In this Mormon Stories Podcast episode, we interview millennial apologist Jaxon Washburn. Jaxon is 19 year old, pre-mission Mormon apologist attending Arizona State University.

Jaxon was introduced to issues of Mormon faith as his mother lost belief in and left the LDS church, while his father remained faithful to the church. Jaxon’s involvement in an interfaith family led to strong personal interest in matters of faith, which has led to extensive interfaith efforts.

In this interview Jaxon discusses his own history of doubts, including his experiencing watching the church evolve as an active Mormon youth in how it speaks about and teaches certain issues. He explains how he reconciles difficult Mormon issues and also discusses his view of classic and modern Mormon apologetics, including the newly coined term/wave of “neo-apologetics.”


Part 1: Jaxon shares his background in the LDS Church

Part 2: Jaxon discusses what his current beliefs are

Part 3: Jaxon and John discuss the truth claim “issues” of the LDS Church

Part 4: Jaxon and John have a conversation about apologetics and the role they play in Mormonism


Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

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Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:


  1. Eric Redd December 29, 2017 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    There is room for everyone in the “Choir” except you John!

  2. Larry S Jensen December 29, 2017 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    I hope this 4 part interview gets listened to. I just finished. Happy Conclusion: Jaxon is a brilliant young man that has the potential to do great things in life. Troubling Conclusion: To me, this interview is a textbook display of a very intelligent young man deeply under the influence of ethical, historical and doctrinal relativism.. It shows how even extremely intelligent people, using the cleverness of their own brain can believe in ideas that are demonstrably not true. Jaxon isn’t a Fiddler on the Roof, he’s a One-Man-Band on the Roof. An example is that he contends the Book of Abraham is God’s true doctrine but ON THE OTHER HAND it sure appears to be “Pseudepigrapha” (his word). (Pseudepigrapha are the books that attempt to imitate Scripture but that were written under false names. The term pseudepigrapha comes from the Greek pseudo, meaning “false,” and epigraphein, meaning “to inscribe,” thus, “to write falsely.”)

    I wish I was a fly on the wall in his Stake President’s office if and when he get’s interviewed to go on his mission. Jaxon’s interpretation of Mormon doctrine is very much at odds with the doctrine I was taught in my 60 years as a member of the church.

    • tyson January 3, 2018 at 7:06 pm - Reply


      • Shawn Sorensen January 11, 2018 at 4:50 pm - Reply


  3. Mike December 29, 2017 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    Jaxon, it isn’t just that your young , it’s that we’ve all been where you are, and so your not bringing anything new to the table we haven’t considered. Book knowledge is not experience. Book knowledge is not depression for-decades, it’s not suicidal thoughts, it’s not a sad and broken life, it’s not seemingly insurmountable regret. Now, if you don’t want any of that, forget about everything you’ve learned and just go along with the Mormon program. You’ll have the happiness you desire. If you want truth, follow the rest of the us and be prepared for decades of trouble. There’s alot of wisdom there too, but the cost is high. Look at every excommunicated guest on this show, and then look at a member of the 12, and decide which part you want to play. But you can’t have it both ways. And perhaps that’s your folly, you think you can, and that the rules don’t apply to you because they don’t yet, not until you go through that temple.

    Let me lay it out plain. If you continue in this intellectual vein, you’ll eventually be excommunicated.

    • RLeeG January 5, 2018 at 8:59 am - Reply

      I just want to say that leaving the church does not have to lead to decades of trouble or depression. And staying in does not preclude depression. Not sure if you were being facetious or not . I suffered from severe depression and suicidal thoughts as a member in my teens, a missionary, and up through my marriage for many years. I served hard though, and I thought I loved it and for some reason, even thought i was happy. It was all I knew. Then, I went through intense pain, anxiety, and loneliness as I discovered my greatest fears were becoming reality: that the church wasn’t true. I fought for more than a decade of research and FAIR arguments to try to stay in.

      Having left the church behind a few years back, and having my wife leave with me, it has led to more happiness than I ever experienced as a member of the church. I have since met many others that would all say the same. That does not mean you don’t encounter new problems, or that you are free form all your normal life difficulties and faults, but I really disagree with the characterization that people lose their happiness when they leave and encounter more troubles/challenges. That is case by case for every individual, how they handle leaving, why they leave, and what they do after they leave. For me it was the opposite. I was as afraid as anyone to leave, but I now see that was just how I was brought up to see it. We are taught to fear life outside. Now I will say that those I know that never truly stopped believing in it, but just stopped going and participating seem to struggle a lot more. If you are going to believe in it, I think you should do your brain a favor and participate in it, cause believing in it and not following in it only magnifies your perception that you are not good enough, worthy, CTRing it, etc. But to truly let it go for people that keep trying to defend it, in my experience, is a huge relief. I actually cried in relief the day my wife came to me and told me she wanted to leave. Years later, I still find myself occasionally doing a fist pump when I drive by the church and realize, I don’t have to ever defend that place again, waste another moment of my life, or a cent from my wallet to support ideologies I don’t like. And I get to believe in whatever I dream up.

      • EDiL13 January 5, 2018 at 12:49 pm - Reply

        RLeeG — I can really relate to just about everything you said about depression and about feeling free after leaving, etc. I remember feeling free and at peace when I put my resignation letter in the mail. But I’m not really free yet because I’m still married to it, and I still love my TBM husband dearly. You are so lucky that your wife chose to leave along with you.

        • RLeeG January 5, 2018 at 1:06 pm - Reply

          I really am lucky. I know not everyone gets such luck. My closest friend that left at the same time we did, is still married to his TBM wife. And his wife is amazing. She really is. But I know how hard it has been on him and on her, even though they have worked through it in amazing fashion and are doing great.

          I didn’t have the courage to leave on my own without my wife. I come from a very devout family, with long ties back to early church leaders. I thought there was a good chance they would close off from me, and I couldn’t bare the thought of losing my wife too and possibly my kids. It just seemed like such an impossibly lonely journey. I think eventually I would have made it, but it would have taken longer without her support. So I have tremendous respect for the courage it takes to leave on your own like you did. I see now that I was lonelier trying to stay in than I would have been if I would have left. I should have trusted in others more than I did. People that do truly love you will put that love above ideologies.

  4. Faith December 30, 2017 at 4:50 am - Reply

    Fear tactics are not a recipe for happiness or success. On this journey I am finding education, empathy, and love are the key. Jaxon is finding the second 1/2 of life; do what brings you peace and happiness !

  5. beth December 30, 2017 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    Thank you Jon and Jaxon for this interesting interview, sadly l can see a great deal of mental and emotional gymnastics going on again here and a lot of avoidance of simple truth claims which are so straightforward but you just don’t want to see them for yourself, l see this in this young man, but good interview anyway, l would love to see some more interviews of people who have left the faith for legitimate reasons and where there journey is and has taken them now.

  6. beth December 30, 2017 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    This is a very intelligent young man, but l see jaxon as to not allowing himself to accepting the obvious truth claims to be so surely and obviously untrue, but a nice guy generally.

  7. Becky December 31, 2017 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    Wonderful interview! Don’t listen to the naysayers Jaxon! Stay try to yourself! You are an amazing thinker. You handled yourself in an incredibly humble, mature way. Love your openness. Wish more adults had as much class as you.

    • B0yd January 1, 2018 at 8:59 pm - Reply

      Agree, Stay try to yourself. However, you will soon see that the church does not want (you). It demands total obedience, and all being in unison singing off the same page. Maybe you’ll try the “teach jesus” on the way out, or the “traditional mormonism” of the 1830s. Neither of these are compatable
      Once you get a wider worldview and recognise just how narrow, and unoriginal Mormonism is, you’ll be out. Good luck in the meantime

  8. Dot January 1, 2018 at 8:53 am - Reply

    I stand all amazed at your maturity and poise.

    You certainly have the mind to go places.

    Best wishes, looking forward to seeing more of you.

    Thank you very much John, great interview.

  9. Emma January 1, 2018 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    Too young!
    too inexperienced!
    Too little knowledge of facts.!!
    Too many excuses for not taking a clear stand backed with facts !!
    Good with words and debate skills— but empty in honest straight forward answers
    A junior bushman want ta be
    Not worthy of Mormon stories

    If you wanted to know the struggle of a 19 yr old boy in his circumstances don’t discuss or debate facts about the church— he has no expertise
    But you could have asked and listened only about his family and personal struggles

    Not his excuses for disturbing facts about the church— he has no ‘credentials’ for that

    Honestly it was of a waste of time

  10. Dot January 2, 2018 at 12:26 am - Reply

    Emma, take a seat.
    This is going to be something worth following.
    Nobody’s too young to take on this fascinating journey.
    How else do you develop expertise?

  11. Jack Dee January 2, 2018 at 10:54 am - Reply

    If Jesus or Moses or Abraham did not even exist, then neither did any historical figures from that period. Everyone needs to go read CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity, and then the The Screwtape Letters.

    • eric maughan January 12, 2018 at 2:18 pm - Reply

      um…this is pretty ignorant. the vast majority of biblical scholars agree that Moses did not exist. I suggest you read Richard Carrier’s “Proving History” to get some insight on proving the existence of biblical

      • Dwayne January 13, 2018 at 11:39 pm - Reply

        Richard Carrier is an atheist and mythicist; not a biblical scholar. He believes Jesus did not exist, Peter did not exist, Paul did not exist, etc. Nearly every New Testament scholar in the world has discredited views such as his or Bob Price’s. I disagree that the vast majority of scholars agree Moses did not exist. They simply admit that there is little empirical evidence compared to someone like Jesus.

  12. Jason January 2, 2018 at 11:17 am - Reply

    Funny how so many liberals are just fine with same sex marriage but horrified by polygamy. Historically, and culturally polygamy has been more acceptable. And it was not illegal for a 30 year old man to marry a 14 year old young woman in the early 1800s. Even today it’s not illegal for any man of any age to marry a girl who can legally consent thereto. I’m 40. Who is anyone to say I shouldn’t marry say an 18 year old woman? Who cares about what the majority socially look down on? If it’s legal it’s fine wit society apparently. There are many people who believe anal sex is contrary to biological norms. Which it is. How can one argue against that? My grandpa married his 14 year old fiance when he was 24, in early 1920s Europe. Not Mormon. Good people. 11 kids.

    • Nancy January 2, 2018 at 12:17 pm - Reply

      I’m not bothered by polygamy. It’s the second class status that is conferred on women because of it and the coercion used to get women to agree. Let women have multiple husbands, make it for consenting adults and I’m on board!

    • Rex January 3, 2018 at 9:53 am - Reply

      I don’t have a problem with polygamy when it is among consenting adults. It’s the institutionalized abusive religious practice that is done with an authoritarian license by a charismatic leader that claims “God” and the flaming sword in order to foist it upon the faithful, unaware women. There is nothing more evil and abusive towards women and children than this practice, the way Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and their fellow prophets and apostles practiced it, the way Warren Jeffs practices it, dishonestly and in secret. One of the major dynamics that propagated the development of the secret endowment was the need for the secrecy of polygamy. I always take that to heart as I walk out of the library in Salt Lake with its glass openness compared to the Salt Lake temple and its thick granite secrecy, motivated at heart by the wicked practice of 19th century Mormon polygamy.

      Not sure why the anal sex comment surfaces here for you Jason. Seems like a non-sequitor.

    • Libburl January 3, 2018 at 8:24 pm - Reply

      Jason –
      I’m not sure where you’re getting your data about liberals from, but I’m a certified liberal and I’m not “horrified by polygamy”. I have issues with the ways in which polygamy as historically practiced (one man, multiple wives) has subjugated women. But that doesn’t mean I am categorically opposed to it and I would tend to lean toward legalization.
      Just to remind you – all of Joseph’s marriages other than the one to Emma were illegal with respect to civil law (as they violated the laws in the US at the time) and illegal as regards to spiritual law (as they were not in conformity with D&C 132).
      But you seem to be arguing from a place of ignorance. Can you show us where homosexuality was less favoured than polygamy? Sure, the sanction of marriage is relatively new but the historical acceptance of same sex relationships seems to wax and wane over time. In fact, I would posit that acceptance of homosexuality is far more frequent than polygamy.
      Why is anal sex against biological norms? People (and animals) have been enjoying it for millennia so there must be something biologically right about it.

    • RLeeG January 5, 2018 at 9:18 am - Reply

      Jason, when you are 37 and tell a 14 year old girl that her and her family’s eternal exaltation will be made secure if she marries you, that is a problem. Forget polygamy for a second. Even if Joseph wasn’t married I find this disturbing. Or how about telling a pregnant woman whose husband you just sent off on a mission that she needs to marry you or an angel with a drawn sword will kill you? Again, polygamy aside, that’s not okay. It’s a clear abuse of power over young women who idolize you and trust you and believe you talk to God. I wasn’t even opposed to polygamy until I learned about the individual cases. Until I learned about the actual women and men affected and how they were coerced and what it did to their lives. Until then, I guess they were just numbers. Wife number 12, 20, or 26 (technically emma since she was sealed to Joseph after he was first sealed to a bunch of other women). Then take into account his wife didn’t even know about a good deal of them, and not until he was already well into the practice. You mischaracterize the issue for people that support gay marriage and are horrified by the church’s polygamy. What people are really for is, being free to live happy lives with those they love without being forced, coerced, or guilted into or out of relationships. Be it polygamy, gay marriage, heterosexual marriage, or whatever else.

      • EDiL13 January 5, 2018 at 12:16 pm - Reply

        About that “angel with a drawn sword” thing — I’ve often wondered if a Freudian psychologist would call that a “phallic symbol”…?

        (Sorry. Cheap shot.)

  13. Michael January 2, 2018 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Hi, I am working my way through this series and am on episode two. Jaxon clearly understands that Mormonism is not Christianity which he emphasises with his description of God, but at the same time communicates he doesn’t understand what theosis is in the early church fathers or the context of that thought. I am not sure that there is much else he actually understands such as monlatry in the OT and the presentation of God in the OT and NT.

    Why does he refer to correlation Mormons in the third person? Correlation has not ended, he is also a correlated Mormon. Perhaps he thinks he is not because he has determined to redefine Mormonism for himself into something that he can accept and be part of by selecting and reinterpreting doctrines.

    I found the lack of a cohesive or systematic argument to be a stumbling block to listening so far.

  14. James Crane January 2, 2018 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    “Messy” and “complicate” are euphemisms. If you like something and want to believe regardless of the truth of it just admit it.

    I went on my mission to east Africa. Teachings of an American church were the last thing the people needed.

    • Doubting Thomas January 2, 2018 at 8:15 pm - Reply

      Yep. I’d also like to know when “messy” became the safe word for lying. Multiple people throw this word around in the Mormon podcast community. Drives me crazy.

  15. Kerstin Dahlgren January 3, 2018 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Thank you for having this brilliant young wise man on. He gives me hope of the future of the church.

  16. Gettin' Better January 4, 2018 at 9:24 am - Reply

    I, too, thought Jaxon to be a nice young man, naive, but nice. One of the points that is rarely, if ever, brought out is the law of witnesses, I think it says somewhere in the scriptures that there needs to be witnesses before we can accept a doctrine. And our law system is also such that just because some guy or gal says they did or didn’t do something it is not binding unless someone saw them do it or circumstances are such that there can be no denial. In the Mormon Stories world we have been taught that Denver Snuffer, Joseph Smith and Paul of the NT saw Jesus, but none of these men had witnesses of their visions or dreams, or visitations. They were the only ones who saw Him. Sure they all advocated that others can do so also, but they were still the only ones who were witnesses (???). So are they to be trusted just because several people believe them?

    Instead of battling with each other regarding the truth or error of Mormonism, shouldn’t we first consider that, since there were no proven witnessing of Jesus, how do we know Jesus even existed?

    After I stopped believing in Mormonism, I continued to believe that Jesus was my savior, well, that is I did until I continued studying religion, just like many on this site are doing regarding the Latter-Day Gospel. And, after researching the history of Christianity which has been studied by many world Biblical scholars, I found no evidence of Jesus even existing, due to there being no credible witnesses of him.

    While studying Church history I came across a great online quote by someone named P.C. Hodgell, “THAT WHICH CAN BE DESTROYED BY TRUTH, SHOULD BE!!” So, Jaxon, if you are so sure of your testimony, you really need to study the origins of Christianity and the Bible, and who put it together and when and if those whose names are on the books are really witnesses even if they lived at different times that did Jesus, and how his supposed disciples gradually came to view him as divine and that was after he died. And don’t just stick with Mormon sources, because there are many mainstream Christians who believe in Jesus Christ just as much as you do.

    I would highly recommend that you go to a public library and check out any books you can find by Bart D. Ehrman, professor of religion at the University of North Carolina Divinity School. There are many good scholars, believers, and agnostics out there who will provide much historical information that you will need to do a lot of praying about. I did! Good luck in your life and although this quote did not first come from Jesus, follow the Golden Rule.

  17. Rico_ January 4, 2018 at 10:43 am - Reply

    In explaining why he can accept the hopeless contradictions between the 1832 First Vision account versus the other accounts, especially the 1838 canonized version, Jaxon justifies himself by citing the conflicting Creation accounts within Mormonism that are acceptable within the belief system.

    The problem with that reasoning is that it ignores Joseph Smith as the SOLE root cause of the contradictions. It is his Creation accounts in the Book of Moses, the Book of Abraham, and the Temple Endowment that don’t agree with each other.

    In other words, the conflict comes from only one source. Or rather one person.

    To cite the same person as though he was a credible source is why Jaxon’s response is simply going around in circles. Smith’s credibility as a witness to his claims falls because he refutes himself all the time. The reason why anyone should reject Smith’s contradictory Creation accounts is because he can’t tell his First Vision account consistently without contradicting himself.

    A good question to have asked Jaxon is whether he is a firm believer in the teachings of the Book of Mormon about the Unity of God, ie, the Father and the Son are the SAME PERSON. That is the doctrine about God that the Nephites and Lamanites have been taught to believe for at least a thousand years (assuming their epic history is even true).

    There is nothing in the BoM that hints about a plurality of Gods. Or that men can evolve to become Gods. Yet in less than 20 years, Smith contradicted his BoM theology on God with a radically opposite theology in the Book of Abraham and the Temple Endowment.

    Because if Jaxon already rejects the BoM’s thousand-year old theology on God, then what other Mormon doctrine can he NOT reject? Where does he draw the line?

    And if he already rejects what the BoM clearly taught about God for a thousand years, then why believe whatever Joseph Smith has to say on anything at the drop of his peepers hat?

  18. EDiL13 January 4, 2018 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    I for one was very glad to listen to this interview, John. I agree with you — Jaxon is a brilliant young man — to have been able to study and do so much, and gain so many insights, in only 19 years, suggests that he’s some sort of genius as well as a high energy person, or maybe he’s living in a time warp. He seems to have gained wisdom, or at least knowledge, beyond his years.

    However, if I understood correctly that Jaxon hasn’t been to the temple yet and is hoping to go on a mission, then I share Mike’s concern, based on my personal experience.

    In 2004, my answer to the temple recommend interview question “Do you sustain the President of the (LDS church) as the prophet, seer, and revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?” was something to the effect of, “Well, yes, but only for this church, not for the whole world. Maybe the Pope is authorized by God to be the leader of the Catholic Church, and maybe the Dalai Lama is authorized by God to be the leader of the Tibetan Buddhists, etc…”

    That was not acceptable. I was told that I had to be able to answer an unequivocal “Yes” to this question, and that I had to believe that this was the only true church in the world in order to go back to the temple. This was after 33 years of church membership and 15 years of temple attendance, but it marked the beginning of the end of my membership in the LDS church.

    I have an open mind about the other religions of the world, and I was honest about it in a temple recommend interview, and for that they wouldn’t let me back into the temple. I sincerely believe that it is not wrong to have an open mind, nor is it wrong to be honest, so I felt that it was wrong for this church to punish me for it, and that was the ultimate reason that I resigned as a member. I didn’t stick around long enough to be excommunicated for apostasy — they didn’t fire me, I quit.

    It sounds as if Jaxon’s answer to this question would be very similar to mine, so it’s going to be very interesting to see if he fares better in the game of “local leader roulette” than I did when he tries to get a temple recommend and go on a mission. I hope there will be a follow up interview to let us all know what happens.

    And Jaxon: if the LDS church rejects you for being too open minded and too honest, as they did me, we’re here for you. You will have many friends among your fellow “apostates”. But if they don’t, and if you manage to get a recommend and go on a mission, I for one would still be your friend, and I’d definitely want to hear your story about how you got away with it :)

    EDiL13 (Elohim’s Daughter in Law)

  19. Jay January 7, 2018 at 6:28 am - Reply

    Listening to JW (Jaxon Washburn) reminds me of many Dan Wotherspoon interviews.

    It’s just fascinating to watch someone “grapple” or “wrestle” with mormon dogma. The struggle can last for decades. And, on one hand, the solution is so simple – concede it’s not true. Listening to Jaxon struggle with the question of how people from other religions also have spiritual witness really highlights how immersed he is in the struggle. It’s so simple to acknowledge the reality that people in many religions receive spiritual witness and admit “spiritual experiences” aren’t a window into truth. But he can’t quite get there.

    Jaxon asks how can we avoid seeing our reality through the window of our spiritual experiences. I think he has it backwards. How can we avoid seeing our spiritual experiences through our “reality”?

    After watching this interview – just like after watching Dan Wotherspoon “wrestle” with the obvious – it makes me sit back and take a look at my own life and search for areas where I am “wrestling” with the obvious, where I am caught in a neurotic loop, and, hopefully, discover some of my own destructive patterns and elevate my thinking and, hopefully, my life.

    Putting mormonism in a petri dish offers a fascinating insight into how humans can get deeply lost defending & living the trivial.

  20. Rico_ January 8, 2018 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    Speaking of “wrestling with the obvious”, “neurotic loops”, and “destructive behavior”… I think Mormonism has much to share in these aspects with liberalism.

    Take for example this comment above: “In fact, I would posit that acceptance of homosexuality is far more frequent than polygamy.
    Why is anal sex against biological norms? People (and animals) have been enjoying it for millennia so there must be something biologically right about it.”

    Biology tells us how each part of the human body functions. We can see the hand is meant to grasp and hold things, the arm is meant to move the hand. A combination of their functions allow us to pick food and put it in our mouths. The mouth itself is meant to chew food and swallow it.

    It doesn’t take much science to see that the human male and female genitalia are meant to reproduce human life. And that is their primary function. Sexual pleasure is just a derivative of that, and is not essential to it. Without food, most humans will starve to death in 2 weeks. But without sex, humans can still live indefinitely.

    The human rectum is not meant for sex, but for excreting feces. Those who engage in this abnormality must first convince themselves that there is nothing repulsive about the act. This is not something one can learn naturally, but possibly by first being a victim of sexual assault as a young teenager.

    Several studies have shown the disproportionate burden of suicide and mental disorder among practioners of anal sex. Not to mention high rates of STD and other infectious diseases. Isn’t the root cause of it all the stubborn denial of the human body’s purpose and functions, a modern-day gnosticism that refuses to see the obvious truth?

    • Jay January 9, 2018 at 10:08 pm - Reply

      “Biology tells us how each part of the human body functions. We can see the hand is meant to grasp and hold things, the arm is meant to move the hand. A combination of their functions allow us to . . . ”

      Whoa . . . I thought you were about to condone masturbation as a natural process!

      • Rico January 10, 2018 at 11:51 am - Reply

        Funny how the mind works…. it sees things that are not there, but fail to see things that are already biting its nose.

      • RLeeG January 10, 2018 at 2:22 pm - Reply

        died laughing from this response Jay! well played.

  21. min-shaft January 9, 2018 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    Stunning and sad… to see such a smart young man allow his intellect to tie him up in knots. Hope he frees himself someday. I fear, however, that his publicity will trap him and he will not admit the truth to himself for fear of letting down those who look up to him. He’ll likely become a mini-Dan Peterson for the rest of his life, impressed and thriving on the prideful need to exercise his impressive capability for mental gymnastics.

  22. Jayman January 12, 2018 at 7:38 am - Reply

    Jaxson, Mormonism’s belief in the nature of God is not unique to Joseph Smith. It comes from the occult. Quit playing around. Religion is not an intellectual amusement park.

    • EET January 17, 2018 at 5:21 pm - Reply

      I agree that religion should not be an “intellectual amusement park”, but when one ponders the great variety of the histories of world religions, beliefs, superstitions, dogmas, doctrines, rituals, and absurdities, along with much good as well, it plays out like an amusement park of many rides that help get people through life, even if it turns out to only be the Fantasyland part of Disneyland. Every religions rides of course are sure their’s are the best!

  23. RLeeG January 17, 2018 at 8:04 am - Reply

    Man. Well that was frustrating. Maybe it frustrated me more because I remember saying some of the same stuff when I was defending the church. I do like Jaxon, and I understand where he is coming from. I agree with his point that he is not too young. You can never be too young to question your world views.

    At one point Jaxon said something about how his apologetics weren’t about just tying a bow on it. That is exactly what it sounded like though. Honestly, his mormonism is still the same exclusive mormonism, just packaged more politely. It still requires you become a mormon eventually. You still need the super secret handshake to get into VIP heaven. So no, not all paths lead to god in his mormon version either. What he means is, all paths eventually must converge on the mormon one, but he couldn’t say it straight forward. What he wants to believe is, wherever you grow up you can find a belief system that will make you better and lead to God. However, he can’t believe that, because mormonism requires certain ordinances to get back, and its view of God and Heavenly Mom(s) requires a certain belief and stance. Mormonism isn’t compatible with universalism. It has too many specific requirements to be inclusive. The only saving grace in mormonism is, after you die, you will be forced to comply basically. That’s what mormonism calls inclusivity.

    One of the most difficult parts to listen to was about the CES letter. I feel like one of the reasons Jaxon probably dislikes it so much, and it did sound like he was holding back about what he thought of Jeremy, is because it is so effective. This was one of the few parts that Jaxon sounded like a 19 year old mormon kid. “We gave him answers. Lots of people did. None of those were good enough?” Nope. No they weren’t. Not even close. Those answers people have given only sound sane if you have an extreme bias to stay in it. Jeremy has addressed the debunking in depth. He took a lot of time to go back over the “answers” and explain why they didn’t resolve the concerns. He shouldn’t have even had to do that, because most of those answers are not worth the time. If Jeremy were explaining why Santa Clause isn’t real because he can’t get around the planet that fast, and Jaxon’s “answer” was, “it’s magic!” Do you think that would resolve the concern, and do you think his reaction would be, “Oh. Well dang. I guess I’ll take down my questions.”? What a silly expectation! That letter now is just one of many other testaments to how fragile the church is. It is simply a conglomeration of simple questions.

    My only other real criticism is the use of the words “messy” and “complicated”. Jaxon seems to use those to words as cop-outs every time he doesn’t want to talk in depth about something. Oh, and no, 37 year olds marrying almost 15 year olds was not normal back in 1830. NOT EVEN CLOSE. You can find the data of average ages for marriages back pretty far. It’s been a while, but you can go look it up, and you will never find 14 as even close to the average age near that time period, even back to the colony times. In fact, Massachusetts keeps data all the way back to 1700 or so, and the average age even stretching that far is right at about 20. In the rare cases that girls married young they were usually married to young men, and not in positions of authority and not as an extra wife. Finding one or two anomalies to back up the age is a ridiculous argument. Interestingly enough, when Emma marries Joseph, she is right around the common age of marriage for a woman.

    ALSO, you cant ask a victim of abuse if they were abused and rely on that as a good resource for determining abuse. Go ask Warren Jeff’s young brides if they consider their marriages as abuse. Do you really think that answer has no skew? These kinds of stances floor me.

    Still, I do get Jaxon. I’d say most of the post mormon world should understand at least a little of Jaxon’s mindset. I can’t imagine he can finish a mission if he approaches it in the way he has said here, but who knows. Kind of depends on the luck of the draw he gets with a mission president and companions. But I don’t get why he needs to serve a mission if all paths lead back to God eventually. Unless he doesn’t really believe that.

  24. Pish January 23, 2018 at 9:50 am - Reply

    The problem to me with not apologizing or addressing directly past mistakes, many members pretend or think that the status quo is the way it has always been. For example with all of the many theories developed to justify blacks not having the priesthood. Members now are being implicated for promulgating these theories when leaders themselves were oftentimes the source of these theories. The same is now happening with homosexual issues. There is a “cool gays” website, so now we pretend that the church has always been inclusive and helpful to members with “same gender attraction.” The problem with this is that not only do I feel that I have been mistreated with past homosexual policies, statements and publications, but now I have lost the ability to even point to anything when discussing the difficulties I have experienced. Not apologizing and simply removing from public view past wrongful statements removes the dignity from a victim making it impossible for them to even communicate how they have been wronged. It is like being gas-lighted, I tell my family of the things I have suffered, and they respond that I have suffered needlessly because the church loves the sinner and only hates the sin, just look at the website.

    • EDiL13 January 23, 2018 at 1:49 pm - Reply

      I have fairly recently come to the conclusion that it is really impossible to “hate the sin and love the sinner,” because the supposed sin is often part of who and what that person is, so you can’t hate the one and still love the other. However, my husband and most of the rest of my devout Mormon friends disagree with me.

    • RLeeG January 24, 2018 at 1:57 pm - Reply

      Pish, the mormon church and its defenders have made an art out of revisionist history/gas lighting. Anyone who can actually straight face a belief that the mormon church has not taught information that is extremely hurtful and damaging to homosexuals is either very dishonest or very insensitive. I believe its probably more of a case of wanting to defend their church so badly, they do so even at the cost of those they love. Of course the church has made you suffer as a homosexual and it’s not just your misunderstanding or bad interpretation. You have suffered needlessly, but not in the sense they are suggesting. The church needlessly feels the need to paint homosexuals as either broken, wanting to sin, or some other thing born from terrible reasoning.

      And no. I don’t think you can love the sinner and hate the sin. I agree EDiL. Hating such a big part of someone’s life will inevitably skew your perception of them as well as how that “love” comes across. Saying you love the “sinner” and hate their “sin” is probably not perceived as very loving for the receiving party. I hardly trust the L word when its thrown around in such wide swathes within religious contexts anyway. You can go ahead and just keep that kind of love.

  25. Rhonda L Stetson April 11, 2018 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the interview. Unfortunately, I feel this young man is parroting back a lot of things he’s read with no life experience to back him up. There’s really no emotion involved with his “testimony”. He has an air of superiority about him that felt very offensive to me. He claims to know more than his teachers, etc. about religious issues. This just really rubs me the wrong way. I hope that this young man is going to get a “real” education when he gets into the mission field.

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