If that isn’t the stupidest book title ever, I don’t know what is. But that’s the title of Sheri Dew’s bestselling LDS book. In case you don’t know who Sheri Dew is, she’s the CEO of Deseret Book, the LDS church’s for-profit publishing arm; obsequious biographer of late church president Gordon B. Hinckley; and well-known homophobe (she displayed “a picture of a same-sex wedding; the photograph depicted two men getting married at the San Francisco City Hall and holding their adopted infant twin daughters in their arms. ‘This is hard for me to stomach,’ said Dew. ‘What kind of chance do these girls have being raised in that kind of setting?’”) . Lovely.
Last night I came home from driving all over Utah Valley trying to find the right printer cartridge. Still haven’t found it. Grrrr.I arrived home, and the television was on in an empty family room. It was tuned to BYU-TV, and there was Sheri Dew speaking in the Provo Tabernacle. I caught just a minute or so of her talk, and it got me thinking. I know, how is a woman given to trite truisms, gay-bashing, and Hinckley-worship supposed to make one think?She was talking about how TV preachers offer quick solutions to life’s problems: “Send $59.95, and you’re troubles are over.” She contrasted this quick-fix approach to the gospel, which isn’t easy and doesn’t make this kind of financial demand.But what exactly is the gospel solution? To me, it’s “give 10% of your income, dedicate as many hours as you can to serving in church callings, give your blood, sweat, and tears, and then still you can’t expect relief from your troubles.” A lot of Mormons refer to life within the church as a treadmill or a hamster wheel: you run and run and never get anywhere. You give and give, expecting a reward that never comes.
In other words, the church takes but does not give back. At least the TV evangelists send you some stupid vial of olive oil from Israel or a prayer card. With Mormonism, you get nothing. But you give all.
You don’t even get a t-shirt. Just some ugly and uncomfortable underwear. And you have to pay for them.