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.”