To the surprise of probably no one, we learned this past week that a male Mormon celebrity can pose clad more scantily than a female Mormon celebrity — without getting the same modesty-shaming.
But there was an even more unpleasant display of how different types of Mormons get to follow different rules at Boyd K. Packer’s funeral. Among the most offensive commandments ever issued by the CoJCoL-dS was Packer’s directive that Mormon funerals shouldn’t be about remembering the deceased — they are instead to be informercials for the church, directed at the captive audience of grieving friends and family:
Bishops should not yield the arrangement of meetings to members. They should not yield the arrangement for funerals or missionary farewells to families. It is not the proper order of things for members or families to expect to decide who will speak and for how long. Suggestions are in order, of course, but the bishop should not turn the meeting over to them. We are worried about the drift that is occurring in our meetings.
Funerals could and should be the most spiritually impressive. They are becoming informal family reunions in front of ward members. Often the Spirit is repulsed by humorous experiences or jokes when the time could be devoted to teaching the things of the Spirit, even the sacred things.
When the family insists that several family members speak in a funeral, we hear about the deceased instead of about the Atonement, the Resurrection, and the comforting promises revealed in the scriptures. Now it’s all right to have a family member speak at a funeral, but if they do, their remarks should be in keeping with the spirit of the meeting.
I have told my Brethren in that day when my funeral is held, if any of them who speak talk about me, I will raise up and correct them. The gospel is to be preached. I know of no meeting where the congregation is in a better state of readiness to receive revelation and inspiration from a speaker than they are at a funeral.
Now, that advice is all well and good for the rank-and-file members, but do you think the guy who made a museum exhibit of his own living room is really going to be upstaged by “the Atonement” at his funeral?
Actually, maybe it would have been better to have held a generic church-meeting-as-funeral rather than focusing on the legacy of the deceased:
Forgiveness? Sure we all need to achieve that. But we donâ€™t need to let the particularly nasty people off the hook. I donâ€™t think real forgiveness (meaning primarily peace and harmony within the victim) is possible until we have come to terms with who the various abusers were and how much responsibility they each bore.
(Uomo Nuovo would probably agree.)
As I write this, there are a mere 43 comments following Packer’s obituary at the Deseret News. From the ones I’ve read, they tend to follow a certain pattern. “I got to shake Elder Packer’s hand once” or “he came and spoke to us when I was on my mission.” Not much there in the way of fond anecdotes that would tell us anything about the deceased man’s character.
In contrast, over at the Salt Lake Tribune, a paper whose readership tends to be less deferential to Church leaders than those at the Church-owned news organ, I found well over two thousand comments, most of them arguing over just how much harm Boyd Packer caused individuals within the church while he was in office. Social media was even less forgiving, as the news of Packer’s passing was met with a flurry of giddy celebrations. Many duplicated each other by sending around a video clip from The Wizard of Oz where the happy munchkins are joyfully dancing and singing “Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead.”
But he was also the type of person of whom other people said, “you either hate him or…you don’t really hate him too much.” Although most of the five million active members in the church probably held him in high regard, a significant number were either extremely passionate in their opinions against Boyd Packer, or they felt nothing for him. In the community of disaffected believers I was acquainted with, that was pretty much the length of the entire Packer Likeability Spectrum.
On the bright side, the other guys’ chances of becoming prophet have increased!
I plead with you in the name of the Lord, and I pray that every man, woman and child
who has meansshall pay one-tenth of their income as a tithing.
Also, everyone’s favorite religion/real-estate corporation is now apparently planning to build a 500,000 resident city in Florida. Maybe that’s why those pioneer trek activities have become so common lately — they’ll be asking the remaining faithful to push their handcarts to Florida…?
Other news tidbits: Utah has its own controversial flag that perhaps shouldn’t be flying on public land. Things are changing a bit for the FLDS. Remember that letter from the CoJCoL-dS to members about gay marriage? Here’s an example of how it went down. LDS adult singles are hitting new lows. Free-BYU‘s case against BYU’s accreditation may have some legs.
In the department of analogies and allegories we have the LDS Church response to Supreme Court Monogamy Decision and Jane of the Nobility.
Galen Dara — one of our own, though she hasn’t blogged about Mormonism in a long time — is in the running for a World Fantasy Award!
And now the fun stuff! This week’s round-up includes a personal funny coincidence for me: this same week that the Beehive Bugle wrote a satirical piece on LDS motivational speakers, I learned that a childhood family friend has become a (famous?) LDS motivational speaker!!
I can’t really say I was a good personal friend of Gerald Rogers (since he was a few years younger and a boy), but his family had eight kids that matched in age quite closely with our family’s five kids, so our families were good friends — our two families went to boy scout family camp together every summer for years, for example. It was also at their house that my brother and I filmed the “planet scenes” of our very first Star Trek episode. (Note that the production quality on this episode is terrible — if you watch later episodes, you’ll see we got a lot better.) Gerald Rogers might be one of the non-speaking extras playing villagers (though the extra in question might be his brother Craig):
It’s funny, before my sister mentioned this to me yesterday, I would never have guessed this kid would grow up to be a motivational speaker (or, more precisely, a “Best-Selling Author, Speaker, and ELITE BREAKTHROUGH MENTOR”). But I guess if you’d asked me which kid in my ward I would have predicted this future for, I’d have to say none of them…
So, that’s my personal brush with LDS fame! Can any of you top it? 😀