Monday, December 28, 2015


Too Many Carbs/Too Much Coke
Might Not Be the Same
Minneapolis, MN--Area woman Vanessa de Rossi, first counselor in her ward’s Relief Society and a lifelong member who “struggles with watching too much television and consuming too much sugar,” is starting to feel out of place at her first Addiction Recovery Program meeting.

“I was really excited to hear our stake was doing the Addiction Recovery Program,” said de Rossi. De Rossi elaborated that “our Relief Society president always says that the ARP is really for everyone, and that everyone has their addiction.” But now that de Rossi is at her first meeting, she is starting to feel a little out of place.

De Rossi explained that “when I got here, everyone was really quiet. I went around, like I always do, and shook everyone’s hands, introduced myself, and mentally tried to think of something nice I could say about each person.” 

In an effort to reach out in a friendly manner and to get as much help as possible from the program right from the start, de Rossi took the first opportunity she could find to explain her “painful struggles” with watching television “up to three times a week for as much as an hour” when she could have studied her scriptures or made two more compassionate service visits. Feeling the compassion and acceptance from the group, de Rossi went on to explain the shame, embarrassment, and pain she has felt for the “extra scoop of ice cream one time when no one was around” or that “one hidden bag of fun size Snickers” she had in her closet two years ago. De Rossi felt comforted by the ARP missionaries who consoled her by saying that the Lord can help us no matter what our struggles might be.

It was when other program participants started sharing that de Rossi started to feel like this might not be exactly the right place for her. When talking about how the Savior’s love had helped him, the man next to de Rossi explained how found strength to overcome his old habit of “using a website filled with pictures of naked Bolivian postal workers to masturbate for so long that I lost feeling in the lower half of my body for a week.”

This was not the only example of the program’s effectiveness that made de Rossi feel somewhat out of place. Later in the meeting a man who had been in the stake high council explained that he knew that his life was unmanageable when he “found a flask and a bag of coke in his scripture bag and when he realized that the only way he had been able give his monthly high council talks in his assigned wards for the past eighteen months was if he was drunk out of his mind.”

Midway through the meeting, though everyone agreed with de Rossi that the Addiction Recovery Program is a powerful tool that can help a variety of people, not everyone seemed as excited when she said that “it doesn’t matter if your addiction is two episodes a month of House, a weekly bowl of Häagen-Dazs or heroin.”

Monday, December 21, 2015


Photography taken with Iphone showing primary
children when primary goes over
Bristol, VA—New Primary teacher Sean Thurman, called to teach the CTR 5 and 6 year-olds, cannot figure out if being in Primary is heaven or hell.

“First,” said Thurman, “I have to admit that as a man sitting in Primary, you get all sorts of undeserved praise!” Thurman noted that the Primary President was “just so happy and so inordinately appreciative” of his willingness to serve. He admitted that “yep, this is straight up sexism, since women would never get the same praise or adulation for doing the same work,” but he added, “hey, it works for me!”

Not wanting to miss any opportunities to enjoy this undeserved praise, Thurman willingly went to Sharing Time on the day he was called. He explained that “it probably seemed like I was just so happy and eager, but, let’s face it, the difference between Elders Quorum and Primary isn’t that much, so I just picked Primary and its free, unmerited praise—win for me!”

When Thurman got to Primary, he easily found the row with the class he would be teaching. As he put it, “I spotted the kids right off—one incessantly poking the girl next to him, one pulling a thread on his sweater with obvious curiosity and perhaps the hope that the whole thing might come unraveled, and two other quiet, reverent children who looked like there might be a carbon monoxide leak right above their chairs.”

“I took a seat, trying to separate the rambunctious ones, folded my arms, smiled, and sang,” continued Thurman. “I have to say that at that moment, I thought I might be in heaven. All of the old words came right back, and I sang with a joy I have rarely felt at church.”

This euphoria, partly a result of how Thurman felt that “here (in Primary) was the Gospel in all its simplicity and joy,” proved to be temporary. He explained that “one of the boys looked at me and then said flatly, ‘you are short.’” Thurman stated that “I tried to ignore him, look forward, smile, and sing to set a good example, but he must have repeated eight times in his same disaffected, monotone way, ‘you are short.’” Thurman reported that “it felt like this could have gone on forever, until, clearly not making the headway he wanted, the little &*!$ punched me!” Thurman had been punched before, including one time as a missionary, but, as Thurman said, “this was so unexpected and caught me so much off guard, that I wanted to beat him to a bloody pile of bones and skin right on the spot.”

Sensing that immediate and life-threatening physical violence might not be the best way to start his pastoral work with these “little lambs,” Thurman addressed the young man directly and firmly, making expectations clear that he was not to punch him again.

“So, yah, when he immediately punched me again, I just about lost it,” said Thurman. The new Primary teacher went on that, “well, just about the time I had reached an uneasy détente with that little spawn of Satan, I realized that one of the other boys had taken off his shoe and was throwing it at a kid behind him.” Thurman tried to corral this young man, who “having launched one piece of weaponized footwear, was now preparing to launch the other.”

“After fighting with those kids through singing time and Sharing time, well, let’s just say that all of the shine had worn off of this new Primary gig,” stated Thurman. He concluded, “and then, at the end, when Primary actually went over by 6 minutes and 18 seconds, I concluded that there must be a warm place in hell for whoever is not keeping track of the time during the Sharing Time lesson!”

Weary of the celestial heights and infernal lows his new calling will inevitably bring, Thurman finally noted, that “and this week I didn’t even have to teach!”

Monday, December 14, 2015


Elder Christofferson explaining the gap between the
Gospel of Jesus Christ and Republicanism
Salt Lake City, UT—Last night the church’s Handbook of Instructions was updated with a policy banning the baptism of children of Republicans. In response to waves of confusion and criticism, Elder Christofferson met with reporters from the Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer and other, lesser news outlets to clarify the new policy.

“This policy is first and foremost about love,” said Elder Christofferson. He continued that “we want to bless the lives of all children, but we also want to avoid painful confusion that children might experience if they are learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ at church and then confronted by Republican ideas at home.”

When asked what he meant by this, Elder Christofferson explained that “imagine a child hearing King Benjamin’s words that we are all beggars and that we sin when we don’t help those in need, but then that same child goes home to a Republican parent—or worse, two parents—only to hear justifications for why we cannot help Mexican immigrants or Syrian refugees.”

Elder Christofferson was asked about baby blessings for the children of people who are Republicans. Here again the Apostle drew a clear line, warning that a baby blessing would generate a membership record for a child who, in Elder Christofferson’s words, “would encounter a home life filled with the extremist obedience and self-reliance rhetoric that would make Christ’s grace seem meaningless or absurd.”

Reporters asked Elder Christofferson if this might mean missed opportunities at an important life stage if these otherwise innocent children could not be baptized. In response to these concerns, Elder Christofferson said that “when these children are old enough to realize and fully denounce the ignorance, fear, narrow-mindedness, and xenophobia that Republicans rely upon to prevent reasonable gun laws and their enforcement and to resist a fair and humane immigration policy, when young people can show, unlike Republicans, that they embrace and love others of different faiths and backgrounds, then those young people are prepared to really understand and even preach the faith and love that are the center of Christ’s teachings.” 

“Let me be clear,” concluded Elder Christofferson, “we simply want to prevent the jarring confusion a young person would feel by hearing about trusting God and being a Good Samaritan at church and then hearing about trusting a false god like the US military (and its outrageously out-of-proportion budget) and then hearing that we cannot afford to help the poor, the sick, the naked, the needy, and those who Republicans dismiss as undeserving, lazy moochers instead of children of God.” 

Monday, December 7, 2015


Commentary by Alicia Ross

It’s fashionable among BYU students and young single adults who want to drink coffee or fornicate to have a “faith crisis.” Personally I know three or four people who are rushing out of the chapel doors to find the nearest tattoo parlor, so here’s a list of tips you can use when dealing with a friend going through one of these faux crises.

Don’t Forget the Cause: when your friends who think too much or who “don’t know if the mission is for them” start to talk about or post something on Facebook about their “concerns” about the church, don’t lose sight of what we all know are the real causes. People who really have faith never doubt; it is only those people who get into philosophy, worry about racism, show even a vague interest in “feminism,” and who are “open-minded” to Korihor-like, liberal ideas who question or doubt.  We all know without a doubt that they all failed to doubt their doubts! But it isn’t just a failure to doubt doubts. The real truth is that this is all just a cover for their desire to sin. When they have “questions about church history” or “the history of women anointing the sick,” what they are really saying is “where’s the Jack Daniels” or “how quickly can we take our clothes off?” Rest assured—sin is the real root of their doubts!

Modern Day Captain Moroni—Boldly Unpopular: we know that the Book of Mormon was written for our day. Just before the final destruction, and right before Christ came, it was Captain Moroni who defended the righteous. We can all learn from his life. Throw up thick walls of defense in your life against difficult or troubling ideas. Have faith enough to never venture into those questions. Fill the stage of your mind with so many memes and easy, clear General Authority quotes that no evil difficulties can leak in. I suggest ripping some article of clothing and writing on it “I Will Not Think Hard! And I Will Not Doubt!” But defending yourself is only part of the solution. You need to be faithful enough to be boldly unpopular in all of your interactions with the doubters and those whose faith is faltering. There should be no doubt in their mind about how wrong they are and about how firmly you stand in the right!

Shame Is God’s Way of Telling Them That They Are Wrong: this part is easy to misunderstand. Some of you might feel sympathetic to friends who have doubts. You might feel bad about the painfulness of their plight. If that is the case, make sure that your sympathy turns to pity, and that your pity turns to a desire to help them see that the shame that they should feel is God’s way of telling them that they are wrong. Sure, you can just come right out and tell them that they wouldn’t feel so bad if they were just doing what is right. But another way to do it is the indirect route. For example, send them quotes or conference talks that show them how wrong they are and how far they have fallen. Constantly talk about the pain of family members or the lost blessings of grandchildren or how disappointed the people from their mission would be in them. Shame can truly work miracles to reveal how far they are from the iron rod and how deep they are in the murky, polluted creek, you know, the one that is by the rod.

Don’t Let Them Wiggle Back: some of these doubters and fence sitters try to wiggle their way back into the church, but deep in their hearts they still have doubts. If you know someone like this, it is your obligation to protect the only true and living church from such secret doubters. They might believe that God is inspiring lots of organizations and not just His one and only true and living church. They might erroneously believe that, over time, with faith and patience the Lord will change any of His divinely decreed, eternal, and unchanging policies, procedures, doctrines, or laws. They might believe that God can inspire different individuals to take their own path back to Him, a path that might include painful doubts. But that is wrong! God’s church is not a big tent with lots of different people and different ideas in it; it is one very narrow path that everyone must march down, single file, in exactly the same way. Make sure that these wayward doubters know this, since we can’t risk destroying the unity and uniformity God demands in His kingdom.

Following these tips will tell your friends who are becoming lax in their righteousness and who are calling that slothfulness a “faith crisis” that the real problem is them. What more can you do than reveal to them how wrong they are?

Oh, and one last tip:

Do all of this with Christlike love!