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.

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