MORMON TABERNACLE ENQUIRER

This is a Q & A with Shawn Tucker, one of  the masterminds behind the blog, Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer (click here to visit his blog).

Q: Why the blog?

A:  I believe that if you are not teased you are not loved.  That is how I was raised.  I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I love the weird, contradictory, bizarre, endearing, and [insert another cool adjective here] culture that surrounds it.  And I love to tease that culture.  Laughter is a delightful way to bleed off some of the deadly seriousness that might accrue.  Laughter can also re-frame cultural elements, giving us a new way to look at them.  I once wrote an article about a faithful LDS youth who was afraid that he might be a vegetarian.  It actually helped me see the seriousness behind the pain of being a homosexual Mormon.  For me it created a (delightful) tension between seriousness and hope.
Q:  Who started the blog?
A:  Stephen Carter.  He started it to promote a book he wanted to put together.  I found out about it and asked if I could contribute. Stephen and those working with him said yes.  I started sending more and more.  Stephen put me in as an author.  The book project fell through, so Stephen pretty much turned it over to me. [side note: when I started I used the pen name Barley B. Bratt.  I deeply love my mother, but she was disturbed by the blog.  She didn’t know I was writing for it. [Although she has a wonderful sense of humor, she saw a lot of painful examples of people leaving the church and causing a lot of interpersonal damage. She saw the blog as mocking and critical, which were hallmarks of that pain.] Then one day, she went back and read the blog again.  She called me up laughing hysterically about it.  She must have just seen it differently.  She read two articles that she particularly liked.  And oh what joy did fill my bosom when I got to tell her I wrote them, oh what joy did fill my bosom when I got to tell my mom!  It was like the purist white meth in the Celestial Kingdom. (It will be okay then, right?)
Q:  What do you see your niche being?
A:  Mormons who love the Gospel and the culture and love to laugh at the culture.
Q:  How did you decide on the banner that is at the top of your blog?
A:  Stephen had the banner.  I don’t think much about it.
Q:  How did you decide on the name of your blog and what significance does it have?
A:  Stephen came up with the name; they had used it previously.  It is an obvious play on the National Enquirer and Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
 Q:  If you have/had a podcast how did that come about.  If it’s no longer there, what happened to it?
A:  No podcast.  It is really just me now.  A podcast would require more skills and time than I have.
Q:  When did you know you had “made it” in the blogernacle?
A:  Wait, does someone think I’ve made it?  No really. I have no idea about “making it;” I try to write what I would want to read, and then I inflict it upon others.
So let me say more if by chance someone is listening.  I hope that this blog helps people laugh.  I even wrote a scholarly article on Mormon laughter for BYU Studies. But I like to have people read what I write.  I’m an academic, so having people read what I write is just about completely unheard of for me.
But I think that this blog is a very, very small part of Zion.  If it is part of the body of Christ, it is that scar you got on your left ankle the summer between 8th and 9th grade when you liked that deliciously cute girl and did that stupid dive and cut your ankle really badly and then you were embarrassed but trying to be cool but actually in a lot of pain and hoping that she would be impressed even if she was just impressed by all of the blood at which point you realized that she had left to get a snow-cone just before your dive and so now your scar reminds you of the stupid young crazy bizarre yet endearing things that you do simply because you want to connect with others, because you feel the need to be connected to others, because you yearn to feel accepted and loved and seen and cherish for just what you are, and because, really because, it is not good, not good at all, for one to be alone.  Oh, and if this blog cannot be the scar on the left ankle of the body of Christ because that body part is taken (probably by a real blog!), then I hope and pray to be, yes, you guessed it, the secret freckle on the body of Christ.
MTE because HFPE was taken copy
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Shawn grew up with amazing parents and five younger, wonderful siblings. He served as a missionary in Chile during the Plebiscite and the first post-dictatorship election. After his mission, he attended BYU, where he married ... you guessed it ... his wife. They both graduated, with Shawn earning a BA in Humanities. Fearing that his BA in Humanities, which is essentially a degree in Jeopardy, would not be sufficient, Shawn completed graduate work in the same ... stuff ... at Florida State University. He currently teaches at Elon University in North Carolina. He also teaches Institute (because clearly they will let anyone do it!) in North Carolina. He and ... you guessed it ... his wife have four great children

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