Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Back to you, Dieter

Dear Dieter,

Two years ago I started this blog because you recycled a mind-numbingly stupid slogan about how we needed to be aggressively critical towards our doubts instead of towards our faith. It's a slogan that suggests we should engage in self-censorship by turning a blind eye to unfavorable information. You suggest that ignorance is better than honesty. The fact is it's not.

In one of your talks earlier this month, you repackage the story of Daniel ("and other young students in Israel") in Babylon like it's the story of a young, enthusiastic Mormon headed off to a liberal university where he must resist the peer pressure to adopt the philosophies of man. "But Daniel believed. Daniel did not doubt." It's a clever move. It's also a very misleading juxtaposition. To suggest that today's higher education systems throughout the world are comparable to the vicious theocracy of King Nebuchadnezzar in which nonconformists are burned alive is, in a word, bizarre. Seriously, the Babylonian "team of scholars" (the Bible says "magicians and astrologers") has nothing to do with thousands upon thousands of highly trained researchers across the world who endlessly critique each other's work. Daniel, the Israelite captive carried off to be indoctrinated probably has more in common with young LDS missionaries than college students being pressured to binge drink with their fraternities and sororities.
Just think about it. I am, Dieter, and I think your analogy sucks. How much easier would it have been for Daniel to simply go along with the ways of Babylon? I don't know. I imagine he would have faced some pressure from his fellow Isrealites in captivity and I can't imagine how attractive the Babylonian belief system would have been, if at all. Please don't think that replacing one's belief system is easy. When a belief system is not yours, you're mostly likely going to think it's obviously ridiculous. He could have set aside the restrictive code of conduct God had given the children of Israel. He could have feasted on the rich foods provided by the king and indulged in the worldly pleasures of the natural man. Think of all the vile bacon he could have been eating! He would have avoided ridicule. I didn't see where in the book of Daniel it mentions ridicule. Can I get a verse on that?
He would have been popular. WTF? He was the prince of the eunuch's favorite and one of Nebuchadnezzar's top four councilors.
He would have fit in. Poor kid. At least the totalitarian king loved him. :S
His path might have been much less complicated. Had he just drank the Kool-aid, er... wine...
As silly as your talk is up to this point, it's outdone in the next section where you blame it all on Satan and shame people who are skeptical or have doubts.
Satan, our adversary, wants us to fail. Satan is an early Christian invention, not an actual spirit being. He spreads lies as part of his effort to destroy our belief. What lies? That Joseph Smith had a history of making shit up to get money out of people starting from his early teens? That he plagiarized and falsified rather than actually translate? That he cheated on his wife many, many times and tried to exonerate himself with a fabricated revelation? He slyly suggests that the doubter, the skeptic, the cynic is sophisticated and intelligent, while those who have faith in God and His miracles are naive, blind, or brainwashed. No, that's not Satan, that's logic. Satan will advocate that it is cool to doubt spiritual gifts and the teachings of true prophets. No one's doubting because it's "cool", you asshole! People doubt because they see various inconsistencies in the theory of spiritual gifts and the teachings of those claiming to be prophets. Most of us don't go hunting for them; they arise naturally throughout the years of indoctrination. Right now you sound like the type of person who would claim fossils were put on earth by Satan to deceive us.
And now for the token quote from this train wreck of a prophetic message - the part where you call doubters ignoble, unimpressive, lazy, morally weak, disloyal and cowardly.
Brethren, let me be clear: there is nothing noble or impressive about being cynical. Skepticism is easy—anyone can do it. It is the faithful life that requires moral strength, dedication, and courage. Those who hold fast to faith are far more impressive than those who give in to doubt when mysterious questions or concerns arise.
Who the fuck do you think you're fooling? First off, don't conflated cynicism for skepticism. Now let me show you the other side:
Following your family, your friends and your community in their beliefs is easy. It's great having everyone around you be in constant agreement because they think like you do. It's very hard when you don't share the beliefs of your community and you live your life as an outsider. Your kids might even have a hard time finding friends whose parents will let them come over to play. But it is the sincere life of inquiry and careful judgement that requires moral strength, dedication and courage! Those who hold fast to integrity of thought and open-mindedness are far more impressive than those who allow their family or the geographical location in which they were born to provide a prepared set of default answers to questions or concerns about your worldview.

You end your talk with the horrible idea that we simply choose to believe because somehow that will make all the absurdities of the LDS history and doctrine magically disappear. You're asking us to shut off our brains, to stop thinking. Most people can't do this. Most people will struggle silently with cognitive dissonance, will wear out their knees praying for answers, will hate themselves for not understanding and not getting any divine enlightenment. Others will have the courage and good sense to accept the reality of life on earth and walk away from the Church.

Dieter, you should be ashamed of yourself. Your talk will hurt thousands of people who are struggling to make Mormonism work somehow. My only consolation is that the only reason you gave this talk in the first place is because so many people are leaving the Church. You're desperate. You can't defend the Church with facts, so you attack the people who have seen the facts. How cowardly of you.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Dale Renlund criticized

The most lowly of the new LDS apostles is Dale Renlund. It's time we consider his witness of Jesus as offered earlier this month.

My dear brothers and sisters, thank you for sustaining me yesterday as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I didn't. I'm not sorry. It is hard to express how much that means to me. Are you going to try? I was especially grateful for the sustaining vote of the two extraordinary women in my life: my wife, Ruth, and our dear, dear, dear daughter, Ashley. You didn't try to express how much being sustained means to you. Hi, Ashley, you little dear you!!!

My call gives ample evidence to the truthfulness of the Lord’s statement early in this dispensation: “That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world.” Right, because nothing screams "weak and simple" like a white dude from the United States with a top education and a healthy income as a cardiologist and professor. :S I am one of those weak and simple. Um... maybe "weakling" and "simpleton", but let's not pretend you've been dredged up from the lowly of the low. Decades ago, when I was called to be the bishop of a ward in the eastern United States, my brother, slightly older and much wiser than I, called me on the phone. You're really hammering away at the false humility bullshit and you only just started. In the words of Dieter: STOP IT! He said, “You need to know that the Lord hasn’t called you because of anything you have done. The bishop called you because you insisted you don't look at porn or cheat on your wife. In your case, it is probably in spite of what you have done. We all know you touch yourself sometimes. The Lord has called you for what He needs to do through you, and that will happen only if you do it His way.” He needs you to avoid counseling people and refer them instead to professionals. I recognize that this wisdom from an older brother applies even more today. Definitely. Now that you're in the big time you're probably going to start thinking you're way hot shit. Remember, you're a cardiologist, not someone channeling the mind and will of Jesus for the masses.

Something wonderful happens in a missionary’s service when he or she realizes that the calling is not about him or her; rather, it is about the Lord, His work, and Heavenly Father’s children. You're God's little pawn and it's beautiful. I feel the same is true for an Apostle. It probably is about the same. This calling is not about me. It had nothing to with your close vicinity and sucking up to the hierarchy? It’s about the Lord, His work, and Heavenly Father’s children. Let's see what you can do to increase the Church's spending for the homeless and hungry rather than real estate and city development. No matter what the assignment or calling is in the Church, to serve capably, one must serve knowing that everyone we serve “is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, … has a divine nature and destiny.” Well, not everyone. Some beloved spirit children are destined for something less than divine. Most actually. But don't worry, God loves you lots.

In my past profession, I was a cardiologist specializing in heart failure and transplantation, with many patients who were critically ill. How lowly! :S My wife jokingly says that it was a bad prognostic sign to become one of my patients. Your wife's not very funny. All teasing aside, I saw many people die, and I developed a kind of emotional distance when things went poorly. What a horribly segue. You really are a calloused man. That way, feelings of sadness and disappointment were tempered.

In 1986 a young man named Chad developed heart failure and received a heart transplant. Oh lord. Is this a story about how you cried once back in 1986?! He did very well for a decade and a half. Chad did all he could to stay healthy and live as normal a life as possible. He served a mission, worked, and was a devoted son to his parents. What does "devoted to his parents" mean? The last few years of his life, though, were challenging, and he was in and out of the hospital frequently. So he did died. Did you cry?

One evening, he was brought to the hospital’s emergency department in full cardiac arrest. My associates and I worked for a long time to restore his circulation. Finally, it became clear that Chad could not be revived. We stopped our futile efforts, and I declared him dead. Although sad and disappointed, I maintained a professional attitude. I thought to myself, “Chad has had good care. He has had many more years of life than he otherwise would have had.” Yes, he did have many more years... THANKS TO MEDICAL SCIENCE, not a miracle. That emotional distance soon shattered as his parents came into the emergency room bay and saw their deceased son lying on a stretcher. In that moment, I saw Chad through his mother’s and father’s eyes. I'm not sure how you can claim you saw him through their eyes, but empathy is a beautiful thing so whatever. I saw the great hopes and expectations they had had for him, the desire they had had that he would live just a little bit longer and a little bit better. Sad. With this realization, I began to weep. Ah-ha! This story is about you crying! Lovely. I'm feeling the Spirit now! :S In an ironic reversal of roles and in an act of kindness I will never forget, Chad’s parents comforted me. And it was awkward as hell for them.

I now realize that in the Church, to effectively serve others we must see them through a parent’s eyes, through Heavenly Father’s eyes. This is the god who saw fit to exile a full one third of his spirit children eternally and exile the other two thirds for some kind of poorly thought out test. Those involved in the test have seen their father do strange things. He drown 99.99% of them one day, ordered genocide another, has left and continues to leave millions upon millions to suffer sicknesses and various calamities, and has never even sent a prophet or Mormon missionary to explain why it was all happening to the vast majority of his children on earth. I'll tell you now, as a parent, I cannot relate to this being. Only then can we begin to comprehend the true worth of a soul. This god sells life cheap. Only then can we sense the love that Heavenly Father has for all of His children. Only then can we sense the Savior’s caring concern for them. His unconditional love requiring baptism and full conformity to his arbitrary set of rules? We cannot completely fulfill our covenant obligation to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort unless we see them through God’s eyes. Can you imagine what it would be like to see what God sees? Everything that is, ever was and will be all at the same time! Talk about a headache. This expanded perspective will open our hearts to the disappointments, fears, and heartaches of others. God is perfect - he's whole and complete - why would he be vulnerable to disappointment, fear and heartache? But Heavenly Father will aid and comfort us, just as Chad’s parents comforted me years ago. Of course he'll craddle us and tell us it's OK that Jesus died, he's the one who ordered him dead in the first place. The difference is that God got his son back in a few hours, Chad's parents are still dealing with their son's absence to this day. We need to have eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that know and feel if we are to accomplish the rescue so frequently encouraged by President Thomas S. Monson. What rescue is that? The rescue of human souls? I'm sure it sounds important to be part of a "rescue".

Only when we see through Heavenly Father’s eyes can we be filled with “the pure love of Christ.” Let me simply point out that the terms you're using are confusing. I want to think you're talking about empathy and selflessness. Those are wonderful things. I hope that's what you're trying to say. Every day we should plead with God for this love. Hey, if it helps you treat others better, go for it. Mormon admonished, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.” Mormon sounds like a 19th century revivalist preacher. I'm about to fall to the ground struck by the Spirit!

With all my heart I want to be a true follower of Jesus Christ. That shouldn't be hard. You just imagine him however you like him and imagine he thinks more or less like you do. Historically that's how everyone has approached following him. I love Him. Gay! I adore Him. Don't let him walk all over you. Make him respect you! I witness of His living reality. Are you saying you've seen him? Alive? Did you talk to him? Did he really call you to be a "special witness"? Does what you just said mean anything other than "I believe Jesus is a living person somewhere in or outside of the Universe"? I witness that He is the Anointed One, the Messiah. In other words, the Christ. Yeah, yeah. How did you "witness" this anointing? What are you referring to exactly? I am a witness of His incomparable mercy, compassion, and love. You obviously haven't read The book of Mormon. Jesus is not merciful or particularly loving in that book. I add my testimony to that of the Apostles who, in the year 2000, stated “that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. … He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world.” That string of "special" witnessing put a load of heavy questions on my shelf of doubt. I testify that on a day in 1820 in a grove in upstate New York, the risen Lord appeared, along with God, our Heavenly Father, to the Prophet Joseph Smith, just as Joseph Smith said They did. To quote a creationist asshole named John Ham, "WERE YOU THERE?" The historical record indicates that the event you're talking about is a narrative invented by Joseph Smith years after the alleged date in his constant effort to reinforce his authority over his followers. Priesthood keys are on earth today to enable saving and exalting ordinances. The restoration of the Priesthood is another post hoc fabrication. I know it. Ahem! You "believe" it. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. No. This is false witnessing. Fuck everything you said except the part about being nice to other people and trying to see their hardships from their perspective.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Gary Stevenson criticized

I think it's only fair that we take a look a the words of our newly called apostles. We all deserve to know just what exactly they can testify of. What witness can they give? Elder Stevenson's recent General Conference talk with my comments.

Dear brothers and sisters, it has been many decades since a general conference has been convened that President Boyd K. Packer and Elders L. Tom Perry and Richard G. Scott were not seated immediately behind the podium and speaking at one of these sessions. It's also been many decades that people have been hoping and praying that Boyd just fucking die already. That man was a monster. Our memories of them are poignant, and I add my tribute to honor them, each so uniquely different yet so harmonized in their witness and testimony of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. It's not too hard to harmonize when both their witnesses and the Atonement are complete mysteries. None of them ever claimed to have seen Jesus and none of them ever gave a satisfactory explanation of the Atonement.

Furthermore, I, like you, find strength in and sustain President Thomas S. Monson as prophet, seer, and revelator, and I marvel at his faithful and dutiful apostolic service spanning over 50 remarkable years. Like me? Never in my life have I been impressed with Monson's record as a prophet, seer or revelator (but it was rumored in the mission that he had a photographic memory and that impressed me).

And so it was on Tuesday morning of this week, just after 9:00 a.m. as the Bishopric was beginning a meeting with the Asia Area Presidency, who are here for conference, that I was called to meet with President Monson, along with his counselors. "And so it was"? Where did that come from? You weren't telling a story or any kind of narrative that calls for a "and so it was". Moments later, as I walked into the boardroom adjacent to his office, I must have looked nervous sitting across the table, as he kindly spoke to calm my nerves. It's nice to know Tommy remembered his manners considering he can remember so little these days. He commented, noting my age, that I seemed quite young and even looked younger than my age. This sentence is both horribly redundant and hardly information worthy of your audience. I hope you get better at telling stories real fast.

Then, within a few moments, President Monson described that acting on the will of the Lord, he was extending a call to the Quorum of the Twelve to me. How do we know he was acting on the will of the Lord? Was Jesus to busy to call his own "special witness"? He asked me if I would accept this call, to which, following what I am sure was a very undignified audible gasp, in complete shock, I responded affirmatively. "Guh! Wha? Really? You want me to back the Porche out of the garage? Wow! OK, sure!" Dude, Gary, where was your wife in all this? And then, before I could even verbalize a tsunami of indescribable emotion, most of which were feelings of inadequacy, President Monson kindly reached out to me, describing how he was called many years ago as an Apostle by President David O. McKay, at which time he too felt inadequate. But don't worry, you'll learn to fake the shit out of this whole apostle thing! And the pain of being a fraud fades fast. He calmly instructed me, “Bishop Stevenson, the Lord will qualify those whom He calls.” You'll soon find justifications for why your "special witness" consists of nothing more then the same happy feelings that make a Mia Maid cry at girl's camp. It's your position, bro! It's the cumulative faith of everyone who believes you have a particularly special relationship with Jesus not unlike the one the original apostles had 2000 years ago. These soothing words of a prophet have been a source of peace, a calm in a storm of painful self-examination and tender feelings in the ensuing agonizing hours which have passed day and night since then. Monson the soothsayer. I don't think Mormons are supposed to like soothsayers. Flattering people is a no no.

I rehearsed what I have just described to you to my sweet companion, Lesa, later that day, seated in a quiet corner on Temple Square, with a serene view of the temple and the historic Tabernacle lying before us. Oh, here she is! Isn't it beautiful how Tommy and his crew took no consideration of her in this whole process and left it entirely up to you? I'm sure she was thrilled to have this new popped on her like an unexpected wedding engagement! :S As we tried to comprehend and process the events of the day, we found our anchor to be our faith in Jesus Christ and our knowledge of the great plan of happiness. In other words you sat around confessing that you had no idea what the fuck was going on, but it's all good because Jesus is rad and his plan is the best? Whatever works for you, man. This leads to an expression of my deepest love for Lesa. She is the sunshine in and of my life and a remarkable daughter of God. Sounds... condescending... Hers is a life punctuated by selfless service and unconditional love of all. So she's the perfect Mormon woman who has given up everything to bear children and watch her husband move up the ladder of success. How 1950s of you two. I will strive to remain worthy of the blessing of our eternal union. It's time to close your Ashley Madison account.

I express my deepest love to our four sons and their families, three of whom are here with their beautiful wives, the mothers of our six grandchildren; the fourth, a missionary, has special permission to stay up past missionary curfew and is viewing these proceedings live with his mission president and the mission president’s wife from their mission home in Taiwan. Oh, the mandatory pater familias creds. No thanks. I love each of them and love how they love the Savior and the gospel. Chances are one of those grandkids is going to up and leave the Church one day. I hope you still love him or her then.

I express my love to each member of my family: to my dear mother and to my father, who passed away last year, who instilled in me a testimony which seemed to dwell in me from my earliest memories. That's called childhood indoctrination. Had you been born in another part of the world, just imagine what you might have known from the earliest age. I further extend this gratitude to my brother, sisters, and their faithful spouses, as well as Lesa’s family, many of whom are actually here today. They didn't fucking nominate you for an award, man. This isn't the Oscars. I cast this net of gratitude to numerous extended family, friends, missionaries, leaders, and teachers along the way. Now thank Jesus for looking favorably upon your whiteness and delightsomeness.

I have been blessed with a close association with the members of the First Presidency, the Twelve, the Seventy, and the general auxiliary presidencies. I express my love and esteem to each of you sisters and brothers and will strive to be worthy of our continued association. This sounds like a business promotion speech. The Presiding Bishopric enjoys an almost heavenly unity. Sounds sexual. I will miss my association each day with Bishop Gérald Caussé, Bishop Dean M. Davies, and the staff. Especially the hot young staffers (you know who you are!).

I stand before you as evidence of the words of the Lord recorded in the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants: “That the fulness of [the] gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the [earth], and before kings and rulers.” Enough with the false humility bullshit. You and Ronny are probably going to get into fights over who's the most humble about your new calling. These words are preceded by the Lord’s declaration which demonstrates the love of a Father for His children: “Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments.” Right, because fathers who love their kids a ton call up one of them - and only one (who happens to live in an extremely remote part of the world) - to give emergency preparedness instructions. Contacting each child individually is too time consuming for a father. By the way, is this the same father who called a council in heaven? He obviously regretted calling it.

Our loving Heavenly Father and His Son, Jehovah, with a knowledge of the end from the beginning, opened the heavens and a new dispensation to offset the calamities that They knew would come. Oh, Mormon polytheism, how the rest of the Christian world deplores it! The Apostle Paul described the forthcoming calamities as “perilous times.” Fear mongering. For me, this suggests that Heavenly Father’s generous compensation for living in perilous times is that we also live in the fulness of times. Yes! It's so wonderful living in a day and age when polygamy and abstinence from coffee have been restored! It totally makes up for all the killing going on around us constantly. :S

As I agonized over my inadequacies this week, I received a distinct impression which both chastened and comforted me: to focus not on what I can’t do but rather on what I can do. Whoa! This almost sounds like a spiritual experience! It's not quite a visitation from Jesus, but we'll be damned if we don't take it! I can testify of the plain and precious truths of the gospel. Which are what? I'm only asking because nothing in Mormonism seems very clear or precious to me these days.

These are the words which I have shared hundreds of times with both those who belong to the Church and many who are not members: “God is our [loving] Heavenly Father. I seriously doubt that. We are His children. I so doubt that. … He weeps with us when we suffer and rejoices when we do what is right. I can't see how that's even possible. He wants to communicate with us, and we can communicate with Him through sincere prayer. I've tried it often. It never worked.

“Heavenly Father has provided us, His children, with a way to … return to live in His presence. He's got an awesome TV, a huge Blue Ray collection, tons of tasty treats, cozy furniture and is a generous cuddler. … Central to our [Heavenly] Father’s plan is Jesus Christ’s Atonement.” Ah, yes. The Atonement! That nonsensical act in which torture and bloodshed satiated the demands of some powerful law that God himself couldn't disregard or build around. 

Heavenly Father sent His Son to the earth to atone for the sins of all mankind. Because he was powerless to forgive. He absolutely had to have payment for every last sin. Of these plain and precious truths I bear my testimony, and I do so in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. Oh, shit! These were the "plain and precious truths"? I'm not better off in understanding this stuff than I was before.

Ronny Rasband criticized

I think it's only fair that we take a look a the words of our newly called apostles. Which ones were visited of Christ on the road to Damascus? Which ones were chosen Michael Corleone-style ("I don't need tough guys. I need more lawyers")? Let's start with Elder Rasband as he's highest on the ladder. What follows is his recent General Conference talk with my comments.

My dear brothers and sisters throughout the world, I’m very grateful to the First Presidency for inviting me to share my humble testimony this Sabbath day. The words of a favorite Latter-day Saint hymn describe my current feelings:
I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, (Jesus? I thought you were talking about your gratitude toward the First Presidency.)
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me. … (Are you hiding sins from him? Repent!)
I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine, (It's definitely a rare trip for him.)
That he should extend his great love unto such as I, (Give yourself a break! Remember, he made you the way you are so he'd have to be a total jerk to deny you his love because you're a flawed being.)
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify. … (I could probably do without you, if that makes you feel any better.)
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me! (It's always all about you, isn't it?)
A few days ago I had the great privilege to meet with the First Presidency and receive this call from our dear prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. Not from Jesus? Are you just trusting Tommy is passing along JC's divine word? If so, how does that make you a "special witness of Christ"? I want to witness to all of you of the strength and love President Monson had as he said to me, “This call comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Later in this conference we got to see some of that strength as he finished a talk entirely slumped over the pulpit. It sounds like you're putting all your bets on the charisma of an elderly man and none on an experience with divinity.

I am overwhelmed and shaken to my very core to consider the import and significance of those words so tenderly spoken by our loving prophet. This is the second time you mention love, but what about reality or truth? Lies and falsehoods can be spoken in loving tones. President Monson, President Eyring, President Uchtdorf, I love you and will serve the Lord and you with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength. Way to kiss the ring, buddy.

Oh, how I have loved President Boyd K. Packer and Elders L. Tom Perry and Richard G. Scott. Oh, who cares? What's important is that you can bear "special witness" of Jesus Christ. I dearly miss them. I assume they were friends of yours to some degree. I'm sorry for your loss. I am blessed to have been trained and taught at the feet of these dear Brethren. The ass kissing here isn't warming my heart. Sorry. Not in the smallest part am I able to walk in their shoes, yet I am honored to stand tall on their shoulders and carry on in the Lord’s ministry. WTF? This exaggerated humility thing is repugnant. Can you, or can you not testify to having seen and spoken with the resurrected Jesus?

When I think of those who have helped make me who I am, I think first of my sweet and selfless eternal companion, Melanie. "Sweet"? Of course, that's how Mormons like their women, sweet and self-sacrificing. Through the years, she has helped mold me like potter’s clay into a more polished disciple of Jesus Christ. Like in the movie Ghost, right? That's some sexy shit. Her love and support, and that of our 5 children, their spouses, and our 24 grandchildren, sustain me. Really? You had to share the numbers? When are Mormons going to stop bragging with posterity tallies? To my dear family, I love you. This is the best line of your talk so far.

"This represents the penis of our Lord. We seek after this thing."

Like Nephi of old, I was born of goodly parents in the gospel and they of goodly parents back six generations. Huh? Are you dissing your ancestors seven generations back or just prepping us for a brag about your long LDS lineage? My earliest ancestors who joined the Church were from England and Denmark. Like everyone else in Utah. These early pioneers gave their all to the gospel of Jesus Christ and leave a legacy for their posterity to follow. Low education and a propensity for credulity? I am so grateful for a multigenerational Latter-day Saint family, and I know this is a worthy goal for all of us to strive for. Are you shitting on people who don't have a multigenerational LDS family "legacy"? What's so great about it anyway?

Many others have contributed to preparing my life for this new call. They include my childhood friends and family, early leaders, teachers, and lifelong mentors. This sounds a lot like my mission farewell talk. It also sounds a bit like an award acceptance speech. I hope you thank God or Jesus here soon. I must include those from my early mission to the eastern states and our beloved missionaries from the New York New York North Mission. Ah, I get what this is. It's your Mormon resume. You have to let us know why you were hired for the job. For the many who have influenced and shaped my life, I am most grateful. You're most welcome, probably. 

I have cherished serving with my Brethren of the Seventy. For 15 years I have been in one of the greatest quorums and loving brotherhoods of the Church. Thank you, my dear fellow servants. Now suck it, cuz I'm a mo'fuckin' apostle, bitchez!! Now I look forward to belonging to a new quorum. A quorum not shared with anyone who isn't white and sporting two really big testicles. President Russell M. Nelson, my love is deep for you and each member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I'll "anoint" you with oil any time you want.

Sister Rasband and I have been blessed to visit members during many assignments in congregations and missions around the world. We love the Latter-day Saints everywhere! Naturally. Your faith has increased our faith; your testimonies have added to our testimony. You know what, I'm going to have to agree with you on this. There's something empowering about traveling the world and seeing Mormons abroad do their best to be like you and adopt your way of thinking. It makes you feel like your way really is the right way and you want to cheer them on. It's pretty much an imperialistic ego boost, but it's there. It's real.

Now, if I could leave one small message with you today, it would be this: the Lord has said, “Love one another; as I have loved you.” That's one of JC's finer messages. I’m confident that there is no choice, sin, or mistake that you or anyone else can make that will change His love for you or for them. And yet you quoted a song at the beginning of your talk that expresses a sort of disbelief that he would love you at all. Isn't that a bit inconsistent of you? That does not mean He excuses or condones sinful conduct—I’m sure He does not—but it does mean we are to reach out to our fellowman in love to invite, persuade, serve, and rescue. What makes you so sure that he doesn't "excuse or condone sinful conduct"? Did he talk to you about it? I also don't understand your transition from "Jesus loves you" to "that means we have to reach out and save people". Jesus loves us so we have to reach out and save? If he loves us why doesn't he reach out? And why do we have to save people when Jesus, the Savior allegedly already took care of that? Jesus Christ looked past people’s ethnicity, rank, and circumstances in order to teach them this profound truth. But he took special care to select white men in Utah to teach this... um... "profound truth".

I have been asked many times when I received my testimony. I can’t remember not believing in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Because you were born in an active LDS family that took special care to effectively cultivate you. Had you been born in another part of the world, just imagine what you wouldn't remember not believing. I have loved Them since I learned of Them at the knees of my angel mother, reading scripture and gospel stories. "Them"? You're a polytheist? "Angel mother"? Are you putting your mother on some ridiculous pedestal or are you semi-divine? That early belief has now grown into a knowledge and a witness of a loving Heavenly Father, who hears and answers our prayers. A knowledge based on what? YOU SAW HEAVENLY FATHER??? Why did you switch from a first person singular (I) to plural (our)? My testimony of Jesus Christ has been built from many special experiences in which I have come to know His great love for each one of us. What "special" experiences? It sounds like you're trying to justify your calling to apostleship, but you're definitely avoiding a description of any experience that would undoubtedly qualify you for this position. This whole talk is about laying out your resume and this is the one line that matters. Why leave it out?

I’m grateful for our Savior’s Atonement and wish like Alma to shout it with the trump of God. Comparing yourself to Nephi and now Alma? You're fucking awesome! I know that Joseph Smith is God’s prophet of the Restoration and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. How do you know that? Good feelings? And I know that President Thomas S. Monson is God’s true servant and prophet on the earth today. Because he gave you a promotion?

As we follow our prophet, I pray that we may have charity in our hearts toward others and that we will become a living witness and indeed “stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers [us].” WTF? You just threw a bunch of nice sounding stuff into a sentence without worrying if it made sense or not. Rewrite. Oh, may it be “wonderful, wonderful to [you and to] me.” In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Ronny, I believe you have mastered Mormon speech like a true Utahn. I believe you'll make a great non-prophetic, non-revealing, non-seeing apostle of the LDS Church.