Or, how not to recruit.
I live in the largest apartment complex in this city. Except for a small section by the pond (the "new" section), we all live in WWII-vintage townhouses. There's over 600 units, fortunately not on top of each other; there's pretty decent green space in between and all around us.
About 2 weeks ago now, I pumped up an old volleyball and went outside to bounce it around for a minute. (Unsuccessfully as it turns out - time for a new one.) There were a few people milling about, and an unfamiliar face approached me. She made some small talk, but I noticed the prominent "Latter day Saints" nametag proclaimer her as "Sister so-and-so", so of course I immediately knew what she was trying to do.
I mentioned it briefly here at the time...I knew more about our erstwhile governor and the Belmont temple than she did. This is not the way to recruit, IMHO. But nevertheless, she was earnest and pleasant, and while I refused her business card, we did part amicably and I expected that was the end of it forever.
Imagine my surprise, however, when she appeared the following week and asked at my back door specifically for me. This time, she came with a bevy of allies, and again we chatted oh-so-briefly before she handed me this
Now, you know I have my issues with Mormons. I've said it here, I believe this to be one of my remaining prejudices. I have my issues with their belief system, and you know I believe the Mormons have almost single-handedly destroyed the Scouting program in these United States with their membership shenanigans. (The Southern Baptists have helped.)
I will admit a certain curiosity about them, though. From what I do know about their religion, it does seem unusual. Jesus appeared to the native Americans after his crucifiction? Well...OK, if that's what you want to believe fine by me. But you just try to find out any information about them and their belief systems. What would you ordinarily do?
If I want to learn more about Christians, the best place to start is probably the Bible. I can check out Judaism in the same book, convenient. I own two Q'urans; and of course I can go out and buy Hadiths and other study guides if I want to. If Im curious about Hindus, there's always the Bhagavad Gita. I have a couple of friends that are Baha'i. Since I know nothing about their religion, I have long been curious about it, and when I get there I can go pick up an Aqdas and read all about it.
In short, any religion on earth I can go to a library or a bookstore and pick up their text...except one. If I want a Book of Mormon, there's only one way to get one. I have to call them, and a nice young recruiter will come to my door with a copy, and sit in my house and proselytize.
But back to my young Mormon friend. In our first encounter, I was the sociable one, as I talk to all new faces in my neighborhood. I'm still the block captain (and acting president) of my tenant's association, and I'm always trying to judge interest and recruit new members myself. I was disappointed to learn that the Mormon crew didn't live here. It was during this conversation where she turned the tables. Since I had the volleyball in my hand, we talked briefly about the game, and I told her that I used to play in my younger days with my Scout Troop. Here she volunteered that her older brother was a Scout ("Eagle Scout" was implied), and she naturally wanted to know if I had any kids in the program. I am the self-appointed "Citywide Scouting Coordinator" for Waltham, so there was more information exchanged.
It was at this point that she asked me if I was religious at all. I volunteered our entire religious history, including the bits about going through ART and being de-facto excommunicated by the Catholic Church, and of course I bitterly told her about the church-sex scandal, too. I think she was a bit taken aback. I did not volunteer that I follow the teachings of Mohammed these days, but in retrospect that really would have been interesting.
I don't know what she gleaned from our conversation, nor do I have any inkling why the first handout she would give me would be an anti-gay screed. Perhaps the Scout connection....but the Mormons have a different definition of "Morally Straight" than I do. I literally glanced at the first paragraph, and my blood boiled over.
WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
I've not seen our friend around the neighborhood since she gave me this handout. Which may be a good thing; for if she calls again, I will have to tell her that this is where we are going to have a disconnect. Religion is supposed to be about love; instead she comes to my neighborhood and hands out hate. I'm loaded for bear.