Friday, October 29, 2010

Fast and Testimony Mad Libs!

To: Donna Banta
From: Mark Crawford
Subject: Surviving Fast and Testimony Meeting

Dear Donna,

Mother called last night to tell me that she's visiting the first weekend in November. By now Mother has come to terms with the fact that I live with a man and that I am no longer active in the church. (Only when I told her I didn't think the church was true anymore she responded with, "Oh p-shaw.") Nevertheless, she will no doubt expect Byron and I to do the three hour Sunday marathon with her, including the dreaded Fast and Testimony Meeting.

Upon learning this frightening news, Byron mercifully mixed a pitcher of martinis, and together we created the following "survival game."

Fast and Testimony Mad Libs

I would indeed be  __adjective__  if I didn't stand today and  __verb__  my  __noun__. At this time I would like to publicly thank my Heavenly Father for all my  __plural noun__. 

Lately I have been persecuted by some of my non- __noun__  co-workers. They mock me because I wear sacred  __plural noun__  under my clothes, don't  __verb__  or drink __liquid__,  refuse to have more than one piercing in my  __body part__, won't have  __bodily function__  outside of  __proper noun__ ,  and believe that I can one day become a  __noun__. Finally I drew up my courage and bore testimony of the one and only true  __noun__ . They felt the  __noun__,  and their  __plural body part__  were softened.

I am reminded of my  __cardinal number__   great grandfather who was  __verb__  by an  __adjective__  mob, then forced to cross the plains with nothing more than a  __noun__  and  __noun__. At least he had his faith in  __proper noun__  and a knowledge of the Book of  __humorous fictional character__  to sustain him. 

I know the church is  __adjective__.  I know Joseph Smith was a  __noun__.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is a  __noun__  of  __noun__  who  __verb__  the  church today.

And finally, brothers and sisters, if I have offended any of you,  __verb__  my  __body part__.

In the name of  __your favorite comedian or cartoon character__,  amen.

I testify to you, Donna, that this game, when paired with multiple martinis, is a deeply spiritual experience. Will  see how it compares with the real deal with Mother.


Friday, October 22, 2010

My Ex-Mormon Conference Weekend

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Donna Banta
Subject: My Conference Weekend

As I hinted in a post last month, I don't like looking at a sea of blue suits and white dress shirts, listening to bullshit stories about poor schlubs who blow their life savings on temple garments, mixing with old men who seem to know a gazillion people who like to look at porn, taking the advice of people who only want me to pay my tithing, or, in short, being bored out of my fucking mind.

So it was only natural that I passed on the 180th Semi-Annual General Conference of the LDS Church, and caught the Ex-Mormon Foundation Conference instead. It was a good decision.

It opened on Friday night with an awesome open mic that featured many first time attendees, all with fascinating stories to tell.

On Saturday Pamela McCreary inspired us with the story of her journey out of Mormonism and her eventual reconciliation with her believing family.

Jim Whitefield, author of Mormon Delusion, provided us with a spirited and sometimes hilarious expose of LDS doctrine and history.

Then Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family and C Street -- The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, delivered a fascinating account of his investigative reporting of the fundamentalist movement in American politics. He also described his first tour of Temple Square. When he asked a sister missionary in the Visitors' Center about the LDS Church's involvement in legislation against gay marriage, the addled twenty-something avoided the question by turning on a video of Jeffrey R. Holland's recent conference address on -- what else -- INTERNET PORN! Honestly, is there no other subject?

Finally, Tal Bachman addressed the conference again, this time on the dual topics of "life after Mormonism" and "why is Gordon B. Hinckley smiling?" I especially appreciated his observation that we exmos need more than just Darwin to sustain us. We also need a community and a passion to replace what used to be our faith.

Speaking of community, there is none better than the attendees of the Ex-Mormon Conference. I had the pleasure of meeting the above speakers, Post-Mormon founder Jeff Ricks, Eric Davis, Cludgie, and the amazing Insana D. I also reconnected with Ms. Mom and Dr. Dad, Larry and Mikki, Jerry and Cheryl, The Brother of Jerry, Wine Country Girl, and a whole bunch of other feminists, gays and/or intellectuals, including these characters:
No worries on the drive home with one of the 3 Nephites at my side! 
Thanks to Sue Emmett, Chad Spjut and others for putting together another fantastic party!

View excerpts from the Ex-Mormon conference on The Iron Rod.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Super Special Tips For Stay At Home Moms

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Susan Renfro, Ward Relief Society President
Subject: Tips for SAHM's

This past Saturday the Relief Society was privileged to hear from LDS home efficiency expert, La Rae Sorenson*, whose book,  The Righteous Stay at Home Mom, tops the Deseret Book best sellers list. Here is an excerpt from her presentation.
While all LDS mothers know that the Lord expects them to stay at home, many make the mistake of believing that staying at home implies an unstructured environment, where mother drops the children off at school, then feels free to go where the day takes her. Such selfishness suggests a slovenly approach to a woman's sacred duty, invites Satan into the home, and leaves the children at risk of growing up to be drug addicts, pedifiles, convicted felons, or even worse, feminists, gays, and intellectuals.
For the sake of her family, the righteous SAHM follows a church approved schedule. Here is a typical example:
8:00: Drop children off at school.
8:00-9:00: Ward meeting house assignment -- sanitize the men's room urinals.
9:00-10:00: Visiting Teaching -- Monthly Message: The Divine Role of Women. 
10:00-11:00: Prune bottling at the Stake Cannery.
12:00: Lunch -- prunes.
12:00-1:00: Knit 2 dozen baby booties for the stake president to present to the children's hospital.
1:00-2:00: Prepare 45 tin foil dinners for the ward father-son camp-out.
2:00-3:00: Plan Relief Society Personal Enrichment lesson: Fun with Dryer Lint!
3:00: Pick up children at school.
3:00-6:00: Return to the meeting house to set up and cook for the Ward Chili Cook-off -- while simultaneously enjoying quality time with children.
6:00: Dinner -- chili.
6:00-9:00: Clean up the ward cultural hall and kitchen.
9:00: Tuck children in bed.
9:00-??: Prepare 3 tubs of prune whip for tomorrow's Elders' Quorum Social.
*Sister LaRae Sorenson is mother of nine with one on the way. She home schools, sews all of her family's clothes, cooks exclusively from scratch, cans the proceeds of her 4 acre vegetable garden, teaches Primary, works in the temple, is a stake missionary, and runs the church welfare farm. In her spare time she enjoys clipping coupons, tatting, and playing Farmtown.

This month's Use Your Food Storage recipe was contributed by Sister Zina Rowley.

Pinto Bean Fudge
1 cup pinto beans, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup cocoa powder
up to 1/4 cup evaporated milk
4 pounds sugar
1 can of Crisco
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Melt Crisco, add in sugar until dissolved then mix in the remaining ingredients and spread onto a cookie sheet. Place in the refrigerator. Check occasionally by poking with a fork. Fudge is done when it is no longer possible to extract the fork.
Bon Appetit!
  If you would like to stop receiving these e-mails, you run the risk that your kids will grow up to be feminists, gays or intellectuals.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Less Active Learns Morality From Kitten

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Ward Mission Leader, H. LaVar Turley
Subject: Teaching the Less Active

Less Actives can be so immoral. Always refusing our efforts to save them. Sometimes we're tempted to just blow them off, leave them to their sinful ways. But here's the thing. No moral person leaves 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 immoral, and doesn't know what he wants. When he says "I don't agree," I hear "I drink like Yeltsin." When he says "the church isn't true," I hear "I'm into bestiality." When he says "no thank you," I hear, "got any malt liquor?" So when I learned that some Less Actives were heading to Salt Lake City to protest Elder Packer's recent General Conference talk, I thought, call to repentance moment!

The following exchange occurred on one such Less Active's front porch.

Me: Good evening Brother Immoral, I've brought some of my wife's nut loaf.

Brother Immoral: Keep your nut loaf and get lost.

Me: I understand you plan to protest Elder Packer's recent conference address.

Brother Immoral: You're darned right I do. Thanks to jerks like him, young LDS gays have committed suicide.

Me: Now, now, Brother Immoral. You mustn't allow some minor personal slight to undermine your testimony.

Brother Immoral: Minor personal slight? F#!k off.

Me: Remember, Elder Packer is an inspired authority.

Brother Immoral: Packer's not inspired, he's an obsessive old kook. All he ever talks about are the evils of masturbation and pornography and oral sex and gay sex and pre-marital sex and sex sex sex! If he had his way, nobody would get laid.

Me: Precisely!  That's because he has only one thing on his mind -- Traditional Marriage.

Brother Immoral: What exactly does your wife put in that nut loaf?

Me: Brother Immoral, may we engage in a thoughtful discussion?

Brother Immoral: I believe I can, yes.

Me: Elder Packer spoke of a little boy in Albuquerque who brought a kitten to school for show and tell.

Brother Immoral: Jesus, not that god-d@#$ed kitten again.

Me: You may remember that the class wanted to know if it was a girl kitty or a boy kitty.

Brother Immoral: I don't give a sh#t about the kitten, Turley.

Me: But you should, Brother Immoral. Because the teacher told the class that it didn't matter what sex the kitten was.

Brother Immoral: It DOESN'T matter, dou%$e-bag.

Me: Then a boy raised his hand and suggested the class vote on whether the kitten was a boy or a girl.

Brother Immoral: Do you understand the problem, Turley? This isn't about kittens, it's about young people committing suicide because their narrow-minded homophobic church leaders refuse to recognize that they're gay. 

Me: Do you understand the moral, Brother Immoral? We can't vote on whether a kitten is male or female. It's not like Congress can pass a bill. The kitten is what God made it.

Brother Immoral: OK. So what if the kitten is gay?

Me: Then the Brethren would veto it.

Brother Immoral: Turley if you're not off my property in thirty seconds I'm calling the cops.

Me: Oh you!

He slams the door. I knock. No response. I bang on the door. No response. I bang on the door and sing out "yoo-hoo" simultaneously. Still no response. 

I creep around the house to the bedroom window. I tap on the glass, then peek through an opening in the drapes. Sister Immoral is removing her brassiere. She screams. Oops! Awkward. 

I return to the front of the house just as a squad car pulls up. Out of respect for the Twelfth Article of Faith, I allow the authorities to escort me from the premises. I congratulate myself on my success and make a mental note to bring extra nut loaf next time -- in case there's a larger police presence.

The Church is true! Amen. 

If you would like to stop receiving these e-mails, we'll assume you were offended by some minor personal slight, or that you've been drinking too much malt liquor.