Thursday, January 21, 2016

LDS Youth Participate in Another Fake Q&A

Last night the LDS Church aired a "Face to Face" with Elder Rasband (Quorum of the Twelve), Sister Oscarson (General Young Women president), and Brother Owen (General Young Men president).

View here.

The 80 minute program was presented as an "unscripted" Q&A with young audience members either raising their hands in the local Salt Lake venue or remotely querying via email or social media.

However, after listening for only a few minutes, it seemed obvious (to me anyway) that the whole thing had been written in advance. Not only were the questions outside the teenaged vernacular:
"Brother Owen, how can I not feel so alone when I know those around me have so many different standards?" 
But the answers sounded like mini-conference talks replete with "great question, Andrea," the perfect homey personal experience - not too verbose - then, "and the moral is..." Clearly the answers had already been prepared to questions the leaders had already chosen.

Of course, what could I expect? Imagine the apoplectic fit a real question might have inspired:
"Sister Oscarson, I've been living with my dad and step-dad now for 5 years. They're really good to me. But since the church changed its policy about the children of gay parents, I feel pressured to move in with mom and her boyfriend. Do I really have to? It creeps me out when her boyfriend reaches up my dress."
"Brother Owen, I'm going on a mission soon. Only lately I've been doing a lot of masturbating. I'm not sure I can stop. Does that mean I won't get any converts?"
See what I mean? We all know that's never going to happen.

I'm reminded of one of the last church meetings I attended. It was a joint Relief Society/Priesthood meeting in suburban Dallas. Our stake president was the featured speaker. I found myself seated next to a gentleman I'd never seen before. Thinking he was either a new ward member or perhaps a visitor from out of town, I made an attempt to welcome him. He went out of his way to ignore me, to the point of rudeness. Then the stake president stood before us, and, after some brief introductory remarks, turned the time over to questions from the audience.

The rude guy next to me eagerly raised his hand and the stake president immediately called on him.
"President, how can we teach our youth the difference between worldly knowledge and spiritual knowledge?"
At that moment I realized what was going on. The guy didn't want to talk to me because he was a ringer. He had been put there to set up the stake president for the answer he'd already prepared on the topic he'd already chosen. I thought to myself, "How could a grown man reduce himself to participating in such a sleazy and transparent con?"

Today, some twenty years later, I finally have my answer. He was trained to do so in his youth!

I kept listening to that broadcast, hoping against hope that one of those apprentice shills would switch sides and ask a real question.
Elder Rasband, how can I not feel like a dope when I know my friends with different standards are at the school science fair while I'm here reciting your prewritten lines in this phony Q&A? 
Unfortunately, I knew that wasn't going to happen.

***Awards season is upon us again. Don't forget to visit Main Street Plaza vote for your Mormon-themed favorites in the Brodie Awards!


  1. Heh heh. The LDS reduced to using shills...

    I'd love to see an LDS event without these scripted responses. Let them wrestle with controversies over LGBTQ people, women's equality, the church's sordid history, etc. out in the open.

  2. Off-topic but not really-- I'm reading Stacy Schiff's book THE WITCHES, and reeling in shock at the degree of repression and control in the Puritan society. And seeing some interesting parallels...

  3. Seriously?? No one sees through it or questions it? I'd be so out of there so fast all they would see is a dust cloud.

  4. Ahab, I'd like to see than too!

    Marion, thanks for tip! Like you, I'm always looking for the next great book to read. Have to check that out.

    Jono, I hear you. I sort of disappeared in a poof of dust.

  5. When I read that scripted question I laughed out loud. Not too long ago it would have irritated me.


    1. Progress indeed! I love that I'm not so angry anymore. I didn't listen to the entire broadcast. (I don't do 80 minute church meetings anymore.) But the questions I heard mostly related to dealing with nonmember friends and their "low" standards.

  6. Indoctrination impure and defiled!

    To all who love Donna and her fantastic blog: Vote for Donna!

    1. Thanks NearKolobite! I earned a couple of those precious awards back when the field was less crowded.

  7. I wish I were trusted enough to be one of the ringers. I WOULD ask the good question. They'd edit it out, of course, but those present would see it. I'd probably be carted out by security as well.

  8. Will miss your wit and insight. Opinions are best changed by story, especially parody, which is what brought me back to reading you. Policy rants don't hold my attention and seldom say anything interesting.
    Best of luck in whatever endeavors you choose in the future.

    1. Good point. I realize that ranting serves its purpose at times, but, like you say, laughter is more effective. Thanks for reading!