Geoff Biddulph is a convert to the Church of just over 15 years. Before joining he read a lot of anti-Mormon literature. However, it was the Spirit that converted him and helped him be open to being baptized. Since then, Geoff has read the book of Mormon more than 10 times and have read the entire Bible at least five times. He has a large library of Church-related material from which he draws upon as he writes for the Millennial Star blog—where he has contributed for nearly a decade. He his wife Cindy were married in the Denver temple nearly 11 years ago and they now have five kids. He is joining us by phone today from Denver, CO. Geoff is here to talk about an article he wrote for the Millennial Star Blog entitled, “Why Didn’t the Church Teach Me This Stuff”
During your time as an LDS blogger, how have you seen the “bloggernacle” as it is often referred to, the catalog of blogs who claim some voice in the Mormon Community, how have you seen it change during that time?
While we seek to focus on Articles that come from what would be considered more academic or scholarly, we do find articles from time to time that strike an apologetic tone and regardless of the level of scholarship, the argument presented can help those struggling to reframe their position in such a way that might help calm the stormy waters of a faith crisis. Your article entitled, Why Didn’t the Church Teach Me This Stuff, was released on November 12th, 2014. This was a response to a gospel topics essay that the Church released on Polygamy in the early church, specifically during the Kirtland and Nauvoo periods. If you could, for those that haven’t read the article, summarize what one might find in that piece, specifically the parts that have caused some stir in public discourse recently.
The Church released its gospel topics essay Around October 22nd. A google search just this morning showed a massive amount of news outlets posting articles just three days ago (from the date of this recording), so on November 11th there seemed to be this bump in interest, which makes me wonder what about this topic seems to be keeping this subject around so long?
Your article is in response to a strain of discourse that centers around some discontent or uneasiness with the Church’s release of this gospel topics article. What is that position and why did that strike as something that warranted a response?
You ask the question of the reader but I want to turn it back on you, Why didn’t the Church teach me this stuff?
It is a difficult position to respond to because you don’t want to demean what someone is feeling, that kind of hurt or shock is sometimes not so easily dismissed. So, how does your article serve to address that dissonance?
This may sound like a loaded question or one that is hard to answer in a short podcast, but if people are feeling that the church hid this from them, it begs the question, what is the role or responsibility the church has towards its members with respect to topics such as this? All the lurid details as you put it in your article?
The article concludes:
The Church did teach you stuff about even controversial topics. Perhaps you were distracted or didn’t pay attention or were not curious enough to explore on your own. You are ultimately responsible for your own learning, and you are responsible for how you respond to new information. That is what that whole “free agency” thing is all about.