Mormon Makeover Shows

It seems that for every conceivable social malady, there is an equal and opposite makeover show. Is your friend a hopeless frump? Just send in the Fab Five from Queer Eye, and watch the ugly duckling turn into a metrosexual swan on national television. Or perhaps call for the What Not to Wear people, so you can laugh as your friend is mocked on TV by the fashionable and cruel. Is your friend’s home decor hopelessly stuck in the seventies eighties nineties? Call for the Trading Spaces crew, and you’ll get to fix up your friend’s living room with a group of preternaturally photogenic handymen and -women (while hoping that your friend isn’t doing too much damage to your own house). For less risk to your own digs, try the While You Were Out crew. And of course, let’s not forget the ultimate makeover show, the surprisingly titled Extreme Makeover.

What makeover shows do we need for Mormons?

Trading Scriptures. You all know the slob in your Elder’s Quorum who has never cracked open his quad. He doesn’t know Nephi from Moroni, and he clearly doesn’t care. Or maybe he does care, he’s just embarrassed about his scriptures. He probably feels so inadequate — his quad is the only one in the room that lacks a soft red highlighting in First Nephi 3:7. It’s like a sign on his head — “I didn’t do the scripture masteries in seminary. Make fun of me.”

Our Trading Scriptures crew has the answer. We will kidnap his quad and send it for a quick but thorough makeover, to a team comprised of Royal Skousen, Jack Welch, Jim Faulconer, Melissa Proctor, and Henry B. Eyring. Plus the mandatory art support — Rusty Clifton and a crew of day-laborer artists, armed with a 156-color box of colored pencils.

In just 24 hours, your friend’s scriptures will be back, now with color-coded cross-references on every page and deep scriptural thoughts in every margin. Linguistic notes will be added in cool colors, with copious use of phrases like “in the original Greek, this term could also mean . . .” Blank pages will be decorated with cute pictures of Ammon chopping off arms. And to top it off, the marginal notes will include pithy, occasionally humorous cross-references to Nibley, Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, Jorge Luis Borges, Aquinas, Augustine, and Ogden Nash.

While You were in Relief Society. So you’re a new convert, and you haven’t quite got the Mormon-woman look down? Unable to tell the difference between Gap and Old Navy? Never fear — the WYWIRS crew is here to help!

Rosalynde Welch, Carrie Lundell, Sumer Evans, Heather Oman, and the marketing arm of Gap/Old Navy will take you shopping for a day, and educate you in the nuances of Mormon-woman dress. You’ll learn tricks and truisms like:

-“No success in the cut can compensate for failure in the highlighting” — a theory of Mormon coiffure.
-Denim-skirts-and-birkenstocks, 101.
-The divide between church t-shirts and non-church t-shirts.
-No, you can’t have a pixie cut. Now just put your hair in a ponytail like everyone else, dear. There, now doesn’t that look nice? Remember that Mormon men are genetically programmed to find ponytails sexy.
-Make-up tips for the very white.

By the end of the day, you’ll be indistinguishable from all of the rest of the Stepford wives Relief Society sisters in your ward. Welcome to Mormon life, sister!

Extreme Hometeaching. It looks like you haven’t done your home teaching for a little while, brother Jones. The past thirty-two months, to be exact.

It’s time for an intervention by Extreme Hometeaching. You’ve been assigned a new companion, brother Jones. You are now the junior companion to Boyd K. Packer.

You don’t want to get a stern talking-to from an apostle? Then I hope that you have your appointments set for this month. And get that done on the 1st, not the 31st.

And brother Jones, I really, really hope that you don’t think that skimming the Ensign message in the car on the way to the appointment counts as preparing your message. Your new senior companion might have a few things to say to you on that score.

You should be smiling, brother Jones. Your Elders quorum president is.

45 comments for “Mormon Makeover Shows

  1. June 15, 2005 at 10:08 am

    That’s just awesome.

  2. Peter
    June 15, 2005 at 10:25 am

    I think the “reality” show format has more promise. How about a show where three families must live off their year’s supply. Or “Testimony Idol” where teens squared off to see who could cry on command and still say something uplifting–then leader judges would comment on their performances before congregational voting.

    I suppose a discussion of “19th Century Polygamy House” would be going too far, however.

  3. Adam Greenwood
    June 15, 2005 at 10:28 am

    I think calling the women in the church ‘stepford wives’ is rude and false.

    ‘Trading Scriptures’ was hilarious.

  4. Portia
    June 15, 2005 at 10:31 am

    Great idea! How about one called Whitened Sepulchres where we help members stop worrying about whether it’s okay to have a beard or drink diet Coke and start developinig charity and serving one another?

    In fact, this could be a special “leadership makeover” show. That’s the makeover I’d like to see.

  5. Adam Greenwood
    June 15, 2005 at 10:36 am

    How about one called ‘Kicking against the Pricks’ in which we help members to stop criticizing the leadership, and criticizing the members who worry about beards and diet Coke, and instead . . .

    Wait, that show and Portia’s show have already been done. It’s called ‘the Gospel’. Coming soon to a meetinghouse near you!

  6. June 15, 2005 at 10:41 am

    Trust me, they don’t need me to make their scriptures beautiful. Haven’t you seen those scripture event (significant events from Nephi/Laban to Abinadi to Samuel the Lamanite) stickers you can put over the accompanying verses? Much, much better than highlighting. And more effective too!

  7. Rosalynde Welch
    June 15, 2005 at 10:55 am

    I probably ought to be a little insulted that Melissa was tapped for the deep and profound Trading Scriptures, while I seem more appropriate for the shallow and materialistic WYWIRS–but I’m so flattered that you’d think me at all fashionable that I’m actually pretty pleased!

  8. June 15, 2005 at 11:04 am

    I have only read Borges’ Labryinths, which I do not have with me. But here are a few beautiful quotes I could find easily on the web.

    “The original is unfaithful to the translation.”

    “The truth is that we live out our lives putting off all that can be put off; perhaps we all know deep down that we are immortal and that sooner or later all men will do and know all things.”

    “Democracy is an abuse of statistics.”

    “Reality is not always probable, or likely.”

    “Like all writers, he measured the achievements of others by what they had accomplished, asking of them that they measure him by what he envisaged or planned.”

  9. Portia
    June 15, 2005 at 11:05 am

    Adam Greenwood’s comment reminds me that smug self-righteousness is by no means limited to the leadership, so I amend my suggestion, to extend the Pharisee makeover to especially deserving individuals in the general membership as well.

  10. June 15, 2005 at 11:09 am

    Portia, you are being a little hard on yourself. But you are right, I suppose we could all be a little less smug.

    Except for me. I should be more smug. It’s my comparative advantage.

  11. Kaimi
    June 15, 2005 at 11:18 am


    Hey, stop giving away all of the good lines from my next post!

    Portia & Adam,

    The two of you should join forces and rule the universe together.

    p.s. Adam: Exactly — that’s why I put it in strikeout.


    Yes, but do they make stickers with faux-Minerva Teichert drawings on them? Like it or not, it’s going to be you and a box of colored pencils.


    Listen closely, and you’ll hear the sound of generations of feminists past, rolling over in their graves.


    I like to think of you as “smug as a bug in a rug.”


    Thanks! :)

  12. Jack
    June 15, 2005 at 12:18 pm

    How about a church music makeover? Where in a matter of minutes one is taught the techiques that are “appropriate” to singing mormon pop–the forced pulsating vibrato, the glottal gurgle entrance, the emotive scoop, etc.

  13. Carrie Lundell
    June 15, 2005 at 12:25 pm

    Thanks for the nod Kaimi. Although training women how to dress more “mormon” would be turning against everything I believe in.

  14. costanza
    June 15, 2005 at 12:58 pm

    How about bringing in some of those stern British ladies from Nanny 911 to wait in the foyer and “deal with” any unruly kids.

  15. Kevin Barney
    June 15, 2005 at 1:10 pm

    This isn’t a makeover show, but how about a Mormon Bachelor? You take the one and only single man over 40 in an entire region who doesn’t still live with his mother and has an actual house, car, and job that doesn’t involve fries. You add about 20 LDS women who are also over 40 and willing to bash each others’ brains in for a shot at that rare find. It starts out as a reality series, but at the end, the Mormon Bachelor decides “Why should I have to choose?”, goes fundie, and just marries them all.

  16. A. Greenwood
    June 15, 2005 at 1:23 pm

    “p.s. Adam: Exactly ? that?s why I put it in strikeout.”

    I can’t agree, Kaimi. It’s rude and offensive if I write, “Kaimi’s post shows that he hates Mormon women can have fun with the sisters. It’s a wonder no wonder that his wife can tolerate likes him.”
    Putting the nasty things in strike-out only means that I’m being rude and offensive in a passive-aggressive kind of way. Even if I don’t mean it that way.

  17. Trenden
    June 15, 2005 at 1:42 pm

    Adam, chill dude, don’t be so uptight.

  18. A. Greenwood
    June 15, 2005 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks for the advice and the compliment, Trenden. You’re a pretty chill dude yourself.

  19. Paul
    June 15, 2005 at 2:46 pm

    Adam, I second or third the suggestion to ease up. Your posts have become paranoid.

  20. Shawn Bailey
    June 15, 2005 at 3:01 pm

    I find Mr. Greenwood’s stodgy demeanor rather entertaining. For my sake, sir, do not become less up-tight.

  21. June 15, 2005 at 3:18 pm

    I’ll second or third Shawn.

    as to Makeover shows:

    how about:

    1. The Iron “Food Storage” Cook

    Contestants have to create edible & tasty meals out of food storage “materials” (non-commercially available products of course; Bishop’s Storehouse goods allowed [or required?]). The winner is judged not only on taste of prepared food; but also the amount of time and preparation the meal requires, as well as the relative cost of the ingredients and their longevity.

  22. A. Greenwood
    June 15, 2005 at 3:33 pm

    For your sake then, Mr. Bailey.

  23. john fowles
    June 15, 2005 at 3:51 pm

    I’m with Adam (sorry if that cramps your style Adam).

  24. A. Greenwood
    June 15, 2005 at 3:57 pm

    As our friends have pointed out, I already have a pretty cramped style, John Fowles, so no worries.

  25. Bro. Brandon B.
    June 15, 2005 at 4:49 pm

    How about SURVIVOR: PRIMARY we select half a dozen members from area presidencies and watch as they are taken from the world they know and thrust into a primary calling! Each one gets to bring only one ‘comfort item’ with them, and we see who get’s voted out by the kids first…

  26. Jordan
    June 15, 2005 at 4:59 pm

    As far as “makeover shows” go, here is my suggestion.

    The show would be called “A Mighty Change of Heart” and it would take someone who feels spiritually inadequate, subject him/her to much fasting and prayer, scripture study, and service for about a week or so, and see at the end if he/she feels to sing the song of redeeming love. Actually, such a project might not be a bad idea for a priesthood quorum to undertake together in real life, without the video cameras. The “mighty change of heart” week.

  27. June 15, 2005 at 5:40 pm

    There’s a fine line between good fun and making fun of good people. I’m not sure which side of the line this post falls on, but am I the only one who feels a little uncomfortable? I do like the Iron Chef food storage idea, though. Maybe I could earn extra points for decorating the oat cakes and potato-pearl puddings.

  28. Heather Bigley
    June 15, 2005 at 5:41 pm

    Actually, I recently rented the two film versions of The Stepford Wives, for some comparitive analysis (I like the 1970s version better), and I was perturbed at how much I was reminded of the Relief Society. Or perhaps I should qualify by saying, some chapters of the Relief Society I have been in have seemed disturbingly focused on male-worship, physical perfection, and consumerism.

    Other Relief Society chapters I have been in have been more healthfully engaged in social service.

    As for Mormon reality-TV, how about Survivor: Sister Missionaries… Two sisters have to survive district meeting and zone meeting while being vastly out-numbered by 19 year old boys; ward off the mission president’s wife (why doesn’t that position have a title? and don’t say “Mission Mom”, because that just grosses me out) who cheerfully encourages them to wear more make-up, high heels and panty hose; get the members to recognize that sisters are missionaries, too; and wear dresses for 18 months.

    Or has the mission experience evolved drastically since my mission in the 1990s?

  29. gst
    June 15, 2005 at 5:59 pm

    About the “While You Were In Relief Society” bit: I can’t imagine being close enough to a female friend or the wife of a friend to allow me to make fun of any aspect of their appearance, especially in a broadcast medium.

  30. June 15, 2005 at 6:03 pm

    I think these are some awesome ideas. Why let secular TV have all the fun? As the old proverb says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”

  31. Audrey Stone
    June 15, 2005 at 6:47 pm

    Great post! Forget the difference between Gap and Old Navy, I’d settle for teaching the difference between dressing casual and dressing for church attendance. What do men think of the fact that they have to be in a full suit, white shirt, and tie while women can wear a T-shirt and denim?

  32. A. Greenwood
    June 15, 2005 at 7:12 pm

    I pity the women.

  33. laura
    June 15, 2005 at 8:10 pm

    Sign me up to be the first victim of Trading Scriptures. What the heck, I could probably use a whirl through While You Were in RS, too. Some of us just have a harder time being appropriate than others, which was ok when I was still in college. It’s getting harder to get away with as I get, um, older.

  34. Harold B. Curtis
    June 15, 2005 at 10:07 pm

    When oft in jest
    We try to test
    Some objects true demeanor

    A mirthful view
    May turn on you
    And make one look the leaner

    Such dismissive
    In our missive
    Can rarely pollinate

    Then realize
    Our fertilize
    Will surely grow our fate

  35. June 15, 2005 at 11:00 pm

    this post is great! i am happy to see that there is a sense of humor in the bloggernacle. :)

  36. Rosalynde Welch
    June 15, 2005 at 11:51 pm

    And let’s not forget “Bloggernacking with the Stars.”

    Six professional large-groups permabloggers are paired with six semi-celebrity commenters (Davis Bell and DKL, Kaimi and John Fowles, Rosalynde and DKL, Matt Evans and Danithew, John Hatch and DKL, J. Max Wilson and D-Train). Each pair competes in a weekly real-time webcast in which they’re given a topic (feminism, stem cells, or R-rated movies) to choreograph for witty repartee or, failing that, and it will fail, sarcastic ad hominem jabs. The winning blog-pair gets their very own blogspot with instant blog-rolling and weekly front-page coverage at T&S.

  37. June 16, 2005 at 1:17 am

    Nice to see I didn’t make your major celebrity list, Ros!!!

  38. Brian G
    June 16, 2005 at 2:21 am

    Uh-oh, the in-house lawyers at ABC just asked me for your contact information, Rosalynde. Now might be a good time to obtain strong legal counsel–and it looks like you just offended Steve. Maybe Nate’s available…oh, that’s right, never mind.

  39. June 16, 2005 at 10:14 am

    Just think what a big makeover TV show budget could do for the poor Aaronic Priesthood holder who can’t think of creative ways to ask a girl on a date!

  40. Rosalynde Welch
    June 16, 2005 at 10:44 am

    Steve, I couldn’t think of any rivalry involving you…. You’re just too darn nice!

    And for what it’s worth, Brian, I’d be perfectly pleased to have Nate representing me (although I’m sure I couldn’t afford him!), as long as he doesn’t comment on literary theory. ;) A smarter guy on nearly any other topic I couldn’t ask for.

  41. Kaimi
    June 16, 2005 at 10:55 am

    I’m up for it, Rosalynde, as long as John Fowles promises not to wear that I-am-Fabio-look-at-my-chest shirt that the one dancer (Trista’s partner, I think) was wearing the other night.

    Or for that matter, the sixteen-square-inches-of-cloth outfit that Kelly had on.

  42. Hanna Tycc
    June 19, 2005 at 6:07 pm

    Audrey, I must comment on the denim, t-shirt thing. I often wear denim or other things I wear to work everyday, just as my husband (and 90% of the other male members of our ward) wears his everyday work clothing, a suit and tie.

  43. Seth Rogers
    June 19, 2005 at 11:57 pm

    Robert Kirby once wrote that when he and his wife are particularly bored in sacrament meeting, they’d play a little game:

    Choose the Second Wife

    He silently make his first, second and third picks from women in the congregation and his wife would do the same. Then they’d compare notes.

    Reality show anyone?

    P.S. He said that the secret to picking a wife is not to check out the women who look nice. But to look for a well-kept and happy looking MAN. Odds are, his wife’s a keeper.

  44. annegb
    June 20, 2005 at 10:24 am

    As soon as I’m speaking to my husband again, we are going to play that game. I actually have quite a list of women lined up to get my husband after I’m gone, but that’s because they think he does housework and is handsome, but they don’t know him like I know him.

    Kaimi, are the women in your ward truly Stepford quality? The ones in ours are like me, lots of chutzpah and attitude. We are smarter than the men.

    Boy, that nanny thing, there are some who could use that.

    But I would love somebody to come in and fix my house. I would love them to organize my papers and pictures.

    My husband thinks I’m a sinner because I’ve written all over my scriptures and all my other books. Of course, he hasn’t read his. You guys could make him over, but not too much, he is cute, I must say. Lucky for him.

  45. APJ
    June 20, 2005 at 10:48 am


    This may be the single funniest post I have ever read. Thank you for a very hearty laugh.


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