Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Utah Pioneer Day Comes To San Francisco

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Millie Loomis, self-appointed ward media and culture critic
Subject: Ex-Mormons desecrate Utah Pioneer Day

Like most students of history, I consider July 24 to be a pivotal date in human history. After all, it's the day that the Mormons rode into the Salt Lake Valley to establish our kingdom. That makes it the Fourth of July, Veterans Day, and Christmas rolled into one. So when I heard that the ex-Mormons were gathering to mock our founding fathers on their sacred day, I decided to sneak into the party and expose them as the pathetic low-lifes they've become.

Last Saturday afternoon I disguised myself as an ex-Mormon and drove to a seedy bar in San Francisco called the Hotel Utah Saloon.
I parked and rushed for the door, clutching my handbag close and ignoring strange looks from the San Francisco non-member community. Once inside, I found myself surrounded not only by ex-Mormons, but also by some of my fellow LDS singles, who seemed to think that this was their new Stake Single Adults' Program.

I made a mental note to report them to the bishop, then moved across the room, only to see former Stake President Taylor wearing a plaid shirt, and nursing a suspicious beverage labeled, O'Doul's.

He shot me a look and said, "Millie, will you go home and take off that ridiculous get-up?!"

"Pardonee moi, who eez Millie?" I replied. (Fortunately, I have a convincing French accent thanks to my recent See Zion First tour of Paris.)

He grabbed my arm in an ungentleman-like manner and pulled me toward the door. I shut my eyes and prayed for divine help. In an instance, my saviors appeared.                                                                

I was surprised at first. In the past, I'd encountered the Three Nephites only one at a time, and out of uniform. However, as the evening progressed, I understood why they united their forces. It was to be a night filled with some of the worst debauchery ever witnessed. I managed to capture some of it on film. 

The loud laughter increased, so much so, that even the Three Nephites combined were unable to shield my modest ears. My hands began to shake, and I feared the onset of a panic attack. They sent for the lesser known Mini-Nephite, who is distinguished by his immense spiritual strength.
He gave me a grapefruit infused serum. Right away the laughter seemed less offensive. Indeed, after a few more doses, I could barely hear it. From there my memory is sketchy. I remember President Taylor playing poker with the Single Adults and the Nephites performing an unusual rendition of the BYU Fight Song. 
Finally I crawled up on the bar for a nap. It was surprisingly comfortable. Only I was rudely ripped from my sleep by former Stake President Taylor who muttered some inaudible complaint that ended in "you daft cow," threw me over his shoulder, and dumped me into the back seat of his car. I awoke the next morning on the chaise in my back yard. I assume it was Taylor who left me there. I can only hope he didn't have his way with me.

As my head cleared, I recalled one more thing I learned last Saturday.

The Hotel Utah is for sale!

That's right, brothers and sisters, with a little joint fund-raising, and the help of the Stake Public Affairs Counsel, we can bring down an evil ex-Mormon institution and replace it with something beautiful and inspiring. Like a temple where church members can perform traditional marriages. Alongside it, a visitor's center that features a genealogy library, a stage for musical revues by super-cool groups like the Young Ambassadors, and a theater for reenactments of church history performed by incredibly realistic looking automatons. Instead of a magnet for ex-Mormon low-lifes, the Hotel Utah could be a gathering place, where San Franciscans could relax and mingle, without cigarettes, alcohol, or caffeine, of course. 

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

San Francisco Post-Mormons Critique 8: The Mormon Proposition

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Former Stake President Stan Taylor
Subject: My Evening with the post-Mormons

When faced with the choice of attending the post-Mormon gathering at the Ferry Building or the ward Break the Fast, I dutifully chose this:

Later, instead of joining the ex-Mormons at the Round-up Saloon in Lafayette, I opted for the inspired ward fashion show. The result? I missed meeting two of the three Nephites.

(Nephite #2 ended up bailing on the ward fashion show to join the ex-Mormons, and believe me, we still needed his help!)

So when I was invited to last Saturday's post-Mormon screening of 8: The Mormon Proposition, I said, "To Helena with the ward Mop the Meetinghouse Party, I'm hanging with the exmo's tonight!"

Ex-Mormon demonstrates "There's always room for Jell-O"
Have to admit, I was nervous when I knocked on the door. But the gang immediately showed me to a cushy chair, supplied me with a plate of food and a non-alcoholic beer, then resumed their lively exchange. Without going into too much detail, the course of conversation was irreverent, and probably offensive to even the thicker-skinned believing Mormons. Fortunately, I have the hide of an elephant, and enjoyed every minute. I can't remember the last time I felt free to discuss things like science, art, and ancient American history.

Much less engage in loud laughter.

The film was both well-done and heart breaking, enough so to penetrate my old elephant's hide. I confess, I participated in some evil speaking of the Lord's anointed.

Ex-Mormons salute President Monson

There are many infuriating aspects to the Mormon Church's campaign against gay marriage. But as a retired LDS Institute Director, I can't help but look at this from a historical perspective. In the nineteenth century, the Mormons fled to Utah so they could be free to pursue their own definition of marriage. Now the Utah-based LDS Church seeks to impose its current definition of marriage on the entire country, if not the world.

It is no wonder so many wards and stakes are shrinking. Nobody, not even the faithful, want to be associated with such hubris. As the film points out, during the weeks leading up to the 2008 election, backlash against the church was so intense that pro-Prop 8 campaign workers were told not to wear white shirts and ties while canvassing -- so as not to look like Mormons.

Perhaps recent negative reactions from the members and the press will inspire church leaders to alter their message. To emphasize agency rather than obedience, unconditional love rather than punishment. But I'm not betting on it. While I admire those who try, as a former church employee, I know the frustration of attempting to change the church from within.

If history is any guide, the LDS Church won't loosen its grip on the members. Paradoxically, as the Mormons have expanded their influence in the world, they've narrowed their definition of what it means to be one. First the church shunned people who opposed polygamy, later those who practiced it. Since then they have shunned blacks, intellectuals, feminists, and gays. Also people with tattoos, piercings, short skirts, and beards. Today being Mormon means not going to R-rated movies, not drinking a Coke, not masturbating, not having sex outside of marriage (as defined by the church,) and not minding one on one interrogations from church officials on these subjects. If the leaders in Salt Lake continue this trend, they'll have nothing left, except the white shirts and ties.

Lucky for us, there were plenty of left-overs to take home.
Back in the day, when a person left the church, he disappeared, never to be heard from again. That's no longer the case. Ex-Mormons are telling their stories on websites, bulletin boards and blogs. While thin-skinned Mormons continue to claim people who've left were offended or want to sin, the rest of the world sees people who want to think for themselves, live authentic lives, and occasionally have fun.

Today's Puzzle: How many sins is this man committing? Whoever names the most wins a pencil.

If you would like to stop receiving these e-mails, we'll send you Nephite #2's secret Jell-O recipe.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

LDS Less Active Endures "Teaching Moment"

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

Less Actives can be so closed-minded. Always refusing our efforts to educate them. Sometimes we're tempted to just blow them off, leave them to their ignorant ways. But here's the thing. Nobody in their right mind 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 misinformed, and doesn't know what he wants. When he says "I don't agree," I hear "you're right." When he says "the church is based on lies," I hear "the church is true!" When he says "no thank you," I hear "yes please." So when I learned that some Less Actives were angry about the Mormons' campaign for Proposition 8, I thought, teaching moment!

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

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

Brother Misinformed: I don't want any stupid nut loaf, and you know it. Why are you really here?

Me: I understand you were offended by the church's support of Proposition 8.

Brother Misinformed: You're darned right I was. I think you Mormons are a bunch of homophobes.

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

Brother Misinformed: I believe I can, yes.

Me: Excellent. I think that if you open your mind and apply a little logic, you will find that we Mormons are neither homophobic nor prejudiced. In fact, we love our gay brothers and sisters, and welcome them into our fold, so long as they choose to be straight.

Brother Misinformed: Tell me something, Turley. Have you ever met a gay or lesbian?

Me: I've had many gay friends, that is until I discovered they were having sex with members of their own gender. Don't you see? This is why it's crucial that the church step in to defend traditional marriage.

Brother Misinformed: Traditional marriage? Is that what you Mormons call it? Joseph Smith had over thirty wives, Brigham Young, more than fifty. The LDS church calls gay monogamy a sin, but exalts polygamy as an "eternal principle."

Me: I don't know that we teach it.

Brother Misinformed: Plural marriage is alive and well in Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants, and in your temples.

Me: Oh -- you.

Brother Misinformed: Turley, if this is your idea of a thoughtful discussion, then you're nuttier that your wife's loaf.

Me: I know you are, but what am I?

Brother Misinformed leaps to his feet and tells me to @#$& off. I cover my ears and chant, "I can't hear you." He disappears down the hall. I wait on the couch a few seconds, then creep into the hallway. Two doors, both of them closed. I try the first. Sister Misinformed is stepping out of the shower. She screams. Oops! Awkward.

I try the second door, it's locked. I knock. No response. I bang on the door. No response. I bang on the door and sing out "yoo-hoo" simultaneously. He comes out holding a baseball bat. I quickly back down the hall.

Me: My you are the athlete, are you off hit some softballs?

Brother Misinformed: Maybe I'll whack a couple right now.

I run for the car. As I pull away from the curb I see he is on the porch with his bat. He uses it to knock my wife's nut loaf into the street. I give him a cheery wave, congratulate myself on my success, and make yet another mental note to pick up some body armor.

The Church is true! Amen.

If you would like to stop receiving these e-mails, we will forward your request to the Stake President, the Brethren, and your mother.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

LDS Stake Single Adults Have Some 'Splaining To Do!

To: Abbottsville Stake Single Adults
From: Mitchell Knightly, President of the Abbottsville Stake
Subject: Temporary suspension of the Stake Single Adults program

In light of recent events, I have decided to suspend all activities until I can be assured that your excellent Single Adults Leader, Ricky Foote, will be treated with the dignity, respect, and appreciation he deserves. I understand that he is young enough to be your son, and, in fact, that one of you is his actual mother. But, as I've said before, what Ricky lacks in age, he makes up for in inspired wisdom and priesthood authority. And he is devoted to you, the brothers and sisters he looked up to as a child. He wants nothing more than to find a sweetheart for his old principal, an eternal companion for his former pediatrician, and for himself, a new step-dad. None of you should consider yourselves on par with Ricky Foote. If you were, you would be married.

As always, I am willing to listen. In the coming weeks, I will be meeting with you individually to discuss your concerns, as well as your responses to The Official Worthiness Questionnaire. Here are a few thoughts for now.

Dear Sisters,
You have e-mailed me the following:

"I'm a working mom and don't have time to decorate cars with unscrewed Oreos."

"I am happy with my life and career, and don't need to go out looking for love."

"Isn't it enough that I go to church with the a$$holes on Sunday? Must I marry one too?"

"There is no place for a single woman in the LDS faith."

The first three complaints demonstrate a serious lack of respect for the Lord's anointed, and will be better dealt with in the upcoming one on one interviews. However, I am prepared to address the final concern at present.

There is a place for single women in our faith. But it is up to you to take it! The Abbottsville Stake offers countless opportunities for you to proudly assume your divine roll. Look around. There's the ward nursery, the understocked church freezers, the interior of the Turley's Suburban, and, thanks to the Brethren's inspired decision to lay off the janitors, the ward toilets.

I call on all single sisters to tend to your duties. You may begin by removing the pudding stains from Ricky Foote's dress suit.


Dear Brethren,
I feel I must take a stronger tone with you. The sisters have something of an excuse, as the priesthood has the responsibility of making the first move. So, I must ask, what the devil are you waiting for?

Brigham Young said that a single man over twenty-five is a menace to society.

In light of that knowledge, I am confused by the e-mails I have received from some of you:

"I don't want a wife or kids, and I don't have time to clean out the Turley's Suburban."

"As a 55 year old nuclear physicist, I've no interest in participating in a 'no hands pudding eating contest.'"

"I'm gay."

"The single women in the stake are either too fat, too ugly, or too bossy to go out with."

I am prepared to dismiss all but the final of these flimsy excuses.

Well of course they are. What did you expect?

If you'd been responsible, and married within six months of returning home from your mission, you'd have gotten that cute little sweet spirit before she had time to work or get fat or be educated. But you didn't did you? And you've only yourselves to blame.

Now forget the past and move onto the present. Let me point out that those cute little sweet spirits don't always stay cute. (Checked out Sister Turley lately?) Nor do they always stay sweet. (Margaret Spencer, for example.) The fact is, a lot of us married guys don't have it so great either. But we do have one advantage over you singles. That is, as married brethren, we are destined for the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom, where the eternal doctrine of plural marriage will be restored.

So I beg you, brethren, to take another look at those single sisters. Some of them aren't half bad. Plus marrying one in this life will ensure you all of these in the next:

If you would like to stop receiving these e-mails, the Turley Family will drop over Sunday morning to drive you to church in their Suburban.