They Do It So You Don’t Have To

Ross Blocher and Carrie Poppy have an excellent podcast in which they try out all the skeptical things you always hear about.

In recent months, they’ve gotten ear-candled, visited a Sikh Gurdwara, and — this is impressive — gone through five months’ worth of classes in order to become official Mormons.

In Part 1, your favorite co-hosts spent more than five months learning about Mormon doctrine, taking classes with their missionaries, and attending three-hour church services before biting the bullet and asking to get baptized. In Part 2 of their Mormon journey, Ross and Carrie get dunked, receive the Holy Spirit, take vows of chastity, swear off hot drinks, and become official members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Here they are, pre-Baptism:

It’s an awesome idea — documenting the entire process and offering their skeptical takes on it. Definitely a must-listen.

You can subscribe to the free podcast via iTunes by clicking here.

Any suggestions for things they ought to try next?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://twitter.com/Pryopizm Stan Ferguson

    Is the Mormon church cool with this? If so, they are some laid back individuals.  Or are they unaware of the motives behind it?

    • http://www.facebook.com/carriepoppy Carrie Poppy

      In episode 5, we tell the missionaries about the podcast. We expected them to be very upset. What happened will probably surprise you. =)

  • Guest

    Did they lie to everyone involved or did they make their intentions known from day one?

    • Rebecca “Zeek” Essenpreis

      What I said above. Listen to the podcast.  They were SO honest. They developed good relationships with these people, and even after coming clean with them about not wanting to continue down the path, they remain friends with their elders.  Seriously. LISTEN to it.

  • Anonymous

    TThese people are sick, they should go get a homeopathic remedy at the earliest possible opportunity.

    So what, if they did lie, the whole process they went through is a shameful lie, why tell the liars that you’re lying!

    • Rebecca “Zeek” Essenpreis

       Listen to the podcast for your answers.

  • Karen

    OK, I get the questions about the integrity of posing as interested individuals.
    On the other hand, I’m listening to the podcast now…and the couple discuss points very methodically and without sarcasm.
    And entertaining.
    THANKS!

    • Paula

      Just in case someone gets confused by the term “couple”. Ross and Carrie are not a couple.

      Ross’ wife would be against that, I think  ;)

      • http://www.facebook.com/carriepoppy Carrie Poppy

        True dat.

  • Scott Van Tussenbrook

    Former/recovering Mormon here.  I can’t wait to listen to the podcast, but to those wondering if the church (or the missionaries) were cool with their being the subject of an experiment like this, my $0.02:  On my mission, we would not have thought twice about teaching/baptizing a young, friendly, enthusiastic couple like this.  (I assume they acted at least a little enthusiastic in order to make the charade last five months…)  We would have been walking on air, counting out blessings we had found such a “golden” (i.e., ready for the message) couple of “investigators” (baptismal candidates).

    The idea that someone might “go all the way” like this and get baptized — for ulterior motives — doesn’t even figure in.  Well, it might, *now,* but zero-t0-baptized in under six months is the dream, and goal, of every Mormon missionary out there.  They wouldn’t question the sincerity of two people who took all the lessons and appeared to be “into it” — on my mission we baptized people who were absolutely not sincere — I was in an iron-curtain-adjacent mission in Europe and we had a lot of baptizees who were only in it because they thought the church would be able to find them work/get them a visa in the US.  We knew it, and we baptized them anyway.

    But no, neither the Mormon church nor the missionaries involved here would be cool with this, at all.

    I love it.

    • Kurt

      I grew up around Mormons and always wanted to do this type of undercover operation, to see what “really” goes on!  In more strident days of youth, I even wanted to “convert” for a nice Mormon girl and go all the way with a Temple marriage, then document every detail for the outside world.  But I could never bring myself to hurt one person that badly (and unless I found that one secret Mormon-raised non-believer who would go along with the deception, she would be deeply hurt).

      Anyway, what you’re saying rings true.  Every missionary’s got to have a “body count” to show for your two years in the field.  They’ll baptize anyone who’s willing to be on the list for all time and eternity (or at least, it seems like an eternity when they’re knocking on your door and you’re pretending not to be home).

  • Annie

    I love their baptism jumpsuits (I’m assuming their jumpsuits)!  Can they become scientologists next?  That would be fascinating.  I look forward to listening to their podcast tomorrow.  And for those of you who are questioning, I see no moral dilemma … they appear to be acting as anthropologists here, and I look forward to hearing what they have learned. 

    • Commenter9000

      Don’t become scientologists. There’s no way to do that without giving CoS large sums of money and playing right in to their game.

    • http://twitter.com/Grikmeer Rob Grikmeer

      Isn’t it the Magical Mormon Underwear©?

      • http://hellosweetieblog.wordpress.com/ Jennie

        No. Mormon underwear is much more like long johns cut off at the knee and upper arm.

        • Kaa

          Plus, they say on the podcast that you have to tithe for about a year before they’ll give you the option of getting the underwear.

    • scramble

      In all seriousness, don’t become scientologists. They are vicious and relentless; a Cults and Religions professor at my local university does extensive research on scientologists, and must keep all his materials on university property at all times, to protect himself from lawsuits. Look what happened when Southpark made fun of Scientologists. These people do not mess around. I shudder to think what kind of harassment this couple would get if they were caught “spying” and creating negative publicity for the church. At the very least, if they choose to take on Scientology, they should do so with their eyes open. 

      By all means, though, go take the introductory Scientology test where they measure your thetans with what is essentially a potato battery…..that’s just good clean fun.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593675787 Glenn Davey

    It was an undercover operation, that both illuminated the interior of this religion, while tying up the resources of at least a few missionaries who would otherwise be off brainwashing innocent people looking for meaning in life. Nice gig.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593675787 Glenn Davey

    They even perfected creepy “filled with holy spirit” smiles :DDD

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed this podcast a lot.  I have a few Mormon friends and I know a good bit about the church and their beliefs and rituals and practices.  I’ve never been directly proselytized though and I a terrible liar/ actor so it wouldn’t get too far.  Thus I appreciated the inside look.  

    Mormons are always very nice and friendly to non believers (in my experience) but they can get nasty towards ex-mormons very quickly.  so i imagine they were non to pleased about the deception here.

  • Anonymous

    How about making up a dead relative and going to see one of the assholes who claim they can talk to the dead? I don’t know if it would be legal to record it, but I’d love to see them punk one of those exploitative pricks by letting them go on for 30 minutes about specific details of the imaginary relative and then go “Oops sorry, I just completely made that up”.

  • Anonymous

    Wow.  All I can think of is why would anyone subject themselves to that?  Clearly it is good to expose these churches for what they are but is the effort really worth it?

    • Sinfanti

      All the more reason why I appreciate their efforts.  It’s like they took one for the team.

  • Anonymous

    I follow way too many podcasts as it is, but dammit, this is just too interesting to pass up.

  • http://hellosweetieblog.wordpress.com/ Jennie

    Don’t they know that it is nearly impossible to get away from the Mormons once you join? Seriously, people like me who were born into the religion have spent serious time and effort to stop church members from trying to contact them. It’s like the mailing list you can’t get off, only in person. Even if you move, they will find you. 

    Basically, you can check out anytime, but you can never leave.

    • http://www.facebook.com/carriepoppy Carrie Poppy

      Hi Jennie. I avoided this by never giving them my real address. ;)

      • http://www.facebook.com/rossblocher Ross Blocher

        Not me. I gave them my real address and all my real info. Looking forward to a lifetime of fun with the Mormons! ;0)

        • http://hellosweetieblog.wordpress.com/ Jennie

          Haha! I’m glad you guys are aware of this issue though. I was worried you had gotten yourselves into a lifetime of stalking without knowing. They are very persistent. 

  • Reginald Selkirk

    … and — this is impressive — gone through five months’ worth of classes in order to become official Mormons.

    A waste of time. My plan is to be baptised Mormon after my death. Like the rest of you too, but you may not be aware of it.

  • Anonymous

    Wow.  What dedication.  As a former Mormon, I’ll listen to their story to see how they went about this ordeal.

  • findingdoubt

    That’s so great! I’m doing some similar work in a Pentecostal church but I’m not sure I’d want a picture of my face up like that, lol.


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