Category Archives: Satire

Laying Up Treasures


“If a destitute family is faced with the decision of paying their tithing or eating, they should pay their tithing.” – Elder Lynn Robbins

“To those of you who pay your tithing, I commend you. To those of you who presently are not obeying the law of tithing, I invite you to consider your ways and repent.” – Elder David Bendar

 

The LDS Church is, again, investing in commercial development.  Rather than using their vast holding to help the poor, the needy, the sick, or even their own financially struggling members, they are, instead, helping to build a new stadium in SLC.

One argument often made by LDS apologists is that donated tithing is not used for these commercial ventures.  Instead, The Church uses investment income from their commercial enterprises (one might ask why these exist) to re-invest in the new project.  I’ve written of this before, with regards to City Creek and The Deseret Ranches,  What came to mind today was the following analogy.  I give you:

 

Gospel Profits

Tommy: Hey, Gordie, can you give me some money? I really need some money to fix my bike.

Gordie: No problem, brother. How much do you need?

Tommy: Well, I’m not sure exactly, but if you could spare like, maybe 10% of what’s in your wallet, that might cover it.

Gordie: That seems a weird way to ask for it. But, since you’re my brother, and I love you, OK. Here’s $10.

Tommy: . . . . Are you sure that’s 10%?

Gordie: Sure. I’ve got $110, so I gave you $10.

Tommy: Well, but technically, 10% of $110 is $11.

Gordie: . . . .

Tommy: . . . . Don’t you want to help me? If you help me, I’ll help you.

Grodie: . . . . Fine. Here’s another $1.

Tommy: Thank you! Thank you!

<Several Weeks Later>

Gordie: Hey, Tommy! Looks like you got your bike all fixed up!

Tommy: Sure did! Also got these awesome stickers to make it go faster! And some sweet new biking gloves!

Gordie: Um. Where’d you get the money for stickers and gloves?

Tommy: Oh, well, so, before I got my bike fixed, I took the money you gave me and I bought some candy bars. Then I sold the candy bars door to door, and made $15! Then I used that $15 and bought more candy bars, and made $25!  At the end of two weeks, I had $130!  So, then I used $80 to fix my bike and used the rest to buy the stickers and gloves!

Gordie: But, I gave you that money to fix your bike.

Tommy: I know! Thank you SO much!

Gordie: But you had money left over? Shouldn’t you have paid me back with the excess, or at least saved the money so that you didn’t need to ask for money next time?

Tommy: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Gordie:  Well, could you at least help me mow the…

Tommy:  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! <rides away>

 

 

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. – Matthew 6:19–21,24

 

Well Documented Evidence

“Some have mistakenly argued that any variation in the retelling of the story is evidence of fabrication. To the contrary, the rich historical record enables us to learn more about this remarkable event than we could if they were less well-documented.” — Richard J. Maynes, Seventy

The founder of the Mormon faith, Joseph Smith Jr., began his journey to prophet with an event that has been called “The First Vision.”  When I was growing up as a young Mormon boy, I was told that Joseph knelt to pray in a grove of trees to ask God which of the many churches was true.  According to the story I was told, Joseph was visited by both Heavenly Father (God) and Jesus Christ, who told him none of the churches were true, and that he was to found a new one.

In the 17 years I was active in The LDS Church, that was the only version of the story I ever heard.  It turns out that there are many versions, with widely differing timelines and subject matters.  The LDS Church even has an official essay on the subject, and you can read them for yourself at The Joseph Smith Papers Project.

FirstVisionsMormonInfographics

For many people, who were as ignorant to these facts as I once was, discovering this can be a bit faith-shaking.  This event is absolutely pivotal and essential in the Joseph Smith narrative, and the inconsistencies are troubling. One might think that such a momentous moment as meeting God, or God and Jesus, or an angel, or a Pillar of Fire, would be distinctly memorable.

If this is bothersome to you, let not  your heart be troubled;  Elder Richard Maynes explains how differing versions of an important story, with different dates, and different people, with different messages actually make The First Vision “the best-documented vision in history.”

To demonstrate my particular reaction to this breach of logic and reason, I present my original one-act play:

The Best Documented Dinner in History

[Scene:  Interior.  A small police department interrogation room.  Two detectives (Cop #1 and Cop #2 stand at a table in front of a seated ‘Gary’]

Cop #1: Hey, Gary. We brought you in because someone said they saw you over by the old Buckner place last Monday, just before it was robbed. Can you tell us where you were last Monday night? At about 7:30pm?

Gary: Oh. I was at dinner.

Cop #2: Yeah? Where’d you go? Any good?

Gary: Oh, yeah. New taco restaurant. ‘Los Amgios.’ Great chorizo.

Cop #1: That sounds great. What time did you get there?

Gary: Let me see. I started walking from my place at about 7:00.

Cop #2: And how far away do you live?

Gary: About 3 miles, which is why I took my bike.

Cop #1: But you just said you started walking?

Gary: That’s right I started walking over to Les Poissons, the French place.

Cop #2: Huh? Didn’t you say you were going to ‘Los Amigos’?

Gary: I did. It’s really good.

Cop #1: What about Les Poissons?

Gary: It’s really good.

Cop #2: Did you get a receipt?

Gary: Yup! It’s there in my wallet.

Cop #1: [shuffles through the wallet] Is this the one? To a restaurant called The Burger Bar?

Gary: Yup! I drove over there at a quarter after seven last Monday.

Cop #1: Is he putting me on, or am I putting him on?

Cop #2: So, on last Monday, you walked to a Mexican restaurant, biked to a French restaurant, and then drove to a burger joint, all on the same night, during roughly the same time period?

Gary: Of course! The consistent inconsistency proves how true it is.

A Place For Your Stuff

I have been gone from The Haversham Church for a long time now, but I am sure there are some people – my family, friends of my family, old Friday School teachers and leaders – who harbor some hope that I will some day choose to return to the flock. That may happen. I can’t rule it out, but if I were to come back, with all of the knowledge I have gained through my years in the godless wilderness, my personal gospel testimony would probably sound a little different than it did when I was 14.

*Note: Every single link in the following is to an Haversham Church-friendly website.

“I want to bear my testimony that I know The Church is true. I know that The Book of Haversham is the word of God as restored by Hank Smythe. I know that Hank Smythe was a prophet of God, and that, when he was 16 or 14, years-old he was visited by God, and/or an angel, and/or The Savior, Jessub Chambs. I know The Holy Spirit led Hank Smythe to a deep well where a sacred branch was hidden, which Hank was able to use for water dowsing and translation. And that several years later The Prophet Hank Smythe was visited by The Angel George, who showed Hank the location of The Diamond Plates, which were miraculously buried and undisturbed in a nearby hill.

I have prayed and studied and felt the presence of The Holy Spirit when reading how Hank Smythe didn’t even need or use The Diamond Plates in order to read the translated sacred words written in spiritual light on the sacred branch placed into his pillowcase. And though there is virtually no archaeological, genetic, or scientific evidence that it is a historical document, and even though it has been changed by The Acolytes many times, I testify to you, my brothers and sisters, that The Book of Haversham is the most perfect book on Earth.

I have a testimony that Hank Smythe similarly inspired by the seemingly common Summerian birthing text to receive and translate the gospel written in The Book of Moses, and that by following the words within its pages, we can all, some day, hie to Seti Alpha VI and meet with God.

I know that polyfidelity, as revealed and practiced by Hank Smythe, was a righteous principle, anointed by Our God. And though, for secular reasons, the mortal practice was deemed unsanitary and illegal, I know that spiritual polyfidelity is still the law in The Kingdom of Opulence. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Hank Smythe was commanded by The Holy Spirit to marry Sibling Victor Baer, his wife, Sibling Rebecca Bast, their neighbor Sibling Hilton Alsop, and his second-cousin, Sibling Edward Birimsa, and his wife, Sibling Sasha Akers. And though Acolyte Smythe was commanded by The Angel George to keep this a secret from his legal wife, Sibling Anna Hayle, it is a righteous principle, and will one day be restored.

I have faith that all of The Acolytes from Hank Smythe to Jacob W. Araki, are God’s representatives here on the Earth, and that they speak to and for Our God and Savior, and reveal the truths of the restored Haversham Gospel.

And though Kenneth Applebaum, Hank Smythe III, Linas J. Bodkin, Perry R. Buell, Witter P. Judith, Clegg W. Conrad, Kittredge T. Campion, and countless other Acolytes are imperfect men, who occasionally lead The Haversham Church astray by exhibiting the anti-Irish mistakes of their times, and make other mistaken revealed predictions, there is no doubt in my mind that Jacob W. Araki and his Thurifers clearly speak for God when they tell us that marriage is between a single man and single woman, and his many concubines, and it will always be that way.

And, finally, the latest words from Our Great Acolyte:

Swimming Without Cork

Greetings!

My name is Brian Belliford. I am an emissary from your long-lost, and singularly wealthy uncle, who would like to remain largely anonymous. You can call him Hank.

I have a message for you from Hank. He has been keenly watching your life and career and thinks that you seem a bit lost and confused. Hank would like to help you straighten things out, but only if you are willing to help yourself.

I know you are probably feeling a little skeptical, since you may not have heard of Hank before, or maybe you have been wrongly told that there is a different uncle who wants to help you, but please, trust me; if you follow the simple and reasonable instructions within this letter, I assure you,  you will quickly see and feel Hank’s generous guidance and assistance.

First, you need to send daily requests to your uncle. Not directly, but send them to me and I will pass them along. If you do not feel it appropriate to send them to me, write them on a piece of paper and put them in your dresser drawer. Hank is connected and he will be able to find them. Write down how you think you will best be helped by Hank. Hank may or may not grant your requests, depending on whether those requests are compatible with Hank’s Grand Business Plan (GBP).

Second, Hank demands manners. You need to send daily thank-you notes for Hank’s assistance, even if you believe Hank did not grant the requests from yesterday. Remember, Hank has a proven and reliable GBP, and what you think is best may not have fit into that plan.

Third, you also need to send thank-you notes to Hank when things seemingly go wrong. Hank is exceptionally intelligent, and knows many things you cannot possibly know, so something “wrong” might lead to something beneficial in the big picture. It is also possible that Hank feels you need adversity from time-to-time, in order that you truly appreciate his help and his GBP.  So, should you be fired, or lose money, or turn up with ill-health, thank Hank and remember it is all according to and working for the GBP.  Give Hank a ‘thanks’ for all his well-advised help; good and bad.

Forth, make sure to send generous thanks to Hank when anything good happens. Even the small things. Even if you did not ask Hank for that good thing. In fact, especially when you did not ask for it. Hank is always watching and monitoring and always knows what you need before you ask for it (which does not excuse you from sending help-requests). When you get a windfall from an investment, or land a new job that you did not expect, know that Hank was monitoring, and his GBP had put this set of events into motion. Is that not worth a quick thank-you note, and maybe some flowers?

Fifth, you need to send Hank money. Not directly, but send it to me and I will use it under direction from Hank to help you. The more money you send, the more Hank will be able to help you. Ten percent is a good rule of thumb (from the gross, not the net).  Should there be any question as to how you spend your limited resources, always ensure to send Hank his share first. If you think you really need the money, Hanks will make sure you get it back, if, of course,  he thinks you actually need it, and if you have been sending your thank-you notes.

Uncle Hank loves you and wants to have a deeply personal relationship with you, but needs to ensure that you really trust him before he visits with you. Hank will do amazing things for you, but he needs you to do your part.

This letter is just a rough guideline of how Hank can help you. If you have questions or need more information, feel free to ask me, and I will pass along Hank’s guidance. In fact, shall we set up a weekly meeting?  I am free every Sunday at 11:00am.  At the meeting, I can pass along any new information from Hank and,  if there is no new information, we can go over old information in order to ensure that we have not missed anything which might explain why the GBP is or isn’t working for you.

I look forward to working with you, and send you all Hank’s love and affection.

Sincerely,
Brian Belliford
Emissary of Hank