Monday, July 27, 2015

MINI MISSIONARY LESSON: IS THE CHURCH HOMOPHOBIC

With the lowering of the mission age, the Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer is doing its part to help train young men for the rigors and blessings of doing God’s work. As part of this effort, Elder Kory Anton, who is hoping to clear things up and return to the mission field very soon, offers his insights to help others prepare.

Do Not Get the Wrong Idea from this BYU Art Museum
Installation Art Piece
Believe it or not, sometimes people ask missionaries questions that just seem so obvious that you might not know what to say. Never fear. Here are some tips for dealing with what some missionaries erroneously call “tough questions.” These are all pretty easy when you think about it. Today’s question is:

Is the Church Homophobic?

First, “homophobic” means afraid of gays, and clearly we are not afraid of gays any more than we are afraid of murderers, child molesters, or coffee drinkers. We know that so long as all of them repent of their terrible wickedness then they can get whatever glory might be available for them. Those who suffer from the grievous affliction of same-sex attraction should just trust God and He will take away their affliction just like He heals drug addicts, Democrats, and all of those brown people who come to this country illegally.

Second, the Church has a right to decide who should be in the church and members have a responsibility to make sure people only feel as welcome as God wants them to feel. We don’t want coffee drinkers or adulterers or Socialists to believe that God’s grace will cover them without lots of clear, public repentance so that we can all know their hearts. Therefore, when we see a guy with a pink shirt, or an earring, or who compares the Gospel to Broadway musicals, it is every member’s responsibility to make it clear to him that if he is as gay as he seems then he is not accepted by God. God’s disapproval of him should be clear in our every interaction with him! The same goes for girls with really short hair and who don’t seem eager to please others, especially men. Those women need to know that the pain of being a social outcast because of their same-sex attraction is how we all make sure they have sufficient godly sorrow for sin.

Third, missionaries should probably not waste their time teaching gay people. Missionary work is easier if you pre-screen people, so that if they already look like a nice Mormon family then teach them. Bringing someone that doesn’t really fit in in church is just an annoyance for everyone. Remember that the Comforter helps all of us feel safe and protected within our comfort zone.

Finally, remember back in the October, 2013 General Conference, when Elder Soares talked about an African saint named Brother Moses Mahlangu? That should be a lesson to all of us. Brother Mahlangu learned patience and meekness by not being allowed to be in church. Gays can also learn about those importantly godly qualities in a similar manner, and it is our role as saints to occasionally prop a window open for them. When the righteous know where they belong and when sinners know that they must repent of their chosen sinfulness then we can all say that, in truth, all is well in Zion, yea Zion prospers!

Some missionaries might be tempted by Satan to not accept the truths presented above. Such missionaries might believe that members should be compassionate toward everyone, that missionaries should share the gospel with everyone, and that all of us should leave judgment to those with a stewardship and with the Lord. Those people may also wonder, sinfully, if the day might come when gays are as accepted as Black people. That will never happen because God’s ways never, ever, ever change, because God wants everyone to be productive and have children, because of all of Jesus’ clear teachings in the New Testament about the evils of gayness (which I cannot seem to find right now, but they are there!), and because that is just gross. When it comes right down to it, if you have such sinful ideas, you at least lack faith in Church leaders and you’re probably gay.

Finally, have confidence in God’s work. Speaking about the truth going forth. Just like the hymn “High on a Mountain Top” says, we can trust that Zion’s banner and light will indeed “attract the gaze / of all the world in latter days.”

All the best,

Elder Kory Anton

Monday, July 20, 2015

MEXICAN CHILDREN USE ELABORATE TUNNEL TO ESCAPE NURSERY

Similar though far inferior tunnel recently found in Mexico
Guadalajara, Mexico—In a complex scheme involving hours of digging, reduced nap time, and perhaps dozens of Sunbeams, 4 children used an elaborate tunnel to escaped from the Guadalajara, El Rincón ward’s nursery.

“One minute I was working with the kids, I turned to see why one child was crying, and when I looked back they had vanished,” said Sister Eugenia González Molina, one of two women assigned to work in the nursery. “Lucky for us the Bishop installed a surveillance system just a few weeks ago, so we saw on the tape how they opened a trapped door under the snack table and slipped out.”

Ward and stake investigators have been called in to assess the situation. What they found was a sophisticated tunnel dug directly under the church building. Reported one stake leader who would not give his name, “when we sent our Valients to investigate the tunnel, they reported that it was equipped with lighting, air conditioning, and juice boxes.”

The escape plan seems to have targeted one particular child, a notorious boy who has been a ringleader in acquiring extra fruit snacks for some of the kids. Ward leaders had been keeping an eye on this boy, known as “El Chupito,” after finding stains on the carpet from where he had smuggled drinks with red dye in them into the church.

“We are worried that these kids are still on the loose,” reported one official, “but what really concerns us is how many Primary board members must have looked the other way or been too intimidated to say anything as this plot to free El Chupito was developing.” After some speculation about who might be involved, the same official added that “one wonders how high up the corruption goes!”

Monday, July 13, 2015

CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIM DOESN’T REALIZE WHAT A GREAT MOTHER, WIFE SHE IS

This Sister May Have Reassured Shelton
DERRY, NH—Area woman Hannah Shelton, though a victim of still painful childhood sexual abuse, is a fabulous mother and wife and doesn’t even realize it.

“Oh, I work hard not to dwell on the past, you know, and I just try to do what I can,” said Shelton. What Shelton does not realize is that her heroic and faithful efforts to deal with that past have helped to make her the loving, compassionate, and courageous woman that powerfully blesses the lives of her 5 children as well as her husband.

Researchers over the past decade or so have seen more and more overlap with victims of childhood sexual abuse and traumatized soldiers returning from battle. Some of those common symptoms include long-term consequences like a higher incidence of depression, intrusive flashback memories, hypervigilance, maladaptive coping skills, dysfunctional social skills, and an overactive stress response. One would think that such weighty obstacles would destroy someone, but it some ways those very obstacles have helped sister Shelton grow.

It is common for Shelton to express apprehension at how often she feels “blue” or how she just struggles trying to do everything she thinks she should do. But for someone with a much higher risk for depression, Shelton tries to do what she can, and then accepts what she cannot do. As she commented during a recent Relief Society lesson, “you know, sometimes I feel so discouraged, and then I try to get quiet, you know, all over, and have faith enough to hear my Heavenly Parents tell me how much They love me and how they accept the offerings I can make, even if my efforts sometimes seem like the ‘widow’s mite’.”

Shelton also has to battle with intrusive flashback memories and hypervigilance. This has affected her relationship with her husband Matt. Said Hannah, “yah, it has been a very rocky road at times with Matt, and I worry, deep down, that he might be better off without me.” Wiping away a tear, Hannah continued, “we’ve had lots of talks and he has always been patient, kind, and loving, especially when I have had the courage to confide in him.” Hannah continued that, “we’ve had to develop some code words that let him know, um, where I am and what I need. One night, for example, I really needed to be held, you know, just held, and he was watching a football game that was a big deal to him. Well, it took some time, but he could see that I needed him, so he turned off the game and snuggled with me. For some reason, the code word I say in similar situations is ‘Omaha, Omaha’.”

Hannah worries constantly that her fears will have a negative impact on her children. In this, she has learned to trust Matt, and, working together, they do their best to combine Matt’s easy-going nature, seemingly eternal optimism, and confidence with Hannah’s eagle-eye for potential dangers. Matt works hard to always be loyal and supportive of his wife around the kids, especially the teenagers.

For his part, Matt has never regretted his marriage, relationship, and friendship with Hannah. As Matt put it, “I only wish she could see how amazing, how powerful, how faithful she is! I could never be that strong, and I’m glad I get to do my small part to support her. And I don’t think I’ll ever meet someone with a testimony as powerful as Hannah’s of the power of Christ’s atonement.”   

Monday, June 29, 2015

MORMONS SET ONE WEEK RECORD FOR NUMBER OF FACEBOOK STATUSES CREATED, DELETED

Menlo Park, CA—Facebook announced this morning that during the last week Mormons created a record 8,387,928 Facebook status updates that were deleted within 24 hours.

“What we saw last week was remarkable by any standards,” said David Dengate, spokesperson for Facebook. “To see over 8 million Facebook statuses posted and then so quickly deleted initially baffled everyone here,” elaborated Dengate. He went on to say that “when we looked at the analytics, we saw that it was Mormons who were posting a status, often followed by a number of comments, only to then delete that status.”

Facebook’s extensive analytical tools allowed them to group those statuses by content. What emerged from this examination was that the lion’s share were about Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, with others centered around whether or not Mormons could support that ruling, with other deleted statuses about the confederate flag controversy.

What Facebook researchers found was that some deleted statuses supported while others opposed the Supreme Court’s decision. A typical status of support read something like this: “Love God First and don’t fear men by allowing worldly standards to destroy the family as outlined in the Proclamation. And delete friends with that wicked rainbow picture.” A standard support status went something like this: “Love God First and don’t fear men, even if those men are respected, wise church leaders. You can believe that they are prophets AND that God is pleased with gay marriage, just like you could believe in 1977 that all worthy men should hold the priesthood. If you don’t have a rainbow profile picture, then you would have opposed Blacks getting the priesthood in the 70s.”

Researchers also found that a typical inflammatory status that might quickly get deleted could be “Set your clocks for 14 years; by then the church will accept gay marriage” or “Set your clocks for 14 months; by then we will see the calamities warned about in the Proclamation.”

One status that was very common on the east coast was this one: “All of us Mormons here in North Carolina would like to invite the Supreme Court justices who forced gay marriage on us to come down to our state and take a nice long swim at one of our beaches.” 

When asked to elaborate on so many Facebook statuses created and deleted, one researcher wondered if Mormons had really grasped how to have a respectful, public debate about controversial issues without being offensive or being offended, or how to do it in such a way that Mormons could have genuine difference and diversity while being of one heart and one mind.

Monday, June 22, 2015

I THANK GOD EVERY DAY DONALD TRUMP ISN’T MORMON

Thank Heaven Only One is Mormon!
Commentary by Linda Hollingsworth

Politics is back, and even though the presidential election is not for another year and a half, I believe that for the next 18 months I will thank God every day that Donald Trump isn’t a Mormon.

With Trump’s recent campaign announcement speech came all of the reminders about the last election. And I’ll just admit it—it was stressful for me having a Mormon run for president. We all know that not all of the attention that the church got from Romney’s campaign was positive. That said, at least Romney is not a stark raving idiot who believed he could get Mexico to build some huge border wall!

Romney’s campaign created some difficult conversations before the last election. I actually had a 30 minute conversation about if Mormons had strict smiling and hair standards. Thanks Romney. But at least Romney didn’t sport that pathetic comb over or whatever else Trump has on his lopsided skull!

I was glad when the last election was over—it was fatiguing. I’m sure that this next election will be tiresome, but one huge blessing is the guy who bragged about his net worth and flippantly claimed he could beat both China and ISIS isn’t a Mormon. I know that the “gospel net catches all kinds,” but I’m glad it has never caught him!

Monday, June 15, 2015

JUDGMENT DAY BECOMING REPETITIVE

Commentary by Mark Langston
It started dramatically like this,
but after a few hundred thousand...

Judgment Day has always seemed like a big deal, but I’ve got to say that now that we are about 10 million people into it, it is getting pretty repetitive.

Sure, the first 300,000 or so are great, you know, exciting and interesting stuff. But somehow, around 500,000, it all becomes sort of predictable. You start saying, “Okay, and then she became a teenager and started to be mean and exclusive” or “Yep, and when he got that big promotion and everything was going smoothly he started to feel both entitled and afraid, and that is why he slept with that waitress in Denver.” In the first few hundred thousand there were still some surprises, but once you’ve done a million people you feel like you’ve pretty much seen it all.

I will add this: I’m glad I’m not up until we’ve done a few billion, because by then I’m sure no one will be paying attention except for the people who knew me. When this all started I was worried about having my entire life up on the Big Screen and having my sins shouted from the proverbial rooftops, but after you’ve seen so many sins, especially after you’ve seen so many predictable patterns, well, this whole thing starts to feel like some graduation ceremony that has gone on entirely too long. 

If there is one take away from the whole thing, I’d say it is that other people’s lives are somehow more different yet more similar than one could have known before. The whole process makes me wish I would have paid better attention to people, to their challenges and struggles, before I leapt to such incomplete judgments. Oh, and I wish that I could have maybe been a little more patient with myself, but that was really difficult when I believed that my sins and struggles were so unique and uniquely terrible. 

What I really wish now is that “day” only meant a 24 hour period—my butt really hurts and from what I can see this “day” will last as long as one of those creation periods!

Monday, June 8, 2015

MISSIONARY SEES “MIRACULOUS” PRESERVATION OF EX-GIRLFRIEND’S PICTURE AS SIGN FROM GOD

Replica of “Miracle” Picture
Porto, Portugal—When Elder Jacob Moseley returned from proselyting in his area of Porto, Portugal, to find that everything in his apartment had been destroyed in a fire, he thought that all was lost. But once the firemen gave him clearance to look over the ruins, much to his surprise, Elder Moseley found the “perfectly preserved” photograph of his ex-girlfriend Katherine Thompson. “When I looked down and found Kaytie’s picture among the ash,” said Moseley, “I just knew that, like the picture, God was preserving her for me.”

Elder Moseley found great relief in the “miraculously” preserved picture, especially since his clothing, scriptures, food, bedding, and letters from home where all destroyed in the blaze. Elder Moseley’s companion, Elder Gonçalves from Babajoz, Portugal, was not as lucky as his companion, losing everything in the fire. Said Elder Gonçalves, “the copy of the Book of Mormon that the first missionaries gave my grandparents more than 40 years ago when they joined the church was completely lost, but at least the Lord preserved Elder Moseley’s Ogden high school prom picture of him and Kaytie.” Elder Gonçalves added that “the Lord works in mysterious ways.” 

Elder Moseley, wearing the only mission clothes he has left until he can get money for new shirts and suits, emailed his family this week about seeing the Lord’s hand in “keeping the picture, the hope, and the dream alive” that he and Katherine will “one day, like this picture, be kept from harm by their eternal marriage covenant bond.” 

Elder Moseley’s parents have yet to respond to his faith-promoting experience about Katherine, due in large part to the fact that just a few days ago they attended her wedding reception in their local Ogden ward building’s cultural hall. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

CHURCH INVESTIGATING INSTITUTE ACTIVITY CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS

FARGO, ND—Church officials recently met with seven high-ranking members of the Fargo Institute Fun Association (FIFA) over corruption allegations brought against the young single adult recreational group.

“We love the young singles here in North Dakota, but there have been some serious allegations brought against FIFA, and we simply need to get to the bottom of it,” said Stake President Donald Miller of the Fargo stake.

Some of the allegations made against FIFA include moving activities to less attractive places like Grand Forks or even Grafton in exchange for additional “gas money” and reserved seats in church “near that attractive newly returned missionary from Mahnomen.” 

Unnamed sources in North Dakota said that “everyone has pretty much accepted corruption in the Fargo Institute Fun Association for years,” adding finally that “even so, they will probably still let Bill Slatter act as president—I don’t really see anything changing.”  

Monday, May 25, 2015

SEALED PORTION OF BOOK OF MORMON PUBLISHED WHERE NO ONE WOULD FIND IT: ON A BYU SYLLABUS

During The Process, Davis Realized
Her Syllabus Could Have Been In Icelandic
And No Student Would Have Known the Difference
Provo, UT—Janet Davis, English professor at Brigham Young University, seems like a mild-mannered Medieval English Literature expert, but in a recent interview with the Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer, Davis revealed that for the past 15 years she has been distributing sections of the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon. And why has the “mainstream Mormon press” not exploded with this news? It is because Davis has hidden those sections where no one would ever find them: in her course syllabus.

Davis told the Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer that just over 15 years ago the angel Moroni visited her while she was on sabbatical in upstate New York. “This glorious personage appeared to me,” said Davis, “so of course the first thing I did was the handshake test.” Davis said that after passing the handshake test, “the angel told me that I was to translate the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon.”

What the angel told Davis next was the most troubling part of the visit. “The angel told me,” recounted Davis, “that my calling was that of Isaiah as recording in chapter 6.” Davis explained that she was told to “Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart.”

The command to reveal but in such a way that no one would see it posed quite the vexing problem for Davis. She spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out how to do something so paradoxical. “The answer came suddenly one day,” explained Davis. “There I was in class, you know, toward the end of the semester, and three students came up to me with questions that were clearly answered in the syllabus. And then it hit me: no one will ever find the scripture I’ve been commanded to translate if I just put it there!” 

Davis has experimented with where to put this additional scripture in her course syllabus. “At first I sprinkled it around, you know, in case someone started to read, but then I just put huge chunks of it anywhere, since no one even pretends to look it over!” Davis said that “at this point it doesn’t matter where I put it, but if the portion is really moving or powerful or spiritually compelling, I put it in the ‘Assignments Deadlines’ section since clearly no one ever looks there.”