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  1. I have been following both Mormon Stories and Mormon Matters for quite awhile and it was great to see both sides of the “debate”. However, from my perspective, on too many occasions John makes statements in his interviews, or guest of his makes such, that are never challenged. It was great to hear Dan call him out!!!

    Though I don’t fully agree with some of Dan’s ideology on his concepts of Mormonism, I felt he did a fantastic job to counter John’s usual rhetoric. John seems to be stating that his faith and confidence resides in the realm of current science, presentism , Fawn Brodie conjecture (why is Bushman’s bad and hers good??)and that he is personally bothered by any source of authority. I have also studied both sides of empirical evidences of the BofM or BofAbraham and there is no way that the door is closed in this investigation!!! It is just as disingenuous to make a claim of fact on either side of the fence. And when John does state a so called “fact” there is a loss of credibility in my opinion. He goes on to state he has no desire to even continue the study of LDS Church history? What? How is that a recipe or roadmap for the search of “truth”?

    I’m actually surprised at John’s current approach and that it appears to be just the same regurgitation since Mormonism Unvailed reared its head back in 1834 to counter Joseph’s new found church. This narrative of fraud and how the LDS Church is somehow benefiting from scamming weak people is very weak in itself. Especially the continuous rhetoric that the Church is damaging, or shameful to someone because there are rules that don’t match today’s ideology? This is just the new victim mentality that we see permeating our current society. The game of life is not fair and there are rules and consequences that, regardless of religious institutions, we all have to deal with.

    If the Church rolled over to meet the expectation of John it still wouldn’t satisfy his acceptance of the worth of the LDS Gospel. I find this so sad that the baby has been thrown out with the bath water.

    1. Why do you believe that no neutral scholarship (by persons who have never been Mormon) gives credibility to the Book of Mormon or Book of Abraham as the historic texts they claim to be.

      1. I guess I’ll jump in here.

        Because it’s apparent at first blush that the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham are not historic.

        I suppose they can make a person “bigger than himself,” “enlarged,” “more abudant,” “connected through alternative channels to truths,” “half-man, half-donkey,” – okay, I made that up. These books can apparently guide a person through life and its not even necessary according to Dan to alert people up front that the books are pure mythology.

        Am I missing something or is this the equivalent of being an accessory to a fraud?

  2. You took the words right out of my mouth dale. Exactly my thoughts as part 2 started and I was shocked at how terrible his understanding of basic church history is. He seems to think he understands a lot about Joseph Smith history but I would doubt it. Especially when he said (paraphrase) “and Joseph said that the words appeared on the stone” whoa whoa. Is John dehlin not aware of the huge discourse going on about the mystery of the stone and the mystery of how the book of Mormon came to be? Is he not aware that all we have to go on are our best speculations? Right now the only person who knows what happened with that stone is Joseph Smith. When asked by Hyrum to reveal how it was translated Joseph declined and said “No its not for the world to know. I translated it by the gift and power of God and that’s all the saints need to know” some expert on Joseph Smith history. I know this is going to sound harsh but John dehlin’s disgust for Smith really came out angrily in part 2. Wow.

  3. In all fairness, Martin Harris, David Whitmer, and William Smith all have very similar descriptions of Joseph Smith putting his headin his hat & “translating” the BoM text as it appeared in English on the seer stone. Also, John was very clear in stating he is not a historian, but has studied the history including the primary sources, & agrees with the conclusions of the majority of published peer reviewed historians on issues of book of Mormon authenticity. & the book of Abraham.

    1. Post

      I agree that they said consistent things, but were they ever getting that from JS, or from each other’s speculation? The consensus, I think, is that JS never explained what was happening inside the hat.

      On the other hand, I think John has a pretty good sense about most of the difficult areas discussed by Mormon historians, so I was a bit uncomfortable with the energy of the earlier comment about his lack of understanding of basic church history, etc.. Where I, of course, think things go out of bounds with John (and what a crazy thing that we ended up doing about an hour on this! Certainly not intentional!) is when he goes into things as “cut and dried,” “as sure as gravity” kind of language. The only reason for that to me is for rhetorical purposes, not discovery or balance ones, and that, to me deserves challenge.

      1. Mr. Wotherspoon, I have never been a Mormon,.I study NRM’s. Why do you believe that secular (non-Mormon) academia puts no credence into the civilizations mentioned in any of the scriptures unique to Mormonism?

        1. I’ve also never been Mormon. For a non-Mormon it only takes a cursory look at Mormon history and doctrine to conclude its meaningless nonsense.

          The reason Mormons sometimes struggle with a long period of studying the issues and history has more to do with how difficult it is to face the reality that they and their family were duped. For those who continue to urge keeping the question open (Dan) or continuing to be open to the possibility that Mormonism is true – well, perhaps a herd of buffalo live in my underpants. How much of your life do you want to spend pondering that possibility?

          1. Post

            Responding to Jay’s second (and ruder) query. Yes, I’m saying I do not know of any real energy among non-Mormons that indicate historical Nephites, etc. If there’s “too much” name just a couple please. As I’ve said, it’s not a real area of interest of mine.

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          (Responding to Kay): Did I say this? Seems like something John would say. Given my agnosticism on Book of Mormon historicity, I’m not as curious as I might be about what’s happening among non-Mormon academics with regard to BofM lands (or whatever else you might be referring to when you say civilizations mentioned in scriptures unique to Mormonism). Sounds like you are aware of some of it. Care to share?

          1. Dan,

            Are you kidding me? After reaching stage five, are you seriously telling me that the Book of Mormon is not considered a historical account by non-Mormon experts or casual students in any field?

            You ask “care to share?” It’s too much to go into here. Let’s just say it’s almost the entire universe of non-Mormon based history and science.

      2. Yeah actually I need to take back what I said. John does understand basic church history. I kind of jumped to a harsh conclusion. Perhaps it was the language used like Dan said. “Cut and dry” “as sure as gravity” I think made me contentious. So I apologize. I actually really like John and I think he has a good heart and the negative things he’s seen happen in people’s life (LGBT suicides, things like that) must really be taking him for a difficult ride. I’m sorry for not trying to understand where HE is coming from. I think I was just having a bad day. It happens. But I do need to thank John dehlin. Mormon stories is absolutely brilliant. Hearing people’s stories in and out of mormonism so forth has been exciting for me. Yes I’m a believer but thanks to mormon stories podcaat, I get to hear how others have arrived at not believing. Understanding is key and I failed that day. It happens, I’m only human. I hope one day to meet John and thank him personally. I honestly don’t think that because he was ex-communicated that somehow his soul is in jeapordy or any silly nonsense like that. So I apologize for my harsh energy.

  4. I really enjoyed this conversation.

    I respect John and think his path is no better or worse than Dan’s. I must admit, voices like Dan have kept me in the faith. I’ve wrestled for several years but most of what he says, I agree with. I can also see why John has come to his conclusions as well.

    Good discussion

  5. Keep this to an hour next time. It is excruciating to have to hear someone talk about themselves for 4+ hours. I suspect there may have been some good stuff in hour 2-5 but I was exhausted after the first hour.

    I wish John the best on his faith journey.

    1. Post
        1. This reminds me that the other day I went back and listened to some of the very first Mormon Stories. Towards the very end of one John says, “well we need to wrap this up or it won’t fit on a CD”. I still have the stack of 100 CD’s I bought about 7 years ago. My current laptop does not even have a CD player on it! What a change in less than 10 years. I baby born today might not grow up knowing what a CD/DVD is. It took that long for 8-track tapes to go out of style.

  6. While “fraud” is a strong noun, I have a hard time reaching any other conclusion about Joseph Smith. One can add whatever adjective one wants to add to the front of it, whether “pious” or “well meaning.” But “fraud” fits. John was right on this one.

  7. I was a frustrated by this interview. It began with 2 hours of John trying to get Dan to recognize that he needed to be careful with his language in order to not offend anyone, but then John spent the next 2 hours rehearsing the same talking points that claims those that come to different conclusions then he does are not being honest or not being rational or so bias that they can’t be trusted, etc… I’ve seen him articulate this line of reasoning before in the Mormon Hub facebook group and he after a few days of the thread and lots of back forth including his wife disagreeing with him eventually apologized for his remarks but here is making them once again.

  8. I really appreciate the 2 of you taking the time. The two of you explaining yourself is very much the conversation going on in my head. Part of me is right there with John, but part of me so much wants to be like Dan.

    And I have listened to ALL of these interviews! John – take your wife and/or Dan out for a steak dinner instead of me! I listened to them at 1.5x speed, so I feel I don’t totally qualify for the dinner.

  9. Pingback: Contrasting Dan Wotherspoon and John Dehlin in 2 Quotes | The Irresistible (Dis)Grace

  10. Dan I think its necessary once in a while to get two different viewpoints together in the same discussion in order to really understand. Unfortunately, it seems there are very few people who can do this without getting crazy frustrated. I think you and John are those kinds of people.

    My feelings tend to align more with John at this point in my progression. I’ve listened to a lot of Mormon Matters and Mormon Stories. When I initially came across these podcasts I listened more to Mormon Matters because I fully expected to find answers that were reasonable and faithful and I envisioned becoming the kind of person who could then share the wisdom I had gained from my struggle with others who were in an earlier stage of what I had gone through. It hasn’t quite worked out that way, thus far.

    You mentioned the Correspondence, Coherence, and Pragmatic theories of truth. You’ve mentioned in previous episodes about how science is one way of coming to truth, and alluded to the idea that there may be other ways of coming to truth. I’ve read a bit on these and I’m not sure I understand what you mean when you says pragmatic truth. At the risk of showing my ignorance, what I can gather from the pragmatic theory is that anything that you can think of that could be related to your ideals is “pragmatically” true. What I’d really like is to hear from you more about the other forms of truth or the other ways of coming to that truth.

    In my mind, truth is truth–there’s only one version. At some point, science or any method have to converge on the same version of the truth. They can’t yield different results and both be true.

    For me, I’d love to hear an entire episode on this.

    1. Post

      We gave this a try a few years ago. Let’s both listen to this (again for me as I can’t really recall all that we covered–or how well) and see what you think is the best way to angle in on your interests. But I’m sure it won’t be that there is just one truth and/or it is sitting there to be discovered. So that is at least a hint about some rabbit holes I’d want to introduce you to if we keep going! 🙂



  11. What if all Mormons/Ex-Mormons we could talk openly like this all the time? The mutual respect between John and Dan and an example to us all. I swear in the church we can not differentiate between conflict and contention. You two sure can.

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