Though We Didn't Seem to Be Listening, We Really Were

Guest Columnist:
Brother Mack's Young Men Class

Dear Brother Mack,

We are writing you this letter because we realize that you probably thought your time as our Young Men instructor was a complete waste. You came to church every Sunday with a lesson prepared for us. But despite your efforts, we never seemed to listen. Most likely you went home disheartened because you could not reach us. No doubt you yearned to share your knowledge and testimony with us. But our bad behavior thwarted you every time.

Well, to tell you the truth, Brother Mack, we really were listening. It may have looked to you like we were pretending to sleep and making loud snoring noises and calling out Lara Croft's name in our sleep, but we really were listening. And we thank you for all you taught us.

We're sure you remember the class when we pretended to be playing Death Pit Xtreme 5: Fountains of Blood on imaginary Playstations, completely ignoring you and making fighting noises so loudly that we disturbed the other classes around us, forcing the bishop to chastise you for your inability to control us. But you can rest easy, because we really were listening. And now, three years later, we still remember your lesson that day.

Yes, you may have despaired. You may have thought about quitting your calling many times, so fruitless were your lessons. Perhaps only because of the fact that the bishop was on vacation were you unable to quit your calling the day we were lighting our farts, thus setting off the fire sprinklers, causing the rest of church to be canceled and the carpets of the entire building to need replacing. We didn't know they made you pay for those carpets, really. And someday, when we are all rich and General Authorities, we will pay you back and tell the world about how great your lessons were. Because we really were listening.

We realize that you're probably still pretty bitter about the way we treated you, Brother Mack. But we were just boys. We didn't realize that your wife would be so angry about those Penthouses we hid under your bed while we were supposed to be in class. Or that we completely maxed out your credit card on And despite the fact that the losers we left in class to distract you into thinking you were actually teaching a lesson ran into the halls screaming that you had repeatedly bludgeoned them with an easel, we want to let you know that we really were listening.

We hope this letter and care package finds you well. We're sure you'll be pleased to know that your wife's new husband is a really great guy and will treat your family well. We pray for your parole daily. But until you are free and we can bestow our gratitude upon you personally, just remember that we really were listening.

Your Young Men class

Ward Toddler Initiates No Cheerio Left Behind Act

St. George, UT--Cheerios across the Flaming Valley 5th Ward's chapel floor are lauding Maya Henderson's No Cheerio Left Behind Act. Taking it upon herself to give each Cheerio equal treatment during sacrament meeting, Henderson is crawling under pews and between the feet of many members of the congregation in an unrelenting search for even the smallest, most disadvantaged Cheerio.

Dismissing any threat to health or reputation, Henderson vows to leave no Cheerio behind, even going to the lengths of reaching down to pick up Cheerios that have been trodden into the carpet during the dark days before Henderson's emancipation of all Cheerios. Soon, Henderson will expand her policy to include Lucky Charms and Frosted Mini-Wheat fragments.

LDS Girls Preferring Death Over Dishonor on the Rise

SALT LAKE CITY--According to a recent Gallup survey, more Mormon girls are choosing death over dishonor than ever before. The survey showed that the incidents of Mormon girls, following the ideals found in the Book of Moroni, are increasingly jealous of their purity and will go to great lengths to preserve it.

This sudden dip in premarital sex has given the Mormon Church the status of the most sexually pure religion in the world, a fact Church authorities are happy to trumpet to the rest of the world.

But how are these fine young women achieving this lofty moral height? It all started in Tallahassee, Florida.

"My Laurel teacher had this really special meeting with us a few months ago," said Jessica Morley of the Tallahassee 98th Ward. "She told us that the Book of Mormon says our virtue is the most important thing we have. More important than our own lives. I really felt that what she said was true."

Indeed, much of the Bible also insists that if a man take a woman's virtue, she is no longer pure and should be stoned. Far better to die before the despicable act takes place.

Now, like the boys who could deprive them of their chastity, Morley, and a few of her devout friends, carry something in their wallets. Something they call Virtue Guarders: a small razor.

"It's in case the unspeakable happens. We can remove ourselves from the situation . . . permanently," said Morely.

Morley's idea has spread through the United States and into some parts of Canada. The Gallup survey claims that girls committing the ultimate act in order to ward off deflowering at the hands of a male has risen 30 percent in the last year, bringing the incidents of premarital sex down proportionally.

"We know it's a sacrifice," said Maryanne Scotts, a Mia Maid from Madison, Wisconsin, "but women are supposed to sacrifice. It's our calling, and we're willing to answer."

Indeed, the girls in the Madison 54th Ward are celebrating yet another girl who saved her chastity this week. Nancy Herald.

"We're going to miss Nancy," said Louise Yount, "but we know she did the right thing. And we're all willing to do it as well."

Nancy will watch the funeral service for Shaun Peters, her former boyfriend, from the youth ward of the Wisconsin State Prison.


Elder Packer Tells Gentile Neighbors to Call Him "Boyd"

SANDY, UT--"He's a cool guy," said Paul Carballo about his neighbor Elder Boyd K. Packer of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. "If you hadn't told me, I wouldn't have known he's a bigwig in the Mormon Church. Is he really second in line to become prophet?"

Carballo and his wife, Debra, recently moved from Boston to Sandy because Paul's software company employer gave him a mandatory transfer. "My wife is Jewish, so we were really nervous about moving to Utah," Carballo said. "But Boyd and Ethyl came right over and introduced themselves. He and my wife both do some painting, and they talked about it so long Ethyl and me started getting bored."

Carballo said his wife and Packer have traded paintings, and now one of Packer's Mount Olympus scenes hangs above the toilet in their guest bathroom.

Asked whether the Packers have offered him a copy of the Book of Mormon or a visit from the missionaries, Carballo said, "No, they've been real cool about that. Some other people have tried to hard-sell us, especially the parents of our daughter's schoolmates--but not the Packers. They invited us to a Christmas thingy at the church, but it was more a neighborhood gathering than a religious service. My wife didn't mind because Santa was scheduled to make an appearance, and our daughter believes in him."

Area resident Carl Johansen expressed some envy of the Carballos. "Man, I would never call him Boyd or show up at his house in anything but a white shirt and tie," Johansen said. "I would stress over whether I could leave home my suit coat. But I saw the Carballos at a barbecue in the Packers' backyard, and Boyd--I mean Elder Packer--was wearing knee-length cutoffs and flip flops. I noticed that all Mrs. Carballo had on was a halter top and short-shorts."

Asked why he doesn't become buddies with church members like he has with the Carballos, Packer said: "Members of this church are bound by numerous unwritten rules that are almost as binding as the commandments. They must treat the Lord's anointed with nothing but respect and the utmost in protocol, otherwise the Spirit is offended. However, sometimes it's a relief for an apostle to let down his hair and hang out with some people who know me just as Boyd."

Packer added, "By the way, my proper title is President Packer, not Elder Packer, since I'm Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I wish the people in my ward could remember that."

BYU Student Uses Commitment Pattern to Get Date

PROVO, UT--Twenty-two-year-old Patrick Foley was successful in his courtship attempts Tuesday when he approached Linda Sampson at BYU using the missionary commitment pattern.

"Will you attend the basketball game with me on Saturday night?" he inquired, using the same "will you" questions he had used for the preceding two years in Buenos Aires, Argentina. When she politely declined, he probed harder to first discover and then resolve her doubts.

When asked again, Sampson agreed to the date "as long as I'm home by 11:00." The conversation ended with Foley bearing his testimony to her about his confidence in their mutual enjoyment of the event.


New Caffeine Patch Announced

Ogden, UT--Help may be just around the corner for the estimated million Mormons addicted to caffeine. Robinson Consumer Products has announced that CAFETROL, the first caffeine patch cleared for sale to consumers without a physician's prescription, is now available across the country in pharmacies, supermarkets and other outlets.

"It's a great day for sinners who are ready to begin taking control of their caffeine habits," said LeBryant Perkins, RCC president. "Caffeine drinkers now have a proven tool practically at their fingertips to help them quit this filthy and disgusting addiction."

A 15-mg CAFETROL patch is worn each day for six weeks. Starter kits include a week's supply of seven patches and the CAFETROL PATHWAYS TO CHANGE behavioral support system, which features the "Taking Action" booklet and an audio tape designed to help consumers deal with the psychological stresses of quitting. Refill kits include a one-week supply of seven 15-mg patches and an additional booklet to help consumers stay committed to quitting.

"I quit Dr. Pepper once in 1981 when my daughter was born, but that only lasted about a week," commented Paige Christiansen of Orem. "I quit the next time in 1992 for two weeks using a caffeinated gum. I probably have quit a thousand times in between, but I've never made it more than 24 hours. Having my weekly CAA meetings where everyone is so supportive is helping me get right back on the wagon each time I fall off--hopefully, this time I won't!"


Empty Temple Bag Stolen from Atop Temple Locker

West Jordan, UT--When area resident Scott Jensen returned to his locker after what he called a "drowsy" endowment session in the Jordan River Temple Wednesday night, he found his temple bag missing from where he'd left it on top of the lockers.
"It was a deluxe version my wife gave me this past Christmas," Jensen said. "I was so excited about it, I even agreed to a New Year's resolution to attend the temple once a month. That's pretty hard for me, because I hate seeing movies twice."

Made of leather, the stolen temple bag is equipped with an external hook so it can be hung on a locker cubicle wall. "It had these hinges to hold it open so I could have easy access to all the compartments," Jensen said, "and a zippered place for my packet, and straps to keep the other clothes in place. Man, it even had two perfect little slots for my temple slippers."

Jensen's wife, Alicia, admitted that her husband sometimes needs gimmicks to help him fulfill religious duties. "The elders quorum president can't get him to attend early-morning presidency meetings unless he promises donuts," she said. "The only way I've been able to get him to do personal scripture study is to buy him a Palm Pilot. The minute I spotted that temple bag in the BYU Bookstore, I knew he'd like it."

Alicia, who attends the temple once a week by herself, said she never says the word "temple" out loud when asking Scott to attend. "I've learned to use code words like 'dinner and a movie,'" she says. "We don't need Satan overhearing our plans and hedging up the way to the temple. Last month he ruined our temple night by stopping Scott from finding socks that matched the color of his suit."

Jensen said he would replace the leather temple bag with a polyester version, which can be folded and stored inside the locker. "But I'm definitely going to keep my eye out for my stolen bag," he said. "My fear is that someone is using it as a briefcase."

He added, "You know how shocked you are when you first go to the temple and realize the lockers have actual locks on them? You can't believe they would have to take precautions like that in the Lord's house."