Monday, May 21, 2007

Mormons At the Door

Several days ago, as I was getting dressed for work, a knock came at the door. I was curious, as anyone who knows me would have known it was about time for me to go to work. I had the front door already open -- anyone coming by would have seen me through the screen door. So, hiding until they went away wasn't an option. And as I was about to go out the door, anyway, I figured it wouldn't take long to get rid of whoever it was.

I went to the door to find two conservative looking guys, about 20 or so, standing there with expectant expressions. They were wearing white, short-sleeve dress shirts and navy dress pants. Two bicycles, with helmets strapped to the handlebars were parked in the yard behind them. Mormon missionaries. I rolled my eyes heavenward at the sight of them.

This was a first for me. Usually when door-to-door religion salesmen knock on my door, it's the from the Baptist church four doors down on yet another campaign to save me from my life of lust.

My town, for the most part, is mostly Protestant, with fundamentalist Baptist and Pentecostal being the majority. Indeed, even though my town has nearly 30,000 people, we only have two Catholic churches, which was originally one for whites and another for blacks. With the huge increase of Spanish speaking people moving into the area in the last ten years, many churches are also adding Spanish-language ministries to their offerings as well. Our town even has a Christian youth group for Russian and Ukrainian speaking children, as we're now also getting a lot of new residents from that part of the world.

Mormons are a very small minority of the religious makeup of my area, however. Because of this, it's not an unusual thing for me to see Mormon missionary pairs biking all over town doing their thing.

I Googled "Mormon missionaries" and read that all single Mormon men between 19 and 26 are expected to devote two years to full-time missionary work, usually away from their home towns, barring those exempted or disqualified for certain circumstances. Unsurprisingly, those who have been a party to an abortion, have children born out of wedlock, and/or have been divorced are disqualified. Missionaries must adhere to the Mormon "law of chastity" -- no sex unless you're married, no masturbation, no porn, no homosexuality. They are not allowed to date and cannot even telephone or email girlfriends back home during their two year missions, but are limited to one snail mail letter per week.

I find it hard to believe that anyone could keep up that level of pious celibacy for that amount of time, taking into account that they spend their days largely unsupervised, especially considering the average horniness level of most guys that age. I would imagine that some of them must manage to grab themselves a bit on the side, with no one back home being any the wiser.

So, when I answered the door to them, I couldn't resist needling them a bit. I asked them something to the effect of why were they wasting their time trying to peddle their bizarre religion when they should be spending these years getting laid as often as possible, while they were at the peak of their virility, before being chained down by marriage and kids.

They were still engaging in red-faced, flabbergasted spluttering when I got in my car and drove off to work a couple of minutes later.


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