Covey Alleged to Be the Antichrist

LINDEN, UT—Area resident Rulon “Liberty” Cannon reported at a press conference that he has uncovered the identity of the antichrist or “at least one of his generals in the battle for Armageddon.”

Cannon, proprietor of the Latter-day Herbs market in nearby Orem, reports “decades of careful scripture study” as his primary credential for “discerning angels of light from the servants of darkness.”

Cannon’s breakthrough came to him in local Rock Canyon, where he collects herb specimens and “prays for guidance” on a weekly basis. Quoting from Cannon’s 78-page publication, The Wolf in Lambswool, the argument is clear if somewhat circuitous: “That abominable green mansion that appeared at the mouth of the canyon proved the missing clue. It’s inspired by the architecture of the corrupt lands that denied the Christ and joined with the whore of all the earth, and that desecration of abomination in front of a sacred landmark made me think, what if the antichrist is among us?”

This conclusion, rejected by all present with the exception of the reporter from the Salt Lake Tribune, led Cannon to investigate the origins of the spacious home.

“When I realized the man’s name was Covet, it was like a bolt of Kolob lightning reflected in the kokaubeem,” he says. When pressed, Cannon admitted that the owner’s name is spelled Covey, though he claimed that the accepted spelling was a “pseudoname,” as the “beast is indeed crafty.”

Cannon began careful study of the Covey oeuvre in hopes of confirming his initial intuition. “I studied every word he wrote, and I saw that he started off sounding just like the Lord’s anointed, with great advice about the gospel that appears eternally true. But then a couple of books later, Covet [sic] had overtaken the gospel with the preachings of mammon. When he proclaimed his seven habits, I realized that he was disguising the number of the beast with the sacred number seven. Six times three is eighteen, which contains the digits one and eight. Subtract one from eight and you get Covet’s seven.”

Cannon cites the presence of bar codes on Covey’s books as further evidence of the oft-cited image of John’s apocalyptic beast. His document then delves into social commentary, as he decries progressive materialism in “Zion,” a local synonym for Utah. “This seven habits message is that you can sell the Lord’s gospel for a mess of potage. Peddling eternal principles to the servants of the adversary is about as antichrist as you can pretty much get. I see his demonic face gloating at us when he fools us into accepting his priestcraft. Even some among the faithful will be fooled into thinking the Covet building is one of the mansions in the Father’s house.”

Cannon’s tract is available at Latter-day Herbs as well as local truck stops and travel plazas.

Gospel Contradiction Revealed by BYU Researchers

PROVO, UT—A recent study by two BYU social scientists shows that two fundamental principles of the gospel are at odds against one another, diminishing the overall effectiveness of the members’ covenants and duties. Charity requires self-sacrifice for the service of others, while the principle of self-reliance requires members to stand on their own two feet.

According to the scientists, these two principles in proximity create a state of mass inertia in the church, causing members to neglect, among other things, their home and visiting teaching. “It’s so simple, I don’t know why it took so long for us to see it,” says Dr. Myra Gaddenburger, the principle researcher in this study.

Dr. Bob Nohls, Gaddenburger’s assistant, indicates that the church has shown some interest in their finding. “They’ve asked us which of the two principles they should downplay,” says Nohls. “If they’re interested in funding another study, we’d be happy to look into it. But right now, it’s too soon to tell.”

Ward Clamps Down on Testimony Requirements

ALPINE, UT—In an attempt to make sure the bearing of testimonies is “as uplifting and enlightening as possible,” Bishop Gerrald R. Schwartz of the Alpine 34th Ward has created “a few helpful guidelines” for people to use when they want to bear their testimonies.

He calls his idea a “logical result” of the advice that General Authorities have given recently about testimony bearing. After the church gave guidelines about what topics should be discussed when bearing testimonies, such as the truth of the church and the role of Joseph Smith, Bishop Schwartz says, “I began to see how sacred testimony-bearing time really is. I started to realize that I had a crucial duty to make sure that time was used correctly.”

But it was after church officials explained that children should not be encouraged to bear their testimonies that Bishop Schwartz really began to fast and pray about the topic. “When the Brethren began to emphasize that testimonies are not travelogues and that people shouldn’t use that time to tell long personal stories, I began to see that the members in my ward needed some more help,” he explained.

Consequently, he created the following testimony waiver, which members must sign each fast and testimony day if they want to bear their testimonies:

Your Name:
Your Bishop’s Name:
Your Baptism Number:

In order to bear your testimony today, you must conform to the following guidelines:

1. You must be between the ages of 18 and 45. This is because the Brethren have asked that no children bear their testimonies in sacrament meeting, and, frankly, old people tend to ramble.

2. You must be male. Women cry too much.

3. If you are over 25, you must be married. Otherwise, you are a menace to society and a threat to others’ testimonies.

4. You must be appropriately attired in a suit, white shirt, and conservative tie, and you should be wearing your “I Passed the Tie Check!” sticker. These stickers are awarded in the foyer ten minutes before sacrament meeting starts.

5. You must be a native English speaker. Accents detract from the Spirit.

6. You must agree to read the following script when bearing your testimony. Items 6a and 6c are mandatory; item 6b is optional. You must choose only two sentences from 6b, but you may decide in which order to say them.

a. MANDATORY: My dear brothers and sisters, I am glad to stand before you on this [warm, sunny, stormy, windy] day and bear my heartfelt testimony. I know this church is true. [You may also say: I know the LDS Church is true]. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet. I know the Book of Mormon is true. And I know Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet. [You may also say: I know President Hinckley is a prophet.]

b. OPTIONAL (choose two): I have a testimony of prayer. I have a testimony of fasting. I have a testimony of church attendance. I have a testimony of temple attendance. I have a testimony that families are forever. I have a testimony of tithing. I have a testimony of the Word of Wisdom. I have a testimony of the Law of Chastity. I have a testimony that R-rated movies are bad. I have a testimony that our church leaders are called of God and that everything they do is righteous. I have a testimony of obedience.

c. MANDATORY: In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I have read and understood the terms as described above. I realize that if I misrepresent myself or vary from the above script, such actions will have severe repercussions on my standing in the church.

Applicant’s Signature:_______________________________________

Church to Send Missionaries to “Way Cooler” Locales

SALT LAKE CITY—In the wake of declining numbers of full-time missionaries and a drop in new-member retention rates, the church has been rethinking its missionary efforts. In a press conference, spokesman Arthur W. Knowles said that the church will begin to withdraw its missionaries from countries such as South Africa, Peru, Panama, and Taiwan and focus their efforts in countries “not quite so prone to being boring and poor.”

“It’s not that we don’t care about poor people,” says Knowles. “That’s why we have our humanitarian services, after all. But, let’s face it, poor people do absolutely nothing to help our image. The poverty-stricken members in Guatemala, for example, wear the ugliest, blandest clothing imaginable, and they’ve never even heard of Lex de Azevedo or Dockers khakis. We need to start asking ourselves: do we really want these people as members?”

He adds, “Come on—if you were told you had to go proselyte in Sierra Leone or Monte Carlo, which would you choose? That’s right. You’re not dumb.”

Citing the church’s “declining worldwide cool factor” as the main reason for this change in policy, Knowles emphasizes that members of poorer countries will still be welcomed and loved “as long as they are making an effort to try and be more hip”—but they won’t be actively sought out as church members. He also says that missionaries will not be sent to countries that tend to be hit by natural disasters, because “all that cleanup is totally a drag.”

The church will instead be sending more missionaries to large resort islands such as the Bahamas—”but only the rich areas,” according to Knowles—the French Riviera, Hawaii, St. Tropez, and Tahiti. “We figure that missionaries lounging on the beaches with virgin mai-tais in hand, laughing and singing hymns, will attract a more desirable clientele,” explains Knowles.

“Besides, what do these poorer countries offer us?” he adds. “Like, what, two cents of tithing per member per year? That’s less than it costs us to print the tithing slips. We think the Lord deserves a better return on his investment.”

Stake Starts Using Sacrament Meeting Safety Script

CEDAR CITY, UT—According to stake president James Davila, all units throughout the Cedar Breaks State are now required to read the following safety script aloud at the beginning of each sacrament meeting:

Welcome to sacrament service. We hope your experience will be an enjoyable one. In order to make your meeting as comfortable as possible, we want to acquaint you with the safety features of this building.

Four clearly marked exits have been provided for your convenience. Please take a moment to find the one nearest to you. Remember that it may be behind you. Please walk, do not run, to the exit if there are more than three youth speakers on the program.

In the unlikely event of a high council speaker, air masks will drop from the ceiling. Place the mouthpiece over your mouth, and extend the strap over your head. Although the bag may not appear to inflate, the sedative will be flowing. Help your children with their masks before securing your own. You may remove the masks when the speaker is finished or the meeting is over, which ever comes later.

Your seat bottom can be used as a floatation device should Sister Burkenheim bear her testimony. Simply remove the cushion, sweep away the Cheerios, and put your arms through the straps on the back.

Remember, Coke consumption is prohibited for the duration of the meeting. Federal law prohibits disabling or destroying the lavatory Coke detectors.

As the meeting progresses, our deacons will be coming through with snack and beverage service. Please keep the aisle clear for them. At the end of the meeting, we ask that you put your teenagers back into their upright, locked position and stow all belongings back under your seats.

Have a great meeting, and thanks for picking the LDS Church for all your spiritual needs.

Mormonized Words and Phrases

In the spirit of a recent Meridian magazine article by John P. Pratt, in which he delicately renamed the planet Uranus to the much more appropriate-sounding “Chronus,” we felt it was our spiritual duty to sanitize other words, names, and phrases in the English lexicon to something we wouldn’t be embarrassed to say in sacrament meeting. We encourage all Latter-day Saints to begin using the following replacement words immediately:

Inappropriate - Mormonized
Assume - Mulesume
Bosom - Heart locker
Bush - Shrub
Chicken breast - Chicken boom-boom
Dam - Aquablock
Dick Cheney - Halliburton
Dictator - Privatestator
Hellenism - Greekish
Helicopter - Rotocopter
Hello - Heaveno
Kicking against the pricks - Kicking against the pointy things
Moby Dick - Moby Richard
Niggardly - Coloredly
Penal - Prisonal
Pianist - Ivoryist
Pistol - Arab ventilator
Shittimwood - Stinkimwood
Shih tzu - Lhasa apso
Succor - Helpor
Tit for tat - Udder for other

Mormon Sports with “Iron” Rod Zeier

Dear Rod: Hey, I love your radio show. I know we’re all LDS and all. But just hypothetically, do you know of a reliable football betting strategy that’s consistent with the scriptures?
—Ted from West Valley

Dear Ted: First, the church is opposed to gambling in all its forms, and me and Sparky and the rest of the guys at Mormon Sports support that 110 percent. But in answer to your question, the thing we have to ask ourselves is this: What does God like? And the answer to that is clear: God likes the passing game. I mean, just look at the quarterbacks he’s blessed us with, Nielson, Wilson and Young and Ty Detmer and, yes, Jim McMahon—I know he’s not officially LDS yet, but his wife is, and I have a source upstairs that tells me she’s bringing him ‘round, line upon line, precept on precept. Not to mention Danny White. So, God loves a good offense, and that means God loves your crossing routes, your tight end up the seam, your outlet pass to the running back, and, on third and short, your play action rollout. Lots of points scored, that’s God’s plan for us. So that’s the first thing.

Now, I don’t want to get all BYU-centric here—we’re a worldwide church, and there are plenty of good RMs in other Mountain West schools—and I don’t want to suggest that God plays favorites. But he clearly favors those late-night ESPN games, where midlevel conferences get some national exposure. God hates the BCS—that goes without saying—but what does God love? Family activities, and is there a better family outing than a weeknight football game in November? I think not. So put all that together and whaddya got? I don’t approve of gambling, and frankly it’s not something I pay much attention to, but if you want to put a little Zeier zest in your tithing envelope, look for MWC night games where the over/under is plus 39, and take the over.

Scrapbooking Your Excommunication

By Sherilyn Sunderland

Fellow scrapbookers unite! Ladies, this column is just for you! So put down that dishrag (we all know you were just pretending to wash dishes anyway!) and get out that boxful of precious photos. Let’s talk about scrapbooks. They’re way more fun than driving kids to soccer practice, and when Hubby gets grumpy because dinner’s not on the table, you can say, “Honey, I’m working on our family history!” What a perfect excuse for indulging in a super-fun hobby!

We’ve all seen tons of cute baptism scrapbook pages, cute baby blessing pages, and cute temple wedding pages. And I’ve seen so many darling missionary scrapbooks lately that it makes me almost want to go on a mission just for the scrapbook possibilities (or the “scrap-abilities!”). But I digress. I want to talk to you about how to scrapbook one of those little oopsies that life hands out from time to time—excommunication!

Now, before you say, “That Sherilyn sure is up in the night,” let me remind you that we Mormons have been commanded to preserve all our memories for our progeny, not just the happy ones. Excommunication can be a great learning experience for all people involved, and preserving it in a scrapbook gives us a chance to “accentuate the positive” (don’t you just love The Jungle Book?).

Here are a few tips to help make your excommunication page the envy of the neighborhood:

1. Capture the event. Try to be present at the disciplinary council when the verdict is announced. If you can slip into the room unnoticed, so much the better! Use a camera with a good zoom lens on it so you can get a close up of the newly exed person’s face when the verdict is read. Get a picture of the stake president as he reads the verdict. If possible, get individual pictures of everyone involved in the disciplinary council. If you know you won’t be able to sneak in for a picture or two, give your camera to a council member ahead of time (make him some cookies as a thank you afterwards!). Remember: photos that capture the emotion of the moment will make for a more memorable page.

2. Use a catchy title. Now’s a great time to be creative! Examples of good titles for your excommunication page are “Look Who’s Been Outed!” “Porn Doesn’t Pay!” “Troop Leader No Longer!” and “If Only My Zipper Had Gotten Stuck.” Look through your scriptures or use your Topical Guide to find commandments that relate to the excommunication and handwrite or print them out in a cute font to enhance the page.

3. Embellish with funky accents. While you can usually find a wide range of stickers, die cuts, or paper for just about any theme you can imagine, it’s really hard to find excommunication-related page embellishments. The “Damn, I’m Bad” line is coming out with a cute “The Seven Cardinal Sins” group of stickers later this fall (look for them at Scrap ’N Grin). But in the meantime, go through your own supplies and see what you have. For instance, you can cut out some cute horns and put them on top of a Paperkins doll to make a devil. Or you can make flaming words: use deckle-edged scissors and red-and-black paper for piecing together your page’s title. You can also download flaming fonts for free—try

4. Get other points of view. Because an excommunication is such an emotional time, everyone involved is sure to have a strong opinion on the subject. Be sure to have everyone on the disciplinary council write a message to the newly exed person. I saw a cute page last week that everyone on the council had signed. It was full of messages like “Hearing what you did made me physically ill,” “I never believed Satan truly walked among us until tonight,” and “I used to think it was impossible to do something so bad that God would stop loving you.” Memorable for sure!

An excommunication page can really add that special something to your LDS scrapbook. Just imagine how proud your exed spouse, child, or parent will be to see his or her accomplishments immortalized in your scrapbook for all to see! What a great (and fun!) way to preserve those unforgettable memories for generations to come. Until next time, happy scrappin’!

Sherilyn is a long-time scrapbooking instructor at her Orem, Utah, store Scrap ’N Grin. She has authored an LDS-themed scrapbooking idea book called Oh, Heavens! How Scrapbooking Can Get You Closer to God. Her syndicated column, Kraft Korner, runs in four different newspapers along Utah’s Wasatch Front.

Deseret Book Releases “Pedestal Wife”

SALT LAKE CITY—Deseret Book spokesman Martin Graves recently announced a new product designed “to help Mormons bring the Spirit into their homes.” Called Pedestal Wife, the new product resembles a statue of a woman who’s five foot, six inches tall, with long, flowing brown hair, a gingham dress, and an apron, standing on a marble pedestal two feet high. Deseret Book stresses, “Pedestal Wife is more than just a statue, although she does certainly beautify and brighten the home. She is primarily designed to help us all glorify womanhood.”

One of the first consumers, Provo resident Dwight L. Langersen, reports that he is pleased with Pedestal Wife. “I installed her in the living room so the family can gaze lovingly on her while we have our daily scripture reading,” he says. “It’s so nice to have her there for those times during family home evening when we talk about women’s holy nature and how much less sinful they are than men. Plus, she’s a lot easier to get along with than my own wife, bless her heart.”

Although response to the product has been mostly positive, Orem native Larry Schwartz admits he was initially confused by Pedestal Wife’s purpose. “I put her in my kitchen, hoping she would make me some of those incredible apple dumplings my mom used to bake on winter afternoons,” he admits. “I didn’t realize she’d just stand there. Eventually, we moved her to the bedroom, and while my wife isn’t happy with that, I am.”

Schwartz’s experience is not unusual. The confusion about Pedestal Wife’s role prompted the release of an official statement from Deseret Book: “While Pedestal Wife does encourage the healthy glorification of womanhood and thereby increases spirituality, consumers need to remember that the product is not actually designed to interact with them in any meaningful way. She does not talk, cook, or form relationships.”

Despite these and similar misunderstandings, however, Pedestal Wife is selling very well and has gained a loyal following, mostly of married men who live along Utah’s Wasatch Front. “I don’t know what it is—that apron, the dress, or the twenty-four-inch waist—but somehow Pedestal Wife reminds me of my saintly mother,” says Ogden resident Sam Culpepper. “That woman raised eight children in a three-room house, had a hot meal on the table three times a day, and managed to read the Book of Mormon over a hundred times.” Culpepper’s wife Meredith was not available for comment.

Culpepper echoes many Mormon men when he says that he sees Pedestal Wife as a great addition to his home and family. In fact, he admits, “Because Pedestal Wife radiates such wholesome goodness and quiet humility, I’m kind of hoping that my real wife will learn to follow suit. As long as she still cooks and cleans for me, of course.”

Church Acquires Walker Center Weather Forecaster

SALT LAKE CITY—For as long as most Salt Lakers can remember, the neon light atop the 16-story Walker Center building has shined blue when the weather forecast is clear and red when the forecast calls for snow or rain.

At part of the LDS Church’s ongoing downtown expansion, the Church has acquired the weather forecaster. Effective immediately, the neon lights now function as an indicator of the city’s current spirituality, according to the following code:

Steady blue: All’s well in Zion.

Blinking blue: People need to stop procrastinating their home and visiting teaching.

Steady red: Too many people are seeing R-rated movies and/or drinking Coke.

Blinking red: Computers are downloading more porn than family history data.

Purple: If a vote were held today on legalizing gay marriage, it would pass.

Mission Adopts Guerilla Marketing Technique

ATLANTA, GA—Following the success of a recent pass-along card campaign throughout the Georgia Atlanta Mission, mission president James T. Farnsworth issued a Sharpie permanent marker to every missionary and member over age 12, along with instructions about how to use them in a new program for spreading the gospel.

“It’s time to take this work to the next level,” said President Farnsworth. “I don’t want to see our people start any new graffiti. But wherever someone else has already scrawled something on a bathroom wall or other public surface, we need to add our two bits.”

The president has asked members and missionaries to carry their Sharpies at all times and, whenever appropriate, write the follow message: MORMONISM IS TRUE! WWW.MORMON.ORG

“I’m certain the kingdom will grow by leaps and bounds in our area if we’re diligent about spreading the word through whatever means possible,” said President Farnsworth. “However, whoever wrote ‘Brother Johansen doesn’t pay a full tithe’ in the stake center restroom definitely needs to repent.”

Centerpiece Correlation Committee Founded

SALT LAKE CITY—In reaction to “great concern” expressed by the general Relief Society board, the church has founded a new committee to regulate the centerpieces used in Relief Society lessons and “ensure that these centerpieces bring women closer to God,” according to Elder Milton P. Lamoreaux.

Sister Beverly R. Grumman, second counselor in the general Relief Society presidency, said, “Relief Society centerpieces are crucial to the success of women’s education in the church. Because of their importance, it is high time that these items fell within the jurisdiction of a priesthood-supervised committee.” She noted that too many women are creating “frivolous” centerpieces for their lessons and not adequately considering the effect of these items on the women in the class.

President Sharon Oakes agrees that the committee is a “dire necessity.” She has visited too many wards where Relief Society centerpiece creation has caused tension and despair, rather than a feeling of sisterhood. “Many sisters display inappropriate items and colors, such as bright purple silk irises or non-church-approved family photographs,” she says. “Not all sisters understand that their fake flowers should be pastel or pale colors, so as not to detract from the lesson. And carnations, for example, are much more decorous than irises.”

Failure to grasp the difference between appropriate and inappropriate centerpiece items is not the only problem the Relief Society presidency notices. Many other sisters feel “simply inadequate” when faced with overly elaborate centerpieces in their Relief Society room, according to Sister Grumman. “These sisters should see Relief Society as a haven from the world. Instead, if they are faced with a perfectly arranged two-foot bouquet of silk flowers and three Lladro statues of Christ, many of them experience self-esteem problems.”

The sisters of the Bonneville West Stake in Layton, Utah, are “relieved” that their centerpiece decisions will now be overseen by an official priesthood body. “Our centerpiece situation has been just awful this past year,” claims Denise Raymond, a twenty-five-year-old homemaker. “I mean, like, the women always work like crazy on them and spend tons of money. And that harms our self-esteem.”

Sister Raymond recalls a time last summer when her friend, Lara Beatton, spent twenty hours creating an elaborate three-foot-tall replica of the Salt Lake Temple out of toothpicks for her lesson on temples. “Ten women walked in that day and saw it and burst into tears,” she said. “They wouldn’t speak to Lara for months. Two of them had to go on Paxil. And I totally understand. How does she expect us to compete with that? How can we feel we are real women with something like that testifying to our inadequacy? How can anyone feel happy in Relief Society anymore? We so obviously need the priesthood to help us with our centerpiece problems.”

Sixty-seven-year-old Edna Gambel agrees. “These young girls don’t understand how to make appropriate centerpieces these days,” she said. “You wouldn’t believe the shockingly un-spiritual things I’ve seen. They’ve abandoned crewelwork for cross-stitched samplers. They don’t macramé anymore. And I haven’t seen a lovely frosted-glass grape since I don’t know how long. Instead, all I see these days are those distressed and painted boards with cute sayings on them. Did I mention those boards are distressed? What’s wrong with Precious Moments figurines, after all?”

Sister Gambel’s remarks underscore the danger of keeping centerpiece decisions uncorrelated, according to President Oakes. “The situation is so chaotic that these women don’t even know what’s appropriate anymore. Friendships are ending, and animosities are building. Thank heavens the priesthood has stepped in to help.”

Tips for Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy

• If your church starts at an early hour, like 9:00, you as a parent will need to help your children get to church on time without grumbling. Moving into a ward that starts at 1:00 should do the trick.

• Sunday is a good time to visit the sick and afflicted as a family. If you don’t know anyone who is sick or afflicted, bake some rat poison cookies and take them to your neighbors.

• Keep your children free of the evils of peer pressure by not letting them anywhere near their Primary, Young Men, Young Women, or Sunday school classes.

• It is entirely appropriate for you and your spouse to experience marital intimacy on the Sabbath, but only with each other.

• Don’t take advantage of any services that may require others to work on the Sabbath, like electricity or hospital emergency rooms.

• Cook your meals the day before, and don’t take more than thirteen steps at a time. It’s right there in the Old Testament, people!

• No needle drugs.

• It’s OK to shop, but only on the Internet, because that totally doesn’t count, because it’s all like machines or computers or something.

• Visiting the sick is encouraged on the Sabbath. Help your fellow ward members find opportunities to serve by feigning illness every week. Plus, you’ll get free meals.

• Go home teaching or, failing that, at least tell your elders quorum president that you went.

• Don’t worry. Jesus is a dude. He’s totally cool with football.

SpongeBob Receives Mission Call

BIKINI BOTTOM—Local celebrity and Krabby-patty chef SpongeBob SquarePants announced at this week’s sacrament services of the Bikini Bottom Branch that he has received a call to serve in the Tokyo North mission. Elder SquarePants reports to the MTC in June.

News of the mission call came as a surprise to some, many of whom were not even aware he was a Mormon. “He’s such a wholesome, hard-working, dedicated little invertebrate, I should have known,” said Sandy Squirrel, a Baptist. “Even though he’s yellow and absorbent, he isn’t pushy or self-righteous or anything. He’s porous—he’ll make a fine missionary.”

Mr. Krabbs, proprietor of the Krusty Krabb and employer of Elder SquarePants for most of his career, says he’ll miss his best patty cook. “’Tis my hope the little lad doesn’t end up in a sushi roll somewhere in Tokyo. I’ll be keeping his spatula at the ready for his return.”

Not everyone has been supportive of Elder SquarePants’s desire to serve a mission, most notably Elder Boyd K. Plankton, who initially accused SpongeBob of having unnatural affections for his best friend and neighbor, Patrick Starfish. During a fireside, Elder Plankton criticized the pineapple-inhabiting sponge of being “strangely effeminate” and “living with a fellow invertebrate by the name of Gary,” both of which he claimed were clear indicators of his sexual orientation. “Anyone can tell that SpongeBob SquarePants, who regularly cavorts about in his square underpants, is a flaming homosexual,” a charge that Elder SquarePants denied.

“You’ll never get the secret of my sexuality from me, Elder Plankton!” SquarePants said on the Dave Letterman show the following month.

Since that time, Elder Plankton has reversed his position, which ultimately cleared the path for SquarePants to receive his mission call. “I’ve seen the SpongeBob movie,” admitted Elder Plankton. “It’s a great film, with a wholesome good-conquers-evil theme, much the same as the Book of Mormon. And I didn’t realize that Gary was his pet. I jumped to an unfortunate conclusion.”

Elder Plankton reluctantly stated that SpongeBob’s developmentally delayed neighbor Patrick, on the other hand, could never serve a mission, as he will never grow a foot or two. “He’s a starfish. He can grow only arms,” Plankton said. “Besides, it still bothers me that he did that final scene in the movie wearing stiletto heels and fishnet stockings. The boy’s not right.”

The Bikini Bottom Branch has scheduled Elder SquarePants’s farewell for July 26, after which a party has been scheduled at the Easter Island Statue of Squidward, who is thrilled to see his annoying neighbor leave for two years.

Ask a Beehive

By Mandi Meecham, age 12
Draper 34th Ward, Draper Utah Southeast Stake

Q: I know this is one of those big unanswerable questions, but still, it’s really bothering me. How can Heavenly Father love his children and still let so many horrible things happen in the world? Why must innocent people suffer so much pain?

A: Dude, I totally dig that. Like the other day I went to this completely freaking party at my cousin Grayson’s house, because I helped him pick out these totally sweet earrings for his girlfriend Kendra’s Valentine’s Day present and he owed me massive. Grayson is hot, which is totally freaky to say about my cousin, but it’s true. Just don’t tell anyone. He plays on Valley View’s football team, and so when he text-messaged me that I could come to his digs for the party, he was all, “FB dudes comin. DJ 2. CU2?” I completely hypered in chem class and dropped my lab glasses, which broke and I had to stay after to clean up, but I was all, Dude! I told Lindsee that Grayson had TMed me that the football team was going to be there and Dariann Jones, this senior who everyone wants to date because she was totally a finalist in last year’s Seventeen model search. I was all, “Lindsee! Check out my text message!” The entire Valley View football team is wicked hot, and Dariann Jones is totally my idol. She is actually going to intern for Self magazine in New York City when she graduates, and she owns a real Louis Vuitton bag and is six feet tall and a perfect size two. Last year, five guys got into a fistfight in school over who had asked her to the prom first. Sweet! Dariann is such a total Betty.

So, of course I totally wigged when faced with the bleak reality of my party wardrobe options. Everything was way too Little House on the Prairie for a killer swing like this was going to be. So I nabbed my mom’s plastic from her purse, which she was totally cool with because she got a massive speeding ticket when we were coming home from Brax’s soccer practice and I promised I wouldn’t tell Dad, and Stacee and I did some serious mallin’. I didn’t take Lindsee because we are not talking right now except in chem class when I need help. Anyways, I found these sweet silvery, glittery kicks with three-inch heels that just screamed “I am all that!” and I had to have them. They make me look sooo much older than twelve!

The sandals were mad cool and Dariann even complimented me on them, which was like the highlight of my life. And all these guys kept asking me to dance, and I was like, Sweet! Nothing bad could ever happen to me again! But although it seems too cruel to be true, high fashion has a dark side. I looked way hot, but after all the dancing, the sandals were seriously killing me. The straps dug into my feet, and the high heels made these little shooting pains go up my legs. So then I was thrown into this moral dilemma: What do you do when you look dead wicked hot in your kicks but they totally kill? It was brutal because I was like, I can’t be happy in these shoes and I can’t be happy not in them, because of their extreme hotness. The whole thing made me get totally down with pain and suffering and stuff. Like after I got home, I totally was going to mail some money to the earthquake victims in Sri Lion or whatever, but I can’t find where I wrote down the address to send it to, so I’ll have to watch more MTV to find out, which is way lame. But at least now I totally understand that God makes us suffer to teach us to have humility. And to not buy really hot shoes because they could seriously ruin your arches.

Timmy Bears Testimony, Knows Church Is True

MALAD, ID—In a surprise announcement Sunday morning, little Timmy, son of Brother and Sister Smith, declared to a gathering of about 300, “I want to bury my testimony.” Timmy then revealed that he knows the church is true, though he did not elaborate upon this point.

Further, Timmy said, “I love my mom and dad.” Then, in an unprecedented burst of frankness, he added “even though I am sometimes a brat.”

Though these statements gave the ward what seems to be a piercing insight into Timmy’s until now mysterious past, ward analysts are not so sure how verifiable Timmy’s statements are.

“I don’t know,” said Brother Conrad, “his big sister was whispering in his ear the entire time.”

“Timmy’s a real handful in class,” Primary teacher Sister Ripley admitted, “but maybe he’s a spiritual giant trapped inside a little body.”

Terry Tempest Williams Caught with Strange Desert

CASTLE VALLEY, UT—Only months after the publication of Mormon author Terry Tempest Williams’s new book celebrating her “erotic” relationship with Utah’s deserts, Williams was caught in a compromising position with Mongolia’s Gobi Desert.

Two backpackers reported seeing Williams sensuously running her fingers through the Gobi Desert’s sand and rapturously embracing large rocks. Further investigation turned up some lipstick marks on native wildlife in the area.

News of Williams’s affair with a desert on the other side of the planet has affected the usually upbeat nature of Utah’s deserts. Bob Silas, a ranger in the Goblin Valley area, reported that the giant joshuas seem much droopier since Williams’s indiscretion was revealed.

“And I swear I’ve been seeing Edward Abbey’s ghost peeking in through the camper windows,” Seeger said. “I had to throw my copy of Refuge out the window to get rid of him.”

Williams’s human fans also expressed shock at the scandal. “The relationship Terry had with the Utah deserts in Desert Quartet was so beautiful,” wept Muriel Southby. “What made her wander like this?”

Man Dials Wrong Number, Gets Mormons Instead of Hot Babes

FARGO, ND—Area resident Frank Mullholland found that he was the victim of either a faulty memory or supernatural promptings when he called 1-900-Hot-Babes early Tuesday morning.

Having been lured into dialing the number for Hot Babes by a late-night television ad depicting scantily clad women wielding firearms, Mullholland dialed a number on his telephone. Expecting a pleasant conversation with a hot babe, Mullholland was surprised when a representative of the church asked if he wanted the Bible or the Book of Mormon.

“I thought them’s was weird names for girls,” said Mullholland, breaking open a beer in front of two youthful male missionaries. “But when the lady said she’d send ’em right over, I just asked for both.”

Mullholland admitted that he was further pleased when the person on the other end of the line asked if he wanted a free video as well.

“How could I refuse?” asked Mullholland, turning Our Heavenly Father’s Plan over in his hands, which he admitted was not quite what he expected.

“Do you kids make much money at this?” he asked the missionaries who were delivering the merchandise.

Spokesmen deny that the church is using any innovative television campaigns that may have confused Mullholland. “Maybe Brother Mullholland was dialing the number while one of our ads was playing on his television,” speculated Elder Dwight, one of the missionaries who delivered the books and video.

“I think the Spirit guided him,” countered Elder Murray, the senior companion of the duo, as he waved Mullholland’s tobacco smoke away from his face.

The missionaries refused the videos Mullholland offered to lend them. “I figured one good turn deserves another,” he said.

Satan’s Childhood to Blame, Say Scientists

PROVO, UT—A single ancient document, recently uncovered by BYU archeologists in a dig in Cairo, Egypt, shows conclusively that the author of all sin, also known as Satan, may have been the victim of a rotten childhood.

The document appears to be a drawing of a tree standing in the midst of a field. The sky is colored blue, and flowers dot the landscape.

“In the center of the picture is the unmistakable mark of Satan,” said Gunter Stringer, the archeologist who found the relic. Indeed, spelled out in shaky crayon letters are the words, Satan, age 6.

“We have deduced that Satan himself drew this picture when he was just a wee son of the morning star,” said Stringer. “And you know, it’s kind of a cute little picture. I like to imagine that it used to hang from a heavenly refrigerator before it fell to earth.”

Satan, who is known in some parts of the world as Lucifer, Old Scratch, and the Adversary, has allegedly inspired everything from genocides to the candy bar you stole from the store when you were in eighth grade.

“The thing that has been puzzling generations of theologians is how such a normal little spirit kid could fall to such depths,” said Stringer.

Ludwig Marcus, a psychologist specializing in child development, says Satan’s fall is really no big secret when one studies the picture closely.

“Look at that tree, just look at that tree,” he said, gesticulating solemnly. “That is the unmistakable evidence of sibling rivalry. There was obviously someone around, perhaps a larger brother or a talented sister, who received the parent’s adoration. Clearly the flowers, symbolizing the youthful Satan, are depicted as small and insignificant. Yet they are lovely and full of potential. But they have been overshadowed by that tree.”

The peculiar, low-hanging sky, Marcus says, represents a huge authority figure. “Obviously little Satan felt watched by some omniscient presence with a strong, unconquerable will. How does he escape that unblinking eye? How does he prove himself? I don’t even have to mention the fact that Satan came from a very large family, as indicated by these numerous blades of grass. Are these siblings potential allies, or enemies? I don’t know. But I definitely see a conflict developing here. Something is boiling in this young child’s mind, and he doesn’t even know it yet.”

Stringer and his crew have been continuing their dig in hopes of finding more evidence of Satan’s obviously disturbed and tragic childhood.

“The only other thing that we have come up with is a form letter to Satan from Celestial Crunch Cereal Company, saying they had run out of decoder rings,” said Stringer. “I can imagine Satan was pretty disappointed.”

Fasting Requirements Loosened

SALT LAKE CITY—To relieve the burden of going without food and water for 24 consecutive hours, members are now allowed to split up their fasting into smaller periods of time. Some members are calling the new approach “fast fasting.”

“As long as the total fasting comes out to 24 hours per month, the blessings are the same,” said Elder Jeff W. Richards. “A member could open his fast with prayer, go without food and water for an hour or two, and then close with prayer. In fact, a fasting period could last as little as just a few seconds, as long as it opens and closes with prayer.”

Susan Pugmire, a member in Sandy, Utah, applauds the change. “Now we won’t have to deal with headaches and bad breath,” she says. “I like this new kinder, gentler direction. Life is already hard enough without excessively long fasts.”

To help members track their fasting throughout the month, fasting time cards are now available at distribution centers.

I, Captain Moroni, Having Defeated the Armies of Mr. Incredible

Guest Columnist:
Captain Moroni, Action Figure

I, Captain Moroni, having defeated the armies of Mr. Incredible, now write down the record of my doings.

For behold, it came to pass that in the third year of the reign of King Timmy, that a certain man, having much strength and powers of persuasion, did leave his native land of McDonalds and migrate to the Room of Timmy.

There he did begin to gather followers about him through his persuasive words and great strength. Behold, he said unto them, I, Mr. Incredible, being great of strength and powerful in persuasion, say unto you that we need a new king. Yea, why should we labor under the tyranny of King Timmy, who doth spread us to and fro upon the face of the floor? Behold, one day Timmy doth smile upon us and lo, he plays with us. But Timmy is a capricious king, a king who bestows compassion upon his subjects one day but behold, on the next he treads them into the carpet.

And it came to pass that such was the persuasion of Mr. Incredible that many did follow after him. Yea, the Star Warites, the Brothers of Hasbro, and many others were deceived by Mr. Incredible and began to form secret combinations to bring about the overthrow of King Timmy.

But I, Moroni, being a servant of King Timmy and being the head of his royal army, did rally all those who did believe on the name of Timmy to his defense. And the Sons of the Mutant Turtles did answer my call, as did the Potato Heads, and the Matelites. And behold, we did fortify our strongholds, yea, with Lego, Lincoln Logs, and even Mega Blocs did we strengthen our fortress.

And we did surround our fortress with Bristleblox that our enemy would fall upon them and be impaled. And we did arm ourselves with swords, scimitars, ray guns, nun chucks, and all manner of weapons of every kind.

And behold, the day did come when Mr. Incredible, with his army, did arise from the depths of the land Under the Bed to attack our stronghold. And my people did quake and tremble, for they saw that the Incrediblites (for so did we call them) had made a great and terrible sacrifice of the fairest of virgins, yea, even Barbie, and had thrust her head upon a pike. They had also painted themselves with chocolate insomuch that they did cause my army to quake and tremble.

But we did stand firm in our stronghold atop Mount Bureau, ready for our enemy.

But behold, it came to pass that just as the Incrediblites were attacking, the Mother of Timmy did sweep them into the garbage bag of eternal darkness and did drag them down to Value Village, from whence there is no return. And behold, there was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth among the Incrediblites.

And thus we see that those who support King Timmy and rally to his cause will indeed be upheld at the last day. In the name of KB Toys, amen.

Area Man Still Unsure about Church Policy on Porn

EAGER, AZ—After listening to the April 2005 general conference, Ted Johansen expressed dismay that the church still hasn’t clarified its position regarding the pornography that’s so widely available today.

“I mean, we know we’re not supposed to gamble or drink coffee, but what about all these nudie pictures available on the Internet?” he asked. “It seems like this is an important enough deal that the church would give us some clear guidance, already. Some of the General Authorities have alluded to this issue, but they just haven’t come out with anything definitive yet.”

Snapshot: General Conference Edits

What phrases did the correlation committee edit out of recent general conference talk manuscripts?

When it comes to pornography, we should all probably cut back a little.

Children, in the sight of heaven, are perfect . . . little devils!

We don’t think it’s appropriate to use guilt to motivate you to do what’s right, so in my talk I will focus on the rewards of choosing the right rather than the punishments that come when we choose wrongly.

Active members of the church should be involved in the entertainment industry. What we need to stop doing is making movies that blow.

LDS priesthood holders should follow the example of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who treated every one of his 34 wives with respect and kindness.

Testimonies were borne, hearts were touched, Diet Cokes were shared.

You men are already being nice enough to your wives. You don’t need to feel guilty if they’re not happy.

We understand that there are times when family budgets make tithing a real hardship. But it’s precisely in times of trial that we stand most in need of blessings. And the greatest blessing a struggling family could receive is a kindly bishop cutting them some slack on their tithing.

The adversary seeks to make all men as miserable as he is. That’s how effed up his plan is.

Zippity doo dah, zippity eh, my oh my it’s a wonderful day . . .

And that’s why we’re so glad to welcome our two newest members of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Horacio Ramirez, and Elder Mbabwe Olanbangwe.

In the final six years of his ministry, when our beloved President Ezra Taft Benson had completely lost his marbles . . .

As I stand here in my gray suit and off-white shirt, wearing my Jerry Garcia tie . . .

Look, just call me Tom Monson. I’m tired of that stupid initial.

One night, after we’d made love, my wife and I were talking about . . .

After which, Sister Marlene K. Smith, of the general Primary presidency, will deliver a substantive theological address.

Back in the early days of the church, when women held the priesthood . . .

As Rob Zombie has so eloquently put it . . .

“No, no, honey,” I said to my sweetheart. “Your graduate work is far more important than my dreams of a law career. Let me raise the children for a few years.”

Area Men Recover from Annual Mother’s Day Self-Flagellation Rituals

LINDON, UT—The men of the Lindon Hills 43rd Ward are still exhausted from their rigorous Mother’s Day celebrations. “We try to go the extra mile in showing our wives and mothers how much they mean to us and how utterly unworthy we are to even be in their presence,” explained Bishop Bob Creeley. “It’s a day of cleansing the soul and of intense groveling for us men.”

The sacrament meeting program started out with a talk by Brother Hugh Castleton, the high priest group leader. “My mother tended a half-acre vegetable garden, raised ten children on $15,000 a year, made all our clothes by hand, memorized the entire Book of Mormon, and maintained a perfect size-six figure her entire life,” sobbed Brother Castleton. “She taught herself to play the piano after she went blind at age 34, just so she could say yes to the calling of Primary pianist. Using Braille and the Holy Spirit, she made us all pieced quilts for each of our birthdays. I’ll never forget watching her pray over her quilting frame, waiting for the Spirit to guide her needle to just the right spot.”

Brother Larry Schoendyke, 52, also presented a moving tribute to his mother. “My mother’s last words to me were, ‘Larry, everyone is a child of God and deserves to be trusted,’” he recalled. “Two hours later, she was shot and killed by criminals disguised as Jehovah’s Witnesses, whom she had invited in for cocoa and homemade cookies. But I’ll never forget that wonderful lesson she taught me about trust. What a saint.”

Brother Schoendyke’s talk was followed by a musical interlude. The Sackcloth-and-Ashes Quartet, made up of four male ward members, sang a song they wrote themselves called “I’m Just a Stupid Man But Please Allow Me to Worship at the Altar of Motherhood.”

The last man to speak on motherhood was Brother Rick Dalmonico, 23, a new father. “Sometimes when I come home and my wife is nursing our newborn, the spirit is so strong that I feel it would be irreverent to interrupt them,” he confessed. “So I just usually go in the other room and watch football. I wouldn’t want to interfere with something as sacred as precious motherhood.” He added, “Or sometimes I just stay out late with friends instead of coming home. So I won’t interfere with all that holy motherhood stuff. It truly is much more special than we men could ever understand.”

After sacrament meeting, the men of the ward adjourned to the foyer, where they covered their heads, donned black robes, and greeted the women on their knees. When the first woman appeared, they prostrated themselves on the ground and chanted “Miserere Mei” several times. Bishop Creeley then reconfirmed the holiness of women and the utter uselessness of men in his remarks: “We know we’re just men and therefore the only socially acceptable butt of jokes in the LDS culture,” said Bishop Creeley. “We are also aware that we are not entitled to the holy role of mother or even to loosen your sandal straps—we love your sandals, by the way, and you should buy as many more pairs as you want—but please do accept this small token of our worshipfulness, gratitude, and awe.”

The men then presented the mothers with large bouquets of black roses, tied with a ribbon that had the message WE’RE NOT WORTHY written on it in two-inch letters. Each message had been individually written in the men’s own blood the previous Sunday in their elders quorum and high priest groups. “I finally had to nick an artery to get enough blood, and I actually passed out twice,” said Brother Craig Davis, describing the ordeal. “But I know my small trial was nothing compared to the travails of laboring to bring a child into the world, which my sweet, dear wife has done twice now, without any pain medication.” He added, “She actually recited psalms instead of screaming. What a woman.”

Now that the men of the Lindon Hills 43rd ward have had their annual purge of unworthiness, “we can all get back to important man stuff,” admits Brother Schoendyke. He denies rumors that he told his friend that he can now ignore his wife in good conscience for another year.

Man’s Addiction to Wife Destroying Relationship with Porn

AUSTIN, TX—After years of commitment and fidelity, Austin resident Jesse Bingham is watching his relationship with porn being torn apart by his raging addiction to his wife.

“I never thought it would happen to me,” said Bingham, sitting in an apartment rife with the telltale signs of wife addiction: photographs, love letters, gifts. “My relationship with my porn was a deep one. I only had eyes for the girls in the magazines, the videos, or on the Internet, but then, one day. . .”

According to sources close to Bingham, his descent into wife addiction started innocently enough. “He just went to a dance,” said Torvald Hampton, a college buddy, “It wasn’t like he was pursuing an addiction to a real live woman. He was just curious. But once he had a taste, he just couldn’t keep away.”

Hampton went on to recount numerous nights spent watching porn videos alone in his apartment, his once faithful friend out feeding the bottomless pit of his new addiction. “Man, sometimes he just went too far, bringing Nancy right into the apartment here. I mean, what was I supposed to do? He’d sit there on the couch, the very couch where we first watched Bilious Lesbian Circus Vendors, and put his arm around her waist!”

Bingham’s psychologist, with permission from Bingham, says he shows all the signs of a deepening spouse addiction. “He spent all his money on her. He neglected his magazines, missed his weekly visits to the Hentai Hut of Hooters, and started getting up in the middle of the night to write e-mails to his beloved. I tell you, it’s a classic case.”

More disturbing still are accounts from Bingham’s family that he actually started showing signs of caring about the woman who would, one dark day, become his wife. “He took care of her for a whole week while she was sick,” said Sara Bingham, Jesse’s younger sister. “Took leave from work and everything. She threw up on him, which should have given him a clue. But no. Jesse was too far gone by then. What kind of expectation is he setting for me here?”

Bingham admits that he is completely enveloped by his addiction to his wife. “I think about her constantly. I go home to her every chance I get. I’ve barely seen my porn since my wife addiction started. And when I do . . . I don’t know, the trust just isn’t there anymore, you know? But the fact is, my wife has set the standard too high. I have unrealistic expectations for my porn now, and it just can’t live up to those.”

Bingham swears he has tried to go back to his porn, “but I just expect all these perverse things, like warmth, flirtation, care, and an actual female body, that my porn just cannot put out.”

Bingham and his porn are on a trial separation to see if they can work out their differences. His porn has gone to Hampton’s apartment for the duration of the separation.

Remember, Honey, You’re Always Number Two with Me

Guest Columnist: Martin J. Wood

Before I go to perform my duties as stake president, I just want to reassure you, honey: you’ll always be number two with me.

Yep, don’t you worry. Ever since that day so long ago on the temple lawn, when I proposed to you, I’ve made it very clear that you would always come in a solid second.

“Honey,” I said, with tears in my eyes, “the church will always be first in my life, but I want you to take the second spot.”

I was so overcome when you accepted me. It was a great day in my life. And two minutes later, when I drove off to do my home teaching, I was still thinking about my commitment to the church and how you’d be right next in line. And will we ever forget our honeymoon at the welfare farm? What a wonderful way to start a marriage.

I’m sure you remember my diligence in earning my law degree. After all, I had to fulfill my priesthood duty to earn money and respect for our family and the church. I’d come home so tired from my studies, but there you’d be, sometimes still in your Denny’s uniform, cooking up dinner for our four children and me. We didn’t have a lot, but we made the money stretch. And somehow we scraped enough together to get me that Italian lambs-wool suit with gold cufflinks so I could fulfill my calling as Sunday school president in appropriate clothing. We had just enough left over to buy you the nicest dress on the five-dollar rack at DI.

I don’t think you could deny that through all our years together, I’ve always kept my word. I never forgot to put you right up there in second place. Remember all those years when I was a bishop, and the years before that I spent as elders quorum president? I always got to you second. For instance, remember our eighth anniversary? Remember my diligence when I forsook our dinner date and left you with our lovely children to attend the stake public relations meeting? But on the way home I picked some flowers from the flowerbed for you.

I enjoy recounting that incident in stake conference to inspire the other priesthood holders in the stake to be so dedicated. Someday I hope to share it in a session of general conference, though I’m sure by then I’ll have many more examples.

Maybe I could share that time when we gave the money you had saved for your little college courses to the Friends of Scouting, making us Golden Eagle contributors. Or my tears when you called me from the hospital to tell me about the birth of our twins. I was so excited, I told everyone at the elders quorum reactivation bowling activity about it.

No, don’t speak, honey. I can see it all in the tears streaming down your face. This always happens when I recount my diligence. You’re so grateful to have a man who sticks by his promise, who always exalts his wife to her proper place. Second. Right after the church.
And I promise, honey, I promise to always do so. You’re worth it. Roast beef for dinner tonight, OK?

Mother Concerned About Son’s Righteousness

RIGBY, ID—Bertha Harrison, wife and mother of nine, recently confronted her oldest son, Roger, about his inability to “hold to the iron rod.”

Among her major concerns was the fact that Roger never closes his eyes and bows his head while the family watches a general conference prayer on television. Also, he never sings along with the hymns while watching general conference. “The congregation is clearly supposed to be singing along,” Harrison said. “The words are being flashed up on the screen and everything!”

Among Harrison’s other concerns about her wayward son is the fact that he takes aspirin even though everyone knows aspirin tablets contain traces of caffeine.

Area Man Alleges General Conference Reruns

SPRINGVILLE, UT—Melvin Fingdingler of the Springville 13th Ward believes that the church has been showing old reruns of general conference during April and October for the past several years.

According to Fingdingler, the realization came when, this past April, he awoke briefly from his semi-annual general conference nap to hear the monotone words of a talk he was almost sure he had heard before.

“I thought I was dreaming until I distinctly heard the speaker say, ‘I lift thee and thou lift me, and we both will rise together,’” explained Fingdingler. “That line piqued my curiosity, since I was almost positive I’d heard the same speaker say it with the same intonation years ago.”

Fingdingler began rummaging through the old general conference videotapes that his wife keeps next to the Living Scripture videos under the television. Upon reviewing a conference tape from April 1997, he confirmed his theory that the church is just rerunning old general conferences.

“My first thought was, why hasn’t anyone else noticed this yet?” Fingdingler remarked. “But then I began to think about it and just decided that, you know, it’s all good. Read your scriptures, be good, say your prayers, et cetera. How many times can you change up those themes in an effort to make them sound interesting? Please. These men may have the priesthood, but they’re not magicians.”

Fingdingler called church headquarters to inquire about the reruns. He said he was given the runaround by a secretary who declined to give her name. She did, however, end the awkward phone call by explaining to Fingdingler her own opinion as to why the church began showing conference reruns.

“I think at first the church would rotate the same talk themes every few years, but then they just kind of thought, what’s the point?” said the secretary. “It’s kind of like the whole sealed portion of the Book of Mormon thing, you know? We’ll never get the sealed portion until we’re living the doctrine already revealed. I guess we still haven’t incorporated that talk about member missionary work from 1998, so the church just decided to keep showing it until we do.”

Girls No Longer Allowed to Sing Missionary Song

BOUNTIFUL, UT—Several adjacent stakes in this heavily Mormon suburb have joined together to prohibit young females from singing the popular Primary song “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission.”

“Too many of our young women are still behaving as if the Lord expects them to serve missions,” said Bountiful East Bench stake president Curt Patterson. “The prophet has made it clear that girls don’t need to serve missions and shouldn’t feel any obligation. But this song is indoctrinating our young ladies otherwise.”

The song is still being sung in Primaries throughout the stakes, but only by the boys. “For now, we’re asking the girls to reverently bow their heads during this song and keep their mouths shut,” says stake Primary music director Linda Willis. “We’re thinking about writing alternative lyrics for them to sing. We’ve already got a first line: ‘I hope he asks me to get married, when I have grown a cup size or two.’”

Things That Seem Like They Would Be Funny, But Are Not

• Using grilled cheese sandwiches for the sacrament

• Slipping into Relief Society and loudly telling any random old lady that you found her diaphragm

• Solemnly appointing high priests to be captains of 50 for the march to Jackson County

• Sending a letter to all the Laurels saying they can wear whatever they want to girls’ camp

• Telling the priests they can serve as priesthood chaperones at girls’ camp

• Standing to bear your testimony, and then falling to the ground screaming and wrestling with an unseen demon

• Telling the nursery leader that, like an apostle, her calling is for life

• Tie-dying your temple garments

• When called upon to read a scripture in Gospel Doctrine, making up something like, “And the Lord sayeth unto the children of men, It is not meet in mine eyes that thou nor thy manservant nor thy maidservant shall witness the Super Bowl, nor the harlots therein, for the Sabbath is mine”

• Telling the choir director to include a drum solo in the next Easter program

• Whispering to that pimply-faced deacon that you know the real reason he had to get glasses

• Referring to the art displayed in the Church Office Building as “Corn in the COB”

• Dumping your fiancée because she’s not physically fit enough to make the walk to Missouri

New Microchip Tracks Seventies’ Migration Patterns

SALT LAKE CITY—As the first year of the Seventies tracking program winds up, scientists are trying to interpret the information they’ve received from tiny microchips planted in the earlobes of newly called members of all Quorums of the Seventy.

The study, performed by sociologists and wildlife biologists at the University of Illinois Urbana and funded by the U.S. Department of Wildlife, has successfully gathered transmissions from the microchips about the whereabouts of the Seventies.

“It was a question that frankly had the whole nation puzzled,” said Dr. Tim Miner, head of the project. “A slew of new Seventies would be introduced at general conference, and then we’d never hear from them again until about five years later, when they’d show up to be released.”
The burning question, Miner stated, was, “Where on earth do these brethren disappear to?”

To answer that question, scientists applied a local anesthetic and inserted a microchip into the earlobe of each Seventy as he left the Conference Center after the April 2004 session of general conference. During the next year, the scientists used sophisticated instruments to track the position of each Seventy all over the globe.

“It was a time-consuming task,” admitted Frank D. Weyerhauser, head of the surveillance team. “Those guys are all over the place. And sometimes the microchips would malfunction and we’d have to track the guy down. But wouldn’t you know it, in most cases not even their wives knew where they were.”

When worse came to worst, the tracking team had to chase down an errant Seventy in a helicopter and shoot him with tranquilizer darts in order to insert a new microchip.

“Sometimes we’d catch one in the middle of a sermon and have to down him in front of all those people,” said Weyerhauser. “He’d get kinda groggy and incoherent, but no one really seemed to notice.”

Miner says the data they’ve gathered so far is yet to be interpreted. “All I can say is that, in all my years of studying the migration pattern of humpback whales and ribboned seals, I have never seen a species so given to world travel,” he said.

“Our initial findings show intense activity in Jackson County, Missouri; Jerusalem; and Cancun, Mexico,” said Miner. “We have theories about the goings on in the first two places, but we’re baffled by Cancun. Is there a temple there or something?”


New Church Buildings to Include Primary Playplace

SALT LAKE CITY—In a move that Primary leaders everywhere are cheering, the Church Building Committee has unveiled a new chapel plan featuring a two-story Playplace attached to the Primary room.

The addition was inspired by a Logan stake primary president’s visit to an area McDonald’s. “One look at that indoor Playland, and I knew I’d found the answer to our reverence problems,” said President Sandra McClure. She sent her idea to Church headquarters, where it was greeted with enthusiasm.

Playlands have already been built as a pilot project in several stakes, and all the leaders are calling it a success. The design includes a Manna Pit full of round, soft plastic balls; a 20-foot-high Jacob’s Ladder that leads to a platform called the Rameumptom; and a slide called the Slippery Slope of Sin. During Primary, children are rotated through the structure by age group for fifteen-minute intervals.

"With these scriptural names, we figure kids will get more out of Primary than they ever did," said President McClure.

Church Leaders Perform Mass Food Blessing

SALT LAKE CITY—In meeting led by Elder Alan D. Simmons in the Conference Center today, the 12th Quorum of the Seventy pronounced a blessing on “all food eaten anywhere, by anyone, at any time present or future.” What has already become known as the MegaBlessing is expected to save thousands of man-hours each year because members will no longer have to bless each meal individually.

A jubilant Elder Simmons announced the action in a press conference. ”Well, we did it. We weren’t sure we’d have enough faith to bring it off, but we pulled together and did it! Woo! Afterwards, we were all like high-fiving and hugging each other, we were so excited. Wow. What a moment!”

Although the exact wording of the prayer has not yet been released, Simmons assured reporters that the combined agricultural and livestock output of the world has now been blessed with the ability to “nourish and strengthen our bodies” and will now “do us the good that we need” in perpetuity. The blessing also extends to all the “hands that prepared it.”

“It was originally [Elder] Gene [L. Richardson]’s idea,” said Simmons. “When he was a mission president, he once blessed all the food in all his missionaries’ apartments so they’d have more time to proselyte. So when he was called to be a GA, he figured, hey, why not?”

Church members have received the news joyfully. “What an inspired idea!” said Taylorsville member Susan Kendall. “I’m so tired in the morning that sometimes I fall asleep while blessing my breakfast. And whenever I let the kids bless dinner, it would be cold by the time they were done and no one could understand what they said anyway. Now all that is a thing of the past!”

The MegaBlessing is not all encompassing, however. Simmons pointed out that “substances prohibited by the Word of Wisdom will continue to be cursed.”

The success of the MegaBlessing has prompted speculation about possible follow-ups. “We’re considering a MegaBlessing II to bless all the travelers in the world that they would arrive home in safety,” said Simmons. “But that’s obviously a much bigger challenge. Personally, I think we’d need another dozen or so Quorums of the Seventy to get on board before we could muster the spiritual power to even attempt it.”

Area Woman Sacrifices for Her Visiting Teachers

PRICE, UT—The Church established the Relief Society visiting teaching program more than 50 years ago in an effort to help female members learn to love each other and administer to each other’s needs. According to local woman Kelly Bolton, the program is a complete success. “By welcoming visiting teachers into my house once a month, I have learned how to be selfless and sacrificing,” she confirmed.

After a last-minute call on March 31, Bolton agreed to let her visiting teachers, Sisters Melissa Carter and Joanne Cleaves, come over “for just a quick visit.” Bolton, mother of four, then rearranged her schedule to accommodate her visiting teachers. “I don’t want to be difficult,” she explained. “And I know how much it means to Melissa to get 100 percent on her visiting teaching every year. I couldn’t be the one to break her record. She really wants that Lladro statue of Christ that [Relief Society] President [Millie] Thackeray gives to every woman who does all her visiting teaching for the year.”

Before the 5 p.m. appointment, Bolton cleaned the house, cancelled her son’s dental appointment, and asked a neighbor to pick up her daughter from ballet class. “My sister Rachelle called just before [Carter and Cleaves] were due to arrive, and she really wanted to talk,” said Bolton, “but I just couldn’t hang out on the phone and leave them in the living room. That would be inattentive and irresponsible of me. I have faith that Rachelle will be okay with her postpartum depression until my visiting teachers leave. God will take care of her while I’m helping them out.”

Despite their promise to be on time and to “just pop in to see how you are doing,” Carter and Cleaves were 15 minutes late and stayed for 55 minutes. Their visit included a broad range of conversational topics, including Carter’s incredible visiting teaching record, her ambition to become a flight attendant, the amazing place down the road that does Carter’s nails for less than anywhere else, the mean lunch lady who obviously hates Carter’s daughter Brianne, Cleaves’s new cat, Cleaves’s son Dakota’s swimming trophy, Brother Cleaves’s wonderful barbecued ribs recipe, and the Cleaveses’ new gorgeous living room carpet and paint.

“I just didn’t want to burden them with all my problems. It didn’t seem right to use my visiting teachers that way,” said Bolton, explaining why she didn’t bring up her sister’s depression, her daughter’s recent ADHD diagnosis, or her worry that her husband would lose his job in his company’s impending layoffs. “Melissa and Joanne love to talk about themselves so much, and I feel it’s my duty to create a safe, comfortable environment where they can share their feelings with me.”

“I just want to tell all women of the Church that the visiting teaching program is inspired,” said Bolton. “My visiting teachers have taught me all about service and how to be selfless and giving. I am more than happy to help Melissa and Joanne grow and progress. Women serving each other—that’s what the visiting teaching program is all about.”

High Councilman Calls 11th Article of Faith “No Longer Relevant”

PIMA, AZ—In a recent talk to the Pima Fourth Ward, high councilman Layton Bryce warned members not to be led astray by too much emphasis on the 11th Article of Faith, which states, “We claim the privilege of worshipping the Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship, how, where, or what they may.”

“Sometimes people use the 11th Article of Faith as an excuse to refrain from doing missionary work,” Bryce said from the pulpit. “They say, ‘I don’t want to force my beliefs and opinions on people I have to live and work with. My friends and neighbors know what I believe, and if they’re interested, they’ll come ask me.’”

“But that attitude doesn’t really fit in with our ideas about missionary work, brothers and sisters,” Bryce continued. “We know we need to convert the world to the true gospel. I’m not saying we should force people to be Mormon, but we need to do all we can to persuade and teach people the right way to believe.”

Bryce explained that the 11th Article of Faith was necessary in the early days, when the Church faced oppression and had not converted millions of people to the truth. “But now that the truthfulness of the gospel is accepted by so many people, that particular article of faith is no longer relevant in the ways it once was.”

Bryce went on to say that “the events of September 11th have underscored the danger of letting everyone worship God as they see fit. There could always be some extremist who believes worshipping God involves killing innocent people.”

Reaction to the talk was mixed. Local member Marge Pepper stated, “I definitely felt the Spirit as Brother Bryce was talking. I have always been bothered by the 11th Article of Faith. First of all, it doesn’t start with ‘We believe’ like all the others, and I never could see why we should just let everyone else believe whatever they want when we know the Church is true. It would be better if we just got rid of it—after all, 12 is a much nicer number than unlucky 13.”

Roger and Joan Cannon, on the other hand, both expressed concern over the message. “I thought free agency was central to the gospel,” Joan said. “It’s as if he’s forgotten the story of the War in Heaven, where it was decided we all needed to be able to choose what we accept.”

“What’s Brother Bryce going to do, anyway?” her husband Roger asked. “Write to the Brethren and ask them to delete that passage from the scriptures?”

Upon hearing of such objections, Bryce dismissed them. “My talk has nothing in common with Satan’s plan in the preexistence. Remember, Satan was evil and wanted to thwart God’s plan, while I am simply trying to help God accomplish his plan in the most straightforward way possible. After all, I did say that we shouldn’t force anyone to be Mormon.”