Episodes

Radio Free Mormon: 020: Making Doctrine Out Of Nothing At All

In Radio Free Mormon fashion, RFM tackles the sentence within the The Family: A Proclamation to the World, that Gender is Eternal and does the research to show is if such was really a doctrine previously taught within Mormonism or if the Church created this Doctrine….. “Out of Nothing At All”.  The solution for the LGBT issue is sitting right at their feet and RFM makes it clear to direct their attention right to it.

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20 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 020: Making Doctrine Out Of Nothing At All

  1. A lot of times when D&C 76:24 is quoted, especially in conference, it’s misquoted.

    24 That by him [Christ], and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters UNTO God.

    The speakers want to use it to say “begotten sons and daughters [of] God”.

    • Good point, Ryan!

      The standard works, including the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, are frequently misused in this regard.

      A good example is King Benjamin’s address where being begotten of Jesus, and becoming his sons and daughters, is looked at in a very different context where it is clear the author is talking about something that happens in this life, as opposed to a spirit birth in the premortal existence:

      _______________________

      Mosiah 5:7 And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.

  2. Another home run. Why can’t we be open to our complex, interesting and often contradicting theology? Certainly not boring. I hope that we will let go of certitude and be OK with not knowing a lot of these things, and as a result relax a lot of the lines we’ve drawn in the sand based on some of these shaky doctrinal positions.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Felix!

      You know, another thought that just occurred to me has to do with Joseph Fielding Smith’s idea that the sex organs of the non-exalted are removed in the eternities.

      JFS would be the first person to say that we measure truth by the scriptures; that is why they are called the “standard works,” because they are the standard by which we judge the truth of any pronouncement.

      It doesn’t matter whether the person is a prophet; if what he says contradicts the standard works, that teaching should be rejected.

      And yet, here is JFS on the other hand promoting a half-baked doctrine that conflicts with Alma 11:41-44!

      I guess what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander. ;^)

      RFM

  3. I have always been confused by the gnolem spirit thing and was completely unaware of the B. H. Roberts connection.

    I can’t believe that for years now I keep learning new things that I had no idea even existed. Reading the BoM some 20+ times certainly hasn’t taught me much (about the real facts).

  4. Great Podcast as usual. Always look forward to days when I have a new RFM podcast in my feed.
    You have become a validating source for many of my own thoughts and frustrations. The collateral damage for me to be public about my own thoughts is too great. (Which sadly says a lot about our Mormon culture). I find listening to you and Bill a good source for my own mental reasoning and processing and gives me hope for a time we I will be able to speak more openly in my own circle. I think we share many of the same frustrations, One of my struggles is the level of thinking I am at with many of my concerns or issues is not a level that a more orthodox person can relate to. The way you present many of your topics, dissecting them down into enough basic parts with historical context allows me to have a better dialogue with many around me. And that give me hope.

    Until next time
    Thanks and keep up the good work.

    • Trevor, I feel exactly the same way. What a shame that sharing a different view our idea can be so very damaging.

  5. I haven’t listened to the entire episode yet, as I’ll explain, which was too bad because it seems like it is a good one.

    I turned it off when you started to refer to intersex people as “hermaphrodites,” which I learned about when attempting to address this type of topic here

    https://www.reddit.com/r/exmormon/comments/586k2l/gender_and_the_eternities/

    As the user Kiimberly_Anderson said:

    “If you’re going to have a post proclaiming your knowledge of Intersex conditions, please refrain from using the word ‘hermaphrodite’ anywhere in your post.

    It’s old, coarse and extremely problematic.

    There are newer terms which I’m sure you are aware of by now. Please use them.”

    That’s what the ‘I’ in LGBTQIA stands for, intersex. If there’s some way for you to correct this, I’m sure there are a lot of people that would benefit from not only this knowledge but also allowing those who are intersex to know that they’re being recognized and we’re wworking to understand and include them.

    Thanks and hopefully this doesn’t come across as harsh.

    • Hi, Hasbrochem!

      No, it does not seem harsh. In fact, I appreciate the information.

      Even as I was recording the podcast, somewhere in the back of my mind was the thought that there might be some newer term for “hermaphrodite” but I did not take the time to look it up. (Sometimes these podcasts are crunched for time!)

      Although I certainly do not mean to offend, I am not a fan of using “new terms” that are less understood in place of old terms that are more understood.

      If you actually stopped listening because I used a certain word that you found offensive, that is probably an overreaction, especially where you seem to understand my intent is not to offend but to communicate.

      But this is all likely because I am not into political correctness. I am more like the term hermaphrodite itself; “old, coarse and extremely problematic.”

      Thanks for listening! At least part way!

      RFM

      ;^)

      • Thanks for your reply and clarification on your position with regards to this.

        Since you don’t adhere to “PC” culture, let’s cut through the bullshit then (you shouldn’t fucking mind “swear” words since that’s nothing but class warfare once you understand why they are designated as such and I don’t feel like censoring just so you can fucking feel good about yourself). Also, if it “drives the spirit away” perhaps the problem is you.

        This isn’t about being PC or any other bullshit you want to throw at this issue. This is about 1) taking the goddamn time to do a little bit of fucking homework and educate yourself. The fact that you and those around you are antiquated in your views towards those that are intersex, not a fucking “hermaphrodite”, an offensive term that is and has been only used for insect, animals, and not goddamn humans for several decades now, is no excuse for using such an offensive term. They even teach this at BYU. That’s right, your education lags behind what is taught at a church run and censored university. That’s how out of touch you are with regards to this. 2) What you are doing is telling someone who is intersex that they are not human when you use this term. To you, they are animals, insects, things which are less than human because that’s what the word hermaphrodite is applied to. That you’re too ignorant and lazy to know this is not my goddamn problem. And yeah, you can bet your smug little cult following ass that I’m fucking pissed.

        I’m sorry that you think it’s okay to use words like “nigger”, “cunt”, “retard”, “faggot”, “dyke”, and so on and that people just should be offended because you’re not PC. Fuck you. I will stop listening to every single asshole out there that can’t have the minimum respect to not use such offensive fucking words. Fuck your bullshit. The next time you want to try and act like you know what you’re talking about, at least take the goddamn time to look something up (it’s even on wikipedia you lazy piece of shit).

        I don’t give two fucks if this gets published. I want you to know what you’re doing when you are so goddamn fucking stupid to use a word like hermaphrodite which dehumanizes those that are born this way. All you had to say was, “It used to be that people born this way were called ‘hermaphrodites’ but now that’s a term used to refer to non-human entities. The correct word is intersex and because I’m a decent fucking human being, I’m going to be using that word when referring to them because otherwise I am being a degrading piece of shit who is showing they don’t have the common sense to educate themselves on a topic before talking about it.”

        If being respectful of other human beings is being PC, then fuck you, I am fucking PC and will be till long after you’re dead, you ignorant fuck.

        I’m done. I have zero respect for you and don’t give two flying fucks if you do for me because I don’t like to associate with trash. Change your backwards and fucked up way of thinking and behaving just to have a modicum of human decency. You are part of the problem when you spout bullshit like this. Go fuck yourself. And yes, I’m aware that this will only likely make you become more entrenched. I don’t care.

        I’m unsubscribing from all podcasts associated with you. I won’t visit any of Bill’s stuff (including this site) any more. You may think of yourself as a good person and a decent human being. You’re not. The way you behaved here has shown it. Grow the fuck up and get over yourself. These are human beings. Not just some fucking word or PC culture bullshit you can’t seem to see around. You are the reason I hate the church.

        P.S. if your PC feelies got hurt because you felt this was a personal attack, now you know how anyone who is intersex and/or an ally felt while listening to your garbage podcast when you called them “hermaphrodites” and nothing I have fucking said here even comes close to how offensive you are when you dehumanize an intersex person by calling them a “hermaphrodite”

        • Hasbrochem,

          Bill Reel here. Radio Free Mormon and I take your concern seriously. We have talked at length the last 48 hours dialoguing about your concern. We thought it best if I reach out and see if I can help create some mutual understanding and create a safe space for growth and new perspective. As humans we are limited in our inclusiveness by our experience. If we are raised with a certain vocabulary or we take part only certain experiences we are deeply limited in how we approach certain issues. My hope for myself is that as I age and take part in more experiences, that I will become more sensitive to other’s experiences and be more inclusive to that diversity.

          On this issue in particular, I was raised in a home with a wonderful mother and father. My mom was a nurse and she worked in the health industry all her life (still does). She sadly referred to those with both genitalia as hermaphrodite and sadly trusting her as an expert because of her career and experience, I assumed it was safe and appropriate to use said term. I had heard no other term to describe it and it seemed in my limited experience this was the right word and it seemingly seem to be accepted within my limited circle of relationships. Sadly I was both outdated and mistaken. It was not until my second or third interview with John Dehlin on Mormon Stories, that someone corrected me. I had all my life used that term to describe said biology and then for the first time someone, John Dehlin, corrected me. When these corrections come they are a new thought amidst a life of a thinking another way. It takes each of us some time to assimilate a foreign new thought into our paradigm and often until we sense on our own that we are holding some ground that isn’t defensible we will struggle to incorporate these new thoughts as the standard when we were so sure there our paradigm was the better one.

          Now to the point you are making. Yes, hermaphrodite is an offensive term when used to discuss human biology. It is not the current standard and the accepted vocabulary. Radio Free Mormon is in the midst of new ground here coming to sense for the first time the breadth and scope of this issue. It is easy to assume he is being stubborn and should by now have come across this issue previously and should have adapted by now. But again I only came face to face with this in the last 12 months myself. In talking with RFM, and knowing my development and awareness into these issues, we sometimes assume there is more room for a multitude of terms or aka for both perspectives to exist at the same time. That while some call it ABC that it is still okay for me and others to call it XYZ and we can have it either way. On this issue like so many where segments of people are marginalized and in many ways harmed, you are 100% right, that we ought to be sensitive to the experience of others and to make safe space for those segments to have the room and safe space to reduce that marginalization and harm and honestly we should be assisting in that effort. The first step in that process in one becoming sensitive and aware is to open themselves up to the experiences of others and to realize our current paradigm is insufficient.

          Sadly this process always involves offense given and received. It always involves pain as growth is painful. It always involves hurt and deep misunderstanding while the adjustment occurs. I know no easier way. The best we can do is to extend as much patience and safe space for dialogue as possible while also not withholding the articulation of our own ground with the hope that if both sides do such that truth, awareness, and reality will rise to the surface and we all become better for it. It is in such a fertile ground that real growth occurs.

          We both 100% grasp the seriousness of those on the margins of society and the hurt they receive from those of us who lack understanding in such issues and it is always my hope that folks less aware can work to become aware and sensitive to said issues as quick as possible so as to relieve the human harm caused and that those hurt by those less aware can sense the process of growth being called for by such experiences.

          Thank You and we pray for your patience as we all learn to respect and treat each other better.

          We welcome further public conversation along with any private correspondence. We realize the deep value in honoring other’s stories and the need public or private to work out such and to be accountable to any hurt we cause. Feel free to continue the conversation here or to email me at reelmormon AT gmail DOT com where all three of us can keep conversating. Whether here or by email is up to you as either way is absolutely fine with us. These conversations have value and lead to us being better humans.

          Bill Reel and Radio Free Mormon

        • > ‘I’m sorry that you think it’s okay to use words like “nigger”, “cunt”, “retard”, “faggot”, “dyke”, and so on and that people just should be offended because you’re not PC. Fuck you…..’

          Missed it, where did OP say any of this? You know his mind how?

          > ‘If being respectful of other human beings is being PC, then fuck you, I am fucking PC and will be till long after you’re dead, you ignorant fuck…. You may think of yourself as a good person and a decent human being. You’re not…. if your PC feelies got hurt because you felt this was a personal attack…’

          wow hasbrochem. What a disaster of a response. Maybe take a cue from the hermaphrodite and intersex wikipedia pages. Seems like you could have made your point with: “Such terms have fallen out of favor; in particular, the term “hermaphrodite” is considered to be misleading, stigmatizing, and scientifically specious.”

          Or do you plan to wage an edit war on wikipedia next? I mean after all they only say that: “The word intersex has come into preferred usage for humans.” They don’t currently mention that it is the ultimate form of hate speech you seem to think it is.

          Also, it is ridiculous to claim to be respectful and act like you are not personally attacking when your post is littered with all manner of personal attacks. Give me a break…

  6. Thanks RFM, I really enjoyed that, and learned some new things. If I can be picky, it is with the use of the word ‘hermaphrodite’. This is an outdated term for people, and generally refers to having both male and female sexual organs. Intersex better represents the complexity of humans, and can refer to diversity in sexual organs, chromosomes, gonads, and sex hormones. In short, intersex refers to both genotype and phenotype. I would love to hear the church’s view on what makes somebody male or female. Is it the sexual organs or is it the chromosomes? Would the church be comfortable giving the priesthood to a person with XY chromosomes who didn’t produce testosterone and so had reduced genitalia and presented naturally as a female? There are so many possibilities and it is way more common than people think. There are plenty of people who don’t even know that they are intersex.

    Besides a minority of people (e.g. the anti-transgender through lack of understanding, and some radical feminists who don’t accept it on philosophical grounds), most experts in the field make the distinction between biological sex, and gender. A person whose biological sex matches their gender is referred to as cis-gender, and a person whose biological sex does not match their gender is referred to as trans-gender. Transgender does not just refer to male to female and female to male, because neither biological sex or gender are binary. Because of this, it is quite common for intersex people to identify as transgender, and vice-versa. The reason that I mention all this is because it is complicated, as you expressed on the podcast. For the Proclamation to say that all mankind are male or female is ludicrous. I have heard the argument that intersex or transgender people are so uncommon as to not be worth worrying about. However, the creators of doctrine should ask the question as to how many ‘mistakes’ are acceptable. Does God makes mistakes in creating life, or at least does the system he created for generating life have flaws? If so, then why? If God makes mistakes with people’s sex, then is it not possible that God also makes mistakes with gender? An alternative possibility is that God doesn’t make mistakes, and that people are exactly the way God intended, and doctrine needs to embrace the diversity. Another alternative, which is probably the simplest, is that God is not involved.

    Sorry if I sounded preachy with all that. I am absolutely loving your podcasts and your willingness to tackle these questions head-on, with logic, thorough research, and a streak of sarcasm. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks for your comments, David!

      For some reason, I feel differently about being corrected by a listener who didn’t turn off my podcast because of being offended by a word!

      As you recognize, the point I was trying to make was starting with the Family Proclamation doctrine that gender is an essential characteristic of mortal identity and purpose.

      The reason I started there was to begin with what we can observe in mortality; before going to the things we cannot observe before and after this life.

      In order to make this point, I needed to use as an example persons born with sexual organs of both male and female.

      What is the currently correct term for that?

      You say “intersex” can refer to diversity in sexual organs, chromosomes, gonads, and sex hormones.

      But I needed for my example the diversity in sexual organs alone. Is there a more specific word for that than simply “intersex?”

      Thanks for listening! All the way through!

      RFM

  7. Intersex is the correct term. Both chromosomes and hormones affect the formation of the sexual organs (including gonads). I’d recommend you google the 1979 Dialogue article “Intersexes in Humans: An Introductory Exploration” by Duane E Jeffery. The PDF is free. The article, published 38 years ago, provides a basic introduction within a Mormon context.

  8. Pingback: Resources on “The Proclamation on the Family” (UNDER CONSTRUCTION) – The Family: A Proclamation to the World

  9. RFM,

    I discovered your podcast only a few weeks ago and have listened to nearly every episode. I love you for making this podcast!

    In this episode you briefly touched on the impossibility of God creating billions of spirit offspring based on the time constraint of doing such a thing. I would like to provide a bit of friendly push-back if I may on the subject of time because it is something that interests me greatly.

    The LDS god, and the god of most if not all religions that I am aware of, is an eternal one. What that amounts to is that god is a being that exists outside the boundaries of time. In other words, from god’s extra-temporal view point, there is no difference between any two periods of time which differ in length. There is no distinction between a single millisecond and a million-billion millennia or any other temporally definable period of time up to, and including, an infinite period of time. An extra-temporal being could literally complete any number of tasks in the time that it takes me to drive to the supermarket or, for that matter, in the time it takes for a photon of light to travel from my computer screen to my eyes (light travels 3*10^8m/s, I sit about 18 inches from my screen, so it takes approximately 0.0000000017 seconds for a photon to travel that distance).

    Therefore, in the context of a belief in an eternal god, it is not unreasonable to say the god could create any number of offspring; even an infinite number of offspring.

    Once again, thank you for your podcast. I dread reaching the end of your released podcasts because I will no longer be able to binge-listen (if that’s a word).

  10. In sharing this podcast with others, I was telling them that I couldn’t think of a scripture that talked about gender in the pre-mortality.

    We spoke about it and went on to other topics. Funny enough we came in our conversation to D&C 76:24

    24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

    And it occurred to me that even though I posted this SAME scripture at the beginning of this thread that it DOES talk about gender in the pre-earth life.

    That there were both “sons and daughters” as the inhabitants of created worlds made prior to their birth into mortality. That gender was assigned in the pre-mortal realm.

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