Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More maids, still missing in action

Earlier this month i posted about the silliness of having one of the teenage girls’ church classes called the “MIA Maids”.

It turns out i misinformed y’all—the class isn’t called the MIA Maids, they’re actually called the Mia Maids.

So not only are they named after an obsolete acronym, they’re named after an obsolete acronym that you can’t even tell is an acronym any more.

Or maybe they’re actually named after Mia, from the ward in Florida where i used to live. I think she was a Mia Maid when i knew her, so that would make sense.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Eternal blessings, sort of

I actually heard someone say that we’re blessed, because the Lord has given us “an eternal standard” governing how we should dress.

That eternal standard? That we should cover up those bits of our bodies that are covered up by the temple garment.

I think that some people need to learn their history before they say things like that.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Oh the time has come

True story: There was once a full-time missionary with the last name of Christen in my ward. Every time her name got mentioned as a speaker or as someone who’d be doing whatever else, i expected to hear a chorus start singing “Motorin’…”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One of these stones is not like the other

So yesterday there was a strong-for-the-area earthquake in central Virginia, and tremors were felt throughout much of the US eastern seaboard. There wasn’t much serious damage, but one of the buildings damaged was the Kensington, Maryland* temple, which had the tips of four of its six spires shaken off.**

This didn’t get all that much play in the news—certainly not as much as the interestingly similar damage to the spires of the National Cathedral in Washington DC—but it did get mentioned on KSL TV’s web site. This makes sense—KSL is in Salt Lake City, Utah, and so news about Mormon temples is likely to appeal to a decent-sized chunk of its audience.

Unfortunately, they had some issues with editing.

Here’s a link to the story on their site. Since bits of it may well change with time, here’s a quote of the problem paragraph, exactly as it appears in the original:

The shaking damaged Latter-day Saint temple in Washington, D.C., causing it to lose the tips of four of its spires. They were knocked off, as were some pieces of granite on the temple facing.

Now, aside from the missing article (the should follow damaged) and the placement of the temple in the wrong city, there’s an interesting error of fact—the temple is faced with marble, not granite. This is particularly amusing given the immediately following paragraph (exactly as in the original, except for the bolding for emphasis, which i added):

“We started finding chunks of marble and spires laying on the ground. They are about four feet long; the base of them are probably 4 inches square, and it comes up to a point,” said Doug Wiggins, a North Carolina resident who was at the temple when the earthquake hit.

Even more amusing is that the first, shorter blurb about this that went up on their website yesterday originally said that the falling spire tips gouged out pieces of granite from the temple’s facing,*** but the reference to granite was corrected to marble after someone pointed it out in the comments. Odd, then, that the error came back when the story was edited into its current, slightly longer form.

* Or, for those who insist, Washington DC.
** Cue the anti-Mormon trolls in 3…2…
*** The damage to the facing isn’t attributed to the tips in the current version of the story, so that may not have actually been the cause of that part of the damage.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Looking the part

Absolutely true i-am-not-making-this-up story that happened to me earlier today:

So we had a new full-time missionary transferred into our ward this past week. I’d been talking to a few members of the ward in the foyer before church, and when he didn’t have anybody talking to him i went up and introduced myself: “Hi, i’m David B—, and i’m the ward clerk.”

He shook my hand and said, “Yeah, i’d guessed that”, to which i replied, “Ah! You saw me, thought ’He looks completely active, but he’s not wearing a white shirt and a tie,* so he must be the ward clerk!’”

He laughed, but he also let on that i’d guessed pretty much correctly.

* For the purposes of filling in the reader, i was wearing a black mandarin-collar shirt. No tie, of course, ’cause that would have been silly, and no suit jacket ’cause i don’t like to let on whether i own one or not.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Where would the neck be?

Am i the only one who gets a bizarrely literal image when someone mentions the “head of the house”?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Something seems a little twisted here

So who is it that decided that we’re going to stress out about whether little girls wear clothes with or without sleeves? I mean, seriously—the past few years i’ve been hearing people at church go on and on about how horrible it is that society is pushing little children, especially girls, to become sexualized earlier than they used to be,* and this is one reason we need to stand firm on our daughters wearing shirts and dresses with sleeves.

But what’s up with this whole meme? Even aside from the fact that pretty much everyone agrees that shoulders aren’t really a terribly sexual part of the body—not even as much as the lips, really, and we don’t demand that they get covered up—why are so many of us so apt to see something sexual where nothing sexual is intended? I mean, if i were a little less trustful of humanity generally,** i’d start to think that the people who are saying that if my six-year-old wears sleeveless dresses then she’s being sexualized early, well, i’d start to wonder about what it is that makes them so apt to see innocent children wearing innocent clothing as so intensely sexual.

You can get help for that sort of impulse, you know, and if you suffer from it you really should.

* I’ll note that whether this is true or not depends on your frame of reference, by the way. Earlier than 50 years ago? Almost certainly. Earlier than 500 years ago? That’s not quite so clear-cut.

** And i’m not to this point yet, but i’m getting closer.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The memes of my youth

One last thought from my trip to Oregon a few weeks ago:

So, upon finding out we were going to be singing the song “They, the Builders of the Nation”, what with being faced with the refrain “Blessed, honored Pioneer!” while being in Oregon, of all places—well, all i’m trying to say is that i couldn’t have been the only one whose brain kept looping the phrase “You have died of dysentery”.

That’s all.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ulterior motives

You know, if you’re an active member of the Mormon church, you always have to have a very specific ulterior motive in the back of your head every time you chat with a member of your own congregation: to figure out whether they’d make a good counselor or instructor if you’re ever called as an organizational president.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Just call me Brother David, then

You know, Mormons used to call each other by Brother or Sister + first name, even to the point of Brother Joseph and Brother Brigham for the people that the church’s style guide tells us should always be referred to as President Smith and President Young.

The shift seems rather a shame, to me at least.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It depends on what the proximate, not ultimate, goal is

I once heard an interminable story in a sacrament meeting speech about how this one kid was just learning to drive and she hadn’t listened to her father telling her there was a hidden stop sign as she came around a particular curve, and so she ended up in an accident, hitting the stop sign and then a tree. Her father was pretty angry at her for not listening to his advice, which i can certainly understand, but i also have to think: Well, she did stop, didn’t she?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Missing in action maids?

True story: Earlier today, my ten-year-old daughter saw something about MIA Maids and asked, “What’s a me-ah-maid?”

Seriously, can we get rid of the now-meaningless name for that age group of girls? Beehives and Laurels may be a bit overly cutesy, but at least they mean something.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A simple request for advice

Midweek youth activities end around 8:30 pm (later if it’s an off-site thing), with the kids getting home rather later than that.

And early-morning seminary classes require the kids to get up around 5:00 am (if not earlier).

So, ward and stake leaders, please inform me, since i need advice for my ongoing efforts to make sure my children get enough sleep to keep them generally healthy: Which one of these do you advise i not send my oldest to once she hits high school?

Monday, August 1, 2011

One of these things is not like the other

Why do Mormon sacrament services tend to have oddly random choral exhibitions? Like, a service in which all the speakers talk about the covenants of the sacrament, but then we get a bunch of youth singing some modern fluff song with random scriptural quotes about bringing one soul to God? I mean, really.