Reverend Christopher won’t tell you what to believe


Viewing posts tagged mormon

Tinfoil Hat Tuesday: Moral Dilemmas abound

On today’s show, we discuss the moral dilemma that Jake Garn presented to Paul Duane while at Crown Burger prior to the show. We also spend some time weighing in on John Dehlin’s excommunication.


The Parable of McSashimi

There are some religions that claim to have special power from God that allows people to do really cool things like heal people, tell them what God wants them to do with their lives, endow them with extra power to overcome difficulties, etc. This power and privilege is often called “priesthood”. It’s almost always given to men and denied to women.  In this article, I am going to be discussing the Ordain Women movement that has happened within the context of Mormonism / The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).


While I am, in some sense, very much in support of the Ordain Women movement, I must confess: I can’t get all that excited about it. While the Ordain Women movement has the best of intentions, I think it’s missing the bigger point.  It’s a bit like trying to issue licenses to people – in this case, women – for the “privilege” of breathing.  If a special power to heal, manifest, discern, exists in any human, then ALL humans come with it. It’s like that anti-virus software that every computer comes pre-installed with.  The only question is, are you going to activate it and use it?

pcmprd236800050005_sa (1)


Can we talk about Jesus for a minute? While I do find myself swimming around in a certain kind of mysticism, and while I definitely feel a connection to the Divine (whatever that is), there are certain things that don’t make sense. Let’s start with one of the foundational ideas behind Priesthood: Jesus Christ.  I believe in Jesus Christ as one of the most brilliant teachers of human wisdom, one who mastered the laws of dimensions 1, 2, and 3 and had a solid understanding of our relationship to dimensions 4, 5, 6, and 7.   In his recorded teachings, many brilliant truths hide in plain sight.  His Father, however, did not ask him to suffer infinitely so that you and I can be let off the hook. There IS NO HOOK.  When I take a few cosmic steps back, I see an inherent perfection in all things, even though to our 3 dimensional minds, they can seem like a massive pain in the ass at times. Growth and progress are inevitable. Cosmically speaking, I do not believe in “good” and “evil”.  Certainly we all have our sense of “preferable” and “not preferable”, but to relabel them as “right” and “wrong” is cosmically presumptuous.  If there’s no cosmic construct of “evil”, then there’s no need for a Savior… particularly if you believe in a God that’s not a score keeping passive aggressive jerk like your mother in law.  On the other hand, if you do believe in a mother-in-law God, it’s not a stretch to believe in a God that plays favorites.


Those in the Ordain Women movement are rightly offended by the notion of special privilege and their view that God doesn’t play that game.  I argue that they are merely making an expansion onto special privilege. Instead of demolishing the abominable building, they’ve just remodeled and added a few extra rooms. I’m just asking Ordain Women to take their good idea and run with it all the way into the end zone.

The argument that women should be ordained into the priesthood gives entirely too much credit to the divisive notion that God gives selectively permits some people to have special powers. It CERTAINLY gives entirely too much credit to an organization that claims to have the patent on that power. This is somewhat like picketing McDonald’s to begin serving sushi when there are three excellent sushi restaurants on the same block. They COULD do it, but do you really want a McSashimi?

The question, “Should women be ordained to the Priesthood?” is the wrong question to ask.  It’s like believing that it’s politically significant to vote Democrat. The Democrat / Republican question is the wrong question. They are both “wrong”, in the sense that they both serve the same master and lead to the same place. It’s a false question and a false choice. So it is with the Ordain Women movement.

If you are serious about this business of Women having the Priesthood, take a step back and realize the truth – you already have it. ALL of you. It came pre-installed in your being.  Stop asking an invalid institution – or ANY institution, for that matter, to recognize it.  Go alone to a mountain top, in a cave, under a tree, or in the desert, like so many great gurus who have gone before us and make your own personal connection to The Divine – and then get on with using your power to serve your fellow man. And woman. 😉


Paul Duane falls victim to polarized thinking

LDS Church backtracks on it’s statement of support of equality laws in Utah:

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:

My Husband’s Not Gay!  LDS men in SLC, who are attracted to men, but have married women, make their way onto a TLC reality show:

Utah Highway Patrol Officers go above and beyond to protect and serve:


Tinfoil Hat Tuesday: Jake Garn and Unintended Conspiracies


Reconsideration, by Paul Duane. Click here for fine art print info.


D&C 121: 39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.


Rock Waterman – What to Expect When You’re Excommunicated


Rock Waterman, author of one of my favorite blogs: Pure Mormonism, joined me in the studio today to discuss the progress on his impending Church discipline. He’s written and published a book, “What To Expect When You’re Excommunicated: The Believing Mormon’s Guide To The Coming Purge”.  Rock is a fascinating guy with a unique perspective on what it means to be a Mormon.  He was recently informed by his Bishop that a member of the Quorum of the Seventy (one of the general authorities of the LDS Church) said that Rock has 3 choices:

  1. Stop publishing the blog
  2. voluntarily resign from the church
  3. face excommunication

He’s now officially heard from his Stake President, and it appears that the proceedings will soon be underway.  Listen to the show to hear his reaction to the threat and what he plans to do about it.


Buy it here:

For those of you in the SLC area, you can catch Rock live during the Sunstone Symposium:


On Saturday August 2nd he will participate in the panel discussing “Moderating Mormons in Cyberspace.” That panel will convene at 11:00 am Saturday; he will be present at the symposium for all three days beginning Thursday, July 31st, so please stop by, say HI!  Buy his book before you go. It would be awesome to be able to tell him you’ve supported his effort before you meet him 🙂

One fun tidbit:  I recently learned that Rock is best friends with another one of my friends, Tony Toscano of Talking Pictures! Apparently these guys go back to the days before I was even born. Tony joined us in the studio today as well.





It’s been an interesting year to be a Mormon.  The excommunication of Kate Kelly from and the impending excommunications of other church members who are publicly questioning the status quo (John Dehlin, Alan Rock Waterman, and others) have shaken many people’s faith.  Many have questions about what it means to be a gay Latter-day Saint, with few comforting answers.  The Church’s oblique statements on why Blacks were denied the Priesthood for so long and the recent official confession that Joseph Smith did not literally translate Egyptian papyri leading up to The Pearl Of Great Price are unprecedented statements with serious implications.

And yet…Sunstone cover 162_cover-231x300

….something compels millions to hold to the idea of Mormonism. It means something special to so many people. I grew up LDS. My grandparents are all returned missionaries, as are both of my parents. I served a full time mission in Philadelphia. I was married in the Temple, was active and held priesthood callings through most of my 20’s. When I turned 29, I had experiences that caused me to take a step back and reconsider what faith meant in my life.

…as have millions of other Mormons.

It’s in the spirit of honest seeking, no pre-determined conclusions, of honoring one’s culture while being willing to question, that I have created this piece. A few years ago it was run as the cover of Sunstone Magazine.  I’m now offering it as a fine art print in a few different sizes.  I hope the image resonates with you and helps you on your path.

This unique quadriptych photograph of the Salt Lake LDS Temple is comprised of 4 different exposures produced on a Holga camera using Kodak Tmax 400 black & white film. This piece is offered in the following sizes:

  • 12×12 print only, $24.00
  • 20×20 print only, $59.00
  • 16×16 framed (slim black wood frame) $295
  • 24×24 framed (slim black wood frame) $395

Your photograph will be printed and shipped directly to your home.  Order yours today:


You may also enjoy “The Uttermost Farthing”:


Abi Harrison


I have a lot of great shows. I get to talk to a lot of interesting people with unusual stories…. today’s show went above and beyond my expectations. 

Last week, I was at a comedy showcase; most of the performers are people that I know well. Abi Harrison was on the bill; I had heard of her but never have seen her perform.   Abi proceeded to take the stage and absolutely destroy the crowd. She was hysterical… her quirky observational style hearkened hints of Mitch Hedberg and Maria Bamford.  I immediately approached her and invited her onto the show, not knowing a single thing about who she really is. For the next few days, my girlfriend and I have been talking about how insanely funny Abi was.  Prior to the show today, we didn’t have much time to get aquainted (no thanks to some chump at Wendy’s that came to work entirely too stoned to handle the complex task of putting together my order of a small fry and large Dr. Pepper).   What you hear on the show is me getting to know Abi for the first time. The conversation takes a brilliant turn that I was not anticipating.  I thought we were going to talk comedy…

Looks like I’m going to have to re-think some of my material after today’s interview.

Today’s show is a prime example of what I love most about this work.  Thank you Abi for an incredible, candid interview about some pretty damn personal stuff.

Twitter:  @abigailharriso

Mormons and Modesty

Mormons love them some modesty… but does their stance come from a place of respect or misogyny?  Recently, an Orem woman decided to be offended at a series of t-shirts at a Pac-Sun store. They were screen printed with various black & white photos of women. The women were in bathing suits and other sexy outfits. She protested, asking the store manager to remove them from display so her son and other people wouldn’t be able to enjoy looking at images of healthy, sexually mature women be offended by them.  She spent $600 of her own money to buy out the stock of shirts. Here’s the story:

There is a certain perfection in this.  What you resist, persists.

Those shirts just became hot sellers.

Recently, a leader from the LDS church, Ted R Callister, delivered a speech at BYU Idaho in which he essentially laid the responsibility squarely upon women for men’s tendency to think about sex when they see healthy, beautiful women.  For the uninitiated, Mormons like to use certain euphemisms:

“Morality” this refers to whether or not you are obeying the Church’s rules about sex, the “Law Of Chastity” (which is  that you can only have sex withing marriage. That’s it. No exceptions.)  For example, “John has been having trouble with morality” means “John has been fucking his secretary behind his wife’s back”  and “Bill has been having immoral thoughts.” means “Bill has been thinking about sex.”

Have you ever noticed that the military doesn’t call things what they really are?

  • bombs –> “ordnance”
  • weapons –> “assets”
  • torture –> “Extraordinary rendition”
  • dropping bombs from planes –> “air campaign”
  • people –> “targets”
  • innocent people killed –> “collateral damage”

Euphemisms are used to detach people from the relationship between words and the actions the represent. It is information warfare, it is brainwashing, it is deception. It’s a way to get people to do things they normally wouldn’t agree to do.   I digress.  Let’s keep talking about “morality”.  Listen to the talk yourself, pay attention to these winning phrases:

“Our dress not only affects our thoughts and actions, but the thoughts and actions of others.”

“the dress of women has a powerful impact on the minds and passions of men, if it’s too low,  too high,  too tight it might prompt improper thoughts in the mind of a young man striving to be pure.”

“Women particularly can leave a lot to the imagination and in the process contribute to their own self-respect and to the moral purity of men. In the end, most women get the type of man they dress for.”

You can read / listen to the talk in it’s entirety here:

Mormon-Modesty-MemeKristin B. Hodson, MSW, LCSW, Founder/Executive Director of The Healing Group, called in to comment on the situation. Hodson is an active member of the LDS church. Her status, along with her profession of being a sex & relationship therapist, make for a fascinating perspective.  Check out the podcast to hear what she had to say.  Hodson’s work can be found at:

Today’s Show is sponsored by Poplar Street Pub! GO get a burger there. Seriously.  242 South 200 West SLC, UT.