An Agenda for President Nelson’s First 40 Days in Office

Day 1: Demote Dieter F. Uchtdorf to regular old member of the Quorum of the Twelve.
Day 2: Talk to the staff at the Ensign and lds.org, and tell them to get the women out of the centerfold in the Conference issues and off the General Authorities page.
Day 3: Get to work editing hymns. In verse 2 of “In Humility, Our Savior,” change the beginning of the second verse from “Fill our hearts with sweet forgiving; Teach us tolerance and love” to “Make our hearts obedient to thee; Teach us who we must not love.”
Day 4: Schedule a tour to promote Sister Nelson’s book The Not Even Once Club.
Day 5: Compose a letter to be read in all sacrament meetings that exhorts members to leave some positive reviews of The Not Even Once Club on Amazon.com.
Day 6: Work with Sister Nelson on her manuscript tentatively titled The Don’t Even Think About It Club.
Day 7: Announce a new, improved exclusion policy that bans the children of parents in a gay marriage from entering meetinghouses.
Day 8: Demote Dieter F. Uchtdorf to Seventy.
Day 9: Talk to the facilities management staff about getting those pesky “Visitors Welcome” signs taken down from meetinghouses.
Day 10: Send out a decree that all sacrament meetings must include a reading of the Proclamation on the Family.

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Nacle Notebook 2017: Funny Comments

This post is my annual compilation of the funniest comments I’ve read on the Bloggernacle in the past year. In case you’ve missed them, here are links to previous years’ posts: 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008. I’m very good with numbers, so I can tell that the fact that there are nine old ones and one new one means that this is my tenth annual post! It seems like this calls for a celebration of some kind, but I’m not sure what form that should take.

Anyway, back to the comments. Most that I’m quoting are excerpts from longer comments or posts. I’ve made each commenter’s name a link back to the original comment or post. The comments are roughly in chronological order.

fbisti, commenting on LDS_Aussie’s post “Lies, Damn lies and Statistics?: Growth and Decline in the LDS Church Membership Numbers” at W&T:

God is fickle (depending on who is the stake president).

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Ring Out, Mild Bells!

The Curriculum Department has received a number of complaints that Hymn #215 was promoting wildness among Church members, particularly some of the youth. There have even been reports of unwholesome recreational activities linked to singing of this hymn. We are pleased to offer this newly revised version, which will replace the existing version when the hymnbook is next revised in 2045.

Ring out, mild bells, but be restrained,
Keep decibels low, keep echoes brief.
The year is leaving like a thief;
Ring out mild bells, but keep noise contained.
The year is leaving like a thief;
Ring out mild bells, but keep noise contained.

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Christmas Classics, Mormonized

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Ostracized by his family and friends because of his freakish red nose, Rudolph the reindeer runs away to the Island of Misfit Toys. While there, he learns about the Unwritten Order of Things and realizes that even though Santa’s secret Reindeer Handbook explicitly says that nose color doesn’t matter when reindeer are chosen to pull his sleigh on Christmas Eve, what this actually means is that nose color conformity is absolutely essential. Armed with this knowledge, Rudolph decides to undergo a painful operation to permanently change the color of his nose. He is welcomed with open hooves when he returns to his family and friends, and he secures a coveted spot on Santa’s reindeer team.

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95 Theses

1. Taking the sacrament with your left hand is basically saying that you’re okay with being a goat on the left hand of Jesus.

2. When people who disagree with me share their political views in church, that’s inappropriate and should be discouraged. When people who agree with me do it, they’re just speaking common sense about moral issues.

3. Luther was a hero inspired by God. Also, people who criticize the church today should be swiftly excommunicated.

4. Before you doubt, doubt the doubt that leads you to doubt whether your doubts are actually doubts.

5. We don’t talk about Heavenly Mother much because she doesn’t matter for our salvation. It’s preferable to have sacrament meeting talks that focus on the essentials, like BYU football.

6. If you run into a show involving mummies and Egyptian papyri, do some comparison shopping before purchasing them as a potential source for new scripture. You might be able to get a better deal if you’re open to instead using the texts accompanying traveling zombie exhibits.

7. When you do your visiting or home teaching before the last week of the month, it feels really awkward for everyone involved. Better to play it safe and show up in the last 24 hours.

8. This high council talk is so good that I don’t mind that sacrament meeting is going twenty minutes over, said no one ever.

9. The most righteous people know that the church is true with every fiber of their being. The somewhat less righteous only know it with the finely woven threads of their existence.

10. Mormons don’t make a big deal out of Easter because they think about Jesus every week during the sacrament. (Churches that make a big production of Easter don’t actually think about Jesus during Communion, but instead about a different Messiah figure named Alfred.) Read More

New Gospel Topics Essay

ZD is pleased to share this post from Moss.

In theology and practice, BYU Dining Services embraces the universal beverage spectrum. Latter-day Saint scripture and teachings affirm that God loves all of His children and makes refreshment available to all. God created the many diverse drinks and libations and esteems them all equally. As the Book of Mormon puts it, “all are alike unto God.”

The structure and organization of BYU encourage a variety of beverages. Latter-day Saints attend eateries according to the geographical boundaries of their local ward, or congregation. By definition, this means that the culinary composition of Mormon diets generally mirrors that of the wider local community. The Church’s lay ministry also tends to facilitate integration: a Pepsi-drinking bishop may preside over a mostly Sprite congregation; a woman with a Dr Pepper in each hand may be paired with another woman who enjoys Coke Zero to visit the homes of a thirsty membership. Church members of different levels of caffeination regularly minister in one another’s homes and serve alongside one another as teachers, as youth leaders, and in myriad other assignments in their local congregations. Such practices make The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a thoroughly hydrated faith.

Despite this modern reality, for much of its history—from the mid-1950s until 2017—BYU did not serve caffeinated beverages anywhere on its campus.

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Why steal a sculpture of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young?

Four people stole a sculpture of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young from a Salt Lake business park earlier this week. The sculpture, which depicts the two men sitting together on a bench, has already been recovered, but the thieves’ motive remains unknown.

Here are ten theories for why the thieves might have stolen the sculpture. Please share yours in the comments.

  • They were acting on behalf of Jon McNaughton, who had plans to sculpt Donald Trump sitting on the bench next to Joseph and Brigham. Read More

Calling All Space Doctrine

I think I got the term “space doctrine” from our family’s long-suffering home teacher (imagine the patience of a man who would faithfully home teach a family like mine for literally decades), who once in response to a rather wacky lesson being taught, put his head on the pew in front of him and said, “once they get into space doctrine, it’s all over.”

Anyway, these are some of the more, ummm, exciting things I’ve heard over the years.

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Conference Talks Most Likely to Be Edited

Ever since Boyd K. Packer’s October 2010 Conference talk “Cleansing the Inner Vessel” was significantly edited between the version he delivered and the printed version, I’ve seen increased attention paid to differences between the spoken and printed versions of Conference talks.

Given that we’re in the relatively brief window of time between all the Conference talks being given and the release of their printed versions (other than the Women’s Session, for which they’re already out), I thought it might be fun to speculate about what edits we might see this time around. Here are some of my guesses. I’d love to hear yours in the comments.

Speaker Spoken version Printed version (my guess)
Brough, Saturday morning “I earnestly prayed to know if I had to give my dog away [after my father was called as a mission president]. My answer did not come in a moment. Rather, a specific thought kept penetrating my mind: Don’t be a burden to your parents.” “I earnestly prayed to know if I had to give my dog away [after my father was called as a mission president]. My answer came in a flash, as my beloved dog was simultaneously struck by lightning and run over by a train. I rejoiced in the miracle God had provided to keep me from being a burden to my parents.”

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Trump to Resign Presidency to Become Mormon General Authority

In an unprecedented move, US President Donald J. Trump announced today that he will be resigning the Presidency, convert to Mormonism, and become a member of the First Quorum of Seventy, one of the three highest governing bodies in the Salt Lake City-based church. Trump made the announcement in a press conference held on Saturday morning in Salt Lake City, just prior to the second session of the church’s 187th annual conference. In the press conference, Trump was joined by Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, the LDS church’s second-highest governing body.

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Seven Little-known Perks of Being a GA

Since the recent leak of documents that give the size of GAs’ salaries, some of the discussion around the issue has missed the important fringe benefits that GAs also receive. For example, here are seven little-known perks of being a GA:

  • When you speak at firesides, women shriek at you in reverent voices, throw modest clothing at you, and open their coats and ask you to autograph their . . . binders.
  • An attractively bound pop-up pedigree chart that traces your genealogy back to Eve.
  • Shaves and haircuts at the barber’s shop on the hidden 13th floor of the COB. (Not transferable in cases of baldness.)
  • Initial seer app. When loaded on your phone, it displays the middle initial of anyone the phone is pointed at so you can address them in full. (To be used on mortals only. Pointing your phone at Jesus H. Christ may void its warranty.)
  • Correlation-on-your-wrist device that reminds you with a helpful electric shock any time you are about to say something uncorrelated. (Commonly known as the OmitBit.)
  • Curelom rides for you and your family at the Granite Mountain vault. (Cumom rides no longer available.)
  • Lifetime supply of cumom jerky.

Please add to the list. What other GA perks do most of us not know about?

Nacle Notebook 2016: Funny Comments

This post is my annual compilation of the funniest comments I read on the Bloggernacle last year. In case you missed them, here are my compilations from previous years: 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008.

Most of the comments I’m quoting here are excerpted from longer comments (or posts). I’ve made the name of each person being quoted a link so you can always click through and read the entire comment or post. The comments are in roughly chronological order.

Michael Austin, in his post “Abrahamic Tests” at BCC:

If somebody has some brass plates that God wants or needs, He can do His own smiting. He knows how. He’s done it lots of times. I don’t smite.

petebusche, commenting on Michael Austin’s post:

“Smiter, no smiting!”

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A Psalm of Trump

Just as God worked in the past through King David in spite of his sexual impropriety, he works in our day through imperfect leaders such as Donald Trump. And just as David wrote many psalms in his remorse and repentance, so also has Donald Trump begun to write psalms. This is his first attempt.

I am my own shepherd; I shall not want.

I lie down in all the greenest pastures, and go by the most tremendous still waters. The very best.

I restore my soul bigly. I grab all the most beautiful women, for the sake of respect. Nobody respects women like I do.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of taxes, I will fear no filing: for carry-forward deductions are with me; my accountants and lawyers they comfort me.

My chef prepareth a table before me in the presence of illegal immigrants: very bad people, criminals, rapists. I say unto my chef, Thou art fired!

Surely wealth and success shall follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in a huuuuge tower for ever.

Predictions for General Conference

General Conference already got underway last week, but I’m a bit slow, so I’m just now getting to making some predictions for the remainder of the sessions. You can help me out by telling me which in each pair of possible events is most likely to occur in the remainder of Conference.

Which in each pair is more likely?

  • President Monson talks about widows.
  • President Uchtdorf talks about airplanes.
  • President Monson talks about widowers.
  • President Uchtdorf talks about spaceplanes.
  • President Monson talks about Windows.
  • President Uchtdorf talks about Linux.

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Church Opposes So-called “February 29th”

This notice was intended to be published on the Mormon Newsroom today, but because of a technical error on the website, it was not released.

April 15–Although most in the secular world and even in other so-called “Christian” churches have succumbed to the use of the godless Gregorian calendar, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today announces the Christ-Centered Calendar Initiative. As part of this initiative, the Church no longer recognizes the unholy day of “February 29th.”

The Church withdraws recognition of this date going back to the founding of the Church in 1830, meaning that 46 authorized days are restored in place of the unauthorized days, which makes the current date on the Christ-Centered Calendar April 15th. In connection with this withdrawal of recognition, several new policies are also announced, all effective immediately. Church members claiming to have been born or married on “February 29th” are considered to be in apostasy, and face mandatory Church discipline. Children of such couples may not be baptized until they reach age 18, and even then only on condition of their formally renouncing their parents’ calendar choices. This policy will prevent children from becoming confused when they hear discussion of one calendar at home and a different calendar at church. Finally, Church members whose records claim that they died on “February 29th” have their ordinance work declared null and void. They are not eligible to have proxy temple work done in their behalf.

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Your Favorite ZD Posts

We launched Zelophehad’s Daughters in January of 2006, so it’s ten years old this month. A decade! There are a lot of older blogs on the Bloggernacle, but I’m still kind of amazed by this. I don’t think I would have guessed when we started that we would continue for this long.

To celebrate our tenth birthday, I looked back at our posts that generated the most traffic. Here is a list of the highest-traffic1 post by each person who has blogged here regularly.

Apame: It wasn’t about pants…but then it became about pants. And that’s why I’m wearing pants.
Beatrice: Another Conversation Stopper
The Bouncer: LDS Church Leadership Agrees to Meet with Kate Kelly
Elbereth: The Five Universal Truths of Road Trips
Eve: Don’t Be My Ally*
Galdralag: For Kate
Katya: How EFY Promotes Immodesty
Kiskilili: If A Woman Strips Naked in a Forest and No One Sees Her, Is She Still Pornography?
Lynnette: Church Discourse on Homosexuality
Melyngoch: Seven Modest Outfits from the Golden Globes
Mike C: The More Things Change…
Pandora: Dona Nobis Aequalitatem
Petra: I Loved to See the Temple
Seraphine: Being a 30-something Single in the Church: Part V, the Law of Chastity
Vada: I Hate Breastfeeding
Ziff: Church President Probability Changes with President Packer’s Death

Of course traffic is far from a perfect measure of what posts are most enjoyed. If you like, please feel free to share your favorite ZD posts in the comments.

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1. I took data from our StatCounter plugin and subtracted out the traffic numbers for days close in time that had zero posts, so that kind of adjusts for the general traffic level at the time. We just have a free StatCounter account, so I didn’t have traffic by post page, so I just used total traffic on the day a post was written and also attributed to it some fraction of traffic for the next few days, but less if there was also a new post up in the next few days. Really, this is just for fun, so you probably don’t much care too much about my method. 🙂