But I just wanted him to ANSWER THE QUESTION

Ya know, the lovely talk of civility, and the smell of Todd in the air, still doesn’t change the fact that I JUST wanted him to answer the question. And he has NOT answered the question.

Why? Todd, why not? I’m not going to call you names, or insult you. But PLEASE answer the question.

In case you have forgotten, here it is:


With different people. Written differently. Edited, perhaps. WHY? Why, if God came to Joseph Smith when he was 14 did he CHANGE THE STORY so many times?

Answer that.
For the very first time on this blog, ANSWER THE QUESTION. And if you don’t, we all know the fraud you are. And the fraud the Church you support is.

Look, I was involved in the ex-Mormon conference where we tried to open a dialogue with Mormons, and involve the two groups together. It was a complete failure. If we DON’T believe what they believe, they won’t listen. End of story. So it’s okay. You can admonish me, or advise me, and JA and Kent, I get your point. But see, I’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt. If you show weakness, they move in for the kill. I choose to not show that weakness. Civility will not work. Tried it. But, I promise I will be civil for an ENTIRE MONTH if Todd will JUST address my question, quoted above? Fair nuff?


About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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37 Responses to But I just wanted him to ANSWER THE QUESTION

  1. Charlie says:

    a- because Smith was a twenty-something year old recalling what happened one morning when 14.

    b- because smith had only a third grade education and was never taught to write essays nor was he preped by a lawyer to give testimony

    Once he did seriously reconsidered the need to be accurate, he gave a detailed account in PoGP

    Also one needs to keep in mind the ‘Hoffman’ factor when looking at historical documents.We cant be 100% sure always that are legit.


  2. Kent Winward says:

    You are asking the wrong questions and attempting the wrong dialogue — that was my point. Any Mormon that has sincerely attempted to live their religion has addressed the question you are asking about the three versions of the vision and for them (and me) it is an easy answer, having told stories about myself all my life, one in particular about a barricade, police officer and arrest. Every telling varies, the core event remains the same, but every telling varies. I had the BYU Studies volume with the first vision versions in the early 80s at BYU. Not that big of a deal in the much larger picture of things.

    Opening a dialogue with Mormons is difficult, I know. Many won’t listen. My experience on lack of dialogue goes back to when I was 14 or 15 and I tried to point out inconsistencies in policy and doctrine. It didn’t go well. The culmination came about 15 years after that when a group of Mormons I admired and read were all excommunicated for attempting to point out ecclesiastical abuse in the lay ministry (something that I think is a given, as much as multiple versions of the first vision). Later, I’d count 2 of the September 6 as friends, but I didn’t know them when it happened. Needless to say, I’m skeptical of dialogue as well. (Oh, and in case you are wondering, my dialogue spelling quirk is a leftover of the countless hours spent in the BYU Honors library reading Dialogue.)

    If you note, Todd often doesn’t address my questions, i.e. Why don’t you bring the fact that women have the priesthood out into the open? Dispensation of the Fullness of times and all. Does it bother me? No. Teach Todd correct principles and let him govern himself. My problem is that I’m Mormon. Through whatever quirk of fate, I’ve dined on the Chuck O’Rama of Mormonism and I keep going back for the stuff I liked and avoiding the moldy, looking items under the heat lamp.

    One of my favorite Mormon quips comes from old Joseph Smith himself and made its way on to the title page of aforementioned (what a legal word) Dialogue: “By proving contraries, truth is made manifest.” I love the fact that this line comes from a formerly, living, breathing, walking contradiction of a human being. I relate to that.


  3. Donna says:

    Todd is a weasle. He can dish it out, until he is asked to put reason behind it. Loser. I hate mormons like that.


  4. Birdman says:

    All good points and well taken, it is a waste of time to try and explain something outside of an individual’s paradigm. I am sure that our friend Todd feels that he has addressed the question to his satisfaction; so it should be answered to our satisfaction.
    Taking a cue from JA, I have taken time to breath and realize the futility of pursuing this line with Todd, his rose colored glasses will not allow him to see the truth expressed by Carl.
    I am all for the Todds of this world right to believe and worship as they wish, all I request is that they allow those of us with a different perspective and truth to go through life without having their belief shoved down our throats or set down as law for the benefit of “the chosen”


  5. Todd says:


    As you well know, temple rituals are considered sacred and I won’t discuss outside the temple. So, with all due respect to you and your question, I will not be addressing it here; although I’m sure you make Natalie and her minions squirm by your assertion.

    Furthermore, I don’t feel inclined nor in any way obligated to formally address every question posed to me; especially the rhetorical ones, but also those that detract from the topic.

    Natalie’s (and, by association, Birdman’s) assertion that the first vision accounts are “completely different” is hollow and baseless. Her repeated attempts to make it look like I’m not answering the question has become comical. You’ve tried to gently persuade her to drop it. Even Birdman’s last comment signaled that he’s ready to drop it.

    Natalie and Birdman aren’t about truth, they’re about smear.

    Kindest Regards,


  6. Todd says:


    I see that you’re caught in the same paradigm as Natalie and Birdman. Name calling and expressions of hatred don’t conceal your obvious bigotry.

    Wake up from your crazy daze and nite dreams.



  7. Cara says:

    Todd, this is one of my big problems with the history of the church. Taught the “official” shit, all the problems left out. How clever.

    Here’s my quick understanding of the 3 versions of the first vision. I think there are some quotes from BY and others talking about the “angel” that visited JS, but no where in history does it show that JS actually shared the “official” version with people till WAY later on. It wasn’t even a selling point of the church for decades. Strange?

    So without looking it all up again, I remember something about an angel coming to JS in his room? Maybe the “Lord” came somewhere and told him his sins were forgiven. I can’t remember the other version, or what the difference was. As I told this problem to my TBM sister when I found out, she said, “Cara, my wedding day was the most important day of my life. I can’t remember exactly what happened or who was there or what the tablecloths looked like!” I responded, “But I’m sure you would never forget WHO you married and WHERE. ”

    Does that make sense? Who cares about the “all your sins forgiven” part. Maybe he did remember it later. It’s not even mentioned in the “official” version. Anyway, the big problem is that over time, you wouldn’t remember greater detail, but less. So if your main 3 versions don’t even have the one fucking unifying theme of the FATHER AND THE SON, then WTF? That is the most important part! I’m sorry that you can’t see that. I totally understand why you can’t. GBH said that it all hinges on that vision. If it happened, then it’s all true, if it didn’t….well…..

    Okay, I’m ready for you to call me a minion and other shit. Have fun being predictable.



  8. Todd says:


    It’s a huge sign of weakness to cling to a position that is so obviously wrong.

    Starting another new post to re-ask the same question further demonstrates the corner into which you’ve painted yourself.

    Your question has been addressed here, here, here, here, here, here, here & here.

    It’s trivial to refute your false assertion that the different tellings of the first vision are “completely different.” Birdman’s attempt to strengthen your position fell miserably flat.

    Just admit that your position is wrong and move on.

    Most respectfully,


  9. JulieAnn says:


    Confucious say: “If one has belief shoved down throat, one must have open mouth.”

    Okay, okay, you got me. Confucious REALLY didn’t say that. I did.

    Birdman, it’s called confirmation bias. A person may believe that things are being shoved down their throat. They may feel stalked and harassed. But the bottom line is that your opinions are the result of years of paying attention to information which confirmed what you believed while ignoring information which challenged your preconceived notions. This isn’t just you, it’s everyone. It’s human nature. It’s religious and non-religious alike.

    An example of this? I never, ever get beliefs shoved down my throat. I am never tailed or stalked by Mormons. I don’t ever feel like I’m being forced into seeing Todd’s way of thinking. And I live a few minutes NORTH of you. I have a feeling that if you moved here, the “shoving” would continue. I have a feeling if we moved there, I would have no shoving. I’ve had missionaries come to my door. They were polite and earnest young men that I enjoyed having as visitors. I kindly told them I was a former Mormon and wasn’t a good match for them. They were gracious and retreated. Why? They didn’t see any chinks in my armor.

    If you did a logical analysis of exactly how much you perceive Mormons shove their beliefs down your throat on a daily basis and compared it to the moments when they aren’t, I think you’d find that the percentage is pretty darn low.

    We both have uber-Mormon families. We live in the same state. Hell, we both know Todd. But my belief is that when you expect something to happen it does– because of confirmation bias.

    Carl didn’t express “truth” with a capital “T”, he expressed an opinion. If we choose to see all religion as ALL evil, we toss out the good it has done for individuals in this world. If you believe religion is responsible for wars, then what you’re saying is that human beings, if we were all atheists, would never war. Do you honestly believe that to be true?

    Religion may be an excuse, but it isn’t a reason. War-mongers may blame God, but it’s really about human nature, greed and intolerance of others. If we were all tolerant of one another AND we were all religious, what would the history of war “look like”? Human beings are terrified of anything different than themselves. Religion didn’t start wars. Intolerance did. Human Nature did.

    What Donna and others don’t GET is that Kent, Todd and I have ALL answered the QUESTION! Charlie states it perfectly.

    I think what everyone wants from Todd is this: they want him to admit that IF in fact there are three different versions of the First Vision, that means it didn’t happen, Joseph was a liar and the LDS Church is a lie. Now. From that perspective do you see Todd’s resistance? Todd seems to think that if he tells you it happened, you should all get a burning in your bosom (and not from last night’s chili). Is HE right?


    So we are at an impasse. The circular arguments aren’t just from Todd, folks, sorry. They are from all sides. So let’s start asking Todd some different questions, shall we? Not the rhetorical one’s that we think we already know the answers to, but real, earnest questions. When we seek to understand what’s different than us, we gain some modicum of understanding into ourselves.



  10. Todd says:


    Your post actually makes sense and reflects an understandable position. And, to be clear, I’m perfectly okay with anyone’s refusal to accept the first vision experience as fact. You can believe what you want, for sure.

    To your specific point, I would simply suggest that not including every minute detail in the early written versions doesn’t automatically infer that Joseph forgot them. The historical record is clear that his story was certainly out there in the public domain before the first attempts to put it in writing were made. It’s at least plausible (and understandable) that hostility might have played a role in a lack of broad dissemination prior to 1832. One should also take into consideration that Joseph was still an uneducated and unexperienced kid in the 1820’s.

    Kindest Regards,


  11. Birdman says:

    JA I agree with you, only by stating a position is it ever challenged. Maybe it is my overly aggresive military upbringing during my formative years lol.
    You and K keep me grounded and Natalie wants to reform my killer instinct.
    You will get no arguement from me about religion being used as a platform for war when in truth it us the nature if man…but then my way of thinking religion is the nature of man too…of course just because I don’t speak fluent cat or dog doesn’t mean the aren’t praying to their own deity.

    Todd, with the help of many on this blog, I understand your position of feeling that your answer is sufficient in your mind and to your way of thinking. You don’t see things for my perspective, and I have been pompus enough to think that you could be shown the view from my perspective. You are what you are, and you believe what you must…I can accept that, but from my perspective, I will never see you view again…been there, done that and thankfully never got the undershirt…


  12. JulieAnn says:

    Birdman, you da bomb 🙂 Mead soon, my friend? Even without the mead, when Nat gets feeling better, let’s hang. We have much to discuss….



  13. Good GOD, Minions, Todd? LOLOL. You know what I think? I think we will NEVER see this the same way. I see black and white, and you see shades of gray. And it is what it is.

    I’m not smearing anyone, nor do I desire to do so. I just don’t play the party line, that’s all. And you gotta admit, it’s made for some interesting conversations.

    I should let you know, Todd, that you have made a mistake about me. You think I am looking for validation. I am not. I don’t need JA or Kent or Birdman to back me up, because it’s really not all that important to me that ANYONE agree with me. Making people think, and talk, and open up…. Now that’s priceless.


  14. Todd says:

    Yep… Priceless… 🙂

    Hope you had a nice honeymoon and enjoy your pizza tonight.



  15. Kent says:

    Yes, I can’t let it go, mostly because playing the sacred card doesn’t wash Todd. I’m not buying it. Two minutes on LDS.org got me a nice quote from none other than Boyd K. Packer that is almost identical to the extent of the information I disclosed on the temple, actually more:

    The ordinances of washing and anointing are referred to often in the temple as initiatory ordinances. It will be sufficient for our purposes to say only the following: Associated with the endowment are washings and anointings—mostly symbolic in nature, but promising definite, immediate blessings as well as future blessings. Concerning these ordinances the Lord has said, “I say unto you, how shall your washings be acceptable unto me, except ye perform them in a house which you have built to my name?” (D&C 124:37).

    Add to that this statement from Wilford Woodruff from the History of the Church:

    Wilford Woodruff recorded a letter from Brigham Young that was included in the History of the Church (vol. 5 pg. 527) that states that “[f]or any person to have the fullness of that priesthood, he must be a king and priest.” Indeed, the fullness was extended to both men and women, making them Kings and Queens, Priests and Priestesses. Joseph taught that the Fullness of the Priesthood was issued by the Spirit and Power of Elijah (3).

    The fullness of Mormon Doctrine requires women to be priestesses. Yet, the current state of affairs has women as non-priesthood holders. Wouldn’t the Truth demand that you stand up for the rights of women to hold the priesthood? I know that was a bit of a thread highjack, but it does date back to my original point that attacking multiple versions of the first vision pales in comparison to other more pressing questions that impact the lives of people living with the religion today.


  16. birdman says:

    Careful Kent he will call you names and say you aren’t playing fair…lol

    Pizza was great, just me and Dancing step-Daughter…poor gluten free Natalie…

    Since I never wanted to and never wore sacred holey underwear, I will let you carry this topic of which I have no first hand knowledge…in fact, the whole temple thing makes me a little nauseous…the closest I got was being dunked for the dead when I was 12…and waiting in the parking lot for my son to come out after his endowments before he went on his mission…makes me shudder…ugh


  17. Tracy says:

    If we are asking other questions now, I wouldn’t mind knowing why Joseph Smith translated the plates with his face stuck in a top hat….anyone?


  18. Todd says:


    Not quite sure what point you’re trying to make.

    Your initial comment on this topic was that Mormon women were already ordained to the priesthood in the temple, and that Mormons are way ahead of the curve in that regard.

    Now you seem to be arguing that the demands of Mormon doctrine and Truth require that women be ordained to the priesthood, which they currently aren’t.

    Which is it?

    Additionally, your first quote has nothing to do with priesthood ordinations, rather washings and annointings and the need for a holy place to do them. I’m not making a clear connection to the argument I think you’re trying to make.

    Your second quote seems to make it quite clear that both men and women receive a fullness of the priesthood together, which seems to tie pretty directly back to what I thought was your initial argument. I personally relate to this togetherness line of reasoning very well.

    Lastly, I wish women did hold the priesthood. Many women I know would do a much better job of running things, compared to the men. That said, I doubt that either of us will see women formally ordained to the priesthood in our lifetimes.



  19. Elaine says:

    I hear you on the dunking for the dead thing, Birdman. That’s all I ever did in the temple, too, and it creeped me out enough that I never had any desire to go there again. And that was when I was when I was as close to a nice little Mormon girl as I ever was.



  20. Kent says:

    My argument can be clarified by looking back on my response (very late in the game) on Natalie’s July 4th post. I look for contraries, compare them and in analyzing the conflict look for a philosophy that resolves the conflict.

    Your confusion over my argument was caused by the fact that I was stating the current state of affairs in the religion and then making my argument (interestingly an argument very similar to that applied to blacks and the priesthood thirty years ago). Let me re-state:

    Fact 1: Mormon women are not ordained to the priesthood. See one example of the tap dancing here.

    Fact 2: Mormon women have always been ordained as priestesses, since the inception of the church and will be priestesses in the hereafter according to Mormon Doctrine. Linda K Newell wrote an excellent article on this topic in that stepping stone to apostasy, Sunstone.

    The connection with the washing and anointing ordinance is that women perform that ordinance currently every day in the temple, I am assuming with priesthood authority, since that is God’s power on earth in the ordinances is practiced through priesthood power. The Newell article has the whole historical perspective, which was much more favorable to women in the earlier church, just as blacks were ordained in the early church.

    I’m glad you agree with me that the women should hold the priesthood, although I take a small exception to the backhanded patriarchy of “I know women who could do it better than some of the men.” I understand why you relate to the reasoning of both men and women being fully equal and fully vested in priesthood authority. You’ve sung it all your life: “No, the thought makes reason stare!
    Truth is reason; truth eternal.”

    So reason tells me it is so, too. Add to that four daughters and a lovely wife and I watch the discrimination and the second class status attitudes thrust at them by the religion and the answer came to me. It wasn’t in a still, small voice, but a burning conviction, followed by a peaceful confirmation that none of the Churches were true.


  21. Kent says:

    Sorry, my html skills are a little rusty


  22. birdman says:

    Always nice to wake up and get food for thought from you.

    Elaine, welcome to the discussion…yeah creeped me out is a great definition of the feeling.

    Will be watching for developments from Todd…This arguement appears to be headed in a similar direction, with much more defined debate framework.


  23. Todd says:


    The Sunstone article was an interesting read, although I admit that I read it rather quickly and didn’t read any of the footnotes. Maybe when I have a little more interest and a little more time…

    I didn’t come away thinking that the article was about “Mormon women having always been ordained as priestesses, since the inception of the church and will be priestesses in the hereafter according to Mormon Doctrine” as you infer. Rather, the article was about the progression (or regression) of Mormon women washing, annointing, and blessing the sick. However, I think I understand the connection you’re trying to make.

    The article made it pretty clear, even in the early days, that the acts that were performed by non-priesthood-holders (e.g. females, but could include non-ordained males) were through the principle of faith; and to paraphrase Joseph Smith, it’s correctness was manifest by God granting the desired blessing. I am persuaded that the modern priesthood-holding-males-only policy for giving blessings is just that: policy, and not doctrine.

    I think it’s entirely human to want to draw boundaries for acceptable behavior to avoid conflict and confusion. If I draw the line a safe distance from uncertainty, I’m more able to operate confidently and concern-free near the line. If I draw the line at the sometimes murky and not-clearly-defined edge of uncertainty, I’m less confident and have more concerns operating near the line. Large organizations always grapple with where to draw the lines.

    You might say that the location of the current line is overly restrictive (i.e. too far from uncertainty). I might say, yeah, but it’s safe. Time and space are notorious for turning guidelines into rules into doctrine.

    I’m not sure I understand your “backhanded patriarchy” reference.

    I have daughters and a lovely wife, too; and know, in a small way as a male, the discrimination and second-class status to which you refer. I also see genuine efforts by the church and by many individuals within the church to eliminate those negatives. If you’re looking for either situation, you’ll most certainly find it. JulieAnn calls it “confirmation bias.”

    Best Regards,


  24. Carl says:

    I’ll elaborate further on this concept in a day or so, but I wanted to get this out there. With all the civil talk, and open conversation between self-absorbed mother of all – Julie Ann, and the ultimate authority of conversation skills – her husband Kent, important points get entirely lost.

    Why does Todd, or anyone else for that matter keep referring back to what Joseph Smith did or said?? After all, Mormons consider subsequent prophets to me more of an authority on doctrine issues than dead ones. Thus, Brigham Young was in better, direct contact with God than Joseph on every LDS subject. In general, his word was considered God’s law. In specific, when he said it was God’s law, it was considered God’s law. And, if there have been no prophets since then, come right out and say that he was wrong, then it must be assumed that he was right.

    Even if practices change – such as marrying and screwing more than one woman, or considering blacks as direct descendants of Cane, this only changes the practice. It doesn’t change the core belief.

    So, Mormons either believe that Negroes are direct descendants of Cane, or they choose not to believe what their direct prophet of God said.

    Can’t have it both ways


  25. JulieAnn says:

    Well I’m glad Carl was bright enough to peg us, honey. aren’t you? Thank you Carl.

    We aren’t missing the point, you are.

    Let me see if I can dumb it down for you a tad.

    If you walk into a French cafe and start yelling at them in English to bathe more than twice a week (I’m using a general stereotype of French people and don’t necessarily buy that they smell) they will stare at you in confusion because you’re yelling nonsense to them. They will tell you to ferme ta putain de bouche and go back to their cafe au laits.

    But if you walk in and are able to speak their language, they will actually hear and understand what you say. Many may still tell you to shut it, but some might hear you. Some might take it to heart and some might say “Gee I always wondered if I smell, and now I know; I’d better bathe more than twice a week.”

    As for the confusing mess you wrote, (civil enough for you?) even I know Mormon doctrine better than that. You make a weak point. In the Mormon mind, the prophets speak only for God if it’s clearly stated that it’s directly from God.

    If you want to be uncivil and a behemoth, go right ahead. Sounds to me like you like hearing the sound of your own words more than making an impact on Todd. So shoot your mouth off if you like; just watch it–you’re most likely to end up shooting yourself in the foot as well.


    JulieAnn (the Mother of All)


  26. Carl says:

    Geeeeze, Mom.

    Please go back and read my brief paragraph. It specifically said that when Prophets refer to something as the will of God, it is assumed to be the will of God. Brigham not only quoted that this message was directly from God on many, many occasions that I will print later, he also said that his words were spoken directly in the name of Christ himself. Every prophet of the church echoed his message in practice until 1978. And even then the belief wasn’t repudiated; the practice was just changed. Go back and read the words if you must.

    You didn’t answer anything Mom; all you did is piss off the French.



  27. JulieAnn says:

    I AM French! Zut alors! (Uh oh, Carl, your tone was sort of civil….slipping are we?)


  28. Carl says:

    Also, to clarify a point: I don’t give a rats ass if Todd listens to me or not. My goal is to expose the truth and not allow double-talk and civility to further enable lies and fabricated emotional houses of cards that ignorant, arrogant people seem to build their lives around.

    Once again, expose the lies – let the cards fall.

    I’m less interested in having a civil discussion than I am in exposing religious lies and bigotry. You don’t realize it because you seem to be more interested in harmony and understanding. I’m in Nat’s camp on this issue; I believe that you are enabling stupid people like Todd to actually believe that he has a clever point now and then. He squirms and lies. He twists and covers up truth with more apologetics than even he can understand. I won’t enable this by telling him he is smart – or has answered a question the very best that he can. He is an idiot and the sooner others realize it, the better off the world will be. He is past the point where I give a damn about him. Even his own LDS people write here and are sadened by his responses.



  29. JulieAnn says:

    I wish I had a “Drama” button–I’d push it and let the music play!

    You’re right Carl! Let’s expose the liars! And everyone who agrees with you will pat you on the back and say “Yeah Carl!” People who believe in Mormonism will stop, take stock and say, “Wow, maybe I should listen to this angry, bitter obviously unhappy man–maybe he HAS something!”

    And, like the wielders of picket signs at General Conference reading “God Hates Mormons”, you can yell, scream, call them names, tell them they are intellectually challenged (“stupid” is SUCH an ugly word), and they will start DROPPING like flies.

    Great strategy.

    Glad someone here knows the Truth with a capital “T”. Whew. I feel better.

    Now, Carl, let me ask you: to WHOM are you exposing the stupid religious people? To themselves? We’ve established that they can’t hear you, and you admittedly revealed that you don’t care if they do.

    To Natalie? Birdman? Me, my husband? *Some other* people on here who do nothing more than mouth-breath on their mother boards and say “I’m-a hatin’ me some Marmons today.” Gee, methinks you’re preaching to the choir. So who exactly do you plan to enlighten?

    The Mormons can’t hear you and we the former Mormons don’t NEED to hear you. We left already. I was exed.

    Your use of the word “enabling” is incorrect. You are not enabling when you allow others to enjoy the freedom to practice a religion as they see fit. You are not enabling when you treat people with common courtesy. Enabling a person is availing them of the responsibility they would normally shoulder for harmful conduct or actions, and taking the responsibility on yourself. Therefore the person doesn’t need to change the behavior. I am not taking on the responsibility for Todd’s attitude, nor am I invested in changing him. I’m trying to dialog with him. That’s what this blog is about (correct me if I’m wrong Nat).

    I can only assume that you need to spout off bitterness, hatred and anger because you’re, quite frankly, full of it.

    Mama JulieAnn


  30. birdman says:

    I learned a long time ago, don’t piss off a mama Griz with cubs unless you are atleast faster than one other person in the group!


  31. Kent says:

    My conversational skills are not on display, Carl. I haven’t spoken a word here, typed a few, but mostly to try and focus the argument so it doesn’t meander into meaninglessness. Although as you can see from my lovely wife’s posts, I need to be in full capacity of said conversational skills to simply keep up with her. The problem I perceive with your technique is that is just as easily skewered as the fundamentalist religious ideas. Doesn’t exactly help your cause. At least Todd puts up a valiant fight.

    Todd, sure, I have confirmation bias, everyone does, but being aware of the bias lets me analyze whether I am committing logical fallacies by succumbing to the bias. Let’s take women in the church and analyze whether I have confirmation bias:

    My Premise: Women are treated as second class citizens in Mormon Culture and Doctrine.
    Todd’s Premise: Women have a separate, but equal treatment in Mormon Culture and Doctrine.

    My Observation: Women are treated like second class citizens in Mormon Culture.
    Todd’s Observation: Women are treated differently, but equally in Mormon Culture.

    1. Women aren’t allowed in the current religion to hold the priesthood and give priesthood blessings.
    2. Per Todd: This is a policy decision, not a doctrinal decision.
    3. Women do not have any authority to create change within the organization in a leadership position.
    4. Religious doctrine requires (or at the very least, strongly suggests) that women should hold priesthood (or priestesshood, if you must).

    I think the boundary line drawing in human nature is more about the retention of power than it is about certainty in large organizations. We draw lines to retain power and box in those that challenge our power.

    Once upon a time, there was another “separate, but equal” line drawing done. It was done in the late 1800s in Plessey v. Ferguson, a US Supreme Court case that held that laws (society’s line drawing) allowing separate, but equal treatment for blacks was constitutional. It came thirty years after the Civil War, when the freed slaves were starting to gain political and societal power. It effectively caused the Civil War to be fought again over school segregation in the 1950s. From that, I learned that separate can never be equal.

    Your comment about women being just as capable as “some men” shows the insidiousness of this flawed thought process, because the unspoken phrase, is even though some women could do better than some men, they can’t do as well as those currently in charge, so nothing is going to change, as you so eloquently said Todd, “in our lifetime.”

    Well, guess what — in my lifetime, I’ve accepted a philosophy and belief structure where women are actually equal. It happened in my lifetime Todd. Will it happen in yours?

    Who has confirmation bias, when he is looking for an organization for his wife and daughter’s to belong to? I haven’t recounted the countless experiences I’ve had. I’ve stated four facts, that I don’t think you disagree with.

    Now admittedly, I used the term separate, but equal, which comes from my legal background.
    I also have logic and reason, which apparently is in short supply.


  32. Todd says:


    I wouldn’t state my premise as “separate, but equal.” Rather, it would be more along the lines of “together and equal,” but with different primary roles. I also wouldn’t closely link culture and doctrine. You can teach correct principles (doctrine), but the masses don’t always govern themselves in harmony with the principles (culture).

    My observations aren’t so different from yours, in that women are sometimes treated like second class citizens; but also included in my data set are many observations where women are sometimes treated better than royalty. I also observe socio-economic class distinctions, racial distinctions, age distinctions, new convert vs. born-in-the-covenant distinctions, etc. It’s a complicated world we live in.

    I would agree that retention of power probably plays a role in boundary line drawing in large organizations, with the church as no exception. Power is widely distributed in the church, and without clear lines of authority things can get very chaotic, very quickly. I believe the early church grappled with this issue. I didn’t get the sense from Newell’s Sunstone article that power was the primary motivating factor behind the policy decisions regarding women performing blessings.

    You misquote me. I never said, nor inferred, that some women are just as capable as “some men” nor that “they” (some women) couldn’t do as well as those currently in charge. My original unedited statement was:

    Many women I know would do a much better job of running things, compared to the men.

    I stand by that statement. I know some very capable women, and I know some very capable men. In terms of capability, I see no distinction between genders.

    My acceptance of “a philosophy and belief structure where women are actually equal” is total and complete, and it happened in my lifetime. I also accept the premise that “gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

    Logically and Reasonably,


  33. Kent says:


    A couple of things — the last two paragraphs of my last comment were editorial errors. I’d deleted them, I thought, when I hit submit. That said, your response was ostensibly logical and reasonable (and I wasn’t inferring that you can’t be that way). Yes, everyone, string me up — I’m being nice to Todd.

    Three valid points you made: 1) I was a bit too harsh with the “backhanded patriarchy analysis” and slightly misquoted you. Although in my defense, the Church’s pedestal defense of women does ring hollow and was the target of my “backhanded patriarchy” quip. Yet, you make that argument again in your latest comment, and I’ll quote you this time:included in my data set are many observations where women are sometimes treated better than royalty. Except that royalty had leadership and authority over the peasant classes, and women don’t so that isn’t close to accurate.

    2) Line drawing is about power retention.

    3) You agreed with me that women are actually equal.

    And then you have to go and equivocate on Gender. Gender scientifically is much more amorphous in this mortal realm than you elude. Gender is not clear cut. Societal roles assigned by gender have changed repeatedly throughout human history, let alone across infinite boundaries. Did boys have pre-mortal genitalia dangling in the pre-existence? (And we know what happens to the male member of the Church in the Celestial Kingdom.) I can see why you would hang on to that idea. The promise of heavenly rewards of women, have long been used to entice men into religious enclaves. Many a suicide bomber has gone to his death reciting the Koran:

    “Verily, for the Muttaqun [righteous], there will be a success (paradise); gardens and grapeyards; and young full-breasted (mature) maidens of equal age; and a full cup (of wine)”.

    Ah, kind of makes you want to go strap on some dynamite.

    Remind you of this Canon, Todd?

    [I]f a man amarry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it iscsealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths— . . .
    20 Then shall they be gods, . . .

    And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified;

    These the eternal gender roles you believe in? If so, at least I understand why. Eternity with virgins has been a compelling argument for maintaining the suppression and subjugation of women.

    I easily see the differentiation between culture and doctrine. Yet, my philosophy integrates the two, rather than parses, because all of the parsing creates contradiction and illogic and men seeking eternity with virgins at the expense of the flesh and blood women in their lives.

    The doctrine is True (women are equal, should have the priesthood, have leadership) which you profess to believe in and I don’t doubt that you think you do. The problem is not just the unruly masses who have acculturated error into the system and can’t quite get their act together to behave according to the Truth, but the equivocators and parsers like yourself. Stand up for the Truth you’ve admitted Todd. Don’t hide behind a religion. Don’t draw your lines so far away from the gray, just so you can feel safe.


  34. Birdman says:

    real men don’t want virgins, sex should be a pleasure for all parties involved, not just the “man” and most men want someone with enough knowledge to bring new passion and excitement during each sexual encounter…cause real men try and bring equal pleasure and passion in the intimate moments…of course, now and then we all need good old fashioned monkey sex that leaves us totally exhausted!


  35. Todd says:


    Your “slight” misquote did completely change the meaning of my statement (which is why I pointed it out), but I think we’re on the same page now. Although the connection you make between my statement (which speaks to equality of capability) and the Church’s “pedestal” defense doesn’t seem justified. I am intentionally not using the “pedestal” defense; because, as you point out, it rings hollow.

    You’re also arguing semantics over what it means to be treated like “royalty.” My point was, and is, that you can find different levels of treatment (both good and bad) of individuals along many different distinctions (gender, age, race, income level, education, etc.).

    Line drawing can be about much more than power retention. Clearly defining boundaries can provide confidence and security, and help avoid confusion and conflict (Parenting 101). We don’t give our kids boundaries because we want to retain power over them. But I readily concede that power retention can play a role.

    You can try to inject a semantical argument over the word “gender,” and ramble on about the Koran and virgins, but that isn’t going to fly. I use the word generically to mean sex, male/female, boy/girl, men/women. And, yes, I agree with you that men and women are actually equal. But, there’s a caveat. Men and women will NEVER actually be equal. The sexes are just too different. Pissing contests will just never be equal. Childbirth will just never be equal. Men are from Mars, women from Venus. I’m sure with a little thought, you could come up with a few more examples.

    I simply disagree with the fundamental premise that power and authority and position define equality. That, and I love the idea of the interdependance between men and women.

    Who is hiding? I’m not afraid of the gray.


  36. I think that it’s a waste of time to actually try to have Todd put up with your questions. Let him just squirm out of it. 🙂


  37. Donna says:

    I appreciate Todd calling out my Blog. I did seem to have an increase of followers after that.

    And if the word weasel got him all hot and bothered, it’s a good thing I didn’t put what I was thinking.

    Todd, just so you know. I was born and raised LDS, and unlike you, I can think for myself, and not feel like I have to listen to people like you who think they are all sorts of holier than thou. I don’t need a bishop jacking off behind his desk when hearing all the confessions of girls, boys, men and women that have “sinned”. When I have sinned I go to God himself, and the person I have sinned against. Bishops are just human beings, not the almighty.

    And if the church is so true, why do they excommunicate people for things that are trivial. You aren’t good enough for our church. But please, come back when WE DEEM you to be good enough again. I don’t need to go to some church to be treated like scum from the other members or the leaders.

    Sorry for going off on a RANT Natalie. Self Righteous people like Todd are the reason a lot of non members can’t stand members of the church. Hell, Self Righteous people like Todd, are the reason I can’t stand “members” of the church.


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