Monday, February 12, 2018

LET’S FACE IT—ROB PORTER SHOULD NOT HAVE RESIGNED

Probably Makeup
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

NEW WARD MISSION LEADER NOT REALLY INTO MISSIONARY WORK

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

WILLY AND MARTIN HANDCART COMPANIES ACTUALLY DELAYED BY LATE PERMISSION SLIPS

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 √útzlander, “who could not ride in some of the leaders’ handcarts because they didn’t have proper permission slips.” Historian Taylor Walters agreed with √útzlander, 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

“EX-MOS AND PROGRESSIVE MOS UNITED” NOT ALL THAT UNITED

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

“ADMONISHING” UNCLE GLAD HE NEVER COMMITTED ANY SINS “NEXT TO MURDER”

Shame Going Back to the First People
(Bernward Doors)
Roy, UT—At a recent dinner, area man Daniel Glenn, after powerfully “offering the voice of warning” to a niece and two nephews, quietly congratulated himself on never committing any sexual sins, sins he believes are “next to murder.”

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. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

SATAN REDUCES HONESTY LESSON TO DEBATE ABOUT SPEED LIMITS

Spiritually Trivial Matters,
Strictly Enforced
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.!” 

Monday, October 16, 2017

AARON RODGERS, SECRET MORMON, REDEDICATES HIMSELF TO ATTENDING CHURCH EVERY SUNDAY

Rodger's Vision Like Paul's,
except with Anthony Barr
instead of the horse or whatnot,
and Rodgers couldn't lift arm
Green Bay, WI—In news that is both surprising and faith-inspiring, word came out this morning that insurance advertiser and athlete Aaron Rodgers has been a member of the Mormon church for the last two years. While that news came as quite a shock for many people, it was quickly followed up by the news that Brother Rodgers has decided to make Sunday church attendance his “highest priority” for “at least the foreseeable future.”

In talking about his decision, Brother Rodgers explained that “I was at work, and there I had an experience somewhat like that of the apostle Paul.” He elaborated that “like Paul, I felt suddenly thrown to the ground, and there the inspiration came to me, strongly, that God didn’t want me working on Sunday—He wanted me in church!”

Many of the people on Brother Rodgers’ team expressed concern about their success without his help. Brother Rodgers said that he too was concerned, especially about some weekend projects this fall and winter that he’d miss out on, but, in his words, “the Lord made it clear that, whether my calling is in Young Mens or Primary, church is where God needs me to put my shoulder to the wheel!” 

Monday, October 9, 2017

CHURCH ANNOUCES “ALWAYS FAITHFUL” RINGS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Prototype of New Always Faithful Ring
Salt Lake City, UT—An almost breathless-with-excitement Church spokesperson Ken Kramer announced this morning the new “Always Faithful” rings for Young Men and Young Women.

“Where the Choose the Right rings remind children about keeping the commandments,” explained Kramer, “these new ‘Always Faithful’ rings will be a way to show the enthusiasm young people have for the gospel.

Kramer elaborated that “Always Faithful” will be “like those hashtag things that are such a hit with the young people nowadays.” As an example, Kramer said, “we envision young people talking about General Conference and saying—‘I loved for General Conference—I’m excited!’ and then flashing their ‘Always Faithful’ rings!”

When asked for other examples, Kramer said, “Nephi was obedient—AF,” “Sharing the Gospel is fun—AF” and “I can be sexually pure—AF.”

The new “Always Faithful” rings seem to be the brainchild of senior church officials. Kramer said that when the idea was initially presented to young people, “they seemed a little confused at first, but then they caught the vision of this new program and even seemed to laugh for joy at this new testimony tool!”

When she was asked about how popular the “Always Faithful” rings might be, one young woman said, “well, all I can say is that when it comes to these rings, I’m happy—AF!”

Monday, September 25, 2017

MISSIONARY-MINDED AREA MAN CAN’T HELP SHARING GOSPEL WITH MISTRESS

Excellent accommodations for affairs/missionary work
Cedar Rapids, IA—When area man Benjamin Beck, age 38, started a relationship with Chicago waitress Heather Landau, age 28, he was not planning on it also being a chance for him to share the gospel. Beck, who is married, a father of three children, and an insurance claims agent, was not planning on telling Landau anything about his life back in Iowa, but his fiery missionary spirit could not be held back.

Beck only started talking about Mormonism after a chance comment during his third illicit encounter with Landau. Landau was getting dressed in Beck’s Courtyard by Marriott hotel room when she noticed the room’s copy of the Book of Mormon and said, “Oh, those Mormons don’t even believe in Jesus.” Beck, who had loved missionary work from when he was a child, felt like he could not let Landau’s misconception remain, so he timidly replied, “well, I heard that their official church name has Jesus in it, so they probably do believe in Him.” Landau merely shrugged at this suggestion, and then promptly winked at the law-of-chastity-breaking Elders Quorum secretary, flashed him a bit of buttock, and told him she’d see him next week.

Beck’s next gospel discussion with Landau came only a couple of weeks later. Landau and Beck were again at the hotel where Beck spends most of the week, returning on weekends to resume his (fraudulent) life as a “fairly reliable” home teacher and seemingly good example for his 12 and 11-year-old sons and 9-year-old daughter. After some unusually vigorous intercourse with Landau, Beck asked if something might be up. Landau confided in the man she “was just having some fun with” that not only was her mother’s health rapidly declining but she had lost a beloved cousin to leukemia just a few months before. The suddenly visibly distraught Landau concluded, “it all just seems so futile to love people and then to bury them, knowing you will never see them again.” For a second time Beck felt strongly that he could not let this go, so he tried to casually toss out, “well, you know those Mormons you mentioned a few weeks ago—I think that they actually believe family bonds and love can last forever. I think there are even some Youtube videos about it.” Not wanting to pursue this conversation for too long, Beck then distracted Landau by initiating sex for the fourth time in 24 hours.

At the same time that Beck was tearing through all of the promises he had made with God and the church, his mistress was finding more and more intriguing ideas from that same organization and God. Several hours spent watching Youtube videos led to many more questions for Landau. She did not know exactly who to ask until one evening when she and Beck were in the bath together, and she said that she sure wished she could talk to some “of those Mormons” about their beliefs. She distractedly mentioned her Youtube search and how many questions she had, not thinking the topic would interest Beck. Beck, though longing to answer all of her questions yet afraid to reveal how the life he was living with her was a betrayal of all he held true, suggested circuitously that “don’t those Mormons have people that walk around telling people about their church…I think they are called missionaries? They probably have a website you could use to meet them…or something…” Landau feigned disinterest, saying that she “might look into it.”

Within two months of this clandestine meeting, Landau started missing her weekly trysts with Beck, saying she “was not feeling well” or she “had to pick up an extra shift at work.” Beck, who had come to rely more heavily on the fleeting sexual pleasure he enjoyed with Landau to cover his soul’s rotting emptiness, became more and more anxious, restless, and then upset at Landau’s absence. When Beck finally confronted Landau at the restaurant where she worked and where they had met, an exasperated Landau confessed to Beck that she had been busy meeting with some “really awesome Mormon sister missionaries,” that she didn’t feel good about sneaking around with Beck, and that what she was learning was “somehow changing” her. Beck was so struck by the clash of contradictory emotions—intense sexual frustration, anger, betrayal, despair, and disappointment but at the same time immense joy for Landau—that he could not speak. Misinterpreting his sudden silence, Landau concluded, “who knows—maybe the Mormons could even help your family and maybe even you, because, honestly, you’ve kinda made a mess of your life!”

Unbeknownst to either at the time, this would be the last time Landau and Beck would ever see each other, though many years later Landau and Beck’s then ex-wife would, by chance, be in the same Illinois stake conference. Beck, for his part, would lose his family and church membership but would retain the copy of the Book of Mormon he picked up in the Chicago Courtyard by Marriott hotel, a book he keeps with him in the place where he now lives—a van by the river.