Sunday, December 07, 2014

Mormon Missionaries

A ring at my doorbell yesterday reminded me that I haven't railed against Mormons since shortly after the last presidential election.

That's no way for me to get myself onto that infamous Mormon Blacklist. I'll have to work harder.

Which brings us to today's topic: Mormon missionaries. For years the streets have been peppered with earnest young men with fresh-scrubbed faces, short-clipped hair and no facial hair (a HUGE no-no), riding bicycles in the white shirts and ties in all kinds of weather, knocking on your door to bring you The Word. Well, actually a lot of words, most of them gibberish once they got past their basic memorized spiel and you started asking them some tough questions.

Such as this: "You say that The Book of Mormon is a historical record of the tribes of Indians that originally came across the Pacific, from Israel(!), in closed boats a thousand years before Columbus, right? Well answer me this question -- the Book of Mormon is full of references to things like camels, horses, elephants, pigs, cows, etc. [and not just animals; there's actually quite a list of impossible anachronisms in the BOM, things of which there is no historical or archeological records of prior to 1492] so where did they all go -- there is absolutely zero evidence for them in any anthropological/geological/archeological studies anywhere? [Outside the confines of church educational institutions, anyway]"

They would usually mumble something about all things being possible with god and shamble away.

I kind of feel bad for doing this, but for a long time it kept them away from my door. I think they must use secret signs, like hobos used to use, to mark my house.

Then when they started coming around again a few years later, they were able to produce some mealy-mouth type of rationalization handed down from the Brethren (i.e., Church honchos), that the Israelites who landed here did not have words for the animals, etc., they saw and applied the name of the animals they knew already to the strangers who looked like them. Okay, that's not bad, and for the sake of discussion I am willing to stipulate that they were actually that stupid and unobservant and unimaginative.

So then I ask them: "You say that the American Indians are descended from the original settlers from Israel who came here around 600 BC, who were once a 'white and delightsome people' until they angered God and he smote them with a darker shade of skin? And when they finally proved they could follow all of god's commandments and precepts, they would turn back into a 'white and delightsome people' again. Then why is it that not a single trace of DNA from the Middle East shows up in the cells of any Native Americans?"

The way they explained that away is kind of creative, even if they had to go against what had been until very recently their entire core of beliefs and their church history to do it. "Nobody ever said that ALL of the Indians were descended from the immigrants [fact: just a few years ago they were claiming exactly that]. The Indians were already here when they landed." Not what it says in the BOM. Sorry. Still, that shook 'em up a bit more and they stayed away again.

And then after a while they came back. Okay, I said. "Now explain to me why your church was racist against black people until 1978."

Blank stare. And at that point I knew that these two hadn't even been born when the curse of black skin was lifted off of the sons of Cain and his grandson Ham, and had never heard of the Mormon doctrine concerning blacks and had never heard of the iron-clad pronouncements of Demigod Brigham Young and his successors to the post of Prophet, Seer and Revelator of the One True Church. All of those grand old -- and white -- prophets had said that black people could not have the full fellowship of the church and could not hold The Priesthood. Not in this life. That sounds like a minor thing, until you realize that every male member of the church, except the ones who were black, held the priesthood, and there was no way anyone could advance in the church without this priesthood. It even extended to the Boy Scouts (the Mormons were and still are big into Scouting) and aspiring Scouts had to show their progression through the three ranks of the "lower" priesthood even as they advanced from Tenderfoot to Second Class to First Class and onward...

"I don't think that's true," the taller one said, a bit hesitatingly I thought.

"Go study up on it and then come back and explain it to me then," I said.

Well, that kept them away for another long time, and just when I thought I'd gotten the permanent "stay away from this guy" hobo marking in front of the driveway or on the mailbox, two more showed up yesterday.

And these two were girls. Young, cute, wide-eyed fresh-faced eighteen-year-olds just exuding pious innocence out of their very pores. Working the mean streets of suburbia after dark. Jeez, when did the Mormons start sending out girl missionaries? They were bubbly and perky and delighted to spend a couple of years working in the mission field to seduce people into the bonds arms of The One True Church.

Turns out it was kind of smart move, since I actually felt sorry for them -- they could have been my granddaughters who are about that age -- and if I had started snarking out on them with some impossible questions to make them think and thereby ruining their week, it just would have felt mean. I just said I wasn't interested.

"Well, can we do anything for you?" the blonde said in a perky valley-girl voice.

"Like take your garbage out," the other one, a brunette, said. "We'd love to take your garbage out."

Take my garbage out? What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

"No, that's all right," I said. "Thanks for stopping by, but I'm really and truly not interested."

We parted on friendly terms, and they haven't come back yet. But it's only been a day, after all. But when they do, I will be ready for them this time: "I'd love to be able invite you in to talk to you, but there's still a restraining order in effect from the last time I invited a teenage girl in, and besides that, I have been excommunicated from The Church for adultery, apostasy and sodomy."

That ought to do it.

Oh, and any Mormons who are reading this and who are questioning their faith, you don't have to suffer your spiritual crisis all by yourself. Drop by and they will help you. You don't have to do it alone.


Nan said...

I've always kind of admired the Mormons. The church is so amazingly flexible, which is appropriate, given its history as a sex cult started by a con man. Any time society throws an obstacle in the way, their president has a revelation that allows the church to adapt quickly to changing times. I'm willing to bet that sometime within the next decade there's going to be a pronouncement out of Salt Lake City that the LDS was misguided in its treatment of gays; you can see the shift starting already.

Katy Anders said...

I just get Jehovah's Witnesses here I sound like I'm talking about regional flora or fauna).

I have a friend who has SIX of them who live in the apartment next door. It's a tiny apartment, so they must have bunk beds or something. He says they all arrive and leave together.

He lives in Conroe. I don't know what sort of short straw those poor kids drew to have to do their missionary work in Conroe, Texas.