Monday, December 28, 2009

Ho Ho Ho! Now Pay Your Tithing

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Ward Mission Leader, H. LaVar Turley
Subject: The blessings of tithing

Less Actives can be so selfish. Always carping about tithing. Claiming it's too expensive and they can't afford it, even inventing delusional complaints about church finances. Some pay only five percent, some none at all. At times we're tempted to leave them to their sinful choice. After all it's theirs to make. But here's the thing. No investment is more important than Heavenly Father's tithe. Consider how the Less Active squanders the Lord's due: designer clothes, sports cars, and boozy marathons in front of the porn channel. Face it, he's selfish, and in need of spiritual repair. So when I learned that a number of Less Actives have yet to sign up for tithing settlement, I thought, it's a cry for help.

The following exchange occurred in the living room of one such Less Active:

Me: Good evening Brother Selfish. I've brought my wife's famous nut loaf.

I set the gift on his coffee table.

Brother Selfish: You didn't come here to give me nut loaf. You want me to pony up the dough, and if I refuse, the bishop won't let me in the temple for my only daughter's wedding. It's blackmail, that's what it is.

Me: Oh you! I would never suggest such a thing. I merely want to testify of the many ways paying a full tithe can bless your life.

Brother Selfish: Like losing my house? That's what'll happen if I don't make the mortgage this month.

Me: Brother Selfish, you need to have more faith. The Lord will provide. In the mean time, the ward can put you up at the Pine Cone Motel.

Brother Selfish: I don't want to stay in that dump.

Me: But Brother, the church picked it up for a song. We're renovating it to house members in need. A boy from the third ward has taken it on as his Eagle Scout project.

Brother Selfish: Great. And what am I supposed to eat?

I nudge the nut loaf in his direction. He rolls his eyes.

Brother Selfish: I'm also behind on my taxes. If I don't pay them now, I could go to prison.

Me: This is serious indeed. But look on the bright side. It would solve your housing problem. And in the final analysis, which would you prefer -- federal prison or Spirit Prison? Anyway, aren't you bothered by the way the government wastes your money?

Brother Selfish: At least I know how it wastes it. I've no idea what the LDS Church does with my tithing, it doesn't report its finances.

Me: You expect the Lord to report His finances? Would you expect Him to report when He plans the next earthquake, flood, or heat wave?

Brother Selfish: No. I just want to know what He does with my money.

Me: Why you're implying that you don't trust the Lord. That you don't trust His church. That you think Joseph Smith made the whole thing up. That the LDS Church is a big fraud that promises eternal life in exchange for bilking people out of their savings. Like one of those miracle skin creams.

Brother Selfish: You mean the kind those young, perky people sell door to door?

Me: Exactly!

I set the tithing envelope on the table next to the nut loaf.

Brother Selfish: I know one thing the church is doing with my money. They're tearing down historic structures to build that ostentatious commercial mecca next to temple square in Salt Lake.

Me: Isn't it marvelous! The City Creek development will include shopping, theaters, restaurants and condominiums. Everything to make our church headquarters the shining beacon it has become.

Brother Selfish: Uh-huh. So if I pay my tithing, do I get a discount at the mall?

I burst out laughing. He falls silent.

Me: Only the mall in heaven.

I laugh a little more, sober then meet his eyes. My heart brims with compassion.

Me: I understand your only daughter is set to marry in the Oakland temple this spring.

Brother Selfish: Why you miserable @#$%ing little piece of $*^%.

He pulls his checkbook from his pocket. I supply him with a pen.

Me: Don't forget to include ten percent of Sister Selfish's income.

Brother Selfish: She died last May.

Me: Which was within the Lord's fiscal year. Wouldn't want her waiting outside the pearly gates, postage due.

Brother Selfish: Don't push it, ^%$-face.

He signs the check then sends it kiting across the room. I grab for it once, twice, then finally nab it before it floats behind the couch.

Me: Have a happy New Year.

Brother Selfish: Get the ^%$ out of my house.

I sing a cheery too-da-loo and march triumphantly through the door. It slams behind me.

If you would like to stop receiving these e-mails, take it up with Brother Turley when he visits.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Celebrating the Season, Mormon Style

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Ward Activities Committee
Subject: Holiday Calendar

As Christmas approaches, we remind all in the ward to honor our Savior by attending the following:

Saturday, December 19, 7:00 PM, Ward Meeting House. Relief Society Craft Extravaganza. Sisters will make Palmyra nativity scenes and Angel Moroni tree toppers.

Sunday, December 20, 7:00 PM, Stake Center. Living Creche. President Knightly will portray Joseph Smith.

Monday, December 21, 1:00 PM, Ward Meeting House. Primary Christmas Party. The children will write letters to Joseph Smith, then decorate hat and peep stone cookies.

Tuesday, December 22, 7:00 PM, Ward Meeting House. Screening of It's a Wonderful Life--LDS version. Courtesy of Provo based Moral Movies, Inc., the name of Jimmy Stewart's character has been changed from George Bailey to Joseph Smith.

Wednesday, December 23, 7:00 PM, Ward Meeting House. Holiday Pot Luck. After dinner there will be a special visit from "Joseph and his Elves." (Played by Bishop Z and the Beehive class.)

Thursday, December 24, 7:00 PM. Priesthood-only viewing of church produced, The Passion of the Joseph. Rated X for historical accuracy.

Friday, December 25, 7:00 AM. The stake sing-along of Handel's The Joseph.

Also remember to donate generously to the Joseph Smith Annual Giving Fund, benefiting the protection of traditional marriage.

'Tis the Season!

If you want to stop receiving these e-mails, contact the ward financial clerk and have your credit card handy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Word from the Stake President -- To the Stake Single Adults

To: Abbottsville Stake Single Adults
From: President Mitchell Knightly
Subject: Swinging Seventies Party

As your stake president, I have spent many an hour on my knees begging the Lord to find suitable leaders for the Abbottsville Stake Single Adults. He has so far delivered five couples to fill that position. However, in spite of being called by God, none have held the job for longer than a month. Up until now, I have done my best to understand.

When Brother Turley used a cattle prod to force the men onto the dance floor, I released him. Likewise when Sister Souter wanted the women to model those ridiculous rubber wedding gowns. I also agreed that Brother and Sister Mayes had no business hauling you to their farm to pick apples under the guise of a hay ride. Furthermore, because you seemed offended, I closed the breast implant and tummy tuck booth at the Stake Singles' Convention, and I made participation in this year's "Single Adult Trick-or-Treat at the Mall" optional. For the better part of a year, I have listened to your complaints, ceded to your endless demands and tipped-toed around your tender egos. But no more. Not after I received Ricky's email.

He and Mindy planned a wonderful event for you. A fun theme party where you could mix, mingle and hopefully meet the eternal companion that would ensure your salvation. And how do you thank him? With malicious sarcasm and crude jokes.You who have known little Ricky all of his life. His primary teachers, scout leaders, his pediatrician. Even his own mother. Does nobody remember how adorable he was as the dancing Pop-Tart in the road show some years back?

Since then, Ricky has grown from boy to man, and the mantle of priesthood authority has settled securely onto his shoulders. He deserves your obedience and respect. None of you should consider yourselves on a par Ricky and Mindy Foote. After all, if you were, you would be married.

Brother and Sister Foote are your Single Adults Leaders. I expect you to humbly follow their council. That way, I can devote my time to the deserving members of the stake, who, unlike you, are hard-working married people with responsibilities.

The Swinging Seventies Party will go on as planned. The aforementioned rules apply, and role will be taken at the onset of the Funky Chicken Soul Train line.

If you would like to stop receiving these e-mails, kindly complete The Official Worthiness Questionnaire.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Temple Wedding Tips

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Sister Delores Souter
Subject: Book Signing at Souter's Bridal Formal Wear

Brother Souter and I are pleased to announce that Brother Randy Johnson is coming to our salon to sign copies of his newest book about temple marriage, Queen for an Eternity. For those who don't know him:

Randy Johnson owns and operates a successful event planning business in Salt Lake City. While a confirmed bachelor, Brother Johnson claims to love nothing more than a festive Mormon wedding reception, and, as his clients will attest, he is expert at pulling them off. He has also achieved local celebrity for his signature “Randy” bachelor parties, costume theme bridal showers, and his ever popular “elders only” missionary reunions. Check out his website at

The following is an excerpt from Queen for an Eternity:

A temple marriage is the dream of every good Mormon girl. Believe me, I know. The key to making it truly special is preparation. Never was this more clear than at my dear cousin Rae Ann’s wedding. She was blissfully happy when she and Rulon announced their engagement at the ward pot luck. Then three weeks later on her wedding day, she posed for pictures on Temple Square looking like a half-crazed, exhausted mess. Her hair was disheveled, her gown in a wrinkled wad, makeup melted down her face, and her mind was so confused that all she could do was mutter “that will do,” over and over again. Oh girlfriends, don’t let this happen to you!

We all know that talking about the temple ceremony is taboo. But for the sake of you girls, I’m going to be a teensy bit naughty and let you in on a few things. First of all, the bulk of the endowment ceremony is spent dressing and undressing. Oops! Don’t get the wrong idea. All of this accessorizing is done over your wedding gown. Consequently the smart bride wears a dress made out of sturdy, wrinkle-free fabric. Consider the following alternatives to the conventional silk and satin: canvas, fleece, rubber, corduroy, Kevlar, wicker or burlap. A number of my clients have been pleased with the selection of fabrics at Wasatch Tent and Awning. Say “I want a Randy temple dress,” and receive a ten percent discount.

Now, about your hair. In the temple, you will be required to wear a restrictive veil that will undermine all of your attempts at stylish coiffure. Again, I’m not allowed to show you a picture, but imagine a tight shower cap with half of the shower curtain hanging off of it. Combat the situation by wearing your hair in a ballet bun, always appropriate for the virginal Mormon bride. I then recommend the application of my own hair gel. You may purchase it off my website, Or make it yourself by combining common ingredients found in mom’s kitchen or dad’s garage. Mix together equal parts of the following: raw eggs, honey, car wax, shellac and dissolved lemon Jell-O (for color.) Let stand at room temperature for ten minutes, then add a pinch of cement. Apply to your hair with a disposable foam paint brush, then gently blow dry on low heat. Low heat is essential, and I must emphasize that under no circumstance can you expose yourself to even the smallest spark or flame. (Sorry, this means I must veto any candlelit tub soaks on your honeymoon. It cuts the romance I know. But you wouldn’t want to spontaneously combust at a crucial moment.)

Does it work? Don’t take my word for it. LaVay Meeks of Draper, UT wrote, "Dear Brother Johnson, One application of your hair gel and I was set not just for the temple ceremony, but also for our honeymoon on the Bonneville Salt Flats. For the entire week, every hair stayed in place, and I was able to test drive high speed experimental vehicles without a helmet."

Needless to say, all temple-brides-to-be can not afford to miss this once in a lifetime literary event. Also, Brother Souter and I have ordered the above fabrics from Wasatch Tent and Awning, and will have samples on display.

If you would like to stop receiving these emails, click here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ethel the Brave

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Donna Banta
Subject: Ethel the Brave

In the summer of 1992 a coworker tried to give me a kitten. When I declined she threatened to take it to the pound. I stood firm. After all, we already had a cat, and a dog, and two children. As the day wore on, my resolve weakened. I called my husband, Mark, and pitched the idea. He responded in the negative, just as he had when I suggested the acquisition of our first cat. I trudged to my car at quitting time, pouted through preparing the meal and moped during its consumption. Finally, I threw down my napkin and said, "Let's go get that kitten." The kids cheered, my husband rolled his eyes and we loaded in the car and drove through the Texas heat to collect a new member of the family.

We named her Ethel because our other cat was called Lucy. Perhaps parted from her mother prematurely, Ethel failed to grow large, and she retained that kitten-like characteristic of going limp when we picked her up. We'd sling her on our shoulders, drape her about our necks, or, most often, cradle her in our arms like a baby. When she opened her mouth to meow, no sound escaped, and we couldn't hear her purr. Although whenever we petted her we felt that comforting rumble. It was always there, only silent.

Happily none of these shortcomings interfered with her self esteem. She claimed her throne upon arrival, insisting that the high strung Lucy and our eager to please cocker mix, Libby, bow to her accordingly. Like Ethel Mertz in the Albuquerque episode, our Ethel remained center stage, merrily crooning Shortnin' Bread with Lucy and Libby as her back up acts.

Not that she didn't earn her stardom. Her bravery knew no limit. She protected our property against every manner of four legged intruder. Size was never an issue. When the neighbor's great dane wandered onto our porch she lunged through our front door like a flying ninja, and sent him whimpering in retreat. Likewise to an errant doberman who strayed into her territory. Occasionally she would rush inside wide-eyed and breathless, obviously on the heels of some harrowing encounter. I like to think that these events occurred in some other sphere, one that included time travel and spacecraft and light sabers. After all, this was a creature who could make a wad of foil windsurf across the carpet, and create an ergonomic hammock out of a pile of laundry.

Our son was her favorite in the family, and Ethel raised him well. She was his loyal friend, most reliable playmate, and a comfort to him in ways no human could provide. She even acted as disciplinarian. For example, rather than awaking to his mother banging on the door and bellowing, Marky was instead roused by Ethel, who patiently licked one of his eyes until it opened.

In 1998 my friend Debbie pet sat while we were away on holiday. When we returned Ethel had magically ballooned in size. Picking her up was like heaving a sack of grain. Marky was first to try, staggering backwards with a "whoa," then hoisting her into the cradle position. In our surprise we almost didn't notice. Then when our chatter died, we heard it. An audible purr. And later, a meow.

It was a good thing Debbie helped Ethel find her voice. Soon after our sweet cocker, Libby, passed away, and we adopted a West Highland White Terrier named Katy. Unlike Libby and Lucy, Katy had no desire to sing back-up. The scene shifted. Ethel was now opposite Katy in the episode where Vivian Vance and Lucille Ball accidentally show up on TV in the same dress, then belt out the tune Friendship while ripping the decorations from each other's bodice. (Nonny-Nonny-Nonny, HepHepHep) After a series of face-offs, Ethel and Katy settled into a queasy detente, and at times even shared the sofa--ever mindful of the invisible line drawn down the middle.

Marky left for college, then his sister Emily followed, and we moved from Texas to California. Upon arriving at our new home, Ethel at once secured the premises. When the neighbor's pit-bull mix menaced, she retaliated by hissing and yowling. When that didn't work, she flung her entire girth against the fence, much like Woody Allen when he tried to break down a door in Manhattan Murder Mystery. ("Must be one of those new doors.") Amazingly, the stunt worked. The mean dog never bullied when Ethel patrolled the perimeter.

Having tamed her new environs, Ethel divided her time between caring for Lucy in her declining years, keeping Katy fit via a series of physical challenges, and attending to her household duties, such as sorting socks, emptying the trash, and helping me knit. Her days were full.

Earlier this month, Mark and I awoke to find Ethel at the foot of our stairs crying, too weak to move. We wrapped her in a blanket and rushed her to the animal hospital. She purred in my lap for the entire drive. After a brief look at her vital signs, the veterinarian suggested it was time to say goodbye. It seemed that our Ethel's amazing heart was failing. We cradled her in our arms one last time, then waited as she slipped peacefully to sleep.

Dear members of the Abbottsville Fourth Ward, please do not trouble yourself with Ethel's temple work. She requires no baptism, no washing and anointing, no endowment or sealing by proxy. I'm quite sure she isn't hanging around the spirit world hoping to become a Mormon. (I know her too well.) But then, if you insist on doing all that crap, be my guest. Lord knows, I can't stop you. I'm just saying it's unnecessary. While I've no idea what awaits humans after death, I am convinced that all pets go to heaven.

Ethel Banta

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Word From The Bishop -- Doubting Mormons

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Bishop Paul Zimmerman
Subject: To those who doubt

Over the past year, some have shared their doubts with me about the church and its leaders. A few even confided that they might leave the faith. This would be a disastrous decision. Imagine Sundays without pantyhose and white dress shirts, Easter without General Conference, Christmas without tithing settlement. Not to mention an eternity spent as a lonely eunuch in one of the lower kingdoms. Not a pretty picture is it? Instead, why not consider the following strategies for remaining in the one and only true church.

Become a Cafeteria Mormon.
After all nobody can eat everything on the menu. So partake of what you can, and don't worry about the rest. Perhaps you aren't much of a journal writer, you don't have room for a year's supply, you enjoy an occasional "R" rated action film, and you have a non-LDS State Farm agent. No worries. So long as:
1. You don't tell anyone.
2. You don't start watching Big Love.
3. Your omissions do not include tithing, fast offering, church meetings, visiting teaching, home teaching, church callings, temple attendance, talk assignments, the word of wisdom, gay marriage protests, more than one ear piercing, splits with the missionaries, church magazine subscriptions, wearing your garments day and night, General Conference, Amway, BYU football and scrapbooking.

Learn to differentiate whether a General Authority is speaking for God, or speaking as a man.
For example, when President Monson advised members to be nice to old ladies, he was speaking for God. But when Apostle Boyd K. Packer detailed the mechanics of masturbation, he sounded more like a man. When President Hinckley told members to read the Book of Mormon, he spoke for God. However, when Bruce Hafen of the First Quorum of the Seventies suggested homosexuals pray away the gay, he was probably just voicing an opinion formed by his own experience. When you divide the General Authorities' statements in this manner, they begin to make more sense. Of course we must remember that whether speaking for God or as men, our church leaders must always be obeyed.

Stop expecting church leaders to be perfect.
Are you perfect? If not, who are you to judge? Maybe Joseph Smith slept with other men's wives, and made up the whole first vision thing. Maybe Brigham Young ordered a blood bath in Southern Utah. Maybe Spencer Kimball let that crook Mark Hoffman swindle the church out of thousands. But they were prophets and you're not. When you are fit to stand before God and your peers and proclaim yourself  a perfect person, then, and only then, may you criticize The Brethren.


Bishop Z

If you would like to stop receiving these e-mails, close your eyes, click your temple slippers together three times, and repeat, "There's no place like Sacrament Meeting."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

LDS Stake Single Adults

To: Abbottsville Stake Single Adults
From: Ricky and Mindy Foote, Stake Single Adults Leaders
Subject: Swinging Seventies Party is Cancelled!

For the past few weeks Mindy and I have devoted all of our time, talent and resources to serving the single adults in our charge. We've listened to your concerns, and welcomed your suggestions. We've even implemented a few. For example, we waived Mary's curfew so she could report to the hospital for her shift after the dance, and, at Ned's request, we added I Honestly Love You to the play list. We've prayed for you nightly, left Swinging Seventies updates at your homes and work places, and otherwise knocked ourselves out bringing this together. Did any of you know that I downloaded Bread's Greatest Hits onto my iPod? Or that Mindy was up all of last night finishing our Sonny and Cher costumes. Suffice to say we've magnified our callings. So how are we thanked for our efforts? With a slew of verbal bile from a bunch of vicious, hateful, mean-spirited ingrates.

Why is it, Mark Crawford, if you so desperately want to be deleted from the e-mail list, that you not only completed The Official Worthiness Questionnaire, but also added some not very funny embellishments, then turned it into a blog? (By the way I forwarded it to your mother.)

As for Jordan Bean, you may have been my pediatrician, and yes you gave me Cookie Monster band-aids, and took my teddy bear's temperature, but that does not give you the right to disobey my God-given authority! Furthermore, I don't appreciate you asking me to bend over for a new series of inoculations, nor am I amused by your suggestion that I perform a colonoscopy on myself.

Thank you, Elaine Miller, for circulating that photo someone took of me at your son's sixteenth birthday party. For the record, whatever anyone thinks they might see in my swim trunks was nothing more than a bunching of fabric magnified by pool water. Isn't it enough, Elaine, that you laughed when they poured the hot cider onto my crotch that evening?

Finally, to my Mother: Perhaps the Lord did inspire you to save my Scooby-doo underpants for a special purpose. But he did not intend them to be sold on E-bay. Nor did he want the rest of you to engage in a bidding war over them.

Righteous indignation has its place. Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple. Likewise his admonition not to cast pearls before swine. Or, in this instance, Mindy and I refusing to serve a bunch of pathetic, over the hill, twisted losers who can't get their own dates.

So put away your afro wigs, earth shoes and any hope of fun this Saturday night. The Swinging Seventies Party is cancelled. Instead, I expect all of you to stay at home, read your scriptures and ponder your commitment to avoid all loud laughter, light mindedness and evil speaking of the Lord's Anointed.--Meaning Me!

Compose your conclusions in essay form and submit them to me no later than 5 PM Sunday.

If you would like to stop receiving these e-mails, watch this:

Friday, November 6, 2009

How I Finally Left Mormonism

To: Donna Banta
From: Annie Christiansen
Subject: The Big Picture

For years I stayed in because of The Big Picture. Every time my vision wandered, my friend, Margaret Spencer, was there to help me refocus. Margaret was a Liberal Mormon. An "in the church but not of it" type. The sort of Mormon that the LDS authorities bar from positions of influence, but love to have around because she makes them look cool. According to Margaret, if I delved beneath the church's stodgy outward appearance (for example its scripture, doctrine and leadership) I would somehow find in its underpinnings an inner hipness. I would see The Big Picture, an image so huge it escaped my notice. Strange. I was an art professor, but I couldn't appreciate The Big Picture.

I had not planned to participate in the Abbottsville Second Ward Talent Night. Two hours of ward talent, starring Brother Bixby in his grass skirt and coconut bra, hardly seemed an appropriate venue for my art work. Then Margaret sang her Big Picture refrain and I agreed, in hopes of finally seeing for myself. I brought three of my paintings to the church that evening. One was promised to a collector, another slated for a gallery, and the last I intended to give to Margaret Spencer's daughter, Barbara.

The church lady in charge ushered me to some easels in the foyer, a space otherwise dedicated to the Relief Society Mystique. Quilts, embroidery, hand made clothing and the like spilled off tables that lined the walls. In the room's center stood the shrine to home canning. Not art in the classical sense, but exquisite nonetheless. Countless kitchen sessions with my mother taught me to respect those obedient slices. Not a single peach or apricot strayed to the surface, a wonder that would command the attention of every sister who passed. It was, in fact, already drawing approval from the few who milled about.

Margaret arrived on cue. No surprise. Even though she was in the Fourth Ward, she never missed a Second Ward activity that featured me. I waved her over, and Barbara as well, who followed after her mother with her knitting bag. I confess I have always been curious about Barbara. Her good looks and intelligence attracted a host of male admirers, including my son Sean whom she considered her "best pal." Yet she again chose to spend Friday night with her mother, and her knitting. Of course, I wasn't allowed to ask, nor was she to tell. So I shrugged off my suspicions and gave her the painting.

At once Barbara threw her knitting on the foyer sofa and hugged me. Her pink sweater was baby soft against her cheek, and her hair smelled of lavender. I gazed at the work that was now hers. The little Tuscan cafe had one customer that afternoon, an elegant woman with her book. For some reason I saw Barbara, and painted her instead. Margaret approached with eyes brimming, and joined our embrace. A rush of emotion overwhelmed me. Perhaps this was The Big Picture. Sisterhood. Community. A family of like-minds.

When we parted I saw the room had filled. Margaret and Barbara stepped back to allow others to view my work. Somebody said, "oh my what pretty pictures." I said "thank you." Another person asked, "where'd you paint that?" I answered, "Venice." He said, "down in Southern California?" I said, "Italy actually." "Italy? Oh my heck." The warmth of the past few minutes drained from my being, and dread crept into its place. The members of my ward family were doing their best to include me, I knew that. But I also knew that I did not belong. I searched for Margaret. She had fallen into a conversation with some ladies by the canning table. Barbara perched on the sofa, wrapping yarn around needles with acute gravity, as though dismantling a bomb. I turned toward the door, and considered sneaking out.

Instead I was confronted by my bishop, Russ Meeker, a spare man unburdened by nuance who, at twenty-seven, lacked both experience and confidence. So blessed, his management style boiled down to abrupt interrogation, barking orders, and simian thrusts of his chin. Our conversation still screams in my brain.

BM: "Who gave you permission to do this?" Me: "What? Paint?" BM: "A picture of a Catholic church?" Me: "I was in Rome." BM: "Your husband tells me you go places like that. Is he here? I'd rather talk to him." Me: "These are my paintings, that makes me the person to talk to." BM: "This girl in the restaurant, what's she drinking?" Me: "A beverage." BM: "Well it is totally unrepresentative of our young women."

At this point the bishop paused and issued a smug grin that reminded me of a certain squirrelly freshman in my Art Appreciation class. "Don't get me wrong, Sister Christiansen. I happen to love art. In fact, we just had dinner at the Warners. Now that her kids are grown, Sister Warner has taken up painting. She's done some marvelous pictures of the Provo temple . . ."

While Bishop Meeker raved over Sister Warner's oeuvre, I returned to my painting of the cafe. This time it seemed larger, and I saw myself there, basking in the Italian sun with my book, drinking my whatever. Maybe Barbara would join me, Margaret too if she liked. But there was no room for an adolescent bishop whose creative expertise was rolling earth tones on walls. He no longer belonged in my picture.

I told the little twit to piss off.

Then I gathered the painting promised to the collector, and the one going to the gallery, and I left. For good. As I pulled away from the church, Margaret appeared in my rear view mirror, waving me back. I watched as her image grew smaller and smaller, then disappeared.

More later,

P.S.  Ha! At least the Abbottsville Second Ward doesn't have an e-mail list!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

LDS Stake Single Adults

To: Abbottsville Stake Single Adults
From: Ricky and Mindy Foote, Stake Single Adults Leaders
Subject: Official Worthiness Questionnaire

In our last e-mail to the Stake Singles, we mentioned that admission to the Swinging Seventies Party will require either a temple recommend or a completed Official Worthiness Questionnaire. Since then we have been flooded with replies from seemingly devout singles who wish to attend, but are not temple worthy. This alarming discovery will require long term attention. However, for the purpose of the upcoming activity, Mindy and I are sending the Official Worthiness Questionnaire ahead of time, in order to avoid a bottleneck at the door. Please fill out the form and e-mail it to us in ASAP, so we have ample time for review.

Fill in the appropriate circle completely and inside the line with a #2 pencil

1. Do you attend all of your meetings?   yes O no O
   *If you answered no, how were you offended? (Mark all that apply.)
     Your visiting teachers missed a month.  O
     Nobody ate your casserole at the ward pot luck.  O
     Your home teacher has a key to the church and you don’t. O
     You were cut from the ward volleyball team.  O
     Somebody sat in your pew.  O

2. Do you pay a full tithe? yes O no O
  *If you answered no, how do you spend the Lord’s ten percent? (Mark all that apply.)
   Cigarettes  O
   Slot machines  O
   Cock fights  O
   Malt liquor  O
   Multiple ear piercings    O

3. Do you sustain your local and general authorities? yes O no O
  *If you answered no, why not? (Mark all that apply.)
    I’m addicted to porn.  O
    I drink like Yeltsin. O
    I'd rather sniff glue.  O
    I’m into bestiality.  O
    I don’t like their suits.  O

4. Do you subscribe to and read The Ensign? yes O no O
  *If you answered no, how do you fill your leisure time? (Mark all that apply.)
    Surfing the Internet for porn.  O
    Mugging old ladies.  O
    Masturbating.  O
    Knocking over liquor stores.  O
    Reading Jon Krakauer.  O

Your answers to the above questions are confidential, and will be shared with nobody other than your stake single adults leaders, home teachers, Relief Society presidency, ward bishopric, stake presidency, both Quorums of the Seventy, the Quorum of the Twelve, the First Presidency, and The Deseret News.

If you would like to stop receiving these e-mails, we’ll send you a copy of “What Not To Do In Bed: Fifty rules for Appropriate Sexual Intercourse,” by Bishop Loomis.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

LDS Missionary Work

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Ward Mission Leader, H. LaVar Turley
Subject: Holy Fetch! He’d make a great Mormon!

How many times has it happened? You’re at work, the supermarket, or maybe the gym. You run into a non-member acquaintance, exchange pleasantries, then find yourself engrossed in a surprisingly wholesome conversation about family, moral values, and non-alcoholic beverages. You had no idea this person had such interests. Then it hits you. Your skin tingles, your eyes brim over, your lips quiver, and you think to yourself--Holy Fetch! He’d make a great Mormon!

Modern revelation has taught us that non-members such as the Pilgrims and Founding Fathers were inspired accomplices to the restoration of the one and only true church. I believe this applies to many of our leaders in Washington, past and present. I’d love to tract out Congress. Both houses are rife with potential Mormons. (With the exception of Barney Frank and Harry Reid.)

Why not the office of the presidency as well? Consider the following “Mormons in the Rough:”

President and Mrs. Carter
President and Mrs. Reagan
President and Mrs. H.W. Bush
President and Mrs. George W. Bush
President Bill Clinton
Chelsea Clinton
Socks and Buddy Clinton
Barack Obama’s mother

But our list isn’t restricted to Washington. The Lord is preparing all of His children to receive the Gospel. For example, the FOX News evening line-up, Steven Colbert, the Octomom, former Senator John Edwards, and the guy who plugs the ShamWow.

And what of those near and dear, the ones who matter the most? Like the non-member brother-in-law who loaned you money, or the neighbor who didn’t sue when you backed over his foot with your Suburban. For heaven’s sake, what are you waiting for? Don’t just thank them with a tater-tot casserole. Give them what they really deserve, a Book of Mormon, your fervent testimony and daily visits from the missionaries.

The Church is true! Amen.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Word From The Bishop

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: The Archives of Bishop Loomis
Subject: Proper Administration of the Sacrament

Having received a series of complaints over our ineptness in supplying the Sacrament bread a couple of Sundays ago, the current bishopric decided the ward might like to revisit the policy under former Bishop Brent Loomis, whose shocking murder last year remains unsolved.

Administration of the Sacrament

The partaking of the sacrament is among the most holy events of our week, rivaled only by temple attendance, family prayer and blessings, and sacred intimacy with one’s eternal companion. (Refer to my pamphlet, What Not To Do In Bed: Fifty Rules for Appropriate Sexual Intercourse.) However too often the passing of the bread and water is reduced to a carnival atmosphere, with cotton-mouthed Priests muffing the prayer, Teachers who can’t manage to fill a water cup, attention deficit Deacons sleepwalking the trays around the chapel, and a ditsy congregation that scatters itself all over the building and grounds. The result? An alarming number of Abbottsville saints are missing the opportunity to ingest the body of Christ! Given this crisis situation, I am setting in place the following guidelines:

1. Saturday night curfew.
I instruct all members of the Aaronic Priesthood to be home by 8:00 PM every Saturday. I instruct the ward Young Women to support this new directive. Think of your young brethren as champions preparing for the “big game.” The Elders’ Quorum will serve as enforcement with the help of the our newly purchased high beam flashlights and state of the art GPS tracking system. Mothers, please follow up by tucking your teenaged boys into bed by 8:30 and reading them The Book of Mormon until they fall asleep.

2. Sacrament preparation.
I instruct the Relief Society to deliver four loaves of sliced homemade bread to the ward kitchen no later that 4:00 PM on Saturday. Each slice should be lightly perforated into twelve equal squares. With the bread prepared in this manner, the Teachers’ Quorum will be free to focus on the delicate matter of filling the sacrament cups, a process that, if done properly, requires a measuring cup and eye-dropper.

3. Administration of the Sacrament.
Once the well rested Priests have recited the prayer and broken the bread into exact squares, the Deacons may come forward to pass to the congregation. Thanks to our new Bluetooth devices, I can now assume command from my post on the stand. With my voice in their ears, the Deacons will follow their color-coded routes as illustrated on this map:

4. Dress code.
I instruct all Aaronic Priesthood holders to wear navy blue suits, black dress shoes and socks, white shirts and red ties--except for the Deacons, whose ties must match their route color. White undershirts, of course, and either boxers or briefs are fine, so long as they are white, and so long as the priesthood holder doesn’t linger while putting them on.

I pray that all will embrace these inspired changes so that the partaking of the sacrament will become the stress-free, spiritually uplifting experience it’s meant to be. Remembering always, that it’s through obedience that we become free.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Mormon History Outside Of The Manual

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Former Stake President Stan Taylor
Subject: Agnes Coolbrith

During my years as director of the LDS Institute at Grafton College, I taught church history according to the manual. Unfortunately the curriculum forced me to leave out some of the most fascinating figures of our past. For example, Agnes Coolbrith.

Agnes Moulton Coolbrith was born on July 9, 1808 in Scarborough, Cumberland, Maine. At the age of twenty-three she moved to Boston, where she and several female friends converted to Mormonism. Soon after she departed for Kirtland, Ohio to join others in her new-found faith. It was there that she met Don Carlos Smith, the younger brother of the prophet, Joseph. They fell in love and were married on July 30, 1835.

Their turbulent six year marriage was set against the backdrop of early Mormon history. The couple moved three times, from Ohio, to Missouri, to Illinois. Meanwhile, Don served missions throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. During one of his absences an angry mob turned Agnes out of their house, looted it, then burned it to the ground. In the midst of this upheaval, Don and Agnes conceived three daughters. The youngest, Josephine Donna Smith, came to be called Ina.

A devoted husband and father, Don Carlos disapproved of Joseph’s doctrine of plural marriage, and voiced opposition early on. However, witnesses claimed that on his deathbed, Don asked Joseph to take Agnes as a plural wife. Years later, Agnes denied this story. Nevertheless, after Don Carlos suddenly died in 1841, Agnes became a “spirit wife” to Joseph Smith, an act that estranged her from her beloved sister-in-law (and now sister wife) Emma Smith. Another tragedy soon followed, when in October of 1843, her oldest daughter, Sophronia, died of scarlet fever.

After Joseph Smith’s death in 1844, Agnes entered into a second polygamous marriage, this time with Don and Joseph’s cousin, George Albert Smith. Any animosity Agnes harbored toward polygamy was exacerbated during this period, as her relationship with George Albert turned cold. When he left Illinois to travel west with the Saints, Agnes made no attempt to travel with him, nor did he provide any provisions for her to follow. Years later, in a letter to her cousin, Joseph F. Smith, Ina wrote, “I think I see myself vowing to love and honor some old driveling idiot of sixty, to be taken into his harem and enjoy the pleasure of being his favorite Sultana for an hour, and then thrown aside.” Her opinion was most likely based on her mother’s experience.

It wasn’t long before Agnes abandoned her “spirit marriage” to George Albert for a legal union with William Pickett, a lapsed Mormon whose drinking problem overshadowed his intelligence. They settled in St. Louis, where Agnes gave birth to twin sons. Then in 1849, her domesticity was again interrupted when her husband became swept up in “gold fever.” William travelled to California, then asked Agnes to join him. Over time, she grudgingly agreed, only to leave him to his drink some years later. However, in 1852, she found herself crossing the dry Nevada desert with her family in a company of seventeen covered wagons.

After fording the Truckee River, they came upon the explorer, Jim Beckwourth, half dead with fever. The women in the company nursed him to health. In return he led them across his newly discovered trail over the Sierras, what is now known as the Beckwourth Pass. At Beckwourth’s invitation, Agnes agreed to let eleven-year-old Ina ride with him, and be the first child to cross the trail. When they reached the summit, Beckwourth dismounted, lifted the girl from the horse, took in the golden sun dappled valley, and declared, “There, little girl, there is California! There is your kingdom!”

From here the story belongs to Ina Donna Smith, the girl who grew up to be Ina Coolbrith, California’s first poet laureate, mentor to Jack London and Isadora Duncan, and member of the literary circle that included Mark Twain, Joaquin Miller, John Muir, Ambrose Bierce and Bret Harte. The woman who left her imprint on California history and American letters.

Church historians are eager to point out that Ina was a Mormon, and the niece of the prophet. I dislike this boastful claim. It seems disingenuous for a church to take credit for the success of its members, particularly in the case of Ina, who left her faith as a child. In my mind, Ina was not Joseph Smith's niece. Rather, she was Agnes Coolbrith's daughter.

A few weeks ago I hiked up San Francisco's Nob Hill to the corner of Taylor and Vallejo, the site of Ina Coolbrith Park. It’s flower laden path snaked down terraces high above the city. There was no noise, save for an occasional clang of a cable car. There in the quiet I took in Ina’s Kingdom: the city’s financial district, and beyond it, the bay, busy with sail boats, tugs, and massive container vessels. I wandered the park for the better part of an hour, staying even after the fog billowed in from the ocean. I thought of Agnes, whose journey began in Maine and ended at California’s Golden Gate. The spirit of her memory kept me warm.

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

LDS Stake Single Adults

To: Abbottsville Stake Single Adults
From: Ricky and Mindy Foote, Stake Single Adults Leaders
Subject: Stake Singles' Swinging Seventies Party

Mindy and I are both humbled and thrilled to be called as the new Stake Single Adults Leaders. It is an honor to serve a group that includes so many near and dear, such as, my former seminary teacher, Mindy's old high school principal, Sister Post who helped me earn my Duty to Country badge,and, of course, Mom. As newlyweds, Mindy and I are hot off the singles' scene ourselves, and, to put it in your lingo, we know where you're at. Or as someone once said -- Ben Franklin? Brigham Young? -- I'll have to look it up. Anyhow, "we feel your pain."

So dust off your platform shoes and powder blue tuxedos, and truck on down to the stake center for some seriously gnarly mixing and mingling. Should be heavy.

The following standards will be strictly enforced:

No immodest dress. This includes pierced ears, facial hair or sideburns, and t-shirts advertising tobacco, porn, or caffeinated soft drinks. For more information, click here.

Admission only upon presentation of a current temple recommend or completion of the Official Worthiness Questionnaire.

No loitering. The halls, kitchen, auxiliary areas and bathrooms will be monitored by CCTV.

Doors will be locked at 8:00 PM, no re-entrance allowed.

The DJ's track list has been pre-approved by the stake presidency. No requests other than Janice Kapp Perry, the Osmonds, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Participation in the Funky Chicken Soul Train Line is mandatory.

We will adjourn at 11:00 PM sharp, so everyone's home before curfew. Don't forget to call your home teacher when you get there.

Be there or be square, boys and girls. The Captain and Tennille are expecting you!

Dig this:

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mother's Visit

To: Donna Banta
From: Mark Crawford
Subject: Mother's visit

Dear Donna,

Most of the week went fine. Mother seems to have  come to terms with the fact that I'm no longer Mormon and that I live with a man. (Although she still asks where Byron sleeps, and when I tell her she still smiles, shakes her head and says, "Oh p-shaw!") We did the usual. San Francisco, Carmel. In the evenings Mother filled me in on the family in Salt Lake City and taught Byron how to cook "Utah Style." (Believe me, Donna, the man's a saint, and I don't mean the "latter-day" kind.)

On Sunday Byron and I planned to drop Mother off at church, go for brunch, then pick her up after. We made a slight detour to collect her friend, Sister Hickey, who is no longer able to drive. We parked and escorted the elderly sister into the building, as it took three people to manage her walker, oxygen tank, scriptures, and bag of medications.

Once she and Mother were safe in their pew, Byron and I raced for the door, only to be confronted by Bishop Zimmerman and a young member of the Aaronic Priesthood. The bishop's tie was askew and his lapels were covered in Post-it notes. He answered e-mail on his Blackberry as he spoke. "Mark! Thank goodness you're here! I need you to run to the store for the sacrament bread. Give the loaves to Dallin here when you get back." He pressed a wad of cash into my palm and disappeared. I looked down at Dallin. He was in desperate need of a bar of soap. "Listen kid," I said, "why don't you run to the Safeway on the corner and get the bread?" "I can't," he replied. "Why not?" I asked. "Because it's a sin." As the ward's token reprobate, I was the only candidate capable of breaking the Sabbath to provide the Abbottsville "saints" (including my mother) with their holy communion.

After Byron and I delivered the bread to Dallin, our exit was again hampered, this time by a commotion in the foyer. Bishop Zimmerman blocked our path, panting. One of the Post-its had attached itself to his earlobe. I tactfully returned it to his lapel. "Mark! Thank goodness you're back! Sister Turley's water just broke. I need you to sit with their kids during Sacrament Meeting while Brother Turley takes her to the hospital." Mother moved into my range of vision, her eyes imploring. "It's only an hour," said Byron. "We'll still have time for brunch." (As I said, the man's a saint.)

The Turley brood, a foursome ranging from age two through eight, sat on the second row from the front. While former Stake President Taylor waxed sentimental about his genealogy, Byron engaged the twin girls in what he thought would be a game of cat's cradle, but looked more like the bondage scenario in a DVD we recently rented. I might have been turned on, if I hadn't been so intent on dislodging the Cheerio one of the Turley brats stuffed in my ear.

Needless to say, we wasted no time ferrying the kids to Primary. We handed off the two year old to a wild-eyed nursery leader. "I need more help!" she cried, and grabbed Byron as well. I vowed to rescue him after I unloaded the other three, but upon entering the Primary room, Sister Zimmerman called out, "Mark! Thank goodness you're here! Sister Turley was supposed to play the piano, only now she's in labor. Will you fill in?" "Um, OK. Where's the music?" "I don't know. Can't you just wing it?" Sure I could wing it. I wing it all the time for my music students at Grafton College, but the Primary Songbook was not part of my repertoire. I fell back on The Eensy Weensy Spider, Puff the Magic Dragon, and Hey Jude.

After the better part of an hour I announced, "Any more singing will have to be done a capella." Sister Zimmerman thanked me, then asked, "On your way out would you mind tending to little Missy Skousen? She needs to pee." I drew a breath. "All right, I'll fetch her mother." "She just passed out from morning sickness." I refused to be rattled. "Fine, I'll find her father." "He's in the Elders' Quorum." Missy and I walked hand in hand to the Elders' classroom where we were greeted by a chorus of, "Mark! Thank goodness you're here!"

Some forty-five minutes later, I left the Elders, confident I had taught one of the best lessons of the year. (Good thing Brother Harold had that deck of cards.) Saint Byron waited for me in the foyer, head to toe in glitter. We loaded Mother, Sister Hickey and the portable ER into the car. Then as we left the church parking lot, Sister Hickey took a long pull on her oxygen tank, and wheezed, "Where are we going for brunch?"

I'll close for now, as Saint Byron is heading to the bar with our martini pitcher. God knows I need one.


P.S. Do you know how to get off the Fourth Ward mailing list?

Monday, September 28, 2009

LDS Friendly Movie Review

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Sister Millie Loomis, self-appointed ward media critic
Subject: Julie and Julia

I confess I am something of a foodie. It's an obsession born of a desire for provident living paired with a passion for Cool Whip. In fact, much like Julie in the film, I have cooked my way through the Lion House Cookbook, including the challenging Caffeine-free Coca-Cola Pork Loin. So I braved the PG-13 rating, settled into my cushy Cineplex seat and endured the preambles to the movie. First a series of advertisements featuring barely clad models flaunting their privates, then some previews to features that obviously don't contain enough wholesome material to fill out a film trailer. I am baffled by claims that this filth is deemed suitable for general audiences. However, I held my tongue, refrained from loud exhales, and fought the urge to storm out and clobber the manager with my handbag.

At first Julie and Julia drew me in. While I have no desire to set foot in Paris, I admit it appeared charming in the movie. (Filmed in America, no doubt.) Equally charming was the young wife who yearned to stay at home and cook for her husband. (I thought, send over those missionaries!) It was so enchanting that I overlooked the flaws. For example, the ludicrous assumption that French food is superior to ours, or that a happy marriage is rife with tawdry sex, or that Julia Child smoked, drank and ate chocolate.

When the manicotti scene began, I leaned in with interest. (My late husband, Bishop Loomis, used to love my Cheesy Macaroni and Hamburger Bake.) Then while preparing to pack one of the steaming tubes, the sainted icon, Julia Child, casually compared it to a man's -- you know. I practically choked on my Milk Duds. A moral compass like Julia would never refer to such anatomy, much less compare it to something she intended to put in her mouth. But even more alarming was the growing laughter around me. The audience found this funny? They approved? Why was I the only one who didn't get the joke? I became claustrophobic. Perhaps the people in the theater were laughing because they liked to play with their manicottis too. Maybe some were playing with them now, in their seats.

I walked out.

123 minutes long. Rated PG-13, for sleazy marital sex, but should be rated X for an explicit pasta scenario. Language is generally clean, but there is a lot of French spoken. In wide release. (In fact it's so common you can see it on just about any street in town.)

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

LDS Missionary Work

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Ward Mission Leader, H. LaVar Turley
Subject: Dealing with Less Actives.

Less Actives can be so touchy. Always refusing our efforts to fellowship. Sometimes their protests are so violent, we're tempted to just blow them off, leave them to their sinful ways. But here's the thing. Nobody really wants to leave the one and only true church. Consider the shallow reason the Less Active left in the first place. Some minor personal slight, a delusional claim about church history, or simply the desire to booze it up in front of the porn channel. Face it, he's confused, and doesn't know what he means. When he says "leave me alone," I hear "come back soon." When he says "I don't want to go to church," I hear "I miss it so much!" When he says "no thank you," I hear, "yes please." So when I learned that some Less Actives were blocking our ward e-mails, I thought, it's a cry for help.

The following exchange occurred on the doorstep of one such Less Active:

Me: Good evening, Brother Confused, may I come in? I've brought some of my wife's nut loaf.

Brother Confused: No you may not come in and I don't want any stupid nut loaf.

Me: OK, we'll talk here. The ward is no longer able to send e-mails to your address. Has it changed?

Brother Confused: I've blocked your e-mails. Go away.

He shuts the door. I knock. No response. I ring the bell. No response. I lay on the bell. No response. I lay on the bell, knock and sing out "yoo-hoo" simultaneously. He opens the door, this time only as far as the chain lock allows.

Brother Confused: Get the #$%& off my porch.

Me: How 'bout the nut loaf?

Brother Confused: Take your $%&# nut loaf and stick it up your @#$&ing $%&.

Me: Actually I prefer herbal enemas.

Brother Confused: Get the #$%& off my property before I #$%&ing throw you off.

Me: Oh -- you!

He shuts the door. I wait on the porch for a few seconds, then creep around the side of the house. I hear a sound coming from a high window. I use a tree branch to boost myself to the sill, then peek through the pane. Sister Confused is soaking in the tub. She screams. Oops! awkward. I run back to the front porch. Brother Confused bursts out with his shotgun.

Me: I see you're a hunter. We'll invite you to our next ward turkey shoot.

Brother Confused: Maybe I'll shoot one now.

He aims the barrel at my chest.

Me: My you are a marksman. As you know we Mormons are strong supporters of the Second Amendment.

I raise both hands and back up quickly. As I pull away from the curb I see he is still on the porch with the gun. I give him a cheery wave, congratulate myself on my success, and make a mental note to pick up some body armor.

The Church is true! Amen

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Monday, September 21, 2009

A Word From The Bishop

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Bishop Paul Zimmerman
Subject: Time Management

I have a strong testimony of our inspired lay priesthood, and am humbled by my calling as bishop. But we all know that combining church responsibilities with our daily routine has its challenges. Here are some suggestions.

After all, we have two hands. Why not butter toast with one and iron with the other? Or shave and eat at the same time? Is there a magazine rack in your bathroom? Throw out those old issues and replace them with more utilitarian items, like your unpaid bills, Priesthood lesson manual, maybe even a vegetable peeler. All it takes is a little creativity. Yesterday evening I arrived at the meeting house to find Sister Peterson in the ward library, organizing the Primary class materials and listening to her daughter's recital on speaker phone. Her bread dough sat rising on the counter. Then I came upon the Harold family, blending their church cleaning assignment with a family/date night. They swept the cultural hall with a rousing game of broom hockey, emptied the ward refrigerator for refreshments, then afterward, Brother and Sister Harold escaped to scour the men's room . . . alone.

Rethink your sleep habits.
Eight hours is simply not an option for active Mormons. Cut that time in half and compensate with brief power naps throughout the day. I keep a pillow in both my car and office for that purpose. I've also mastered the art of open-eyed sleeping. Through self-hypnosis, a person can appear awake while his brain is actually asleep. (Think Sarah Palin during her interview with Katie Couric.) I fall back on the practice during staff meetings, mindless routines at work, my wife's family reunions, you name it.

Don't beat yourself up.
Remember that perfection is an eternal rather than temporal goal. Magnify your church callings and roll with the rest. Sisters, so what if the dishes aren't done, your hair's not combed, your dress is on backwards and you can't find all of the children. At least you did your visiting teaching. Brethren don't fret about the overgrown yard, leaky gas tank, or the band of coworkers who call you "doofus." Did you help collect the Fast Offering? Pat yourself on the back.

***Correction: My apologies to the young men in the ward who mistakenly received my employer's form 10-Q quarterly report last week. My intended message, "Hands Off: Tips on Avoiding Masturbation," was sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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