Thursday, October 23, 2014

Teach and Preach and Work Like Missionaries Do

I had visit tonight from the missionaries. Bless their hearts. Living in my mom and dad's guest house has some funny side effects - like living in their ward boundaries and eating dinner with them most nights. They used to feed the missionaries (and me and my kids) every Tuesday night, but over the last several weeks, they've been busy and haven't been able to do that. In that time, the two missionaries I knew and liked were both transferred. So when two missionaries came knocking on the door asking for Mr. or Mrs. [my married name], I was dubious. I recently got a call from some missionaries in the last ward that Randal lived in that were looking for him so I kind of wondered if these guys were looking for him too. Turns out, they were looking for me. Trying to seek out inactive members or something.

They were nice - like most missionaries are. They asked me if I was a member of the Church. I told them I was, technically. They asked what I meant by that. "Well, clearly because you are here and know where to find me my name is still on some record out there. But [gestures to my not-garment appropriate clothing and pierced and tattooed body] I am not practicing." They politely asked where I was with my faith and whatever. They even asked if I minded that they asked me - I don't. I'm an open book. They asked what my background was. I explained my background - you know, established some credibility. They wondered if I felt like God had abandoned me or wronged me in some way. I don't - at all. I'm very happy and "blessed" and have everything I need and many things I want, I just don't believe in the church or God. One of them asked if he could bear his testimony. "Sure!" I responded. Afterwards, I told him that it is wonderful he has that belief and I remembered when I did too. And as long as that belief leads him to be a better, kinder person, then I applaud it! Then he asked if he could give me a challenge. Why?!? That is where it always breaks down.
He asked if I knew who Alma was.
"Yep, I know who he is."
"You know he talks about the faith of a mustard seed?"
"I do know that."
"Have you studied the scriptures and asked God if He is there and if the Church is true and if the Book of Mormon is true?"
So I schooled him. "I have read and studied the scriptures intensely and probably more than either one of you have. I am very familiar with Alma and every other prophet in all of the scriptures and many more scriptures you have probably never read or heard of. I have prayed and asked God questions and even felt I had received answers in the past. I don't anymore. I don't believe in God and I don't want to believe in God and even if I did believe in the Abrahamic God (I'm not just prejudiced against Mormons), I wouldn't follow him because he's a dick. Thank you so much for stopping by and asking about me and listening politely to everything I have said. I know you boys are trying to do good and you want to help and serve people and I appreciate and respect that."
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"Is there anything we can do for you?"
"No, I am really am very happy and well taken care of."
"Do you know anyone who might like to hear about.... er, or might need service?"
"I don't, but if I hear of anyone who needs service, I will let you know. I know how important service is to missionaries. And I'm sure I'll be seeing you around, my parents love to feed the missionaries and they usually feed me when they feed you."
And then they left. Bless their hearts.

I really do have a soft spot for missionaries. My dad was a missionary, my brother was a missionary, Randal was a missionary. I've had many friends and family members serve missions. I even considered serving one myself (that's a good story). Since I've stopped attending church, I've continued to interact with members. Anytime a church member wants to stop by and visit, I welcome them. Because of where I live, most of these people I've known for years. I didn't stop liking them when I stopped believing. And I love missionaries! I've heard the stories of how hard and depressing it can be on a mission, I don't want to add to that! By why oh why oh WHY do people assume that when you leave the church or stop attending that you haven't really read and studied "God's words," or that you haven't really prayed to God to know the truth? It is incredibly frustrating! So to any and all who have wondered about friends or family who have left ANY religion: please know this, chances are, they have given it much thought, study, and EVEN prayer! It's a wonderful thing when someone asks me WHY I left... and then listens without trying to persuade me differently. These missionaries, actually did a fantastic job (right up until the very end). They were respectful and polite and didn't try to argue with me. Then he asked if I minded if he bore his testimony! After being so polite to me, of course I don't mind! Hearing someone else's beliefs can be beautiful a thing. Now that I don't hear the same thing week in and week out, I don't mind it every once in awhile. So props to them! And also... bless their hearts.

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