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Radio Free Mormon: 156: Take Me Home, Country Roads

RFM tells how he “crossed paths” with two old friends; friends whose journeys in and out of the church are decidedly different from the road RFM is on.  Get ready for a lot of fun and maybe even a few tears.  Oh!  And the church has another logo!


22 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 156: Take Me Home, Country Roads”

  1. You should know, I appreciate your sign-off these past episodes but I question whether anyone should “lick” this coronavirus. Keep up the good work.

  2. Oh my gosh, how in the world could you have been best friends with ‘Country Boy’? I made the mistake of listening to Dusty on
    Three Mormons where he spoke of GardenGirl and after listening to him for a bit, sure enough that was the abrasive Country boy of MDDB fame. Even MDDB regulars disliked poor Dusty! Did you know at the short run of his time on MDDB that this was your old friend?

    1. Hi, Rockslider!

      This was another aspect of this whole story I was running too long to include in that already over-long episode! Country Boy!

      I had no idea who it was, and I even tangled with him some, and watched with chagrin at his churlishness while his betters ripped him a new one on the message board!

      It was only in retrospect that I realized he was one and the same!

      How would you feel if you suddenly realized that your dearest friend from the past ended up being Country Boy?

      Well, that’s pretty much how I felt, too!

      Love you, man!


  3. A truly enjoyable episode RFM. Isn’t true life stranger than fiction. Love the trinity of life paths juxtaposed against each other. We probably all have such stories to tell if not as colorful as this one.

    I have to say that Dusty takes the cake. I’m afraid he wears the crown for shameless, embarrassing mormon, magical thinking.
    How do you actually turn your brain off like that?? I saw this story floating around earlier and thought it sounded contrived or at least very exploited by church.

    For every story like this, and their can’t be many, there are thousands, I dare say hundreds of thousands whose exodus is permanent. No wonder Uchtdorf wanted every sordid detail LOL.

    Honestly, Dusty is coming off as pretty flakey. I suppose if he hadn’t decided to make himself a mini celebrity, doing the shameless speaking circuit, it might be less obnoxious. Hahaha!

    I still love hearing some mission stories. I sent 3 sons on missions and while I would never do that now, nor recommend it, I think a mormon mission is a very unique experience that did my sons more good than harm in the end….wouldn’t mind getting the money back tho and the precious time we lost together. Oh well…

    Thanks for the good times RFM 🙂

    1. So glad you liked the episode, Angie!

      I have lots more mission stories I will have to share at some point.

      One batch of stories deals with bicycles.

      Another batch deals with fireworks.

      And then there is one story that deals with BOTH fireworks and bicycles!

      Always enjoy your comments!


  4. Jerry West is “the logo” for the NBA. I’d love to see an NBA style logo for the church. BYU athletes could have it on their socks and wrist bands.

    1. Hi, Lloyd!

      I was talking with somebody who really knows a thing or two about logos.

      She is a non-member who I had look at the new church logo.

      Her response was, “That’s not a logo. A logo is supposed to be simple. That is a bunch of random elements thrown together. It looks like too many people had their hands in coming up with this idea. A logo is like the Nike ‘swoosh.” It is bold and simple, and you know immediately when you see it what it is supposed to represent.”

      Thanks for listening!


  5. RFM Choro,

    Wow, although your insights on every single episode really bring illumination to interrelated issues with Mormons and Mormonism (sorry for the plug Satan) and I often listen to episodes twice or repeat portions, this episode took me back to my mission in Fukuoka during 1977-78. Our tank bikes were green and we had to purchase but remained at each apartment. Each had a placard just below the horizontal bar from seat to handlebars with the church information. One evening we went to a local bath house where everyone – men, women and kids – got a good look at the naked gaijins. On the ride back to our apartment, all of the sudden I found myself sprawled on the back of a parked car. A dark colored parked car on a dark night. I felt stupid, but tank bike came through just fine, although it had bent into a chopper-like configuration. Afterwards, I always rode a little higher than everyone else.

    Your dedication to producing a daily episode is greatly appreciated during this crazy time.

    Although your road differed from your companion and friend, dare I say they took the “Wrong Road”! I spent too much time in bishoprics and while there were some great experiences I did not ever want to sit in the head chair. Conducting a funeral while the Bishop was out of town left a lasting impression.

    That reminds me of a missionary who on meeting for the first time stated that he was going to be an AP before his mission was over. Fortunately, God was too busy with lost keys to whisper his name to the MP. He was (and may still be) a ladder climber.

    Hope our monthly support via PayPal is helping your and Bill Reel’s efforts. Thanks for making my transition and subsequent SL Tribune commentary submissions easier.

    Your work is greatly appreciated. It was a delight to attend your session at Sunstone last year. Hope our paths cross again.

    Stay safe and well RFM.

    1. Konichi wa, Dave Choro!

      So many great stories from the mission!

      You know, I didn’t want to hit it too hard in the podcast, but I am SO glad I didn’t go down the road of either of my friends.

      I am so much happier just being me where I am. And being able to run across and meet people like you!

      How did Emily Dickinson put it?


      I’m nobody! Who are you?
      Are you nobody, too?
      Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
      They’d banish us, you know.

      How dreary to be somebody!
      How public, like a frog
      To tell your name the livelong day
      To an admiring bog!


      Thanks so much for your kind support!


  6. This Dusty Smith guy sounds like he’s following in the footsteps of Elder Dunn. I’m not buying
    the swine flu story (miraculous healing and then somehow running into the missionary who healed him 8 years later at a gun show), or the story of the sister missionary who called him because someone logged in from his computer and asked to talked to the missionaries, or the story about someone offering to buy his house for more than it was worth.

    It also seems fishy that he changed his name. I can maybe understand Dusty if his middle name is Dustin, but seems odd he would change what he uses for his first name later in life. What is more concerting is why would he change his last name? Is he hiding something?

    1. I agree. I really want to believe his stories, because I want to believe the world is an amazing place full of surprises and honest people. But a large part of me leaving the church was exploring these faith promoting stories. EVERY SINGLE ONE was false. Quetzalcoatl? False. 17 Points? False. God is the Gardener? False. Seagulls? False. I don’t remember the rest, that was 20 years ago, buy Every. Single. Time. If a Mormon story was faith promoting, it was false in the crucial details. I really hope there are exceptions, but I’m not holding my breath.

      1. I hear what you are saying, Chris.

        I have had similar conversations with Bill Reel.

        At every point Bill has dug down to the roots of a faith-promoting story in LDS Church history, it always ends up being much more problematic and “messy” than the way it is presented in Sunday School.


    2. Hi, Ryedog3!

      You must be familiar with Dusty’s story from some source in addition to my podcast because I edited out (for time’s sake) the part about the sister missionary and the strangely logged in computer. Nice work!

      It does seem a bit far-fetched, I have to admit. But I wouldn’t want to think Dusty is just making it up for publicity’s sake. Regardless of his story’s objective truth or falsity, I have to think Dusty believes in his heart it is true.

      Also, as to his name change, I can’t remember all the details, but the main name change was with his last name. His first name is Steve but he prefers his nickname, Dusty.

      As to his last name, my understanding is it had something to do with his being adopted and later in life going back to the name of his original family of origin. Or vice-versa. I can’t remember exactly which. But I wanted to include this because I don’t think there is anything ulterior going on with his different name usage.

      It was just funny because it was the different name that prevented me from recognizing immediately who it was I was listening to on that podcast!

      Thanks for listening!


  7. Most of Dusty’s stories are unverifiable. However, the details of the miraculous purchase of his house at above market price could possibly be verified. Does anybody know how to research/find detailed home purchase info using public records databases?

    1. I think first we would have to know the exact address of the house in question.

      Once we knew the address, it might be possible to track down the information regarding listing price versus sale price to resolve the issue.

      Good thinking!

  8. I remember watching the whole Ste..Dusty events happening. Even remember him sitting in my class. Judd even picked up his car payments while on his mission. The time frame was very frenzied.

    1. Did Brother Judd really do that? He was a good guy. He just always came off as brusque when he was speaking.

      I remember one fireside where he was speaking at the institute building on a Sunday evening, and like a good Mormon, I brought along a non-member girl I knew from dancing.

      The first thing Brother Judd did was to ask the entire class in his strong baritone if everybody had brought their scriptures.

      “Because,” Brother Judd thundered, “If you don’t have your scriptures, you’re a loser!”

      I was pretty embarrassed by the way I figured my non-member friend might be taking all this.

      The best I could do was produce my quad, show it to her and whisper, “I’m not a loser.”

      She smiled and whispered back, “I knew you weren’t.”

      Good times!

  9. Hi, RFM. Thanks for the podcasts.
    I think I heard Dusty speak at a youth conference at the Oakland, CA temple. If it wasn’t him, it was someone with the same story of anti-Mormon activist turned repentant TBM.
    I remember it because that was the Saturday after my husband and I sent an email to the bishop informing him that Sunday would be our last day in the church. (We had teaching commitments.) I remember wondering why God “spoke” to that anti-Mormon activist and settled all his questions and didn’t do the same for me – a faithful member on the way out, still attending the youth conference because I had committed to driving the youth there! The next day in church was, indeed, our last.
    Take care. Stay healthy.

    1. I am sorry the miraculous re-conversion story didn’t do the trick for you and keep you from leaving the church, Ginny! ;^)

      To the extent Dusty is willing to dish on what those answers actually were that he got from God that settled his hash, all I can say is that they don’t seem to me to be the kind of answers that would satisfy anybody, much less a rabid anti-Mormon activist.

      I suspect something else is at play here. But what exactly, I would hesitate to speculate.

      Thanks so much for listening!


      1. Ditto. I’m a fellow attorney who has in the last few years discovered the full story of church history. The book telling Dusty’s story was given to me by my bishop last year as if it were a silver bullet. I admit I was intrigued by the title, and read it, thinking, “maybe he has information or perspective I don’t have.” It was a big let down. In the book, the specific issues he had are not spelled out, and are brushed aside with brief generic answers or strawmen. For example, in your podcast on the article here, it mentions the “young boy” revelation he received. That is, that a young boy was the right vessel for accepting revelations. But I have no problem with the fact that Joseph was (allegedly) a young boy when he had the first vision! Its the fraud convictions etc. that bother me; its the inconsistencies between his lifestyle after he supposedly had the first vision until he produced that Book of Mormon that raise red flags. Not his youth. As for archeological issues, the “revelation” that providing evidence removes the need for faith is a rationalization. It means to me, perforce, that God REMOVED ALL THE EVIDENCE of a civilization the size of Rome along with the DNA of its inhabitants from the people of the land. On purpose. Actions he never took in the Bible stories. Curiously to me, Dusty’s own logic makes the point IMHO. In Dusty’s dream/revelation, the question is presented: does walking the streets of Jerusalem prove the Bible is true? Answer is, no, its doesn’t. And God wasn’t worried about giving evidence that would remove the need for faith in other situations: He wasn’t worried about Jesus (supposedly) presenting himself after his resurrection to the apostles – especially Thomas!- in a way that would remove the need for “faith.” He wasn’t worried about removing the need for faith when he (supposedly) parted the red sea. he wasn’t worried when he turned water into wine. Etc. Its just an excuse with no basis in anything. It reminds me of the apologetic attempting to explain why Joseph was wrapped up in folk magic and rocks in hats; which is that God was speaking to him in the language that he understood. But if God operated like that, he would have spoken to the ancient Israelites from the mouth of the Golden Calf; not sent Moses into the hills to bring back tablets. I have yet to see any issue “resolution” that holds water. So I think, too, that there is something else going on. It may be as simple as him feeling existential angst and needing SOMETHING to comfort him, and the church is where he spent very formative years. So he feels comfortable there again. If so, good for him. As for me, his “resolutions” (what few I have actually heard) don’t hold up.

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