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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