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




33 Responses

  1. 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.

    1. 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.”

  2. 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?

    1. 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.

  3. 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?

    1. 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).

  4. 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…


  5. 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!

  6. 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…

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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!

    1. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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:

    1. 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”.

  14. 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.

  15. 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. 🙂