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.