Mormon Culture Tournament – Round 1 Part 2

The winners from last Friday are:

1. Funeral Potatoes, 15. Wedding Receptions with Basketball Hoops, 14. Delivering meals to the sick and recently delivered, 4. Temple Square, 12. Euphemisms for swear words (Heck, Flip, etc.), 6. Food Storage, 7. Cheerios in Sacrament Meeting, and 8. I am a Child of God. Poor J. Golden.

Today’s contestants are:

1. Steve Young vs. 16. Non-face card card games (UNO, Rook, Phase 10, etc.)

Ah, Steve. How long we have loved you. Sure you didn’t serve a mission and you work every Sunday, but all is forgiven because you are cute, you give good football advice, you won a Super Bowl, and you haven’t embarassed us…yet (although, the Da Vinci code? THE DA VINCI CODE!?!).

I think that UNO is the ultimate non-face-card card game, but I have been told that it is actually Rook. Whatever, you freaks.

2. Minerva Teichert vs. 15. Gentiles defined as Non-Mormons

Minerva Teichert has become more popular as our search for LDS artistic greatness has rendered many more John Grishams than William Shakespeares (although we do have one).

A relic of Nineteenth-century Mormonism, Jan Shipps sees this trait as deriving from former prophetic statements regarding the reality of Israelite blood flowing in Mormon veins. I see it as an enduring opening joke for any Jewish speaker who visits Utah.

3. CTR Rings vs. 14. Knee Length Shorts

The CTR crest is iconic and, thanks to the correlation of temporal and spiritual wellness within the church, now comes in silver and gold models.

Knee Length Shorts demonstrate a commitment to covenant-making and keeping in spite of what the world says we should do. Also, all those short-shorts on John Stockton really made us feel kind of ill.

4. Pioneer Day vs. 5. Moving Holidays inconveniently located on Sunday to the Saturday prior

Pioneer Day allows us to celebrate and honor the great sacrifices that our ancestors made in their pursuit of the blessings of the Gospel. We do this by roasting meat.

There is nothing like celebrating July 3rd with the neighbors and I wonder what all those people who complained that Jan 1, 2000 wasn’t the start of a new millenium think of people who celebrate the new year during the old one.

5. Missions vs. 12. Conspiracy Theories

Missions are expressions of love, thought, machismo, community, and diarrhea. Everyone (mostly) should go on one.

Conspiracy Theories in the church often draw upon the political leanings of Pres. Benson and upon the Book of Mormon. I must have missed the verse that stated that the Jews are behind it all.

6. “Hey, did you know that Steve Martin is a Mormon? I saw him wearing a CTR ring on Letterman” vs. 11. Scripture Marking

This rumor, and many others like it, circulate in order to give the church the appearance of street cred. Yes that’s right, children, Steve Martin was once considered cool.

Scripture marking comes in phases. Sometimes we are all one-colored; sometimes we are one of those pencils with the 20 different colors of graphite within. Everybody’s got a system.

7. Home Teaching vs. 10. Sacred, not Secret

Home Teaching (and Visiting Teaching) are systems established to create communities by having everyone in the ward reading a brief article to one another each month and then to discuss the prominent sports teams in the local area. Also, please know that if you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to call.

That some aspects of Mormonism are sacred and shouldn’t be publically discussed is self-evident within the church. That they are not secret is evident from a Google search.

8. Trunk or Treat vs. 9. RULDS2

Hey, if there is a chance that you might have to go trick or treating on a Sunday, why not go the night before and take the kids on a walk through the parking lot for candy? Also this is supposed to cut down on the parent’s need to check apples for razor blades.

RULDS2 was the first LDS vanity plate I ever encountered (the second was LIAHONA). Owning it officially makes you a member of the “Mormon in the World (but not of it)” club, allowing you to cause more incognito Mormons to smile at it when they encounter it in traffic. Unless you cut them off, in which case other expressions (possibly euphemisms) will be involved.

Comment below.


  1. My picks:
    Steve Young
    Minerva Teichert
    CTR Rings
    Pioneer Day
    Steve Martin = Mormon
    Home Teaching

    I must say that the loss of J. Golden so early in the proceedings is has caused me to lose a little of my faith in the bloggernacle.

  2. Why oh why did you match HTing against Sacred, not Secret? That was a tough call, but home teaching is so fundamentally Mormon, I couldn’t not choose it.

  3. HP,

    Your Minerva selection for this round is weird. Reminds me of the J Golden pick. Who is she again?

    Truck or treat is a newcomer but at least in these here parts is very popular.

  4. Crystal, It has long been my contention that all the great issues of our time will be solved by silly webpolls.

  5. I should note that my visual aids sometimes come from non-LDS sources. The Trunk or Treat photo is from the United Covenant Church of Christ and last Friday I found far more non-LDS musings on Cheerios in church than LDS ones.

  6. bbell, who’s Minerva Teichert? Arguably the best Mormon artist, ever.

  7. I’m surprised that Gentiles=non-Mormons is currently beating out Minerva Teichert. I feel that Gentiles=non-Mormons is more old-school Mormon culture and Minerva Teichert is more new school Mormon culture. I usually find myself voting for the “new school” items over the old school items.

  8. a random John says:

    My picks:

    Steve Young
    Pioneer Day
    Scripture Marking

    The fact that MT is currently taking a beating is evidence of the lack of culture on this blog.

  9. I don’t know who Minerva Teichert is either. Perhaps if you had chosen Senator Smoot, or Elder Talmage instead. I think they’ve done more for Mormonism than Ms. Teichert has.

    In any case, GO HOME TEACHING!!!

  10. that’s both a cheer for home teaching and a call to actually go do your home teaching. ;)

  11. I cleaned up on all my guesses last time around; as of this moment, my guesses are winning in all but one category. Like Daniel, I’m somewhat mystified that “Minerva Tiechert” is being beaten by “Gentiles=non-Mormons.” The paintings of the former have gone through what I thought was an immense revival over the last 15 years or so, and not just in Utah; I see them in the Ensign, in visitor’s centers across the country, displayed during General Conference talks. Whereas the only people I know who still use the word “Gentiles” to refer to non-Mormons are Jewish friends of mine who use the phrase around Mormons ironically. If it wins, I’ll truly be shocked.

    As for the others, I still see a lot of slam-dunks. Missions? Home teaching? Scripture marking? How could that hoary old Steve Martin rumor (half the Bloggernacle probably reads that and thinks, “Who is Steve Martin?”) possibly compete with those?

  12. Re: Minerva Teichert; it is an imponderable. The argument seems to have been that the Utah=centric aspects and the older aspects will lose. However, as RAF notes, the revival of Sis. Teichert’s work is fairly recent and there is little that is more Utah-centric than the “Gentiles=Non-Mormons” thing. Maybe we just really like to consider ourselves persecuted.

  13. What polling software/plugin are you using? Just wondering.

  14. I don’t know who Minerva Teichert is either.

    Minerva Teichert is like pornography — you know her when you see her.

  15. to this point nothing is neck and neck, down to the wire….i wonder when we will start seeing those races…

  16. I am AMAZED that some people don’t know Minerva Teichert.

  17. Same here, Steve. I mean, sure, it’s fairly high art, and it is dated. But still–her work has been so often reproduced over the past couple of decades that I assumed her cultural import would have sky-rocketed. I could easily see her losing to CTR Rings, but “Gentiles”…?

  18. My picks keep losing…

  19. Minerva Teichert’s artwork is like a song that has been on the radio every day for the past 5-10 years. If you are active LDS, even if you think you don’t know who she is, you know who she is.

    If someone showed you her artwork and said “that’s Minerva Teichert” you would recognize it immediately.

  20. Follow the link where I talk about Sis. Teichert. It has many examples of her artwork.

  21. also see here
    or go through the many images found here

  22. RATS. Go to the BYU museum of art website and search on her name. They have loads of stuff.

    Also, she painted the world room in the Manti temple, for those who have been there.

  23. I know who she is but I am betting that her name is not “out there enough” for most to pick her over Gentile.

  24. Yeah, all you Minerva Teichert fans. You made two faulty assumptions:

    1. That people read who painted the picture that is reproduced on the front of the Ensign. They don’t, and if they do, they forget.

    2. That more than a few hundred people in the church care enough about art to care who painted it.

    Which is why the 15 seed came through with a big win. But not really an upset, for those of us with our fingers on the cultural pulse.

  25. Teichert is in a different position, I think, than Arnold Freiberg, whose name and art seems to be more known. Like I said, there are other Mormons who have been more influential, or more synonymous with Mormons than her. But that’s just my honest opinion. :)

  26. It ain’t over yet Mark B. You’ll see…

  27. Kevin Barney says:

    I picked Gentile over Minerva. I know all about her and love her art, and the Manti temple is my favorite temple at least partly due to her painting there.

    But I wasn’t picking my favorite thing. The whole Gentiles = Non-Mormon (such that on this calculus, Jews can actually be Gentiles) is a very dated concept, but it is so incredibly weird and perfectly Mormon that I had to go with that.

  28. See, I just don’t think that there is a more Mormon artist than Minerva Teichert. Bro. Friberg got #1 here because his work is probably better known, but it doesn’t strike me as being as Mormon as Sis. Teichert’s. That said, I can understand it going down as a matter of name recognition.

  29. HP/JDC,
    I’m curious – what is so Mormon about Minerva Teichert? Sure she depicts plenty of the Book of Mormon narrative but if your talking about her style and method, she’s a neo-impressionist in a sea of mormon neo-classicism. If anything she’s against the grain of mormon fine art and that is partly why I love her work.

  30. Again, the colonials huff and puff. Steve Young? Makes me mad every time I hear of some English LDS kid who quits playing soccer on Sunday. Pioneer Day? Don’t care. (Should care, though, considering their high British provenience.) Trunk or Treat? That would be Boot or Treat, if it even existed, which it doesn’t.


  31. I think that’s it, cj. Most Mormon art resembles, to me, either neo-classicism or Soviet realism. It always contains an easily digestible, pre-packaged message. Teichert’s Book of Mormon art doesn’t usually offer a message. It just depicts an event and let’s people judge it for themselves.

    I also love that she is focussed on minor events in the Book of Mormon narrative. It makes her love of the Book of Mormon less calculated, to my mind. I guess what I am saying is that most LDS artwork seems calculated to sell; her artwork doesn’t.

  32. Ronan,
    You make me curious. What elements of Mormon culture would you say are most important to the international church? Could you give us a list of 10 or so?

  33. HP,
    When we’re through, I’ll do a list. I can only speak (sort of) for Euro-Mormons though.

  34. No clue who Minerva Teichert. Only know about J Golden thanks to LDS blogs, I think, or maybe LDS email lists back in the day. He’s the guy who swore, right?

  35. Anon for this comment says:


    I agree that the choices for these polls are subjective, but I don’t think they are merely North America-centric. I think they are, overall, an odd mix. I grew up in Utah and went to BYU, but would never ever consider Steve Young quitessentially Mormon. Other items on these lists not remotely connected to Mormon culture for me are 1) Trunk or Treat (which seems more like a very recent solution to the parental worry about sending their little ones off into the night not the least exclusive to Mormons) 2) Battlestar Galatica (you’ve got to be kidding!) 3) RULDS2 license plates (never even seen one).

    Cross-stitched samplers that say “Families Are Forever” and home canning seem like more accurate cultural representations of Mormonism than conspiracy theories.

  36. Didn’t mean to be anonymous. That was me.

  37. Ivan A. Wolfe says:

    Man, the Galactica is going to be upset when it gets here.

    I predict the downfall of Mormon culture now that we have rejected BSG for a dish I have never eaten.

    Repent now!!!!

    (and for commet #36 – there’s no kidding. Classic BSG is awash in Mormon themes – witness the Lords of Light telling the humans “as you are now, we once were. As we are now, you may become” as well as the marriages for eternity and the – ah, forget it. The list could go on).

    Oh, well. For the last poll, everything (but one) I voted for lost. This time around, it looks to be the opposite. We’ll see, I guess.

    This is a fun little exercise. I’m rather enjoying it, even if y’all rejected the one true and living sci-fi show!

  38. I’m a bit surprised by ‘scripture marking.’ That certainly is not unique to the church. Every christian I know marks their scriptures.

  39. My votes were:
    Steve Young – being from SF, it would be like sacrilige not to pick him.
    Minerva – never heard anyone use the term Gentiles ever in real life, unless they were Jewish.
    Pioneer Day
    Scripture Marking
    Sacred not Secret (who else says that kind of stuff?)
    Trunk or Treat, although putting ToT against RULDS2 is unfair because both are weird things I’ve never encountered. I dunno, I guess I’m just Meshugeneh!

  40. I think that’s what so Mormon about Minerva Teichert is that she was living on a ranch in Idaho (or maybe Wyoming) while she was painting. She painted her pioneers with the eye of a westerner who know horses, and cattle. As for the impressionism, around 1900, the church sent artists to France to study impressionism. Although Teichert wasn’t one of them, it fits into the culture of the time. I don’t remember hearing about her until about 1985, maybe a bit later, when Tim Slover did a documentary about her. (I’m not sure if he just wrote it, or also directed.) I don’t remember any of her art being in church publications when I was growing up, but maybe I just didn’t notice or remember. but then after that documentary, it was as if people in charge of church publications were pretty excited to be able to say, “See we do have women artists! We had them all along!” And the fact that she painted strong women was also bonus.

  41. Kevin Barney says:

    For more on Minerva, see this 1998 review from the FARMS Review by BCC’s own Ed Snow, here.

  42. Moving holidays is possibly the most annoying thing we do, but is that Mormon or Utahn? Do Mormons outside of Utah change the date of Halloween and the 4th of July?

  43. Amen, Ronan. I don’t even find some of these choices that pertinent to the North American experience. Sure some of it is familiar to me, due to migration of Utahns or Southern Albertans to my province, but many of these choices are just not part of my Mormon identity or experience.

  44. Kevin Barney says:

    I don’t have any experience with moving holidays here in Illinois. The fourth of July is indeed the fourth, and Halloween is indeed the 31st of October.

    I see that there is a church-wide youth fireside for New Year’s Eve. I’m a real heathen when it comes to this stuff; I plan on partying, at least a little bit, not going to a broadcast at Church!

  45. Dan Richards says:

    I think it was wrong to match up CTR rings and knee-length shorts in the first round. I once correctly identified a complete stranger (in a non-church setting) here in Michigan as Mormon, based entirely on the length of her shorts. The shorts would have beaten trunk-or-treat hands down. Who seeded this thing?

  46. Hmph. Yankees. In the South, the Saints wear knee-length shorts year round. CTR Rings? Totally Utah-centric…

  47. And Gentiles over Minerva Teichert? Y’all aren’t just Yankees, you’re Philistines.

  48. Re #43: Yes, we do move holidays outside of Utah. I think that’s one of the reasons that Trunk or Treat has caught on. It was a way to make it so that Mormon kids could still trick or treat on a year that Halloween fell on a Sunday. At least that’s the first time I ever heard of it, and that was explanation given. Also, I live in southern California now, and our ward always had a 4th of July party, which was moved to the 3rd if it was a Sunday. A few years back we volunteered to host the town’s 4th of July pancake breakfast, and we have been expected to all come down at the crack of dawn and work at it. Apparently no one thought it through that one year the 4th would fall on Sunday. So the leaders offered to have the breakfast on Saturday, but the town folks thought that was rather strange, and there was no pancake breakfast that year. (And that was FINE with most ward members.) (A side note is that a woman from our ward always invited the infamous Duke Cunningham to speak at it, and in 2005 we had protesters show up at the breakfast, since it was just after the scandal started to break. Duke didn’t show up. I’m not sure if there was a breakfast this year, after the Duke debacle, because I was out of town.)

  49. Last summer you could find knee-length shorts for girls in just about every trendy that caters to young people. My best friend and I were initially quite shocked at the appearence of “Mormon shorts” in Hollister. I’ve seen plenty of non-LDS girls and women wearing knee length shorts – and it’s not unusual to see people pair them with a low cut spaghetti stap tank top, so clearly it’s not really a modestly thing. CTR rings definitely win.

  50. I have met non-LDS Christians who believe that marking in scriptures is very disrespectful and appalling. I also have non-Utahn, non-LDS Christian friends who want holidays moved off Sundays or, at the very least, do not participate in trick-or-treating on Sundays in order to keep it holy.

  51. It looks like all but one of my predictions are going to come out on top. The “Gentiles” things is truly weird; I just don’t get it. Everything else is pretty straightforward though. Though Dan’s complaint that a couple of Mormon culture heavyweights are being forced to knock each other out too early in the game is probably accurate.

  52. I think it is a conspiracy that missions is beating conspiracy theories by a whopping 92% – 8%.

    It must be rigged. Let’s have a recount and include hanging mouseclicks, pregnant mouseclicks and the like.

  53. Kevin,

    Try as you might, you’ll never convince any of us that you are a youth–that’s a “yout” for us here in Brooklyn–so you’re exempt from appearing at the yout fireside on New Years Eve.

    Party on!

  54. #46:

    My wife and I once ID’d a young Mormon couple at a truck stop in rural east Texas by her shorts. It was confirmed when they started talking about Visit Teaching within earshot.

    Back to Minerva. Sorry guys. Not enough concern about art and artists amongst the rank and file Mormons.

    Gentile may be old school but the phrase can be found with regularity in the Wilford Woodruff manual.

  55. I have to admit, I just didn’t feel the passion with my pick this round that I felt last round. Overall a sweak round I believe.

  56. see, I can’t see what I’m writing on these comments because my comment box is still overflowing in the the gry o fthe sidebar. No one else has the problem? Really?

  57. Re: RULDS2

    I recently saw a vanity plate “OHMYHEK” here in Orem.

    Hmm, why didn’t that phrase make the list?

  58. Steve Young (’cause I played UNO at my heathen UU youth camp (where they played Metallica and the entire Forrest Gump soundtrack over the loudspeakers between meals,) and was taught it by my lapsed Catholic stepmother, and I’ve still never played it with Mormons.)

    Gentiles (which I hear all the time, and I’m in Ohio! I don’t vote for names I don’t recognize, even if I do recognize the art — sorry.)

    CTR rings (because plenty of people other than us like long shorts.)

    Pioneer Day (we don’t move our holidays off Sunday around here, that I can see anyway — unless, of course, the city moves an official celebration to some other date, in which case Mormons join everyone else in relentlessly mocking it, e.g. official Trick or Treating took place on the 28th this year.)

    Missions (maybe this is because I’m in Primary, but I never hear conspiracy theories from church members.)

    Scripture Marking (I don’t do it, but I’m pretty sure we’re one of the very few large churches that openly instructs children to mark their scriptures – I’ve seen it at least a few times in the Primary manuals.)

    Home Teaching (all the non-members I know think it’s creepy, and Sacred Not Secret just isn’t a tagline we use much anymore, I think.)

    Trunk or Treat (a bad pick from a bad set; RULDS2 is stupid and a short-lived fad from the late 1990s, and Trunk or Treat isn’t particularly Mormon)

  59. fMh Lisa– what resolution is your monitor set on? When I use our one monitor set to 800 X600, I get the same problem, but since that’s on the dinosaur computer, I rarely use it.

  60. I take a back seat to no one in my admiration of sister Teichert’s work. We have two of her framed prints in our home, and rumor has it that Santa might bring a third. But this is not about what I like, but what I think my brethren and sistren like, and right now through two rounds I AM STILL UNDEFEATED BAY-BEE!!! Do I know my mo’? Yes, I do.


  1. […] Note: A massive “Mormon Cultural Tournament” is taking place over at BCC: and admittedly this poll is inspired by the fact that a number of commenters expressed ignorance of Minerva Teichert’s identity. Shocking. Really. Site Search Tags: Arnold Friberg, art, Book of Mormon, LDS Life, Minerva Teichert Technorati Tags: Arnold Friberg, art, Book of Mormon, LDS Life, Minerva Teichert Related Tags: No Tags […]

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