The OCeeker: Tustin Meadows Ward and Hot Mormon Mommas, Flawed Characters

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The OCeeker is not a well-endowed man. At least when it comes to sporting the sacred underwear into which members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints slip during the "Mormon Endowment", a purification and pledge ritual where Mormons dedicate themselves to the service of Heavenly Father.

But he once owned a pair of Superman Underoos. And on a recent Sunday afternoon, he donned a love-stained pair of black boxer-briefs to the Tustin Meadows Ward, where Mormon mommas and papas gathered with their cherubic white babies for a sacrament and testimony meeting. Boy howdy, them Mormons make pretty babies.


April 15, 1 p.m. 

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Elder Bingham
The OCeeker pulled into the parking lot with the alt-country stylings of Ryan Bingham ambling out of his car stereo, taking one last drag from a lung dart and checking out the fairer sex. 

Per capita, the Latter-Day saints have the hottest church chicks the OCeeker has ever seen. If white women are your thing. Only one problem. A lot of them are lactating. Young Mormon men apparently enjoy missionary, and we're not talking trips to Tierra del Fuego. 

As he saw a steady stream of young women and their blonde angels in tow, the OCeeker couldn't help but think the Mormon bucks had taken their cue from that old western swing classic "Catch 'Em Young, Treat 'Em Rough, Tell 'Em Nothin'". 

He strolled into the standard-issue ward building, a white-washed edifice sans a cross. LDS members say the cross is the symbol of Christ's death, and Jesus is living, so they chucked the cross as a prominent symbol of their faith. Critics have suggested the church banned the cross because it looks "too Catholic". 

To his surprise, when the OCeeker got inside, he saw a hallway full of Mexi-Mormons. They were congregating around the Relief Society Room

Nearly every man in the building sported a jacket or tie, or both, while the OCeeker rocked the Levi's as he took his place in the back row of the chapel, a bland little hall of white brick on the sides, and dark brick backing a stage filled with benches and a pulpit made of wood. Yes, there was a black person there. The OCeeker sat next to him. 

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Elderette Hefley
Older white folks took charge of the proceedings. The service was conducted by 1st Counselor Craig Moffatt, and began with a sleepy version of the hymn "Behold! A Royal Army", led by chorist Bruce Carter and organist Georgia Urrelo, who could give Nancy Bea Hefley a run for her money. Over the din of barking babies, we sang about marching "with banner, sword and shield" to conquer on "life's great battlefield". 

Lucine Fox gave the invocation, thanking Heavenly Father for the recent rain, and praying that it will "give us the moisture that we will need throughout the year." 

Make it rain, Lucine! 

A Sober Communion

After the invocation and some announcements about ward business, we launched into a comatose version of Isaac Watts' "He Died, the Great Redeemer Died". So did the OCeeker's soul. He never thought he would say this, but two tunes into an LDS service, the OCeeker had a hankerin' for some hipster-led praise. Mix in a guitar, Mormons. The only redeeming moments came as the mommies repeatedly had to give their young Brighams and Isabels a timeout, giving the OCeeker a peek at their comeliness. The church talks often about getting a "burning in the bosom" as a confirmation of truth. The OCeeker felt a burning, but it wasn't in his bosom. Time to wash the sacred underwear. 

And oh Hell, here came communion. 

A cadre of clean-cut brothers in the Aaronic Priesthood handed out the bread, which was, appropriately, white. Some of you sticklers who like to have Bible fights may want to know that the bread was leavened, which some say is symbolic of sin. 

The only person inside who spoke to the OCeeker was one of the Aaronic priesters handing out the bread. 

The OCeeker: "Do I pass it?" 
Aaronic Priest: "Yeah." 

Ah, the hospitality. 

Then it was time to drink the blood. A male Mormon up front prayed partly in King James English for God to "bless and sanctify this water" and . . . what the fuck?! Water? Water?! 

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Elder Malone
Now, the OCeeker gives the evangelicals a pass for drinking grape juice during communion. The 12-steppers need Jesus too. But goddammit Mormons, you've taken your teetotaling too far! Jesus said a servant is not above his master. So if, at the end of what sounded like a wild wedding party, he turned water into wine, then the least you people can do is get your Utah Jazz-lovin' asses to BevMo! and turn two bucks into a Boone's Farm blessing. (Forgive them Father, they ain't know what the fuck they was doin'.) 





Getting Testy During the Testimonials

After the watered-down communion, it was time for the "Bearing of Testimonies". Emphasis on the word "bearing". Job may have cursed God if he had to sit through it. LDS folks know their church is true, simply because, well, they know it's true. That's really how they put it. During their testimonies, several saints mentioned that they know the church and its books, such as Doctrines and Covenants and The Book of Mormon, are true. Uh, true dat? 

The OCeeker has heard church testimonies before. They typically involve Jesus saving people from stuff the rest of us don't want to be saved from: women, whiskey and victorious acts of violence. The LDS did it up different-like. 

Moffett led off the testimonies by telling the story of how he shared his faith with two confused Jews from Israel. It was raining and he was drinking Gatorade

"First of all they didn't know that we were Christian, and I assured them that yes, we believe that the Messiah is Jesus," he said. 

He shared with them that the LDS church today has a prophet to whom God speaks. The Jews apparently didn't pull the Moses card on Moffett. The moral of the story for a teary-eyed Moffett: it took a storm to share his testimony, which caused him to wonder how many other opportunities he had missed to do so. 

And so it went. 

Carter talked about sharing in the LDS faith with his golf buddies, and how spiritual music can get us closer to God. He plays golf in Tustin Ranch. A little girl said she knew "this church is true" and Jesus loves us very much. Tell that to the Calvinists, pipsqueak. 

An older woman compared people to bent nails that hold stronger when they are straightened out and reused. She also said LDS people have the truth more than any other person in the world, and Joseph Smith was a prophet. 

A young woman mentioned that she is the only saint in her family, and said she does know that her faith and church are true, "that it all fits." Oh, and she also said people try to find character flaws with the church's prophets. 

Yeah, like Joseph Smith adding himself into Scripture: "a seer will I raise up...and his name shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father..." (Genesis. 50:30-33, Joseph Smith Translation, really, the OCeeker isn't making this up); or that he plagiarized swaths of verses from the King James Bible when the golden plates from which he received heavenly revelations in upstate New York circa 1823 weren't working; or that he had enjoyed multiple women at the same time and codified the practice in Doctrines and Covenants, 132; or that the state of Missouri ran his ass out in 1839; or that in 1844 he was thrown into an Illinois jail for treason and killed by a mob before his planned escape. 

Oh well. God uses bent nails. 

Another woman went on several tangents, including one about Tolstoy and tornadoes. At this point, the OCeeker saw three men sleeping, including the Asian man next to him whose limp hand rested on the thigh of his hot Latina babe. 

Two young men spoke. The OCeeker couldn't see rings on their fingers, and he looked on because the men seemed to be running game on the babes in attendance. The first had 1990s floppy hair and ran Intellectual Game by talking about Aristotle's dialogues. The second was a proto-Mormon and he ran Sensitive Guy Game by crying and telling stories about his missions work. 

Sandwiched between the two was a black woman who asked us if we there when our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified. Um, no? 

The meeting was closed with the appropriately titled "The Time is Far Spent", and a benediction by Richard Fox, who also prayed in a modified King James English. 

Even the bevy of babes couldn't save the service from the OCeeker's wrath. He gave it an F for "fuck me, I missed most of the Lakers game for this." 

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Reformed Mormon
A final note. The saints don't drink caffeine. Naturally, the OCeeker approached a lovely brunette outside and asked, "Do you guys have a Coke machine?" 

They don't. 

The Tustin Meadows Ward meets every Sunday at 1 p.m. at 1800 San Juan St., Tustin; 714-838-9097

My Voice Nation Help
40 comments
Georgina
Georgina

We all have our own defect of character as long as we are alive. We never will be that perfect so all I can say is that we should never have to judge anyone around us nor will we have the right to say that they will rot in hell because they didn't accept the invitation to Mormonism.  Mormon Underwear...

Valentia
Valentia

Why is it that every time a church is criticized or parodied, as Dulaney did in his piece, the apologists only response is, "Stop! You're hurting our feelings"? Is sobbing and whimpering the best they can do? 

CALVARY IN MY TEMPLE
CALVARY IN MY TEMPLE

Valentia.............welcome to the real world where things are diffrent than living inside a bubble (a cute one do) open your eyes and your mind.

Lobizao
Lobizao

I'm not sure what you meant by this strange conflagration of words, but I think you're trying to say that the real world is one where imaginary men live in the sky and his "selected" people should never be criticized? I'm confused............................. (got more dots than you. I win.)

Valentia
Valentia

Why all the periods between "Valentia" and "welcome"? You also spelled "different" wrong, plus I don't know what "(a cute one do)" means, and the whole thing is a run-on sentence (two sentences, no punctuation). Why should anyone pay attention to you, sir? You are barely literate in your own language. Not very patriotic, I'd say.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Gustavo, 

Why is it acceptable for Dulaney to Bully these people? 

This was a new low for him... If your going to have people write stuff like this on your staff at least hire someone to write a piece titled "Funny Shit Retards Do" Or "HAHAHA You Have Cancer!" It would be a long the same lines as this.  I'm definitely not Mormon but c'mon man, this was akin to convincing the nerdy kid in your class that he is your friend then pantsing him in front of the cheerleaders.  

There is plenty of hypocrisy and wrongdoing to be found within organized religion... If you feel its your duty to expose it then go ahead... You have done a great job with the OC Diocese and pedo-priests (albeit a little overzealous sometimes but that's forgivable considering the circumstances).  But to attend a weekly service... to be welcomed to their church,  and then to repay their kindness by publicly mocking them is cowardly.

And then look at the post from Ryan... Still gracious in spite of being mocked! Thats class!

Lobizao
Lobizao

So Mormons, in your opinion, should be treated as retards or cancer victims?

909Jeff
909Jeff

You are not a genius are you?  What Im saying is that there is no way the weekly would publish a hit piece on a Black church pouring with stereotypes and bigotry... Why should he be able to do it with the lily white mormons? 

And the overwhelming response is because the Mormons bankrolled prop 8 and AGAIN I'm telling you that they may have funded it but the Monorities supported it. 

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

How is writing the truth bullying? And maybe those Mormons should stop bullying LGBT folks with their church-mandated Prop. 8 funding?

909Jeff
909Jeff

Really? Truth? 

Try Insult and sarcasm? 

And as we've mentioned AD NAUSEUM... Prop 8 was on the ballot in the year that saw more liberals and minorities vote than ever before... Elected the first Black president... Yet Minorities overwhelmingly supported prop 8. Not just the Lily White bigoted Mormons. (Blacks 70%, Latinos 60%) 

So let me ask you this? If Dulaney went to a Black Baptist church and turned in a piece that read... "Pulled my whip into the Friendship baptist church parking lot and backed into the first spot by the door for a quick get away in case the bullets start flying... Couldnt help but notice all the single baby mama's walking to church and just thought that they baby daddy couldnt make it because they are selling weed to pay their child support... When the Music started all the baby mama's and baby mama's mama's started dancing around weaves flying off their heads waving their hands to the heavens and shouting like a tribe of chimpanzees,".

Would you print it? HELL NO! Nor should you. I'm sorry Gustavo but I refuse to allow you to deflect...

909Jeff
909Jeff

What the fuck are you talking about? What I'm saying is you cant lay blame at the feet of the mormons... Were they big supporters? Sure... But so were Non mormon Minorities... 

So you can blame whomever you want for prop 8 winning I chose to blame the anti prop 8 people for underestimating their support.. Better luck next time. 

909Jeff
909Jeff

But still... What does any of this have to do with Dulaney showing up to a service being treated kindly and then penning a hit piece... You are deflecting, one has nothing to do with the other. 

If Dulaney wrote a piece called the "Homo hating Mormons" then fine we know his agenda. But every Sunday he shows up to a new church... attends the worship, in many cases is greeted and treated with respect and then as soon as he gets home he trashed them.

Bottom line is prop 8 won, quit crying like a little bitch with a skinned knee... get your own legislation on the ballot and get it overturned...

I voted no before and I'll vote no again... that is unless whiny little idiots keep fucking crying about it then I'll vote yes out of spite.

Lobizao
Lobizao

So being Mormon is a racial thing you're born with and you can't change? Then I guess your analogy makes total sense!

tysonJ
tysonJ

What was the % of mormons who voted yes?  What % of the contributions came from mormons?  You may also want to ask why other non-traditional forms of marriage (e.g. polygamy) is still a part of official LDS doctrine (D&C section 132), and why 'one man:one woman' was removed from official LDS doctrine (original D&C section 101).  Hypocrisy is such an ugly badge of dishonor.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Oh, please. That you even think what you wrote and Josh wrote is the same is beneath you—methinks you had too many PBR. There wasn't even a joke about Jell-O!

909Jeff
909Jeff

See, no where in Dulaney's article did he mention Prop 8... Gustavo brought it up as a deflection, and as much as I tried to not go down that road.. Here we are. 

Go fuckin figure... Oh well Dulaney is a Dick and the Mormons are Homo haters... What can you do? 

I'm over it.  

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

So what you're saying is if a majority of people vote to bully a minority, then that's okie dokie. 

909Jeff
909Jeff

I looked up my previous source and it does cite exit polling showing 70% but later analyses (Not expanding on what analyses) revised it to 58%. But upon further searching the LA times, Washington post and the Huffington post all cite 70% while the the SF Gate (of couse no agenda) are citing their "Further Research" shows 57%.  

Whatever it may be I dont really care except that conveniently Gustavo is citing it to defend Dulaney for being a Dick to otherwise kind people. 

Here is some other demographics The Public Policy Institute of California released a poll in December 2008 to shed some light on who voted for Prop 8, especially in light of widespread claims that relatively heavy support among black voters is what pushed Prop 8 to victory. 2,003 voters were polled from November 5–16.On a stand-alone question, 47% were in favor of same-sex marriage, 48% were opposed and 5% were unsure.85% of voters identifying themselves as evangelical or born-again Christians voted "yes".Of non-evangelical Christians polled, 42% voted yes.77% of Republicans in the poll voted yes.65% of Democrats voted no.85% of John McCain supporters voted yes.30% of Barack Obama voters voted yes.61% of Latinos voted yes.57% of Latinos, Asians, and blacks combined voted yes.62% of those without a college degree voted yes.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Didn't I read the Black vote was later changed to 58%?  

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

The Mormons are pretty okay especially compared to the hate-spewing Evangelicals who make trashing Mormonism an after-church sport.

LakersTrent
LakersTrent

You may be interested to know that Mormons originally used  "new wine" grape juice for communion, though it was later changed to water. As for communion bread, white is probably most common in the US because it's what's in families' cupboards. In other countries you might find something different. In fact, technically, Mormon doctrine allows for using any food and liquid for communion, as long as it doesn't distract the partaker from thinking of Jesus. I'm sure there have been all sorts of different combinations over the years, from poor Mormons in developing countries to military Mormons with MREs. 

Also, most Mormons do drink caffeine, just not coffee or black tea. Energy drinks and Diet Coke go off the shelves as well in Utah as anywhere else, and hot chocolate (which has small amounts of caffeine, like any other chocolate) is very popular at mormon activities in the wintertime. 

The worst part in terms of accuracy, though, is the bit about Joseph Smith. His translations of the bible wasn't used during his lifetime, and the King James Version without changes is still the version Mormons use. The name Joseph could have referred to any of several prophets named Joseph. Furthermore, there is no evidence that Joseph ever slept with more than one woman, much less concurrently. He was spiritually married to 30 or so women, but sex was not the goal and extensive DNA tests have never found Smith's genetics in any woman's offspring except his original wive's. In an age without contraception, that hardly matches your description. As for escaping prison in Illinois, he was actually there in the first place because he turned around and willingly went to his death, after crossing the river and almost escaping west. The jailkeeper gave Smith a pistol, because he liked the guy, and knew an armed mob was coming for him. Smith and his brother were assassinated while supposedly under the governor's protection.

Overall, the tone of the article is pretty disrespectful, and the language is hardly fitting in a piece about Mormons (or anywhere else, for that matter),  but it's nice that you at least went to see real Mormons before writing about them. Many journalists don't bother. As noted in another comment, Mormons are sincere imperfect people, and the Church is a hospital for healing sick souls more than a museum for displaying perfect ones. You may be too far from religion to appreciate most of the meeting, but at least you appreciated their good looks. Feel free to come back to visit again and redeem yourself with a more respectful article in the future. 

Lobizao
Lobizao

Another thing, JS WAS trying to escape from prison. You can read the account on TMB's book Rough Stone Rolling, where it tells the account that Smith went to the window and started flashing Masonic signs to see if any "brother" would recognize them and try to save them. The saddest thing is the ignorance inside the church. Reading any kind of controversial material, even if historically true and accurate, is seen as next to apostasy. I guess it's easier to guide a dumb herd than a smart one.

Lobizao
Lobizao

In the church I've been taught for years that the scripture about Joseph refers clearly to Joseph Smith. I've been a missionary, seminary teacher, elders quorum teacher, HP quorum teacher, and yup, it's JS we're talking about.

Jeff Gallagher
Jeff Gallagher

Yup, it could have been good humor without the beating.  Thanks for being easy on the Anglicans last week.

Minjae_Lee
Minjae_Lee

So much for tolerance. It takes a great intellect and talent to mock someone's faith and worship.  I suppose you think yourself quite clever.  At least those people in church were trying to improve themselves and their community - what contributions do you see yourself making? 

tysonJ
tysonJ

Bad ideas are not exempt from criticism or ridicule, thats just one way we move them out of society.  Polygamy was a bad idea, then society applied a little legal and financial pressure, and suddenly the LDS church is anti-polygamy.  Nothing wrong with continuing the same methods against their homophobia, sexism, and child abuse. 

Jeff
Jeff

It's one thing to give an objective account of a religious service and conclude it's not your cup of tea. It is quite another to use the real names of sincere and well-doing people (which I know them to be) to deride their faith and drive home your amoral, attention-grabbing agenda. Do you think these wonderful people, who have the courage pour out their hearts (while you hide behind your keyboard), would even go to church if they didn't know themselves to be "flawed characters"? Take a step back and consider your motives, Mr. Dulaney. The best critics don't have to agree but they recognize humanity when they see it.

Ryan
Ryan

Well, thanks for giving the Church a try, even if your visit's purpose was more about commercial exploitation than truth-seeking.  See you next week?

Christian Z.
Christian Z.

I don't blame him for any of the first impressions he had. Many of us Mormons do bear very lackluster, parroted testimonies which don't give very good reasons for the basis of their testimony and tend to leave out mentions of Jesus Christ, either because he is such an obvious part of the faith that he doesn't need mentioning until the pat "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen," at the end or because they really are parroting everyone else's testimony when they should have their own. Still, I personally would've liked to have heard the one about Tolstoy and tornadoes.

As far as caffeine goes a lot of members drink it. It was never an official thing and the always loose rule against it has fallen by the wayside more as time goes on. I'm not sure that means that Coke machines will ever be installed at an LDS church. They don't even have orange juice machines there.

And we haven't ditched the cross. It's just not a prominent symbol. It definitely appears in a lot of the artwork and the meaning of it still has profound significance for Mormons. As one of thousands of examples just a couple weeks ago it was mentioned in General Conference by a modern apostle: "As our Easter celebration approaches, I express my own witness that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the Son of God, the very Messiah of ancient prophecy. He is the Christ, who suffered in Gethsemane, died on the cross, was buried, and who indeed rose again the third day. He is the resurrected Lord, through whom we shall all be resurrected and by whom all who will may be redeemed and exalted in His heavenly kingdom. This is our doctrine, confirming all prior testaments of Jesus Christ and stated anew for our own time." http://www.lds.org/general-con...

Lobizao
Lobizao

Caffeine from Coke is ok, but if you have a coffee or a tea, you're out, buster. I mean, if  you repent you're ok, otherwise you'll never pass the temple recommend interview if you're a coffee or tea drinker

Bill T.
Bill T.

Truth? Um, yah, ok ...

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