Thursday, May 6, 2010

Interview with Leighton Allred of the Irreligiosophy podcast

Confession time. I've been a fan of the Irreligiosophy podcast for a while. (That's not the confession.) As host of the Conspiracy Skeptic podcast, I try to get fellow podcasters on as guests and let them talk about their favorite conspiracy. It's a cheesy way of getting out skeptical conspiracy content and shifting the burden of research onto my guests. (Again, that's not the confession.) I wanted to get someone on to talk about the famous White Salamander Letter that caused Mormonism some embarrassment in the 1980s. Naturally, one of the hosts of Irreligiosophy would be a great guest.

One of the hosts is an MD ("Chuck") and one is an irascible, gruff, but lovable straight shooter named Leighton. I thought Chuck, being the educated MD, would be the natural star of the show and when Irreligiosophy really took off people would be focusing on him. But my instinct was Leighton probably had some way more interesting stories to tell. So I emailed Leighton to ask him to be a guest. Much to my horror, I accidentally emailed the doctor, Chuck. I kinda got them mixed up.

Chuck (a professional, a husband, and a father) graciously agreed to give up some of his Sunday to be a guest (and he gave up a lot of his personal time to thoroughly research the show's topic). I could hardly say "oh ummmm, actually, I meant the guy behind you." Hey, who of us hasn't been at our locker, saw the cute girl noticing us, only to discover she was eyeing the sex ape hockey player behind you? (If you're not Canadian, change hockey player to football player or soccer player or star batsman for you high school cricket team or jai alai pelota hurler or whatever.) Anyway, it was a super fantastic show and my mistake was my listeners' gain. But I've regretted my error in not getting a chance to showcase Leighton. Well, I do have Leighton in the pipeline as a future Conspiracy Skeptic guest, you'll be glad to know, but I try to keep Conspiracy Skeptic to under 2.5 hours of rambling and talking about leggy Korean women and kitchen appliances. I thought a blog interview right here on Skeptical Review would be a great platform. I can ask long rambling questions and not mumble a single word and Leighton can answer in full. And did he ever. I humbly lay the amazing words of Leighton before your feet, gentle readers. Enjoy!

(And in case you missed it, wanting to get Leighton and not Chuck as my initial Conspiracy Skeptic podcast was my confession. Oh and Leighton was kind enough to send me a whack of photos. I'm going to include some below. Lots of times we only know podcasters as a voice and maybe a small head shot. Or a small blurry head shot. So it's great Leighton provided a great sampling from his life.)

My feeling is Irreligiosophy took the skeptical podcasting world by storm. Were you much involved in the skeptical culture before your podcast? Were you prepared for suddenly having an eclectic and sometimes dorky fan base come out of nowhere?

Huh, seems you have quite the opinion of what we do. Probably quite a bit higher than our own. I actually didn’t even know there was such a thing as a skeptical culture. Just wasn’t something I sat and thought about or even bothered to look into. I’m the sort who figures if it isn’t something affecting me at the moment I have no reason to look into it. Kind of a backwards sort of way of thinking for someone who would do a skeptical podcast, but what can I say?

I wouldn’t say I was unprepared for a “dorky” fan base. After all, I do deal with Charley on a regular basis and he forced me to sit down and watch Babylon 5 with him. To this day we still haven’t made it through all the seasons, but that first captain with the eyebrows made me want to punch him in the face every time I saw him. I think the thing I was most unprepared for was when I was first asked to sign an autograph. I couldn’t help but sit there and think, “Why would you possibly want that?” Good for what ails you, I guess.

Truth be told, there’s no getting around it; in my heart I’m a dork myself. Hell, I wrote a four hundred page fantasy novel when I was sixteen. I’m a 3D modeling and animation instructor, a web developer, and an electronics tech moving towards a degree in both electronics and electromechanical engineering. I’m about as big of a dork as they come, but I figure you have to temper the dork side with some wildness. There’s no point in reading about adventure if you’re not willing to go out there and try it yourself. By the way, when I build my robot and take over the world you will all bow down to me.

You don't have a typical skeptical podcaster pedigree, which (if I can generalize from my own life) usually involves a lot of inconsequential schooling and not a lot of experience with women. Would you mind detailing the rough-and-tumble, two-fisted, cigar-chomping, romantic Babylon life you've led pre-podcasting days? Like, you're pretty much freakin' Wolverine, in my books. Yes?

Oddly enough, my rough and tumble days started when I was in the fourth grade. Two things of significance happened then which changed me from the lackadaisical kid I was. The summer before the fourth grade my parents moved us up into Rose Canyon because our house up in Park City was too small to fit thirteen boys and six girls. When we got up there we were all required to help build what finally turned into a 6,500 square foot home with acreage behind for the horses, cows, goats, etc. My brothers and sisters weren’t exactly much for dependability so the majority of the responsibility of taking care of the animals and milking them fell to my shoulders. There was a stream behind our place that formed a small lake and the animals would get their water from this, but winter was cold up there and it would freeze over. I was the one required to smash holes in it with a forty pound pry-bar.

Our first winter there I had done this dozens of times and one day I was out there irritated as hell that with a family my size I was the one who was always doing this shit. With the snow covering everything and my anger burning inside me I didn’t realize I wasn’t standing on the banks. I was smashing the ice as quick as I could so I could go play and the ice shattered beneath my feet. I sunk a few inches before meeting mud and just like a slide I shot under the ice sheet feet first. That lake was always murky so even with my eyes open I couldn’t see anything, but I swam as best I could back to where I thought the hole was. I was so turned around I didn’t realize I was swimming the wrong way. I was sucking water by the time the current had pushed me to the drain pipe where the moving water kept the ice thin and I was able to burst out. Wet and cold I trundled off to the house for a warm shower.

Towards the end of that winter I was making my way back to class from the playground when my brother Tracy was sitting around with a bunch of friends. He figured he would show off to them by picking a fight with me. It worked. I got my ass handed to me and was forced to eat it with his and his friend’s mocking laughter trailing after each of my failed attempts to fight back. Up to that point I had never been in a fight before. Hell, I’d been raised to walk away from a fight and be the “bigger man”. I was furious and ashamed with myself for not even being able to land a single punch.

It’s somewhat fascinating how two experiences can coincide with one another and change you entirely. I kept thinking back to the ice and how my life never did flash before my eyes. There was only the most basic of things occurring; fear, cold, pain, suffocation, panic, and excitement/relief as I crawled out coughing up water. This was my first taste of death and as twisted as it is there was a thrill to it. My fight with Tracy enraged me so much that I swore to myself if I ever got into a fight again and lost it wasn’t going to be because I was unprepared. I began to exercise in secret and to this day I despise exercising in front of anyone because it would give them the opportunity to gauge my current physical prowess. Kind of silly, but I figure if I’m ever going to fight you you’re not going to know what I’m capable of.

I combined the thrill of experiencing death with my exercise routine by taking off up to the mountain next to the one where my house was. There was a volcanic cliff there which I would run up to, freehand climb the face of it, and then trot back down the mountain to finish off the workout. Fell off that son of a bitch three times. One I only bounced a few times before landing in a sage brush and the other two I was at the top and lost a fingernail or two stopping myself from hitting the ground. A couple years later a man moved into the neighborhood named Jim Siniscalche (No idea how to spell that.) who wanted to open up his own dojo, but didn’t have the money so he started training me and a few of the neighborhood kids to keep his skills up. I learned bits and pieces of Aikido, Filipino stick fighting, Jujitsu, etc. from him and he only fed my love of a good fight. I spent years training under him and privately on my own, and by the time I was in high school I weighed more than two hundred pounds and was exercising/training on average six hours a day.

During all of this things were getting rough at home. My adopted brothers were becoming more bold with their hatred for those of us they deemed the “natural children” and my parents. They believed there was prejudice in the home and the “natural children” were being treated better. Talk of sneaking up into my parents bedroom when they slept and slitting their throats was pretty common and to protect themselves my parents began locking their bedroom door. My mom would never admit it, but I noticed more than a few times her “stick” beside her bed, this stick little more than a rubber pipe filled with sand. When things started heating up I was a bit concerned for her and taught her how to hold her weapon, how to strike the skull so the eye will pop out of the socket, the sensitive parts of the human body, etc. This was also when my adopted brothers and sisters began ganging up on those of the adopted who weren’t readily involved in the “prejudice war” they were waging. On almost a nightly basis I would have a knock on my door with one of my brothers asking to sleep in with me because they were afraid of what was going on. Jerry was one of them. He’s one of my regrets. A few years ago he was stabbed to death and now I wonder if he would have been better prepared or chosen a different life had I taken him under my wing. I digress, some years later, I actually found out my older “natural” brothers and sisters fled the house as quickly as they were able with one of them actually joining the military to get away.

As time went by the house emptied of the hostiles and I graduated high school. My plan was to become a doctor and so I enrolled in college, but during the second semester I dropped out due to my grandfather’s advice. I didn’t have any money and so for Father’s Day I wrote my dad a story. He loved it, brought it to my grandfather, and then I was brought in for a discussion. My grandpa asked me if I wanted to be a writer and I informed him it was one of my aspirations. He told me that if you filled a football stadium with all of those who wanted to be writers only one would be able to stand out. He said the difference was this man had experienced life before he had attempted to write about it. This ate at me and I realized becoming a doctor would sap years from me. I dropped my courses and started figuring out ways to expand my sphere of travel.

I’ll admit it was tentative at first. I was moving into waters I hadn’t even considered before and so my trips were quick ones up until I took on raising my adopted sister’s kids. Due to her drug abuse the state was going to put her kids up for adoption. Knowing the abuse my brothers and sisters had gone through before getting adopted by my parents I took over the care of Kylee (3) and Kendall (4). Earned myself the nickname the "InstaDaddy"; all the kids with none of the fun. I raised them for just under a year when their mother’s social worker discovered the kids were no longer with her and cut her funding. She showed up at the door with some of my adopted brothers and their gang-banger friends as backup. These were the same brothers who had been in prison for drive-bys, robbery, assaulting police officers, etc. Not about to give the kids up without a fight, while my sister and the others were distracted I had my mom sneak the kids out the back and get everyone out of there. I strapped my pistol to my hip, loaded my shotgun and my rifle, and dug in ready for the worst. They eventually left without a fight, but for the next couple weeks, until my trip down to visit Charley in Arizona, I kept a weapon close at hand.

It was when I was in Arizona, the first vacation I had had in nine months, when I got the call from my mom. The motherfucking state had never filed the paperwork declaring my sister unfit. The kids were now in her custody. There was nothing left to tie me to a piece of land. Enraged at the stupidity and futility of it all I began to disappear for weeks and months. To release everything building in me and to experience the thrill of it all I would search out fights whether they were in a bar, underground fighting rings, or even assholes on the streets. What did anything matter when at any moment a paper pushing sonuvabitch can take away what you care about?

After that things started getting interesting. I fell in love for the first time while I was living in Italy. Those sad, brown eyes were like nothing I had ever seen. Watching her disappear was the hardest thing I had done up to that point. In Ilo Ilo I was wandering through the slums when a fella jumped up and tried to mug me with a knife. He didn’t much like it when I started laughing at him. He took a swipe at me, I wasn’t fast enough to push the knife away and now I have a scar in my right thigh. For right or wrong my anger solved the rest of that situation. In Boracay I had the pleasure of swimming with sharks and dining with prostitutes. Lovely ladies except for one. Next time you run across a woman such as this strike up a conversation. You’d be surprised at what you can discover. In Alaska I was nearly stepped on by a moose because I was asleep in a field and I pet a black bear in Canada while he was eating a log. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Your comparison with Wolverine had me chuckling. I’ll admit to an affinity for his personality and I do like to chomp me a cigar from time to time, but those are mostly for celebration like after running with the bulls in Pamplona and when I’m in one of my moods. I’d probably light one up more often if it didn’t affect my endurance so much. God, they are nice though. There is one glaring difference between Wolverine and I; he fights hundreds of people at a time and the most I’ve ever taken on was little more than thirty or so gangbangers. Of course, that doesn’t really even count. It was a bit unfair because I was wearing my armored motorcycle jacket and gloves. Kind of defeats the purpose of hitting me in the back with a chair if the armor’s going to take the brunt of it.

Kind of a comical story. I had stopped in a gas station parking lot to take a woman for a ride. When we were climbing onto the bike I heard a commotion behind me and turned around just in time to see some kid walk out of the Jack (Ecoli) in a Box and scream, “Now you have to leave me alone because my dad’s here.” Just behind him was this older fella and this sort of egging on was a bit too much for the crowd. They swarmed this kid and his dad. Just a note to all you dumbasses out there; if you’re looking to be left alone don’t entice the crowd by taunting them.

At any rate, I told the woman to stay with the bike and dived into the fray. I was able to tackle those around the kid and he and his dad took off to the inside of the Jack in the Box with the crowd hot on their heels. I made my way in just in time to find the kid cowering on the ground with one in the crowd about to smash him with those metal chairs Jack in the Box likes so much. While I was snatching the chair away I was distracted by taking a chair to the back and by the time my attention was turned back to the kid and his dad I watched the dad take a hit to the face and fall to the floor unconscious. They weren’t exactly stopping the beating after he went lax so I charged across the room and knocked them away before pounding on the employee door. If you want to see a truly surprised expression have a little island girl open up the door a crack, kick it open, and toss an unconscious man at her before slamming the door closed again. I circled the corner just in time to see the kid go down on his hands and knees. Knocking a few off of him, I grabbed him by his shirt and pants and chucked him headfirst over the pay counter. I still feel sorry for those girls working behind there. They had no idea what to do or what was going on. I don’t know when the security guard got involved, but he joined me in front of the counter keeping the group back until the cops showed up and they all scattered. All in all I walked away unscathed, but when I got back to the girl she had a big ole fat lip. She tried to charge in after me and someone punched her in the face.

Speaking of women, I think you sell yourself short there, Karl. I’ve only seen that blurry picture of yours, but you look like an attractive sort of fella and you’re obviously intelligent. Shouldn’t be too difficult for you. We'll go out for some drinks sometime and see what we can rustle up.

The way I see things, women are bits of heaven and hell all tied into one, but goddamn if they aren’t worth it. My background with women is a bit dark in places and bright in others. I’ve had the opportunity to get married six times, but never went through with it. Five of the women have asked me to marry them and two of them I asked, and yes I can count. One asked me and then later I asked her. Each of these ended in their own way. Some lies, some cheating, some me, and a death. The last of these is the hardest to deal with. The anguish and fury envelop you so fully it lasts for years. Pain spreads from you like a disease. You don’t ever really get over it.

Up until a couple of years ago my family was convinced I was gay. Most of the women I dealt with were from different states or countries and I saw no reason to involve my family in that part of my life. I’ve only ever really brought one woman around my family, but that was more because her sister was married to my cousin. My mother was sitting around her sister’s baby shower talking about how her youngest son needed to find a good woman to settle down with and this girl informed her that she and I were seeing one another. Up to that point my family had actually sat down to discuss my “gayness”(I’m not supposed to know about this meeting.), and the vast majority of them were convinced I was gay because they never saw me with a woman nor did they hear me talking about one. My brother’s wife stuck up for me though. She told everyone about how I had stayed over at their place and she had accidentally caught me up very late at night watching a dirty movie. I always wondered why all of a sudden they canceled their Cinemax subscription.

You have a co-host named Chuck. Could you tell us a bit more about your co-host and any peculiarities you've noticed about him, in and out of a locker-room?

Charley entertains the hell out of me. He married young and is more loyal than the majority I’ve known. I’d say he and I are cut from the same cloth even though he likes to try and shush me on the podcast. Some of the comments that come out of him are just as bad if not worse than anything I’ve ever said. He even has a healthy disregard for his own life even though he disparages me for my lack of caring. A bit back he took a header on his mountain bike and came up with a nice wound and the possibility of a broken arm. When they took him in to get it x-rayed he refused and started banging his arm against the table stating, “If it was broken could I do this?” I’ve dislocated a shoulder in the past, but it’s our goal on one of our mountain biking trips to have to wrench the other’s shoulder back into place. Despite his claims of being fat and lazy, he’s actually pretty good on a mountain bike. I feel like a monkey fucking a doorknob next to him. The one good thing is we both revel in a worthy crash.

One quirk he has is his love of watching others in pain and the hope for my death. Don’t let his whole “I’m a doctor” routine fool you. We went skiing a bit back and I crashed pretty hard wrenching my thumb in the process. It was ailing me some and while we were in the lodge for lunch he tells me he’d like to diagnose me real fast. Foolishly trusting him, I follow his instructions by pressing my thumb against my middle finger as hard as I’m able. While I’m concentrating on this he snatches my thumb and jerks it downwards. My scream of “Mother Fucker” had everyone around us staring and him walking away chuckling and saying, “Yep, you’ve got skier's thumb. Sometimes there are perks to being a doctor.”

As to his hoping for my death, my appendix burst on me and five days after I was out of surgery I got a call from him pointing out he was in town and we should go skiing. I reminded him I had just had surgery. His response, “Don’t worry, if anything pops out I’ll put it back in for you.” That day, even though I had only been skiing two or three times before, he took me up on my first black diamond wherein I accidentally did a front flip right over the top of him while he was scrambling to get the camera so he could record my crash. The day after that he took me out sledding and I’m pretty sure I got a slight concussion when I landed on my head off of the jump we built. The goddamn sonuvabitch is either actively trying to kill me or he’s hoping I destroy myself in front of him.

Take our cliff-diving expedition for example. I was in town one summer and he kept talking about this reservoir he grew up next to that was really full this year and how we should go cliff-diving. We decided to drag my brother up with us and when we got there we all noticed how dried up his “full” reservoir actually was. Deciding who should test the depth, Charley looks up at me and says, “You should go first. You don’t have a wife or kids like Troy and I so it doesn’t matter if you die.” If nothing else, you can’t deny his logic. So I jumped off, hit the water, and was instantly slammed flat-backed against the muddy bottom. After collecting myself I surfaced to their calls down about how deep it was. I told them it was about six feet deep and it was Charley’s turn. He jumped and as soon as he surfaced a warm feeling spread through me as he called up, “That’s a short six feet!” Friendly revenge has its perks.

While you're not purely a show that takes a skeptical look at Mormonism, I was glad a podcast was tackling it in both an intelligent and humorous fashion. There are a couple other skeptical Mormon podcast floating around iTunes but they're pretty dry. What makes your podcast work in such an insanely great fashion?

We don’t give a shit. What started us down this whole podcast deal is we found ourselves discussing the history, philosophy, and truth of religion. It was always a fascinating discussion and one of us pointed out that if we found it interesting others would too. We decided to make a podcast to discuss the things we had learned about religion over the years and went to work making the website and figuring out how to actually put on a podcast. We started off really rough, as anyone who’s listened to us can attest to, and we did so in a more scholarly and respectful way. We curbed a lot of our nature and we didn’t see much in the way of growth for those first few months, hence the jokes about so few fans.

It was about that time when we both decided if we didn’t see some sort of expected growth soon we were going to scrap the entire thing. Unbeknownst to the other, we both decided that since we were going to scrap it anyway we might as well stop pulling our punches, kick the scholarly research in the balls, and let a little of our personality out. In many of the podcasts Charley and I have contests to see who can say the most disturbing thing and either catch the other off guard or get the other to beg for an armistice. And mother of God it’s fun to poke our fans with a stick. For some reason you all enjoy the abuse. There’s something entirely wrong with that and you all need to have your heads looked at.

The other thing that seems to make us work is once we’ve decided on a subject we both separate and do our own research into it. In the beginning we would both do as much research into the subject as we could, both of us coming up with the same exact information in most cases and then attempting to jump in to get out what we had found. Not very productive. Now we have a system. Charley spends most of his time researching the history of whatever we’re looking into and I spend most of mine seeking out the flaws and insanity of it. It makes for a broader range of what we can cover. Well, who am I kidding? We all know I wouldn’t know how to research anything even if it was hiding up my ass and I spend a lot of my time up there.

Now, I wouldn’t exactly say we’re “insanely great”, but we’re trying. The thing that makes Charley and I work so well together is there’s no pride between us. We don’t care who came up with what or who deserves the adulation. The project comes first with whatever we’re working on. He’s the only person I can and do trust implicitly. This and it’s kind of fun to be referred to on a regular basis as the “dumb one”.

The skeptical world always seems to need the Steven Novellas of the world (cool, analytical, bending over backwards to engage obvious trolls in reasoned, polite debate). At the same time, we need our curmudgeons. Randi is the prototype but lots of people really enjoyed when the late Perry DeAngelis would get all raw-assed on something. I wouldn't call you a curmudgeon (you're too young for that label and I would guess you don't spend much time preaching from a La-z-Boy chair) but you bring a certain welcome directness and gruffness to matters of religious inanity. Any blow back, especially from the accommodationists (i.e., skeptics who think we need to reach out to religious moderates and not go all Dawkins on people's ass)?

Wow. I’m not going to, but I really should look some of those people up to figure out what in the hell you’re talking about. If they had boobs and I had half a chance I’d be more inclined to put forth the effort.

Surprisingly, much like our lack of hate mail, we don’t get much in the way of accomodationists responding to us. We’ve had maybe two or three emails since we got started disparaging us for not showing the proper respect to religion, but we’ve had double that telling us we’re grating, sexist, chauvinist, and that we’re not doing any good by behaving the way we do. To those people and the pussies who give us one star on Itunes without providing a reason for it(What’s the matter, you afraid we’re going to name an award after you?); kiss my hairy ass. We tried it the quiet, controlled, and respectful way in the beginning and it was boring as hell. If we ever go back to that I’m finding something else to spend my time on. If you don’t like it don’t listen, but for goddsake don’t sit there and try to make us into something we’re not.

I think back to when your show was nominated for some piffle podcasting award. You did a two part review of your fellow nominees, both true believer podcasts and fellow skeptical podcasts. You naturally gave the religious podcasts both barrels but I think many were surprised by part 2 where you didn't spare the lash for much loved podcasts like Dogma Free America and Reasonable Doubts. Heck, you guys even lambasted your own show with equal fervor. I interpreted this as maybe you don't seem to have a lot of patience for podcasting in general? Yes? No?

“Much loved”? How popular are those guys? I just figured they were like us and were being used by the dipshit creator of the Podcast Awards to line his pockets. Hey, look at me, look at me! If you advertise on my Podcast Awards site you’ll have people pounding down your door! All you have to do is line my company’s pockets and maybe one day, if you’re good little boys and girls, you may find yourself a winner of The People’s Choice Podcast Awards!! It’s such a paper-thin ruse I think I puked a little in my mouth. I do regret not winning though. We both had a great acceptance speech prepared.

Actually, before that award stupidity I had never even bothered to listen to a podcast. I had no clue there were so many out there. So much for my feeling special. I don’t even get a gold star for joining the herd. This all goes back to my not paying attention to something unless it enters my sphere. Sooner or later I may get around to finding one or two I like, but for right now I’m too busy to spit sideways due to going to school, working on Irreligiosophy and the other business with Charley, etc. I remember liking one of them, sorta.

Truth be told, the biggest problem we had with those up there is they were boring. As Charley pointed out several times; the worst thing you can do is not entertain your audience. My suggestion to them would be stop editing out your mistakes you balless wonders. Half of the fun for your audience, and yourselves if you have any sort of self-confidence, is catching you in a mistake and showing just how dumb you are. If you make a mistake, leave it in. Otherwise you’re dripping of pomposity. We’re all human. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.

Other than that, I’m not sure I have the experience to determine whether I have the patience for them or not. I just can’t bring myself up enough to care about checking them out.

Mormons make up a very small percentage of Christians in the USA but they seem to be leading the charge on restrictive legislation on things like gay marriage and stem cells. What's the deal there?

They’re doing God’s work. It all goes back to their belief that they’re viewed as a “peculiar”/”delightsome” people. No matter what, they need to stand up for what’s right. It’s a missionary effort in and of itself. They figure if they’re out there standing up for what they believe in than nonbelievers are going to take notice, find respect for them, and notice just how “pure” and “delightsome” they are. In this they think it will guide people to an understanding of them and thus an understanding of the one true church. This all boils down to missionary work and the salvation of their confused brothers and sisters. They just don’t see how big of an ass they’re making of themselves and since most if any of the general membership don’t have the balls to stand up to their leaders it’s going to continue.

If they win, it’s God’s work they’re doing. If they lose, it’s Satan thwarting what God truly wants and he’s bringing in the final days. Toss in there that either way you go God is teaching them something and you have a God Salad ready to be swallowed whole.

You've had an open invitation to Mormons to come on the show and discuss some of the more obvious problems with their faith, like the Book of Abraham. You did, amazingly, get your brother (who is still a practicing Mormon) on to talk. Any other chats with true believers in the pipeline?

Actually, we have plans to have on a teacher of the Elder’s Quorum. After Sean came onto the show and displayed an astonishing lack of ability to defend his own beliefs, even with Charley and I being half asleep and bored out of our skulls by the four hour conversation, we had an elder send us an email. He thought Sean did such a poor job he requested to come on the show as a guest and defend his religion. The only reason he hasn’t been on yet is we figured we had covered enough of Mormonism for a while and he’s agreed to wait a month or two before we do the session. We even asked him to find a friend to join him so he wouldn’t feel like there were two of us against little ole him.

Watch for it on the horizon. As long as he doesn’t lose his manhood we should have him on soon.

I once asked a Mormon missionary who stopped me in the streets about the White Salamander Letter and he claimed he had no clue what I was talking about. Of course, the White Salamander Letter was so Eighties. The missionary, like most, was probably 19. So that might be like asking my 18 year old nephew about C120 vs C90 audio cassette tapes. What's a good question a non-Mormon can ask a Mormon missionary in hopes of tripping him up or flustering him?

Nah, you’re asking the wrong questions. These pups have no idea about their own history because it’s the church leaders who decide what is true and useful enough to be taught to the masses. Don’t forget The Mantle is Far Far Greater Than the Intellect, “Some things that are true are not very useful.” You’ll find people who have been in the church for forty or fifty years who have no clue the papyrus for the Book of Abraham has been discovered, anything about the Kinderhook Plates, etc., etc.

I’ve been talking with a woman recently who just discovered I was an atheist with her being a devout Mormon. I pointed out the church hides things from its members and she responded by stating she already knew this. I was flabbergasted and told her she perplexed me and I couldn’t understand how she would know something like this and still blindly follow whatever is told to her. Her reply was, “If it isn’t important for my salvation it’s not worth knowing.” To that I asked her how knowing how a magnetic field works and using it to create electricity was important. After all, this isn’t important for our salvation. She had no clue by her standing behind that assertion she was condemning any knowledge gained outside of the scriptures.

For tripping up these pups you have to stick to the “t-ball” questions. A great question, one which my dad absolutely refused to answer, is, “IF God came down, and you knew without a doubt it was God, and he commanded you to kill me, would you do it?” This question is much like using a knight in chess. It traps them and either way they go they’re screwed. If they tell you its God’s command and they would, you can point out you are more morale than both them and God because you wouldn’t do the same without just cause. If they tell you they wouldn’t then they’re disobeying God and not being righteous like Nephi. If they attempt to back away by stating God wouldn’t command such a thing you have several options in the bible of God commanding people to kill their children for sacrifices and of course Nephi being order to kill Laban, “It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief...” (1 Nephi 4:13)

What's the Mormon stance on evolution? BYU seems to have no problem teaching evolution. But from your podcast it seems your own family are creationists.

Mormons by and large are creationists. BYU has been teaching evolution since the 70’s and I can guarantee there will be a slow phasing in of evolution as a truth in the years to come. Soon the church will do a PR spin and point out they’ve always believed in evolution and it’s all part of God’s plan. They’ll phase it in as soon as the older members start dying off and the younger generation starts to take root. It’s much like the Book of Abraham and John Gee’s statement about how the church doesn’t stand or fall on the Book of Abraham. They’re going to start hedging their bets and shift away from it and change everything about their beliefs and history just like they did with the Kinderhook Plates when they were rediscovered and authenticated.

The funny thing about my family is I got my dad, a staunch creationist, to admit there was overwhelming evidence for evolution, but despite this admittance he was sure God’s hand was behind it. I never responded to it, but after I was told to stop talking about religion with my family they kept going and my dad sent out an email throwing out the same creationist arguments I refuted in our first email exchange. It’s like beating your head against a goddamn wall. You’d think the blood spatter would at the very least affect things, but the majority of the time it doesn’t. As Sean’s wife said some years back, “Even if the LDS church was proven to be false I would continue to follow it because it makes me feel good.”

-- Karl


  1. Please, please, Nigel, use the "more" tag to shorten your posts.

  2. Unlike wordpress, blogger doesn't seem to make it obvious how to add a more tag. After some research:

    [!-- more --]

    But use < and > instead of [ ]. Basically it's an html comment tag with simply "more".

  3. I did some digging too. I think the jump break button does the same thing too? Good Grief, what will happen if I move to Square Space?

    Thanks for digging around Karl.

  4. Leighton turned out to be the biggest loser on the planet. He hung Chuck out to dry, never taking responsibility for his work or word. From the very beginning of his former co-host position you can pick up on his contradictions whenever Chuck would bring up his personal views on each others de-conversion story. He always tried to emulate Chuck in one fashion or another, in laughter, vocabulary (which he failed bad at, and was very defensive towards Chuck for it). In one, 50 minute podcast, Leighton must have used the word "Basically" 50 times, twice in one sentence. He never had anything intelligent to say and when he tried he would either sound too much like Chuck or he was just flub the words (Pious, was pronounced Pee-ous by Leighton numerous times) He said he studied History and it's the main reason he became an atheist, then how could he Not know Martin Luther was from Germany? He was a key figure in the Reformation in the 16th century. Pee-ous, seriously Leighton? My gut told me from day one of that podcast, that Leighton only claims to be an atheist because he has serious Daddy issues and that he's never really known his Mormon upbringing because he "slept" during his studies. The man is a misogynistic, egotistical, self diluted Moron.

  5. Btw Leighton, you don't "Trundle" on a horse. Horses can't Trundle because they have legs, not wheels. You see, this is a small example of what I'm talking about. He thinks he's so smart when in actuality he's an imbecile. Tell me, you (the reader) are not exhausted reading that narcissists' diatribe on just how 'cool' his life is. The grandiose explaining of his "physical prowess", his bragging on how strong he is in a brawl or how he had loaded all his guns waiting for the supposed intruders, he loves to hear himself talk. Listen to the podcasts' on iTunes, hear for yourself his hypocrisy, narcissism and especially his delusions of grandeur. Is it any wonder Chuck lost patience and dropped him. Don't let people like Leighton Allred Fool you, they're out there and are a pitiful bunch.


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