Ep 528 – A Manual for Creating Atheists, Part 5 – Mormon Missionaries

Written by on October 17, 2018

What happens when a Street Epistemologist sits down to atheist-convert two Mormon Missionaries who have sat down to Mormon-convert him?  It’s a wild wacky panel discussion full of laughs and groans and cognitive distortions of all shapes and sizes.  Enjoy.

  1. Brrrrr   On   October 18, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Wouldn’t it be simpler to program an Alexa device to regurgitate LDS missionary scripted responses, and program a second Alexa device to regurgitate street atheist scripts? Then put both devices in a room and let them respond to each other until a winner is declared, or both short circuit?
    At least killing Laban because god gave you a warm fuzzy feeling can be omitted from the Mormon Alexa’s script.

  2. Dale Lowry   On   October 19, 2018 at 8:53 am

    No need to demean your reviewers in your introduction, Glenn. I get what you were doing there, but it’s a bit douchey and “hey let me remove the speck from your eye while I ignore the log in my own.” And I felt a bit queasy during that monologue, though whether that was actually a reaction to your words or an association with other men condescendingly parsing the words of other women in the recent news cycle, I can’t say.
    Yes, she probably just means that you and Matt are demeaning to guests—I highly doubt she means Tom or Jake. (Who knows about Randy?) But when the snarky or hostile voices are louder than the other voices, it’s basic human psychology to perceive them as all the voices. It may not be accurate, but I don’t think it’s helpful to attack your listener for having basic human psychology while refusing to engage with her actual message.
    That said, I like you Glenn, and when I think you’re being offensive or short-sighted (in the metaphorical sense) I usually just roll my eyes and keep listening to see if you’ll loop back on that, which you often do. And Matt did initially sound hostile/demeaning in the Sam Young interview (and previous interviews with NOMs), it became clear by the end that he was trying to be constructive and Sam took it that way. But if I’d only listened to the first 20 minutes I would have been like, “why is this guy yelling at Sam Young?”

  3. John   On   October 19, 2018 at 9:05 am

    It was hard to listen to the audio of the street epistemologist and the missionaries. Very cringey. The dude made good points but I wish he had moved on instead of beating his hypothetical drum over and over.
    A few times panelists said it was pointless to talk to believers about this stuff. I have to disagree. *Anecdote Warning* I was like Glenn, in that my exit was a slow peeling of the onion. Each bit of cognitive dissonance introduced to me was a weight on my shelf. Some of that cog dis happened as far back as on my mission. I certainly dismissed it at the time, but it was there, festering, unsatisfactorily addressed. I remember one experience where my companion and I committed what we thought was a golden family to read and pray about the book of mormon. When we followed up, the husband told us he felt the spirit, while the wife said she had a dream that the book of mormon was chasing her and trying to eat her. We were summarily dismissed and asked not to return. I had another experience with a part member family (husband was not a member) where the spirit was so incredibly strong in the room that I knew the guy could not deny it. We asked him to be baptized and he said, “no” and we were summarily dismissed. Both of those experiences, along with others, sat on my shelf for years. Later as I performed mental gymnastics to stay, I had an atheist coworker who would ask me questions about Mormonism. I would respond with the arguments I had used in my head, but hearing them audibly made me realize how insane and unsatisfactory they really were. I don’t chalk up my leaving to my co worker or the cog dis experiences from my mission and before, it was really a culmination of all of it.
    So I guess I’m saying, plant a seed cuz it may contribute to breaking the believer’s infinite loop? Maybe I’m retroactively fitting my experiences into this post-hoc narrative (right glenn?) but I think that’s how it all happened for me.

  4. Brenton Swenson   On   October 19, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    You seemed to be confused as to why he was asking whether it was possible to know Mormonism is false without knowing what is true. I think he was asking that, because it’s exactly the position where I find myself to be in.
    To me Mormonism is provably false, but by “science”, but also by it’s own terms. It’s internally inconsistent. At the same time, I don’t know all the details about how the world and life came to be, only my best conclusions. So I feel 100% sure knowing Mormonism isn’t factual, but I can’t be 100% sure about the other things.
    The problem was this idea got mixed up with praying and getting an answer from God about knowing the church isn’t true, and that just muddled everything, and the point didn’t come across coherently at all.

  5. Shadrak   On   October 22, 2018 at 11:49 am

    The basic premise of the missionaries position (and all Mormons) is that “honest and sincere seekers” will know it’s true. I’d ask what does that mean, could an honest seeker get “no” as an answer? To a mormon, one cannot get “no.” How can one be honestly seeking if only one answer is acceptable? Because that is not being honest, and in the end that is what I’d question a mormon on, their honesty.

    • Glenn   On   October 22, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      But it’s not really about honesty, Shadrak. Those missionaries (and so many other mormons like them) honestly and sincerely believe that “honest and sincere seekers” will get a YES answer. Conversely, they also honestly and sincerely believe that a NO answer means that the seeker is not honest or sincere enough to get the YES. It’s inaccurate and myopic for them to think that way. But it’s not dishonest.

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