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Orson Scott Card takes aim at…funerals?

May 14, 2009

I dunno…maybe I’m just not understanding my good pal Orson Scott Card…but it appears he has to always say something that is just incredibly unpalatable and extreme. I wonder if he does it on purpose? This time, he had an article that I was seeing his general point on…but…he had to say something edgy and extreme in the middle of it.

For example, he talks about the ridiculous materialistic explosion that occurred with respect to missionary farewells a while back and pointed out how much of a shame it was that all of the ceremonies seemed more focus on pomp, circumstance, and the prospective missionary (who, as Card notes, hasn’t even done anything yet!), rather than being about the gospel and about discussing the role that missionary work has within the gospel.

So far, so good. And then he talks about other ways that culture can pervert things. He tells a hillarious little story:

Lately I’ve heard of an even-more-appalling fad that is sweeping through the church: bunko parties!

A relative reported on one such party. She was asked to fill in for a regular bunko player who had to miss a session. When she showed up, she learned that everyone was expected to chip in 10 bucks; the total amount was then given to the person who won the day’s gaming.

“But how is that not gambling?” said the guest player.

Apparently no one had ever thought of it that way. (Oh, yeah, right.) But they decided that, because of the objections of this guest, they would have everybody ante up only five bucks, and then the day’s money would be given to a charity.

I hope this sounds as funny to you as it did to me. If they were now going to give the money to the poor, why did they cut the ante in half?

There’s a reason why the anti-gambling division of most big-city police departments was called the “bunko squad.” It’s because bunko is gambling!

Silly Mormons trying to call evil good. Or, even more naively cloying:

It’s like the old Mormon tradition of tossing food scraps into the “happy fruit” or “funny fruit” jar on the kitchen counter, where it “aged” and then got added to punches or desserts.

It wasn’t “aging,” kids, it was fermenting. Just because it was brewed at home didn’t mean it wasn’t an alcoholic beverage that violated the Word of Wisdom!

So, I can agree with OSC on these kinds of points. If you want to be LDS, you need to follow these rules. Don’t try to get out of the Word of Wisdom with “happy fruit” (geez…that sounds almost like “special brownies” or “magic brownies”).

So you might be asking. Andrew S…what annoyed you about OSC *this* time? Please, tell me if I’m overreacting:

Then, a couple of years later, I attended a funeral for the first time, and I was struck even then by the similarities. The same little printed program with a picture. The same absolute focus on the person rather than the gospel.

Now, guys, I feel kinda paranoid…perhaps I’ve been out of the loop for so long that I’ve *forgotten* what funerals were supposed to be about…but I was pretty sure they were SUPPOSED to be about the person. Why does the gospel have to be in everything?! (that’s a rhetorical question, for you guys who doubtlessly have a serious answer.)

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  1. Very interesting, particularly since in Speaker for the Dead Card promoted a fundamentally secular kind of funeral that was all about the deceased person.

  2. Boyd K. Packer is big on using funerals to preach the Gospel. He did a whole General Conference talk on it, and IIRC it appears in his notorious “Unwritten Order of Things” talk too. I assume that’s where Card got it.

    And BTW, Card is wrong about “bunco squads.” They were anti-fraud, not anti-gambling.

  3. OSC is miffed that every funeral isn’t about himself. He’s a bigger drama queen than Donald Trump.

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