Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Super Fun Ward Transvaginal Ultrasound Activity!

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

Due to the decline of modest dress at BYU, increased chatter over female reproductive rights, and the scurrilous anti-Mormons in the media who claim Romney isn't a "regular guy," I have decided to maintain the Ward Threat Level at RED.

As always, every ward member should have on hand a 1 year supply of food, a hazmat suit, at least 2 handguns, 4 rolls of duct tape, and a gallon of consecrated oil. Also scriptures, the Ensign, dominoes, Yahtzee!, Twister, and other diversions to help kill time in the bunker.

Additionally, because we reside in that infamous hotbed of college-educated snobs, otherwise known as the 9th Circuit, we must take extreme measures to protect our way of life. The feminists, gays, and intellectuals have us surrounded, and they are up to their usual mischief: looting, murdering, masturbating,  sending their kids to college, and advocating that a woman should be in charge of her body.
Desperate times call for desperate actions. For this reason, I have issued the following order:

Every female over the age of 14 is to report to the ward cultural hall this Saturday at 17:00 for a mandatory vaginal sonogram ... 
(The High Priest Quorum should arrive 10 minutes ahead of time to be trained on the machines.)

Sisters, we regret any inconvenience this may cause you. But, for the sake of your dignity, we must insist that you strip from the waist down, slide your feet into the stirrups, spread your thighs, and submit to our Priesthood Authority. We've only your best interests at heart.

Afterward, there will be a super-yummy ward potluck catered by the Relief Society.

This concludes this Ward Preparedness Update.

Your fellow patriot,
Bull Barton

If you would like to stop receiving these emails, we'll assume you're one of those snobs.

Also, don't forget that chanson is still collecting nominations for X-Mormon of the Year!

Friday, February 24, 2012

ExMormon by C. L. Hanson

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward and the bookworms who read my blog
From: Donna Banta
Subject: A Ward Gossip Book Review!

When C. L. Hanson (also known as chanson) isn't writing her Sunday in Outer Blogness column on Main Street Plaza, hosting the Brodie Awards, posting on Letters From A Broad, reviewing LDS-themed books, or otherwise working to unite the greater Mormon community, she is also illustrating and composing works of fiction. I recently had the pleasure of reading this talented and prolific writer's engaging book, ExMormon.

Set in locales ranging from Minnesota to Utah to the mission field in France, ExMormon is a series of eight and a half beautifully illustrated novellas about kids growing up in three different Mormon families. Hanson neither condemns nor promotes her former faith. Instead she presents an even-handed depiction of LDS culture. As a result, the reader is given a clear picture of the highly structured Mormon community, the self-righteous attitudes it encourages, and the subversive behavior it inspires. Each of her characters possesses the innocent and trusting voice of a Mormon kid, a perspective that serves to enhance both the humor and pathos of their experiences.

Lynn, for example, begins her story with, "The very first thing I heard upon arriving at Youth Conference was a dirty joke." Later at the same conference, friends in her "Sexual Purity" class are whispering about a girl who sneaked a boy into her room.

In another episode, Jill falls for Walter, the hunky lead in her stake's production of Saturday's Warrior. What begins as a charming first romance, quickly devolves into a tawdry sexual liaison in the baptismal font. -- A maddening yet priceless encounter that rivals the cabana scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Later, Elder Spencer Hobbs unexpectedly breaks mission rules by sitting in an off-limits Bordeaux cafe with Tanya, a confident and curvaceous ex-Mormon girl. Looking him unashamedly in the eye, she describes the Elder as having, "A squeaky clean exterior with tremendous sexual energy bubbling right under the surface." He falls for her in spite of himself, vows to see her again, and later runs across her in another place he never expected he would be.

Expectations weigh heavily on the characters in ExMormon, as we watch them travel that straight and narrow path from Youth Conference, to Orem High, to Brigham Young University, to the mission field, to a temple wedding. While their lives delicately intertwine, some venture out of the church and some remain faithful. In the end, all are faced with the task of accepting each other, another intriguing subject that I hope C. L. Hanson will address in her next book.

ExMormon will resonate with anyone who has grown up in an LDS family, as well as satisfy and inform those who are curious about the Mormon experience.

Also it runs circles around anything on the shelves at Deseret Book.

Check out this truly great read here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Why My Brodie Award Way Outranks My Young Women's Recognition

To: The wonderful people who read my blog
From: Donna Banta
Subject: Being an ex-Mormon Rocks!

Rewind back 15 or so years to when I was a miserable Mormon:

I spent hours doing my Primary calling, going Visiting Teaching, preparing Homemaking Dinners, sitting through temple sessions, etc. and received no recognition whatsoever.

Fast forward to May, 2011 when I am a happy ex-Mormon:

Mark and I threw a party for the SF Bay Area postmormons, where we barbecued, broke the Word of Wisdom, and belted out drunken karaoke. I wrote about it, and ended up winning a Brodie Award!! One of the many reasons being an ex-Mormon rocks!

Thanks to Chanson and Main Street Plaza for hosting the awards again this year. Also, thanks to those of you who voted.

Here's my winning post, originally published on May 19, 2011. God that was a fun night -- and a really bad movie...

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)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love, Mormon Style

To: Abbottsville Stake Priesthood Holders
From: President Knightly
Subject: Sensible Romance vs. Worldly Smut

Dear Brethren,

Many of you have asked me if it is appropriate for LDS priesthood holders to take their sweethearts out for Valentine's Day. My answer is an enthusiastic "Yes!" The LDS Church is all about love and romance -- so long as it is sensible romance. Unfortunately, those of us who reside here in the 9th Circuit are continually bombarded with examples of worldly smut. To illustrate the difference between us and themI have outlined the smut-filled date my next-door neighbor is springing for tonight, and juxtaposed it against the romantic evening I have planned for my eternal mate. It all comes down to this: do you want worldly smut or sensible romance?

His Worldly Smut 
Begin with cocktails at a hip new club downtown.

My Sensible Romance
Begin with a word of prayer.

His Worldly Smut
Wander into a little bistro and celebrate their love by sipping wine and dining on a candlelit meal.

My Sensible Romance
Wander over to our kitchen table and celebrate our food storage by sipping dehydrated milk and dining on the last of our freeze dried pork powder.

His Worldly Smut
Go to a movie that features two attractive people who fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after.

My Sensible Romance
Go to a Save Prop 8 rally.

His Worldly Smut
Stop by the local coffee house for a couple of cappuccinos.

My Sensible Romance
Stop by the local Super Target to stock up on Kool-Aid, toilet paper, and other sundry items.

His Worldly Smut
Go back to the house and have headboard banging, over the top, mind-blowing sex.

My Sensible Romance
Go back to the house and: 
  • if she's ovulating, engage in perfunctory intercourse in the missionary position only, and without removing our temple garments.
  • if she's not ovulating, get into our flannel pajamas, sit side by side on the bed, and watch The Best of Boyd K. Packer on KBYU until we fall asleep.

 If you would like to stop receiving these emails, we'll assume you're wallowing in smut.
Happy Valentines Day! 

And don't forget to vote for your favorite Mormon-themed blogs in the Brodie Awards!
Polls close Thursday, February 16 at 22:22 Central European Time.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dropping the Satire Just for Today

For the first time since I began this blog in 2009 I am going to drop my fictional point of view out of Abbottsville and speak in my own voice from my real city of San Francisco.

This week the 9th Circuit Court decided to overturn California's Proposition 8, a decision that has drawn everything from shock to heavy criticism to near hysteria in the conservative Mormon community.

On Facebook and other forums I have heard from Latter-day Saints who defend their church's bigoted, homophobic position in various irrational ways. For example:

If gay marriage becomes legal, then gay people will be able to legally force the Mormon Church into letting them marry in their temples.
--As if the Mormons haven't successfully kept people out of their temples for years without suffering any legal repercussions.

Gays can't get married because they can't procreate.
--As if couples who adopt kids or are childless should only be allowed to form domestic partnerships.

If gays are allowed to get married, then the next thing you know, a man will be allowed to marry more than one women, or a man could marry a little girl, or maybe even a moose!
--As if a majority of Americans (who make up the courts) equate homosexuality to bestiality, pedophilia, or to that principle that the LDS Church began practicing in the 1800's and continues to embrace today. (There are perhaps thousands of Mormon men who are currently married "for time and all eternity" to more than one woman.)

I could go on, but I can already mentally see my intelligent readers' eyes glazing over. So I will jump ahead to the one argument that Mormons make that actually has some merit:

I don't question why gays shouldn't get married because the prophet speaks directly to God and the church is true. 
--This makes perfect sense if you drink the Kool-Aid. It's also one of the main reasons why some people call Mormonism a cult. And it's this premise that has enabled the LDS Church to maintain its membership, in spite of the fact that it has been on the wrong side of just about every social issue it has weighed in on.

Mormons claim that they differentiate between when the prophet is speaking "as a man" and when he is speaking "as a prophet." I maintain that the prophet differentiates between when he is speaking "to the church" and when he is speaking "to the world." Why else would the LDS Church issue this bullshit statement:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regrets today’s decision. California voters have twice determined in a general election that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman. We have always had that view. Courts should not alter that definition, especially when the people of California have spoken so clearly on the subject.
“Millions of voters in California sent a message that traditional marriage is crucial to society. They expressed their desire, through the democratic process, to keep traditional marriage as the bedrock of society, as it has been for generations.
“We recognize that this decision represents a continuation of what has been a vigorous public debate over the rights of the people to define and protect the fundamental institution of marriage. There is no doubt that today’s ruling will intensify the debate in this country. We urge people on all sides of this issue to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different opinion.”

Forget the fact that people outside of the LDS Church might find this laughable. Most educated Americans know that the Mormons have not always held the view that marriage is only between a man and a woman. The Brethren are aware of this. -- Or, at the very least, Church PR is. But what's important now, in the wake of this defeat, is to unite the base behind the erroneous notion that they have always been the champions of straight monogamous marriage. How do the believing know this? Church Headquarters just said. This is how the faithful are kept from realizing that they have dedicated all of their time, talent, and resources to fight on the wrong side of yet another social issue.

Now that the he's issued his statement, the prophet may go back to speaking "to the world," in the form of slick advertising and maybe even a high profile interview in which he characterizes himself as "an example."

It took 14 years after the 1964 Civil Rights Act before the LDS Church finally switched sides and extended its priesthood to black men. Since their 1978 policy shift, the Mormons have promoted themselves as a people who have always stood for racial equality. Who knows? Maybe in fifty-some years, when gay marriage is an established norm, and our president is a lesbian, the Mormons will be saying that they've always stood for same-sex marriage. Stranger things have happened.

But for now the Mormons are on the wrong side of the issue. Like the growing majority who support gay marriage, I hope that this case goes before the Supreme Court and that the decision of the lower court is upheld. But whatever the future holds, the events of this historic week have made me feel proud to be an American and a resident of the 9th Circuit. They also remind me of how grateful I am that I no longer drink the Kool-Aid.

If you wanted to stop receiving emails from the Abbottsville Fourth Ward, forget it. After suffering years of Mormon-induced depression, this blog owner takes humor very seriously and her silly side will return.
And don't forget to vote for your favorite Mormon-themed blogs in the Brodie Awards!

Monday, February 6, 2012

LDS Church Introduces New Line Of Educational Toys

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Sister Joy Young, Ward Primary President
Subject: New toys for the Primary closet!

Recent studies have shown that adults are leaving the one and only true church because they come across petty negative facts about Mormon history on the Internet. Naturally, the Brethren are concerned about this phenomenon, and, open-minded free spirits that they are, have devised a brilliant solution. Full disclosure of LDS history, warts and all, for children!

How INSPIRED is that? I mean everyone knows that children are better learners than grown-ups, right? Or, as the LDS scholar, Terryl Givens put it,
"If you tell a 12-year-old child that Joseph Smith used a ‘peep stone’ in a hat to translate the Book of Mormon, he’ll think that’s cool or interesting. But when Latter-Day Saints find out about that on the Internet at age 50, they’ll ask, Why didn’t the church tell me?”
In that spirit, the LDS Church is in the process of developing a new line of educational toys. The following items are now available in the ward Primary closet.

Joseph's Kids Have Thirty Mommies
This beautifully illustrated picture book introduces the LDS preschooler to alternative lifestyles in order to prevent future prejudices, and celebrate the sanctity of "all kinds of marriages."

Joseph's Magic Peep Stone
Modeled after the popular Magic 8 Ball, this colorful iridescent orb transports early readers to the magical world of revelation.

Johnny: Will I get to have my own planet?
Magic Peep Stone: Signs point to yes!
**This toy is only available to boys

Who Wrote The Book of Mormon?
Introduce your child early to those pesky discrepancies about the origins of the Book of Mormon with this charming version of the popular board game, Clue.
The Suspects
Joseph Smith - Soloman Spaulding - Fanny Alger - Hugh Nibley - Matt Stone & Trey Parker 
The Tools
Peep Stone & Hat - Papyrus - Tapir - Urim & Thummum - Laptop
The Crime Scenes
Machu Picchu - The Hayloft - Broadway - The Dream Mine - Palmyra

Was it Solomon Spaulding with his laptop at Machu Picchu? Or was it Hugh Nibley with a tapir in the hayloft? The possibilities are endless. (Actually there are only 125.)

Mountain Meadows Paint Ball
Designed for the Ward Cultural Hall, this lively activity gives the preteen an opportunity to release his "inner savage" as well gain a life-long tolerance for LDS history. After all, it's hard for an Internet-surfing college student to feel squeamish over our bloody past, if, as a youth, he's spent his weekends whooping it up in war paint, terrorizing the girls, and shooting all the weaker boys in the backs of their skulls. 


Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to raise up a new generation of church historians. More products to come!

If you would like to stop receiving these emails we'll send over the Deacons' Paint Ball Militia. Also, you should read this companion post by Jennifer at The Cognitive Dissenter.

And don't forget to vote for your favorite Mormon-themed blogs in the Brodie Awards!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Annual Brodies/Superbowl/Atheists Post

To: The Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Donna Banta
Subject: The Brodies and other things

Once again, Chanson at Main Street Plaza is hosting the annual Brodie Awards for excellence in Mormon-themed blogging. The nominees are all top-notch authors and artists from cool sites such as: Letters From A Broad, Picaresque, The Cognitive Dissenter, The Republic of Gilead, Polygamy ChicOnly A Little Sugar CoatedThe (Mormon) Stake President's Blog, White and Delightsome (yes!) and Ward Gossip (if I do say so myself.)

-- And many more great blogs that I'm leaving out because I'm burning out on linking. Man, how does Chanson do that column of hers every week?

Polls close February 16, 2012, 22:22 Central European Time
Please Vote!

Also, tomorrow the San Francisco Bay Area Post-Mormons are holding their annual Superbowl Party! (Oh Christ, more links.) Everyone's welcome!

**Psst, that means you, members of the Abbottsville Fourth. Admit it, you dream of a day when you don't have to sneak into a church bathroom stall and check the score on your smart phone. Come hang with us instead. -- You know you want to. One of you actually did, and lived to tell about it. ;-) 

And finally, for my all my fellow heretics and football worshipers, may you celebrate tomorrow's high holy day in your underpants: