Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Missionary Position...

Recently my wife and I noticed an unfamiliar car pull up in front of our apartment, which provoked the following conversation:

D's Wife: Hey, someone's here. Would you put the dog up before she starts barking?

Drek: Sure.

Puts dog in the bathroom.

Drek: Who are they?

D's Wife: I dunno. They're wearing ties and... name tags? Oh shit.

Drek: Mormons?

D's Wife: Yeah. Go let the dog back out.

Drek: Hell yes.

D's Wife: Drek! I was kidding.

Drek: Oh. Yeah. So was I. Sure...

What followed was a fairly interesting exchange. Two well-dressed Mormon missionaries came to the door and knocked. We answered the door and politely inquired what they wanted. They asked if Maria Wittman lived here. We informed them that, no, Maria did not. They asked if we were sure, and we said yes. They said that she had been a member of their church and wondered if we knew how to contact her and we said we didn't. They then apologized for bothering us, and then started asking us about our religious beliefs,* if we knew about Mormonism, and generally began the hard work of trying to bring us into the fold. This it goes without saying, worked out poorly for them. They then pressed an informational card into my hand and left.

Sounds pretty polite, right? Well, yeah, except for a few small little issues:

(1) I know who has lived at my current apartment for the past eight years. There has never been a Maria or a Wittman in that entire time.

(2) At my old apartment I was approached by Jehovah's Witnesses asking about someone who used to live there.

(3) I had lived there for two years already and knew the guys who preceded me- the Witnesses were asking about someone who hadn't lived at that address for- as far as I could tell- ever. Which is a long time.

In other words, missionaries asking about someone who used to live where you do is nothing more or less than a slimy way to start up a conversation in the hopes of converting them. And it really, really annoys me.

The reason is fairly simple. As an atheist, I view most religions as more or less alike. I know some people consider Mormonism to be a cult but, really, as far as I'm concerned it's a valid religion. And, in breaking with some others, I view Mormonism as being a more established religion than, say, Scientology. Granted in my view the main difference between a cult and a religion is tax exempt status, but the LDS church has been around longer, is better established, and has long since left the early- and maximally creepy- stages of a new religion behind it. I have generally been favorably impressed by the Mormons I know personally- including missionaries I have met while traveling- and while I disagree with the official views and positions of the LDS church, have no beef with individual practitioners. Actually, I've mostly found those practitioners to be decent, genuine people. So, in short, in my opinion, Mormons are okay.

But you know what? When missionaries come and try to sell me on their god by, first, lying like dogs to my face that really makes me wonder if, perhaps, I'm naive. It makes me wonder if the LDS church really has matured or if, maybe, it's still an immature brat of a new religion that thinks that anything is okay in the service of god. The same goes for the Jehovah's Witnesses and I'm fairly sure that isn't the result the missionaries were hoping for.

Here's a thought future missionaries: when you come to my door you probably won't have any luck converting me, but it'll do wonders for both of us if you at least try to be honest. At least then your behavior won't- from the very first moment- give lie to your gospel.

Just a tip.


* It was fun watching the lead-missionary's eyes bug when I answered that I was a "devout atheist." I don't think they usually include that one in the playbook.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Marf said...

A couple of weeks back they were in our neighborhood. If they would have come to my door, I would have greeted them with the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in hand, and informed them that they should be following the teachings of our Noodly Master. Just to see how they like it when the tables have turned and someone else is trying to force some crazy beliefs on them.

Once that failed, I'd turn a cold shoulder to them and tell them I'm an atheist and ask them to leave.

Friday, July 25, 2008 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger CAT said...

One interesting difference between Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses: Mormons believe that lying is okay, as long as it is not directly to a fellow member of the Mormon faith, whereas Jehovah's Witnesses take the Bible seriously and believe that it is NEVER okay to lie.

Friday, July 25, 2008 12:13:00 PM  

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