As you may know, I have attained a somewhat upper echelon status in the category of “heathen.”
I do not tote a Bible, I do not attend church services, and I do not spout off about what Jesus would or would not do.
Having said that, I know there are many things Jesus would not do, one of which is arm-twisting someone until they agree to step under the roof of a “house of the Lord.”
“In my Father’s house, there are many mansions”... but He never once mentioned it being a church.
I try not to knock what anyone else believes, I just take it all with a grain of salt. The one thing I know for sure is that Jesus said, “It’s all about love, brother. Just love. Live it, do it, be it. Rock on.”
I am not atheist or anything like that, I just choose to get my spiritual groove on in my own way.
And because I try to be “open-minded” — not blinded, mind you, just open-minded — I have entertained Mormon missionaries at my house for several years.
They have come to dinner on a pre-arranged night of the week, whichever night they find themselves typically without invites from people in their church.
This go around it’s been Saturday night.
So for the past several months, they arrive johnny-on-the-spot at 6 p.m. for whatever grub “Sister Lambert” has opted to prepare for the evening’s dining pleasure.
They’re good kids, most of them.
We’ve had our share of boys who are either gonna end up in reform school or appear to have just been released from reform school, but overall, really sharp, really good kids.
Sheltered kids, but good-hearted and well-intentioned.
Their mission is to draw new members to the flock, my mission is to talk them out of getting married as soon as they get home from their missions.
I encourage them to go to school or go back to work or join the military ... do anything but get married right away.
These boys have got hormones building up in them that would put solar energy to shame, and the church dictates that the vows have to be exchanged before any “carnal knowledge” can take place.
Naturally, as soon as they are released from their mission, they’re grabbin’ that honey they left behind two years prior and are hauling her behind right up to the temple. If she couldn’t wait and married some other returning missionary, they grab the next girl in line, figuring “she’ll do.” Hormones don’t care about age, weight, or beauty.
“Come on girl, I got fish to fry!”
So, these boys have put up with a lot of talk from me. They put up with it because I don’t lecture, I merely “suggest.”
I sort of lull them into a stupor with lots of hot food, freshly baked rolls, and sugary artery-cloggin’ desserts.
Yes ... I’ll admit it ... I’m trying to unbrainswash them with my own particular brand of voodoo.
Both of the young fellas who are currently serving in this district — or ward, as they call it — have girls back home.
One of the girls is still in high school, and her boy-toy is here agonizing over being away. He clearly was not ready to do a mission, but he wanted to just get it out of the way and be done with it. He’s so ready to get married, the buttons on his starched white shirt are about to pop off.
The other young man is much more determined to be a good missionary and do good works. He talks about his gal-pal with a lot of love in his heart. He understands that they probably won’t get married, but he clearly is the more “mature” of the two.
Although, he scared the living tar out of us one night when he happened to get a glimpse of his brother on Facebook.
See, while they’re on their mission they are not permitted to have television, computers or any of the modern day forms of communication, save the cellphone.
I asked if I could look his family up to see what they were doing and he said, “Oh yes, please! I’d love to know what they’re up to.”
I could look and relate back.
However, there was his brother, with his arm around an ex-girlfriend of the Elder. I looked up at him and said, “Your brother has his arm around some chick….”
He leaned around and saw the photo — and fire literally shot out of his eyes and melted the pens on my desk.
Yuh-oh. Calm down, dude.
“That’s my ex. What’s he doing with my ex?”
Apparently baby bro was not planning to go on a mission — he had his arm around his mission.
I quickly opted out of the page and tried to change the subject, but the damage was done. Time for me to go into “damage control.”
He was having none of it. He took a deep breath and asked if we had ever seen, oh, I dunno. Some kind of “trick” they use to get a point across about scriptures.
I said, “No, we haven’t seen that one.”
So he went into the back yard and got a small board, and asked me for a canned good. I don’t have canned goods, except for a can of evaporated milk. He said, “That’ll work.”
He got out his scriptures, put them on a little side table, laid his finger across the board, told his story and said, “It’s like this ... if you believe, then this won’t affect you at all....” and he slammed the can of milk against his finger, laying on the board.
I wanted to dope slap him on the back of the head for scaring the heck out of me.
“What are you doing?” I asked, grabbing up his hand.
“I had to do something. I had to vent.”
I looked to make sure his finger wasn’t broken or anything, and he gave me a half smile and said, “It worked. I don’t feel anything.”
I said, “You need to lose that trick before you ever think about getting married. Take up kick boxing or something. Go for a run instead.”
I was feeling bad about their forced banishment from things like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.
The reason now was clear why those things are verboten.
“Why would you get so upset about that anyway? She’s your ex! You’ve been with your new girlfriend for three years, right?”
He nodded and said, “Well, the ex came to see me before I left. I thought she was trying to get back with me.”
“Back with you, or back at you?”
He laughed and said, “Well, looks like back at me, now!”
“Uh huh. You rethink what you’re going to do once you get home. You’ve still got eighteen months to deal with. Forget both of them and just do your mission work. Here ... have a cookie.”
He took his cookie and sat down, immediately looking better with a little bit of sugar to gnaw on.
I stood in front of him with my arms crossed.
“Now tell me. What would Jesus do if He saw you reacting that way?”
“He wouldn’t be very happy.”
“That’s right. He wouldn’t be very happy. So here is my advice to you this evening: Get over it.”
“I will. I have another scripture lesson to show you ... it involves a hammer....”
We all started laughing.
“You can start up a circus act when you get done with your mission. It’s a lot safer than getting married.”
I hope the bride wears a flame-retardant dress.