Let's Hear Some Mormon Jokes

Allahpundit writes on the new Obama campaign ad:
They won’t attack [Romney] for being Mormon (I hope), so calling him a murderer will have to do.... You know what’s really interesting about this spot? It’s not even a health-care ad. It’d be sleazy under any circumstances, but there’d at least be a concrete policy angle if Burton was selling it as an argument for, say, single-payer, to decouple insurance from employment. He’s not. There appears to be no actual policy argument here at all, unless The One now opposes layoffs on principle, for fear that someone somewhere might be left without insurance.
The policy argument doesn't need to be explicit, I think: decoupling employment from insurance is clearly going to happen under Obamacare. As Dad29 was pointing out the other day, it's clear from the way the incentives and penalties are structured that the real desire is that employers should drop coverage, putting people on the public (i.e., government run) exchanges. Otherwise, how do you make sense of the fact that dropping coverage for all employees nets you a $2,000 annual penalty, but it's a $35,600 fine per employee per year if you fail to provide free birth-control, including sterilization and abortifacients?

The complexity of the regulations and the scale of the penalties will make compliance expensive even for those without moral objections -- especially as HHS appears to believe it has been given a free hand to revise the mandated requirements at any time. You can hire lawyers and accountants to keep you in compliance, risking massive fines if you should miss something; or you can pay $2,000 total and opt out for the year.

Just a cost of doing business, that.

As for attacking Mormonism, coincidentally Adam Gopnik just finished a piece for the New Yorker on the history of Mormonism. The upshot of the piece is that Mormonism is clearly a fraud perpetrated by an unstable madman, has weird doctrines, and was imposed in Utah through extreme brutality including the massacre of a large number of innocents who had accepted safe passage from Brigham Young's riders. We learn that it was so dangerous that the US Army was called out to quell it, avoiding war only because the Mormons surrendered key doctrines of their faith.

However, the piece concludes, all is well now because the Mormons sold out. Having left off pursuit of the stranger aspects of their faith for pursuit of vast, vast wealth, they are no longer the danger to society that once they were.

'But hey!' the piece concludes: religions selling out for money is a good thing. The Mormons are role models for the rest of you, who ought to sell out your values like they did. That brings us back around to the business about the huge fines and the contraception mandate, after all.

I'd assume that the timing was coincidental, except Mr. Gopnik explains that it isn't:
It’s only later in the cycle of integration that the group comes banging on the door—as Jews and Catholics did, in the nineteen-fifties—for more general admission, not as cardboard stage-ethnic types good at one or two things but as people available to do everything, just like the ruling Wasps. That’s when everyone starts asking what it is these people really believe.
As he goes on to point out, his piece is not alone: in addition to "four scholarly books" on the history, there are a ton of "Mormon jokes" and "a Mormon-themed Broadway show" engaging the attention of New York City right now.

Now, I haven't heard any Mormon jokes. Religious jokes can be funny, if they're in the right spirit. Are they?


Donna B. said...

Q: What do you get when you cross a Kleptomaniac and a Mormon?
A: A basement full of stolen food.

Grim said...

You know, I finally gave in to temptation and started to Google the issue. Most of them are just redneck jokes, with Mormonisms transposed. I'm sure I once heard Jerry Clower tell this one:

Bishop Smith and Bishop Young, are walking down the street when Young turns to Smith and says, "Brother Smith, if you had two of those top-of-the-line Mercedes Benz cars, with all the gear, electric windows, CD player and all of that, exactly the same, would you give me one?"

Smith says, "Brother Young, how long do we go back? Thirty years? We've been best friends since school, and if I had two of those Mercedes, top-of-the-line cars with all the trimmings, exactly the same, yeah, I would give the other one to you."

So, they keep walking. After a couple of minutes, Smith turns to Young and says, "Brother Young, if you had two of those luxury, playboy- type yachts, you know, with all the modern conveniences, and they were exactly the same, would you give one of them to me?"

Young says, "Brother Smith, you and me are like brothers, you were best man at my wedding, you attended my son's Baptism, we have gone to the same temple together for all these years. If I had two of those luxury playboy yachts, exactly the same with all the modern conveniences, then yeah Brother Smith, I really would give the other one to you."

They keep walking. A couple of minutes later, Bishop Young turns to Bishop Smith, "Brother Smith, if you had two chickens..."

"Now hold on there! Brother Young, you KNOW I've got two Chickens!"

douglas said...

I recently got a good Catholic joke from a play called "The Savannah Disputation".

Of course, it's told by the Priest.

'Why was Jesus crucified instead of stoned? So that Catholics could do this (crosses self) instead of this (pretend bashes both sides of head with fists, rocking head back and forth)'

Why, that might have been the first good Catholic joke I've heard that didn't involve alcohol.

MikeD said...

I've heard several good Catholic jokes that didn't involve alcohol. Most are even from priests. Here's one of my favorites:

So it came to pass that one day a Protestant moved into a Catholic neighborhood. There was no problem with this, of course... until the first Friday in Lent. The new neighbor was out in his back yard grilling up a steak! And all the Catholic neighbors could smell the wonderful beef cooking over hot coals, which set many a mouth to drooling.
"It's just ONE Friday, surely this will pass," they thought.
But the next Friday, he was out in his back yard grilling steaks again! And the following Friday, and the following... all throughout Lent in fact!
No one could say anything, because the man had every right to eat what he liked, but the temptation! Oh the temptation. So following Easter Mass, the congregation talked about it. How could they politely convince the man to not eat steak on Fridays during Lent?
"Why not convince him to convert to Catholicism?" Asked the choir director. Everyone agreed it was worth a try. So for the rest of the year they worked on their Protestant neighbor. They used theological argument, they used extreme kindness, they plied him with pies baked by the ladies of the church. And one day, he agreed to convert.
The whole congregation turned out for his re-baptism. The priest made the sign of the cross over him and intoned "You were born a Protestant, you were raised a Protestant, now... you are a Catholic!"
And everyone rejoiced that no longer would they be tempted by his steak grilling ways during Lent.
But then, on the first Friday of the next Lent... he was grilling steaks again! Everyone could smell it! So they looked over the fence into his back yard where they saw him, tongs in hand, standing over the grill. A fine porterhouse slowly roasting over the coals. But before anyone could say anything, he made the sign of the cross over the meat with his tongs and said, "you were born a steer, you were raised a steer, now... you are a fish!"

Grim said...

Priests often tell the best Catholic jokes. By the same token, my favorite Jewish joke is from a work of Isaac Asimov's. It involves a much-anticipated Yom Kippur when the rabbi did not turn up at the synagogue. The assembly was concerned for his health, so dispatched members to his house, where they couldn't find him. Thus they began to search the neighborhood high and low as a group, until finally they found him sitting at a table in a seafood restaurant, just about to tuck into a big plate of oysters.

"Rabbi!" cried one of the assembled. "How can you be eating shellfish on this day of all days?"

"Why not?" asked the rabbi. "There's an 'r' in 'Yom Kippur.'"

Grim said...

This website appears to be a collection of Mormon jokes by Mormons.

Here's one:

A brother in the ward had a bad habit of running over lawyers whenever he saw them walking along the street.

One day, he happened to have the bishop with him in the car. Suddenly, up ahead of him, he saw a lawyer on the sidewalk.

"Oh no," he thought as the urge to swerve and hit the lawyer started creeping up on him, "What will the bishop think of me?"

Unable to control himself any longer, he aimed directly for the lawyer, but a sudden urge of will-power came over him, and at the last second he swerved out of the way.

Deeply shaken, the man pulled to the side of the road. "I'm so sorry, Bishop," he sobbed.

"Don't worry about it," the bishop replied, "I got him with the door."

Nicholas Darkwater said...

I enjoy hearing the jokes (again). They're old, just like me.

As for the imbedded intennt of the post, Romney's Mormonism, that has little to do with Romney. If Mormons expect a better public opinion of their theology, that's up to the church, not Romney.

Grim said...

Isaac Asimov said that most of the good jokes date to the days of radio, because they couldn't rely on sight gags like TV does. Thus, they had to be really clever to keep people entertained.

If you watch old TV shows from the period of the changeover -- Jack Benny or George & Gracie, say -- you can see the point. When they try to rely on radio-style jokes, it looks strange: the two people are just standing there exchanging remarks. On the other hand, when you see The Honeymooners, it's clear that they understood how to mesh the old barbs with the advantages of the new medium.

I still haven't heard any very good Mormon jokes, though. Except this one -- I don't know what these roles mean, but I get the general idea of what the people who fill them are supposed to be like:

A primary president, a high councilor, and a bishop are on a flight together when it is hijacked. The hijackers inform the three Mormons that they are going to shoot them.

The primary president gets teary-eyed and pleads with the hijackers to give her one last wish and asks if she could be allowed to sing her favorite primary song before she is shot.

The hijackers agree to her request and then ask the high councilor and bishop if they have any last requests.

The high councilor thinks for a minute, and then requests that after the song he be allowed to stand and give the talk he had prepared to give in sacrament meeting that next Sunday.

The hijackers agree and then turn to the bishop. Without hesitation, the bishop replies, "Please shoot me after the song."

bthun said...

"If you watch old TV shows from the period of the changeover -- Jack Benny or George & Gracie, say -- you can see the point. When they try to rely on radio-style jokes, it looks strange: the two people are just standing there exchanging remarks. On the other hand, when you see The Honeymooners, it's clear that they understood how to mesh the old barbs with the advantages of the new medium.

As another member of the Seasoned Citizen contingent, I now know that most good jokes are culled from circulation, overhauled and recycled. Not to mention that growing up in the Baptist Church, I've heard most of these with Baptist in the key roles. Then, when visiting my favorite Irish Catholic uncle, the subjects of the jokes became Catholic. And unlike Ed Norton, Ralph's buddy, the jokes from that time, as a rule, were not knee deep in sewage.

MikeD said...

"Why not?" asked the rabbi. "There's an 'r' in 'Yom Kippur.'"

I hate not getting jokes, and I know it ruins them to have them explained... but I just don't get that one.

Grim said...

There's an old saying, Mike, that you should never eat shellfish in a month without an 'r' in the name. There's an 'r' in "Yom Kippur," so it should be OK to eat shellfish on it. (Except, of course, that it's totally not OK because it's not Kosher, and that's a big deal for a rabbi on what I understand to be the holiest day of the Jewish calendar).

MikeD said...

It was the first half of the equation I was missing:
There's an old saying, Mike, that you should never eat shellfish in a month without an 'r' in the name

Thank you, sir. Educating as always!

MikeD said...

Oh, and one reason I may never have heard that is that I can't eat shellfish (or regular fish, or pretty much anything that comes out of the water). I don't swell up and die, but I do get violently ill if I eat it.

And let me tell you, that made growing up Catholic a wee bit dicey during Lent.

Grim said...

You're welcome!

By the way, The Clancy Brothers did a great version of the steak joke which I quoted in the comments here.

I'd quote it again, but then you wouldn't have the benefit of the graphics.

Anonymous said...

A private school teacher asked her students to bring a symbol of their religion to class. The next day, Mary held up her rosary. "I'm a Catholic, and this is my rosary."

Issac stood up and showed his yamulka. "I'm Jewish, and this is my yamulka."

Johnny stands up. "I'm a Methodist and this is my casserole dish!"


PS. There are a lot of funny religion light bulb jokes, but space precludes.

MikeD said...

There once was a little Jewish boy who had trouble in math class. He tried and tried but just couldn't seem to get it. His parents hired tutors, tried to help him themselves... nothing seemed to work.
Then one day, his mother heard about a local Catholic school that had an excellent reputation for mathematics. With no better idea of what to do, she enrolled him.
The first day of school, they send him off. That afternoon, he came home, went straight to his room and hit the books. The next day, the same thing... he got home, put his nose in the math book studying, and only came down to eat dinner, then he was right back at it till bedtime.
The whole semester went the same way. Finally, he came home with his first report card from the new school. And there, in Math... his very first A!
"VERY good, son! I'm so proud of you! But I must know, what is it about this school that helped with the math?"
"Well, mom, I'll tell you. On the first day of class, when I walked in and saw that guy they nailed to the plus sign, I KNEW they meant business!"

MikeD said...

Once more, you can thank Father Bill for that one.