Mormon Civil War

CvP 4 Christians v Pharisees: Choosing Sides And How To Fight For Them In The Mormon Civil War EPISODE 4 - WHY THE CHURCH REALLY CRASHED How Boyd K Packer Provoked The Virtual Vengeance of a Wrathful God

April 06, 2021 Peter Season 1 Episode 4
CvP 4 Christians v Pharisees: Choosing Sides And How To Fight For Them In The Mormon Civil War EPISODE 4 - WHY THE CHURCH REALLY CRASHED How Boyd K Packer Provoked The Virtual Vengeance of a Wrathful God
Mormon Civil War
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Mormon Civil War
CvP 4 Christians v Pharisees: Choosing Sides And How To Fight For Them In The Mormon Civil War EPISODE 4 - WHY THE CHURCH REALLY CRASHED How Boyd K Packer Provoked The Virtual Vengeance of a Wrathful God
Apr 06, 2021 Season 1 Episode 4

Christians v Pharisees: Choosing Sides And How To Fight For Them In The Mormon Civil War 

EPISODE 4 -  WHY THE CHURCH  REALLY CRASHED   How Boyd K Packer Provoked The Virtual Vengeance of a Wrathful God 


Show Notes Transcript

Christians v Pharisees: Choosing Sides And How To Fight For Them In The Mormon Civil War 

EPISODE 4 -  WHY THE CHURCH  REALLY CRASHED   How Boyd K Packer Provoked The Virtual Vengeance of a Wrathful God 




Welcome back intrepid listeners!  I want to begin Episode 4 of CHRISTIANS VS PHARISEES:  CHOOSING SIDES AND HOW TO FIGHT FOR THEM IN THE MORMON CIVIL WAR by thanking listeners for inundating me with deeply moving, validating and encouraging messages and conversations since I posted the first 3 episodes and discussed them with the awesome Radio Free Mormon on his podcast episode # 209.  They have really resonated with people struggling to make sense of the mess Mormonism has got itself into and their many frustrations with what they are learning about its history and what the General Authorities are saying and doing now that completely contradicts the basic principles of our religion.  Many are on the way out or have left the Church but have graciously said that might not have happened, or it would be safe for them to return with their families, if the Church made the kinds of reforms I am advocating for.  Others are definitely not coming back, but have really appreciated being reminded that they weren’t stupid to have loved Mormonism while it lasted, and being reminded about some of the many good things and great meaty ideas our religion offers people after spending so much time dealing mainly with its many dysfunctions that wounded them and their loved ones profoundly.  And there are a lot of actively participating Mormon like me trying hard to navigate this minefield who are ecstatic that the things they are thinking and feeling are being spoken out loud, and are hoping cautiously that our voices will be heard and encourage significant changes.

While this has been very gratifying, and please keep your very welcome positive or negative feedback coming, I can’t say I am surprised.  I have spent 10 years learning from thousands of people just like them in person and in social media forums and am trying in these podcasts to bring together and present in some kind of organised and helpful way the main issues that have thrown them into trust and faith crisis, and what they have suggested the solutions need to be.  

It can be completely overwhelming, and just today someone commented in a thread that even though they are several years into researching this mess they are still amazed at how many more startling discoveries they are making about things the Church hid from them.  One of the things that makes Mormonism so extraordinary and challenging to engage with and understand is its depth and complexity for good or bad.  It’s not a one trick pony.  Its scriptures have added more than 10,000 new verses to the 31,000 in the Bible and embarked on a bold experiment to stage in the modern age a second Protestant reformation, but this time with a whole bunch of radical new ideas thrown into the mix, and bringing back a lot of frankly Catholic concepts too.  I will explore in a later episode how this offers a tantallising potential future for the LDS Church as a Christian denomination that bridges the centuries old divide between Catholicism and Protestantism as well as offering a lot of common ground with the eastern religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.  And then there is the extraordinary story of how all this information has been interpreted and reinterpreted and played out in 200 years of trying to make it all work as a functional international religion.  

Mormonism was always going to be messy, but tragically we have a leadership now who are still failing spectacularly to understand,  appreciate and include a lot of the best doctrinal strengths they have inherited, who have tried to simplify the mess and mostly chosen the worst ideas to keep front and centre while dumping most of its good ones; and having realised this isn’t working and the active membership is falling like a heavy stone tablet, and they have chosen shameless and intentional lying and manipulation to avoid taking any responsibility for the many things that have gone very wrong on this journey… and thus made it all far worse than it needs to be in a death spiral of piling one mistake onto another.  So all the members have either retreated into a bubble of rigid certainties that don’t begin to acknowledge, understand or deal with this reality, or they find themselves in the crossfire of a very confusing civil war between contradictory ideologies of what our religion is and what it expects of them; and so far the vast majority have been completely exhausted by that struggle and left the Church.

My intention is to try and be a messenger from all those people who have left or are struggling of the profoundly important and helpful insights they offer the Mormon leadership if they will only listen to them, and to contribute whatever I can to disentangling that mess, identify what is worth keeping and what needs to stop, and encourage everyone to get involved in this difficult but essential conversation if you still have any energy left for it, particularly as we are rapidly running out of time to change direction before the Church crashes and burns. 

One of the lovely people who reached out to me is Miguel Lopez, a former History teacher at the US Airforce academy, who kindly gave me permission to share what we discussed to launch this episode.   

He wrote: “I was trying to push for a middle ground in Sunday School about the Book of Mormon by asking if it can be a 19th century work and yet still be scripture.  I stated that I believed it was a 19th century work. However, I upset the bishopric because I was vocal of my non-orthodox belief… As you mentioned to RFM, aiming high might bring the Church’s fury against you.  But that is the cost of speaking truth to power.  My local leadership called me “spiritually sick.”  There was little effort to understand my perspective.  Their effort focused on keeping me quiet and dictating steps of proper obedience.  I wonder at what point will the GAs realize they are causing the Church to sink.  Will they realize too late when the Church is beyond saving?” 

I replied that in my opinon there have been several points where the Church leaders have passed the point they should have realised they were about to risk sinking the Church, such as when they went public about being polygamous and the conversions machine in the British Mission that had been bringing tens of thousands of people into the Church instantly blew up and it took us a century to get it going again.

They passed it by perpetuating institutional racism and set us back two centuries on a mission to be a global religion by refusing to proselyte communities and countries with black people in and forever compromising our reputation.  In my personal life time and experience they passed it from the mid-1990s when they chose to prioritise homophobia and fighting gay marriage for years and didn’t reform how the missionaries function enough and set off the current relentless decline in active membership and convert baptisms per missionary, all because they chose to fight the world instead of converting it. They have already killed the Church we could have been with a thousand spiritual murders along the way.
 It has been very clear that when they eventually got round to undoing each of those terrible choices that the General Authorities never do really realise or take responsibility for what they have done. They just have to be bullied intensively by external and grassroots pressure to do the right thing eventually, even though they still do it wrong, and don’t apologise for the harm they’ve caused at each point.

Bill Reel recently made the same point in Episode 3 of his new weekly podcast with Radio Free Mormon called ‘Mormonism Live’ when he said “The Church is always moving so slowly to get to the centre that by the time it gets there it’s no longer the centre any more...  By the time they get to the dance it’s moved to the next neighbourhood!”  He observed that you can guarantee that whatever the Church condemns as worldly sinfulness today is the place it will be in 40 years time. 

These are going to be some of the themes in this episode titled “How Boyd K Packer Provoked The Virtual Vengeance of a Wrathful God”   What was it that caused our active membership and convert baptisms to crash in our lifetime?  What actually happens behind the scenes to persuade the Apostles to suppress their Christlike compassion and common sense and adopt public positions that hurt so many members that they have to leave the Church?  Why are they always fighting and trailing BEHIND the ethical centre of gravity of the society around us instead of LEADING it to a better tomorrow like prophets, seers and revelators are meant to be, since that is their basic job description?  

But before we dive in I’d like to go back to something else Miguel Lopez said to me.  On reflection Miguel feels that he didn’t handle making his case as well as he could have.  He said he “was too aggressive in trying to show that.  So, I do take responsibility for that misstep.….  As a fellow instructor, I should have used the Socratic method.” The Socratic Method is the teaching strategy of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates who taught the young people of Athens by just asking them questions that helped them to think through a concern and discuss it until they arrived at the answers themselves.  A lot of their conclusions ended up being that the arbitrary pagan gods of Athens were probably not real, so the rulers of Athens who depended on convincing those people that they had the approval of those gods executed Socrates, thus repeating the age old mistake of killing the messenger instead of hearing the message of truth…. Which brings us neatly full circle to the problem we were discussing to begin with of being silenced by rattled authoritarians when we speak truth to their power.  So maybe I should have warned Miguel that the Socratic Method might not have had a better outcome!  Socrates was executed for it! 

What I actually replied was “Getting passionate is so hard to moderate in a way acceptable to typical Latter-day Saints.  Anger is a positive energy essential for change in many situations.  I just think it’s hypocritical that the Church culture LOVES it when you break down emotionally and sob while testifying of God finding your car keys or your love for President Nelson, but if you get a bit emotional pleading for Big Tent Mormonism and giving people space to have their journey they will pile on to criticise and police how you are expressing yourself.  If you’re right you’re right and you have the right to be emotional or passionate about that.”

I have covered in Episodes 1 to 3 how the Pharisee Mormons who have infiltrated and mostly taken over the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints manipulate and control us and promote their agenda through a one size….I’d like to say ‘one size fits all’ but it’s actually a ‘one size which hardly fits any of us’…. lifestyle pattern based on 1950’s middle class Mormon Utah.  Coincidentally, that is when the First Presidency were starting their own adult life.  Their Covenant Path with Exact Obedience gameplan for us all is all about retrofitting reality to make their own specific lifepath of meeting and marrying at BYU, the lady person dropping out of education to start having the babies... and onwards to disappointment and divorce in most cases….the most holy lifepath imaginable.  

Unfortunately for the rest of us this lifeplan is mostly impervious to what has happened in human civilisation since 1950’s middle class Utah was making them feel safe and happy.  The liberation and equality of women, racial equality, LGBTQ rights, and further developments in biblical scholarship and science led to seismic shifts in the centre of gravity of society’s norms and values since then.  These comprehensive changes now pull on the elderly Apostles like a magnet on rusty iron filings as they reflect nostalgically about that nearly forgotten world.  It forces them to make small, grudging adjustments towards common sense and progress but the pull of their formative certainties usually proves to be the stronger force like gravity that they return to as their default state of mind.  

These tiny modernisations spark glimmers of hope in the Church members who would like our religion to be relevant and successful in the 21st century, but drive just as many if not more away as it become clear these leaders will never actually ‘get it’ and make the essential root and branch reforms that are needed voluntarily, properly or from within their own hearts.   


Any political, philosophical or religious ideology that one chooses to engage with or follow of course involves changing your life and beliefs to fit the ideology and community you are associating with and appreciating.  It is the right of a religion to recommend particular ways to live and think and believe and I do not rule out the possibility that when they are going a different way to the majority of people in a society they can be right and the majority can be wrong.  But as the Book of Mormon teaches in Mosiah chapter 29 which advocates for democracy as a much healthier system of government than patronising theocratic monarchy, there is a collective wisdom in large numbers of people that is rarely wrong and rarely makes the mistakes that are almost always made by a small handful or family of absolute rulers with absolute power and no democratic accountability to their people.  Trusting the majority of the people is far less risky than trusting monarchs. 

Mosiah 29 counsels: “16 Now I say unto you, that because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have a king or kings to rule over you.  17 For behold, how much iniquity doth one wicked king cause to be committed, yea, and what great destruction! ….21 And behold, now I say unto you, ye cannot dethrone an iniquitous king save it be through much contention, and the shedding of much blood. ...26 Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.  27 And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.”

These verses are about political leadership for the people of God rather than choosing and regulating their religious leadership, but the Doctrine and Covenants scriptures about everything done by the priesthood leaders of the Church being scrutinised and authorised or opposed by the Common Consent vote of the people brings  this principle right into the heart of Mormonism’s scriptural constitution for RELIGIOUS leadership as well as secular political leadership.  For nearly 200 years now it has been our religious law to “do all our business by the voice of the people.”  And for most of that time the apostles have been breaking that law and declaring doctrines and policies that impact the members to be authorised without presenting them for a sustaining or opposing vote of the Church members.  It’s not surprising then that those ones have often turned out to be massive disasters later disavowed like institutional racism and the November 2015 Policy of Exclusion or POX for short.

It has been a century since the LDS Prophets really delivered their end of the bargain and produced scripture that wasn’t clearing up their own mess.  It has got so embarrassing and desperate now that Dallin Oaks is seriously insisting we should adopt the catholic model of creed-writing councils of clerics and lawyers to produce scripture.  They run the Church now like politicians and corporate managers disingenuously spinning their policy reversals, secretly doing market research surveys about what to announce next as a revelation, and making the most exciting thing to happen ever a rebranding exercise with a new logo.  I can’t think of anything they have changed in what has been spun as a flurry of revelations and the continuing “Restoration of the Gospel” during Russell Nelson’s presidency that wouldn’t be decided and done by any generic business management executive who leans towards the corrupt end of the spectrum because of all the financial secrets being hidden from the shareholders. So there is a need more now than ever to rein them in and get the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints back on track to competence and relevance as a religion rather than an investment scam. 

My hypothesis in this podcast series is that the fundamental issue causing Mormonism and its people so much unnecessary distress and confusion and even conflicts is that our senior international leaders are claiming to be all about Christianity while actually teaching and encouraging the opposite.  We know what the teachings and lifestyle recommended by Jesus of Nazareth, the God made into Man, or the Man made into God, or both, are.  The LDS Church teaches them to us very well, and a lot of the time our members try their best with earnest zeal to practice those Christ-like values with integrity and love.  

BUT the majority of the 15 Apostles, definitely all three of the First Presidency, a lot of the Seventy and a lot of the Church leaders and other members following their direction locally are now predominantly teaching and urging us to practice the Pharisee religion, the one based on Lucifer’s plan of command and control, unquestioning submission in every detail of your thoughts and actions to keep you safe from risking sinning while making you into the worst of all kinds of sinners - cruel hypocrites who call what is unholy good and from God.  As some would put it, they commit the sin of blasphemy.  Making themselves God or putting the worldview and priorities of themselves or Lucifer into the mouth of God as they teach.  As Jesus put it rather robustly in one of his frustrated rants at the Pharisees in Matthew 23:15 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”

There is resistance to this Pharisee religion within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  On the whole my current stake’s male and female leadership and that of my two neighbouring stakes where my awesome young cousin has just been called as Stake President after serving brilliantly as a bishop are exemplary in their priorities and compassion.  They get it.  They see themselves as cheerleaders and guides by the side of their flocks rather than micromanaging rulers.  And in some cases they have simply chosen to ignore the homophobic rhetoric of the First Presidency and their excommunication of Sam Young for campaigning for competent child safeguarding and be proactive about establishing LGBTQ inclusion and child safeguarding policies that go far beyond the official norms and policies.  They are getting on with doing the right things instead of waiting for the geriatric apostles to die or wake up.  Every stake in the Church would be growing like topsy if that was the one consistent gameplan and philosophy being taught and practiced. 


But we aren’t growing like topsy.  We are shrinking fast in most places.  The dominant narrative among members of the Church now to explain this radical reversal of fortunes is that the whole world has become more secular and abandoned religion in the last 30 years so that’s why the Mormon convert baptism and retention statistics that used to be steadily growing have stalled and begun to plummet towards the bottom of the graph. I used to believe them and assume they were correct, but then I did some statistical fact checking and it told a completely different story.  

The United States of America is currently experiencing an unprecedented and catastrophic collapse in religiosity as its citizens flood out of its churches and into the embrace of secular apparent atheism and this seems to have coincided with the same phenomenon amongst Mormons, so it has been natural for parochial Mormon Americans to put two and two together and blame global demographic trends for this.  But they don’t think to remember that they are an international religion and most of the Mormons live outside the USA.  They don’t think to ask us what’s happening where we are.  What they assume are global trends are actually mostly specifically American trends in religiosity and their extremely polarised and politicised culture war that has really dominated the priorities and messaging of the American LDS Apostles for over a decade now, particularly regarding same sex marriage and LGBTQ rights, which they have blown up into the most alarming crisis civilisation is facing while in most of the world’s democratic countries it is a non-event and most people are on board with diversity and equality. 

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has something to show the panicking Mormon Americans that is both condemning but also potentially the hopeful answer to their existential despair.  Americans forget that they are, on the whole, a bunch of weird religious nut jobs who bucked all the trends and mostly kept going to Church during the 20th century.  The vast majority of the rest of the western world, catholic and protestant, started abandoning religion en mass a hundred years ago.  The Church of England in England peaked numerically in the 1930’s and since then its membership steadily crashed to less than half of what it was then while the population of the country doubled. Most of the other British Christians followed the same trajectory.  Church-going Christians are rare as hen’s teeth in my country now.  The average Church of England congregation has only 27 people attending.  

What does this mean for Mormons?  The narrative I grew up with was that the true Church would steadily and relentlessly grow and fulfil Daniel’s prophecy and fill the world while of course the other churches crashed under the weight of their apostate and uninspired inadequacies.  And ideally their congregations would switch over and become our congregations.  And we were actually doing it!  There was a lot of unforgivable unethical shenanigans with baseball baptisms and suchlike in those decades that inaccurately inflated numbers, but in real life our little branches steadily grew into wards in the 1970’s and 80’s and we were confident that we were on the cusp of the great leap into exponential growth.  We built our infrastructure of thriving Seminaries and Institutes and started sending out large percentages of our young people as missionaries. There was no reason not to expect them to come back, marry in the temple and start raising Mormon families and fill up our pews to capacity.  The global growth statistics were breathtaking as every other General Conference seemed to announce that another million people had joined the Church.  

When Professor of religious sociology Rodney Stark predicted Mormonism could grow to 267 million members by 2080, even without much missionary work but just by not losing our children, it seemed realistic.  Now it looks like a sick joke as our total active membership is probably down to about 3 million – an average of 100 active in each of our 30,000 congregations globally seems about right if not generous, but it is a reminder of the epic scale of growth we could be having ALREADY if we weren’t self-sabotaging and driving 80% of our children away.  I absolutely believe Mormon Christianity could grow that fast. Even just by doing missionary work competently and replacing all the children that leave.  I’ve seen it.  I was a missionary.  I’ve seen that first flurry of excitement and hope and a feeling of coming home to something long forgotten as we teach people the great bits of our gospel of Jesus Christ.  And then in countless stupid and avoidable ways we snuff out that flame of faith with our Pharisee Fire Extinguishers. We bully them into getting baptised too soon to meet a missionary numerical target.  We turn our religion of lofty ideals and big ideas into a boring list of irrelevant chores involving clothes and tithing and not drinking tea. We pressurise them to be member missionaries already and take on callings when they only met the missionaries for the first time a few weeks ago.  And so on.  And delusional mission leaders and planners thought all of these things are brilliant strategies for hastening the work and keep bringing them back year after year repackaged as the brilliant inspired new program to save our missionary ministry, but each time it has actually got worse with less successful outcomes.

Yet despite all that stupidity and astonishing rates of attrition losing people who would have flourished in a fully Christian Mormon system, somehow we still grew.  We grew and we grew while the churches all around us collapsed and closed just as dramatically as they are collapsing in the USA today.  So I call BS on this helpless defeatism and the narrative of inevitable decline.  There is NO direct correlation between Mormon convert baptism rates and retention and the state of Christianity generally in any country unless Mormons intentionally self sabotage and make it so.  Here in the UK and in many other places we spent the 20th century completely bucking that trend.  If Mormonism is to snap out of its stupor instead of sleepwalking into a self fulfilling prophesy of apocalypse as it is mesmerised by the deceptively hypnotising eyes of the cobra of collective calamity, everyone needs to realise this.  Look more closely.  It took me 10 minutes with some help from Google.  Our data follows a different trajectory. 

Let’s look now at what actually happened in the USA.  National church attendance in the USA held pretty steady, even growing a bit to a peak of 48% of the population attending church WEEKLY in 2009, and then it crashed in the last 10 years to 29 % now. No wonder American Christians are freaking out.  To have church attendance fall by 40% in just a decade is astonishing.  The evangelical Christians have not come out of their unholy alliance with the radicals in the Republican Party and its recent leader looking good or with their credibility and congregations intact, particularly among a lot of their young people. Some of their leaders are already pointing to the long term damage their cheerleading for Trump is inflicting on them, and since 71% of American Mormons voted for him in the last Presidential election, the religion that voted for him the most, there may well be a similar price to pay for Mormon retention of their young people which is already a cataclysm. I regularly hear horror stories from friends in Utah, Idaho and Arizona who are being alienated by LDS congregations that regard you as a satanic apostate of you are a Democrat and regularly sit through sacrament speakers and Sunday School teachers specifically associating liberal or Democrat politics with the antichrist and wondering why they bother still going.  There is no separation of Church and state in the Mormon heartlands and never has been, and both end up corrupted by it.  

But instead of getting too distracted by that fascinating controversy, there is actually a much more important message to be heard from the demographic statistics.  Mormon Church attendance followed a completely different trajectory to the rest of Christianity in the USA.  It started to properly crash 15 years before the rest of the American Christians.  In the early 1990’s.  So what happened in the early 1990’s to break the Church and its growth machine?!  There were two major and pretty obvious developments at that point in time. 

The first is that the early 1990’s is precisely when the LGBTQ-phobic control freak Pharisees like Boyd K Packer and Dallin Oaks decided to go to war for their religion.  They intentionally and decisively scaled up their relentless campaign to dominate the ideological agenda of LDS Mormonism, take us back to the future, and fight all the developments in feminism, LGBTQ tolerance and academic research about the real history of the Church that were threatening their 1950’s socially conservative McConkie Mormonism certainties. In a keynote speech on 18 May 1993 to the All-Church Coordinating Council, which is basically all the Apostles plus the Presiding Bishopric, Boyd K Packer declared that the enemies of the Church were not Jesus’ real enemies like poverty, war, Pharisees and itchy sandals.  The real enemies of the true Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter-days are…. Feminists, Homosexuals and Intellectuals.

He said “It is so easy to be turned about without realizing that it has happened to us. There are three areas where members of the Church, influenced by social and political unrest, are being caught up and led away. I chose these three because they have made major invasions into the membership of the Church. In each, the temptation is for us to turn about and face the wrong way, and it is hard to resist, for doing it seems so reasonable and right.  The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals. Our local leaders must deal with all three of them with ever-increasing frequency.”  

He acknowledged and quoted from heartrending letters from female, gay and intellectual Church members telling him of their pain and how the Church was hurting them, but recommended that the appropriate response was not to soften how the Church treated them but to impose tough love lest they corrupt everyone else with their wicked ideas.  He taught the Apostles that they needed to ignore their instincts for compassion toward these people because that would make them soft and end up compromising God’s commandments.  He urged them instead to make, quoting Joseph Smith, “decisions of character aside from sympathy.”  Then he put the boot into working mothers and in classic Pharisee style decided that rather than publicly giving any comfort or acknowledge any success stories of working mothers, they should hold the line lest, heaven forfend, other mothers might decide to get a job when it wasn’t completely unavoidable according to whatever his criteria were.  Instead they should try to comfort the single mothers who had to work and sooth their guilt trips about that privately.  


A British friend of mine who conscientiously obeyed the Brethren and has stayed at home full-time for 15 years raising a gaggle of wonderful children and feeling self righteous about her sacred superiority has had an epiphany this week.  She has suddenly opened her eyes to the huge number of professional mothers in paid employment who she has depended upon to be able to live that virtuous lifestyle commanded by the old male prophets and apostles; women who left their own children at home or with a carer to come and be her maternity nurses and health visitors, her doctors, her children’s many teachers and caterers and dinner ladies at school, the workers and managers in all the supermarkets and shops, the multitudes of working mothers vital to every infrastructure of the nation, the carers of our grandparents, and so the list goes on the more you think about it.  She has suddenly realised what a complete load of total nonsense the idea is that women could all be expected to be stay at home mothers and not have both their ability to do that and the entire fabric of the nation collapse without those armies of mothers in the workplace.  

My opinion is that this is one of the consequences for Mormons of the twin curse of an entirely male leadership in our Church who are disconnected and oblivious to the realities of ordinary womens’ lives as they trot about the globe neglecting their own families to serve as fulltime mouthpieces of God, and the fact that most of them grew up and live in the actual Wild West where the dominant mindset has still not let go of the idea that all you need is a wife, a gun and some horses and you can just live off the land and raise a family free from the frustrating constraints and taxation systems of modern civilisation. 

It is an amazing talk to read - you can find it online. Just Google something like ‘Boyd K Packer talk to the all Church Coordinating Council 1993’. It reveals, like his General Conference talks, the full scale of his patronising old school arrogant hubris and how he and his kind treat the adult Church members as children to be guided and manipulated and have information withheld from them if necessary in case it gives them rebellious ideas like thinking and making judgments about life choices for themselves.  It also shows beyond any doubt that the Prophets and Apostles have always known exactly how much their homophobic, sexist and anti-intellectual rhetoric has hurt Church members because those members have always poured out their pain and their life stories to them in letters that break your heart; but nearly every time the conscious, deliberate, strategic choice of the LDS Apostles has been to carry on the same.  To soothe their dysfunctional consciences by comforting and being more honest with, or just silencing, the casualties of their rhetoric quietly behind the scenes while they carried on wounding more people in the same ways in public.   To make the Genesis Group to support segregated black Mormons being taught from the pulpits that they are being punished by God and His Church for their laziness and leaning too far towards being persuaded by Lucifer in the preexistence, instead of ending the segregation and the racist propaganda.  

Dallin Oaks among others has in other public statements been very open about this strategy, saying the apostles should teach general principles in public while dealing with the reasonable exceptions to their generalities in private.   (BYU Devotional "The Dedication of a Lifetime," May 1, 2005.)

“Now, brothers and sisters, if you are troubled about something we have just said, please listen very carefully to what I will say now. Perhaps you're a young man feeling pressured by what I have said about the need to start a pattern of dating that can lead to marriage, or a young woman troubled by what we have said about needing to get on with your life. If you feel you are a special case so that the strong counsel I have given doesn't apply to you, please don't write me a letter. Why would I make this request? I've learned that the kind of direct counsel I have given results in a large number of letters from members who feel they are an exception, and they want me to confirm that the things I've said just don't apply to them in their special circumstance. I will explain why I can't offer much comfort in response to that kind of letter by telling you an experience I had with another person who was troubled by a general rule. I gave a talk in which I mentioned the commandment, thou shalt not kill. Afterwards, a man came up to me in tears, saying that what I had said showed there was no hope for him. What do you mean, I ask him. He explained that he had been a machine gunner during the Korean War. During a frontal assault, his machine gun mowed down scores of enemy infantry. Their bodies were piled so high in front of his gun that he had is man push them away in order to maintain their field of fire. He had killed a hundred, he said, and now he must be going to hell, because I'd spoken of the Lord's commandment, thou shalt not kill. The explanation I gave that man is the same explanation I give to you if you feel you are an exception to what I've said. As a general authority, it is my responsibility to preach general principles. When I do, I don't try to define all the exceptions. There are exceptions to some rules. For example, we believe the commandment is not violated by killing pursuant to a lawful order in an armed conflict. But don't ask me to give an opinion on you're exception. I only teach the general rules. Whether an exception applies to you is your responsibility. You must work that out individually between you and the Lord. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught the same thing in another way when he was asked how he governed such a diverse group of Saints. He said, I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves. In what I've just said, I'm simply teaching correct principles and inviting each one of you to act upon those principles by governing yourself.”

This creates one of the fundamental pharisaical dynamics in the Church.  By being incredibly reluctant to acknowledge exceptions to their pharisaical rules in public, like for example the reality that millions of people are literally born physically and genetically intersex while teaching that everyone is born decisively male or female, or admitting that most mothers cannot realistically avoid paid employment while condemning them publicly as selfish and damaging their jailbait children, the Apostles convince millions of Mormons that there AREN’T any exceptions to their rules.  The Apostles seem to assume that because THEY know they are saying and doing nicer things about these matters in private to soothe their own consciences that somehow everyone knows this, when of course they don’t, and they were deliberately keeping it quiet from the majority so that they wouldn’t know.  We saw this vividly demonstrated in September 2019 when President Nelson revealed or claimed that they were granting exceptions to the Exclusion Policy to pretty much everyone that asked them privately while the policy itself insisted that this was not an option till the children with a gay parent were legal adults. Noone had a clue they were doing this and basically undermining the entire point and reasoning they had given for the Policy.  If they even were - he lied so many times in that talk it is hard to know if that one just another lie. 

So of course the people who only hear and believe from their prophets the oversimplified public version of their religion then inflict their over-simplified, binary and insensitive worldview on everyone around them when they teach, minister to, lead or stand in official judgment of the people living with realities that completely contradict those assumptions.  It also determines how they participate in political dialogues and voting as uncompromising and unreasonable fanatics, convinced they are being loyal to their Church leaders while their Church leaders eventually realise they have created a monster they cannot control that is making them look terrible and you get desperate talks like the ones we recently witnessed by Dallin Oaks himself pleading with the gun-toting racist Covid-denying Trumpist Mormons preparing to take up arms because ginger Pussy Grabber lost the election and they are now convinced was just stolen from them. He even had to say the words ““Of course Black lives matter. That is an eternal truth all reasonable people should support” which must have had him doing a little puke in his throat since he’s the Apostle who unilaterally decided to bring back Mormon God being a racist who commanded the Mormons to exclude and avoid and denigrate black people for a century and a half. That’s how bad it got!  All because the Apostles have totally normalised keeping their loyal followers in ignorance of even their own much more nuanced and non-binary beliefs and private compassionate ministering. 

Dallin said this in a BYU devotional titled ‘Racism and Other Matters’ on 27 October 2020 which I don’t have time to go into in great detail in this episode, but it is incredibly revealing of his completely cliched white privileged racism.  In it he acknowledged America’s constitutional crime allowing legal slavery to continue in order to get the constitution ratified and preached powerfully in great detail against any kind of racism whatsoever that treats one race differently to another or disadvantages them in any way but along the way he of course completely contradicted all of those points.  He associated the Black Lives Matter movement with violence and wanting to abolish the police, he condemned anyone wanting to remove statues of Confederate and slave trading historical figures that were erected in the first place as racist statements of resistance to the Civil Rights movement, of which he seems completely oblivious.  He equated the suffering and death of slaves in building the USA and with the sacrifices and hardships of all the other people building the nation, he claimed there is an equal prosperity all Americans can now enjoy so there is no need to rake over the past and upset everyone, even though he elsewhere acknowledged and condemned all the examples of endemic racism in his country in employment, housing and personal prejudices which of course massively economically disadvantage black people in completely unequal ways.  And after condemning all that racism he then finished his talk teaching that all the examples of racist discrimination in the scriptures against Caananites and Gentiles and black people in the LDS Pearl of Great Price…. Just kidding!!  Of COURSE he didn’t once at any point reference or acknowledge a single example of the racism against Native Americans in the Book of Mormon and Black Africans in the Pearl of Great Price or the Church’s institutional racism of 150 years that he and his Apostolic colleagues and Prophet spent the October 2020 General Conference also ignoring as they preached against racism.  If you thought his bringing back Mormonism’s racist segregation being a commandment of God at the ‘Be One’ celebration of 40 years since we abandoned that was a slip of the tongue or something he’s later regretted, think again!  Watch the maestro of nasty racist mental gymnastics turn it into an entire sermon.  And once again like his condemnation of the ‘loyal opposition’ invented in my country’s Parliament he completely mispresented and abused my nation’s shiboleths and tried to use Winston Bloody Churchill, a deeply racist imperialist, to justify his pronouncement that there is no unfinished business or apologising or healing to be done regarding America’s or Mormonism’s racist past and the best way to heal those open wounds and still lived realities is for everyone to pretend they don’t hurt and aren’t real any more because they are all ancient history and carry on in a happy and harmonious future as if the healing has already happened. He actually compared Churchill’s decision not to imprison the previous government for their negligence in military preparations while he was busy trying to fight World War 2 with the United States of America’s need to just ignore its centuries of slavery and ongoing omnipresent racism leading to murder and mayhem BY the police because it will be unsettling to have to deal with that and who wants to be uncomfortable?  Am I right?!!! ……….

 Clip from end of the devotional. 

Don’t you just LOVE Dallin’s God?  The God who for thousands of years will command His people to practice racist discrimination and persecution and never once explain to those entire races of His own children why He has decided they should be second class citizens denied priesthood or privileges or brutalised and degraded as slaves?  The God who even in 200 years of the Restored Gospel of the Last Days during which His mouthpieces were given revelations being microscopically specific about tiny adjustments to baptism and temple ordinances or exactly how many pairs of earrings ladies can wear but were allowed to run their mouths off for decade after decade making up revelations in His name explaining why the Black people and other non white races were inferior and forbidden to have the priesthood or set foot in a temple and interracial marriage of any races were a disaster still somehow never managed to get the message to them to shut up or give them or all the black and brown people the real reason for the racism while Dallin just stands there with his prophetic mantle on telling them to suck it up and still love and adore the racist Got who refuses to tell them why they are inferior and cursed.  And of course at no point ever does Dallin Oaks, who constantly goes on about being a Prophet Seer and Revelator with exclusive access to actual God even think to just ask God what the reason for His divine racism that isn’t racism is.   This is a man whose lifelong exposure to the religion of Lucifer and the Pharisees has had his soul hollowed out and desicated and left empty of the milk of human kindness like Palpatine turned into a monster by exposure to the Dark Side of the Force or Superman chained to a mountain of Kryponite for a thousand years.  A man who at some point was able to qualify as a lawyer who has so sold his soul to his Pharisee obsession with never admitting any human error in anything any prophet is recorded as saying or writing in a book that he no longer knows what a convincing rational argument even is as he stands at yet another pulpit tying reality into knots, and condemning himself and his kind with every contradiction and sentence of ignorance and vile indifference to suffering.  

And the very white and delightsome racist sheep he has turned into bigoted goats flood the comment threads of social media with adulation for his wisdom and compassion and healing words, completely oblivious to the fact that they ARE the racist problem America has and needs to repent of.  They think he’s kicked it to the libtards, explained away any need to be troubled by the victims of their insanity and they can carry on their lives without a care in the world about the silly protesters maybe having a point. 

This ludicrous denying of life’s complicated realities and oversimplifying everything into black and white elementary level thinking kicks off endless conflicts in LDS families and congregations bullying the people who understand the more complicated realities the Apostles only want to admit or discuss with each other or with them in private as they continue to hide truth and try to run Christian and Pharisee Mormonism at the same time.  

In his speech to the committee Boyd K Packer even preemptively smacked down second counsellor in the First Presidency Thomas S Monson who he knew would be more compassionate and not like this strategy of intentional cruelty.

He said “I think President Thomas S. Monson may not appreciate what I am going to say now. I know of no one who maintains such a large private ministry of counsel and comfort in the midst of heavy pressures of office than does Brother Monson. He says very little about it, but he visits the sick, hospitals, homes, comforting, counselling, both in person and in writing. However, I have never heard him over the pulpit, nor have I read anything in his writings -- not one thing -- that would give any license to any member to stray from the counsel of the prophets or to soften the commandments that the Lord has given. There is a way to give comfort that is needed.  If we are not very careful, we will think we are giving comfort to those few who are justified and actually we will be giving license to the many who are not. The process of correlation is designed to keep us from making mistakes in manuals, in publications, in films, in videos, in those specialized programs which are justified. Those fifteen words from Alma state: "God gave unto them commandments, after having made known to them the plan of redemption." There are many things that cannot be understood nor taught nor explained unless it is in terms of the plan of redemption. The three areas that I mentioned are among them. Unless they understand the basic plan -- the premortal existence, the purposes of life, the fall, the atonement, the resurrection -- unless they understand that, the unmarried, the abused, the handicapped, the abandoned, the addicted, the disappointed, those with gender disorientation, or the intellectuals will find no enduring comfort. They can't think life is fair unless they know the plan of redemption.  That young man with gender disorientation needs to know that gender was not assigned at mortal birth, that we were sons and daughters of God in the premortal state.  The woman pleading for help needs to see the eternal nature of things and to know that her trials -- however hard to bear -- in the eternal scheme of things may be compared to a very, very bad experience in the second semester of the first grade. She will find no enduring peace in the feminist movement. There she will have no hope. If she knows the plan of redemption, she can be filled with hope.  The one who supposes that he "understands the mind-set of both groups" needs to understand that the doctrines of the gospel are revealed through the Spirit to prophets, not through the intellect to scholars…...This Church will prevail. There is no power in existence that can thwart the work in which we are engaged.” 

And so it was that Boyd K Packer, at the time no more senior than being an apostle, asserted his will, over-rid the First Presidency and unleashed a campaign of ruthless indifference and persecution of the most vulnerable and most thoughtful Church members that would completely derail our progress and stop it from prevailing.  Ironically it turned out that Boyd K Packer and his Pharisee Mormonism was the “power in existence that can thwart the work in which we are engaged.”  “Thwart” is an understatement. 

So how was it that a junior Apostle got away with dominating the agenda and setting us on this course?  Well, the same ways the Pharisee fanatics have always done it.  He has waited for the prophet to be incapacitated by old age and make his move.  President Ezra Taft Benson wasn’t in the room when Packer staged his coup.  He was already on the way out with strokes and heart attacks in 1989 when he or a machine signed my mission call and made his last public appearance a few months later. By 1993 he was in a coma and unable to do anything to stop him. This wasn’t the first time this has happened in the Pharisee takeover of the Church.  The Pharisee Mormon Apostles always give it large about respecting priesthood keys and unquestioning loyalty to the President and strictly following protocols and not stepping outside what your line manager personally authorises, but it is a load of complete hogwash.  They don’t mean it at all, specially when it gets in the way of their pursuit of power and control.  The second the President shows weakness, they attack.  Bruce R McConkie manipulated dying David O McKay to authorise republishing his Mormon Doctrine Pharisee manual when the other senior Apostles who saw it for the danger it was had said no.  Dallin Oaks bridled when President Thomas S Monson censored his Sith Master Boyd K Packer for declaring in General Conference that the Family Proclamation is a revelation from God and that noone is born transgender so the second Monson was incapacitated by dementia Dallin Oaks rushed to the pulpit with his Proclamation and the Plan talk declaring not only that the Family Proclamation was a revelation but that everyone must believe it to be scripture if we consider ourselves a converted Mormon and want to get to heaven, and threw in for good measure that everyone is born distinctly male or female.  Pharisee Apostles are vultures who will start tearing strips off a prophet’s flesh before they have even got halfway through dying. They are ruthless.  And that’s why they keep thrashing and dominating the nice Christians. 

Of course what the Apostles who bought into Packers idea of being hardcore and uncompromising in public and kinder to the broken in private were missing was any kind of grip on real Christianity.  In Christian Mormonism the exceptions to the general rules, the people whose lives and experiences don’t follow a mainstream or safe and comfortable path, are meant to be the people that Apostles of Christ prioritise above all others in what they teach as the rules and norms of our religion.  This whole idea of sweeping the messiness of real lives under the carpet when they don’t fit the Pharisees’ preferred lifepath, and being incredibly reluctant to even talk or teach about the people this isn’t relevant or helpful to because of the terror of somehow compromising or weakening the ‘standards’ of God is total and utter satanic nonsense.  And they should know this if they paid any attention to the real meaning of Jesus’ most basic parables. 

Jesus was crystal clear that the definition of our Christianity is not favouring and meeting the needs of the sheep already safe in the fold.  The people for whom living a comfortable and good life by traditional standards comes easy.  He said they have their own rewards and they are already taking care of themselves.  His very clear commandment was that the Prime Directive of all Christians is to be transgressive violators of manmade social norms and group-think, not the militant guardians of manmade social norms and group-think. His Prime Directive is to get out of that safe fold comfort zone and get out into the wilderness where it’s scary and dangerous and minister to the people who have lost their way to the fold or who have been evicted from the fold like lepers.  To walk with them the extra miles and love them unconditionally; to serve and pray for them even if they were hard work and don’t deserve it.  SPECIALLY if they are hard work and don’t deserve it.  Enemies even.  Violent, slapping you on the cheek.  Instead of judging them, stay close and show them and help them feel the love they are missing in their lives.  

Jesus taught this in the parable of the Lost Sheep and the Sermon on the Mount.  He taught this when he said “If you have done it unto the least of these my brethren you have done it unto me.” The real test of our Christianity is not how you service the majority who are already doing well, it is how you treat the most extreme possible exceptions.  On judgment day and right now Jesus has said He is primarily interested in how you are talking about and treating the working mothers, the sinners of any kind, the married homosexuals and their children, the intellectuals being persecuted for thinking and talking about the uncomfortable truths you are ashamed of, the transgender child or parent, the drug addict.  That’s the beginning of our Christianity, not the exception to the rule or the embarrassing afterthought or sideshow to be hidden away and dealt with in secret and not spoken about in polite company. 

When you remind yourself of Jesus’ teaching and then listen to a Pharisee Apostle talking about how we need to prioritise standing for traditional values and core principles and not discuss in public the exceptions it is just astonishing how totally wrong they have managed to become.  Whose traditional values?  It amazed me when the Mormon apostles, nearly all descendants of polygamists who were persecuted and imprisoned for insisting on their right to practice a form of marriage that was as un-American and untraditional and unchristian as all get out without legal and social harassment started using, word for word, all the arguments against same sex marriage that were used against their own ancestors and previous occupants of their red velvet thrones.  Un-American.  Untraditional.  Unchristian. Jesus would spit out one word of contempt for that kind of behaviour: “Hypocrites!” 


The decision to launch the ongoing Pharisee Mormon crusade against feminists, LGBTQ people and intellectuals that started in this secret meeting in the lofty palace of the apex predators in our priesthood hierarchy almost immediately reached down from their ivory tower and across the Atlantic to grab me and my loved ones by the throat in a chokehold the Church has still not released us from, and that has completely changed the journey of my relationship with them and our religion. 

In the early 1990’s I was just back from my mission and buzzing with excitement about my Mormonism.  I had been to the Bible Belt and found traditional and the most proactive and exciting Pentacostal Christianity seriously damaged and falling far short of the glory of God.  I was over the moon to have discovered what became the lifeline of my testimony for the next 40 years in a frenzy of photocopying of the archive of Sunstone Magazine in Logan public library when I spent a few days in Utah after my mission catching up with missionary companions and relatives there.  My secretly feminist Stake Relief Society President Mum had been subscribing to Exponent 2 for years, but I had no idea there was this whole new world of intellectual Mormonism willing to have the conversations and dive into the riches of our big ideas and contemporary scholarship and arts in ways that were completely forbidden in Sunday Church and a pipe dream we didn’t even know we could dream of in our wonderful informal Institute group studying the Church History curriculum with one of our heroic mentors who WAS willing to think out of the box and feed our Young Single Adult brains.  

And almost as soon as I had discovered this secret world the international Mormons were completely oblivious to, Boyd K Packer broke all the rules about Church discipline being initiated by stake presidents, sent in his goons to bully the stake presidents of 6 of the leading LDS scholars researching the real history of the Church, advocating for womens’ rights and writing amazing articles in Sunstone Magazine, and had them excommunicated in coordinated show trials like one of Stalin’s totalitarian purges of the intelligensia in September 1993, just 4 months after his speech to the Sanhedrin declaring war on all of our brains.   

The ‘September Six’ purge of the truth tellers and the Brigham Young University academics and historians sent a cold chill through the academic Mormon studies community that it took them a decade to recover from, and it didn’t just impact them.  It sent a signal from the geriatric Gestapo that noone who was interested in using their brains to go deeper and learn more about Mormon history and thought was safe, that there was no freedom of thought in the Church, that you could not even discuss or critically analyse our doctrines hypothetically and as theories open to academic consideration without being regarded as a spiritual threat serving Satan who should be excommunicated.  People had their temple recommends taken away if they attended Sunstone’s symposia.  The passionate Mormons who loved and respecting their religion enough to devote their lives to understanding and exploring all its possibilities while the Apostles were backing away from caring about these things and dumbing down were declared to be enemies of the state to be shunned and betrayed to the Thought Police. 

I was in an intellectual warzone and I was now an enemy of the prophets I had just spent 2 years telling people to trust and love as mouthpieces of God.  

Fortunately this didn’t just send me crashing out of the Church in a disillusioned spiral as it rapidly became clear that everything I had been taught all my life about my religion being fearless about academic and intellectual enquiry and welcoming of further light and knowledge from any source was a total lie. I was saved from immediate disconnection from my religion by one of the many saving graces of growing up British.  This was that I had always known that Americans... are basically idiots.   They do really dumb things.  They have loads of deeply endearing qualities and a puppy dog like enthusiasm and optimism that is completely ridiculous to the skeptical British mindset.  They have this truly bizarre and childish national characteristic of boasting about their accomplishments, and being impressed and cheering when other Americans are boasting about how good they are at something, while the baseline British response to that sort of behaviour is to tell them to get over themselves and roll our eyes. Noone likes a show-off.  

We absolutely adore and welcome young American missionaries like we love our overexcited pets who are the only British lifeforms allowed over the top public displays of enthusiasm or affection, and we are deeply grateful for the American soldiers who stepped up 3 times last century to help the British sort out the even more stupid continental Europeans and rescue them from their pathological obsession with loving totalitarian ideologies and autocrats who fired them up to become a menace to the rest of the world in World War One against the Prussian Militarists, World War Two against the Nazis and the Cold War against the Communists.  As I write this we seem to have finally extricated ourselves by the skin of our teeth from the similarly costly clutches of the European Union, fortunately without needing America’s military assistance this time. Goodness knows what they will try next, but they surely will, regular as clockwork.  While we adore Americans as our dysfunctional but fun cousins and politely point to Canada and Bermuda as examples of how they could have done a whole lot better if they stuck with the British Empire which abolished slavery in 1830, this does not mean we conflate them with God. The whole Manifest Destiny American Exceptionalism thing is a bit of a joke.  

So with all that in mind, when the American Prophets, Seers and Revelators decided to start persecuting intellectuals like me and most of my Mormon friends and family and flip the entire script we had been sold about Mormonism for generations, and then started going after my many gay Mormon friends and acquaintances, at least 20 of them and their families the last time I checked my list that I call “Gays of Our Lives,” I was perhaps unusually lucky that this did not for a moment make me have a faith crisis and lose my trust in actual God. This was very clearly a case of dumb Americans being dumb, as they do and as one should expect, and the problem lies with them and their dumbness, not Baby Jesus.  Phew!  Disaster averted. 


Like me, God was not at all a happy bunny about this development.  You cannot claim to be apostles of the God of endless creativity and diversity and the freedom to think and discuss and learn for yourself, and then persecute free-thinking, innovating intellectuals or His LGBTQ children rejected and misunderstood by mainstream society without incurring REALLY heavy duty divine wrath.  God’s retribution against these Pharisaical control freak hypocrites intentionally hardening their hearts to the pleas of their many victims and claiming to do it with His permission and approval was swift and brutal. Within moments an astonishing and completely unexpected new invention called the INTERNET was everywhere.  It changed EVERYTHING. 

The Bible, and section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants we just studied in Come follow Me, warns sinners that the secret crimes they hypocritically try to hide so they have an unblemished and inaccurate public reputation will one day be shouted from the rooftops for everyone to hear.  There could be no more delicious and fitting a punishment of the lying Mormon leadership keeping their history secret and their compassionate impulses even more secret than to suddenly have the most powerful tool ever for learning and discussing literally everything suddenly appear in the world and start shouting from the rooftops in every street all the gory details of all the secrets and lies they had been carefully hiding from us for decades. It was instant karma.  Boyd K Packer’s mantra that all truth is not useful so it should be hidden by the Seminary and Institute teachers and the Sunday School manuals from the Mormons and their children was completely thwarted in one fell swoop of technology.  And it was vindication with giant bells on for all the determined scholars and amateur sleuths who had been investigating the truth about Mormonism and its history.  Now everyone could find out what they had found out, check the evidence and source documents, cross reference and fact check away to their heart’s content.  And ever since the Avent of the Internet the humiliated and exposed Apostles have been scrambling to try and get ahead of the tsunami of truth about them, change the curriculum to be more honest and sadly mostly screw up totally.  Because they are STILL not learning their lesson.  They are STILL trying to make the Pharisee command and control and lie strategy work by commanding Mormons to ignore everything on the internet, controlling the official curriculum with whitewashed history in the manuals, and still just flat out lying about it to us all in General Conference talks and devotional broadcasts to the young.

Let’s get back to the data. The advent of the internet didn’t crash the other Christian Churches in the early 1990’s because they had not been lying to their membership on such an epic scale about all of their foundational truth claims.  Church attendance in the USA in fact continued to grow on average during the first decade of the internet.  It was the Mormons leaders, and the Mormons who trusted them as totally honest and infallible, who were now being revealed to be spectacularly dishonest or deceived and thus began the great exodus of otherwise totally committed members and potential investigators checking out the LDS Church on the internet and deciding not to touch that mess or engage further with the missionaries. 

As if the Church wasn’t already in trouble and receiving a battering for its intellectual dishonesty, the Apostles who were still enthralled by the Pharisee bullies dominating the upper room of the temple decided to make it all ten times worse by also going public with a war against feminists and LGBTQ people that even they, in their dysfunctional way, have realised now was one of the biggest strategic errors of Mormon leadership of the last century, and believe me, there are quite a few candidates for THAT title.  

In 1995 the anti-feminist, homophobic and transphobic Family Proclamation written by committees, without consulting any women, as a political statement wrapped up as a religious proclamation to give the Apostles some skin in the game of legal challenges to same sex marriage legislation became our public religion.  The Mormon war against same sex marriage and other civil rights for LGBTQ people really picked up its pace.  How badly that all went with the November 2015 Policy of Exclusion and how many lies the Pharisee Apostles have told about it while establishing it as a revelation and then abandoning it as a “policy” is discussed elsewhere in these podcasts.

Even when the General Authorities bare their claws and lay into women, LGBTQ people and intellectuals there is still a small but significant zone of wiggle room for local stake leaders to basically ignore them and prioritise Christian Mormonism.  The silver lining of our prophets and apostles teaching totally contradictory things about pretty much every doctrine or policy emphasis for generations is that you can find quotes to back you up whatever your position is.  If you are thoughtful and selective you can glean and reconstruct Mormon Christianity from the Pharisaical chaff it has been mingled with. But that’s much easier to get away with in a context like ours in the UK where our shortage of members means we have a lot of young people in senior leadership and are used to having a diverse range of personalities and life experiences round the table in our leading councils.  You are far more likely to have around the ward council table here a real life feminist or informed intellectual or LGBTQ person in disguise or someone living with one in their household.  And everyone there is used to living in the real world, not the dystopian Pharisaical theme parks Mormons have created wherever they cluster together in large numbers and get corrupted by ambition and prosperity, like the early Christian Church was when the Romans stopped persecuting it and adopted them as the state religion.  

People growing up in Deseret or the Moridor or the Jello Belt or whatever you want to call the territory originally populated by Mormon pioneers in their kingdom of Deseret and still dominated by Mormons in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, bits of California and so forth perhaps can’t imagine what it is like to do Mormonism in communities where you are a microscopic minority, just a few families in communities of hundreds of thousands; where there is zero social or financial kudos, respect or advantage of any kind for being in local Mormon leadership.  Deseret Mormons are used to people fighting to be given the status and respect and employment and investment opportunities and coverups for financial corruption and affinity fraud that is rampant in Mormon communities, and even marriages for your children that accrue to anyone ordained as an elders Quorum President or Bishopric or Stake Presidency member.  They are used to those people being schmoozed and consulted by local politicians as significant and influential community leaders. They are used to having so many active members in their wards that they can repeatedly appoint exactly the same personality type of slightly arrogant but sociable, unimaginative, dependable and conformist middle aged white manager class man to most of those leadership roles and having things plod along predictably and comfortingly as they always have. 

The closer you get geographically to Salt Lake and the higher the LDS population density, the easier it is to only give power to people who very closely match the generic worldview of the men carefully selected to be the General Authorities. Making real radical Mormon Christianity happen under the radar of Pharisaical General Authorities and the culture they have created in their own image and in turn been codependently conditioned by for generations cannot happen for the whole Church and become the dominant message from the top until that system is broken by diversity in senior leadership, including women equally or at least significantly at the top, and interactive common consent with the entire global membership in all significant decision making. 

Meanwhile we are all trapped to a greater or lesser extent in an endless nightmare of cognitive dissonance where the Christian religion we learn about in our scriptures is in endless conflict with the very specific ideological and social worldview that has been incubated and mutated in the toxic hothouse environment of Deseret.


I keep referencing opposing Christian and Pharisee or Plan of Lucifer beliefs and mindsets, but what does this actually mean or look like specifically?  Here are a few examples:

Jesus said take no thought for tomorrow and meet the needs of the poor and sick in front of you here and now.  If you are mega rich, sell it all and give it to the poor. But we now know that the Prophets and Presiding Bishopric of the LDS Church hoard money in vast sums almost impossible to actually imagine instead of helping people with it because of a vaguely defined expectation of future desperate need when they are telling us it will be essential for the survival of the Church and its programs, by which time, at the current rates of decline they are spending none of the Ensign Peak Funds to avert, there of course won’t be a Church left to spend it saving. 

Jesus said it doesn’t matter what you wear and the flowers in the field are beautiful as they are and don’t need anything more to be acceptable to God.  He specifically criticised the Pharisees for being obsessed with the details of their formal clothing and how long their tassels were and so forth as indicators to everyone looking at them of their righteousness.  But our prophets obsess about every detail of your clothing; your haircut, your makeup, your jewellery and specifically how many earrings you can have if you are girl.  Women must wear dresses not trousers in the temple and ideally when in the chapel - this is still a specific requirement for sister missionaries even if they can now wear trousers while out and about serving. Little girls must not wear dresses that show their shoulders because this is apparently sexually immodest and breaking the law of chastity.  I kid you not - there have been Friend magazine articles for the children teaching them this.  

At least we recently got rid of women covering their faces with a veil when they pray in the temple because until January 2019 Mormon Temple God would only listen to them in a hijab, and they had to be buried with a veil over their face because you don’t want to turn up in the next life with a stark naked lady face.  Watching HBO’s superb and profoundly disturbing ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ has rooted around and re-programmed my Mormon psyche and conditioning far more than almost anything else I have experienced.  I recommend it as essential viewing for anyone who still doesn’t understand or feel deep down in their souls what Mormonism has done and still does and could yet do to women if the Pharisees continue to get their way.  It also of course speaks powerfully to the sins of Islamic and Catholic and other cultures and how they have too often oppressed women, but it strikes far too close to our Mormon home for comfort. 

Handmaid’s Tale describes a dystopian future where an outsider socially conservative Christian fundamentalist sect has taken over most of the USA after its constitutional arrangements and government was in crisis in ‘last days’ type environmental and fertility rate collapse, similar to the expectation of Mormons who have been taught all our lives that we will have to step up and rule America.  Men have all the power and are the only ones in the room where political and religious leadership decisions are being made. Women’s primary value is their fertility and their role is as homemakers.  Mormons still teach that. If wives of important high status men are infertile the family takes on extra women to produce children with the father.  Mormons did that for decades and still do it if men remarry after divorce or widowerhood and carry on making babies with more eternal wives.  Our model for eternity is god men with in many cases lots of wives cranking out babies to give them extra glory.  While the TV series is colour blind the original book has the rulers of Gilead being white racists and the black people are inferior and sent away to segregated work colonies so as not to racially contaminate the white bloodlines.  Mormons taught and did that for 150 years and carried on condemning interracial marriages well into the 21st century in teaching manuals. If you watch Handmaid’s Tale then watch the entirety of President Nelson’s inaugural press conference in which he can only conceptualise women as baby making home making mothers, quoted a verse from a polygamy verse in Doctrine and Covenants 132 that begins with a man having 11 virgin wives to make babies with and then watch as at the end his own numerous progeny and their children are paraded one family at a time in front of the cameras to assert his patriarchal power and glory through fertility it sends chills down your spine. 

If you want to develop your Mormon Feminism less frighteningly, I also strongly recommend the powerful new podcast ‘At Last She Said It’ by active LDS women who are part of the small but determined community of people who are intending to remain active participants in Mormonism while being completely honest about its many problems that need reform to be its best self. 

Mark 7:5 tells us “So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain;  their teachings are merely human rules.’  You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!  For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother.  Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”

Our Pharisee apostles and prophets are also convinced it is their job to invent violations of decency left right and centre, whether it is a man growing a beard or wearing a blue shirt or a woman exposing a porn shoulder, or your child taking the sacrament with their left hand.  Some genius in the First Presidency (ahem.. Oaks…) has decided to add to the 2020 Handbook of Instructions a commandment that we must take the sacrament with our right hand that only appeared in it once before…. in 1934.  Evidently nearly a century ago someone sensible decided that was ridiculous unscriptural overkill and it was never seen in the Handbook again… until now.  Section 18.9.4 says “Members partake with their right hand when possible.”

There is no explanation of why.  Its’ just stated as a self-evident fact. Most of us though have heard all the folklore taught about how we make covenants with our right hands and sustain leaders with our right hands (why right hands?!) so it is incredibly important to renew those covenants when we take the sacrament with our right hands.  Based on ancient pagan Greek and Roman cultural traditions in reality.  

Once you start down this path of adding symbolic adornments to every ordinance of the gospel and rationalising them it isn’t long before you are baptising babies wearing elaborate embroidered robes, praying to Mary and Saints instead of God, putting relics of bits of dead bodies or fragments of the clothing of saints into your altars to make them holy, doing so in buildings encrusted with gold and jewels and statues believed to be avatars of real demigods who could answer your prayers, and having wars with other factions about exactly what order or language to do these things in or which date is acceptable for Easter.  The tangled mess Catholic and Orthodox Christianity got itself into in doctrine and practice that the decluttering iconoclastic Protestants rebelled against was constructed one tiny step like this at a time of gradually adding more manmade rules, rituals and metaphors to a once simple gospel and turning these invented human traditions into compulsory sacred commandments that pile up and overwhelm the real religion. 

This is the mistake Boyd K Packer and the Apostles made when they decided to set aside Jesus’ commandments to be compassionate and prioritise the most vulnerable and wounded because they decided that it was more important to them and their Church to hold the line on strict injunctions against working mothers or questioning anything. This is the mistake we all make when we replace the simple principles of unconditional love with an investigator or new members and overwhelm and alienate them with loads of extra rules and expectations that end up sabotaging our ability to be inclusive, open hearted and welcoming.  

These are exactly the kinds of rules about which hand to use for things or your clothing that pure ultra Orthodox Judaism or fundamentalist Islam impose on their people to judge and control them aren’t they.  Surely it should ring alarm bells when our religion that originally rejected even evangelical Protestant Christians as too mired in unnecessary manmade traditions is now competing with the most consistent direct descendants of the original Pharisees - the ultra orthodox Jews and the Musilim Fundamentalists - to add unnecessary command and control complications to our religious lives!  Are we really here to be the new Amish?! And hide away from the wicked world in little obsessional enclaves of the visually righteous?  Adding more and more unnecessary ‘burdens grievous to bear’ and ‘stumbling blocks’ as if there aren’t already enough legitimate barriers to ordinary people touching our religion with a barge pole or giving it a second thought?


Jesus says in Matthew 23:4 “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” Our apostles constantly tell us to confess, make apologies for, and repent of our sins but they flatly refuse to repent of any of theirs.  Specially 150 years of institutional racism which would be incredibly healing to that open wound.  Dallin Oaks was adamant about this in 2015 when he said while discussing whether the Church should apologise for the past persecution of, and lies it told about homosexuals: “"I know that the history of the church is not to seek apologies or to give them….We sometimes look back on issues and say, 'Maybe that was counterproductive for what we wish to achieve,' but we look forward and not backward." The church doesn't "seek apologies," he said, "and we don't give them."

This statement really perplexed a lot of Church members.  ‘For the Strength of Youth’ outlines the standard model of a repentance process in our religion as including: “To repent, you need to confess your sins to the Lord. Then seek forgiveness from those you have wronged, and restore as far as possible what has been damaged by your actions.”

In a follow up filmed ‘TribTalk’ interview by Salt Lake Tribune journalist Jennifer Napier-Pearce on 29 January 2015 with Elders D Todd Christofferson and Dallin Oaks, both senior lawyers, which you can watch online, 25 minutes in she gave Dallin an opportunity y to clarify what he meant by the Church not apologising for anything.  His response was to play his usual semantic lawyerly ‘redefine or spin the meaning of actual words as a diversion’ game.

Jennifer Napier-Pearce: “You’re calling for a civil, respectful public discourse, and yet in the past the Church has had harsh tones at least to the discussion surrounding LGBT rights. In a Tribune story that we published on Tuesday, Elder Oaks you were quoted as saying that “the Church doesn’t seek apologies, and we don’t give them.” And of course this sparked a whole storm on social media about those who wonder how this view comports with Christian theology. Again, wanted to give you an opportunity to respond to that.”

Oaks: “I’m not aware that the word “apology” appears anywhere in the scriptures, Bible or Book of Mormon. The word “apology” contains a lot of connotations in it and a lot of significance. We do not seek apologies. When our temple was desecrated in California, when people  were fired and intimidated, when a lot of other coercive measures were used, we sought no apology. That’s what I meant by saying, “We don’t seek apology.” We think that the best way to solve these problems is not a formal statement of words that an apology consists of, but talking about principles and goodwill among contending viewpoints.”

It’s hilarious watching Elder Christofferson’s fixed grin and manic stare as his toe curling sidekick lays waste to logic and Mormon shiboleths.  And they wheeled him out a few months later to deal with the public relations nightmare a day or two after the Policy of Exclusion went live online and kicked off a storm of flying monkey poo.  2015 was really not a good year for poor D Todd being a media spokesperson trying to defend the indefensible.  He really earned his Second Annointing, and his salary that year, bless him. 

My wife Lynn’s pithy response to Dallin Oaks’ non-answer and the widespread discomfort among Mormons following this realisation that our apostle didn’t seem to understand anything at all about the need to say sorry to the victims of your sins was:  “What a pile of shit - it’s not just a word, its a concept!” I couldn’t put it better than that.

(Today’s swear bleep is bought to you courtesy of Church sponsored LDS Apologetics misinformation machine FAIRMormon in its funky new youth outreach down-with-he kids Youtube videos called This Is The Show, or TITS for short.  The wonderful moment you are looking for is where presenter Kwaku El tells a ridiculous and easily refutable lie about Jeremy Runnells’ ‘CES Letter’ and pretends to get so riled up that he has to drop an F-Bomb.  The Episode to look for is called “The CES Letter LOLOLOL Seer Stones Are Awesome!!” two exclamation marks.  Catch them while you can!  Someone with a bit of common sense in the bureaucracy will eventually actually check what’s in them and have them removed from Youtube pronto and quickly thrown into the Mormon Memory Hole along with Brigham Young’s Adam God Doctrine and that time President Joseph Fielding Smith insisted that man would never walk on the Moon.  They are proof, not that it was needed, that mainstream Mormon Apologists have got so desperate in their mental gymnastics trying to defend the indefensible even when some of the Apostles and their own staff have given up trying to defend it that they have literally and conceptually gone TITS UP! )

And as someone commented on that film in response to the LDS Church mobilising to support legislation like Prop 8 in California to prevent gay people having equal civil rights like marriage to heterosexuals:

‘Religious Freedom is "I can't do that because of my religion."  Religious Freedom is not "YOU can't do that because of my religion."  

1 Samuel 16:7 reads “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”   

The September 2001 Ensign quoted Pharisee Supersoldier Apostle David Bednar in a devotional address called “Ye Are the Temple of God” when he was an Area Authority Seventy and President of Ricks College that became BYU Idaho.  He started by teaching the kids based on a quote from Brigham Young that ““In the first place the spirit is pure, and under the special control and influence of the Lord, but the body is of the earth, and is subject to the power of the Devil, and is under the mighty influence of that fallen nature that is of the earth. If the spirit yields to the body, the Devil then has power to overcome the body and spirit of that man, and he loses both.  Recollect, brethren and sisters, every one of you, that when evil is suggested to you, when it arises in your hearts, it is through the temporal organization. When you are tempted, buffeted, and step out of the way inadvertently; when you are overtaken in a fault, or commit an overt act unthinkingly; when you are full of evil passion, and wish to yield to it, then stop and let the spirit, which God has put into your tabernacles, take the lead. If you do that, I will promise that you will overcome all evil, and obtain eternal lives. But many, very many, let the spirit yield to the body, and are overcome and destroyed” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1941], 70).”

David Bednar told his students “Now Brothers and Sisters please listen carefully. The statement of Brigham Young and these verses from 2 Nephi must be studied thoroughly and pondered prayerfully. Neither the statement by President Young or the scripture we just read assert that the physical body is inherently evil. Rather, we live in a fallen world. The very elements out of which our bodies were created are by nature fallen and ever subject to the pull of sin, corruption, and death. Thus, the Fall of Adam and its consequences affect us most directly through our physical bodies. And yet as President Young stated, we are dual creatures, for at the same time that we inhabit a physical body that is subject to the Fall, we also have a spirit that represents the eternal part of us. We are the spirit sons and daughters of God and have inherited divine qualities from Him. The precise nature of the test of mortality, then, can be summarized in the following two questions: Will my body rule over my spirit, or will my spirit rule over my body? Will I yield to the enticings of the natural man or to the eternal man? That, brothers and sisters, is the test.  We are here on the earth to develop Godlike qualities and to learn to bridle ALL the passions of the flesh.”

So when we are tempted to sin we just have to use our spiritual will power to say no to our bodies, which is rather messed up and seems like a blueprint for eating disorders and hatred of one’s own body.  It also creates an unrealistic expectation that perfection is possible with willpower, and it totally contradicts the idea in our scriptures that Lucifer is able to be totally evil without a body and also persuade ⅓ of all the spirit children of God who definitely did not have bodies to follow him to hell. 


I include these details because they are typical of something that has deeply infiltrated the teachings and the ideas we are fed in Mormonism that are basically totally irrational Pharisee Pseudoscience - the wacky personal or folk belief ideas of individual General Authorities presented to us as absolute truths, and they can be really dangerous.  Like Spencer W Kimball teaching in ‘Miracle of Forgiveness” that homosexuality is caused by masturbation and having a domineering mother and a weak father… even though your heterosexual sibling did just as much masturbating as you did and had exactly the same parenting.  Sometimes it mixes in some contemporary ideas of scientists and psychologists they like that later turn out to be totally inaccurate, and it is framed as accepted reality to people who often are far too young and inexperienced to be skeptical or know any better.

How we mentally frame our sense of our own being is profoundly important to our spiritual and mental health.  If you really believe that your spirit is invincibly holy and it is your body making you weak and sinful and having the bad thoughts, how will that actually play out?  If you believe because your prophet of God told you it is true that masturbation causes homosexuality, how are you going to regard masturbation or react to your child doing it?  And how are you going to feel as a parent already worried silly like all parents are about whether you have messed up your children when one of your kids comes out to you as gay or trangender and your prophet of God has told you that is significantly your fault because of how you parented them? 

This is why our better Apostles have usually been the ones with a pretty strong academic education who ground themselves in reality and cross check with science and don’t let some ignorant model of the nature of our lives by 19th century blowhards like Brigham Young get repackaged as wisdom and truth for us today.  Christian Mormonism has to involve robust and specific ways to enable us to sift through and leave behind on the curbside of the freeway to perfection ideas and doctrines of old, and if necessary still living, apostles and prophets that were either never any use, or have since been replaced by much better models of how we understand our own natures and the struggles we face. 

Obviously one could argue literally anything our prophets have said constructing the theology of Mormonism counts as 19th century blowhards letting their imaginations run away with them, but if we are to take the best bits of Mormon theology seriously we need to be able to differentiate them from ideas like this that aren’t even congruent with basic scriptures even though they are delivered like precious universal secrets to the eager young students lapping this up as they try to make sense of life, the universe and everything. I shudder now when I think of the things I was taught were reality as a Mormon boy, like the idea that Satan could not read your mind unless you invited him into your thoughts somehow, or he was constantly watching you to work out what you were secretly thinking by your words and actions to determine your weak points.  Or the idea that all of your dead relatives are around you all the time because the ‘veil’ is thin between you and aware of what you are doing and praying for you as you struggle with sin and temptations, which is just terrifying.  It’s bad enough knowing that God can see you having sex with your spouse or having a poo without great aunt Gertrude and all the grandparents standing around watching too.  That cute idea about all being part of one big close-knit happy family on both sides of the veil ain’t so cute when it’s 24/7 !

That kind of stuff can cause you years of totally unnecessary anxiety and parents need to be much more careful about what their kids are being exposed to without the life experience and wider education in and out of the Church that they have had to moderate its impact.  A classic case of this is the ‘For the Strength of Youth’ booklet we are all directed by the First Presidency as adults, children and Judges in Israel, to refer to as the gold standard of what our Church means and requires in its Law of Chastity.  For the Strength of Youth tells the poor kids very clearly that any sexual sin of any kind is second only to murder.  Having sex is second only to murder.  Wanking is a sin second only to murder.  Looking at pornography is a sin second only to murder.  Having sexual thoughts is a sin second only to murder.  How is that OK to teach 11 year olds preparing for their priesthood ordination or first temple recommend in the year they will later turn 12 in? I keep pointing this out to adults who say “nononono, everyone knows that’s only referring to full penetrative intercourse!” or something like that.  Well, DOH, yes, we as experienced adults have finally worked out that there is a sliding scale of awfulness here and that maybe raping someone is nearly as bad as murder and looking at some boobs in a catalogue maybe not so much, but that’s not what this booklet we are giving to all the children actually says.  It’s telling them its all second only to murder, and we keep teaching them that God can’t look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, so technically any sin you commit is just as bad as killing someone!  

The burning firepits of mental torment we casually throw our children into in Mormonism is inexcusable and needs urgent attention and far more care.  The bishops are being told by the First Presidency now not to make intrusive enquiries into young people’s sexuality, but the kids are being instructed in ‘For the Strength of Youth’ that they should go and confess to their bishops even any sexual thoughts they have, which are sins second only to murder, at the earliest opportunity!  This is the incompetence and the failure to do basic joined up thinking and critical analysis of the geriatric Pharisees and their nepotistically employed committee member office staff who create these guidelines and resources.

The Repentance section of ‘For the Strength of Youth’ says “Serious sins, such as sexual transgression or use of pornography, need to be confessed to your bishop. Be completely honest with him. He will help you repent.”  The Sexual Purity section says “In God’s sight, sexual sins are extremely serious. They defile the sacred power God has given us to create life. The prophet Alma taught that sexual sins are more serious than any other sins except murder or denying the Holy Ghost (see Alma 39:5). Never do anything that could lead to sexual transgression. Treat others with respect, not as objects used to satisfy lustful and selfish desires. Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body…….. If you are tempted to commit ANY FORM of sexual transgression, seek help from your parents and bishop. Pray to your Father in Heaven, who will help you resist temptation and overcome inappropriate thoughts and feelings. If you have committed sexual transgression, talk to your bishop NOW and begin the process of repentance so that you can find peace and have the full companionship of the Spirit.”

Back to Bednar.  ‘Ye Are the Temple of God’ continues: 

“Our physical bodies indeed are temples of God. Consequently, you and I must carefully consider what we take into our temple, what we put on our temple, what we do to our temple, and what we do with our temple. And we can learn a number of important lessons by comparing the Church’s temples to our physical bodies as temples.”

What Jesus actually taught in Mark 7:14-20 was “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”  After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable.  “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them?  For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)  He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them.  For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

David Bednar continued:

“What We Put on Our Temple

The Church’s temples are recognized throughout the world for their beauty. The buildings themselves are made of the finest materials and constructed with true craftsmanship. And the areas immediately surrounding a temple are always neat and well maintained. Please consider the impact of the appearance of a temple and its grounds as you review the following counsel from President Harold B. Lee:

“Do not underestimate the important symbolic and actual effect of appearance. Persons who are well groomed and modestly dressed invite the companionship of the Spirit of our Father in Heaven and are able to exercise a wholesome influence upon those around them. Persons who are unkempt and careless about their appearance, or adopt the visual symbols of those who often oppose our ideals, expose themselves and persons around them to influences that are degrading and dissonant. Outward appearance is often a reflection of inward tendencies” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, ed. Clyde J. Williams [1996], 220).

“Just as the Church’s temples portray light and an inner beauty through their outward appearance, so we must be thoughtful and careful about how we dress and what we put on our personal temples. Full-time missionaries have a distinctive style of dress that differentiates them from the world and is intended, in part, to be an outward manifestation of their discipleship. It would never be appropriate for the appearance or the demeanor of these special messengers to in any way detract from the sacred message they are called to deliver. Full-time members should be no less distinctive. Like it or not, other people make judgments about the restored gospel by what they see or feel in you and me. One of the most tragic lines in scripture was spoken by Alma to his errant son, Corianton: “Behold, O my son, how great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words” (Alma 39:11).”

So Bednar’s Pharisee God believes that your outward appearance and grooming IS an accurate way to judge your inner righteousness or “inward tendencies” as Harold B Lee put it in total contradiction to the Bible, and every member of the Church should be just as anxious about their clothes as a full-time missionary.  Bednar really believes this - at one point as President of BYU Idaho he famously taught his students that if they all turned up to the weekly devotional that was going to be given by a visiting Apostle wearing their absolute Sunday best clothes, that apostle would be empowered by God to give them a much more powerful ‘apostolic blessing’ than if they came dressed as usual. He has praised the example of a young man who rejected his girlfriend as potential marriage material because she carried on having 2 pairs of earrings after President Hinckley taught that men should have no earrings and women could only have one pair of earrings to be acceptable to God. Because middle class Utah cultural norms are obviously what the God of the whole earth tolerates in His rather unimaginative Pharisee heaven.  

David Bednar has taught in another setting that we should closely observe the everyday conduct and demeanour of the Apostles even in their down time when they are not claiming to be speaking or acting as God’s servants and mouthpieces and we should model our own lives on those behaviours to be close to God.  

Thank goodness all the members of the global Church have apostles living in their neighbourhood so we can do this like Beddars apparently does.  Here in the Southeast of England you can hardly pop to the shops without tripping over a Apostle living his daily life, mowing the lawn, parenting his kids without screaming at them and threatening to never feed them again, making just the right choices about smart casual clothing so no one forgets to feel holy vibes from them even when they aren’t at Church.  If I didn’t have the essential everyday examples of the downtime apostles in my life I would have no idea how to live my daily life in a way acceptable to Jesus or more importantly David Bednar… the Apostle.  Telling everyone to exactly follow his own example in every tiny detail. Oh yeah!  Sometimes we forget that when the Apostles are gushing about how totally awesome apostles and Prophets are, they are talking about and bigging up THEMSELVES.

Apparently when you become an Apostle it turns you into a full-time Jesus avatar, a perfect exemplar in every way at all times, and you can see just how wide-eyed and ecstatic David Bednar is to actually be one of these God-men now since his ordination as an Apostle.  He’s a hero worshipper who has become one of the heroes he worshipped, which can’t be healthy.  He’s become even more patronising and judgmental.  Every talk is telling us all about something he understands better than us and we have been doing wrong.  He is the Pharisee Supersoldier.  The Sith Apprentice who if he is not culled by God first is going to be our prophet for a very long time at some point because of his comparatively young age, which is rather demoralising.  But it is also a reminder to progressive Mormons that we cannot just wait for the current backwards looking authoritarian to die and then expect some kind of inevitable modernisation to occur with the younger apostles who succeed them.  By the time they take the throne they are usually just as old and there is no shortage of younger Priesthood men with exactly the same mindset.  They only ever need to find 15 of them to perpetuate their world indefinitely.  Change will only come with structural reforms and Common Consent, not a specific General Authority saviour.

Continuing the Catalogue of Contradictions 

Jesus said don’t let your right hand know what your left hand does when doing good.  Our Church uses a microscopic percentage of its vast wealth for international Aid (and definitely not the £4 million donated for that purpose over the last 5 years by British Latter-day Saints which is still sitting in a bank earning interest) and they do everything they can to exaggerate and publicise it wildly.

None of these flagrant contradictions by our living Prophets Seers and Revelators directly contradicting the most basic teaching of the Christ they claim to be special witnesses and mouthpieces of is not OK if as a Latter-day Saint you are committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the better Christian Restoration doctrines, specially with all the warnings we have about being vigilant about wolves sneaking into the clothing of holy sheep and teaching Lucifer’s religion.  I’m not pretending Joseph Smith was perfect or taught a perfect religion and then it got broken by these people.  Joseph made as many mistakes as anyone and arguably some of the very worst.  Debating that is for another day and has been done thoroughly and wonderfully well already.  Our journey as a religion was always meant to be about thinking for ourselves and learning from our own and each others’ mistakes.  Sorting the wheat from the tares or the weeds or the chaff.  The sheep from the goats or the wolves.  Proving all things and holding fast to that which is good.  Our scriptures are full of metaphors about this fundamental process of critically analysing for ourselves what is truth and what is manmade error and then choosing to keep the good bits.  We aren’t meant to have or expect perfect infallible prophets.  But we ARE always meant to be free and equipped by our spiritual leaders with the skills and tools to make that critical analysis and do the sifting ourselves.  But these Pharisee Apostles haven’t even worked any of that out, or are pretending they haven’t, and are insisting none of that is a thing.  There is no chaff or tare or inaccuracy in anything they are teaching us to believe and do so there is no need to critically analyse or research or fact check anything they say.  Just pray, pay and obey. 


So here we are now with a potentially global religion that 200 years in has hardly got started with impacting the world and is already in a death spiral, trapped in a self-sabotaging civil war of wolves and sheep at each others’ throats and the wolves are winning big time right now.  We are at a crucial crossroads.  Until we pull the average Mormonism back along the spectrum towards the end where Jesus and what He taught and represents is beckoning to us, we are in deep trouble up to our necks and our friends and our children are drowning. 

While almost everything we say and do in LDS Mormonism is 80 or 90% pharisee we create a huge firewall and a fog of confusion, a mist of darkness even!, that stops us from fully engaging with our Christianity and what we could be doing with what was revealed through Joseph Smith, and where the increasingly hidden gems of the Restoration and its scriptures could take us personally and as a people. 

There aren’t enough mental gymnastics in the world to make this current state of affairs OK.  So let it go fellow Saints!  Free yourself from that demoralising and futile burden. 

In Episodes 7 will be focusing on a deeper dive into what I think those jewels are that we could run with to fire up the flagging spirits and imagination of the Gallant Gen Z’s, the Marvellous Millennials, the Exciting Generation X, the Boomtastic Baby Boomers, and maybe even the Scruptious Silent Generstion. Why not?  Even they must be bored out of their freaking minds by now.  Anything’s more interesting than this tedious Pharisee drek of guilt trips and… um….. well, basically it’s all guilt trips isn’t it.   Literally can’t think of anything else they are offering. Maybe some generic hatred and specific homophobia.  A sprinkle of existential dread.  A smidjin of    But its mostly 24/7, 360* guilt trips telling you and your partner and your kids and your friends aren’t anywhere close to good enough yet and probably never will be.  

I’ll celebrate the super-amazing magical potions we have to heal ourselves and heal a lot of the open wounds in what has become mainstream Christianity, but before we get to that… in Episode 7!  I promise! … it’s a case of ‘physician, heal thyself!”  We have to clearly identify what the components are of this mist of darkness as Lehi put it, or as Dieter Uchtdorf so brilliantly described it in his October 2015 talk ‘It works Wonderfully’ the “mountain of sediment of manmade good ideas, programs and expectations” crushing the flower of the real Christian Mormon gospel and now well past their sell-by date.   Because the whole thing about sediment is that it has a lot of layers and they all need to be peeled back or blasted off to free that flower.  Until we realise how poisonous these things we have normalised in our religion are we will continue to make excuses for them and facilitate them continuing.  It will only be when those clouds of contradictory confusion part into being seen clearly as Christian or Pharisee that we can know what to repair and reconstruct to continue building the kingdom we were originally commissioned to.  Only then can we see for ourselves if it’s worth sticking with and has God’s approval or is beyond repair. 

While the institutional Church would fail to pass most if not all of the questions in its own temple recommend interview, a topic for another episode perhaps, we need to make really major changes. It’s going to take a lot more than a tweak or two. 

So far I have tried to establish the evidence for this way of framing what is happening in the Church as the eternal conflict of ideologies between freedom and dictatorship, Christians vs Pharisees.  I have covered general principles, how the Pharisee faction has gained power and control of the script of what an acceptable Mormon believes and does, and how this has involved a crackdown on thought which I will go into more thoroughly in episode 6 titled ‘AMPUTATE YOUR OWN BRAIN AND SMILE FOR THE TEMPLE RECOMMEND’.  I have identified the restoration of Common Consent as one of the key reforms that will have to happen to free ourselves from the Pharisees and drag the Church back to Christianity.  I have explored the unrealistic and mostly unattainable model of Pharisee lifestyle regarding marriage and children promoted to our members that hurts everyone in countless ways but particularly victimises and disempowers women.  I have discussed the huge blockage to any further progress that is caused by the apostles’ stubborn refusal to admit they have ever made mistakes regarding what they have declared to be revelation and apologise and repent of their and their predecessors’ biggest mistakes and sins.  I have explored how and when Boyd K Packer launched the current phase of the Christians vs Pharisees war with his crusade against intellectuals, feminists and LGBTQ people that is still in full flow today even though he is now dead because his worldview and campaign has been wholeheartedly embraced by the current First Presidency, and in particular his special Supersoldier apprentice Dallin Oaks who is already training up David Bednar to be the next one.  I have just identified a few of the many specific examples of how the teachings of our current Apostles and Prophets are literally the opposite of the teachings of Jesus Christ and proactively the gospel of the Pharisees and Lucifer according to the Mormon paradigm. .  

I hope by now I have provided more than enough evidence to clear away any fog of confusion and see clearly that our current set of Apostles and how they function and what they teach are by far the biggest cause of our imminent destruction as a viable global faith. They are without ecclesiastical authority because they appointed and ordained themselves without first having those appointments presented to the membership for a sustaining or opposing vote.  President Nelson may have called himself the ‘Inspector General’ when he spoke to my country from Hyde Park Chapel in London on his world tour after we scrubbed it with toothbrushes, but we are the shareholders.  The Doctrine and Covenants is very clear that he is answerable to US, not the other way round. 

They demonstrably don’t seem to have the approval of God because they cannot perform miracles, they cannot produce scripture, they lie or completely rewrite the rules when they claim a process for receiving revelation for the whole Church from God and then have to abandon or reverse it as they did with the November Policy Revelation, or slowly back away from it as they clearly are with the Proclamation on the Family that has still not been canonised as scripture 25 years later and only its primary author Dallin Oaks even calls a “revelation” after Boyd K Packer was censored and edited for calling it that.  They are not just running on empty, which we managed to make work as we steadily numerically grew during the 20th century, milking the earlier prophets who did write scripture for all their work was worth, but they are now aggressively making the Pharisee religion the dominant ideology, and THAT is what has crashed our growth and active membership along with the exposure of their secrets and lies provided by the internet.  There are active primary children in any of our wards (if they still have any primary children left – mine doesn’t really) who would do a better job than any of the apostles at their job simply because they are capable of 3 simple things which seem to be beyond any of our Apostles’ skill set:  They don’t tell lies.  They try to be kind to people who are hurting, and they would have a million totally brilliant ideas about how to spend $100 billion dollars actually helping people. 

So let’s do some joined up thinking and look around us and see where we are now as a religion for what it is.  Surely we cannot continue to insist that a boy repeats his sacrament prayer if he gets a word wrong or that a person is baptised again if their foot sticks out of the water as they are dunked as happened to 8 year old me and telling female missionaries they cannot set foot in a chapel without a skirt on while totally ignoring this complete shambles of what our actual prophets and apostles are meant to be and do and teach in THEIR priesthood keyholding roles. 

They are the problem, not us.  We need to stop falling for their simple trick and always blaming ourselves or “The World” for anything that goes wrong or isn’t working, instead of them.  And they are demonstrably teaching a false Pharisee gospel.   

It seems inconceivable I know, but it really has got THAT bad.  Technically it’s total apostasy isn’t it.  Do we even HAVE a Church any more?! BUT Don’t Panic!!   They aren’t the Church.  They aren’t the gospel.  The Church is much more than them.  They are very broken right now, but we don’t have to be just because they are.  The Church is all of us.  Jesus always said that His kingdom primarily exists in the hearts of everyone that loves Him.  

Now, I’m a few months shy of my 50th birthday.  I know perfectly well that this idea that we can somehow detach our personal or organisational Mormonism from the actual First Presidency and have it till exist is setting off alarm bells and fireworks in the brains of a lot of people with my upbringing in the Church.  It simply isn’t conceivable.  Because they are the Priesthood keyholders, as they never tire of reminding us.  Mainly because that ecclesiastical authority is all they’ve got left these days to justify their salaries and status.  Every one of us priesthood holders from the lowliest deacon to our quorum presidents and bishoprics and stake presidencies and Area Presidencies are connected to that authority and God’s power by the essential, precious glowing threads of our priesthood line of authority.  It is the fundamental principle of LDS priesthood that any one of us can trace our authority in an unbroken line back to Christ, unlike ANY other Church, naming all the people along the way.   If you say Peter the Apostles have, perhaps temporarily, lost their authority, or never had it anyway, what does that mean for us?  The ordinances we perform?  The sacred weekly sabbath ritual of blessing and passing the sacrament to renew our covenants?  Surely that’s disconnecting us all and de-authorising our rituals and saving ordinances?  Our golden tickets for being in one of the less depressing enclaves of the afterlife?  Or if they technically have authority but are not teaching the true gospel surely that also compromises the whole system?  D and C 121 says priesthood authority is withdrawn from men who seek to cover their sins and gratify their pride and manipulate and control people in any degree of unrightiousness and we can all see they are doing those things with bells on.  

So we cannot even begin to go there questioning their organisational legitimacy or allowing ourselves to see or acknowledge their priesthood authority-nullifying behaviours without crashing the whole Church!  So shut up Peter!  OK, you’ve proved your point, we have some problems and these leaders have not exactly covered themselves in glory, but you can’t suggest ignoring or firing or replacing or reorganising them without derailing the whole Church!  It’s a step too far!   You claim to be a friend of the Church, a loyal member, a proud Melchezedek Priesthood holder, an ‘insider’ rather than an enemy, but come ON, clearly you are advocating for the Church to be completely destroyed! 

My response to that is this thought.  When was the last time you heard a General Authority, one of the lynchpin guardians of those precious threads of authority and power, even say the words “line of authority”?  I can’t recall hearing anyone in authority at Church locally or internationally talk about it for decades.  We used to go on about it all the time when the leaders cared about lines of authority.  If these Apostles themselves clearly aren’t bothered about it, why are you?   I’ve been watching people being ordained all my life and I think I’d have to go back to the early 1990’s to recall the last time I saw what used to be the obligatory piece of paper with a line of authority on it being passed from the ordainer to the newly ordained, and that was because I was doing it!  I don’t think I’ve seen anyone else pass one on since the 1980’s. How many of your ward members, specially the young men doing the entire sacrament ritual and the new converts ordained as Elders, even know what their priesthood line of authority is, or could show it to you if you asked them, do you think?  Maybe it’s still a thing in your neck of the woods – our Church has quite a variety of local cultural traditions and variations going on, each convinced that everyone is doing what they do but never checking, but I’d be surprised.

I got curious and checked on the church website.  The most recent thing I would find was posted in 2013 saying you could write to HQ in Salt Lake City and request a line of authority if you fancy one, not compulsory, because Gordon B Hinckley set up that service, but they can only help you with Melchezedek Priesthood lines of Authority.  Noone is recording Aaronic Priesthood ordination lines of authority, even though we keep telling the Deacons, Teachers and Priests that they have as much priesthood when they are ordained as the President of the Church and are vitally important and equal members of the priesthood team.  Don’t get me wrong, I think if we are going to claim what we do about our priesthood a line of authority is absolutely essential for everyone and it really upsets me to see the whole things just fade away from our collective consciousness.  If you let me ordain you you’re totally getting one and it even has portraits on it all the way up the line!  But this is the thing about the incompetence and the integrity of the Pharisees.  

They act like they care BIG TIME about bureaucratic authoritarian lines of authority and hierarchy and they convinced you that this is all super vitally important and they have created an army of officious monsters at ever level of the priesthood hierarchy who will harden their hearts to faithful members sobbing and pleading with them to exercise some form of compassionate nuance that they desperately need to keep their mental health or continue participating in the Church, but as those pleas fall on deaf ears and yet another family is crushed under Uchtdorf’s mountain of sediment, those pompous control freaks can reassure themselves that they are simply following the divinely guided will of the Brethren and feel all warm and fuzzy about being a Pharisee and not going soft… but those ‘Brethren’ they look up to and feel close to in each of those moments when they hold the line against the chaos of real life and make their dutiful “decisions of character aside from sympathy” don’t actually BELIEVE it!  

The Brethren don’t care enough to actually DO it like their kowtowing little local General Authorities whose small amount of power has totally gone to their heads.  They don’t take RESPONSIBILITY for anything.  They just let it fade away along with most of our interesting doctrines and hope that some other distant committee in the labyrinth of the Office Building bureaucracy is taking care of business.  They are just as overwhelmed by this sprawling machine that has become its own malevolent lifeform as we are.  

It's time for us all to take back control, including the Apostles who must see we have a problem but feel too overwhelmed by the scale of the problems to act decisively.  As we are seeing, the Pharisee bullies don’t hesitate to act decisively to dominate the agenda.  They may even in reality be a tiny minority – but they are ruthless.  That’s why Sith Lords only need one apprentice at a time to rule a galaxy while the Jedi need temples teeming with Padawans.  When you are ruthless and single minded and don’t care about the casualties you immediately have a strategic advantage on the battlefield.  The only way to take down a threat like that is collective effort my millions of people of good will to fight back or refuse to cooperate with their tyranny.  And ultimately the goodies win because those tyrants have actually weakened themselves fatally by forgetting how powerful empathy, human kindness and compassionate courage are in uniting their victims and their allies to rise up.  Pharisees forget that you can’t infantilise a multitude of adults by withholding information and trying to brainwash them in some kind of North Korean cult of personality indefinitely.  They will eventually see through your flawed and farcically contradictory and unrealistic propaganda.  

So if the conflicted General Authorities and bureaucrats and Mission Presidents and Women’s Auxiliary leaders, although I fear they have almost zero influence because they are women of course,  and stake Presidents who can see we have some really monstrous people dominating the Church fundamentally weakening the whole structure every time one of their more assertively Pharisaical or hateful talks send another earthquake through the rigid and brittle testimonies of the inflexible super-conservative faithful want be on the right side of history and not be swept away into insignificance as the Church collapses, they need to grow a spine and start talking to each other instead of keeping quiet about their concerns.  Then they will find that a whole load of other people they thought were unquestioning robots and were scared of are having exactly the same worries.  It will open the floodgates for reform.  Stop being so scared.  Speak your truth.  You know the difference between Christianity and Pharisee religion.  If the truth that dare not speak its name is the Christian voice crying out from your own heart and mind that this stuff just ISN’T right, then say so!  I think that will SAVE the Church, not break it. The multitude of people who used to be the stake leaders who have left the Church repeatedly point to this inability of our whole culture to be honest and vulnerable and discuss or problems openly as one of the main things they just couldn’t stand or justify any more.  

This suffocating climate of fear where even though we do so much good and spend so many years working closely together but ultimately never really reach the point of true friendship where we can be entirely honest with each other is incredibly damaging when you live with it for too long.  It either makes you forget what true friendship and community is as you replace it with endless dutiful busy-work in your callings, or it means that when your shelf inevitably breaks and you start to fall down the rabbit hole into trust or faith or Church crisis, whatever you want to call it, you find you are suddenly alone and always have been.  There are very few or no cords of friendship strong enough to stop your fall.  Most of these people you have known and shared your life with for years, sacrificing nearly all the time you could have invested in friendships outside your Church community, suddenly go silent.  They simply don’t know what to say to help you, which is fair enough, but the thing that hurts the most is that most of them don’t even try. And they don’t ask you WHY.  They ignore you in embarrassed silence.  Their entire church lives have not actually equipped them with the language or the experience of drawing closer to people in an ideological crisis.  The people who will move heaven and earth to be your rock and love you like their own child and give you shelter in their homes if you are sick or homeless have been conditioned to recoil from you and look away at the slightest hint of ideological contamination.  I have been told thousands of stories, many in the last couple of weeks in response to these podcasts, of people for whom that was the most perplexing and hurtful thing of all and why they will never trust the apparently friendly and close-knit community image the Church presents to the world and its members again.  In their hour of greatest spiritual and intellectual need the same people who they know would run into a burning building to save them ran away because they were now regarded as a dreaded satanic apostate fallen prey to the devil.  But what does that tell you about who the real ‘satanic’ apostates are? 

It is encouraging that Jesus found himself in exactly the same position we have got ourselves into as a Church today.  He spent his short adult life rabble rousing a revolution against the priesthood keyholders of His own Church because they had made all the same mistakes.  But he did not say they had to be dragged from their thrones in the Sanhedrin and executed or something.  He invited them to repent and change.  To return to true principles and integrity and compassion.  He spoke to them privately like his conversations with Nicodemus, and he called them out publicly in the streets, in the synagogues and in the temple, just as we do today in our Sunday School lessons and the internet and our private meetings as we fight for Christianity in this civil war in Mormonism.   But crucially, while respecting the structure of the priesthood hierarchy and the High Priests’ institutional role, he told the people to carefully sift what they were teaching and doing and only trust or agree with it if they were teaching and practicing the true religion.  And he did not say it softly.  He did not do it nicely and politely with Primary Voice.  All those behaviours we have been indoctrinated to associate with holiness are an illusion, a distracting and controlling social construct that has primarily been used by your Church leaders to associate being angry about their crimes and cruelties with being evil and at fault yourself.  Jesus didn’t play any of those demeaning self-censoring games.  He swore his head off with poetic relish, and told it like it was:

We can read all about it in Matthew 23.  If the New Testament is a newspaper rack telling us the Good News, Mathew 23 is the tabloid papers with the shouty catchy headlines screaming at a world gone mad.  It’s the National Enquirer, the Sun, The Star on Sunday.  

“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.  Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.  But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.  Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.  Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.   Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.  Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.  Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!  You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.”

I LOVE feisty swearing revolutionary Jesus who spoke truth very specifically and bluntly to power and didn’t mince his words.  But if you try it in the LDS Church today people mostly freak out and can’t imagine that you might actually be being Christlike. We have fallen for the lie of the Pharisees who crack down on and excommunicate the Latter-day Saints doing that when they are the real prophets speaking the truth.  

We have been brainwashed to associate being angry or starting an argument with being wrong and disruptive and an enemy of God and His Church.  Then we sit down nicely in our Sunday School lesson and learn about Paul who may or may not have actually been ordained an actual priesthood keyholding Apostle who was so livid at the backward looking Jewish traditionalist Apostles in Jerusalem making it almost impossible for the people he was teaching the gospel to be baptised and participate as equals in Christ’s salvation and Church if they didn’t chop a piece of their willy off and basically live like Pharisees.  When the Church with a commission to convert the world after being visited by actual Jesus, in person, and angels had only just got going and was already hitting the buffers. Paul reached the point where he’d had enough, stormed off to Jerusalem to whatever ivory tower the First Presidency had set themselves up in and had a massive, no holds barred, blazing row with them and reminded them in no uncertain terms what their job description was.  They agreed to dump the Pharisee crap and the willy chopping and THEN Christianity grew exponentially and quickly became the world’s largest religion ever. 

Let’s be encouraged by that.  That’s exactly what has happened to us as well so soon after starting. But it doesn’t have to be the end game.  It could be just the beginning.  But like the first Christians, we first have to make some really big mistakes and face our demons and learn some hard lessons about ourselves, and then have the humility shown by Peter and James to listen to the other prophets and apostles, the outsiders and the radical thinkers like Paul.  Maybe even discover that the most useful people to listen to of all are the ones we thought were our enemies and persecuters like Paul was.

We have been sold the lie that our Church and it’s apostles are pure and will not make the mistakes of previous generations and will just do fine and last forever and never again be taken from the earth.  Well, it’s being very rapidly taken from my bit of the earth and most of the others too already. So it’s time to join Team Jesus and Team Paul, read the riot act to the complacent Pharisees pretending to be Christians in the Holy City and kick some butt.  

Maybe listening to this you think we haven’t got that bad yet and I’m exaggerating?  I think I’ve provided plenty of evidence so far, but if you’d like a little more before this Episode finishes, let’s just take that one chapter 23 of Matthew. 

It’s very uncomfortable reading for Mormons.  We do so many things Jesus specifically forbade there and think we are being holy.  Jesus modelled publicly criticising the leaders when they go off the rails but we tell people to covenant never to speak a word of criticism of them.  Jesus forbade putting the leaders in privileged seats but we do it every sacrament meeting and conference. The Assembly Room in some of our temples literally enshrines the hierarchy in special labelled seats.  Jesus strictly forbade giving our teachers and priests any kind of title like ‘Father’ or Teacher’ or ‘Rabbi’ but we are fastidious about formally calling ours ‘President’ and ‘Elder’ and ‘Patriarch’.  Jesus forbade virtue signalling with our clothing, specially what leaders and teachers wear to Church or synagogue or the temple, but we have made that so fundamental that the ranks of ex-Mormons are teeming with children of a God who doesn’t are two hoots what they are wearing who were criticised or shunned on a Sunday or sent home from youth conventions and dances because they wore the wrong colour shirt or had a beard or their hemline was 2 inches too short, or their haircut was slightly too long.  And Jesus really went to town there about the Pharisees and Sadducees making the tithes and offerings donated to the temple far more important and holy than the ordinances of the temple itself but we have made paying a dishonestly calculated donation of tithing money completely essential to qualify you for entry into that sacred place.  Jesus specifically told the temple priesthood NOT to. And even got violent about it with the money changers.  

As soon as a church crosses this line and starts making titles and rank and appearance and money a priority it escalates out of control and becomes an obscenity insulting the God it claims to serve. It poisons and contaminates the whole community and its priorities.  This is why Jesus was so adamant that we cannot even start down that path or tolerate any of it.  As soon as you tolerate or make justifications for any degree of the Pharisee religion it spread like a virus and kills the host, the Body of Christ.  That would be us.

It is all kryptonite to the real spiritual and priesthood power so beautifully described in Doctrine and covenants 121 that distils upon our souls without compulsory means like dew from heaven.  This is why of all my Episodes in this podcast series that are packed with really juicy and exhilarating ‘Gotcha’ revelations of the hypocrisy and crimes of our leaders which are super-important for a membership that has been so spectacularly lied to and bamboozled to know about and start noticing, this episode which has simply focused on how the Pharisee religion makes its Apostles conceal their compassion, cauterise their conscience, and contort their communications is arguably the most important one of all if you are at heart a Christian and want our Church to be the same.  It is these weasel words that Boyd K Packer used to corrupt the Apostles while the prophet lay in a coma like Grima Wormtongue in Lord of the Rings speaking from the throne next to the unconscious king Theoden convincing the noble Riders of Rohan to give up the real fight against evil and compromise with it instead where the most insidious evil of Lucifer’s corruption of the people of God occurs.  And they fell for it so easily, which reveals a lot.  Far away from the much more cinematic crimes like the daylight robbery of my ward’s pensioners and riling up mobs to campaign against civil rights.  You can’t convince ordinary people trying to be Apostles of Jesus to rob grannies and rampage about Queer-bashing until you have first convinced them, as Packer did, that compassion is weakness and the lost sheep and the mavericks and the exceptions to the rules are your enemies, even if they are your own children. 

In the next two episodes I will be exploring the two other major tools of power over the individual that the Pharisee General Authorities are working overtime to control and convert to their deceptive religion’s purposes: Your MONEY and your MIND.   And then I will spend the 7th Sabbath Episode of Christians Vs Pharisees revelling in the Big Ideas and treasure trove of awesomeness that Mormonism could gift to the world on its way to becoming a massive world religion once we free ourselves of the tiny minded, unimaginative, ignorant, incompetent, dishonest and desiccated deliberators cowering in fear of the world they are meant to be loving and saving behind their curtain as they pretend to be live-streaming the Lord.