When crises come in our lives--and they will--the philosophies of men interlaced with a few scriptures and poems just won't do. Are we really nurturing our youth and our new members in a way that will sustain them when the stresses of life appear? Or are we giving them a kind of theological Twinkie--spiritually empty calories? President John Taylor once called such teaching "fried froth," the kind of thing you could eat all day and yet finish feeling totally unsatisfied. --Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, General Conference, April 1998
Here are some of the twinkies you can hear in any LDS sacrament meeting if you attend regularly. Wouldn't something from the scriptures be more filling? Perhaps the parables of Jesus? Of course, the speaker would have to read his scriptures to preach from them, but isn't that the main idea?
"I never told you it would be easy. I just told you it would be worth it."
Where does this quote come from? A Hallmark card shop? It certainly didn't come from the Savior, and it isn't in the scriptures. On the contrary, Jesus said,
28 Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.
The Touch of the Master's Hand
How many times have we heard this one? An old violin is being sold at auction, but no one wants it. Then an old man gets up and plays something beautiful upon it. All of a sudden everyone is willing to pay gobs of money for it. Give me a break! While there may be an element of truth in it, this certainly isn't the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is found in the scriptures and in the teachings of the modern prophets.
The Chicken and the Eagle
Here is another hackneyed cliche. An eagle's egg gets included with eggs hatched by a hen. The eaglet is raised with chickens and thinks that he is just a lowly chicken, scratching and pecking around the dirt in the barnyard. Then, wonder of wonders, he discovers that he is really an eagle, and soars off into the sky.
I guess if we can fill up our time with stories like this, we won't have to preach the gospel when the bishop asks us to give a sacrament meeting.
Free the Birdies
A little boy, three years old, is trapped under a garage door when it is accidentally closed by the automatic garage door opener. He is pronounced dead by a neighbor who is a medical doctor, but he is revived with CPR by the paramedics. Brain damage is a concern. After a day and a night, the little boy regains consciousness. A month later, waking from a nap, he tells his mother a story about "birdies" who came to him while he was under the garage door. Then he points to a picture on the wall of an LDS temple and says that the "birdies" took him to the temple during his out of body experience.
Now, I suppose this story could be true. But it certainly sounds contrived and designed to pluck heartstrings with false emotion. And whatever the case, it would be a highly personal experience, far too sacred to inappropriately spread about on the Internet. As such, it qualifies as a twinkie, something that mentally lazy saints tell in sacrament meeting rather than open the Bible or the Book of Mormon for their stories.
Footsteps in the Sand
One night a man has a dream. He dreams he is walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the dark sky flashes scenes from his life. For each scene, he notices two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to him and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of his life flashes before him, he looks back and notices only one set of prints, the Savior's. This signifies those times when the Savior is carrying him. Etc, blah, blah.
Is this the gospel? I don't think so. Try something from Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, or the Book of Mormon.
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant. They too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Etc, blah, blah.
This is definitely a twinkie, a poor substitute for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"The just is close to the people's hearts, but the merciful is close to the heart of God."
Author of THE PROPHET, Gibran writes beautiful twinkies, but they are not the gospel. Jesus Christ is the author of the gospel, and Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of Jesus Christ. Perhaps we should study them?
The Switchman or The Bridge
Then, coming across the bridge from the direction of his control shack, he heard a sound that made his blood run cold. "Daddy, where are you?" His four-year-old son was crossing the bridge to look for him. His first impulse was to cry out to the child, "Run! Run!" But the train was too close; the tiny legs would never make it across the bridge in time. The man almost left his lever to run and snatch up his son and carry him to safety. But he realized that he would not be able to get back to the lever in time. Either the people on the train or his little son must die.
How many times have you heard this twinkie? It is truly a cliche in our sacrament meetings. Somehow it doesn't have the power of the Parable of the Sower, does it?
The Gossip Pillow
Once there was a man who had an uncontrolled habit of gossiping about fellow ward members. Many times his wife and priesthood leaders had asked him to consider his ways. Finally, in desperation, his bishop called him into his office and asked him to take a pillow, rip it open, and dump the feathers from a nearby bluff.
"When you are done," the bishop continued, "Return and report."
"Surely this bishop has lost his mind," the gossip thought, but he went and did as he was told.
When he returned to report that he had scattered the feathers, the bishop asked him to go back and gather every feather.
"But that is impossible," the man protested."Exactly." said the bishop, "And so it is impossible for you to recover the hurtful and injurous words that you have spoken when you gossip."
Now this may be a very nice, perhaps even useful twinkie; but it is still a twinkie. We should only use such a story if we can relate it to the gospel and to the scriptures. For an example, we have been commanded not to "bear false witness." Can any of us engage in gossip without doing this? It is doubtful. Aut doing this? And we violate the commandments of God when we break one of the Ten Commandments.
The Blood Donor
How many times have you heard this one?
A little girl is asked to donate blood at the hospital to save the life of her little brother who was seriously injured in an accident. She willingly does. And only afterwards is it discovered that she fully expected to die during the transfusion. She had mistakenly thought that "giving blood" and giving her life were the same thing.