Mormons in Church

As Mormons, we prize intelligence. But we’re also the first to admit we’re nowhere near perfect. Which is great! It leads to some fantastic memories to be made during meetings! Why? Because we assign speakers from the congregation—not just the local church authority!

So, for instance, one time when a girl said, “my friends have been very detrimental to my college experience.” And then she just kept going. Everyone else was quiet, but my Writer Roommates and I were cracking up in the back.

Or, standing up at the pulpit, reading her talk verbatim, a girl says, “I had some really scary health issues. I was scared and afraid.” Or a┬ástake authority (higher up than the local, ward level, but still pretty local): “How grateful it is to be able to talk to you.”

Things like this are why Mormons are laughing during church.

On the first Sunday of the month, we have a testimony meeting, where members will volunteer to get up in front of the congregation and bear their testimony–tell us that they know certain things are true, and why. It can be a really powerful religious experience for us.


One time, when I was a teenager, it was just me and my sister at church during one of those meetings. Behind us sat this little kid with an affinity for blowing raspberries.

So, a stay-at-home mom gets up, and starts talking about how she knows the Church is true, getting rather emotional about it all. How she loves her family. . .


. . . and her three beautiful children. . .


. . . and is so grateful to have them in her life. . .


That’s one of those things that had me fighting not to crack up. It’s undeniable proof–God has a sense of humor!


Those Writers and The Legend Of Mary Sue

I did something with my life this week. I joined the local college’s writing club, and got to participate in critiquing other club members’ stories. As a natural-born proofreader with sharp, pointy teeth filed to perfection, I was roaring and ready to go!

Before going to the meeting, I got the opportunity to read one of the two pieces up for the workshop. And boy, did I tear into it, mocking it aloud to my roommates at every opportunity. I’ve eviscerated their work, as fellow writers, plenty of times, so they’re used to it, and beginning to learn like good little minions.

Anyway, this piece. . . it was a high school vampire story. Overly dramatic, rushed, awkward and dull. Something all too easy to mock. And I delighted in it.

Then, of course, I got to the meeting. Met the other writers and critics. Got to taste some writer blood. And begin a friendship with another Grammar Nazi.

That, of course, is when the vampire author is brought into the spotlight, and it is this so-called Grammar Nazi. And I began to fear for the future of humanity. Again.

This girl is in college, but the story is based on her and her friends. And even as I—heavily biting my tongue—gave few well-placed comments, she looked like she was about to cry. Even though we were giving her the kid gloves, and giving her praise that she really didn’t deserve, and that we’d had to fight like hell to dredge up. It was poorly written. Plain and simple.

So, to all the aspiring writers out there who haven’t heard it, I have a few words to say. Not everyone’s going to like your work. Ever. Fact of life. Deal with it, pin up another rejection, and keep trying until you get it right. The big bad world doesn’t care about your feelings. It’s about what you can give them. There’s always going to be someone who thinks it’s a stupid story. There are always going to be critics. They keep you in perspective,

Also, some of you just weren’t meant to be writers. If you’re not a reader, first of all, just go ahead and rule yourself out. Writers are a strict, snotty club, and require you to know your medium. If you can’t get beyond the stuff that sounds like the regular Internet drudgery, rule yourself out again. Go for the exceptional, not what’s been done a thousand times under a thousand different names and descriptions—here mostly meaning our good old friend, Mary Sue, and the hackneyed plots that follow her around because they have no will to stand on their own. Besides, don’t you think you’d be better suited putting your talents to use elsewhere? Maybe your writing is depriving the world of future leaders. Doctors. Teachers. Techs. Dictators. Expand your horizons!

To those of you adding to The Legend Of Mary Sue, us who are criticizing you have been there. We got smart. We’re just trying to keep you from making our mistakes.

And, let me just point out, there’s a good reason I don’t often show any of my own stuff. I’m not a bad writer, says me, but I’m a better proofreader.

Grammar Nazism: A Wonderful Pastime

Ah, the English language! What a fantastic thing! It gives us the words through which we can express ourselves eloquently!

N den u get dis—a perversion. A horror.

My brothers and sisters, I stand before you today to speak on a subject of vital importance to English speakers everywhere. Its endangerment. A mortal threat to the very words we use every day.

This threat has a name. Text talk. The blatant rape of everything our language is.

I, myself, have on occasion partaken of this horror in order to conserve space while writing on my cell phone. There. I’ve admitted the crime—the most horrid of sins. But, my brothers and sisters, let me tell you this. I could hear my brain cells screaming out in pain as they were brutally murdered by the thousands. That’s why I can stand before you now, and say with complete certainty, that the way of text talk lies error and sin. Damnation.

Will we, the users of the English language, stand for this atrocity? Will we allow our children to be subjected to this filth—this vulgarity? Let me tell you right now, I won’t, brothers and sisters. Because I know that God smiles on those who speak their language properly. And he can smile on you, too, for a small contribution to the Grammar Nazi foundation. This isn’t me you’re giving this money to, brothers and sisters, it’s God, so that the sinning text talkers around the world may come to know the error of their ways and take his hand.

Okay, I’d better stop while I’m behind, there. Moral of the story, save the gray matter and spread the wholesome goodness of complete sentences!