Mormons in Bolivia by the Numbers

September 18, 2015

A non-LDS friend was asking me about the church’s claims of being the “fastest-growing” church in the world, so I gathered a few statistics. I’ve mentioned before that activity rates in Bolivia, where I served my mission, are abysmal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone into a large chapel, even a stake center, where there were 25 or so people in sacrament meeting. In one branch where I served, there were 250 names on the membership records, but only 3 who attended sacrament meeting (and one of those was the branch president, who didn’t even live within the branch boundaries).

I just discovered that Bolivia did a national census in 2012, so I finally have real numbers to compare.

In 2012, the church claimed there were 182,964 members in Bolivia. According to the 2012 census, the population of Bolivia in 2012 was 10,027,254, so if we accept the church’s numbers, Mormons made up 1.82% of the population.

However, in the 2012 Bolivian census, only .3% of the population, or 30,082 people, self-identified as Mormon. That is only 16% of the number of members the church claims. Dividing the total by the number of wards and branches indicates that there are, on average, 117 self-identified Mormons in each unit. Of course, I would assume that not all self-identified Mormons are active in the church, so the number of active members per unit is probably a bit lower.

That said, according to, “Congregations widely vary in active membership, with a few larger wards numbering nearly 300 active members.” I saw that firsthand. There are a few wards in the larger cities that function pretty much like any ward in the US, with large congregations filling the pews each Sunday. But such wards are the exception, with most units struggling.

None of this should surprise anyone, but it’s kind of nice to have some real numbers for once.

Where Was Julie Rowe in 1991?

September 11, 2015

I have to admit that my knowledge of current LDS/Mormon culture isn’t as good as it used to be, mostly because I don’t attend church services and have far less frequent interactions with Mormons. A friend sent me an article from the Salt Lake Tribune about how a subset of Mormons is preparing for impending doom and the Second Coming.

Apparently, a church member named Julie Rowe had a near-death experience several years ago and has written books about the knowledge she received through that experience:

Here’s how the doomsday scenario plays out: History, some preppers believe, is divided into seven-year periods — like the Hebrew notion of “shemitah” or Sabbath. In 2008, seven years after 9/11, the stock market crashed, a harbinger of a devastating recession. It’s been seven years since then, and Wall Street has fluctuated wildly in recent weeks in the wake of China devaluing its currency.

Thus, they believe, starting Sept. 13, the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days, there will be another, even larger financial crisis, based on the United States’ “wickedness.” That would launch the “days of tribulation” — as described in the Bible.

They say Sept. 28 will see a full, red or “blood moon” and a major earthquake in or near Utah. Some anticipate an invasion by U.N. troops, technological disruptions and decline, chaos and hysteria.

Some of these speculations stem from Julie Rowe’s books, “A Greater Tomorrow: My Journey Beyond the Veil” and “The Time Is Now.”

Rowe, a Mormon mother of three, published the books in 2014 to detail a “near-death experience” in 2004, when the author says she visited the afterlife and was shown visions of the past and future.

Though Rowe rarely gives specific dates for predicted events, she did describe in a Fox News Radio interview “cities of light,” including scores of white tents where people will live in the mountains and sometimes be fed heavenly “manna.” She saw a “bomb from Libya landing in Israel, but Iran will take credit.”

And “Gadianton robbers” of Book of Mormon infamy, meaning secret and corrupt leaders, are “already here.”

Her purpose in speaking out, Rowe told interviewer Kate Dalley, was “to wake more of us up. … We need each other as we unify in righteousness and continue to build a righteous army. When we need to defend the [U.S.] Constitution, we will be ready.”

I would be kind of bummed if the end came just as the college football season is getting underway, but we’ll see what happens.

Given the LDS church’s long history of encouraging emergency preparedness–at one time suggesting that church members stockpile a year’s supply of food and necessities–a cottage industry has grown in Utah and other places where Mormons make up a significant part of the population. But there has always been a subset of people in the church who have combined the preparedness fervor with right-wing politics and prophecies of doom. (These “doomsday preppers,” as they’ve come to be known, are not limited to Mormonism but are found all across the US.) Some LDS teachings just seem to be more compatible with these beliefs, so it’s not surprising that there are quite a few LDS preppers. It seems that every ward has at least one.

But I lived in a ward once where such beliefs and activities thrived. Between 1991 and 1997, my wife and I lived in an LDS ward in Orem, Utah, located just south of University Mall. For much of that time I was elders quorum president and then the bishop’s executive secretary. The ward was about 80% young married BYU student couples, with perhaps 10-15 families (a mix of older couples and families with kids).

Anyway, the ward was remarkable to me for two reasons.

First, among the “established” families, there seemed to be a high percentage of “doomsday preppers” with extreme right-wing views. Pretty much every sacrament meeting included at least one person warning of impending calamity and railing against the “New World Order,” the UN, and so on. Bo Gritz bumper stickers were common, and I was grilled more than a few times as to why I didn’t support his candidacy and instead supported one of the fake parties that were in on the conspiracy. One of the more militant couples routinely would email me right-wing propaganda, and they even got me a subscription to a right-wing magazine, whose name I have forgotten. It just showed up one day, and then about a month later, this sister approached me after church to ask, “Do you like the magazine?”

The other notable feature was somewhat related. There was a Uruguayan woman in the ward, and sometime prior to my moving in, her sons were sent to jail for stashing guns in and around Temple Square, as they were convinced that church president Ezra Taft Benson, a known right-winger, was being drugged and held against his will by people who didn’t want him speaking out on the aforementioned New World Order. They were going to bust him out of captivity in his apartment at the Eagle Gate Towers. I heard about this because the First Presidency sent out a letter saying that, if members of the church were ordered not to wear their tempe garments in jail, they should not wear garments. Our bishop then chuckled, telling us this was the result of the Gedo brothers suing for the right to wear garments in jail.

While I was elders quorum president, the brothers were released from jail and moved back in with their mother. These guys were certifiable and took every opportunity to disrupt meetings and corner people in the hallways at church. They were told they couldn’t be given temple recommends because they weren’t doing their home teaching (I wasn’t about to inflict them on anyone in the ward). So, the bishop told me the stake president was “ordering” me to assign them as home teachers. I told him no, but that if need be, I should be released as elders quorum president, but I was not going to do that. My bishop smiled and said, “Good. I didn’t want to do it, either, but I didn’t want to say no to the stake president.”

A few months before we moved out of the ward, things escalated with the Gedo brothers, and they were told that, during meeting times, they had to be in the meetings, or they were not welcome to be there (the one brother kept accosting young girls in the hallways). During Sunday School one week, the one brother scared the crap out of a young girl, who ran screaming to the second counselor in the bishopric, an older man in a wheelchair. The Gedo brother ended up punching the counselor in the face, breaking the man’s glasses and causing him to bleed. Unfortunately for Brother Gedo, a very large man happened to see the altercation and tackled him, subduing him until the police arrived. I emerged from Sunday School to find the church filled with police officers. Following that, the stake presidency asked me (by then I was executive secretary) to go with the bishop to deliver a letter from the church’s legal department barring the brothers from all church property. They threatened to kill us and our families, but we delivered the letter.

I hadn’t thought much about them until a friend talked about standing up for her beliefs against leaders of a non-LDS church. I think refusing to assign them as home teachers was the only time I ever said a definite “no” during my years as a believing Mormon. I was trying to remember the exact circumstances of their original arrest, so I went to Google and found that the story doesn’t end there.

I knew James (the creepier one who punched the guy in the wheelchair) had been arrested for making “terroristic threats” and a number of other things.

But then I stumbled across something that completely blew me away. The woman in our ward who had sent us the subscription to a right-wing magazine later was sued by David Gedo for paternity to establish that he is the father of her youngest child. My first thought was that he’s even crazier than I thought, but according to her appeal, she acknowledges his likely paternity. I’ll quote from one of the relevant court proceedings:

Mother has been married to [Father] for over eighteen years. [Child], the fourth of five children, was born into the marriage [in 1998]. Gedo filed this paternity action in 2005, seeking to adjudicate himself as [child’s] father. Mother has acknowledged the possibility that Gedo may be [child’s] biological father.

The parties’ versions of events since [child’s] birth are wildly divergent. According to Mother, [child] has been happily living with her and Father in a cohesive family unit, has seen Gedo only briefly since his birth and not at all in the last three years, and has never formed any sort of parent-child relationship with Gedo. Mother also asserts that Gedo acquiesced in Father’s role as [child’s] father, never paid child support or any other costs pertaining to [child], and never took any steps to establish his parentage. According to Gedo, Gedo has a strong parent-child relationship with [child] and has “paid child support, medical bills, and costs at birth.” Gedo acknowledges his lack of legal action to establish paternity, but claims that he brought this action after Mother cut him out of [child’s] life.   The district court made no factual findings below, and for purposes of this appeal we simply acknowledge the factual disputes between the parties.

I would bet money that the folks I knew in Orem are among those expecting the end of the world is coming this month. Me, I’ve never understood the attraction of these kinds of beliefs, but then there’s always someone out there who does. Hopefully, he or she isn’t in your ward.

An Apologist Reviews My Book

September 9, 2015

Over on a Mormon-themed message board, apologist Russell C. McGregor has posted a “review” of my book, Heaven Up Here. I’m not in the habit of responding to book reviews, but in this case, the review reveals much more about the reviewer than about my book:

I had the privilege of reading this book a number of years ago, in electronic format. I don’t know how closely the version I read matches the published version, but here are my impressions of it.

There is a tendency for people to praise books critical of the Church of Jesus Christ for their “honesty,” with the subtle insinuation that more positive views are somehow less honest. A number of people, not kindly disposed towards the Church, have offered that praise to this book. However, in this instance, I am inclined to agree. I think the book is indeed an honest one, if only for the reason that, to informed Latter-day Saints, it shows the author in a highly unflattering light; which is not usually a symptom of fabrication.

In the popular LDS phrase, a missionary is encouraged to “lose himself” (or herself) “in the work.” I have never seen a missionary reminiscence in which the work was more palpably lost in the missionary. So much of the book is dominated by expositions of the author’s internal state (often literally, as he treats us to medically detailed descriptions of his digestive woes) that it is easy to forget that any actual missionary work is even happening.

Heaven Up Here is, in large measure, a story of outraged privilege. We are never allowed to forget the author’s connection to the first generation of the Church, and the impression that he somehow deserves better treatment because of his ancestry is never far away. In the end, we are left with the clear sense that the Church cruelly abused this missionary by expecting his pampered American digestive system to cope, for eighteen whole months! with food of considerably better quality than what most of the people around him had to eat for their whole lives.

However, those people are rarely of very great importance. They are largely extras in a show that has been written, produced and directed by its star performer.

Perhaps the most disappointing episode recounted in the book was the case of the illiterate cook. The author and his companion had a lady who cooked meals for them. (Doesn’t everybody?) The quality of her cooking was not great, and the author subsequently found out why: she couldn’t read. Thus, she couldn’t follow a recipe, and simply guessed what ingredients to use, and what their quantities should be.

One can easily see how disastrous such cooking efforts would be; but once Elder Williams found the cause of the problem, he had an opportunity to devise a solution that would not only provide him and his companion with nutritious, palatable meals, but also benefit the lady and her family. He and his companion could have devised a program of teaching her to cook from the cookbook she was trying to use (after all, non-literate people are often very adept at memorising information and procedures) and, extending from that, how to read. This would have been a win-win solution. Here was a chance for Elder Williams to make a difference to his cook and her family; a chance to do some meaningful service (and even personally benefit thereby!) A chance, in Tolkein’s words, to “show his quality.”

So what did he do?

He fired her, and engaged another cook instead.

Without a word of apology or regret, he looked after el numero uno. Nothing could be more important than this American princeling’s pampered tummy.

Just in case anyone is wondering, I’m not a fan.

Anyone who has read my book knows that this hardly reflects anything in the book. Suffice it to say that our first cook was not “fired” for being a poor illiterate who couldn’t make food palatable to our “pampered tummies.” We got another cook because the lady in question was charging us twice the going rate and providing poor-quality food that was making us quite ill (my companion and I both had amoebas and 4 types of intestinal worms, and I had lost 30 lbs., dropping to a weight of only 114 lbs.). Only after failing to help her improve did we find someone else in the branch to cook for us.

But I figured something out about the “review.” Every complaint Mr. McGregor has about the book, and every misreading, intentional or not, comes from the beginning of the book. In short, he didn’t read the whole book, and it’s obvious. That’s why he didn’t realize I served a two-year mission; I was called for eighteen months, but you’d have to read about a third of the way through the book to learn that I was given the opportunity to extend my mission to two years, and I did so (clearly, because I felt my privilege was so outraged that I needed six more months of it). That’s why he thinks I constantly remind readers that I am a descendant of Frederick G. Williams, even though I mentioned it only once, again at the beginning, and in connection with feeling like being the first in several generations of Williamses to serve a mission was a tribute to him. That’s why he talks about my digestive issues as if they are a constant presence through the mission, but they aren’t. Again, they were the most severe during the first few months of my mission, when I got really sick and lost 30 lbs (otherwise known as having an upset tummy unbecoming of a spoiled princeling).

The only conclusion I can reach is that he read about one-quarter to one-third of the book, just enough to find a story he could spin in a way to demonize a 19-year old who later grew into me. I don’t know if I should find this pathetic or hilarious. Eh, probably both.

How BYU Destroyed Ancient Book of Mormon Studies

September 8, 2015

As I noted in earlier posts, Dr. William Hamblin of my alma mater, Brigham Young University, engaged in a rather one-sided “debate” with Baylor professor Dr. Philip Jenkins over the legitimacy of “Ancient Book of Mormon Studies” as an academic discipline. For more than two months, Hamblin continued to flail about, unable to provide a single piece of solid New World evidence that the events depicted in the Book of Mormon ever took place. In the end, Dr. Jenkins graciously ended the discussion, having showed fairly definitively that Hamblin had nothing to offer but postmodernist musings about the nature of reality and history as a discipline.

Instead of acknowledging his utter failure, Hamblin has now posted a follow-up in which he identifies the real villain in delegitimizing the “fledgling discpline” of Ancient Book of Mormon Studies: LDS-owned Brigham Young University.

How BYU Destroyed Ancient Book of Mormon Studies

Hamblin identifies the following key ways in which the powers that be at BYU killed a promising new academic endeavor:

  1. College and Department Politics. Hamblin explains how he was praised and given merit pay raises and promotions when he published in non-LDS fields of study but was reprimanded and denied career progress when he focused on the Book of Mormon. He appears to be mystified that, even at BYU, Ancient Book of Mormon Studies (ABMS) is not considered a legitimate field of study, but he explains rather clearly the university’s thinking: “you must publish outside the ‘BYU Bubble’—that is, BYU or LDS sponsored publications,” if you want your work to be considered legitimate scholarship, and that means you can’t publish anything in Ancient Book of Mormon Studies. But there’s nothing puzzling about this at all: BYU wants to be taken seriously as an academic institution, but that won’t happen if its professors turn inward and spend their time on topics that no one else accepts as legitimate. Surely, Hamblin understands this. What he is describing is not politics but part of any university’s quest to excel and build a reputation, and professors who publish on Nephite horses and smelting ore to create obsidian-edged clubs do not contribute to a positive reputation.
  2. Religious Education. Here he complains that the one department with a legitimate interest in ABMS is not allowed to teach it. No, the Religious Education department teaches what Hamblin calls “the ‘Three Ds’—doctrine, devotion, and daily application” to the exclusion of “serious academic study of the Book of Mormon as an ancient text.” I wonder what school he’s been teaching at because it has always been this way at BYU. Religion classes at BYU are taught out of the LDS Institute manuals and have always been intended to be devotional in nature. Sure, a few professors have sneaked in their pet ABMS theories (such as the course I took from Paul Hoskisson many years ago), but Religion classes are part of your General Education classes, not a serious avenue of academic study (see #1 above).
  3. BYU Curriculum and the Book of Mormon. This is really just an extension of #2 in that he’s complaining that BYU offers only two classes in the Book of Mormon. Instead of an in-depth study of “Book of Mormon geography, history, archaeology, linguistics, literature, theology, culture, language (ancient Near East and Maya), textual criticism, religion, law, warfare, apocalyptic, reception history, the Bible in the Book of Mormon, etc.,” he laments, “This cannot be an oversight or random chance.  This is obviously a conscious policy that implements curriculum decision which minimizes the opportunities of students to study the Book of Mormon as a serious academic discipline at BYU.  Which, for all practical purposes, means students can’t do ancient Book of Mormon studies at all, anywhere.” Of course it’s no oversight but a rational and obvious decision to avoid putting time, money, and effort into something that would damage the university’s reputation.
  4. Graduate Studies and the Book of Mormon. Hamblin is unhappy that the “only way that young LDS scholars can study the Book of Mormon in graduate school is to study it as a nineteenth century text in a secular religious studies program, or US history program.” Again, the reason isn’t hard to divine: the Book of Mormon is best seen in its historical context, which is 19th-century frontier America, not ancient Mesoamerica (see #1 above).
  5. BYU and the Destruction of FARMS. I think this section gets to the heart of the matter. FARMS (Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) was near and dear to the heart of Dr. Hamblin and his friends, notably Daniel C, Peterson. For years it operated independently of BYU, raising funds and publishing without oversight. But that changed in 1997, when it was brought in as an official part of the university, which renamed it The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Studies in 2006. At the time, its absorption into BYU was seen as giving it legitimacy and the stamp of approval of not only the university but of its sponsoring church, but Hamblin describes it as a “hostile takeover” and says the university has broken its promises made to FARMS. In 2012 MI director Gerald Bradford fired Daniel C. Peterson as editor of the FARMS Review of Books and announced that the institute would henceforth avoid apologetics and instead focus on Mormon Studies, a broader, non-devotional, non-apologetic approach to the Mormon religion. I need not get into the details other than to say that Hamblin and his colleagues have not been happy with this turn of events. Again, the reason for the university’s actions isn’t difficult to understand.

The reality is that Ancient Book of Mormon Studies never was a fledgling academic discipline. One need only look at the long list of FARMS publications over the years to see that the institute was never academic in nature. Serious academic work develops a hypothesis based on the evidence and then tests that hypothesis against further evidence. Apologetics comes to the question with the answer already provided, and then works backwards to fit the evidence to that answer. Hamblin can complain until he’s blue in the face, but the hard truth is that BYU understands the difference between scholarship and what FARMS was doing. Even if you ignore the controversies about personal attacks in FARMS publications, it was always going to be apologetic in nature, and BYU made a conscious decision not to do apologetics, whether Hamblin likes it or not.

Apologetics has its place, certainly. I am not saying that what FARMS and its supporters (now publishing the Mormon Interpreter) did is illegitimate or dishonest, but it is by nature partial and often polemical. Universities are supposed to be in the business of promoting knowledge wherever it comes from, and that’s not what apologetics does. As a BYU alumnus (2 BAs and an MA), I’m happy that BYU has walked away from the pursuit of Book of Mormon apologetics. It just seems very strange for apologists to complain that a university is refusing to engage in a pursuit it finds academically illegitimate.

Arkansas DMV Clerk Stands Up for Religious Freedom

September 4, 2015

Salt Lick, Arkansas (URP)

Tyson County DMV clerk Jason Durgess is garnering praise from around the country for his principled defense of his religious rights. Durgess, a member of the Apostolic Regeneration Brethren Church, announced Thursday that, in keeping with his religious beliefs, he could no longer in good conscience issue driver’s licenses to female residents.

“The scriptures are clear,” Durgess said today while sitting at his closed clerk’s station. “‘Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.’ I didn’t make that up. Jesus said it, and Reverend Gary says I can’t do anything that undermines the authority of the man, who is ‘the saviour of the body.'”

When applicants complained that Durgess was approving licenses only for men, he had a change of heart. “I knew I needed to be just and fair, and it wasn’t right to single out women.” Accordingly, Durgess decided to refuse to issue licenses to anyone, male or female.

“I just feel like my right to freedom of religion needs to be respected, and I shouldn’t be forced to do things that the Bible says are wrong.”

Supervisors at the DMV tried to accommodate Durgess by assigning him to the vehicle registration department, but he quickly found his conscience wouldn’t allow him to register vehicles that might be driven by women. “This is a life-or-death matter for me. I cannot condone or approve of behavior that goes against the central teachings of the gospel.”

When supervisors told Durgess he had to resume issuing licenses or be fired, he called on the Libertas Counsel, an organization that supports religious freedom for all.

“When Jason called us, I was shocked,” said Cleophas Stemmelbow, lead counsel at Libertas. “It’s appalling that in the 21st century we are threatening people’s livelihoods if they don’t violate their most cherished religious beliefs. This isn’t Nazi Germany or Massachusetts. This is America, and this sort of thing isn’t supposed to happen here!”

Fearing a lawsuit, supervisors agreed to allow Durgess to continue his employment without any responsibilities. “Yeah, he just sits there playing games on his iPhone all day, but what are we supposed to do?”

As lines grew longer, patron tempers grew shorter. “I don’t know what this guy’s problem is,” said an exasperated Tiffany Meadows, who was trying to calm a fussy infant while waiting in line. “I’ve been here almost 2 hours, and that guy’s just sitting there on his butt, doing nothing.”

“Look,” Durgess said, looking up from Angry Birds, “if you are that desperate, go to another clerk or another county, and they’ll fix you up just fine.”

Local pastor Robert McDowell approached Durgess’s clerk station while his wife, Barbara McDowell, recorded the conversation on her phone. “Son, you have a legal responsibility to issue me a driver’s license,” said an obviously irritated McDowell. “I and every other taxpayer in this county are paying your salary. You can’t just sit there. Do you really want us to beg you? This is just humiliating!”

Durgess dismissed the complaints. “These are just whiners who are looking for attention. They claim they’re humiliated, but it’s all fake. If they were really humiliated, they wouldn’t have recorded anything and published it. Get real. They’re just some angry losers who want to sin.”

As more people filed past Durgess’s station, he smiled wistfully and said he felt proud to stand up for the values that have made this country great. “I’ve had a few phone calls from Republican presidential candidates, and there’s even talk of a Lifetime movie. Life is good when you trust in the Lord.”

Trump Diaries, Sept. 2, 2015

September 2, 2015

[Authenticity cannot be verified. —Ed.]

September 2, 2015

Hit the ground running this morning. I’m trying to broaden my horizons and talk to as many real Americans as I can, so in that spirit, I asked our doorman, Manny, what he thought of my Immigration Reform proposal. He looked a little flustered and said, “Maybe you should rethink it. It plays into some negative stereotypes.” I didn’t have time to ask him what he meant, so I flipped through the proposal in the car on the way to the office. I have to say those fellas did a helluva job on the proposal. I didn’t know half that stuff. Somebody told me that illegal immigrants contribute $150 billion to our economy, and more than 70% pay state and federal taxes, including Social Security and Medicare, which they are not eligible to receive. If I hadn’t skimmed the proposal this morning, I wouldn’t have had any idea that these freeloaders receive more than $4 billion in free tax credits. I’m gonna have to remember to ask Corey and Mike what they mean by “free tax credits.” Also, someone should make sure Manny is here legally.

But maybe Manny is right, and the tone is wrong. I’ve asked my speechwriters to improve the tone by putting more emphasis on the rapes and murders, though that bit about the “trail of blood” was awesome. The whole thing needs to be punchier. Find me some more examples like those illegals who attacked a 64-year-old woman, “crushing her skull and eye sockets with a hammer, raping her, and murdering her.” That’ll hit home.

I was totally on a roll, crushing it.

As soon as I got to the office, however, things took a sour turn. I had on my schedule a meeting with the Hair Club for Men, and that kind of stuff always gets me excited. I was all set to talk about how I get my hair so naturally thick and perfectly coiffed, but when the door opened, in came those geeks from the Club for Growth–you know, those idiots who say they want to shrink the government down to the size at which they can drown it in the bathtub. They want me to sign a pledge that I’ll never raise taxes. I don’t know why they keep asking because I’ve already said I’m going to lower taxes and make sure the hedge-fund guys pay their fair share. How much more specific do I have to get?

So, this loser ex-Congressman (he totally failed trying to run for governor of California) comes in and starts pitching his no-new-taxes bullshit. Yeah, like I’m stupid enough to fall for that. Who do they think I am, Poppy Bush? I told these guys they were barking up the wrong tree. Trump signs pledges for no one! But I said I sympathize with their goals, so I told them if they picked their top candidates for the House and Senate, I’d donate a million bucks to further the cause. So, this no-talent hack Mcin-something accuses me of trying to buy them off. If I’m going to buy someone off, it’s not going to be for pocket change. Who the hell do they think they are? I told them to get the hell out of my office and come back when the guy in charge isn’t named after a muppet.

Had lunch with Glenn Beck. That is one scary fella. If he doesn’t have his chalkboard handy, all he does is cry.

Spent the afternoon getting my tweets just right. This one was for the ages:

The president of the pathetic Club For Growth came to my office in N.Y.C. and asked for a ridiculous $1,000,000 contribution. I said no way!

Pathetic and ridiculous. That’ll teach ’em.

Then I went in for the kill:

When I intelligently turned down The Club For Growth crazy request for $1,000,000, they got nasty. What a waste of money that would have been.

Still crushing it. For real.

Got an unexpected gift from Jeb Bush in the form of direct attacks, in English and Spanish, no less. Hey, numb-nuts, we speak English in this country! So, your wife is an immigrant, big freaking deal! So’s mine, only M. is from a real country, and I didn’t pick her up on some high school charity trip, neither. M. has a college degree, and I married her because she’s so smart, not because she’s a model. She could get a job anywhere she wants. All I’d have to do is pick up the phone, and bam! she’s hired. At least my wife spoke English when I married her. Are we even sure Señora Bush is actually a citizen? Remember to get someone to check.

I hear Jeb wants to focus on policy, not personality. I guess you go with what you have. Obviously not much personality there. But how can he say I’m not outlining policy? I’ve been talking about it nonstop for months: greatness, victory, wall. That moron acts like I’m some kind of idiot. Everyone knows I’m brilliant. People are shocked at how smart I am! Who the hell is he? Calling in the Twitter guys now.

The Trump Diaries

September 2, 2015

[Authenticity has not been verified–Ed.]

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Slept in a little today but had enough time to look at the polls over something called a Western Omelet. I never had one until I was in that greasy spoon in Colorado. So good I had my personal chef get the recipe.

Polls looking good: I’m ahead in Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida (against their loser ex-governor and senator). I tell ya, something’s happening out there. It’s big. It’s huge.

M. left for QVC at 9:00, but not before complaining again that I haven’t nailed down our vacation plans for this year. Like I keep telling her, specifics are coming. Just not yet. Noticed some of the gold has flaked off the breakfast table. Need to get the gilders in.

Got stuck in traffic on the way to the office. I tell ya, that’s not going to happen anymore once I’m in. Traffic stops for me, not for you. Traffic jams are for losers.

Met with this guy from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. What the hell does that even mean? Since when do murderers and rapists have their own chamber of commerce? But Corey and Mike said I had to talk to this guy, Pedro or Jose something like that, because some people are upset that I’m taking a stand against illegal immigration. Yeah, like that prick from Telemexico or whatever it’s called. I put that guy in his smug little Mexican place.

So I had Juan or Pablo or whoever over to talk, you know, mano y mano. Guy looked like Cesar Romero, swear to God. He starts in on me about how building a border wall is racist. I said I didn’t hear him whining about the Great Wall of China. The Chinese built a wall 5,000 miles long, and mine’s not even going to be half that long. Who does he think we’re gonna get to build the damn thing? Exactly. Legal immigrants and people who deserve to be in this country. He said he didn’t like my plan to get rid of all the illegals. I think maybe he’s afraid I’m gonna deport him. Do we even know his immigration status? I’ll have one of the interns check.

But I decided to play nice, give him a healthy dose of the old Trump charm. Didn’t even interrupt him once, but then I wasn’t paying too much attention. Guy had the nerve to say that deporting illegals would hurt our construction, agriculture, and hospitality industries. Yeah, like we can’t get any real Americans to do that kind of work. I told him that everyone who works for The Trump Organization works for us legally, even the ones that originally came to this country illegally.

After 90 minutes of that nonsense, I told him I had important business to do, but I was hoping for his vote. He said he’d consider it, though I swear he said something in Spanish under his breath, something like Hee-Oh de pooter. I’ll get one of the maids to tell me what it means.

Lunch with Ann Coulter. My kind of woman: tough and smart and blonde. She’d be a real looker if she dropped 20 pounds and had a little work done. Still, she’s a sweet gal, and those shoulder blades! Asked her what she meant when she said she’d be OK with me performing abortions in the White House. She assured me she wasn’t talking about herself, specifically.

Spent an hour or so turning down millions of dollars people keep offering me. I told ’em to donate to the PACs. Lots of PACs starting up to support me. I don’t know any of these people, but if I don’t have to pay for it, I’m good.

Corey said it was time to start talking about our campaign platform. I hate to nail myself down to so many specifics, but maybe he’s right. So, here are our detailed policy positions:

1. Build a freaking wall to keep out the rapists and murderers.
2. Illegal immigrants are gonna be gone so fast.
3. Solve gun violence by focusing on the mentally ill. Find out who they are and do something about it.
4. Rebuild our infrastructure by not giving weapons to countries who don’t like us.
5. Veterans are going to be taken care of.
6. My tax plan: Who knows more about taxes than me? Lower taxes, hedge-fund guys gotta pay their fair share.
7. No one cares more about women’s health than me.
8. Be a champion and a winner. People wanna see victory. They’re gonna see so many victories they’ll get tired of them.
9. Leave Tom Brady alone!

And that’s just in my first 100 days!

M. is asleep, and I’m about to turn in. One of the butlers just came in to take away the dishes, and I swear to God he looked just like that guy from the Mexican chamber of commerce, only better hair.