Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The Mormons are Here
Last week, or some time the week before, the Mormons found me...Again. We were sitting in the living room waiting for our pizza delivery, which was insanely late and I had started Prairie Dogging (referencing the second definition of the term here) on the couch to see who had just arrived only to be disappointed that it was someone turning the corner or going by. When a car arrived, I was coming out of the kitchen and started to announce that dinner had arrived, when I recognized the configuration of the driving unit and it's occupants.
I told Nick, "it's the church."
"How do you know?" he asks.
"Oh, I know, trust me, I know."
It's a common practice to send locally placed missionaries out with the congregation on what is known as splits. Missionaries spend the majority of their time together and this allows two things, time apart and an opportunity to cover more ground by going out with members. When the dome light came on, I could see the Elder's distinctive black and white ensemble in sharp contrast to the drivers more civilian attire. I could of been two houses over and told you that it was the Mormons, that's just how obvious they are, at least to me anyway. Remember, I used to be a missionary.
They seemed to be taking their time in the car, but they clearly saw me standing in the living room window looking down on them from my house. As they started to exit their car, I decided to meet them on the front porch. They came up and greeted me and acknowledged that they were from the local ward and were out looking up member records they had on file. I used to do this too, find local members that were not attending, see if they were interested in coming back or if they had any eligible children that could be baptized. You can chide me all you want, but one thing that is certain, a big part of the plan for missionaries every month is to meet your baptismal goal. It's pure and simple, numbers. That is not to discount their motivation, it's also pure and simple, for the most part. Join our church and live a happier fuller life together, forever.
Reading that makes me sound a bit jaded and bitter. I guess I am. I think that came across on my front porch that night too. I met them eye to eye and told them that I was not interested in the church anymore, nor was I interested in them sending people from the church to visit me from time to time. When asked why not, I told them that the church doesn't recognize my relationship. When asked what kind of relationship, I said a gay one. I'm gay and the church will not acknowledge me or my partner, so I won't be interested in having the church come around, to which they replied, "You can have your name removed from the records, it's much simpler", and they left.
Several things have been going through my mind since that night and feelings too. For one, I totally missed out on a great opportunity for them to come into my home and meet Nick and I. What better way for them to experience the evil nature of our lifestyle than to expose them to our home and it's normality. Instead, I was a bit bullish and cold. I don't know if it was because I was cold and hungry from my day at work or if it was that my dinner was 45 minutes late. I just know that I missed an opportunity for them to meet 'ME'.
As for the removal of my name option, that one stings a little. While I'm not the ideal member of the church anymore, I am technically still a member as long as my name is on the records. Even though it may appear that I am bitter and a bit angry at the church by my words above, there is still a part of me that loves it too and always will. It represents a significant part of my life and development, both good and bad. I went for several years mourning my faith and my departure. I guess I'm in the anger stage right now and hopefully the acceptance is not far away. I know it would be easy to notify them to remove my name, but I just can't bring myself to do it, even though I know they would just as soon hold church court on my ass and have me excommunicated. Doesn't that sound ten times more heinous than sending them a letter?
I think what keeps me from doing it more than anything, is my parents. I live my life never wanting to disappoint them or cause them pain. (I fear that I've done a considerable amount of both on occaision as it is.) I tell people to not appologize for who they are, I wish I could say that I lived my life the same way. I am proud of who I am today, but I often feel the route taken was a bit careless when it came to others. You can't go back, so I endeavor to go forward and not make the same mistakes. God, that sounds so noble doesn't it? Half the battle is knowing the problems, the rest is just practice until you get it right, even if it takes your whole life. Mind if I take baby steps?