Mormon Culture Tournament – Round 1 Part 3

The winners from the last round are: 1. Steve Young, 15. Gentiles = Non-Members, 3. CTR Rings, 4. Pioneer Day, 5. Missions, 11. Scripture Marking, 7. Home Teaching, and 8. Trunk or Treat. Poor Minerva.

Today’s battles will be between:

1. Arnold Friberg vs. 16. Brandon Flowers

Arnold Friberg was commissioned to make several paintings of Book of Mormon events. In these paintings, the women were strong, the men were good-looking, and the children were above average.

Brandon Flowers is the lead singer of the Killers (named after an infamous Danite group) and is a self-confessed drinking and smoking Mormon.

2. The Christus vs. 15. NCMO

The Christus, a sculpture by Albert Bertal Thorvaldssen, has become a symbol of Modern Mormonism and its renewed focus on Jesus Christ.

NCMO was once a popular pasttime in the Provo area. I’m sure the kids have given it up by now.

3. Green and Gold Balls vs. 14. Short-sleeved Shirt worn with a necktie

Kim Siever tells us that a Green and Gold Ball is a formal dance. Bah, what does he know. Look here for the most extensive online discussion of the Green and Gold Ball that I could find.

Short-sleeved white shirts with a dark tie are the standard Young Men’s uniform, only occasionally to be replaced with a Boy Scout uniform. Sometimes adults dress this way also, attempting to recapture their misspent youth.

4. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir vs. 13. Basketbrawl (Ward and Stake Sports)

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is the official choir of the Church. Its weekly broadcast, Music and the Spoken Word, is the longest-running radio program in history. They can warble like nobody’s business.

Ward basketball was once a really big deal in the church. Now, not so much. I blame baseball baptisms.

5. Large Families vs. 12. Moisture

Mormons traditionally have large families. Polygamy and birth-control prohibitions will do that. While the size of the families have shrunk, Mormons continue to tend to have more children than non-Mormon households (in the West, at least)

Moisture, in Mormon parlance, means precipitation. When I first heard someone pray for moisture, I assumed that they assumed that we weren’t sweaty enough.

6. Lengthen Your Stride vs. 11. The Mission Field is everywhere that isn’t the Mormon Corridor

Lengthen Your Stride is another motto from President Spencer W. Kimball. It means “strive to do your best,” not “speed it up, you slowpoke”.

The Mission Field is where missionaries go to teach people the Gospel, so it isn’t necessary to send them to Utah, Idaho, and Northern Arizona as they have all the gospel they need.

7. Potluck Dinners vs. 10. Johnny Lingo

It is a crying shame that Potlucks are disappearing. The day that someone got the idea to ask people to bring a salad or a dessert is a day that will live in infamy.

Johnny Lingo came from the WTF period of Mormon cinema. It empowers women by noting that their affection and self-worth comes from how much the men around them value them. Huzzah!

8. For the Strength of Youth vs. 9. Cipher in the Snow

For the Strength of Youth, a pamphlet used to establish the boundaries of teenage morality, has become the de-facto go-to guide for moral conundrums throughout the church. Parsing the language of this document is a pasttime for the insane among us.

Cipher in the Snow is from the Bergmanesque/depressing period of Mormon cinema. It empowers youth by noting that their affection determines the self-worth of those around them and that they can kill small children by ignoring them. Huzzah!

Please comment below.


  1. J. Daniel Crawford says:

    My picks:
    Arnold Friberg
    The Christus
    Short-sleeved shirts
    Large Families
    Lengthen Your Stride
    For the Strength of Youth

  2. They are not, and never were, Green and Gold Balls.

    They were Gold and Green Balls.

    The former gets stuck in your teeth like an overcooked roast beef (why, by the way, isn’t that in the tournament??).

    The latter trips from the tongue like butter. It also can sound like Golden Green Balls, which adds just a hint of mystery to the whole thing.

  3. I have to object to potlucks–they may be ubiquitous in the Church (or at least may have been), but there’s nothing distinctly Mormon about them–they’re fairly common for work parties in my distinctly mission-field (I voted Lengthen Your Stride) workplace. Most Protestant churches have (or had) potlucks.

  4. oooh, we might have ourselves a neck and neck race!

    Go Johnny Lingo!!!!

  5. i believe NCMO is still avound check out (Disclaimer I do not condone this website but for informational purposes here is the following site.

  6. Monty Panesar says:

    It’s Gold and Green Ball you twerp.

  7. J. Daniel Crawford’s picks (in comment #1) are the same as mine.

  8. Mine: Oh yeah, baby – these will win.
    Arnold Friberg
    The Christus
    Short-sleeved shirts
    Large Families
    Mission Field
    Johnny Lingo
    For the Strength of Youth

  9. For shame! How dare you belittle the message of Johnny Lingo?!

    /Cipher in the Snow however, is agreeably a bit berserk.
    //Seriously though, you better be careful, no man knoweth the day or hour in which Johnny Lingo, he comes!

  10. Kevin Barney says:

    I went with NCMOs over the Christus. It is true that we have appropriated the Christus as a kind of symbol, but it is not unique to Mormonism. On the other hand, the bizarre phenomenon of the NCMO requires a very particular cocktail of pharisaic morality, of hormone-ravaged piety, that strikes me as uniquely Mormon.

  11. the first time I kissed my wife, she called me a NCMO. I had to ask what it meant. Boy did I prove her wrong…

  12. I would choose NCMO but I feel guilty voting against Jesus.

  13. C’mon, MOISTURE!!!!

  14. If you change basketbrawl to footbrawl, or if you prefer, soccerbrawl, you’ve got a bonafide Mormon phenomenom.

  15. a very particular cocktail of pharisaic morality, of hormone-ravaged piety, that strikes me as uniquely Mormon.

    Maybe so, but I read about a non-accredited Christian college in Florida with extremely strict rules governing gender relationships. Looking into someone of the opposite sex’s eyes for too long was prohibited, prompting the students to come up with the term, “making eye babies.” That term sounds pretty Mormon to me, but I don’t know if, in practice, it functions as an equivalent to NCMO.

  16. In my limited experience, Women actually want you to look them in the eyes, as opposed to other places…

  17. Yeah, and to paraphrase Jay Leno, that’s why they wear those special “push-up contact lenses.”

  18. During the 1930s, the Improvement Era published news reports mentioning both “Gold and Green” and “Green and Gold” balls.

  19. I had hoped, while I was voting out of town and Left Field was voting at home, that you were using cookies. But nooooooo!

    We have four computers and three different humans using the same internet connection over a wireless router in our house. We AREN’T that technologically advanced; home networking is basic technology these days.

    You only want the poor unwashed technoslackers to be able to vote? Next, you’ll only let people vote who have dial up. Why not just MAIL in our votes? Philistines.

  20. How can anyone vote for anything over Johnny Lingo? Seriously, you can be born into the church, find it at some point in your life, or what have you . . . if you haven’t seen the original Johnny Lingo, you aren’t Mormon!

  21. Potlucks appear to me to be on the way out, much to my chagrin. There’s no good reason to get rid of them. They are easy to plan, and provide for great socializing opportunities. Some of my best memories of the church of my youth involved potlucks. My favorite potlucks were in Miami, where the ethnic diversity of the congregation made for lots of interesting food (not just cream of mushroom soup dishes that dominate Wasatch Front cuisine).

  22. Kevin Barney says:

    When I was YMP I introduced the next generation to Johnny Lingo. None of the boys had ever even heard of it or knew anything about it. I rectified that situation. Needless to say, it met with their universal approbation and mimickry of key lines.

  23. Hey! I haven’t voted in this round, but the poll comes up with the percentages showing and no vote button. I’m the only one who uses my laptop, so there’s no possible way you could have a vote from this computer. How come I’m shut out?


  24. Thanks for letting me borrow your computer, Ardis.

  25. OK, flies with honey…

    Can somebody please look and see which IP address Left Field posted from, and then reset it so I can post too? Pretty please? I’d be ever so grateful.

  26. Re: #20

    Guess I’m not Mormon, then, but I did vote for Mr. Lingo.

  27. Anytime, Steve. Just say, please oh please, that you voted for Johnny Lingo.

  28. It’s time to roll out John Baker’s Last Race.

    That’s all I have to say about that.

  29. Steve, seriously, why won’t your system let me vote? I really am the only one with access to my laptop, and I haven’t voted in this round from any other computer. On the other hand, when I post during the day it’s usually from one of the public terminals in the church library. Am I barred because you have that on record as my IP address, so that if some employee in the COB votes from his desk your system thinks it was me? Or is there some other reason?

    More importantly, how can this be corrected for future rounds? These polls are IMPORTANT, ya know!

  30. The system won’t let you vote if your ip address and your cookie have voted. If you change IP address, delete your cookie and try to vote again.

    …J. returns to the power outage from whence he came…

  31. As a single woman I am really dissapointed that the NCMO is not doing substantially better in the votes…..

  32. Amen, Susie.

  33. uh, so when are we getting Round One Part Four?

  34. I guess this tournament was short lived…..

  35. I think Crawford is enjoying the Floridian sun too much. He, and the Tourney, will return…

  36. O Dan, have patience!

  37. Doesn’t matter anyway. My husband votes first, and gets it all wrong, and then I don’t get to vote at all on a different computer even. No way I’m going to win a CD of pirated music under these terms…

  38. Ah, I did not know he was on vacation….thanks for the heads up. :)