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Radio Free Mormon: 138: General Conference McNuggets Part 7

RFM dives into the Sunday morning session of October General Conference, 2019, and spends some time detailing the LDS Church’s love-hate relationship with Native Americans.


18 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 138: General Conference McNuggets Part 7”

  1. I’m sure I am not alone in thinking that after your analysis of GC, the live conference this weekend is going to be insanely boring by comparison.

    My family is in a Native American branch by assignment from our stake. All of the native adults over the age of 50 who have any involvement in church were in the placement program as kids. They talk about it frequently. That said, I had never heard the story about George Lee. Going to do see homework on that soon. Thanks for your efforts! You are making self isolation bearable.

    1. I am so glad to hear from you, EE!

      I feel that what the LDS Church has done to Native Americans is to misappropriate their culture not once, but three times! I didn’t say this on the podcast, but I may as well say it here. First, the LDS Church misappropriated the culture of the Native Americans by giving them a false identity as degenerate descendants of Jewish immigrants who were the subject of a divine curse of dark skin. Second, the LDS Church promised the Native Americans that their curse would be lifted if they joined the LDS Church and became faithful members; that if they did so, the Native Americans would have a leading role in the church and in building the City of Zion (aka New Jerusalem). Finally, the LDS Church culturally misappropriated the fictional culture that the LDS Church itself had given the Native Americans by taking away even the promise of leadership in the LDS Church and remanding them to second-class membership.

      It’s a pretty sorry track record if you ask me.

  2. Thanks RFM, I’m enjoying your extra episodes as I pass this quarantine in solitary confinement! As another 1960 boomer baby, your humor and music come across to me as old friends.

    If not too late, before you finish your general conference rehash I’d like to ask a favor— could you comment on the general women and little girls’ session where DHO delivered his bad idea of a joke, mocking a woman who had approached him with her concerns about an afterlife as a polygamous wife? That was horrific! What was he thinking?? He got his laughs from the assembled sycophants, almost certainly unaware of the dismayed gasps occurring in living rooms across mormondom. If he were my kid I would have shown up on his doorstep and knocked him up side of the head for his behavior. His actual mother is probably still spinning in her grave.

    Mormon polygamy was and is Mormon god’s message to women that we are nothing more than brood mares, now and forever. It is the underlying excuse for untold abuse, ecclesiastical, domestic, and otherwise, of women and girls by LDS men. It is not appropriate “joke” material over any pulpit, especially not a GC pulpit, and most especially not by one who claims to be an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.


    Again, thanks for your podcast. I considered it the best and most balanced Mormon channel out there. Bravo!
    (heading over to donate…)

    1. Thanks so much for your kind support, Jennifer.

      As to your request, I have bad news and good news for you.

      The bad news is I didn’t see your suggestion until after I completed and published the eighth and final episode of Gen Con McNuggets for October 2019.

      The good news is that I already did exactly the podcast you suggest not that long after last conference was over. I am pretty sure it was titled “The Exaltation Complication.”

      I think you are going to like it!

      Here is a link for your listening convenience!

  3. Dear RFM, A couple of podcasts ago, you mentioned an Elder you served with in Japan who wished he had been born in America like you and that he was less then or felt cursed or something to that effect. You said you had never heard of such a thing. Well here’s the quote from none other than Mark E. Peterson. BTW, I live every episode you post.
    “Let us consider the great mercy of God for a moment. A Chinese, born in China with a dark skin, and with all the handicaps of that race seems to have little opportunity. But think of the mercy of God to Chinese people who are willing to accept the gospel. In spite of whatever they might have done in the pre-existence to justify being born over there as Chinamen, if they now, in this life, accept the gospel and live it the rest of their lives they can have the Priesthood, go to the temple and receive endowments and sealings, and that means they can have exaltation. Isn’t the mercy of God marvelous?

    1. OMG! You are absolutely right! Brilliant find! “In spite of whatever they might have done in the pre-existence to justify being born over there as Chinamen”!!! I wonder how Mark E. Peterson felt coming over to Japan to help dedicate the Tokyo Temple in October of 1980. That was where I shook his hand!

  4. Dear RFM thank you so much for coming up with a plan for me to be able to listen all the way through No 7 Podcast of your well thought out informative comments concerning talks from last October Conference about the Lamanites etc. I started listening as usual with my mobile on my pillow close to my one good ear determined to stay awake doing quite well I thought but I must have unwittingly slipped into oblivion as I was suddenly brought back from my sweet dreams by some guy shouting at the top of his voice in my ear CHEROKEE NATION CHEROKEE CHILD BORN TO LIVE BORN TO DIE.
    In shock I leapt out of bed banging my head on the low beam in my attic bedroom thinking what the Hells that grabbing my phone trying to put an end to the noise emanating from my device then I realised it was you RFM determined that no one sleeps when you’re around. Now wide awake I simply pressed play and listened to the whole 43 minutes no problem.
    Thank you for coming up with this brilliant plan just for me you came to rescue me leaving the 90 and 9 to find the one lost sheep or was it the Cherokee Nation that found me with you assisting?

    1. What a great story! I literally laughed out loud while reading it! In the future, I may put loud songs randomly throughout my podcast instead of just at the end to keep you honest. And awake. I hope your head is feeling better!

      1. My head is fortunately harder than the beam so I’m fine thanks for asking.
        My mother always told me that I should never laugh at other peoples miss-fortune but I forgive you for laughing as I whacked my head because I knew that you would you cannot help yourself laughter is in your soul and is never far from the surface ready to burst free like Jack in a Box with a hair trigger and its a wonderful laugh I’ve heard it. So go ahead play a loud song anytime you like during your podcast and have good laugh at possibly dozens of us poor old guys who have dozed off jumping out off their high backed chairs during your remarks they probably need the exercise but you won’t catch me again I’ve moved my bed further away from the low beam.

  5. Well you finally did it. Forced me to make a monthly donation to ease my conscience after years of freeloading. Now hopefully I can stop feeling so damn guilty when I rush every day to see if there’s a new RFM podcast.

    Needless to say, keep up the good work!

    1. Yeah! Finally! I have been working extra hard on the podcast the last two weeks so I am very glad to hear you were finally persuaded! Thank you so much!

  6. In this (excellent as always) episode you may have overlooked how three of this episode’s themes connect in a startling and revealing way:

    1. The Lamanites to overthrow the USA

    2. Stay in the shire/boat,

    3. Why Nelson won’t spend that $100 billion ($137bn and climbing)

    The first leads to the second, and the second leads to the third. Together they reveal three mysteries which are really just one mystery: what is driving the church leaders? Delusions can only take you so far, and while they make a good living it is obviously not just for the money.

    First, a mystery. I could not understand why did Joseph think the Indians would listen to his obscure prophecy. Wasn’t it obvious that he would be ignored? Digging for treasure and tricking Josiah Stoal is one thing. But expecting the Indians to rise up and conquer America because Joseph told them too??? Well a quick look at American history gives the answer. Aiming for Jackson County was no accident. It was named after Andrew Jackson, who was about to sign (in 1830) the Indian Removal Act. Jackson’s ambitions were so great that they led to his opponent creating the “Democratic Party”. See the Book of Mormon’s King Men and Free Men, etc. Joseph’s childhood was against the backdrop of Indian wars from that region:

    1811-1813, Joseph is aged 5-8: his earliest memories would be hearing of “The Prophet”, the brother Chief Tecumseh, and their battles for freedom. Tecumseh became Teancum.

    1814: Andrew Jackson’s raider defeated the Indians and grabbed a vast amount of land. Exciting stuff for an 8 year old!

    1816-18 (Joseph aged 12) The Indians defeat Jackson but not decisively enough. The Indians must really hate that guy!

    1820: the famous Lima buried treasure incident: pirates and $200 million of gold, much of it from the ancient Indians! They say that “the golden age of science fiction is age 14” (i.e. whatever you read at 14 seems profound and life changing): treasure hunting became Joseph’s life goal! See also Oak Island treasure (1795) for the treasure digging craze. See also Captain Kid and Moroni, capital of Cumoros. This puts the Indian stuff in context. IIRC Joseph said that Lehi landed in South America.

    1823: the first war with the Indians beyond the Mississippi (the first plains war, the Arikara war). This is when Joseph says Moroni or Nephi (the old Indian spirit) told him there were buried records.

    1824: Jackson (the anti Indian guy) almost became president: he won the popular AND electoral vote, but not enough to become Preident. He finally managed it in 1829.

    1827: the Winnebago war, which led to the much larger Blackhawk War in 1832. That is, wars in the Great Lakes region. This is when Joseph decided to put his ideas into a book he “found”, and when he could not get big sales he tried to sell the copyright in Canada: the natural market for such a story. Recall how all the place names are variants of place names around the Great Lakes.

    My point is that Joseph intended his book to ride an existing wave. The Book of Mormon was supposed to be a best seller because it linked the ALREADY EXISTING desire for the Indians to recover their lands, against the hated Jackson. It also combined the Second Great Awakening and Buried Treasure: a sure fire hit, surely!

    OK, you know all that stuff already. How does it link to “Stay in the Boat”? Because ONLY the church is safe. Why do they believe it? Some more context: The “Naked Mormonism” podcast convincingly argues that the later Council of Fifty was a clear and unambiguous example of treason: a desire to overthrow the United States. We already know that the “Latter Day” part of the LDS church is because of its apocalyptic belief, which was ramped up in the 1880s when the church was being attacked for polygamy. So “the United States will fall” is not just a weird prophecy in 3 Nephi. it is the foundation f Mormonism. Well I’ve nearly done, just time for another mystery, and then tie all this up.

    Mystery 2: why don’t the Q15 take even more money? Cult leaders usually live far more lavish lifestyles. A few hundred thousand salary plus a million dollar house or two is MODEST for a multi billion dollar corporation. It seems that the people genuinely believe it. And what do they believe? They only have one doctrine: “stay in the boat”. The church must survive at all costs because the outside world is SCARY. I think they genuinely believe this. But why? The Q15 are generally educated businessmen, why do they believe?

    Solution: just as Joseph grew up with the Indian wars, these 90 year old guys lived through the Great Depression and WWII. Just as Joseph’s parents and grandparents remember the revolutionary war, the Q15 were raised on memories of polygamy and apocalyptic predictions, and the Wall Street Crash and WWII just confirmed how everything is fragile. These were the defining childhood experiences of both Joseph Smith and Russel Nelson. That sooner or later the American government will fall and we better be ready! Their experiences as they became adult church leaders just reinforced that belief: they became adults at the height of the Cold War, when atomic annihilation could happen at any minute, and then they saw free love and homosexuality “corrupt” America while at the same time the church almost became bankrupt. And so it is that they are obsessive about the church’s survival at al costs: it must survive even when (not if) the American government collapses. So when somebody said that the 100 billion was for the Millennium, they were serious: the government will collapse, and for a period of years the church will need to survive amid a post apocalyptic hell. A hundred billion is not enough they need a trillion to be safe.

    P.S. based on this I have a prophecy: when the current generation dies, the next generation are Baby Boomers and have lived their whole lives in optimism. I predict very rapid changes and radical changes in the church when they get in power.

    tl;dr: Mormon doctrine is that the USA will fall. That is what motivates both Joseph Smith and Russell Nelson

    1. Wow! I want you to know I took some serious time and carefully read every word of your lengthy comment. And I am very impressed. You have obviously done a lot of study and on top of that put a lot of thought into the matter. If you have no objection, I might want to read your comment on the podcast next week. Bravo!

    1. I know this is widely accepted. But I do not think the facts are so straightforward. Elder Lee was excommunicated in 1989. According to the news story you link, the young victim did not make her first disclosure of the incident until three years later in 1992. I tend to see this as more of a convenient excuse made up after the fact by the church in order to justify its excommunication of Elder Lee for other reasons.

      1. Butting in here. Lee plead guilty, so I wouldn’t be so sure what he was accused of did not happen. I was deeply disappointed when these accusations came to light because I actually read GPL’s book about his early years and his conversion to Mormonism, and it was insightful and delightful. I learned so much about reservation life from him. He was the first GA that had something interesting to say, IMO. But whether or not the accusations are true, everything you point out in this podcast were enlightening and spot on. I had never put 2+2+2 together in understanding that the “Lamanites” were to be the vanguard of establishing Zion. I do recall GPL saying, in the midst of the hub bub so long ago, that he thought the apostles were “materialistic”. Imagine that. I never liked the BoM much, I never even liked most of the church leadership, and I never liked much of church doctrine, although I believed it. But I did like Lee. I do so hope the accusations aren’t true, but I tend to believe his confession.

  7. Thank you, RFM, for this episode. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as well as the many thoughtful comments it has generated. You’ve done a terrific job of laying out the problems associated with this aspect of the Book of Mormon. I think contemporary members of the church are encouraged to worship the Book of Mormon as a kind of idol–“Behold, Complexity” (stay on the ‘covenant path’)! What no one is encouraged to do is to read it as a might have been read when it first came off the press. My own experience is that when you do that, you see what the book was really trying to say. It reveals itself very much as a period piece, at which point all of the features that supposedly prove its antiquity (chiasmus, etc.) become irrelevant. Oddly, perhaps, it almost makes Joseph Smith more of a mystery–in terms of his ambition. At any rate, regarding the ‘Lamanites,’ I suppose it’s safe to assume we won’t be hearing much about them in conference anytime soon. It’s nothing short of incredible. But when church leaders and apologists can claim that even Jesus didn’t really mean what he said, I guess the church can just keep morphing its way into future. — Keep up the great work!

    1. Thank, Bryan. One gets the idea that the ability, indeed the necessity, of the church to do away with what even Jesus says in their signature book of scripture, is all part of the new theme we are hearing more and more of: The Ongoing Restoration. No longer is the church or gospel spoken of as having been restored in the completely past tense, as I heard for decades. Instead, there is an process ongoing in the here and now during which the fulness of the restoration is being unfurled. As new things are restored, old and less useful things are retired. The caravan moves on! Thanks for listening!

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