Mormon Culture Tournament – Round 1 Part 1

Here are your voting options. Remember the question you are seeking to answer is “Who Wins?”

1. Funeral Potatoes vs. 16. Old-school Battlestar Galactica

Funeral Potatoes are closely identified with the Intermountain West and Mormons in general. Apparently, they appeared on a commemorative pin during the Olympics. Here is an article that considers the place of funeral potatoes amongst American funereal foods. Most importantly, here are three sites where you can get recipes.

Glen Larson, the original creator of Battlestar Galactica, is Mormon and, it is argued, he liberally laced the show with references to Mormon doctrine. We report, you decide (please note, the first comparison link contains an interesting story regarding the Soviet Union’s reaction to the show and the second one features the f-word in the question right after ours)

2. J. Golden Kimball vs. 15. Wedding receptions with Basketball hoops in the background

J. Golden Kimball is everyone’s favorite swearing Mormon.

Wedding receptions in Mormon cultural halls are well documented. Here are some visuals for you:


December_2006_b2 full_cropped

3. Janice Kapp Perry vs. 14. Delivering Meals to the sick (also to those who have just delivered themselves)

Janice Kapp Perry has written an awful lot of primary songs, young women’s programs, and other LDS music.

Delivering meals to the sick and recently pregnant is one of the primary ways in which we serve each other.

4. Temple Square vs. 13. President Kimball was the basis for Yoda

Temple Square is plenty iconic.

People frequently insist that President Kimball was in some way the inspiration for Yoda. I don’t understand why this is desirable. Here is a side-by-side comparison so you can decided if they were separated at birth.

I should note that we do have some competition in the Yoda lookalike category:

5. Especially For Youth vs. 12. Euphemisms for swear words (Hack, Fetch, Flip, Shiz, etc.)

Especially For Youth gathers the youth of the church together at BYU every summer so that they can annoy and steal from the actual students and faculty in attendance. Also, so they can grow in testimony.

Euphemisms are often considered unobjectionable even if the words they stand in for are very objectionable. “Hud” is one of my personal favorites, in part because Elder Hudnall in my mission loved to be referred to as “the Hud”.

6. Food Storage vs. 11. Saturday’s Warrior

Food Storage. Just do it! Why else would God create wheatberries?

Saturday’s Warrior was an attempt at doing a Mormon musical in the seventies (later a direct to video movie in the eighties). It has a unique understanding of Mormon doctrine that remains influential.

7. Cheerios in Sacrament Meeting vs. 10. Pyramid Schemes

Why haven’t we ever considered the theological implications of Cheerios for future generations?

Why is it, exactly, that Nuskin, Neways, Tahitian Noni, and other such groups are all based in Utah County?

8. I am a child of God vs. 9. Do it

I am a child of God is an important idea and an important song in the church.

Nike owes President Kimball’s estate some serious cash. I’m just sayin’

Comment below.


  1. Here are my fearless predictions:
    Funeral Potatoes
    J. Golden Kimball
    Food Storage
    Janice Kapp Perry
    Cheerios in Sac Mtg
    Temple Square
    I am a child of God

  2. p.s. Polls are at the top of the post. And yes, we know about the Poll Archive repetition, but can’t do anything about it.

  3. I am shocked, SHOCKED at how the early voting is undervaluing J. Golden. Go read the anecdotes I link to.


  5. Down with Janice Kapp Perry!

    I like J. Golden as much as the next person, but wedding receptions on basketball courts? There’s NOTHING more Mormon than that. Can anyone point me to another US cultural group that routinely celebrates marriage on a basketball court? Especially because the reception is the primary social ceremony involved in Mormon marriage — the sealing itself being closed to the public and available only for a limited number of guests.

  6. By the way, my #5 is in no way to be interpreted as personal animosity against Janice Kapp Perry or, e.g., any kind of analogy to “Kill Doug Szathkey.” Instead, it’s a call for all and sundry to vote against J.K.P. in the above meaningless competition.

  7. wow, “Do it!” just ain’t doin’ it……

  8. Kevin Barney says:

    Someone needs to alert David Stern to the wedding receptions on basketball court meme. He just might convert!

  9. Kevin Barney says:

    I love SWK and was tempted by Do it! But its Mormonness has been watered down some by Nike, and it represents more a moment in Mormon time, whereas I am a child of God has had more legs.

  10. It’s December Madness, baby!

  11. There is no way EFY is going to beat heck.

  12. Melissa De Leon Mason says:

    JKP is putting up a fight!

  13. You must all have Utah roots or something. I am so disappointed in this fetishistic attachment to Funeral Potatoes, when a True LDS American Icon is to be crushed by it’s casserole dish. I mean, c’mon, Starbuck’s only link to Mormonism is on the line people. Rally!

  14. I think EFY could take out heck, but with Fetch in the mix, it is impossible.

  15. They always say to watch out for that 12 vs. 5 matchup!

  16. Wow, I just realized it said “delivering meals… to the recently pregnant.”

    That really makes me laugh!

    My mind is coming up with lewd ideas faster than I can type, so I’d better not save them for posterity.

    ps- If people really do deliver meals to the recently pregant and not to those who have recently had babies, please correct me, but thanks for making me laugh out loud.

  17. No way J Golden is that high of a seed. He died like in the 30’s or 40’s.

    I go Funeral Potatos alllll theeeee Wayyyyy

  18. Walter Reade says:

    The reason there are so many multi-levels in Utah is because that’s where the experienced MLM corporate leaders resides. If I were to start my own MLM, I’d set up shop in Utah and recruit from NuSkin, Xango, Usana, etc.

  19. Pope Benedict looks more like the emperor than Yoda. So does Joe Lieberman.

  20. Actually, now that I look at the picture more closely, it doesn’t really look like Pope Benedict

  21. Brad Kramer says:

    as per my predictions wednesday, I have:

    I am a Child of God

  22. not many close races so far, and not many upsets…..let’s see how the next round goes….

  23. While I agree with the basic sentiment behind Down with JKP,
    I must confess that I listened to JKP tapes every night and every morning between the ages of 12-16.

    I have to vote my conscience on this one.

  24. Rally, Golden. Rally!

  25. Only problem w/J. Golden is that he’s fading over the horizon along with Pearl Harbor and the Model T Ford. He deserves to be a sentimental favorite, but he’s too far removed from our modern culture. What a shame!

    But, I agree with your comment that JKP wrote an awful lot of . . . songs.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had funeral potatoes. But they get my vote over Old Battlestar Galactica, since I’ve never even heard of it–and have never heard anyone else talk about it.

  26. Every one of my picks is ahead right now, so if they can hit free throws and not turn the ball over down the stretch, I’ll go into the next round at 100%. I’m thinking about quitting my job, buying lottery tickets, and moving to Las Vegas to pursue a sports betting career. Bright light city, here I come!

    J. Golden was my sentimental favorite, but there are more Mormons who have had weddings in the gym than have heard of him, which is really too bad.

  27. Why did I pick Saturday’s Warrior? What was I thinking?

  28. I’m still unclear on why we’re voting for one or the other. Are we voting for the one we like best, or the one that most closely resonates Mormondom?

  29. My guesses were: Funeral Potatoes, Wedding Receptions, Delivering Meals, Temple Square, Euphemisms, Food Storage, Cheerios, I Am a Child of God. At this moment, I’m batting a thousand. If you think about it, most of these are no contest: church culture is too rapidly growing and diversifying for localized social phenomena like Especially for Youth and Pyramid Schemes to carrying much wait, and both of the Kimballs, sad to say, have been dead for quite a while now. (And note that the new CGI Yoda doesn’t look nearly as much like SWK as the old, retired Muppet one did.) I suspect Funeral Potatoes might have gone down it it’d been paired up against something else, but aside from that, I think we have a bunch of easy winners here.

  30. Apparently, although I am a child of the eighties, I still have an awful lot of 70’s Mormonism in me.

    Never underestimate the power of cheesy carbohydrates!

  31. Hey, this contest only allows one vote per computer. RT voted, but I can’t. No fair!

  32. SV, that’s why I have 5 computers.

  33. when does today’s contest end?

  34. My wedding reception was in a cultural hall. My wedding was in a Relief Society room.

  35. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    I hate to disappoint anyone but President Kimball was not the influence for Yoda. I had a chance to hear the director of “Empire Strikes Back” speak and he told us how Yoda was designed.

    Originally they’d thought that Luke’s teacher should be a Charlton Heston’s Moses kinda guy but somehow they felt it lacked oomph. They tried many different ideas. Then one day an old, wizend prop guy (someone only tangentially related to the work on Yoda) said he had an idea. They were desperate so they gave him the weekend to come up with something. He came in with the Yoda we would recognize. The director said he had to try hard not to laugh– not only was Yoda tiny and green, but he was practically a self-portrait! The resemblance between the guy who designed him and Yoda was striking.

    So it wasn’t President Kimball, just another theater guy.

  36. I’m voting on behalf of the international bloc, for whom some of these ain’t any kind of Mormon we know. Sociologists will be glad to know that some things have crossed over to the colonies though:

  37. Ronan,
    I’m voting on behalf of the raised-in-an-LDS-home-in-Southern-California bloc and, frankly, I’d never heard of funeral potatoes until BYU, and had never tasted them until I visited friends in the suburbs of New York.

    That said, GO J. GOLDEN!

  38. (although I like that you have the newly-requisite chocolate fountain in the middle of the basketball court)

  39. Well, I gotta go home and get my wife to vote for J. Golden on the Home machine… :)

  40. I am glad that this has been, if nothing else, an opportunity to proselytize the joy of funeral potatoes.

  41. OK, for the sociologists:

    Never heard of funeral potatoes; my own wedding reception was in a basketball-hooped cultural hall in Birmingham, England (a wonderful sign of Empire — Brits don’t really play basketball, but still our halls have “the hoop”); JKP is often sung in an English accent; yep, heard the Yoda thing a lot as a teen; fetch gets said by British Mormons (yegads, ALAS!), but it sounds less Mormon and just dumb American; Mormon pyramid schemes often make their way across the Atlantic; food storage gets adapted — no wheat, but cans of Tesco Value 5p baked beans; I am a child of God, of course.

  42. Never heard of yoda/pres. kimball. Weird. Also have no idea what ‘do it’ is referring to. Though I’ve never lived in Utah, I have attended all my Granparents funerals there, and partook of said potatoes. They were delicious, I have to admit. I saw Saturdays Warrior on the stage in England in the early ninties.

  43. I told y’all Cheerios would stomp!

  44. S. P. Bailey says:

    Stupid Cheerios…

    And hey, J. Golden, get your d#*! head in the game!

  45. Chas Brown says:

    The thing about yoda and SWK is also that their voices sound somewhat similar.

  46. The most disturbing thing about this is the insight that fMh Lisa listened to JKP. I may never recover.

  47. Left Field says:

    SV, if you’re gonna vote against J Golden, I’m not going to help you find a polling place.

    Heck, dang, and FETCH! I voted for I am a Child of God by mistake. What do you get when you cross Spencer W. Kimball with J. Golden Kimball?

    “DO IT!, DAMN IT!”

  48. I’m in the majority on all but JKP vs meals. Although lots of Mormons take each other meals in times of crisis, it doesn’t seem very *uniquely* Mormon–loads of other tight-knit communities likely do the same. But food storage? Gym receptions? Temple square? We’re all alone on those.

  49. And by the way, anybody who has seen “George Lucas in Love” knows where the Yoda inspiration really came from.

  50. LXX Luthor says:

    Apparently I came too early and too late. I can’t seem to vote or even find where I should vote.

  51. LXX Luthor– do you share a computer with someone? My suspicion is that someone else who uses the same IP address as you has already voted, and there’s only one vote per IP address apparently.

  52. Kevin Barney says:

    I voted for old school Battlestar Gallactica over funeral potatoes. I don’t think I’ve ever actually had funeral potatoes at a funeral, so to me that is more of a joke than a reality. But I well remember watching BG during its initial run–an indication of just how old I am–and being mesmerized by the obviously Mormon doctrine being portrayed in the dialogue. So while it’s a long shot, I gotta go with BG as against funeral potatoes.

  53. I can’t believe you put Saturday’s Warrior against food storage – that’s an impossible choice and like comparing apples and oranges. Or maybe deydrated apples and canned oranges.

    My votes went:
    FP -Never heard of them til Bloggernacle, but they seemed pretty pervasive
    Wedding receptions
    JKP – C’mon you guys, any church delivers meals. But A Child’s Prayer is like doctrine.
    SW – I had to do it. Remember how dangerous that song Zero Population sounded? (OK, I really just outed myself as Queen Dork)
    I am a Child of God – easy!

  54. Ivan A. Wolfe says:

    Those who aren’t voting for Battlestar Galactica are going to have to face the wrath of the Galactica crew when it finally gets to earth (plus, they’ll burn in he**).

    Vote BSG!

  55. I’m hoping the Yoda = Pres. Kimball meme makes a comback in the polling. And I’m sad that the Indiana Jones’ Father is based on Hugh Nibley didn’t make an appearance.

  56. (#52) I’ve never had funerary potatoes period. And I’ve lived in Utah a long time.

    (#54) Fraking yes. (And doesn’t BSG count towards the Mormon swear word bit as well?)

  57. Who got the idea that funeral potatoes and euphemisms were Mormon? Those should be included in the Mormon cultural tic “Funeral Potatoes, Heck and Steve Martin are Mormon”.

  58. I’ve never had funeral potatoes — though I understand they’re quite common amongst both Jews and Catholics, and my friend who went to a Baptist college says it’s common amongst various old-lady-and-harried-young-mother dominated Protestant congregations. But even non-Mormons I know associate BSG with us.

    Same goes with the delivering meals thing. They’ve only passed around one sign-up sheet for that in my ward in the last, like, 3 years (though I might have missed some, having been sequestered in the Primary room.) But we sing at least one JKP song every single Sunday.

    I think all of my other choices are winning at the moment.

  59. Regarding the non-LDS nature of funeral potatoes…

    Southern Living Bulletin Board, no LDS references whatsoever but they call the things funeral potatoes.

    Google results for “buffet potatoes,” which returns the same recipes as a search for “funeral potatoes.” I thought at first that cornflakes might distinguish them, but too many clearly LDS “funeral potatoes” recipes don’t use cornflakes.

    The best you can do is that we tend to call them “funeral potatoes” with greater consistency than the general population — but that’s been adopted by many non-Mormons too.

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