Bunko Gets Bonked

November 7, 2005    By: Kristen J @ 10:09 pm   Category: Life,Mormon Culture/Practices

I’m a modern day outlaw. First I nearly get thrown in jail (ok, the closest I’ve ever come to going to jail) and second I find out I may have a gambling problem, at least in my bishop’s eyes.

I am a member of a Bunko group. I know, it’s a little bit cheesy. If I were really going to be a person of consequence in the bloggernacle I should be saying that I’m a member of Mensa and my group gets together every fourth Thursday to discuss whether Zoloft would have prolonged Nietzsche’s life. I guess I’ve reached my peak in the bloggernacle since there’s no Mensa for me, just Bunko.

For those of you who don’t know what Bunko is, it’s a game where the participants roll dice trying to get certain numbers until you reach a point total of 21 or you roll a certain combination which is also bunko. In my group there are 12 ladies who get together every third Thursday, eat dinner, and play the game. There is a $10 charge and at the end of the night everyone gets a prize. Not all of the prizes are of equal value and the last person to pick out a prize usually gets stuck with the lamest prize.

In all honesty I really don’t enjoy the game of Bunko all that much. Usually I spend too much time talking to my neighbor and forgetting to write down my score half the time. This usually means that I’m one of the last people to pick a prize. It doesn’t really matter though, I like to go because I get to enjoy a nice meal that I don’t make and have good conversation with my friends.

Yesterday I found out from a friend of mine, who founded our Bunko group, that our Bishop talked to her husband about Bunko and let my friend’s husband know that he will be talking to the congregation next Sunday on the evils of Bunko. I guess his reason is that Bunko is gambling and too stimulating.

I’m not really sure what to think about the whole situation. As I said earlier, I’m not a huge fan of the game but I do enjoy getting together with the ladies in my Bunko group. I think there is a bit of a pride issue for me too. A part of me is a little miffed that I’m being told to stop doing an activity that I enjoy, and frankly seems harmless to me. Another part of me wants to be obedient and not put my soul in jeopardy of hellfire.

What do you think? Is Bunko evil?

65 Comments »

  1. I get just a little bit sad when I hear about stuff like this. I mean, seriously, breaking up Bunko games? What’s next, Bingo? Yahtzee?

    Maybe he won’t actually say anything over the pulpit. Sometimes these things get blown out of proportion when related secondhand. Here’s hoping.

    Comment by NFlanders — November 8, 2005 @ 12:09 am

  2. Mormon leaders employ simple and direct thought patterns. Since gambling is evil, anything associated with gambling is evil, including dice and face cards. I heard face cards denounced from the pulpit last month (as well as PG-13 movies and cable television). They’ll throw in the parent-child angle too, to leverage the guilt factor. Expect this: “No good Mormon parent would have dice in their home. What kind of an example is that for your kids after the Prophet, God’s mouthpiece on Earth, has denounced gambling?”

    Comment by Dave — November 8, 2005 @ 12:47 am

  3. That reminds me of something my (fictional) children once said when Lisa Simpson was babysitting them:

    Lisa: Where are the dice?
    Todd: Daddy says dice are wicked.
    Rod: We just move one space at a time. It’s less fun that way.

    Oh, I’ve taught them well.

    Comment by NFlanders — November 8, 2005 @ 2:11 am

  4. I think you should pre-emptively talk to your bishop and let him know the game is just a pretense for getting together and socializing with other women in your peer group. I have to assume the $10 covers the cost of dinner and the lame prizes, right? Point that out to him, and be explicit about how lame the prizes are. This is nothing more than a “Stitchin n’ Bitchin” group, with needle point replaced by Bonko. Its informal social networking. Wasting the entire congregation’s time over something like this isnt fair to the 98% of the ward who doesnt even know what Bonko is. If the man is fair and perceptive, he will realize some overzealous pin head has lead him to believe there is actual gambling occuring.

    Comment by Kurt — November 8, 2005 @ 4:36 am

  5. I learned Bunko from my bishop. One of our annual Boy Scout events was an overnighter at his family’s house, and Bunko was the main activity. In fact, IIRC, it was called Bunko Night.

    Comment by Justin H — November 8, 2005 @ 6:56 am

  6. Hey that’s what we call our bunko nights, “Bunko Night!”

    One of his reasons was that the Stake President in Casa Grande has banned Bunko. It’s been banned in other stakes too, I guess.

    Kurt, I didn’t mean all the prizes are lame (the top prize is usually valued at $20), just the ones I get since I can’t shut my trap long enough to keep score.

    Loved the Simpsons quotes Ned. That actually is one of the issues this group now faces. We still want to have the group but what do we do? One of my friends suggested a monthly service night ie, we go to a shelter and dish up stew. Great idea but I can see people having “other obligations” on those nights.

    Hey, maybe we should have a monthly “Risk” night. I’ve never played that game before. Would a bunch of women like it?

    I think this is the beginning of the end of my group.

    Comment by Kristen J — November 8, 2005 @ 7:53 am

  7. Kristen – Bummer. What about a book group instead? Definitely not as fun as Bunko, but it would be sad to see your group break up over this. Funnily enough, even book groups don’t escape scrutiny – our bishop counseled the founding member of my book group not to choose books with Mormon themes, so our book group wouldn’t transform into a “discussion” group or “study” group. Luckily, he didn’t give us an approved list of reading materials to choose from, though.

    And what if you didn’t win prizes? Would bunko be gambling then?

    Comment by Elisabeth — November 8, 2005 @ 8:06 am

  8. Are you sure you’re not a member of Mensa?

    Not too much ruffles my feathers, but this kind of thinking makes me crazy!!! Anyway, my mom taught me math by teaching me to play Bl#ckjack. That was much worse I’m sure!

    Comment by meems — November 8, 2005 @ 8:42 am

  9. I love book clubs Elisabeth, we already have one in our ward though. That’s interesting what your Bishop said about Mormon-themed books.

    Meems-that’s actually a good idea on teaching your kids math. I may have to try that out. My grandpa taught my siblings and me p0ker when I was about 5, we really enjoyed ourselves. He was very inactive in the church and now I wonder if he wasn’t teaching his grandkids p0ker to ruffle my parent’s feathers a bit. Too funny!

    Just for the record, my bishop is a very nice man. He was right with us when my son almost drowned. I’m not trying to trash the man, I really don’t know how I feel about this new edict and I was hoping other opinions would help me out a bit.

    Oh, by the way, if you use any gambling terms in your comment you will get deleted. For words like “bl#ckjack” use creative spelling.

    Comment by Kristen J — November 8, 2005 @ 9:04 am

  10. If I am informed correctly, it is not the game that is bad, as much as its resemblance to gambling. You pay an entry fee in hopes of getting a good prize. Similarly, bingo is gambling, even though it involves no dice or face cards (traditional implements of gambling) and if I recall correctly the bingo parlors in Utah have been cracked down on (though I think they call them supper clubs, where every dinner purchased comes with a card and hey it isn’t our problem if you order multiple dinners).

    You may not care about the prizes, but what about the other ladies? Even if one person gets the “gambling spirit”, is your activity worth it?

    Comment by Jay S — November 8, 2005 @ 9:16 am

  11. Banned Bunko? A $20 pre-purchased prize you dont really want isnt exactly something to get up in arms about. If there was some serious money floating around, it got genuinely competitive, and the prizes were handed out in cash, then I could see that being classified as “gambling”. Is there some backstory to this banning, where things did end up with “gambling”? I could see that getting ugly if it was all members doing it in a member’s home.

    If the Stake Pres has already nixed it, then OK, that prohibits it from being affiliated with/sanctioned by the local Church in any way (e.g., no “Bunko Night” as Homemaking Meeting or YM/YW/MIA activity). But, if youre playing it at a neighbors house and there are non-member neighbors there and its not a sanctioned “Church Activity” then they have nothing to say on the matter. Are they going to revoke your Temple Recommend for playing Kismet/Yatzee/Bunko/Uno on Family Night if the winner gets a bag of M&Ms?

    Comment by Kurt — November 8, 2005 @ 9:18 am

  12. What ever happened to bridge clubs? I would love to find a bridge playing group somewhere?

    My sister lives in Sandy. We grew up in New York — it has been a big adjustment for her. I remember a phone conversation with her where she mentioned being part of a Bunko group. When I asked her what it was, she got all embarrassed, and tried to explain it. She doesn’t like the game either, but at the time it was the primary form of socializing among women in her neighborhood, and she was making a concerted effort to get to know her neighbors and ward members.

    At the time, I recall thinking, “Boy, am I glad I don’t live in Utah.” I’ll bet more than half of your group doesn’t like Bunko the game all that much either, but keep playing because, well, that’s what people do. (I realize you don’t live in Utah).

    I don’t think Bunko is evil (not any more so than say, guys getting together to watch football or for a LAN party). Frankly, it seems pretty silly to me. However, your bishop may be worried about the children in the ward getting the wrong message about gambling — seeing the different shades of gray in defining “gambling” can be difficult. I mean, I don’t have a problem playing bingo at the occasional fund-raiser, but I wouldn’t do it every week for entertainment. Does that make me a hypocrite? Maybe.

    Elisabeth asks, “And what if you didn’t win prizes? Would bunko be gambling then?” The real question is, would it be fun then? If not, then it’s probably close enough to gambling to be of concern.

    Risk is a lame game. I recommend Settlers of Catan, Diplomacy, or bridge.

    I’ll point to a couple of posts on related subjects that I’ve made:

    On the conflict I feel going to Super Bowl parties at members’ homes.

    On feeling like I’m being singled out by the bishop for a harmless activity.

    Comment by Bryce I — November 8, 2005 @ 9:29 am

  13. Oh, yeah, meems, I bought some dice a couple of months ago for my girls as learning aids for addition and probability. I plan on teaching them Yahtzee! for FHE one of these nights. No prizes involved, though :)

    Comment by Bryce I — November 8, 2005 @ 9:32 am

  14. Tell him that some members of the group wanted to play strip p0ker and you had to compromise on bunko.

    Comment by Mark IV — November 8, 2005 @ 9:33 am

  15. Zoloft for Nietzsche? I think the scholars are split between whether he had syphilis or brain cancer. I’m not sure zoloft or prosac would have helped with either.

    Comment by Clark — November 8, 2005 @ 9:39 am

  16. This happened in my ward last year. Huge bunko groups. Lots of fun. Then a pointed talk from the bishop about gambling (no mention of Bunko but we all knew what he was talking about). The leaders of the bunko groups got togheter and canceled Bunko.

    If I was bishop I would not have done it. But what do I know. Grapevine seems to be that there was a bunko clique developing and some of the sisters were feeling left out. Only the coolest best looking sisters were invited to play Bunko. I think the talk could have been about Cliques as well….

    Comment by bbell — November 8, 2005 @ 10:02 am

  17. Lol! Clark, you are such an unabashed egghead!

    I actually agree with bbell — The in-crowd vs. out-crowd aspect of the event seems more potentially damaging to the ward than any gambling risks. The problem is that 12 women is too big of a number to ignore by ward leadership I think. I suspect 3-5 girlfriends hanging together would never hit the radar.

    Comment by Geoff J — November 8, 2005 @ 10:11 am

  18. Mark iv-Ha! I’m so going to do that!

    Bryce- I can’t play Settlers of Catan. I get too angry and want to kick people out of my house when they intentionally close down all of my avenues of movement!

    Kurt-I’m not sure about any back stories of gambling. My friend was in another Bunko group and a couple of ladies would cheat to get the best prizes.

    bbell-The whole clique thing was my main concern all along with this group. Having ladies feel left out because there were only 12 spots. We do have a huge substitute list that people clamor to be on.

    Clark- For arguments sake lets go with the school of thought that it was Syphilis. If he was on zoloft maybe he would have felt good enough about himself that he wouldn’t have had to turn to other “comforts” in his life, thus never having syphilis in the first place. Brain cancer or syphilis, either way it didn’t make him stronger I guess.

    Comment by Kristen J — November 8, 2005 @ 10:24 am

  19. “Only the coolest best looking sisters were invited to play Bunko.”

    I think we can safely assume the same situation in this case, right Kristen? At any rate, I think that’s a pretty hilarious sentence.

    Maybe you guys can take up Mah-Jong instead. Lots of tiles and socializing.

    Comment by NFlanders — November 8, 2005 @ 10:26 am

  20. It’s priesthood blinders. If a group of Mormon guys get together for golf and the loser buys root beer after the round, it’s not gambling because it is men doing the activity. You won’t hear the bishop, for example, denouncing the NCAA tournament pool at the office, even though it clearly is gambling. But if a group of Mormon women get together to play cards and the loser gets the cheap door prize, that’s gambling? Face it, this has nothing to do with gambling, it’s just your bishop displaying standard Mormon misogyny but hiding behind a “gambling” label.

    Comment by Dave — November 8, 2005 @ 10:30 am

  21. Definitely Ned! The truth is often hilarious.

    A game I love to play is Cardinal Mexican Train (sorry, is that a racist title?). It’s with dominoes though, would that also be too close to gambling? Spades is a lot of fun too (of course you have face cards with that one).

    Maybe we should have Candyland tournaments. Shutes and Ladders anyone?

    Comment by Kristen J — November 8, 2005 @ 10:30 am

  22. Dave,

    I should be noted that last month’s Bunko Night happened to fall on the same night as the newly rescheduled Enrichment Night. Rather than change the bunko night (which actually draws from two wards) the group forged ahead with the original schedule (Enrichment night is constantly changing nights around here lately). The group almost certainly got turned in by other sisters in the ward that were bent when they found out about the group ditching Enrichment. (Yep the plot thickens…) Anyway, I only bring this up to defend the leadership against outright mysogyny accusations since it was probably the other women of the ward that blew the whistle and cried foul.

    Ironically, the other ward recently had a Bunko Night for an Enrichment activity…

    Comment by Geoff J — November 8, 2005 @ 10:46 am

  23. “Face it, this has nothing to do with gambling, it’s just your bishop displaying standard Mormon misogyny but hiding behind a “gambling” label.”

    Dave, that seems a little harsh. While that may be the case, do you unequivocally disallow other possibilities?

    Comment by Davis Bell — November 8, 2005 @ 11:32 am

  24. Cheating to win better prizes? I am calling your Bishop to recommend a mysogynistic napalm strike and strafing run the next time the sisters play hookey on Enrichment Night to go and play Bonko.

    Comment by Kurt — November 8, 2005 @ 11:42 am

  25. I am calling your Bishop to recommend a mysogynistic napalm strike and strafing run the next time the sisters play hookey on Enrichment Night to go and play Bonko.

    Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk! The funny sidestory here is that our bishop apparently does think bunko is called bonko. If he does call “bonko” players to repentance over the pulpit at least there will be a few cheap giggles because of it…

    Comment by Geoff J — November 8, 2005 @ 12:00 pm

  26. It was a weird dynamic in our ward. The bunko players (For the record I am not against Bunko and my wife liked it and did not want it to stop) WERE the better looking sisters with the most $$. You know the cool girls in High School and their hangers on. In a large ward with about 450 actives there is enough critical mass for groups like this to develop.

    We had it at our house once and I had to mop, dust, vaccuum, polish the yamaha etc because the “cool sisters” were coming over. Then I had to take my 4 kids to Mcdonalds for 2 hours to stay out of the way. Yep she put on the show.

    I can see why groups like this could be destructive amongst the sisters but it was fun while it lasted…..

    Comment by bbell — November 8, 2005 @ 12:19 pm

  27. I’ve been in a Bunko group for going on four years now. No, the game isn’t all that much fun in itself, but getting together with the other moms in the ward is great, and the game is just competitive enough to ensure a couple of three-or-four-person tackles each month. Our group has drawn blood before. It’s all part of the fun.

    The prizes are lame in our group (we keep it to $5 a month, and everybody brings toilet paper for the loser), and never anything worth cheating for. I’ve always thought the whole experience is closer to playing games at a baby shower for prizes than anything else, only more relaxed and less dignified than a shower. It’s our time to decompress with friends. I really hope the leaders around here don’t ban it.

    I can definitely see clique-ishness being a problem in some areas. In our ward, we try to invite anyone who wants to come. It’s stayed steady at 12 women, and we always need subs because so often it’s hard for us to get away for even one night a month. If it ends up being banned, I’m starting a ladies’ game night to compensate. Book club, Enrichment, etc, just don’t allow for the same sort of therapeutic silly socializing.

    Comment by Allison — November 8, 2005 @ 12:52 pm

  28. I agree allison, I think I’m just going to offer a game night at my house every 3rd Thursday or so.

    You definitely do put on a show when it’s your turn bbell. I know Geoff could relate to the whole mcdonalds thing. :)

    It’s interesting that because I live in a certain spot I can’t play this game with friends (I can, but it would feel so dirty if I did!)while my friends in the next ward over can play it and in fact just played bunko at enrichment night just recently. It just seems strange.

    Comment by Kristen J — November 8, 2005 @ 1:23 pm

  29. Kristen,
    If your bishop denounces Bonko then you’re in the clear (hey, he never said “Bunko” was banned, just “Bonko” whatever that is…)

    This is the problem with President Hinckley’s (noble) reiteration of the evils of gambling, it’s put at the forefront of leaders’ minds and they overcompensate.

    Bryce is smokin’ something, thinking Settlers is better than Risk. That game puts me to sleep. If you lived in NYC my wife would be the first to sign up for the Risk parties.

    Comment by Rusty — November 8, 2005 @ 1:55 pm

  30. Rusty – The problems with Risk include the fact that you need to pay attention and that it could last all night…

    Comment by Geoff J — November 8, 2005 @ 2:35 pm

  31. This whole scenario brings up loads of interesting (and sticky) issues. Here are a few:

    • The question of cliques within wards: When does regularly getting together with friends become an unrighteous or hurtful and exclusive clique?
    • The question of interpreting prophetic counsel (like whether Bunko is something gambling or not)
    • Management style issues with church leaders: When does something like this become the bishop’s business?
    • Management Issues II: If the bishop or leader does feel it is his/her business, what are the issues related to public commentary/reprimand on it versus private discussions?
    • Misogyny concerns: Would men involved in something similar (say monthly golf outing with 12 guys with prizes for top scores) warrant the same kind of denunciation from male leadership?
    • Power issues among women: With the likely whistle-blowers being other women, is that misogyny? Or is it power plays by women using priesthood leaders as the weapons? Or is it just an overzealous attempt at charitably helping some misguided and unwary “gamblers”?
    • Ward unity versus member individuality issues: Would any of this ever come onto the radar if it had not overlapped Enrichment? Was that too insulting to the group (and RS) sensibilities to be ignored? (Sort of an affront to the team spirit that wards want to engender?)
    • Ward comparing issues: How to best deal with something being counseled against in your own ward when it is perfectly acceptable to the bishop in the neighboring ward.

    Comment by Geoff J — November 8, 2005 @ 3:09 pm

  32. Wow…. Guess I better get ready for a return of the evils of role-playing games.

    Comment by Hyrum — November 8, 2005 @ 3:10 pm

  33. You’d better watch out with those role-playing games; everyone knows that the evilness of a die is compounded by how many sides it has.

    I think Geoff has a good point about the Enrichment group possibly feeling hurt by the Bunko refusal to reschedule. Perhaps it was viewed as an insult to the main group (my sub-group is more important than the entire group). Perhaps retaliation through the Bishop is the only recourse they had (although it seems petty to me).

    Comment by NFlanders — November 8, 2005 @ 3:39 pm

  34. Well, I’ve not been invited to our ward’s Bunko Nights. I’ve taken this as a true marker of my misfit-i-tude. Not that I want to go (they probably serve sour grapes there).

    But I am sorry that your’s might be coming to an end, it sounds like you’ve enjoyed it.

    Comment by fMhLisa — November 8, 2005 @ 3:52 pm

  35. Does anyone acutally like bunko? Every person I’ve ever heard talk about it invariably prefaces their statement with, “It’s kind of silly, and I don’t actually like the game that much, but it’s fun to get together with other women.”

    And Rusty, you’re ruining my image of you as a man of impeccable taste.

    Comment by Bryce I — November 8, 2005 @ 5:05 pm

  36. fMhLisa, I know I’m a confirmed misfit on the grounds that I’ve never even heard of Bunko before today. I bet there’s a clique in my ward playing it right now, and I’m not even cool enough to have heard about it (the adults who sit near me mostly talk about their missionary kids or their kids about to graduate from high school.)

    Most of the time our bishop would rather exhort us to do good, instead of forbid us from doing evil… if anyone was going to condemn a group of women doing some kind of activity, it’d almost certainly be the RS presidency, I think. In a few months aren’t we supposed to go to a model where there are little groups getting together to do fun stuff, instead of Enrichment meetings? Just tell the Bishop you were getting a head start.

    (do most people in most wards follow what the bishop says over the microphone in Sacrament? it’s been my experience that a lot — maybe most — of the people ignore most anything short of the Stake President holding an impromptu takeover of the meeting… kind of like how the Deacons were getting more and more rowdy each Sunday, till the Bishop cancelled his meeting with the Laurels go take over the Deacon’s quorum meeting to call them to repentance; anything less dramatic is seen as a kindly suggestion)

    Comment by Sarah — November 8, 2005 @ 5:38 pm

  37. Ned-we weren’t trying to be turkeys be not rescheduling. We had this night planned for around 10 months and when we scheduled it we made sure it was no where near enrichment. It’s enrichment night that has been changed many times in the past few months.

    fmhLisa- this is my first bunko group. I’m enjoying the comraderie but like I said earlier the game is kind of silly and it even stresses me out a little.

    What I think I’m going to do buy a trivial pursuit game, memorize all of the answers, invite everyone to come over, and then crush them all with my mighty brain power. Either that or we could play 5 Card Stud.

    Sarah-I guess that’s my main question here. If the bishop says, “Bunko bad! No bunko!” what is the best course of action? Do we keep on keepin’ on? Or do we disband and never put fingers to dice again?

    Comment by Kristen J — November 8, 2005 @ 6:33 pm

  38. My sister-in-law is the head of the local Bunko group in her ward/stake. It has also been scrutinized as of late and received pressure from church leaders. I thought this had something to with GBH’s talk on Gambling this spring (thought he mentioned “dice games”, but couldn’t find anything after searching). They have revised some of the rules and the prize-winning, but continue to play regularly.

    I asked my mom (then the RS prez) what the big deal was, and she replied that it probably didn’t have as much to do with the gambling aspect as much as the formation of cliques and also something she referred to as “husband-bashing.”

    Comment by Tim J. — November 8, 2005 @ 6:46 pm

  39. “Does anyone acutally like bunko? Every person I’ve ever heard talk about it invariably prefaces their statement with, “It’s kind of silly, and I don’t actually like the game that much, but it’s fun to get together with other women.””

    Bryce, the game itself can be a lot of fun. There are various ways of playing, but in our group, you can steal each others’ bunkos if you’re fast enough (three dice of a kind) and hilarity/pile-ons often ensue. Good times.

    Tim J, if the biggest problem is husband-bashing (a sport I really don’t like to participate in), any two women anywhere could be a problem. We’d have to ban telephone calls over two minutes (and baby showers and enrichment and playgroups…)

    Comment by Allison — November 8, 2005 @ 7:47 pm

  40. It’s probably sort of like blogging.

    Comment by annegb — November 8, 2005 @ 7:48 pm

  41. annegb wins the thread!

    Comment by Bryce I — November 8, 2005 @ 7:54 pm

  42. Ha! Too true!

    Comment by Kristen J — November 8, 2005 @ 8:02 pm

  43. What do you think? Is Bunko evil?

    I think you should show up at the next Bunko party with at least three pierced earrings in each ear.

    Comment by Mark N. — November 8, 2005 @ 8:36 pm

  44. (#33) That’s why I only use 1-sided die!

    Comment by Daylan — November 8, 2005 @ 8:47 pm

  45. You know what Mark N? I’m going to show up to church on Sunday with my arms covered in henna tatoos!

    Daylan-So you’re saying that if my bunko group starts using 1-sided die it won’t be evil anymore? Sweet!

    Comment by Kristen J — November 8, 2005 @ 10:34 pm

  46. You won’t hear the bishop, for example, denouncing the NCAA tournament pool at the office, even though it clearly is gambling.

    Actually, that is much more likely around here.

    At our office, the old boss had to pay all of the money on the pool in order to have one (i.e. no one paid an entry fee, etc. except him, then one of the secretaries always won.).

    There are a lot of games. Our ward had a game night that went well enough that people started their own game circles. The key to it working without causing trouble is that the game groups did not have an artificial number and no one paid for prizes. If you dropped the prizes, you wouldn’t have a gambling problem any more.

    Some great analysis, best by annegb.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — November 9, 2005 @ 5:45 am

  47. From what I’ve read, the reason the Church opposes gambling is because it’s destructive to personal and family life. Also, because gambling promises reward without effort, which is unhealthy. What you do with Bunko sounds more like a life-affirming, fellowship experience. It doesn’t sound like you’re betting the kids’ college fund because you have a really good feeling about Tampa Bay this weekend.

    (Full disclosure: V the K has been known to buy the occasional Powerball ticket, if it’s a big jackpot and there’s spare change in his pockets.)

    Comment by V the K — November 9, 2005 @ 6:07 am

  48. Naughty VtheK!

    Comment by Kristen J — November 9, 2005 @ 8:00 am

  49. I’ve thought about starting a Scrabble night in our ward. Well, back before I was working fulltime. I already started a book club and had to bail on it. It’s still going strong without me, though.

    Speed Scrabble is the funnest game, ever. You should try it, Kristen.

    Comment by Susan M — November 9, 2005 @ 9:34 am

  50. I’m in a bunko group. Bunko is a good socializing game because it’s mindless. You don’t have to think about it, you can just do it while you are talking.

    Gambling? Pshaw… We had someone bring up a concern about gambling, so we just eliminated the fee. Whoever hosted that month paid for the food and prizes. When it’s your turn to host, you pay. That way no-one is paying anything to play the game, technically. You are just paying to hold a party once a year.

    I guess I echo another poster – I don’t understand why the bishop would hold any sway over activities that are not church sponsored. How old are we, seven?

    Once in a while I drag my DH with me to hang out with some other couples while we play Settlers of Catan, but the DHs always seem to get a little too competitive. I also participate in book club, and in an every other month “Girls Night Out” for the moms – everyone in our neighborhood is invited. No cliques. It’s fun. I think it’s healthy. Some women need social outlets. It’s hard to make time to visit with friends when you are running kids to school/soccer/ballet/etc.

    Comment by sue — November 9, 2005 @ 10:00 am

  51. OK I read here alot but don’t comment often, but I just had to put in my two cents worth. First of all I just about had it with the clique thing. Our ward is really bad about complaining about this. Last month we had an enrchement night called “how to be a friend and how to have a friend, this comes after the previous month of our RS pres. telling us we need to be friends with everyone again! I wish people who never invite someone to anything would not complain about not being invited, friendship works tow ways. (Sorry I sound bitter but I have had alot of experience in this area.) If a Bunko group is full it’s not a clique only that number can play. If your sad about it start your own.
    You can also avoid the whole gambling thing by just calling the “prizes” hostess gifts, then it seems more harmless.

    Comment by Paige — November 9, 2005 @ 10:42 am

  52. I second that Paige. I think that “clique” is a horribly misused, overused word. Groups of friends are not necessarily cliques, unless they are deliberately excluding others. You do have to make an effort in order to make friends.

    I moved into my ward last year from a place I’d lived for all of my life. Didn’t know a soul here. The ward was mostly friendly and welcoming. The ward is growing at an extremely fast pace – so even if you have only been in the ward for 6 months, you’re an oldtimer.

    Anyway, there WAS a bunko group that was full. There WAS a book club that was full. So, as you suggested, I got together with some of the other new moms and we started our own. I’ve hosted a lot of different social things and have invited a wide variety of new people in the ward. The same people always say no. The same people that later complain about cliques.

    So I ask – is it cliquish to stop inviting the people who never accept your invitation? Is it cliquish to at some point stop calling the people who quite clearly think you are a silly person for doing things like service clubs, bunko night, book club, and other activities they feel are too stereotypically (I guess) mormon soccer mom? I feel more like it’s refusing to continue to beat your head against the wall.

    The bishop may stop people from playing bunko, but you can’t stop people from forming friendships – friendships that will sometimes exclude others, for a variety of reasons. I think that you can expect people to be FRIENDLY to everyone, but you can’t expect people to be FRIENDS with everyone. Different people have different interests and will gravitate to other people with whom their personalities mesh.

    OK, now I’m just rambling.

    Comment by sue — November 9, 2005 @ 11:16 am

  53. Paige- I think that’s very true. One saying that I’ve heard and think is definite wisdom is “You’re in charge of your own fun.” If you’re waiting for someone else to dump the fun in your own lap you’re going to be waiting a long time. There’s enough people in my ward that want to play bunko that there could be at least 3 groups, people have just been too lazy to start them.

    I like the idea of just having the hostess pay for the evening. That could be one way to work this out.
    I also like Sue’s idea about Ladies Night for the neighborhood. I would think some good missionary seeds can be sewn in that situation.

    Comment by Kristen J — November 9, 2005 @ 11:38 am

  54. A not-so-hypothetical question: Is it cliquish for 5-6 guys in the ward to link up on Xbox Live and play Halo2 on a regular basis?

    Comment by Rusty — November 9, 2005 @ 11:55 am

  55. No Rusty you can only be cliquish apparently if your a woman. Guys can hang out and the Elders Quorum Pres or HP Pres don’t get involved. But get a group of women together and apparently it’s the wards business.

    Thanks Sue you got my point exactly, now can you come to CA and explain it to a few people for me? HA HA!

    Comment by Paige — November 9, 2005 @ 12:05 pm

  56. You know Rusty, I’ve thought about mentioning Halo groups on this thread but I think it’s only a clique if some guy in the ward asks to play and you say, “No way! You’re too big of a dork!”

    Comment by Kristen J — November 9, 2005 @ 12:06 pm

  57. That ward of yours Paige! They are nothing but trouble.

    Comment by Kristen J — November 9, 2005 @ 12:07 pm

  58. Yeah they are, people move just to get away…HA HA.

    Comment by Paige — November 9, 2005 @ 12:18 pm

  59. Kristen,
    We would never do that. But we do exclude one of our ward’s youth because whenever he plays he destroys us.

    Comment by Rusty — November 9, 2005 @ 2:34 pm

  60. Er… I mean that group of guys in our ward would never do that…

    Comment by Rusty — November 9, 2005 @ 2:35 pm

  61. Yeah, I’m sure you wouldn’t. Don’t ever ask me to play because I’d probably crush you!

    Comment by Kristen J — November 9, 2005 @ 4:11 pm

  62. Actually it is not the masses of the ward but just a few that make everyone crazy.

    Comment by Paige — November 9, 2005 @ 4:17 pm

  63. Trust me. If a bunch of the Elders Quorum got together and formed a Halo group (I like halo but only play 2-3 times a year) and played all the time there is the potential for a Bishop talk about video game addictions. My dad is a bishop and he had this situation and there was a Halo clamp down. (wives were cheering)

    Comment by bbell — November 10, 2005 @ 8:40 am

  64. There are some inaccurate accounts in this blog which I seek to address. First off, this blog hits to close to home for several reasons. Any issue that sets up Bishop for ridicule by others outside a ward is completely inappropriate. Ward members who are under the stewardship reading this blog might question his authority and resolve (no matter how much you defend him Geoff). The funny thing is that, as of last night, the Bishop is not going to act at all.

    To set the matter straight, in the beginning this had nothing to do with enrichment. Two sisters approached the Bishop (not from the enrichment committee either) and voice their feelings about exclusion from activities like this. So the comment that “The group (enrichment) almost certainly got turned in by other sisters in the ward that were bent when they found out about the group ditching Enrichment” and “Perhaps retaliation through the Bishop is the only recourse they had (although it seems petty to me)” are completely false, especially when my wife is the enrichment leader in this ward. This whole issue has made her out to be a villain in the ward, even though she ever said a peep about Bunko. My wife actually enjoys bunko as well.

    The argument that Enrichment has been changed several times is again inaccurate (Kristenj: “It’s enrichment night that has been changed many times in the past few months”). It was changed once in August, the Bishop has changed it in Nov/Dec. I am guessing this argument was used to justify the scheduling of Bunko during Enrichment. The fact is that Bunko is a great form of fellowship for the sisters, but when the Bunko powers create a conscious scheduling conflict it does not fly.

    Comment by Tony Economou — November 13, 2005 @ 8:31 am

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