Friday, April 18, 2014

Sisters Get Crafts in Lieu of Priesthood

LDS Church Invests in Huge Stock of Relief Society Crafting Supplies
The Salt Lake News - published April 18, 2014

In response to recent protests by Mormon feminists, the LDS Church has allocated unlimited funds to the Relief Society for the purchase of crafting supplies.

"Recently some of our women have expressed a misguided desire to receive the priesthood," official church spokesman, T. Delbert Bean remarked in a recent interview. "The Brethren are hoping that an investment in arts and crafts materials will help our beloved sisters return to and find joy in their divine role."

Overall, the effort has been well-received.

"I've been stamping like crazy!" said Sister Wilma Forbes of Burley, Idaho. "And I'm really into glitter. It's just so glamorous. Glitter makes me feel . . . free to be me."

Having just constructed a life-sized papier-mache statue of Joseph Smith for her home's entryway, Phyllis McGee of Farmington, Utah exclaimed, "Next I'm making a bust of Jesus out of dough art. I can't wait to get started."

But not everyone is so enthusiastic.

"This new craft thing is a crock of (expletive deleted),"  Mildred Peabody, a Salt Lake City tax attorney, told The News. "Makes me want to hot glue the First Presidency to a giant flannel board."

Nevertheless, the Brethren insist their efforts are for the good of all the sisters.

"There will always be nay-sayers," Bean admitted. "But, we honestly believe their hearts would soften if they were to devote even one afternoon to making finger puppets."

While the Relief Society crafting program operates under the mantle of the priesthood, the exclusively male leadership has so far offered little oversight.

"We want the sisters to embrace their empowerment," said Jeff Needleman a stake president in Ogden, Utah. "We set up tables in the Cultural Hall, set out the paint, crepe paper, stencils and pipe cleaners, and then let the girls go wild."

And wild they have gone. Sister Christine Gomez of Mesa, Arizona recently completed a floor to ceiling dadaist sculpture out of dryer lint, toilet paper tubes, and recycled sacrament meeting programs.

"Happiness is a warm glue gun," she declared.

--Check out another 5 star review for The Girls from Fourth Ward here!

Friday, April 11, 2014

I Have A Really Good Excuse!

It's a short blog this week, but I have a really good excuse. I've been visiting my adorable granddaughters!

She just can't sit still for the camera.

Neither can Grammy.
Thank god the General Authorities in Salt Lake stepped up to the plate this week and wrote the satire for me.

Stung by the persecution they suffered in the press last October when they denied women admission to the semi-annual General Priesthood Session, the Brethren made the brilliant decision to not only ban women, but also reporters--providing this blogger as well as at least one member of the press with the kind of high satire we could never have invented ourselves.

Honestly, what would bloggers like me do without them?

Then famous funny man, Dallin Oaks, used his time at the Priesthood Session pulpit to assure his exclusively male audience that women have authority!

Not to be outdone by his elders, 62-year-old Neil L. Andersen, the youngest Mormon GA, reminded the faithful that the church is still adamantly opposed to gay marriage--prompting Jeffrey R. Holland to make the following hysterical observation:

"Unfortunately, messengers of divinely mandated commandments are often no more popular today than they were anciently . . . and because their words at times seem harsh, LDS leaders are accused of being "provincial, patriarchal, bigoted, unkind, narrow, outmoded and elderly."

--Well, that almost covers it. Throw in homophobic and he nails it. 

Do you see what I mean Gentle Readers? Not even Colbert could come up with this stuff.

And how does Elder Holland view the likes of us?

"...if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds."

--Oh . . . I'm giggling all right.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Beware the Third Hour of the Fifth Sunday

I dreaded every Sunday when I was a Mormon, but most of all the fifth Sunday. More specifically, the third hour of the fifth Sunday. Because that's when the bishopric has long held a joint meeting of the Priesthood and Relief Society.

Since the purpose of these meetings is to unify the ward on issues, they almost always take the form of a pompous, demeaning and sometimes borderline terrifying lecture. Because let's face it, when you're a Mormon, you're always doing something wrong. In my day, it was drinking Coke, seeing R-rated films, neglecting your genealogy, or not recognizing the "gay problem." More recently--if you're a woman--it's wearing pants to church.

Case in point. This past Sabbath Day happened to fall on the fifth Sunday in March. Instead of sitting in church, Mark and I were at Sinbad's with our friends Jerry and Cheryl where, over a martini, I read the following email invitation to a horrific fifth Sunday lecture that we could have been experiencing instead. Here is an excerpt:

…this Sunday all wards in our stake will be discussing, as a unified 5th Sunday message, the importance of specific roles that men and women have in the Church and family. As predicted by past prophets, in these last days much agitation and attack against the correct order of things will come from within and without the Church. One example, of which most of us are probably aware of, is the recent protest that the Church has had to fight against our own members who want women to receive the Priesthood. This is against (the) revealed nature of familial relationships.

Isaiah predicted. "And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, 'We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.'" (Isaiah 4:1)

This prophecy is being fulfilled and it is important that as a stake we weed out such contention and danger. Some of these protesters have demonstrated by showing the independence of women ("We will eat our own bread"), wearing pants to church ("wear our own apparel"), and now ask for the priesthood ("let us be called by thy name"). Each ward this weekend will discuss how to combat such heretical thinking and apostasy that we might strengthen our individual families and better be of one heart and one mind and continue to build Zion among us…

We're looking forward to the many wonderful things happening this weekend in our stake.

Read the entire email here.

See what I mean about the third hour of the fifth Sunday? Just this past week in this and perhaps many stakes throughout Zion, the faithful were forced to endure a terrifying harangue about weeding out "contention and danger"--all because their fearless leaders are terrified of some women in pants.

From where I sit (martini in hand), what's really terrifying is actually having to sit through these third hour horror flicks. The only thing they could do to make them scarier would be to lock all the doors at the beginning and then cut the house lights at the end. Like Hitchcock did with Psycho.
But then the terror is only beginning.  This weekend is General Conference.
In happier news, Jono reviewed  False Prophet this week. Also, he reviewed  The Girls from Fourth Ward! I'd seen his review of The Girls on Amazon, but not on his excellent blog, Otto's Son, a site that mixes wisdom and humor with gorgeous photographs of both his home and his travels.

And speaking of excellent blogs, if you like Ward Gossip you'll love Sheep Dip. With the tagline, "telling you what to think so you don't have to," Sheep Dip is a marvelous new home for Mormon-themed satire. Check it out here.

We must support each other in the arts. (And stay away from terrifying church meetings.)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Stay At Home, Sisters

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Bishop Paul Zimmerman
Subject: Priesthood Meeting Protest

It's come to our attention that some members of the Abbottsville Fourth Ward intend to travel to Salt Lake City to attend an upcoming protest. Before packing your bags, please read the following missive from Church Public Affairs to the event organizers.

Dear Sisters,

The Brethren have held some wonderful conversations over recent years relative to women in the Church and the invaluable contributions we make. The recent changes you have seen, like lowering the missionary age for sisters and encouraging them to dress attractively, serve as examples and were facilitated by the efforts of many extraordinarily fine looking LDS women around the world. 

After aggressively surveying their wives, daughters and secretaries, the Brethren have concluded that women in the Church, by a very large majority, do not share your advocacy for priesthood ordination for women and consider that position to be extremely unladylike. Declaring such an objective to be non-negotiable, as you have done, actually detracts from the helpful discussions that the Brethren have held as they seek to dictate the thoughts, concerns, and hopes of women inside and outside of the Church. 

The priesthood session of General Conference is designed to strengthen men and boys as they receive specific instructions about their stewardship over women; therefore we are unable to fulfill your request for tickets. You are certainly welcome to view the live broadcast of the priesthood session on, the Mormon Channel or BYUtv, at home where you belong--and dressed in any appropriately modest clothing. Even pants.

Your organization has again publicized its intention to demonstrate on Temple Square during the April 5 priesthood session. Activist events like this detract from the sacred environment of Temple Square and the spirit of harmonious patriarchy sought at General Conference. Please reconsider.

If you feel you must come and demonstrate we ask that you do so in the free speech zone we've set up a short twelve blocks away from Temple Square, conveniently located near the Harmons Neighborhood Grocery where many of you choose to shop. (See attached map.)

Kindest regards,

Kimberly Baker
Wife of an official church spokesman

If you would like to stop receiving these emails, we ask that you make your request in the aforementioned free speech zone. (See attached map.)

Also check out another great review for The Girls from Fourth Ward, this time from talented blogger, Jono! Read it here!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What One Mormon Had To Go Through For A Sandwich

Some years ago my husband, Mark, corresponded with a believing Mormon who posed the familiar question:

"If the Church is 'false' then why are there so many anti-Mormon groups out there aimed at helping people recover from it?"

His premise being: the mere fact that people who escape Mormonism are so damaged that they need years to recover PROVES that the LDS Church is true. -- After all, people who leave "false" churches aren't nearly as screwed up as we are, right?

Then there's that other familiar refrain:

"They can leave the Church, but they can't leave the Church alone."

Translation: ExMormons who criticize, poke fun at, or even question the LDS Church are crazy, bitter, obsessed borderline psychotics who need years to recover.

Which also proves the Church is true?

I confess I do not possess enough spiritual intelligence to decipher Mormon logic. However, in my travels around Outerblogness this week I ran across a painful missive over on ExMormon Reddit that answers the more relevant question:

How much damage can a Mormon sustain before he becomes an ExMormon?

How much? Consider this confession from a self-described "pathetic little man." Gripped by hunger halfway through sacrament meeting, this young father schemed to sneak out of church to the local Carl's Jr. After some subterfuge and one foiled attempt, he finally got his break halfway through the final hour of church. The following is an excerpt:

I break my personal record in how quickly I get my son secured in his car seat and in a matter of seconds, we're off! Approximately 1.5 miles to Carls Jr. I make it there in about two minutes. Pull in to the drive thru and see four cars ahead of me. " Why aren't these people in church?!" The clock is ticking. The driver of the car in front of me has apparently never ordered food from a drive thru before and/or speaks no English. There is much gesticulating at the menu/speaker thingy. Tick, tick, tick. Finally, it's my turn "Western Bacon cheeseburger please, just the sandwich, and that will be all." I sound panicked. 8 minutes until church ends. I get to the window and pay in cash so there's no evidence of a Sunday transaction on our account.
I eat while driving, cramming the sandwich into my mouth and swallowing without chewing. I stop at a gas station, throw away the bag, the wrapper, and the receipt. Brush crumbs off the seat, check my shirt and tie for BBQ sauce. After all of the evidence is disposed of I get back in the car and shove two sticks of Big Red into my mouth to cover the smell of delicious CJ all beef patties, American cheese, and onion rings. I look at the clock. 2 minutes remaining. I'm on the move again. Rolling through stop signs, weaving through traffic. . . . 
I am a grown man in my 30's. I have a job, and pay taxes. I have responsibilities and people rely on me. But when I want to buy a sandwich on a Sunday I have to treat it like I'm disposing of a body. I am a pathetic little man.
Read his entire account here.

Upon reading this, I had several strong and immediate reactions.

First, that this was so over the top that even I couldn't satirize it. I mean, you can't make shit like this up.

Second, I was aghast over the risk this poor schmuck took. He was breaking the rules in an organization that encourages men to report their roommate's masturbating lest they be "left behind on the battlefield." It's entirely possible that, thanks to the stunt this guy pulled, the church will be ordering the installment of tiny cameras and GPS tracking chips on all children under 18 months of age.

Finally, I had the horrifying realization that I know this guy, that I used to be this guy. So I know that a guy like this won't escape the Church until something so outrageous happens that if he doesn't bail he will go completely bonkers. And this sandwich incident isn't it. Probably not even close.

Which leads me to conclude that, based on experience, my own recovery is miles away and I will probably be writing this blog for some time to come.