With the passing of President James E. Faust, there is a slot to fill on the Council of the Twelve, the apostles who direct the affairs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Already intense and often acrimonious debate is raging at apostle headquarters as to who should join the elect group.
Most Mormon-watchers predict that another elderly white male—someone who has both proved himself in the world of business and shown himself to be a humble servant of the Lord—will be chosen. But insiders are hinting that the church may go in an entirely new direction.
“Whoever the new apostle is, it’s sure to stir things up,” said Murlin J. Pratt, a member of the Third Quorum of the Seventy. “Last time around, we got a guy with a German accent, which made things interesting. Sometimes, during church councils, I’d be sitting there, and it was like seeing a Hogan’s Heroes rerun. So maybe we’ll get someone else with an accent—I think it would be cool to get a Frenchman.”
According to Pratt, there is considerable sentiment to go young and vote in someone with strong appeal to all the youngsters. “With the median age in Utah now 14, it might be time to pick a youngster for the council—say someone in their late 60s. In the old days, of course, all the apostles were young guys in their 20s and 30s but, because they wore beards, they seemed a lot older. Today, we have a couple of apostles who were handpicked by Joseph Smith himself. Unfortunately, during apostle meetings, they tend to tell long boring stories about the old days in Nauvoo, and it’s hard to get down to business.”
Another possible direction for the council is to pick a person of color. “Right now, when the apostles—or any of the General Authorities for that matter—get together, it looks like an audition for Dick Cheney impersonators—bald, plump and pale,” said Pratt.
“The church is growing by leaps and bounds in places like South America and Africa, so a lot of the guys think we ought to anoint a brown-skinned brother. Apostle Boyd K. Packer suggested we just find a worthy white-and-delightsome man with a good suntan but the other apostles pointed out that even with the good self-tanning products now on the market, it would be hard to maintain an even tan 365 days a year.”
Pratt thinks the church may shock the world by naming a female to the Council of the Twelve. “Yes, I know I’m really going out on a limb but choosing a sister saint would be a bold stroke. If you look around and see what’s happening in the world, it seems like women are taking over—Condi in the Bush administration, Hillary certain to be the next president (unless, of course, the Lord steps in and plunks Mitt in the White House), Jenny certain to be our next mayor, Oprah the most spiritually evolved human being in history, Paris the hottest babe in the Western world, Whoopi taking over from Rosie—the list goes on and on.
“So, it would be a smart move to put a gal in the quorum. You might think the General Authorities are a bunch of patriarchal fossils, but they know which way the wind blows. I was down at the Sunstone thing last week, and the big story was the sister saints rising up. I heard one poor patriarchal psychiatrist totally demolished by three feisty gals who were mad as hell and not going to be Patty Perfect and honor the priesthood any more. I felt sorry for the nice old gent, but he was no match for them.”
Pratt conceded that admitting a female to the Quorum might present some interesting problems. “In our not-too-distant past, the ratio of men-to-women in intimate situations was 1-to-5 or -10 or -20. With a female apostle, it would be 11 to 1—or 12 to 1, if you threw in the prophet. It’s hard to say what the dynamic would be, but you’d have to have a special gal to deal with all that competition for her attention.
“And, of course, the biggest obstacle—other than the locker-room humor—would be retrofitting all the facilities to accommodate the fair sex. And then there’s the question of what to call her. Apostleless? Apostolene? Hey, Miss?
“We’re waiting for a revelation.”
D.P. Sorensen writes satire for City Weekly.