Episode 0: Introduction

Latter-day Peace Studies presents: Come, Follow Me
Latter-day Peace Studies presents: Come, Follow Me
Episode 0: Introduction
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Ben Petersen and Shiloh Logan are back from their time podcasting together for LDS Liberty, and they’re excited to start talking about Come, Follow Me every week.

Ben Petersen and Shiloh Logan’s long friendship has coalesced around a deeply shared love of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. They’ve spent countless nights together with their families talking about the wonders of hope, love, and peace that come from the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

In these podcasts, we are searching for moments to sit with the Divine. As we contemplate each week’s readings, we look for how we can understand and use the Sermon on the Mount and the atonement of Jesus Christ to more fully understand the greater narratives of the scriptures

TRANSCRIPTION OF PODCAST (This is not a verbatim transcript. Some wording has been modified for clarity, and timestamps are approximate.):

Ben Peterson  0:00  

Did we call each other at the same time?

Shiloh Logan  0:02  

I think so. 

Ben Peterson  0:03  

Okay.

Shiloh Logan  0:06  

All right. 

Ben Peterson  0:07  

We are recording.

Shiloh Logan  0:09  

Every single podcast I feel like, you know, when every single morning you’re like, your first two doors, “Oh my gosh, can I do this? Can I do this? Can I do this?” 

Ben Peterson  0:18  

Wait! How do I do this? Sure. Yeah, I get it. 

Shiloh Logan  0:24  

I feel that way every single time we start this, and then once we get rolling, I’m like, okay, keep talking about this. That’s awesome. 

Ben Peterson  0:31  

Yeah. It may take us a few podcasts to get into the swing. I feel like our third and fourth ones with LDS Liberty started getting better. So …

Shiloh Logan  0:42  

 Yeah. Yeah, I think so. We’ve just got to get started and do it.

Ben Peterson  0:48  

Okay, so here we go.

Shiloh Logan  1:00  

Hello and welcome to Latter Day Peace Studies. I’m Shiloh Logan.

Ben Peterson  1:03  

And, I’m Ben Peterson.

Shiloh Logan  1:04  

So, Ben, we are … we’re going to do this again. This is a thing. We’re going to do this all over again. 

Ben Peterson  1:10  

Yeah, I’m ready for it. I loved doing it before, and I’m excited for where we’re going with it this time.

Shiloh Logan  1:19  

Ben and I had been involved in a podcast before with LDS Liberty, where we talked a lot about different scriptures and different principles of the gospel. We decided to shift gears and go a different way. It’s been, I don’t know, how long has it been? It’s been three years. Has it been three years?

Ben Peterson  1:36  

Since we recorded our last one? 

Shiloh Logan  1:38  

Yeah.

Ben Peterson  1:38  

That’s certainly possible. That would fit the timespan about right, I guess. We kept saying we were going to do more with it. But the timing, and mentality, and other obligations – and then the right topics, and material that fit right in it – didn’t quite present themselves to us all at once. So, it didn’t quite happen.

Shiloh Logan  2:05  

Yeah, it’s true. Yeah, we were both called as [early morning] seminary teachers, so that wasn’t … you’re in Missouri and I’m in California and so that made for some strange late-night conversations.

Ben Peterson  2:15  

Right? Yeah, we typically would do the podcasts late Thursday nights. Teaching [early morning] seminary, with you two hours behind me, made those difficult to do. So. Yeah, with other obligations and stuff, it just didn’t get off the ground after… What did we do? 20, 23, 24 of those?  Something like that?

Shiloh Logan  2:41  

I think we did. I think we did about 23,24 episodes. I still love them. I still go back to listen to them. I’m like, “Wow! That was a great insight Ben had!” It still hits me as new every time I listen to it.

Ben Peterson  2:52  

Yeah.  No, I’ve listened to them many times over. Whenever I’ve thought about a topic, I think, “You know, we discussed that before”, and I go back and listen to it and be like, “Oh, yeah. Yeah, I remember that!” So, it was really good. But, we’ve known each other for almost exactly 15 years now, or so. We got acquainted through doing summer sales in California, back in 2005.

Shiloh Logan  3:20  

Yeah, we were all over San Diego together.

Ben Peterson  3:22  

Yeah. So driving all over the place with Royal, and discussing various things, and playing jokes on each other, and [it] really, really was quite a time. We had some hard work, but we also had some great times together and learned a lot of stuff. So.

Shiloh Logan  3:35  

We have. I’ve always been very fortunate with your friendship. It’s always been great to have discussions about the gospel. It’s like, there’s one or two people in your life where you know that you could call him up at any given point, [and say] “This is what I was studying in the scriptures; this is what I’ve learned!”, and then the other person [calls], and I’m like, “No kidding! This is what I’ve been doing!”, and it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since we’ve been able to connect, it’s always been that kind of friendship with you. So. 

Ben Peterson  4:05  

Yeah. Yeah, I’ve always looked forward to those conversations. So, that’s one of the things that persuaded me to do this with you. You know, we say,” Well, why would we do another podcast?” And I would say, “Well, mostly cuz Shiloh just asked me to”, but also, like I said, “I don’t like turning down opportunities to discuss the gospel with Shiloh. I learned so much in the past when we’ve done these and so I look forward to learning a lot with him in the future.”

Shiloh Logan  4:35  

Yeah, one of my favorite things that we did together back with the LDS Liberty podcast was about Ammonihah and, as we are transitioning LDS liberty, who … LDS Liberty was a project that we started back in 2010. It was by a friend of ours, JC Bollers, who passed away five years ago and he handed over the project to us and so we ran with it for a little bit, but then as you said, life got up and got in the way in some places and we weren’t able to podcast as much as we wanted to, but, one of the things that I loved about the podcasts we were doing was the Ammonihah series. That Ammonihah series recovered all the chapters; chapter by chapter, and  I was like, we’ve got to do more of that. That’s going to be something we do more of. It didn’t come to the fruition I wanted to, but now, LDS Liberty – we’re coming up on the 10 year mark that LDS Liberty has been around on social media – and we have announced that we’re going to be transitioning over into the Latter-Day Peace Studies Project, and so a lot of our listeners may have come from the LDS liberty to who we are now, and what’s going on now. It  just presented a very interesting opportunity, because it just so happens to be that June 2nd is the 10 year anniversary of LDS liberty’s coming about on social media, but it also happens to be Come Follow Me, around the exact same time we’re going to be talking about Ammonihah again. So, I almost kind of want to go over to those old podcasts and pull all those up, because they were so good. I still go back and, as I said, listen to them so much, because I learned so much doing those.

Ben Peterson  6:12  

Right. You know, I’ve listened to podcasts before where they’ll just take a podcast they did with somebody else and just throw it up there. I almost feel like it’s a cop-out sometimes, but I’ve never been disappointed, when I listen to podcasts, when they do that. I’m not saying we do that with Ammonihah, but I might, you know … it’s been several years so I’d be interested to restart that conversation and see what more we can learn from it.

Shiloh Logan  6:36  

Yeah, absolutely. Maybe, we’ll cross-post it and have that be there. So Ben, tell everybody a little bit about yourself. Who are you? Where are you?  Where you’re coming from. So …

Ben Peterson  6:48  

I was born in Arizona, but grew up in Missouri, lived here most of the time I went to BYU and did that thing. Met my wife out there, but we’re both from Missouri, so we moved back here to Missouri in 2010 and started our own business. We’ve got three kids and I work in technology; have a business that manages computers and computer networks and my wife has spent a lot of her time educating the kids. She is amazing. She’s been on a podcast we did with LDS Liberty before, talking about adoptions that we went through. I listened to that one recently again and was again amazed by what she’s done with that. So, anyway, that’s us.

Shiloh Logan  7:37  

Yeah, I love that episode. I’ve listened to that episode a couple times, too. Yeah, so about me: I was born in Utah and spent the first 12 years of my life kind of as a transient on I-15. My family moved around a lot, and we eventually ended up in American Fork for a couple years, and then I’ve lived everywhere from Vegas down to Southern California, and a couple places in Utah. Finally, we moved out to Tennessee when I was 13 or 14, and that’s where I was until after the mission. Came back and I kind of had the BYU experience a little bit. I met my wife while she was going to BYU. We got married and she graduated the semester after we got married. Then I started the semester after her. I switched majors, I think, five times and I eventually ended up on philosophy and geography. So I ended up getting a real taste for that, and I’ve loved it ever since. And so we did get …

Ben Peterson  8:28  

I’ll never forget your wife pulling you through College. Like, with a chain around your neck.

Shiloh Logan  8:36  

Oh my gosh. It was so crazy. There’s so many times, it’s just like, “I want to give up. I want to give up.” and ,so we’re like, “Nope, we’re gonna finish this through” and I’m like, “Okay. Oh, alright.”

Ben Peterson  8:45  

She’s amazing.

Shiloh Logan  8:47  

She is. So yeah, she is. She’s been … and she’s my rock on a lot, just, most of everything, and then she definitely keeps me humble. She’s the one who keeps me the most humble and she doesn’t pull any punches with me, which I absolutely love. So. But yeah. We … Ben, you and I started with summer sales and then you were smart enough to get out of summer sales and I stuck with it.

Ben Peterson  9:11  

I’d say “lucky” enough. I don’t know.

Shiloh Logan  9:15  

So you got [out], but I stayed in it and bounced around a couple [of] different industries and eventually came back to the one that I started in, with pest control. So, [now] I live in Bakersfield, California and have my own pest control company and that’s what I do. So. Then my wife … We have a lot of the same story, Ben, because we homeschool as well. My wife educates our kids as well and she has her own successful business that she does from home. In our home, as well as in yours – because I know you go out with family, if not every weekend, multiple times through the week, to your family get-togethers, and I know from being over there – with your family in Missouri – just how much the gospel is a part of your life. You can’t really come into your home at any given time, like ours, where [it] wouldn’t [be] 10 minutes later [the conversation] has to be on a gospel topic of some sort.

Ben Peterson  10:01  

Right? Pretty much every Sunday that we can get together, and sometimes there are ones that we don’t, but there’s going to be some sort of gospel discussion, and actually, Come Follow Me has provided a nice little template for us to have a discussion as a family. There’s a lot of meat there and the kids get involved; the nieces, nephews, and grandkids, so to speak. Yeah, we’ve had some really good discussions as family. So, that’s what I grew up with, and the gospel’s been part of my life, and I would say, just when you think you understand something, you learn [something] new and it turns everything on its head. So, that’s what’s so great about the gospel: it’s always feeling like there’s more to understand and more to enrich your life.

Shiloh Logan  10:50  

Absolutely. Absolutely. Since we moved around so much, I grew up homeschooled. My mom taught me how to read and largely taught me how to read from the Book of Mormon, so I read the Book of Mormon several times through as a young child. It never ceases to amaze me how impactful that was in my life; how the stories evolved over time, and [how] the characters in my mind and my relationship to them have evolved over time. Sometimes, I read through a section and it speaks to me in one way and then I read through it [in] another [way] and it gets me to a completely different way [of thinking], that I have to start questioning the narratives that I knew before. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been really excited to do this Come follow Me podcast. It’s [a chance] to go through, really vocalize and finally put out into words what the scriptures have been speaking to me with. [Over] the last several years, I’ve gone through a lot of deconstruction period and a lot of building back up. So, going back over the Book of Mormon  has been just an absolutely transcendent experience for me; my Christianity has come to a place … there’s this meme that goes around on Facebook and I love it so much, but it says that “Christianity should feel more like my chains fell off than, oh crap! I made a mistake.” 

Ben Peterson  12:03  

Right. 

Shiloh Logan  12:03  

So, that’s the gospel for me. It’s this beauty of the chains of this world, and the chains of sin; the chains of all things just falling off from us. The sigh of relief of that moment –  that it’s just like, “God is here with me.” So, that’s really where I’m coming back to the scriptures this time through; of really looking for that God that is here to take all the chains off, where we recognize that God’s already with us and the chains that we’ve bound ourselves with – that they just fall off. It’s almost as if just recognizing that God is there with us, everything just falls away. That’s really the spirit that I’m excited to bring to it.

Ben Peterson  12:51  

Well, that’s good. It’s a different perspective than I think we can sometimes fall into when reading through the scriptures, and I think it’s an important one to have. You know, one of the major shifts in my perspective on the scriptures over the past several years, has been from treating them as 100% prescriptive to descriptive. In that sense, you’re looking at the experiences of people and how they lived, or tried to live the gospel, and their relationship with the Savior. Understanding that relationship and how they tried to express it and experience it, helps you enrich your life, but not necessarily in a prescriptive sense. Not in a sense that you need to follow exactly their example. Rather, that you learn from their mistakes. Moroni says, “that you will learn to be more wise than we were.” Right? So, looking at the scriptures, the prophets, and their experiences should point us to Christ as the example. That’s what I’ve seen more and more, [the] past several years, reading the Book of Mormon. It’s changed my perspective. It’s helped me find truths there that had been, frankly, hidden to me before, but hidden in plain sight, I should say. You know, it’s not like I hadn’t read them before. So. that’s great, and I’m always excited to have new experiences and perspectives like that.

Shiloh Logan  14:28  

Yeah, I love that distinction you made there between prescriptive and descriptive, because I think a lot of the times – early on in my reading in the scriptures too, when I come to the Book of Mormon – I’ll come across a particular hero that I’ve had, or someone who’s really [been] put up on a pedestal of being the archetype of goodness. Right? Then following everything that they did, is what we’re supposed to do. As if it’s some kind of celestial truth. What I’ve learned along the way, with a lot more just sitting with the scriptures, is that these men were examples of making a lot of mistakes. The scriptures become a lot more descriptive about this [being] their journey. Let’s take a look at their journey. Let’s not, maybe, follow their example in exactly what they went out to do, but [rather] in who they were, and who they end up being, [as they] are just like us. Everyone. We’re terribly complicated beings. We’re all trying to be the best that we can be, and we’re making so many mistakes on the side. The atonement, and Christ, and the spirit just come and they sit with us and they bring peace to our lives, to realize that even in those moments where we’re just – we don’t feel like we’re adding up – and we’re not really reaching the level that we think we should be getting. The point is for us to just sit with the Lord and to sit with the spirit. So, Contemplative Christianity has become a strong part of my discipleship, where I use the phrase “sitting with God” a lot. Someone recently messaged me, and they’re like, “Man, you talk about sitting with God a lot. Is that like your new thing?” And, I’m like, “It kind of is.”, One of the things that I will bring up a lot – and I know you will too – is the Sermon on the Mount. I’ve come to realize that the scriptures produce a lot of stories, and we try to figure out what those stories mean to us. One of the things that I will be bringing here, to these discussions, is  the Sermon on the Mount – you know, the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount, and Gethsemane.The Sermon on the Mount (which includes the Beatitudes) and Gethsemane, are the two filters that I like to use. I have found so much of God in the scriptures by using those as the filter by which I interpret the scriptures, as opposed to trying to use man’s own experiences, and their own failures to try to understand the Sermon on the Mount. What I’ve found in my life, is I’ve justified away the Sermon on the Mount based on the failures of certain characters in the scriptures. Well, this person did it this way; this person did it this way, [so] that’s why the Sermon on the Mount can’t be done in this life. [Alternatively], I’ve gone to the Sermon on the Mount,and I’ve made that my standard that I then take out to the rest of scripture, and I measure all of the other characters up against it, [which] has completely revolutionized the way that I see the scriptures and the messages that come out to me. It’s just like what you said, Ben. It’s that descriptive versus prescriptive, because when I use the the Sermon on the Mount, I begin to see that the scriptures are far more descriptive: “Hey, this is what’s been going on. This is what they were struggling with. This is what they were dealing with.” However, the common denominator that I really take away, is that when you trust in God – you put your full faith and heart in Him  and you serve Him – then He delivers you from those moments, if it be his desire to do so. At least until then, it brings a peace to your life that it doesn’t matter what’s going on around you; it transforms you on the inside-out and it’s so subtle. It’s like D&C 121:  “The dews of heaven.” It’s like the dews of heaven come and just rest. So, it’s not a deluge; it’s not a downpour. It’s just this percolating effect that ends up kind of building up inside.

Ben Peterson  18:23  

Yeah, and you use the word “filter” to describe that. I’ve used the word “lens” before. I think they’re both appropriate. It’s what you use in order to make more sense, pull meaning or establish some sort of a narrative to tie the scriptures together [with]. If we’re not using Christ to do that, I don’t think that there’s any other that can replace him. Not that there aren’t other ways to read the scriptures [or] other ways to pull out interesting things, but obviously at the base – at the foundation of any reading or lens that we use to apply to the scriptures – is Christ. It’s His Atonement and his teachings. The Sermon on the Mount is, like you said, the Gold Standard of his teachings. It’s that distilled, prescriptive – and that one IS prescriptive – for how we are to be in the world, and to be with God. So.

Shiloh Logan  19:29  

Yeah, I’m so excited. I’m so excited. So, now we’re going to start with the podcasts of Come Follow Me, that we’re going to release right now. It’s going to [start] from Mosiah 29 to Alma 4, and it’s going to deal with the transition of the governments, and how the Nephite civilization responds to government and man. It’s going to be a great discussion. I’m looking forward to it. 

Ben Peterson  19:52  

Yeah, me too. 

Shiloh Logan  19:53  

Awesome. Well, thank you, everybody, for joining us. Thank you for being along with us in this journey. We hope we can provide something of value to you that brings some peace to your life; [that] they can give you some things to ponder on that maybe you hadn’t thought about before. Like, “Wow! I just hadn’t thought about it in that particular way before”. There’s so many great messages that are out there, in this kind of family of the restored gospel narrative. So.Thank you for joining us and we look forward to hearing from you and to getting your feedback.