Ep 506 – Seven Deadly Heresies: The Smackdown, Part 5


Posted July 24th, 2018

Glenn, John, Bob, Randy and Mike discuss finish up this 5-part series on McConkie’s 7 Deadly Heresies.  We may not have covered everything perfectly.  But good news.  We don’t have to be perfect.  Pass it on.





  • John

    Stream of consciousness thoughts…

    1. I’ve never wanted to punch someone while listening to a podcast as much as I wanted to bunch Glenn during that teasing intro…

    2. WHY IS BRUCE YELLING!??!?!?

    3. I thought about the kingdoms as a continuum as a TBM. Infinite distinct rewards for infinite distinct individuals. You know, “In my Father’s house are many mansions” and all that. The kingdoms were just broad classifications. But there’s still a demarcation problem for those who get to bone for eternity vs those who don’t…

    4. I always imagined the Celestial Kingdom was like visiting a friend’s house. Those friends who are so incredibly generous that they truly mean that their house is your house and whatever they have is yours. You could literally go to the fridge and get anything you want and they wouldn’t bat an eye. But you really know whose house it is… My idea of exaltation was that we would be producing spiritual children for a future world to which our Christ would be an Elohim and his son would be a Christ and so on…world’s without end.

    5. On the topic of perfection and doing “all we can”, I really struggled with this on my mission. I was always in a state of thinking I wasn’t living up to my potential and therefore couldn’t have the spirit. Toward the end of my mission I granted myself some grace through the atonement and realized I was doing the best I could. Then I felt really good. I felt like my mission was “accepted of God”. This hamster wheel of shame, guilt, and redemption continued through my post mission Mormonism. And that’s exactly what the church intends. You’re supposed to constantly feel like shit and rely on the Savior to get you through. No one is even close to good enough. This is supposed to engender a feeling of utter reliance on Jesus and an overwhelming gratitude for him saving you. This dependent relationship is pitched as a good thing. But this is one of the most pernicious things about the church and about religion in general IMO. They create an illness that isn’t really there and then sell you the cure. They tell you you’re not good enough without the atonement and to access the atonement you need to go through them. It’s the DENNIS system from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and it’s bullshit.

    I did have a bit of cognitive dissonance with this “after all you can do” idea. My thoughts would go like this…I’m not perfect, I will make mistakes. But which mistakes will I make? I’ll make the mistakes that I’ll make as I can uniquely make them, because I am who I am. Through my unique cocktail of genes and experiences, I am preordained to make the choices I will make. Which means, whatever I do is, by definition, all I can do. It also happens to be the worst I could do…and this thought also meant that I had no free agency. Which would give me the heebie jeebies and I would sing a hymn and go about my business of feeling guilty and less than.

    6. Wanting to do good for the sake of doing good is charity or the pure love of Christ right? The greatest of all gifts. Lower order reasons for doing good are okay, but the motive is important. Mormonism taught that in my experience. I’m not sure why there was such conflict on this point. Maybe that wasn’t the experience of the Infants. Now the definition of what is “good” according to Mormonism can certainly be criticized.

    7. Bruce R was such a pompous dick.

    • Thanks for sharing, John. I think your thoughts on #6 are overly simplistic. Good for the sake of doing good, especially in a Mormon context, has two major problems. I think it’s kind of similar to the concept of your calling and election made sure.

      First of all, it’s difficult to define ‘for goodness sake” independent of a myriad of other variables. And second of all, it’s still all predicated on the one true Church philosophy as well as the Celestial Kingdom doctrine itself. Meaning, it’s difficult to claim transcendence here if your belief structure must remain the same before and after you transcend.

      Put another way, if you really were only doing good for goodness’s sake, it’d be hard for me to be convinced that you’re also an active believer in Mormonism because, paradoxically, you’d have to give up some of the core beliefs in order to truly be in that transcendent state.

      • John

        I appreciate your thoughts Bob. I think we might actually be closer on this than it seems. I agree that the whole premise is dependent on the the one true Church philosophy, I was taking that as a given but didn’t state it explicitly.

        Mormonism has (more than?) its share of quid pro quo doctrines… D&C 82:10 and “obey commandments = prosper in land” come to mind. But I always thought (when I was a TBM) that eventually you would do things for the “right” motive (love of Christ). My idea was sort of in line with Mike’s… you’re building your character.

        What I was trying to say is that within the sphere of Mormonism, I think they actually do attempt to teach you to do good (as they define it) for the right motive (as they define it). So at least they tried? But at the end of the day, it does stand or fall on what they call good and what they call the right motive.

        I’m not totally sure I understand your first point about defining “for goodness sake”. Are you saying that the definition of the right motive is hard to nail down?

        • Yes, I touched on that briefly on the podcast. And to be fair, defining this isn’t exclusively a Mormonism problem even if Mormonism exacerbates it. It’s just hard to know what doing good for good actually means and where it is / isn’t nullified based on externalities and other variables.

          That said, my over-analysis shouldn’t be confused with thinking it’s a bad idea… just that while we all strive for this, whatever it is, I’m not ready to concede that it’s so pure and simple as assumed when brought up.

          • Gabriel von Himmel

            Ah, to be nullified based on externalities and other variables could be “LIBERTY THROUGH OBEDIENCE” or is it “ARBEIT MACHT FREI?”

            As externalities go, liberty through obedience does have its down side while doing good.

  • Melissa

    Thanks for these discussions. I’d love an episode on the problem of evil. Also, when people say that you shouldn’t take the Bible literally, how else do you take it? Sometimes when people say that you should interpret the Bible less literally, they talk about getting to a deeper truth. Do you know what they’re referring to? Could you give a basic overview of the Trinity?

  • Brrrrr

    Sheesh the creepy general conference talk voice is annoying, almost as bad as listening to Warren Jeffs blabbering.

    The subject matter is sooooo dull, it’s like listening to a discussion about the properties of dilithium crystals. Made up blather.

    But ultimately the combined effect of it all leads to some poor credulous folks handing over 10% of their earnings. Being a prophet or “GA” sure beats working.

    • It really is so dull. I listen to McConkie drone on and wonder what it would be like to devote your entire life to something that’s ultimately made up. He could have directed his energy in so many more meaningful directions.

  • It’s always interesting to hear Mike in these discussions. Although I was never as dogmatic as he is it always serves as a reminder of how much my views have changed over the years. This was a great discussion but I’m glad it’s over.

  • Bruiser McConkie out for one last ride ’round the parking lot before no one can remember who he was anymore. I already have trouble remembering what for. I thought the “Church” would be gone with my grandparents, but all of my grandparents are long gone and there the “Church” still is in all of its Billion Dollar Boy’s Club glory. I guess if people are gon’ give ’em money, they’re gon’ take it—as they flip the gubmint and the US Taxpayer that big ol’ vertical smile—buns ablaze.

    I am hard pressed to come up with an example in my own life of having ever done “all I could.” I wonder if doing all one can doesn’t necessarily involve dying in the attempt. Up to that point you could have done more. I even have trouble remembering instances where I actually tried with more enthusiasm than a walk-through. Taking care of kids is one. You keep them safe and well at any cost. It doesn’t usually cost everything, but if it did you’d pay it. Try? I’ve participated a few times, even willingly once in a while. It’s an interesting concept.

    Pretty stylish episode, though, guys. Keep ’em comin’.

  • Timmy Tim

    Mike repeatedly misses the point on why motivation matters. John explained very well how our motives (our heart) make all the difference in whether our behavior is good or bad. And then Mike continued to tout the “fake it until you make it” approach, which is one of the real heresies.