Ep 19 – Navel Gazing

Panel Discussion

Posted September 3rd, 2013

The full quorum (Bob, Glenn, Jesse, Matt, Randy, & Tom) gets together to discuss the first year of Infants on Thrones. They start with a panel discussion to review listener feedback followed by an update from each as to where they stand with the Mormon Church.

  • hpmsnell

    just listening to the opening of navel gazing. did you guys announce your survey on a previous podcast? I wonder how many “fans” are like me, podcast listeners only. Very infrequent online participation. But I never miss a podcast. Really enjoy the conversations. My point is I don’t remember an announcement regarding the survey. 61 survey completers seems very low and not representative at all of the listenership. Anyway, I would have completed the survey, but like I said I don’t remember hearing about it in a podcast. Is the survey still available?

    • We posted it on our Facebook page, but you’re right that we didn’t mention it on podcast itself. I don’t think the survey is active at this point… Definitely next time we’ll work on better outreach.

    • Glenn

      Thanks for the feedback. Sorry we didn’t promote it better. It was Tom’s fault.

    • Kim

      Me too. I’m an avid listener, but not on FB much. This was the first I heard about the survey. Regardless, I really enjoyed the conversation.

  • Doug

    As long as you’re navel-gazing, I’d suggest that you guys engage in a little more self-promotion. I’m reasonably active on some (but not all) of the many Mormon-related Facebook groups, and I only just recently came across your podcast. If I recall correctly, I was filling out that survey about Internet Mormons and it asked me “which of the following podcasts do you listen to?” and I’d never heard of yours. I checked it out, and really like it. I dropped out of the Mormon Expression VIP lounge a while ago because it got a little too anti- and repetitive for my tastes, so maybe that’s why I missed your roll-out.

    Anyway, TL;DR version: You guys should post links to your podcast on Facebook more often, and perhaps on a wider set of Mormon-themed groups.

    • Glenn

      Promotion is tricky, Doug. There are ways to promote on FB by purchasing ads. It’s not too expensive, but again, we don’t monetize this project, so any money we spend on promotion is coming out of our own pockets to essentially feed our own egos. So the question is, how much should we spend on our egos? We have started doing a little bit of that paid promotion and have seen some pretty good results as far as the number of people seeing and clicking on our links. We may continue down that route for a while. We’ll see.

      As for promoting ourselves on other Mormon-themed pages…. I don’t know. First of all, those posts fade into the ether so quickly. But even more, it just feels really tacky walking into someone else’s party and saying, “hey, check out our BETTER party over here!” Especially when you aren’t really an active participant (or even terribly interested) in that other person’s party and are really only there to poach, you know? We do that every once in a while, but I think it makes us feel a little cheap.

      It would be much better if people like you were doing that because you like us and want to share and discuss what you have heard with the other people you interact with in those groups. Every member a missionary, right?

      Consider yourself set apart and anointed. 🙂

  • mike

    this episode was great. i like the comment that free will in the mormon church means giving up your free will. this hit the nail on the head. like alot of things in the church what they preach is the opposite of what they do.
    in 1984 i was in a book store in prove and in the kids aisle next to me a young mormon couple was telling their daughter of about 4 that she could have any book she wanted, she got to choose. the kid went right for dr suess, smart kid. but the parents had other ideas, they had some book like “my first book of prayer” or “my golden book of baptism” some crap like that. “wouldnt you rather have this” they asked her, she said no and they kept pressuring her by showing her the story inside and she kept clutching the dr suess closer to her chest. eventual she was in tears, talk about psychological child abuse. i couldnt stand watching it and walked away but having been raised in the church i know what happened. they got her the religious book and at the next fast and testimony meeting one of them got up and talked about how spiritual their daughter was because out of all the books she picked this one.

    • Glenn

      That’s a really good example, Mike. On the episode, I challenged Randy’s assertion about giving up free will. I actually cut a lot of that argument out of the final edit because it was just pedantic and ultimately took us nowhere. But I am glad you brought it up here. Your story helps me see the issue a little differently and brings it into a bit more focus for me.

      The major relationship dynamic in your example is the parent-child relationship. As her primary caregivers, they basically have ultimate power and authority over most of her decisions. But this day at the book store, they pretty much lied to her, telling her that she could choose anything she wanted — that she had some autonomy of choice. But instead, of course, they passively aggressively attempted to manipulate her to think that the church book was actually her choice. She exercised the little free will she actually had by defiantly clutching that Dr. Seuss book tighter to her chest, refusing to give in to their manipulative tactics, but eventually they exercised their parental power and did what they wanted. She was powerless to fight them and had no alternative way of getting what she wanted.

      When you apply that situation to a member’s relationship to “the church” it gets a little muddy for me — some parts of it fit, others don’t. For those of us raised in the church and subjected to that kind of manipulation, we probably developed a sense of parent-child dependency even well into adulthood. We may feel like we have to do what we are told to do and that we have no alternative ways to do anything else that we actually want to do. Or, we may be conditioned in such a way that the things we want to do (i.e. go on a mission, attend all our meetings, abstain from premarital sex, etc) are actually things that the church made us think that we wanted to do, much like the parents trying to make their daughter want the book they wanted her to want — so I see the parallels there.

      But where the analogy falls apart for me is that the little girl really does not have any power or authority over her own life. Her parents feed her, clothe her, house her, transport her from place to place — she doesn’t have her own money to buy her own book — she is completely dependent on them.

      But members (and we, as former or non-traditional members perfect examples of this) actually DO have power and authority over their own lives. They actually can pick Dr. Seuss and they do (to varying degrees) all the time. They can choose to go to church, or to have a drink, or to play angry birds during sacrament meeting, or to stop attending church all together, etc etc.

      Are their costs for exercising that free will in a defiant way? Yes. Huge ones. Just like if the little girl had snuck the Dr. Seuss book into her mother’s purse and got caught for swiping it once she got home (and sent by her dad to his closet to exercise her “free will” about which belt he would swat her with!). But my point is that the act of defiance is one very clear expression of free will, and these acts of defiance — big and small and minuscule — happen all the time. The institution even created built in ways to redirect these expressions of free will called the “repentance process.” It doesn’t eradicate free fill — it just channels and redirects it.

      Maybe I’m wrong here, or maybe I’m just splitting hairs, but I don’t believe that members ever really give up their free will. I think it is dismissive to suggest that and it ignores the blaring fact that most active members absolutely LOVE being mormon. They love the lifestyle. They love the commitments. They love the sense of spirituality and divine guidance and certainty. I didn’t, so my free will took me elsewhere. But they do, and their free will keeps them there.

  • Over50

    Hey d*kheads, I’m in my 50’s but I’m definitely not in AARP. F*ck you! I can kick all of you asses.

    • Glenn

      I know, right? I’ll give you Tom’s address. You can start with him 🙂

      • Over50

        I really like the blend on this podcast….ever think about cross promoting with mormon expression and/or the expositor? I love the snark you guys put out as you expose the underbelly of the mormon beast…great topics. Thanks for the therapy…..I hope it’s as good for you too.