a revelation

I...previously thought? That people.....who speak? a weird...cadence? And an unusually high.....pitched....form of....questioning?

Needed to be shot.

But now, my dear brothers and sisters, after hearing several Mormons speak, as if they were our beloved prophet or perhaps a favored general authority, I am reminded of the stories of my grandparents, told to me in my youth. It was all right then, as they were my grandparents, and were not trying to appear holier than they were. But now, dear friends, when a return missionary attempts to use a moderately funny anecdote in order to teach a treasured gospel lesson, and speaks in language uncommon for people under age 65, I realize in my heart, that I find insincere religious pandering, far, far, more offensive (and worthy of a firing squad,) than the magical ability to treat each spoken statement as a gerund. A beloved, special, and holy gerund.

Extra bullets if he or she was born after 1989 and uses phrases common in 1949. That just sounds particularly insincere.

That is all.


Mrs. Clark said...

When my son got back from his mission and gave his talk, he used a weird cadence. It's gone now. Thank goodness.

If the person in question just returned from the field, maybe he picked it up from the other missionaries. At least, that's what I thought at the time.

And it's officially called uptalking? When you end every sentence? Sounding like a question? Ugh, ugh, ugh. Valley-girl dumb.

Nicole said...

No seriously, why do all newly returned missionaries have such a weird cadence and end EVERY sentence like this?

It's not just the foreign language thing either, because I've heard plenty of stateside missionaries do this too. So weird.

Crazy Walker said...

As someone's facebook status so adequately states, "This stereotype is insultingly accurate". And I agree. Wholeheartedly. Thank you for your observations, and letting me know I'm not the only one.

bubba_84120 said...

First of all - I (almost) totally agree with you about sincere and honest speaking in sacrament meeting. The reason that I almost totally agree is that, even after doing a Google search on the definition of "Gerund", I am still in the dark as to what that word means and this didn't help (perhaps an example?).

Thank you - signed,

Not An English Major or Teacher ;)

Brooke said...

BAH! Nothing, except maybe false doctrine, can kill the Spirit faster. My companions and I called this "missionary voice" or "general authority voice" and found it ESPECIALLY annoying when it was used by 19-year-olds who two weeks ago spoke perfectly normally, but now that they were all-holy-Assistants-to-the-Presidents assaulted us with their newly found skill in zone meeting. A small part of it can't be helped. You spend every day all day asking people to do stuff, and so sometimes normal statements come out sounding like questions. "Sister, we're going to the grocery store?" But the weird idioms and the awkward pausing are a sure sign it's intentional and that they're just trying to sound like President Monson.

This voice, of course, is not to be confused with the much less-offensive and far more endearing tendency of RM's who have just come from Spanish speaking countries to say everything like it's a question ... partly because they are relapsing into a different grammar structure and partly because they really wonder "Am I ending this sentence with the right word, or did I just totally make an idiot of myself in English?"

Sigh. End rant. I'm glad to know someone else has noticed this.

SammyStewart said...

LOL! That is such a double standard, but so very, very true. Old people, particularly old General Authorities are entitled to getting away with so much more than us whippersnappers.

Slightly (un)related:

As a primary lady, I was asked to talk to the RS about dressing children modestly. You think modesty talks are hard? Try adding "I'm telling you how to raise your kid" on top of it. Quit putting your kids in mini-halter dresses for primary...'cause we're teaching a lesson on modesty and it's not their fault they're dressed like they're going clubbing. There were some dirty looks and some surprised but friendly looks. Afterwards, an old lady told me that she's been telling the women that, too. She's been telling them that immodestly dressed children fire up the passions of pedophiles. She could get away with saying that. She's 80. Imagine what would happen if I (at 22) said the same thing.

Stephanie said...


A gerund is basicallyn a word with "ing" on the end. Learning is the gerund form of "learn."

Although I forgot to emphasize it in my post, weird cadence speakers tend to add lots of "ings" to their "upspeaking" (thanks, Mrs. Clark.)

I am be in I spent.... a long time planning?

That is my very non-technical answer. And possibly wrong. Grammar is necessary. And boring.

Stephanie said...

ignore the floating n....

4 My Eyes Only said...

This is why I love hearing Sheri Dew speak. She doesn't sound as if she's taken Fake Voice 101.

When I hear women get up and use that "I want to be the next Relief Society President" voice, it's like nails on a chalkboard to me. The sad thing is that is overides anything positve that they might be saying. I have an overwhelming urge to do a Cher in "Moonstruck". You know, where she slaps Nicholas Cage in the face and shouts "Snap out of it!"

Lindsey said...

I really like reading you blog and think you have a fun writing personality (if I knew you in person I would probably think the same thing). I usually hold most of the faults that you point out so consider me the expert witness in this.

A. Missionaries hang out with missionaries all day, every day. They teach all day, every day. You pick up on the "accent" because by some tender mercy you stop hearing the weird inflection and unfortunately start using it.

B. When all you study is the gospel, your icons are people like President Monson. Until a 19-24 year old comes into their own style of speaking, is it really a problem if they try on the style of an apostle or a prophet?

C. Sounding too mature in a sacrament meeting is far less offensive then sounding too immature. I go crazy when adults talk like pre-teens. This week someone said OMG from the pulpit. She was in her 30's.

SammyStewart said...

Do you find this more annoying than people who put contrived colloquialisms in their speech to sound more accessible? I knew missionary in Belgium who always added "quoi" (French for "what") to the end of his sentences so he could sound like Ghetto Belgian Youth...

Stephanie said...

Lindsey- Excellent point. I agree that it isn't a crime to "try on" a voice, to see if it fits, and in a an attempt to try and develop your own. If it is done in a sincere way, yes, it is a tiny bit annoying, but i cut them slack. Like you said, they are just trying to grow.

You know the kinda gross feeling you get when someone is pandering to you? Like they think you will like them better if they pretend to be someone else? That is what I hate. I hate if you are pretending to be President Monson because you want to be liked, respected, or seen as a religious expert.

It is pretty easy to tell the difference- sincerity is generally accompanied by the spirit, pandering is not.

I hope that clears things up a little?

Nat said...


James McOmber said...

One dude in my last singles ward gave two talks in the time I spent there. Really nice guy - but in both talks, HE WROTE IN CHEESY ALLITERATION LIKE ELDER MAXWELL. That, to me, is so distracting and so unnecessary. I always wondered if Elder Maxwell (may he rest in peace) realized the slight irony when, in his talk "The Man of Christ", he used this alliterative phrase: "cleverness is not as important as content".

Also, I recall you being at my homecoming talk and I do hope you remember that I had nothing close to that damn missionary accent.

Katrina said...

this made me laugh out loud. you expertly translated to writing that oh so annoying affectation.