Monday, April 28, 2014


Sturkle explained that, unlike the Rexburg restaurant,
this is what a normal Applebee’s parking lot looks like
REXBURG, ID—In an imminent move that will surprise no one except Tom Sturkle, BYU-Idaho’s Humanities program will not be offering Dr. Sturkle the newly created Assistant Professor of Humanities job. 

When asked about her father’s chances of being offered a job at BYU-I, Sturkle’s 18 year-old daughter Holly said, “well, when he asked me to help him cut out slips of paper with quotes on them for the students to read, it was pretty clear that he doesn’t know how to teach college.” Holly explained that, “he hasn’t had any college teaching experience in his 10 years of graduate work at Brown, so I guess he thought he could just ‘wing it’ like it’s Elders Quorum or something. Knowing him,” concluded Holly, “he probably had the students compare pictures of the Salt Lake Temple with some Metallica song and then finished with his testimony—I can just see that train wreck in my mind right now.”

Sturkle’s 15 year-old son Kingston will also not be at all surprised when his father doesn’t get the job offer. “Dad is a great guy, don’t get me wrong,” commented Kingston, “but even though he is excited about it, I don’t think he should have told the search committee how thrilled he will be to start a Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Queer-Intersex-Ally student group right after he gets hired.” Kingston continued, “even I can see that as a problem.”

David Sturkle, a 34 year-old insurance salesman and active church member in Florida, will also experience no shock when his brother is not offered the job. David noted that “Tom is very smart, very smart, but when he gets nervous or excited, he talks about how his dissertation blended Mormon theology with French Feminism and an embodied Heavenly Mother and on and on and soon everyone gets pretty lost. I’m sure he ended up dragging the entire search committee down that rabbit hole, and, if it was anything like how our family felt two Thanksgivings ago, they will never want to see him again.”

Perhaps the least surprised person will be Tom Sturkle’s wife, Melanie. Melanie described how she discouraged him from telling the committee how Idaho is really just a stepping stone to a job in Provo and finally retirement in Hawaii. “Tom thought that they would respect and even expect that sort of honesty from such a top candidate. And when he got home,” continued Melanie, “it was much worse than I’d thought.” She went on to describe how “Tom called Rexburg the ‘lone and dreary world’, said that the town had the only Applebee’s in the entire world that anyone had ever described as ‘busy,’ and, finally, in his interview with the president, Tom gave him a few tips on improving his devotionals.” She finished by saying, “yep—we can take that job off the list!”

For his part, Tom said “I felt really good about the whole process, and I think I can really make a difference there.” He did add, with a small shadow of doubt that Tom easily dismissed, “thinking back on it, when I had my Skype interview with the General Authority, when he asked if I had a problem with pornography, I probably should not have said, ‘define problem.’”

REPORT UPDATE: Within 48 hours of his interview, Tom was notified that someone else had taken the job. 

Monday, April 21, 2014


In a parallel dimension, this images is
unthinkable, absurd, or blasphemous
CITY BY THE LAKE OF SALT—In a dimension very similar to our own, but with some key differences, the Ordain Men movement is still struggling in its efforts to see the ordination of male members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Days that are Latter. Said spokesman Howard Wheelwright, “we hope that the day will come when men can put their hands on the heads of their children to bless them and that they can be heard in the church beyond just their ‘celestial, exalted role’ as good providers, dads, and coaches.”

Opposition to the Masculinist movement has a tradition of being quite strong in SDL culture. When asked about the movement, Sister Janet Jones said, “listen, I love my husband very much, I mean, he’s incredible, but I think that the Ordain Men people are just going too far.” When asked to elaborate on this, Sister Jones said, “even though I hold the priestesshood, he is treated like an equal partner in our home. I might preside, but, let’s be honest, I really let him run things most of the time.”

Other women also recognized the dangers of a push to ordain men to the Priestesshood. Said sister Patricia Collins, “my husband enjoys all of the blessings of the priestesshood already, and, with all of the work that he does to provide for our family, coach our kids’ sports teams, and find a little time for a boys night out, I honestly don’t see how he would have time for anything else.”

Several other women took to the parallel dimension’s online social media sites like BookforFace to talk about the Ordain Men movement. Typical of the comments about the movement were sentiments like “all callings in the church are the same, whether you are the Prophetess or the Men’s Relief Society leader” and “we all know that the Men’s Relief Society President really runs the ward.” One of the most poigniant comments was “my husband already holds the Priestesshood—every day when he comes home from work and wraps his arms around me!” Other comments noted that “since women are by nature nurturing, it makes sense for them to administer to the spiritual needs of others.”

When asked about the movement, men like Jeffery Walker said, “I just have faith that the Lord restored the church and Priestesshood through Emma Hale, and the Ordain Men people just seem like they are murmuring or trying to ‘steady the ark’.” Brother Walker continued, “I already feel equal to my high priestess wife so why would I want the Priestesshood!” Walker was not alone in these feelings. Glen Hatch added that “we all know how aggressive men are by nature, so they should go out and work hard for the family while a nurturing Priestesshood holder is at home, meeting everyone’s spiritual needs.” “Frankly,” added Hatch, “I think that if the men had the Priestesshood some of them would want to just take over everything—you know how those crazy Masculinists can be!”

Undaunted by such criticism, members of the Ordain Men movement continue their quest for male ordination. They claim that scripture asserts that men and women are equal before God, and that male ordination would bring blessings to both men and women. They also claim that some men don’t feel like their voices are heard in the church, a claim that many members, male and female, don’t really understand or agree with. Some members of the movement would like to know that the Sisteren are going to God and sincerely asking Her if men should be ordained, just as President Camilla Kimball prayed about extending the Priestesshood to all worthy women.

The movement does seem to be having some impact. While the Ordain Men organizers were turned away from the recent Priestesshood session of the church’s general conference, Quorum of the Twelve member Sister Darlene Oaks explained that though men are not ordained, they still work under the authority of the Priestesshood. Sister Oaks affirmed that “Thus, it is truly said that the Men’s Relief Society is not just a class for men but something they belong to—a divinely established appendage to the Priestesshood.” (Some have noted that “appendage” is a somewhat awkward, cumbersome word choice in this context.)

Finally, Sister Oaks also clarified some of the reasons why men are not ordained, and stated that “even though the church’s presiding authorities hold and exercise all of the keys delegated to women in this dispensation, they are not free to alter the divinely decreed pattern that only women will hold offices in the Priestesshood.”  

Upon hearing this, Brother Jason Peters said, “well, I was wondering if men should be ordained, but now that the Sisteren have spoken, I just need to have faith and keep trying to be the best provider, dad, and coach I can be.” Added Peters, “if I don’t feel my voice is being heard or if I think that it would be wonderful to be voice in the blessing of my children, well, I guess it just must be me.” He concluded that “I will just refocus my efforts on my church calling, trying to help the young men understand how important it is in the lives of the young Priestesshood holders that they dress modestly so that they are not ‘walking pornography’ for sisters who would be bombarded by irresistible and overwhelming impure thoughts.”

[Note from the editor: A sincere thank you to Ellen Koester for some of the inspiration for this completely true story about a parallel dimension.]

Monday, April 14, 2014


CHARLOTTE, NC—Last weekend saw the annual April Awesomeness! Charlotte West Stake Young Women’s Basketball Tournament. “Basketball, like Girl’s Camp,” explained Stake Young Women 2nd Counselor Sarah Gustafson, “helps love and sisterhood grow among the young women.” Gustafson added that “oh, and we so admire those few, choice souls who can actually dribble the ball with only one hand—what a special gift!”

“I just love basketball,” exclaimed Melanie Hamilton, of the Charlotte 3rd ward. Hamilton said that, “I love seeing my friends and afterwards we always go to Cracker Barrel together.” When asked about the actual games, Hamilton thought for a moment and said that she “loves to be so close, you know, sitting right there on the chairs, oh, and the outfits are so cute!”

Melanie is not the only young woman who loves the yearly basketball tournament. Kelly Hayward raved about the activity, adding that “we love how it helps us spread the gospel, especially to the three girls from school who didn’t make the varsity team who help us out.” By “help out,” what sister Hayward seems to mean is that they do all of the team’s dribbling, passing, rebounding, defending, and scoring. Hayward clarified that “even though this is about the only time that those girls come to the church, I think that they can feel something special here.”

The basketball tournament, not unlike the equivalent NCAA Men’s and Women’s Tournaments, has its share of drama. Some of this year’s drama came from the new coach for the 3rd Ward. That coach, Sister Wendy Coleman, who had played some college basketball, seemed to have become slightly frustrated with her team. Melanie Hamilton, who played (editorial correction: “participated”) for the team, noted that “Sister Coleman started by saying something about a Princeton offense, and all I could think of was it doesn’t seem Christlike to be offensive.” What really seems to have confused the young sister Hamilton was when her coach told the team to “pick and roll.” Explained Hamilton, “I thought she was saying ‘pick a roll,’ and that just made me hungry for Cracker Barrel.” According to several sources, by the end Sister Coleman “refined” her coaching approach to just yelling “make the ball go through the orange circle!”

“I will say, we can play pretty tough,” concluded Hamilton.“I mean, almost everyone else has tons of scratches all over their arms from playing so hard once we get to Cracker Barrel.”

For their part, the Charlotte West Stake leadership is always pleased with the tournament. According to Stake President Marshall, “it is good, and, at least it doesn’t end in any excommunications, like what used to happen when we had the men’s tournament.”