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Mar 11, 2021

This is a fascinating podcast episode that talks about religion and Mormonism in an unfamiliar yet insightful way. Our guide is Latter-day Faith podcast favorite Stephen Carter who draws parallels between the physical technologies we use all the time, including to this listen to this podcast, and “social technologies” that, like the other, are set up to bring about certain results. He and LDF host Dan Wotherspoon spend a good amount of time helping listeners come to a comfort level with talking about things such as democracy, monogamy, and religion as “technologies.”

From there, Stephen takes us through a model he has constructed outlining one part of the Mormon technology. (See Diagram below) As he demonstrates, the LDS church has a clear idea of what it hopes its members will become and designs a strategy for community, for focused direction, and promises that if we follow the plan the goal it outlined for us will be realized. It is a terrific way to then explore how, like all technologies, this one breaks down at times and common challenges that arrive for various members as they experience things that challenge the model. It’s a great section of the episode, especially for those in the middle of their wrestle.

There were similar technologies at play within the Judaism at Jesus’s time, along with others arriving with the Roman occupation and strategies for overthrowing it. Yet even as Jesus was surrounded by these technologies, he recognized how every social technology if left to do its own thing will surely leave many individuals behind, or even crushed by its momentum. It is at this point that Stephen unfolds what he sees as Jesus’s work as a tech "saboteur" and his strategies for mitigating these negative effects. What Stephen comes up with are each very evident in the Gospels but don’t receive the reflection they deserve—especially for those seeking to follow him and do the same work, love others in the same way.

There is nothing easy in this sort of journey, but it ultimately is the only one through which we can truly assist others and become what we know we can be (and that just so happens to match what Mormon technology set forth as its ultimate goal).