Ep 277 – Anger: Tyler Glenn vs Jeffrey Holland

Panel Discussion

Posted May 8th, 2016

Jake, Heather, Tom and Glenn sit down to smack-up Gina Colvin’s wonderful article, “Tyler Glenn and Jeffery Holland: The Power and the Limits of Anger“.

Tyler Glenn’s video – Trash

Elder Holland’s Tempe Arizona Devotional





  • carabellie

    I enjoyed the conversation about validation. One of the most meaningful interactions during my loss of faith came when my dad, a 9 year bishop and current patriarch acknowledged that what we did in leaving was an act of integrity which was necessary for us to live in accord with our conscience. Dad still believes literally, still blesses two teens per week; mom types his blessings. I know they are sad. I love them dearly. It meant a lot for Dad to say what he said. I have told Dad I don’t have all the answers, that I could be wrong, that I believe his service in the church is meaningful to those who receive his blessings, and that I am grateful for the good things in my life that mormonism gave to me. Getting to this place took us both 3 hard years. Jeff Holland’s rhetoric is a barrier to such understanding. I wish he would talk with my dad who has only 1/4 children left in the church, and who feels a lot of pain from this, but understands that we are being true to ourselves in leaving. Thank you for this episode.

    • Emily

      Yeah, I feel like Holland’s talk was harder on TBM’s with loved ones that have left the church than those who have actually left. I know my parents are trying to understand why some of their children have left, and feel like it is a failing for them as parents on some level. They’re trying to love unconditionally and be supportive, but I know it is very hard for them and it hurts that their children have given up on something that means so much to them. I think that Holland’s comments would hurt them if they listened much more than me. I just rolled up eyes, but if they heard this talk, it would put them in a position of agreeing with an APOSTLE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST or showing love, compassion, hope, and respect for their children. I would never show them the Tyler Glenn video – they would be extremely offended, but on the same note, I wouldn’t want them to listen to this talk either, it would hurt them.

  • Paula

    Thank you for this great conversation! I would be more willing to allow that Elder Holland sincerely believes his own rhetoric if I hadn’t just listened to Gina Colvin’s podcast with Elder Packer’s nephew, Lynn Packer. It was discomforting to hear Lynn describe the “uncle Packer” whom he enjoyed in private life that existed along side the “Elder Packer” that was the was the public face of some of the church’s most hateful and unkind speech.

  • Mellie

    I’m just at the beginning of the episode, but wanted to say thanks to Heather for the whole “asking for your daughter’s hand in marriage” thing. When my then fiance asked if he should ask for my dad’s permission, I laughed in his face. I told him I was a grown woman who had already made an adult decision, and why would I give the man who had almost nothing to do with my upbringing thAt power? If he had done it anyway, I probably would have still married him, but almost 20 years later, I know I wouldn’t have forgiven him. I have told my daughter and son about the history of the tradition, and if they’re in a position where they need permission to get married, I’ll say no. I would encourage her to break it off with anyone who thought he was asking my husband for his property. It’s an awful tradition, thanks Heather for bringing it up.

  • Ryan Gregson

    I’m still in the middle of this episode, but I think there’s a reason one anger is justified and the other is not. Because one had understanding and the other doesn’t. Tom is actually making this very point as I write, so good job Tom. There are reasons for Holland’s anger, reasons that can be understood and lead to empathy, but that’s not the same as being justified.

  • Ryan Gregson

    Here’s what was frustrating with this argument, the question started as”is Holland’s anger justified?” But morphed into “is Holland capable of changing?” And both questions, very different, were bring argued at the same time.

    • Glenn

      Actually, I think the “is Holland justified in his anger” question was answered pretty quickly (Heather said it nicely — yes, he is — and it’s wrong to even ask or suggest he is not) and then moved into the “can you validate without agreeing” question from Jake — which, I am assuming, is where a lot of your frustration lies. But also lead to interesting discussions about power.

      • Ryan Gregson

        Good point, I guess I still just have issues with the use of ‘justified’ here. Hope I don’t come across as complaining by the way, I think it’s a great discussion.

      • Thomas Moore

        While Holland may feel angry for being called a liar or a con artist; is his anger justified? A thief is “angry” when caught and called a thief, then tries to blame the victim by saying they had stolen from him, or they’re living well beyond their means and so ought to share??? Calling us taffy pulling apostates is just as bad as calling them illogical hateful bigots. Both terms are mean and meant to show emotion of anger, yet which one is justified and more true???

      • Thomas Moore

        I know it’s Godwin’s law…but…

  • Thomas Moore

    Hey Jake, maybe this will help you learn and understand sarcasm. Hope it helps you in your life! As Brother Jake says, “Easy isn’t it”? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhIdbRp6xeg

  • Gina Colvin

    I would have come on your podcast. Just saying. 😉

    • jewelspice

      You should Gina…you would have done much fun!!

    • Dang it–we should have been more forward-thinking!

      Would you be interested in a follow-up discussion about the invocation of compassion as a solution to disagreements where a power asymmetry exists? I’d like to hear your thoughts on the extent to which the comparison between Holland and Glenn is similar to your FHE gone awry. If not, no worries. I’m flattered that you listened to the episode!

  • LazyZinnia

    Holland’s anger isn’t justified – in that it isn’t just. The church he represents set up the circumstances under which we are forced to stay or go and it is his belief that keeps us apart, not ours. His stated reason for being angry is doubly unjust because it is, for the most part, not true. That said, I think his anger is reasonable (though he is either mistaken or lying about what it is he is actually angry about) – in that anger is a reasonable response to the threat we pose. Our leaving actually does hurt him because it weakens his authority, power and possibly even his position, which would then threaten his livelihood. Every person who leaves the church and goes on to live a happy, fulfilled, moral, successful life is evidence that he is wrong. Intelligent, happy people are not supposed to be able to leave the church and remain intelligent and happy. They are even doubly not supposed to gain in either of those qualities. He’s scared. Scared people, especially people scared of loosing power, get angry.

  • Orrin Dayne

    Holland is incapable of telling someone that leaving the church is a valid choice. To him, it’s throwing away the chance to be a god. How could that be valid? How could that be reasonable? To him, it’s crazy and deserving of ridicule and derision, not empathy. The sad thing is that, in my view, he believes the caricatures he ridicules (e.g., taking the easy way out, selfishly demanding answers to questions).

  • kjs3

    Fantastic discussion. Especially the recognition of the power (or maybe flexibility) asymmetry toward the end. This may be my favorite episode.

  • Genuine anger is always based in fear. Fear is always a result of ignorance. That’s one reason why there can’t be an angry, spanking Old Testament god: God fears nothing and knows everything. God cannot be harmed, which leaves God devoid of any motivation for anger. That’s why there is no justified anger as such. There is, of course, understandable anger and understandable fear and one can, and sometimes must, empathize with that.

    There is also anger for the sake of manipulation. I used to work with guys (always guys) who would explode in face-reddening, eye-popping rages to prove how right they were and how wrong everyone else was. How could this guy be in a fit of uncontrolled outrage if he wasn’t totally right and totally justified? Near the end of my “illustrious” (in the New Zealand sense) career, I got tired of it and would call these guys out. I’d simply tell them to their face very calmly, “Your anger is meaningless. It doesn’t make you right—or wrong for that matter—it’s just meaningless. Call me when you’re finished with your hissy fit.” Not all that diplomatic. More than once I felt sure that, had this taken place outside the auspices of the Workplace of Tomorrow, I would have been punched out.

    Anyway, I think Holland’s anger is simply, in his mind, proving his rectitude. He’s really angry, he must be right. Tyler’s anger rises out of pain and perceived betrayal and that’s what he’s expressing with his “art,” which is perfectly understandable. The Church, with their “change of policy,” issued a giant “FUCK YOU” to the LGBT community and I think that’s exactly what they meant to do. What they didn’t mean was for it to be out loud where everyone could see and hear it. They’ve had to crawl out of the comfort of their cowardice and own their bigotry. That would piss anyone off.

    It was a great discussion. I like that there can now be “smack ups” as well as smack downs; it adds balance and dimension to the IoT Universe. I would hate for smack downs to become extinct, however, because I enjoy smacking myself on the back vicariously as you all smack yourselves on the back for giving all of the wicked ninnies their comeuppance. Mr. Pool, move over.

    • JNK

      There is RIGHTEOUS ANGER. You really need to read some of MLK Jr’s speeches. Justice should be demanded as soon as one recognizes an injustice. If not now when? Anger is not always based in fear.

      • Even righteous anger arises out of fear of harm to oneself or others. That doesn’t mean it isn’t called for at times. I would trust MLK to call on it appropriately. I would trust Holland to use it to further an agenda of dominance and suppression. It’s up to us just-plain-folks to pull the plug on loud and scary as often as we can manage lest we end up living lives of total deference to despots.

  • JNK

    I am disgusted by this podcast. Extremely disappointed by the interpretation of Tyler Glenn’s motivations etc. Just my opinion.

    • Ryan Gregson

      To be fair to IOT, I don’t think they really landed on any clear opinions or interpretations, this podcast was an open discussion, not a declaration.

  • JNK

    This SICK idea that there are always 2 sides to an argument is abusive to the oppressed. Maybe it’s because I am a black woman, but I really am disgusted by this whole discussion. Just my little screed…

    • Wait, I’m confused. I thought that the point we made (well, the point I was trying to argue for, anyway) at the end of the discussion was that there really weren’t 2 equal sides to this argument. In cases like this, the need for “understanding” was one-directional–the empowered (Holland) should be responsible for understanding the anger of the disenfranchised (Glenn) and not the other way around, since arguing that validation should go both ways undermines the acknowledgement of institutional abuse. I guess I’m not sure what you’re reacting to.

      • JNK

        Honestly, I did not get to the end so maybe I missed some clarification. But the op-ed you guys were referencing and the whole discussion about “validation” just got me too heated to continue. I, personally, see Tyler’s video as a repudiation of Mormonism, not some sort of cry for validation. Sometimes you just have to call out b-llsh-t. Even in an angry fashion. And that anger doesn’t have to be the façade of some hidden need to be validated by the people doing the b-llsh-t. It can simply be a clear statement of rejection of everything they stand for.

        • I’m not really clear on the difference between anger as a cry for validation and anger as a statement of rejection. It seems like you’re saying that validation is a lesser motivation. Is that right? If so, why is it lesser? And why are they mutually exclusive?

          • JNK

            I am not saying validation is a lesser motivation. What I am saying is that you can come to realise something as worthless nonsense, be extremely angry that you wasted years on that b-llsh-t and express anger about it, withot seeking validation from the source of the b-llshit.

            I can call out and condemn the KKK without wanting any sort of validation from white supremacists. Sometimes a “f-ck you” is just a “f-ck you” and nothing more. And there seems to be the opinion in your podcast that that is unhealthy.

          • “I can call out and condemn the KKK without wanting any sort of validation from white supremacists.”

            I don’t think this is an apt analogy to the discussion of Holland/Glenn unless you were once a member of the KKK and made multiple public statements saying as much (as Tyler Glenn has done: http://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/music/2015/06/12/neon-trees-tyler-glenn-mormon-church-changing). Given Tyler’s history with the Church, especially as a public figure trying to make Mormonism “work” as a gay man, I don’t think interpreting his expression of anger as a cry for validation (or a mourning of the validation he didn’t receive) is a stretch.

            That being said, I totally agree that “Sometimes a “f-ck you” is just a “f-ck you” and nothing more.” And I think that can be a perfectly valid response.

  • Emily

    This was a great conversation. It hit pretty close to home for me. I am the unbeliever and my husband is the TBM. We’ve both been angry. For years we have tried to see each other’s point of view and get each other to understand. I just want to say that there is a limit to compassion and understanding and validation. No matter how much I tell me husband that I support his desire to keep going to church and it’s fine with me if he believes, and no matter how much he tells me he understands why I don’t believe and he respects my choices, deep down, we each think the other one is wrong. We never feel fully understood or validated because we disagree so fundamentally. That said, it doesn’t have to be the entire basis of our relationship. We’ve had to just let go of it. We agree to disagree and not talk about it all. the. time. So I think that anger is a good motivator for change, but we don’t always have to completely overcome that anger and have total compassion and understanding for the other side – we can just let it go. It’s working for us right now. Or maybe I’m just repressing all my anger & I need counseling & we probably need couples therapy too?

    • Paul

      Yep. And I think it is hard to objectively discuss church topics in a mixed-faith marriage because the topics really represent a piece of us. We aren’t just knocking down a historical or doctrinal item, we are knocking down a piece of the person who believes in that history or doctrine.

  • albertinamel

    I can’t speak to Glenn. I’ve got no beef with his art and hope he finds peace of mind, whatever path he takes.

    I’ll go out on a limb here and offer another POV, which I’m sure many will reject. Our family knows Holland. In fact, when my husband told him that he hadn’t been active for a while, partly on account of being mistreated by higher-up Church officials, Holland confided to him that his initial response was one of retrenchment and dismissal. He thought, “Oh, c’mon! You know better than that!” But he gave it a little thought and softened his stance. He actually ended up offering my husband a blessing for peace of mind, and he – get this! – offered him a face-to-face apology on behalf of the Church for how he had been treated. (Apparently, he didn’t get clearance from Oaks on the whole apology thing.)

    I won’t lie. When I hear the thumping preacher coming out in a Holland talk, I do cringe. It’s not helpful. But what I see is a man whose life is this Church, and he’s saddened and even angered that people are leaving. He probably feels like the last kid on the sand lot with his ball and glove, begging for all the other kids to come back and play. He feels backed in a corner. He knows he’s not perfect, and he knows the Church isn’t perfect. Wrongly or rightly, it feels to him like his detractors are waiting to pounce on his every imperfection. He’s frustrated, so he lashes out. Here’s what I hear in his talk: “What the hell do you guys want me to do?! I believe it! I really do! I’ve staked my life on it! I know it’s not perfect, and the leaders aren’t perfect. What’s more… The one time I responded to a close friend (Phillips) on these issues, it got spread all over the Internet, and a personal correspondence between two people who had known each other for decades was used by those who know neither of us to judge our character and our relationship. What more can I say?! Nothing will ever be good enough!!! J-Hol out!”

    • I don’t disagree that Holland is a person in a difficult situation. And I’m sure he’s acting in good faith (i.e. not being deliberately malicious or deceitful). However, none of this changes the fact that his behavior within his role as an apostle, especially in the instance of this fireside, is inflammatory and encourages a culture of division and abuse. The anecdote of how he treated a close friend doesn’t really change the way I see that behavior either, because the problem illustrated by his “apostolic” conduct is at an institutional level–the power structure of the church reinforces ostricization and exclusion and division.

      The recent policy change is an example of this–I don’t care if the policy’s author was nice to his gay nephew, because as long as he is acting within his institutional role in a way to unapologetically reinforce the institutional abuse for which he has been criticized, the private conduct is irrelevant, in my view. Basically, I’m not convinced by the “I have a black friend” argument anymore. I’d rather Holland be a jerk in private and more compassionate within his role as an apostle than the other way around.

      • albertinamel

        “I’d rather Holland be a jerk in private and more compassionate within his role as an apostle than the other way around.”

        Fair enough. Me too. I’m just pointing out that I think people, including Holland, are more multi-faceted than we often give them credit for. And I don’t think it’s true that he has never seriously contemplated people’s reasons for leaving. I think he actually loses sleep over it, not in the sinister we-will-lose-tithing-revenue manner that some ex-Mos would imagine, but earnestly worrying about their eternal welfare. Surely, for Holland to “validate” the other side to the point of saying, “Smith probably made everything up,” isn’t practical. That said, he could do more reaching across the aisle and show some of the compassion he shows in more personal settings when he’s in the public eye. That would be a welcome start.

        • Ok, this gets at the heart of the “compassion as a solution” discussion I brought up in the podcast.

          As someone advocating for bilateral compassion, in what ways should the Tyler Glenns of the world be more compassionate toward the Elder Hollands? Could you be more specific?

          • Glenn

            What is the “solution?” Is the solution to make the Holland’s of the world less hurtful and obnoxious? Or is the solution to personally find a place of inner peace so that the hurtfulness and obnoxiousness of the Hollands of the world are a little less hurtful and obnoxious to you and anyone within your sphere of influence?

            I don’t think there is a single one-size-fits-all answer to this, or that these are the only two possible options. I’m still trying to figure this all out myself.

          • In the words of Gina Colvin in the post we smacked up:

            “This crisis can be attended to with our anger, or it can be attended to with wisdom. Anger will be the natural expression of our exasperation with the failing parts of our body…

            I know instinctively what will heal this annoying rift.


            That’s what I mean when I say “solution.” I can see how compassion can produce such a resolution when people are interacting as peers. But what I’m wondering is how compassion solves rifts that are reinforced by an asymmetry of power and where the disenfranchised party (Tyler Glenn) has the moral high ground over the empowered party (Holland). How is compassion in that direction not just a functional acceptance of the abusive behavior?

          • Ophanim

            One key word which seems to work well is the overused word “atonement”. The compassion theory of atonement (see Ostler) is one of the strengths of mormon scripture, Mosiah 15. You can say that Holland is insecure, fearful, and furious, but to approach a TBM and explain with some sadness that “unfortunately Holland does not understand the atonement” – may really infuriate, even if it is the truth. It is just my experience that when using social justice vocabulary TBM’s quickly catch on and dismiss, but if you use their own theological vocabulary to point out huge problems in the doctrine, policies or behavior of church leaders it really sinks in.

          • albertinamel

            You said it better than I could myself, Glenn. I don’t know that there is one solution, but rather many tactics that might begin to ameliorate the situation, both in terms of General Authorities’ giving less offense (without ceding their beliefs in the overarching Mormon Plan of Salvation) and in terms of not letting offenses ruin our own search for peace if we no longer ascribe to said Plan. I liked this particular episode *because* of the disagreement. As Heather suggested, when everyone is 100% on the same page, there is little learning and the conversation isn’t interesting. This is true as much when I hang out with a group of nonbelievers as when I silently listen to a room of believers. (And I really loved Heather’s heartfelt description of what she and so many post-Mos have sacrificed.) Kudos on moderating a thoughtful debate, Infants!

          • To quote the Greatest Living American, “The system is rigged.” The greatest blow an individual can deliver to an organization such as the Church is to simply ignore them, but they make that as excruciatingly difficult as they can by sending tendrils into every crevice of a TBM’s life. There’s no way for early adopters to get away without some loss of blood and tissue (ie Tyler Glenn, the
            Infants and others), but the more who do get away, the easier it is for others to follow, which I think is what’s at the root of Holland’s discomfort.

      • Daved6

        So are you mostly pissed at Holland because his mocking and anger actually carry more impact than your mocking and anger? You’re really just jealous his really stupid tirade will carry more weight than your really stupid tirades?

  • Aaron

    Not much to add except that this was one of the better episodes I’ve heard in a while (and I listen to and enjoy IoT every week). Thanks for the time put in. IoT is truly at it’s best when there is Mormon Whispering going on.

    I’ve been laughing all morning over the “Not a Dodo: The Jeffrey Holland Story” book title.

  • Left and Loving Life

    I think Holland is totally posturing, and I agree that he is a bully. This was a written talk given to single adults over 25–a very vulnerable group in the church. This was acting, bullying, shaming, and a dig at Jeremy Runnells–no less. Holland is no dodo. He wants to pretend he’s infuriated. He just doesn’t want to validate the experiences of those who leave. Not only is he one of the 15 most powerful people on earth, he’s one of the most powerful people in the universe, remember? Only earth being wicked enough to crucify Christ and all that Jazz?

    For more of Holland’s bullying actions (with missionaries) see http://www.nearingkolob.com. In fact–I would LOVE to see IOT do a smack-up on his behavior and the missionary/GA dynamics.

    As for the Tyler Glenn video, I can’t believe you guys didn’t notice that his clothing is 1830s-inspired and is based on the Joseph Smith clothing in the artwork on the walls. The cut of the clothing and the necktie are meant to mirror one another, just updated and contemporary in Glenn’s case. Glenn is “on his knees and seeing visions”–just like Joseph Smith. They are both truth-seekers and Tyler Glenn has found his truth.

    • Shadrak

      I agree with you that Holland was only posturing. It’s hard to believe that he was letting his guard down and having an off the cuff moment. He uses “righteous” anger frequently, even in general conference, for effect and to intimidate his audience. Like a bully, he uses caricatures and denigrating humor to delegitimize the experience of those leaving and establish the superiority of those who stay, those on his side.

    • Jaasiel Rodriguez

      They have to be freaking out about singles over 25. The reward system was never designed for that. In order to give their history of polygamy any form of credence, they had to glorify parenthood and marriage. To do that and survive, they adopted marketing techniques that appeal to materialism (the perfect home on some suburban street, a nice job, a nice car), beauty (the perfect woman for the returning elder), social recognition and status, “true love”, etc. In their pursuit of looking normal using PR, they created a brand. Eventually, just like a pop love song, it’s all going to appear like a trite caricature to a single person in their mid 30’s looking for some real depth. What they will mostly find are the shallow answers of those thatbwre able to fit the mold. The people who fit it perfectly will have little in common with those who did not, and they won’t be able to criticize them, because that is their leadership.

      As far as I’m conerned, they deserve this whole thing falling apart. They created it, so they deserve the crisis. Holland should feel betrayed, he should be sweating it, h should be hurt, he should feel betrayed. Because before we betrayed him, he betrayed us.

  • Ryan Gregson

    So here’s my qualm with calling Holland’s anger ‘justified’. I think that implies that there is some kind of truth or morality that makes his anger ‘just’. Justice and fairness are at least nearly synonyms, right? And it’s definitely not fair. But it was also expressed, and I agree with this, that it’s not to say his (Holland’s) anger can’t be understood, or even empathized with, but that doesn’t make it Just.

    • To clarify my position, I never said anyone’s anger was justified, but rather that “is this anger justified?” is a useless question from a psychological perspective.

      Emotions are involuntary responses. They are just facts. They are part of the narrative as soon as they happen. Trying to talk someone out of their feelings is a fool’s errand. Has anyone ever been talked out of their anger by someone telling them, “You have no right to be angry?” Sure. But that’s already on the path toward gaslighting.

      As for “validation”, I think Glenn was working with a different definition of validation than the rest of us including Gina. Gina’s article is setting up the textbook paradigm of the nonjudgmental, empathetic therapist/arbitrator between two parties who validates the emotions of both. At one point, Glenn defined validation as “saying ‘you’re right'”, but that wasn’t the definition the rest of us were using. In the paradigm Gina sets up, validation isn’t saying “you’re right”–that’s agreeing. Validation is saying “I can see why you think/feel that way” or “your response is understandable” even if you continue to stringently disagree with those thoughts, feelings and responses.

      To be more concrete, when Tom says he’s seeking validation from his leaders, he’s not looking for them to say, “You’re right, the BoA is a fraud” or even “You were right to leave if that’s what you believe”, but rather something like, “I believe the BoA is scripture, but I can see why you think it isn’t” and “I believe the church is true and hope you come back to it, but I recognize how hard it was for you to leave and that your choices come from a sincere desire to do what’s right.”

      That would be the validation of being seen without agreeing.

      Glenn then rightly points out that even the above form of validation, “I can see why you think that” is dangerous to any leader if you buy the slippery slope argument that compassion leads to validation which leads to agreeing. The brethren can’t afford to agree as that is an existential threat, so they often stop short of any empathy. BKP who trained so many of the leaders and teachers of the church for decades taught them to rein in their natural instincts toward empathy to preserve them from just such a threat.

      • Ryan Gregson

        That makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately I can’t find much to argue with in there. Thanks for the response. sums it up pretty well.

  • Angie

    It is not like me to post comments publicly, but as I listened to Elder Holland’s talk in its entirety today I felt the anger welling up inside and I can’t be quiet. My personal view of anger is that it is something I feel rather than something I am. I prefer to say I FEEL angry rather that I AM angry. Just as physical pain has the purpose of getting us to move from something that is harming us, anger is an emotional pain with the purpose of getting us to remove ourselves from a situation that is harmful. So I have to ask myself what it is about Elder Holland’s talk that is harming me. Perhaps it’s the implication that those who choose to leave the church are not willing to suffer. I gave more than fifty years of my life to the church. I gave my time, my talents, my money, my children, my all. But when I discovered that there was reason to doubt the church’s truth claims, that’s when my suffering began, not ended. The thought that I was not willing to suffer was offensive to me. How will I respond to the hurt I feel and remove myself from this damaging position? Well, that’s the million dollar question I haven’t answered yet. I’m not young by any means, but love my Infants! Keep up the good work.

    • Angie

      I also wanted to point out why was Elder Holland responding with anger towards those who leave the church? If he truly has the gospel of Jesus Christ and the love of Christ towards others, wouldn’t we expect his response to be sorrow? Obviously he feels his beliefs threatened. That speaks volumes I believe.

      • Randy_Snyder

        To use Holland’s own words, how do you become Godly? Apparently by emulating his example by being petty, insulting and angry at your family members and friends that have left the institution. Sounds consistent with the God they worship that requires secret handshakes to get into the eternal VIP room and punishes children of his offenders unto the 3rd and 4th generation. How do you become Godly, be a dick like he is.

        • Pink-lead

          You become godly by sticking to commitment! Even though it sucks sometimes and you look like a dodo-faced ass-hat. His sense of self is so tied up to the church that he can’t deal with the issues rationally. Like Gina said, this man is insecure.

          There are so many recent quotes where his passions exhibit this. I couldn’t live in a world where the church wasn’t true. I can’t not believe in a literal Adam and Eve. I won’t bail and won’t let you bail. This church means everything to me. I have a question!

          He can’t hardly countenance that someone who has had moving emotional or spiritual experiences within the church could leave. Why? Again it is so tied to his identity. The idea that he would have to re-make himself is waking nightmare. Thus the continual outbursts and appeals to emotion.

          The authorities have bolstered their power for decades on claims of prophetic authority and their ‘inability to lead the church astray’. They are in a corner. Unfortunately they cannot make the necessary moves to reconcile because they cannot say where and how they are or have been wrong without diminishing that power.

          • Like UtahLegal said somewhere upin here, for all the Q15 are blind to, they likely have good visibility into the rilly fer rill stats on church membership, tithing, etc. If membership and recruitment are trending down, they might well be getting uneasy. For better or (probably) worse, LGBT acceptance is the hill they’ve chosen to die on. To give John Larson a little prophesy cred, it was he who said two or more years ago that the church would never come around on LBGT acceptance because it can’t. Unlike the accommodations made for blacks in the priesthood and polygamy, LGBT acceptance and full equality for women would require a complete remodeling of the Celestial Kingdom and a complete rewrite of the history of the church. This would be akin to bringing indoor plumbing to the Parthenon—it’s too late—maybe later than anyone outside the Q15 realizes.

        • Ophanim

          What is depressing is that Holland’s own position is not Mormon. “The glory of God is intelligence”, yet as recently as April 2015 general conference you can see his head in the sand dismissal of all intelligence and knowledge which is outside the lds sunday school manual. Holland said in April, “there was an actual Adam and Eve who fell from an actual Eden, with all the consequences that fall carried with it.” i.e. hold to orthodoxy and don’t waste time synthesizing multiple fields of knowledge with spiritual metaphor.

          Then he has the audacity as a former university president to say that “[knowing]” biology, huxley evolutionary synthesis or demotic egyptian is not worth an Apostle’s time. i.e. outsource the essay on priesthood, temple and women to writers in India, rather than wrestling with the history and doctrine ourselves.
          “I do not know the details of what happened on this planet before that” To hell with abiogenesis, extinction level events, or investing in an understanding of epigenetics to solve autism, or acknowledging that Mormons caused the brown cloud of Beijing level air pollution in Salt Lake city.

        • Daved6

          According to that rendition, it appears you’re well on your way yourself. Do you really think Elder Holland is more of a dick than you? You seem as petty, insulting and angry at many people as he was in this case. I grant, his tirade is ridiculous, but come on, it’s no different than your frequent tirades.

          • Craig S.

            So you don’t see a difference between Holland’s angry rant about people leaving the church that he has authority over, and Randy’s rants about unjust exercises of power on the part of the church? I think there’s a huge difference there. It’s all about the power differentials.

          • Daved6

            I’m not seeing your point, Craig S. 1. Holland has zero authority over people who leave the Church.
            2. I have no problem with reasonable criticisms against the Church.
            My point has nothing to do with either of those points above. I’m merely pointing out Randy’s blatant hypocrisy on this. Now, as it is, we’re all a little hypocritical, we all can be. That’s fine, but to blatantly and continuous whine about things, as Randy does, when he is perhaps the bigger culprit of what he’s whining about….well, that’s just sad. I get Randy is rather touchy and has a few apologists scooting around here. But let’s not get all pathetic in trying to bring down others. Let’s be open enough to talk openly and freely and not hide behind the mask of a pretend world in which IoT folks are on some higher pedestal. I do get that’s how they think of themselves. I get that many of their listeners want it that way, but that’s just sad. It’s cult-like. It’s whiney. It’s trying to make hypocrisy virtuous.

        • Jaasiel Rodriguez

          Awesome argument

  • Tori Whaley

    I really enjoyed this episode! I think the question of what we make of our anger is very important. My experience being LDS was feeling that anger was automatically wrong and choosing to put it off or ignore it.

    I think though that when it comes to others’ anger the question of whether or not it is justified is a bit moot. Most of the time, if a person is feeling anger, it is justified to his or her thinking by his or her world view. A better question is why and when we would want to consider another person’s world view, especially if it is one that grossly contradicts our own or one that we consider deeply flawed.

    For me, it depends on how much I value having a productive relationship with that individual or institution. In some cases (my parents, my students’ parents, colleagues) the relationship is important enough that it’s worth the effort, even if I completely disagree with them, to understand where they are coming from and extend a bit of spiritual and emotional generosity towards them. For others, I consider having a positive relationship optional, so instead of seeking compassion and understanding or being angry, I choose option C: disengagement.

  • Mr Marty

    My beef with Holland (and Oaks) is simply that they know better.

    They’ve both studied epistemology, argumentation, and understand the frailties of human reasoning. In one branch of their life, they view human emotion as less-reliable in determining truth; they also understand that memory is retroactively modified, spotty, and often misleading.

    Elder Oaks, as a judge, would never accept a “feeling” into evidence; and Elder Holland, while speaking to his Harvard colleagues, would never attempt to back up any academic argument with “it feels good to me”.

    Further, they intimately understand how to manipulate people’s emotions in order to ‘keep them in the boat’ (ie. manipulate them), and they reach for that lever whenever possible. I won’t pretend to know their true motives, and like many of us, understanding their own motives may be elusive and ultimately subconscious.

    This makes them at BEST unintentional manipulators, and at worst… well, it’s pretty scary, to be honest.

    One thing that wasn’t really discussed (or maybe I missed it) is the fact that Tyler is approaching his outburst with complete knowledge and deep personal experience of the opposing viewpoints. He himself, in another time, would react to his own video with horror and disgust. So, he takes action armed with a full knowledge of how it will be received, even by his own family members.

    With Holland, even if you allow for the notion that he’s self-aware enough to know that he’s sacrificed his intellectual integrity, it’s plainly clear that the experience was extremely superficial. When he uses expressions like “taffy-pull”, we can only conclude that he either hasn’t truly wrestled intellectually with the Church, or he’s being deeply manipulative.

    Because otherwise would be the equivalent of Tyler Glenn standing in front of a crowd of gay individuals and suggesting that those who choose to live the gay lifestyle are “candy-ass” sellouts who couldn’t hack it, while simultaneously beating his chest for his celibacy. We all agree that would be pretty horrendous, right??

    I pity the Brethren, but I don’t have much patience. Real people are hurting; feeling helpless; and some are choosing to end their lives. If the answer is “Well, can’t you understand that it would be hard for E. Holland to face his intellectual dishonesty head on??” … of course I can relate to that. Like I said, I pity him, but I also think he needs to be stopped.

    • Left and Loving Life

      Exactly. Very well said. One cannot read the reports of current missionaries in the field who are being bullied by Holland (see http://www.nearingkolob.com) without understanding he is doing this for the effect. This is no genuine anger. It’s manipulative and wrong.

  • adriennehc

    Loved this episode!! I wish you had thought to have Gina on because she is awesome and it would have melded two things I love. I really enjoyed how you went back and forth with each other and I felt like I was constantly reevaluating my own position. Definitely one of my favorite IOT episodes.

  • Gina Colvin

    Nathan and I listened to the discussion last night and loved it. At the end of it he was thoughtful for a moment and then smiling broadly announced – ‘you know, I think in the end they were harder on you than me!’ So yeah 😉

    I did want to jump in however towards the end and say that compassion isn’t offering a pass for shitty behaviour at all – and anger is useful because it arouses us to action. Compassion can be a radical call to a different and ultimately more productive kind of action. If I choose compassion I start to see things that I would otherwise miss and in this case one can see Holland’s immense vulnerability. Sure he’s being a prick but he’s also obviously fearful (as most people are when they are being pricks). So in understanding that he’s fearful that changes my optics so that I cease to see him as powerful. The image of him as someone who has control over me shrinks in my imagination and I can be free of that spectre of authority that can be so haunting for Mormons. That in turn gives me more personal power and agency and with that I can be more productive in my social action to change conversations, to hear other people’s stories and to admit that high demand, high stakes religions and shot through with terror.

    For me compassion is NOT easy. Its the road less travelled, but it isn’t a neutralizer. My comfort zone is fury and anger but it gets depleting after a while and tends to callous our souls and the most radically compassionate thing I can do is privilege my soul’s need to flourish and that sometimes means listening and trying to understand even when someone is really hard to hear. And that is ultimately a selfish act because that’s what I would like from others.

    I have no illusions that there is no reciprocity in the relationship between Glenn and Holland. I don’t expect Holland to reach out and try and get chummy with Glenn. My offer of compassion for someone like Holland isn’t a transaction, it’s largely a self-centred act of liberation. It frees me from the control his own anger might otherwise have over me. So my compassion for him is dependent on his behaviour – it’s a free will offering given as a balm to relieve me from the limits of anger so that I can think more powerfully and creatively about what needs to be done to attend to the wounds of the community.

    Oh and BTW – my local leaders would chuckle to hear me categorized as ‘faithful’. I go to church but have publically declared myself to be an independent Zion Mormon – my act of radical compassion for myself and a church the pisses me off – a lot.


    • Thanks for listening and responding, Gina.

      One area I wish we had covered more explicitly is how Holland’s words affect families. When he speaks in Tempe, AZ about his fury over those who leave, he’s speaking to the families of those who have left and are somewhere in the process of leaving. And he’s modelling that fury and insults are appropriate responses for those families.

      By modelling this close-minded, judgmental, compassionless, self-righteous response, he is ensuring that familial pressure will be used to paralyze and silence those who want to leave. This talk will be used by believers as a justification for driving the wedges in mixed faith families deeper still.

      And the glib delight he seems to take in doing so shows me that he cares more about preservation of institutional power than preservation of families.

      • Gina Colvin

        I agree Heather – he’s not helping the situation. No doubt there will be many who will take his cue as an endorsement of a demeaning and immature posture towards those facing tremendous complexity and pain. There’s literally nothing that can be done about that.

        However the exercise of power, particularly in religion, is largely a social construction that fits the needs of the organisation and has little or nothing to do with our intuitive need to grow spiritually. There isn’t a compelling correlation between our assent to institutional power structures and our soul’s development. When we really deconstruct the organisation and we try to understand (and I believe that compassion is our wisest approach because it exponentially widens our vision of the real state of things) we can see that Holland’s anger comes out of immense fragility and fear. When we choose to understand that fear and all of the personal and institutional contexts associated with it it makes us spiritually tremendously powerful.

        Now imagine if we as a community withdrew our consent to this current regime that seems characterized by a spiritually oppressive power system. What if we said, ‘no’? Not because we are angry but because we can’t justify it as spiritually productive. That to my mind will be what ultimately drives some badly needed reform. I choose to stay in the church because I think there is tremendous theological value in it but I don’t consent to it all and my continued attendance brings along with it a loud and noisy ‘no’. That’s my form of activism.

        I spent a long, long time furious but it made me shrill. People got tired of it and I got tired of the energy that was required to sustain it. As soon as I embraced compassion it served both my spiritual needs and it made my relationships healthier – even with hard arsed TBM’s. But it also held sure my capacity to say ‘no’ when ‘no’ needs to be said.

        • I too got tired… tired of the energy that was required to sustain compassion for someone like Jeffrey Holland. He has no power over me, and I don’t think of him much anymore. But I can understand his motivations and feel self-liberated without having much compassion for him. I don’t want to invalidate your perspective any more than you want to invalidate mine, just sharing my experience.

    • Glenn

      “Largely a self-centered act of liberation.” Boom! Gina for the win.

      That’s kind of what I was struggling to articulate with my clumsy “would you rather be you or be Holland” question to Tom. But recognizing that it doesn’t have to be fair — that Holland is a frustrated angry man who only has power over me if I allow it — that is tremendously empowering. Great comment Gina. Love it!

      • Just so. I was having this conversation earlier about forgiveness–which is different than compassion–which if given from a place of safety outside the abuse, is offered to liberate the abused rather than enable the abuser. That’s where I was going with the stop writing tickets you can’t enforce analogy of freeing yourself from fury (hot anger) and resentment (cold anger) for your own sake. No one else’s.

        • Tori Whaley

          I conceptualize this as “forgiveness” versus “restoring relationship”. The act of forgiveness or extending compassion is a very personal one that benefits me. It does not mean that I trust the person I have forgiven nor that i choose to restore our relationship. Rather, it means that I am no longer ruled by that person’s offense.

          I think the problem in many faith-based circles is that people believe that forgiveness or compassion require maintaining or restoring the relationship, which is often unwise.

      • Tori Whaley

        I feel like there’s a sound clip from Labyrinth missing here, somehow….

    • UtahLegal

      Gina, the concept of Holland’s anger being driven by fear really resonated with me. I think one of the things we often forget about is that the Q15 have access to a TON of statistics that nobody else sees. They see trends in church activity (especially among millennials), declining tithing revenue, baptisms, etc that none of us have access to. And I can only imagine they must be scared to death by what they see. They are the captains of a floundering ship, and everyone is jumping off.

      I don’t think this was mentioned in the podcast, but I really think this fear is what is driving many of the talks these days, not to mention the increased openness about church history and changes to CES curriculum.

      • Gina Colvin

        its funny you should say this. Last night we had a member of parliament at our home for a meeting of the Labour Party. His issue with the Labour Party in New Zealand historically was that it has sought for so long to appeal to their base that they began losing the ground with everyone else. Ideological purity became a thorn in its side. The reality now is that party can only reform by paying attention to why people are abandoning the party, without abandoning its key ideas. This puts pressure institutionally on the very belief structures and processes that have held the party together, and there are many in the old guard who don’t like it. But Labour keeps losing so they are now at the point where they are going to have to pay attention to what is really going on with the people. The are going to have to turn themselves upside to become relevant again.

        I thought about that in relation to the church.

        • Thomas Moore

          Gina, you’ve got to come on IoT. Did the father get angry with the prodigal son? I’m still trying to see how Holland’s anger is justified. Would the son have ever returned if the father was angry? Yet the brother who stuck it out was angry, and his father called him out on it.

          • Gina Colvin

            Holland’s anger was irresponsible and immature. PERIOD. He was mocking, cruel, out of step and ultimately alienating for those whose souls and faith are tender – particularly for a man in his position. It can’t be justified. But it is understandable. Don’t you think? Perhaps thinking about it in terms of understanding (and I don’t mean that as acceptance) rather than whether or not it was right or wrong frees us from the blinding anger that comes from either conclusion. We can just see it, understand it and not be committed to its efficacy as a thing of truth or not. It just is. IMO

    • Mensch

      Gina would make an amazing second female Infant. Just sayin’…

    • Thanks for the response, Gina. This description of compassion (“a self-centered act of liberation”) makes much more sense to me as a functional solution for moving beyond anger without implicitly endorsing the behavior of the offending party, which is the part I think I was getting hung up on. Good stuff! I have a lot to think about 🙂

  • Ashley1313

    This was a great episode Infants! Your smack down(up?) episodes are always my favorite.

    I will admit that when I first watched Tyler Glenn’s music video I cringed a little because it was so over the top, like way to play into the stereotype bro! When he took a swig from the bottle it seemed so inauthentic, like “excuse me, can I order an alcohol?” Tyler seemed to be acting as a caricature of what an ex Mormon would look like through the eyes of TBM and I wasn’t sure whether or not that was intentional.
    I had started the Mormon Stories episode(s) that he was on but I could only make it through the first hour because I had shit to do and as someone who is not a Neon Trees fan my overall feelings about him were meh. After watching his new video I decided that I needed a little more context and so I decided to finish the episode and in doing so my opinion changed. I now feel that Tyler’s performance was supposed to be a little campy and over the top because that is his style of performance. I think that he really was hurting when he wrote this song and the video is a visual representation of that although a bit a juvenile given its blatant blasphemy but, as someone already mentioned, that could’ve been an artistic decision that the director of the video made.

    I agree with Tom that from a musical standpoint, I liked this song better than anything Neon Trees has put out and I’m actually interested in hearing more from his solo album.

    Anyway, I hope Tyler Glenn finds peace and happiness and I wish him nothing but the best and the same goes for all of you. I really appreciate all of the hard work that you do!

    • Thomas Moore

      I cringed also when I watched Tyler’s video. Then again I cringed when Sinead O’Conner ripped up the picture of the pope on SNL many years earlier, or the whole crucifix in the jar of urine was called art. On “Mormonstories” they had a discussion by members on what they saw in the video. They were discussing the picture of Joseph Smith and what his face was supposed to represent. Some said it was a skull, some said it was a mask (like a Mexican Day of the Dead) some said it was Joseph painted up like “The Joker”. Many people (members and ex-members) didn’t even catch the temple tokens that Tyler was doing so what was the Tokens for except “shock and awe” value??? It’s art and everyone is going to interpret it as they see it. One gay member noticed that the picture of Moroni’s visitation had Moroni wearing a lavender robe; to make it more “fabulous”. I’m gay and I didn’t even pick that up.

  • Lolo

    I was so disappointed while listening to this podcast. Good god, is Infants becoming the reconciliation ex-Mormon podcast where we can come to fulfill all our doormat dreams and try to “understand and have compassion” for lying, cheating thieves who KNOW their actions cost lives?

    I am sick to death of this trope that, “oh, they (the top 15) really believe what they are saying blah, blah, blah.” That is unmitigated bullshit. These are the people that run the show. These are the men that approve or disapprove of the historical information published by the mormon church. These are among the men who have buried extremely relevant historical information that any sincere seeker would want to know before dedicating their lives to this institution. Then, when the info is put out by others they tell their members to “doubt your doubts,” instead of clearly explaining the facts. Now those members can just doubt any disturbing thing they hear or read!

    Holland is THE man who claims to Tom Philips that he has heard these issues many times, yet offers zero answers or explanations and goes on to berate Mr. Philips and warns he will lose his family if he does not just get-the-fuck back in line. He did lose his family. Seems downright prophetic until one realizes that this is how Holland and his ilk have set up and supported the system to keep the members right where they are.

    Why would these “men of God” do such things? Because they know if one gets the facts one loses their belief because the church is not what THEY claim it is. They know people will lose their testimony if they find out everything they’ve tried to hide. That is why they hide it! Because they are not men of God, and are in fact no better and no worse than other other person who makes it their life’s work to oppress and cheat others out of their time, power, and/or money.

    I understand why Holland is angry. The little kingdom he runs with his buddies is being publicly discredited. Those “difficult issues” are becoming widely known and many mormons have the integrity, that he does not have, to stand up and say I was wrong and I will no longer support a lie. He is not only watching money, power, and legitimacy walk out the door, but he is feeling the sting of his own inability (as Glenn would call it) to be honest himself. I can pity him, but I will NOT offer him compassion so that he can continue in his lies with less angst. Jeff Holland could be honest with himself and anyone else if he wanted to. Yes, it would cost him, and he has decided the cost is too high.

    If I could offer Jeff Holland anything it would be this: We know you’re not a dodo. You’re just dishonest, in fact, you’re cunning, which does take some intelligence. You’ve spent your life not only lying, but judging others’ worthiness and declaring LGBT people to have none. Unless, of course, they stop being who they are and become more like you. You are reaping what you have sown. Put on your big boy pants and take it like the fake apostle you are. Oh, and Tyler Glenn is ten times the man you will ever be.

  • Susan Mowers

    Just adding my two cents here — I’m really glad Gina clarified her meaning of “compassion” in the comments. I also think that Heather hit the nail on the head when she said that really it’s seeing others not as “other” but as human beings, even the “Elder Hollands”.

    However, I think a key that was missed in the discussion was that just because you have understanding, empathy and compassion — that having these things doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) also have boundaries. Which goes to Glenn’s point that just like in any toxic relationship, you may need to leave. It doesn’t mean you need to vilify the “other”, it just means that you protect yourself from the harm the other may try to do to you, because they don’t share empathy and compassion with you. And you cannot engage in a dialogue until they do. You can hold space for them to do that at a distance.

    This is how I’ve dealt with friends and family that are in the Elder Holland position. I can empathize with their feelings, but don’t need to engage with them if they can’t show the same to me because their having compassion and empathy for me has nothing to do with my relationship towards them — it has everything to do with their relationship towards me.

  • As for looking at the other side, trying to understand where they are coming from (the Q15/TBMs…we’ve BEEN there! We know what it’s like to feel that way bc we used to be TBMs. It’s just like being told, when you DO express concerns, that you should spend more time studying the BOM. Eff that. I grew up doing that. The problem came when I learned what I’d been taught about the foundation of the church was that it was actually the house built upon the sand.

    Holland doesn’t get to belittle my experience because I refuse to any longer see him as an authority figure in my life. What I do care about is the effects such words have over those who do see him as someone with authority, when my marriage and family could be threatened because of it.

  • Glenn

    I just want to clarify my position in this discussion. By promoting “understanding” I was never excusing Holland for being an asshole. I was just accepting that he is, in fact, an asshole. And that he will always be an asshole. And that it’s a waste of energy for anyone to expect him to be anything other than an asshole. Understanding why he is an asshole, and feeling sorry (or some form of compassion) that he has sacrificed his intellectual rigour to maintain his commitment to the church does not make it OK for him to be an asshole. It just helps me accept that he is one, and helps me stop being so surprised and afronted when I see it happen again and again and again from this guy. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still get angry about the pain and harm his assholery continues to create and sustain.

  • Dale Lowry

    Great podcast, even if I kept screaming at the stereo that Glenn had an odd interpretation of the word “validation”! I haven’t seen anything but stills of Tyler Glenn’s video and it sounds too over-the-top for my sensibilities, but I definitely get where he’s coming from. However, I have a hard time applying the word “justified” to Holland’s anger or even to the anger of people I sympathize with. Anger is an emotional response, not a thing that is “just” or “right” or “wrong” in and of itself.

    But where it’s based on an interpretation of facts, it’s totally fair to talk about those facts and their interpretation, and whether that interpretation is reasonable based on the information available to a person and the information they are willing/able to consider. And I’m for developing compassion for others and trying to understand their points of view. But trying to frame anger in terms of “justified anger” rubs me the wrong way.

    I definitely didn’t interpret Gina’s essay as implying that Tyler Glenn should be more compassionate toward Elder Holland. I didn’t think she was making any claims to knowing Tyler Glenn’s personal levels of compassion for the 12/15. The compassion she was talking about was that of the larger community discussing those two events. And I agree with the folks (Heather and someone else, I think) who said that compassion and anger aren’t mutually exclusive.

    Anyway, listening to it last night was great timing considering how angry I’d been over certain things yesterday.

  • Brady

    Heather, just wanted to say thanks for your moving contribution to the conversation about an hour in. I’ve been out of the church for 6 years now. I’ve been fairly pragmatic about the whole thing. I left on good terms with all of my LDS friends, acquaintances, and leaders. I’ve not really gone through much of an anger phase, though I’ve railed a bit online in various places — there is some pleasure in joining the bag-on-the-church dogpile, I’ll admit.

    I’ve had plenty of fairly deep conversations with close LDS friends about my decision, and have maintained a certain level of respectful disagreement. However from some people I’ve sensed a kind of, “you didn’t try hard enough”. And I’ve certainly picked up on that message from leaders, like Holland.

    At 6 years out, though I still take interest in LDS topics and follow what’s going on, I’ve felt more and more that I’ve moved on…until yesterday. I was driving around listening to the podcast and at about an hour in you get pretty passionate and (I think) emotional about this idea that leaving is the easy way out. I don’t cry very easily or very often, but I wept yesterday all alone in my car listening to you say that you gave everything. As much as I’d like to come off as this very logical, even-headed, fact-following dude, Holland’s flippant and dismissive attitude to the cost I paid and the sacrifice I made to follow my conscious is just so cruel and mean. To hear you point out the lack of recognition of that, in the way you did, caught me off guard and helped me realize how badly that’s affected me. It was a good, cleansing kind of experience. And I hope to keep it as a reminder that in spite of all the ideological differences I might have from other people, I have to value kindness and avoid the sort of unsympathetic cruelty Holland put on display.

    My undergraduate degree was in philosophy with particular attention to philosophy of language and logic. It’s something I remain pretty passionate about, even though I chickened out of graduate school. I loved and still love analyzing arguments. In an early philosophy course I was introduced to an idea often called “The Principle of Charity”. The idea is that in engaging an argument you have an obligation to intimately understand it. But it’s even stronger than that, as I was taught. If you’re presented with an argument, and you find an error in the logical construction (the argument as it’s presented to you is invalid), then before you criticize the argument you have a duty to strengthen it. Only after you understand the argument in its strongest form, and can formulate it, and explain and offer the strongest support for its premises, can you then attack it. In other words, before you attack something, make sure you understand the strongest version of it. The practical reason for that in philosophy is just that your counter-argument won’t be compelling if it’s an attack on weak form of a position.

    But from what you said in the podcast, I was reminded that there’s a more human level importance to following something like the principle of charity. And that’s the sometimes cruel impact you can have on people when you treat an opposing position the way Holland does. And I think an important aspect of a good life and a good person is to keep an eye on charitably understanding positions with which you disagree, even if you maintain disagreement, because failing to do so can have collateral damage. Holland, it seems to me, is an example of what it looks like when you fail to do that, and it’s ugly.

    • That’s a Motivation for trying to understand the other side that I hadn’t considered. Thanks for this post. It meant a lot to me.

  • Shadrak

    Great podcast, I really enjoyed listening. Heather and Tom shared some very personal feelings about Holland’s talk that I appreciated. They demonstrated his callousness for anything but the institution.

    After listening to Holland’s talk, his “anger” seemed to be just a rhetorical device he’s used in the past (including general conference) and not a genuine, spontaneous moment. He was clearly trying to bully, or persuade, his audience that those who leave are weak quitters and to delegitimize those who leave and it was his intent to deliver this message in what he’d probably like to refer to as a fire and brimstone style sermon.

  • Voltaire

    What has been so angering and intolerable to me is that the current church leaders, in trying to defend the church, pile more deception on top of the original deceptions of the early church leaders. It reminds me of a quote by Satan in the temple movie, “I am only doing that which has been done before by others.” The anger that Tyler expressed in his music video was raw, genuine, and born of deep hurt, and cannot be compared to the anger expressed by church leaders in their talks because their words are calculated, are born of pride, and motivated by fear of the loss of power, and by self-righteousness. How dismissive, unforgiving, lacking in compassion and love are those men who claim to represent Jesus Christ. How closed are the minds and hearts of those who choose not to see, choose not to even look into the hearts and minds of those crying for truth and transparency. I see no way to bridge the gap between those who choose to cling tightly to emotion-based faith no matter what, and those who lose their faith based on common sense, reasoning, and the discovery of an overwhelming weight of evidence and facts. If we are to be whole and free and happy, all we can do is love and forgive those who blindly dismiss us.

  • Sterling C

    I personally am tired of playing ‘argument’ games. At most turns, I am ‘not holding the rod’, ‘lost in a mist of darkness’ , ‘sitting in the great and spacious building’ , or ‘ashammed’. I (we?) have been given our role, and by damn are we doomed to play the game, including Holland and even Glenn’s song is still playing the game.

    I just want to sit on the sidelines of lehi’s dream and not participate. I do not want to be lost, I do not want to be found, and I do not want to either want or not want the fruit. I get tired of wading through these ‘beliefs’, including my own. Believing is so overrated.

    Good podcase all of you. Thanks for being real.

    My quote for the week: “you must go out of your mind to come to your senses” Alan Watts

    • Daved6

      You sound exhausted by all the lesser people, like God.

  • Daved6

    I didn’t give it the whole listen…okay just a few minutes. Sorry I can’t do it anymore. Anywho, I was struck by the lack of self-awareness that was going on. It seems like the biggest culprits in the world are those who do exactly what you guys do. Elder Holland is such a bad guy for mocking others and getting all upset with them, irrationally so. But I can’t characterize your guys’ expressed venom to be anything but that. I was astounded to hear Glen complain by mentioning a study wherein those who laugh at others (ring any bells) do so because they have a need to feel superior (ring even more bells?).
    Ah well, you guys are adorable enough, but the lack of self-awareness and/or the love of self needs to be commented on, at least for me. Take care.

    • Infants will be Infants which is why I listen. If the Infants were held to the same standard of decorum that is generally expected of a General Authority, they would, within minutes, become as boring as General Authorities, and instead of chuckling to myself and occasionally laughing out loud, I would be nodding off just like all of those poor people at Conference. Long live IoT!

      • Daved6

        So you can hold IoT folks to a different standard because you like them more? Wowser disregard for decency is now regarded a virtuous thing? Awesome. What’s the point anymore?

        • Actually I don’t hold IoT to any standard at all. I don’t, personally, hold the GAs to any standard at all. Everyone can do whatever they want. What the Infants do is colorful and entertaining. What GAs do is drab and monotonous except when they’re being insufferable dicks, which raises dust and creates entertainment, which is ultimately what we are all here for. And yes, I like the Infants more.

          • Daved6

            Sounds like you have some things to work out. What’s a dick? What standard do you set in determining if one is a dick?
            You obviously hold people to standards, but, in the next breath trying to escape reality, you pretend you don’t hold anyone to any standard. you want to join others in looking down your noses at others in hopes to feel better about yourself?
            I agree with one thing you said, though. We are all here for entertainment. Most here, don’t seem to realize that all they are really laughing at is themselves.

          • Can you see the top of God’s head from where you are? Does he have a bald spot? Does he wear a yarmulke?

          • One definition:

  • Grasshopper

    For me, I can’t justify Holland’s position for those that leave the church. I’ts not about whether his anger is justified or not, it’s about being the leader of a church with millions of followers that hang on your words and believe what you are saying, and you use that position to mock those that have left without any attempt to understand their position. That, to me, is not justified. Further in that direction, he is mad because we that leave are using our free agency, and that should not be alright for a man in his position. If he practiced what he preached, he would love those that left and focus on himself and leading the church. To be mad at those practicing free agency should be appalling for a man that believes Satan’s plan was to oppress and force others to think like him and do what he says. So . .. no. I think we all understand why he thinks like he does, but it doesn’t make it okay. Instead of giving Holland a pass for being a douche cause he was raised to be a douche, why not expect more from him since he was raised to love free agency and save the lost, not be furious at them and mock them.

  • tribfan

    Please, Glenn, no more sycophantic tangents. You’re making the episodes longer and more laborious than they need to be.

    Everyone else, keep up the great work!

    • Aaron

      Boo! Glenn is awesome.

      • tribfan

        I agree, he *is* awesome. And brilliant. But the drawn-out sidebar on anger was making *me* angry.

    • Ryan Gregson


      • tribfan

        You’re right, that’s probably the wrong word. The concept I meant to convey was “attention-seeking.”

  • Nancy

    I must be healing. I didn’t get angry. I wasn’t offended by Tyler showing the tokens, they’re just stuff that was stolen from the Mason’s so the Mormon church deserves to be exposed . To me Holland is just another grumpy old man like BKP who is angry because he can’t have happiness in his bullying. Life is good. They have no power over me anymore.

  • windy_way8192

    I can hear myself saying or thinking something like Holland’s rant a long time ago. I’m only 41, though. I think that with time and honest effort at communicating, you realize where the boundaries are. You realize that claiming what is right for another person’s life is not reasonably your area of expertise. You realize that such a claim must be taken on faith, and even if the claim is True, you cannot dictate when another person acts on faith in that thing.

    So in other words, it is Holland who is violating boundaries here. It was Nathan who was violating boundaries by insisting that Gina acquiesce to the script. This is what makes Holland’s tantrum much less mature, much less productive, and much less moral than Tyler Glenn’s justifiable anger.

    There is such a thing as righteous and rational anger.