Sunday, July 26, 2009

You know that facebook group "I Judge You When you Use Poor Grammar?"

If I joined facebook groups, which I don't as a rule (there are about four I've joined), I would totally join that one. There are very few things that bother me more than bad grammar and just ignorance in general.

Today in Sunday School the lesson was on Zion's Camp, as I would assume most of you probably already knew. As far as I know our ward is pretty much on track. Anyway, at one point in the lesson the teacher was trying to draw parallels between that time period and ours - familiar concept, no? He started with the historical setting, which I thought a little odd, but okay, let's roll with that. The only information he could got from the class in answer to his questions was "wasn't Missouri, like, almost completely lawless or something?" Ummmmmm . . . WHAT?!?!?!?!?! This is a student ward. Meaning I am in a room with 50+ college students, most of whom are lifelong members and have probably had this lesson a million times or more, and that's ALL they can come up with? Are you freaking kidding me?!? Since we're still one of the newest couples in the ward (and because I'm too shy to volunteer information . . . pretty much ever . . . ) I didn't say anything - also, I didn't want to look like a know-it-all - but this is what was going through my head: "Missouri had just been admitted to the Union under the Missouri Compromise, which allowed it to be a slave state even though most of the state lies north of the Mason-Dixon Line because Maine was also admitted to the Union, but as a free state, and that way they kept the balance of power even in Washington. And while it was the edge of the country at the time, it wasn't lawless. But Jackson County, where the Saints lived, is on the western edge of the state, and that area did attract a pretty good number of people on the run from the law because the could live in civilization but if someone came looking for them, they could easily slip away into Indian Territory for as long as they needed to."

Surely I'm not the only person in our class that knows all this . . . right?

So a moment later the teacher is having us list the trials faced by the men of Zion's Camp. And he calls on Luke. And Luke says "poor and scanty rations." The teacher gives him a blank look for a second, like he doesn't understand what Luke said, than he nods and writes "poor rassons" on the board. To his credit, he realized he'd spelled rations wrong and fixed it, then checked with Luke to make sure he'd got it the second time because, as he said, "you're the English major." Yeah, apparently we're the only ones in the whole ward. Seriously? Seriously? It's probably obvious, but I was a little distracted for the rest of the lesson.

I know it's prideful and horrible of me and everything you're thinking right now, but I really can't help but pass a little bit of judgement on people when I find out that they don't have a knowledge of things like basic history and vocabulary. I try not to, I really do. But . . . come on! The first time I learned about the Missouri Compromise was in fifth grade US history. Then we studied it in a little more detail in 11th grade US history. And then again in the US history class I took in college to fulfill my generals. (I wish I could have squeezed in more history classes. I'm kind of a history buff.) So what were the rest of the people in our ward doing on Missouri Compromise Day in history class . . . sleeping? No, don't answer that. They probably were. It's not like anyone cares what grade you get in history class, unless that's your major. Whatever happened to "those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it"? Nobody cares about the past anymore. Nobody remembers it. And that, in my less-humble-than-it-should-be opinion is the reason for a lot of conditions in the world today. (Interpret as you will. That's all you'll ever hear me say about that.)

And okay, I'll admit, the whole intimate knowledge of US history in the 1800s? Yeah, it helps to have read The Work and the Glory 10+ times. Part of the reason I enjoy those books so much is because of the detailed history lectures interspersed with the story. Like I said, I'm a history buff. I love that sort of thing. But come on - life. Long. Members. That means at least one Zion's Camp lesson every four years since forever. And I remember Zion's Camp lessons when I was younger . . . like, 13 or 14. So you can't say it's just the limited amount of time people in a student ward have spent in the "grown up" Sunday School. Am I really the only person who knows/remembers these sorts of things? The only person who cares to study them? It seems to me that that can't be possible. I remember feeling fascinated in my D&C Institute class about five years ago when our teacher "translated" a passage frome section 88 into "modern" speak.

". . . all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God that are expedient for you to understand; of things both in heaven (astronomy) and in the earth (geography), and under the earth (geology); things which have been (HISTORY!!), things which are (current events), things which must shortly come to pass (prophecy), things which are at home, things which are abroad, the wars and the perplexities of the nations (politics, anyone?) . . . " (88:78-80, if anyone cares)

I remember the feeling of comprehension dawning as I finally got what that passage was saying . . . followed quickly by a feeling of relief since it doesn't mention math or any of the math related sciences. Seriously - thank freaking heaven for that! But anyway, after classes like today I find myself wondering - am I the only person who knows that we're supposed to study pretty much everything? Sometimes it feels like it.

Okay, moving on to the vocabulary lesson. I honestly think Luke got a brief blank look because our teacher had never heard the word "scanty" used for anything other than to describe someone as "scantily clad." It drives me nuts how so many people in Utah (not everybody, again thank heaven!) seem to have no concept of words having multiple definitions. I remember a while ago when I was exploring another group on facebook someone had invited me to join - one of those generically Christian "yay for morals!" type groups. Some guy had started a thread talking about how much he admired modest girls. Almost immediately the Mormons (and I'm using that term in its TAMNest sense) hijacked it talking about how they hated seeing girls in crop tops and short shorts and spaghetti straps and . . . yeah. You get the picture. The original author tried to redirect the discussion back to what he meant - all around modest girls. You know, girls who are humble, not vain, decent in everything, not just clothes, and do things in moderation (hmmm . . . modesty, moderation . . . related words perhaps? Nah . . . ). I had to applaud his doomed efforts. I can imagine the blank looks people gave their screens before typing "wait . . . but I thought we were only talking about modest girls, not (insert synonym for modesty here)." Because in Utah modest means nothing more than dressing appropriately. Talk about ignorance! (And while we are talking about it, don't even get me started on the Utah definition of ignorant!!) No wonder some people have such small vocabularies.

And that just makes me sad as an English major. I'll admit, "cool" and "crappy" are useful words, and I certainly use them myself - quite extensively even. But there are so many other ways to describe things that are even better! I miss being in college and hanging out with my English major friends and using big words because we knew we all understood them so we wouldn't have to pause the conversation to explain what we'd just said. Aahh, the joys of not having to be a human dictionary!

Okay, rant finished. Coming down off the soapbox . . . again. Hopefully I won't be getting back up for a while. But I had to get this one out, or I think I would have literally gone insane by the end of the week. (And I do mean literally. Another pet peeve: people who say literally when they're speaking figuratively. Unless you're being ironic, you sound like an idiot.)

Please don't get me wrong though. I really like our ward. Everyone is really nice, which is why this is such a soapbox moment for me - I know they're not small-town hicks who coasted through high school not caring. I'm even making friends. Slowly, but that's how I always make friends. I'm way too shy to randomly talk to people, so unless someone talks to me first I don't say much. But I really do like our ward. I just hate having my delusional bubbles burst . . . and I like to think everyone is as intelligent . . . no, make that knowledgeable . . . as I am. Because seriously? It's not like I'm a rocket scientist or anything . . .

P. ost S. cript
K, so I decided to try and keep up the Sunday-ish-ness (it was a spiritual soapbox rant . . . right?). My first thought was Latter-Day Night Live, but what little I've seen of it . . . wasn't very funny. But I did a quick youtube search anyway and this is what popped up at the top. Not hysterical, but about the funniest LDNL bit I've ever seen. Also, another two-for-one because the related videos had an excerpt of "Sweet Spirit" and I absolutely ADORE Sons of Provo. Not to mention it's really the only movie where I can stand Kirby Heybourne. I mean, seriously, does he have to be in EVERY LDS movie? Give me a break . . . he's not that good an actor. In fact, he's not very good at all. Well, actually, I really wouldn't know since he's played the same exact character in everything I've seen him in. For crying out loud, do something else!!


  1. Only with people I don't know very well.

  2. There's a Utah definition of ignorant? Huh. I didn't know.