Inside Largest Mormon Community – First Impressions

Nov 18, 2023 1.7M Views 9K Comments

The Mormon religion is both mysterious and unknown to many of us. Today we have the great privilege to get in with a local who explains what the Mormon/LDS world is all about. Join us to get an inside perspective on this fascinating part of American culture.

► Video edited by: Natalia Santenello

► Headlund – Heart’s Reprise
► Headlund – To Wonderland

This is one of the more
famous overlooks of the city.
– [Peter] So Brigham
Young came here and said,
“This is the place.”
– Yes, yeah.
So for most of the history of
the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-Day Saints,
we’ve been on the move.
We started in New York with Joseph Smith.
When he received what we like
to call the first vision,
he received a vision from God the Father
and his son Jesus Christ.
– Yep.
– And was told that none of the churches,
or Christian churches on the
earth at the current time
had the full grasp or the full doctrine.
– Okay.
– That the true church
of Jesus Christ needed.
And so Joseph Smith was
commanded at a later time,
he’d be the one to restore
this church back to the earth.
And that’s what the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-Day Saints is today.
And we settled in Ohio for a little while.
We got kicked out, uprooted from there.
We settled in Missouri for a while,
and we were also uprooted from there.
There was a extermination
order from the governor
of Missouri who said, you know,
“It’s legal to kill Mormons,
to get them outta the state,
to drive them from the state.”
And so we were driven from Missouri.
– Okay.
– Went to Illinois.
We were driven out from there.
And eventually we settled here
in the valley of the Great Salt Lake.
And that’s, we’re gonna end
up saying this is the place.
– [Peter] 1850 something?
– [Brock] 1847.
– [Peter] 1847.
And so this was just desert?
– This was all just desert.
There were native people here,
but other than that, it was
not occupied by anybody else.
It was part of Mexico at the time.
And so the Saints had
left the United States,
come to Mexico in hopes that
they could finally settle down
and practice the religion
in a place that was
free from outside influences.
And we were able to do that.
And as you can see, this beautiful city,
it’s the sacrifice of the pioneers
who came all the way
across the country on foot.
– [Peter] You were saying
a lot of people right now,
whenever a camera comes
out around Mormons,
they’re gonna put ’em under
the bus for the most part.
Is that how you feel?
– Yeah, so I go to BYU.
That’s the college I go to.
And right now there’s
kind of a TikTok trend
of people going up to BYU students
and asking ’em questions about the church
and trying to catch them off guard
and make them look like they’re
silly or they’re peculiar.
I mean, obviously our
beliefs are peculiar,
but that doesn’t mean they’re not valid.
And I think that’s kind of a sad thing
that you see nowadays is that
people are trying really hard
to make members of the church look like
their beliefs aren’t valid,
and that they-
– Okay.
– They’re not allowed to
believe a certain way.
– Is it because,
you said earlier it’s
a high demand religion.
– Yes.
– Meaning there’s a lot
you’re responsible for.
– Yeah.
One of our prophets, two
prophets go President,
Gordon B. Hinckley, he was
interviewed by 60 Minutes
at one point by Mike Wallace.
And he asked that exact question like,
“Hey, you guys are a
high demand religion.”
And President Hinckley, he responded,
“It’s a beautiful thing.”
Not a lot of religions nowadays
demand a lot of their members
and demand them to try
to improve the world,
to improve themselves.
It’s one of my favorite parts is that
it does demand a lot of me,
and it demands that I
become a better person
and I strive to make the
world a better place.
– Right, so by having those
frameworks to work within
and the discipline that it
takes to live like that,
you feel like it’s a net benefit.
But there’s gotta be some
cons to it, right, or?
– Yeah.
So I mean, the average
college student experiences,
you know, going to parties.
– Okay.
– Drinking, experimenting
with different substances.
And that’s something that I miss out on.
If I feel, you know, obviously
I was raised in the church,
and so I’ve never really had
a desire to do those things.
– Okay.
– Someone from the outside would be like,
“Oh, you know, this, this Brock guy,
he’s missing out on lots
of college experiences
that the average person would get.”
– [Peter] Tea, coffee, no.
– [Brock] Yeah.
– [Peter] Alcohol, no.
– [Brock] Yeah.
Another aspect that
people kind of overlook,
it’s not just all don’ts, it’s also dos.
We encourage a very healthy lifestyle.
In Utah that’s very easy
with the beautiful mountains.
– So is that why Salt Lake City is so nice
as far as it’s very clean?
Compared to other American
cities at this moment in time,
it seems like it’s better off.
Is it because of the Mormon
element, would you say?
Because there is all that
discipline and order,
or what explains it?
– Yeah, I think people
who are in the church,
who are raised in the church,
you know, you grew up
with a lot of discipline.
And even if you decide
to leave the church-
– Okay.
– And don’t participate anymore,
you still have those values
as the basis of your life,
and you grew up in a household
where education was important,
taking care of your family.
All of these beautiful family
values you learn in the church
are still established in your life,
even if you decide to leave.
And so Salt Lake and the
whole Utah area is beautiful.
And in my opinion, it’s a divine place
because of people who are willing
to live a discipline lifestyle.
– Okay.
Doing some research though,
I did see your crime
rates have gone up a lot.
It’s actually not crime rates per 100,000,
and that can break down into homicide,
larceny, petty theft stuff.
But the overall is pretty high right now.
Would you attribute that
to, what would you say?
– There’s a variety of factors.
In 2002, Utah hosted the
Olympics, the Winter Olympics.
And before that time, Utah
was generally pretty unknown
among the American populace.
And so when people saw
how amazing Utah was
during the Olympics, tons of
people started moving here
who didn’t have those shared values
that a lot of people in Utah had.
And so over time, there’s been kind of
an eroding of the values of
the church and the community.
And that’s just one aspect
of a religious aspect.
Politically, there
definitely has been a change
in the guard of what political parties
are in control of Salt Lake City.
So a lot of people would
attribute certain changes
to political party changes.
– [Peter] Okay.
– [Brock] But yeah,
there has been an uptick,
and that’s just because Utah,
it’s one of the fastest growing states,
and that brings a lot of change.
– So is that a threat
to the Mormons that
have been here forever?
Multi-generational Mormons,
do they feel like that is a threat
all these people moving in?
– Some people would say that.
– Okay.
– Most members of the church
used to live downtown Salt Lake
and in a neighborhood called The Avenues.
With all this change, there’s
been kind of a urban flight
away from downtown.
And people who weren’t
raised in the church
have kind of taken over the
downtown Salt Lake City area
and live in these, all
these pioneer homes,
original pioneer settlements where-
– [Peter] These are
original pioneer homes here.
– [Brock] Yes, this is right just directly
North of Temple Square.
And so yeah, some of these are gonna be-
– [Peter] It’s beautiful.
– [Brock] Yeah.
They’re obviously renovated, but.
– [Peter] It’s really a beautiful city.
– [Brock] It is, yeah.
– [Peter] And with the mountains
kicking up right out of it.
So this building right here is the church.
– Yeah, this is the office building.
You have tons of different
offices for accounting,
for missionary apartments,
family departments.
– [Peter] So what’s the church offering?
It seems like a big apparatus there.
– Yeah, so I mean, it’s
a worldwide organization,
and finances, welfare, temples.
We’re building temples all over the world.
We’re building new meeting houses.
There’s a lot that goes
in on church headquarters.
Over here on the right, this
is the church history library.
There’s a project that
started a couple years ago
called the Joseph Smith Papers,
and it’s one of the
largest public histories
of prime resource documents
anywhere in the world.
– [Peter] This is your conference center.
– [Brock] Yeah, this is where
all of our major conferences happen
where the prophets and
apostles speak to us.
And it’s a massive building.
– So by being a member to the church,
do you have to pay in a
certain amount every year?
Like what funds all of this?
– Yeah, so we believe
in the law of the tithe,
and members of the church
donate 10% of their income
to the church.
– [Peter] You do that.
– I do that, yeah.
Even as a college student,
the church doesn’t
necessarily need the funds
to run anymore,
but we still believe that’s something
kind of like with coffee.
It’s not something that maybe
makes sense on a secular level
or you know, with study, but
it is something that we do
and we believe that blesses
us as we participate in that.
– Okay, so someone in their
career here will pay federal,
state tax, and then also,
I don’t know if you call it
LDS tax or what you call it?
– Yeah, I mean, we don’t necessarily,
you know, look at it as like a-
– Okay.
– [Brock] I think most people
look at taxes as a negative.
We look at tithing as a positive.
And the church handles its
money very effectively.
– [Peter] Okay.
– You’re not having to worry
about, oh, I’m spending money,
and one of the apostles
is funding some trip to,
you know, Mexico to go on
a vacation with his family.
It’s the money that is spent
to the church goes towards,
first of all, all the different things
that the church is building.
Right now obviously you can see the,
our historic Salt Lake
temples under renovation.
Funds go to things like that.
They go to the church’s universities.
The church invests a lot
of its tithing money,
so that way in the future,
if there are times when the
world economy is crashed
or this and that, they can
still run church finances,
can still bless the
lives of church members,
even if there isn’t opportunities
for growth financially in the world, so.
– But by being part of the church,
what do you receive
financially from the church?
Like they’re not gonna pay your healthcare
or anything like that, right, or?
– I mean, so the church has a very,
a very deep welfare system where-
– Okay.
– If you are struggling financially,
you can go to your local,
and we call ’em bishops,
the local, I guess, for other religions
it would be like a pastor or their leader.
You can receive financial
assistance from the church,
so you can continue to,
you know, live a lifestyle
of getting back on your feet.
But also the church’s
universities, that’s a huge thing
that most members of the
church who attend university
through do the church’s educational system
don’t go into debt for college,
which is huge in today’s world
when you’re striving to
get on your feet, I guess.
– [Peter] So you don’t go into debt at all
with your college?
– Some people might, if they don’t have,
I had money saved up,
but the tuition is extremely cheap,
especially for private
Christian universities.
The West obviously is
known for its earthquakes.
And so there’s a great fear that
if there was a big earthquake,
there’d be a lot of damage to the temple.
They’re placing base
isolators under the temple,
so that way if an earthquake happens,
the temple can move with the earth
and not have as much damage, so.
– [Peter] Beautiful.
– Just about six years after
the Saints came into the valley,
it was a huge priority to build temples.
And so there’s a few, we call
these pioneer era temples.
There’s one down in a place called Manti,
another in St. George,
and another in Logan,
where there are these
original very castle looking
original pioneer temples.
– [Peter] And you have a
very famous choir, right?
– Yes, so this is the
Tabernacle on Temple Square.
(organ playing)
– Donna?
Okay, thank you ladies.
Yeah, bye-Bye.
(organ playing)
So 16.5 million Mormons
in the world, correct?
– Yeah, so this last conference
we just got above 17 million,
and over half of that is
outside the United States.
So the stereotype is obviously
somebody who looks like me
with blonde hair, blue eyes, and is white.
– Right.
– But for the most part, most
members of the church now
are not, you know, white Utahans.
They’re mostly people
from around the world
who resonate with the message
of the restored gospel.
We believe a sign of a
true church is that some,
it’s a church that strives to grow
and strives to spread
throughout the whole world
and have people actually
hear its message, so.
– That answers my next question.
Why do you proselytize?
Like why do you wanna
convince other people
to believe in your ways?
– Well, first off, it’s
doctrinally accurate.
Christ taught his apostles
that they needed to spread
and fill the whole world with the gospel.
And so we believe that
by doing missionary work,
we’re spreading the true church.
Also, another aspect is, you know,
when I was graduating high school
and I’d grown up in the church,
I was blessed with so much.
I wanna share that with other people.
That’s a huge motivation
for missionary work as well,
is that we believe that we’ve
been blessed with so much.
We need to go out and help the world
and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ
to as many people as we can.
– So if somebody doesn’t believe
in LDS, they’re not Mormon,
do you feel like they just don’t know yet,
they just haven’t come around,
they haven’t figured it out yet,
they haven’t been introduced
to it the right way,
or what are your thoughts about that?
Say a guy like me.
– Yeah.
– Like, I’m not Mormon.
Do you feel like,
oh, Peter’s just missing
out on something, or?
– No, I mean, we don’t condemn anybody
with how they were raised or
how they choose to believe.
We just, we only invite.
And if people don’t necessarily
come to that conclusion
to join the church in this life,
we believe that God
still has a plan for them
in the next life.
A common question in Christianity is
what happens to people
in authoritarian states
like North Korea where
they have no access to-
– Okay.
– To religion.
And in our church, we
have that answer in that
in the next life, they can still be taught
and come to an understanding of-
– Okay.
– The gospel of Jesus Christ,
and they choose to accept
it in the next life as well.
– Let me ask you this, Brock.
I’m very much an individual,
but I do live by the 10
Commandments, let’s say.
Do to others what I want done to me.
I’m not gonna steal, these sort of things.
– Yeah.
– So by definition, I’m sort
of doing the religious thing,
but I’m not part of a church.
I’m not part of an organized religion.
And the reason I’m not
is because I very much like to be free.
I wanna jump into every
different group I can.
– Yeah.
– I wanna listen to them, learn from them,
but not be, maybe captured
is the wrong word,
but beholden.
– Yeah.
– To a certain ideology necessarily,
because I wouldn’t do
well in that environment,
I don’t think.
Or what are your thoughts on that?
– Yeah, I mean that’s like a common,
we’ll head this way, that’s a very common-
Like as a missionary,
you meet a lot of people who
they’d rather just go to
like an evangelical church
where you go into like
kind of a big warehouse.
There’s good music.
– Yeah.
– There’s a good inspirational message.
But I think personally for me,
it’s a blessing to be
able to have a prophet
who literally we believe
received revelation from God
and can share messages with
us and help us in this life.
That’s something you’re not gonna get
unless you’re, you know,
inside of a belief system.
– Okay, so the prophet right now
is also called the President, right?
– Yes, yeah.
– Okay.
And he’s the 17th president, I believe.
– Yeah.
– Yeah.
And so it started with Joseph
Smith, went to Brigham Young.
He was in charge for
like 30 years, I believe.
– Yeah, but see, he took over.
Joseph Smith was murdered.
And so most of our prophets now,
they take over when the
previous leader passes away.
– Yeah, okay.
– And most of that happens now at,
luckily, you know, when
they’re an older age.
Where back then Joseph Smith was murdered,
so Brigham Young was in
control for a long time.
– So by saying revelations from God,
you’re saying your prophet
is channeling the message
to the disciples basically.
– Yeah.
It’s, if you think of
prophets in the Old Testament
and the apostles in the New Testament,
we literally believe
that the men who serve
as these prophets and apostles,
they literally are the exact same thing
that were in the Old and New Testament.
That church government and formation
that Jesus Christ established
when he was on the earth
with his apostles needed to be restored
and back on the earth.
– Okay.
– Because people need,
the citizens of the world
need that constant communication with God.
And God doesn’t decide,
okay, I’m gonna write
everything down in a Bible.
– Okay.
– And then I’m never gonna
talk to you ever again.
So we believe, yeah,
revelation’s a real thing,
and we need that connection with God.
– Have you ever been
tempted to leave the church,
or it’s always been very clear
and like certain where you’re at?
– For me, I’ve never had the
temptation to leave the church.
– Okay.
– Obviously, I’ve
questioned certain beliefs.
There’s a lot of very icky history.
I wanted to be a history teacher.
– Okay.
– And so I’ve studied a lot of that.
– Sure.
– And it doesn’t look good.
And a lot of people will take this history
and say, “Hey, I can’t be a
member of the church anymore
because this one prophet
or this one apostle did a certain thing.”
– Okay.
– And that’s really tragic
because at the end of the day,
the most important part of
being a member of this church
is that connection to Christ.
The prophet obviously
helps facilitate that,
but they can make mistakes.
The apostles in the Old
Testament and the New Testament,
they made lots of mistakes.
– Okay.
– And the Lord rebuke them for that.
– Okay.
– And so in this icky history,
it might be a temptation to say,
okay, this person’s done something wrong.
I’m gonna leave.
But at the end of the day,
the most important part is
that connection to Jesus Christ.
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Now, back to the story.
For non-Mormons like myself,
I always thought to call you guys Mormons.
– Yeah.
– And in doing research, some people said,
don’t say Mormons, say LDS.
Other people said say Mormons.
What is it?
What am I missing?
What do I need to learn?
– Yeah.
So obviously the nickname Mormons
comes from a volume of scripture we have
called the Book of Mormons.
– Sure.
– And it was a nickname given to people
who were actually antagonistic
towards the church.
And they called us Mormons
as kinda like a joke,
like, “Oh, you don’t believe in the Bible,
you believe in this other Book of Mormon.”
When we believe in-
– Okay.
– We believe in all the modern scripture.
Our current prophet
president Russell M. Nelson,
he, in one of his first talks
as prophet of the church,
he gave a message where he said basically
people are misunderstanding that
members of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints,
when you hear just Mormon,
you don’t think Christian.
You don’t think of a church that could be
seen as the Lord’s restored church.
– I do.
I think Christian.
– That’s good.
But I mean, I think a lot of people
think Mormon is its own thing.
– Okay.
– Mormonism is kind of its own bubble.
When in reality-
– Okay.
– Our most fundamental belief is that
we’re just the restored
version of Christ’s church.
And so by emphasizing the
full name of the church,
the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-Day Saints,
obviously that’s a mouthful.
It’s a long name,
but using that full name, it
emphasizes that we believe
we are the church of
Jesus Christ literally,
and that Latter-Day
Saint is the description
of the people who are striving-
– Okay.
– To live God’s-
– So if I call you Mormon, is that okay?
– Yeah, you can say that,
and people would know
what you’re talking about.
But if I were-
– But does that insult you?
– It doesn’t insult me,
but it would, with current
teachings from our prophet,
he encourages us to say,
oh, actually, you know,
I love the Prophet Mormon
in the Book of Mormon,
but in reality we’re the
Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-Day Saints.
– Okay, is the Book of Mormon sort of like
the new New Testament?
Does it come off the New Testament?
– Yeah, so it takes place
kind of in the same period as,
you know, a lot of older scripture.
We believe kind of heading
under the Book of Mormon
is another testament of Jesus Christ.
So we have the Old Testament.
– Yeah.
– The New Testament,
and then we have this, another
testament of Jesus Christ.
– And that’s the Book of Mormon.
– Exactly, yeah.
– And it’s a new religion.
Joseph Smith took these doctrines
from the tablets, right,
that he was, sorry, my
history’s really bad.
– No, you’re fine.
– So he received these tablets, right?
And he transcribed them into
the Book of Mormon, correct?
– Yes.
– So that happened in the 1800s.
So the tablets came
from much earlier time?
– Yes, yeah, so we believe-
– Like right after the New Testament?
– Yeah, about that time period.
– Okay.
– So we believe that these
tablets they control,
well, they had histories of ancient people
living in the Americas.
– Okay.
– People have kind of tried
to come up with theories
where that is in the Americas.
We don’t have a exact
answer where that is.
– Okay.
– But it’s this record of
people living in the Americas,
their prophets, their apostles.
And the culmination of the Book of Mormon
is when Jesus Christ, after
he’s ascended to heaven in,
you know, the old world, he comes,
and he visits the people
in the Book of Mormon.
– Okay.
– And establishes the church here.
– Okay.
– Which is a very powerful thing.
And Joseph Smith, he just translated that.
And that was a huge blessing to us
’cause we have more scripture
and more understanding of
Christ’s life and his principles.
And you can see up here,
I dunno if you can catch
up there on the ledge,
but there’s a statue of Jesus Christ.
– Okay.
– Which is a very big
symbol of our church.
It’s the Christus statue.
– You don’t have Christ
on cross anywhere, do you?
– So we don’t.
That’s a piece of our history.
We kind of celebrate the fact
that Christ has risen more.
So you won’t see members
of the church wearing,
you know, crosses.
That’s a criticism.
Other Christians will point at us and say,
“Hey, you don’t believe in-”
– Oh, interesting.
– You know, the cross and this stuff.
But we, you know, we definitely
believe the cross happened,
but we like to celebrate the
fact that he’s resurrected.
And so our symbol is, you know,
the risen Lord with his outstretched hands
calling people to him with
the nail prints in his feet
and in his hands.
– So-
– That’s kind of our main symbol.
– The second coming is a
huge theme with LDS, right?
– Exactly, yeah.
– But they’ve been talking
about it since mid 19th century.
What are your thoughts
on the second coming?
– So, I personally, a lot of
older members of the church
really get excited about the idea.
I like to focus more on my
relationship with Christ now
versus trying to say, okay,
because there was an
eclipse a couple weeks ago,
that means the second coming
is right around the corner.
– So some of the older LDS
members are thinking that?
– Yeah, they kind of get a hyper fixation
on aspects of our doctrine
that don’t necessarily
improve their life.
It just is something they like to,
they call it kind of, quote
unquote, like deep doctrine
to try to look through the scriptures,
find little hints of this will happen
before this son coming, this will happen.
But if you listen to our current prophets,
they’re encouraging people
to improve their lives spiritually.
They’re not necessarily saying,
okay, go out and buy, you
know, a giant bomb shelter
and build it underground
because the second coming’s
happening, and this and that.
– Okay, but I read that
Mormons quite often have a year
of food reservoirs and money saved.
– Yeah.
– Just in case.
Is that common please?
– That was in the early 2000s
from one of our prophets,
President Hinckley.
– Okay.
– And I think a lot of
people interpreted that
kind of direction or revelation as,
oh, that means the second
coming’s right around the corner.
You gotta have that prepared
for the second coming.
But in 2008 we had this
huge recession where
a lot of people were out
of work and this and that.
And so I kind of look at that as-
– Okay.
– Protection during that time.
– Right, just being prepared for whatever
in case something happens.
(bell rings)
– Yeah.
– You’re set.
– Yeah, exactly.
– Yeah.
How you doing?
(walker muttering)
(Peter and walker laughs)
(mellow music)
– We’re entering Utah County now,
which is named after Utah Lake,
which is this freshwater
lake out here on the right.
– [Peter] Okay.
– And obviously to the north
of us we have the Salt Lake,
and running between ’em is a
river we call the Jordan River.
And the earliest Saints
saw this as a new holy land
because you literally have a
freshwater lake just like the,
I think the Sea of Galilee
is the freshwater lake,
and then you have the
Jordan River running to
the Dead Sea with the salt water.
And so Saints kind of saw this kind of
geographical comparison
to holy lands in the past.
And so they did kind
of relate themselves to
the early Israelites who were
looking for their holy land.
– [Peter] Okay, now big
tech has taken over.
I saw Adobe.
– [Brock] Yeah.
– [Peter] There’s a lot
of business down here.
– [Brock] This is called Silicon Slopes.
This is Lehi, Utah.
You have a lot of very big tech industry
that have taken hold in this area
because of the, what they
can offer to their employees,
the recreation, the
good family environment.
You also have large
educational institutions
filling these tech jobs.
– So this is becoming more
Mormon centric down here
as far as the population.
– Yes, Lehi maybe not necessarily.
It used to probably be more.
There’s a lot of people
moving in for these tech jobs.
But like once we get, you can see
way up there on the mountain is the Y
for Brigham Young University.
Once we get-
– [Peter] Okay.
– Kind of in the shadow of
the Y there, that’ll be huge.
– [Peter] So more Mormons
are living down here
where we’re going than
actually in Salt Lake,
the center of Salt Lake.
– Yeah, exactly.
– [Peter] Okay.
– You know, Salt Lake
City is very expensive.
You know, I’ve talked
about 2002, the Olympics.
People have moved in from out of state.
It’s a lot more secular and downtown now.
And so you’ll find the
strongest congregations,
the strongest groups of
congregations called Stakes.
You’ll find those in Utah County,
which is the county just
directly south of Salt Lake
and Davis County,
which is the county
just North of Salt Lake.
– Okay, so interesting.
So a lot of the Mormons
just moved South and North.
– Yeah.
– And it’s got out of the original ion.
– Yeah.
Well, and the interesting thing is
a lot of these settlements like
Provo, Brigham City, Ogden,
were actually original,
Brigham Young sent out groups
to make new little cities.
So where we’re going in Provo,
we’ll have that same kind of
grid pattern, wide streets.
– Okay.
– Religious buildings in the center.
And it still has that same kind of design.
– So Provo is old.
– Yeah, it’s been there for a long time.
– Okay.
A lot of non-Mormons,
including myself until recently
until I started researching LDS,
would think a lot of
Mormons are polygamous.
– [Brock] Yes.
– [Peter] Explain that to us.
– So yeah, our church has a
history of practicing polygamy.
And it’s something that Joseph
Smith kind of introduced
quietly when he was on the East Coast.
And then once the Saints came to Utah
and could practice freely,
it was an open practice.
And plural marriage was
a thing that was taught
and encouraged.
And people practiced it for
a long time in our church.
And then when Utah was in the
process of becoming a state,
people in the United States government
was very unsure of polygamy
and did not like that
whole aspect of the church.
And so after a while,
and lawsuits and stuff,
the church was threatened
to lose their property
and their temples if they
didn’t stop practicing polygamy.
And so the church stopped
practicing polygamy
back in the 1890s.
And ever since, we haven’t.
There are certain people
within the church who believe
that they shouldn’t have
stopped practicing polygamy.
And if they do believe that,
they’re excommunicated.
They’re, you know, we do
not have any tolerance
for people who practice polygamy.
– [Peter] Sure.
– But there are what are
called fundamentalists
Latter-Day Saints who have left the church
and formed their own church
where they still do practice polygamy.
Their kind of like church headquarters
for a time was in Southern Utah.
And that’s Warren Jeffs-
– Yeah.
– Who’s a common name.
And his brand of plural
marriage is very different
from the history of my church’s
practice of plural marriage.
Plural marriage was still you dated people
and came to that conclusion
of deciding to get married together.
– Okay.
– It was not arranged marriages.
And you can read hundreds upon hundreds
of personal accounts from women
and people who have practiced
polygamy in our church history
and come to that conclusion
that they really felt
that this was the right thing to do.
Where in the FLDS tradition
and a lot of other
fundamentalist traditions,
the prophet decides who gets to marry who.
– [Peter] Right.
– [Brock] And it’s all arranged marriages,
which can get very messy quickly
when you start marrying people
who are below marriage age,
which is something that Warren
Jeffs got involved with and-
– [Peter] Right.
– [Brock] It got very messy.
– And so FLDS is under 1% of all Mormons.
– Yes, and we don’t even-
– And you wouldn’t even
consider them Mormon, right?
– Yeah, we-
– And they wouldn’t consider you Mormon.
– Yeah, they view our
church as apostatized
’cause we don’t practice that.
They also teach a lot of
other fundamentalist documents
or doctrines that are very, you know,
we don’t believe in at all anymore.
– Sure.
– And so there’s a huge distinction
between us and fundamentalists.
– So is it that they believe
they follow the original prophecy,
where your prophecy evolves
with every new president
or prophet that comes into power?
– Exactly, yeah.
– Is that the difference?
– They believe that, you know,
they’re a huge fan of Brigham Young
and all of his teachings.
– Yeah.
– They’re more likely
to teach his prophecies
and his doctrines that
apply mostly to the 1800s
and the time when the saints were in
the pioneer settlements.
Where now, you know, the beautiful
thing about our church is
we have a living prophet who
can administer the church
based on how the world is today,
and hold truth the truth
or hold firmly the truth
and administer the church in that way.
– Okay.
– Versus trying to
teach how the church was
back in the 1800s.
– Gotcha.
– We’re heading right into BYU’s campus.
Up here on the left is
our football stadium.
We got rugby going out here on the right.
– And how big is BYU?
– It’s about 30,000 students.
– Oh, wow.
– So it’s a full size
division one university.
– And you just looked up online
percentage of Mormons here,
and you said 90%.
– Yeah, it’s over 90%.
So this is-
– Over 90, wow.
– This is a place where
you’ll find a lot of
members of the church.
(Brock laughs)
– And so with relationships,
someone’s a student here,
they can, say a man, they can date
however many women they want?
– Yeah.
– Go on dates.
– It’s all, yeah, it’s
all personal preference.
Dating people you find
attractive physically
and intellectually, going on dates, and-
– Women can go on as
many dates as they want.
That’s not frowned upon.
– Yeah, and girls can ask males on dates.
It’s basically, everything is normal
about the dating culture.
Dating apps, there’s an
LDS-specific like Tinder app
where you swipe up or
swipe downs on people.
– Okay, okay.
– The only thing that’s different is that
you’re not gonna find people
just sleeping with people
left and right.
It’s all focused on-
– Can they hold hands?
– Yeah, kissing, holding hands.
– Kissing
Anything beyond kissing?
– Yeah, making out is,
there’s kind of this-
– Interesting.
– Acronym called NCMO,
non-committal makeout.
And so you’ll find-
– Instead of sleeping with people,
you’ll find people will do
a non-committal makeout.
They’ll just make out with somebody, and-
– So you can have on your
Tinder profile, NCMO?
– Yeah, and people know
what that is in Utah.
And that’s something I don’t wanna rule.
I don’t participate in that.
– Yep, sure.
– But that’s part of the culture.
– [Peter] So it’s its
own world up here really.
– Yeah, and it’s all
a valid belief system.
It’s just, it’s peculiar to
people who aren’t used to it,
and people kind of pounce
on and try to discourage us
and make us feel bad for that.
But it’s just its whole
own unique culture,
and it’s, I enjoy living here
and participating in that.
– Do you guys feel under threat at all?
Like people are trying to-
– Here’s some missionaries right here.
– Right.
Stomp on your values way of
life, that sort of thing?
– Yeah, and what I’m talking
about is those TikToks
where they interview BYU students.
They’ll ask stuff like, would you rather.
I mean, it’s all logical fallacy.
It’s like, would you rather
have a puppy murdered
or denounce your beliefs?
And it’s like, obviously
you’re never gonna be
in a situation where
you’re gonna have to be-
– [Peter] Right.
– To be doing that.
But it’s all to make.
People will say, “Oh, I’d kill a puppy
’cause I believe in my beliefs.”
And it makes us look stupid
because obviously you
wanna have an animal live,
but at the same time,
it’s a way to try to make us look stupid
and make us seem stupid for
being so firm in our beliefs
because we really believe in this church.
This is kind of the playing
fields for the missionaries.
So you can see missionaries
playing soccer,
playing volleyball over here.
– [Peter] They’re all
gonna be sent overseas
or around the country.
– [Brock] Yeah, so they’re just
in Provo for their training.
– Okay.
– And then up here, this
is the Provo Temple,
and this is where when you’re at the MTC
or you’re at BYU, you’ll
come to this temple
and participate in the sacred rituals.
– [Peter] And that’s
Moroni on the top, right?
– [Brock] Yeah, there’s Angel Moroni.
He’s one of the prophets
in the Book of Mormon.
And we put him at the top of
our temples as a symbolism
of like, he’s calling
people to restore gospel,
and the gospel is being
declared throughout the world.
– [Peter] So do you have to be
Mormon to go to school here?
– You don’t.
Some of our athletes come
here for other reasons
other than religious values.
You do pay a little bit more on tuition
just because tuition is
subsidized by tithing.
And so-
– Okay.
– That’s kind of a way of rewarding.
– How much is tuition for you?
– So right now, Winter of 2024,
I’ll pay 3,300 for a semester,
and then housing is
probably about 300 a month,
and you share it with people.
– Oh, that’s great.
– [Brock] So.
With how highly ranked BYU’s
educational programs are,
it is an absolute steal
compared to other private
Christian colleges like TCU,
Liberty University.
You’re paying $40,000 for a semester
where you’re paying
$40,000 for all four years
of your education here.
– Right.
Totally different vibe
than Salt Lake City.
– Yeah, people call Provo
in the suburbs the bubble
because everything that
happens within Utah,
it’s just so serene.
It kind of feels like the
movie The Truman Show.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of that.
– [Peter] The Truman Show, great movie.
– Where everybody seems
like they’re so fake
and put in a purpose to make
everything feel so surreal
and, you know, pristine.
But everybody here is
just living their life
and doing their best to live
Latter-Day Saint teachings.
And in direct result, you
have a beautiful place
where there’s great values,
and people are improving the world
and building the kingdom of God, so.
– Okay, so one of the best
language schools in the country.
Is that true?
Is that what we’re looking at?
– Yeah, so this is the
Missionary Training Center.
This is where before you begin
your service as a missionary,
you come here, you report here,
and English missionaries as
well as language missionaries.
And you spend about three weeks
if you’re an English missionary
learning teaching techniques,
but if you’re learning a language,
you spend about six to nine
weeks learning a language
before you fly out to a new place.
So yeah, those are some
of the missionaries.
– [Peter] Guys, have you
been on your mission yet?
– No.
(missionaries talking)
– [Peter] Where are you guys going?
– Brazil.
– [Peter] You pumped?
– Super pumped.
– [Peter] You fired up for Brazil?
– Yeah.
Like the MTC is super, it’s super fun.
It’s super great,
but it’s also like we have to
pretty much stay like right here.
And the Sao Paulo has
like 22 million people.
And so like, and your town has like
8 million or something, right?
– Yeah.
– [Peter] Are you guys gonna
go up into the Favelas?
– Yeah.
– Yep.
– [Peter] Really?
– Yep.
– Yeah a lot of-
– [Peter] You scared at all or no?
– We’ll be all right.
– Yeah.
– Yeah.
– God protects these young
men and their mission
and helps them spread the word, so.
– [Peter] That’s very cool, guys.
Good luck.
– Thank you, you too.
– Take care.
That is so cool.
I think missionaries are some
of the most courageous people.
– It takes takes a lot of courage, yeah.
– They’re gonna go rip up
into the Favelas of San Paulo?
– Yeah.
– From the religious
perspective, you’re like,
God, I’m doing the right thing.
God’s protecting me.
I’m not gonna worry about this at all.
– Yeah, I mean obviously
there’s training videos
about being situationally aware,
making sure you’re not
going into places that
you’re for sure gonna
get attacked or anything,
but we do believe there’s
a sense of protection.
– Right.
– When people see the white shirts,
obviously those missionaries,
they’re about to go,
you know, exercise, so
they’re in normal clothes,
but when they’re in their,
you know, missionary attire,
people see them,
and they recognize that
spiritual calling they have,
and we believe God protects them.
And it’s very rare to hear of
missionary gets killed
in Sao Paulo, Brazil
because of his beliefs.
So it’s a very, very-
– I love it.
I have a whole newfound
respect for you guys
because I’ve seen you in
all corners of the globe
in some sketchy areas.
(Peter chuckles)
– Yeah.
– And to not just to hang out there,
but to actually talk to people
and try to teach them something new,
or try to change their way of thinking.
– Yeah.
– That’s next level.
– I mean, if any of your viewers are,
they see missionaries,
feel free to talk to ’em.
– Yeah.
– If you’re, on my mission, we did,
we helped people move,
we mowed people’s lawns,
picked weeds, we taught.
– Okay, but-
– It’s all these different things.
– If you’re gonna mow my lawn-
– Yeah.
– Then you want something
in return, right?
You’re gonna like say,
“Hey Peter, you gotta
listen to me on this one.”
– Well, we’re not gonna
say, you know, one for one.
If you do this, you have
to go to church or this.
But we believe that by being serviceable
and being as true
disciples of Jesus Christ,
doing what he would do,
people will recognize that
serviceable attitude in us,
and they’re gonna be interested,
and maybe try to take
lessons from missionaries.
This is kind of the main courtyard
of the Missionary Training Center.
You can see these flagpoles.
They usually have flags up
of all the different nations
that we’re sending missionaries to.
But you can see these missionaries
spending time outside studying.
They pay actors to kind of
go around on the grounds.
And you can have
missionaries approach them
and do practice approaching
people and talking to them.
You know, there’s some of them are waving.
(Brock laughs)
– [Peter] That’s great.
– Being a missionary,
being in the Missionary Training Center,
I mean, we talk to these elders.
It’s probably the prime of their life.
You know, it was one of
the greatest experiences
I’ve had in my life is
just spending time in here.
It’s probably one of the
highest density places
where people are constantly praying.
So the spirit is just very person.
You feel it, you feel the power of God
and the power of the mission.
You learn languages,
learn how to study
scriptures more effectively,
and learn how to-
– Well, I can see the skill
of speaking to strangers
in a foreign land out of your language
is a great one to have.
You know, like-
– Yeah.
– It’s not easy.
You have to overcome awkward situations.
You have to be personable,
very extroverted.
– Yeah.
– And even if you’re
not, you gotta go do it.
– Not everybody is extroverted.
I wasn’t very extroverted
when I went on my mission.
– Okay.
– I remember, you know, you get
on the plane the first time.
You’re flying, I’m
flying to North Carolina.
– Yeah.
– And I was like, I was very nervous.
And I sat next down to
the people next to me,
and I was like, okay, this
is my first attempt to,
you know, talk to people,
and my attempt of kind of like a contact.
And I started talking to ’em,
and the guy put his headphones
on and turned away from me.
And so I was like, okay, this is-
– You learn rejection.
– You learn rejection right off the bat.
– Oh, you guys really learn rejection.
– Yeah.
– Because I had some
missionaries, and I apologized,
but back in the day they came to my door,
and I just sort of, you know.
Guys, I’m not interested
in closing on ’em.
I apologize to those guys,
but you have to take a lot of that, right?
– Yeah.
– Like a ton of rejection,
which is a great skill in life.
– Yeah.
– Because that’s what the world is.
It’s a lot of rejection usually.
– Yeah.
– And you have to be persistent,
and deal with it, and
not take it personally.
– Yeah.
– Right?
– This is kind of the South exit.
This is where the missionaries will come.
They get on buses here, and
they head to the airport,
and this is kind of the
exit from the MTC where-
– Peter Santenello!
– Oh, you got a fan over here.
Yeah, but this is where
missionaries leave,
and they take off, so.
– [Brock] Wow.
– Yeah.
– And then it’s two years you’re gone.
– Two years you’re gone, yeah.
– You’re not coming home for vacation
or anything during that time.
– Yeah.
– Two years you’re gone.
– Two years you’re gone,
and you email back and
forth to your parents.
You call on your day off.
You, you know, do video
calls and stuff, but it’s-
– And the church pays for it all.
– So you actually pay your own way.
That’s another aspect of it.
I mean, it’s very, very modest, you know,
but you pay,
But you pay your own
way as a way to kind of
sacrifice yourself and say,
hey, I’m doing this for-
– Okay.
– Yeah.
So that’s another aspect
of, that’s kind of-
– And so how often are
they pushing a new crop out
into the world?
Is it like, how often?
– Every Wednesday you get a
new crop of missionaries in.
So you’ll see, if you’re
ever up here on a Wednesday,
you’ll see a bunch of families
coming to drop their family off.
They pull ’em in to like
the front entrance of MTC.
You get out, you get your
suitcases out, you hug,
and that’s it.
You’re not, that’s one of the
scariest moments of my life
was having the faith to
get outta the car there
and enter the MTC.
And so you get a large contingent
of missionaries every Wednesday.
And then during the next
week you have departure days,
depending on where you’re
going in the world.
– [Peter] Oh, it’s massive building.
– [Brock] There’s 72,000
missionaries in the world, so.
– Oh, in the world.
– So that’s, yeah, current-
– At a given time.
– At a given time, yeah.
And that’s gone up.
– And they’re all going through here.
– So there’s also
missionary training centers
in some other countries.
There’s one in Mexico.
– Okay, okay.
– And so you don’t necessarily
have to get called here,
but if you’re English
speaking, it’s usually here.
But there’s one in, you know, England.
There’s one in Brazil, Philippines.
They’re not as big as this one.
This one’s kind of like
the flagship institution.
– [Peter] Wow.
– [Brock] And these
older buildings out here,
this is kind of the dorm.
– [Peter] Okay, so to
be in the missionary,
you have to live here in the dorms.
– Yeah, so all that’s taken
care of for you from the church.
So you get housing.
You’re in with a group
of missionaries together.
They call it a district, which
is kinda like your classroom.
– [Peter] Okay.
– So you get to know these
missionaries really well.
– So I’m sure you make some good
friendships with these guys.
– Yeah.
– If you’re out in the
world for two years.
– Exactly, yeah.
– With like the same group of people.
– So yeah, we have, usually
around general conference time,
you have missionary reunions where people
who serve in the same
mission come back together,
and they, you know, get
together with their old friends,
and you get a lot of close
friends from being a missionary,
and it’s a shared bonding experience of-
– Right.
– Serving other people and-
– What an experience.
– Yeah.
So over here, across from the MTC,
this is all owned by BYU as well.
It’s called Y Mount Housing.
And it’s where a lot of married couples,
it’s very common for people to get married
while they’re in their college experience.
And so they all live in this,
we call it married
housing or family housing.
This is where they live
while they’re attending BYU.
– [Peter] So they have kids
when they’re pretty young,
I’m guessing.
– Yeah.
I mean it’s less frequent nowadays,
but you still, every once in
a while I’ll have a class,
and there’ll be a girl
in there with a baby.
And the professors are wonderful.
They never are like, “Oh,
get your kid outta here.
It’s crying.”
It’s very much designed to-
– Wow, baby in the classroom.
– Yeah, to have kids in the classroom.
– Okay.
– But once again, that’s a rare thing.
That’s not like a commonality, but.
Yeah, here’s some people walking back to,
freshman housing’s like right
down there from the temple
getting ready to process there.
– Do you have a girlfriend, Brock?
– I do not have a girlfriend, no.
The stereotype is to get
married right off the mission
and this and that,
and for whatever reason I
haven’t found the person
that that’s-
– Yeah.
– That’s gonna be,
but I’m not not looking for that, I guess.
– Most important decision
you can make in your life.
– It is, yeah.
And I take that very seriously.
We even believe that marriage carries on.
You know, we say it goes
on into the eternity.
So it’s not something that
we just wanna take lightly,
and I’m trying to take it seriously, so.
– [Peter] What are divorce
rates like in the church,
do you know?
– Very low.
It’s very rare.
Because of that dynamic of marriage being
kinda like the crowning
ordinance in the faith,
I don’t know what the exact number is,
but it’s definitely a lot lower
than the statistics of
the United States, so.
– [Peter] What’s up, guys?
– Vlog!
What up, Vlog?
(students laughing)
– [Peter] Is that what they say here?
– Yeah, yeah.
– What up, Vlog?
– What up, Vlog, yeah.
Stereotypical guy with the,
you know, the camera mount.
– The selfie stick.
– Yeah.
I know that’s a YouTube thing.
I don’t know if that’s a-
– Yeah, I guess I’m in it,
but I’m out of it at the same time.
What’s up, guys?
– Konnichiwa.
– [Peter] Konnichiwa.
Where are you going?
Have you gone yet on your mission?
– Sapporo, Japan.
– [Peter] You’re going to Japan?
– Yeah.
– [Peter] How pumped up are you?
– I’m hyped.
– [Peter] You speak Japanese all right?
– Just a tiny bit.
– Learning.
– We’ve been here like
three weeks, a little bit.
– Three weeks out of like nine.
– [Peter] So you guys chose Japan,
or they chose you for Japan?
– They chose us.
– [Peter] Okay.
– So you apply having no
clue where you’re gonna go.
– Most you can do is like
on the form you can put
if you are okay with going foreign.
‘Cause some people really
don’t wanna go foreign
’cause like they’re,
they just don’t wanna go.
– Like if they have anxiety or something.
– Yeah, right.
– [Peter] Brock didn’t wanna go-
– [Brock] I went North Carolina, so.
– Right, you can like put like
you wanna go stateside or-
– [Brock] Yeah.
– If you’re really good at
learning a foreign language
or anything, you put that.
– [Peter] When you heard Japan
were you pretty fired up?
– I was caught off guard ’cause I put,
I’m fluent in Chinese actually.
So I was totally.
I put that on my forms too.
I was like, I’m going to Taiwan for sure.
And I saw Japan, and I
was like, well, hyped,
but definitely caught me off guard, so.
– Most of us are half Japanese too,
so that’s like a big thing.
– Yeah, yeah.
– [Peter] So did you have the language?
– I spoke a tiny bit just at home, but.
– [Peter] Are you guys all from Salt Lake?
– No.
– I’m from Michigan.
– [Peter] Michigan.
– Arizona.
– [Peter] Arizona.
– Utah.
– Utah.
– England.
– [Peter] So fresh outta high
school, you do your time here,
and then you’re out in
the world two years.
– Basically, yeah,
fresh outta high school.
Nine weeks in the MTC,
and now your two years.
And your two years starts,
the MTC’s included in the two years, so.
– [Peter] Okay, well good luck out there.
– Thank you.
– [Brock] Thanks, elders, good luck, yeah.
– [Peter] All the best.
– Appreciate it.
– [Peter] Take care.
– Have a good day.
– [Peter] And to be a practicing Mormon,
do you have to go on a mission?
– You do not.
It’s for males it is very much encouraged.
It’s called a priesthood responsibility.
But for sisters it’s,
they can choose to go.
And the age for serving
as a sister missionary
was moved to 19 a couple years ago,
and ever since it’s like a huge uptick
in sister missionaries
compared to the past.
– So they’re way more male missionaries
than sister missionaries.
– Yeah.
– But that’s changing.
– It is changing, yeah.
– I mean it’s upticking.
– It is very common, so.
– [Peter] Now would
they send a young woman
into the Favelas of Sao Paulo,
or how do they do that?
– So all missions have elders and sisters,
but there are certain areas
within a mission where your,
some sisters will not be called there
just due to instances of the past, so.
– Right.
Do you go to any Muslim countries?
– We do not.
So there are certain countries where,
so we send missionaries to Russia,
but they only allow
missionaries to do service.
They are not allowed to to teach.
It’s gotta be-
– But nothing in the Middle East,
– Nothing in the Middle East.
There are older missionaries,
like people who have retired,
they can serve as missionaries.
We call ’em senior missionaries.
– Okay.
– And there are senior missionaries
in certain Middle Eastern
countries helping run
congregations of people who
have joined the church there.
– That’s gonna be a tough go.
– It is, yeah.
– Converting Muslims into LDS.
– So we have a very good relationship with
members of the Islamic faith.
Joseph Smith in the
original Nauvoo City charter
specifically mentions Muslims and says,
“This is a city where they can come,
they can have the religious freedom.”
And so it’s a very much,
there’s a huge kinship
between us and Islamic faith.
Any Abrahamic faith we
have a kinship with.
– Okay,
So here’s my question with proselytizing
or converting people to a religion.
– Yeah.
– Like if a Muslim person came
here and talked about Islam,
they have 0% chance that
they’re gonna convert you.
– Yeah.
– Right?
– So when you go to someone else,
when they’re practicing a religion,
it’s a tough sell, isn’t it?
– It is, yeah.
– Like is any, what’s the conversion rate?
– So, I mean, I don’t have
any like set numbers of like-
– Sure.
– How many doors knocked,
how many people.
– Right.
That’d be a tough one to get, but.
– But it is, you know, there
is kind of a trade off there
of like, hey, we’re asking
people to do something
that’s very difficult to change beliefs.
And there are a lot of
people who are Christian,
set in Christian belief systems,
a Muslim belief, any religion,
but they’re not necessarily
super active in it.
– Okay, yeah.
– Or they’re looking-
– That seems like-
– Or they’ve grew up in the
church of some other church,
and they feel like
they’re missing something,
and that’s a very common-
– Okay.
– And then the missionaries come and-
– And you guys are offering it.
– Yeah, and the missionaries
come by and they say,
“Hey, we have this thing
called the plan of salvation.”
It, you know, clicks some gears and like,
oh, that sounds interesting,
or oh, we believe that Christ’s
church needs to be restored
on the earth again.
They’re like, oh, that sounds interesting.
I’m gonna listen.
So these little questions we talk about
might resonate with someone,
and they can add onto their faith and-
– Gotcha.
Does it ever happen where
someone on their mission
meets a local girl, or a
local guy gets married, stays?
– So it’s very much discouraged
’cause you don’t want that,
– Okay.
– It does happen.
If that was found out while
you were on the mission,
you’d get kicked out of your area,
and you’d, you know, be
dropped out of contact
’cause you don’t want
that romantic connection.
– Just kicked out of
the church completely?
– No, not out of the, like, out of-
So you usually serve
in like a certain area
of your mission.
– Okay, yeah.
– [Brock] You’ll get moved
to a different area and go-
– [Peter] Oh, okay.
– But it happens.
But it’s gotta happen in
the right ways, I guess.
Not on your mission,
you’re not doing the date.
This is all freshman housing.
The church spends a lot
of money on this campus,
our campus in Hawaii, our campus in Idaho,
England and Jerusalem.
Everywhere where there’s
a presence of BYU,
they spend a lot of
money to make sure it’s
a reputable academic institution.
And here’s the creamery.
Ice cream’s a huge part
of the culture here.
So this is BYU’s, they can
make their own ice cream,
and it’s very popular,
obviously, on a Saturday.
– Is that because alcohol
is out of the equation?
– Yeah.
– So ice cream’s a replacement maybe.
– Ice cream is chocolate milk.
People make that joke,
but people, there are different kinds
of chocolate milk that BYU makes
that people have preferences
over and they drink.
And this is kind of the-
– So some chocolate
milk connoisseurs here.
– [Peter] Yes.
Yeah, and if you’re ever in Provo,
you gotta try the cookies
and cream chocolate milk.
– So a lot of people reached
out to me in my audience.
I got all sorts of responses actually
when I said I was doing the series.
– Yeah.
– Many positive, many
have been asking for this
for a while, actually.
Non-Mormons, curious about it.
But some reach out and say, it’s a cult.
It’s a full on cult, X, Y, and Z.
Don’t do it.
Don’t expose them.
What are your thoughts to this?
And that’s not an easy question.
Take it any way you want, but.
– That’s a, it’s a very difficult question
because it comes from a
place of, people have a very,
people have a very large
definition of what a cult is.
And technically, if you
look on like Google,
and you type in what is a cult,
it’s like an organization that
follows a spiritual leader,
and everybody like adheres to something.
And it’s kind of like a very basic thing,
and technically we fit that.
We fit that because we
believe in Jesus Christ,
and we follow him.
And everybody strictly follows,
you know, a religious figure.
But then if you were to say that
we trap people in the religion,
you’re not allowed to leave,
you know, you’re locked in.
You see a lot of the
very hard abuse scandals
you see in other cults and stuff.
You don’t have that in the church.
If you wanted to leave, you can leave.
You’re gonna have pressure
of people trying to convince you to stay,
but it’s not like if you just say,
“Oh, you know, I’m feeling-”
Well, if I were to say, tell my bishop
or anybody who, you know,
is a church leader over me,
“I’m feeling like I’m
gonna leave the church-”
– Yeah.
– They’re not gonna arrest
me, and put me in a cage,
and, you know, say,
“Actually your family’s not
allowed to talk to you anymore,”
or any of these scary tactics
that you see other religions employ
that would be considered a cults as well.
You don’t see that in the church.
– So what if-
– You’re allowed to leave.
– As a member, I’m drinking alcohol
and having premarital
sex, what happens to me?
– So it depends what your motivations are.
– Okay.
– If you wanna stay in the church,
and you’ve made promises
and covenants in the temple,
you’re gonna be meeting
with your local leaders
and trying to make restitution,
and trying to change your habits,
and coming back to a place
where you’re keeping your promises again.
And if in that situation
it’s determined that
it would be better for you to not be under
the condemnation of God,
they can revoke your membership for a time
and put you under probation and-
– Membership, so you have a,
you have like a membership
card being in the church.
– So you don’t have a necessarily a card
for being in the church,
but you do have a temple
recommend, we call it,
where when you feel you are ready to go
and participate in temple ordinances,
they give you a card from
your local leader that says,
okay, we agree that this
person is ready to go in.
– [Peter] Okay.
– [Brock] And participate in ordinances.
– Okay, so say I don’t
listen to the advice,
but I don’t do anything proactively,
as in, I don’t try to leave the church.
Do I get kicked out somehow or?
– So, yeah, you, once, we
call it excommunication.
You go into a membership council
with your local church leaders,
and if they come to that determination
that you’re not trying to change your ways
or find restitution with God,
then you’ll have your membership revoked.
– [Peter] Okay.
– And we believe that’s a
service to the individual.
Because if you’re living covenants,
we believe that God is almighty,
and he will judge you based
on the covenants you’ve made.
And if you’re breaking those covenants,
and you still have your church membership,
that’s bringing condemnation
upon the individual.
– Will I be excommunicated,
as in nobody in the
church can speak with me,
or I can’t have any
relationship with them?
– No, no.
– Okay.
– So I mean, you can have a spouse.
– Okay.
– It’s not like, I think that’s a tactic
of maybe Scientology where you’re,
or maybe Jehovah’s Witnesses
where you’re not allowed
to talk to them anymore.
That’s not the case.
– Okay.
– Sometimes people won’t
wanna talk to people
who’ve left their church,
and they’re bitter because
no one feels comfortable
having their, talking to somebody
who’s constantly deriding
their beliefs and stuff.
But there’s no church document that says,
okay, when someone’s out, you
can’t talk to ’em anymore.
And, sorry, the family’s broken up.
That’s not what, that’s not.
– So this is Provo.
– Yeah, this is, we’re
here on Center Street
and University Avenue, and
this is the center of Provo.
– [Peter] So no bars, I’m guessing.
– [Brock] There might be a few bars,
but you will never see students at ’em.
– [Peter] Zion’s Bank.
– [Brock] Yeah, Zion’s
Bank is a huge bank here,
but you can see all kinds of
different shops, restaurants.
– [Peter] So coffee shops are a thing now.
20 years ago, there’d be no coffee shops.
– [Brock] Yeah.
– [Peter] Because no coffee.
– Yeah, people would
not be drinking coffee,
so you wouldn’t see coffee shops,
but you see ’em now for
people who’ve moved into Utah.
And there’s a market now for non-members.
So this is a place called Swig.
I’m not a huge fan of it,
but it’s a very much a
Mormon cultural thing,
or a Latter-Day Saint cultural thing
because it’s a place that’s
kind of a replacement
for coffee.
People who need their caffeine
will come here and drink sodas,
but they’re fancier sodas with mix-ins
and all these different things.
And it’s very much a part of the tapestry
of the culture here.
– Okay, and just to be clear,
if we weren’t clear before
about it, coffee is a no-no,
but if the current prophet or
the next prophet, whomever,
says coffee’s okay, then coffee’s okay.
– Yeah, and so I don’t
see that ever happening.
– Okay.
– But it is, because that’s
kind of a huge part of
faith in the church is
sometimes doing things
that don’t necessarily make sense.
– Okay.
– And so getting rid of
that and just saying,
oh yeah, there really isn’t
evidence that coffee’s bad,
it would not require as much
faith on behalf of the members.
– Okay, but soda at one
time was not allowed.
Now it’s allowed.
– Yeah, well, I don’t know if
there was ever like a point
where probably in conference talks it-
– Or caffeine, right?
– Yeah, so people used to associate,
the reason we can’t drink
coffee is because of caffeine.
And so obviously lots
of sodas have caffeine.
So people would drink sodas
just not with caffeine.
And BYU, the MTC, they’d
have drink machines,
but it would all be
Coca-Cola with that gold logo
with caffeine free.
– Oh, okay, so that’s how you could do it.
– Yeah.
– Let’s go, let’s check it out.
– Now, in 2015, BYU now
has caffeinated beverages.
And I think when BYU did it,
a lot of members said that’s okay.
And so then we start
to see places like this
where people come to get
their caffeinated beverages
in the form of a soft drink.
Where I don’t still see that as healthy,
’cause obviously soda’s not healthy
and it’s bad for your teeth.
– [Peter] I’m not a
soda fan, to be honest.
– But-
– [Peter] But we gotta check out Swig.
– Yeah, so I don’t know how this will go,
but you can see there, you
got like normal soda machines.
Then you have all the different syrups.
– [Peter] Oh, okay.
So syrup on your soda.
– Yeah, so it’s like a mix-in.
You can see like, this girl has a drink.
– [Peter] Oh, that’s a monster Swig.
– [Brock] Yeah and they’re big.
– [Peter] What do you
recommend as a newbie to Swig,
what should be my entryway drink?
– So what kind of soda do you like?
– [Peter] Not much of a soda drinker.
– Okay, are you looking
for like a water-based?
– [Peter] Let’s do, how about
a Fresca island time vibe?
– Fresca, that one is a good one, yeah.
It’s pretty sweet, if
that’s what you like.
– [Peter] What would be less sweet?
– Pink Bahama.
So that’s gonna be fresh
lemon, strawberry, raspberry,
and peach.
– [Peter] Fresh lemon.
– Yes, fresh lemon.
– [Peter] I’m in, I’m in.
– Perfect.
What size do you want that in?
– [Peter] I’ll take a small.
– Okay, perfect.
– [Peter] I just gotta
ease into Swig culture.
– Of course, of course.
Anything else for you guys?
– I’ll do a Texas tab just small as well.
I’ll try that, I haven’t-
– Okay, awesome, small Texas tab.
– [Peter] You know what you’re doing.
– Yeah, well, I’ll
pretend like I’m a local.
I know what’s going on here, so.
– [Worker] Perfect.
– [Peter] Friday, Saturday
nights, date night,
this is gonna be a popular location.
– Yeah, if you’re coming down this street,
they got the big windows,
you usually see a large
crowd in the drive-through.
I mean, right now it’s like 4:30.
– [Peter] Yeah, the
drive-through is rocking.
– The drive-through is
just absolutely massive.
– [Peter] Look at that.
I thought you guys ate well.
– Yeah, I mean, the word of wisdom,
that’s what it’s intended for.
But then sometimes you get
like kind of the opposite,
and you have a place like this, so.
– I’m just teasing you, Brock.
Okay, I saw wild hairstyle.
That’s allowed, but beards for
men are not allowed, correct?
– Yeah, so if you look at church history,
in the 70s when BYU was really taking off,
and they-
– Okay.
– Created the, like, the
rules and the honor code
is what we call it, there
was a dress and grooming
part of that attached to it.
And at the time, counterculture
was to wear beards.
And so church leaders said to-
– Okay.
– Set us apart from
the world, let’s shave.
Mustaches were allowed.
So you’ll see mustaches on campus.
– But could I go in like this?
– That’s fine.
– With scruff.
– You got little scruff, but.
– But if I had a beard, not allowed.
– Yeah.
And the interesting thing is
it’s not really policed anymore.
It’s kind of an on your honor thing.
– Okay.
– If you go to testings-
– But it’s definitely, if you’re in here,
and you come in with a
beard, it’s gonna stand out.
But they won’t even know that I’m,
they’ll think I’m not Mormon, right?
– [Brock] Yeah, yeah, yeah.
(customers chatting)
– Cheers.
– Yeah.
(Brock laughs)
Yeah, that’s very-
– Wow.
– Very good, but it’s obviously
not probably very healthy.
– It’s got a lot of punch.
But this is a serious operation.
– Yeah.
– [Peter] Museum of Mormon
history, that’d be interesting.
– I’ve been here once.
It’s just, it’s not church owned.
It’s just a guy who has
a bunch of documents
about church history.
So it’s not anything like,
it’s not as fancy as like the church.
– Okay.
– It’s not like antagonistic or anything.
It’s just, it’s not really
like anything super-
– It’s actually not bad.
It’s pretty good.
Okay, so garments, what were
you saying about clothing?
You can tell when someone is LDS because?
– Because they’ll be wearing
what we call temple garments.
So most religions have outward appearances
of religious clothing that
they’ll wear over their clothes.
But for Latter-Day Saints, we wear,
once we’ve gone through the temple,
we wear temple garments under our clothes.
And it’s a very sacred
aspect of our belief.
And because of the way
this clothing is designed,
if you’re wearing like a
very sheer white shirt,
like for men, for businesses attire,
you can see kind of the scoop
neck of the garments, so.
– So you’re wearing
temple garments right now?
– I am right now, yeah, so.
– What are they, white or?
– Yeah, so they’re white.
It’s an inward commitment
of our commitment to follow Jesus Christ,
and it’s kind of a
constant reminder of our
promises we’ve made in the temple.
– So just a shirt, or
underwear, or everything.
– Yeah, it’s very similar
to style of an undershirt,
you see men wearing.
– Okay.
– And then just boxers that you see, yeah.
– And so every day of your life
you’re wearing temple garments.
– Yeah, the only time I take
it off is for if I’m doing,
like if I’m going for a
run, I’d probably wear,
I’d take ’em off ’cause I
wouldn’t wanna get them gross,
or sweaty and-
– Sleeping you take ’em off.
– Sleeping, I keep them on.
Some people choose to, to take them off.
So it’s kind of up to the
person to, we’re just,
you know, we promise to wear them,
and it’s kind of up to the individual.
– Okay, so-
– How much that means to them.
– Are most people wearing them
do you think in the church?
– Yeah, if you’ve gone through the temple,
and you’re an adult member
of the church who’s active,
most likely they’re
wearing temple garments
at any given time.
– All those missionaries or
future missionaries we saw,
they’re wearing temple garments.
– Yeah.
– Okay.
– And I mean, we believe there’s
not necessarily like physical protection.
Like, it’s not like it’s a
bulletproof vest or anything,
but we do believe that wearing it
we will be protected against
the power of the adversary.
– Okay.
– And it’s a reminder to
keep our promises with God
and to keep the name of Jesus
Christ with us at all times.
– Okay, so only super conservative Mormons
are wearing very traditional
clothes, correct?
On the outside.
– Yes, yeah, that’s,
fundamentalist groups,
I’m not sure necessarily
what they’re grasping onto
to wear like those prairie
dresses you’ve see.
– So only fundamentalist groups,
which is under 1% of everyone.
– Yeah.
– In the combined two groups.
Okay, so that’s how you can
tell if someone’s Mormon
is if you can see like.
Like you were saying Mitt Romney,
you could see sometimes his undergarments.
– Yeah, that was a issue
on the campaign trail
where he’d be campaigning
in just a white shirt.
And if it was, you know, hot enough,
he’d be wearing a very sheer white shirt.
You could see the, they
call it the Mormon smile,
which is kinda like a
pedestrian way of saying like,
okay, that’s someone who’s, you know,
fully gone through the temple.
– And it’s a special thing.
You wouldn’t be able to see them,
Like I wouldn’t be able to see
them on Amazon or anything.
– Yeah, the the church is
the one that produces them.
– They produce and sell,
and you probably want
a bunch of ’em, right?
Because you’re wearing ’em all the time.
You’re always washing ’em, and-
– And then they are sold at cost,
of how much they cost to make them.
So it’s not like they are
these expensive things.
Like you see a lot of underwear nowadays.
It’s, you know, 30, 40 bucks for
just a pair of really nice-
– Right.
– It’s, you know, four
or five bucks for a pair.
It’s not anything.
– So you buy it through the church.
– Yeah.
And people who do not have
the funds to purchase them,
they can talk to their,
the leader of their local congregation,
and he can help fund the purchase of
anything they need for-
– Which is called ward, right?
– Yes.
– It’s a ward.
– A ward, yeah.
That’s a geographical area where
members of the church live.
– Yeah.
– And the leader of that
is called the bishop.
– [Peter] 1892.
– Yeah, it’s one year before
the Salt Lake temple was completed.
So it’s really kinda has the same era.
Brigham Young scent pioneers all over Utah
as far South as St. George,
even down to just outside of
Las Vegas to set up places.
– Okay, okay.
– And you’ll find a downtown
kind of like this one
where you see these wide streets.
You see beautiful pioneer houses like this
with the stained glass,
the best the pioneers could come up with.
– [Peter] What about your story?
How many generations back?
– I go back to the
original pioneers as well.
My great-great-great grandfather,
one of them settled here in Provo
in a house similar to this.
It’s actually been turned
into student apartments,
so it’s not as grand as this house here.
But yeah, the roots go deep.
Early converts from Europe where
originally the church would
send missionaries to Europe,
they’d find people, they’d
take a ship over to,
and then take a train as
far West as they could go,
and then they’d get on with
the oxcarts or the hand carts,
which is another kind of
famous Mormon history.
And they took off all the
way across the continent,
and settled here, and came to Zion, so.
– Yeah, look at this old growth.
– And the pioneers planted
a lot of these trees
because this was a desert.
And you know, we were in the
tabernacle as well earlier.
– Yeah.
– And you see a lot of these buildings,
and they don’t look as grand as like,
you know, some of these
Catholic cathedrals we go to.
But if you understand that the pioneers,
when they came here, there
was absolutely nothing.
If they wanted to build
a Salt Lake temple,
they had to go up into the mountains
and quarry this granite.
They didn’t have a lot of trees,
so they had to go up into the woods.
So everything that you see
that’s pioneer architecture
is the sacrifice of thousands
of hours to build these places
where they could worship their God.
And so that’s why I just love going into
some of these old
buildings ’cause it’s like,
it shows the dedication of my ancestors
and how much they gave
up to settle a place
so I could grow up in a
beautiful place just like this.
– Yeah, look at this old trike.
(Brock laughs)
It’s really beautiful
and feels like you’re
not in a desert at all.
– Yeah.
– So what are non-Mormons not
understanding about you guys?
Like what do we not get, let’s say?
– I think it’s just, for a long time
there hasn’t been a lot of
light shined on the church.
And so when you hear
these different things,
like we don’t drink coffee,
or we build temples again,
like people did in the Bible,
we send missionaries out.
You hear all these ideas, and
it makes us sound so peculiar.
– [Peter] And polygamy,
people say you’re polygamy.
– Yeah, and polygamy.
Any of this, you know, Wild West history.
At the end of the day,
we’re just Americans
trying to make the world a better place.
And I fundamentally believe
that members of the church
who are also citizens
of the United States,
have that special
connection to the country.
And through their promises
they’ve made in the temple,
they try to make beautiful
places like we’re seeing here.
And we’re just like other Americans,
even if we do, don’t drink the
same things as them, I guess.
– Do you feel ostracized
at all by the country
or by the non-Mormons, or no?
– It depends on who you’re talking to.
If you know, if you’re
talking to people who
are very versed in our theology
and don’t agree with it,
you do feel a little bit uncomfortable
because they’re gonna
attack you for your beliefs.
But for the most part,
I feel like if most Americans
could just understand
that we’re just people as well
trying to make the world a better place,
there’d be a lot more connection,
and we’re similar to other
Christians in the country.
– Do you feel like everyone
needs a higher power
to follow of some sort?
– I mean, I can’t speak for anybody,
but I think, at least in my
life, I can’t see where I’d be
if I didn’t have that
connection to the divine.
So much of my life decisions,
where to go to school,
if I should serve a mission,
who I should date, who I should marry,
all that is coming from a
direct connection to God
and that revelation that comes.
And so if I didn’t have that in my life,
I don’t know what, you know,
what my life would look like.
– Do you pray every day?
– I do, yeah.
Multiple times, yeah.
– How many times?
– I mean, it’s not necessarily,
I mean, the church
encourages morning prayers
and nightly prayers.
– Okay.
– For me, I’m kind of less regimented.
I kind of have a dialogue
with God in my head
as I’m going through the day.
So that’s not obviously me
getting down on my knees,
folding my arm, bowing
my head and praying.
But at least for me, I
feel that it’s nice to have
a kind of a dialogue with
a higher power in my head
as I’m going through the day.
– So when the government speaks to you,
do you look at that as
just a message you can be,
you know, you can poke
through any way you want
because you have your message
coming from a higher power,
and that’s the number one?
This government thing over here is like,
or what are your thoughts on that?
– I mean, that’s a hard one
because there’s been times when
the church has had teachings,
like polygamy for example.
There was a time when the
United States government
was directly pressuring us to
abandon one of our teachings.
– Yeah.
– And at the end of the day, you know,
Christ teaches that we
should render unto Caesar,
you know, what is his.
– [Peter] Yeah.
– And so we should
listen to the government,
but, and I don’t think there’s
ever been a time in my life
where it’s like the church
is telling me something to do
that’s gonna break the
law or anything like that.
I’m a very proud United States citizen,
but at the same time, you know,
the President of the United States,
I’m not taking his word
as strongly as I am,
who I believe to be a
prophet, seer, and revelator.
Even just as the United States citizen,
I don’t think there’s ever a time when
you’re gonna be listening to the President
for advice necessarily.
He’s not gonna be saying,
“Oh, you should be, you know,
getting an education this way,
or doing the-”
It’s more of just kind of
an administrative thing
and someone who will implement policy,
not necessarily like
someone I look to as a,
I guess he’s like a figurehead.
– As a spiritual leader.
– Yeah, as a someone I take advice from
and shaping my life around.
– Don’t do that.
– Yeah.
– That’d be a bad idea.
– This is the Christus statue.
The original’s in Europe,
but we’ve kind of made this
our church’s symbol of,
you know, we believe we are
the church of Jesus Christ,
and this is on the right
outside of our temple here.
– [Peter] And this is
one of your favorites.
– Yes, yeah, this is one
of my favorites to go to
just ’cause it has kind of
a mix of the pioneer aspect
’cause it used to be an
old pioneer meeting place.
– Well, Brock, I really appreciate it.
You know, I’ve never had a conversation
with a Mormon for this long.
– Yeah.
– And maybe I have,
I just didn’t know the person was Mormon.
– That’s true, yeah.
– But I also wanna say there’s
like a little bit of this
line or barrier,
not really ’cause I go in
all different cultures,
but a little bit like, is he
gonna look down on me a bit
for not being Mormon?
You know, whenever you get
into a religious group,
you know, as a non-religious person,
you know, I’m always curious about that.
– Yeah.
– And some who are very devout
to maybe an extreme level
will always think anything
other than them is less than.
And then there are people like
you today who’s very devout
and strong in your beliefs,
but I felt was, it was great
hanging out with you, and-
– Well, I appreciate you
coming out here, yeah.
– It was beautiful seeing
it through your eyes
and learning through you.
I learned a lot today.
I know the audience did too.
And without people like you,
it’s not easy to get in,
at least it hasn’t been with a Mormon
willing to give this tour,
an LDS member willing to give this tour.
Because I understand
when cameras come out,
I can twist this in any way I want.
– Yeah.
– And the power of the edit
can do whatever you want.
(Brock laughs)
And that we can put it all under the bus.
And that’s not my intention.
So thank you for giving the trust.
– Yeah.
– And for bringing us into your world.
It’s been super interesting.
– Well, I appreciate you coming out here
and willing to let my
experience shine through
in this video.
So thank you.
– Good stuff, Brock.
– Yeah.
– All right.
All right, guys, thanks for that.
It’s the first of many Mormon videos.
I have a few more.
I’m going to Southern Utah in a few days.
I’m gonna hit it from
a few different angles.
Love you to come along on that journey.
Until the next one.
(gentle music)

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