Sunday in Outer Blogness: Ponderize Edition!

I just love the week after General Conference! We get treated a to a whole week of discussion and analysis (and parodies and oodles and oodles of podcasts!) of all of the good parts of what was said — and, boy, did this last one have a lot of stuff to discuss!

First off, many people weren’t happy that — given the opportunity to fill three positions in the top leadership of the CoJCoL-dS — not only did they fail to think outside the “old white guy box,” but they couldn’t even find someone who isn’t from Utah.

I still remember being on a south America mission and an investigator who was interested wanted to see the apostles who are alive, the first thing she said was, “they are all white?”. It struck me because she was so sweet and her question wasn’t in offense but more in a surprising statement.


Had the same experience in Mexico. I actually stopped showing pictures of the Q15 because it embarrassed me so much.

Instead of trying to understand why members might be upset, the CoJCoL-dS decided to add insult to injury by posting a snarky article about the complainers. And, in case that wasn’t tone-deaf enough, the Mormon Observer helped out with an article about how one of the three new guys should fulfill your diversity wishes because his parents were from Europe, plus he has worked with black people in Baltimore and in Africa. (As far as I can tell, the article is not satire.)

Then there was the “Ponderize” scandal. In a nutshell, Elder Durrant coined the new word “ponderize” (by adding “-ize” to convert a verb into… a verb (hat tip Holly)), and he promoted this fun new term in his talk at General Conference. Meanwhile, his son had set up a website selling “ponderize” merchandise. Some criticized this move (and the whole concept of ponderizing), but others noted that LDS apostles sell uplifting merchandise all the time through Deseret Book, and nobody bats an eye. The punch line is that the ink wasn’t even dry on the speaker’s apology when the BYU Bookstore was monetizing “ponderize” merchandise!

Apparently, they also turned up the shaming/blaming of apostates. Even the liberal Mormons’ favorite apostle (Uchtdorf) spoke about the value of just believing what your leaders tell you, and — especially — not looking stuff up on the Internet.

Then Neil L. Andersen rubbed salt into the wounds of the less-believing by telling people to “give Joseph a break.” In other words, stop picking on poor old founding prophet Joseph Smith for all his little mistakes — but don’t expect the church to cut anyone else any slack.

Naturally, as usual, there were no new revelations:

5-year-long member Trudith McDillory summed up the way many members have come to view Conference. “A year or so ago, I realized that prophets, seers, and revelators really aren’t meant to do any of those things. They are just supposed to remind us about things we have chosen to know about and have faith in, in case we find any evidence to the contrary between conferences.” She further clarified her point by explaining that members of the KKK wouldn’t expect their Grand Wizards to actually be wizards. “That would be absurd,” observed McDillory. “This is pretty much the same.”

The saddest part was probably the fact that the current prophet is in such ill health that he was falling down at the podium, which people miraculously managed to spin into something inspiring.

The most dramatic moment, however, took place during one of the Mormon Stories podcasts reporting on the conference, in the words of Jamie Handis Handy about the hollow words on the value of women:

I really appreciate the beautiful editing job that Thinker of Thoughts did to draw attention to Jamie H. Handy’s powerful words (which otherwise would be buried in a three-hour podcast). That said, I find it weirdly ironic that the speaker’s name (and the source of the audio) don’t appear in the credits of the video itself — and I hope that Thinker of Thoughts will take the time to make a minor edit to rectify this oversight.

To summarize, here’s this latest conference in hilarious memes!

While putting this SiOB together, I’ve been thinking “Wow, chanson, this coverage of conference is really negative… I know faithful readers will not believe me when I say this, but I’d really like to report positive stuff happening at Conference. The problem is that the whole thing was such a train wreck on so many different ways (without even starting on the finances). And I simply don’t subscribe to the philosophy that positive coverage is to pretend that nothing bad happened and report on all the fluffy Hallmark cards read over the pulpit, as if they were news.

So much happened at conference this week, that it overshadowed a really interesting development in the fight for religious freedom at BYU! Apparently, BYU’s law school hosts some sort of ironic religious freedom conference, and Free BYU wrote to all the speakers to explain the irony — and they got a bite! And it’s getting some traction:

I’m pleased to see that the Free BYU guys are having some success because this issue is really important to me personally. I need to get down to business on submitting a profile for their site…

Other interesting LDS-related discussions include William Morris’s analysis of Mormon fiction writers and self-censorship and Jerry D. Grover, Jr.’s translation of the Caractors Document — which I totally want to check out when I get a minute. On a related note, the Cultural Hall podcast recounted the adventure of discovering a Mormon archeological site. And don’t forget our New Testament lesson on avoiding the appearance of evil!

The Sunstone Symposium is finally coming to Europe! It looks like there will be a symposium held in London February 26-28, 2016. I hope to see more details soon. I’m seriously thinking of attending — anyone else coming…?

(Though, honestly, it looks like it would be even more fun to go to Donna’s house…)

In other events, there’s an Inclusive Families Conference coming up in SLC in late October — anyone here planning to participate?

Wow, this has been quite a week! I’d like to sign of with my usual “happy reading” — but perhaps it would be more appropriate to wish you luck getting anything else done once you get started on this past week’s adventures!! 😉


C. L. Hanson is the friendly Swiss-French-American ExMormon atheist mom living in Switzerland! Follow me on mastadon at or see "letters from a broad" for further adventures!!

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2 Responses

  1. Regarding the “what mormon women get” video – The video was originally published embedded in the blog post page which cites the speaker and the source. The source has been linked on the “about” page of the video in YouTube from the beginning. When the video was created, it wasn’t clear that the speaker wanted to be identified with the video and it was only published after she got a chance to see it and give her blessing.

    Thanks for including the video in the summary. Jamie Handis Handy’s message is quite important.

  2. Donna Banta says:

    Would love a visit from you someday chanson!

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