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Radio Free Mormon: 149: Overcoming Gravitational Fields

RFM shows how clinging to religious convictions in spite of the evidence can tether us to places where we cannot grow or learn.  Only by cutting the ties that bind us down can we overcome the gravitational forces in our lives and explore new and amazing vistas.  To infinity!  And beyond!


19 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 149: Overcoming Gravitational Fields”

  1. I love your Book of Mormon episodes it’s my favorite subject. Regarding KVJ in 3 Nephi – I liked your insights, cool stuff! Have you also heard about how 3 Nephi seems to take many of the miracles from the New Testmament and amplify them and make them seem more miraculous? Here is a list below of 12 examples:

    1. In the Book of Mormon, the sign is “a new star [that shall] arise, such an one as ye never have beheld.” & a day and night without darkness!!! – a sign not found in the Bible even though Central America and Bethlehem are both in the Northern Hemisphere (3 Ne. 1: 18-21; Matt. 2: 2; Hel. 14: 2-5) AND In the Bible the sign of Jesus’ birth is a “star in the east.” (Luke
    2. In 3 Nephi the entire Nephite civilization knows the exact day. Samuel the Lamanite, five years previously, predicts it
    AND in the Bible The precise time of the anticipated birth is known only to Mary, Joseph, Zachariah, and Elizabeth in the Old World. (Luke
    3. Sign of His death in America – 3 DAYS of darkness
    AND in the Bible the sign of His death in New Testament – 3 hours of darkness
    4. Nephites are privy to who Jesus’ other sheep were
    AND in the Bible the Jews weren’t privy to who Jesus’ other sheep were (John 10)
    5. Bread out of nowhere provided by Jesus for the multitude
    AND in the Bible 2 loaves multiplied to feed the multitude
    6. Day of Pentecost – in BOM pillars of fire and angels coming and encircling the whole multitude
    AND in the Bible Day of Pentecost – cloven tongues of fire and rushing winds descend upon the apostles in the temple
    7. Transfiguration – The whole multitude in the BOM as the smile Jesus’ countenance shone white on the multitude and caused them have transfigured faces with shining white glory (3 Nephi 19)
    AND in the Bible the Transfiguration – just Peter, James and John in NT
    8. In the BOM the resurrected Jesus appeared to a multitude of 2,500 people
    In NT the resurrected Jesus appeared to 500+ people
    9. Translated Beings – The 3 Nephites were allowed to tarry and be transfigured
    AND in the Bible translated Beings – In the NT 1 was allowed to tarry and be transfigured -John
    10. 2,500 one by one invited to thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet (3 Nephi 11:14)
    AND in the Bible 1 person, Thomas invited to do so (John 20:24-29)
    11. Big public sacrament in BOM AND in the Bible Sacrament in private w/ 12 disciples
    12. In Gethsemane, Jesus returns from praying to find his disciples sleeping (Matt. 26:40, 43), whereas in the Book of Mormon, he returns and finds that they “did still continue, without ceasing, to pray unto him” (19:24). He instructs the Nephite disciples, as he does his disciples in the New Testament, to continue praying while he again goes away to do the same (19:26-27; cf. Matt. 26:36, 38).

    1. That is a good list, Tony.

      I think it clear the BOM riffs on Bible stories all over the place, including one-upping Noah’s ark with eight (count ’em, eight!) Jaredite barges.

      There is no doubt in my mind that the author of the Book of Mormon was extremely well-versed in the Bible, including the New Testament!


    2. 2 Nephi 12:20 “that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” which completely changes the teaching from Jesus that righteousness much exceed that of the Pharisees. It makes people believe they can be righteous enough on their own.

  2. On another note, my best friend from high school also baptized me, when I was 22, after he was back from his mission. He flew down from Hawaii (where he had moved to) just to baptize me. I soon wen’t on a mission to Mexico City North.

    Also you said you were 9 when we went to the moon, that would make you born in the same year as my dad – 1960?

    I recently shared 10 miracles in my conversion story if you’re interested here:

    And I have recently been undergoing a faith transition and trying to figure out what kind of middle ground I want to hold

    1. Thanks for sharing that with me, Tony!

      I think what I posted to Dave may be of benefit to you.

      I think it could be of benefit to anybody going through a faith transition.

      It is stuff I discovered along the way while going through my own.


  3. RFM Thanks again for a wonderful, informative and very relevant podcast for me as I am still trying to cut the ties and move on. Mormonism does have a. Powerful gravitational hold but thats not the only issue, I have no problwm accepting what is obvioualy true but I do have a problem with the vacuum I seem to left with once I have accepted the obvious truth. Cutting the ties are made even more difficult by the fact that I truly had the most wonderful spiritual conversion during the second discussion all those 40 years ago I experienced that mighty change of heart spoken of in the scriptures from that moment I became a New man. The change was immediate and permanent. I no longer have a calling and they will never get another cent from me however I will accept a talk assignment if asked. Last talk I gave was about 9 months ago the assignment subject “What Matters Most” from some general authority who’s ideas were around family and the Temple but I gave up taking much notice of them some time ago it took me 3 nights on my knees to finally get an answer to What Matters Most.TRUTH + LOVE was the answer (ie. Love thy Neighbour as thy self) I gave the talk without script as I never read a talk I prepare then totally rely on memory amd the spirit.
    So here I am now in a void and confused seeking further light and knowledge not knowing where to find it but at least I know its not where I thought it was. I accept that The Book of Mormon is a work of literary genius with value but it is not what it claims to be. Here in the UK there is no knowledge of the Church Essays I have only recently found out about them but what really got me asking questions was about 12 months ago finding out about the seer stone and Joseph sticking is head into a hat. This came up in priesthood and I thought they were having a laugh but they were serious and actually believing it. I might be daft but I ain’t that daft.
    A so here I am lost in the wilderness seeking further light a d knowledge.

    Thanks for all you do RFM it does help.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Dave. It isn’t easy, that’s for sure. I sometimes talk to never-Mormons about what it is like to go through a faith transition and they just don’t understand how overwhelming it can be. How could they? They have no frame of reference.

      For me, it has helped to understand that just because I had a spiritual witness that the Book of Mormon is true or inspired, it doesn’t mean that’s the end of the line.

      I shouldn’t confuse the start of a journey with the end of the journey.

      I shouldn’t confuse the start of an adventure with the adventure itself.

      Frodo’s adventure started the minute he got pushed out of the Shire by the untimely arrival of some black riders.

      He might have thought it was the end of his adventure at the time, but he would have been wrong.

      The adventure was just starting for Frodo, as it is for you. As it is for all of us.

      Remember that saying by Jesus that the person who looks back after putting his hand to the plow is not fit for the kingdom of God?

      I think that might have some application here. But the kingdom of God is not the LDS Church. How could it be?

      It is inside of you! At least that is what Jesus said, in Luke 17:21, a verse almost never cited to in the LDS Church, for some reason.

      “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

      That’s probably enough for now, although I do want to go to my old book I write in and see if I can find something there that might be of use.

      Here it is! That took several minutes for me to locate. This is the thought that came to me on 9/20/2013, in the course of reading a collection of sayings by Epictetus:

      “The first great peril in life’s journey is to think that the key is the treasure. The second is to think that the treasure is to be kept.”

      You will be fine. All will be well.

      Just go find the soundtrack to the musical, “Pippin,” and play the song, “On the Right Track.”

      The words apply to you!


    2. I appreciate Dave’s place in time right now. I myself am also seeking further light and knowledge and find your work RFM most helpful. Thank you so much for all your doing. Curious… I had a friend refer me to this youtube about the 7 year Tribulation and the Seven signs. Has me in a tale spin now. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

      1. Thanks, William! Holy cow!

        That video you linked is almost an hour long. I’m afraid I don’t have time to watch it right now.

        I wouldn’t worry about it too much, though. People have been saying Jesus is coming back for 2,000 years now.

        Odds are they aren’t any more right about it this time than they have been in the past.

        It’s a pretty bad track record.

        Thanks for listening!


  4. Hi RFM,
    Thanks for a great episode and interesting information. When you said, near the end, that you chose to leave the fort and explore the fields and rivers and oceans, I was reminded of a blog that has a similar idea of leaving the small lake for the larger lake, river and eventually the ocean.
    That part is in the latter part of the blog.
    We are on the same wavelength in so many ways.
    Thanks for being there and I love your energetic intro music.

    1. Thanks for the kinds words, Allemande Left! I put in some more energetic music in today’s podcast that just went up! Have you ever heard the University of Texas Fight Song? Well, I play it in today’s episode to celebrate my 150th podcast! I hope you like it!

  5. Great podcast…you know, why does there have to be an actual purpose of life. I never thought about a purpose before I met with the missionaries. I don’t think one needs to know their purpose of life. Live life… good…be good…..never stop learning…love. A few of my “purposes” of my life. Thank you for taking time to put together such meaningful podcasts!

    1. I think life tends to give us our own particularized purpose for living it. My purpose is to do Radio Free Mormon! ;^)

  6. Having read books from Bart Ehrman on the New Testament and Jesus, I cannot help but see the parallels between Joseph Smith and the authors of the New Testament.

    Just like authors of Matthew and Luke started with the book of Mark, Joseph started with the KJV (and certainly other themes and inspirations from other texts and stories) and created his own scripture — such as those passages from 3rd Nephi in this episode.

    For a long time, I had a hard time escaping the gravitational pull of one idea: an apparently religious person like Joseph Smith could not perpetrate a fraud.

    However, once Bart Ehrman helped me realize the long history of “forgeries” in the early Christian texts — including some canonized in the New Testament — I could understand that Joseph Smith creating stories in the voice of ancient authors was consistent with that tradition.

    1. I think the Book of Mormon, together with the Book of Abraham, can probably be best fitted within this time-honored tradition you mention of pseudepigrapha. Thanks for listening!

  7. Thank you for these podcasts. They truly make my day. I just sent you a portion of my corona virus ‘paycheck.’ I’d like to comment on a few aspects of these recent podcasts. These items are based, in part, on my many years as a scriptwriter, producer, and many professional interviews I conducted as I created dozens of documentaries.
    Much of the Book of Mormon text reads as if is is spoken language. It rambles. It extends sentences as it looks to add meaning. It shows signs of hesitations. It digresses. This is not how truly written text sounds or reads. If you listen to enough of both written copy, and spoken copy, you will soon be able to tell the difference. To my ear and eye the Book of Mormon contains very much improvised spoken word. Most is NOT as it would be written by a scribe in ancient times, where economy of words and refined meaning would be paramount. There are exceptions, but they are actually few in my opinion.
    Now a word about the Sermon on the Mount. Many scholars believe that the “Sermon on the mount” might be more correctly described as the “The sayings of Jesus” This was a common way to ‘package’ the thoughts of historical wise men. The Sermon on the Mount does not in any way sound like spoken dialogue. It is to me clearly a list of ‘pithy’ sayings with a strong Hebrew context. All I can say is read it with that in mind. I don’t believe such an event ever happened. Did Jesus say many of those things. Probably, but not all at once, as presented. Clearly, to me, JS was able to edit, as he saw fit. Then, somehow, ignore Holy Land specifics such has the Roman law to carry a soldiers load a mile… and then more. How would the poor Nephites have any idea what that was about?.

    1. Again, excellent points all!

      Yes, the BOM does in many places sound like somebody is narrating it without a script, because there are numerous instances of having to back and fill an inartfully stated word or phrase. One that comes to mind is where the author is saying they trample God under their feet, but I would use different words, they trample his sayings under their feet and set them aside as a thing of naught.

      That may not be an exact quote, but that sort of thing happens throughout.

      As you say, somebody writing this would just strike out the first attempt and go with the second usage which better describes what they meant to convey.

      But then we get to other portions, most notably the extensive quotations from the KJV, and I do not see these types of verbal slips; everything flows perfectly.

      Why? Presumably because Joseph Smith is now reading it out of the Bible instead of narrating it more on the fly, and verbal slips are not as likely to happen.

      I tend to agree with the scholars that the Sermon on the Mount was never in fact given by Jesus, but is simply the collection of a later author of left-over sayings of Jesus (i.e., sayings that were in existence but didn’t fit neatly into any of the stories told in Matthew) but were wanted to be included anyway, and so they were all sort of jumbled together and a brand new “sermon” made out of them.

      Which sort of accounts for why the Sermon on the Mount has no real order or harmony, or even a point that it is making.

      It looks for all the world like what the scholars think it is–a hodgepodge of random and unrelated sayings.

      This, of course, makes it more difficult to explain how Jesus gives the Sermon on the Mount to the Nephites in 3 Nephi and explains it by saying these are the words he spoke to the Jews before he came over from the Old World, when it seems pretty sure that Jesus never gave the Sermon on the Mount to the Jews in the Old World in the first place!

      Thanks again for your comments!


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