I Have A Question: Picking a Stake President

Our semi-regular feature at BCC, in which Scott and Steve answer questions from our readers and then Rank stuff. Have a question you want us to answer? Send us an email!

First question!

How does a stake president get picked?

Well, see they’ve got this smooth, brown stone…

To pick the new SP, a GA comes and interviews the outgoing SP, high council, and all bishops. Some of them have nifty forms they use to collect recommendations and thoughts. By the end of the interviews they extend the calling to the new SP. They may have preconceived notions of who the new SP should be, but there are anecdotes served up in General Conference sometimes about how the Lord directs them to pick another guy with a big house and jet skis instead of the intended guy with a big house and jet skis.

Could you provide a list for Sacrament Meeting etiquette?
-TRY to arrive on time…
-Feed your kids BEFORE meeting
-Don’t get up and walk out until speaker is finished
-At what point is a child TOO rowdy, and should be taken out? (Out of the chapel, that is).

No. No such list exists or should exist. We’re already too crazy in our Sabbath observance. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. We’re a lay clergy, and a lazy one at that. Don’t try to make Church more difficult for people! Here’s your list:

1. Don’t be rude

One of the new Temple Ordinance movies is the least of my favorites, however the music track is the most beautiful. Could this track of music be had for my personal enjoyment (preparing to attend the temple)?

No. But here are some alternates that sound pretty temple-ish:
-Soundtrack to Empire of the Sun
-Soundtrack to Tree of Life
-Soundtrack to Maximum Overdrive

The temple music is just your average soaring theme. There’s nothing that amazing about it, just as there is nothing amazing about anything in the temple film. It shouldn’t be amazing. It’s an ordinance, not Laser Floyd. If you want to get a glimpse of what the endowment really should be, go to Manti or SLC to take in a live session. That’s how the ceremony was designed and that’s how it should be. Make up your own music in your head as you go.

If EQ had their own version of the “good news minute” à la RS, what would the shared experiences be?

Probably about their high scores in Madden or about how Maximum Overdrive was on last night.

People give Brigham Young a lot of crap for his comments about the moon and the sun being inhabited. What if he turned out to be right, and some future NASA expedition discovers some below-surface Moon Paradise? Would anyone ever eat crow for making fun of Brigham Young? PS is it possible that there is life on the moon?

Nobody will ever repent for making fun of Brigham Young. If we’re suddenly dealing with sun-men and moon-maidens, people will just say that BY was lucky. People don’t like admitting when they’re wrong, even when they’re ecclesiastically obligated to do so. Look at it this way: what do you think Brigham Young would say now about his moonmen theories? Right.

Is it possible that there’s life on the moon? Beats me, but people can live in Idaho, so why not the moon?

If Mitt Romney had been a woman (same background, qualifications, race, family relations, only the gender is different) would she have won the 2012 presidential election?

No. Are you kidding me? The only thing people hate more than Mormons are women! No way. Look at Carly Fiorina if you want to see how badly women are treated in GOP politics.

Where did the phrase “cultural hall” come from?

They had lots of Halls in the Olden Timez. Masonic Halls, Dance Halls, Halls and Oates, you name it. You have to remember that people were living in adobe huts and were eating sand and sharpening sticks to hunt sabretooth tigers. The Hall was the single large structure in newly-founded towns for popular events. You can still find towns across America where the Masonic Lodge or Elks or what have you is the hub for any large group gathering. Anyways, they had a Cultural Hall in Nauvoo (originally a Masonic Hall), and various plays, dances and other activities went on there — in part because of the aforementioned adobe huts and sand. The phrase itself? Who knows, but Mormons didn’t invent it.

When do the first Kynzleeys and Remyngtynns become general auxiliary/authority members? I’m in my mid-20s and hope i’m dead before then.

They don’t. Best-case scenario, those ridiculous names become their initials, so Rmyngtynn Monson becomes R. Rockwell Monson or somesuch. Those poor kids. Weep for them. They have no future.

Fictional Missions, Ranked
As always, these rankings are authoritative.

  1. Hyrule South
  2. Finland, Helsinki, Summertime-Only, English-Speaking
  3. Spain, Barcelona, Non-Proselytizing
  4. Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Orphanage-Saving Service Mission
  5. Comic-Con Cosplay Mission
  6. Family Defense Service Mission
  7. Pacific Coast Trail Mission
  8. Southeast Asia Culinary Mission
  9. Netflix and Chill, French-Speaking
  10. The One Where You Don’t Feel Crushing Guilt and Inadequacy


  1. The Kynzleeys and Remyngtynns are generally from lower-education families and therefore are not likely to fit the socioeconomic profile of GAs. They might have big houses and jet skis but the big houses will be in somewhere like Santaquin or Hemet and will have been purchased with a 5/1 option ARM; the jet skis will be sold on Craigslist when Remyngtynn Jr. needs braces.

  2. Ouch, APM! I mean, yeah. But ouch!

  3. “go to Manti or SLC to take in a live session”


  4. True story: in my stake in the NE, a few years ago Elder ____ (rhymes with Malłard) comes out to pick a new stake president. The SP was a brand new move in, and Elder B proclaimed that it was a miracle to pick the unknown man. Come to find out, he had just moved from Elder B’s ward in Utah.

  5. Fictional mission #7 is why my dad and I wore Ray-Bans and black ties when we did home teaching. “Good afternoon, Brother/Sister _____. We’re on a mission from God.”

  6. .

    FTR, Maximum Overdrive is a TERRIBLE movie. Don’t let Steve lead you astray.

  7. Hyrule South is the cushiest fictional mission. Serve in the Gerudo Desert like I did on my fictional mission and then we’ll talk.

  8. Maximum Overdrive is AMAZING.

  9. it's a series of tubes says:

    In the next stake over from mine (suburban western big city), when it was reorganized last year they chose a 27 year old dude with 2 little kids as the SP. Seems like about the meanest thing they could possibly have done to that poor family.

  10. Tubes, almost the meanest: he could have been made bishop.

  11. Maximum Overdrive was the first rated R movie I ever saw, thanks to having cable as a child. To this day, I still keep a 4 foot distance from all vending machines because of that movie. Also, I think of it every time a see a long line of semi trucks on the freeway. Love that terrible terrible movie!

  12. Amen Steve. Bishops get all the work and little of the glory. Comparatively the Stake Presidency is a cushy calling.

    I wonder how many Stakes they have now in Hyrule? Since it would be an all Sisters mission with one traveling Elder I suspect it would be close to the highest baptizing mission in the Church.

  13. I’m in that stake with the 27 year old SP. He was just called to the high council 2 months previously so he was pretty much an unknown. He and his wife are doing an excellent job. Truly an inspired pick.

  14. Stephen King said that Maximum Overdrive was the worst adaptation of his work.

  15. John Mansfield says:

    Swiping from the BOAP site: “President Joseph Smith stated that the business of the conference had closed, and the remainder would be devoted to instruction. It is an insult to a meeting for persons to leave just before its close. If they must go out, let them go half an hour before. No gentlemen will go out of a meeting just at closing. (April 7, 1843.) DHC 5:338-339.”

    It’s not explicit if you should wait until the current speaker is finished speaking, but you shouldn’t wait until they are all finished speaking. If the last speaker has more than half an hour left, then all those who have to get out should act before too many minutes have passed. Nice vagueness in the phrase “must go out.”

  16. Mission #9 totally exists. We just sat in the sauna or played ping-pong at the chapel the other 11 months of the year.

  17. All in favor of the Tree of Life soundtrack for the temple film, please manifest it. (Kurt Bestor doesn’t get a vote.)

    Actually, while we’re at it, how about the Tree of Life film IN PLACE OF the temple video?

  18. Hunter, you’ve got my vote, straight up. I’m gonna watch it on Sunday, now that you mention it.

  19. Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story and Dances with Wolves are also great soundtracks.

  20. Additional stake pres. detail. The General Authority asks for a list from the outgoing stake pres. During the last stake presidency change in my last stake, the outgoing president made a list that included men who were not and had not been bishops or members of the high council and they were all interviewed by the visiting G.A. So the “who gets interviewed” list is not set in stone.

  21. Kevin Barney says:

    Excellent work, brethren.

  22. What Kevin said. This one’s a real winner.

  23. Also, the live sessions? Get real. I’ve seen better actors in all seniors dinner theater in Florida. Good luck getting anyone in that crowd to be fruitful and multiply.

  24. I thought much of the symbolism was more evident during the Manti and SLC temple sessions.
    I was disappointed when I was on the High Council and we were changing Stake Presidents that I was not interviewed. But then again, it was a “done deal” before the GA ever came in to town. Making sausages and seeing Stake President callings being made, just sayin’.

  25. N. W. Clerk says:

    I was present in the stake offices when my current stake president was called. After all the interviews, the visiting general authority and area authority seventy went for a walk to think things over. When they returned, the general authority instructed the stake executive secretary to call Brother & Sister X at home to invite them to come back in. When the X’s returned, Brother X looked more like he was on the way to his execution than to his coronation.

    It’s hard to blame him: committing to give up 9 years of his life to a time intensive and emotionally draining calling. He’s typically at Church for 10 hours on Sundays, goes ministering in the homes of stake members one weeknight a week, and is at the stake offices other times during the week to set apart and release missionaries, give last-minute temple recommends, etc. He splits a weekly temple worker shift with the other members of the stake presidency, has the full-time missionaries in his home regularly to teach lessons, and is in regular contact with missionaries in crisis serving from our stake (and with their mission presidents).

    He and Sister X do have a large house, which has come in handy in raising their 7 kids and caring for 3 foster kids. I don’t think they have jet skis, but I could be wrong. His predecessor has a small house; I don’t know about the jet skis.

  26. Jet skis are critical

  27. Now I’m fantasizing about Terrence Malick making a temple film, way to go.

  28. Oh man.

  29. My Dad likes being SP a lot more now that he’s retired from his 70-hr-week job. He splits his time between studying, working on his Spanish, family history, golf, running, temple work, and SP work. It’s almost like he’s an actual pastor.

  30. I’ve seen people ham it up pretty good in the live sessions, though I can’t say that’s the norm. And the rest of us schlubs, even in the filmed session, are acting with them as the posterity of Adam and Eve, and we’re not the greatest actors either.

  31. Anon on this thread says:

    I should move to the Manti district. I’ve always wanted to play the Satan and believe I’d do a good job. After all, he’s just doing things he’s seen done elsewhere (paraphrase). Does that mean I have some kind of character flaw?

  32. Kevin Barney says:

    All of the live action Satans I have seen really went for it and have been great. That’s definitely the plum role.