In part 1 of a Mormon Stories Podcast series on Mormon apologetics, we interview the host of Mormon Matters—Dan Wotherspoon, Brian D. Birch, and Patrick Mason.  In these episodes, the panelists provide a brief history of Mormon apologetics, and discuss the emergence of a new style of apologetics sometimes referred to as “Neo-Apologetics,” which includes the work of Richard Bushman, Terryl and Fiona Givens, and Patrick Mason.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 1:

Part 2:


  1. Bill Jones October 12, 2017 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Not sure whether I will be able to listen without shouting at my IPhone. I will give it my best effort for 20 minutes before deciding….

    • Bill October 13, 2017 at 8:07 am - Reply

      I made it 2/3 of the way through #2 before wanting to scream. John, thanks for your POV–you say what I am thinking in a more diplomatic way!

  2. Neuquino October 13, 2017 at 8:38 am - Reply

    It seemed to me that the only one that was actually talking about the apologetics in a direct way was john dehlin, even with the biases in his rhetoric.
    Everyone else was skirting around, affirming what john was saying but minimalizing the issue.
    For example John points out why BYU’s archaological digs are problematic, everyone else tries to say “well, they did find some interesting things that support the text of the BOM…” and im screaming “NO! There was no direct evidence for the BOM! Stop mixing your biases into the archaeology! They dug where they thought the cities would be and found nothing nephite. No nephite coins, no nephite art, buildings, nothing! Ferguson lost his belief in the literal BOM because of it!”
    The problem with apologetics past and present is theyre always slanting things towards a faith promoting narrative. Always. Redefining beliefs in an unofficial way.
    “Maybe our definition of what a prophet is is wrong” or “the apostles see through a glass darkly.” They havent thought through the implications of those explanations. I wasnt bought and sold on a prophet that cant prophetize.
    I know johns biased, but at least he can address the issues in a direct, no smoke screen kind of way.
    Just say it like it is. The facsimiles show evidence of fraud, the archaology shows evidence of fraud, the 1826 trial, the lying about polygamy, the secret council of 50, all show evidence of J.S. being a fraud.

    • Goto October 14, 2017 at 8:28 am - Reply


  3. Frank October 13, 2017 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    My wife is a TBM (I’m not). I try to help her with the challenges she faces concerning history and problematic past policies that were articulated by the “brethren.” I try to support in her belief that the LDS Church is God’s true church on earth and never try to undermine her faith.

    I bought her Michaels Ash’s book, “Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt,” to help her deal with criticisms of the church. After we finished Ash’s book together, she said something very profound: “When are the apologist going to straighten the brethren out about what the church really believes and teaches? Do you think the Generals Authorities even know what the true doctrines of the church are?” She continued, “Joseph Smith had no difficulty teaching doctrine to the members and say: ‘Thus saith the Lord.'” She still believes because as she says: “The Spirit bears witness to her that the church is true.”

  4. p October 13, 2017 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    Neuquino, in case you haven’t noticed the BOM is now “true” not b/c it’s history but b/c it’s “scripture.” Nobody in my ward, so far as I can tell, has even noticed much less cared. Nobody’s gonna change their belief structure just b/c the foundation holy book is entirely fiction.

    • Jay October 22, 2017 at 7:04 pm - Reply

      “Nobody’s gonna change their belief structure just b/c the foundation holy book is entirely fiction.”

      True. Except for the 10 million former members who left.

  5. Doubting Thomas October 13, 2017 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    Neo-apologist is the exact term to use and one that I have been using in my personal conversations to describe the Givens, Richard Bushman, and Adam Miller. The new apologists are serving up a cafeteria plan of Mormon thought and I initially loved the buffet they were putting out… Then it hit me: They could never put forth their positions at General Conference. Top Mormon leaders wouldn’t stand for it and many TBM’s would be suspect of it.

    As an example, I purchased a couple of Adam Miller’s books for my TBM kids. They liked and agreed with some of his positions, but were quick to inform me of the differences between what Adam was writing and what the church is teaching.

    I think these neo-apologists are thoughtful, genuine, and believe they are doing good. I’m sure their messages are resonating with some struggling members; however, when you realize the official positions of the church don’t match up with their thoughtful alternatives, one can only conclude they are just doing whatever they can to try and keep people in the boat. I’m sure there is a general authority that serves as a handler for the firesides mentioned in the podcast.

    Neo-apologists are just one more way LDS leaders are trying to stop the bleeding. They know the Maxwell Institute won’t work with younger thoughtful members who are willing to challenge authoritative positions.

    • Someone Familiar! November 7, 2017 at 1:57 pm - Reply

      Hi. Doubting Thomas. I think the main reason why Givens’s, Bushman, Miller, etc. could never put forth their positions at General Conference is because they aren’t General Authorities, and are therefore not called on to speak in GC. There are, however, resonances between their work and things we hear at GC. Patrick Mason’s “Planted” not infrequently quotes from General Conference addresses.

      In terms of noticing “differences between what Adam was writing and what the church is teaching,” I’m happy to hear your children are able to recognize diversity in thought at Church. I believe that’s healthy. It opens space for personal revelation, and it can provide opportunities to learn to appreciate and love people in relationships where we don’t always see eye to eye on everything. It’s true that some books the Maxwell Institute publishes may include something that seems unfamiliar to church members. At the same time, as an entity of Brigham Young University, the Institute publishes things within the parameters of the Church’s expectations.

      Miller’s “Letters to a Young Mormon” is set to come out this January in a second expanded edition, co-published with Deseret Book. I was gratified to see this book quoted in a devotional, and later in the Ensign, by Elder Christofferson, as well.

  6. Mie October 13, 2017 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    The problem with so-called neo – apologetics is that it does not help with the ‘3 am moments’ in life , when people are struggling with things like terminal illness and the like, and all you now have to rely on is a whole lot of strained and nuanced interpretations, that was the strength of the old narrative which is now bankrupt. You don’t have to be in a Church to have a mystical approach to life, and a strained and nuanced belief system is incompatible with the domineering and authoritative approach of the Church. The advent of the internet has truly ‘let the cat out of the bag’ and there is now no going back in any substantial way, a sense of community and involvement can all be found elsewhere without the trappings of manipulation, exploitation , control and even a form of monetary extortion based on claims of religious authority.

  7. Goto October 14, 2017 at 8:25 am - Reply

    Patrick just blamed those of us who have left for taking the religion to literal. That was not fair and not honest. Either it is all true or not, according to one of his prophets. I hate that people can blame others and make excuses for the church’s lies and deceit. I left, after 43 years of service and while servicing in a bishopric, because the essays blew me away, not because I was to literal, because I was to faithful to the narrative that the B of M was literal, the PofG was a translation, and that there was one First Vision. I find Patrick not to be a good man but a dishoinest and disingenuous man—breaks my heart!

  8. Fan of John October 14, 2017 at 10:04 am - Reply

    John ,John ,John you had those parcel mouth speaking sons of slitherin
    On your show and you soft balled it ? I was really hoping for something that would make Kim Jong uh say wow that was a little harsh . These guys are just a new brand of sleeping pill for the membership. I did find it humorous how they spent the bulk of the show telling you how time constrained they where . They did seem to be very personable individual’s maybe someday they can man up and look at the evidence clearly .

  9. Emma October 14, 2017 at 10:46 am - Reply

    So bored I could hardly stand it
    John the thing I like about your podcast is that you take very important issues that are shocking or disturbing and you bring the truth out about them this podcast had none of those elements

    The only thing that was interesting was the last 10 minutes where John was “straightforward about what the church has done and said
    Apologetics did their thing with their Long words and there dancing around issues it’s always frustrating to listen to them and it continues to be It’s interesting that they said straightforward a couple times and yet that’s exactly the opposite of what the apologetics do
    To me it’s a waste of time to listen to them because they just go in circles or try to make it appear something it’s not …..they don’t deal with the facts straightforward
    Their education and many words make it very frustrating to get to the basic issues of truth
    They rely on their great intellectual ability and their excellent debate skills and use of words and ideas to confuse us and distract us

    My mantra has been search for the truth
    When you search for the truth with apologetics you get lost in the maze and Mire of distractions and excuses
    I don’t see how these podcasts are helping anyone in anyway especially not those of us who actually searching for the truth and people who have the courage and the honesty to admit it their whole goal is to keep people coming to church using shades of gray

    I have to ask myself was there any reason I needed to listen to this podcast did I learn anything important I would really suggest that you do no more of the podcast with apologetics it’s a total waste of time and very confusing—and these podcast don’t represent your purpose and the reputation you’ve established

    John there is so much important truth and facts that are disturbing about the history and the present doings of the church we need to uncover those things and discuss them and bring them to light please don’t waste your time with apologetics

    Sorry to be so blunt but I’m really looking to you to bring us that kind of information and I think I represent the majority of your listeners

    • beth October 16, 2017 at 5:16 am - Reply

      l agree with you completely, l really think you hit the nail on the head and l hope we see no more or much less of this kind of interview as it is just like chasing your tail around and around, never really getting anywhere and going over the same subject again and again, for me personally, it would be far more interesting to haveJjon interview people like dan vogol who actually know properly the real history of the church so l am always hopeful of that. well done and thanks for being honest and for speaking out we all need to be like that more often we feel so sure about something for to make any real changes take place, but well done to Jon for giving it his best shot where he could to get the truth out,well done.

  10. Michael October 15, 2017 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    Dan Witherspoon reveals a lot with his oft used word “suppose”. He states; it’s “suppose” to be messy. It’s “suppose” to be difficult. His use of suppose packs a lot of meaning and reveals the heart of the Neo apologist and presupposes a purpose, a plan and a path. This presupposition keeps these Neo apologists always one step ahead of facing the ultimate question of religious belief. And that is if there really is a God or not. Or rather what is “God.” I don’t mean intellectually. I’m sure they have. I mean emotionally. After all we are far more emotional beings than rational. And its clear that if they have truly faced that question emotionally they have gone running from that question in a very clear and comfortable direction. These Neo apologist can concede every single point of historicity and factual truth and still find “value” in the religion. Why? Because it works for them, it makes them feel good, its comfortable. Because of our very human desire to feel good and comfortable its easy to cling to the slightest shred of emotional confirmation even amplifying an emotional response to the point of feeling awe, amazement and even wonder to otherwise common emotions. And while they may see how others can be mislead by feelings they seem unwilling to shine that intellectual light onto there own psychology and admit that it may be possible that there super special spiritual and unexplainable experiences are actually not as unique as they think they are. I think if they realized that they like all humans before them are capable of self delusion then they may be getting closer to the real heart of the issue between Neo apologists and people in “crisis”. They are an excellent example of how smart people can believe in ridiculous things. They seemingly fail to fully appreciate mans amazing ability to not only believe in fiction but to build intricate, elaborate almost binding interseptal realties that are nevertheless objectively false, but paradoxically can exert tremendous real power in the hearts and minds of humans and further that we have been doing it for thousands and thousands of years. This is not because it is suppose to be but it is because we are capable and it has always been.

    • Michael October 15, 2017 at 12:27 pm - Reply

      I meant to say intersubjective reality not interseptal. I slipped a dental term in by accident.

  11. Lindsey October 16, 2017 at 12:22 am - Reply

    Miesays…Thank you for your remarks. They are so profound to me. I have had to deal with that exact 3 am moment in life, facing cancer just a few months after I reluctantly realized that the doctrines and beliefs I had chosen to base my life on for the last 34 years were no less than lies. I made the decision to join as a teenager and did everything I could, to do what was asked of me. The whole purpose of my life was shaken…where did I really come from, why was I really here and of course where was I going. Now perhaps I wouldn’t see any of my loved ones again after I left this life. I did not want to find out the things I did. I had a husband who could no longer live his life based on a religion where the facts were fiction. He could not keep this to himself. We were devastated. A church that constantly asked us to be honest in all our dealings, stretched the truth and lied about so much. Even worse, now I questioned everything and no longer could even Christianity or any religion. Once I stepped out of the box, I could not step back in.
    Yes, the apologetics always find some sort of an answer for every question there is. They are the great debators who will never admit defeat on any of their stances no matter what the evidence proves.. There is no point in joining the discussion.
    John, you will always be one of my biggest heroes for your strength and willingness to do Mormon Stories. I’m sure you have enriched and probably saved countless lives. I know you did mine.
    I have learned much, been enlightened and inspired and found great strength in your podcasts.
    But not with this one. This is the only one I couldn’t make sense of what they were saying. I started out being interested in what they had to offer. However quickly, I felt like their main purpose was to show how intelligent, educated and learned they were- and the average listener was not. I found them difficult to understand and incredibly boring. They seemed belittling and condescending besides everything else that did not make sense because it just plain didn’t make sense! Ok- so maybe I am as uneducated as they wanted me to feel!! No actually I don’t believe that lie either.
    I will be hard-pressed to listen to anything else they have to say or any more of these apologetic topics.
    But thank you, thank you John from the bottom of my heart for all you have done and are continuing to do. I look forward to many many more of your podcasts.

  12. Dwayne October 16, 2017 at 8:42 am - Reply

    So many angry commenters. Of all the groups of people I’ve known, angry atheists are the loneliest and saddest of all. “John, stop wasting your time” is their response to people with different viewpoints. A few quick points: No evolutionary scholar, as far as I know, is willing to make the leap from a single celled organism to the intelligent life we have today. That’s why we’re looking for signs of life on on Mars, Moons, and Comets. No recognized New Testament scholar, as far as I am aware, believes that Jesus never lived. Richard Dawkins is not a NT scholar. Recently, a church group offered to donate $50,000 to a poor school in order to bring their sports field up to date with artificial turf. They asked that the words, “Bless us All” be put on the sidelines. Atheists filed lawsuits and killed the idea and the kids are still playing on a chunky piece of old farm ground. Atheists have no tolerance for the opinions of others while they themselves have almost no history of making any group contributions to make the world a better place. Now, atheists will comment and say, “What does this have to do with Mormonism?” Everything. Mormons have a right to express their freedoms without a bunch of narrow minded hatemongers attacking the program, guests and the host because he won’t participate in your diatribe.

    • Bill October 16, 2017 at 4:54 pm - Reply

      This atheist is not angry at all. I smile and chuckle when these guys tie themselves in knots and try to explain the unexplainable. On the one side you have a veritable MOUNTAIN of Mormon and Christian apologetics—thousands of words trying to make sense of things that do not make sense. On the other side you have “It’s all BS.” That’s it. Plain and simple. It’s all BS. Atheism has brought more peace to my life than religion ever did. When a hurricane kills people, I say “stuff happens.” I don’t waste any time trying to justify how a loving god would allow it. When BY teaches that polygamy is essential for salvation and 100 years later GBH says that it is not necessarily doctrinal, I just smile and am glad that I no longer have to try to square the circle.

    • Rude Dog October 17, 2017 at 5:53 am - Reply

      Not sure where you get your information, however most, if not all scholars of evolutionary theory absolutely make the leap from single celled organism to ourselves, the higher primates, or homo sapien sapien, (as opposed to homo sapien neanderthalensis). In fact, that’s the entire crux of evolutionary theory. You may be confusing abiogenesis, or the leap from the primordial soup to the first unique molecules that lead to entirely self replicating RNA. It’s true, we don’t know how the first basic forms of life began. However from the first replicating RNA molecules all the way to the higher mammals, (which we are by no means superior or dominant, as we are seemingly dominated by bacteria and viruses) we do know, and 99.9% of evolutionary scholars, professors, biologists, hell even first year BYU students know these basic facts, that we are an evolved bi-pedal hominid, which I agree with you, is a big problem for mono-theistic, Abrahamic religions. Your comment doesn’t help your argument, as it confirms to this atheist that the religious will use various means, much of it dishonest, to promote a false portrayal of reality.

      • Dwayne October 20, 2017 at 10:13 pm - Reply

        Mormons are not monotheistic, they are henotheistic. My quote on evolution is one I borrowed from Neil Degrasse, an absolute atheist as far as I know.

    • Robert Hodge October 17, 2017 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      Narrow minded hate mongers? Now who is being narrow minded? Who is being judgmental?

  13. Kimball October 16, 2017 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    Kudos, John–and also Dan–for inviting ation Brian Birch (who has argued: “Mormon studies absent theological and apologetic voices is artificially exclusionary and unproductive. […T]he appeal to religious authority in deflecting critical arguments can be equally inappropriate and detrimental”) and Patrick Mason (who has campaigned for greater acceptance of doubters in Mormon culture, e.g., once saying, “I don’t think that we can just blame the doubters for not believing enough. Indeed, in some cases they were set up by being asked to believe too much, either in the absence of actual data or in doctrinal propositions or theological frameworks that could not stand the test of time….”) to Mormon Stories!

  14. Jason October 17, 2017 at 8:49 am - Reply

    Great podcast! Thank you for bringing on serious faithful Mormon voices. Although I disagree with many of their conclusions, I appreciate the sincere, validating, and pastoral approach of these neo-apologists. Unlike the old FARMS group, this new guard will not be offending people out of the Church, and will help to enable open discussions among believing, struggling, and unbelieving family members.

  15. Jeff October 18, 2017 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    I very much appreciate this discussion. From somebody who has been going through a “faith crisis” over the past 2 1/2 year for the specific reasons stated by John, my initial desire was to find strong active leaders who were familiar with, yet had found a way to reconcile the concerns about the history and truth claims. I was drawn to books and podcasts with the Bushmans and the Givens because they gave me hope.

    I am finding now that I am less concerned about finding a way to reconcile the messy history and more concerned about whether or not the claims were intentionally misleading to create a beautiful story or if it was simply ignorance and what we now call “fallibility”. I’ve been taught my whole life to be honest and have integrity and I see a lack thereof in the history of the church again and again and again.

    I’ve lived and continue to live straight as an arrow in the faith of the LDS church for the specific reason that what I was taught was true and came directly from God. There was never a doubt. It is another path to entirely to give your time, your talents and your tithes to a hypothetical history. I don’t want the history massaged with a brand new narrative slowly introduced into the curriculum…I want the truth. It’s as simple as that. If the truth is unknown then stop pretending to know.

  16. MikeH October 18, 2017 at 9:35 pm - Reply

    John, I liked the can of whip-ass you opened up in the end! But WTF happened after that when Dan started spouting a bunch of non-sense that hurt my brain and then you said you would still be in the church today? It was like you had some repulsive bro moment with Dan, without even a beer!! No offense to Dan, but I can’t stand to listen to the guy, and would be happy if he stayed over in MM. Thumbs up on the goatee and the hair!

  17. westerly62 October 21, 2017 at 11:30 am - Reply

    This was a tough listen. I’m not really sure if I’ll continue with it if it does become a “series”.

    I’m sorry to be so blunt but mormon apologists, whether of the literalist FARMS/FAIR stripe or the new neo-apologist school, exist to give cover for the dishonesty of the LDS leadership. This includes the current lot spiritually abusive liars all the way back to Joseph Smith himself. To entice new converts (read victims) Mormonism requires a certain level of dishonesty and it’s the job of the apologist to help obscure foundational facts that fully and perfectly discredit the whole “restoration” claim.

    IMHO, Patrick (around 19:10 in Part #2) makes my case perfectly when he justifies making the infamous topical essays difficult to find because new converts don’t have the spiritual maturity to handle their content. Contrast this to John’s pointing out that many (if not almost all) of would have made different choices had we been in possession of the information contained in them.

    The most straightforward example that I can think to give is the so-called “translation” of the BoM as admitted to in the relevant essay. To this day, the church is presenting a dishonest picture of how the BoM was produced and the witness’s/scribe’s experiential access to them. On page 7 of the current “Preach My Gospel” missionary manual, the investigator is presented with a picture that shows an oil lamp lit table with the plates lying between Smith and Cowdery. Joseph is running his fingers over a line on the plates while Cowdery takes dictation.

    The essays and the “coming clean” article in the Oct. 2015 article not only admit that this “translation” narrative that we’ve all been taught is entirely false but then they go on to explain the inaccurate (deceptive) nature of the above-mentioned artwork ( blaming the painters. no less) As I’ve attempted to point out when occasion has allowed, I am absolutely positive that had my newlywed wife, who was “introduced” to the missionaries by my sister while I was out of town on business, been provided an accurate picture of the the BoM’s “translation” process (as currently admitted in the essay and ensign article) she would have told the mishies to “take that nonsense down the road and sell it to someone else”. There is no way she would have joined if she knew about a) the head in the hat, b) the absence of any physical plates during “translation”, c) the visionary nature of the witness’ experience with the plates. As a matter of fact, I’d be so bold as to say that almost no one in their right mind would ever join if the mishies had to teach the BoM “translation” story straight up.

    As John very correctly pointed out concerning life decisions that are made without all of the pertinent facts on the table, had my convert wife not drug the church back in my life (with me being very resistant for years) we would have made very different life choices. Instead, mormonism had been a strain in our relationship for much of our 28 years together. I tried to give it fair chance for about a decade but in the end, I found it to be just as ugly and spiritually damaging as I had when I first rejected in my late teens. However, if I would have been in possession of the facts presented in the essays from the beginning, especially the scriptural “translation” and polyandry stuff, there is zero chance that I would have given the church a chance at all.

    I’m sorry but Mormon apologetics is a steaming pile of dishonest bull**** in all of its forms, whether interpreted through a “neo” lens or an orthodox one. The restoration cannot be sold to the un-indoctrinated without hiding many of the pertinent facts and it has always been the job of the apologist to muddy the waters so that those facts cannot be clearly seen until after the church has had its heavy-handed way with someone’s reasoning process.

    As Patrick Mason pointed out (around 32:10 in Part 2) the nuance and non-literalism of his neo-apologetic approach is designed to help the indoctrinated (ie. those raised in the church) deal with the issues that arise from being fed the official correlated cock-n-bull story for their entire lives. Whether or not, that’s proper approach to take “after” the brethren have come clean to the entire church can be argued but IMHO there is absolutely no moral case to made for the furthering of its missionary efforts until this problem of hiding foundational facts has been addressed and the entire church knows that the “dominate (or was it prevailing) narrative” is a premeditated lie.

    In short, it may be the moral thing to do to help multi-generational lifelong Mormons remain “Planted” but not at the expense of the allowing for the immoral practice of getting “Converted” using half-truths and outright lies.

  18. Jay October 22, 2017 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    The “tools of scholarship” worked just as they are supposed to work.

    Scholars established that the mormon church truth claims are false. The book is closed. It’s over.

    The apologists should consider making youtube videos titled “how it should have ended.”

  19. Rico_ October 24, 2017 at 12:42 am - Reply

    Martin Luther, hero of the Protestant Reformation, preached “sola scriptura” or the “Bible alone” as the sole basis for Church doctrine and Rule of the Faith. Ironically, even as he clung tenaciously to that belief, that didn’t stop him from excluding whole books of scripture as he produced his German Bible for his newly formed German religion. The Bible it seems wasn’t Protestant enough, so he had to revise it to suit his teachings.

    Mormonism, a religion formed along Thomas Muntzer’s Anabaptist doctrines of the Radical Reformation (ie, those Protestants that Luther didn’t really like because he found them too extreme), began with the idea of direct revelation from God himself. The morning breaks, the shadows flee. After the long dark ages of medieval superstitions, God finally breaks his silence, and began speaking directly to Joseph Smith. Ironically, these days none of Smith’s alleged successors, neither Monson, Eyring, nor Uchtdorf can tell us what God just told them. A non-successor, Denver Snuffer, seems to be the man doing that job.

    By the late 19th century, Protestant “sola scriptura” was dead. The liberal Protestant theologians of Germany had declared the Bible to be nothing more than a book of pious myths. Faith and Reason are now completely severed from each other. Without Reason, the only paths left for the Protestant is to become atheist/agnostic or join the Pentecostals.

    The Mormon “neo-apologetic” movement is I think the equivalent of the 19th century German liberal Protestant movement. The guys interviewed in this podcast are sincere, but like Luther, they are blind to the irony of their situation. Luther thought he was being a good Protestant by mangling his Lutheran Bible. Likewise these apologists believe in the righteousness of their cause. They think they’re being good Mormons by reinterpreting Mormonism the way 19th century Protestant liberals reinterpreted the Bible. Problem is, many of their ideas won’t stand in a General conference.

    Mormonism, like any philosophical movement, has its presuppositions. Those presuppositions have long ago collapsed. No rebuilding on a collapsed foundation will ever work. Unfortunately for Mormons, they don’t have the equivalent of a Pentecostal movement for those who want the Mormon faith minus its Mormon reasons.

  20. Tracy Austin October 25, 2017 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    Thank you gentlemen.

    No women, really?!

    I think this is an excellent podcast and it was moderated fairly. I think the commentators stayed true to their views in a friendly way, and strived to identify their particular bias, albeit limiting bias is a difficult thing to do. Well done.

    My hearing:

    The church is not true per se in terms of the only true religion, but it is good and as good as any Christian denomination.
    We can get closer to our spiritual self and to ‘God’ via Mormonism.
    Joseph no doubt strived for the same and this is his particular brand, it can bring transcendence if you close your mind to the mad bits.

    Moving on from Mormonism, I believe one can get the same access to inner spirituality in other religions and via other means, humanism or just being a thoughtful and compassionate person.
    If you want to continue on the LDS journey, in a TBM or nuanced way, go for it. God with within ultimately.
    As I’ve relinquished belief in many of the specific Mormon theological truth claims, I’ve found an inner peace and transcendence with God. Go me.

    As a TBM convert for over thirty years, I’ve come to the conclusion that the claims of Mormonism (outside of the main tenets of Christianity) are not necessary for salvation.

    However, there is a distinct mormon secret sauce, which I believe is around heritage, group identity and community. I give it reverence and praise. I think there are historical reasons regarding why this secret sauce came to be in Mormonism. The LDS community feels very similar to my experience with Jewish, Hindu and Muslim communities, which have their own secret sauce. We have many Indians in my street and there have been parties galore and community events +++ during Diwali. I can sense the tight knit happy community feeling akin to my local LDS community.

    A few comments.

    As a convert, I inquired about polygamy during my missionary lessons and was told lies or an hundredth part truth. Polygamy was a very important issue for me. I relied on the missionaries to tell me the scoop as back in the day, I had no other means of investigation.
    I gave the same polygamy rhetoric on my mission. One lady I taught and was baptized effectively slammed the door in our faces after baptism when she learned about the fuller version of Mormonism. As a missionary, I was stumped and didn’t know why she would be so mad at us. I know now.
    With every part of my being, I don’t think there should be justification for ‘lying for the Lord’.
    I take umbrage at the suggestion that grown adults making life changing decisions should be given milk before meat. It is dishonest and a travesty. A religion that asks us to dilute its main doctrine in the hope of conversion is on very shaky soil.

    This is a tough moment and all voices should be welcomed. Agree. And it should be noisy, full of push back and challenging for us all. Reflection and adjustment are also necessary.

    However, the tough moment comes as a result of a lack of openness and transparency. No religion should be too high and mighty for internal challenge and also for wider conversation within and with its membership. Having a wonderful group of people should not protect any organization from accountability. It’s accountability that will take the organization forward, not the happy clappy aspects.

    We cannot continue to deflect. Agree. However, we have a general membership who are very happy to continue comfortably numb. I’m not sure what the drivers will be to shift this, but at the moment, progress is at a snails pace.

    One last comment on neoapologists. The Givens came to southern England to do a round of fireside. A stake president friend was told that they should be wary of the work that they are doing and curb too much of the same. While there is a degree of slack given within the church to neoapologists, my feeling is that they are not fully embraced by the Brethren, but they are a useful tool for steadying the ship.

    My 2 cents.

    • Mike October 25, 2017 at 11:22 pm - Reply

      @TracyAustin It’s like you have been listening to my almost-daily inner thoughts about where I stand with Mormonism.

  21. Dan Langlois November 10, 2017 at 11:59 pm - Reply

    My own attitude is easy — I think apologists will be better at their calling, if they themselves know that this stuff isn’t true. It offers more options, they know better not to commit themselves. This. Stuff. Isn’t. True. Yet I am nevertheless bemused by how different people are in their thinking. This isn’t only about Mormonism, it’s about psychology of belief. Frustrating as it is, you know from your dealings with people, in your own immediate family and etc., that people never agree. They don’t admit that you are right and they are wrong. I know how it is..I’m sympathetic..

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