Education Week: A place for humor in the Church

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Church history and doctrine professor Lawrence R. Flake shares his “Mormon humor collection” during Education Week on Wednesday, Aug. 18, discussing examples of humor throughout Church history and current events. (Addie Blacker)

Editor’s note: Education Week coverage can be found in this section of the website.

Church history and doctrine professor Lawrence R. Flake discussed examples of humor throughout Church history and current events in a series of Education Week lectures.

Flake shared what he called his “Mormon humor collection,” including categories exploring humor within general authorities, Church history, missionaries, “Mormon culture,” children and religious comic strips. More of a storytelling session than anything else, audience favorites from Flake’s lectures included Brigham Young declaring his disdain for late American president Zachary Taylor during General Conference by saying he had “died and gone to hell”, as well as several different stories from the life of the colorful early General Authority Seventy J. Golden Kimball.

“When you start telling stories about J. Golden Kimball, it becomes addicting,” Flake said.

Other stories recounted by Flake included Joseph F. Smith poking fun at deep doctrine issues, Harold B. Lee’s jokes falling flat in German sacrament meetings and Spencer W. Kimball being the shortest Latter-day prophet but having the tallest building at BYU named after him.

Flake shared his testimony of humor being a means to seeing more light in life and experiencing more joy with others.

“I’m not afraid to say that having a good sense of humor is a gift of the Spirit,” Flake said.

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