David Rodeback's Blog

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Life Among the Mormons, and Other Stuff

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Saturday, April 7, 2007
Is Laughter a Form of Worship?

First, a bit about Mitt -- something to read, actually. Then something funny to read about Mormons generally. Also, I muse on Mormons who can't laugh at themselves.

If Mormons and the (mostly their) local culture here on the Wasatch Front are topics which interest you, here are two of items you may want to consider reading.

Orson Scott Card (also a Mormon) writes at length on Mitt Romney's Mormonism and the 2008 presidential race. He also discusses Hugh Hewitt's book on the same subject.

This more or less concludes the serious, political section of this post. On to the funny stuff.

The Bishop Higgins Third Ward blog seems to be written by a Mormon who knows what it's like to be a bishop (lay pastor) in the LDS (Mormon) Church. Be advised that some of  his posts merit a PG rating. I'm not certain that this blog is easily accessible to non-Mormons, either, but I, a Mormon bishop, find it hilarious. Yes, of course it's a little over the top. Yes, the blogger, whoever he is, is sometimes slightly spelling-impaired. But how does one resist such recent posts as "Pole dancing prohibited at the ward talent show" and "Did someone borrow the organ?"

No, I don't worry that such humor will give a potential convert the wrong impression about the Church. What harmful conclusion might such a prospective convert draw? That we Mormons know how to laugh at ourselves? Pray tell, what's the harm in a convert thinking that? It's true -- partly -- and to the extent that it isn't, it ought to be.

This blog came to my attention when a fellow in my LDS ward (congregation) sent me a link. He told me I should read it "while it's still up" -- the implication being that the Church will soon see that it is taken down. Later this morsel of intelligence was enhanced by the rumor that Church officials are investigating, and someone -- the alleged Bishop Higgins, I suppose -- is going to get spanked when they -- make that They -- find him.

Gotta love the rumor mill.

More to the point, what is it about some Mormons? Why are they so insecure or poorly adjusted that they not only can't laugh at themselves, but can't let anyone else laugh, either? As a member and local leader of the LDS Church, I see very little that must never be laughed about/at. Many things deserve to be laughed about regularly, and some things urgently need to be laughed about/at, which isn't exactly the same thing.

Do you mind if I add a fact or two? I had 30 seconds to kill, so I looked up Bishop Gerald Higgins of Provo, Utah, in the Church's online directory of leaders and adminstrators, to which I have access because I am one. There's no one by that name in the entire directory, and the "Bishop Higgins Third Ward" is an obvious fiction, anyway. So we're not reading what purports to be a factual account of a specific LDS congregation. (Not that there aren't some insights there all the same.)

. . . So I just can't see why anyone would get uptight about it all, or how it might be harming the Church.

I fully intend to keep laughing. "Bishop Higgins," whoever he is, helps me with that. He goes a little further than I might in some cases, but he has won me as a reader.

And some of what he writes sounds very familiar.

Jennifer Moreno comments (10/13/08):

Is Gerald Higgins REALLY a Mormon bishop? The blog is hysterical.

David Rodeback comments (10/13/08):

I don't know the author's real name, but I doubt it's Gerald Higgins. That said, he either is a Mormon bishop or otherwise knows a lot about being one. And he knows me. Some folks think I am he -- I'm flattered -- but then I would know the author's real name, wouldn't I? The field of suspects is rather small, I think, but I am at a loss.

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