Episode 94: Pricey Pearl 11 – Articles of Faith

August 17, 2015


Episode 94: Pricey Pearl 11 – Articles of Faith

THE FINAL EPISODE OF THE PRICEY PEARL! WOOT!! Basically what happens is that we learn about the checklist of insanity that every Mormon has to swear that they believe. I think there’s only one “article of faith” that I agreed with; the rest are either weird, inexplicable, confusing, or just plain hilarious.

“Drink” Count – BYOB (technically, no drinks)


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12 Comments on “Episode 94: Pricey Pearl 11 – Articles of Faith”

  1. Alexis Says:

    “Speaking tongues, what are you gonna do? If someone wants to babble, let ’em babble. But healing you can actually test…”

    Regarding scientific studies of speaking in tongues, linguists and neurologists have studied the phenomenon and found that the phonology that people use in glossolalia tends to be pretty similar to the phonology in their native language. In addition, it doesn’t possess many features that we’d expect to see in a real language.

    One paper that everybody seems to cite is this one: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1384336?uid=3739448&uid=2&uid=3737720&uid=4&sid=21101393964267. Unfortunately you’re not going to get access to that if you aren’t some kind of scientist or professor or something, but it sounds like fun… ):

    This study: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/oct06/glossolalia.htm shows that the centers in our brain that we use for language aren’t very active while speaking in tongues. The Christian interpretation of this is that you aren’t producing language and this shows that God is speaking through you. So take that as you will.

    This is the best linguistic article I found for free: http://philosophy-religion.net/handouts/pdfs/Samarin-Pages_48-75.pdf . Pretty much details out a lot of great reasons why the ‘tongues’ that people are speaking in are not real languages.


    • Ephima Morphew Says:

      Whether fluient in toungs or not . . .

      The Trial for the chosen, more good works in heaven by our Heavenly Father
      Yes, the Mormon Bureaucracy carries on in heaven. And yes you are being watched; the gatekeepers and sacred rituals confirm each step through the mazes of heaven –– long lines for the chosen, lots of waiting, but the wait is part of the test designed to authenticate Perfect Obedience and Mormon Purity of Faith.
      There are certificates to be stamped, lists to check and examinations of faith. The trials are designed to confirm solidarity and unquestioning belief in the prophet and his hereafter in the everafter. It’s not easy to wend ones way through the many levels of celestial radiance, long queues, but for “perfect obedience,” the rewards are huge in the religion making business.


  2. Duke of Earl Grey Says:

    I hope you enjoy your vacation from the podcast while you work out logistics. When you started to explain your immediate plans for the podcast, at first I thought about all you were saying at the beginning of the episode, about how pledges to the show will keep it available in the future after you’re done, and thought for a second that THAT is what you were about to announce, THE END! After my micro heart attack, you then said you wanted to take a few weeks off. So I breathed again, thinking, “Oh, is that all? Well yeah, he’s earned it!”

    A few thoughts on some, not all, of the Articles of Faith:

    1. Yeah, we have no idea just who the Holy Ghost is. Mormon feminists will say it’s Heavenly Mother, because she has to be more than just God’s trophy wife and spirit-baby factory. A very few Mormon nutcases (relatively speaking) might say Joseph Smith was the incarnate Holy Ghost. Everyone else will say we don’t know, we don’t need to know, God obviously doesn’t want to tell us or he would have, stop asking these questions in Seminary class, you punk kid. (Incidentally, why don’t Mormons talk about Heavenly Mother? For one thing, there’s always the unsettling possibility that we don’t all necessarily share the same one…)

    4. When Mormons are taught about repentance, of course we’re told we need to make restitution if we wronged someone. But we have to grovel before God on top of that, no matter what else we need to do. The fun part is the sins that are so serious that just making restitution and telling God we’re sorry doesn’t cut it. For serious sins (mostly all the stuff involving our penises or vaginas), we also have to confess to our local Bishop. Why God can’t forgive us on his own account, I never understood from a theological standpoint, but in practicality, the church doesn’t want anyone to be claim to have been forgiven of certain sins without getting some earthly punishment first, in the form of humiliation and subjugation.

    5. You have to be called of God, and how do you know you’re called? Not because God told you in your heart you were called, that would be crazy! (Seriously, I think that would be crazy.) No, you know you’re called because some middle-aged guy with authority told you God called you, and he laid his hands on you to give you your authority. How do we know he has authority? Because he received laying on of hands from someone who received laying on of hands from someone who received laying on of hands (down the line a bit) from Joseph Smith, who received laying on of hands from Peter, James, and John, who received laying on of hands from Jesus himself, who… was a pretty decent Jewish rabbi?

    6. This one never, ever made sense. The “Primitive Church” is supposed to refer to the church set up in ancient times, not by the apostles, but by Jesus himself, as Mormons believe it. Mormons believe the church today is a reorganization of that church, just as it was set up back then, despite obvious discrepancies. The LDS church does has a number of “offices” (hierarchical ranks, I suppose) and “callings” (temporary work assignments). But most of the items in this list are not even titles we use, let alone not being listed in the Bible, necessarily.

    * Yes, there are those with the title of Apostle, and they’re also called prophets.
    * We don’t call anyone “Pastor”. The closest thing to that is a Bishop.
    * We have “teachers”, which means, in some contexts, the calling of being teacher of a certain instructional class, but in another context, those with the Priesthood office of Teacher, typically 14-year-old boys whose main responsibility is to make sure someone remembered to bring Wonder bread, and to fill up the Sacrament cups with tap water before Sunday meetings begin.
    * We don’t refer to anyone as “Evangelist”. We have missionaries, which would be the apparently analog. But no, when anyone asks for an explanation of this crazy Article of Faith, we’re told “Evangelist” refers to the LDS office of Patriarch (duh!), whose only responsibility is to give Patriarchal Blessings to teenagers. More on those later…

    7. No they don’t. Not so much anymore. There used to be glossolalia early on in the church, but now, in whatever year this is, any church member will tell you the Gift of Tongues just means that missionaries learn Spanish uncommonly fast. 10 hours a day of study for 8 weeks straight also doesn’t hurt.

    10. OK, back to Patriarchal Blessings. This is supposed to be patterned after the blessings given by Jacob (Israel) to his sons in Genesis chapter 49, Most LDS members get this blessing as teenagers. The Patriarch, some local old dude, puts his hands on each kid’s head, in a private setting with usually just their parents present, and gives them a fortune telling. No, that’s not a fair depiction. But it kind of used to be that way.

    Patriarchs used to go off prophesying all kinds of interesting things about a person’s future life. But after a hundred and fifty years of false prophecies about people living to see the Second Coming of Christ, Patriarchs have become a little more milquetoast in their pronouncements. My own Patriarchal Blessing was nothing more than a charge to prepare myself to be a missionary, and to otherwise be a profitable asset to the Corporation… I mean, profitable servant to God.

    But the cool part of the Patriarchal Blessing, which even today they still do, is to declare your lineage, that is, to tell you which tribe of Israel you belong to! I say that’s the cool part. No, it isn’t really. 99% percent of us white kids end up being the Tribe of Ephraim (myself included), who have the particular responsibility to (wait for it) be missionaries! Oh, goody. If you’re a Latino, though, you stand a good chance of being Tribe of Manasseh (who still have to be missionaries, there’s no getting out of it.) The reason Latinos are Manasseh is because the Book of Mormon said Lehi was a descendant of Manasseh, and Latinos are partly descended from American Indians, who were descended from Lamanites. Why that’s special I don’t know.

    If you’re obviously of Jewish heritage, you may be declared Tribe of Judah, but that’s assuming the Patriarch got to know you properly in his personal discussion with you prior to your warm reading (which is still better than a cold reading.) The occasional blessing will say Tribe of Gad, or Tribe of Asher, or some other nonsense, but no one really know what that’s supposed to mean. Though, according to Genesis 49:20, “Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.” I could go for some royal dainties right about now…


  3. 4blockhead Says:

    2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

    Let’s take a look at the secret temple play.

    [skip down some in the creation story]

    [Elohim, the head mormon god] Adam! Adam, where art thou?

    [enter, Adam, the first man, per Moses 2:27]

    [Adam:] I heard thy voice and hid myself, because I was naked.

    [Elohim:] Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou partaken of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, of which we commanded thee not to partake?

    [Adam:] The woman thou gavest me and commanded that she should remain with me–she gave me of the fruit of the tree, and I did eat.

    [Elohim:] Eve!

    [enter, Eve, the first woman per Moses 3:22]

    [Elohim:] What is this that thou hast done?

    [EVE:] The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

    [skip down some]

    [Elohim:] Eve, because thou hast hearkened to the voice of Satan, and hast partaken of the forbidden fruit, and given unto Adam, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children; nevertheless, thou mayest be preserved in childbearing. Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee in righteousness.

    Adam, because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife and hast partaken of the forbidden fruit, the earth shall be cursed for thy sake. Instead of producing fruits and flowers spontaneously, it shall bring forth thorns, thistles, briars, and noxious weeds to afflict and torment man; and by the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread all the days of thy life, for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

    Inasmuch as Eve was the first to eat of the forbidden fruit, if she will covenant that from this time forth she will obey your law in the Lord and will hearken unto your counsel as you hearken unto mine, and if you will covenant that from this time forth you will obey the law of Elohim, we will give unto you the law of obedience and sacrifice, and we will provide a Savior for you, whereby you may come back into our presence and with us partake of eternal life and exaltation.

    [Eve:] Adam, I now covenant to obey your law as you obey our Father.

    [Adam:] Elohim, I now covenant with thee that from this time forth I will obey thy law and keep thy commandments.

    [Elohim:] It is well, Adam.


    The head god addresses Eve the one time, with a rebuke and commandment to obey her husband. The final line doesn’t say, “Okay, Adam and Eve, it all cool; now, off with you two.

    You were onto something when you said the sexes may not be treated equally. Likewise, mormons believe in cursed lineages, the descendants of Cain were cursed with black skin, etc. There’s all kinds of exceptions to the basic rule in mormon theology. Some are predestined to be among the best (Abraham 3:23) and some are cursed (Abraham 1:27). The details are in the fine print.


  4. 4blockhead Says:

    1. The Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City believe in a non-trinitarian form of god. A cousin church, the Community of Christ, have reverted to a trinitarian god, and have been accepted into a broader council of Christian churches that includes the Quakers.

    2. addressed separately on this thread.

    3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

    There’s a big conflict with evangelical christians over whether people are saved by grace, per Ephesians 2:8-9, or per the mormon scripture that tacks on a codicil,

    [2 Nephi 25:23] For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.


    • 4blockhead Says:

      4. …Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

      The mormon god is literally checking everyone’s papers at the gates of the mormon heaven. You may have heard that mormons engage in baptism for the dead. parody billboard, but true…Hitler and Anne Frank were post-humously baptized. credit reddit user caulk_blocker

      5. …by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, […] and administer in the ordinances thereof.

      The “keys to the kingdom” are literally passed from one person to another. Some mormons will trace their “line of authority” from whoever gave it to them back in time to the original baptisms/ordinations claimed by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, per Joseph Smith History, verses 71+.

      6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church…

      Smith’s church claims to be “restorationist.” It evolved over the first 14 years while he was alive to go from trinitarianism to complex polytheism. By 1844, his perfect restoration of all things included old testament style polygyny. (And non-scriptural polyandry in secret.) Many early mormons believed Jesus Christ himself was a polygamist.

      7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

      Persisted from the Kirtland era to the Deseret/Utah era. Smith’s first church in New York merged with Sidney Rigdon’s church in 1831. That merger produced a mystical version of mormonism with visions, supposed healings, and speaking in tongues, or in the pure Adamic Language, per Moses 6:6.

      8. …the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

      It’s literally true. The Book of Mormon is the “keystone” of the religion. It accepts the bible, with the caveat, then adds Smith’s fan fiction on top of the narrative, assuming that the whole produces a consistent timeline. See also D&C 77 and the timeline at lds.org

      9. …He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

      Mormons believe in modern prophets. The various schisms have created a situation where multiple men claim to be the one holding the keys to prophecy. The leadership of the mainstream Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City have taken it to the next level and believe their prophet can weigh in on any early matter whatsoever, including scientific theory. No advanced degrees in physics are required to give the nature of the universe, etc.

      10. …that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

      D&C 130:9 addresses the second part, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

      About the gathering of the Saints to Missouri in the first part, mormons believe the New Jerusalem will be built on a temple lot in Independence, Missouri. Mitt Romney understands mormon theology very well. He was just a little too eager to tell an Iowa radio show host while on the campaign trail in 2012. If the 47% remark hadn’t sunk his campaign, his millenialist religious view likely would have.


    • 4blockhead Says:

      11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

      Probably, the most important Article of Faith, in my opinion. If mormons lived their religion, then their children would be free to choose for themselves which church to attend. Instead of that these scriptures hammer home the point that children should be indoctrinated from birth:

      Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

      And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the Living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.

      Children are free to choose, in theory only, and not in actual practice.

      12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

      Except when they don’t. They tricked the United States into admitting Utah into the union on the promise that they were done with polygamy. When polygamy continued, the United States had second thoughts, especially about seating mormons in the United States Senate. They held a long hearing to decide whether to seat Reed Smoot in 1904. The president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was forced to testify. The Salt Lake Tribune made some hay reprinting the testimony, including in 1910. See Smith’s Dishonor Joseph F. Smith said that he personally may have not always obeyed the law and preferred to take his chances about getting arrested for engaging in new polygamist marriages and having 5 new polygamist wives bear 11 offspring. The same article has the name and shame of polygamists who married new wives after 1890. Note that Miles P. Romney (highlighted) is a direct anscestor of Mitt Romney.


  5. Yarjka Says:

    One fun fact about the Articles of Faith: primary children memorize these at church, there’s even a song for each one (although the only one that’s catchy enough to remember is the fourth one: https://www.lds.org/music/library/childrens-songbook/the-fourth-article-of-faith?lang=eng).


  6. Nate Says:

    Roman! Roman! Roman!


  7. Spanner Says:

    I remember having to do a fricking embroidery sampler using the Articles of Faith as a Mia Maid. Oh what fun.


  8. help3434 Says:

    For Mormons today speaking in tongues means being able to speak other langues, especially for missionaries going on foreign language missions, not babbling like a Pentecostal.


  9. Tina Says:

    A few miscellaneous thoughts…
    2. LDS use this one to pat themselves on the back about not believing in Original Sin, like those wayward Catholics. It’s all kind of silly, since the entire Garden of Eden story really doesn’t make sense anyway.

    3. Re: atonement. Here’s the analogy that LDS members love… Suppose you’re a kid who wants to buy a bicycle, but it costs $100, and you only have saved up $80. Jesus “atones” for the difference by forking out the extra $20. I.e., we all come up short when trying to make it to heaven, but if we put in all our effort, Jesus comes along and makes up the difference through his suffering. It makes little logical sense, but it’s probably the most common metaphor I’ve heard for trying to embrace both the theology of works (putting in your own savings) and grace (having Jesus make up the difference).

    6. As Duke pointed out, some of these titles are not currently in use. (Evangelist is taken to mean “missionary.”) John Taylor (third LDS prophet) was actually the LDS Pastor in Toronto in his earlier years. We actually used to have Pastors as the heads of congregations with Bishops in charge of the finances, according to my RLDS friend. (The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints broke off and followed Joseph Smith’s son, JS III, rather than following Brigham Young. I find the RLDS – now called the Community of Christ – know their church history *WAY* better than most LDS.) He said that when Young started organizing people to head West, he combined the two roles b/c it made sense to have the person overseeing people’s spiritual needs also overseeing the temporal needs of the emigrants. That’s debatable, but so it was, and now we just use the title “Bishop” for the combined role. Of course, there is no way of knowing how (or even if) Jesus ever really “organized” his personnel. It’s kind of a ridiculous concept when you realize that Jesus was, first and foremost, an itinerant preacher, not a CEO or even the head of HR.

    11. My personal fave. Just wish more LDS would adhere to it. Atheism and agnosticism should also be implicitly included.

    12. I know it’s your fave, but it can be fraught with problems, as 4blockhead says. On one hand, today’s LDS make great CIA operatives on account of a strong belief in obedience to authority and patriotism. Two of the lead developers of the US’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” (AKA torture) were LDS. On the flip side, there were those decades in the late 1800s and early 1900s when we practiced polygamy even though we even sent the President/Prophet to Congress to falsely testify that we had given it up. “Lying for the Lord” (or “plausible deniability”) generally trumps adherence to laws you feel violate your moral compass. That’s why you’ll find plenty of LDS who agree w/county clerks who refuse to issue gay marriage licenses.

    Finally, according to LDS theology, here are the three worst sins (in order): (3) sexual hanky panky; (2) murder; (1) denying the Holy Ghost. How in the world consensual sexual indiscretions can beat out kidnapping, torture, etc. is anyone’s guess. And there are various descriptions of what it means to “deny the Holy Ghost.” Some say that you can only commit such a sin if you have had a personal witness of Jesus (i.e., seen him personally), so don’t worry about it. Others say if you were baptized, especially if you took oaths in the temple, and then leave the Church, then you are denying the Holy Ghost and are a “Son of Perdition.” However, without a good definition, it just sounds like this ominous, vague notion. I know plenty of apostates, and not one of them is concerned about it. However, it certainly causes heartache for their believing family members (usually parents) who worry that their kids may be eternally irredeemable. Again, it makes no sense if another LDS tenet is that Jesus’ atonement is infinite.


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