Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Another Fun Year on Ward Gossip - Thanks to the Brethren

When I started this blog back in 2009 I never dreamt it would be around five years later.

But here we are at the end of 2014 and Ward Gossip is still running strong. It's that little mechanical bunny and the Brethren are the battery that makes it keep on going.

Sure I had to fill in here and there. With bizarre family dramas, fun Ex-Mormon gatherings and excursions, memories of shitty weekends and stupid Relief Society lessons, another joyous birth, and a very sad loss, missionary moments, some odd LDS corporate policies, a return to my Vagina Testimony, a long overdue "person of the year" award, and a bit of recent diplomacy between LDS Inc. and Park City, UT.

But most weeks the Brethren and their disciples wrote the copy for me. Starting in February with that uber-sensitive website, Gays and BYU. Which led to some thoughtful discussion amongst the faithful about The Gay Agenda. After that, believers were shocked to learn that church headquarters was no longer promising them a planet! Then an outrageous article in The Friend provided me with what may be my best post ever. And here's the thing. I barely had to write it!
Every Saturday night while her family was wallowing in smut, Lucy called her Primary teacher and asked for a ride to church. Sister Gomez always said yes.
Then the fun really started when some actual Mormon feminists decided they wanted to be ordained. Try as they might, the Brethren could not dissuade them. Not even with crafts!
"This new craft thing is a crock of (expletive deleted),"  Mildred Peabody, a Salt Lake City tax attorney, told The News. "Makes me want to hot glue the First Presidency to a giant flannel board."
And I say cheers to them all! Especially Kate Kelly .

In an apparent effort to deflect the bad PR over the Ordain Women debacle, the Brethren embarked on an anti-Gay marriage tour. It failed to engage the faithful.
"I've been worried about the rising sea level that threatens my farmland," 47-year-old Hans of Denmark said. "But last night the Brethren told us we should be up in arms over gay marriage. I don't understand. Am I being selfish?"
Likewise the suggestion of another Romney presidential campaign.
"I work in an all-Mormon office and my desk is by the copy machine," said Samuel Petersen, an ExMormon from Sandy, Utah. "I don't care if I lose my job. He runs again and I'm going off the grid."
Obviously in crisis mode, church PR amped up the momentum with a member-driven social media blitz, followed by the release of a major motion picture, followed by an infomercial about Mormon underpants. When the aforementioned efforts flopped, the Brethren decided to cheer everybody up by releasing a statement about all of Joseph Smith's extramarital affairs. After that came a really scary message from the visiting teachers.
I call, I text, I stop by. When she doesn't answer, I stand on her front porch and belt out, Love at Home. When she still doesn't answer, I hot glue 50 packs of M&M's to her front door. I follow her on social media. I follow her to work, to the dentist, and to the mall. I wait in front of her bathroom stall at Nordstrom. But still I get nothing.
And let's not forget my interview with InsanaD, also her amazing address at this year's ExMormon Conference.

Torture for the Mormons, but sheer comic gold for bloggers like me.

So, as Elder Price sang, "What does the future hold?" I see more loud laughter, more lightmindedness, more evil speaking of the self-appointed, and definitely more blogging in 2015.

Happy New Year, Gentle Readers!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

LDS Church Moves to Normalize Relations with Park City

LDS Church to Renew Ties with Park City
Salt Lake News -- published December 18, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- In a bold and historic move yesterday, LDS leaders announced they will be normalizing relations with their long estranged neighbor, Park City, Utah.

"The Brethren decided the citizens of Park City should benefit from exposure to a culture that is superior to their own," LDS spokesperson, G. Marilyn String, told the News.

In brokering the agreement, the LDS Church agreed to release alleged Park City spy, George Fielding. Apprehended last September in a men's room at the Joseph Smith Building, Fielding spent 92 days in solitary confinement on Temple Square.

Insisting the charges against him are false, Mr. Fielding told the News, "I swear to God, I'm innocent. I got bored during Meet the Mormons so I went to the can to splash some water on my face. Then these thugs in cheap suits jumped me and hauled me off to the clink."

"They put me on a restricted diet of Jell-O, Tater-tot casserole, and fry sauce--and then made me watch an endless loop of 'And I'm a Mormon' commercials," Fielding added, his voice thick with emotion. "Thank heaven they let me go. I'm so happy to be back in Park City."

In exchange for the release of Mr. Fielding, LDS leaders are now requesting the return of 37 of their own whom they had deployed behind enemy lines. However, with a hat tip to the quality of the LDS Church surveillance team, Park City officials confess they were completely unaware of any espionage in their community.

"We knew these folks had moved into town, but saw no evidence of any clandestine activities," Park City spokesperson, Homer T. Larsen explained. "They seemed to be just enjoying themselves like the rest of us."

"We have not arrested anyone for espionage," Larsen insisted. "The so-called Mormon spies are free to come and go as they please."

The 37 individuals in question have refused to comment on their current status. At press time, none had made arrangements to return to Church.

Friday, December 12, 2014

LDS Church Leaders Choose "Name Withheld" as 2014 Person of the Year

Name Withheld is Person of the Year
Salt Lake News -- published December 12, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- She's found hope and healing after her divorce, forgiven her abuser, and nurtured her husband's frail ego throughout their foreclosure and bankruptcy. He's overcome alcoholism, drug addiction, same-sex attraction, and a tendency to masturbate. Ever humble and long suffering, the progressively gender-ambivalent author of countless Mormon-themed articles, Name Withheld, is finally receiving the title of Person of the Year.

"After spending 50-plus years at the top of the temple prayer rolls, Name Withheld is long overdue for this recognition," official church spokesperson, K. Byron Spool, told the News.

When asked about the timing of the decision, Spool explained, "It's been an especially tough year for the Brethren, what with all the selfish complaints from the feminists, gays, and intellectuals. Meanwhile, Name Withheld humbly carried on, without dwelling on her civil rights, or carping about his unfulfilled sex life, or making a huge deal out of Joseph Smith's minor promiscuities. The Brethren really appreciated that."

Name Withheld was unavailable for comment as she is currently in the drunk tank after a relapse brought on by his temporary refusal to forgive his bishop for sexually assaulting him--or her.

"He . . . or she . . . requested a Book of Mormon be sent to his cell," a source inside the jail said. "She is repentant and seems determined not to become bitter."

"The Brethren couldn't be happier with this year's choice," Spool firmly declared. "Nobody, save Joseph Smith alone, has endured such storied persecution."

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dealing with Visiting Teacher Dodgers

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward Relief Society
From: Ramona Barnes, Ward Visiting Teaching Coordinator
Subject: What to do when your visiting teachee keeps dodging you

I call, I text, I stop by. When she doesn't answer, I stand on her front porch and belt out, Love at Home. When she still doesn't answer, I hot glue 50 packs of M&M's to her front door. I follow her on social media. I follow her to work, to the dentist, and to the mall. I wait in front of her bathroom stall at Nordstrom. But still I get nothing.

At first I thought it was me. But, in talking with friends, I've realized this kind of reception is common among sisters. So, what's a woman to do when she gets rejected time and time again?

Here are a few tips I've learned through my colorful history with visiting teacher dodgers.

Think Outside the Box

Oftentimes our less active sisters dodge their visiting teachers because they don't like the idea of visiting teaching. They're deluded into thinking it's just some time-consuming, boundary-invasive imposition that saddles a sister with a couple of nosey, fake friends.

For example, a few years ago I was assigned to visit an inactive sister in our ward. I tried everything. Texts, emails, treats on her doorstep, notes on her car. Nothing. Not even so much as a text to tell me that she acknowledged my existence.

I decided to think outside the box and not even try to entice her to be "visit taught." Instead I posted on Facebook that I was dying to get a pedicure, thinking she would jump at the chance to go with--because, even though we've never met--I knew she would be dying to get a pedicure. She blocked me.

Since I could no longer reach her on Facebook, I went to her house and rang the bell. When she didn't answer, I banged on the door. She opened it and told me to go away. Undeterred, I refused to leave until she agreed to go for a pedicure. She threatened to call the police. I went back the next day. And the next. She got a restraining order.

I'm still hopeful. A restraining order only means I have to observe a certain physical boundary, meaning I can keep doing creative, outside-the-box sorts of things, just from 30 feet away. (In her case I have to wait outside the bathroom at Nordstrom.)

Learn About Her Life

Real friendships take time, work, and constant communication. But a visiting teacher can't wait for all that. Without warning, the ward boundaries might be realigned or the Relief Society presidency might change. In a matter of months a visiting teacher could be assigned a whole new set of best friends.

For that reason, a successful visiting teacher needs to whip out her detective skills. Thank goodness Heavenly Father has provided us with the technology! Social media like the online ward directory, Facebook, Instagram, etc. are terrific tools for getting to know your visiting teacher dodger. (I'm Facebook friends with my inactive sister again, thanks to that fake profile I set up.)

If you're not inclined to sign up for any type of social media, try staking out her neighborhood. Interview her neighbors under the guise of a census taker or Homeland Security, or hang around her kids' school so you can strike up a conversation with her when she picks them up. Even better, pick up her kids, then she'll have to talk to you if she wants them back.

Be Persistent

I know how hard it can be to always have your texts, calls, and messages ignored, especially by someone you really care about but haven't actually met. But if you want any measure of success with a visiting teacher dodger, persistence is key.

My work on that inactive sister is paying off. When I saw her in Nordstrom yesterday she didn't even swear at me. She just walked out of the bathroom, rolled her eyes, and went on her way.

Photo courtesy of InsanaD

If you would like to stop receiving these emails we'll assume you're dying to get a pedicure.