“What Children Know”: A Children’s Rebuttal to Elder Ballard’s Conference Talk

AndrewAsides, Bloggernacle, children, general, General Conference, Humor, Mormon, mormon, Mormons 95 Comments

Child Firefighter 2Child SailorChild PoliceChild NurseChild ConstructionChild SingerChild Doctor

Late last night as I was putting the finishing touches on my Monday morning blog post, I heard a faint knocking on the front door of my home. When I opened the door I saw no one there, but heard the pitter-patter of little feet fading off in the distance. Something caught my eye on the doorstep. It appeared to be a manifesto of sorts, scrawled on the blank insides of a flattened cereal box with crayons of assorted colors. I have no idea who wrote the message, but whoever did was pretty upset about the talk that Elder Ballard gave at General Conference on Sunday. I can only speculate that they entrusted me with their solemn message due to my participation in the Bloggernacle. I am both humbled and sobered by the opportunity to give a voice to the voiceless, and I feel compelled to publish their statement here in its exact form, without any revision or alteration whatsoever. Here are their words:

Ballard In April 2008, Elder M. Russell Ballard, member of the Latter-day Saint Quorum of the Twelve, gave a speech in the semiannual worldwide General Conference in which he stated:

Now you children please listen to me, because there are some simple things you can do to help your mother. You can pick up your toys when you’re finished playing with them. And when you get a little older, you can make your bed, help with the dishes, and do other chores without being asked.

Elder Ballard’s focus on LDS children, and more particularly on the role and duties of children in the home, is a subject close to our hearts.

Who are we? We are children who differ in age, income, race/ethnicity, and grade-level. We are children of mothers and fathers, some with exceptionally large families. Some of us are grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We all play and work, paid or unpaid, both inside and outside our homes. We share many years of church participation among us. In fact, our LDS background is our common denominator.

Several ideas within the body of Elder Ballard’s talk conflict with our inspiration and experience. We are the authors of our own lives, and this is the story we know to be true:

What Children Know

Pottery Barn Boy w toys

Children should have an equal say in what goes where in the home. We believe parents should abandon their materialistic desire to make every room in their home look like it came out of the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog with spotless, toy-free floors. Homes are for children as well as for parents, and parents must resist the urge to infringe on children’s right to design their own living space by imposing parental ideals about the optimal placement of children’s property.

Making BedSisyphus

“Making beds” is an arbitrary and futile exercise. There is no objective evidence to support the notion that having a sheet and blanket neatly spread and tucked around a mattress generates any added utility or is qualitatively any different from allowing bed linens to remain in their natural state after one has arisen from bed in the morning. Parental insistence on making beds that will inevitably become unmade a mere twelve hours later hearkens back to the ancient myth of Sisyphus, who was condemned to roll a boulder up to the top of a mountain each day, only to have it roll back down again once it had reached the top. There is no need for parents to attempt to recreate this hellish scene from Dante’s Inferno in their homes.

Boy Doing Dishes Poison

Doing dishes is harmful to the environment and is an unjust imposition upon children who would much rather eat with their hands in the first place. We are deeply concerned with the suggestion that children be exposed to harsh detergents and chemicals to clean dinnerware that they never opted to use in the first place. We children are instinctively more environmentally sensitive than adults in that we are naturally inclined to eat with our hands and to use our clothing to catch the crumbs and spills, rather than needlessly dirtying plates, bowls, cups, forks, knives, spoons, and other man-made culinary artifices that then require the consumption of precious natural resources such as water and the use of abrasive artificial cleansers to make them clean. And besides, doing dishes makes our fingers look old and pruney like grandma’s. Ewww!

Child Labor 2Child Labor 3

We should be discouraging child labor, not encouraging it. The evils of child labor took centuries to eradicate in the developed world, and sadly, still exist in less-developed regions. The regressive suggestion that children should be performing more labor is alarming and threatens to undo centuries-worth of courageous campaigning and legislative lobbying against the exploitation of minors.

Children SingingPopcorn Popping

Children need to be challenged and given opportunities to develop spiritually. We lament the employ of intellectually condescending songs such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and deceptive celebrations of horticultural impossibilities such as “Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree” in Primary classes all over the world. We also denounce the brainwashing of children with songs like “Give Said the Little Stream,” which subconsciously condition children to give their time, talents, and energy to their parents without any expectation of receiving just compensation in return. Also, singing saccharine melodies with six year-olds stops being cool at age nine, or ten tops.

Elisha Bears 2

Violence against children should be condemned, not used as an example of God’s awesome power. We are filled with unutterable sadness by the story of Elisha the prophet, who angrily cursed forty-two children who were harmlessly joking about his bald head, upon which two she-bears came out of the woods and tore the children into pieces. (2 Kings 2:22-24.) This is not a success story. It is the story of a grumpy old man’s failure to take a joke. In a world filled with violence against children, we believe that one of the most important passages in LDS scripture is “suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:14.)

Father Like Son

We are not fooled by parents’ transparent attempts to make us feel like “grown ups.” We have learned through sad experience that those who are constantly told they are “such a big boy” or “such a big girl” usually aren’t. We also reject the ageist assumption that children want or should want to be adults. The root words for terms like “adultery” and “adult-oriented” demonstrate that being an adult is popularly regarded as a synonym for being a total sleaze ball.

Please consider joining with us in affirmation by posting a comment below on behalf of your children, or on behalf of your inner child. We also invite you to express ideas and suggestions about additional positive declarations of our collective childhood that should be added to the list above.


Children Who Know


Comments 95

  1. It’s always the children who suffer. My three year old looked at me pleadingly after Elder Ballard’s talk and said, “Why, Daddy, why?”

  2. Hi, my name is Susan C. and I would like to sign this bold and important statement on behalf of myself and my four children, Tanya, Dillan, Aaron, and Else.

    Thank you for courageously speaking out against this sort of ecclesiastical abuse.

  3. Can dads sign too? If so, please add my name to the list of supporters. My name is Tom C., and I’m mad as hell!

  4. Gah! More evidence of the degeneration of modern culture!

    What ever happened to “Children should be seen and not heard”?

    We need to go back to the days when children knew their place: Playing barefoot in the dirt, and hitting each other with sticks.

    When I was a kid I played in the dirt and was darn happy to have it.

  5. Now, now. You know that Elder Ballard was referring to the ideal situation and not all have that. So, you need to adopt the counsel to your individual circumstances. Of course, first you have to pray about it to determine if this talk even applies to your family, personally. Because, I am sure there are some out there where it can’t possibly apply.

  6. The Salt Lake Tribune quoted Ballard as follows: “What matters, Ballard said, is that ‘a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else.’

    Assuming the Trib got the quote right, I was a little surprised to read this. He says that a mother’s duty is to prioritize her children “above all else,” as a demonstration of her devotion for deity and her husband. I come from a background where it’s understood that the relationship between spouses comes before even the relationship of parent to child. For that matter, I’ve seen LDS conference speakers express that viewpoint, considering the husband-wife bond an important foundation for the parent-child bond. In my own experience, when a wife places her children a a higher priority than her husband, the spousal relationship can be quite strained.

    What think ye? Am I reading too much into Ballard? If I’m reading him right (and honestly, I think I’m reading the plain meaning), do you agree that a mother should prioritize her children over her husband?

  7. “deceptive celebrations of horticultural impossibilities such as “Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree'”


  8. I think this calls for another “Special Training Session” to address the backlash from Elder Ballard’s talk. Hopefully they do it on a Saturday night like the last one.

  9. John F., yes, but that’s where the ambiguity lies. You could understand the “in keeping with” to mean either (a) that a mother should prioritize her children above all else so long as it’s consistent with her devotion to deity and her husband, or (b) that a mother demonstrates her devotion to deity and her husband by prioritizing her childern above all else.

    Of course, the full context of Ballard’s talk would likely be helpful in this regard.

  10. What evil Pied Piper has beguiled these children to sign such a piece of rubbish? Elder Ballard is called of God by a seer of the Lord and what he speaks is truth. Who has taught these innocent children to question and deny the truths told in scrcipture? As Elisha the prophet surely affirmed, no disrespect of their elders is an innocent joke.

    I am glad I am not the Primary teacher of any of these children, nor their bishop (well, I guess that would never happen!) I hope the ecclesiastical leaders of these children call them in for correction, especially those who are old enough to have been baptized. The church can scarcely afford to lose them, but if they persist in their disrespect of the Lord’s Annointed, they must surely be cut off from the body of the Church.

  11. Nick, based on how the talk felt as I listened to him, I’m positive it’s the “so long as it’s consistent with” meaning – you rabble-rousing, seed-of-contention-sowing Philistine! 😉

  12. I’m glad to hear that, Ray. As I’ve noted, I personally think it’s highly destructive when a person prioritizes their children above their spouse. It’s not healthy for the marriage, nor is it healthy for the children, IMO.

  13. I’m glad to hear that, Ray. As I’ve noted, I personally think it’s highly destructive when a person prioritizes their children above their spouse. It’s not healthy for the marriage, nor is it healthy for the children, IMO.

    I think that is extremely dependent on circumstances. I know I encourage my spouse in her putting the children first and I’m glad of the positive results it has created.

  14. You adults are so self-centered. This post is not about you, it’s about us children. Get off the threadjack and back to discussing what matters most: us.

  15. I think part of seeing this like a child is to accept the advice with humility and not pick it apart like a jaded adult. There’s nothing wrong with telling kids to help mom out. And as a wife, mother, lawyer and member of the church, I should know where my priorities lie. When the kids are hungry and begging for food, and I’m sitting here blogging (even if it’s work related), sometimes you just have to put the computer down and address their needs. And btw, he totally called me on the internet-surfing. I’ll be going now. 🙂

  16. I hereby volunteer my three daughters to speak at the inevitable Sunstone Symposium discussion on this subject. My five-year-old will have some especially enlightening commentary on the tyranny that is bath-time.

  17. Following such an ageist and insensitive talk from one of the Lord’s annointed, my children, ages 6, 5, and 2, want to know if they can have their names removed from the records of the church, even if, technically, their names are not yet on the records of the church, their ages falling below the recognized age of recognition — eight — which, by the way, they’d like you to know is yet another form of ageist abuse…

  18. Actually, anybody who uses abominations like “prioritizes” within earshot of a child should be arrested for child abuse. Or, if no children are around, for abuse of the English language.

    He ought to be taken out and hung
    For the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue.

  19. Forgive me I couldn’t laugh not even a little. I know a family very well who have raised their children with just such a mentality. The children were allowed to do what ever pleased them at the time. They do not attend school because they stay up well past midnight every night and do not get up the next day until 10 at the earliest. The teacher is out of line to expect the child to do homework when he wants to go to the movies on a weeknight, concequently the child was sent to school with a note giving a parental pass on having to do the assignment. When these children eat a meal they leave the table several times and if their plate is removed before they are finished eating (even if they have left the table for quite some time and most of the dishes are washed and food put away) then tbe offending adult must fix them another plate. As this family approaches adulthood the mother is suffering emotional breakdowns because she has never been allowed to enforce to the children that it is respectful and kind and expected that you help pickup after yourself. The children have trouble keeping friends because they are so selfcentered. Room mates have tossed them out on their ears because there is no respect for sharing of duties by residents.

    BTW unmade beds collect spiders!!!!!!!!!

  20. Re: Laughing and crying,

    Your statement, “BTW unmade beds collect spiders!!!!!”

    All I can say, is “Cool!”

  21. it’s kind of a shame for this post attacking the “what women know” response to be hidden behind ghostwriter. if it really is that funny, why not say who you are? and that “ridiculous declaration” as kristin calls it, might have something to say that isn’t “fault finding”. and something that isn’t said in our meetings, general conference or otherwise. the least I can do, is leave my name at the end of this post, saying ghost writer, if you’re going to call out the people behind what women know like that, you look like a chicken doing it without your real name attached.
    Jake Hinmon

  22. Hey there, Jake Hinmon–I call the “What Women Know” declaration fault-finding because of the way Sister Julie Beck was attacked for things she never said. That, to me, is fault-finding.

  23. kristin,

    I suppose that’s fair, but I don’t think you should call it ridiculous. Maybe they were finding fault where there was fault to find. For example, in Elder Ballards statement quoted above in the comments section (and in the SL Trib) he mentions how women should love their children and prioritize them above all else (except their husbands and God), but there is no mention of the importance of fathers doing this same thing. He is NOT saying that men should prioritize their children above all else, ignoring the important role men can and should (in my opinion) be playing in raising our children. I would put the fault finding of Sister Beck’s talk in the same category. She’s not saying a lot of things. And those are some important things to say.

    (and kids, sorry for threadjacking)

  24. Kristin, perhaps if you read What Women Know carefully, you’d find that it is not an attack. It’s simply a response with other women saying what they feel about the same subject. It’s not a rebuttal, or a petition, or a declaration. It’s a response.

    Although the premise of this post here seemed funny at first, upon further consideration, I’m bothered by the idea that grown women expressing their opinions are compared to spoiled children. I suppose it was meant in fun, but coming as it does, after this past weekend when women were, as usual, invited to sustain the new prophet after the twelve year old boys, it does kind of point out exactly what our worth in the church is. Carry on boys!

  25. JH (#31),

    Please read comment #18 above by “Knowing Woman.” She obviously supported the “What Women Know” statement and yet also seems to have appreciated the humor behind this post. She even played along with the joke, which demonstrated the strength of her convictions as well as the fact that she has a sense of humor. This is not a “hit job” on the “What Women Know” statement. I am friends with some of the people who signed that statement. I simply recognized the parallels between Elder Ballard’s remarks to children and Sister Beck’s remarks to women, and I thought it would be amusing if there were a similar outcry by the children of the church.

    I’ll be glad to make the shocking revelation of my secret identity once this has made the rounds in the Bloggernacle; in fact, I was planning on doing so ultimately. The “Ghost Writer” name was chosen because part of the joke was that this was written by a group of children, rather than by one of our permabloggers.

    It’s called humor. Some people get it. Some apparently don’t. Again, read comment #18 above. That’s a more effective way to voice your support for “What Women Know” than coming off as someone who has absolutely no sense of humor.

  26. Hey, I am fine with you saying I have no sense of humor, and I did realize that you were trying to be funny. But I’m not certain that you thought out all the implications of your post and how they could come across. As #34 mimosa puts it, whether your post was funny or not (and I’m not saying it wasn’t), mimicking the style and format of the “what women know” statement puts you in the position of marginalizing and belittling them through your humor. From your post #35, I would like to gather that this was unintended, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t what happened. My initial reaction as I read your post was to feel like you were poking specific fun at their statement, and I don’t think I was the only one to take it that way. Therefore, for me, it negated whatever wit was to be found in the bulk of your post.

    Your explanation for withholding your name doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, seeing as your entire introduction was used to explain that it was supposedly written by a bunch of children. I realize this was supposed to be setting up the humor, but it was also clear, that you were the actual author of this post. So why withhold your name?

  27. by the way, you sound suspiciously like Jaime Trwth responding to no one getting the humor of the 10,000 B.C. post. some people have different senses of humor than others, and certainly the internet is a medium where some things can get lost in transmission.

  28. JH (#37), Good guess about this being Jaime Trwth, but no cigar. But I think it’s telling that your first instinct is the blame the black man. So typical . . .

    Why maintain my superhero alter ego? At this point, isn’t it obvious? Driving you nuts with this is just too much fun! 🙂 Anyone who knows me recognized my authorship right off the bat. And if you knew me, you’d recognize how silly it is to suggest this is all just a big slam on “What Women Know,” and how unnecessary and over-reactive it is to “call me out” and lecture me about it. Chill, bro.

    As Brigham Young said, “he who takes offense where no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a bigger fool.” I can assure you it was the former here. Being able to take a joke and laugh at oneself is one of the greatest signs of strength. Thankfully Women Who Know like comment #18 above have a sense of humor.

    In the immortal words of Snoop Dogg: “You don’t know me.”

  29. I found it hard to decide what the original author meant. I thought at first that it was just a funny takeoff on the two talks, and the response to the talk, but then thought about it more, and decided that I really wasn’t sure where the author was going with it. Perhaps the author didn’t mean to dismiss women’s concerns as childish, but in the end that’s how it came off to me.

  30. I agree with Mimosa and JH on this one. To compare the strong, eloquent, and courageous women and men of whatwomenknow.org with spoiled children is not funny to me. Mimosa’s point about women of all ages, including grandmothers!, being called upon to sustain the new presidency etc after the twelve year old boys is an excellent one. How have we become so blind to the human cost of this culture?

    A little gentle ribbing is one thing – to put women who voice their opinions at some risk to themselves in the same category as silly children is to perpetuate the long held prejudice that women are merely older children; indeed this serves as a painful reminder of why the original statement was necessary.

  31. Pingback: “What Children Know”: A Child’s Rebuttal to Elder Ballard’s Conference Talk « JPH3’s Blog-o-Rama

  32. call me a fool with no sense of humor if you like. Clearly I don’t know you, but even if I did know you my point stands. You pointing out my lack of sense of humor doesn’t explain or justify my above mentioned point. Unmask thyself superhero and prove me wrong about your intentions!

  33. For all of you who are reacting negatively, go to ZD and see how m&m and others were attacked for saying about their April Fool’s post exactly what you are saying about this one. I went on and botched an attempt to show how ridiculous the criticism of m&m was – truly botched it badly, but everyone having a fit here should see that reaction there. It really is instructive.

    I will repeat the main point that I made there: Thinking that nobody will take offense when they think they are being mocked is naive. Sometimes, “It’s just a joke,” isn’t a good defense; sometimes it is. That post was hilarious **for those who know and understand the authors and their site**; this one is hilarious **for those who know and understand the authors and their site**. Others, perhaps not so much. That’s OK – and why different blogs exist for different people.

    A little gentle understanding and compassion is what Elders Wirthlin and Christofferson and Ballard requested this weekend. Please, everyone, don’t ignore that in a discussion of Elder Ballard’s own talk in a farcical post.

  34. Keeping in line with criticism of those who wrote the What Women Know site, I have to say how sinful that those children are speaking out, deviating from all that is correlated and holy and doing it in PUBLIC. How dare they??? They should be silenced and ignored as is the norm in our culture.

  35. JH, at this point I am unfortunately beyond the point of expecting that I will ever be able to prove you wrong about my intentions. Please carefully re-read my comment #35 above. I’m not sure there’s not much more I can say about it. I’m just glad the overwhelming majority of commenters today were able to receive this in the spirit of humor with which it was offered, including people who obviously supported “Women Who Know” like commenter #18.

    P.S., I recommend staying far, far away from stand-up comedy, comedy movies, comedy talk radio, or comedy in general. You will likely hear someone joking about your political party, the state you grew up in, your ethnicity, the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the church you belong to, the kind of car you drive, the college you attended, your chosen profession, etc., etc., etc. If you don’t understand the concept of comedy, you are likely to feel insulted and deeply offended by most if not all of what is said for the sake of humor.

  36. I took this “What Children Know” as a very clever parody that is meant to be funny–period. And I signed “What Women Know” which by the way is not an attack on Sister Beck’s talk which although well-meaning missed the mark by a long ways.

  37. I’m not offended by your attempt at humor or your personal attacks. I’m only making two points that haven’t been addressed or refuted. 1) by mimicking the format of the what women know response you have poked fun at them specifically. 2) by not posting your own identity this leaves the impression not of a playful joke but of a more biting and critical humor than may have been intended. I was attempting to further a conversation about your point, nowhere did I attack you or your sense of humor.

    An analogy: just because the people who made the movie “hairspray” had as their main goal to entertain us through song and dance doesn’t mean that their lumping of overweight people into the same prejudged category as black people in the early sixties is not offensive. Despite their intentions, the implications of their movie are marginalizing black people even further. Despite the fact that I am neither black nor a woman I can still see the implications, unintended though they may be.

    Like I said, I’m not trying to pick a fight. I’m just making points the way I see them. And awaiting responses to my points, which don’t seem to come.

  38. I think the post should be taken in the spirit it was intended, a light-hearted response to an idea posed in General Conference. I would be loathe to ascribe ulterior motives to the author.

    And yet, I think some of the commenters have a fine point, too. “laughing & crying” has clearly been to my house at dinner time, and it is all fun and games until you pull back the covers to find an enormous spider lurking there in wait.

    My own response was that the talk was preaching to the converted if it was for the women, so it must have been for men and children. When E. Ballard said kids should thank their mothers when they find their laundered clothes put away in their dresser for them, my son said, “Oh, good–I guess I don’t have to thank you since you make me put away my own clothes.”

  39. You know, this was realloy pretty hilarious – however I also see the point of Lisa and Mimosa on how it seems to lump the women who signed “what women know” in with the children here. Are you 100% there was no attempt to belittle the women? I actually took Elder Ballard’s talk as an attempt to transcend the “mothers who know” talk and provide a little healing. Although this post is funny, I think it overall caused more angst.

  40. Hey, does anyone remember which speaker in General Conference admonished listeners not to waste their time on the internet? I don’t know why, but after reading this thread that admonition came to mind.

  41. Pingback: Zelophehad’s Daughters

  42. When Ballard started his talk, I initially experienced that generation-gap queasiness feeling. It was when he shared the story about having to unsuccessfully entertain the kids during sacrament meeting. Those in the conference center seemed to find the story hilarious, but I kept thinking that the story was just so out of time. What current marriage in the church is like this, with the husband so oblivious about child care? I realize he was normally on the stand, but was he asleep? I think the story was meant to be funny and to show appreciation for women, but it just seemed irrelevant to today. I just think that parents in our generation are more equal partners than they were in my parents’ generation.

  43. I proudly signed “What Women Know,” and I burst out laughing when I clicked on “What Children Know,” or WCK, especially for the attention to detail and the PICTURES. Thanks, anonymous Child Who Knows! Very therapeutic!

  44. Hawkgrrrl, that might be true, but it doesn’t have to be about “having no clue”. If a husband is called into the bishopric while still having small children, serves for a few years in that group, moves on to the High Council or Stake Presidency, serves for a few years there – pretty soon 10-15 years have passed and a mother has been in the pew alone with her children for most of the years while they were growing up. I think the reaction was due to SO many men and women (even relatively young couples) understanding what he was saying on a very personal level.

    For example, we have a man in our stake who is an amazingly spiritual person. He is a great father and husband and a brilliant, humble man, but he has been in a bishopric for the past 3-4 years and now serves on the High Council. It is right for him, but he has 5 young children – the oldest being about 10 – and is closer to 30 than to 40. I would be shocked if he spends much time on a pew with his family for the rest of his life. You bet his wife understood and appreciated Elder Ballard’s story – as did he.

  45. Adults! Did you not read the post??? Sisyphus! Deceptive celebrations of horticultural impossibilities! The root words for terms like “adultery” and “adult-oriented”! Why not listen to the children for once? Must you dismiss our cries for justice??

    We shall overcome.

  46. Btw, Birdman (#51) – Brilliant, especially since Elder Ballard is the one who encouraged members to use modern media more actively to define and defend – followed by Elder Ballard telling people not to waste time surfing the net.

    I can just see it – The Twelve and FP meeting in quorum and someone saying to Elder Ballard, “Nice job, Russ. You tell them to blog and now . . . Have you read the Salt Lake Tribune comments?! Get back out there in General Conference and tell them to knock it off!”

    j/k – I think there is no conflict in the two statements – at least that’s how I justify my participation. *grin*

  47. Ray – perhaps. Fortunately for me, my husband has escaped major time on the stand, and now our kids are manageable ages. My dad certainly never sat with us once that I can recall. However, I still maintain that parents of this generation are more equal partners than they were in the “silent generation” from which our apostles originate. And laughing at something an apostle says in conference is not always because people identify with what they are saying. We find the apostles charming in their humanity and as listeners we reward that with laughter–to many of us, they are like kind, wise grandparent figures. It doesn’t mean there is not a generational gap.

  48. Well, having said my straight-man piece, and rereading what children know, I have to say . . . it is pretty funny.

  49. Hakwgrrrl – There definitely is a generation gap – but I think it’s much smaller between the apostles generally than with average young parents and most other 60-90 year olds. It’s all relative, methinks.

  50. Absolutely hilarious. I laughed until I cried. Well done!

    To JH: I’m reminded of the lightbulb joke:

    “Q. How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    A. That’s not funny!!!”

  51. ***If you don’t like sexual references in jokes, PLEASE skip this comment.***

    ***With that disclaimer, if you read and are offended, it’s your own fault.***

    My favorite version of that joke is:

    Q. How many flies does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    A. Two, of course, but how they get in there is the real question.

  52. JH and Lisa,

    Thanks for the olive branch, I gratefully and humbly accept as I extend an olive branch of my own. In fact, as I was driving home from work tonight the thought crossed my mind that you were both punking me by pretending to be offended by this and forcing me into apologetics mode and putting me on the defensive. You guys are good. I mean, YOU are GOOD! 🙂 So no hard feelings I hope.

    I did go out of my way to draft this in such a way that friends of mine who signed “What Women Know” could get a good hard laugh at it without feeling like they were being mocked. I realize there is often a fine line between good clean fun and mockery, and I was definitely going for the former. I wanted this to give a good laugh to everyone regardless of where they stand on the political spectrum.

  53. Rosemary (#53), glad I could give you a chuckle and glad you found this post therapeutic. And most of all, thanks for noticing the PICTURES! The writing part of this took about an hour, but I obsessed about the pictures and I spent about two and a half hours finding the right pictures and getting them sized and placed exactly where I wanted them. So your appreciation of that labor of love is appreciated. Right back ‘atcha sister!

  54. This was hilarious. Everyone should recognize the brilliance in this writing and appreciate the time taken to create such a well-written post. Don’t read too much into blogs. . .it’s not worth it. Take the good and move on with your day :)!

  55. it’s times like these i wish i knew the writer so I could give them a compliment. oh well.

    this petition makes more sense than the other one did.

  56. Now that the initial wave of blessing and cursing this post has passed over the past 24 hours, I will reveal of the secret of my identity. But before I do so, I want to make a few things clear to the .0001% of readers who may have felt insulted, offended, mocked, derided, belittled, or [fill in the blank] by this post:

    1. I am not afraid of you or your goon squads. If my house gets toilet papered, egged, or if someone so much as ding-dong-ditches me within the next six weeks, it is total war and I will hunt you to the ends of the earth to inflict vengeance upon you and your posterity to the third and fourth generations. You have no idea of the pain I can bring with a noogie or a wedgie.
    2. I have a dog. A big dog. Actually, I have two big dogs. I rescued them from a Brazilian dog fighting circuit. They are gentle and kind with their master (me), but they love to feed on human or animal flesh, particularly the flesh of spiteful, vengeful hypersensitive ninnies who are easily offended by things like this post.
    3. I watch martial arts for at least an hour per week. Religiously. Although I have limited martial arts training myself, I believe my regular viewership has bestowed upon me via osmosis the requisite skills to kick your trash around the block if you, or your goon squads, come looking for me.
    4. I own a gun. Actually more than one.
    5. I am actually a really good shot. With all of them. I will defend myself and my family until my year-supply of ammo has been spent. Then I will bring on the kitchen utensils.
    6. Even if this post was intended as criticism of WWK, which it was not, don’t you find it a bit hypocritical and intellectually dishonest that you labor under the assumption that those who criticized Sis. Beck’s talk should themselves be immune from criticism?
    7. Don’t you think that overreacting to this post might cause people to think that your reaction to Sis. Beck’s talk was likewise a big overreaction? You should learn a lesson from the WWK-supporters above who could at the same time appreciate the humor of this post. Overreacting to silly things undercuts your credibility when you speak out about other more serious things. Kind of like the little boy who cried “Wolf!”
    8. I forgive you. That’s just the kind of Christ-like guy that I am.
    9. I forgive, but I never forget. Don’t cross me again.
    10. This was all a joke too, but you probably won’t get this either.

    -Andrew Ainsworth a.k.a. Child Who Knows a.k.a. Ghost Writer for this post.

  57. Andrew,

    The mask removed! Alas, I’ve moved from Southern California to greener pastures north, so no toilet papering of your (rapidly devaluing) house will happen on my account. So I don’t see this grudge match lasting much longer than my late morning poop session. I stand by my post (though it may have been grouchy), not the offended parts, but my point about things that aren’t necessarily intended can still be looked at critically and accounted for. But, just to prove that I do have a sense of humor, I’m linking to a couple of things that I laughed at. enjoy:

  58. JH, funny. I assume you’re joking as there’s been no censorship of a word you’ve said. If you’re serious, which comment # did you believe was censored and what did you say? I know I haven’t censored anything, and I’d be extremely surprised if any of the other bloggers here censored any of your remarks.

    We bloggers here at MoMatters are pro-free speech, as this post exemplifies.

  59. Thanks Matt. It is reassuring to know there are people who can appreciate and take a joke. Speaking of which, I’ve been meaning to ask, don’t you think this would be an appropriate presentation for “fun phone-west” next year? 🙂

  60. You’re right, my attempt at humor (#68) didn’t show up for a few hours on my browser for some reason, and when I posted it it said, “your comment is awaiting moderation”. when it didn’t show I thought I had been censored (though I didn’t assume it had been by you, i don’t know who monitors these things) and posted #69. once again, it appears I’ve made myself the fool, and will be the first to laugh.

  61. Ah, good old fashioned satire. 🙂

    That’s it–m children will go live on a communal farm with a bunch of hippies. I won’t ever run their lives again.

    Though, maybe if I get hungry, I’ll eat my children…

  62. I am very sad that there are people out there that have nothing better to do than “speak evil against the Lord’s annointed”. I think that we would all do well to remember that he is a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, called of God. I also think that we should remember our covenants (for any of us who have gone through the temple). At the very least, get a life and find something better to do. I don’t mean to sound jugdemental or anything, but I happen to appreicate the heavenly inspired words of Pres. Ballard. I also love a good joke, but this one isn’t funny.

  63. “At the very least, get a life and find something better to do.”

    Whether or not one finds this post funny, I have no idea how it could be construed as a mockery of Pres. Ballard.

  64. Shawn (#81), thanks for having my back on this post, but I think you may have just gotten punked. I have a couple friends who like to punk me by posting statements like #80 and then laugh as they watch me go on the defensive and try to explain away their feigned misunderstandings of my post.

    Momof3 (#80) (if that’s your REAL name), on the off chance that you honestly missed the whole point of this post, you misread me entirely. In fact, if you were at all familiar with my previous posts both here and elsewhere, you would find that I quote, compliment, and laud Elder Ballard more than any other Church leader. It is no overstatement to say that he is a gem in the crown of Mormonism and I believe he is one of the most under-appreciated Apostles, perhaps due to his understated style, which I love. He’s down-to-earth and to-the-point without being wordy about it. And if you look at his GC addresses for the past 5 years, you’ll see he’s been on a campaign to reform and improve many aspects of Mormon culture that need reforming. But I often wonder whether we as a Church are listening to him.

    Believe me, that last thing in the world that I’d ever do is speak ill of Elder Ballard. I couldn’t agree with him more.

  65. I too loved E. Ballard’s talk. It touched me to the core and helped remind me that what I am doing as a wife and mother are what our dear Heavenly Father would like us to do! He is definitely a man of inspiration! Each of us should turn on each of the talks again and listen to see if we can catch anything that we may have missed before. I do this while I am doing housework and it is wonderful!

  66. Dear Andrew Ainsworth a.k.a. Child Who Knows a.k.a. Ghost Writer:

    I’m pretty shy, so there isn’t much that pulls me out of my ever-so-comfortable position of perma-lurker. But, I just have to comment on this fantastic post – it’s absolutely hilarious!

    And for what it’s worth, I completely agree that this post should be appreciated regardless of opinion on the whole WWK thing.

    Just my $.02.

  67. I’m late, but great job, Child. Can I sign your statement? And can we publish it in the SL Tribune? That would be really cool.

  68. This piece was mildly amusing, but not interesting enough to stand as a “critique”. So whatever the author’s intent, it doesn’t seem worth getting all foamy at the mouth over. On the other hand, it seems worth mentioning that of the children in the costumes at the top of the post, two of the girls and none of the boys are put on display in sexualized outfits and poses. Perpetuating the spirit captured in that sort of imagery belies the sort of lack of reflection that the “women who know” folks are worried about – the implicit messages, often what’s not said, does as much to shape our culture as anything explicitly articulated. What I see implied in the photos is that boys get to be “real” [insert career], and girls get to be sexy “versions”. Every aspiration a Mormon woman has outside of church and home is reduced to a hobby by so many members. Or worse. If this matters to the poster: please avoid carelessly acceding to this problematic state of affairs as you have here. It doesn’t matter what you intended – only what effect you have.

  69. Child Who Knows:

    Nice try attempting to get out of cleaning. This week I taught my children how to make all natural products that can’t harm them and my two oldest kids did the dishes. I sat back laughing silently to myself. What a beautiful sight!

    Listen to Elder Ballard, you mini-apostates!

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