Thursday, October 04, 2007

Priestcraft!


I really enjoy conference! I'm serious - I really do! I enjoy being able to go to church in my pajamas. I enjoy the family gatherings. I enjoy the sense of priesthood strength singing together as a worldwide community of brethren. I enjoy learning from the spirit.


But... I also really detest the "cultural" aspects of conference. And is it just me, or is this getting worse and worse with each passing year?


What I mean by this (for those of you fortunate enough to live outside Zion) is the bombardment of ads in the paper, on the radio, on television etc. for you to "buy" the latest CD, the latest and greatest GA book, or your own personalized latest design-CTR ring. It is getting to be worse than Christmas. UUGGGHHH!


I can't stand it! I know I've said this before, but it feels so much like Priestcraft! Just as I hate the commercialization of Christmas, I can't stand the commercialization of Conference and of the Church as a whole. Sure they sell sweet and inspirational syrup for you to consume in every available way to take your money. Look at some of the most recent offerings:


1. Jospeph B. Worthlin's Press On... Can you tell me why Elder Worthlin has to write such a book? Is it really necessary? And must I endure the ads that remind me how long he's lived (he's 87 and yet the ad says he's 90) and what an example of "pressing on"???


2. Emily Freeman's 21 Days Closer to Christ - now if that isn't a poster child for Priestcraft, I don't know the meaning of the word...


3. Ardeth Kapp's Joy of Believing... Ditto.


4. A twenty-something's Guide to Spirituality? Give me a break!


5. How do I change my husband? Now that;s just what my wife needs. Maybe I'll buy it for her so she can learn how to make fun of men and the stupid things we do...


6. Of course don't forget your personal 19" Christus marble statue that you can use for a book end. (And to think that all those crucifixes and Mary statues in homes in Italy were looked upon by missionaries to be idol worshipping).


I know I'm ruining the spirit of conference with this satirical post, and maybe I should be above and beyond such things, but I am sick of it! I want to get out a protesting poster blaring "PRIESTCRAFT" and rally the troops to protest in front of each DB store this weekend. Are you with me?


Why can't we just get back to listening to the messages and leaving it at that? Why do the Brethren allow such commercialism of testimonies? Why do we as a culture buy such crap? What's wrong with reading the scriptures? Have you tried that?


It makes me want to leave Zion. I know of non-member friends who have noticed it as well. I've one friend who has asked me how he can take our religion seriously when there is such a barrage of inspirational fluff at the core of what is portrayed to the community at large. He misses the message of humanitarian service, education, missionary work, relief efforts with the welfare program, etc. because he sees DB as equaling the Church's real mission. It's a fair question and I feel fortunate that so far (I hope) it has contaminated only the Wasatch Front, but I'm fearful that the disease of sweetness will spread to "all the world".

22 comments:

Foxx said...

Are you with me?

Sure, as long as I can sell LDS-themed T-shirts while we're there!

Kengo Biddles said...

This is why I terribly miss conference the way it was in Virginia, and on our mission. You had to go to the church house to see it. And frankly, I'm to the point that I turn off the TV between sessions because I'm physically ILL at all of the [cursewords galore] advertising.

Beck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beck said...

FOXX: You can bring your t-shirts and sell them on the side of the protest, as long as I get half the profits!

KENGO: You are so right! The TV ads between conference are the most gaggy and sickeningly sweet and over-the-top embarrassments that I can't stand it. You just come out of watching a "spiritual feast" and then are bombarded with commercial testimonialisms! YUCK.

Abelard Enigma said...

Reason #237 why I never want to live in Utah!

It makes me want to leave Zion.

The new Jerusalem (i.e. Independence, Missouri) is lovely this time of year.

We will continue with our tradition of inviting friends over and having a pot luck lunch in between sessions. This year, we are adding a game night on Sunday evening to which we've invited some less active friends.

Max Power said...

Well, you could have the best of both worlds here in Southern California. Watching conference on cable TV in your pj's and no Priestcraft ads to spoil the fun. It just keeps getting better and better down here. :P

FoxyJ said...

Amen! I hate that kind of stuff. Sometimes I have found things at Deseret Book that I really like. But I hate their relationship with the Church and the way they manage to put all other LDS-related businesses out of business. And I really hate lame Conference commercials!

Is your friend in Utah? Has he ever visited a Christian bookstore? Mormons are not the only ones with kitsch...

J G-W said...

I very much enjoy putting on my suit and tie, and going over to the ward meeting house, and watching it with the other Saints. I enjoy the feeling of reverence, and I enjoy singing along with the hymns with the others in attendance. Here in Minneapolis, we've developed a tradition of having a potluck at the Church in between sessions, which is always fun (and tasty!). And this year, Göran is no longer giving me grief about wanting to attend, so I can go to all of the sessions without causing any tension at home.

I'm not sure I would call the hocking of conference-related kitsch "priestcraft." But I've already said my two cents about what I think about "Mormon Culture." (Hate it.)

Ron Schow said...

Beck

There is one more thing with Deseret Book you didn't mention. I heard them advertising that they are having a women's night at all the DB stores during the Priesthood Session. Maybe the women don't mind that idea, but I thought, umm....will they ever invite the men to come for punch and munchies while the women go to their session?? LOL

AttemptingthePath said...

If I see you out in front of my DB I'm going to throw a Christus at your face.

Beck said...

ABE: Wow, #237? What are the other 236? I like your tradition of inviting friends, active and less-active!

MAX: Thanks for making me feel envious... you probably won't have snow either this weekend, which is what is in our forecast!

FOXYJ: My friend is born and raised here. He is used to it. It just is interesting for him to key in on equating Deseret Book with the Church and he can't distinguish between the lame cultural aspects and the gospel principles. In that aspect, there is a disservice going on.

Beck said...

JGW: I think that is a great tradition to go to the church dressed up and have pot-luck in-between sessions. There really is a difference when saints are gathered together in the proper spirit SINGING together. That is why I absolutely LOVE the Priesthood Session as that is the only session I get to do that and feel that communal spirit.

As for not calling it "priestcraft" I might be showing my drama-queen personality, but don't you think there is a fine line between sharing your wisdom and inspired thoughts for the betterment of the whole and doing so for profit and personal gain? I don't see many books state that all proceeds go toward the Humanitarian programs of the church!

RON: You're right! There is "Ladies' Night" and yet there is never "Guys' Night". I wonder why... I bet AtP could tell us the percentage of the clientele that are women verses men.

Beck said...

AtP: I was hesitant to write this without a footnote that this implied absolutely nothing against anyone associated with or employed by your favorite local church bookstore! But, then, I knew you knew how I felt and that I love you!

As for the protesting, thanks for the warning... I'll be wearing a pillow on my face - marble statuettes can leave quite the bump on the noggin! :)

Abelard Enigma said...

women's night at all the DB stores during the Priesthood Session

Hmmm, I wonder if that includes all Deseret Books stores, including the ones here in Texas? Or if it is just the Utah branches?

We used to have two LDS book stores near the Temple; but, [sigh] Deseret Books put the other one out of business (bought them out). Unfortunate because the other one tended to be a little cheaper. :(

I'm always amused whenever I go there. It seems like everybody walks around quietly and whispers - as if it's supposed to be a place of reverence or something.

playasinmar said...

Oh, AtP. We do appreciate you poking your head out of the sand once in a while to peck out a comment or two. :D

I have no issue with Mormons selling Mormon culture. I'm too capitalistic to worry about the process. We have so many interesting ideas and stories to tell.

I have no problem with (in fact I encourage) LDS authors telling stories and LDS craftspeople manufacturing craft supplies.

Selling testimonies, however, makes me very uneasy. Save it for conference, GAs.

Gay LDS Actor said...

The day I saw Book of Mormon action figures being sold at Deseret Book was the day I thought, "This stuff is getting out of control." I know exactly what you mean, Beck.

Beck said...

ACTOR: Hey, Cody, cool action figures! I haven't seen those before. I guess I don't frequent the bookstore as often as I should.

I must admit that I do shop there at Christmastime. They have the Tabernacle Choir Christmas concerts on DVD and I love giving them to out-of-country folks who love the Christmas music.

Now that you've got me admitting things... read my lastest entry! :)

Beck said...

ABE: I think you need to come to a DB at Christmastime along the Wasatch Front - not particularly reverent then... typical commercial chaos!

PLAYA: I am glad you got my point. I don't mind someone wanting to make a buck. We all want that... but the selling of testimonies just puts me over the top! Thanks for seeing the meaning of "priestcraft" as exactly as the Book of Mormon describes it to be!

AttemptingthePath said...

FoxyJ said "But I hate their relationship with the Church and the way they manage to put all other LDS-related businesses out of business"

Talk to George Q. on that one, and the brethren that started the bookstore.

I don't mind the relationship that DB has with the church, because the store exists for two reasons 1. to provide good clean books for the members of the church, (I can get the quote from George Q. on this one) and 2. all of the profit goes back to the church.

Ummm I don't know about you...DB IS a company, if you had an opportunity to eliminate the competition wouldn't you?

although, i do admit the commercials are kind of ridiculous (but, i think someone in the marketing team might read blogs...if you know what I mean...)

Oh Playa, trust me, my head isn't in the sand at all. I just rarely find things interesting enough to comment on.

Beck said...

AtP: Thanks for commenting on my blog. I love that you are out there!

I really do like DB. I shop there every Mother's Day, birthdays, and Christmas for sure!

I feel there is a lot of good that comes from the mission of the store as you've described it and I appreciate the vision of the origins of the bookstore being explained. I know most of the proceeds go back to the church and it is a business so it should make a profit.

I get all that - I just don't like testimonies being sold. Help me to get past that one!

Beck said...

AtP said: "...I think someone in the marketing team might read blogs...if you know what I mean..."

I don't know what you mean, other than I feel very creeped out that someone in marketing might actually be reading this and attempt to identify this post.

What are you saying here?

Anonymous said...

Talking about an issue for me that hits it right on the head....YES!! I do believe some of this falls under the category of PRIESTCRAFT~

As a convert from NY, I have had a pretty tough time in Utah with the over/saturated commercialization/worldly-ness of the Church...

What can be done I wonder?? I know many, many other LDS that feel the same way.....It reminds me too much of the Catholic Church in NY.

Now...I have a strong testimony of the essentials..but I can see why we get a lot of flack for this...As a retired radio newscaster I HATE the whole media in conference thing(thanking the media for their participation etc...) I can tell you from experience that journalists are much like lawyers:)

Hey Beck.. thanx for letting me rant about my soapbox!!Love Kittywaymo:)