No Laughing Matter

Yesterday I posted a little parody article about how Thomas Monson had decreed that all priesthood holders should wear button-down collars to prevent crooked and slovenly collars. I thought it was pretty obvious that it was a joke, and certainly I have a history of posting parodies.
 
But I was shocked at how many people thought it was legit. On RfM Richard Packham had to caution that it was a parody and not meant to be quoted. A close relative read it and was puzzled as to why I would quote a news article verbatim without comment. Needless to say, I am not that good of a parody writer. What this shows is that we, members and apostates alike, expect this kind of spiritual micromanagement from LDS church leaders. If it wasn’t out of line for Hinckley to specify exactly how many earrings one is allowed, it certainly raises no eyebrows if current leaders tell us what kind of shirts to wear.
 
This morning my parody hit the MADB board. Here are a few comments (made before the moderators closed the thread):
 
“I think the spirit of what President Monson is aksing for is completely correct. He recognizes that the purity of what is on the inside is most important. Yet, he is asking for a dress code for the outside that is consistent, respectful, and presentable. I will strive to honor that request. We should be happy to oblige our prophets when they make such small procedural requests.”
 
***
 
“Anyone who holds the priesthood should be ready, prepared and worthy to bless and pass the sacrament, give prayers or be called upon to give talks or to bear their testimony at a moment’s notice. They should reflect the Savior in their every act. Christ would never appear unclean, dirty, slovenly or unkempt in appearance if He was to bless or pass the sacrament, give a prayer or give a talk. He wouldn’t need to go home to change or tuck in a shirt or button His color or have someone lend him a tie. He would be dressed as best as He could and according to contemporary standards of decency and He would conduct Himself in such a way as to represent His Heavenly Father and to be about His work.

“Even those in the most humble of circumstances and who are without financial means dress their best when they seek the Lord and represent Him as Priesthood holders and Sisters. I only wish people wouldn’t think that this is a joke because it shouldn’t matter if it was written as a joke or a real talk given by the Prophet since it is true regardless. I’m not overly concerned about a requirement to wear a white shirt if you bless or pass the sacrament but I would hope that you would desire to do so and to look your best when exercising the Priesthood. I would whether have a clean shaven, well dressed Priesthood holder who was wearing a colored shirt pass and bless the sacrament then one who comes to Church wearing a white shirt but is unkempt in appearance because both show how they value themselves and their role as Priesthood holders.”
 
So, I apologize for not labeling this explicitly as a parody, but I am still shaking my head at how it was received.

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12 Responses to No Laughing Matter

  1. I have done this before, too, and really ticked a few people off. I guess you have to make these things pretty obvious, because sometimes life is stranger than SNL.

  2. I have to admit, though, that whatever embarassment you may be feeling about MADB posters taking your parody with grave spiritual seriousness, I secretly think it’s pretty funny. 😉

  3. Seth Payne says:

    I too was very surprised that people at MADB were taking it seriously!

    Very funny stuff.

  4. Odell Campbell says:

    cult anyone?

  5. Todd Wood says:

    S.E.Idaho does take white shirts very seriously.

  6. Todd Wood says:

    I mean . . . just look at the FPR link back in 2006 as a possible related post . . .

    (chuckling)

  7. Thayne Forbes says:

    I told you so.

    And for me, the harder it is to identify a parody, the funnier it is when I figure it out. Sadly, you will need a new alias to really catch me any more. You have a reputation, you see.

  8. Saganist says:

    I’m not too surprised, but I am amused. I especially like the guy who said, “Even if the prophet didn’t say this, he should have said it, so I’m going to follow it anyway!” Congratulations, you are the new prophet in a bloodless coup.

    What’s sad is that your parody completely fits our expectations of what LDS church leaders do and say. That makes it a very good parody, in my opinion. Style guides and dress codes pass for revelation these days.

  9. K*tty says:

    I’m just curious, can you even find button down shirts anymore? What is funny is the defense of something so mildly absurd. Could it happen? You betcha. I think that is what all the hoopla is about. Great post. I will be smiling all day.

  10. This is so wonderfully fantastic.

  11. Part of me is shaking my head that anyone would take it seriously, but the other part of me knows precisely why people would take it seriously. I would have thought Bednar’s talk about the young man who broke up with the young woman who had too many earrings was a parody if I did not know it was real.

    In any case, nice one, Runtu.

  12. Craig says:

    The fact of the church’s history of ridiculous and superficial micromanagement, and the already extant silly and arbitrary dress code at BYU (and even worse at BYUI) make this nearly completely believable – all the more so because I think most Mormons at one time or another have heard almost exactly that rant from their Bishop, Stake President or some other authority.

    This parody rings true both for active Mormons who constantly hears stories of women who removed their secondary (tertiary, etc) earrings as lauded as being über-righteous, and those of us with a more cynical view who expect nothing less than more inane and ridiculous exhortations of external purity-standards.

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