Thursday, May 26, 2011

Super Special Program For The Young Women

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward Young Women's Leaders
From: JayNell Tweedy, Abbottsville Stake Young Women's President
Subject: Ideas for upcoming Standards Nights

We all agree that nothing is too good for our awesome Young Women. That's why I'm forwarding this outline for a super-special Standards Night for our girls. You'll want to start planning super super early on account of it's kind of a lot of work. But way worth it!

Invite a member of the Young Women's presidency to host the event in her living room. Remove the art from her walls and hang pictures of the different LDS temples instead. Create a five-foot high all-white floral arrangement for the room's focal point. In front of the flowers, set up a table and cover it with a white lace cloth and one of the centerpieces described below. Also, if the curtains, carpet, and walls are not white, be sure to replace and/or repaint all three, and slip-cover the furniture as well.

Standard's Night Program

Opening Song: I Love to See the Temple

Opening Prayer: by invitation

Invite another member of the Young Women's presidency to present one the following analogies:
(For the centerpiece: design an all white wedding bouquet out of blown sugar.)
"Imagine you're a beautiful rose plant who lets herself be picked by the first boy who comes along. Now what returned missionary will be interested in your bush?"
(For the centerpiece: carve out an ice sculpture of Salt Lake's Temple Square.)
"Pretend you're a popsicle. Who do you want to be licked by? A good Mormon boy who will stick you right back in the freezer ? -- or -- Some non-member who'll take you to the park, have what he wants, then leave you in a hot and sticky mess on the grass?"
(For the centerpiece: weave an all white tapestry with an inlay of President Monson's face.)
"Think of yourself as a doormat. Where would you want to get laid? In the entrance of some disreputable tavern? -- or -- In the temple where you will only be stepped on by righteous priesthood holders?"

Conclude with, "It is my prayer that each and every one of you finds a righteous LDS man to -- fertilize you -- or -- keep you frozen -- or -- walk all over you -- for time and all eternity."

Special Musical Number
Invite the Beehive, Mia Maid, and Laurel class presidencies to make and model modest wedding gowns to the tune of Circle of Our Love from Saturday's Warrior.
(The music should be played way reverently by two members of the Young Women's presidency: one on the piano and the other on another super classy instrument -- like the harp.)

Main Speaker
Invite the bishop to give a super respectful talk about all the private places a righteous Young Woman should never let a boy touch and all the things she should never let him do.

Closing Song: I Am a Child of God

Closing Prayer: by invitation

Refreshments: Handmade multi-tiered wedding cake with white chocolate ruffles and sugar orchids. Raspberry sherbet punch fountain. Nut cups. Little butter mints made from scratch.

**Be sure to send each girl home with a super cute fridge magnet made out of something way fun like shrinky dink plastic or dough art with the saying: 
"Sex outside of marriage is the sin next to murder."

If you would like to stop receiving these e-mails, we'll assume you're super selfish and way shallow.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Saturday's Warrior Is A Load Of Crap

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Donna Banta
Subject: A postmormon review of Saturday's Warrior

Recently LDS Church spokesperson, Michael Otterson, penned a scathing review of the Book of Mormon on Broadway. In it he disparaged believing Mormons who saw and enjoyed the show, then went on to lament the bad PR the musical will bring the church, worrying not so much about "when people laugh, but when they take it seriously."

So, in the spirit of fair play, and out of respect for the believing Mormons who have seen and enjoyed The Book of Mormon on Broadway, the San Francisco postmormons decided to have a screening of God's Other Favorite Musical, Saturday's Warrior!!!

Last weekend Mark fired up our grill for yet another great exmormon event. Dodgy weather made it a tough commute for some, especially those in the East Bay, as the Bay Bridge was packed with limos filled with hyperactive prom goers. But once everyone arrived at our house, we opened the wine/beer/etc, and enjoyed our usual super-yummy potluck fare. (Some habits never die.) Afterward we retired downstairs for a viewing of the 2000 film version of the production.

Saturday's Warrior begins in the billowy clouds of heaven where we meet:

Julie and Tod: gooey young lovers who can't wait to gain physical bodies.

The Flinders Siblings
Pam: a sweet spirit who wants to be a dancer when she goes down to earth.
Jimmy: Pam's twin who is destined to "go astray."
Julie: the dewy ingenue, and Tod's main squeeze.
[Four insignificant middle children]
Emily: the adorable youngest child who will probably have to die because Jimmy is so selfish.

The Missionaries
Elders Kestler and Green: a couple of self-righteous, hubris-infused chuckleheads who ring surprisingly true to life.

Once the above are introduced through a few catchy tunes, sappy lyrics and beginning ballet choreography, a bossy temple matron prods the characters to get in line to go down to earth -- lest they miss their appointed time and, instead of going to a righteous Utah Mormon household, they wind up in some terrible place like Uganda or Madagascar. Then an even darker scenario is introduced; that is, the chance they won't go to earth at all, because of a grievous and unmentionable sin.

In my recent review, The Book of Mormon is True!, I wrote, "because the show (The Book of Mormon) begins with the premise that all Mormon boys are expected to go on missions, the audience immediately sympathizes with the two main characters in spite of their foibles." 

Employing a similar logic, because Saturday's Warrior begins with the premise that humans arrive (or don't arrive) in their earthly situations according to the aforementioned scenario, the audience immediately concludes that God is an unfair, racist asshole so intent on controlling His children that He will even stoop to blaming a kid for his little sister's death.

While the first 7 of the 8 Flinders children do land safely on earth, things don't exactly turn out as planned. Jimmy, a good looking high school kid, selfishly chooses to behave like a teenager. Jimmy's twin sister Pam, who wanted to be the dancer, ends up in a wheelchair. (No doubt thanks to some prenatal indiscretion by Jimmy.) Julie, while attractive, turns out to be a fickle ditz with the personality of a postage stamp, and a wardrobe that belongs back at the compound on the show, "Big Love." The four middle children remain insignificant, and Emily remains in heaven wondering if she will ever be born. (Also thanks to Jimmy.)

Down on earth, we arrive at the airport with Julie, her then boyfriend, Elder Kestler, and some other missionaries and BYU coeds who sing an annoying version of "Will I Wait For You?" and perform a self-conscious dance routine that is obviously designed to keep them from wiggling their tushes and exposing their knees.

Meanwhile, Jimmy is tired of singing along to "Daddy's Nose" with the family, prefers hanging out with his friends, and claims to want "plain ordinary freedom to pursue my own goals." This shocking behavior is explained through the "Zero Population" number sung by Jimmy and a bunch of mid-drift baring delinquents who lounge around a dorky looking dune buggy and dream of a day when abortion is legal. (Even though . . . it is legal.)

Thoroughly brainwashed by the Planned Parenthood gang, Jimmy flips out when he discovers his mother is pregnant, and demands she have an abortion. Mom  -- strike that -- Dad refuses, so Jimmy runs away from home. As a result, Mrs. Flinders becomes so distraught that she has a miscarriage, making Jimmy a murderer.

Then Julie finds another guy and dumps poor Elder Kestler via the production's show stopper, "He's Just a Friend/Dear John," a peppy number that alternates between a G-Rated bump and grind featuring Julie and her sisters, and a chorus line of male missionaries who perform an awkward routine that makes them look like dogs relieving themselves along a row of hydrants. (Forget the feminists and gays, the ones the Brethren should really go after are the choreographers.)

Back to Jimmy who arrives somewhere in SoCal for a "Summer of Fair Weather" with the protected sex crowd. We are left to speculate how they support themselves. -- Pushing illegal condoms perhaps? (According to the postmormon Anagrammy, that detail is in the Director's Cut.) Jimmy's holiday ends, however, when the family calls to tell him his beloved twin sister, Pam, has died. -- That's right Jimmy, now you're guilty of double murder.

Up in heaven, we see Pam dancing around with little Emily in her arms. She comforts her unborn sister by telling her that life is just a blip, a meaningless and insignificant moment. (A line that might be more aptly delivered by one of the evil pro-choicers . . . but I digress.)

We then return to Elder Kestler who has just paired up with Elder Green. They come across Tod, a chain-smoking non-member who spends his days moping around the park because he doesn't have a "cause to die for." The elders teach him the gospel, he gleefully gives up smoking, and gets baptized. -- Meaning he can now look forward to feeling dead everyday for the rest of his life.

Julie, who has broken up with her fiance, decides she wants Elder Kestler back. So she slips into a dress that resembles a denim grocery sack and goes to the airport to welcome him home. But, as fate would have it, she instead falls for Tod, whom Kestler has brought back with him. The two lovers reunite by singing the same duet they sang in the pre-life, only this time with an obvious appreciation of each other's physical body. (Not that he can admire any of her charms under that ridiculous dress.)

Finally Jimmy sees the error of his ways, shakes off the safe sex crowd, and returns home so that little Emily can finally be born. 

And all is right in Mormondom.

In the case of Saturday's Warrior, I find myself echoing Otterson. I worry about the guilt-ridden souls who take this shit seriously. Of course, that wasn't an issue for the postmormons. We pretty much laughed through the whole thing. And when we saw that there was a karaoke option on the Main Menu -- OMG! Suffice to say that Steve's tequila fueled aria was our evening's show stopper.

So how does the work of Matt Stone and Trey Parker compare to that of Lex de Azevedo? 

Let's see. The Book of Mormon is a fun romp that never takes itself seriously. It has earned stellar reviews, 14 Tony nominations, is set for a nation-wide tour, and has been the subject of many thoughtful articles and discussions about faith in America.

Saturday's Warrior is a tiresome screed (with catchy tunes) that takes itself too seriously. It has earned no recognition outside of Mormonism, is on tour in LDS ward cultural halls, and is the subject of exmormon karaoke parties. This all leaves me to conclude:

The Book of Mormon is true
Saturday's Warrior is a load of crap
(in the name of cheese and rice amen)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Wisdom of Joseph Smith

To: Abbottsville Stake
From: Mitchell Knightly, President of the Abbottsville Stake
Subject: KBYU Programming Highlight

For those of you who missed watching last night's panel of BYU Religion Instructors, here is a transcript of the KBYU program.

Panel Participants:
Homer B. Goodwin, PhD, professor of Ancient American Studies
T. Vernon Price, PhD, professor of War in Heaven Strategies
LaVar Featherstone, PhD, professor of Adamic Languages

Goodwin: Tonight we will discuss the prophet Joseph Smith. Brethren, let's begin by naming our favorite of Joseph's teachings. Dr. Price, you start.

Price: I'd say his admonition to "teach men correct principles then let them govern themselves."

Goodwin: Ah yes, Dr. Price, what an excellent concept. Joseph strongly believed in the inherent freedom of the individual.

Price: He certainly prized his own freedom.

Featherstone: Freedom is a box.

Price: Say what?

Featherstone: Freedom is a box. (outlines a square with his index fingers) A box.

Goodwin: I see, Dr. Featherstone. Very sage. Very sage indeed.

Price: I still don't get it.

Goodwin: Let's move on. The prophet Joseph also taught that the path to freedom is found through obedience.

Price: True. He obeyed his Heavenly Father's every command, even when it meant cheating on his wife, swindling his neighbor, breaking the law, and violating every code of common decency.

Goodwin: Imagine the sacrifice Joseph made when he obeyed the doctrine of plural marriage. He took on a huge burden. Some of the girls were quite young.

Price: (nods) Teenagers.

Goodwin: And don't forget he also married other men's wives. Think of the courage! Why, he could have been killed by a number of jealous husbands.

Price: Got to admit, the man had guts, not to mention stamina -- 41 wives in total.

Goodwin: I thought 33.

Price: Well now, let's see. (counts off on his fingers) There was Fanny, Lucinda, Louisa, Zina, Presendia, Vienna . . .

Goodwin: (raises his hands to a halt) We can't be sure about Vienna. I mean, yes, there is evidence of some flirtation, maybe even fondling . . .

Price: No, I'm pretty sure they went all the way.

Goodwin: Based on what?

Price: She lived in his house.

Goodwin: Just because a woman lived in Joseph's house doesn't mean she was sleeping with him.

Price: You're kidding, right?

Goodwin: Good point.

Price: The number of women doesn't really matter. The important thing is, when the spirit prompted him, he rose to the occasion.

Goodwin: Exactly. He was the picture of obedience.

Featherstone: Obedience is a closet.

Goodwin: Pure genius Dr. Featherstone! Pure genius!

Price: What the [expletive deleted] does that mean?

Goodwin: Let's go on. One thing that amazes me about Joseph Smith is that he had no example, no one to teach him how to be a prophet.

Price: He was an original, all right.

Goodwin: Completely on his own, with only the spirit to guide him.

Price: It's like he made it up as he went along.

Goodwin: Indeed he did, and thanks to him we are now members of an organization that will bring us eternal happiness.

Featherstone: Happiness is a nail.

Goodwin: Ah, what perspicacity! 

Price: Featherstone have you been smoking [deleted]?

If you would like to stop receiving these e-mails we'll assume you've been smoking [deleted].

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Brace Yourselves Sisters -- It's Mother's Day Again!

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Bishop Paul Zimmerman
Subject: Mother's Day Program

This Sunday we pay tribute to Motherhood, the most important role in the entire universe. Because of the extreme urgency of the message, this special service was planned carefully in advance, then vetted and approved by the Bishop, the Stake President, the Church Correlation Committee, the General Authorities, the Romney Campaign, and God.

Attendance is mandatory.

Below is an outline of the program along with approved excerpts from the talks:

Sacrament Meeting
Presiding: Bishop Paul Zimmerman
Abbottsville Fourth Ward -- Mother's Day Service

Conducting: Bishop Zimmerman
Pianist: Sister Peterson
Music Director: Brother Souter

Opening Hymn: #323 Rise Up, O Men of God
Opening Prayer: Brother Spencer

Ward Business: Bishop Zimmerman

Sacrament Hymn: #171 With Humble Heart
Administration of the Sacrament by the Aaronic Priesthood

Youth Speaker: Sam Renfro -- "How Our Mothers Prepare us for the Holy Priesthood."
"The 2,000 stripling warriors in the Book of Mormon valiantly fought a fierce battle against a savage hoard and emerged unscathed. When asked how they managed to endure such a chaotic blood bath, they thanked their mothers for the atmosphere they created in their homes. Our moms must keep house just like theirs did. Otherwise none of us would have survived Blazer Day Camp."

Speaker: Sister Fiona Harold -- "Mothers Who Know."
"Mothers who know have children. I mean, like, they sort of have to. Or else they can't exactly call themselves mothers. At least not ones who know. Can they?" 
Special Musical Number: Fourth Ward Men's Choir -- Praise to the Man

Speaker: Brother G. Rulon Hunsucker -- "Wife - Mother - CEO."
"Under the direction of her husband, a Mother in Zion leads a great and eternal organization. She has every reason to call herself a CEO, and receive all of the benefits that accompany the title, with the exception of a paycheck, an office, employees, an expense account, a custodial staff, paid vacation, a lunch hour, and any authority whatsoever."  

Closing Hymn: #292 O My Father

Benediction: Brother Bromley

Afterward the Aaronic Priesthood will distribute the following gifts accordingly:
Mothers of 5 or more children who have served missions and married in the temple:
 Ten gallon rose bush.
Mothers of less than 5 children who have served missions and married in the temple:
 Five gallon rose bush.
Young mothers who are raising their children to serve missions and marry in the temple:
 One gallon rose bush.
Mothers of less valiant children:
 Bare root rose.
Working and/or single moms:
 Seed packet.
Sisters who aren't mothers:
 A bag of manure

Upon completion of the distribution of gifts, ward members are released to the Cultural Hall for a four course Mother's Day feast, prepared and served by the Relief Society.

If you would like to stop receiving these e-mails, we'll send the Aaronic Priesthood over with the surplus manure.