Thursday, December 18, 2014

LDS Church Moves to Normalize Relations with Park City

LDS Church to Renew Ties with Park City
Salt Lake News -- published December 18, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- In a bold and historic move yesterday, LDS leaders announced they will be normalizing relations with their long estranged neighbor, Park City, Utah.

"The Brethren decided the citizens of Park City should benefit from exposure to a culture that is superior to their own," LDS spokesperson, G. Marilyn String, told the News.

In brokering the agreement, the LDS Church agreed to release alleged Park City spy, George Fielding. Apprehended last September in a men's room at the Joseph Smith Building, Fielding spent 92 days in solitary confinement on Temple Square.

Insisting the charges against him are false, Mr. Fielding told the News, "I swear to God, I'm innocent. I got bored during Meet the Mormons so I went to the can to splash some water on my face. Then these thugs in cheap suits jumped me and hauled me off to the clink."

"They put me on a restricted diet of Jell-O, Tater-tot casserole, and fry sauce--and then made me watch an endless loop of 'And I'm a Mormon' commercials," Fielding added, his voice thick with emotion. "Thank heaven they let me go. I'm so happy to be back in Park City."

In exchange for the release of Mr. Fielding, LDS leaders are now requesting the return of 37 of their own whom they had deployed behind enemy lines. However, with a hat tip to the quality of the LDS Church surveillance team, Park City officials confess they were completely unaware of any espionage in their community.

"We knew these folks had moved into town, but saw no evidence of any clandestine activities," Park City spokesperson, Homer T. Larsen explained. "They seemed to be just enjoying themselves like the rest of us."

"We have not arrested anyone for espionage," Larsen insisted. "The so-called Mormon spies are free to come and go as they please."

The 37 individuals in question have refused to comment on their current status. At press time, none had made arrangements to return to Church.

Friday, December 12, 2014

LDS Church Leaders Choose "Name Withheld" as 2014 Person of the Year

Name Withheld is Person of the Year
Salt Lake News -- published December 12, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- She's found hope and healing after her divorce, forgiven her abuser, and nurtured her husband's frail ego throughout their foreclosure and bankruptcy. He's overcome alcoholism, drug addiction, same-sex attraction, and a tendency to masturbate. Ever humble and long suffering, the progressively gender-ambivalent author of countless Mormon-themed articles, Name Withheld, is finally receiving the title of Person of the Year.

"After spending 50-plus years at the top of the temple prayer rolls, Name Withheld is long overdue for this recognition," official church spokesperson, K. Byron Spool, told the News.

When asked about the timing of the decision, Spool explained, "It's been an especially tough year for the Brethren, what with all the selfish complaints from the feminists, gays, and intellectuals. Meanwhile, Name Withheld humbly carried on, without dwelling on her civil rights, or carping about his unfulfilled sex life, or making a huge deal out of Joseph Smith's minor promiscuities. The Brethren really appreciated that."

Name Withheld was unavailable for comment as she is currently in the drunk tank after a relapse brought on by his temporary refusal to forgive his bishop for sexually assaulting him--or her.

"He . . . or she . . . requested a Book of Mormon be sent to his cell," a source inside the jail said. "She is repentant and seems determined not to become bitter."

"The Brethren couldn't be happier with this year's choice," Spool firmly declared. "Nobody, save Joseph Smith alone, has endured such storied persecution."

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dealing with Visiting Teacher Dodgers

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward Relief Society
From: Ramona Barnes, Ward Visiting Teaching Coordinator
Subject: What to do when your visiting teachee keeps dodging you

I call, I text, I stop by. When she doesn't answer, I stand on her front porch and belt out, Love at Home. When she still doesn't answer, I hot glue 50 packs of M&M's to her front door. I follow her on social media. I follow her to work, to the dentist, and to the mall. I wait in front of her bathroom stall at Nordstrom. But still I get nothing.

At first I thought it was me. But, in talking with friends, I've realized this kind of reception is common among sisters. So, what's a woman to do when she gets rejected time and time again?

Here are a few tips I've learned through my colorful history with visiting teacher dodgers.

Think Outside the Box

Oftentimes our less active sisters dodge their visiting teachers because they don't like the idea of visiting teaching. They're deluded into thinking it's just some time-consuming, boundary-invasive imposition that saddles a sister with a couple of nosey, fake friends.

For example, a few years ago I was assigned to visit an inactive sister in our ward. I tried everything. Texts, emails, treats on her doorstep, notes on her car. Nothing. Not even so much as a text to tell me that she acknowledged my existence.

I decided to think outside the box and not even try to entice her to be "visit taught." Instead I posted on Facebook that I was dying to get a pedicure, thinking she would jump at the chance to go with--because, even though we've never met--I knew she would be dying to get a pedicure. She unfriended me.

Since I could no longer reach her on Facebook, I went to her house and rang the bell. When she didn't answer, I banged on the door. She opened it and told me to go away. Undeterred, I refused to leave until she agreed to go for a pedicure. She threatened to call the police. I went back the next day. And the next. She got a restraining order.

I'm still hopeful. A restraining order only means I have to observe a certain physical boundary, meaning I can keep doing creative, outside-the-box sorts of things, just from 30 feet away. (In her case I have to wait outside the bathroom at Nordstrom.)

Learn About Her Life

Real friendships take time, work, and constant communication. But a visiting teacher can't wait for all that. Without warning, the ward boundaries might be realigned or the Relief Society presidency might change. In a matter of months a visiting teacher could be assigned a whole new set of best friends.

For that reason, a successful visiting teacher needs to whip out her detective skills. Thank goodness Heavenly Father has provided us with the technology! Social media like the online ward directory, Facebook, Instagram, etc. are terrific tools for getting to know your visiting teacher dodger. (I'm Facebook friends with my inactive sister again, thanks to that fake profile I set up.)

If you're not inclined to sign up for any type of social media, try staking out her neighborhood. Interview her neighbors under the guise of a census taker or Homeland Security, or hang around her kids' school so you can strike up a conversation with her when she picks them up. Even better, pick up her kids, then she'll have to talk to you if she wants them back.

Be Persistent

I know how hard it can be to always have your texts, calls, and messages ignored, especially by someone you really care about but haven't actually met. But if you want any measure of success with a visiting teacher dodger, persistence is key.

My work on that inactive sister is paying off. When I saw her in Nordstrom yesterday she didn't even swear at me. She just walked out of the bathroom, rolled her eyes, and went on her way.

Photo courtesy of InsanaD

If you would like to stop receiving these emails we'll assume you're dying to get a pedicure.

Friday, November 21, 2014

New PR Campaign to Precede Next Essay

LDS Church Leaders Plan Next PR Blitz 
Salt Lake News -- published November 21, 2014

Drawing on what they consider to be a successful response to their recent essay, Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo, the Brethren have approved the roll out of yet another monthlong PR campaign, this time in preparation for their next topical essay: A Complete Disclosure of LDS Church Finances. 

"We were worried about how the plural marriage essay was going to be received," said church spokesperson, Leonard George. "Then the General Authorities came up with this member-driven ad campaign. It was brilliant, really." 

"Sure, the average church member was sorry to learn that our founding prophet was guilty of polygamy, polyandry, adultery and statutory rape," George admitted. "But it was so much easier for him to put all of that aside after he'd spent the month boasting online about his church affiliation and plugging a feature length documentary about us. The Brethren figure the members will need the same kind of incentive before they learn where their money really goes."

Details of the advertising effort have not yet been released. But inside sources say members will again be called upon to change their social media status to another en masse meme such as, "I'm a Mormon and I Tithe." 

Also production has begun on a new documentary, one that will focus on individual Mormons and the many sacrifices they make for their church and in their communities. 

"Just like Meet the Mormons was a timely reminder that most Latter-day Saints are monogamous, law-abiding citizens, we hope this new documentary will demonstrate how generous and ethical some of us are," George explained.

Nevertheless, there is a significant number of LDS Church members who have become disaffected with their faith after reading the revelatory essays on the official LDS website, the most recent being about Joseph Smith's womanizing.

"Frankly, we're not surprised," said George. "Some people are just easily offended and want to sin."

Friday, November 14, 2014

Even Mormons Take a Break Now and Then

Those of you who used to be members of the one and only true church know what I'm talking about. You woke up minutes shy of Sacrament Meeting, heaved a sigh, willed yourself out of bed, and then rolled over and played dead instead.

Sorry, Gentle Readers, that's what I'm doing this week. But I have a really good excuse, on account of when I rolled over this morning I saw this out my window.
My view from the Albion River Inn
But just because I'm playing hooky doesn't mean you need to. Fortunately both the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle have my back. Thanks to that rascal Joseph Smith, the Mormons have hit the big time.

Have a great week!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo - Additional Explanations

To: Abbottsville Stake
From: Dennis Newsome, advisor to the Stake Public Affairs Council
Subject: Additional Explanations from the Brethren

Because there continues to be "got-ya" questions from the less faithful who frequent certain anti-Mormon websites like here and here, the Brethren have published some additional explanations for polygamy in Kirtland and Nauvoo, again employing their usual inspired logic. Read below:

Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo - 
Additional Explanations

Joseph Smith faced many challenges after he received the revelation to practice plural marriage. At one point, a mob, led by the brother of one of his spirit wives, dragged Joseph from his house and threatened to castrate him. The threat of castration, serious by today's standards, was considered harmless in that era, akin to a fraternity prank, or a kidnap breakfast. Joseph encountered many such mobs and knew fully well that they were just joshing. In this specific case, he was only tarred and feathered. 

In another instance, Joseph approached the bedside of a fair maiden and asked if he could sleep with her. When she declined, he reminded her that it was the will of the Lord that she succumb. When she still refused, he offered her $5.00. Rebuffed again, Joseph left her bedside, sought out the maiden's husband, and successfully exchanged 8 cows for a night with the man's wife. The story went on to become the inspiration for a popular film on the Hallmark Channel.

On June 7, 1844, the first edition of the Nauvoo Expositor criticized the practice of plural marriage. Very little was published or recorded after that as Joseph Smith declared the paper a public nuisance and ordered the press destroyed. Because of this and other similar actions by Joseph, some ambiguity will always accompany our knowledge of early Mormon polygamy. Like Joseph's spirit wives and their husbands, we "see through a glass darkly" and are asked to walk by faith.

If you would like to stop receiving these emails a mob might show up at your door and threaten to castrate you. Just joshing.