Ep 291 – Verbal JiuJitsu

Listener Essay

Posted July 17th, 2016

Listener and fan of the show, Jake sits down with Tom and Kim Gustavsson to talk about his listener submitted essay titled, “Verbal JiuJitsu”.

Kim’s company and website: http://accendeo.com/

“We must try to penetrate our most secret self, and examine our being from all sides. . . . And so, for the first time in my life perhaps (although I am supposed to meditate every day!), I took the lamp and, leaving the zone of everyday occupations and relationships where everything seems clear, I went down into my inmost self, to the deep abyss whence I feel dimly that my power of action emanates. But as I moved further and further away from the conventional certainties by which social life is superficially illuminated, I became aware that I was losing contact with myself. At each step of the descent a new person was disclosed within me of whose name I was no longer sure, and who no longer obeyed me. And when I had to stop my exploration because the path faded from beneath my steps, I found a bottomless abyss at my feet, and out of it came—arising I know not from where—the current which I dare to call my life.” – Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre. The Divine Milieu (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, Incorporated, 1960)  p. 42


  • Steph

    WOW WOW WOW! I think this is, hands down, the best IOT episode ever. I’m going to need to listen to this a few times. Thank you so much for putting this one together. A+

  • Matthew A

    It started a little slow but gained momentum as it went on. This from Kim felt really profound. “You have to be willing, and the key word is willing, to be wrong about your view of the world. If you’re not willing to be wrong about it, then you’ve got a position and you actually cannot hear anything from any other position that may illuminate something that could be in your blind spot.”

    I would love to hear more discussions about the challenges of getting there as Mormons and ex-Mormons. I seemed to hear Jake subtly prodding Kim to enlighten us with some way of coaxing our TBM family or friends out onto that ledge of uncertainty with us. I remember from experience as a TBM; “willingness to be wrong” was freaking scary, and almost inconceivable (does that word mean what I think it means?). The dogmatic are proud of their immovable faith and just as scared of letting it go. My last stake president shared one day, “I started down the road that you’re on at one point in my life, the road to questioning. I didn’t like the darkness that I found.” I felt that same thing initially, but for some reason I was more afraid of the darkness behind than the darkness ahead.

    Anyway, I still hit these brick walls with my TBM spouse, parents and siblings. If they talk to me about religion, it’s timid and guarded. I know I could be more conscious of my approach, and this episode gave me some good tips and reminders.

  • Orrin Dayne

    Stephen R. Covey talked about his “Seek first to understand, then to be understood” habit in his 7 Habits book. I think there is a substantial risk that, with when dealing with many TBMs, they may not be willing to understand you or your issues fully. But allowing them to be fully understood by you can only improve your relationship with them. I think the “I’m OK with being wrong” coupled with an invitation for them to explain themselves is going to help. I think the note taking probably helps keep them on point too. I think there are some gems in this episode. In the end, if you really want to be understood by a particular TBM, you may never get that courtesy. But attempting to understand them first is your best shot.

  • Voltaire

    I have a complete understanding of what TBMs believe, why they believe it, and how hard it is to let go of it, because I have been there. I do not need to first seek to understand them. I would have no patience for this JiuJitsu approach. I see no point in discussion with those who only value me if I stay within the Mormon framework. The best I can do is say to them, “I understand how you feel,” and change the subject. For those I love and want to keep close, I say, “I love you; can you still love me? I very much want this to not change things between us.”

  • Zelph

    Wow, I feel so invigorated and motivated! How do I join? How do I cut a check out to Kim and become a disciple like Jake? I want to hire him to be my life coach and apply his singular, proprietary life model! I just finished the fire walk with Tony Robbins and read 7 habits of highly successful people and feel this the next thing I HAVE TO DO #sarcasm #wasthisapaidadvertisingspot?

    • Thomas Moore


      I’m wary of ASMR types. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_sensory_meridian_response These were really big in the 90’s with Wallstreet and corporations.
      I got forced into many of these “Fish” http://www.fishphilosophy.com/ and Tony Robbins type. If it’s so special or worthy, wouldn’t it be a TED talk?

    • SachmoJoe

      Yeah this was a pretty bad episode, even Tom came across as bored. I don’t want to go as far as “worst episode ever”… but it wasn’t far off.

    • Tony Navarro

      Agreed it felt a little bit like an infomercial for Kim’s company.
      That being said, the premise of the podcast (how to have productive, or at least not explosive, dialogue with TBMs) was a good one.

  • Happy Hubby

    Normally IOT is just what the tagline says, “Philosophies of men mingled with humor”. You get a laugh and maybe occasionally a bit more info on the topic.

    But this one was very helpful. There were a few suggestions about writing stuff down and it sounded interesting. What would really be great is to see this modeled and actually even walk through. I will never be in a debate contest. I like to think deep and hard and I am not on my toes when debates or even discussions are underway. It would be great to see a few cases of dialog with a TMB and how they might be brought to a place where they can have at least a bit of empathy for those that don’t believe. I am a missionary to get anybody to leave the church, but it would be great for many people to help move a few TBM’s to have a bit more insight and a bit (OK – a LOT) less judgmental/condemning.

  • larryj

    There is some current work being done on communication strategies to help True Believers understand their beliefs. Here’s Peter Boghossian on Street Epistemology: “When speaking with people who hold beliefs based on faith, don’t get into a debate about facts or evidence or even their specific beliefs. Rather, get them to question the manner in which they’ve reached their beliefs—that is, get them to question the value of faith in appraising the world. Once they question the value of faith, all the unevidenced and unreasoned beliefs will inevitably collapse on their own.”

    • Supposedly, you can apply the same strategy to any true believer. I want to see if it will work on a Trumpette. I’m pretty sure Boghossian is at least right about not quoting facts at them. As he says, they’ve already heard and rejected the facts or they wouldn’t be where they are. You have to take a different approach. I’m looking for somebody to practice on.

  • Darrin

    Quite interesting. Was wondering what you were playing the last 60 seconds. Who was that?

  • Jpayne

    This Podcast is relevant and important. Jake is showing an issue that we all have been apart. How do we deal with TBM’s? This podcast gives great perspective and allows skills to help developed the process. Post Mormons have experienced a hard reality shift. It is not easy, and it has come at sincere study and experience. The result has been suffering and marginalization. However we have also experienced greater peace and freedom of thought and behavior. This Podcast is showing how the post Mormon can be the “bigger” person and make conversations with TBM’s more productive.