Friday, December 30, 2011

Abbottsville Mormons Ring in the New Year!

To: Abbottsville Stake
From: Mitchell Knightly, President of the Abbottsville Stake
Subject: New Year's party and resolutions

Because New Year's Day falls on a Sunday this year, we expect everyone to be in church first thing in the morning. In order to facilitate this, we ask all members of the Abbottsville Stake to set their clocks ahead 3 hours on December 31. That way we can have the annual New Year's Eve party until "midnight" and still get up for church the next day.

We'll party on the eve just like those sinful non-members do in Manhattan. Only it will be better because instead of drinking and reveling until dawn in Times Square, we'll be sitting in the stake center cultural hall. Both feet on the floor. Stone cold sober. Until the stroke of "midnight."

Also, don't forget it's resolution time! Here are a few of the suggestions released by the church correlation committee.

  1. Stay out of debt.
  2. Pay a full tithing.
  3. Get married.
  4. Finish you education.
  5. Start having children.
  6. Use your time wisely.
  7. Attend the temple.
  8. Read the Book of Mormon.
  9. Have more children.
  10. Stop questioning.
  11. Spend money wisely.
  12. Quit your job and be a stay at home mom.
  13. Give like the little stream.
  14. Magnify your calling.
  15. Wear your garments day and night.
  16. Get a new look and take up cool sport like skateboarding so you can star in an "And I'm a Mormon" advertisement.
  17. Repent.
  18. Find joy in living the Gospel.
  19. Avoid all loud laughter.
  20. Know the church is true with every fiber of your being.
  21. Stop being gay.
  22. Use cracked wheat in creative ways.
  23. Have more children.
  24. Read the Book of Mormon again.
  25. Vote Republican.
  26. Stop looking at porn.
  27. Admit you look at porn.
  28. Plant forget-me-nots.
  29. Stop having too much fun.
  30. Have more children.
-- A full list of approved resolutions has been condensed into a 175MB PDF file and can be downloaded off the church website.


If you would like to stop receiving these e-mails, we'll assume it's because you're looking at porn, because, let's face it, you probably are.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Celebrating The Season -- Mormon Style

Note to my dear Readers: this post was originally published on December 15, 2009 when the only people reading my blog were either family members or people who owed me money. I trotted it out for a second run in the hope that more might enjoy it, also so I could have a little break to eat, drink, be merry, and hopefully gain some inspiration. Enjoy and happy holidays!

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 13, 2011

Holiday Musings From The Mission Field

To: abbottsville fourth ward
From: elder young, france paris mission
Subject: bon jour from the mission field!!!!

hey abbottsville fourth!!!!

first off, thanks all of you for your letters and care packages!! especially sister renfro for the super yummy yule log, and mom for my favorite snowball cookies with the extra chocolate chunks and marshmellow peeps. my comp says i have the best ward ever!!! 

i was bummed at the beginning of the week when we learnt that our most golden investigator, pierre, can't be baptized b/c his mommy refused to sign the paper. so now he has to wait 10 long years until he's a legal adult. :(((( also, it's christmas and instead of being home with mom and dad and gramma and uncle burt and aunt tooty, i'm here with comp in dumb old paris. then comp reminded me that we were in gay par-ee, and we should be gay!!! but i didn't feel gay. not even a little. :-/

but as a representative of the one and only true church, i had the spiritual maturity to ignore my personal needs and go about the work of the lord. so comp and i put on our happy faces and road our bikes over to the rue st. hornery to pass out pamphlets.

the street was packed with super uppity french people shopping for gifts at hoity toity stores like hermie's and verscratchy. of course they were all to prideful to take a pamphlet, but comp and i didn't let that stop us. we started sticking them anywhere we could, like in people's bags, or under their armpits. comp even managed to attach one to this old lady's hat!!! lol hahahahahaha :-))))) sometimes people got all mad and threw them on the ground, but that was ok cause then the wind just blew them all over france!!!  :-)))))

but here it was almost christmas and all anyone wanted to do was prance around in their gold and silver and fancy clothes and waist there filthy liquor on expensive things instead of listening to our humble message. it kind of reminded me of that Book of Mormon story where all the righteous people were holding onto the rod while the evil hateful ones were living it up in the great and spacious building. then i remembered how in primary class i told teacher that i wanted to climb up the tree of knowledge and swing like tarzan into the building and call everyone to repentance. teacher told me i was cute, but now i realized i was not only cute but also inspired. :-))))))

so comp and i charged into hermie's, pulled the mannequins off this display thingie, climbed up in their place, and i said:

"my fellow parisians, stop spending your filthy liquor on gold and silver and other hoity toity thingies. comp and i have a far more precious gift for you to give, the Book of Mormon!"

then this important looking man came up and demanded we get down from the display thingie. we said we wouldn't and he said we had to and we told him not until we red from the Book of Mormon. he started screaming for us to get down right away. we told him we didn't have to get down b/c we were god's servants and pretty soon we'd be gods ourselves -- while all he'd ever amount to is a lonely eunich way down in a lower kingdome. :-p

then he lunged at our legs. i jumped away and off the display thingie, but he got a hold of comp and said he was taking him to security. i ordered him to release comp. he refused. i raised my right arm to the square and ordered in the name of Jesus Christ. he still refused. so i grabbed a perfume bottle off this counter and sprayed him in the face. he let go of comp and yelled for security. the gendarmes came running through the store and we started running and pretty soon we were in a super cool chase scene like in the davinci code only instead of wonky professors we were valiant servants of the Lord which made us way cooler than tom hanks!!!! :-)))))

this went on for i don't know how long. maybe an hour. then we finally lost them when we ducked behind this curtain. we thought we were safe until we looked up and saw this lady staring at us in nothing but a bra and panties. sacre bleu!!!   = O   she just rolled her eyes and glared at us -- kind of like that horse faced sister missionary does whenever she sees us coming. we placed a Book of Mormon with her then escaped through an emergency exit.

minutes later comp and i found a quiet place in the jardeen de tweeteries, knelt in prayer, and thanked Heavenly Father for our many blessings. not only had we shared the gospel, placed a Book of Mormon and escaped the gendarmes, i still had that perfume bottle!!!! :-)))))) merry christmas mom! hahahaha

all in a day's work for comp and i. please keep sending care packages, it takes a lot to sustain our testimonies. hahaha :-)))) lol lol lol 

love to all of you :-))))

If you would like to stop receiving these emails, we'll send over one of Sister Renfro's super yummy yule logs.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Talking Points For Mormons

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Dennis Newsome, Stake First Counselor and advisor to the Stake Public Affairs Council
Subject: Send the right message this season

As all of you know, the forces of evil have gathered to undermine the campaign of the one and only true candidate, Mitt Romney. If we are to prevail against this anti-Mormon element, we must take control of the message so there is no longer any confusion over how we and the candidate stand on the issues. In that light, the Stake Public Affairs Council has composed a variety of Christmas messages, each crafted for a specific audience. Please divide your holiday cards in the following manner:

To our Evangelical Christian friends:

As members of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints, we celebrate the birth of JESUS CHRIST  by reading our KING JAMES BIBLES and bearing witness to our fellow CHRISTIANS that JESUS CHRIST is our personal savior. We also remind you that Utah is the most conservative state in the country.

Merry CHRISTmas from your brothers and sisters in CHRIST!

To our Tea Party Friends:

As believing Mormons, we pray that 2012 brings lower taxes, an increase in racial profiling, English only in the schools, an end to Obamacare, and a return to the traditional values that made the good old US of A the greatest country on earth. We also remind you that Utah recently passed one of the country's strictest anti-immigration laws.

Merry Christmas to our fellow natural born citizens who aren't afraid of hard work!

To our independent friends:

As devout followers of the faith of our fathers, we hope that the New Year brings an end to polarized politics, the senseless bickering in Washington, and the blurring of the line between church and state. Also don't forget that Utah has "the best snow on earth."

Happy Holidays to our fellow iconoclasts and non-conformists.

To our liberal friends:

As members of an ethnically diverse minority faith, we hope that 2012 brings us closer to the day when everyone is treated equally, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. We remind you that Utah was one of the first states to give women the vote.

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Buon Natale, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, and Aloha!

To our LDS friends:

Forget Christmas, December marks the birth of our beloved prophet, Joseph Smith. (Jesus's birthday isn't until April.) Also it's tithing settlement time, so instead of buying presents, you need to pony up the dough to your local bishop, and toss in a little extra for good measure. We remind you that the Salt Lake shopping mall the church owns isn't doing so well, and the prophet has a new ad campaign to fund.

Merry and Happy, now get back to work.

If you would like to stop receiving these emails, we'll assume you didn't get the memo.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stocking Stuffers For The Sisters

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward Relief Society
From: Susan Renfro, Ward Relief Society President
Subject: Holiday gift suggestions

Dear Sisters,
Books make the best Christmas gifts, especially for the righteous members of our Go Sit in the Corner for Women book club. This season consider the following LDS titles:

Wears Mr. Mac

Ever wanted to be a fly on the prophet's wall? The Devil Wears Mr. Mac offers its readers precisely that. Written under the cloak of anonymity, this unexpurgated memoir recalls the experiences of a secretary who worked on the highest level at the Church Office Building. Follow along with "our girl Friday" as she fetches his Postum, schedules his calendar, provides his meals, tends to his wardrobe, and otherwise "inspires" the Lord's mouthpiece. Witness first hand the petty back-biting between the apostles. Learn how they really measure up in the locker room. Experience the backstage drama when Elder Packer's teleprompter fails. See how long President Uchtdorf spends in make-up. And witness the holy hell that breaks loose when the Seer and Revelator misses his pedicure. A must read for the General Authority groupie. 

Mormon Intellectual
Milton Pace, PhD

In this intimate memoir, Nobel physicist Milton Pace shares how he remains both a scientist and a believing Mormon thanks to his unshakable faith and burning testimony. He also credits Valium, primal scream therapy, Prozac, a padded cell and a polo mallet.

Paul H. Dunn
the authorized biography
by G. Reginald Durham

Paul H. Dunn, the authorized biography chronicles the true story of the world's most influential and well-connected Mormon. In addition to personal accounts of Elder Dunn's widely known triumphs on the battle and baseball fields, this new and fully annotated biography includes never before told stories about the former General Authority. Readers will be transported to the pre-existence, where Elder Dunn fought on the front lines in the War in Heaven, struck out Satan in the bottom of the ninth, and mingled with all manner of kings and queens, priests and priestesses. They will also glimpse his interactions with a host of LDS characters, including Nephi, Moroni, Ammon, Tom Trails, Johnny Lingo, and Charly. No believing Latter-day Saint should miss out on this amazing piece of work.

Women are from
Larry R. Martin, MD 

This breakthrough best seller presents the scriptural and scientific reasoning that supports the LDS priesthood holder's God-given right to buy in bulk.

If you would like to stop receiving these emails, we suggest you try primal scream therapy.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Ward Cocktail Hour!

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Dennis Newsome, Stake First Counselor and advisor to the Stake Public Affairs Council
Subject: Belly up to the bar Abbottsville Fourth!

The holiday season brings countless opportunities to show our non-member friends how hip and cool we really are. And nothing says "hip" better than than a swinging cocktail party! Think a Mormon household's too square to pull one off? Well, then think again, cool cats. You can whip up a groovy clam bake that's every bit as hoppin' as the neighbor's. All you need are a few common household ingredients.

Alcohol Substitutes
whiskey -- Karo Syrup
gin -- clam juice
vodka -- Windex
tequila -- Mountain Dew
rum -- root beer
kahlua -- balsamic vinegar
grenadine -- Kitchen Bouquet
triple sec -- Mr Bubble
schnapps -- dehydrated pear powder**
**The dust that settles at the bottom of your #10 can of dehydrated pear flakes is an excellent cocktail ingredient. It also makes great smoothies.

Use in the following recipes:

White Russian
1 1/2 oz Windex
3/4 oz balsamic vinegar
3/4 oz milk

2 oz Windex
3/4 oz Mr Bubble
1 oz lime juice
1 oz cranberry juice

Sex on the Beach
1 oz Windex
1/2 oz dehydrated pear powder
1 dash Kitchen Bouquet
2 oz orange juice

Long Island Iced Tea
3/4 oz Windex
3/4 oz clam juice
3/4 oz root beer
3/4 oz Mountain Dew
3/4 oz Karo Syrup
3/4 oz Mr Bubble
dash of lemon juice

Rum and Coke
1 part root beer
2 parts root beer

So get shaking, you crazy kids! It's time to show the world how down we really are. Start a Sinatra album spinning, mix up your favorite poison, then saunter into the old cul-de-sac and shout out, "Hey fellow hipsters! Like to join me for a little drinky poo?"

If you would like to stop receiving these emails we'll bring the party to your house ... you crazy kids.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Coolness 101 For Mormons

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Donna Banta
Subject: How to be cool

Two weeks ago the Thursday Styles section of The New York Times ran a feature entitled, To Be Young, Hip, and Mormon.  It outlined the dilemma for trendy young members who are constrained by LDS Church standards. The piece went on to describe how many of the faithful get around the restrictions in order to look like they're cool. For example, a male BYU student who wants to grow a beard may obtain a "beard card" by developing a serious skin condition, or he could land the lead role in a play about Jesus. A young, hip Mormon party girl could order a Pellegrino and not bother to correct anyone who suggests she's just out of rehab. Or a trendy youth might get a pass on the "no tattoo" policy if he's inked with an image of a beehive.

This whole "looking cool" baloney is nothing new. In my day, it was women fighting to be allowed to wear "feminine cut" jeans on the BYU campus. But here's the thing, Brother or Sister Hipster. Even though you're on-trend in your button-down plaid shirt, rolled selvedge jeans and boat shoes, underneath you're still wearing that dowdy magic underwear you received in a temple where you dressed up like the Pillsbury Dough Boy at a toga party and pledged all of your time, talent and resources to an organization that is devoted to subjugating women and "curing" gays. Do you get where I'm going with this Abbottsville Fourth Ward? Let me spell it out for you.

Looking cool isn't the same as being cool.

That's why I love Post-Mormon Sundays at the San Francisco Ferry Building. I get to hang with people who are truly cool, on their own, regardless of what they are wearing, and without advertising.

As I've said before, just because we're ex-Mormons doesn't mean we don't have testimonies. This month we shared how we gained the knowledge that being a Mormon wasn't "cool." These were a few of our red flags:

  • One young man realized that the temple ceremony wasn't going to be "cool" when the temple worker began by asking him to take off all of his clothes.
  • Another realized that Spencer W. Kimball wasn't a very "cool" prophet when he said (via The Miracle of Forgiveness) that masturbation leads to homosexuality, and that homosexuality leads to bestiality. (Hello? Bestiality?)
  • A returned missionary felt very "uncool" when his leaders ordered him and his companion to round up an elder that had sneaked away from his mission. Late at night under the cloak of darkness, they wandered the neighborhood peeking in windows and finally found him after they crawled under a family's house and heard the poor kid's voice. (I should point out that this was in Southern Louisiana where the houses are on stilts. Even so, definitely not "cool.")
  • A woman remembers being very "uncool" when she told the love of her life she would only date him if he sat through 3 hours of church with her every Sunday and took the missionary discussions.
Cool without an ad campaign
So there you are, Abbottsville Fourth. You may look cool at church in your Zooey Deschanel ruffled blouses, high collars and high-waisted pencil skirts. But we are cool at the Ferry Building. And we never worry about how we look because we're comfortable with who we are.

EVEN COOLER! Our nephew, Dan, got a shout out on Foxhole Atheist, Justin Griffith's blog!

Dan, the famous Air Force atheist.
And if I have offended any of you ... that probably means you're in the wrong crowd! Hang with us next month.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Occupy Temple Square Movement Gains Momentum

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Brother J. "Bull" Barton, Ward Preparedness Specialist
Subject: Ward Preparedness EMERGENCY Update

I interrupt your ward activities with this EMERGENCY Update!! Please read the following alarming article and be prepared to defend your households against the influx of these evil elements into our community.

Utah Lifestyle Magazine
Kristen Pace, Utah Lifestyle Staff Writer

SALT LAKE CITY -- When I joined the energized Occupy Temple Square protest on Sunday, I couldn't help but marvel that it all began less than two weeks ago at a Relief Society Personal Enrichment Night in Woods Cross. Who knew then that Sister Lydia Moss's weepy reaction to her craft project would spawn such a phenomenon.

I found Ms. Moss and her fellow Relief Society Sisters gathered on the square around a placard that read, Our 10% Goes To The Top 1%.

"When I looked down at my assigned project, I was overcome with profound sadness," said Moss. "Then the sadness turned to fear. Fear that my entire life might be defined by the sickening craft in front of me. Then my fear turned to anger, and I rose up and shouted, "I DON'T WANT TO MAKE A PAPER-MACHE PIG!"

"The mood in the Relief Society room was electric," said Georgina Walsh. "It was like an awakening. We were all crying and hugging." 

"That pig was truly the ugliest thing I've ever seen," said a sister who identified herself as "Bra Strap." 

"Then we had this epiphany," said Moss. "We realized that if we didn't have to pay tithing, we could go to Pottery Barn and buy some really cute things for our houses. That made us question. Why do we pay tithing? Where does all that money go?"

"It sure as shootin' doesn't trickle down to us," remarked Bra Strap. "We've got to clean the ward toilets and invent ways to make our houses attractive using glitter pens and duct tape. Meanwhile the fat cats on Temple Square are building fancy condos and shopping malls." 

Ms. Walsh, known to her friends as a shy and soft-spoken person, became uncharacteristically animated. "I asked my husband Rulon why the church doesn't disclose its finances. He told me because they obviously spend their money on maintaining the buildings and providing services for the church members."

"Didn't Rulon paint the ward cultural hall last week?" Moss asked her.

"Yes and nobody paid him for it," Walsh replied, then her eyes widened. "You know, I don't think my Rulon is very smart."

"So right then we decided to occupy Temple Square," Moss said proudly. "We've been here ever since." 

The movement has grown to the hundreds, and it's no longer just women. Gays and intellectuals have joined in the protest.

A man who called himself  "Queer Sex Fiend," held up a sign that read I'm OUT!  "I don't want to be part of an organization whose sole purpose seems to be keeping me from getting laid," he said, then sighed. "Am I being selfish?" 

Meanwhile, Eugene Spellman PhD, had set up a telescope outside of the yurt he constructed on South Temple. I asked him why he was here and he shot me a sarcastic look. "I came to get a glimpse of Kolob, of course."

Because protesters are not allowed on Temple Square, the crowds were relegated to the heavily guarded perimeters. Nevertheless, some have slipped past LDS Church Security. Most notably, a group of anonymous BYU coeds who disguised themselves as brides, waded into the reflecting pool, stripped off their gowns, and splashed around in nothing but brief bikinis. 

The so-called "Bikini Rebellion" was spearheaded by an anonymous blogger who calls herself  "Jane Mo." In an email exchange, Jane wrote, "At BYU, we can't wear anything that shows our shape, much less reveals any skin. It's not fair that we should have to cover up, especially when we're such total hotties." The increasing number of women who now bare (almost) all has set up camp outside of Bruno's, a popular micro-brewery next to the square. "We're not backing down," Jane continued. "Not even in bad weather. We're too determined. Also, the guys at Bruno's promise they'll keep us warm."

The Occupy Movement has even extended to children. I found 10 year old Melissa Young outside the Eagle Gate dressed in her Spongebob Squarepants costume. "I wanted to be Spongebob for Halloween, but my stake president said no transgender costumes," she whined, then stamped her foot. "It was the last straw." Six year old Billy Marks stood at her side. He held up a sign that read, Why Can't I Be "Just a Kitty?"

At presstime, the Movement continues to multiply its ranks. In response the LDS Church General Relief Society Presidency has issued the following statement: 

"The Occupy Temple Square Movement may attempt to entertain for an evening or two, but a paper mache pig can bring a lifetime of enjoyment."

If you would like to stop receiving these emails, we'll send you some glitter pens and a roll of duct tape.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Out And About The Abbottsville Fourth

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Millie Loomis, self appointed ward society columnist
Subject: Ward society page debut!

Dear fellow ward members,

Out of the goodness of my heart, I've agreed to pen a ward society column. It will be a fun, lighthearted piece dedicated to keeping us all connected. Enjoy!

Out and About the Abbottsville Fourth Ward
by Millie Loomis
It's amazing what a sister learns when she's out and about the ward. For example, the Sorensons have a new car! (They're leasing.) The Turleys finally have all of their kids out of diapers (for now.) And Brother and Sister Payson took a romantic trip to Hawaii. (For the record, the Paysons want me to report that this was a FREE vacation bought with points earned through Brother Payson's business travel. Also, they attended all of their church meetings, visited the Hawaii temple, read their scriptures, and spent only one hour on the beach.)
Kimmie Madsen, Tyler Smith, and Derek Young all turned 8 this month and were baptized and confirmed members of the one and only true church. Unfortunately, Petey Skousen's baptism had to be delayed because of his pants-wetting problem. But as soon as he proves he can control his bladder for a sustained period, he will be allowed to wade into the font to be washed clean of his sins.
The Relief Society is proud to report they achieved 100% Visiting Teaching this month. Every single sister was visited, including poor Sister Banta. (Her Visiting Teachers were smart this time and dropped by in the early AM -- before she'd consumed too many cocktails.) 
Likewise, the Elders Quorum is proud to report that all 23 of it's members have successfully impregnated their wives. -- Even Brother Russell, whose sperm count has recovered since he gave up porn. : )
Also, I have finally gotten to the bottom of that embarrassing coffee pot sighting in the Belnap household. It turns out that Sister Belnap's mother is a non-member who insists on drinking coffee when she visits. The Belnaps want everyone in the ward to know that they would never tolerate such rudeness if Sister Belnap wasn't the sole heir to her mother's enormous fortune.
The Vincents had a scare this month when they learned that their son, Davey Vincent, had a date with a non-member! Acting on the authority of his priesthood, Brother Vincent immediately rushed him to the ER to check for STD's. Thankfully, the boy is fine. Whew! It was a close call, though.
And, on a sad note, Sister Viola Dixon, age 89, passed peacefully into the next life last Thursday. She left behind 6 children, 42 grandchildren, 102 great-grandchildren, and a 60 year supply of bottled cherries. The ward took the fermented jars over to poor Sister Banta.
And that's the news from Out and About the Abbottsville Fourth
**If you don't want to be mentioned in this column, I suggest you lock all your doors, shutter your windows, disconnect your phone, and unplug your computer.**

If you would like to stop receiving these emails, ditto the above.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Own Private Utah

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Donna Banta
Subject: From the sublime to the ridiculous to the sublime

Some years back, a poster on an exmormon chat board wrote, "Utah is a land of both natural beauty and cultural ugliness." On our recent visit we swung back and forth between the two.

The Sublime: Visiting Mark's wonderful parents, sister and brother-in-law.

The Ridiculous: driving down the construction torn I-15 where gravel trucks rumble along en masse and every exit ramp from American Fork to Provo is closed. -- A tough situation for Mark who was suffering a massive smog-induced nose bleed, and needed to pull off the road. (I wonder how the myriad moms in labor cope with this scenario. There have to be stories: "I was in Cedar Hills on the I-15 when my water broke. The exits were blocked clear down to Spanish Fork, so I ended up having to slow down and drop the baby onto the floor of my Suburban. The guy behind me laid on his horn and flipped me the bird."  . . . But I digress.)

More Ridiculous: visiting Shelf Reliance, the food storage mecca that sells the ingredients for our upcoming exmormon "Freeze Dried Potluck." Since Boyd K. Packer had recently told the faithful that the apocalypse is no longer nigh, I hoped to snag a bargain or two. Sadly, I was disappointed. The salesman had an entirely new selling point for his freeze-dried product line entitled, "THRIVE." -- The taste! -- Wearing a dazed, vapid grin that suggested he'd inhaled too much inter-mountain air, the sales rep spooned up samples of dried gravel, then went on like an oenophile at a Napa Valley barrel tasting. "This is our raspberries paired with the dried vanilla yogurt balls. Savor them slowly, so as to engage the entire palate."

The Sublime: Finally getting one on one face time with my friend Jennifer, The Cognitive Dissenter, and co-author of White and Delightsome. We decided to tone down the erotica on W&D and amp up the female empowerment as well as the attacks on the homophobic white guys who run the LDS Church. (But there'll still be sex, because that's all those guys ever think about.)

Equally Sublime: The Ex-Mormon Conference where I got to hear awesome speakers like Richard Packham who said, "One man's sacred cow is another man's hamburger." Also I got to hang out with some of the coolest people on earth like InsanaD who wrote this in the "Personal Progress" manual I purchased at Deseret Book:
"My project is to achieve full salvation and the status of an elect woman/jewel in some man's celestial crown. I plan to do special kegel exercises so that as he enters my sacred vessel he can release his full priesthood blessing within my womb and I can use my body to bring forth dozens of babies, forever and ever and rinse and repeat until my uterus flushes out like a glop of latex paint from a plastic bucket."
The sublime InsanaD

The Ridiculous: Our visit to Temple Square. 

I wore black.

All the other women wore white.

The above bride and groom told their wedding party to follow them to the local Chuck-A-Rama for the reception. If  only my friend at Shelf Reliance had known. He could have provided them with a cheaper alternative:

  Then I escaped . . . and lived to tell about it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ward Gossip Girl Sneaks Behind Enemy Lines

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Donna Banta
Subject: I've entered the Twilight Zone

I will return and report ...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

General Conference Rocks!

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Donna Banta
Subject: My conference weekend

Back when I was a Mormon, I hated conference weekend. Mostly because we had to get all dressed up and drag our little kids to the church to watch the thing on closed circuit TV. I did everything I could to get out of it, wheedling my then devout husband with excuses. "Nobody really watches conference on Saturday, right?" or "We can read all the talks next month in The Ensign, right?" Whether or not I got my way depended on the convincingness of my argument combined with how much the children and I had worn down Mark's patience.

More often than not we stayed home. But I did sit through some winner sessions. I remember being told to avoid symposia and not to say prayers to Heavenly Mother. I recall a bizarre talk by Boyd K. Packer that began with him flying into a rage over the notion of a man baking a pie. Also, I'll never forget a mind-numbingly boring analogy from some garrulous old coot who went on about how he used to straighten out bent nails with his dad's hammer. I don't remember who gave the talk, only that the nail story droned on for the length of a bible but never arrived at a point. --Meanwhile, the A/C in the chapel was overtaxed, my pantyhose were sagging, and we had run out of Cheerios for the kids.

In those days I would have done anything to get out of watching conference. A root canal, a four hour mammogram, an unsedated colonoscopy, even a C-SPAN marathon.

But times have changed. Now, I look forward to conference! I was a little disorganized on Saturday, so I missed hearing Boyd K. Packer advise the faithful that the second coming was not imminent. (Damn! See what you miss when you aren't prepared?) But I did catch Bednar's talk about how young people should give up facebooking and tweeting for the far more scintillating online pastime, genealogy!

I snorted serious amounts of Pelegrino through my nose, then called out to Mark. "Honey, get in here, you're missing Bednar!"

"I'm not listening to that prick," he hollered back.

"But sweetheart, this is awesome. He's telling teenagers to look up the dead on their smart phones. Also his face is all pink and sweaty like he just googled his great-great aunt Gertrude and downloaded an image of her in her corset."

Mark escaped to the kitchen. I turned up the volume. A dick named Andersen was going on about multiplying and replenishing the earth.

"Oh my god, Mark you wouldn't believe it. This total blowhard just told a story about a guy who's looking at his sixth child -- a daughter -- just minutes after her birth, has an epiphany, then runs to the bedside of his recovering wife and tells her the Lord said He wants them to have a seventh child and it will be a boy!"

Mark stared back at me with a desperate expression, the same one he wore the time I was taking too long in Target and he had to fake a stroke to get me out of there. Thankfully he just said, I'm going to Joxer's for a beer, wanna come? Out of respect for his priesthood, I submitted.

Then Sunday rolled around and we got up early, put on nice clothes, and went to something way more special than Conference: a NorCal Post-Mormon party.

They offered a fine selection of beverages
This time Donavan and Scott opened up their house to us and served coffee made from beans they roasted themselves. Delicious. As was the Post-Mormon potluck fare that was refreshingly free of processed foods. Also Christina and Warren's mimosas were literally a revelation.

And, just because we're Ex-Mormons, doesn't mean we're not inspired.

  • Donavan waxed poetic on the blessings of alcohol on an empty stomach. He also admitted that he left the church at around age 11, when he was kicked out of the "Tuesday afternoon thing." 
  • Anagrammy shared how in Relief Society she learned to make "meat" by soaking the gluten out of bread dough in her washing machine, pounding it thin, slicing it into "cutlets," then soaking it in bouillon and passing it off as Swiss steak. (The kids ate it, the dog refused.)
  • Warren and Christina couldn't understand all the weird looks they were getting when they visited Colorado City. That is until they remembered they were riding around in Christina's car with the license plate, WRNSGRL.
  • Tyler asked, "Do you think Joseph Smith married all of those women because of sex, or was it a power thing?" To which I responded, "I think it was mostly about his dick."
  • We all concluded that Packer's announcement about the last days was aimed at protecting Romney in the upcoming election, so that voters won't think he's a member of some crazy cult. (And who better to deliver the message than the craziest guy in the cult?)
I admit, I am a little sorry I missed Tad Callister's talk. He was in my hometown stake in Glendale, California. Back then he seemed like an articulate and intelligent person. However, from what I hear, his talk was an irrational, insane rant. So either I have a bad a memory, or a lifetime of service in the LDS Church has turned yet another potentially normal person into a garrulous old coot.

For that, and many other reasons, I am eternally grateful for Ex-Mormons. Also for mimosas.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Super Special Standards Night For The Young Women

To: Abbottsville Stake
From: JayNell Tweedy, Abbottsville Stake Young Women's President
Subject: The best Standards Nights ever!

Last weekend the Young Women of the Abbottsville Stake were privileged to hear from the popular youth speaker, L. Franklin Higginbottom. As a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Higginbottom travels extensively on behalf of the Church, and has an uncanny knack for being seated next to celebrities on airplanes. Here is an excerpt from his remarks:

Once on a flight to Houston I happened to be seated next to a sickly looking man with a funny accent. 

"My name is L. Franklin Higginbottom," I said. "I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What's your name?"

"My name is Mick Jagger," he said.

Now, please understand I am in no way speaking evil of the man. I have all the respect in the world for Mick Jagger. It's just that I think his life, his work, and everything he stands for and believes is repulsive, disgusting, and totally of the devil. 

So naturally I was anxious to talk to him. As we proceeded in the discussion he probably had four or five alcoholic drinks. I finally asked, "Tell me Mick, with all due respect, why do you play such sleazy and revolting music?"

"L. Franklin," he said. - And this is a DIRECT QUOTE. - "Everything I play is calculated to drive the LDS Young Women to sex!"

So you see my young sisters? This is what the world is trying to do to you! Let me share another experience.

Once on a flight to Detroit I sat next to a scantily clad woman also with a funny accent.

"Hello," I said. "My name is L. Franklin Higginbottom. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What's your name?"

"My name is J.K. Rowling."

"Hello miss," I replied.

"I SAID my name is J.K. Rowling." She pointed to the book in her lap. 

"Oh my heck," I said. "I thought you were a man!"

"Well you were bloody well wrong then, weren't you?" she said.

I said a silent prayer for guidance, then I respectfully asked, "No offense, ma'am, but why do you write such sleazy, satanic, revolting books?"

"L. Franklin," she said. - Another DIRECT QUOTE. - "Everything I write is calculated to drive the LDS Young Women to sex!"

And try this one on for size:

Once on a Jet Blue flight into Pocatello I sat next to a woman who wore a plunging neckline that revealed a lizard tattoo on her left bosom.

"Hello," I said. "My name is L. Franklin Higginbottom. I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What's you name?"

"My name is Hillary Clinton."

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't want to speak evil of the woman. I have nothing but respect for her personally. It's just that I think her life, her work, and everything she stands for belongs in the toilet.

"Tell me Hillary, why do you represent such vile and disgusting values?"

After four of five alcoholic drinks, she answered:

"L. Franklin," she said. - I swear this is verbatim. - "Everything I do is calculated to drive the LDS Young Women to sex!"

Allow me to share one more experience. On the rental car shuttle at the Cleveland airport I happened to sit next to a dark complected young man with a suspiciously pleasant expression.

"Hello," I said. "My name is L. Franklin Higginbottom. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What's your name?"

"My name is Barack Obama."

I said a silent prayer for guidance, then asked, "Barack, with all due respect, why do you say such vile, disgusting, obnoxious ..."

He raised a hand to silence me. "OK man, I think I know where you're going with this. The truth is, L. Franklin, everything I do is calculated to drive the LDS Young Women to sex!"

So there you go!

Elder Higginbottom concluded his remarks by warning the Young Women to stop listening to music, reading books, and watching the news. In their place he suggested they study the teachings of the man who genuinely admired LDS Young Women: The Prophet, Joseph Smith.

If you would like to stop receiving these emails, you've probably had four or five alcoholic drinks.