Brigham Young University faculty member Stuart Parker helps us discern Mormon doctrine from folklore as we discuss Joseph Smith’s assassination, the Mountain Meadows massacre, retroactive baptism, polygamy and racism in both the mainstream and splinter Mormon groups. Plus suggestions from the Quorum of Twelve on how to break your masturbation habit, and the Church of Latter Day Saints in film and TV.

Music: “Tarred & Feathered” by The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets




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Showing 33 comments
  • Emily

    Thanks for bringing back the muppety-sounding song! I’d missed that. 🙂

  • Keeffer

    A) I laughed my ass off when i opened up the play book for Book of Mormon and saw 3 pages of ads for the Mormon Church. My favorite was “The Book is Better.” I thought it showed that the church had a pretty good sense of humor about things. But in no way did it inspire me to look in to Mormonism. I’ve read enough to know it isn’t my bag. The musical is fantastic.

    B) There’s a Mormon on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list right now. Jason Derek Brown- Robbing an armored car and killing one of the guards. There’s a pretty crappy amazon e-reader book about it.

    • Charles

      Trust me, I’ve read the book several times. It’s not better. Think really bad Elizabethan English recitations of 19th century frontier religious ideas and myths about Indians.

      Mark Twain called it “chloroform in print.”

  • John Peacock

    Warren Ellis on a Caustic Podcast!! Make it happen, Soda Jerks.

    • Charles Mair

      what he said.

  • John Peacock

    PS Wonderful show. I’ve met a number of LDS and this was some great info.
    Thank you

  • fruchtblase

    Just watched a documentary called “Drug Cartels vs. Mormons” about mormons living in northern Mexico, Mitt Romneys family and the killing sprees of Ervil LeBaron and his deciples.

    So long and thanks for all the episodes

    • Keeffer

      Evirl’s family is featured in this book:

      Favorite Wife: Escape from Polygomy

      So many wives and kids. The clans’ flights to Mexico to escape “persecution” we’re interesting but I can’t imagine signing on to live in such poverty.

      Not too well written, but its really about her story and the life she fled from.

  • Jon Paynter

    Great show guys. Stuart was great. You should manufacture a reason to have him on the show again. I’d be curious to find out how you get such great guests – friends, acquaintances or do you harass them til they come on the show?

    • Toren

      Stuart was in my gaming group when we played Champions back in the late 90s. My first character was Rhinosferatu and his was Brown Bear. My second character was The Beekeeper, and his was Mormodillo.

  • Rui

    Great podcast as usual. Love your cast. I have a question, though. In the discussion Stuart Parker describes how the 5000 year leap is about isrealites and the US constitution in biblical times, but, in looking up this book, I haven’t seen any references that mention this. Can we back this up? Or is he (or I) confusing it with a differenn book that Clausen wrote?

    • Stuart

      The historical narrative in the 5000 Year Leap is located in its first chapter and appendices. In the Glenn Beck edition of the book, the stuff about Moses receiving the Constitution is on pages 15-17. The stuff about the English being the true white Israelites and splitting off from the bad ones appears on pages 13-14 and 226-228.

      A more detailed version of the story, the one that includes Odin, appears in the Majesty of God’s Law (1996).

  • Burrito español

    Ey boys,

    love your thing, first things first. That´s why I kind of felt curious and later obliged to read Chilhood´s End by Arthur C. Clarke since your resident doctor said during the Podcast dedicated to music -if I recall it well- that the reading of this piece led him to enroll the armies of the born again christians. I have finished the book and I´m still an eventual atheist waiting to reagain in any appaeling religion, god, multigod or mistical device that will encourage my spiritual life. Could he provide with a little account of when that happened?

    thanks in advance

    Keep the good work!

    And, plesae, next week will you do a podcast in the republic of ireland and it´s bloody myths: Dún an Óir, Skellig Michael, Leap Castle…


  • Dan

    This is far and away the best show I’ve heard from you guys… the guest was absolutely fascinating and you guys were typically funny and interesting. Hope to see more shows that cover stuff like this in the future. I love the regular podcast but approaching an ostensibly benign topic and really talking about how “caustic” it is is a really great twist on the norm. Well done!

  • Claire

    This episode was awesome. I’ve always been fascinated by Mormonism, and I felt like I learned a lot about it. I think it’d be great if you guys did an episode on Scientology, too. There’s a lot of Caustic Soda-esque stuff going down there, for sure…

  • Marlo

    I think this might be my new favourite episode of Caustic Soda! It was excellent – equal parts fascinating and hilarious.

  • Jeb Card

    1.) Stuart was a fantastic guest

    2.) Regarding the Jesus/Constitution thing, I’m going to assume you’ve seen these two paintings (the first was originally captioned in flash by the artist, but his site is now gone)

    and then this happened

    3.) The Mark Hofmann case was lifted for an episode of the X-Files. “Hollywood A.D.” written by David Duchovny is actually quite smart (he was ABD in English lit at one point, so there’s that). Here’s a write-up

    What the write up misses is the real-world connection (I was amazed when the episode aired, as I was familiar with the case), and secondly that the episode is clever. The episode begins with a Hollywood producer who is a friend of Assistant Director Skinner (hence the title), wanting to make a movie based on Mulder and Scully and the X-Files. So he tags along, and provides color commentary from a Hollywood hack, that nonetheless undermines some of the conventions of the show. A case similar to the real-life Mark Hoffman case unfolds, instead with Micah Hoffmann, who is blended with the background of Abby Hoffmann the radical. And it is changed from Mormonism to more traditional Christianity, with forgeries of Mary Magdalene texts, but also a weird bowl which using a BS form of analysis sings out a resurrection spell in Aramaic. But then suddenly, it all turns out to be a hoax, the case is wrapped up tidily. Mulder complains that it doesn’t make sense, it’s like a Hollywood fictional ending on tv. And then the pair are told to relax, by their boss AD Skinner, and they go to Hollywood, hang out with actors playing them (both with personal relationships to the actors in real life), and they then go on a date with the FBI credit card while Hollywood actor zombies put on a song and dance number. Extremely meta ending, especially after the first half was one of the closest to being based on a real case that the show ever did.

  • Jeb Card

    Two other things

    1.) If the connection wasn’t clear with that painting, look at the book the guy is holding on the left side of the original painting.

    2.) This is an improvement on the video in the post

  • Jeb Card

    Spanish inquisition style here.

    Our third weapon is fear.

    I mean, the last thing for the moment is this parody of the ubiquitous 80s ads for Mormonism

  • Derek

    Definitely a new fave! Fascinating topic. Scientology would be great too but I’m guessing they’d try to sue you. 🙁 Maybe you could use the Sout Park guys’ trick of giving all the credits of their Scientology episode to John Smith. I wonder, did that work for them?
    Well done, guys!

    • Generaleesimo

      The great part about NOT being a wildly profitable commercial enterprise, if people sue us there’s nothing for them to get. I guess we could give them Joe, but I suspect that they would give him back pretty quickly.

  • ackackack

    The guest mentioned that the Catholic Church was a large provider of abortion up to 1858? happens aroung 41:20. I can’t find anything to verify this claim, and I’m curious… Help?

  • Emi

    This was a fantastic episode. Like a few others on here, I’m hoping you’ll do one on Scientology as well. There was a pretty lengthy (but fascinating) article in The New Yorker last year about an ex-Scientologist that has a lot of gruesome details about their history:

    • Generaleesimo

      Not just an ex-scientologist, but PAUL HAGGIS, one of the premiere celebrity scientologists for the last couple of decades….. Pretty telling stuff. If you liked this article, then you should probably watch “The Master”.

  • Charles

    Stuart was spot on in his assessment of what it’s like to be Mormon. Mormons are the most unhappy pretending to be happy people you’ll ever meet. I’m a former believer, and believe me, it’s a total mindfuck.

    Great episode. Stuart knows his stuff.

  • Bridgete

    I think you forgot to tag this as Season 3 so it didn’t show up in my feed. No biggie since I can listen here, just thought I’d let you know. 🙂

    • Joe

      Woops! Thanks for the note. I’ve fixed this.

      • Derek

        Could you check Turtles too, please, Joe? Thanks.

      • Derek

        Any chance you could check Turtles and It Burns! It Burns! Too, please, Joe? Thanks.

        • Joe


          • Derek

            Props for the super-quick service! 🙂

      • Derek

        Damn slow internet connections. Apologies for the duplicate.

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