Monday, August 26, 2013


SACRAMENTO, CA—James and Teri Burke, the completely exhausted parents of a newborn, recently slept right through what would have been a life-altering visit by the angel Moroni. 

Teri gave birth to the Burke’s third child 2 days ago.  Delivery complications first meant that the doctors tried to induce Teri, but ended up having to deliver the Burke’s child via caesarian section. Since then, James, who has been with his wife every step, has found himself scrambling to find people to watch their other children and finish an important work project.   

The days since their daughter’s birth have been a whirlwind of activities, visits, pictures, and adjustments.  Though Teri has struggled less with breast-feeding, her post-partum emotional swings have been just as severe as before.  James has worked hard to relieve his wife of as much stress as possible.

By last night, both James and Teri were so exhausted that they let one child have ice cream for dinner and allowed another to commit what under any other circumstances would have been timeout-worthy misdemeanors. But even in this county fair-like environment, both children fell asleep rather quickly.

Once James and Teri got to go to bed, they fell into the deep sleep-of-the-dead known only to new parents, recently released mission presidents, and deacons at the Priesthood session of General Conference.
It was in the midst of this tomb-like slumber that, unbeknownst to them, the Burke’s bedroom filled with a radiant white light rivaling far brighter than the noon-day sun. In this brilliant glow, a man in a celestial robe appeared with a message for the Burkes. After starting his message, he noted that the Burkes had not stirred in the least. The man coughed several times and even raised his voice slightly. When this also met with no reaction, he shook Brother Burke rather violently. Not recognizing the angelic prodding, James rolled over and simply mumbled “she’ll probably go right back to sleep…”
Because of their inattentiveness, the angel consulted with other post-mortal messengers and administrators.  They determined to come back later that night, but neither the second nor third visits yielded better results.  There was a discussion about trying to visit them individually the next day, but given both Brother and Sister Burke’s sheer exhausted, they held out little hope of duly rested and attentive recipients. The suggestion that they leave a note was also rejected.

Nothing is known of the exact contents of the intended angelic message, though some reports indicate that it may have included a quote from Isaiah chapter 60.  

Monday, August 19, 2013


ROCHESTER, NY—Jen Webster of the Rochester 3rd Ward has become increasingly concerned about the answers she seems to be getting to her prayers.

Sister Webster first became concerned about this nearly two years ago.  At that point she was praying many times a day to know if it was a good time to add one more child to their family of four.  Jen reported that “one day, as I was praying about this, I felt a sudden peace and into my mind I saw, with utter clarity, a turnip.” She continued, “I searched the scriptures for some sort of symbolism or meaning, but I didn’t find anything.”  When she consulted her husband about it, the only insight he could offer was “maybe turnips are a pregnancy craving or maybe we both need to repent and ‘turn-up’ toward God.”  Sister Webster found neither suggestion insightful.
Odd answers to prayers did not stop with this one.  On another occasion, Jen thought out a problem, took her plan to the Lord, and then felt what she described as a very distinct “burning in the big toe.”  She elaborated that “this seemed to happen every time I thought about this problem.  One day I concluded that I should not follow through with my plan,” continued Webster, “since the burning was in my left big toe, and the Lord has told us to choose the right.”  Webster concluded that this was a reliable solution, until the next day, when the burning moved to the right big toe.
These have not been the only incidents of ambiguous answers to prayers.  When she asked the Lord for inspiration on her talk dealing with tithing, the only clear impression she received was the word “Finland.”  When she prayed about how she might help her 2nd grade son who was struggling with reading, she had these words flash in her mind: “The value lies not within any particular thing, but in the desire placed on that thing.”  Commenting on that answer, Sister Webster said, “not only do I have no idea what that means, but that sounds like something out of a fortune cookie.”

When asked what she might do about this situation, Sister Webster said, “well, the obvious answer would be to pray about it, and, of course, when I did, the only answer I got was ‘Abraham Lincoln’.” 

Monday, August 5, 2013


Greg's Young Men's president 
would have sensed the evil 
PROVO, UT—This weekend saw the annual gathering of a group of renowned Mormon scientists and science fiction writers.  The group, called ParalleLDS, explores the possible roles that members of the church might have in alternative time dimensions.

Among this year’s presenters was Andy Roberts, who teaches at the State University of New York at Palmyra.  Dr. Roberts argued that “we can anticipate that an LDS Brady family, living in a very plausible alternative dimension, would have rejoiced as their faithful home teachers gave Marcia a blessing to miraculously heal her nose before that crucial dance.”  Roberts continued that “an inspired Young Men’s president surely would have called to warn Greg about the tiki idol.” 

Other presenters, like Dr. Janice Lawrence from the University of Southern Central Florida, postulated the impact of Mormonism in athletic events in other time dimensions. Dr. Lawrence established that the 1980 US men’s Olympic hockey team “would clearly have braved the baptismal waters of Lake Placid just before defeating the Russian team in order to truly bring to pass a miracle on ice and in the font.” She also established a credible alternate world in which “repentance created more virtuous football players at schools like the University of Miami and USC, players who would not place success on the field above spiritual success.”  As a result, explained Lawrence, “those programs would eschew so called ‘national titles’ in order to be truly, eternally successful, just as BYU’s football team has done in this dimension for almost 30 years!” 

One of the most talked about presentations came from Dr. Kristina Humphries who teaches physics and creative writing at the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople.  Dr. Humphries established a breakthrough theory about how the church has grown exponentially in one alternative world.  According to Humphries, “two sister missionaries traveling to an appointment near Los Angeles felt impressed to follow a particular SUV.  When the vehicle stopped in a Brentwood neighborhood, the sister’s followed an impression to knock on the door.”  Dr. Humphries then explained how these inspired sister missionaries “preached the gospel first to the people in the home, who lovingly repented and forsook their sins,” and then the sisters “addressed the cameras that had assembled so that God’s word (instead of the NBA) could be heard throughout the nation.”

Though most presentations were well received, others received considerable criticism. When a professor postulated a world in which Jon McNaughton could respectfully see the value of religious, cultural, and political pluralism, he was roundly criticized as proposing “something so wildly implausible and absurdly unthinkable” that “by its very nature may violate fundamental principles of the space-time continuum as well is bring ParalleLDS’s work into disrepute.”  McNaughton reportedly responded with a life-size painting of Jesus weeping at the sight of McNaughton's critics, many of whom happened to be reading articles from the Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer.