Even beyond idle speculation — the worst things you’ve ever heard at Church?

Stephen MarshMormon 124 Comments

I still remember a meeting where the speaker said “I was never part of your organization and knew nothing about it until I was called to be in charge of it, now I appreciate how important it is” followed up by a couple tone deaf comments about the organization.  She quite successfully got the point across that (a) serving in the organization was insignificant insofar as any leadership position in it mattered and (b) understanding the organization was not necessary either.

The only worse thing that happened was when one of the women complained about it, an elders quorum president said “You can ignore her, she is a woman and doesn’t have the priesthood and so doesn’t have any authority at all.”

What is the worst thing you’ve ever heard anyone say?

Cross posted from http://ethesis.blogspot.com/

I was going to post about immigration and being your brother’s keeper, but that will wait until next week.

Comments 124

  1. Use of the terms “fag” and “homo” by the bishop, followed by his shock that people may find those terms offensive. He thought those terms were “toning it down.”

    “You can’t be a working mother and a good member of the church,” said to my working mother while I was growing up.

    Recent sacrament talk that devolved into basically “Obama is bringing in the end-times, I just know it.” At least that one resulted in a the next combined RS/EQ meeting topic of appropriate sacrament meeting statements.


    He attempted to excommunicate me for Apostacy when I disagreed with him.

  3. We have ALL the truth in this church.

    Said by our EQ president when our discussion turned to the inferiority of other religions. It was the first time in my life I ever heard someone say “all the truth” rather than the more mild “fulness of the Gospel.” Perhaps he didn’t really mean what he said, but I was shocked!

    Additionally, I’m not even sure we need to look to what crazy members are saying. In the Aaronic Priesthood manual for this year, in Lesson 25 on Personal Purity, speaking of homosexuality, we have:

    “The unholy transgression of homosexuality is either rapidly growing or tolerance is giving it wider publicity. … The Lord condemns and forbids this practice.

    “‘God made me that way,’ some say, as they rationalize and excuse themselves….‘I can’t help it,’ they add. This is blasphemy. Is man not made in the image of God, and does he think God to be ‘that way’?” (President Kimball Speaks Out, pp. 10, 12).

    I was recently called to be a counselor in the YM presidency, and the Aaronic Priesthood manuals are in DIRE need of revision!! They very much DO NOT reflect the current teachings of the church in a wide variety of areas. They need to apply the same paint brush to the manuals as they did to the new “Duty to God” (which, BTW, I think are EXCELLENT).

  4. My seminary teacher tried to convince my class that he would be one of the people who judged us at the judgment seat. When I vehemently disagreed and argued (for about 20 minutes) that only my Savior and Father in Heaven would judge me, he just laughed at me, rolled his eyes, and said (in the most dismissive way possible), “I guess we’ll see won’t we.”

    He also taught the class that you were sinning if you used cough syrup, used temporary tattoos, or had a magic 8 ball toy.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back is the day he told the class that a good wife would be willing to accept polygamy and that Emma Smith was burning in hell for defying God’s decision to implement polygamy — and that if we didn’t believe it we could just go look it up in D&C.

    I never went back to seminary after that day. It was the 3rd week of my senior year of high school. (He was the only seminary teacher so I’d been dealing with him — and openly fighting with him in class — for several years by that point.) Somehow I graduated seminary with straight As. I think the teacher was so grateful that I stayed away that he passed me so he wouldn’t have to face my parents (who had no clue I was skipping and would have demanded a meeting if they had found out why).

  5. Heather – I had a similar experience in seminary. I was told that I couldn’t be a good Mormon if I didn’t accept polygamy. I quit going, and was still graduated with straight A’s for some reason, although I told everyone I was quitting and why. I said it was a sham to pass me when I quit going, but they insisted.

    Outrageous things said, I can’t think of too many. A GD teacher said that each of us has some gifts of the spirit, but Pres. Monson has ALL of them. I pointed out that wasn’t doctrine.

  6. I heard this second hand from a fellow missionary about someone that we both knew and I believe it to be true. An older lady was visiting her son’s ward in Texas and decided to bear her testimony. There were some visitors to the congregation that were black. She acknowledged them in her testimony, saying how glad she was to see them there. Then she elected to give them a little pep talk: “Don’t worry, some day I know you will be as white as snow!” This would have been in the early 80’s and that dear Sister a few years later had severe Alzheimer’s Dementia. Perhaps she was already in an early undiagnosed phase at that time. The visitors were not seen in that congregation again. When you say ‘worse things you’ve ever heard at church’ did you intend to include the gems that come from the pulpit during testimony meeting?

  7. A few years ago Elder Bednar visited our stake. I was in the priest quorum at the time and the bishop shared a pearl from one of his leadership meetings with Elder Bednar.

    “There is no room for self-expression in the priesthood.” – Elder Bednar

    I can’t believe our bishop thought that was worth repeating.

  8. Variations on #1 and #2 – in spite of my own misgivings about interracial relationships, I would not presume that it was MORALLY wrong (would not the ability of a worthy IR couple to be sealed in the temple be proof enough?).
    Also various comments about how bad Pres. Obama and/or Democrats are – look, I don’t vote for any of them myself, but I don’t consider politics to be an appropriate subject matter for the 3-hour block. Also have heard variations on the “you have to vote Republican to be a good LDS member” theme.
    The most are not necesarily the most ‘offensive’ per se but the silliest. Those on the order of your on the “Highway to Hell” (thank you AC/DC) if you….
    Drink anything caffeinated, especially so-called “energy” drinks
    Watch PG-13 rated movies
    Take off your garments to even have sex
    Have HBO (or even Cable/Dish at all!)
    Wear anything other than the prescribed white shirt if your an adult male (presumably a Priesthood Holder)

    These are are variations on people in effect receving revelation for everyone else: They project their conclusions and or recommendations on everone else and consider them to be “sinful” if said expectations are not met.

    It does prove entertaining at times, however, as long as we can gently take aside the investigator and/or new member and say, “Hey, we ain’t all like that!”

  9. Dang, I must live in a ridiculously mellow ward.

    The “worst” I remember was a midly silly knock at evolution by our last bishop over the pulpit at testimony meeting (something about how ridiculous it was to think we descend from monkeys — which of course we don’t; we share a common ancestor), and a comment by the same guy to the effect that God caused Mount Tambora (he said Krakatoa) to blow up in the early 19th century, so the global climate would cool, causing New England crop failures and inducing the Smith family to move from Sharon, Vermont to the neighborhood of Cumorah.

    (I like to think the Almighty could be resourceful enough to think of a way to get one American family to move a couple hundred miles west, without blasting a bunch of Indonesians into the stratosphere and starving a fair part of China.)

  10. When I was Relief Society President and objected in a ward planning meeting to the YM intruding on our time to use the cultural hall (they wanted in to play basketball), the EQ President said, “We build “them” [meaning the RS] a nice room [the RS room]. Why can’t “they” [RS] stay in it?”

  11. Suka — That reminds me of one more. The MoPop song “A Window To His Love,” by Julie de Azevedo, was sung, with that frackishly heretical and monstrous line in the chorus, “And with each passing day, I want to fade away / ‘Till only He can be seen….”

    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!

    You are NOT SUPPOSED to want to “fade away.” Mormon teaching is unique among Christian doctrines, in teaching that something of man — the “intelligence” — was not created ex nihilo,, but is co-eternal with God. We never were a bunch of mere God-clones, and we’re not supposed to be. What is best and eternal of us, is supposed to continue — unique, independent, and distinct, even when it is clothed with Christ’s glory and perfect righteousness. He is the vine, and we are the branches, and in one sense we are supposed to become one — but just as Christ is distinct, though “one,” with the Father (that’s the “nor confounding the Persons” line from the Athanasian Creed, that Mormon anti-Trinitarians doggedly ignore) — the branches still have a distinct identity from the vine. That’s why they’re called by different names.

    You can still be “Julie” and have the mind and countenance of Christ. The “natural man” may “fade away,” but that’s not what Julie’s song says. It says that you fade away, full stop. And that is by-gum heretical, and I’m surprised some Correlation gentleman hasn’t lowered the boom on that song yet. It’s way closer to Protestant, or even Buddhist, than Mormon.

  12. “Also have heard variations on the “you have to vote Republican to be a good LDS member” theme.”

    Silly. Voting merely “Republican” isn’t nearly enough. 😉

  13. I am loving reading through everyone’s comments!

    These are not that horrible, but last week a sister commented how missionaries have to be clean-shaven because it is too intimidating for a guy in a full beard to knock on your door, while she was basically sitting right next to a member with a full beard. She said, “maybe it was okay in Joseph Smith’s time, but we do it differently today.”

    One that just shocked me more than offended was a member of my bishopric asking me in all seriousness (this is a life-long member of the church) when the topic of polygamy came up: “So is it true that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy?”

  14. @12: When I was 13 I was asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting about Joseph Smith. My mom basically wrote my talk for me. She included that whole bit about the volcano and global warming causing the Smiths to move. I, being the naive young girl I was at the time, marveled at the God brings about his miracles. And, of course, I delivered the talk. I had completely forgotten about it until reading your comment! Oy vey.

  15. “I must have been someone really special in the preexistence to have the gospel here on earth” GAG!! Sit down already.


    I want you to know Emma is one of my very favorite people and I can’t wait to meet her (supposedly in hell….ha ha). Listen to this song, it is a great tribute to her by Mindy Gledhill.


  16. “Glenn Beck was raised up by God to save us in these last days.” This from the Stake RS President. Puh-leez! Get me to the nearest exit door.

  17. @Jen:

    My aunt told me about when she was called to teach a sunday school class of 17 year olds in her first family ward after getting married. (This happened around 1994.) Apparently the kids in the class were pretty arrogant and were constantly referring to themselves as a special and righteous generation brought forth in the last days for a reason. They constantly told her that they were smarter than her, more spiritual than her, etc, because she wasn’t of their generation…… she was 23.

  18. In GD class for New Testament the teacher explained that women are more “spiritual” than men because we go through a menstrual period each month. Which is symbolic of Christ bleeding at Gethsemane.

    Everyone was speechless.

    This happened in Rexburg by the way.

  19. Mormon Enigma is an excellent read. We love to focus on how hard Emma’s life was as result of the enviromental hardships of childloss, loss of family, and loss of husband. From the available literature, her greatest hardships came from her husband.

    I had to roll my eyes during the “Emma” movie from a few years ago, where a heavy point was made as to how her second husband, Lewis Bidamon, cheated on her – and yet she endured. At the same time only brief mention was made of Polygamy, where conservative wisdom places the conjugal headcount somewhere in the thirties.

  20. Translating into English on my mission for Fast and Testimony mtg. A woman starts talking about how Joseph Smith appeared to her in person the prior week while she was walking around the city and talked to her about her life problems and what she should do for various things. I translated it as “I have a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith, etc…”

  21. Heather-

    That is something that I have worried about with my own children and so I am very careful to talk about how we are all God’s children, how he loves us all and that we are not better than anyone else. That is too bad about your aunt.


    I agree that one of her greatest hardships came from her husband because of how deeply she loved him. I think she was experiencing his loss before he ever died. I don’t agree with people who believe she lost her faith. She did the best she could with all that was thrown her way and I believe it was more than enough.

  22. I was once told that us Mormons were supposed to have as many babies as possible, to save those poor spirit children from being born into non-member families. (Remember, only YOU can prevent heathen babies!!)

    I was once at a RS activity for SAHMs and their kids, and I remarked that there seemed to be a “bumper crop” of little boys in our ward (my own son included)and hardly any little girls. Someone remarked that more boys were being born now so that there would be more men to fight in all the wars before the second coming.

    The stupid, it burns.

  23. I fortunately have the luxury of not having to try and explain what God thinks of Emma. I would agree with your statement in part, but from a largely differnt perspective. Did she love Joseph – who knows? But to say that they got along, or that she was saddened by his loss is missing the point a bit. She was constantly lied to about Polygamy, and was very ambivalent at times. Part of the strong sentiments for her at this point in time, I suspect, is part of the rubberband effect of former attitudes that were less than kind. Let’s face the facts, she never fully embraced her husbands theology. When he was no longer a part of it, neither was she.

  24. In my college ward days, we had a Bishop visit our Elder’s Quorum class and draw a graph of the time versus approach of sexual climax for men and another for women…the graph for women representing a much lengthier time than that for the man. He then counseled the quorum to refrain from masturbation because the repeated experience of independently reaching climax within that time frame would create later difficulty in being able to hold out until the eventual wife reaches her climax.

  25. “She was constantly lied to about Polygamy, and was very ambivalent at times.”

    I am interested in where you have read about this. Is it from the book “Mormon Enigma?”

    I think from everything we know about Emma it is safe to say that she loved Joseph. I also think she probably experienced a lot of negative feelings in relation to him. I don’t agree that the strong sentiments for her at this time are a “rubberband effect”, I never believed the “less than kind” things that were said about her in the past either.

  26. #28 – What about that is strange to you? That sounds like more practical advice to me. He should have just suggested practicing “holding out” as part of ones regular masturbatory repetoire.

    A friend mentioned that a couple of weeks ago, a rather innocent but hillarious comment was made by someone who suggested that “if someone has to die, I hope it is a kid because they have not reached accountability yet”.

  27. Yes, Jen that is one place. It is a well documented fact, from even Joseph Smith’s personal aides (I believe William Clayton, but I would need to double check that).

  28. Not a problem Jen. Allow me a day or two to get those for you. I will post them here, but as things go this conversation may be dead at that point. I have an email that I created for a recent exchange with a local minister mormoncowboy@hotmail.com. If you don’t see it here, shoot me an email and I will respond there.

  29. I wonder if I’ve just lived in great wards where I haven’t had to listen to crazies, or if I simply filter that stuff out, because I really don’t remember a lot of horrible things said at church. A lot of false doctrine, but not horribly offensive.

    A while back, the YW pres. in our ward shared with me that a good friend of hers (also YW pres. in another ward) had been having an affair with a man at work and was now getting a divorce. The sister that shared this with me was distraught over this, and as she started tearing up she said “See, that’s why the brethren have taught that women should stay in the home!” Admittedly, she was quite upset, but I thought this a funny thing for her to say as she’d recently been a practicing lawyer (who’d given it up to be a full-time mom).

  30. @Sarah, #22: My first reaction was (O_o) followed by a fit of uncontrollable laughter. What a thought!

    @Jen, #25: My aunt got quite the kick out of it. I myself have wondered if those people suffered a loss of self esteem as the next generation came along to dethrone them. haha.

    @Lorraine, #26: That’s something prophets have been saying for the last century. Check out President Benson’s “infamous” speech to mothers back in 1987. In it he was quoting President Young.

    Quote below found from this speech: http://fc.byu.edu/jpages/ee/w_etb87.htm

    “Brigham Young emphasized: “There are multitudes of pure and holy spirits waiting to take tabernacles, now what is our duty?–To prepare tabernacles for them; to take a course that will not tend to drive those spirits into the families of the wicked, where they will be trained in wickedness, debauchery, and every species of crime. It is the duty of every righteous man and woman to prepare tabernacles for all the spirits they can” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 197).”

  31. #24 — Ha!

    There was a great family in my mission district, with four children (that’s Duggar-size for Scandinavia; at least one of them features in the Church’s documentary “Fire on Ice — The Story of Icelandic Latter-day Saints”), where the father — the district president — worked insanely hard to make ends meet. Part of his jack-of-all-trades work was delivering hay with his truck to farmers in various beautiful corners of south Iceland. Helping him had gotten to be a heavy portion of missionaries’ service hours — and no wonder; the satisfaction of getting something physically done was a great break from getting nei, takk after nei, takk all day, and reporting contact numbers that generally never translated into anything. Plus we got to see parts of a beautiful country, and catch and fall off the occasional horse (the white rulebook prohibits horseback riding, but Iceland horses are more like ponies, went this proto-lawyer’s reasoning).

    At one point, the male half of the senior missionary couple that served as the sorta-quasi-mission president (the genuine article being a thousand miles away in Denmark) decided we were spending too much time helping this man instead of proselytizing. One day, he called in desperation for help, although we’d already used up our “quota.” We couldn’t say no.

    The next Sunday was testimony meeting. Brother G. stood tearfully before the congregation, thanking profusely the young men who helped him feed his family. I was sitting in the back row translating for the non-Icelandic speakers, including the mission couple. Let’s just say my translation was — loose, so as to elide around exactly when the aforementioned young men had most recently done their helping. Sister X turned around and beamed at me sitting in the back row, and didn’t seem to notice my companion choking back his laugh.

  32. #28 — Awesome.

    There was a guy in the EQ presidency who, every time he taught, emphasized how important it was for us men to make love to our wives often. Didn’t seem to matter what the topic was. Priesthood? Make love to your wives. Tithing? Make love to your wives. He was quite evangelical about it. He made it a take-home assignment. I was afraid we were going to be asked to report back.

    I wondered if he was really hard up or what the deal was, but it turned out he was a family counselor. I wonder if Natasha does that when she teaches in RS…

  33. At the risk of sounding judgmental about others being judgmental, let me just say that I find the diversity of the Church wonderful. I always have. Many people holding various callings at different levels in the Church have let their personal opinions creep into their service. That’s their burden to bear, and doesn’t affect my testimony of the Savior and his atonement or the restoration.

    I remember some silly things I said after I first joined the Church, in part because of my limited understanding at the time. I sure hope someone isn’t out there calling me a “crazy” simply because I wasn’t expressing my feelings or thoughts in an orthodox way.

  34. There was a GD teacher who should have been put out to pasture decades earlier who said two things I found unsavory. First, he talked disparagingly of today’s young people and pined for the days when you could hit them with a stick in schools (he was an ex-teacher). He took it as a sign of society’s wickedness that it’s no longer OK to beat the students. He also talked about the way women dress, and that they look too sexy or wear tight clothes and then wonder why they are raped. I was stunned at that one.

    In my parents’ old ward, they had a leader who would say in the TR interview that he wasn’t allowed to add questions, but he was going to anyway. Then he proceeded to ask if they played with face cards or drank caffeinated sodas. When my mother answered in the affirmative, he made it clear that while he technically couldn’t prevent her going to the temple, he didn’t approve her choices and admonished her to repent.

  35. Jen,

    “I don’t agree with people who believe she lost her faith”

    My great, great grandfather was the mission president of the Eastern States Mission. In a letter from Brigham Young he was asked to go back to Nauvoo and proselyte to the people of this area; and, to check on the status of Emma Smith Biddamon. It is the first time LDS missionaries had gone back to Nauvoo since the expulsion. He took with him Parley P. Pratt’s and Brigham Young’s sons. He chronicled his experiences with Emma. I have a copy of his journal and the conversation he had with Emma. Several months ago I posted as a guest and promised to get a copy to BIV and MH, but have not had the time. The journal is over 200 pages and the account with Emma is several chapters.

    The account is quite interesting. It is true she did not attend church for the latter years of her life – at least 10, possibly 20. According to the account of my GGF, she did not even attend her Sons’ (David or Joseph) church. One of these is now the CofC. Biddamon described her to my GGF as a hermit. I vaguely remember a discussion on how she had issues with Polygamy – I will have to look at the journal again. In spite of all this, she held firm on her faith that Joseph was a prophet. Again, at least according to the account of my GGF – I hope it is accurate as some of the account includes hand written letters from Brigham and to Brigham.

  36. What about that is strange to you?

    Well, lets just say that I’ve never had an Elder’s Quorum lesson with that topic ever since. Also, as you say, some may consider the advice incomplete without the follow-up bit of advice that you tacked on. I guess I wouldn’t classify it as the “worst thing I’ve heard at church”, it just seemed a good post to contribute it to. It was, indeed, more practical advice than is often given in Elder’s Quorum.

  37. I remember making a comment while teaching GD once, prior to having my consciousness raised, and having an unmarried female BYU prof say loudly that that was the most chauvinistic thing she’d ever heard.

  38. I offer but 3,

    1. September 2010 fast and testimony meeting.
    “I’m not surprised Stephen Hawking has ended up bitter and twisted, well, you only have to look at him to see he’s twisted.

    2. 5th Sunday bishops joint ph and rs lesson, bishop teaching (in an English ward, where prop 8 in California was barely registering any interest among the local congregation)
    “The recent events in California have allowed god to discover who truly is on his side. The lords will with regards to how members should have voted was clear on this issue. However some members actually voted against prop 8, my lesson today is on the subject of being an anti Christ”

    3. GD teacher: is it a sin to be rich?
    Mission President (very loudly while smugly chuckling to himself and acknowledging another wealthy member of the class) : I sure hope not

  39. Sorry Rigel – I should have noted my sarcasm better. I actually thought your comment would probably be a winner, if there is one.

  40. I once had a Gospel Principles teacher proclaim to the class that Eve came along AFTER Adam had named all the animals, because “the man had WORK to do and couldn’t be bothered with having a woman about pestering him all the time.”

  41. Once in HP Group meeting, a convert of just a few years responded to the “Is there anything to bring before the body fo the priesthood?” question:

    “Elizabeth Montgomery is dead. So is Dick York, Agnes Moorehead and Paul Lynde. [Then, shaking his finger at us] God doesn’t like witches!

  42. Post
  43. Post
  44. Post

    Someone had an interesting html code they had entered, probably by mistake, but twice, and I edited it out. I could track it as the first fix only went down several posts and then resurfaced.

  45. Two things:

    The first being a teacher comparing George W. Bush’s threatening/blackmailing our allies to support his invasion of Iraq to Captain Moroni’s rallying the Nephites around the Title of Liberty. There have been very few times when I’ve ever felt a greater lack of the spirit.

    The second happened during a sacrament meeting talk just this past Sunday wherein the speaker said, “The prophet’s job is to receive direction from the Lord. Our job is to sit down and listen.” Or, as I coined it, the doctrine of “sit down and shut up” because overall it was one of those “blind obedience to the prophet” messages. On a similar note, all three talks that day were so erroneous/full of false doctrine/uninformative/boring that I could not say “Amen” in good conscience at the end of any of them, but that one was the worst.

  46. Just want to point out what the abbreviation for Gospel Doctrine looks like to a non-member. Especially in light of the phrasing of #40.

    #39, I don’t think anyone means to say that ALL non-doctrinal speculation or personal commentary should end. I think all of us respect and enjoy the diversity of opinion in the Church; we’re just acknowledging an adverse side effect.

  47. “Your child was chosen in the pre-existence to come to the earth to be disabled and you were chosen in the pre-existence to be his parent. You both must have been very valiant/special/worthy to have such a calling…” or variations on that theme. Not only does that sentiment NOT bring me any comfort, but it actually makes things worse.

  48. “Clinton is the anti-Christ”
    Sunday school teacher.

    “When polygamy is reinstated….”
    Sunday school discussion

    “All of you who have decided to nit have any mire children need to reconsider….”
    Relief Society testimony meeting.

  49. Some offensive, some just strange, most just fun.

    The Offensive:

    Priesthood class was opened up with the statement “Let’s talk about the gay agenda and their mission to destroy the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” What page of the manual is that on???

    The Bishop in Priesthood bringing a man forward who had recently been convicted of sexually assaulting his teenage daughter (not yet sentenced) and asking everyone to come forward to hug him to show we still loved him.

    Ward Council wherein it was stated and supported that any single Mother who worked out of the home didn’t love their children (and thus the Lord) and then a long discussion about how it would be inappropriate for a woman to wear pants to church and we as the WC would need to gently address it.

    The Bishopp meeting with the Priests and got into a discussion wherein he condemned a woman in the Ward (by name) who had recently gotten implants. Not really appropriate anywhere, but definitely not with a bunch of 16 year old boys.

    The Fun:

    Late 80’s and a nice testimony on how Bob Geldof was definitely going to be saved in the Celestial Kingdom (to be fair the jury is still out on that one).

    Sister missionary giving a very tearful testimony at ZC of her vision of the Saviour at the Crucifixion having his legs broken (and then she went on to testify about her love for her cat back at home)

    The recently converted 20 something who spoke at Stake Conference and went into a long detailed discussion about all the temptations he suffered through visiting the bar/brothels on his recent trip to Thailand.

    A priesthood class where an older guy asked in all sincerity whether it was okay to have sex on Fast Sunday. The 30 minute discussion that follows is still legendary. The conclusion involved an Elder Holland quote that made it seem like you were not keeping the fast unless you did have sex.

  50. “The Bishop in Priesthood bringing a man forward who had recently been convicted of sexually assaulting his teenage daughter (not yet sentenced) and asking everyone to come forward to hug him to show we still loved him.”

    It also happened earlier this year on the Utah State Senate floor. I always thought this would be a better way for Chris Hansen to wrap up his “To Catch a Predator” investigations. a

    “A priesthood class where an older guy asked in all sincerity whether it was okay to have sex on Fast Sunday. The 30 minute discussion that follows is still legendary. The conclusion involved an Elder Holland quote that made it seem like you were not keeping the fast unless you did have sex.”

    I would be interested in the Holland quote, “Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments”? I’m glad to see this has been addressed.

  51. A member of the stake presidency, a successful attorney, was trying to put forth the message that true happiness doesn’t come from material possessions. Fine. But to begin his talk, to a very diverse stake with many who were barely hang on financially, by describing his large home – more luxurious than he had ever imagined he would own – his several “nice” cars (his Mercedes was parked in the church lot), etc. etc. was just simply in poor taste.

  52. #68: Amen. People who say “money doesn’t buy happiness” tend either to have plenty, or little enough to depend on others. The people who actually struggle to make money know damn well that whereas money may not buy happiness, having too little to get by sure buys a lot of misery.

    True happiness, in my considered opinion, comes not from “money” per se, but rather from having exactly $10 more at the end of the year than your expenses.

  53. #69 & 68:

    Sorry for all the comments. I couldn’t agree more with what you have said. That was sound financial advice I recieved several years ago. “One only needs to consider conditions on all sides of the wealth spectrum to see that while money cannot purchase happiness, lack of money is a key factor in so much unhappiness throughout the world”.

  54. #70: ““One only needs to consider conditions on all sides of the wealth spectrum to see that while money cannot purchase happiness, lack of money is a key factor in so much unhappiness throughout the world”.”

    Now that is how to say what I was trying to say.

  55. Bishop’s somewhat angry comment in sacrament (after a 2 week old convert went way over her assigned time speaking on why and how she became a church member) “brothers and sisters, we have to cancel the last speakers because there isn’t enough time now unfortunately because some people don’t stick to their assigned time, and really members who are assigned to speak should do so with respoect for others in the ward and not talk for 45min when your assignmed 10min because its unfair to everyone else” etc

    The new convert never returned to church after that.

  56. What people really need is financial freedom. Income must be equal to or greater than outgo. When personal finance becomes a bondage rather than a facilitator for our lives, happiness is a casualty.

  57. My daughter just recently started at BYU Hawaii and calls all the time with crazy stuff they tell her there. They were told that you have to attend the ward you are assigned to or the bishop can’t tell God that you were at church (my daughter says, “Cause of course the omniscient God doesn’t know and that other bishop doesn’t have the jurisdiction”). They were also told that they shouldn’t be “hanging out” with anyone unless one of the people in the group was a potential spouse. Not even our room mates? No! Your job now is to find yourself a spouse and establish your eternal family. My daughter is 18!! Thankfully, she’s calling to tell us about these because they made her roll her eyes and laughed so I’m not too worried.

  58. My 16yo dd was taught in YW earlier this year that a temple marriage would prevent husbands from straying – when I asked the teacher about it afterwards, she said yes she had taught that, and it is true because she knows no one who married in the temple who has ever gotten a divorce…

  59. I didn’t hear this one personally, but read it on somebody else’s blog. it was so awesome I have to throw it in the mix. I thought it was much more funny than bad, but I am sure that there were some in the audience who got a pretty bad taste in their mouth.

    A woman is sobbing uncontrollably as she bears her testimony and so the bishop goes up and puts her arm around the poor woman to comfort her. The woman apologizes for losing control of her emotions and says, “Oh bishop, I’m sorry I’m such a big boob!”

    To which the bishop replies, “That’s OK, I like big boobs.”

    Classic. Talk about a Freudian slip. I would have loved to be there for that one.

  60. Two weeks ago in HP group, the councilor was winging a lesson because the HPGL was out of town. The councilor said “In Utah, Mexicans get anything they want, but Tongans, Samoans, and Filipinos are discriminated against.” He then asked me if I would tell a story about my ancestor. Although I know he meant Porter Rockwell, I asked “You mean the story about my grandmother who was born in Mexico?”

    It went right over his head. I know it went over the bishop’s councilor’s head. He just sat there fat, dumb, and happy.

    Yeah, I’m offended.

  61. “A woman is sobbing uncontrollably as she bears her testimony and so the bishop goes up and puts her arm around the poor woman to comfort her. The woman apologizes for losing control of her emotions and says, “Oh bishop, I’m sorry I’m such a big boob!”

    To which the bishop replies, “That’s OK, I like big boobs.””

    I attended a Sealing several years ago. When the Groom and Bride were at the alter, before the officiator began the ceremony he looked at the Groom and asked, “Brother, is this the happiest day of your life?” to which the Groom replied “we’re gettin there”.

  62. the teacher today in RS – (my translation)”I know the Catholic church isn`t true because of the sex abuse scandals involving their priests”

  63. @ namakemono #76: My friend’s parents think the same way. Their oldest son got himself into an ill advised “secular” marriage at 19 and it ended two years later. A few years after that their middle son was married in the temple. Their father got up in F&T Meeting the following Sunday and “testified” that he knew his middle son’s marriage would last because he did it the right way and went to the temple unlike his first son who was an example of what happens when you do the wrong thing and get married civilly instead.

  64. The worst thing I ever heard in Church I actually heard at a devotional in the MTC. The speaker, a General Authority, retold a story of Marion G. Romney whose father said the following to him just as he was boarding the train to go on a mission:

    My son, you are going a long way from home. Your mother and I, and your brothers and sisters, will be with you constantly in our thoughts and prayers; we shall rejoice with you in your successes, and we shall sorrow with you in your disappointments. When you are released and return, we shall be glad to greet you and welcome you back into the family circle. But remember this, my son: we would rather come to this station and take your body off the train in a casket than to have you come home unclean, having lost your virtue. (Conference Report, October 1952, pg. 34.)

    The two thousand missionaries in the room became intensely uncomfortable. A feeling of coldness that I will never forget rushed over me. My only sin was homosexual orientation, but in those days you could be excommunicated for merely being attracted to the same sex. I knew in my heart, although I couldn’t have articulated it at that time, that they wanted me dead.

    This happened some 30 years ago, and I’d like to think that times have changed. However, a 20-year-old gay Mormon man that I know recently said this:

    I have asked Bishops if it was better for me to kill myself or live my life with a husband and they told me they didn’t have the answer.

    This wasn’t over the pulpit, but I think it’s in the running for the worst thing ever (recently) said at Church.

  65. When I was 15 in teachers quorum, our advisor read us some pamphlet about a missionary punching his companion who made a pass at him. One of my fellow quorum members asked jokingly, “Does that mean we can go gay bashing? he he”. Our advisors response: “I’m not saying you can’t”.

    When I told my father, he was furious. When I later had a stint of inactivity, I looked back on that occasion as a good reason why.

  66. “One of my fellow quorum members asked jokingly, “Does that mean we can go gay bashing? he he”. Our advisors response: “I’m not saying you can’t”.”

    That pamphlet comes from Boyd K. Packer. In it he tells of interviewing the Elder who punched his companion. Elder Packers comment wasn’t that far off from your advisors.

  67. @Thomas
    Lyics are often sumbolic. The line in my song “Window to His Love” that says “I want to fade away” wasn’t meant to be taken literally, but that the natural man or pride would fade away and I would receive more of His image in my countenance. Doctrinally, I agree with everything you said. Peace.

  68. A bishop of mine put the entire Relief Society on a diet (in a student ward). Another bishop told us that God had promised him that his daughters would not be raped and his scriptures would never be destroyed (which he wanted because of all the notes he had written in them). It made me want to destroy his scriptures just to see what happened. He also recommended that we kiss 200 women before we got married.

  69. “The line in my song “Window to His Love” that says “I want to fade away” wasn’t meant to be taken literally, but that the natural man or pride would fade away and I would receive more of His image in my countenance.”

    I think this raises some interesting questions. As we recieve more of his image in our countenances, and fade the “natural man” out, how much idiosyncracy is lost? For example, and I say this as a half-hearted example while still trying to make a serious point, theres the old Osmond dichotomy of some being a little country while others being a little more rock and roll. These are examples of unique flavors that contribute to a sense of individuality. There is an old talk from Gene R. Cook about an experience he purportedly had being seated next to Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. In his talk he almost makes it clear that there is no wholesome music in Rock and Roll, and only a little bit in country (at least what passed as country in the 1980’s). Furthermore, I had an institute teacher in Orem several years ago (I know, not exactly an appeal to authority) who argued that the only music which truly uplifts is Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and some classical. If we operate under the mentality of these brethren, taking on more of Christs countenance would entail shedding away at these idiosyncracies to a point. In which case, “fading away” would ultimately lend to becoming “near God-clones”. So what remains that is best of us – for example, if we are all perfect, would my friend remain a far more talented musician than me?

  70. #71. There’s great irony in that because my ward practically thrives on using its Facebook group to facilitate all of its activities and announcements.

  71. #73. The great irony in the new convert’s situation is the likelihood of the other speakers being grateful of not having to actually speak (though they likely would had had to the following Sunday).

  72. I know #89 Dave P.. That was what was so funny/ironic about it. Church headquarters instructs those of us with “personal internet pages” to attach church videos and what-not to it. The church also has its own Facebook page. Many wards in North AMerica are like yours and use it for information. All it took, was for some kid to have a morality problem and for the parents to blame facebook. At the time, I was holding my breathe he would not say blogging, instead he said chat rooms. 🙂

  73. #85, fair enough, Julie, and please pardon the over-the-top Internet-anonymous tone. I probably wouldn’t be as gracious if someone had come on as strong about my one pathetic foray into hymn-writing , with its unsingable tenor line.

  74. #76 — Reminds me of the story of the New York liberal who was astonished when George McGovern lost: “But everyone I know voted for him!”

  75. The Sacrament Meeting speakers were a fairly new young adult convert and an senior sister, a lifelong member.

    The young adult woman spoke about her challenges in life, her parent’s divorce, her mother’s cancer, her brother’s drug use and how finding the church has helped her gain focus and meaning in her life. She bore her testimony and sat down. It was actually quite moving.

    The older sister stood up and the first words out of her mouth were, “Well, I must have done something right in the pre-existence because I was born into an LDS home and had none of those problems in my life.”

    I am sure there was an audible gasp. One, because the congregation couldn’t believe she SAID it. And two, because we were all embarrassed knowing that it was actually in line with LDS teachings.

  76. “In line with LDS teachings” in the sense of “yes, it came out of a prophet’s mouth at some point, but everybody from the current prophet on down sure wishes he hadn’t said it, and wouldn’t call it doctrinal at this point.”

  77. I just remembered an experience I had at an LDS funeral held in the Chapel, so I hope this counts. It was the funeral a friend of mine who eventually became a drug addict, lived an overall uninspiring life typical to “hard core” drug addicts, and ultimately suffered a drug related death – yet, he was my friend and it was his funeral. A family member, a cousin I believe, was asked to recount some experiences from my friends life. This dim-wit, who was chosen because he was thought of as a positive influence on my friends life (on account of having served a mission), begins to tell a litany of stories about the first time they stole, or indiscriminately vandalized vehicles at the mall, or had an altercation with the police, etc. It was a rather embarrassing moment, even for me as I considered that the last thoughts many who attended will have of my friends unfortunate life, were directed by this complete jackass.

  78. #95 “Thomas: “In line with LDS teachings” in the sense of “yes, it came out of a prophet’s mouth at some point, but everybody from the current prophet on down sure wishes he hadn’t said it, and wouldn’t call it doctrinal at this point.”

    Hmmm….he doesn’t? I mean when someone like Joseph F Smith said that, well maybe in his day and time someone born in Utah was ‘more blessed’ than someone born in Nigeria (for example) because the later couldn’t be baptized, couldn’t be endowed or married for eternity until they reached the spirit world and or millennium. However post ’78 there really isn’t much difference between someone born in Utah or Nigeria since both have access now to the same blessings and privileges, even education and secular blessings, therefore the discourse from the current prophet is different from what it was from JFSmith. And actually given the problems america has with health care maybe someone born in Britain, for example, is more blessed today due to their pre-existence worthiness than that Utah born person

    So, maybe, that ‘doctrine’ is true but we don’t understand, maybe, the time frames involved. But I digress from OP

  79. A reader at Pure Mormonism linked to this post after reading my account of Bruce McConkie’s notorious chastisement of Eugene England.

    “It is my province,” McConkie wrote, “to teach to the Church what the doctrine is. It is your province to echo what I say or to remain silent.”

    The irony here is that a few years previously David O. McKay had called McConkie on the carpet for publishing the book “Mormon Doctrine” without seeking permission. McKay lectured McConkie that it was not McConkie’s place to declare the doctrines of the church but that was the unique responsibility of the prophet alone per D&C 28:2.

    For McConkie to later arrogate to himself such a commission and to rebuke a teacher from the CES for merely mentioning a particular teaching of Brigham Young makes him, in my opinion, the most dangerous man ever to hold a position in the church hierarchy.

    For more of that account, see “Living The Gospel, Or Living In Zombie Land?” here:


  80. “it was the Jewish denial and rejection of the Holy One of Israel, whom their fathers worshiped in the beauty of holiness, that has made them a hiss and a byword in all nations and that has taken millions of their fair sons and daughters to untimely graves”

    Yeah, Hitler was actually doing God’s work. Priceless McConkie quote (in The Millennial Messiah)

  81. I remember having an institute teacher (not seminary, institute) at the University of Utah (where there were mostly lifetime members) giving the most drab summaries of the Book of Mormon. I finally pulled him aside and asked him if he would please stop acting like we hadn’t read the Book of Mormon before. After all, I’d read it at least 10 times.

    He said, “Well you’re probably the only one who’s read it.”

    WHAT?!?! Where did that guy come from?

  82. #97: “Hmmm….he doesn’t? I mean when someone like Joseph F Smith said that…”

    Joseph Fielding Smith, I think you mean. And yes, I’m pretty sure there’s a standing order at Correlation that no more than 10% of what President Smith ever said may be considered doctrinal.

    The McConkie/Fielding Smith Axis had great influence in its day, but the present Church has definitely moved away from their thinking. Consider them the Piux X and Leo XIII of Mormonism.

  83. “Consider them the Piux X and Leo XIII of Mormonism.”

    Nice 🙂

    But no, it was Joseph F Smith and his comrades who were saying that first, then his son and McConkie were repeating the teaching. However it doesn’t take away from the possible correctness of the idea, the idea that we are blessed on earth according to a few things we do in the pre-existence. I wouldn’t use the word ‘valiant’ today because this was only about being a believer or not in the pre-existence but the discussion is rather long and involved, and probably for another day.

  84. In a discussion about hymns a missionary said “if it’s not in our hymnbook, it’s not a real hymn”. EXCUSE ME ?!!?

    So, a protestant hymn included for the first time in an LDS hymnbook is suddenly OK, then loses its status when it’s deleted in the next edition, I replied. Get real!

  85. #103

    That reminds me of a policy change in my mission right before I went home: We weren’t allowed to listen to ANY music unless if had the official church “MoTab” logo on it. I’m actually hoping it backfired completely because I listened to classical music all the time during personal study.

  86. ##103 and 104, semi-OT, but does anyone know exactly what words they are in “Amazing Grace” that continues to keep that song out of the Mormon hymnal?

  87. Also slightly off-topic but I’m glad there are several hymns out there that are common but not found in the LDS hymnal. I do NOT want several of my favorites such as Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, O Holy Night, and Ave Maria butchered by a church pianist pretending to be an organist and even moreso by a bored and lackluster congregation.

  88. #107 — There can no more be Latin (Ave? AVE!!!?!! Get thee behind me, thou Great & Abominable!) in an LDS church, than there can be crying in baseball.

  89. 2 weeks after I was baptized (August 1999) I was asked to sing a special for ward conference. My selection- AFAR IN OLD JUDEA, by RLDS member Roy Cheville. The Bishop, the Stake President, and members alike said what a great hymn it was, and even said it should be included in the next LDS hymnbook!

  90. 108 Thomas,
    Did you hit it on the head! I’ve actually heard members say we aren’t allowed to sing Ave Maria in our chapels.

    Hell, maybe we aren’t. What a shame that we distance ourselves so far from Catholic worship of the mother of Christ that we ever refuse to even simply honor her.

    Also, per your comment, I think Latin singing to many Mormons puts them in mind of the evil Damian from “The Omen” Scary sounding stuff to ears so unaccustomed.

    Of course, if the LDS want to get rid of a scary song, they should scrap “Follow The Prophet.”

  91. The really big irony is that Ave Maria is one of THE most popular religious songs in the world. It’s part of what is considered Disney’s most powerful moment in animation ever, it’s sung in one movie I have to help convince the rebel teen main character to have a change of heart, and it’s the central theme of an entire series I watched a while back; even the final episode is called “Beloved Ave Maria.” Hopefully these OT rants aren’t bugging anyone since comments have slowed down in here.

  92. About the Ave Maria — the main issue I have with it (and others) is that it asks her to pray for us. It could, of course, be interpreted to mean the same thing we do when we ask everyone in the ward to pray for Bro. Davis, as he’s sick and needs our faith. But that’s not the traditional Catholic interpretation of her interceding in our behalf — which is Christ’s role.

    I’ve done many things in latin in Sacrament meeting — I just tell the Bishop what the text means, and usually give a 20 second interpretation to the congregation, and tell them to open up to the scripture that the text is based off of.

  93. Andrew — Regarding the “ora pro nobis” in the Ave,, I’m sure a creative LDS lyricist could fiddle with the text a little, as I see done in other hymns and MoTab arrangements. (I remember a MoTab rendition of the Christmas hymn “Of the Father’s Heart Begotten” which changed “Ere the world from chaos rose” to “Ere the world began to be,” frankly, I thought the original lyric better captured the LDS notion of creation being organization from “matter unorganized” than the revision.)

    I love the Latin mass, but parts of it always remind me of a Mafia funeral.

  94. 107 Dave

    Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing was in the LDS hymnbook previous to the current one.

    Also, I was a voice major in college and never sang Ave Maria. It just doesn’t do anything for me. But I love singing O Holy Night; have’nt mustered the courage to sing it before the members in French.

  95. I, like most people, have heard some pretty ridiculous things. But this conversation jumped to my mind right away. It took place during Young Womens.

    *discussion on gay marriage*
    Leader: What is your opinion?
    Me: I’d rather not go into that.
    Leader: Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
    Me: OK. I believe that we have some nerve taking away the Free Agency of others and trying to explain it away by saying that it’s what God wants. The reason we’re even here in this church right now is because of Free Agency. It’s one of the most basic ideas behind Mormonism.
    Leader: That is true. But if we condone gay marriage, then next thing you know they’ll be wanting to marry hamsters and goats.

    I looked at her with an appalled face, and she immedietely tried to recant her statement. I told her it wasn’t worth it, as she made her feelings pretty clear.

  96. I thought of another one last night!

    It used to be a common assertion in my parent’s ward that “Monday Night Football” was the devil’s way to ruin Family Home Evening and thus destroy the family.

  97. -Does anyone remember a song from the early 80’s ‘Simon Peter (Follow Me)? (Is this the right song?) The lyrics for events leading to the crucifixion included Jesus coaching Peter “deny me . . . three times they’ll put you through the test . . . deny me . . .it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do” . . . whaaa?

    -God made me rich so I’d be your leader. (GD teacher who simultaneously held about 6-7 callings.)

    – prosperity doctrine: If you are sick you aren’t spiritual. Healthy people pay tithing and sick people obviously lack faith or else they’d heal themselves. Your health is a spiritual barometer. Those of us who are athletic are obviously the leaders. (less than a year later he became bishop.)

    -Tithing is fire insurance (ok funny, but some people take it extremely literally and seriously).

    – There is some quote or poem out there about how a woman should invest all her energies into her children b/c she could never paint anything that would equal what her children (sons) could paint, never sing anything as great as they will, never write anything as grand as they will, yada yada yada . . . never accomplish anything that at all matters as compared to what her children will accomplish, therefore she should focus on THEM, not herself. This is read about every other year in our ward, usually on mothers day.

    – (From the 80’s when Harlequin novels were much more popular)- It’s ok to read read a bodice ripper IF you are married. It’s not pornography. The genre is instructive.

  98. #119 Actually regarding that first one I’ve heard several ideas regarding the theory that Jesus’s usage of “thou shalt deny me thrice” instead of something like “thou wilt” implies that he was commanding Peter to deny him. So, in approaching that situation with that idea in mind, those song lyrics make sense.

  99. 1. The 2nd counselor in the presidency of the branch my husband & I once attended said in PH one Sunday that he was grateful to be a mbr of a church that was the only 1 who knew what Heavenly Father looked like. When every head spun to look @ him, he referenced the 1st Vision painting in the hallway. He then argued w/ the man who tried to explain the concept of ‘artistic interpretation’.
    2. Same guy who stated that residents of New Orleans deserved their suffering from Katrina’s aftermath b/c there was gambling in their city.
    3. A branch president volunteered to me -the white wife of a black man who’s also a mbr; that he was on his mission in June 1978 when the revelation was announced & he had a huge problem w/ it. And this was his idea of what he should speak about in my ‘welcome to the branch’ personal interview.
    4. Current ward mbrs who frequently make references to Pres. Obama as the actual Anti-Christ from the book of Revelation.

  100. left out #5 the 1st counselor in the branch presidency who told me he was rejecting the Primary President’s request to call me as the chorister b/c I was childless.

Leave a Reply to This Guy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *