Monday, November 23, 2015


“At least we didn't have to go up and sing!”
Brockton, MA—Jordan Rocha, an 8 year-old in the Brockton Massachusetts ward, experienced deeply conflictive feelings about stake conference over the weekend.

“Well, for one thing, the car ride to Boston is so long and boring, and Nathan (6 year-old younger brother) is so annoying,” reported the young sister Rocha. She went on to explain that “Maggie (2 month old sister) cried practically the whole way up there, but then mom let me have the whole bag of goldfish crackers, so that was good.”

Getting to stake conference provided little relief for the young Valiant. She stated that “we were clear back in the gym and you could hardly see the people and we had those metal chairs and that is so annoying.” Still, it was not all bad, as sister Rocha said that “I pretty much got to color the whole time and I did a really nice picture of Princess Leia on a unicorn; it is right here in my scripture bag, so I guess that was okay.” She concluded that “the meeting went on FOREVER with people just talking and talking but I didn’t have to go sister Peters’ class and see Tessa Greenwood who can be so annoying, so I guess that was good too.” 

It may or may not surprise the young sister Rocha that, though they have different reasons for feeling that way, most members of the Brockton ward including Jordan’s parents also experienced deeply conflictive feelings about stake conference.  

Friday, November 13, 2015


Policy Change...? Policy Change...? POLICY CHANGE? POLICY!? CHANGE!?

Policy change, policy change, policy change policy change, policy change, policy change, policy change. Policy change, policy change. Policy change, policy change, policy change. Policy change, policy change, policy change, policy change. Policy change. Policy change, policy change, policy change, policy change. Policy change, policy change, policy change. Policy change, policy change.

Policy. Change. Policy! CHANGE!

policy change

Monday, November 9, 2015


(Clichéd if not journalistically
lazy picture of SLC temple)

Salt Lake City, UT—Sister Helen Forrester and her granddaughter Janet Forrester-Brooks, who otherwise agree on almost nothing, followed a strikingly similar pattern and reach nearly identical conclusions about the Church’s recent policy change on same-sex marriages and their children.

Helen Forrester is a retired mother of 6 who lives in American Fork, Utah. She works as a family history consultant, regularly attends the temple, and has conservative political views that resemble those of most of the members of her ward. Her granddaughter, who is the mother of a 2 year-old, is working on her law degree at Georgetown University while her husband finishes his MBA at the same school. She has strongly contrasting political views from her grandmother, but views that resemble those of her church peer group.

When Helen and Janet both heard the news of the church policy change via social media, they experienced a first stage in an almost identical manner—shock. Neither could believe that what they heard could actually be accurate. They were also both very surprised that the news seemed to leak out instead of being announced by the Church itself. 

Janet and her grandmother next experienced an identical second stage—grief. Janet confided in her husband and Helen noted in her journal that “this news felt like a punch to the stomach.” As both worked through their grief, they also found a common source of sorrow—what would happen to the children. Janet worried about Ken and Mark’s daughter Lily. Mark had been a married, active member of the church, but eventually divorced, left the church and found a wonderful partner in Ken. Mark’s daughter from his previous marriage loved the church, and was to be baptized next year. This policy cancels that and makes any participation in the church on Mark’s part difficult at best. Janet grieved how this might impact Ken and Lily, as well as Lily’s still active mother Alyssa.

Janet’s grandmother experienced a parallel grief. She knew of several of her friends who had grandchildren from broken or blended homes. She immediately thought of Kaighlee, Brayden, and Kammie, kids whose church participation would be at least jeopardized.

Sisters Helen Forrester and Janet Forrester-Brooks wept.

In response to their grief, both sisters turned to others, to the scriptures, to church hymns, and to prayer. Both sisters found solace in hymn’s like “Where Can I Turn for Peace” and “Master the Tempest is Raging.” Both found support and comfort in the wise words of friends while still struggling with their grief. Both fasted Sunday morning, though not in a public manner for fear of how others might respond. Both happened to turn to a favorite talk, a talk that neither knew the other one liked: Sister Jayne B. Malan’s talk “The Summer of the Lambs.” Both begged the Lord that this new policy would not harm His lambs. 

While both Sister Helen Forrester and her granddaughter Janet Forrester-Brooks, as they tried to work, faithfully, through a response to this policy change, passed through parallel experiences, neither was aware of those similarities nor of how they might have supported each other.

Monday, November 2, 2015


Elder Hales’ neighbor who, despite “wild party,” 
was not at all disturbed 
Salt Lake City, UT-- More details have leaked out about an October, post-General Conference Quorum of the Twelve party that at least one participant described as “out of control.” According to an unnamed source, the party, which this year was at elder Robert D. Hales’ home, had “more caffeine-free Diet Coke and Fig Newtons than even last year’s blowout—and we all know how crazy that one got!”

Many attribute the unprecedented initiation of three new apostles into the Quorum as the reason why this year’s party was, according to M. Russell Ballard, “quite the hootenanny!” Elder Ballard, who reported on the party to staffers at the Church Office Building the next morning, said that “of course we started with a little Old Testament Pictionary, just to show the young whippersnappers how serious we were about this shindig, and by the time we got to the Hymns of the Church Name That Tune, well, as my great grandkids would put it, it was off the rope (or chain or however that goes).”

“Yes, as always there was quite the revelry,” said Elder Holland the next morning. He continued, “we were slapping high-fives, swapping stories about calling new stake presidents, telling the new guys about our first conference talks—I would even go so far as to say that some of us were on the verge of a little loud laughter—but I guess that’s just how we march or do it or roll or whatever.”

According to several staffers, the festivities “really pushed the envelope—they almost made it to 9:30 this year!” One staffer noted that “some of the new guys still seemed fresh after 9 o’clock, causing Elders Nelson and Oaks to look on and shake their heads with that look of enjoy-your-youth-while-you-can on their faces.” 

Church staffers also reported that this year’s party had to be held at Elder Hales’ home since Sister Bednar was “still a little upset after April and the mess they’d left in the downstairs rumpus room.”

Monday, October 26, 2015


With the lowering of the mission age, the Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer is doing its part to help train young men for the rigors and blessings of doing God’s work. As part of this effort, Elder Kory Anton, who is hoping to clear things up and return to the mission field very soon, offers his insights to help others prepare.
This is how missionaries should feel

In the mission field, just like in the rest of the world, leadership callings are how the Lord tells us and everyone else that we are righteous and that He approves of us. You can always tell the best missionaries in the very same way that you can know the most righteous men at any given time: they are the leaders. We know this because God would only call the most righteous and the best to be examples for everyone else—duh!

When the time comes that you are called to be a leader, you might feel hesitant, but rest assured, the most important principle, the very key to mission leadership, is learning to harness and encourage the self-righteousness of those you are leading. Not everyone knows this, so let me explain it carefully.

Self-righteousness is the natural feeling of joy and confidence that righteous people feel. They use their whole self to be righteous, and that “self-righteousness” makes them glowing examples to others.

It is essential that you encourage that self-righteousness if you are going to get missionaries who work hard, who are anxiously engaged, and who spend every waking (and even sleeping) minute focused on staying righteous and avoiding the devastating consequences of even the smallest flaw or oversight. Missionary training, district meetings, zone meetings, mission meetings, interviews—in every interaction you should pound home the terrible consequences of the slightest disobedience to even the most minor of rules, highlighting how exactly obedient missionaries are blessed while the disobedient are punished.

One phrase that is always helpful is this—The Lord’s High Standards. Constantly talk about the Lord’s high standards. Those standards are the rules, every one of which must be kept with exact obedience. But don’t forget the word “high.” These are high standards because they are up, heavenly, way above the earth and above what “other missionaries” might complacently accept. Self-righteous missionaries, by living by the Lord’s high standards, enjoy being higher, above, closer to God and with a better view of God’s work as well as a clear view of the lower, less righteous, and not-quite-as-accepted-by-the-Lord other missionaries.

There are other benefits, besides the inherently higher perspective and lifted up status of self-righteous missionaries, that come with emphasizing the Lord’s high standards. When you constantly emphasize the Lord’s high standards, then the missionaries you lead will feel an incredible amount of guilt, shame, and godly sorrow when they break even the smallest rule. They will know that they have fallen, and fallen far, with even the slightest deviation of the Lord’s high standards of exact obedience. Those missionaries will immediately repent and be even more anxiously engaged. They will probably be even more afraid of you, knowing in their hearts that they don’t match up with the Lord’s high standards as exemplified by mission leaders. This will encourage the respect and obedience that the Lord wants all missionaries to have towards mission leaders.

Some missionaries don’t understand the importance of harnessing and encouraging the inherent self-righteousness that obedient missionaries should have. They talk about “following the Spirit” or “living by the Spirit of the law” instead of the letter of the law. That, of course, is Satan’s way of justifying sin, and those missionaries will not have the Spirit, will not be leaders, will fail, or, if they do make it, will probably get divorced some day or have a daughter that gets pregnant out of wedlock! There is a law decreed in Heaven, and when you break even the smallest mission rule, God, who will not be mocked, will punish you! Some less-than-strictly obedient missionaries might “prosper for a time,” teaching people who seem to love the gospel and love the missionaries, but rest assured that sooner or later, they will reap the terrible consequences of their sinfulness!

Some missionaries, clearly possessed by an evil, deceitful spirit, even say that Christ was not self-righteous and that He put loving people before keeping rules. They are deceived into thinking that the self-righteous worship rules instead of God. Such missionaries are children of the evil one, have gone astray, have let go of the iron rod, wander in forbidden paths, and casually meander down broad roads instead of the straight and narrow. Such missionaries don’t have a testimony that all mission (and church) rules, policies, statements, manuals, and procedures are given by God. Such missionaries are probably secretly hippies whose spirit bodies have tattoos and whose spirit faces have beards! Satan tells them, in the same way he deceived Korihor, to claim that fear, frustration, and despair are the opposite of faith, hope, and love. They lyingly talk about how Jesus’ yoke being light, and that working alongside Him should be liberating and easy. But Satan rejoices in those who are at ease in Zion! Don’t let those you lead fall into those traps, or you might not have the success that other leaders see and that proves that you are a great, righteous leader. 

All the best,

Elder Kory Anton

PS: if these essential tools of cultivating, encouraging, and harnessing self-righteousness seem unfamiliar, think back to a typical Standards Night from when you were a youth! 

Monday, October 19, 2015


Possible Photo of Brother Lowaitt
Emeraldsboro, NC—The Father of All Lies has recently deceived area man Graig Lowaitt into leaving Zion and moving to Utah. While the Fiend of the Infernal Pit lured Graig with a job promotion and a chance to be close to some family, reports indicate that it was a series of other lies that succeeded in clouding the mind of the otherwise smart and sensible brother Lowaitt. Some of those lies include “it will be fun and easy to live around all of those Mormons” and “people there are nonjudgmental and feel no pressure to keep up with their neighbors!”

Brother Lowaitt will need all of the Devil’s help in convincing his wife and children that this is for everyone’s good. Sister Lucy Gustofdaughter Lowaitt, who seems to thrive in an environment with rich diversity and missionary opportunities, will be especially difficult to convince. Satan has whispered to Graig to he tell his wife: “I’m sure you will be very happy among so many passionate, gun-toting, xenophobic, flag-waving Republicans who equate Zion with everyone acting, thinking, and believing like everyone else!”

Bother Lowaitt harbored some doubts about what is clearly a demonically foolish idea, but the lies that seem to have tipped him over to the dark side came when Satan said, “No one will miss you in North Carolina” and “oh, and Utah is so pretty!”

Monday, October 5, 2015


While this was on, what did you see?
Salt Lake City, UT—Blogs, Twitter comments, Facebook postings and other social media messages throughout this weekend revealed how liberal and conservative Mormons alike highlighted the many “devastating missed opportunities” yet again in this year’s General Conference.

Two of the most common “missed opportunities” according to liberal Mormons were not having any non-Utah apostles called and “not doing more to end the ban on facial hair.” On this first complaint, one liberal blogger wrote that “I’m sure God knows some really great brown men who could have been up there, but we all know that the Twelve only want their white buddies in the club!” The twitter hashtag #blessthebeard included strings of comments about how conference presenters or at least talks “could have brought to an end the terrible cultural taboo against faithful facial follicles!”

Conservative Mormons also complained loudly on social media about key chances that Church leaders missed. Facebook saw the viral spread of an article highlighting how, “if he were here, Elder Packer would have warned about the impending demise of the family, would have praised Kim Davis, and would have prophesied, poetically, about how Obama is seeking to destroy the God-ordained Constitution and the divine sanction of our automatic weapons.”

Besides these “missed opportunities,” liberals complained about the “late timing” and “hypocrisy” of President Nelson’s talk about women asserting their voices in the Church, while conservative Mormons, reacting to this very emphasis on women, started an All Voices Matter campaign. Conservatives called for more personal stories of great church leaders and less emphasis on how they might be “fallible” or “human,” while liberals complained about Elder Bednar’s “deification” and “circular justification” of the prevailing “gerontocracy.” Where conservatives pointed out how hard it is to understand the bizarre accents of so many people “who sound like foreigners,” liberals saw a missed opportunity for talks in other languages. 

Both groups also expressed dismay at members who “just pull quotes and unthinkingly post them” or who “only find the sort of feel-good reinforcement that they want.” Those from the left and right fear that “most members don’t really get it” or “miss out on some very important principles” if “all they get from Conference is renewed reassurance, rekindled faith, and a resolve to find more joy.” Liberals and conservatives used social media to shake their collective heads at “those people,” noting that “those people are the real losers from this Conference’s missed opportunities!”   

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Salt Lake City, UT—In a surprise and hastily announced press conference, LDS Church spokesperson LaVernal Jorgesen met with the press yesterday to dispel “myths about succession in the church and the naming of apostles.”

“There are no Apostolic Succession Cage Matches,” refuted Jorgesen flatly, “they just don’t happen!” Jorgesen’s comments came in response to descriptions and photographs in LDS PowerSurge, a blog that describes MMA-style fights between candidates for apostle. The blog features a very popular article purportedly showing a training match between Elders Nelson and Oaks. That practice match reportedly shows how Nelson’s “surgical precision” and “maybe wrong, maybe right, but never in doubt” medical confidence led to the 8 round dismantling of Oaks’ “belabored” and “legalistic” fighting style.

Jorgesen denied that such cage matches exist, claiming that the reports and photographs were fakes. The church spokesperson added that while Nelson could probably “rip your heart right out like no Aztec ever did,” he also noted that “everyone can easily discern that his kindly glint would be no match for Oaks’ take-no-prisoners, Eye of the Litigious Tiger.”

Jorgesen also denied that the more senior apostles still called younger members of the quorum, like Elders Bednar and Cook, the “Young Wipersnappers.” Jorgesen added, “and let me be perfectly clear on this: no one has ever called Elder Holland ‘Jowls of Fury!’”

As the press conference closed, Jorgesen added that the downloadable PDF of The Next Apostle Pick-um is not an official church document and should be “removed from the fridges of the faithful immediately.” 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Odd how many missionaries are happy!
Lima, Perú—Elder James Roth, who believed he would “just pretty much suffer through two years as a missionary” has found, against all of his expectations, that he is actually “really, really happy.”

When Roth was called to serve, he told his friends and family back in Lehi, Utah that “honestly I’m just going because it is my duty” and “it does seem like the Lord wants me to go.” Roth believed that spending two years in Perú, learning to speak Spanish, and being so far from the people, television shows, video games, music, and movies that meant so much to him would leave him mostly miserable. In his final talk in church, Roth’s emphasis was on sacrifice and giving up one’s desires for the Lord.

So it has come as a completely unexpected surprise that Roth has found himself “happier than he ever could have imagined” while working as a missionary. As Roth put it, “my first companion was Peruvian, and I just have to say that we didn’t always get along, but I cannot tell you how happy I was when we invited our first investigator to be baptized and she said yes!” Added Roth, “it was so much better than being back home in Utah and going out with friends to see yet another ridiculous superhero movie.”

While Roth has had chances to teach and see people embrace the gospel, he has also had many difficult, painful experiences, experiences that he anticipated but which he thought would cast a predominantly unhappy pallor over his two year service. “Yah,” explained Roth, “there was the time when the a woman we had been teaching had a nervous breakdown or the times we’ve been cussed out or when dinner appointments have fallen through, but I never thought I could be so happy even with so many challenges!”

Roth’s work and response seem to be fairly typical. He has had trouble with the language, with MTC food, with companions, with annoying ward members, with dogs, and with a constant stream of rejection. “I figured I’d deal with those things,” said Roth, “I just didn’t realize how much joy I could find in the midst of all of it.”

As Roth has only a few weeks left in his mission, he has started to ponder the next stages of life. Concluded Roth, “well, if the misery of being a missionary can actually bring joy, maybe it might even be worth it to have kids!”