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About the Hosts

Welcome to “Mormonism Live,” the ultimate talk show that delves into the messiness of Mormon history and theology while also tackling current events with a live call-in section at the end of every episode. Hosted by two trusted voices in the Mormon community, Radio Free Mormon (RFM) and Bill Reel, this podcast has been taking on the tough issues and exploring the nuances of the LDS faith for years. Both RFM and Bill have won numerous Brodie Awards, which recognizes excellence in Mormon-themed podcasts and blogs. RFM won the “Best New Podcast” award in 2018 and the “Best Podcast” award in 2019, while a podcast Bill led won the 2013 “Best Religious Podcast” in the National Podcast Awards. Their expertise and dedication to exploring the complexities of the Mormon faith has made them popular speakers at conferences such as Sunstone and Thrive, and they have been invited to speak at other events across the country. If you are looking for a trusted source to help you navigate the often-troubling aspects of Mormon history and theology, or simply want to engage in meaningful conversations about the LDS faith, “Mormonism Live” is the podcast for you. Tune in and join the conversation today. So whether you are a lifelong member of the LDS Church, a recent convert, a former member, or simply someone interested in learning more about this fascinating faith, we invite you to join us for Mormonism Live on Wednesdays at 6:20 Pm MTN Time.

16 thoughts on “About the Hosts”

  1. Bill and RFM,

    I watched with interest the Mormonism Live podcast titled, “How Can it Not be True?”. Sitting here in my new home in Hopkinsville KY with my book laying by my side, “The North America Model for the Book of Mormon From Jerusalem to Cumorah” written in 2013 and published in 2020, I felt moved to answer that question.

    It is a book that has been the subject of over 50 PPT lectures across the country from Florida, to Maine, to Utah, and to multiple points in between, including at Palmyra NY during the Pageant for 5 years to almost universal positive reviews from people across the spectrum, including people from Central America and the Polynesian Islands.

    For a typical sampling of the reactions to the model, you can go to under the Reviews tab for comments by lecture attendees as well as by manuscript reviewers with highly respected academic credentials. I apologize that two of them are family, but they are of the highest professional integrity such as my brother, Dr. James E. Midgley, who was a tenured mathematics professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, now retired, and my brother-in-law, Dr. Ronald W. Walker, who was a BYU history professor, past president of the Mormon History Association and highly respected LDS author of significant cutting edge LDS history subjects such as “Massacre at Mountain Meadows” and “Wayward Saints”, unfortunately now deceased. Let us be honest. Would you not use them if they were interested?

    Also, under the “Lectures” tab is a link to a narrated video of that PPT lecture which provides a 1-hour summary explaining how The North America Model came to be and why it is compelling in its details. At the end of the PPT is a pitch for purchasing the book through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Walmart; but if you wish to receive a signed complimentary copy for your review, let me know some addresses; and I will be happy to send them to you as gifts.

    As a little background, I am a life-long member of the Church from the Jackson County MO area, the Center Place of Zion, born during the Depression of 4th generation Utah pioneer heritage through my dad whose convert grandparents immigrated to Utah from England in the 1850’s.

    I strongly recommend obtaining the book one way or another as it provides compelling material from Jerusalem to Cumorah covering the entire Book of Mormon using credible evidence for Lehi’s journey through Arabia with a fresh analysis of how it declares its historicity in a new way based on 21st century technology as well as evidence for the Book of Mormon beyond Arabia to, and in, the land of promise generated by secular bodies beyond Arabia post 1830, specifically without the shadow of the Book of Mormon hanging over their studies. Otherwise, their conclusions could have been compromised by wishing not to appear to be supportive of the Book of Mormon. In fact, some institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution proudly and forcefully declares that they have never used the Book of Mormon as a resource for scientific studies. The only problem is that a 1924 study commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution through their Bureau of American Ethnology conducted a study that unwittingly confirms a major element of the Book of Mormon of which I was not aware until the North America Model had been formatted based only on the scriptures.

    The book also has articles that address other issues such as DNA, who wrote the Book of Mormon, stone cities, concrete buildings, one or two hills Cumorah, limited geography models versus more expansive, precious ores and metals, etc. One subject not included since new material is constantly coming to light is the one on the issue of no horses in America before the Spaniards which everyone has known did not exist since they learned that in elementary school. You may find the following link to a 2009 article by a Native American historian on how the horse has been a part of Indian life long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. In fact, Native Americans are offended by the idea that people think that they had to depend on Europeans to have horses.

    It does raise the question. How could any early 19th century frontier American author pull off this complex literary work that integrates geography from Arabia to the eastern half of the Unite States that 100% is confirmed by real facts on the ground rather than looking just like a map of Mordor without any intention of relating to reality. Thanks J.R.R. Tolkien.

    I thought that Joseph was focused on treasure hunting, chasing women, learning how to be a Methodist minister, traveling back and forth between Pennsylvania and New York, living both in a log house with 11 people and living in the home of others whose daughter he married, fabricating plates to show friends and neighbors, all while somehow formatting the original work without research or leaving lots of notes, maps, and papers of a work in progress laying around.

    Obviously, his skills were greater than just fanciful and lucky story telling in detail not yet discovered.

    I do not want to beat a dead horse; but HOW CAN IT NOT BE TRUE?

    Let me know if I can send you a book.


    William Peter Midgley


  2. Bill, during the Hoffman episode recently you mentioned that you wanted to ask Mark who was going to pay the $185,000 loan that was created at the First Interstate Bank. In Jerald Tanner’s book “The Mormon Church and the Mclellin Collection” they explain what happened.
    “The McLellin fraud cost Hugh Pinnock a great deal of money. He claimed that although he was not “legally obligated to the bank,” he felt morally responsible to pay back the balance of the $185,000 loan that Hofmann owed to First Interstate Bank.”

    It later goes on to say that (and I’m paraphrasing now) the church and Pinnock threatened Mark to pay back the loan or they would sue him and excommunicate him. Mark did come in with a check to pay the loan which bounced.

    Pinnock did end up suing Mark for more then $170,000 in the third district court.

    The part that was interesting though is from church historian Richard Turley’s book “Victims” that the Tanner’s quote:

    “At Wednesday’s news conference, Hinckley, Oaks, and Pinnock had all reaffirmed their understanding of the loan Hofmann received from First Interstate Bank… When the reporter suggested the church had a greed to repay the loan, Hinckley declared the church had not agreed, and would not agree, to pay it.”
    “These statements apparently surprised some officials at the bank, who had seen the loan from their perspective as being guaranteed either by Pinnock personally or by the church. Thursday morning, October 24, the bank chairman telephoned Pinnock and voiced this view… Oaks and Pinnock met to discuss the matter. Pinnock explained the telephone call he had received. Though he had not signed any kind of loan agreement, the bank officials said the only reason they made the loan was that Pinnock had asked for it. Sometime during Pinnock’s interaction with the bank, one of its officials had asked about security for the loan…
    “While assuring bank officials, Pinnock recalled, he may have said something like ‘We have lots of assets,’ or even ‘I’ve got assets – [the] Church has assets. You’ll be paid.’

    Another interesting point that Jerald Tanner has brought up is that Mark claimed that the original facsimiles 2 & 3 were part of the Mclellin collection and he was holding them back and trying to sell those separately to other buyers. Steve Christensen found out and was very angry because if it was part of the collection he should be getting those as well with the purchase.

    The church is so good at suppressing its history it didn’t even know that it had the majority of the Mclellin collection since 1908 hidden in the First Presidency’s vault.
    Sorry for the long post.


    the golden plates might be in the southern or northern hemispheres here on planet earth.

  4. Hi Bill and RFM,

    I think an interesting episode idea might be:
    “The Law vs The Mormon Church”

    What caused my shelf to collapse was seeing how Mormon Doctrine was influenced by Legal and Political Pressure.

    For example:

    1835 – D&C 101 includes “monogamy as doctrine” – “we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband”

    1844 – D&C 109 same section as D&C 101 (1835)

    1862 – Morrill Act is the first federal law on polygamy

    1874 – After Morrill Act proves “virtually impossible to enforce” the Poland Act is passed to make it easier to prosecute polygamy by giving Federal Courts more control of polygamy cases

    1876 – after Mormon Polygamists unsuccessfully challenge Poland Act on 1st Amendment – Religious grounds since they aren’t able to rely polygamy in any canonized scripture D&C 132 was added to the D&C and D&C 101/109 was removed

    1878 – Reynolds vs United States – George Reynolds, secretary to the First Presidency, chosen as defendant to challenge Constitutionality of Poland Act – Court rules marriage is “one man, one woman”

    1887 – Edmunds-Tucker Act adds new measures to punish polygamy, dissolve the Church Corporation, and orders confiscation of Church Property

    May 1890 – Supreme Court upholds the Constitutionality of the Edmunds-Tucker Act

    October 1890 – Wilford Woodruff issues First Manifesto

    March 1904 – Reed Smoot Hearings investigates post-Manifesto polygamy. Joseph F. Smith testifies to not knowing about any “post-Manifesto marriages” even though he performed some of those marriages and also authorized Cowley and Taylor to perform more.

    April 1904 – Second Manifesto given by Joseph F. Smith

    1993 – Marriage Equality fight begins in Hawaii

    February 1995 – Mormon Church petitions to intervene in Behr v. Lewin in an amicus curiae brief

    April 1995 – Amicus Brief denied since Mormon Church can’t prove it has a stake in Marriage Equality since there wasn’t any extant monogamy scripture/doctrine after it had been stripped out to fight for polygamy , i.e. no “monogamy doctrine”

    September 1995 – Gordon B. Hinckley introduces the Proclamation on the Family

    April 1997 – Mormon Church petition to intervene in ongoing Marriage Equality fight in Hawaii accepted based on Family Proclamation, i.e. monogamy doctrine

    You can see a full timeline on the “Doctrinal Evolution of Mormon Marriage” here:



  5. Jilly not-Selleck

    Still on the church’s website re:becoming gods

    Page 201

    “To live in the highest part of the celestial kingdom is called exaltation* or eternal life. To be able to live in this part of the celestial kingdom, people must have been married in the temple and must have kept the sacred promises they made in the temple. They will receive everything our Father in Heaven has and will become like Him. They will even be able to have spirit children and make new worlds for them to live on, and do all the things our Father in Heaven has done.“

  6. I was reading through some of the church history essays this morning and just wanted to pass along a thought concerning Mormon apologetics.

    For reference, compare the essays on “Jackson County Violence” and “Nauvoo Expositor”.

    I’m the Nauvoo Expositor essay, the author(s) tell the story about how the saints, under the direction of Joseph Smith, burnt the press, scattered the type, and destroyed the printing press in response to anti-Mormon publications. The essay goes on to explain that this response was justifiable by law, because of the inflammatory nature of the publications.

    Compare this to the events that happened to the church owned morning and evening star publication. The saints were living in Missouri, a slave state at the time, and began publishing anti-slavery materials. In response, local residents burnt the house and scattered the type. However, in this essay there is no mention of the same legal precedent that is used to justify the saints destruction of a press. Instead they are portrayed as martyrs. For clarity, I am not condoning slavery in any form, and I applaud the early advocacy for freedom from the saints. The issue I take is the double standard that essays convey. If the church does it, it is ok and legally justified. If someone does the same thing to the church, it is portrayed as unjust and they act like victims.

    Just throwing it out there because I found it interesting. Thanks for all you do!

  7. One more thought on apologetics and twisting historical facts to fit in with a predetermined conclusion.

    In 1924, Adolf Hitler wrote this regarding propaganda: “ (it’s) task is not to make an objective study of the truth, in so far as it favors the enemy, and then set it before the masses with academic fairness; its task is to serve our own right, always and unflinchingly.”

    I’m not at all saying that the church or it’s leaders should be compared to the nazis. But I do think it’s interesting to compare the idea of propaganda’s use in nazi Germany to the rationalization that church leaders have given for not sharing the whole truth, and instead only sharing the truth that promotes faith and serves their own purposes.

  8. I would like to provide Bill and RFM copies of Kingdom of Nauvoo for your reading pleasure.

    Please contact me about your interest, or lack thereof.
    Thanks and keep up the good work

  9. Hi you two wonderful guys !!! I was watching tv about 3am this morning 2/7/22. Guess what I came across? Two back to back 30 min advertisements to join a class action lawsuit against the LDS church for sexual abuse. You both probably know this about this lawsuit but I didn’t. It’s about time ! I just caught a little of the program which mentioned church scout trips, no surprise. I watched what was left of the program and saw there had been another one on my tv’s guide. Hopefully other people will come forth and mention the other instances of sexual abuse.
    One other thing. It just burns my bucket that the Mo’s keep me on their membership rolls even though I’ve sent a letter of resignation and they sent a letter back accepting my resignation.
    They have no right to keep using me as a member of their cult so they can lie about the membership numbers to entice others to join. the cult. The Mo church is just a ponzi scheme. They tell their members what dark consequences will happen if they don’t give them at least 10% of their money: burn, miss blessings, can’t do their masonic rituals etc. Horse pucky!!! RFM there has to be a way to get Rusty to make the church publish members of record and then have to break it down into catagories: resigned, children,
    excommunicated etc. I know I’m grasping at straws. Thanks for being there. Love to you both and your families.

  10. Thanks for a splendidly amusing show. Even more than the interesting subject matter does the charisma of the hosts captivate me so that I have listened to episodes so numerous that I nearly feel like a post Mormon – in spite of never having set foot in an LDS Church!

    My dream episode would be one where the handsome and funny RFM has a chat with his brother from the Jehova’s witnesses. The tale of two brothers!

  11. I am currently listening to the episode about gaslighting. I agree that the biggest problem of the church is it’s unwillingness to admit to the change in the doctrine.

    In regard to the church’s position on race, remember that Joseph Smith gave the priesthood to several black men. Brigham Young used gaslighting in declaring that black skin was a curse from God. In fact a lot of the problems with the church and Missouri was relative to the attitude of the early church that was open to blacks and whites alike. Brigham Young reversed that policy.

  12. sac·ro·sanct
    (especially of a principle, place, or routine) regarded as too important or valuable to be interfered with:
    “the individual’s right to work has been upheld as sacrosanct”
    sacred · hallowed · respected

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