Ep 516 – Smackdown: The Unwritten Order of Things

Smackdown

Posted August 18th, 2018

Did you know that if you take the sacrament with your left hand, it doesn’t really count?  Or that it is disrespectful for the first counselor to sit anywhere but on the right side of the Bishop/President?  Or that using nicknames like “Liz” instead of the full and proper “Elizabeth” is pretty much an abomination in the sight of God?

If any of this is news to you, then you just don’t know the holy precious sacred unwritten order of things.  You can repent by listening to this episode as Glenn, Jake, Heather, and Bob smack down the 1996 Boyd K. Packer BYU devotional talk “The Unwritten Order of Things.”

Also — as a special easter egg —  Glenn shares the myth “Old Lady Truth,” which is episode #1 of  his new podcast MytholoGuy.  Click here if you would like to subscribe and here to sign up on the MytholoGuy facebook page.

Bob

Glenn

Heather

Jake

  • Random additional linguistic fun fact about right and left handedness, the Latin word for right you covered, but the word for left is…sinister!

    • John

      The left hand path!!!

  • John

    I loved the discussion infants. Thanks for smacking this down. I submitted a listener smackdown of this exact talk a little over a month ago. Thanks for stealing our thunder!!! Some of our comments on parts of the talk were exactly the same. Great minds think alike. But seriously I enjoyed the discussion.

  • Matthew

    Someone made a video of how some of the GA eat a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDPi4buduY0

  • Jamie

    Did Richard G. Scott consciously decide that looking directly at the camera would be his schtick? I’m going to say yes. Look at this talk for instance:

    https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/as-many-as-i-love-i-rebuke-and-chasten?lang=eng

    In it Christofferson tells us ‘Elder Richard G. Scott, who just addressed us, remembers a time early in his marriage when his wife, Jeanene, counseled him to look directly at people when he spoke to them. “You look at the floor, the ceiling, the window, anywhere but in their eyes,” she said. He took that gentle rebuke to heart, and it made him much more effective in counseling and working with people.’

    I read this as Scott being an Asperger’s-spectrum nuclear engineer, with little awareness of social cues, who then is given this formula by his wife “always look directly into their eyes.” He adopts the formula, and applies it with no nuance or self-awareness.

    I’m reading a lot into things here, but I think it’s plausible.

  • Paul EH

    Dear Infants!

    As the couple who requested this smack-down, please accept our deep appreciation for your treatment of this truly Gawd awful talk. You may not remember, but you have mentioned this episode in the past and have said that others have asked you to address it. We are so happy that you have addressed it as we see this talk causing so much pain to so many at one of the most delicate situations that can happen to a family – the death of a loved one.

    We were concerned at the beginning of the podcast that some of you seemed to not understand why anyone would request for this boring talk to be addressed by you all and that it seemed not to be worth your time and effort. We thought for a moment that perhaps our hatred of this talk was not justified and that somehow, we were alone in interpreting this talk the way we have. By the end though you seemed to be in the spirit and we think your discussion was wonderful.

    For the record, may we please explain why we requested this talk to be smacked-down?

    About a year ago, Bob posted an episode with his sister Kat (Ep 354 – A Mormon Girl Walks Into a Funeral… Walks Out on Mormonism) where they talk about an awful funeral situation where a Bishop who didn’t know their grandmother takes over the meeting and discusses the Plan of Salvation instead of honoring their Grandmother. This same situation happens at MANY, MANY funerals where inactive or post-Mormons attend and are mistreated as “less-than” because this talk infused into Mormon Culture the need to not have family members be in charge of their loved-one’s funeral. Post-Mormons rightfully lament how terrible it is to attend funerals where they are lectured to instead of celebrating the desisted. This has happened to us at the funeral of a family member which the bishop directed his comments to us, making us feel attacked, rather than letting us pay our respects to the departed family member. It hurt.

    We have been in meetings when priesthood leaders have sited this talk as why they do what they do at funerals and in other situations such as shaming young boys who wear shirts which are a different color than white. Also, Mormons are quick to say that the “Doctrine” true, but the “Culture” is not. Well, how the hell do they think culture happens to go bad? It is because of talks like this. We see this hideous talk is the root of so much pain and where the nature of Mormon church culture gets its authority. This talk has been used to cement the cultural ways of doing things like, where a counselor sits relative to the bishop; that we shouldn’t ask to be released from a calling; bishops should only consult SPs for advice, not other bishops; what to wear on Sundays; Use of a person’s full name over the pulpit and worse of all, making Mormon funerals, missionary opportunities and not family reunions or a time to celebrate the life of the deceased. It is ironic to note that his funeral violated his commands given in this directive every time speakers at his funeral said nice things about him, rather than preaching the Gospel.

    Thank you for the wonderful job you did in finally giving this talk and Mr. Packer his just deserts. We do not believe this talk was “off the cuff” as it has been used during our membership and is currently being used in the church to justify being cult-like and mean. Also, or son is gay, and our nephew just named his son “Packer” so yes, we are especially angry at the awful person Packer was and that his whole funeral, not just the video, was a CELEBRATION of his life. Such a hypocrite. How Packer addressed LGBQ individuals makes him also a truly evil man. You all know that he knew they were going to celebrate his life, so any notion that he was being stand up guy by telling others not to celebrate him at a funeral we see as a red herring.

    Thanks for all you have done to help us with our transition. You have helped us tremendously with our transitions and we are very grateful.

    Paul and Lisa

  • Paul_and_Lisa

    Dear Infants!

    As the couple who requested this smack-down, please accept our deep appreciation for your treatment of this truly Gawd awful talk. You may not remember, but you have mentioned this episode in the past and have said that others have asked you to address it. We are so happy that you have addressed it as we see this talk causing so much pain to so many at one of the most delicate situations that can happen to a family – the death of a loved one.

    We were concerned at the beginning of the podcast that some of you seemed to not understand why anyone would request for this boring talk to be addressed by you all and that it seemed not to be worth your time and effort. We thought for a moment that perhaps our hatred of this talk was not justified and that somehow, we were alone in interpreting this talk the way we have. By the end though you seemed to be in the spirit and we think your discussion was wonderful.
    For the record, may we please explain why we requested this talk to be smacked-down?
    About a year ago, Bob posted an episode with his sister Kat (Ep 354 – A Mormon Girl Walks Into a Funeral… Walks Out on Mormonism) where they talk about an awful funeral situation where a Bishop who didn’t know their grandmother takes over the meeting and discusses the Plan of Salvation instead of honoring their Grandmother. This same situation happens at MANY, MANY funerals where inactive or post-Mormons attend and are mistreated as “less-than” because this talk infused into Mormon Culture the need to not have family members be in charge of their loved-one’s funeral. Post-Mormons rightfully lament how terrible it is to attend funerals where they are lectured to instead of celebrating the desisted. This has happened to us at the funeral of a family member which the bishop directed his comments to us, making us feel attacked, rather than letting us pay our respects to the departed family member. It hurt.

    We have been in meetings when priesthood leaders have sited this talk as why they do what they do at funerals and in other situations such as shaming young boys who wear shirts which are a different color than white. Also, Mormons are quick to say that the “Doctrine” true, but the “Culture” is not. Well, how the hell do they think culture happens to go bad? It is because of talks like this. We see this hideous talk is the root of so much pain and where the nature of Mormon church culture gets its authority. This talk has been used to cement the cultural ways of doing things like, where a counselor sits relative to the bishop; that we shouldn’t ask to be released from a calling; bishops should only consult SPs for advice, not other bishops; what to wear on Sundays; Use of a person’s full name over the pulpit and worse of all, making Mormon funerals, missionary opportunities and not family reunions or a time to celebrate the life of the deceased. It is ironic to note that his funeral violated his commands given in this directive every time speakers at his funeral said nice things about him, rather than preaching the Gospel.

    Thank you for the wonderful job you did in finally giving this talk and Mr. Packer his just deserts. We do not believe this talk was “off the cuff” as it has been used during our membership and is currently being used in the church to justify being cult-like and mean. Also, or son is gay, and our nephew just named his son “Packer” so yes, we are especially angry at the awful person Packer was and that his whole funeral, not just the video, was a CELEBRATION of his life. Such a hypocrite. How Packer addressed LGBQ individuals makes him also a truly evil man. You all know that he knew they were going to celebrate his life, so any notion that he was being stand up guy by telling others not to celebrate him at a funeral we see as a red herring.

    Thanks for all you have done to help us with our transition. You have helped us tremendously with our transitions and we are very grateful.

    Paul and Lisa

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Paul and Lisa. You are right to point out the significance of this talk as the origin of the Gawd awful approach to funerals in Mormonism. I did think of the connection back to my sister’s experience/episode but didn’t want to bring it up again, lest I draw too much attention to myself. But you commenting here really does validate / reiterate that point as the main reason this talk is up there on the “worst of all time” list.

  • David

    My ex-wife and I had an experience where the 2nd Counselor of the Bishopric tried to pull the whole right way to offer a calling crap.

    We were both called in and the 2nd Counselor looked at my ex-wife and got all serious.

    “The bishop, Brother So-and-So, and I have talked and prayed and we know that god has called you to be the primary piano player.”

    “Okay,” my ex-wife said. “But I don’t play the piano.”

    “You don’t?”

    “No.”

    “Oh … so how’s everything going?”

  • Sirpa Leppänen

    I’m glad Heather is back. I missed her.

  • Brrrrr

    Regarding peanut butter cups…

    I haven’t heard a “general authority” speak since 1985, but I know with every fiber of my being that’s what they sound like. Admit it, you are feeling prompted to perform GA soap operas in character.

  • ExactObedience

    In 1983 Apostle Russel M. Nelson said the right hand IS the correct hand to partake of the sacrament.

    https://www.lds.org/ensign/1983/03/i-have-a-question/is-it-necessary-to-take-the-sacrament-with-ones-right-hand?lang=eng

    Funny how God Almighty lets us know details like which hand to use for the sacrament, but apparently forgot to give Joseph Smith instructions on how to practice or not practice polygamy.

  • Cory

    About names, does anyone know why in General Conference during sustaining they say the full middles names of the First Presidency and I think the president of the Quorum of the Twelve, but then just give middle initials for everybody else? Maybe they don’t do this anymore.