also listened to Mike Brown many hours. Didn’t hear any statements about turning to the Lord with full purpose of heart to find an answer when his faith crisis was underway.

        1. Teancum- so many issues with how and what you say but I’ll try to contain myself and respond this way: You say RFM made a mistake and those like him will have an opportunity to correct course and eventually believe as you do- the reason you give for RFM’s mistake? “Because of MY experience, I turned to…” is how you start- and unknowingly display the actual problem here: expecting others to see and experience things the same way you do. Because YOU had a different experience than RFM, that means he must have made a mistake. That’s what is so hard when talking to believers- when it works for them, they can’t understand many of the problems non-believer have or why it doesn’t work for other people. Because it works for them, they fit the mold, it makes them happy. Fine. But they can’t wrap their head around the idea that not everyone is the same as they are, people are different and it doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s OK.

          You argue not enough people on Mo Sto turn to prayer and fasting while experiencing a faith transition? Your case in point? 5 hours of listening to RFM. That’s one person out of literally hundreds, so not a very solid case. I would suggest that you listen to more people’s stories. I’ve listened and can say people turning to God in prayer is NOT uncommon in the slightest- these people’s stories are full of real, honest and sincere struggle- often looking to church leaders and God for guidance. Because they had a different experience or came to a different conclusion than you, I suppose you’d argue they weren’t contrite or broken-hearted enough? That mindset reeks of arrogance, which naturally comes from members of a church that looks down on everything and everyone else as the one and only true and living etc…. That being said, I’m not sure I agree that prayer and fasting is always a requirement before making an informed and correct decision. Scripture says that it’s wrong to rely on a sign from God before believing in Him, I would say that it’s wrong to bother God for a sign while attempting to maintain belief in a church that is so obviously not true. But, to each their own.

        2. Thank you for your reply. I have been listening to MS for 2 years now. Whew – wow. Even after I stated real intent [Moroni 10] you repackaged it and sent it back to me. I have heard many talk about their wrestle with god and pray and fasting and struggle for answers. I can remember a story of a bishop praying in his bedroom many times and finally drawing a line with god that its time for an answer or he was done. I can remember the story of Anthony Miller similarly he prayed and wrestled a lot. He told of a specific example that to him was a confirmation – and still now is un explainable. I too have prayed. I have read about prayer. I have journaled about my prayers struggling to make them better. When My dad told me of his cancer I prayed. When he died I prayed, I begged, I pleaded for comfort, for a voice, for something. When my mom got cancer I repeated it all over again. My heart broke when in her last months she said she never felt the return or voice or peace of my father. She agonized with the fear he had already moved on and had polygamous wives.

          I really struggle and feel hurt when told you didn’t try hard enough or have real intent or have a strong enough testimony or full purpose. I’ve had some spiritual experiences – none at the temple. I saw others but never for me. I always felt out of place. To my wife out biggest “we’re meant for each other” was at the temple. In short we took a week off of not seeing each other – 7 days laters we both walk into the same session at SLC temple. To her it was a sign. Maybe to me also at the time. Not any more. I see now that we don’t have a monopoly on spiritual experiences and thus those cannot be concessionary to ones beliefs – otherwise it is confirmation bias. You and your JW neighbor and muslim neighbor all pay in the woods and each have a spiritual experience – How are you going to discount their experience? Praying to the wrong god? faceing the wrong direction, not real intent.

          I look back and I realize for too long I was trying to make it work. Man was I trying. Skip – I was going to do some back story but not here. Basically i was good at doing mormonism. Then I realized I have always felt distant to prayers – like I’m praying / talking to an empty room – I cried. the pleadings I have done HURT. My dad was a pillar in our town. The stake Pres, bishop, neighbor Home teachers all parroted and copied the blessing a GA 70 gave him to be healed – later when he saw death close but still not coming soon enough he asked me to pray to god – then give him a blessing to “untie the lords hands from all the prayers and blessings” given to him and for him so he can pass. I had at the fantastic opportunity to un commit god to the contract the GA and others bound him too.

          If mormonism works for you – awesome. I mean that. Personally I can’t reconcile many things – top of the list are the penalties that were in the temple pre1990 [still there in form with out the words]. I can’t accept that – And worst I don’t have parents to sit with and discuss this with. That hurts the most. Its now 1am I need to end and go to bed.

        3. Hi Teancum,

          Not to jump on the bandwagon, but in my experience with close friends and family going through faith crisis, every one of them were fasting and prayer warriors before their shelves fell down, and fasting and prayer warriors to an extreme degree during their faith crisis. I’ve been listening to Mormon Stories for 7 years (and have reached far into the archives before I started listening too) and it seems like prayer comes up a lot. Usually there are multiple descriptions about seeking counsel from Bishops, Stake Presidents, and sometimes even general authorities and apostles. Sometimes prayer lives continue or expand for some who leave the church (although who they’re praying too can change, or at least the concept of the nature of the God they pray to can change). I can understand how your hypothesis could be developed, but I wonder if your sample size is wide enough or if you had a good enough view of the hearts of many of the people you know who have left the church. That’s pure conjecture on my side though! My experiences are almost exclusively with people who were primarily little Nephis who have left the church and your experiences may be very different.

          I think RFM’s journey is very unique in that he was actively fighting for his religion until all of a sudden, he realized that he didn’t believe in it anymore (I know that apologists often end up leaving the LDS church, but I’ve not known of one who left in this particular way before). I’ll also say that RFM’s and Mike’s Mormon Stories interviews were not your typical Mormon Stories in that Mike was talking more about his essays than his faith journey and RFM is a bit of a celebrity which naturally points interest towards other parts of his story.

          1. Hi Peter,

            I don’t want to add more other than to say those who are “fasting and prayer warriors” but don’t get an answer have done the best they could. I also wish them the best in their journey through this fallen world.

        4. Watching the YouTube “Spiritual Witnesses” illustrates how reliably unreliable it is to use that burning feeling or internal certainty to discover and discern truth. That are almost limitless examples in Church history of leaders relying on inspiration for truth, only to be wrong. This is especially true when Church leaders are dishonest about its history that they depend on to confirm their claims.

  5. John, thank for for your time with RFM. I loved hearing the intellectual exchange between two men whom have been through the Mormon gauntlet and came out the other side with honor, humor, and a new and refined understanding of how to love and serve mankind, This series has been wonderful, and I was sad to hear it end. Keep up the GREAT work!

  6. Wanted to weigh in quickly on something that came up at the end of Episode 4… about the Wizard. It was suggested that everyone wants a wizard, so therefore, it is impossible to eradicate religion from our midsts.

    I would like to suggest that the reason so many people are religious, or have trouble leaving religion, is that they are raised with religion (not that religion is a necessary part of human existence). True, some people seek it out for themselves, but most people are thoroughly indoctrinated into religious beliefs and practices before they are old enough to reason!! Before they are old enough to question, and before they are old enough to compare one religion with the thousands of others that exist. All of their initial associations to religion are emotional, and tied to a very strong, almost overwhelming need, to be accepted and loved by parents, community, and society at large. When they are old enough to reason, and begin to encounter doubt, other cognitive tricks come into play – compartmentalization, rationalization, denial, confirmation bias — anything to diminish discomfort. And of course, the fear of rejection (disfellowship) is quite real, and keeps plenty of people “active” in their religious communities.

    May I suggest that all of you consider just how much you worry about not being a faithful, observant Muslim? How much anguish do you experience through rejecting the four pillars of Islam? Is your life poorer because you do not kneel toward Mecca to pray four times a day? That is how much I worry about not being a Christian, or a Mormon, or …

  7. I agree with the comments from RFM that the present-day leaders have little to offer compared to Joseph Smith. They (and basically all of the predecessors going back to Brigham Young) are the administrators of Joseph’s legacy, but they are really only administrators, despite taking on the formal title of prophet. They achieved their positions by being “company men”, which is usually the exact opposite of the charisma, vision, and creativity that Joseph showed (for all his faults). I suspect some of them wring their hands over how to deal with all of the problems that persist to the present day due to our polygamous past, for example, but really dealing with those problems requires bold new doctrine and possibly getting rid of old doctrine (maybe delete section 132?). I don’t see any of them being that bold. President Nelson has made many welcome changes, but they are mostly the easy low-hanging fruit.

  8. Lot’s of examples of personal anecdotal experience being projected onto the rest of the Church body. Just because you were prideful, doesn’t mean everyone else was. Just because you thought you were smarter then everyone and part of a special inside group, doesn’t mean everyone else was. This seems to be a recurring theme in your story.

  9. I echo ALL the expresions of TEANCUM, and share how it all started for me some 25 years ago:

    My parents divorced when I was 10– resulting with my Father choosing to be absent from our lives. Regrettably, I chose to use my agency poorly in my teen years. Tragically, mom was diagnosed with a terminal cancer when I was 14. She was told that with chemotherapy and radiation she could possibly live 8 months. She explained to the doctor that she had faith she would live long enough to see her last children off. Very shortly after this, she was given a priesthood blessing that told her as much. Miraculously, her bone cancer multiple myeloma, went into remission. My sweet angel mother was about as perfect as mom (Child of God) could be. She was a fervent/faithfull follower of Jesus in word and deed. There was no duplicity in her; truly, this elect woman was without guile and was wonderfully filled with and emanated the pure love of Christ. Miracles too, were ubiquitous for this saintly woman.

    So many over cast times in my life I would be healed mentally, emotionally, and lifted spiritually just being in her righteous presence. I will never forget a time in my life when I was 16 watching “Geraldo” (a tv talk show) downstairs in my room. The theme of the show that day was: people who were abducted by aliens and returned. Sounds so comical now, but, at that time of my life– it created a faith crisis. Geraldo’s guests were most convincing. As the show progressed, I became increasingly convinced these folks –had– been abducted. Panic filled my heart. The thoughts that raced through my mind were “how could the gospel of Jesus Christ be true– why would God allow these things to take place–Alien abductions were not supposed to be apart of the Plan of Salvation”!?

    I knew I had to speak to the resident- spiritual authority in my home. Hollering to see if my mom was upstairs– She replied that she was. I wanted at some point in my life to embrace the faith that my mother so beautifully reflected. I knew that my lifestyle was practically void of the happiness and serenity she had in abundance. I was feeling very forlorn as I walked up those stairs. I most assuredly hoped, but was not so convinced, that she could pour healing oil on my troubled waters. When she saw me, she asked sweetly what she could do for me. I observed that she was sitting in her favorite dimpled leather chair reading her oh-so-loved-scriptures. Upon being in my mother’s presence I was immediately filled with incredible peace and joy. All feelings of emotional pain, anxiety, and confusion were completely taken from me. So thorough was this cleansing– that I didn’t even ask my mother a single question. Astonished by this beautiful and immediate result– I simply told her “oh nothing” turned around and went back downstairs.

    Though I had this profound experience, numbskull me, Still chose to live a life That was unbecoming of a Latter day Saint. The 19th year in my life was approaching fast. I was settling in on the idea that a mission was going to be a part of my future. This was a strong wish and desire of my mothers. My mission call came. The day came for me to leave to the MTC. My angel mother passed that morning. My twin sister had already left the home. Departing to the MTC that morning, I was the last of her 9 children to leave. The power of this righteous woman’s faith, and the power / efficacy of the priesthood blessing she received– resulted in her righteous desire and wish being fulfilled –to the day–

    At first, the Lord’s mission I was called to serve to was a difficult struggle. President Ezra T Benson talked about having a vision seeing an army of missionaries that could “match the message,” this–I was not. Growing spiritually during my formative by my choice was largely wasted. The lead surgeon in the county that we labored in — my first area– Invited us over to teach a friend. Introducing my companion and I– he explained in glowing details what a great missionary my trainer was. He explained with an unenthused tone that “Elder Beesley meant well as a missionary but was not quite up to speed.”

    I was devastated. No doubt he was right. As we entered our apartment that night, I asked to be alone in the bedroom. Pouring my heart and soul out to Father in Heaven– I cried and cried asking forgiveness for not being prepared and pleading for help. That first area I nearly read the Book of Mormon 3 times. A miracle occurred. Nothing short of the Red Sea parting. Not only did the gospel make crystal clear sense, but my intellect (by my standards) soared! I went from an unorganized somewhat unkempt fella– all the sudden I felt to be organized and precise in my actions. So much fog lifted– my mind was expanded and made much more clear. My previous swollen twisted tongue shrunk to size and was “loosed” I truly was going through a glorious- spiritual rebirth. The last fast and testimony meeting before I was transferred to a new area this lead-surgeon member stood to bear his testimony. He stated that amongst other things helping him to know the truths of the restoration– he testified that another feather in his cap of testimony was seeing a miracle with the transformation of Elder Beesley. He rightly knew that I was a lowly way behind the curve missionary when I first entered the mission field. He also knew that nothing short Of God’s tender mercy and miraculous help could have done for me what had occurred and was occurring.

    I know unquestionably, nothing unlocked this door for me so profoundly as did the study of the Book of Mormon. Father in Heaven and my Savior Jesus Christ became so wonderfully real and close to me. I can honestly say that I read a total of 6 books in 19 years of living. The majority of those in the fourth grade. I gave little to no energy in my studies from junior high to high school. Suddenly, to study the Book of Mormon, a book littered with thee thou and thines etc –for it! to come alive! Wonder of wonders…

    Studying the gospel, particuarly reading the Book of Mormon, and bringing forth a broken heart and contrite spirit I became infused with the Spirit of God. I truly became a “New Creature in Christ” (2Corinthians 5:17) born of god, having received a mighty change of heart! I do not know how many times I read The Book of Mormon on the Lord’s mission. I do know that it was approaching somewhere around 15 times. I read certain books with in the Book of Mormon a hundred times and more. I love the book of Alma. 🙂 Joy and anticipation came arising in the morning to read the Book of Mormon. I could not wait to come home for lunch to read the Book of Mormon. I truly hungered and thirsted for the glorious affects that came into my life reading the great “Stick of Joseph” (Ezekiel37:19)

    When you are near SPIRITUALY–blind, lame, deaf, and dumb and you discover sooner than later your relationship with deity/God and Jesus becoming so real and sacred for you–and you are suddenly given beautiful gifts and your known talents heightened–beautiful spiritual vistas are opened up to you–the voice of the Lord (via the Holy Ghost that blessed “Comforter” (John 14:26,27) is heard and obeyed–when great clarity of thought and speech increase and all of this from these fruits given through sincere study and application and prayer from reading a book! Incredible! What amazing love and appreciation fills your whole being…I always knew my mother “knew it” she truly was a mother “who knew” (Alma 56:47,48) I testify that to become a person “who knows” the expedited path is the path that leads you to the unending feast, even the great spiritual banquet –which is– the BOOK of MORMON–book of all BOOKS!

    https://youtu.be/p8X8a7DtwUI

    1. Jared, thanks for sharing your story and the YouTube link. I think the speaker in the video you shared is right, the Book of Mormon is a very Baptist and a very Protestant book. That’s actually a source of faith crisis for many people because when you read the writings from the first 100 years of Christianity (e.g., Didache, Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr), they aren’t very Baptist or Protestant; it’s all very Catholic and Orthodox. That – and many other things – often point to the Book of Mormon being a book written in the 19th century since the Book of Mormon’s theology seems to have been highly influenced by Second Great Awakening preachers, not the ancient Jews. It doesn’t bother everyone who comes across this stuff, but it does cause a faith crisis in many.

      In addition to the texts I mentioned above, you might also enjoy reading another early Christian author named Hippolytus of Rome who was born in the second half of the 100s. His best known writing, “Apostolic Tradition,” gives great insight on early Christian worship and liturgy. The Didache also gives great descriptions of how the earliest Christians worshiped and what they believed (some fascinating stuff about baptism in the Didache and Apostolic Tradition). Sometimes ancient documents can be tricky to read so commentaries can be helpful, especially if you want to compare what they’re saying with the Book of Mormon and the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

      No worries if you don’t want to read those early texts, just thought I’d share since I find them very insightful and interesting.

  10. John Dehlin always does such a good job of getting additional details out that would otherwise be missed opportunity within the interview. This interview with RFM is no different. I echo’s RFM’s recommendations to delve into bible and especially New Testament scholarship. There is an amazing library of information to learn and no better person to deliver it than Bart Erhman, who RFM also recommended.

  11. Peter, I cant speak for the books you reference, but I can tell you Christ and his disciples very much taught the significance of being redeemed through being born of God. The Book of Mormon is the companion reflection of these truths.

    The answer to this question is vital to our approach for processing and assimilating the unparalleled truths of Christ: Is our search for Jesus based on this criteria? —-“For it is life eternal to *know* God the eternal father and his son Jesus Christ whom he has sent”

    Peter, If we are not willing to be healed by Christ through knowing him by excercizing our faith in him unto repentance than the power of gaining a wittness that shatters the doubts leveled at him will not win the day.

    Every sincere truth seeker desiring to be redeemed by Jesus, in their fallen flesh, will see and rejoice in the clarity and direction the book of mormon offers. If one fundementaly does not want and desire to grow in perfection of the Meek Christ through being converted / healed by and through him —than the appeal to gain a unshakable wittness will never be greater than the allure and attraction that springs forth from doubt. Our motives manifest the results.

    1. Agreed – our motives manifest the results. Tons of self fulfilling prophecies around us. While mountain biking the phrase is “don’t look where you don’t want to go.” If you keep looking at that big rock in the trail – likely you’ll hit it. Crash.
      Similarly I heard a story. A man left town. A visitor approaching the town asked the man about those living in the town in question. How were the people where you just came from. Visitors response was “I was happy to leave – they were selfish, mean and un-pleasant to be around.” The man replied – well you’ll find them here too.
      Next person to come upon this man as he approached the town also asked about the people of the town. This man again asked, “How were the people where you just came from.” The second visitor replied, “I was sad to leave. They were some of the most kind, generous and loving people I’ve ever met.”
      The sage replied, “You’ll find them here too.”
      One more story – If you meet an A-Hole in the morning – you met an A-Hole. If you met A-Hole’s all day long – guess what – You’re the A-Hole !!
      Whats the point. The point is there are good people all over. There are mean people all around us. Some will say you’re just looking for ways that mormonism is wrong and the next will say you’re just looking for ways that mormonism works. Both are right. This also works for Jehovah Witness and christianity and muslim and one chess club versus the next chess club and my college versus your college or basketball vs football vs hockey vs basket weaving.

      1. I’m speaking of the power of Jesus to intervene and confirm.

        I’m not refering to ones capacity to deliberately create the desired outcome.

    2. Sorry Jared, I think we might be speaking past each other. I’m not trying to dismiss or shoot down your testimony. I was just looking for an engaging discussion about the writings of the first Christians since they were so connected to the twelve; the video you had posted prompted me to share. And, in that context, I was hoping to help give some perspective about some of the things that can be challenging for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that are going through a faith crisis. Not that the first Christians and their writings should be scary (they’re actually very wonderful!). Studying the faith, beliefs, and worship of the first Christians can be oh-so enlightening; I think that they offer great insights to any Christian. The texts are free online too.

      1. Hi Peter, no worries. One thing is for certain, it does not take long for truths to become corrupted. 100 years past the time of Joseph Smith and one can see the evidence of this. I’m of the conviction that Joseph as was Christ, they were “Dispensation Heads”

        Truth as close as it sprung from them and other dispensation heads is what I wrap my mind and heart around. I have found that my faith has been rewarded by drinking from the original sources of water / knowledge vs down stream stuff where bacteria grows.

        1. Justin Martyr writes towards the 100 year mark from the death of Jesus. The Didache, Clement of Rome, and Ignatius of Antioch would fall in the first 50 years of Christianity. Clement of Rome was one of the first bishops of Rome. Peter and Paul would have almost definitely conducted church in Clement’s home (you can still go to the house too, pretty cool) before they were martyred. Ignatius was one of the first bishops of Antioch (in modern Syria) which was the central hub of Christianity that we read about in the New Testament. Ignatius received instruction from John the Apostle and was so close to John that he has been referred to as a disciple of John. The Didache (and possibly the writings of Clement and Ignatius) was almost certainly being written at the same time as the New Testament. Probably shouldn’t infer that they’re “down stream stuff where bacteria grows” unless you also view Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff the same way. You’re opinion of these works is held by select scholars, but it falls on the very extreme minority position which would be based on pre-existing theological beliefs rather than evidence-based research.

          1. The findings of what we might think is empirical proof is not with out merit. However, I’m after the evidence of excercized faith proof. The heavens do open to the broken heart and contrite spirit- Enos seekers. And yes, the waters have been muddied down stream since the time of Joseph.

        2. “Joseph … Christ, … Dispensation Heads.” “Truth as close as it sprung from them…”

          Interesting – in order of mention:

          Joseph as close to his original items – question – does that mean you mostly read from History of the church, Lectures on Faith, School of the prophets, Book of commandments, and the original printing version of the BoM.

          Christ – good luck with those close to the source documents. Everything we have is 70-110 years [ish] later. Its a major result of the telephone game. Scholars of the bible seem to have a common agreement that the names attributed to the book names were likely not the real names of the book authors. I have never been to BYU other than to drop off a daughter of a member from my mission when she flew back to school after vacations. However in some interviews on MS and other podcast I have heard a handful of stories of the person in conversation with byu professors of the bible talk and admit the pseudepigrapha problem of the book author names.

          So to me there are some quick cognitive problems – love to hear your “work arounds.”
          • The words of Christ in the bible are scores of year old. I can’t accurately quote my wife from yesterday / week ago let alone 15 years ago. I struggle with the treatment of Christs words as if they are verbatim statements.
          • If the book author names are understood to be different than ascribed / pen names then who really wrote it. What does that then do to the story of Joseph receiving the priesthood from John the Baptist, Peter James John or perhaps it was Darrel Tom and guy named Patrick [his friends called him Rick and his mom called him Patty]
          • However we NEED the above story and names to fit in the current story or the priesthood doesn’t work. Speaking of which, confirmed by Richard Bushman in Rough Stone Rolling [p75] there is evidence that the priesthood story was created after the fact [paraphrased by me] Its not mentioned until 1833 I think. In fact some close to the original source [joe] state they never heard of the priesthood or first vision until 1833,1834,1835. The priesthood isn’t mentioned in the Book of Commandments – That is interesting its not mentioned there. Hmmm mind pretzels
          What are your close to source documents you value and what are your work arounds

          1. In this fallen tellestial exsistence messiness is every where. What is truth what is not? Is this person’s research right or is that person’s research more accurate? Deception is so easily found. My parting advice to you is to have complete fidelity in Jesus. That which is right will remain . That which is wrong will fall away. If you desire to be born anew in Christ—than take the book of mormon as your guide. Don’t stop where others have. Allow Christ to confirm efficacy of this path. Ether 12 “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the substance of things not seen wherefore dispute not because you receive not, for you receive no wittness until after the trial of your faith.”

            All the best and God bless, Jared

          2. Oops I botched a scripture. Here is the copy and paste:

            And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

  12. I enjoyed everything here except for the speculation about McKenna Denson. I don’t see how that could be helpful to anyone. Certainly Dehlin should know that dealing with people’s public questioning of one’s methods and motives runs in a range of unhelpful to harmful. Dehlin expressed fear of personal danger when he was named as an enemy of the church in the infamous chart, so why this “do you think it really happened” speculation? RFM’s statements of doubt in a podcast would seem to me to render hypocritical his comforting phone call to her.

  13. I’m on episode three. Thanks for the great conversations and information.

    You mentioned Jacob de Jager speaking to you on your mission. When I was in the MTC in 1981 he came and spoke – he told the “Parable of the Popper” and we all were head over heels full of the spirit of prophecy hanging on his every word. He even had people passing the parable out after his talk so we could hang them on our walls and refer to them when we felt weak. Now I read it and just laugh. Of course now it’s easy to see it’s a simple shaming mechanism to get one to work harder for free. Aftrer all, who wants to be thought of with “hardness and disgust”?

    Here I present to you his prophetic utterances (although I’m not confident it was originally his work):

    The Parable of the Popper
    Behold at the time of harvest, the ears of corn did bring forth kernels which were dried and prepared for the Popper’s hand. And then it was that the Popper did take the kernels, all that did appear alike unto Him, and applied the oil and the heat.

    And it came to pass that when the heat was on, some did explode with promise and did magnify themselves an hundred fold. And some did burst forth with whiteness which did both gladden the eye and satisfy the taste of the Popper. And likewise some did pop, but not too much. Behold, there were some that did
    lie there, and even though the Popper’s heat was alike unto all, some did just bask in the oil and keep everything that they had unto themselves.

    And so it came to pass that those which had given of themselves did bring forth much joy and delight to many munchers. But those which kept of the warmth and did not bring forth were only cast into the pail and thought of with hardness and disgust.

    And thus we see that in the beginning all appear alike, but when the heat is on, some come forth and give all, while others fail their purpose and become as chaff, so as to be discarded and forgotten

  14. I’ve read a lot of the comments here and it tells me that Truman madsen sold way too many talk tapes and books and that the undoing of correlation is 30 years too late the things we have to accept as truth must be backed up by some sort of action. If you were raised Mormon you have a way better chance of having been exposed to spiritual relevance. In other words you do spiritual things and you find them to be helpful in your life or you find them to be distracting . You either find yourself following the path or choosing a different one we all gravitate and we settle in . Many are content. Many find questions and stay even when they know that as pres neilson recently stated that truth is truth .what part of the book of Abraham is true ? What part of section 132 of the d. And c are we really finding to be true. Again we find that truth to those of us who are here is not as important as relevance. So now we must move forward as saints and when we bare our testimony s we must change the I know to I hope and we must look at these things as relevant in our lives not as bedrock truth. This is very hard for those of us Who were taught that truth reins supreme . And we would never testify Falsely under any circumstance so we must replace a tiny bit of our faith each day with relevance . Do we really think that you can change relevance for truth ? Only if we separate the things we find relevant in our own life. And in our individual journeys. I’ve attended the temple quite often in my life especially when I was going through tough times and I studied the basis upon the teachings of Christ found in the endowment. One thing stands out to me that if we don’t stand up to the covenants made there we are in lucifers power . Now I’ve been told that has been watered down and it’s been modified . Umm sounds like relevant has won another round over truth . Now in 55 years of life holding very steady to all the things I’ve learned and all of the experiences I’ve had in Mormonism. I look back and since 1964 look at the changes the modifications if you will that our church has gone through. I want I mean I need my truth back . As a matter of fact I want my life back . But that’s the relevant part those of us who are trying hard to stay and are finding that truth is much more important than relevance . In the same breath I’ve had a great life I’ve been married to the same women for 34 years we’ve raised 4 exceptional children and I’ve served in just about every calling you could imagine other than bishop and higher . I’ve been a pretty good home teacher as well I’ve made it to the 21 mile point and the 26.2 is loosing relevance. Umm yea but man have I ever enjoyed this race but fatigue is wearing me down and there are fewer supporters cheering me on all I seem to be hearing is come on you’ve gone this far you can make it ! Doesn’t anyone out there feel the way I do ? Come on this isn’t some taffy pull this is our one race .( Mindy thank you ) Mrs Soffe your freedom song plays endlessly in my mind thank you ! John your podcast all 1000 or so of them has made me believe in the power of relevance . Thank you to Grant Palmer his transition to the prison system showed me that like Grant did ,we can finish our race on our own terms and if we have to crawl or even stop and rest a moment it’s ok . The glory in all of this is that someone or something created this course for us to run . And like a marathon . Mormonism is not for the faint of heart . But the bedrock is in our savior. Even RFM has felt his presence and his guidance. We are all watching his race and he may not be in front , but man is he fun to watch. My hat is off to anyone who can endure two divorces and alienation of offspring. The thing I like most about him and Bill is they are running Their own race . And that to me is relevant . (Now that was cathartic. ) I make a few comments now and then they only seem to print the ones that are watered down . No one is really very impressed by those who crawl to the finish line. Or even the 4 th place finisher I get it ! But if God sent us here to learn the difference between truth and relevance Mormonism is an excellent place to run . And though we really have to wonder just what the heck is at the finish line this experience we are having is in fact relevant . And as we participate we come to terms with the importance of respecting the journey of our fellow runners. Our pain is their pain . And that brings us understanding that an observer cannot have unless he has run .( I would now like to quote Plato but in the internet age he is no longer relevant) But each of us are in fact relevant we hold more keys than the s p and all the G a ‘s Put together when it comes to our lives and if we miss out on milestones because someone told us we didn’t have proper keys we are in fact the biggest loosers so what the heck . Respect the story if you can’t respect the teller . That seems to be the message in Mormonism these days. If that is relevant to you pay your respects our prophet killed Mormon. (I mean the word) In his first few months. Now that is relevant ! Sorry I know I’ve overused that word but next time you go to testimony meeting see how many times it is used vs the I know Words I know I know I know . Did you ever hear that from your kids when you told them to eat their cold green beans, or they wouldn’t get dessert. As adults we learn to to eat them when they are hot . The essays have really cooled my beans though so it looks like it’s no dessert for this kid ! At least I’m not like the poor Ethiopian that didn’t get to eat RIGHT. Now that’s relevant.

  15. Hello RFM,

    I have a question regarding Part 7 of the interview. If we assume that no King James Bible was used during the Book of Mormon “translation” process, how did Jospeh add all the bible chapters ? Was he a genius who was able to dictate them from memory ? What’s your opinion on that ? As you mentioned, no witness including Emma ever mentioned the use of a bible.

  16. I discovered RFM earlier this year and have become an avid fan. As for favorite episodes, #2 The Reluctant Revelation, was the most thorough and erudite smack down of how revelation works in today’s church I’ve ever heard. So much was covered during this interview that I could write my own 200 page essay in response so I’ll stick to two basic thoughts.

    First, at the end of the day every single one of us wants a Wizard, a Santa Claus and/or a God. It’s just that the desire for truth leads some of us to follow the facts no matter where they lead and, sadly, there is no evidence, emperical or otherwise, for any of these imaginative fantasies. Second, RFM you are definitely a nerd of the highest order. I don’t know anyone in my personal sphere that thinks or expresses themselves quite like you but I wish I did. Keep up the good work!

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