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Mormon Discussion: 306: What Is Left?


1.) The Church has distanced itself from power of the Priesthood

2.) The Church has distanced itself from leaders speaking directly to God.

3.) The Information Age has imposed that most of our faith promoting miracle stories are problematic or false

4.) The Church’s historical truth claims are deeply problematic and it seemingly has failed to interpret its own history so miserably that it has an increasing lost trust in its ability to interpret itself.

5.) The Church has essentially disavowed the majority of things that make it unique and peculiar.

6.) Mormonism has killed all creativity by membership and its leadership

Elder Oaks has stated in the recent ysa broadcast that if you get a revelation that is different than what the leaders have taught you can know that your revelation comes from the wrong source. (hold mike accountable to answering how he reconciles his views on race and priesthood with that?). This rhetoric kills creativity as this pushes members into a corner where they sense that anything new.

The leadership is so threatened by both the progressive voices like John Dehlin, pointing out contradictions on one side and voices like Denver Snuffer on the other, they they are paralyzed and unable to move in any direction and hence must impose that membership too stay in lockstep with them. This has created a religious institution afraid it will mis-step with any move it makes and afraid of the risk of allowing members room to do anything differently. It senses to allow creativity and new ideas simply welcomes new Dehlins and new Snuffers

Once you throw out most of the miracle stories …. Once you throw out all the doctrines and theories imposed by a MConkie/Fielding Smith Mormonism and their books…… Once you acknowledge the problematic data against our historical truth claims …….. What you throw out the power of the Priesthood……   Once you throw out God-Magic…..  Once you throw out real Revelatory experiences….  Once you throw out creativity…… What is left?

I mean this sincerely. What is Mormonism in 100 years once it works through all of this and all within its walls recognize all that has been sacrificed on the altar due to an internet age?




15 thoughts on “Mormon Discussion: 306: What Is Left?”

  1. Well done, Bill. Although, I will say, I’ll be 65 in 2 months and I’m connecting the dots quite well. I miss the days of pre-correlation (1980) and grieved mightily upon hearing of the new block program back then. It just didn’t feel right. I agree with Carol Lynn Pearson’s comment “correlation has taken the personality right out of the church.” After 55 years of faithful service and devotion my connected dots leave me with a very sad and heartbreaking picture.

  2. Bill, I think you err in the notion that Mormonism is super unhealthy, for the majority of active LDS for them it has been a beautiful even magical place to grow up culturally and serve one another.

    The problem is we turn a blind eye to every imperfection that the only thing we see is the only true and living Church. We struggle with the meaning believing that the problem is us, if only we were more Christlike we would be worthy of our fondest desires.

    That said the information age is changing the game for everyone and everything… church included. I think the Church has already decided to change it’s focus from something True to something good and the transition will be soft and slow for people that want change to happen faster. That would hurt the church more as far as number of active LDS go. We have to land softly as we become more and more aware.

    I don’t really appreciate you calling out the church as unhealthy, because that isn’t the experience of the majority, otherwise the majority would have walked out the door by now. It has some unhealthy elements that primarily affect LGBT which compose about 5% of the population. But even those issues will be iron out with time.

    1. That soft landing when finding truth is not so easy in all cases. Some really should avoid truth to avoid upset and offense, while the same can hurt others very badly in so many ways, even killing some. Should we have primary concern for the damage done by preserving and justifying lies, bullying and abuse?

      I have seen people and whole families destroyed by avoiding these self evident truths, while avoiding truth may preserve others, for a time, so they think? Christ and His prophets proposed truth, from the get go.

      Avoid that teaching of Christ to follow leaders whether they oppose or contradict Him and His Truths, or not? So, how do we get to the truth, on the most preserving path, for the ideal soft landings, now that we have long ago put into place the means to build a “truth” house of cards? Preserving what; Christ, truth, or, saving face…? Priorities? Fruits…

    2. David – I think I understand your disapproval of Bill calling the church “unhealthy”, and I would have probably said something similar myself a few years ago. But as I have moved along my own faith journey I now see the church as unhealthy for the vast majority of the members. I didn’t realize how unhealthy it was until the last few years when I began recognizing how many of my hardships and problems (including marital) that I had always blamed on myself were in fact caused by the church, its teachings/doctrines/culture/leadership. And I have talked with so many others who have had similar experiences, blaming themselves, for example, for dysfunctional marriage and intimate relationships and then realizing how much of that was caused by the church’s unhealthy approach to sexuality.

      I would also note that when you suggest that it is healthy for the majority of active LDS, it’s important to recognize both the small number of people who join the church and then the small percentage of members who actually stay active in the church whether converts or born-in-the-covenant. If the church was both healthy and true, more people would join and the majority would stay active. Whereas now the majority do not stay active. And of those that might be defined as “active”, an even smaller percentage lives the church’s teachings in a way to “qualify” for a temple recommend. That would stand as another marker of how problematic it is for members to live the gospel the way church leaders want.

      And of the small number who are active, I would say I count myself as someone who found great joy in the church and experienced much that was good and uplifting. Until I realized that – for me and many others – most of those joyous experiences could be found in other settings (religious or not), and could be experienced without the underlying problems that come with the church’s teachings and culture. I don’t say this to criticize your feelings about the church, but to explain why it’s reasonable to agree with Bill that the church is unhealthy as demonstrated by the low activity rate, the increasing rate of resignations, and the closing and consolidating of congregations in many places in the world.

  3. I don’t believe the church can swing its position without massive trouble.

    The entire position of the church has ALWAYS been that Joseph Smith was the prophet of God, that the church is the ONLY True and Living church on the earth, that the Book of Mormon is a record of God’s dealings with some of the early inhabitants of the Americas, that it is the “most correct of any book on earth”, and that there is a “sudden death” agenda that was taught by an endorsed Prophet himself, namely, Gordon Hinckley.

    The church is the one who set the standards. It’s not Bill or anyone else…its the church.

    And now the church is going to change its position from the ONLY True church to something good?

    I think the church will remain for a long time still, but its allure will become more tribal than ever before. There are people, for example, who will stand by BYU or UT football teams to the BLOODY END! Neither team is “true” (unless you ask the fans that are in this boat). But, the loyalty of followers remains. So for the church to survive, it will require a shift–like you indicate.

    I believe that shift will require the church to “eat crow” with regards to the very standards it has itself preached! Lies are lies (so says the Book of Mormon, apostles like Marvin Ashton…etc). To repent, you need to apologize (so says SWK). And the church will NEVER apologize (so says Oaks).

    The LDS church makes God a liar because they claim everything they teach is from God,..and if not, they will NOT OWN and APOLOGIZE for it.

    I think the church, by their own standards, is rotten and based on false history, lies, and coverup. That is how I feel.

    It will be VERY interesting to see how the transition happens. The policy of the church is to ignore the past and make changes to things while stonewalling and ignoring any past problems created BEFORE the change. The Priesthood ban is one of these. The church made a plan and said: “The doctrine speaks for itself”…which is a rather rude way to invalidate, discount, and even gaslight those who want to address the collateral damage the policy had for over 100 YEARS!

    I can’t follow people who choose to negate and disregard my feelings and needs. They claim too that God is no respecter of persons, but from their own mouth, it appears they could care less about the hurt they cause. In the interest of “preserving the good name of the church”, they will break all of their own rules.

    That, IMHO, is the root of evil.

    Bill, I applaud your work for calling them out on it.

  4. Might be time to hang it up, Bill. I don’t count myself as your critic. On the contrary, I am very much a fan. But in all seriousness, your podcast (particularly when you host) has become solely about attacking the church and repeating the same criticisms over and over. It would appear your evolution is complete, and honestly you seem more angry than John Dehlin ever did. You know when I first read the title of this episode, “what’s left?”, I thought maybe you’d announce that you were done. It didn’t sound like anything WAS left for you. May you find peace my brother.

    1. In Mormonism we have been taught to see criticism as anger and contention and that neither are of God. Am I angry… once in a great while, but generally speaking, my life is 100 fold more happy and enlightened than when I was active and in. Notice the other comments. I have gotten a ton a positive feedback on this episode. My concern is that folks having been trained to see criticism as contention and contention as not of God, that you and and a few others may see anger rather than what I think is really present which is honest and truthful critical analysis pointing to serious issues with truth claims as well as unhealthy mechanisms. Would you expect a disenchanted Scientologist to focus on the positive things and would you call his continued critical analysis anger simply because of it being continual and critical?

      1. Bill, I actually don’t take issue with your criticisms. I agree with them. I just see you as no longer believing in the truth claims, and you’re happier not attending…I guess I just don’t see the point in coming back with a constant refrain of criticism just because you’re worried about the “unhealthy” environment for those who are left. If it’s not anger, that’s fine. I really don’t care. I just hope that you can let it all go when you’re ready. Heck, I envy that you seem so much farther along than I am. At this point I have no reason to suspect I’ll live any part of my future not tortured by the church and it pisses me off. Seriously, I have no problems with your criticisms. I don’t suggest for you to move on so you don’t infect others or whatever. I just thought you might be getting there and it might do you good. Don’t take it personally. God bless.

        1. I have invested too much of my time and energy and mind to Mormonism to simply walk away. I also feel too much for those who continue to receive trauma at its hands to abandon them

    2. Ben, maybe its time to hang it up on searching for truth, as christ kept saying? Jesus is all about truth, right? His Church, right? But not about truth???

      For some people it may be best to “hang it up,” to avoid truth and not listen to Jesus first. “His servants” have more wise words if we don’t have eyes to see or ears to hear, Him first? Jesus had some very wise words, the words that weren’t changed by men who must not be questioned? He said to this, “By their fruits…” (Matt 7: 15-23 & Matt 23: 10-29)

      We do in fact have the exact equivalent of pharisees today too. This never changes and can’t (Christ vs Saint’nism). He said to watch for them and know them, by their fruits (truths, lies…).

  5. There’s something else the church has distanced itself from in the past years. When I was a child and teenager, something that was taught to me over and over again is that you can’t live with borrowed light, sooner or later (and rather sooner than later) you need to gain your own testimony. Now what they are saying is completely different. Your testimony may take up to a lifetime to get. And to some, this might even be a trial their whole lives. Quite a change from the old narrative.

  6. True, I don’T think the leaders see what “being honest in their dealings with their fellowmen” means? I question whether they sustain Jesus as the head of His church, or will allow members to sustain Christ as the head of His church?

  7. I see too many leaders with a free pass on the things they expect of members, including D&C 121. “Many ARE called, but few are chosen,” and D&C 121: 33-36 tells why, and it IS talking about leaders who feel exempt for apologizing, correcting and making amends (repenting) even to correct errors and lies. Those verses are not so much talking to lowly peons who should “shut the hell up!” and be humble because of their unvalued positions in life.

  8. I just had to listen to this one again (4 times).
    Excellent Job, addressing real Truth (Jesus) issues and not shying away from revelatory truths and history.

    Interesting changes, and a nice printed list of references you gave.
    Church history is loaded with changes and jettisoned false doctrines and teachings (with more mistakes of proud men to be taken out with the trash). This would include a long list but also include addressing failed predictions of “the end” just like the JWs, SDA’s and many more. Also taking taking out current dishonest, abusive, bullying or failed doctrines aplenty. just look at McConkie’s book “Mormon Doctrine” for a small taste of continual fails, but still piling up, accompanied by the doctrine to “Obey and don’t question Us!” – what a flopping failure defying Christ’s own words… No eyes to see or ears to hear, Him first?

    One more reason the church is distancing from any church lessons with church history is that they need more time to evaluate the current [piled up disaster to decide if they can do more or something different than this current “hide, burry or justify” course on taking the emphasis off of fake history and how much real history to admit when history emerges again?

    What must be included with these changes is a lot more, like you indicate. To reduce those mounds of “more” to the simplest, I’d describe it like this:

    1- Accountability. Leaders must have as much (or more) accountable than rank and file members. Jesus said. Leaders must correct mistakes of their own and of the past, piled high and deep. Yes, these current steps are starting to address that. Equal Accountability IS of Christ. Equal repentance for their leadership mistakes, and those before them. No putting words in
    Christ’s mouth or taking words out of His mouth, repeatedly, and saying “Don’t question leaders!” Not accountability.

    2- No more Christ’s Bullies. Leaders must not demand reverence (worship) toward themselves or to any leader or 70’s, apostles or prophet. Get rid of the blasphemous leader-worshiping hymns. Isn’t this Christ’s church? If so, we would naturally Sustain Christ first, and respect different views of different members (and leaders), with no bullying. Hey, by the way, can you imagine a real loving Father or God like Jesus described, demanding we worship him? What kind of kind God would you be?

    3- “Obey Us! Don’t question Us!” must be dismantled and no longer be our “New 1st & 2nd Great Commandments (of men).” D&C 46: 4-8 We must allow members and leader to question, seek and find, as the real Jesus commanded? How fast do children fun from parents who control, contradict and have double standards that keep shifting? Let our God and our leaders be like Jesus described? Remember the pharisees? Get rid of our modern pharisees. Chase the money changes from the temple?

    4- “Are you Honest in your dealings with your Fellowmen?” must become the standard for leaders too. OK, just change all the temple recommend questions to make them congruent with Christ and the same for leaders?
    Isn’t Christ’s church about Truth/Honesty equating to Christ? So why not honesty for leaders, repentance for leaders, and Christ/Truth for leaders? Christ does not change or contradict Himself willy-nilly like men do. By their fruits…? For one tiny example, “Leaders can take other’s men’s wives, as wife-property, in one era but not in the next… but it Will joyously return!”??? But don’t question that or You are evil and an apostate!? Moroni 10: 5,6,18,19

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