In this episode J. Nelson-Seawright interviews David Michael Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 10.46.36 AMabout his experience creating his new podcast “My Book of Mormon,” wherein David shares his thoughts and witty comments on each chapter of Mormonism’s central book of scripture.

With no background in Mormonism, David is reading the Book of Mormon cover to cover for the first time in an attempt to discover why millions of people have come to believe in its writings.  As a result, David offers an insightful and entertaining “outsider’s perspective” on the characters, stories, and lessons he encounters.

In this episode, the two discuss David’s Christian upbringing, his thoughts on spirituality and religion, his observations on Mormonism, and review his experience reading key stories in the Book of Mormon up to Alma 57.



  1. Molly December 10, 2014 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    Seriously, this guy is awesome. Can I just say I felt the spirit the moment I heard his voice! Loved it, thanks for sharing.

  2. ohokyeah December 11, 2014 at 12:39 am - Reply

    What a fantastic interview, it was very enjoyable! It was very nice to learn more about David and his perspective.

  3. UncleRalph December 11, 2014 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    I enjoyed the interview, but I enjoyed listening to a few epiodes of “My Book of Mormon” even more. It’s really interesting to listen to someone read it who does not give the author(s) an automatic pass because it is the religion of his ancestors. When I’ve read similar books (the Bible for instance) I always assumed that if I didn’t understand something, there was something wrong with me. I needed to be smarter or holier or better educated to get it. Mr. Michael just comes out and says (in so many words), “No, that’s just really lousy writing and/or translation. Whoever wrote that down left it pretty much indecipherable.” It’s funny that we don’t demand more from “holy” scriptures. If you really feel the message can’t be truly holy if it isn’t written in stilted, arcane 16th century English, then get W. Shakespear (or Marlow or Bacon or whoever) to write it up. It can be Elizabethan and still be well done. It’s too bad God can’t seem to afford any real talent.

    • Wayne Perry December 11, 2014 at 8:03 pm - Reply

      I haven’t listened to the whole episode, yet, but I have been listening to David’s reading through 1st Nephi, so far. UncleRalph expresses my same impressions. I’ve read the BoM several times and held it as the “word of God” for my entire life (I’m 61) until about 10 years ago. I never remember reading it truly objectively. It was always scripture, and if there was something that seemed odd or I didn’t understand, it was always because of me…not listening well enough to the spirit, not being ready, not reading carefully enough…it had to be, because of course the BoM was true. Listening to David Michael read with fresh eyes, verse after verse, I have “WTF” moments. Looking forward to the rest of the episode.

    • PCA January 16, 2015 at 12:42 pm - Reply

      Especially when JS kept translating and retranslating until he got it just the way god wanted!

  4. Steve Reed December 12, 2014 at 1:09 am - Reply

    I haven’t listened to his podcast (which I’m very interested in checking out) but I did enjoy this interview. I think much of his views are pretty valid for a first-timer. I think we take for granted the bit of a learning curve that comes with approaching the text.

    For instance, the Captain Moroni tearing the coat and making a flag out of it doesn’t sound very impressive on first blush, but rending your garment was a very powerful statement to ancient Hebrews. Dividing or cutting was synonymous to covenant-making and when he tears his coat and writes words (a covenant, really) and then others come, rending their coats and in turn make a covenant, you have some very powerful symbolism going on. Without much background, you would just see a kind of weird event taking place.

    On the one hand, you would think that if Mormon really saw our day that he would make things more obvious. Some things are pretty obvious, I think, like some of the doctrine about the atonement and basic principles, but perhaps some of these other deeper, obscure things are meant for modern Israelites who would recognize those subtleties.

    The book has three key audiences according to the title page. First are the “Lamanites” then the Jews and Gentiles. So you have Mormon trying to speak to all three groups, coming from a very unique culture himself. Then you have Joseph the middle man putting it all into the English language.

    It’s all very messy and at one level I think we expect more from God, but on another, hasn’t the whole of religious history been pretty messy? It’s just par for the course in my opinion. I see a potential purpose in this though, I see enough information for the believer to work with and enough messiness to keep the non-believer justified in maintaining his position. I think this respects agency, however, a contrary view might say that this just shows that it’s all man-made.

    I do enjoy hearing all perspectives, I’ve learned a lot by listening to David and can appreciate his initial approach to the text and the questions and impressions it leaves him with. First impressions provide valuable insights even though they lack the added context and richness that a fuller understanding can bring.

    Many of David’s comments have caused me to think a lot about how much presentism affects our paradigm when trying to understand ancient cultures. It’s so challenging to try to understand another time, place and culture from our present vantage point. Perhaps the Nephites DID wield the law unjustly, or perhaps it’s just a reflection of a much different time, a time before the US Constitution or the Magna Carta or a host of other philosophies that evolved throughout Europe and Asia. So I find it a bit hard to hold ancient people to modern standards they never had. Maybe they should have been holier because they had God’s law and such? Well what about us? We’re so enlightened and yet look at our society? I don’t think the future will be kind to us. Sure, many are reasonable and good people, but collectively, I’m not so sure.

    The world has changed so much in the last 50 years. 200 years ago you could own people in the United States and it was just another part of life. A little further back we were burning witches. We like to think we are enlightened today, but I’m sure that we will all be savages to some future generation.

    Anyway, just some ideas that I was playing around with. Great job Mormon Stories and David Michael, you’ve given us some very entertaining and thought-provoking material.

    • Atom December 12, 2014 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      I must ask if you have read, and if so, what did you think of Mark Twain’s outsider review of the BoM in Chapter 16 of his classic book “Roughing It”? Thank you in advance.

      • Ephima Morphew February 6, 2015 at 12:37 am - Reply

        After a bit of Discovery you will find?

        If you have tried to read the BoM, Book of Mormon only to find it leaden, like chloroform in print, if the Mormon Bible is an unusually effective cure of insomnia, there needs be a face-lift, and David Michael has lifted the Face of Mormonism and its Mormon Bible for all to see.
        When you just can’t get through it’s and it’s not your fault; after all it’s the BoM, having come from God himself through mediums and mediums of mediums –– yes the word of God is a bit garbled, and it’s not your fault.
        The BoM is the Mormon Bomb for salvation in the hereafter in the ever-after, a revelation on how God (Elohim) has it all sorted out for you and me forever.
        Meet Jesus:

        Good luck and God’s Speed.

  5. […] And don’t forget to check out David Michael’s interview on Mormon Stories Podcast! […]

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