Today Mormon Stories is joined by Rod Meldrum for what we hope will be an interesting multi-part series on what physical evidence led him to dedicate his life to lecturing and writing about the Book of Mormon. Rod is the founder of the Book of Mormon Heartland Model and promoter of the Universal Model. In part one, we hear Rod’s story!

In Part 2 this episode, we explore Rod’s faith and ask him about the racist passages of scripture, what that means, and how it affects the prophet’s ability to lead and proclaim doctrine. This is a bit of a different discussion than normally seen on Mormon Stories, so bear with us as we try our best to dissect these triggering and foundational problems in Mormonism.

Show Notes (part 1):

Show notes (part 2):


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  1. Patrice March 3, 2022 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    I wish you had done a trigger warning for black people. I am a NeverMo who loves your show. I had no idea who this guy was and eagerly went to an episode on race where I was then bombarded with racism wrapped in ahistorical falsehoods. This was very upsetting and the queries you posed were inadequate in exposing the many falsehoods he spewed

  2. Timmy Tim March 4, 2022 at 11:44 am - Reply

    I haven’t finished this episode yet so I can’t comment on the racial issues referenced in the first post, however, I don’t understand why it would be John’s job to to uncover these so-called falsehoods when interviewing an apologist.

    This is Mormon stories podcast. Can’t they just get the guy’s story without antagonizing him?

    It takes some serious courage for a TBM apologist to come on this podcast. Give the guy some grace.

    • Chris March 11, 2022 at 2:45 pm - Reply

      Could not agree more. I love Mormon Stories but what happened to allowing those being interviewed to tell their story, THEIR way?

  3. Jarom March 4, 2022 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    This was hard to listen to.
    This is what it sounds like when the church turns good people into racists. Many of us who have left the church have come to realize we were racists by belief, and have had to come to terms with it.

  4. Jim Blumel March 4, 2022 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    Have to remember this is the guy who wanted to change science into something that would make his theories of Mormonism real and believable.

  5. Mike March 4, 2022 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    I haven’t finished Ep 2 yet, but listening to Meldrum talk about slavery, racism etc is absolutely infuriating. His defense of slavery, racism and other difficult topics was essentially “How it was – and how it is – is how God wanted it to be”, and he “knows” this because that’s what the prophets have said. He couldn’t condemn objectively horrible things said or done by church leaders and the institution because it might imply that they were not actually prophets.

    This is EXACTLY the systemic racism that Meldrum argued does not exist in the church. He has to support church leaders instead of those or have suffered or are suffering from the impact of racism. This attitude is central to what sustains the racism in the church.

    While I agree with Timmy Timm that there was antagonism in the interview, I also think that it’s exactly the kind of exchange that is needed to help shine light on the objectively weak, awful, racist and irrational thinking that believing members of the church have to hold onto in order to maintain their belief that the church is led by people that are just doing what god told them to do.

  6. Greg March 5, 2022 at 11:50 am - Reply

    John acts like every white person is racist and only white people are racists and all while people have benefited from their racism. This simply isn’t true. Apparently John never studied world history. Africans have been raping and pillaging other Africans and committing genocide for centuries. Native Americans killed and enslaved each other long before whites reached the Americas. Asians have done likewise. And my ancestors were poor white immigrants from Ireland and Wales. To act like African Americans and other people of color aren’t or can’t be racist is laughable. Racism exists. Racists exist. It’s wrong no matter the race or color. To act like it’s a while only thing and hyper focus on it so much is absurd.

    • Dallin March 5, 2022 at 7:08 pm - Reply

      Greg – I’m sure you know very well that the scope of John’s interview was limited to how the Bible and Book of Mormon reference “the curse” of dark skin and how religion in general and the Mormon church in particular use their scriptures to marginalize people of color. Yet for some reason you just couldn’t resist using this as an opportunity to hit your right wing talking points. You feel better? Superior maybe? Good for you.

    • C A Brown April 6, 2024 at 3:23 pm - Reply

      God love you you clearly do not understand what racism is. It’s thinking that another group of people is inherently less than you are, and condoning inhumane treatment of them. Your examples make no sense whatsoever.

  7. Anon March 6, 2022 at 9:03 am - Reply

    To the best of my knowledge, this history has never been covered on Mormon Stories. Maybe now is a good time?

  8. drj9845 March 7, 2022 at 5:03 am - Reply

    I am very disappointed by these interviews. The podcasts are entitled “RODNEY MELDRUM AND THE BOOK OF MORMON HEARTLAND MODEL”. After well over six hours, there was virtually no discussion of the “HEARTLAND MODEL”. I particularly wonder how much of the second podcast reflected the moderator’s frustration over not being able to confront anyone over the relatively recent Brad Wilcox comments. Such a discussion would be meaningful if it involved someone claiming authority to speak for the Church. It is far less meaningful to have such a discussion with someone like Meldrum who does not claim authority to speak for the Church and, by all indications, had not even taken time to think through the issues discussed. How was this helpful?

  9. Bill Ramsey March 7, 2022 at 5:56 am - Reply

    The six year series on the Vikings gives a person a way better understanding into man making a god .
    How much influence did the vandals from the north have on the so called Christian’s teachings and traditions. Slavery and racism have been around since written time began . Human sacrifice is what we should all focus on . The border crisis in Mexico , the way we as Mormons treat our wayward children . The idea of being Gods inveitro. Joseph smith was charismatic. He was larger than life at a time when people felt a need to find the real God of the universe. Very little of his writings were authentic, 3rd Nephi 2 nd Nephi , those alone discredit the man and his so called seer stone and his top hat .
    Many of us are in our latter years of life and we were raised in the confines of the covenant path. Many of us have witnessed unexplainable things in our lives . Some of us are fortunate to have had , a close relationship with the god we were brought up to worship . It’s all very personal . And it’s crazy to vilify a conservative t b m about slavery or doctrines that promote polygamy. And then sacrifice an unborn child for the freedoms that they fought so hard for in the free choice movement. It’s the cumulative pattern of truth when it is beaten into shape on the Anvil of information. Does the iron hate the hammer? Are we not all enduring some difficult mind bending by listening to these podcasts? The left seems to have a few valid arguments here . What kind of God would sanction the killing of entire civilizations? What kind of god would inhabit the pages of the first five books of the Old Testament? Remember father Abraham gave raise to the five religious groups that dominate the narrative to this day . We are all at the gates this day seeking the further light and knowledge he promised to send. And all we can do is question those who don’t see things the way we do . It’s like two blind men trying to describe the beauty of woman having never had eyesight. Without interaction with a woman both could only retell stories they had heard or descriptions they had been given by others. But both having been raised by a mother , would give the only description they would know for sure . The mothers of this world still rule . No matter how we look at it she is the problem and the solution. Mormon stories has had many wonderful mothers describing the cataclysmic effects of old joes teachings on them . Most were here defending, a gay child or a guilty conscience, because they were brave enough to leave the covenant path and take their new found freedom and do something radically different. Mary really suffered more at the cross . Only a few recognize what she went through. How about Lucy Mack ? How about Emma hale? I could list many others, who John has interviewed over the many years of his podcast . Love really is the defining feature of our mothers, we all have had one . And hopefully we have an extraordinary one waiting on high for us when this pounding is complete here on this earth. I have grown to hate the very environment I was raised in, because I have listened to blind men tell me how I should live so I can keep what when I die? god tells me truth matters a mothers love is in fact the only gift we were given when we came to this earth. After all she risked her life so we could come down here and be tested. To the few of us who would stray , and break our mothers hearts to get to the truth , I salute you. And if you are lucky enough to have your eyesight. Be thankful for the only god responsible for your being here . Only the things we are brave enough to control are we judged for in the end , and if love tips the scale in the right direction for you . Then you mother did her part in your eternity.

  10. Heather March 7, 2022 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    So all the “marked” unbelievers just so happened to live closer to the equator? Makes no sense.

  11. D March 7, 2022 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Super painful to watch/listen to this one. Hour after hour of John trying to trap Rod into admissions as Rod contorted in every possible manner to avoid making the sought after admissions. Then it turned heavily political toward the end and just lost all semblance of any productive dialogue. Exhausting to listen to. I continued because I assumed the nonsense would end at some point. It never did. Huge fan of Mormon Stories. Some episodes just whiff.

  12. Tamara March 8, 2022 at 7:39 am - Reply

    Wow. This is mind blowing. As the Interview continues I can’t believe my ears. Rodney is small minded, racist and offensive. I’ve never felt more confident in NOT believing in God than I do after listening to this nonsense. Scary!

  13. Gail March 9, 2022 at 9:32 am - Reply

    My thoughts on apologists are not changing at all. People who want to dance in light minded fashion and have it both ways while not being able to fully claim what they truly believe. I’m frustrated by this listen.

    • John Dehlin March 9, 2022 at 9:48 am - Reply

      Me too.

      • Timmy Tim March 10, 2022 at 1:50 pm - Reply

        2 more points:

        1. I don’t think the Mormon Stories crew quite drove home the point with Rod that there are PRESENT AND CURRENT EFFECTS from our racist past (and I’m not saying our present doesn’t have racial issues). Rod just wants to say that “nobody alive had any part in slavery” and ignore all the lasting effects of that slavery and racism. You cannot get a right wing conservative to acknowledge the ongoing harm to POC.

        2. Mormonism’s doctrine of forgiveness requires repentance as a prerequisite for forgiveness. Mormonism’ s doctrine disagrees with forgiveness without repentance. Let’s apply the same standard to the church: Go through the repentance process first, then we can discuss forgiveness.

  14. Tyler March 11, 2022 at 11:12 am - Reply

    This one was painful. As I listened, I hoped Rod would acknowledge the racists teachings taught by past church leaders and contained in the scriptures and then shut up. That is what HE can do. ACKNOWLEDGE AND SHUT UP. When I was a member of the mormon church, I did not realize I harbored racists thoughts and feelings. I believed that black people were less valiant in the per-existence. I believed I was more valiant than the millions of black people that came before me and was blessed with the gospel and priesthood because of my righteousness. I am ashamed and sorry I believed this. Now that I have acknowledged this. I will shut up.

  15. Malone March 11, 2022 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Damn John let the guy tell his story the way he wants rather than the way you want him to. No defending Rodney in any way but why invite a person on and then keep telling him what and how to share his story.

  16. JR March 11, 2022 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    What these people Ignore and purposely forget is that the Leaders of this church have a higher calling. They are held to a higher standard. They profess to speak for God and Challenge and discredit any and all those who counter that claim. They claim authority and rite for the direct communication via revelation to know Gods will. They can never claim that its leaders were victims of Trends or social pressures or habits of culture. They cant have it both ways, the joys of Leadership without the pains of responsibility. This episode makes me feel like im surrounded by a bunch of Nazi’s who justify how the murdering of 6 million Jews by saying they were fulfilling prophesy. I am just very sad to see how mankind can justify anything and that the ones who we expect to be the most moral can lose their ability to know the difference between right and wrong.

  17. Nathan Edvalson March 12, 2022 at 6:44 am - Reply

    Just listening now. Still waiting to hear but the fact that we are exploring the Bible literally and we haven’t yet addressed that with Cain’s curse skin color was never mentioned. What am I missing?

    • David March 17, 2022 at 3:29 pm - Reply

      Nope, the Bible doesn’t mention anything about Cain’s skin colour. It just says that God marked him (after cursing him that he wouldn’t be fruitful in farming and that anyone who killed him would be avenged sevenfold) in Genesis 4:15. Cain then went on to build a city and fathered Enoch…
      The mark being a skin of blackness is a more modern Christian idea which is clearly described in the Book of Mormon as a sore cursing and also brought up in the PoGP.

  18. Nathan Edvalson March 13, 2022 at 9:27 am - Reply

    Where do we get the data saying that marriage at 14 was common. Seems like a very common assumption I hear all the time is there research to support that statement. I know growing up I was always told that but I would like to know.

    • John Dehlin March 13, 2022 at 9:37 am - Reply

      Marriage at 14 was not common.

      • Nathan Edvalson March 13, 2022 at 7:06 pm - Reply

        That’s what I thought and that is what I have been saying. I looked up some census records and it seemed like 20’s was the average age.

  19. Laura March 14, 2022 at 1:21 am - Reply

    Meldrum!! It is NOT true that marriage was common at 14 during Joseph Smith’s time. And this interview was so, so, so painful!! Meldrum talked in circles and red herrings and obfuscation and false history and on and on and on . . .
    This guy is so full of sh–!

  20. Cory March 19, 2022 at 10:14 am - Reply

    It’s very, very painful to listen to a full-grown man giving such uninformed, uneducated answers. And this is only talking about race, not to mention his ideas about creation, age of the earth, etc.!

  21. cl_rand March 20, 2022 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    Whoa! I listened to about half of part 1 and roughly 30 minutes of part 2 before I asked myself how much more of this tail chasing logic, which Mormon apologists seem to pride themselves on, do I really need to hear? After reading the comments I’m almost certain I’ll file the rest of the interview under my ‘time you can never get back’ papers and move on.

  22. Will March 31, 2022 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    This was hard to listen. Racists are gonna be always racists.

  23. Mike July 8, 2022 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    I do not like the second episode. Nobody knows the answers to most of these questions regarding race. There’s no proof for any of these assumptions. Not sure what we gain from this conversation other than looking silly sharing opinions that can’t be proven.

  24. Josh August 29, 2022 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    Well..I’m only 1 hour 40 mins into part 1 and went to the comments to see what others were thinking. Apparently it gets worse? I was already getting mighty frustrated hearing these opinions. I do not intend any disrespect. But As a 40 year old man I can not imagine being 20 years older and so uneducated and naive about what life is like for someone different than I. Religion is dangerous. Period. Case in point. It can uplift and assist people, absolutely. it;s also destructive and used to brainwash people. Scary.

  25. Tim July 16, 2023 at 12:40 am - Reply

    Can certainly see why Carah left after this episode. Anyone asking “hey, why not let the guy tell his story without asking for accountability?” Since I’ve been listening, holding guests accountable IS the podcast. Unclear to me why John softballed this guy, unless he shares some of the same values. Because then, you’re not being neutral or impartial. You’re providing a platform. And with that, I had to walk away. I miss the old podcast.

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