Kirby discusses an atheist Mormon kid, and gets some things right and others horribly wrong

Robert Kirby is a Mormon columnist for the SL Tribune. I have read 20 or so columns of his over the years, and some of them are really good and funny and others suffer from what I call the “straw man Mormon” argument.

The “straw man Mormon” argument is extremely common on the Bloggernacle, and it is this: invent an intolerant, holier-than-thou Mormon in your mind and then proceed to show how wrong this Mormon is. If this Mormon is wrong (which he is), then most Mormons (except for you) are wrong because in your mind this invented Mormons represents how most Mormons think. Therefore, we can assume that most Mormons are intolerant, holier-than-thou types because nobody wants to be like this (invented) Mormon.

This tactic is especially cruel because writers like Kirby will take one little characteristic that they have noticed in a few Mormons and then apply these negative characteristics to the entire Mormon population and inflate them into the dominant personality trait of all Mormons.

This Kirby column is a great example of the “straw man Mormon” argument at work. Here is Kirby’s point: if a good Mormon kid grows up and announces he is an atheist, then his very wrong Mormon parents will think the kid is lost and “going to hell” and “doomed,” etc, etc.

Kirby is of course correct that a loving God gives people lots of chances, on Earth and in the Spirit world, to change. He is also right that thinking the kid is doomed is short-sighted. He is also right that some parents probably overreact to their kids losing their testimonies.

Everybody reading this post probably knows some parents who have overreacted in this way. We could fill hundreds of pages on this blog with stories about these “wrong” parents.

But the truth is that everybody, including these parents, are human beings with nuances.

Continue reading

18 percent of Mormons approve of President Obama?

According to Gallup, 18 percent of Mormons approve of President Obama’s job performance. This is down from 43 percent right after he was elected.

Muslims and Jews both love the president.

Here are some fun charts. First, current approval ratings by religion:


Next, approval ratings by Catholics, Protestants and Mormons over time:


Last, approval ratings by Muslims and Jews over time:


Should We Get the Government Out of Marriage?

According to a recent installment at, the answer is no. Doing so would not only fail to resolve the marriage debate, but it would hasten the demise of crucial family norms. Read more at The Objection from Libertarianism. Here’s the video:

The full article:
The Facebook page:

Collecting the Sorrowful

[This post is part of a series on Joseph Smith's Polygamy. To read from the beginning or link to previously published posts, go to A Faithful Joseph.]

William Weeks drawing of Nauvoo TempleBefore Joseph’s death in the summer of 1844, over a hundred men and women had entered into plural marriages. However except for six of these couples, 1there is no indication that any of these plural marriages had been consummated.

For months after Joseph’s death, the matter of plural marriage took a back seat to succession concerns. But by September 1844, Brigham Young and the apostles had established with the majority of Joseph’s followers that they were Joseph’s rightful successors. They continued work toward completing the Nauvoo temple and began to marry the plural widows Joseph had left behind. To the chagrin of Emma Smith, the apostles gave the go ahead for men with plural wives to engage in sexual relations with these wives. Continue reading


  1. As already discussed multiple times, no child borne to a wife of Joseph Smith can be proven to have been engendered by Smith, based on DNA analysis. The six couples where a plural wife appears to have conceived before Joseph’s death are: William Clayton & Margaret Moon (Daniel born Feb 18, 1844); William Fleshaw & Charlotte Walters (Katherine born November 28, 1845); Heber C. Kimball & Sarah Peak Noon (Henry born ca. 1844, his younger sister Sarah born July 1, 1845); Joseph B. Noble & Sarah B. Alley (George born February 2, 1844); Theodore Turley & Mary Clift (Ephraim born February 11, 1845); and Lorenzo Dow Young & Harriet P. Wheeler Decker (John born September 5, 1844), from Bergera, Identifying the Earliest Mormon Polygamists, 1841-44, available online at, retrieved 7 Jul 2014.

Pres Packer’s Parable

With all the questions regarding marriage and priesthood lately, we should not be surprised to see that the Church has given us insight on such things so many years prior to things coming to a head, as they seem to be doing in the USA now.

Along with the 20 year old Proclamation on the Family, we have this classic parable from President Boyd K Packer from 1993: Continue reading