Posted by: rusch | June 3, 2007

The ox is in the mire

My brothers and I have taken to using the phrase “the ox is in the mire” whenever we feel like doing something Sunday that

would make any self respecting Gospel Doctrine teacher pull their hair out and breathe fire at the mere suggestion.

This all goes back to that there cannot be a lesson taught at Church without someone trying to find a situation where the principle being taught and its’ application does not apply. For example in almost every lesson that I have been in about the word of wisdom there is always someone who will ask, “what about herbal tea and hot chocolate”? They will also ask about caffeinated sodas and whether or not it is acceptible to drink O’dule’s and so forth. If I am in a charitable mood, I will say that they should pray about it or if they are really in a quandry, ask the bishop or stake president. But sometimes I want to quote that part of the Doctrine and Covenants that talks about how slothful and unprofitable servants are those that must be commanded in all things.

The same thing is true of lessons on Sunday observance. Instead of talking about the blessings the would come from keeping the Sabbath, most of the class is spent discussing exceptions to the rule. There will always be someone who will bring up that such things are “oxes in the mire”, things that have to be taken care of even though they might violate the letter of observing the Sabbath. What it really comes down to is that the “ox in the mire” folks are either uncomfortable with or don’t want to observe what many define as an “orthodox” sabbath.

So now when we are on vacation, in say Greece or Russia, and end up buying stuff like meals or bottled water because it is ninety four degrees outside, we will jokingly turn to each other and say, “well, the ox is in the mire”.

There are many things that we joke about like this. “Hey lets go out to eat. After all, the ox is in the mire”. “I’m thirsty, lets go get some cokes. What can we do, the ox is in the mire”.

What’s even better is when someone does not know that you are joking and looks at you confusedly as though you just told them that you really liked the PBS special The Mormons that aired about a month ago. You will be much happier if you do because hey, after all, “the ox is in the mire”.


  1. You know, back on the Sunday school and word of wisdom thing; I was irate last week due to something in our branch here in Guam. In Relief Society they were talking about the word of wisdom and they got to the part about no tea. Then a prominent member of the church here raised her hand and said that she drinks green tea because it’s good for her. One or two said that’s still not a good enough excuse, but this member was firm. And others were on the fence. In the end, everybody was afraid of “hurt feelings” and they came to the conclusion that green tea is ok if you interpret the word of wisdom that way, but just don’t encourage others. My recent convert wife came out of that shaking her head, asking me for clarification. I was livid. Had I been there I would have set that record straight! Oi Vey! Sometimes the things that go on in our church lessons make me so mad. I might have grabbed a whip and shown that tea drinking Mormon hippie some righteous indignation. I would have been justified, she keeps pushing the ox in the mire…

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