The first day of April is often associated with foolery. For example, the leaders for my daughter’s zone texted the missionaries telling them their preparation day would end at noon rather than six. Since my daughter is Sister Training Leader, she was a bit panicked about how to arrange activities for her little flock of sisters. Then someone asked, “Is this an April Fool’s joke?”
DC experienced a little bit of a divine April Fool’s day joke. Today was peak bloom for the cherry blossoms that inspire the weeks-long DC Cherry Blossom Festival. The blooms were amazing, but despite a gloriously warm Saturday, today’s temperatures never reached 50 degrees.
My husband shared a funny story from the past. On an April 1st many years ago a fellow named Hartman Rector got a phone call. The individual on the other end of the line said, “Hi, I’m an assistant to President David O. McKay, and we’d like to have you come to Salt Lake City for General Conference. Is that OK?”
Hartman said, “Sure.” and hung up, figuring it was an April Fool’s joke. But then he thought, “What if it isn’t a joke?” Sure enough, President McKay really did want Hartman Rector to come to Salt Lake, and Brother Rector was called to be a General Authority.
So I thought it would be fun to let folks talk about experiences they’ve had on the first day of April.
[P.S., I’m really glad General Conference won’t fall on April 1 this year. No reduxes of Elder Rector’s “Yeah, right” bemusement.]
April 1 has always been a day for fake posts on blogs, LDS blogs maybe even more so, it was kind of a tradition. I noticed that this year April 1 came and went without much of anything out of the ordinary on blogs in general and LDS blogs particularly. No one seemed in the mood to joke.
Years ago, when young men had to wait until age 19 to serve missions, someone got me with a joke.
They said, “Have you heard the announcement? People can go on missions when they are 16!”
“Really?” I responded. I had been in the field when missions for Elders went from 18 months to 2 years.
“Yes! They already know everything, and no one will miss them!”
Then they laughed really hard.
In 2019 I don’t find that joke particularly funny. Our youth face significant challenges that make it seem inappropriately disrespectful to imply 16 year olds would not be missed. And with President Nelson calling for young people to be part of the Youth Battalion, the tone of the old joke just seems off.
I think we live in a world where many jokes of yore fail to be funny in today’s culture. I like to hope that’s because we are more considerate of groups we used to gently mock.
Meg, agreed, not so funny anymore, especially after the Raise the Bar program of 2002.
Yet, some of the church’s cultural problems that that program was addressing, go back to the 80’s, at least. Back then I perceived a sense of “let the church teach my kids religion” on the part of some parents, and an attitude of “they’ll get a testimony on their misson” by parents too.
I entered the MTC as a convert of 2 years. I was warned about the “outliers” who were “not fully subscribed to the program” (to put it kindly). But I was not warned how far from being fully-subscribed the average/median, the vast majority in the center of the bell-curve, were.
Perhaps the (then) humor in the 16 year old missionary joke, at least circa mid 1980’s, is that if young men had been sent out at 16, they would not have been much worse prepared than if they had gone out at 19. I think there is more than a particle of truth in that.
One Mission President joke that I remember is: Being a mission president is like camping out with Priests for two years. At an MP’s age, there’s not much perceived difference between 16 and 18/19.
Today, I’m impressed at all the mission prep stuff going on at the ward and stake level. So, today, for an active and church-participating teen, then yes, there is a big difference between 16 and 18.
Unkind humor still usually has a particle of truth, or perceived-truth in it.