72: Where Science and Mormonism Collide

Clay chats with Emily, Becky, and Jason about the scientifically testable claims made by Mormonism and other Christian denominations.



  1. Vince Boothe

    Ok this show was interesting but the science study quotes about genetic disposition for secure preference was pathetic, lacked confidence and skipped around.

    Reply Jun 21, 2014 @ 23:39:04
    • Heather C.

      Glad you found it interesting, Vince. Try to keep in mind that these are basically casual conversations we do in our free time as a hobby. We’re not a professional gig with producers who spend weeks refining outlines and making cue cards. We all have families, jobs, and busy lives outside the podcast. So all we really have time to do (or even want to do) is pull together a list of talking points and then run with them. Pull together any group of people for a casual conversation and there will be ebbs and flows… lively parts and parts that skip around. I dare say you’ll find them in any episode we release. That said, thanks for the feedback and thanks for listening. We hope other episodes do a better job of striking your fancy.

      Reply Jun 23, 2014 @ 08:44:09
  2. Vince Boothe

    Yes, I think I was too harsh. You guys raise interesting points. I just think some folks listening to this may mistake it for an academic presentation rather than thoughtful musings.

    Reply Jun 23, 2014 @ 08:47:11
    • Heather C.

      That’s a fair criticism. Maybe I’ll rewrite the description to point out that they’re having a casual conversation. Or maybe I’ll even steal your “thoughtful musings” verbiage. ;^)

      Reply Jun 23, 2014 @ 09:40:14
  3. CBlox

    by far my favorite podcast from Mormon Expositor. Im interested in finding the relief society quote that was the impetus for this particular podcast.
    any chance i could see that?

    Reply Jun 25, 2014 @ 17:51:11
    • Clay

      CBlox. Thanks for listening.
      Below is a link to the relief society lesson.

      “So far as the philosophy and wisdom of the world are concerned, they mean nothing unless they conform to the revealed word of God. Any doctrine, whether it comes in the name of religion, science, philosophy, or whatever it may be, if it is in conflict with the revealed word of the Lord, will fail. It may appear plausible. It may be put before you in language that appeals and which you may not be able to answer. It may appear to be established by evidence that you cannot controvert, but all you need to do is to abide your time. Time will level all things. You will find that every doctrine, every principle, no matter how universally believed, if it is not in accord with the divine word of the Lord to his servants, will perish. Nor is it necessary for us to try to stretch the word of the Lord in a vain attempt to make it conform to these theories and teachings. The word of the Lord shall not pass away unfulfilled, but these false doctrines and theories will all fail. Truth, and only truth, will remain when all else has perished.”


      Reply Jul 03, 2014 @ 14:54:28
  4. Chris

    I’m just now listening to this podcast (I know, I’m a little behind). I liked the brief discussion about the phrase ‘Philosophies of men mingled with scripture.’ I’ve been fascinated by this phrase recently. I think Clay hits the nail directly on the head when he said that the entire LDS canon is philosophies of men mingled with scripture.

    I’d go one step further though and ask, What is scripture if not philosophies of men? I think most Mormons would even have to agree with this. Doctrinally, the prophets aren’t perfect, and the Book of Mormon even contains the caveat that its contents may contain errors of men. Throw in the fact that the Bible is already not correct according to Mormons, and you have to question why/how scripture itself is any different than philosophies of men.

    Reply Jul 03, 2014 @ 09:47:53
    • Clay

      Chris. Thanks for listening and commenting.
      I agree with your “one step further.” It seems like every time someone makes an exception to the literalism of the bible or the BoM, or the make an excuse for the translator they are essentially saying that scripture is the Philosophies of men mingled with scripture.
      It seems like Mormons have two choices:

      1) be a complete literalist (which is absurd based on objective fact)
      2) admit that their cannon and the entire religious cannon is the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.

      Thanks to Greg Rockwell that planted this phrase and its implications in my head.

      Reply Jul 03, 2014 @ 14:58:14
      • Vince Boothe

        Most people say “What a beautiful sunset!” not “What a beautiful counter clockwise rotation of the earth relative to the angle of the sun!”. It is common in cultures to take some things literally and some not … and… to mix them at will. It is not exclusive to mormons nor is anyone free from this tactic. When pressed most people will admit your exactness but find you annoying in bringing it up.

        Reply Jul 03, 2014 @ 15:47:42
        • Clay

          I can live with that label, Vince. Thanks for your feedback.

          Reply Jul 03, 2014 @ 15:54:18
          • Vince Boothe

            ah, sorry.. I didn’t mean to imply you were annoying. Just speaking generally. I am more interested in the purpose of some ideas. For example: Take away the Book of Mormon concept of short term Middle East heritage and you are left with a rich background for many Americans. A story that is only recently available to explain their past and the incredible evolution of their societies spanning ten thousand years. This can not be ignored. It helps explain a great deal about humanity.

            Jul 03, 2014 @ 16:02:43
  5. JT

    I was late showing up to this, but wanted to thank you all for an excellent discussion – enjoyed everyone’s contributions, thanks especially to Clay for his excellent moderation skills.

    I appreciated the respectfulness shown to scientifically literate members who try to navigate these obstacles to a simple faith – and also that all everyone expressed their inability to maintain belief in personal terms, rather than making blanket judgements.

    While this is a bit beside the main point, I also personally appreciated that two of you shared the fact that you have found ways to sustain (an hopefully thrive in) marriages with a believing spouse. It’s nice to know that others accomplish that – understanding at the same time that it is not the best course for everyone.

    Thanks again

    Reply Aug 08, 2014 @ 20:27:27
    • Clay

      JT, thanks for listening and taking the time to give input!

      Reply Aug 08, 2014 @ 23:38:36
  6. Matt

    Great discussion, lots of food for thought, thank you! I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I also felt that you introduced a fatal flaw right from the beginning: In the Joseph Fielding Smith Relief Society quote, you seemed to assume that every mention of “the Lord” or “the Word of the Lord” must be interpreted as being synonymous with what the church leadership says. If you take away that underlying assumption, and assume instead that the Lord and his word exist independently of the brethren and their ramblings, you suddenly have a whole new way of looking at it. And in my mind, as a religious believer, you are now truly free to accept ANY truth from ANY source, or reject ANY falsehood from ANY source. So in theory, religion and science can truly co-exist in harmony, and I am free to let the scientific method mould my view of the eternal existence around me. I can still believe the untestable, yet I can freely reject all things proven false, and I can still change my conclusions when new knowledge comes to light on any matter. I hope that makes sense. It’s 3a.m.

    Reply Jan 20, 2015 @ 03:20:31
    • Clay

      Matt, thanks for listening.
      I agree that the distinction between God’s word and prophets’ words is important. Certain LDS folk would argue that “Whether it be by my mouth or the words of the prophets it is the same,” but you would reject that and that is valid.
      Having said that I think that it gets thornier than you are stating above. Let’s take the Lord’s words… What are they? Jesus never wrote anything. God never wrote anything. All purportedly divine words come through a prophet’s hand or mouth, no? So, Matt, what are the Lord’s words? If you are saying that God’s words are just truth in general, then why do we need religion? Objective truth can be observed with science, and subjective truth comes through the filter of others (e.g., self, prophets, friends, teachers, etc), which you have said can be dismissed out of hand?
      Let me know if I am missing something or what I am not understanding.

      Reply Jan 21, 2015 @ 16:23:51

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