Long time readers know I have a long and complicated history of relationships with Mormon Missionaries. They are one of the reasons I stopped calling myself “sort of Christian” and embraced Secular Humanism, they were one of the early influences of this blog, and in some ways, their optimistic faith reminds me a little of me when I was still deep in Christian Science.
A fresh set of missionaries came by recently, young, optimistic, and unprepared for an opinionated woman (who also happened to be a mother). It was the middle of a sweltering heatwave and they were overdressed in black pants, and long sleeves. They noticed that the kids had come to the front door, and started their spiel on how Mormons honor their mothers, and how motherhood is the most important job, and they really respect that. I got the impression they were saying what they thought I wanted to hear, their religion reveres mothers, and their version of God and Jesus makes family important (or something.)
They got a polite lecture on Old Testament morality, human sacrifice and Paul, and why I’m now a Secular Humanist. I politely explained we obviously had come to very different conclusions from reading the Bible, and no thank you, I don’t need any extra assistance. I tried to keep it short, I didn’t want to completely lose my cool in front of the kids. Polite as ever, they thanked me for my time, went on their way in the sweltering heat.
The kids and I left to run errands, and the missionaries were a few houses up the street. I pulled over and offered them some bottled sparkling water, I don’t know why, it felt like the right thing to do. They were very appreciative. One told me I was “a saint,” I told them I wouldn’t take it quite that far, I’m just trying to be a decent human being, and really it was hot out. We may have drastic differences in theology, but they’re still people and on a day with temperatures soaring over 100*F, people walking around in the heat need water.