How many would drink the poison?

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Hagoth
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How many would drink the poison?

Post by Hagoth » Wed Sep 15, 2021 9:20 am

I just listened to the You Are Not So Smart podcast about Pluralistic Ignorance that wtfluff recommended. It talked a lot about the Jonestown mass suicide.

A little backstory that still makes me shudder. I was on my mission when Jonestown went down (yeah, I'm that old), and I had a conversation with someone that went something like:

Him: Would you do that? Would you kill yourself if your prophet told you to?

Me: Well, he would never do that.

Him: That's not what I asked you. Would you kill yourself if your prophet told you to?

Me: Jim Jones was not a prophet. Spencer Kimball is a true prophet of God. He only says what God tells him to say.

Him: But what I'm asking you is IF your prophet told you to do that WOULD you do it?

Me: Well... yes, I would have to. I have committed myself to following the prophet. He only says what God tells him to say, so I would really have no choice. Not obeying the prophet is the same as not obeying God. But I don't think he would ever do that.

Him: But if he did, you would?

Me: ....yes.

Imagine a (admittedly wildly unrealistic) scenario where the church had a special Christmas card delivered to every acting, tithe paying family in the church with explicit instructions to display it prominently in their living room until April conference when it would be needed for a special follow-up prophetic message. In April conference Russell Nelson gets up and announces that God has revealed to him that the end of the world is imminent. The Lord has instructed his chosen people to come together into his presence on the other side of the veil to deliver them from the horrible tribulation that awaits the wicked. "Brothers and sisters, please peel the snowflakes off your First President Christmas card and make sure that every member of your family places one in their mouth. You may have to assist the youngest and oldest members of your family. The choir will now sing The Spirit of God Like a Fire as we all partake of this sacred sacrament and cross the veil together into a new, brighter day where the Lord will welcome us into his rest and say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." Thus sayeth The Lord!" He pops a poison snowflake into his mouth and sits down with the other Brethren who are doing the same. Tears of joy all around as the brethren of the 70 pass sacrament trays full of chemical-laced snowflakes to everyone in the Conference Center.

How many members would do it?
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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alas
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by alas » Wed Sep 15, 2021 9:45 am

Hagoth wrote:
Wed Sep 15, 2021 9:20 am
I just listened to the You Are Not So Smart podcast about Pluralistic Ignorance that wtfluff recommended. It talked a lot about the Jonestown mass suicide.

A little backstory that still makes me shudder. I was on my mission when Jonestown went down (yeah, I'm that old), and I had a conversation with someone that went something like:

Him: Would you do that? Would you kill yourself if your prophet told you to?

Me: Well, he would never do that.

Him: That's not what I asked you. Would you kill yourself if your prophet told you to?

Me: Jim Jones was not a prophet. Spencer Kimball is a true prophet of God. He only says what God tells him to say.

Him: But what I'm asking you is IF your prophet told you to do that WOULD you do it?

Me: Well... yes, I would have to. I have committed myself to following the prophet. He only says what God tells him to say, so I would really have no choice. Not obeying the prophet is the same as not obeying God. But I don't think he would ever do that.

Him: But if he did, you would?

Me: ....yes.

Imagine a (admittedly wildly unrealistic) scenario where the church had a special Christmas card delivered to every acting, tithe paying family in the church with explicit instructions to display it prominently in their living room until April conference when it would be needed for a special follow-up prophetic message. In April conference Russell Nelson gets up and announces that God has revealed to him that the end of the world is imminent. The Lord has instructed his chosen people to come together into his presence on the other side of the veil to deliver them from the horrible tribulation that awaits the wicked. "Brothers and sisters, please peel the snowflakes off your First President Christmas card and make sure that every member of your family places one in their mouth. You may have to assist the youngest and oldest members of your family. The choir will now sing The Spirit of God Like a Fire as we all partake of this sacred sacrament and cross the veil together into a new, brighter day where the Lord will welcome us into his rest and say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." Thus sayeth The Lord!" He pops a poison snowflake into his mouth and sits down with the other Brethren who are doing the same. Tears of joy all around as the brethren of the 70 pass sacrament trays full of chemical-laced snowflakes to everyone in the Conference Center.

How many members would do it?
This is real scary because a lot would. In fact, I don’t want to think about it too deeply because I know too many people would be real quick to give their children poison. Could I talk my husband out of doing so?

I once had a conversation with a friend where he used a meaningless example of following the prophet when it makes no sense. He used the example of everybody being instructed to paint their car orange. Cost some money, but doesn’t seem to do any real harm, but seems like utter nonsense. He would drop everything and go paint his car orange. I said I would pray about it and the Lord knows me well enough to know that I need “why?” answered. Then if the Lord confirmed that I should go paint my car orange by helping me see a reason why, then of course I would. To him, my answer seemed like lack of faith. And to me, his answer wasn’t faith, but stupidity. His faith was in other people, while mine was in a personal God who knows me and answers prayers. I just couldn’t see how his “faith” was faith in God. It was blind faith in other people. There was no personal connection to any kind of God.

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jfro18
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by jfro18 » Wed Sep 15, 2021 10:01 am

Wow this is a scary thought and I will be using this later because it's a really great but jarring question.

I think my in-laws would... i think my wife might.

I'll never forget when I was talking to her early after finding everything out about the church and I was explaining why polygamy bothered me so much and that the church has taught that she will be 'given to another' after we die because I left the church. She said very calmly that "The only way I would enter into a polygamous marriage is if the prophet instructed me to do so."

And she said it with a tone like it would be reassuring to me... it was horrifying. When I brought it up a few months later because it stuck with me so much she said that's not what she meant and that she only meant she would then pray about it to determine if it was from God, but in no way was that what she said or meant originally.

So it makes me wonder what she would do in that situation, because I honestly don't know and that's really scary.

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Palerider
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by Palerider » Wed Sep 15, 2021 10:34 am

I brought this concept up in a HP group meeting just before I left the church. I did it with the preface of what had occurred at Mountain Meadows and how nearly everyone just followed church counsel at the time and committed a horrible atrocity.

One of the members spoke up and said that would be impossible now because we all have been taught better and we're more mature as a church now. 🙄

Everyone else was just looking down at the table and being kind of quiet like they didn't really want to go there.

Tough call.... ;)
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

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Yobispo
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by Yobispo » Wed Sep 15, 2021 12:28 pm

jfro18 wrote:
Wed Sep 15, 2021 10:01 am
Wow this is a scary thought and I will be using this later because it's a really great but jarring question.

I think my in-laws would... i think my wife might.

I'll never forget when I was talking to her early after finding everything out about the church and I was explaining why polygamy bothered me so much and that the church has taught that she will be 'given to another' after we die because I left the church. She said very calmly that "The only way I would enter into a polygamous marriage is if the prophet instructed me to do so."

And she said it with a tone like it would be reassuring to me... it was horrifying. When I brought it up a few months later because it stuck with me so much she said that's not what she meant and that she only meant she would then pray about it to determine if it was from God, but in no way was that what she said or meant originally.

So it makes me wonder what she would do in that situation, because I honestly don't know and that's really scary.
Polygamy was on my wife's "not funny" list because she hated the idea so much. But that's the point, she hated it because she believed that if she was asked she would only be considered worthy if she did it, and she knew she would comply. Deep down, many very faithful Mormons know they are required to do whatever they're told.
Another example: How many active members secretly disagree with the church's LGBT teachings, yet they don't say anything out of sheer obedience, which is all about "covenants". Remember all those people who cheered about the "long-awaited day" when blacks would be ordained? The were only cheering because they could finally say out loud what they already believed.

This organization is a master at behavior control.

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wtfluff
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by wtfluff » Wed Sep 15, 2021 1:57 pm

I'm pretty sure that there were times in my life when I would have drunk the poison if the CEO commanded. The mission was definitely one of those periods of time.

Pardon my French but: Holy Sh!t I'm glad I had the opportunity to peek behind the curtain and step away from that obedience-without-question mindset. :!:
Last edited by wtfluff on Wed Sep 15, 2021 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Red Ryder
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by Red Ryder » Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:35 pm

I would not have. Honestly, I have always had some Voice in my head whispering hesitation about all things mormon. The earliest was age 8 with my impending baptism. Everyone kept asking me if I was excited for the big day. I wasn’t. Not sure why, but just wasn’t excited. The same thing when turning 12 and ordained a deacon. Meh..

This question reminds me of the time Tal Bachman was interviewed and asked a similar question about murdering or killi someone if the prophet asked. He said yes why of course. He was that committed to the prophet. He took a lot of heat from the exmo crowd for being honest.

I’ll never drink the Kool-aid.

Ironically today a lot of members won’t even get a vaccine of asked by their prophet. What makes him think they’ll drink poison?
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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deacon blues
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by deacon blues » Wed Sep 15, 2021 6:14 pm

Every time I've heard the story about Abraham being commanded to sacrifice Isaac in an LDS context it was explained as an object lesson to follow God and/or the prophet NO MATTER WHAT. That never felt right to me. I always wondered how did Abraham know it was God? Did he see him? did he know God so well the was no chance that he could be mistaken, etc? When I learned about higher criticism of the Bible, it answered all the questions. I realized the guys who wrote the bible were iron age priests interpreting bronze age myths to get illiterate peasants to trust them enough to build a temple so they could get free food. :shock:
I don't think Jim Jones would have ever got me to Guyana. 8-)
But the LDS Church did get me to go on a mission, marry in the temple, pay tithing for 40 years, and doubt myself because I couldn't get a spiritual witness. :roll:
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2bizE
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by 2bizE » Wed Sep 15, 2021 10:45 pm

I don’t think I would drink the poison, but I’ve been a member for 50+ years, so isn’t that evidence that I might if I was that in tune with the prophet…I remember being asked if the prophet asked me to travel back to Independence, Missouri if I would be faithful and do it….I always thought “Hell no”…
I’m smart enough to know that people do weird things for religion…
~2bizE

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moksha
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by moksha » Thu Sep 16, 2021 4:26 am

I asked the question years ago on the old LDS website known as MAD, about what members would do if asked to strap a bomb to themselves and let it explode in a public setting. The most prevalent answer was to dodge the question by stating their leaders would never ask such a thing. Those who were able to move beyond this non-answer said they would refuse to do it. So much for following the prophet!

No 72 virgins in paradise for them!!!
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
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Corsair
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by Corsair » Thu Sep 16, 2021 12:18 pm

The frightening thing is that this a murderous version of this experiment was tried in LDS history. If you had been living in Cedar City, UT in 1857, would you have agreed to assist besieging and then killing all of the members of the Baker-Fancher party? If you say "No", how much danger would you be in after stake president Isaac C. Haight sent out the willing members of the town? Apologists will argue that Brigham Young was not guilty of the massacre, but he certainly did his best to cover it up.

This is not drinking the poison, but it's the more realistic situation where religious or political leaders have wanted to fix one problem by making you participate in a worse problem. This is simply not a case where "LDS leaders would never ask me to do a thing", because they most certainly did.

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Hagoth
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by Hagoth » Thu Sep 16, 2021 12:42 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:35 pm
Ironically today a lot of members won’t even get a vaccine of asked by their prophet. What makes him think they’ll drink poison?
But there were also a lot of people who were devoted to the idea the the vaccine IS poison who bowed their head and got vaccinated once the prophet told them to.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Hagoth
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by Hagoth » Thu Sep 16, 2021 12:46 pm

Corsair wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 12:18 pm
The frightening thing is that this a murderous version of this experiment was tried in LDS history.
You might also consider the horrific tragedy of the handcart pioneers. Most of them knew they faced grim prospects if they left that late in the year but they were berated by their priesthood leaders and told that anyone who didn't go was weak and faithless in the eyes of God. So they went. And died.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Palerider
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by Palerider » Thu Sep 16, 2021 1:22 pm

Corsair wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 12:18 pm
Apologists will argue that Brigham Young was not guilty of the massacre, but he certainly did his best to cover it up.
From my reading, Apostle George A. Smith acting under Brigham's orders was very instrumental in ginning up animosity for the Baker-Fancher party. Was George A. off the reservation???
He was known to be a big talker and braggart.

I would still say he represented the church in general even if Brigham could use him as a scapegoat.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

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Hagoth
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by Hagoth » Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:54 am

Palerider wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 1:22 pm
He was known to be a big talker and braggart.
He also originated such gems of non-truth as the milk strippings story and the Brigham-to-Joseph transformation, which were vehicles for Brigham to expand his power over others.

He went directly from SLC to Cedar City spreading intentional lies for the purpose of whipping fellow Mormons into a frenzy. It's hard to believe that this was in contradiction to his overlord Brigham's will.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Corsair
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by Corsair » Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:48 pm

Palerider wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 1:22 pm
From my reading, Apostle George A. Smith acting under Brigham's orders was very instrumental in ginning up animosity for the Baker-Fancher party. Was George A. off the reservation???
He was known to be a big talker and braggart.

I would still say he represented the church in general even if Brigham could use him as a scapegoat.
This is getting a bit off topic, but I have some in-laws who are descendants of John D. Lee, a guy who would definitely take the poison. Some of his descendants are still a bit salty that he was the only one who really took the fall for this debacle.

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moksha
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by moksha » Fri Sep 17, 2021 10:24 pm

Mormons who have gotten the vaccine know that hosting the nanobots in this Bill Gates concoction will not harm their testimony of the Church.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Palerider
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by Palerider » Sat Sep 18, 2021 9:57 pm

Corsair wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:48 pm
Palerider wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 1:22 pm
From my reading, Apostle George A. Smith acting under Brigham's orders was very instrumental in ginning up animosity for the Baker-Fancher party. Was George A. off the reservation???
He was known to be a big talker and braggart.

I would still say he represented the church in general even if Brigham could use him as a scapegoat.
This is getting a bit off topic, but I have some in-laws who are descendants of John D. Lee, a guy who would definitely take the poison. Some of his descendants are still a bit salty that he was the only one who really took the fall for this debacle.
Yep. As misguided and Kool aid drinking as Lee was, I almost feel sorry for him in the way Brigham threw him under the bus. Loyalty in the church moves only one direction and it isn't down.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

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moksha
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by moksha » Sun Sep 19, 2021 10:30 pm

Palerider wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 9:57 pm
I almost feel sorry for him in the way Brigham threw him under the bus.
Since each man, woman, and child was accompanied by a Mormon Elder, that meant that 122 Mormons got away with murder.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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wtfluff
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Re: How many would drink the poison?

Post by wtfluff » Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:58 am

Sorry to resurrect a almost-dead thread, but it has planted a bit of a weird bug in my brain.

During recent conversations with believing family members the subject of this thread has popped into my mind. I don't know if these family members are trying to "save" me by mentioning how awesome Polygamist CEO Rusty Nelson is, but every time they do, the thought pops into my head: If CEO Rusty asked this family member to drink the poison, it's highly likely that they would.

Yeah, Hagoth: That story you re-told that makes you shudder? My family does that to me. :(
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

The Beauty of Gray

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