68: Brandt and Richie Talk Mormon Culture

Brandt has a lighthearted conversation with Richie T from “The Cultural Hall” podcast about good and bad aspects of Mormon culture.



  1. LDSRevelations

    Interesting topic. I was was raised LDS in CA and lived elsewhere in the US but have lived in UT for the past 15 years. Point being, I have lived both in the mission field and in Zion. LDS culture in each is different for sure.

    Like Richie’s mom I was able to manage Mormonism better outside of UT. LDS culture is a huge deal and it’s good to separate the 2. But Brandt and Richie talked about the lack of appreciation for different paths in the Church as a issue of the culture and I think in this specific case it has deeper roots than that. Official teaching from the top down repeatedly sets up and reinforces a single and correlated path to follow for LDS. No surprise that those who fall outside of it struggle to feel that they have a place in not only the culture but also the faith.

    I have a niece in here early 30s who has not married and is struggling because she is not fulfilling the one and only real role given to her by the Church since birth. Now sure I get that part of this for her is that everyone wants to find someone to love and be with with. There is however a tin of additional angst piled on by the cultural expectation to be a mother and wife— and that’s not just cultural but comes from deeper doctrinal and theological places. As always there is friction where old more out-moded parts of Mormonism bump up against current realities.

    Reply Apr 23, 2014 @ 09:35:41
  2. DuzTruthMatter

    This podcast has really turned into a version on Mormon Matters light without the genius, intolerant know-it-all Dan W. Seems like when you guys stabbed John Larsen in the back and went off on your own, you have really become an arm of LDS.org. Is this the direction you want to head with Brandt M. leading the way? If so, then Mormon Expositor is a misnomer unless the only thing you are exposing is your watered down “testimonies” of which parts of mormon doctrine you can tolerate and which parts you are trying to change.

    Reply Apr 25, 2014 @ 05:58:19
    • Expositor's Heather

      Thanks for listening, Duz!

      Reply Apr 25, 2014 @ 08:43:14
    • Craig Stiles

      Have you even listened to any other Expositor episodes? If you have I don’t see how you can really think that it’s going to be all believers, all the time. But if you really can’t stand listening to Brandt, you can always skip the episodes he’s on.

      Reply Apr 25, 2014 @ 18:33:36
  3. Ben

    I don’t have any insight past their radio personalities, but having listened to Richie and Brandt discuss their views of Mormon culture here, they both seem to be liberal-Mormons. Liberal meaning they still believe most Mormon truth claims but they understand non-believer viewpoints, even sympathize with them (especially in social issues), and don’t seem to carry the weight that Mormon conformity brings to strict believers. Basically, they can openly welcome the good, acknowledge the bad, and criticize the ugly parts of Mormonism whereas traditional Mormons can’t without shaking their faith.

    When I left the church years ago, I would’ve classified myself as this definition of a liberal-Mormon. I left not because I wanted to, but because I literally couldn’t be honest about my beliefs to my auxiliary leadership and maintain my status in the church. I could’ve continued to attend each week, but much of what defines Mormonism was denied me once I “came out” against its uglier aspects. For example, there simply was no way to tell my ward leaders I’m done paying tithing because I don’t want to support Prop 8 and still keep my calling, take the sacrament, or maintain a temple recommend.

    So I implore Brandt, Richie, or any other modern-day liberal Mormons who are still active in the church, but reject the ugly parts of Mormonism; how can you remain active contributing members (in that you still pay a 10% tithe) and claim to be 100% truthful to yourself?

    Richie talks about being blind sighted on the LDS prop 8 influences, but he didn’t leave once he found out the ugly truth, and the church hasn’t changed its stance. You frown on strict Mormon homogony, yet support a church that insists those who act on their God-given homosexuality are sinning. You praise Mormonism for its support of the family, but you immediately shy away from discussing how it promotes tearing LGBT marriages apart.

    I’m calling you out, but it’s not my intent to be hostile; I’m genuinely interested in how you guys make this work. Also, if I’ve categorized you wrongly I apologize in advance and welcome any corrections.

    Reply Apr 25, 2014 @ 14:55:48
  4. DuzTruthMatter

    Yeah, I listened to about two minutes of this podcast before I wrote the comment above. And I have listened to every Mormon Expositor podcast they have made. If they were all believers all the time, I would not have made it this far to even listen to this one. I just think that if you are going to call your podcast Mormon Expositor, harkening back to the Nauvoo Expositor, you don’t put only two Kool-Aid drinkers on to basically present a Sunday School lesson. The previous episode Brandt hosted was a quorum of “home teamers” recapping the priesthood session of GC, which is ok if you only want the Cliff Notes version of what was said. I used to really look forward to the GC reviews on Mormon Expression to actually EXPOSE the BS presented as “revelation” and “prophecy”.

    Reply Apr 26, 2014 @ 05:36:16
  5. DuzTruthMatter

    For the most part, I really enjoy the Mormon Expositor episodes and I know there are other podcasts to satisfy non-believers and I don’t have to listen to any particular episode of this. But, using Brandt’s tactic with apostates, I am tolerant of what he says, I just think he’s misguided in what he chooses to believe. After all, it is 10% of his income he freely gives to make sure he doesn’t forget the handshakes.

    Reply Apr 26, 2014 @ 05:42:55
  6. Bluto

    I don’t necessarily agree with Mr. Duz’s tone above, but I think his primary criticism is valid. This episode lacked the balance and honesty I have come to expect from Brandt and the Expositor crew. It sounded a little like a couple of guys in Elder’s quorum chuckling and patting each other on the back. Clearly, disaffected members are less comfortable with this kind of self-congratulatory dialogue. Having lived in California through the Prop 8 abomination, I was disappointed at the essentially free pass given the church and the superficial skating over the seriousness of the church’s efforts. If I want to hear the sanitized, rationalized version of events, I can get that from the church PR department.

    I like the idea of exploring LDS culture, but this was more a demonstration of it (in all its hokey false self-deprecation) than an examination and discussion about it. Disparate views would have made it less maturbatory, in my view.

    Love you guys. You can do better.

    Reply Apr 26, 2014 @ 16:15:58
  7. Bluto

    TLDR; Two mormon guys talking about being mormon is like a fish talking about being wet. The lack of perspective is glaringly obvious.

    Reply Apr 26, 2014 @ 16:17:43
  8. Jay

    I really enjoy Mormon Expositor for the most part and have a particular admiration for Brandt in that he is far more open minded than many members. I do have to say though that this podcast was a hard one for me to listen to. It reminded me of Mormon Miscellanous or Mormon Matters (which are both a joke) and was not the give and take I have come to expect from the expositor crew. On a second note I never heard an answer from any of the believers about the questions asked during “the rape” podcast. I would still like to know how they feel justified in aiding the church and its missionaries when they go out to pick apart others beliefs and then see it as a crime when someone picks apart a Mormons beliefs. How do they not see this as being a bit hypocritical?

    Reply Apr 26, 2014 @ 18:28:44
  9. Abe

    Thanks for this podcast, guys. Discussions of Mormon culture are always a thrill. I think everyone draws different boundaries on it, but most people agree that it’s not especially wonderful. True, Mormons will eventually come around to talking about how Mormons help each other move and make food for each other when someone’s sick or just had a baby, but those things usually follow a longer list of really annoying aspects of Mormon life and mindset. I’ve written a few thoughts about superiority and blame (http://doubtyourdoubts.blogspot.com/2013/12/mormon-culture.html), judgement (http://doubtyourdoubts.blogspot.com/2014/01/they-judge-me-they-judge-me-not-they.html), home decor (http://doubtyourdoubts.blogspot.com/2014/01/mormon-house-tour.html), and a few other things.

    I appreciated hearing other elements of the culture you brought up. The “Mormon discount,” for example, really puts a smile on my face.

    Reply Apr 27, 2014 @ 11:55:04
  10. William Law

    I hate sounding like Rush Limbaugh but I have to add my “ditto” to the other ditto heads above. It’s like soul scrubbing with a stiff bristle brush, no soap and no water, just anointing milk.

    Reply Apr 27, 2014 @ 14:02:03
  11. Caligurl2012

    Even though I am a disaffected member (and in my faith crisis for almost 2 years), I do have to defend Brandt. I know Brandt in real-life. He is is my Ward and has been to my home – an overall good guy. When I was attending church, I loved when his Mom gave the RS lessons – liberal and open minded! Loved it! I can’t speak for Brandt, but I think the reason he does these podcasts is to help bridge us heathens to the saints and his intentions are real. I do think it is unfair to call him hypocritical though. We get angry at the church for their black and white thinking, so I think we should give everyone the opportunity to believe or not believe what they want to without labeling them or their actions. And yes, I agree….Mormon culture is painful!!

    Reply Apr 29, 2014 @ 09:39:35
  12. Jay

    Thank for your view point Caligurl2012. I am a fan of Brandt as well. You are absolutely right that the word hypocrite is probably too strong and to be honest my intent was not to offend. I really do want to know the mindset of the faithful member here. In my mind there are only three reasons why someone would call tearing down the belief LDS members a crime while at the same time condoning (and even supporting) those (Mormon Missionaries) who are tearing down others belief for the sake of Mormonism.

    I can only think of these three possible responses:

    Response 1: Yes, now that this has been pointed out to us we see that you all are correct and we were being a bit hypocritical. With this new insight we will no longer criticize others for doing something we do ourselves. We are ever so grateful for your pointing out our duplicity.

    Response 2: Yes, we know it seems that way, but we view Mormonism as far more superior to any other belief and we think it is worth it to tear down other people’s belief for the sake of providing them this vastly superior worldview. We feel equally justified in criticizing others for tearing down the beliefs of Mormons (this is not really a valid argument as the non-Mormon, scientologist, Jehovah’s witness, evangelicals, etc. can make the same claim about their position being the superior worldview and everyone starts arguing in a circle).

    Response 3: Yes we know it is “hypocritical”, but changing our view puts us on the outs with our church leaders and other TBMs and we are far more concerned with what these individuals think of us than we are in doing what is “technically” logical and right. Not unlike Lying for the Lord, we feel presenting rhetoric for the Lord is equally acceptable to defend the faith.
    Please someone help me understand!!! I’m good with any answer just please TBMs help us to see your logic.

    Reply May 01, 2014 @ 19:28:50
  13. HPMBH

    Wow, I find it kind of funny that ME puts out one pro-mormon podcast and everyone has a fit. I love Brandt and think that he provides a nice balance to all of the hate and vitrol that comes from most of the other hosts and guests. Keep up the good work Brandt.

    Reply May 22, 2014 @ 10:02:42
  14. Brooke

    What’s the song at the end? :)

    Reply Dec 28, 2016 @ 08:40:48

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