From the Uncanonized Gospels, Chapter 1

1 And it came to pass that as we approached the meetinghouse, even though it were for a piano recital and not on the day of worship, my daughter did turn to me and say, You know what I really like about anything involving church? There’s always a treat afterward.

2 And yea, verily, there were treats, many of them wrought of fine chocolate.

3 In these days there have been seventeen of our beloved families who have gone unto parts unknown to us, and many of them did beseech the Elders Quorum for assistance, which assistance the Elders and even some of the High Priests did readily give. Yea, and the visiting teachers did publicize the time and date of the final apartment-cleanings, and the women came in abundance, some with their nursing children, and they did scour and clean and make merry.

4 And what is more, a young child did present himself before the followers of God on the Sabbath day, to bear testimony of the truths that burned within his heart. Now the child was quick of speech and did mumble, and the disciples did turn one to another and wonder at his speech and the meaning of it. And though they did not understand his words, the Holy Spirit touched their hearts and they lifted up their voices and said, Amen.

5 And again, the day we forgot to bring the diaper bag to church, indeed there were offerings of many types of diapers, and also toys, and wet wipes, and books to keep the smallest among us from raising his voice, but not in worship.

6 And I cried to the interwebs with a loud voice, saying, Though I put not my faith in the arm of man, neither in the arm of woman, but in the strong arm of Christ,

7 Yet do I depend upon and delight in the small and simple tendencies or habits of those who would be Saints, and rejoice in them. Amen.

What are your favorite Mormon habits? What are some of the quirky latter-day traditions that make you feel comfortable (or not) in your ward?

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“I can take a chainsaw and make a treat:” Primary Halloween Songs

As I contemplated a post for Halloween, I kept thinking about my cousin Rob.  Like me, he has a big irreverent streak. Like me, he has had embarrassing run-ins with the Secret Service. And, like me, he has a penchant for messing with the lyrics of Church songs.  When he was Primary chorister in Berkeley, no boys would volunteer to be Helaman so he had a girl play the part and changed “Nephi’s Courage” to be sung, “we are as the armies of Sheila-man.” Check out my blog if you want to read my Mormon food version of “Candy Man” (The Mormon Mom Can). So here is Rob, once again serving as Primary Chorister, sharing some of his delightfully spooky songs.

I am really lucky.  I have the marvelous job of singing with 50-70 kids each Sunday morning.  It is the best calling in the church–by far. Especially when the Primary leaders are not part of the Mormon Taliban who cry “Heresy!” at the least hint of unorthodox behavior. The four women who are in charge of the Primary in our congregation are fantastic: very low-key and supportive. Even yesterday, when I pulled out some hallo-weeny upgrades of some of our musical favorites.

The children have been very good and reverent for weeks on end as we have prepared for our annual program. They deserved a break.  I told the kids that I had looked very hard and found Halloween hymns in our Children’s Songbook, right before the Thanksgiving Hymns (anyone who knows the Songbook knows that you can look long and hard for anything spooky–except for some of those atonal Article of Faith songs).

 Actually, with the help of my own kids, we brainstormed the following songs. They were a big hit, and I give you permission to spread the spookiness across the Kingdom of Zion!

“Zombies Popping up” (this is my 14 year daughter’s creation. I only let the older kids do this one for obvious reasons. To the tune of “Popcorn Popping” and with lurching, gagging effects):

I looked out the window and what did I see
Zombies popping up and coming after me.
Halloween brought me such a nasty surprise
Zombies popping up before my eyes

I can take a chainsaw and make a treat                                    
Some Zombie-Slaw that will fill the street
It wasn’t really so, but it seemed to me
Zombies popping up and coming after me.

“Once there was a Vampire” (I had them turn up their shirt collars and sing it with a thick Transylvanian accent to the tune of “Once there was a Snowman:”

Once there was a Vampire, Vampire Vampire
Once there was a Vampire Tall, Tall Tall
In the sun he shriveled, shriveled, shriveled
In the sun he shriveled small, small, small (writhe on the floor like at the end of Nosferatu)

Alternate Verse:

Once their was a Bad Witch….Tall Tall Tall,
In the rain she melted…small small small (What a World!)

Skeleton Song” (To the tune of “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes…”)

Skull, Shoulders, Kneecaps and Toe-Bones..
Eye-holes, Ear-holes, Mouth and Nose-holes

“Boo as I’m Booing” (just like “Do as I’m Doing,” but with ghostly shrieks and wails)

Good, Clean Holiday Fun. How do you shake up your calling?

 

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Love and Feth

Hymn 177, ‘Tis Sweet to Sing the Matchless Love.

‘Tis sweet to sing the matchless love,
Of Him who left his home above,
And came to earth- oh wondrous plan
To suffer bleed and die for man!

‘Tis good to meet each Sabbath day
And, in his own appointed way,
Partake the emblems of this death,
And thus renew our love and faith.

Faith doesn’t rhyme with death.

I can’t be the only person whose brain makes them say ‘feth’ instead of faith, just to make it rhyme like it’s supposed to. Can I?

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The Modesty Song

The Modesty Song

Over the years, the Exponent Retreat talent show has allowed me to channel my inner Weird Al.  Each year I pick a church song and rewrite the lyrics to something that’s been on my mind. Topics have included (but are not limited to): nursing, Diet Coke, friendship, casseroles, and lice. Irreverence is a must. This year’s theme came to me early and practically wrote itself. If you are Mormon and a woman, then modesty is a hot topic in 2012.

But this was not always so. I grew up in a house where wide strapped tank tops were fine. If a dress had spaghetti straps, that was frowned upon so one wore a corduroy blazer atop it (this was somehow okay in the 80s). My mom was in the BYU homecoming court in the 50s wearing a lovely dress that reveals collar bones and is certainly not garmentable (isn’t she gorgeous!).  I had no idea that ordinary, non-private-parts-flesh could be scandalous until I encountered women like my mother-in-law, twenty years my mom’s junior. Once my sister-in-law, who was about 6, caught her older brother and his girlfriend kissing. “Oooo!! You’re having SEX!” she shouted. Scott corrected her. They were simply making out, not having sex. Perplexed Sarah then asked, “So what is sex then? Is it showing shoulders?”  Nobody’s mad. Make your toddlers wear virtual garments, just don’t judge me if I put my wee ones in sundresses.

When something irritates me, I make fun of it. This year’s talent show offering, “The Modesty Song,” is my attempt to cope with a trend gone way too far. In your head hum the tune of “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” and picture a bunch of moms wearing ridiculously modest clothes. And one wedding dress.

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Are you Honest in your Dealings with your Fellow (Wo)man?

Are you Honest in your Dealings with your Fellow (Wo)man?

My temple recommend interview is coming up. One question that always confuses me is: are you honest in your dealings with your fellow men?

I think this question is asked to make sure you are not lying, stealing, cheating, living a double-life, or conducting business fraud. However, I always interpret it as: Are you always 100% completely honest?

How do you answer that question? If I say “Yes” I am inevitably lying. So I always say “No.” To which my leaders usually chuckle and I quickly explain “I mean I don’t willfully lie or hurt anybody, but I’m sure I’ve told a lies in the last two years. In fact I’m lying to you right now by answering all these questions about prophets, belief and faith with one word answers because it is all so much more complicated than that.” I sometimes have the presence of mind to leave out the last part, but normally I have mouth diarrhea the second I am stuck in a room with an authority figure and cannot seem to figure out the line between information that my leaders need-to-know and what is none-of-their-business.

After one such meeting, I decided that I would try to live my life without telling any lies (mind you this was the hyper-religious OCD college Whoa-man at Ricks College in Rexburg and not the uber-critical culturally relative academic Whoa-man now). Right then and there I committed to being 100% honest.

I have many weaknesses, but some things I’ve never lacked for are determination, stick-to-it-ness, or obsessive-compulsive behavior. So when I say 100%, I mean 100 freaking percent.

That night there was a church fireside. In college everyone went to these because we were all single and spent about 90% of our time checking out the opposite sex. I arrived and saw some of my friends. One of them was named Andrew. He was a cute guy from the South. We were semi-flirty, just on the precipice of going out. We all sat together and just as we were taking our seats, Andrew noticed I had a Band-Aid on my finger and nonchalantly asked, “Oh, did you cut yourself?”

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Guest Post: What You Missed At Enrichment — Emergency Preparedness Edition

by Libby

(On a three-child-induced career sabbatical, Libby spends her time sewing lavish Halloween costumes, reading, and volunteering on the board of her daughter’s cooperative preschool. She lives near Boston.)

- Question: Does new three-month food storage plan count toward former one-year plan? Can foods overlap?

- Discussion of which legal documents are necessary to copy and why, followed by discussion of scenarios in which said documents would be needed, devolving into discussion of worst-case scenarios involving home insurance, bank access, ability to transport children across state lines, ability to prove that self actually exists

- Iteration of Belmont, MA, disaster “risk factors,” as identified by town spokesperson: highway proximity, earthquake, commuter railway, chemical plant near the high school, Mitt Romney. “Volcano” not on list

- Discussion of how much children can be expected to carry, wisdom of extra food rations for teenagers, pros and cons of husband having fanny-pack style mini kit at work

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