Froback Friday – Morality, Blame, and a Mormon Family’s Divorce

Interview

Posted March 31st, 2017

Does shared morality bind and blind? If so, what does it blind us to? Glenn revisits a 7-year-old Mormon Stories episode he recorded in April 2010 with his divorced parents, his two siblings, and the ever-inquisitive John Dehlin. But this time, Glenn looks at it through the eyes of Jonathan Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory because the Moral Foundations Theory has been totally rocking Glenn’s world lately. Maybe it will rock yours, too.

Glenn

  • Happy Hubby

    Glenn, I found this episode to be very interesting. I too am a big Jonathan Haidt fan. As I read it as I kept saying in my head, “YES – that explains why such and such acts so strange”. I had to keep slapping myself and telling myself, “this explains the way YOU act also! Take a good look in the mirror.” I see you also trying to really dig down past the emotional layer and trying to understand why your family acts the way they do. I wish “The Righteous Mind” was required reading for everyone (or maybe a Readers Digest version for some people).

  • Happy Hubby

    And PS – I really liked your comments on the leaked interview. Rather than just saying how stupid things were, I saw you trying to dig deeper and understand (without so much judgement) why individuals were acting how they were. I found that part more interesting than the actual leaked interview.

  • Happy Hubby

    And just to hog the comments – I also did a blog post on “The Righteous Mind” https://wheatandtares.org/2017/02/07/the-self-righteous-mind/

    • Glenn

      Nice blog post. Thanks HH!

  • Rick

    Hey Glenn, I just wanted to say thanks for pushing this Haidt stuff. My parents’ bishop stopped by to talk to me today, he was my leader for many years and a super nice guy. Because of the reflection I’ve done lately due to the Righteous Mind podcast, I feel I was able to have a respectful and understanding conversation, and we both walked away happy with the outcome.

    So thanks!

    • Glenn

      I’m so glad to hear that! Thank you for letting me know.

  • Ryan McCarty

    I’m going to try for a list of the awesomeness that was in this episode:

    1. The Haidt stuff. Great information for at least attempting to get out of the echo chamber and build understanding
    2. Your family. I’m divorced with five kids, and the way your family speaks really resonates with me. btw, all of us (including my ex-wife) are out of the church now. I suspect having your family on the podcast wasn’t comfortable, and revisiting it years later wouldn’t be all that much better, but thank you for doing it. I feel like having dinner with your family would be fun, and we’d have a lot in common.
    3. The sing along at the end with ‘the muppet’. Dammit man, I was listening to that while running on my treadmill and laughed so hard I almost fell off.

    Thanks for this one. It helped.

    • Yes, that music belongs on the Infants on Thrones compilation soundtrack album in its entirety. The lyrics sound like something I would write—which is why I don’t. The production is good though. Somebody it seems could actually play their instruments and produce a believable mix .

    • Glenn

      Thanks Ryan. I had really mixed feelings about releasing this one. I’m glad you found it helpful. And that you didn’t hurt yourself on the treadmill.

  • Chip

    Glenn, thanks for sharing your contemporary analysis. The Haidt stuff seems extremely relevant to me. Any advice re choosing the audiobook or the text?

    • Glenn

      Both, probably. I really liked the audio book for the overall immersion in the ides and the text as a quick reference guide to look up and refresh certain areas. The text is available via pdf — you can find it if you google it. But if I had to choose only one, I’d go with the audio book.

      • Chip

        Thanks!

  • Jake

    It was brave of you to do this in the first place and to share it again now. I really appreciate that your family was willing to do this. I’m sure it was a challenge for everyone.

    I think this was a good example of how the concepts from the Righteous Mind can be applied in helping a person understand other people with alternate views. Especially when you have an opportunity to put a little bit of distance between yourself and the emotion of the initial discussion.

    I also liked the format. It was cool to hear your initial thoughts as you re-listened to the older podcast.

    • Glenn

      Thanks Jake!

  • Tim

    Glenn, I like the direction you are taking. Deconstruction of Mormonism has been done. And done. And done. Anyone interested in the previously obscure facts of Mormonism can find it all in a few keystrokes. But no one has really explored how to constructively engage with people when we see things differently, particularly politics and religion. Haidt’s ideas have helped me try to understand people rather than arguing. And it seems very satisfying for all of those people to be able to express their deeply held beliefs without being condemned, just to be understood. But now I’m a bit jealous. It feels like I’m at a disadvantage. Anyone can say whatever they like to me, and I will try to understand them, to respectfully discuss, to monitor for signs of discomfort or defensiveness. But those people are unable to reciprocate. They still approach conversation with ideas of absolute truth (people who get it are smart, people who don’t are stupid) and absolute morals (people who follow are good, people who do not are evil). It seems like the next step is to understand how to be authentic around people like that. At least that’s what I’m going to discuss with my therapist this week (this is my plug for The Mormon Mental Health Association where I found my therapist).

  • Tim

    I also wanted to say thank you for taking Haidt’s approach in your discussion. It’s easy to get worked up and frustrated to the point where you are wishing all sorts of pineapple atrocities on others. I’m in a mixed faith marriage, and we both want it to work. And 16 years after my faith crisis, I think we are succeeding. We disagree, we try to establish boundaries, we try to be supportive of each other. She is an orthodox TBM with conservative Republican views. I’m an agnostic, secular Buddhist, atheist with liberal political views. It helps when I don’t upset myself by listening to podcasts that foster outrage. But I need these podcasts to feel connected to people like myself. So thanks again for all your hard work. You make my life better on an ongoing basis.

  • aerin64

    An excellent episode. I remain impressed by the courage shown by the entire family to go on a podcast and openly discuss this stuff. Typically families won’t discuss divorce after the separation. Everyone (even the Dad) was open and honest in a refreshing way.
    I think Haidt’s theory can explain where everyone is coming from in the conversation – as well as explain why my own family members have the stances they do (valuing authority over harm/care).

  • Perry Porter

    Why is this a “.m4a”, file instead of a .mp3 file?

    AAI_GoodFriday.m4a

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9cc781778fd3752ca9a2cc383abba6a65e26deb4898dadbb6767c46e9f6b0fe3.jpg

  • hetaira

    Sorry for the late comment, but Glenn, I lovelovelove your mom and sis and would like to hear more from them on the podcast whenever you can please wangle that.