Heaven help us

I went out with the missionaries today, which was a new experience. They asked me to meet them at this girl’s house, because they didn’t know if she would be alone or not and wanted everything to be above-board. Turns out, they shouldn’t have worried. Once her parents (she is 16) found out she’d met the Mormon missionaries and invited them over, they made the time to be there, and they brought the big guns with them.

Turns out their family are very faithful born-again Christians, which is great. But right away there were points of doctrine (like the “Grace v. Works" question) that we differed on in our explanations. It's possible that the girl may have had questions, but her parents weren’t having any of that, and preferred to point out the ways that what we believe (or what they thought we believe) is incorrect. One of the missionaries started to get a bit defensive and his voice started getting louder. I had to stop myself from patting him on the shoulder and saying, “Okay now, does somebody need a time-out?”

Anyway, when it was clear that this family wasn’t interested, we thanked them for their time and left.

One thing I will say for the born-again Christians here in England: They offer you a cup of tea before they tell you you’re going to hell. And that’s nice.

I didn’t have the heart to tell them that if I do go to hell it won’t be because I interpret the scriptures differently than they do. It’ll be because of all those bodies in my basement—and the Ioan Gruffudd in my closet.


Cicada said... [reply]

On my mission, we tracted into a 97-yr-old evangelist woman who dragged us into her home to praise the Lord for 45 minutes. I left the home thanking her and explained to my trainee that that woman would probably be going to the c-kingdom anyway (and relatively soon), so there was no reason that we needed to sit there and argue with her.

metamorphose said... [reply]

I dated a born-again Christian once. But in my defense, I was 19 and stupid. That was my first (and only) Mormon vs. Born-Again standoff. Never again.

DanaLee said... [reply]

In the south instead of the cup of tea you get a "bless your heart" which is pretty much a grace phrase before anything evil being said. "Bless your heart, it's a shame Mormons are going to hell." My favorite is "bless your heart, it does appear you have not been washed in the blood of the lamb." I find smiling and nodding while graciously leaving works best for me.

redlaw said... [reply]

I like to think about the South Park episode where it turned out that the Mormons were right and everyone else had to go to Hell while the Mormons got to make things out of egg cartons in Heaven....I think I'd end up choosing Hell to egg carton crafts...but maybe that's just me.

I went to France on my mission and one thing I love about the french is that they don't mince words or put on a front - they hate you and they let you know...I found it very refreshing.

redlaw said... [reply]

Oh, and I apologize for expanding your brother's vocab but I guess we're even because I'd never heard the term he used - I feel enlightened.

metamorphose said... [reply]

Such a classic episode of South Park! Ha ha!

Yeah. Nothing was sexier than when my born-again boyfriend told me I was going to hell. Such a turn on. It would have been so much more romantic if he had at least made me a cup of tea, or prefaced it with, "bless your heart."

Th. said... [reply]


I love that Faulkner story, "A Rose for Nemesis." I always wondered if you took your nom de blog from that.

April said... [reply]

I'm not Mormon (don't hate me already), and I was part of a Christian organization in college. And I've found that in all walks of life, no matter what beliefs are a part of you, there is always going to be someone else who will tell you you're going to hell. Comforting, isn't it? :) I was told by a Muslim once that I'm going to hell.
Once during a retreat with the Christian organization I was part of, I brought along a non-Christian friend. Not to try and make her "see the light," or whatever, but because she was lonely and needed friends. One of my so-called Christian friends started arguing with her quite adamantly about creationism vs. evolution. And I'm sorry to say that that was the last time she hung out with me, even though I tried to stop the argument.
Sorry for the long post. It's just so sad, I think. Everyone thinks they're right. There's no room for anything else.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Cici, what a sweet old lady! Yeah, I'm sure she's just fine. :-)

Meta--Seriously. That reminds me of the time on Seinfeld when Elaine is dating the Christian who tells her she's going to hell. "Did you take my Jesus Fish?!?"

Hee. I'm remembering that about the South now, Danalee. You really would always hear the worst things prefaced by that. "Bless her heart, she has a face that would make the dogs hide," etc.

Redlaw--Other upside is, French is such a beautiful language that it doesn't sound as mean as when, say, Germans tell you they hate you. And yeah, my brother. Kid can't just leave well enough alone.

th.--Sadly, that's not where the name came from, although that would have been very literate and cool of me. A few years ago Sakhmet, Daltongirl, and I decided to start our very own coven, complete with vengeful ancient goddess names. Feel free to look them up, and you get points if you can tell which one isn't actually an ancient goddess name.

Hello, like I could hate you, April! I think you're just lovely & I'm happy to have my blog graced by your comments. And I'm so sorry about what happened to your friend! Sometimes people are just thoughtless, I think (me included, of course).

Savvymom said... [reply]

My best friends have always been catholic and they are pretty cool and we never had major religious disagreements. (They were also the kind of catholics that went to church every week). It was always the southern baptist friends that tried to get me to come to their church because their pastor said I was going to hell.

metamorphose said... [reply]

April, that is so sad about your friend, and it's very true that there are people of every faith ready to tell someone different, that they're going to hell.

I had a friend who was Catholic and in grade school she was beat up by some Mormons because she was wearing a crucifix...they were "just" being cruel, stupid kids, but I think that reflected something lacking on their parents' behalf.

Julie said... [reply]

What is it about religious belief which seems to turn perfectly pleasant, apparently normal people into such unpleasant beings. I have to admit getting fed up with people calling round my house to tell me about their beliefs. In England they are most likely to be Johovah's Witnesses than Mormons, but I am always polite. I do get slightly put out by the idea, which they suggest to me, that I don't ever think about what might be wrong with the world. But muck like if someone calls to sell me new windows, or a driveway, I say thank you but no thank you. No tea gets offered. Mind you if you call round Nemesis, wear a pink carnation and you can come in; just don't tell me I am off to hell any day soon.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Oh man, Metamorphose, that is so ugly. (What happened to your friend, I mean. I don't want you to think I meant your pic, which is v. cute.)

Julie, when I first saw the word carnation I read it as cardigan. I wondered, "Wait, why would Julie want me to wear a pink cardigan? . . . GASP! My mother got to her!!!" (A couple of days ago my mother told me I should wear pink more, since she read that it's attractive to men.) If you ever invited me over for tea, I would be so excited that I would wear both, I think.

April said... [reply]

I also thought she'd written cardigan at first! hahaha

And Julie's observation is so true...perfectly pleasant people will turn quite unpleasant (to say the least) if their beliefs are questioned. I'm ashamed to have done that in the past. I'm pretty mellow these days, but in my "new Christian" phase, I can imagine how annoying I must have been! :)

Julie said... [reply]

The pink carnation, (though it could be a cardiagan) is so that I don't open myself up to inviting in some poor stranger who knows nothing of this conversation or the whole blogging thing.

Panini said... [reply]

That was super nice of you to go.

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