Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ward Gossip Enters Its Terrible Twos

To: The wonderful people who read my blog
From: Donna Banta
Subject: Ward Gossip turns two!

Two years ago I began publishing the e-mails from the Abbottsville Fourth Ward. Since then I have received 832 comments from readers. I have appreciated every one. Many of the comments have come from fellow bloggers in my excellent blogroll that I hope to expand in the coming year. Right now, I'd like to specifically boast about a few very talented bloggers to whom I am especially grateful:

My brilliant friend Jennifer who writes The Cognitive Dissenter and is my partner on White and Delightsome.
Ahab, who keeps a wary eye on the Religious Right at The Republic of Gilead.
Just Zena whose Random Fartings of a Gaseous Mind are actually a breath of fresh air.
Nance who takes time out from her musings on religion and politics at Mature Landscaping to read my juvenile blog.
Paul Sunstone who I wish would get back to posting on Cafe Philos.
Ditto to InsanaD at Kori-whore's Double D's.
Diane Tingen who casts a spotlight on Mormonism at Mormon Schism.
C.L. Hanson who writes Letters from a broad, and has linked Ward Gossip to her Sunday Outer Blogness column on MSP more times than I probably deserve. (I finally ordered her book ExMormon from Amazon and it arrived today!!)
Chino Blanco from MSP and LdC and Carla at Life as a Reader, who both nominated me for Brodie awards. A huge compliment, since I am big fans of them both.

The other deserving bloggers whom I accidentally left off the above list. Please reprimand me in the comment field!

Also in honor of this anniversary and as a tribute to how I've dwindled my free time for yet another year, I bring you the year in review:

I'm so confused!
We began in October when Boyd K. Packer's homophobic and borderline insane ramblings during the LDS General Conference provided me with the material for a post that ended up winning the prestigious Brodie Award. I can't thank him enough, or to paraphrase Trey Parker, "You did it Boyd, you got the Brodie!"

In November we met Elder Young for the first time!!!:))))

I also eulogized the great Leslie Nielson with a take on how Lt. Drebin's temple endowment session may have gone:

Lieutenant Drebin takes an unassuming seat some three rows back from the altar. The officiator dims the lights and begins the film. Only instead of God creating the universe, we get The Three Stooges bonking each other on the head. Drebin leaps from his seat, rushes up the aisle, knocks over the officiator, and begins fooling with the knobs behind the altar. The lights flicker on and off, the curtains go up and down, and The Three Stooges keep bonking each other. Then the altar explodes and sends Drebin flying through the veil and into the Celestial Room where he dangles from the crystal chandelier. The chandelier crashes down, the player piano blares from the speakers, and Drebin careens through the temple on a madcap romp that ends when he knocks the temple matron into the baptismal font, just after accidentally ripping off her dress.

In December President Knightly announced the reinstatement of the Stake Single Adult Program!**
**Pending the completion of the following requirements:

  • Obtain a temple recommend or complete the Official Worthiness Questionnaire
  • Fulfill your usual assignment at the Stake Family Christmas Party. That is, set up, serve dinner, man the nursery, and clean up afterwards.
  • Attend tithing settlement. (Remember to bring your tax return!)
  • Resolve to be married by the end of 2011.

highlight was the release of another inspiring "And I'm a Mormon" ad featuring Julia who proudly boasted:

I'm a toy coordinator, a librarian, a craftswoman, a gourmet chef, a mentor, and a toilet scrubber.
My name is Julia Vincent.
And I work at Walmart.   
And I'm a Mormon.

Then February rolled around and we met Brother Bull Barton, the Ward Preparedness Specialist, who raised the Ward Threat Level to Orange and urged the members to have the following on hand:

Hazmat suits -- 2 per family member
Hand guns -- 2 per family member
Ammunition -- you can never have enough
Duct tape -- 4 rolls per family member
Consecrated oil -- 1 gallon per family member
Scriptures, The Ensign, dominoes, Yahtzee, Twister, and other amusements to help pass time in the bunker.

In March, an alarming incident occurred inside the Abbottsville temple when Brother Wilbur Simmons accidentally hit the fast forward button on the temple video and spun the room into chaos.

Only the best of feelings should exist
within the prayer circle.
"The prayer circle got nasty," said Sister Lee Ann Hargen of the Abbottsville First Ward. "There was a lot of rough and tumble Patriarchal Gripping. Also, some obscene gesturing with the Sign of the Nail."

Also, I paid tribute to my wonderful husband on his birthday, with a retrospective on his life before and after he left the LDS Church.

Then in April I discovered that The Book of Mormon is true! That is, when I finally got to see the real thing on Broadway -- thanks to our amazing friend, Olivia, who got us tickets, and David, who got us reservations at some of Manhattan's finest eateries!

In May I reviewed the film version of God's other favorite musical, Saturday's Warrior. Here is an excerpt:

"He's Just a Friend/Dear John," (is) 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.)

In front of Jane Austen's
brother's house in Chelsea

At the beginning of June the Abbottsville Fourth Ward's email temporarily went into spam while I visited Emily in London. 

Later that month, I again eulogized another great actor, Peter Falk. This time, I imagined how Columbo might have investigated a murder involving the LDS Church Authorities:

Columbo: Say President (Monson), you don't happen to have a light, do you?
President: We don't smoke, Lieutenant.
Columbo: Oh I'm sorry, sir, I had no idea. How rude of me. . . . Now, my wife, she would've known that, see, because she has some nice Mormon friends in Vegas. She meets up with them whenever she goes there to gamble.

July turned out to be a very busy month because Jennifer (The Cognitive Dissenter) and I debuted our new blog, White and Delightsome.
Also, President Knightly listed several reasons why people just can't leave the Mormons alone. Among them:

They're bored.
When's the last time you met a non-member who actually had a life? While we're going to church, doing our home teaching and visiting teaching, cleaning the ward toilets, and otherwise standing for righteousness, they're spending their time watching porn and chugging malt liquor.When the liquor finally runs out, they've no other option than to pick on the poor defenseless Mormons who've never done a thing to them.

Finally, in August, Mark Crawford gave his martini-infused take on The Fourteen Fundamentals for Following the Prophet. For example:

1. The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything. -- The prophet speaks for everyone, including God.

2. The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works. -- If you listen to the prophet you shouldn't read the Bible, or anything else for that matter.

3. The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet. -- With the exception of the dead prophet who compiled this list.

4. The prophet will never lead the church astray. -- Four martinis a piece, and we still couldn't come up with a way to improve on that one.

And here we are in September 2011 -- two years and 116 posts since Ward Gossip began -- and the Abbottsville Fourth still hasn't taken me off of its email list. Tell me, dear readers, is there a particular ward member you would like to hear more from? Or a topic you might like to explore? While I don't pretend to have any clout with my former priesthood leaders, I could send them a suggestion or two. -- Anything for my wonderful readers.


  1. Happy anniversary! I'm so glad I discovered Ward Gossip. It's hilarious, AND it's provided quite an education into Mormon silliness.

  2. Dear Ahab, you are the hardest working blogger I know, and thanks to you, I have learned so much about the efforts of the Religious Right in our country and the world. A recap of your posts would be a revelation for many. Keep up the good work!

  3. Wow! Has it been two years already?! What a wonderful blog and so many highlights! You are hilarious and have a knack for illustrating Mormon silliness in a way that is both informative (true) and fun. You are a talented writer and natural satirist.

    And it has been nothing but a pleasure working working with you on W&D!

  4. A delightsome two years! I come here to get more informed about Mormonism and to get the silly giggles. Since my two favorite things are information and hysterics, I'm always bound to come back. Here's to your highly creative and ever-fresh satire!

  5. @CD,it's great fun working with you too! (Not sure I'd even call it working.

    Chino, thanks so much for your kind words, and the cyber-toast.

    Nance, thank you as well. Life does seem easier when we can laugh about all the silliness we have to put up with.

    As all 3 of you know -- Ahab too -- writing a blog is a singular activity. Your comments mean so much to me!

  6. Two years of inspired blogging! That's more inspiration than has gone into any general conference. Donna for prophet!

  7. LOL. Thanks Zena. Thing of it is, general conference provides us both with such inspiration!

  8. Very cool -- congrats on a great two years!! And thanks for buying my book, I hope you'll like it! :D

  9. @C.L. Hanson. Thank you Carol!

    I'm already part way into your book and enjoying myself thoroughly.

  10. Happy anniversary!

    Keep up the great work, and thanks for listing some awesome new blogs for me to check out.... Can't have too many!

  11. @Heather. Like yours for example! :)