David Fitzgerald Offers a Heretic’s Guide to Mormonism

David Fitzgerald, author of Nailed, gave an eye-opening and hilarious speech about Mormonism at Skepticon and the talk is now on YouTube.

Mind you, he didn’t go out of his way to mock them. Not really. He mostly just tells facts about the faith — how Mormonism began, what Mormons believe, etc.

I would love to hear from any current or ex-Mormon if David got anything wrong, because it seemed to me like he had done his research.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Tim

    From a purely mathematic standpiont, Mormonism is less likely to be true than Christianity.  It is essentially Christianity plus a whole lot of extra claims ontop.  So for example Christians believe in the Garden of Eden existed and Mormons belive it existed in Jackson County Missouri.  So whatever the probably of the Christian’s being right the probality of the Mormons being right must be less becaus ethey make the more detailed claim.

    • Anonymous

      You can’t have something less likely than zero percent.

    • bruceb

      I couldn’t help reading your statement as, “essentially Christianity plus a whole lot of nuts on top.”

      Like a Sunday sundae.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1565330170 Katie Crombie Burgess

    I love Lucy Harris as well lol. As far as I can tell, everything he states is completely accurate…with a hint of lovely and much-appreciated wit and sarcasm. Very informative and well-presented material.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://twitter.com/Parody_Pictures Mark Aaron

    Note: there was no revelation to stop practicing mormonism. They simply stopped, saying: “from here on out we won’t practice it anymore.” meaning those who were married to multiple wives continued to do it but no new ones were allowed. It’s still on the books, no reversal from god at all. So according to D&C 132 every mormon since 1890 is going to hell. That’s why there are fundamentalist groups out there now because there was no official commandment from god saying to stop. The fundamentalists are practicing the religion as taught by Joseph Smith.

    ~Ex Mo, Happy Atheist. 

  • Rich Wilson

    I’ve never had a Jew, Christian or Muslim explain to me why they got as far as they did, and stopped, without even reading the rest of it.  It seems kind of like reading up to The Half Blood Prince, and deciding that The Deathly Hallows is non-canon.  (I’d use a vampire book example, but then I’d have to google what the names are)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=46704625 Andrew Jones

      It’s more like reading all of the Hitchiker’s guide to the Galaxy series, then declaring “And Another Thing” to be non-canon.  It’s published as a sequel, but by a different author and many fans protest.  Or like the sequel to “Gone With the Wind” that was written a few years ago, probably a better example.

      • Rich Wilson

        More like some anthology that was put together by a committee, and has at least a couple of major versions, and lots of books that for one reason or another were left out.  And another single book that was written by one person that a bunch of people say is the ‘last work’.  And yet another book written by some other single person that a few other people say is the ‘last work’.  And everybody saying their version is inspired by God.

  • Anonymous

    Exmo here. 

    There’s a lot to comment on. If you get a Mormon apologist on here, they’ll go off on “official” vs. “un-offical” doctrine; sometimes prophets speak only as men and not as a prophet; Book of Mormon people were such a small group that we’ve lost evidence of them (the Church changed the intro of the B.O.M. to describe the Lamanites as “among” the ancestors of modern native americans as opposed to the “principal” ancestors); and other weaselly excuses.

    If you want to get a more balanced view on Mormonism, I’d check out Mormonthink.com

  • https://twitter.com/shadowspeak Todd

    I grew up in northern Utah as a fifth generation mormon.  My ancestors converted in Wales around 1880, and pulled a handcart across the US to get to Utah.  Yes, mormonism really is this ridiculous, and this talk was very well done.  All of the beliefs that David covered were consistent with what I heard growing up.

    I wish that idiotic beliefs were the worst that mormonism had to offer the world instead of the  extreme racism, misogyny, and homophobia that have caused so much pain, suffering, and death.

  • http://theresedoucet.wordpress.com/ Therese Doucet

    The only one that was new to me was Cain = Bigfoot. Would love to read that story! Totally plausible that someone would have told it. I remember hearing a similar one about one of my great great great (etc) grandfathers, Marriner Wood Merrill, meeting the devil, who came into his office one day and told him to stop work on a temple he was helping to build!

    • http://twitter.com/Parody_Pictures Mark Aaron

      I remember reading that story as a kid. My dad loved it, I thought it was absurd. 

  • Rich Wilson

    Some current mormon-offshoot horror http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/11/25/bc-rcmp-child-bride-investigation.html

  • Anonymous

    What do you suppose Joseph Smith’s actual religious beliefs were?

  • Anonymous

    Growing up Mormon (left in the mid 90′s), this guy was spot on.  I liked how he didn’t go into complete detail on some things (like blood atonement).  Although I would have loved for him to have touched on the whole “calling and election made sure” or second anointing as it’s formally labeled.

  • Amanda

    Thanks for posting this.  I really wanted to see this talk when I was there, but I had to leave before it was given on Sunday.

    Learning about the Book of Abraham fraud is what finally got me to cut all ties with the church, so I’m glad that was mentioned.  Only thing David had a little wrong was the whole Garden of Eden part.  It’s true that the Mormons believe that it is in Jackson County, Missouri, but the picture he showed is of the “temple site.”  The Garden of Eden’s exact location is unknown, though there’s a place called Adam-Ondi-Ahman (not in Jackson Co, strangely enough), which is supposedly where Adam and Even went once they were kicked out of the garden.  That’s also the place where all the faithful will be called to gather, once that pesky second coming is finally upon us.

  • http://www.frommormontoatheist.blogspot.com Leia

    Ex Mormon here as well.

    I can’t believe he was able to talk about so much in just 45 min.  I think the thing that amazes me to this day is that so many of my friends and family are still Mormon. Even with so much proving the entire religion wrong.

    Everything he mentioned, except the Bigfoot thing, I had learned about growing up Mormon. (Except for the things that would prove it wrong.) I learned about how in heaven I would have sister wives and how if my future husband and I were worthy, one day we would have planets of our own. Yup, as ridiculous as it sounds, I believed it all.

    I’ve actually done baptisms for the dead, which is a two step process. You get baptized and they also ‘lay their hands upon your head’ to confirm the Holy Spirit… which is also referred to as your ‘Confirmation’. (You need both to get into heaven.)

    I had my Patriarchal blessing, which is a blessing given to you in your early teens by a higher up male member of the church called the Patriarch. It’s kinda like a fortune telling of sorts. He is getting a message from god to tell to you. I will have to look for mine, but it basically promises you happiness if you stay on the ‘straight and narrow’ or ‘hold to the iron rod’.

    I heard that they stopped doing the Blood Atonement in the Temples in the 1990′s, but I can’t be certain. Hell, I couldn’t even go to my brother’s wedding in 2008 (in a temple) because even though I was Mormon, I hadn’t paid 10% of my income to the church, so I wasn’t ‘worthy’ to enter…

    But, yeah, he summed up all the batshit craziness rather well.


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