April 12, 2007

Inappropriate Responses I Almost Gave the Mormons

I have nothing against religion. [As aside: That's not entirely true. If forced to be candid, I might say that, while much good has been done in the name of religion, a whole heaping pile of bad shit has been done under the banner of one religion or another. That, in my mind, at least, is bad. But it's not all bad. I get that.] I do not consider myself a person of faith but I do respect those who have and embrace faith and whatever set of beliefs accompanies it. Oddly enough, given my own lack of religious beliefs, some of my closest friends have held fairly strong religious beliefs. Maybe I'm just their token heathen friend. Regardless, I'll admit that above all other people of faith, those I respect the most are ones who understand that it is inherently a person issue. Not one to be pushed, foisted or sold like crack on a street corner. Which is why I almost responded very inappropriately when two Mormon missionaries knocked on my door.

[Aside Part Two, Son Of Aside: I'll have you know, I have nothing against Mormons. My brain would have spit out the same thoughts if they'd been Jews, Jesuits, Jehovas Witnesses, Scientologists or Wiccans.]

The Inappropriate Responses I Considered:

  • Hi. Just so you know, upfront, I worship at the altar of Satan. You know, the devil.
  • Hi. Just so you know, upfront, I worship at the altar of Satan. Oh, and I'm gay. By the way, are missionaries getting cuter or has it just been a really long time since I had a date?
  • Curiosity question - would you consider your favorite position to be missionary?
  • Could you come back later? I just found some great man-on-man porn on the 'net and you're kinda ruining the mood.
  • So, if I convert or whatever, I get to marry, like, ten women, right? That's bitchin'. Where do I sign?
  • Oh, hi there. I'm a little busy with the low-budget adult film I'm shooting in my basement. Would you mind coming back? Or, actually, do you need a couple hundred bucks for a quick afternoon's work?
  • I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. I don't know how that applies to you but you'd do well to take it under advisement. Now, good day!
  • Before I talk to anyone about anything, we have a strict no-thong policy in this house. So, drop 'em boys. Then we'll talk about the Lord.

Of course, I didn't say any of that. Why, you ask?

Her: Just tell them "no thanks" and "goodbye."
Me: "No thanks" and "goodbye"? What fun is that?
Her: You just better let me talk to them.
Me: Why?
Her: You'll just be rude.
Me: You think I'd actually say any of that crap? I talk big but when push comes to shove, I'm a pussy.

[Aside Part Three, Aside's Revenge: It's true. I hate confrontation possibly more than I hate spiders, reruns of Good Times and the very concept of Spam - both the meat and the email - combined. I can't explain it. It's kinda like the fact that I hate the phone.]

[Aside Part Four, Bride of Aside: By the way, the Easter pictures are finally up over at my flickr site. Yeah, am slow.]

[Aside Part Five, The Final Chapter: Rest in peace, Kurt Vonnegut]

Posted by Chris at April 12, 2007 7:20 AM

Religion's a complicated issue. I personally have a very strong faith in God, but it's born of some serious doubt and questioning through a lot of pain and woe. So, I've got that going for me.

I actually enjoy visits by missionaries, Mormon or otherwise. I enjoy rigorous theological debates, but when I start asking them really tough questions...well, let's just say they never visit again. Faith that can't withstand doubt is nothing more than "stuff I read in a book", and too many of the folks knocking on people's doors have little more than that, I'm afraid. It seems they're just checking a box on a get-me-into-heaven checklist.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at April 12, 2007 7:44 AM

You need to ask them why Brigham Young said blacks would only get into heaven as servants of whites, if he was really an infallible prophet. Then ask them why the First Presidency changed its mind later. In 1979.

Then tell them you worship Satan.

Posted by: Jon (was) in Michigan at April 12, 2007 7:54 AM

We get evangelist all the time. We have a church right next door that they are tearing down to build houses (thank g-d). But, I think they seek us out b/c we have a mezuzah and no x-mas decorations. We are so obviously Jewish.

And, not that it matters, and I'm not trying to be contrrary, it's part of the Jewish faith not to prothletize b/c they don't advocate conversion. Not that it matters, you were just making a point.

Sometimes I think you and my husband are the same person. He feels the exact same way about religion.

Posted by: jodi at April 12, 2007 8:04 AM

We have alot of Mormons in our town and they are always out knocking on doors. My husband loves to antagonize them. A few years ago he was installing a new floor when they came to the house. Now me, I would have just told them flat out to get lost. But he likes to engage them in conversation, let them think hes actually interested, then blow their mind...so that last time (and it was the last time, they avoid our house like the plague now) he invited them in, they offered to help him with the floor while they talked....so he offered them a beer and asked them what their policy on masturbation was cause he does 15 times a day and he can't give it up. They walked out. Never looked back.

Posted by: Lisa at April 12, 2007 8:19 AM

A funny thing about door-to-door salespriests... My mom usually has her front door open, and not to far from it is a chair that she likes to sit in. There were a LOT of times where they'd come knocking at the door (mind you, the inside of the house is very visible), and she would just sit there rocking. They'd say the usual, "Uh, hello ma'am?" And be totally confused, because they'd be knocking and knocking, and she'd just sit there. It was hysterical.

I think religions that feel they need to convert or pitch a sale to get folks to join, aren't right. I mean, the older the religion, the less likely you'll catch them going door to door. Weird.

Posted by: Phoenix at April 12, 2007 8:27 AM

Loved Kurt Vonnegut. True story: my husband was once listening to an NPR interview (local KERA) with Vonnegut and then called in to invite him to Thanksgiving dinner. He actually got through to him, but Vonnegut didn't show.

And for the record, I'm suspicious of ANY religion which thinks everyone has to convert to their way of thinking. Mormons included. And all of the secrets and blood atonements? Creepy.

Posted by: wordgirl at April 12, 2007 8:44 AM

My dad usually tells them he found jesus this morning in the shower...

I can't remember the last time we had one knock on our door.

Posted by: Secha at April 12, 2007 8:48 AM

I'm with you on the confrontation. I can think of responses, but actually speaking them is a different story. Maybe, in your case, that isn't such a bad thing. :)

Posted by: Zandria at April 12, 2007 9:25 AM

Have you seen this? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0124819/ Directed/written by Trey Parker.. Yeah.. not for everyone.. not politically correct.. but really stupid funny.. Your 'wannabe responses' reminded me of this movie.. :)

Posted by: Molly at April 12, 2007 10:04 AM

The JW's used to come to my aunt and uncles door all the time. For the first while she would just ignore the door bell, but after a while she became fed up with it. I am not shitting you, she answered the door naked. Needless to say they have not returned.

Posted by: Kari at April 12, 2007 10:15 AM

your daughter is beautiful....utterly and completely

Posted by: Kristy at April 12, 2007 10:35 AM


Posted by: oakley at April 12, 2007 10:51 AM

Welllllllll I know WAY too much about the Mormons. I have seen, heard, and be witness to some crazy ass shit in the name of Mormon.
My fiancé’s children are Mormon along with the ex-wife and all family connected to her. My fiancé is an ex (he converted at 17 so he could marry and get laid because his ex-wife is Mormon and put her foot down at blow jobs before marriage, oh and after too.) He was on a list because the boy went to church when he lived here two summers ago. They would actually tell me when I got pissy with them that they were taking my name off their "do not contact list" which one finally admitted doesn't exist.
I know enough to know that when they're on their missions they are not allowed to contact family for two years. I know that these boys miss family a lot. So when they knock I invite them in, offer beer or orange soda--I'm easy. I then tell them to use my phone and call home because I know that their mama's miss them. I've two take me up on it. I also know that this is FORBIDDEN.
I like to lead them astray, don't you know. Mostly I do it because as a mother I know I would miss my son like crazy, and what version of a father would insist that his children couldn’t contact their mother when they’re out spreading the word about him.
BTW I believe in God, but I do have a problems with the Mormons because of the piety in their whole" we've got the answer you’re a heathen who is lost without us." I also have a problem with anyone who tries to force their views on me be it JW or Republicans.

Posted by: Michele at April 12, 2007 11:12 AM

Whaddaya got against "Good Times"?!

BTW, those responses are DYNOMITE!

Posted by: Holmes at April 12, 2007 11:18 AM

[Aside Part Three,]

Okay, did I say that too? I think I did! Are we related?

Posted by: Maribeth at April 12, 2007 11:24 AM

i can't believe beth didn't let you channel your inner lloyd dobbler....would have bene hilarious :)

Posted by: ali at April 12, 2007 12:00 PM

I used to know this guy back when I was in high school (okay, okay, I was hopelessly infatuated with him but he thought of me as his kid sister) who once opened the door to a pair of Mormons while wearing a fur loincloth and a giant hat with elk antlers on it. Another time he opened the door, handed each of them a condom and shut the door again. They never came back.

Posted by: Judy at April 12, 2007 12:16 PM

This post is proof that I suck for not coming here on a daily basis. You are so hilarious. I loved all your responses, I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything.

Posted by: Kate at April 12, 2007 12:21 PM

My husband was a convert to the Latter Day Saints years before we married. He's fallen away considerably since then but we still have the elders (missionaries) and the visiting teachers from time to time.

So is my daughter although she's not observant either.

They've given up on me. I'm always friendly as I would be to anyone but they know exactly where I stand and what I believe.

One of them told my grandson I was a feminazi because I wouldn't put on a dress and go to church with them. A dress? I went ballistic. Then I called his bishop. He doesn't come around anymore.

The missionaries used to ask me to check on the baseball and football scores when the dropped in. They knew they were safe with me.

Posted by: ann adams at April 12, 2007 1:42 PM

One of my coworkers used to always open the door to the missionaries with: "Oh good. I was just looking for some virgins to sacrifice. Do come in!"

Posted by: Leah at April 12, 2007 1:55 PM

Mormons?, I've never heard of those before. ;)

I would love to try a few of your responses, HA! Sadly, I am too polite. I think it is a man thing--my husband always wants to put a porn on, crank it up and answer the door naked.

I did get one to stop in his tracks a couple of weeks ago,--when all of the I'm not interested, no thank yous wouldn't work--he asked if I believed in Jesus, I said No--he had nothing else to say.

Posted by: Nanette at April 12, 2007 2:11 PM

oh, you think you have it so hard, when REALLY, you have it easy. At least they don't know your name when they come to your door. At least they don't say, "Hi Sister Sanders, how are you today? We just learned you're an inactive member in our ward and wanted to stop by to say hello."

And then you don't have 18 years of your folks inviting the missionaries over for sunday dinner every 3rd sunday of the month, you don't have the experience of sending all three of your elder brothers off on missions to make the guilt well up in your throat as you look on those annoying (albeit, usually pretty cute) boys on your stoop.

Then it doesn't matter that you're a pussy, you just are PHYSICALLY UNABLE to be rude, even though they SO DESERVE IT. I mean you could have been doing something IMPORTANT, like picking your nose!

Somehow, you manage to politely make them go 'way, then call up your mom and tell her that dad gave your address to the local ward again.

Actually i'm kind of lucky - they stopped by once since we movced into this house, and they DID NOT KNOW MY NAME. they were just going door to door and had no idea who i was. OH THE JOY!

guess dad stopped having my church records forwarded! hooray!

i'll stop writing a novel now.

Posted by: raine at April 12, 2007 2:21 PM

You can be my token heathen friend any time :P

Posted by: Heather at April 12, 2007 2:26 PM

that thong one CRACKED ME RIGHT UP -- hee! ;)

Posted by: Haley-O at April 12, 2007 3:15 PM

Heh, you won't find many Mormons wearing thongs, let me tell you that. But this is probably not the time to talk about the "funny underwear."

I grew up Mormon-- you have to be firm with the Missionaries. If they think you are interested at all, they'll come back.

Posted by: jen at April 12, 2007 3:33 PM

I have similar thoughts on religion as you do. Especially regarding the attempts to force one's religion upon another...

As for your responses - Have I mentioned that I'm just a little in love with Lloyd Dobler? It seems relevant to share that at this point :)

Posted by: suze at April 12, 2007 4:13 PM

I'm one of those inactive, Dr.Pepper addicted, life-long Mormons and all I can tell you is that, aside from the rare pushy ones, most missionaries are very good about going away and leaving you alone when you say you're not interested. The problem lies in the fact that they relocate those kids like crazy, so the one who stopped by one week won't be the one who stops by two weeks later. You have to tell that one not to come by, and then a month later there's another.
Chances are, some of them might get a kick out of a few of your comments. They are, for the most part, teenaged/young adult males after all!

Posted by: Jaycie at April 12, 2007 4:35 PM

I had to chime in about the Mormoninzing. As you may or may not know, a large community of Mormons reside in the city of Sin. Strange juxtaposition isn't it? Anyway, the mother of all prosthelyzing occurred at a neighborhood park. They went to every single person in that park and tried to strike up a conversation. That I think is crossing the line, I felt like I was accosted at the park! All I wanted was to burn some time before the plane left. Geez

Posted by: greenie at April 12, 2007 6:27 PM

I think missionaries are getting more hardcore. I had a pair come to my door about six weeks ago. I told them at least five times that I was agnostic. I smoked two cigarettes. I CRACKED OPEN A BOOK AND READ. They eventually just asked me if I would pray with them and I could see the sorrow in their eyes for my lost soul. I feared the eventual arrival of the Exorcism Van, so I told them to eff off and went inside. Then I locked the door. Because they were ADAMANT.

Posted by: Collie at April 12, 2007 6:32 PM

Or, you could do what I do, which is hide until they quit knocking. They'll go away eventually.

Posted by: nila at April 12, 2007 7:58 PM

My brother told me about a time when some Jehovah's Witnesses came to his door while he was in his boxers. He invited them in, offered them a beer, and let say their peace while he drank, smoke, scratched himself, and watched some Nascar. They left rather quickly.

Posted by: Beth in StL at April 12, 2007 8:23 PM

Back in the day, the JWs came a-callin' on Saturday mornings. My parents were freaky-hippie-types who did NOT appreciate being woken up before noon. So my dad took to answering the door in the buff.


Full frontal salute to the JWs.

They stopped coming around ...

Posted by: s@bd at April 12, 2007 11:18 PM

"Curiosity question - would you consider your favorite position to be missionary?"

Seriously, I snarfed my ginger ale on this one. Strong work. I would have paid good money to see you deliver that line had you chosen to do so.

With you on confrontation and the phone.

We got the requisite number of Mormons patrolling the steets of Silver Spring on Sunday morning, so The Muse and I got tired of answering the door and went out in search of barbecue to celebrate the Easter Bunny. Yep, we went there.

Posted by: Sassy at April 13, 2007 12:34 AM

When I lived up north I had a couple of Jehovah's witnesses come to my door. I told them no thanks I am very comfortable with my religion. When they asked what that was I told them I was a satanist. It took weeks for me to get my wife to talk to me again!

Posted by: Jeff A at April 13, 2007 12:59 AM

As someone who is "Mormon" and was actually a missionary I would just like to make a few friendly clarifications:
-Michele's comment - Umm, all missionaries are actually strongly encouraged to write to thier families every single week and their families and friends are encouraged to write back. Yes, we can call our families only a few times a year (Mother's Day and Christmas Day), which might seem a little strict, but I'm a pretty independent person and found that the weekly letters/e-mails were enough to keep in great contact with my family.

And we don't really think that anyone that isn't Mormon is heathen and going to hell. Mormonism's concept of heaven and hell is a bit more involved than just 2 places that everyone will be divided up and sent to when they die, and we don't think that if you're not Mormon, you are automatically condemned to hell. I think it's generally going to be reserved for, you know, people like Hitler and serial rapists.

I liked Jaycie's comment. Most LDS missionaries are young guys and girls that do actually have a sense of humor. If someone had answered the door in a furloin cloth and hat with antlers on it, I would have loved the experience. And every missionary I'm sure has a handful of very comical experiences that they could share with you. I know I do. Although simply telling them that you're not interested should be enough to make them go away.

The missionaries' goal isn't to "force" religion down everyone's throat and make everyone believe. I know it is easy to be viewed as that, but it's pretty clear to everyone (including Mormons) that that is not going to happen. I like to think of the missionary goal as more "looking for those that are actually interested." If you're not interested, fine, They should move on and stop wasting thier time. that's pretty much what I did when talking to people. And our church has missionaries because Christ sent out his apostles and other diciples to go out and tell everyone, so we're just following that idea.

-Wordgirl's comment about "secrets and blood atonements" kind of creeped me out too. I have never heard the phrase "blood atonement" used ever and I'm curious to know what kind of whacked out rumors she's been hearing. People are often curious because of our "temples" that are different than our "churches" the main difference being that anyone can go into a Mormon church but only certain people can go into the temple. It has to do with us considering the temple to be a pure and holy place, and therefore, not for everyone and thier dog to hang out in. I have heard of funny rumors that people have passed along that we do human or animal sacrifices there, so maybe that's along the lines that wordgirl heard, but it's so not true. No blood, animals or suffering of any kind goes on there. We just make promises with God and get married there.
Anyway, I don't want to sound like I am offended at all by the post or comments, because I'm not. I just don't like it when I or my religious beliefs are misunderstood. I know that a lot of people think Mormons are weird for a lot of things, and I guess that's just part of being Mormon. Oh well. I guess all I can do is try to clarify the misconceptions that go around. This long comment might be totally useless since it's from yesterday's post, but I thought I should at least give it a try.

But I do understand your hate for confrontation. It's tough for me too. As a Mormon, I obviously am not interested when the JW's come around. On the one hand I can empathize with them a lot, so just giving it to them straight and telling 'em I'm not interested is for the best. Listen to your wife;-)

Posted by: Sijbrich at April 13, 2007 7:25 AM

It has continually surprised me that one of my dear friends is a Latter Day Saint. She is a wonderful mom and friend. We don't generally talk about religion and she doesn't try to convert me.

I do find the LDS church super creepy. Jon Krakauer wrote a very chilling book about the LDS church called "Under the Banner of Heaven." Very disturbing but mostly about some fringe LDS church members--particularly ones who still practice "plural marriage" (bigamy to the rest of us). Extremely enlightening about the history of the LDS churh, especially for someone like me who is fascinated by strange cultist religions. My current fascination is scientology.

My friend did tell me one time that Jews are special to the LDS church and usually if you tell them you are Jewish they leave you alone pretty well (though they may baptize you by proxy). It generally works for the JW's too. But if telling them I'm Jewish doesn't work I usually tell them that the messiah was supposed to bring world peace. I tell them that when JC does that I will get right on his raft. That usually shuts 'em up good.

Posted by: lorien at April 13, 2007 8:48 AM

I agree with the comments about missionaries being cute. I don't know what it is, but when I see a Mormon missionary I automatically want to make out with them. Is it the suits, the short hair, or the fact that I know they are pure??!! No matter what it is, they make me hott.

So tell us, what did you say to those sweet young boys?

Posted by: Isabel at April 13, 2007 6:23 PM

Crackin' me up! Just this past year, while I was home on maternity leave, I had a couple of Mormon missionaries pop by the house. I had been in the middle of nursing (would have been funny to answer the door like that), so I was not interested in chatting. As desperate for company as I was. The first thing to come to mind? "I'm happy and comfortable in my faith right now." "May we ask which faith that is?" "I'm Catholic." "Oh." It was classic.

Of course, I was *raised* Catholic but very much like yourself now when it comes to religion. The story gave my husband a good chuckle, but his comment was, "Do I have to be Cath-O-lic, too?"

Posted by: kate at April 15, 2007 8:25 PM

Ha, I actually had a friend who had the Jehova's knock on the door, and they came every week and we were getting sick of it. So she answers the door one Sunday dressed up like a goth, and they ask can we tell you about Jehova, she replies "Yes, but can you come back in an hour once we've finished slaughtering the goat in the back yard?" and they haven't come back since.

Posted by: Toni-Marie at April 15, 2007 11:34 PM