Category Archives: Humor

FARMS: The Musical

[INTERIOR STUDY – NIGHT]

It’s a small room, with bookshelves along every wall. A small desk sits in the middle, with a middle aged man hunched over a book. A small light illuminates him.

JW: (singing)

Day after day, night after night
Searching…

Verse after verse, one more time
Reading…

The words on the page…beautiful!
The story they tell…wonderful!

(Beautiful, wonderful…)

Chiasmus!
I see you on the page
Chiasmus!
It will soon be all the rage
How could Joseph have done it…?
He didn’t!
Was it ancient Nephi…?
Yes, he did!

[DP enters from stage right]

DP: (speaking) John, it’s late. You need rest.
JW: (speaking excitedly) No Daniel. I’ve got it! Look at the words. It’s a pattern of reiteration, found in ancient Hebrew! And it’s in the Book of Mormon! It’s everywhere!
DP: Really, could it be…?
JW: YES!

DP and JW (in unison): Chiasmus!
DP: …and secret combinations…
DP and JW (in harmony): Chiasmus!
DP: …metal plates in Babylos…
DP and JW (big finish): Chiasmus!

[CAFETERIA- DAY]

It’s crowded at every table, mostly with college-age students. Everyone is white, and dressed in J Crew or Lands End.

A middle aged man, probably a teacher, sits at the end of a bench. He has some maps, and books, open in front of him. He is JG.

JG: (singing) The pieces of the puzzle…
in front of me.

How do they go together?
It tortures me!

(The ghost of Moroni appears on the balcony. No one can see him.)

Moroni: (singing softly) Cumorah….

JG: (still singing) Meso-america…and New York.
How was it done…it doesn’t work!
So many plates, could they be all gone.
Oliver said so, could he have been wrong?

Moroni: (even softer) Two…Cumorah’s.

JG: (Looks up, as if inspiration has come from nowhere…yelling) I’ve got it! Two Cumorah’s!

(All the students are stunned. Silence as they freeze and look at him)

JG: (singing energetically) One…two… Cumorah’s!
Student1: ..What did he say?…
JG: (standing on the table, singing louder) One…two…Cumorah’s!!!
Student2: …how can the be?…
JG: (running down the table, singing to the students) It’s all so easy, it all makes perfect sense.
One Cumorah, for Mormon, the other, where Joseph went…

Moroni: HE’S GOT IT!

(All the students turn and look at him. Moroni covers his mouth and looks embarrassed)

All students, dancing and singing: One…two…Cumorah’s!

Jews…like…menorah’s!

(A student in a 50’s style nebbish shirt and tie wanders in from stage right, carrying an armful of books. All others stop their wild dancing and turn to him. Spotlight…)

Nebbish: (singing softly) In the light of revelation, and the face of evidence…
from the Prophet Joseph, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and common sense…
we cannot say…
in any way…
that the Hill we call Cumorah

All students: Yes!??

Nebbish: (Louder)That this hill we call Cumorah…

All students: What…!???

Nebbish: (yelling, with conviction and confidence) We cannot say this hill we call Cumorah…is in Central America!

(Silence. The students turn back to JG. JG pauses shrugs his shoulders, makes a funny face and yells…)

JG: I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you.

(Students laugh)

JG:(Singing)And one day, you’ll be gone, but the FARMS work goes on!!
Your thinking is limited, your vision obsolete…
You made your mind up long ago, and set it in concrete.

You need to expand…your outlook.
It’s so easy, it’s all right there…it’s in the Book!
You’ll never make it in the world with ideas like that.
Scripture can be misinterpreted, hey…the Bible says Earth’s flat!

Students: (laughing and singing) The Bible says Earth’s flat…

JG: (continues) You lap up old ideas, like a bird from a bird feeder.
Stay away from talking scholarship, especially if you become a Church leader.

(Nebbish shakes his fist in anger. Moroni and Students laugh.)

(Festive music starts…everyone dances. Moroni is doing the charleston.)

Students…JG and Moroni: One…two…Cumorah’s!

(Nebbish looks resigned, and walks off stage. Festive dancing continues for until big finish.)

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I guess this is why they don’t call it “FAIR” anymore…?

Last week, I was surprisingly banned from the Mormon Apologetics and Discussion board (MAD).  Surprising not that it happened, but that it happened over what I considered to be a pretty innocuous post.

Ironically, my lovely TBM wife thought the offending posts were hilarious. For those who don’t want to make the trip, here is what did it:

(In a discussion about the church’s current PR troubles started by Scottie and titled “Mormon Message Control”:)

Quote:
Perhaps the best evidence that President Hinckley was a prophet is that he checked out right before Romney, the FLDS and Prop 8 hit the fan.

…and I almost forgot Shawn King’s blunder. We won’t be seeing President Monson on Larry King’s show until well after pigs have evolved wings of some sort.

You are done on this board. Mod

That’s it.  Honestly, I didn’t mean it to be offensive in any way. It was based on a simple observation that President Hinckley’s tenure as Prophet was really a “golden age” for the Church’s public image, what with the Olympics and several Larry King interviews giving the Church unprecedented exposure. Even the Church’s support of Prop 22 in California went largely unnoticed.

Then, within months of his death, we have the negative exposure brought on by Romney’s run, followed in short order by the bungling raids on the FLDS (and the attendant public confusion and PR mess for the LDS), and then the riots of Prop 8 outside our Temples. And any hope of getting President Monson on Larry King to discuss these issues is dashed by Shawn King’s untimely dalliance and sabatoge of the marriage.

Obviously, I don’t really think President Hinckley saw the way 2008 would play out for the Church and speeded up his demise. (But even in that case, the recent bio of President Kimball mentioned President Kimball’s expressed desire to slip to the next life as his body succumbed to advanced illness, so having a Prophet desire release from this earthly existence wouldn’t be without precedent). Heck, President Hinckley was even talking about how anxious he was to be with his wife again, and he had such a prominent sense of humor I would bet a month’s tithing that the spirit of President Hinckley laughed when he saw my post.

But ultimately, the idea was just a funny way to book-end the observation. And like I said, it was worth it to see my wife smile :).

After some thinking, and reading the responses at MAD, I was worried that I may have misjudged the offensive nature of my comments over on MAD, so I decided to perform an experiment and do a field test.

We had a family Thanksgiving gathering of about 14 adults. All the adults are active LDS, with 4 I would classify as solidly “TBM”. I spent a good 20 minutes trying to maneuver the conversation to the point where I could logically comment about President Hinckley “checking out” in advance of Romney’s run, the FLDS fiasco, and the Prop 8 fallout (as well as knowing that his days on Larry King were also coming to an end.)

The joke got a huge response, and no one was offended that I could tell. My wife knew exactly what I was doing, so I think she laughed the hardest. But no one raised so much as an eyebrow at the joke.

It must have been the delivery.

Update: On 12/25, Mercy robbed Justice and my account was reactivated faster than an inactive-LDS-in-a-GC-talk.   The hunger strike is hereby canceled.  If I ever before doubted the goodness and mercy of Mod, I will never do so again.

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The housing of the past (or future)

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The 2nd Watson letter revealed

The Second Watson Letter

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Relief Society Announces “Raise the Bar” Program

LDS Relief Society Announces “Raise the Bar” Program
Hyrum Sanborne, Deseret News
July 7, 2008

In a letter to be read to local congregations on Sunday, the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced what they are calling the “Raise the Bar Again” program. Aimed at prospective husbands for the women of the Church and developed in conjunction with the Young Women’s and Young Single Adult programs, this new standard aims to raise the quality of husbands and prospective husbands for the women of the Church.

“Based on the success of the Raise the Bar program for missionaries, the women of the Church have been inspired to raise the bar for those men who would seek them as wives,” said Julie Bangerter Beck, President of the Relief Society. “For so many years, our young women and young single adults have had to settle when it came time to choose a husband. But not anymore. As we’ve seen, the holy calling of “missionary” requires a certain quality of man. How much more holy is that calling of “Husband”? Is there any comparison? We think not.”

The new program, which will be phased in over a six month period and will be taught extensively in Laurel classes and Young Single Adult Relief Societies, outlines minimum standards for physical, social, mental and spiritual qualities that should be attained by a potential husband.

Physical requirements will include a reasonable body mass index (<25), a dental and physical checkup, and low incidence of acne. Social standards help the women avoid any eternal companions that suffer from depression (especially bi-polar), ADD, or Asperger’s syndrome. Potential husbands should also receive a doctor’s certification regarding fertility and sperm count, and present this “Proof of Posterity” along with the engagement ring before any proposals can be accepted.

The Mental standards of the program are more flexible. Potential husbands will have to demonstrate their mental capabilities with a minimum GED or high school diploma, with a 2 year degree as the recommended standard.

The strictest standards are implemented for worthiness qualifications. “For years, we have left it up to the single women themselves to determine their potential mate’s suitability. Not so anymore,” clarifies Sister Beck. “Young men who haven’t kept up to the standard will no longer be issued Temple Recommends for sealings. We’re putting them on notice: the single women of the Church are sick of damaged goods.” Additionally, problems with pornography (including Victoria’s Secret catalogs, Bikini Cuts in Sandy, or the Jessica Alba movie “Into the Blue”) will disqualify a potential husband from consideration.

This new “Raise the Bar Again” standard replaces the current three-phase recommendation of Eagle Scout/ Returned Missionary/ Seminary Graduate. Over two years in development, earlier versions included standards for politics, humor and scrapbooking, but these were dropped as being impractical or odious. Surveys also showed that women didn’t necessarily want to scrapbook with their husbands, and most women are oblivious to the low quality of their potential husband’s humor during the courtship.

Some single men in the Church have expressed concern regarding the difficulty of meeting the new standards. “If the Lord has set this standard for a two-year servant, than how much more important is it that we, the women of the Church, likewise have standards for our eternal servants and companions?” clarified Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women’s President. “If the Lord doesn’t want them, then why should we?” Brittaneie B. Young, Laurel class president of the Orem 3rd Ward, was initially reluctant to consider rejecting potential future mates outright based on these standards. “At first, I didn’t like the idea that I shouldn’t marry someone based on whether or not they suffer from depression. But then my Mom explained that these new standards didn’t mean that these men shouldn’t ever get married. It just meant that they shouldn’t marry me.”

While there was no official response from the Young Men of the Church, Presiding Bishop Richard C. Edgley did hint at a commensurate “Raise the Bar” program in the works for potential wives. “While I can’t go into specifics, we’ve talked to the young men and I will say it may behoove certain young ladies to invest in a pair of jogging shoes and a thesaurus. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a silicone shortage in Utah within the next five years.”

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Saving the Young Women one Lesson at a Time

First, a disclaimer. I’ve never been in the young women’s program. I’ve never attended a young women’s class. I’ve never been to girl’s camp. I’ve never been a young women’s leader.

That being admitted and said, I have daughters who will one day be in the program, so I do care what they are learning. And I’ve certainly heard the worst of what can be taught from the disgruntled online denizens of various message boards.
So I was pleasantly surprised (and certainly interested as an outsider looking in) to find the blog “beginnings new” Billed as The place for LDS young women’s leaders who want more than clip art and cute. Substantive, positive, caring, smart… that’s us. So join the conversation.”

While I don’t really have a problem with the lesson per se, I was fascinated to read their commentary on a recent YW lesson entitled “Understanding A Missionary’s Responsibilities” From the title, what do you imagine this lesson could be about? Sharing the gospel with friends? Representing the church in all that we do? Preparing for the responsibility of one day possibly being a full-time missionary?

Turns out, this lesson is apparently focused on keeping the young women from flirting (or worse) with the full-time elders. Apparently, the lesson would go something like this:

“A missionary’s responsibilities do not include joking with you in the halls while his companion stands nearby looking at his watch and rolling his eyes. His responsibilities do not include taking pictures with you that end up in your hope chest. His responsibilities do not include you insisting your parents invite them over frequently for dinner appointments so you can show off how well you cook. His responsibilities do not include you getting your friends from other wards to pretend they are non-member investigators so you can spend two hours on a Friday night admiring his teaching skills and imagining what a great teacher he’ll be for your kids.”

The lesson should also address proper post-mission marriage etiquette. When you do finally catch the missionary of your dreams, should you try to live in a different area after marriage, or should you settle as a happy couple in your ward or stake where he is known as a missionary? Is it ever proper to ask him to put on his white shirt and name tag late on a Friday night (with a special note that it will kill the moment for him if you accidentally call him “Elder —-” in the heat of passion.) And how do you deal with it when he stops getting up at 6:30 and studying the scriptures a few weeks after his mission, and hence ceases to be the “spiritual giant” you fell in love with? How do you introduce yourself to his former mission president?

If there’s time, it might not hurt to include a few pointers on the procedures of a disciplinary council and excommunication if it comes to that; most young women will probably want to know how long they’ll have to wait before they get their Temple wedding, and other details along those lines.

It may also be appropriate to introduce the missionary doctrine regarding the dedication of missionaries and the beauty of their future wives (namely, that they are directly related). Young women should be aware of the corollary: the quality of their future RM-husband is being directly influenced not only by their testimony and scriptural knowledge, but by their waist-to-hip ratio as well. So in addition to daily scripture study and service, it might not hurt to do a little jogging and get a face peel if they are set on spending eternity with one of the dreamy, smooth skinned elders and not the chunky pimply ones.

From the summary on the blog, it appears the Young Women’s program apparently had good intentions with this lesson, but may have fallen short in solving the problem.

As my own daughters head towards their critical teenage years, I hope “beginnings new” can be a useful resource to help me keep an eye on what they may be learning.

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Windows Opened. Blessing Poured.

Windows Opened. Blessings Poured.

Scott Floyd
Deseret News

June 3, 2008

Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints convened a press conference Tuesday Morning to publicly acknowledge what they referred to as “The opening of the windows of heaven.” Recent reports from all over the country prompted this public expression of gratitude.

“In the last week, we have received dozens of emails and phone calls from church members in every part of the country. Each expressed gratitude and an increase of faith as a result of tangible, unexpected blessing.” said LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter. “Bishops from all over report an outpouring of gratitude in their Sunday meetings.”

In what many members are referring to as “The Miracle of May”, faithful tithe payers in the Church have been surprised to find that their sacrifices have “brought unexpected blessings from the Lord”. One such recipient was Cynthia Mabel of Boise, Idaho.

“After paying the rent and electric bill in May, we didn’t have enough to pay both tithing and our car payment. But I knew what I had to do. I paid my tithing, and put the rest in the Lord’s hands. I didn’t know what I was going to do. But the Lord took care of me, and it was with gratitude but not surprise that I discovered a check for $1,200 in the mail just two days before the car payment was due. It was almost the exact amount we needed for the payment on my Mercedes 500SL with custom 3-tone indigo paint job. The check said it was from the US government, but I know it was from the Lord.”

Another email from Florida shared this experience. “Tithing has always been a difficult thing for me, and it was with great trepidation that I finally wrote my tithing check and gave it to my bishop in the first week of May. I didn’t know how I was going to get by. But the Lord provides for His own, and sure enough, I received a surprise check for $600 in the mail that very week. I was able to buy my groceries and pay for a weekend at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino to celebrate.”

The Miracle does not seem to be isolated to one part of the country. Saints from every community have been blessed, with married couples reporting a double blessing. And this financial endowment to the faithful is most justly reported by members just struggling to get by. Wealthier members have been gracious in their realization that they have enough for this world, and haven’t expected such an rare and treasured reminder of the Lord’s goodness.

Some Bishops have also noted the specific nature of the blessing, with it appearing most frequently to the most faithful tithing payers. The Lord has meted to those who have been most faithful in paying tithing, and even those who pay the “widow’s mite” report receiving checks for $300. From Omaha, Nebraska, Tracy Lalane of the Omaha Stake writes “I only work part time at Wal-Mart since retiring, and I faithfully pay my tithing even on my meager income. After all, it’s not my money, it’s the Lord’s. I’m just grateful He only asks for 10 percent back. But I never expected such a wonderful blessing of $300. Truly my faith has made me financially whole, if only for a few days.”

Church leaders have expressed caution along with the gratitude. In his remarks, President Monson cautioned “In today’s uncertain times, the rain falls as well as the sun shines. I remember the bouncing buggy wheels on my grandmothers white carriage. Ever to be remembered. Never to be forgotten.”

Says Trotter, “That really sums it up for us. This Miracle of May has been a sign to the world of the Lord’s favor towards this Church, with which he has said he was well pleased. We only ask that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints record this miracle in their journals, and remember it always. Just as Church members in the past have been blessed for paying their tithing, this Miracle of May has invigorated the faith of so many (American) members of the Church. And for that, we thank the Lord.”

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What do the Nephites and Munchkins have in common?

In 2006, prominent (LDS) Mesoamerican archaeologist John Clark stated his belief that we’ve found many Book of Mormon cities already. It’s just a matter of identifying them as such.

I can hardly believe John Clark made this statement. It seems to be that special brand of claim that rings solidly in the ears of the believer, while being entirely non-sensical to those that are even mildly skeptical of the veracity of the Book of Mormon.

The problem lies in the redefinition of the “Jaredites” and “Nephites” as being a subset of a dominant group. Where their language, culture and religion are all perpetuated as a minority group overwashed with pagan Olmec or Mayan culture.

To see the weakness in Clark’s statement, simply replace the words “Book of Mormon” with any fictional or made-up society of your choosing:

QUOTE
The logical challenges with the first assertion, that no cities have been located, are more subtle. Book of Mormon cities have been found, they are well known, and their artifacts grace the finest museums. They are merely masked by archaeological labels such as “Maya,” “Olmec,” and so on. The problem, then, is not that Book of Mormon artifacts have not been found, only that they have not been recognized for what they are. Again, if you stumbled onto Zarahemla, how would you know?

Try any of these:

“Cities from the Land of Oz have been found, they are well known, and their artifacts grace the finest museums. They are merely masked by archaeological labels such as “Maya,” “Olmec,” and so on. The problem, then, is not that artifacts from the Land of Oz have not been found, only that they have not been recognized for what they are.”

Or this one for fans of “The Lord of the Rings”:

“Remnants of Middle Earth have been found, they are well known, and their artifacts grace the finest museums. They are merely masked by archaeological labels such as “Maya,” “Olmec,” and so on. The problem, then, is not that Middle Earth artifacts have not been found, only that they have not been recognized for what they are.”

Try it with your own favorite land of make-believe!

As you read the two examples above, what is your initial reaction? What would you think if someone, even a respected archaeologist, made the claim? You would probably do what most other archaeologists have done since Clark made the claim: ignore it.

But what if you felt compelled to engage the claim? Would you deny the truthfulness of the claim based on the obvious fact that Oz and Middle Earth aren’t real places? Well aren’t you closed minded (and, apparently, part of the problem). And can you answer this simple question: If someone did find Oz or Middle Earth, how would they know? As your assumptions are laid bare, I can show you how either Oz or Middle Earth, or any other supposedly fictitious land, can be made to fit the geography and archaeology of Central America.

If I can only shift the burden of proof onto you, instead of me having to support my claim of “invisible evidence”, I can dance around all day as you frantically try to find something in the thousands of pages of historical records of Oz or Middle Earth that can’t be evaded.

Can you imagine how convincing the Oz books and Middle Earth books will look to people in the future? I can only imagine John Clark’s great, great, great grandson following in his footsteps as he seeks to bolster the faith of the Followers of Oz, who insist that Oz was a real place with archaeological evidence carefully hidden among the ruins of 20th Century midwestern-America.

Just to be clear, I am not arguing that either Oz or Middle Earth were located in Mesoamerica. Obviously, Oz and Middle Earth were not in Mesoamerica. That’s where the Lamanites and Nephites were, and everyone knows you can’t have two fictitious lands coexisting with a real culture.

The only exception to this is when the lands “crossover”, and people from one land visit those of another, but these are very dangerous, and are usually a last-ditch attempt to revive public interest, or a gimmick to lend legitimacy to one of the creative works (such as when DC’s Batman fought The Incredible Hulk in 1982, or the New Testament’s Jesus visited the Nephites around 33AD)

Everyone knows that Middle Earth didn’t take place in Mesoamerica; it was in what is now called “Eastern Europe”. Sadly (or luckily), the face of the Middle Earth changed drastically after the destruction of the ring, so the ancient geography will never match up exactly. But modern scholars are optimistic, especially since they now realize that the ancient battle statistics were traditionally overinflated for dramatic effect, so a battle that supposedly engulfed hundreds of thousands may have only been a few dozen guys with wooden swords and green robes.

And Oz wasn’t in Mesoamerica either. Before the final magical spell was placed over it, it could easily be seen by airplane or balloon north of Kansas, south of Canada. Oz archaeologists generally place the Emerald City in Dewey County, South Dakota, although there is some support for the recently expressed and controversial “Two Emerald City” theory. As with the Book of Mormon, our record of Oz begins in an easily identifiable place (Kansas), but due to lack of precision in recounting the details of getting there, a final location is unlikely to be agreed upon.

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Unusual LDS Youth Conferences in Texas(?!)

LDS Youth Group Scrambles to find Summer Activities
Scott Simpson, Rocky Mountain News
May 05, 2008

After completing a memorable four day handcart pioneer reenactment last August, the Young Men and Young Women of the Killeen, Texas Stake for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) were looking forward to another memorable summer youth activity. Their stake had been selected as one of the few youth groups to participate in the continuing “Know Your Ancestors” pioneer reenactment experience at the Yearning For Zion (YFZ) Ranch near Eldorado, TX. But now word has come that all youth conferences provided by the Ranch have been canceled, and they need to find a new activity.

Youth and leaders of LDS Church were looking forward to the five day experience, meant to teach youth about the early Utah pioneers and the trials they faced as a persecuted, isolated, polygamous sect. “I’m kind of disappointed, but I understand why,” comments teacher Bill Shapley of the Waco 2nd Ward. “The handcart campout was awesome, and it totally pumped up my testimony. I wanted to know what came next, and this sounded like a great activity.”

The YFZ Ranch, home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), had created the camp experience at the request of local LDS leaders, who saw the potential for an expanded learning and spiritual experience for their youth. In the last decade, reenactments have become popular activities for LDS seeking an understanding of the pioneer experience. Youth dress in authentic pioneer clothing and pull recreated handcarts over dusty roads, camping at night. Additional efforts are made to give the youth a dramatic experience, including giving young women “dolls” to care for as their “babies”. During the multi-day activity, the dolls are taken from the youth at random intervals to teach about the many young lives lost in the original migration. At other times, volunteers dressed in white clothing will assist the handcart-pulling youth as “angels”, to simulate the spiritual help often felt by their pioneer ancestors.

YFZ Ranch foreman Rulon Taylor shared similar feelings of disappointment. “It’s a darn shame. We had prepared a wonderful itinerary of frontier activities for the young people, along with activities to boost their spiritual knowledge and sensitivity.” Some of those activities included barn building, hand washing the laundry, digging irrigation ditches, and sewing long-sleeved underwear. Throughout the week, certain young men would be “called” to participate in pretend-sealings to simulate polygamous marriages. If youth were reluctant to participate in this aspect of the reenactment, volunteers dressed in white with “flaming swords” would visit the young men as they slept and “command” them to begin practicing polygamy.

“For the flaming swords, we got some really nice lightsaber thingamajiggers from the Wal-Mart Supercenter up in San Angelo. They make a dramatic swooshing sound, and it really drives the point home about how important it is to be obedient, even if you didn’t want to. Sometimes the best way to learn about using your agency to make righteous choices is to encounter a “sword wielding angel”, if you know what I mean,” Rulon explained.

The Young women would also have reenactment activities tailored for their interests. In addition to the laundry and sewing, some young women would be taken aside by their leaders throughout the week and be told they had been chosen to become plural wives to some of the adult male leaders. “Of course it’s all for pretend, and the modern LDS Church doesn’t practice polygamy. But it’s the doctrine that’s important, as well as the sacrifice of our ancestors” says Stake Young Women’s President Kelly Smith. “The Young women may become repulsed at the idea of having to marry one of the 55-year-old men in the Stake, and by the end of the week, they could be his fourth or fifth pretend wife. But think how Isaac felt as he was asked to sacrifice himself on an altar for the Lord. The girls need to learn that same kind of faith. After all, we tell them the salvation of their entire family might depend on it.”

A new addition to this year’s camp would shorten the stay for some of the young men in the group. Throughout the week, the camp counselors would select certain young men to be sent on “missions”, where they would be “called” to leave the Ranch and return home. The boys would be selected based on their spiritual development, or their popularity among the young women in the group. While they’re away on their “missions”, any girls they were pretend-married to can be courted and pretend-sealed to the older leaders and counselors at the Ranch. Additionally, camp counselors will privately interview young men and women as “couples” to see if they would be willing to pretend-seal the woman to the acting “Prophet” (in this case, Stake Young Men’s President Don Harwood).

Youth would spend their time performing chores, studying their scriptures (using authentic 19th century reproductions of the standard works), and leaders would conduct worship services by reciting passages from the Journal of Discourses, a collection of sermons from that era. The highlight of the week would be the final testimony meeting, where youth and leaders could share what they have learned, and how their testimonies had been strengthened. All public prayers during the week would be offered by the male leaders and youth only.

“When I finished the pioneer trek last summer, I just knew the Church was true,” said Trey Applegate, a priest in the Waco 1st ward. “I knew there was no way the pioneers could have crossed the plains and had their babies die if Joseph Smith hadn’t been a true prophet. And I was hoping this summer’s conference would help me to get the same testimony about my great-great-great grandparents in Utah. I’ve heard they’re going to have openings in the Colorado City programs, and we might be able to get into those.”

Rulon Taylor says all future activities are on hold, pending the onset of apocalyptic cleansing by fire and the end of times, ushered in by the anti-christ’s persecution of Zion and desecration of the Temple. “But if that doesn’t work out like we expect, we’ll start taking applications for summer of ’09 in February.”

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/may/05/LDS-youth-ranch/
v.1.01

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Cinepro’s Six-Step Plan for Living the Miraculous Life

Cinepro’s Six-Step Plan for Living the Miraculous Life

Often times in Church, we discuss miracles. Some have expressed disappointment about a lack of miracles in their lives, when others seem to be doubly blessed in this regard. I therefore offer everyone this easy, six step program to increase the incidence of miracles in your life. As you find more and more miracles in your life, remember to share these experiences with fellow Church members, that they may be strengthened as well.

The six-step program is as follows:

1) Learn as little as possible about statistics and probability.

2) Learn as little as possible about the natural causes of things. Don’t study pathology, epidemiology, physics, engineering, history, or any other field that may promote a scientific, skeptical, or natural world-view. If you don’t know about physics, who’s to say cannonballs don’t float on the wings of angels?

3 ) Whenever you encounter something unusual and for which the cause isn’t clear, make up an explanation that fits your religious worldview (RW) and supports your particular view of God and His doings.

4) Search for secondhand (or thirdhand, fourth-hand, fifth-hand etc.) accounts of miracles that support your RW. Take them at face value, and use them to support your belief without question. Assume that all accounts that appear to describe “miracles” in religious literature are accurately and literally reported, if they support your RW. If they don’t support your RW, ignore or doubt them.

5) If someone does something that is unusual and of mysterious origin, and they offer an explanation that supports your RW, take it at face value. There’s no harm in trusting someone who means well.

6) As you find an increase in miracles in your life, find others who share your RW and share your experience with them. Publish your story in magazines and websites that cater to such people. Remember, they wouldn’t publish it if it weren’t true. When you share the story, be sure to speak slowly, with a low voice. Stare at the person or audience. Try and muster a tear, but don’t sob uncontrollably.

If you can decrease your ability to understand and explain things, and increase your ability to ascribe a religious and/or supernatural origin to these same events, you’re on your way to increasing the frequency of the occurrence of miracles in your life.

Millions of people have followed my program with success, with satisfied customers in every dispensation and every continent. Try it today!

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