Friday, September 16, 2011

The Missionaries

Mormon Missionaries MenImage by More Good Foundation via Flickr
I try to be respectful of other people and their religious beliefs.  There are, however some limits to my tolerance.  You see, I take a live and let live approach to life.  You are free to live your life according to your beliefs, but do not feel the need to preach to me if I don't want to hear it.

First, a word about my own religious background.  Currently, I am not active in any particular religious denomination.  In the past, I have been active in Baptist churches.  I still mostly subscribe to Christian beliefs, with a touch of Buddhism here and there.

My wife, on the other hand, comes from a Roman Catholic background.  A few years ago, she made the decision to leave Catholicism and pursue other denominations.  She ended up settling on the Mormon faith.  It was not a choice that I would have made, but if it makes her happy then I support her in her decision.  She knows that I personally do not have any interest in joining her faith, and she is respectful of that decision as I am of her decision to join it.

She has told me on more than one occasions that her church's missionaries have asked to speak with me.  She has told them in no uncertain terms not to because I am not interested in the Mormon faith.  One time, they showed up while she was out under the guise of visiting her.  She had told them she would not be home and she thought they might have made the visit to see me.

This brings us to today.  I needed to run out to Target to pick up a prescription for our son before we head out to the beach this week.  As I was getting my shoes on to head out, I heard a soft knock on the door.  As I opened the door to leave, their stood the missionaries.  I told them I was just on my way out the door.  I was in a hurry because it looked like a bad storm was on the way.

I stopped briefly and told them that I would see if my wife was available.  She was not feeling great and was lying in bed.  I told them she was a little under the weather, resting, and was not available at this time.  I then proceeded to make my way to the car, as I had already told them I was already on my way out.

As I walked past them towards the car, one of them spoke up and felt the need to introduce himself as Elder so-and-so, as did the other.  I can not remember their last names, nor did I want to.  I just wanted to get on the road to Target before the rains came.  I shook their hands and turned back to head to the call.  I heard one of them say, "and you are," in hopes of starting a conversation, but I kept walking.

I just can't bring myself to address a 20-something year old as an "Elder."  To me, and elder in the church is an older person who is wise due to their wealth of experience in living in the faith.  The last thing I heard one of them say was asking if there was anything they could do to "help us."  I did not respond.

They had a bit of a stunned and dejected look as they walked away.  Ever since the day that my wife had told me that they wanted to talk to me, regardless of her telling them not to, I have wondered how I would react to them if they were to approach me. One part of me thought about debating them and telling them why I was not interested in their faith. Another part just wanted to avoid the subject entirely.

As I drove away, I started to feel a little guilty about the way I treated the missionaries.  I did not set out to purposely be rude, but the last thing that I wanted to do was to engage in a conversation with them while they attempted to proselytize me.  I told my wife what happened.  She told me that I did the right thing, as that was exactly what they were trying to do.
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  1. Why not just come right out and tell them that you are not interested at this time, and that if you ever do become interested, you are sure that your wife will be able to help you?



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