Crazy Mission Stories, Part II

Huzzah! New question in the inbox! This one comes from someone identifying themselves as “Elder Smith”.

Will you share some of your mission stories with us? We are trying to collect and publish a collection of great LDS mission stories.

Ok, now wait a minute. Does this question sound familiar to anyone? It should, because just over a year ago, my internet friend Joey asked a very similar question. Joey asked if I had any great mission stories to tell. I felt like kind of an ass, because my answer was more or less, “No. Mission stories are dumb and I don’t want to talk about it.” I felt bad, because I get that people who aren’t Mormons probably think Missionaries come home with a zillion great stories, and I felt like I was giving Joey the brush-off.

But it’s true. Missionaries have great experience – meaningful and important experiences – but they make terrible stories. And you know you are in for a particularly terrible story when  it starts with “This one time on my mission…”

Just to set the stage, I’ll quote myself from my post a year ago:

After a while, you get a little bit jaded. Now, if I’m sitting in Sunday School and some dude raises his hand and says, “Well this one time on my mission…”, I just roll my eyes.

“Oh great,” I say, nudging the guy next to me. “It’s Mission Story Guy.”

But like the fulfillment of prophecy, guess what Elder Smith’s website is called where he’s publishing a bunch of mission stories. It’s called This One Time on my Mission. And if anyone needs any further proof or convincing that the vast majority of mission stories are dumb, please click through to the website and read a dozen of them or so.

I don’t want to be a downer about mission stories. I’m glad “Elder Smith” has this website thing going on. Good for him. I hope it’s a successful venture and that everyone has a few laughs, but I’ll sit this one out. Well, if anyone out there has a great mission story, don’t share it here – send it over to This One Time on my Mission.

Any More Questions?
Ask Me Anything!!!

Catching up on Questions

Huzzah! New questions in the inbox! Actually, I’ve gotten a number of questions over the past several months that I haven’t had a chance to answer yet. I feel a little bad about it, since I definitely do not want any of my dear readers to feel neglected. I LOVE getting questions, I’ve just been swamped with this garage project. However, now that it’s wrapping up, it’s time to catch up on questions.

First question comes from Andrew:

If the Mormon church did not launch the satellite then who do they subscribe from

It’s a pretty neat story, actually. Back in the late 1950’s, when the US government was trying to launch their first satellite, one of the biggest challenges they faced was funding. Traditional banks weren’t interested in the project, but turns out that this happened to be right when the Mormon Church was developing some deep pockets and were looking for areas to invest. Long story short, the Mormon Church proved to be a significant funding source for the first several US Satellite launches. In return, the US government agreed to make some portion of satellite capacity available for church use.  Don’t believe me? Look it up.

Next question was asked anonymously:

What did you do to stick the astroturf on the car?

This question is referring to this post where I shared this photo:

astroturf car

Bitchin’ Dude!

The answer is 28 gallons of maple syrup.

And another anonymous question:

I don’t work, so you get back to work, SLACKER

This is not a question, but thank you for the suggestion to improve my productivity. You have inspired me.

Finally, another anonymous question:

How do you know that its the Best Blog???

One time, I asked a friend if he read my blog. He said he didn’t know what a blog was, so I gave him the web address and told him to go read it. The next time I saw him he was like, “cool blog, bro.” That’s how I know.

I’ve got a couple more questions in the hopper, so sit tight if you haven’t seen an answer to yours yet.

Any More Questions?
Ask Me Anything!!!

Gilgal Garden

Mel and I took a quick trip back to Utah a couple months ago and we made sure to fit in a trip to my favorite Salt Lake City attraction, the wonderfully unique and quirky Gilgal Garden.

I love the bizarre intersection between art and faith in this park, and the unique connection to Mormonism.

Gilgal Garden Entrance

My favorite part of the garden is always the Joseph Smith Sphinx. I’m sure there is some symbolism in this sculpture that I have never bothered to familiarize myself with, but I just love the bizarro statue.

KP cozies up to the Joseph Smith Sphinx at Gilgal Garden.

KP loved it, too.

KP at Gilgal Garden.

KP taking a set-down at Gilgal Garden.

Here are a few of the intriguing sights to see at Gilgal Garden:

Weird stuff at Gilgal Garden.

 

It’s like this little person is in a little house or something.

 

A stack of giant stone books at Gilgal Garden.

 

Stone heart at Gilgal Garden.

I always love the stone grasshopper, too.

Dismemberment at Gilgal Garden.

I always love this depiction of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream that I always refer to as “Dismemberment Garden”.

Dismemberment, lol.

 

Stone body parts strewn about at Gilgal Garden.

If you’re ever in Salt Lake City and need to kill an hour near downtown, I can’t recommend enough that you check out Gilgal Garden. Any fans of the garden out there?

Everyone was doing it

Regular readers will recall that I am trying to collect all entries from the PostSecret project that explicitly reference Mormonism. You can see all the entries I’ve collected here.

Everyone was doing it.

Mormons will quickly recognize the photo as a typical lds baptism. I have seen very similar fonts in chapels of many different denominations, but the white jumpsuits, combined with the hand positions give this photo away as exclusively Mormon. The caption “Everyone was doing it” is unfortunate, yet completely understandable.

Mormon Friends, Gay Friends

Regular readers will recall that I am trying to collect all entries from the PostSecret project that explicitly reference Mormonism. You can see all the entries I’ve collected here.

I honestly believe my Mormon friends would be more accepting of my homosexuality than my gay friends would be of my Mormonism.

Depends on who your friends are, of course, but this is totally believable.

Mormon Allies in Twin Cities Pride Parade

I participated in the Twin Cities Pride parade today, walking with a group of Mormons. Our group was called “Mormon Allies”, and we had somewhere between 25 and 30 people in our group. My friend John posted a recap of the day.

Parades are not exactly an environment where I thrive socially, if you know what I mean. As an introvert – an awkwardly shy introvert – I’m about as exciting in a parade as an episode of Law & Order. Crowds gathering along a street edge to watch me walk by is a bit like popping some popcorn and getting out a lawn chair to sit on the sidewalk and watch a worm slither by. I’m a bit of a disappointment. My primary function in the parade was just to be a warm body, and I’m mostly ok with it since that’s what my wife has been telling me for a couple years now.

For most parade-watchers, I’m sure our smallish group was mostly overlooked. We didn’t have a fancy car, loud music, candy, or bags or schwag to toss out to the crowd. We were even overshadowed by the group of nuns in the group immediately in front of us if only because they were like 80 or something and they had a handmade rainbow flag that was awesome. But I hope that at least a few people were happily surprised to see a group of Mormons in the parade. And I hope at least a few people were forced to question what they know about Mormons and what Mormonism is all about.

I want to post more about the parade, why I chose to participate, and what I hoped to accomplish by doing so, but for the time being, here are a few photos:

Mormon Allies. Where love is, there God is also.

I love my gay Daughter & her girlfriend And I’m a Mormon.

Mormon Allies.

I heart my Mormon Husband.

Charity never Faileth (photo by @wr3n).

Pretty good group.

How to Meet Non-Sexist Mormon Men

Huzzah! Another new question in the inbox! This one was anonymous. Here’s the question:

Do you have any tips on how to meet a non-sexist Mormon guy?

Hmm… well… Not really. Try the hallways during Sunday School. Or try wearing pants to church and see who still talks to you.

This question comes at a good time. Guess what, readers? Yours truly was accused of being sexist just this week on the internet. Hard to believe, right? I was reading a blog, left a comment, and a woman (whom I don’t know) indicated that I was sexist, and implied that I’m not really capable of recognizing sexism since I’m male, and am therefore the benefactor of sexism. I’ll spare you the details of the situation, but True Story.

Ok, for the record, I’m sure I’ve benefited from societal patriarchy in ways that I’m not aware of.

But here’s why I can’t really answer your question in a way that you’ll be satisfied with: I don’t really agree with the implication that most Mormon men are sexist – or at least more sexist than any other group of men you’ll find out there. Sure, Mormonism is an absolute patriarchy and teaches some strict gender roles, and this is a major issue that the church needs to deal with. But I don’t know that the institutional sexism that exists in the church necessarily means that most Mormon men are sexist, and especially not when compared with other groups of men.

Or maybe that’s just the patriarchy talking. Better try the pants thing.

What do you think, readers? What advice do you have for someone who is trying to find non-sexist men, either inside or outside of Mormonism?

Any More Questions?
Ask Me Anything!!!

Cap Sleeves and a Polo

This is cracking me up today.

image via dovesandserpents.org

Left – “The Resurrection” (1873) by Carl Heinrich Bloch.

Right – the version printed on page 54 of the December 2011 Ensign, the official magazine of the LDS church, photoshopped to remove wings and add cap sleeves to the angels.

In response, this version below was created by Matsby, everyone’s favorite Mormon photoshopper.

Image via facebook.

Like I said, cracking me up.

Are Mormons Cheap?

Huzzah! A couple new questions in the inbox! Both are anonymous.

First question:

Can you find the postsecret with a picture of the SLC temple with the words “I am so afraid God is sexist” or something of that nature written across the front and post it? I saw it in a postsecret book confessions on life, death and God a few years ago. One of my favorite LDS postsecrets.

It sounds like a good secret. I don’t have the book, but if someone sends me a scan, I’d love to add it to the collection.

Second question:

What is your theory on why Mormons are so cheap?
-a sometimes cheap mormon

It’s because Mormons deeply believe in avoiding all forms of consumerist society.

eh, wait… no, that might not be it

It’s because they have so many babies.

No, for real, though. Are Mormons any cheaper than everyone else? I dunno. Maybe after they pay 10% of their money to the church as tithing they don’t have as much money left for discretionary spending as other people. Maybe they just look cheap because they never have bar tabs to pay. Or maybe it’s really the babies. Or maybe because a good portion are single-income families. Actually, I think there really is something to the anti-consumerism idea.

What do you think readers? Are Mormons cheap? If so, why?

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Ask Me Anything!!!

Secret Boyfriend

Regular readers will recall that I am trying to collect all entries in the PostSecret project that explicitly reference Mormonism. You can see the other Secrets I’ve collected here. If you have any entries that are not in my collection, please let me know.

I've been out of the closet for years, but I have to keep my boyfriend a Secret because he's a BYU student.