Two will enter; One will leave

Okay folks, aren’t we all just a little tired of talking about the ugly aspects of religious life (Mormon and otherwise)? Aren’t we all having trouble remembering why we began blogging? Oh…is it just me? Okay then.

At any rate, I began blogging in order to make snap judgments about fairly useless distinctions (also, to bring about world peace). In an effort to get us out of our deep blue funk, I propose a contest of epic proportions. Let us pit aspects of Mormon pop culture against one another until only one aspect survives: The Acme of Mormon Culture.

If you will indulge me, here is how we’ll do this. You will propose 64 things in Mormon pop culture that you love (be they laudable or laughable). These are things that you think everyone could love (ie. don’t nominate “self-righteous prigs”; nominate “Hugh Nibley calling other people ‘self-righteous prigs'”). If you all come up with more than 64 items, I and my crack team of Mormon handicappers (called in from the other blog where I post) will decide which are the best and we will seed them according to their strengths. This will take time that we really should spend on our actual jobs, but we love you and have no problem setting aside our important business because your spiritual welfare is just that important to us (or our jobs aren’t as entertaining as this will be, you decide).

After the seeding, we will put up a bracket and a schedule for games. Games will be decided by 24-hour blog poll, so plan accordingly. Earn bragging rights by picking the games before hand. Impress your friends. Earn money in Vegas. Whatever works for you (don’t worry, I won’t tell your bishop).

Any questions? Post them below. I’m start the ball rolling with the following 5 proposed Mormon Cultural Icons:

1. Funeral Potatoes

2. Old School Battlestar Galactica

3. “When you tell one lie, it leads to another…”

4. “Helaman’s warriors – Mommas’ boys”

5. Lock your heart!


  1. Oh, and of course,
    Hugh Nibley calling other people “self-righteous prigs”

  2. Jello

    Janice Kapp Perry

    Johny Lingo

    The BYU Honor Code

  3. “Oh My Heck”

    Green Jello

    Food to feed an army in your basement

    Short-sleved dress shirts with a tie

  4. Steve Young


    Michael McLean and the Forgotten Carols/or Nora’s Christmas

    Choirs, children or adult, singing in church while using sign langueage, when there are no people who are hearing impaired in the congregation (see In This Very Room)

    very small boys in short sleeved white shirts and ties

    moms and daughters with matching dresses on Easter

    Break the Fast “meetings”

    Stadium of Fire–on a Saturday none the less-WHen the holiday is on a Sunday

    Trunk or Treat

    Wheat-berry casseroles

  5. Gold and Green Balls
    Handcart Trek reenactments
    “that no harm or accident may befall us”
    Girls Camp songs

  6. “that no harm or accident may befall us”

    Well then you can’t forget – “strengthenandnourishus”

  7. blessing the “refreshements”, which usually concisit of some sugary substance with not nutritional value

  8. “Paying tithing on gross earnings will result in gross blessings….”

    This one just sounds funny in and of itself.

  9. J. Stapley

    Ok, I’ll see you “strengthenandnourishus” and raise you “our various places of abode”

  10. “By this shallmeno ye are my disciples…”

  11. Any story about the three Nephites.

    The “I found my friend” story.

    Any filmstrip from the 70’s, especially the one with the song “I’ll send you an angel”.

    Popcorn Popping

    Pioneer Day anywhere outside of Utah

    Felt boards

  12. namajesuskrisamen

  13. Potluck dinners

    New Year’s dances on Saturday when New Years is on Sunday (complete with fake countdown at 11:30 so everyone can be home before 12)

    CTR Rings

  14. Something I still use as a husband:

    “companionship inventory”

  15. wedding pictures with basketball court lines on the florr

  16. floor

  17. Food Storage

    Saturday’s Warrior

  18. Kevin Barney says:

    12-year old Deacons (and 19-year old “Elders”)

    Resin grapes (you have to be of a certain age to appreciate that one)

    “that we all may go home in safety”


    Everyone teaching each other the same lesson for hometeaching


  19. Big Love.

  20. Home made popsicles

    Deseret Industries

    No shorts in the Rec Center at the Wilk

    I am a child of God

    The Mo-Tab

    The Tabernacle

    Temple Square

    The Plot of Zion

  21. Asking someone out on a date by putting clues to some elaborate scavenger hunt inside helium balloons that you leave on their doorstep and then run.

  22. Dancing a book-of-mormon length apart at youth dances.

    Wondering what “necking and petting” are and hoping that it’s not something one might do accidentally.

    Steve Young worship.

    Memorizing the articles of faith.

  23. wait… what about Joseph Smith? Does he count?

  24. The Mormon Rap

    “At the Wilkie, Wilkinson Center…”

  25. HBLL Hawaii Five-O

  26. Cipher in the Snow
    The Letter
    The Phone Call

    “You’re not……………………alone”

  27. The book “None Dare Call it Conspiracy”

  28. Dale Murphy
    Danny White
    Danny Ainge
    Donny and Marie
    Brandon Flowers
    Gladys Knight

  29. Wedding Announcements (as opposed to an invitation)

    BMW – Big Mormon Wagon and..

    Massivly huge families

    Shades clothing (and all others like unto it)

    Man purses (why do missionaries get these?)

    Having more than one wedding ‘open house’ (in various locations).

    Ring ceremonies

    Mr. Krugers (sp?) Christmas


  30. Secret Combinations

    Voting Republican

    Chevy Suburbans

    Bumper Stickers that read “R U LDS 2?”

    Large Families

    Feeding cheerios to kids during sacrament meeting

  31. NU SKIN

  32. Scripture cases. (Or bags, or whatever they’re called.)

    64 color scripture marking pencils.

    Little semi-clear stickers of Alma baptizing someone, that you’re supposed to stick in your scriptures somewhere or other.

    Pianos on wheels.

    The conductor.

    Expecially, when the conductor is a deacon or a mia maid who has no idea what’s going on, and is either vigorously chopping at the air or making dainty swirlies, while being completely ignored by the pianist.


    I don’t care if you just heard D. Fletcher and Sarah Asplund performing Weeping Mary, or Eternal Day. Don’t clap. Don’t even think about it. Not even in your mind. Mormons don’t clap.

  34. “Moisture”

  35. Man purses (why do missionaries get these?)

    Dude. Don’t make me submit you for banning. The man purse is true.

  36. Legacy: “if I ever see you again, it will be Zion to me!”

  37. Amway–or whatever it’s called now; and all other pyramid schemes.

  38. Toasting in fancy glasses with carbonated juice.

  39. Mollywood. Oh, yes.

    Supergenius, when are we going to see Cinemasochist, the Halestorm Edition?

  40. Holy Smokes. Check out the wiki for moisture.

  41. kaimi, when I develop a cast-iron stomach.

  42. I’m going to nominate Baptists at our Barbeque for every single cinemasochist until you give in. The people have spoken, and they want you to watch Kirby Heywood.

  43. This is neither here nor there, but since someone mentioned Johnny Lingo earlier, I feel compelled to mention it.

    While I served in the mission office, I sometimes found myself there late at night as my companion or other office elders were finishing up their work. On these occasions, I would watch videotapes that we had lying around the office and add dialogue as I saw fit (kind of like in MST3K). The best film for doing this was Johnny Lingo. Stay up until 2 am and watch it and you will know what I mean.

    So, to add to the list, office elders.

  44. EFY

  45. Napoleon Dynamite

    Not sitting in the front pew

    The Snarkernacle (why hasn’t anyone mentioned another blog yet?)


    Beard Cards

    Hiking up to the ‘Y’

    Ah, looking forward to the return of Mormon Smackdowns…

  46. Legacy: “if I ever see you again, it will be Zion to me!”

    That was a moment of cinematic history like no other.

  47. “I’ve been Dear Johned!”

  48. Brigham doing the funky chicken


    Living Scriptures

    I want to bear my testimony. I know this church is true.

  49. prophetic dignity

  50. I’m thanful for my roommates (chin quivering)

  51. Knee-length shorts

    Pre-edited movies (back when their legality hadn’t been challanged)

    Caffeine-free Coca-cola

    Still VL

    “We’re thankful for this opportunity to…” (actually, I don’t love that one; I’m diligently working to get rid of that particular phraseology, along with “strengthen and nourish us”)

  52. Wait, are these supposed to be things we actually love? Because I hate when people sing with sign language for no real reason. And that probably applies to most everything I wrote.

  53. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: Can’t touch this.”
    Guys asking permission to marry their girlfriend by giving the father eight (stuffed or otherwise toy) cows.

    (“Johnny Lingo” SO deserves to win this.)

  54. patriarticle blessings

    paradizical glory

  55. Children putting pennies in a tithing envelope.

    “Flip, Elder!”

    “Turn the time over to …”

  56. Including an engagement picture with a wedding reception invitation.

    Inviting the entire ward to your wedding reception.

    Inviting your entire ward to your *daughter’s* wedding open house, even though hardly anyone in your ward has ever met your daughter.

  57. Being so goyish that you refer to jewish people as gentiles.

  58. Star Wars

    Equating the Priesthood to the Force

    Replaying the scene in Star Wars where the Storm Trooper bangs his head on the door jam over and over

    Professing the belief that Yoda was modelled after Spencer W. Kimball

  59. BLOGGING about Mormonism.

    (Wait a minute. . . )

  60. Nut cups at a wedding reception in the cultural hall.

    Testimony meeting bingo.

    Cold fusion.

    Ken Jennings.

    Julie on MTV’s the Real Life.

    Analogy of the complacent frog in the slowly-rising-to-a-boil water.

  61. See here

  62. The BYU Honor Code forbidding “the no-bra look.”

    Beard cards.

    The power of discernment to recognize garment lines.

    The “I never said it would be easy, only that it would be worth it” Jesus quote on a pillow

  63. “Lengthen your stride…”

  64. Well, most of mine have been taken, primarily Saturday’s Warrior and Girl’s CampSongs and I am a child of God.

    Mormon Bumper Stickers that say intriguing things like, “Submarines? In 2000 bc?”

    Knowing there’s always someone you can call if you need to

    Grown-ups wearing CTR rings

    Mormons on Game shows like Survivor and Jeopardy

  65. Pardon me, but what are Beard cards?

  66. Steve Evans says:


  67. Hey, I hadn’t refreshed my browser! I wrote that before seeing danithew’s tribute to Ken jennings and Julie! I swear I’m not a copy cat…

  68. Mami, back in the day at BYU (maybe still?) you could only have a beard if you had a beard card. A beard card was supposedly based on some kind of medical certification that you had extra-sensitive skin and couldn’t shave.

    Or something like that.

    Anyone ever actually see a beard card? I don’t think I ever did.

  69. Postpardum dinners delivered from Relief Society

  70. I second the Halestorm cinemasochist theme. I’ve only recently seen these movies for the first time, as they’ve been cropping up in the bootleg shops on the backstreets of Malaysia. How? Why? The irony is so delicious, how could I resist from buying them? Now I’ve got 4 or 5 in my collection and they’re really the worst movies ever… but I love them!

  71. “And I bear this testimony in the name of thy Son …, Amen.”

  72. or is it “your son” …

  73. I’ve always heard it as thy son. Drives me nuts.

  74. Steve Evans says:

    Sorry, meems. Such religious schlock is verboten at KB.

  75. I figured. But how can you wear the badge of masochist with honor?

  76. Here’s another one:
    Feeling guilty over lack of quilting skills

  77. Basketball courts in churches

    Missionaries on Bicycles


  78. Is njensen from Washington State, per chance? (#14)

  79. Sacred not secret.

    Inability to hold a 3 minute meeting without an opening and closing prayer.

    Violent basketball seasons.

    No halloween masks!

    Ending a New Year’s Eve dance on Saturday at 11:00 PM and not offering refreshments.

    Echo the no clapping.

    “the brethren”


    deseret. deseret industries.

    peanut butter canneries. canning period.

  80. Afterglow (the music group, not the feeling after sex)

  81. Razorfish says:

    -Two year olds bearing their testimonies (with a young mother whispering in their ears)

    -The telephone ringing off the hook Sunday mornings before church (someone peddling an assignment or last minute request)

    -Free to Choose seminary video

    -The preamble to any Sacrament talk, that Bro. XX called me to speak from the bishopric..and then crafting a lame joke or story out of it…

    -Any sports adult leader that has zero training in their sport (that’s long as you show up and superevise everyone’s happy)

    -In PEC spending more time talking about helping people then actually spending time helping people.

    -Bretheren…it’s the end of the month…we need to go out and…

    -Filling cannery assignments

    -Taking a day off of work to serve in the temple cafeteria

  82. Having the key to the library!!

    Knowing what happens to a frog in boiling water

    I’ll build you a rainbow

    Having a glass temple on your wedding cake rather than a bride and groom

    Living in the mission field and calling the thrift store “D.I.” when it’s really the Salvation Army

  83. Yes, Wendy. Any afterglow for Mormons is strictly musical, and definitely not sex-related. Don’t make me go tell the ward clerk to find that Kimball letter about verboten practices.

  84. Good heavens. Let’s just not go there please.

  85. Ok. New entries will be accepted until 12 MST tomorrow, after which we will take the entries thus far received into our secret underground lair and determine what makes it into the tournament and what doesn’t. In the meantime, continue to name names!

  86. Frick

  87. Bruce R. McConkie

    Mormon Doctrine



    The story about the train switchman who lets his son die to save a train full of people

    Once there was a Snowman

    Book of Mormon Stories (with the actions)

    Missionary haircuts

    Capri pants

    One piece bathing suits

    Cain is Bigfoot

    Wearing only one pair of ear rings

  88. 71, holy cow, that aggravates me. “and i leave this testimony with you in the name of thy son…” huh? MY son? i only have girls… or are you talking to the guy next to me? or her over there?

    flannel boards and homemade popsicles aren’t lds, just the makings of a good mom. my anti mother would croak if she thought those things were lds trademarks!

    beard cards are ordained of god! my husband was never able to get a “no shave chit” while in the military because he was “the wrong race.” he has super-dee-duper curly hair and shaving is a huge pain. it’s a legit excuse, people!

    how about “super saturday?” i can’t think of anything not yet covered…

  89. Kimball Hunt says:

    – Harry Anderson’s paintings

    i) – Sweet pomegranates (transplanted from dad’s orchard of em, transplated from southern Nevada, I think transplanted from first settlements in Dixie round about Cedar City.
    ii) – The southern Utah way of sayin’ CORN so it rhymes with BARN (Is it? It’s been so long)

    – Relief society over at the house for a “quilting bee”

  90. Steve Evans says:

    Minerva Teichert.

    Arnold Freiberg!!

  91. Singing the hymns at the MTC in all different languages at the same time

    Playing the Mormon Name Game

    Having over 50 first cousins

  92. Cultural Halls
    Ward Houses
    Stake Centers
    “Stronger than dirt”
    Scripture Chases

  93. Last Lemming says:

    Tom Trails

  94. Kids named nephi, ammon, or helamen

  95. Quoting The Princess Bride during courtship.
    Three weeks between introduction and engagement, then one month until the wedding.

  96. “taking out your endowments” eeck!

  97. cj douglass says:

    “You mock my pain!……Life is pain Princess……”

  98. cj douglass says:

    “Rather than tell my wife I love her in the privacy of our home, I will tell her in front of 200 people.”

  99. A lot of these things seem like BYU icons, not LDS icons.

  100. Utah being called “Zion.” Anywhere outside of Utah “the Mission Field.”

  101. RE: #78

    Is njensen from Washington State per chance?

    Nope, but I did serve in Beautiful British Columbia

  102. I am just going back to my childhood,

    Book of Remembrances, with the hard blue coves and screw on bindings,

    jesus wants me for a sunBEAM


    Haloween carnivals

  103. Linger longers.

  104. “I heard Steve Martin was a Mormon…”

    frumpy flower dresses with bulky shoulder pads

    Not answering the phone Monday nights

    The old man that is asked to give closing prayer when the meeting is already going long and he decides to bless every soldier, every politician, every member (sometimes by name), every non-member, the grass, the rain, the man at the grocery store who helped him take his groceries out to his car…

    Or the old guy who mumbles so you don’t even know what he is blessing but he still goes on forever!

  105. Half-eaten candy with the accompanying card: “Which piece would you choose?” to teach chastity to young women
    “You were the generals in the pre-mortal life.”

  106. Choirs full of old ladies that vibrato too much + 3 men (one of which is the husband of the chorister).

    Angel Moroni on top of the Christmas tree.

    Fiddler on the Roof’s Tradition being played in every lesson on traditions.

  107. People watching at the SLC airport when returning missionaries emerge from the jetway.

  108. Is there money in the budget to do that?

  109. It’s a “Serving area”, not a kitchen.

  110. The auction of the old violin.

    Footprints in the sand.

    The guy who wrote “I’ll Build You a Rainbow” was teaching seminary at my school when he wrote and recorded it. As you can probably guess, he put on a lot of devotionals. Every time he did the song, once the song itself was through, he said to the audience: “Crybabies.”

  111. The Sacrament Meeting Nap. The best sleep of the week aside from High Priest Group.

  112. Re #90

    I could almost imagine shouting ‘Freiberg!’ and holding up a lighter and swaying. (If you don’t get this, then get off my lawn!)

    BTW, I work in the same building as Halestorm Studios. Fun place. They even have a putting green outside.

  113. cj douglass says:

    I think a lot of these things are part of Utah culture more than LDS culture.

  114. Nick Literski says:

    Hugh Nibley, in prayer at a BYU graduation, telling deity, “We stand here dressed in the black robes of a false priesthood!”

  115. Thank you for the entries thus far. We will consider them all and get back to you soon.


  1. […] If you recall, back in the doldrums of November, we proposed a contest: A battle royale between various elements of Mormon culture. We took suggestions regarding what should be discussed and retreated to the bat cave in order to put the pieces together. Our efforts have been rewarded. We have a bracket! […]

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