Rumor has it that BYU-Idaho students are having a hard time with the unwritten order of things—particular the unwritten rules about when to stand and when to stay seated. At last week’s devotional the entire student body stood up when Sheri L. Dew—CEO of Deseret Book and a former second counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency—entered the room. This week Clark Gilbert, BYU-I President and recognized expert in Unwritten Orderology, gave the students a friendly reminder that only members of the First Presidency should be greeted by standing. The students, fortunately, learned their lesson and remained seated.
But this is the sort of thing that could keep coming up in different ways. Unwritten orders of things are tough to remember, especially with all of the possible kinds of people who might address the college community. But do not despair. Always eager to be part of the solution, we offer the students and faculty of BYU Idaho the following guidelines for greeting dignitaries, famous people, and other muckety-mucks, both ecclesiastical and worldly:
- BYU-I Faculty Members (Male): Applaud politely for no more than 20 seconds. Members of the business faculty may be applauded for an extra five seconds.
- BYU-I Faculty Members (Female): The same as for male faculty members, except that the applause should only last for 78% as long, or 15.6 seconds. Clap the full 20 seconds only for stay-at-home moms or women past childbearing age.
- Faculty members from worldly universities: Clap slowly, with just a hint of irony. Like this. Say something about pulling taffy.
- Male Osmonds: Clap enthusiastically. Women are not required to throw undergarments on the stage, but, if thrown, they should be modest undergarments in their original wrapping, purchased especially for this purpose. Under no circumstances should male students throw underwear.
- Tyler Glenn: Stand in unity and turn your back to stage. Produce a bell, a book, and a candle and say, fiat, fiat, fiat while ringing the bell and closing the book. Seek the guidance of the spirit about the candle.
- Transparent Beings: Offer to shake hands. If they refuse, they are angels. But if they agree and your hand passes through theirs, that means they are minions of Satan. Bear polite testimony and leave.
- Transgendered Guests: Do nothing. Let them speak quickly and get off the stage before they have to go to the bathroom.
- Local or national politicians (R): Clap enthusiastically while rising up in your chair to be as tall as possible without actually standing. Chant “Clinton-Gore-Gone-In-Four” or something about a Tippecanoe, with or without Tyler.
- Local or national politicians (D): Yeah, right, like that’d happen.
- Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents, and Area Authorities: Stand on one foot (left) and hold left arm akimbo while playing “You’re the Top” on a hornpipe. When it gets to the part about “Napoleon Brandy,” think about Kool-Aid.
- Members of the First Quorum of the 70: Stand on one foot (right) and recite “The Standard of Truth” from D&C 4.
- Members of the Quorum of the 12: Enthusiastically rise to your feet and shout their full name (with middle initial) in repetitive cycles, adding the preposition “yo” for emphasis when appropriate. When seated, begin doing “the wave” after 30 seconds of introduction.
- Members of the First Presidency: Genuflect. Incense optional; kazoos discouraged, but if used, must play “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet.”
- High-Profile Female Guests, Including Current and Past Members of General Auxiliary Presidencies: Sit politely and contemplate how much the Church loves and respects women.
This should take care of 99.9% of current and future devotionals, and can be adapted to meet special cases (i.e., treat Lindsay Stirling the same way as Tyler Glenn, but only say fiat twice because she is a woman). And remember, the point is not to follow a set of written rules that cover every possible life contingency. The point is to follow a set of UNWRITTEN rules that cover every possible life contingency. In that, we are always glad to be your guide.