Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The BYU "Assembly Ball"

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's beloved novel about the five gentleman's daughters who are faced with the chore of finding husbands in class-conscious Regency-era England. It is being celebrated in Great Britain and countless other global venues, both historical and high tech, and even here on my obscure Ex-Mormon blog.

I first read Pride and Prejudice during the summer before my freshman year at BYU. It was a timely accomplishment that prepared me for the society I was about to enter into. Because at BYU, both then and now, it is a truth universally acknowledged that every single man is in want of a wife--well before he has time to possess any fortune.

Wandering about the Provo campus, a young coed is bound to encounter a few principled but haughty Mr. Darcys, more than a few disreputable Mr. Wickhams (who would meddle with the girls before leaving on their missions), perhaps hundreds of obedient and obsequious Bingleys, an entire stadium-full of self-righteous boobs like Collins, and a healthy number of Mr. Hursts (who think only of their stomachs).

Unfortunately, the female population is less diverse, being embodied entirely in the character of Charlotte Lucas who believes that happiness in marriage is merely a matter of chance. Consequently, every year myriad BYU girls collectively hold their breath, roll their eyes, and spin the roulette wheel. I was one of the lucky ones, winning a husband who is a complex combination of Darcy and Hurst.

This dynamic is best observed at a BYU stake dance, an event that could easily be mistaken for the ball at Netherfield, only without empire waist frocks, English Country Dancing, genteel manners, realism, irony, self-awareness, and sexual tension. Perhaps the latter point is the most defining.

BYU is Pride and Prejudice without the sex.

Of course, there are few people, women in particular, who don't delight in and identify with Jane Austen's works--hence the global celebration. Every modern writer of romantic comedy, from Neil Simon to Nora Ephron to Candace Bushnell, remains in her debt. 

But I am grateful to Jane Austen for preparing me for BYU. Even more importantly, I cherish the time I spent sharing her gentle sentences and sharp observations with my daughter, Emily, who went on to attend some Assembly Balls of her own--although, thankfully, not at BYU.

Emily in London

"For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?” 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Giving Up Emails For Sex

Lately I've been blocking out the Abbottsville Fourth Ward's emails because I've been blocked in general, at least here on Ward Gossip. However, May is sex month over on Ex-Mormon Mavens, and what a month it's been! Turns out we Mavens have so much to say on the subject that sex month is now extending through June. No surprise. It's only fair that ample time be dedicated to a subject that's been the inspiration of most great art, literature, music, theater, and film--as well as the obsession of all toxic and destructive fundamentalist faiths. You may read my contribution here.

I've also disabled the supposedly upgraded google+ comment feature that hid all my readers' comments on my last post. What is with that?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Single Adult Summer Day Camp!

To: Abbottsville Stake Single Adults
From: Ricky and Mindy Foote, Stake Single Adults Leaders
Subject: It’s Day Camp time, boy and girls!

As always, Mindy and I are honored to serve a group that includes so many near and dear, such as my former seminary teacher, Mindy's old high school principal, Sister Post who helped me earn my Duty to Country badge, and, of course, Mom.

So clear the first week in June, you crazy kids, for the annual Single Adult Summer Day Camp!

Here are just some of the highlights!

Scavenger Hunt!
Dressed in our matching LDS SA Day Camp tee-shirts, we’ll divide into teams and search the Abbottsville Mall for:
an employment application
at least 50 cents found on the floor or in the center court fountain
a french fry (can’t buy it)
team photo with a red-head—extra points if his/her name is Kelly
group shot of everybody in one bathroom stall
and more!

Fun with Silly String, glitter, shaving cream and Magic Sand!


Picnic Day!
Dressed in our matching LDS SA Day Camp tee-shirts, we’ll head over to Abbottsville Park, grill hot dogs and s’mores and then divide into teams for:
potato sack races
leap frog
freeze tag
water balloon toss
toilet paper mummy contest
and more!

Disney Movie Camp!
The Shaggy Dog
Son of Flubber
The Little Mermaid—sing-along version
And more!

*Participation in all events is mandatory. **Attendees must either have a current a temple recommend or have completed the Official Worthiness Questionnaire.  

If you would like to stop receiving these e-mails, you might be required to build a blanket fort.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Abbottsville Sisters Party On Mother's Day

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward Relief Society
From: Donna Banta
Subject: Mother's Day at Abbottsville's Swizzle Stick Bar

Dear Sisters,

I've attached the following invitation in the hope that you will consider this far more desirable alternative to every woman's most demoralizing church meeting of the entire year.

Especially for Mormons

Dear Sisters,
Don't want to sit through a three hour lecture on Mother's Day?

Sick of constantly being reminded of your "sacred role?"

Tired of delighting in your husbands, waiting for your happily ever afters, turning lemons into lemonade, standing in holy places, sweetening the world one drop at a time, and blooming where you're planted?

Rather spend the Sabbath getting shit-faced?

Then ditch church this Sunday and JOIN THE PARTY

9:00 a.m. Bar open

12:00-2:00 p.m. Primary Songbook Karaoke
2:00-4:00 p.m. Performance by "Mutha's Who Know"
4:00-6:00 p.m. "The Stripping Warriors"
6:00 p.m. - ????? Testimony Meeting

No cover charge

$4 well drinks to include "Sex on the Tabernacle," "Dirty Moroni," and "The Wymount Babymaker"
Turn in your 4" petunia plant/limp carnation/refrigerator magnet for a free mimosa!

--Hope to see you there, sisters. I'll be at the bar by 9:00, wearing a gingham-checked jumper and sipping a Dirty Moroni.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

LDS Church Introduces Gay Deconversion Merit Badge for Boy Scouts

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Jim Harold, Ward Scoutmaster
Subject: Gay Deconversion Merit Badge

The experience of same-sex attraction continues to be a complex issue for the LDS Church. However, when the Boy Scouts of America recently changed their policy to include openly gay scouts, church authorities not only approved, they also sensed an opportunity. The creation of the Gay Deconversion Merit Badge!

Requirements for the badge are still in the planning stage, but are expected to include the following:

  1. Befriend a boy who's converted to gay and invite him to join your local scout troop.
  2. Kindly and with compassion, help the gay convert realize the depth of his shame. 
  3. Compose a 1,000 word essay entitled, "Why Our Heavenly Father Would Never Do That To Anyone." 

Additional requirements will most likely be the acquisition of some legal, social, and technical skills that may also be applied toward earning the "Crime Prevention," "Disability Awareness," and "Electricity" Merit Badges.

Also in the planning stage is a badge logo. Suggestions are welcome. In the meantime, be on the lookout for some converted gay boys!

If you would like to stop receiving these emails, the A-4 scout troup will soon be over to deconvert you.

Also leave your suggestions for the Gay Deconversion Merit Badge requirements and logo in the comment field!