Monday, May 7, 2018
|Deepest, Truest Reason to Share Gospel:|
So Families Can Be Sealed Eternally
Akron, OH—A recent visit by a member of the Ninth Quorum of the Seventy provided stake conference goers in the Akron Ohio stake with a powerful lesson on how to not lead a church discussion.
“It was really life-changing instruction,” said Samantha Craig, “I mean, I took careful notes because he made just about every mistake imaginable!”
Sister Craig and others explained that Brother Todd Jenkinson’s youth fireside, stake leadership meeting, and adult session of stake conference featured what were meant to be gospel discussions with the audience. “I’m sure he’s a good, inspired man,” said Craig, “but when you start a youth fireside by saying that you didn’t prepare anything and you’re just going to rely upon the Spirit, well, you had better bring some great Spirit or those kids are just gonna tune you out.”
Most in attendance acknowledge that Brother Jenkinson failed to bring “some great Spirit” to that meeting, and many of his young audience did indeed tune out. What added to the awkwardness were when Brother Jenkinson called the youth out for being on their phones, but his efforts to seem fun and playful failed to mask his genuine annoyance.
Another mistake Craig and others noticed was Brother Jenkinson’s habit of asking what seemed like open questions, but for which he clearly had very specific answers in mind. At one point, Brother Jenkinson asked the youth, “what is the most important reason why we share the gospel with our friends?” One bright, cheerful young woman shot up her hand, was called on, and replied, “so that they can avoid the dangers and evils of the world around us.” Brother Jenkinson told her that that is a good reason, “but there is an even deeper reason why we share the gospel.” Another youth replied that it is “so others can have Christ’s blessings.” Again Brother Jenkinson acknowledge that that is an important reason, but then directed the youth to a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants. After reading about eternal blessings, Brother Jenkinson clarified that the “real, deep, scriptural reason” why we share the gospel is so that those around us “can one day go to the temple and be sealed as families.”
“Um, okay, I guess that is true,” said youth participant Alma Campbell, “but those other reasons seemed good too, but, um, I guess they are not as right....”
In addition to using what seem like open questions to play what we could call the “Guess What I’m Thinking” game, Brother Jenkinson also had a habit of uncomfortably “restating” what some speakers meant. In the stake leadership meeting, when discussing how to minister to ward members, one member said that “we minister by loving members for who they are,” to which Brother Jenkinson said, “and by that you mean we love them for what they can be and what the Lord wants them to be.” Another member said that “I try to be patient yet reliable,” to which Brother Jenkinson said, “what this dear brother means by that is that we are loving enough to know when to not take no for an answer.” While this seemed to get to the points Brother Jenkinson saw as important, it left many participants more than a little uncomfortable.
Another common technique was “careful” scripture analysis to get at the points Brother Jenkinson wanted to make. After studying a scripture from the Old Testament, Brother Jenkinson asked members of the stake presidency what it meant. When all three failed to make the imaginative connection Jenkinson had in mind, another member, with plenty of prompting from the visiting Authority, noted how the flying serpents symbolize the fear and discouragement that get in the way of “true ministering.” Brother Jenkinson praised the member who made the comment, following that praise up with a joke about the relative spiritual insight of stake members in contrast with the stake presidency. It was an awkward attempt at humor that largely fell flat.
While many members found some inspiration in Brother Jenkinson’s “discussions,” others found them quite frustrating. Still, members like Samantha Craig felt very inspired. “It isn’t every meeting,” said Craig, “where you see a leader make almost every possible mistake, you know, bringing them all together so you can see them, remember them, and avoid them.”
Craig concluded, “it is amazing how the Lord uses His chosen vessels!”
Monday, April 30, 2018
Salt Lake City, UT—In an unexpected press conference, God clarified that He actually does love everyone including an unnamed local masturbater.
“I find it odd that some are so surprised,” said He who created Heaven and Earth “that I can find it in Me to love someone who rather regularly masturbates, but yep, I can!”
The announcement seems to have been made to set the record straight on how God loves all of God’s children. God further elaborated that “some seem to believe that some sin or any sin disqualifies one from feeling loved or even having My Spirit with them, but nope—you can make mistakes and still be loved and Spiritually encouraged.”
A reporter on hand posed a question on many people’s minds—isn’t sexual sin like masturbation close to murder? In typical quiet majesty, God replied that murder robs another of his or her chance to live and choose, and murder puts in human hands what God wants to control—when His children leave mortality. The Father of All said that while rape might come close to murder, self-stimulation to orgasm or even consensual sex with another “are very far from the soul-destroying power of murder.”
When asked about scriptures that connect sexual sin and murder, God encouraged all present to think about how Alma had once gone about trying to destroy the spirits of others by leading them from the gospel, and that that is what he was warning his son Corianton about. “Of course sexual sin is like murder,” said God, “but only when those sins kill souls and take others away from Me, but masturbation doesn’t do that.”
When asked why He was taking time to say this now, God said that “I have too many of my children feeling too much shame, guilt, and sorrow over this,” and “it just seems like you are ready for us to get past the Victorians and to place this habit within its proper context.”
When asked what He meant by “proper context,” God explained that, “well, think about it—if the only sin committed by all of my children was masturbation, what kind of world would this be?” Answering His own question, He said “no more spouse abuse or child abuse, no more wars, terrorism, robberies, fraud, political corruption, or systematic exploitation of the poor and vulnerable.”
Still seemingly confused, one reporter asked, “yah, but doesn’t masturbation lead to serious sexual sin, sex addiction, prostitution, sexual deviance, pedophilia, and the promotion of pornography?” To this question God responded that “how worried would you be that a small child who told a lie would get involved in massive fraud or embezzling or how worried would you be that a nursery-age child who hit or bit another child would grow up to be a murderer?” God then continued, “yes, bad behavior can lead to other bad behavior, but please don’t assume that one mistake or even habit is a slippery slope that always leads to a terrible, terrible pit.”
Toward the conclusion of the press conference, God revealed that “Me and Your Heavenly Mother want you to love and cherish your bodies, and We want you to use them in ways that are consistent with your values, but hey, as you are learning about your bodies, don’t let your mistakes or weakness fool you into thinking We don’t love you.”
“The worst,” interjected Heavenly Mother, “is when you feel so much guilt and shame that you don’t talk to Us, because I cannot tell you how much your Heavenly Father and I love to hear your voices!”
Monday, April 16, 2018
Salt Lake City, UT—The church has quietly started requesting what it calls at “wedding offering” in the form of a “modest temple marriage fee.” When couples have been calling various temples to request times for sealings, they have been asked if they would like to “give something back to the Lord” as a way to show gratitude “for the blessing of eternal marriage.”
“I was kind of surprised,” said Kaitlynn Parkins, a BYU student who recently got engaged to Coldyn Lober. Sister Parkins explained that “the woman at the temple asked if we would like to make a temple offering, but I had never heard of that.” After it was explained to her, Parkins said that “she’d have to check with her parents about that.”
At present, it seems that only the more historic or photogenic temples are making the request. Workers at the Salt Lake temple, for example, recommend an offering “between $70 and $90.” One recently engaged couple was told to “take ten percent of what you are spending on the wedding, and offer that back to the temple, to show God how much the temple means to you.”
While reports have come in that the Salt Lake, Logan, San Diego, Washington DC, and Provo City temples may require the few by year’s end, other temples do not anticipate such a fee requirement. As one church insider told the Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer, “I’d say that any temple that would fit into the baptistery of the Jordan River temple, you know, like your Raleigh North Carolina or Columbia South Carolina temple, will not even mention the possible donation.”
There are also reports that couples with higher long-range earning potential may be pressed to offer more. A second church insider mentioned lists of BYU Business and Finance majors who, if they request temple sealings, “would be encourage to offer back to God what their God-given gifts will help them earn in the long-run.” In contrast, Humanities, Anthropology/Folklore, Early Childhood Education, and Social Work majors are quietly being told that not only does the Lord not request any more “widow’s mites” from them, but that the day may soon come when they will be permitted to pay tithing at 6 or even 5.5%.
Monday, February 12, 2018
Commentary by Calvin Best
All of this news about Rob Porter, who I am sure is a good, upstanding member of the church, should cause all of us to pause and reflect. What could have led to this situation? What is going on in our society and government that is causing such a stir?
I don’t know Brother Porter personally, but he served both Senator Hatch and Mike Lee. These are two powerful, righteous men of God who only surround themselves with other righteous men of God. Porter has toiled side-by-side with our duly elected Commander-in-Chief, working tirelessly to make America great again. So, given those facts, what should we make of this situation? I think that any reasonable person would agree that Brother Porter should not have resigned, should not have stopped doing America’s important work, especially since we can be sure that if something happened in the past, it is past and was properly addressed.
The first thing to remember, as members of the church, is that if Brother Porter had been guilty of any of this stuff, inspired church leaders would have already handled it. If the wives went to the bishops, those men would have got to the bottom of all of it. If there were “crimes” committed, then they would have made sure justice was served. We all know that, especially with men, mercy cannot rob justice. If it was true that he made some mistakes, like all of us do, then, if Brother Porter is now a temple-recommend holder, he must have repented. How can we continue to hold against him what he has repented of? If it was not true, which I think we can all see is probably the real truth, then why would these reports cause such a stir? I think we can all see that forces of the deep state and liberal media, the modern day Gadianton robbers that the Book of Mormon warns us about, are still trying to stick their puny arm out and stop the work of the Lord and his earthly servants!
The second thing to remember is that not only are all church leaders wise, inspired men who would be removed from their office before God would allow them to make a serious mistake, but that some powerful men are passionate. That passion can be misunderstood by people, especially women. It is good that brother Porter’s bishop, bishopric, and stake presidency are also all men, since men understand the true intent and meaning, the true hearts of other men. Here again women in disciplinary councils would only misunderstand, might overly believe the women, and would gum up the whole divine process. Also, we know that a very large percent of accusations are things women are mistaken about in their reports. This is especially true now when so many women are talking about a few bad men doing a few things, usually a long time ago. This has just about every woman wanting to be part of what is going on, so they have extra encouragement to exaggerate stuff from the past. That is probably the case with Porter and those women. This is all just that MeToo stuff taken too far!
The thing to keep in mind with the Porter thing is that all of it really gets at the heart of how an attack on Trump and his virtuous leadership is an attack on the church and on what we hold sacred. Porter is just the first person who could be forced to stop doing what God put him in the White House to do if we let wild accusations and stories by women about “abuse” in the past get too much attention. Seen properly, all of this stuff is just the Adversary causing conflict and chaos. We can rise above this and persist.
If we let righteous people like Porter be forced out, a man who obviously cleared everything up with inspired church leaders, then you and I can count on the fact that we will probably be next, and the small thread holding up the constitution may snap completely!
Monday, January 15, 2018
Apparently “Preaching the Gospel”
Isn’t for Everyone
White Planes, NY—The newly called ward mission leader of the White Planes West ward, Mark Woodbury, has told several unsurprised friends, family members, and acquaintances that he’s “just not that into missionary work.”
Brother Woodbury’s lukewarm interest in spreading the Gospel was obvious to the bishop who called him. Said Bishop Afton, “yah, he told me that he doesn’t ‘do splits’ and that he didn’t even really enjoy missionary work when he was a missionary, but we are all hoping he will grow into the calling.”
The lack of enthusiasm on Brother Woodbury’s part was also obvious when the missionaries had a new investigator at church on his second Sunday in the calling. Brother Woodbury successfully avoided the middle-aged woman, and reportedly told his wife that “that lady really doesn’t look like member material to me.” When the missionaries enthusiastically told him that she had a baptismal date set for March, Brother Woodbury’s reply was “well, you know a lot can happen between now and then.”
Even sharing the Gospel with people he knows has proven difficult for Brother Woodbury. His next-door neighbor, Mr. Howard Morris, once had a conversation with him about religion. When Sister Woodbury asked about the conversation a few hours later, he told her that “there wasn’t much to tell.” Two weeks later, when Sister Woodbury returned from her neighborhood book club meeting where Mrs. Morris was in attendance, Sister Woodbury bluntly asked her husband, “did you tell Howard that we’re Unitarians?!” Mark told his wife that he was “testing the waters to see how he responded to that one before jumping into Mormonism.”
Monday, January 8, 2018
|Scholars have suggested that a "blanket" permission slip|
could have prevented tragedies like this
Salt Lake City, UT—Scholars at BYU and the University of Utah confirmed over the weekend that the Willy and Martin Handcart Companies could not leave earlier because they were waiting for several essential youth permission slips.
“We have identified about eight youth,” said Keith Ützlander, “who could not ride in some of the leaders’ handcarts because they didn’t have proper permission slips.” Historian Taylor Walters agreed with Ützlander, stating that “some of the youth had fathers who could not sign because they were in England serving missions, and at least two youth said that they lost the form sometime after church and before they could give it to their mom.”
Since the early days of the church, proper permission forms have been essential. This emphasis seems to go back to the Joseph Smith translation of the Beatitudes, where he restores the lost verse “Blessed are the permission slip bringers, for they shall keep us free from lawsuits.”
Scholars also noted that another part of the delay was connected with having enough adult handcart drivers, since, as D&C 158:9 says “Verily, thus saith the Lord, youth shall not ride in handcarts where other youth are the drivers, otherwise, verily, hijinks may ensue.”
Monday, November 20, 2017
|Do the Oppressed Inevitably|
Imitate their Oppressors?
Logan, UT—The former and progressive Mormons that formed “Ex-Mos and Progressive Mos United” is actually rather less united than the group’s name suggests.
Group “leader” Marty Norton is still “very excited to get together with other people who have grown out or beyond their typical LDS upbringing,” but he notes that group cohesion “is not what many of us would like.”
“The first few meetings started out great,” commented Norton, “with plenty of enthusiasm, but even then we could see that this would not be easy.” When asked about initial obstacles, Norton noted that “one young man brought two 9 x 13 Pyrex pans of ‘funeral potatoes’ to be welcoming, but most of the group seemed to scoff at them rather disdainfully.” In addition, Norton explained that “several in the group brought wine as a friendly gesture,” but some complained that they either objected to alcohol for social and health reasons or they saw it as “a few going overboard to scream how not-Mormon they were.”
This was really just the first of many conflicts that have prevented “Ex-Mos and Progressive Mos United” from being really united. Other conflicts have arisen over group activities. One person mentioned how lonely she feels, since she does not participate with friends and family in LDS activities, meetings, and callings. Some in the group suggested getting together every Monday night to socialize, but others rejected the idea of what they called a “lousy, fake FHE” that was “so typical of Mormons who cannot get past imposing needless meetings on others.”
When Diana Wilson, a group member living in Cache Valley, noted how much her views have been expanded with her study of Buddhism, Islam, and contemporary ethics, her suggestions of some discussions about those traditions were loudly rejected by members who “didn’t want some new dogma to replace the oppressive one they were trying to escape.” When Wilson said that these ideas didn’t seem like a new dogma, others chimed in that they had no interest in “a mishmash of New Age beliefs formed buffet-style to prop up a privileged, white, narcissistic bourgeois ego.”
Even Marty Norton, the force behind the group’s organization, has come under some criticism. When he arrived at a meeting with ideas for bylaws, activities, and assignments, several members balked at his suggestions. As one member said, “yah, in my mind I call Marty ‘Napoleon,’ since, like Animal Farm, right after we finally throw off the farmer, people like Marty come along with rules, hierarchy, and duties, and end up doing everything the old oppressive Mormons used to do!”
Monday, November 6, 2017
EPISTLE FROM A PISSED OFF EX-MO (EXMORMON): HOW TO GET ANGRY AT GENERAL CONFERENCE IN FIVE EASY STEPS
The Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer values all voices from Zion, even exiled voices of those joyously living in sinful wastelands of despair (we’re looking at you Salt Lake and Tooele!). This week we have another epistle from our resident pissed off ex-mo (Exmormon) Howard Pinehurst.
|Anger, Oh The Places It Will Take You!|
Sick of simply “enjoying” General Conference with all the gaslit lemmings who are too afraid of cognitive dissonance to really see the truth? Well here is your easy guide to getting upset in either April or October every year for the rest of your life!
Step One: Question Authority. The first step is to say that Joseph Smith questioned authority, and because of his questions we got the Restoration. As you question authority, emphasize how humans are inherently flawed and that it is their natural tendency to abuse power (see D&C 121:39). While they might be inspired, focus on how leaders are not only human but are bound by cultural limitations.
Step Two: Question Loyalty. General Conference is a loyalty ritual. Loyal members come together, listen together, learn together, and worship together at General Conference. That feeling of togetherness can be inspiring. You can almost feel physically lifted by the music, the prayers, or the talks. Or by being around other saints. But you can exploit that loyalty’s downside. Loyalty usually makes you feel unity to your tribe, but it can also reinforce an “us-versus-them” mentality. If one feels powerfully connected to a group, focus on how that necessarily makes others outsiders. In other words, see General Conference as a twice-a-year-Stanford-Prison-Experiment! You can almost hear the footsteps of terror, of xenophobia, of homophobia, of transphobia, of arachnophobia, and of phobiaphobia (fear of fear) right now!
Step Three: Question Purity. What you will hear at Conference is authorities appealing to group loyalty to encourage purity. Yes, sexual purity is a very big deal, very big, but it is not the only purity. There is purity in all obedience, since all disobedience stains the sinner. You want to emphasize how purity is always tied up with shame, and shame is using fear and coercion to keep everyone in line. Seen in this way, the whole meeting centers around shame used by the group to encourage conformity, loyalty, and respect for authority.
Step Four: See Harm Everywhere. Now that you see powerful authorities using loyalty and shame to enforce purity, notice not only the leaders—powerful white men—but also notice who suffers harm from what is happening. Everyone who does not fit the mold will probably feel like an impure outsider. Even if others don’t feel pain, you can feel their pain for them. Even if they are too duped to realize what is happening, you can be awake to the institutional victimization that is at work.
Step Five: Feel Anger. And now, everything about the meeting will make you angry. You can see harm everywhere. Those who are not here are not here because being here would cause them harm. Those who are here who don’t fit it or are not pure are harmed. Those who should be harmed are only not harmed because they have given in to the ritual of loyalty, the joy of some set of rules for purity, and the easy comfort of conforming to authority. Those who should see what is going on and who should speak truth-to-power are duped and gaslighted into falling in line. And at the top are the leaders themselves who enjoy the power and prestige. Now that you have that righteous anger, doesn’t it taste great! Anger truly is a gift that keeps on giving! But heck, why wait until April or October—you can probably be seethingly angry during any church gathering!
Monday, October 30, 2017
|Shame Going Back to the First People|
Glenn was invited to dinner at his sister’s house last Friday. It was there that Glenn found himself with his niece Candice (14) and nephews Eric (17) and Drew (15). Previously his sister had confidentially expressed her suspicions to Glenn that the children may have been viewing pornography and that her son Eric may have “gone a little too far” with his girlfriend Rachel. With his sister out of the room, Brother Glenn saw this as a good moment to “bear down in pure testimony” against his niece and nephews.
In no uncertain terms, Brother Glenn warned the three that sexual sins, even seemingly “harmless” ones, were “right there with murder” in their seriousness with God. He reminded them that God could “not look on sin with the least degree of allowance” and that “no unclean thing can be in God’s presence.” He made it clear that they “may as well kill someone as view pornography or fool around sexually!”
Brother Glenn’s idea that sexual sin is next to murder is based on Alma 39. Glenn seems completely unaware that what Alma might very well mean by a “sin next to murder” is actually the sin of leading the hearts of others to destruction. Alma, in chapter 36, sorrowfully reflects upon how he did that very thing when he sought to destroy the church. Read carefully, Alma’s strongest warning to his son is not against sexual sin in chapter 39; his warning is against doing things that lead to the destruction of others.
For her part, after hearing her uncle, Candice felt deep shame for her minor sexual sins, sins that resulted from a healthy, natural curiosity. Lacking a clear, loving context to understand and explore her healthy, natural curiosity, she “fell into sin.” Eric and Drew were also deeply impacted by their uncle’s words. Drew, who had always planned on a mission, after the discussion felt such deep shame and guilt that he quietly resolved that he could never be worthy to be God’s instrument. Eric, who had struggled with loving and sexual feelings for his girlfriend, decided that they must break up. His plan to break up was because he no longer believed he could match God’s exacting demands, and that he would be better off outside of the church and with a non-Mormon girlfriend, someone he “would not pollute” with sexual desires.
Later that evening, after “reproving” his niece and nephews “with sharpness,” Brother Glenn internally applauded his efforts to admonish and to be a good example by avoided all sexual sins. He fell asleep satisfied that he had done God’s work.
At the very moment when he was peacefully falling asleep, his niece and nephews were feeling so unworthy that, for the first time in their lives, they did not feel that God could ever listen to their bedtime prayers.
At the very moment when he was peacefully falling asleep, his niece and nephews were feeling so unworthy that, for the first time in their lives, they did not feel that God could ever listen to their bedtime prayers.
Monday, October 23, 2017
|Spiritually Trivial Matters,|
Casper, WY—Over the weekend Satan managed to, yet again, reduce a complex and interesting Elders quorum discussion about honesty to a superficial yet somehow still heated debate about speed limits.
This week’s instance occurred in the Casper North 3rd Ward’s Elders quorum, where instructor Garret Ingles attempted to challenge quorum honesty by asking how many members never exceeded the legal driving speed limit. While the question seemed provocative, probing if quorum members were obedient in keeping “the little things” as well as the big, Brother Ingles did not realize that it was the Evil One who had encouraged this line of inquiry.
Ingles’ question was immediately followed by the sense of claustrophobia that often accompanies Pharisaical attempts at keep the commandments. This claustrophobic feeling of being confined to the overly narrow space of needless rules caused immediate feelings of confusion and shame. Much to Satan’s approval, some quorum members immediately yet quietly gave up on keeping the commandments. Others responded defensively, saying that no one can stay within the speed limit all of the time.
Ingles, in a move that he hoped would help others feel free to confess shortcomings, admitted that he very often breaks speed limit laws and thereby tacitly acts dishonestly. This confession merely prompted class members to question honesty’s importance, and, by extension, the importance of Elders quorum meetings like this one. The bulk of the remaining class time was discussions of minor (and some major) lawlessness, mingled with scriptures.
For their part, the demonic spirits assigned to Wyoming (the only state whose declining population means a reduction in the need for evil spirits), heartily approved of the entire discussion. Said one demon, “yah, so long as we keep Mike Turner from pondering his steadily increasing theft at work, Dave Gibson from considering his duplicity in keeping important information from his wife, and Kyle Levin from recognizing his creeping hypocrisy, then they can talk all they want about if it is okay to run red lights at 3 a.m.!”