Marc Oslund and John Dehlin discussed Russell M. Nelson’s “Victory for Satan” talk on Mormon Stories Episode #1424. They discuss that the blind belief in only the living prophet’s words is unsustainable and Nelson’s war on ‘Mormon‘ has been his own personal pet peeve from the beginning.
The message from President Nelson that using the term Mormon is a “major victory for Satan” when his immediate predecessors had spent millions in multiple instances to promote the church using this very term is preposterous. Is he proposing that President Monson and President Hinckley both were doing the work of Satan by promoting the mormon.org website and the “I’m a Mormon” campaign and the “Meet the Mormons” feature-length film? How else can we interpret the message of this immature church leader?
Here is the full clip from the episode of Mormon Stories followed by the transcript:
Marc Oslund: So, Monson dies and Nelson becomes the president of the church. And I was kind of pissed, to be honest, because they say it’s not just seniority, even though it’s always been seniority. They’re like, we could pray and we can get revelation. So, I genuinely thought Nelson’s like 94 years old, why would you choose him? Choose Uchtdorf, he’s the one that’s gonna take us into the next. And so when Nelson becomes the president of the church and Oaks replaces Uchtdorf, I am visibly angry at Tipanogos. And teachers are like, what’s wrong with you? I’m like, I don’t believe that Oaks should be in the first presidency. And they’re like, dude, you are losing it. So that’s that’s all kind of leading up to that year.
And then I start getting a little bit more bold. Nelson has the whole mormon is a sin, and a victory for Satan. You just do some quick research.
John Dehlin: Saying the word mormon… So what, when did, okay, so. So, Thomas S Monson dies, Russell M Nelson takes over. Almost immediately, he says… After the “I’m a Mormon” campaign which the church spent millions on, after the movie “Meet the Mormons” that the church spent millions on… Some decisions made in Salt Lake headquarters, that like Mormon, you know, people have negative associations with the word, Mormon: Mormon Stories Podcast, all the other, Mormon Think, Mormon Expressions Podcast. We’re losing the SEO, the search engine optimization war with the term Mormon. Let’s be witty and smart, and let’s abandon the term, Mormon, because it’s a loser anyway. Then let’s pivot towards Jesus (like Community of Christ did 40 or 50 years ago). Because Jesus is kind of like our last refuge. So that’s when Russell M Nelson, just blows everyone away by saying, “To use the word, Mormon, to identify the Mormon church, or the Mormon people, is a victory for Satan”. Which his predecessor and multiple predecessors before, had all done! But never mind, because we follow the living prophet.
Marc Oslund: Yep. I’m a missionary in 2009-11, when I’m in mormon’s huge. We’re trying to get everybody to get more profiles. I have mormon.org pass along cards, and I’m thinking, “So, you’re telling me that while I was serving my mission, I was doing Satan’s work?” That’s how I took that.
Then some quick googleing and you find out really quick. So, I’d be perusing the ex-Mormon Reddit for information, right? Not because I was necessarily believing it, but I’m like, “What are they saying?” I’m seeing all of these things because I want to see, I want the full truth so I can make it work. I can’t make decisions unless I’m seeing the whole thing. So I’m going on ex-Mormon Reddit and they’re like, “Well, Nelson had this talk in 1982 , and then Hinckley rebukes him and says, actually, we’re just gonna say Mormon, right? We’re gonna make it more good,” And I’m like, oh, he’s clearly cared about this. And then Jana Riess does a whole thing where she talks about that. And this is been Nelson’s kind of baby for a while. So, guess what? When I come to the part of the Doctrine & Covenants, where it says, the name of the church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, guess what I’m talking about!?
So, I put up Nelson’s talk that he gave in 1986 , and I contrast it with this talk in 2018. I say, what’s different, and it’s like “using the word, mormon is bad”. And then the other one is “using the word Mormon is a victory for satan”. And I’m like what do you guys see as different? And the kids were like yeah that’s kind of interesting. Then, I literally put up pictures of the London Underground that had “I’m a Mormon” and Times Square with “I’m a Mormon” and I asked my students the question… And here’s why I even taught this lesson: it was because students messaged me in conference on instagram and said, “I don’t agree with that, can you can we talk about this?” I’m like, “Yep!” And so I said, “tell me what you guys think. What you think about this?” And they were very clear, they were like, “I don’t think that’s a victory for Satan or else Monson would have been doing Satan’s work. And how does that make sense?” I’m like, “Yep, sounds about right, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen”, you know!
A parent called in and, I mean it’s more or less understandably so, a parent called in…
John Dehlin: At this point, you’re kind of teaching against the bretheren as the seminary teacher?
Marc Oslund: For sure! and my intent wasn’t – This is the irony, Now I’m like, oh, I’ll teach against the brethren because I’m not on board with Mormon church, but then I was teaching against the brethren to save the Mormon church because they’re leading us away from Jesus, in my opinion. Which, I understand, you shouldn’t have your faith in the leaders…
John Dehlin: You should have your faith in God and Jesus. And the leaders are getting it wrong. They’re fallible. So, you’re trying to get your students to base their testimony on the rock of God of Jesus, and not on the sand of these super fallible, obviously blatantly egregiously fallible church leaders.
Marc Oslund: Which i thought is a noble thing, right? I mean, looking back I now have more understanding of why they would be like, “Hey, that’s not good.” Yeah, but I still think I’m right. Like my approach to focus on Jesus…
And so anyway, I get a parent that calls in about the Mormon thing, about Mormon being a “victory for Satan,” and wants to meet with me and the principal. The principal is my friend, and he gets it. He and I talk, and he told totally understands where I’m coming from and even might even agree, right? But wouldn’t it say it because he’s a good “company man” and a good person. This person comes in and says “I have a real issue with what you’re talking about Russell Nelson.” I said, “Well, tell me more.” She’s like “You said that, that was his own personal thing that he’s cared about.” I’m like “Well, I mean here’s the evidence you talked about it since 1986 1982 .” She’s like “Yeah, but he’s the living prophet who speaks to God.” I’m like “Okay, that’s not the argument.” Then she keeps kind of hounding me and I said, “before we keep going, can I just ask a couple questions?” “Sure.” “Do you think that using the word Mormon is a victory for Satan?” She says, “yes,” “Okay, Do you think that Thomas Monson using the word, Mormon, and doing the ‘I’m a Mormon’ was wrong?” She says, “yes,” like, “Okay, do you think that Thomas Monson having millions of dollars going towards his campaign was a victory for satan?” And she says, “yes,”
And at that point I can’t talk. I can’t defend. You’re gonna say that a living prophet like Monson when he was alive was perpetuating Satan’s work? That is your belief? I can’t talk to you. That is an unsustainable thought!
Then I did ask “did you have a mormon.org profile?” She’s like, “yeah, I did.” And I’m like, “interesting, aren’t we supposed to be able to tell if something’s from Satan or God or not?” She’s like “Well, I was trusting the prophet.” And I’m like “Okay”. So that’s where I’m at.
John Dehlin: Which is what she’s doing now!
Marc Oslund: Exactly. And in 20 years when it goes back, she’s gonna trust it then, which – bless her for following, but this is the type of crap my students are coming to me with. Like, why do I don’t want to do this? Like why would I? This makes no sense. I’m like, “You’re right, It doesn’t!”Marc Oslund and John Dehlin on Mormon Stories Podcast Episode 1424
The Life of a Mormon Seminary Teacher – Marc Oslund Pt. 2 – Mormon Stories 1424
Marc referenced talks from Russell Nelson in 1982/1986, but the talk in reference is this 1990 talk (“Thus Shall My Church Be Called” April 1990). He mentions a follow-up response from President Gordon Hinckley, which was also in 1990 (Mormon Should Mean “More Good” October 1990), and then again from the new President in 2018, Russell Nelson (The Correct Name of the Church October 2018) discussing the name of the church and use of the Mormon moniker. Here’s a video of the two talks from church presidents combined nearly into a conversation between the two.
We can literally hear the church leaders argue their personal interpretations in this video that pits Gordon B Hinckley against Russell M Nelson discussing what to call the church:The Church Leaves the Term Mormon, But Can’t Leave it Alone
This odd shift from the newly sustained president of the church in 2018 actually inspired the creation of this site. Once the church forbade members to use the term Mormon to refer to the church and even themselves, anyone and everyone who ever was a Mormon technically needed to state “I was a Mormon” in the past tense rather than like the multi-million dollar ad campaign “I’m a Mormon”. How did you reconcile this abrupt change in messaging? Did you realize that it was a personal vendetta Russell Nelson has against using this Mormon nickname? Did it help you realize that these church leaders are really just men, at best, doing their best to lead a global organization? Contribute your own story to the collection of “I was a Mormon” stories a wasmormon.org.
- The Church Leaves the Term Mormon, But Can’t Leave it Alone
- Retrofitting Revelation For The Mormon Church Official Name
- Questioning The Infallible Thinking of Mormon Leaders
- What happened to Mormon.org?
- When Church Leaders Speak, Has Any Thinking Been Done
- The Mormon Church Now Discourages Mormonism
- Major Victories for Satan