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 divineTo 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.