Join John Dehlin and Carah Burrell as they speak with John Larsen about the Gospel of Mark. In this episode we have John pull back the cover on the bible, what we can learn from the oldest gospels, and ask if the Mormon church as it currently stands is any different than the Pharisees of Christ’s day.


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Show Notes:

Timecodes (for video):

00:00 Intro and Thrive event announcements 
10:27 Pulling the cover back on the Bible and Jesus
16:40 Atheism, why the Bible is important 
21:12 How Mormons struggle to understand the bible, proof texting 
27:00 Linguistics of the KJV Bible 
31:35 The prodigal son, Oxford annotated bible 
36:09 Bible scholars agree scroll of Mark is oldest
44:20 Landscape, language, and war, concept of the Messiah 
51:08 Jesus not unique, Joshua of Galilee
54:00 Jewish idea of a redeemer and afterlife  
58:48 Carpenter from Galilee, what book of Mark says 
1:03:10 Casting out demons 
1:11:40 Jesus not following the law
1:22:14 Jesus rejecting social order 
1:27:00 Jesus rejecting social structure
1:33:20 They know how to collect money for god, spend money for god 
1:38:40 Ending of book of Mark 
1:45:00 Women in the book of Mark 
1:51:50 You don’t have to find Jesus divine to find value in Jesus 
2:09:00 Insatiable desire for wealth, Jesus rejecting worldly games
2:12:00 Johnathan Streeter comment about John’s generalizations
2:15:25 American Christians who sold their soul 
2:20:00 Christianity on the decline 
2:26:18 Outro and announcements 


  1. Wendy December 19, 2021 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Love it. I think maybe that it is incorrect to say the scriptures that were ultimately canonized as the New Testament is very closely associated with the Constantine council.

  2. Jim Robinson December 19, 2021 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    Very interesting. John and John, you may find Freddy Silvia’s books, and documentaries (, and “www.invisible” interesting. There’s a tremendous amount of research that would greatly add to your discussions and understanding of biblical background, hidden information, etc. A great start would be the books/documentaries about the Knights Templar. Thanks for your work.

  3. Bill McClymonds December 20, 2021 at 5:59 am - Reply

    As I listened to Mr. Larson speak, it was apparent to me that he had a very liberal perspective. At about the 1:26:46 time stamp, he said the following. “I’m not a Biblical scholar, I’m just a regular dude.”

    Regular dudes can certainly give opinions, but those opinions don’t necessarily reflect mainstream Christian scholarship. His views on many of the issues he discussed are very different from those of mainstream Christian scholars.

    One thing I did like was his reference to the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. I agree that version is much easier to read and more accurate than the original KJV. The New International Version (NIV) and the New American Standard Bible (NASB) are also pretty accurate, newer versions. Even the New King James Version of the Bible is more accurate and easier to read than the original KJV. If you want to read multiple versions online, I like Bible hub. I’ll link one of the passages Mr. Larson referenced below. The light blue bar at the top of the page has many Bible versions you can pull up on that site.

    One of the first things Mr. Larson criticized was the how the Bible was established. I’ll link a couple videos by more mainstream Christian individuals who have studied the Bible considerably more than Mr. Larson. You can listen to their opinion of how the Bible was formed. The first link is to Dr. Michael Kruger. He is a Bible scholar who sat in the class of Bart Ehrman when Dr. Kruger was a college freshman. He definitely understands the arguments pro and con for the establishment or canonization of the Bible.

    The second link is to Mike Winger. In my opinion, Mike is one of the best Bible teachers on YouTube. This video is a little older but it is also about the establishment of the Bible.

    If you want to understand the Bible more accurately, consider reading the book Dr. Kruger wrote for his daughter as she was entering college. The title is: Surviving Religion 101. That is a reference to the Class taught by Bart Ehrman that Dr. Kruger attended as a Freshman. The book was written to provide Dr. Kruger’s daughter with what he thought were good reasons to remain a Christian in the face of academic criticisms by people like Bart Ehrman.

    In addition to reading the book, Mike Winger regularly answerers Bible questions on his YouTube channel. If you have a question, try searching for it on Mike’s YouTube site.

    I think it would be very interesting to have Mr. Larson and Mike Winger on the program together. They could both present their case and the viewers could decide for themselves who they thought was correct. As an alternative, contact Mike Winger and Mike Licona for an interview together and have John and Carah ask them the hard Bible questions that so many in the post Mormon community seem to have.

  4. Bill Jones December 20, 2021 at 8:33 am - Reply

    Once I came to understand the the Bible is nothing more than a book of Bronze Age mythology, a lot of things clicked into place. It is just an old book, nothing more. “The Goat-herders guide to the Universe!”

    Welcome to OR John, we are happy to have you!

  5. Brian December 20, 2021 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Another great podcast with John Larsen. May I suggest John Larsen doing a podcast on the concept of baptism for the dead? For example, in the old testament the tub on the 12 oxen were for the priests to wash themselves after getting the blood from their gory sacrifices all over themselves. It was not used for baptism from my understanding like the LDS church interprets that today. Thanks,

  6. Bill McClymonds December 21, 2021 at 6:38 am - Reply

    I wrote in the last comment that a couple of the videos I linked were about the reliability of the Bible. To be more accurate, they are focused primarily on the New Testament rather than the whole Bible.

    I read the comment by Bill Jones. He thinks the Bible is just an old book that is essentially mythology. Once again, that is simply his opinion. I’m going to link a video by a man who has a different opinion. The reason I think his opinion has more weight than the opinions of Mr. Larson or Mr. Jones is because of his former profession.
    J. Warner Wallace was a homicide detective for many years. During the last ten or so years of his profession, he worked primarily on cold cases.

    The other videos I linked were more academic. The video by Jim is more entertaining and interesting. Jim is not a Bible scholar, but his skills developed while investigating cold case homicides put him in a position of being able to investigate the claims of Christianity from a unique perspective.

    An interesting part of Jim’s background is that his step-mother and step-siblings were, and possibly still are, Latter-day Saints. When investigating Christianity, while still an atheist, he also investigated, and rejected, the claims of the Latter-day Saint belief. As he looked into alternative religious beliefs, Jim wasn’t interested in feelings, he wanted evidence.

    This video is a little less than a half hour in length. In the interest of full disclosure, Jim has written some books that are promoted in the video. You can easily skip those portions in order to watch the main content of what he provides. For Jim, his eventual acceptance that mainstream Christianity was true wasn’t based on one or two pieces of evidence. It was a cumulative case that developed after a considerable amount of investigation into the evidence that was available.

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