And General Conference is the Super Bowl.

Righteousness Fests: When a bunch of Mormon people get together and bash on something they think is evil, and congratulate each other on not participating in said evil thing.

Righteousness fests are a complicated sport, with more rules than football. Like football, you can be penalized for "excessive celebration" of your own righteousness. One too many self-congratulatory remarks and you come off as "prideful." But if you're sidelined the whole game, refusing to comment on how you just don't understand how a member in good standing could watch that R-rated movie, well, then you're not truly playing on the side of the Lord, are you?

I've participated -either via the sidelines, (unrighteously,) or as a running Quarterback,(obnoxiously,) in a great many Righteousness Fests. Since I was raised in the Mormon Church, one could even suggest that I'm close to being the Brett Favre of righteousness. No comment on how many times I've threatened to retire.

If Righteousness Fests are the Mormon Cultural Superbowl, and if you expect to take home the Celestial Trophy, there are a few "plays" you need to know.

1. You must constantly talk about "the good old days" where people valued the traditional family, and the youth were respectable. Openly longing to live in the 1950's will get you a field goal. Ignore topics like segregation, civil rights, women's rights, and the atom bomb.

2. Have a copy of the Proclamation to the Family posted prominently in your home. Make sure to twist the text when you quote it so that your point seems the same as the Prophet's point. Quote it even when irrelevant for extra yardage.

3. Lastly,my favorite play- insult people who have more education, or money, than you. Mormons love to do this. In fact, I heard the following mantra mis-quoted in both Sunday School, Relief Society, and Sacrament meeting last week.

Mis-quote: quoting the 14 Fundamentals and pointing out that "the two groups that have the hardest time following the prophet are the rich and the learned."

Oh my. This is the Shot Gun formation of Righteousness Fests. Mormons love being rich, and love being educated, but they have a hard time with people who are richer, or more educated.

How many times have you heard "Oh her Daddy paid for her college tuition, she's not a hard worker..."

"Rich people don't know how to really work..."

"Yeah it would be nice to have more money, but you know, rich people have a hard time following the prophet. Their boats become false idols...." (That was from Sunday School last week.)


"I wanted to finish my degree, but I realized that the Lord had better plans for me then to listen to the words of men..."

Want to know the actual quote?

"The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich. "

It isn't about how your roomie from college had more parental financial support than you. It's about pride. And it's bad in any form. Being prideful about your spouse's six figure income as an attorney is annoying. But being prideful, and insisting that you are the better Mormon because you "worked harder" to "make it on your own" is annoying too.

It is annoying, but but it's also ineffective. Sadly, even though every Mormon uses Play #3 in a Righteousness Fest, it usually results in an obvious fumble.

Because like NFL football players, only certain types of people get to participate in righteousness fests about the evils of wealth and education. People who complain about boats being a false idol are the people who have access to boats.

They are usually white, American, middle-class Mormons who simply by being born in the U.S. already have access to more riches and learning than their brethren in South America.

I'd venture that if the Chileans (mascot: a Habitat for Humanity Representative) who had their homes destroyed by an earth-quake had to play the Mormons-in-My-Ward (mascot: an SUV) in a Righteousness Fest the Chileans would win. Due to their awesome defense, I mean, humility.

But go on, keep smugly arguing that you're the better Mormon because you don't have a boat.

Fantasy Football time: What teams would you like to see in a Righteousness Fest? I'm waiting for the game where the Modesty Nazis play the Anti-Halloweeners.


Colt said...

The "R Rated Movies are Produced by Satan" (mascot an Clean Flix copy of Braveheart) vs 'Coca-Cola is the same as Meth in the eyes of the Lord" (mascot Nancy Regan).

gurrbonzo said...

Well, sure, but I AM a better Mormon, and I DON'T have a boat...

~j. said...

I don't own a boat because I'm so righteous I live in Zion, which is a desert.

Stephanie said...

butt gurr, you'd be a good mormon even IF you had a boat.

or, even if you had, horrors of horrors, an ADVANCED DEGREE.

oh wait.

Tristin said...

God bless you, Mormon Child Bride.

Linds said...

You are freaking awesome. Fantastic post. Amazing how many self-righteous people there are out there... [I do have to point out that Mormons don't have a monopoly on that one- we've had a lot of anti-Halloween mentality here- I live in the south]

NIKOL said...

Our Relief Society President once told us that going to school wasn't really that important because we're here on Earth for SPIRITUAL learning. Ergo, church is more important that college.

I'd have to think about my fantasy teams. But I think the Anti-Harry Potter folks would have to fit in somewhere. And maybe homeschoolers.

Melinda said...

Once again, bravo.

My personal pet peeve are these barely twenty somethings who dropped out of college to begin a family. I guess the Lord doesn't need educated women raising children, just men...

laura loo said...

My fantasy team would be all the people who talk about REALLY REALLY spiritual things with people they hardly know. (You know, the people who think they'll become prophet and name their kids Mohomrheimoriancamur) versus the people who have martyr complexes and an insistence that while their life is the MOST DIFFICULT EVER, their family, spouse, and life is WAY better than yours. (cuz at least they aren't YOU. They know how to really work. You just pretend.)

I'll name them the Smarmies v the Martyrs. And I think they should have weapons.

Sarah E. Reynolds said...

Sadly enough, I have found myself making these arguments before (re: how much money someone has vs. how hard they work compared to me). It's a pitfall for the insecure, and something of which I have been totally guilty. Interesting how many ways insecurity can manifest itself. in high school, it was gossip. Now it's commenting on your neighbor's wealth/education/priorities. This was a good reminder for me-- you never know someone's struggles, how hard they work, how strong their testimony is. No matter how many boats they might have access to. Thanks.

Mrs. Clark said...

A few years of real life ought to knock the self-righteousness out of most of 'em...

Excellent post. More of a problem in "Zion" than out here in the so-called mission field. So-called...

Stephanette said...

Hubby said that I really needed to read your latest post. Thanks for summing up, ever more eloquently than I did to my bishop, exactly why I hate Sunday School... and why he has lost his marbles if he thinks I would ever want to teach it!

Ru said...

Folks above me have already named it, but smug people who dropped out of school to get married and have babies. I would like to see them play the smug/bitter late 20 something who justify their singleness by pointing to divorce statistics.

(NO, I am not one of those people. What's that look for?)

Also, the Anti-Sleepover Brigade versus the Moms Who Are Too Cheap To Buy Their Daughters Prom Dresses But Insist on Putting Hideous Cap Sleeves on the Dresses That Other People Loaned Them For Prom.

(Ahem. Still a little bitter about what my little sis's friend's mom did to my prom dress. Can you tell?)

Rachey Smart said...

You are such a great writer. I love your posts. All of this made me laugh. Though I feel it shouldn't because its all true. Oh goodness, us Mormons...

Stephanie said...

Sarah (Eaton!)

I know. I feel bad for how many times I've been the quarterback for the judgement of money vs. priorities team.

I used to feel so smug about how I was so much better for taking out student loans. Righteous child bride!

Funny how I don't feel so smug or righteous now, when I have to pay off those loans. Just poor.

SkippyMom said...

I love that I just learned a whole bunch of new stuff under the guise of humor and football analogies. This is priceless - thanks!

[And obviously, me? Not a Mormon.]

Julie said...

Its laughable how often we fight when we agree on so much. I heart you Steph... and amen to your post. You're a woman after my own heart! (Which is--quite possibly--why we fight all the time!)

Stephanie said...

haha Julie. we don't fight anymore because we don't live together anymore.

and we're not 19 year old twerps anymore.

and i refuse to accept responsibility for anything i did at age 19.

except getting engaged.

Michemily said...

Janene told me today how brave she thought we two were, putting our thoughts out there on the internet. I agree with Mrs. Clark . . . get outside of Utah and things will change a bit. I think that's why it's so valuable to send kids on missions, seriously. However, unfortunately, many of them stay within their bubble on their missions or forget what they have learned outside of it very quickly after returning.

~j. said...

I can't decide if "I don't have time to watch tv"-ers would be on the same or opposing team as "We don't even own a tv"-ers.

Screwed Up Texan said...

I have to disagree, pride is only good when it involves Texas and Dr Pepper.

Thank you for letting me get that out.

Kari said...

Best. Post. Ever. Thank you!

Emily said...

Oh the irony of this post bashing pride when, is it just me, or this whole blog is about pride....of the author that is...

Stephanie said...

Emily- feel better?

Apparently making fake blogger profile IDs in order to snark at other people can do that.

Now go outside and play with the other kids. The grown-ups who use their real names to disagree with me have important things to say.

Kelly said...

holy smokes, you are one creative lady! that was so fun to read. lol. thanks for that.

too bad we all take part in these type of events and then take the time to post on our blogs about what we and/or other people should do better. (holding my hand up) guilty as charged. argh.

can i "follow" you. you are funny.

Stephanie said...


I think that is the point, right? We all play in the Righteousness Fests.

Thanks for the encouragement. I loved your comment on my other post as well.

Jessica said...

You prideful, prideful girl. How dare you talk about YOURSELF on YOUR OWN blog???!!??
That deserves a demotion. You are no longer VP of creativity at Cardboard Joy until you humble up, missy.

Stephanie said...


If I cross-stitch

"this whole blog is about pride....of the author that is..."

onto a throw pillow, can I be forgiven of my awful awful sin?

Emily said...

Actually, this is my real name. Sorry I'm not in the cool kids club of having a blog, I just use my email login. Didn't realize there were prerequisites to commenting with my actual ID.

Emily said...

Oh, and to answer your question, no I don't feel better. In fact, I feel pretty crappy. Which just goes to show I haven't learned that life lesson of "don't say everything snarky that comes to your head because you think it'll boost some twisted part of your self esteem."

And so, I say adios to this blog. Because it makes far too many snarky thoughts come to my head and well, I apparently don't have as much self control as I wish I did.

Stephanie said...

Emily- There are no prerequisites to have a blog in order to comment.

But there are prerequisites to being a decent human being, and one of them involves not floating around the internet leaving cryptic and passive agressive comments on the internet. With no way for the accused to directly respond. (Beyond treadjacking the comments.)

I know. I learned this the hard way. I'm a former lurker myself.

I'm not sure what your problem is. But I am curious. And while obviously I will not mourn the loss of your readership, wouldn't it have been much more constructive to actually talk about it?

I put this information on the world wide web. I expect people to respond. This is not my "online journal." If your have criticism, leave it. But make it true criticism, not just poorly constructed veiled insults.

Who knows? Maybe after a good conversation I'd learn that sometimes I'm too strident, and it makes people who don't know me personally upset.

Maybe you'd learn that I'm a nice person with a weird sense of humor, and who doesn't want people to take her criticisms of my church so seriously.

And maybe we would become e besties for life, and sponsor eachother's blogs, and host giveaways from eachother's etsy shops, and bond over a cold diet coke.

There's that weird sense of humor again.


mormonchildbride(at)gmail (dot)com.

jessp26 said...

There is some truth in what you are saying here, but if those that you describe are one end of the pride spectrum, you come off as viewing yourself as the other end. Maybe this post should have been titled "humility fest" in describing yourself. I bet that the people that said those things you mention in your post to which you have taken such offense were mostly just doing their best to do what's right, just like you.

Stephanie said...

Lets take out our re-reading glasses and take a gander.

Oh, yep, there it is, the part where I openly admit that I participate in righteousness fests. Both on the sidelines, and obnoxiously/actively.

I believe I also called myself the Brett Favre of reighteousness fests. I didn't put myself on the other end of the specturm. I made myself the quarterback.

I'm amused, not offended by righteousness fests because I recognize my role in them.

Rachael said...

I'm still laughing. I promise if I ever get called to be a Sunday School teacher this will somehow become the lesson and it will be taught true in football analogy: Be thou not judgmental. Period.