Ep 250 – Mormonism, Diablo, and Life as a Game

Written by on January 6, 2016

Bob walks us through the parallels between Mormonism and the game Diablo 3. What if Mormonism ultimately is just a role-playing game?

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  1. Saint Ralph   On   January 6, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Great mini-sode. I look forward to them. In fact, I kind of hover like a vulture waiting for one to pop out so that I can gobble down whole, then barf it up and gobble it again, savoring it endlessly till another one pops out. Anyway . . .
    You hit on a favorite theme of mine: that the purpose of existence, and everything extant in it, might be nothing more than entertainment. I contend that if you think far enough back, entertainment is the only purpose and “meaning” there can be. Given eternity, nothing can, ultimately, mean anything. Only the non-eternal can have any meaning at all, which goes poof when it ends. Only meaning can give rise to meaning which, itself, must be based in meaning. It becomes a “turtles all the way down” argument and disappears in a cloud of fairy dust upon examination, which I find eminently entertaining. But I’m easily amused (thank God).

    • Bob Caswell   On   January 6, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      I’m still processing your comment, mostly I don’t want to give too much credence to the idea that entertainment is the only purpose or meaning there is… as if I don’t already have enough justifications for my entertainment time. With this excuse, I’d really never get anything done! 🙂

      • Saint Ralph   On   January 6, 2016 at 5:18 pm

        If there is a greater ultimate purpose than the Universe entertaining itself, I’d love to know what it is. I’ve found the universe to be all custard and no raisins. If you’ve found a raisin, do tell!

  2. Lane Sawyer   On   January 6, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Loved the episode! I’ve never played a Diablo game but now I think I’ll add it to my long list of games to eventually get around to.
    Are any other Infants gamers?

    • Bob Caswell   On   January 6, 2016 at 4:41 pm

      Hmm… I wonder, is there etiquette on “outing” someone as a gamer? 😉 Brother Jake is most definitely a gamer, and Glenn and Heather both have some gaming cred as well, but I feel like I’ve already said too much!

      • Gabriel von Himmel   On   January 7, 2016 at 9:51 pm

        Bob, How can one give up good works for gaming?
        Playing Diablo (the devil) is a surrogate for The True Faith? Where is this going?
        How can this manichean malaise find equilibrium in a troubled world and what of the opportunity costs, and what of the externalities of such a defection from the One True church? Have the infants given up on the afterlife and the low hanging fruits of faith?

  3. Ryan Gregson   On   January 6, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Can I talk about Diablo III specifically for a moment? I just did my first playthrough not too long ago. Overall it was pretty good, I was a little disappointed that the weapons and gear no longer seemed to matter as much, their numbers mattered, but the use of them didn’t differ much from weapon to weapon. In Diablo II you could feel the difference between using a maul and using magic attacks instead, now they’re essentially all magic attacks. Sometimes I also kind of felt like I was fighting the same monsters in the same environments as DII a little too much.
    Anyway, good episode, Bob! thoughtful and insightful!

    • Bob Caswell   On   January 6, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      Oh, interesting perspective! I wonder which class(es) you were playing? I play mostly Barbarian followed by Crusader, and even between those two, I do fee a difference in approach and rhythm. I’ve also played Monk a bit, but I didn’t like it as much. I guess this is just a long way of me saying that I feel some big differences. Even in the Barbarian class itself, I played primarily the WW build which is quite different as compared to the HOTA build.

      • Ryan Gregson   On   January 6, 2016 at 6:36 pm

        I should probably try more classes. I was the, uh, sorceress? revealing my ignorance here. I’ve also tried a bit with the Monk, should probably try Barbarian for a very different feel.

      • Bob Caswell   On   January 6, 2016 at 7:10 pm

        Yeah, the Wizard has you using spells from a distance. The Barbarian allows you to take damage as you give it. 🙂 You might like the Crusader because it’s a good combo of both play styles (although more like the Barbarian). And then, of course, there’s the Witch Doctor and Demon Hunter, which each have their own pros and cons and variations… Decisions, decisions!

      • sageturk   On   January 6, 2016 at 8:23 pm

        My personal favorite was the witch doctor – not only is it a total unique play experience but they’ve added so many unique legendaries and effects that are just a blast to play with (combining all of your pets into one giant pet is a personal favorite)

  4. Mark Norris   On   January 7, 2016 at 12:35 am

    I think there are other ways to “win” at Mormonism than by becoming a general authority. To keep with the role-playing game analogy, maybe there are different “classes” in the church, and different ways to level up, and the leveling increases different attributes, not just “leaderliness”.

    • Bob Caswell   On   January 7, 2016 at 12:55 am

      Maybe… I guess I thought I had that covered by the fact that everyone has a chance at leveling up in prep for their spot in the Celestial Kingdom (as long as you check all the right boxes, are married, and endure to the end with all that). And those longterm level ups are nice too because they do translate to some help for your “leaderliness” earthly leveling too.
      And even if there are different classes and attributes you level up for in this life… what would those be other than stuff that increases your power and influence (“leaderliness” being just a rough proxy for that, although the Church gets creative with how it wants everyone to think we’re all leveling up even when passing out hymn books)?

      • Mark Norris   On   January 15, 2016 at 12:49 am

        I think plenty of people feel like a sense of satisfaction with their Mormon lives, even without having attained power or influence. At least in my experience, Mormonism wasn’t about Machiavellian power struggles or dominating other people–well, for some people I suppose it was. But for most of the people I knew it was about having a supportive community and a place to raise your kids with good values. If at the end of your life your “highest” calling was hymnal-passer-outer, I still think people died feeling like they had “won”, that is, earned enough “life points” or whatever to break into their personal leaderboard of life satisfaction. That’s what I mean.

      • Bob Caswell   On   January 15, 2016 at 5:22 am

        I guess I’m surprised by the word “most” just because that would imply that the Church systematically facilitates a supportive community and a place to raise your kids with good values… all without guilt and anxiety, just to mention the tip of the iceberg that is the consequence of Mormon theology. I think those positive aspects are obtained by some members but rarely without the high cost that is the expected daily grind of eternal progression, even in the littlest things.

      • Mark Norris   On   January 15, 2016 at 5:39 am

        Of course there is that grind, even if you aren’t playing the General Authority class. To quote the Savior, “I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.”

  5. Mark Hansen   On   January 7, 2016 at 3:32 am

    So funny to compare it to Mormonism. I played Diablo 1 2 and 3. But I got a lot more competitively into Starcraft.
    For a comparison to Mormonism and other religions I was thinking You say Diablo is the one true game. I say it is Starcraft. Others say it is halo. So even though you may be in the top of Diablo, you are playing the wrong game and it is all for naught. Don’t be beguiled. I know the one true game is Starcraft because of the way I feel when I play that game.
    So some people might be spending all their time on halo for nothing because obviously the one true game must have been made by blizzard. So we can at least agree we are both on the same track.
    Now you have been given the opportunity to know the truth. Will you play about it brother?

    • Bob Caswell   On   January 7, 2016 at 3:54 am

      Hahaha, love it! But what if I told you my name was in the credits of StarCraft? Bow before me!
      I love StarCraft, the only game that I loved so much so as to break that mission rule. 🙂 StarCraft competitiveness is serious business at a whole ‘nother level.

      • Ryan Gregson   On   January 7, 2016 at 6:59 pm

        Whoah, you got Starcraft time into your mission? that can’t be easy to pull off!

      • Bob Caswell   On   January 7, 2016 at 9:22 pm

        In my defense… only on p-days! And I was already there, at the Internet cafe, to send off my weekly emails, so why not stay an extra hour or two? 🙂

  6. Krystal   On   January 7, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Grats on making the list! I’m not a gamer per se, but I’ve been known to declare that World of Warcraft saved my marriage. And I may or may not have used WoW to explain gospel principles to my kids on more than one occasion (they also have played since Vanilla). And it is so very wonderful to no longer feel guilt when I log in and see 297 days played on my main character–no longer anticipating judgment (yay atheism) for time spent on that particular recreational activity.

    • Bob Caswell   On   January 7, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      I would love to hear more of your story… I like how you start your comment with “I’m not a gamer” and then end it with “297 days played.” 🙂

    • Heather Craw   On   January 7, 2016 at 11:38 pm

      Zomg! WoW for the win! I played a Mage on Draenor from the Vanilla release. Spent terrifying amounts of time in a hard core raiding guild. I played on and off through Pandaria. Started bc I wanted to spend more time with my husband.

      • Krystal   On   January 8, 2016 at 1:20 am

        That’s exactly why I started. I nearly quit before I hit level 20. I played a hunter at the end of Vanilla and through BC, but then I switched to a shadow priest and loved her to pieces. I raided in a top guild on my server for a bit, but I haven’t raided regularly since Cataclysm because I just couldn’t commit to 4 nights a week with other demands.

      • Heather Craw   On   January 8, 2016 at 1:24 am

        Would I even dare look at my time played? It wouldn’t rival my time in church, but it might be a gut punch.

  7. Golfnut   On   January 7, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    This was a great minisode! I myself have played many hours on my barb and crusader, and I have to say that I will probably never look at this game the same way again!
    To be honest, I was really ready for you to declare Deckard Cain as the Diablo prophet. It just reminds me of how our characters are these crazy killing machines that just do everything Deckard tells us to do. We just follow him around without question! Not that Mormons are crazy killing machines, but you get what I’m saying…Anyway, great job, looking forward to more of these.

  8. moonkid   On   January 7, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    lol this killed me, I wasn’t aloud to play Diablo as a kid
    I love your comparison, a lot of Mormons feel video games a worthless
    or a bad use of valuable time. I think are time has meaning and what ever we spend it on will have some value for us.

    • Thaumaturgy   On   February 11, 2016 at 11:38 pm

      One of the first realisations that came as I found Mormonism is not true is that my gaming was “just as meaningful” as my baptisms on mission, for example. AKA, it is as meaningful as we make it.

  9. Randy_Snyder   On   January 8, 2016 at 4:25 am

    So this is where the neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerds come to gather and share war stories. Observing them in their natural habitat. 😉

  10. Thaumaturgy   On   February 11, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    Totally geeked out on this episode.
    Actually if you get the Templar follower and play through the campaign, (I played as Wizard, he seems to say the right things), there are dialogue options and you can have an extended conversation with the Templar about his “order” that he comes from. It turns out that you guide him through a crisis of faith about his religion. In the expansion storyline you go with him to defeat the head of the Templar order. Basically they initiate people through whipping and torture and “mount sins on them”. Interestingly analogous to the idea of the atonement.

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