This was brought to mind by MadPriest posting a quote from the LDS Prophet Gordon B. Hinkley’s address over on his blog (I’m too lazy to link to it, if you don’t know where Maddy’s blog is by now, SHAME ON YOU).
Anyway, picture the young, eighteen year old Mary Sue as a junior in college, and she’d only been attending for three semesters (this is true. I’m too smart for my own good). I was trying to decide whether or not I wanted a minor or a major in Religious Studies, and who should come knocking on my door but some nice Mormon boys who wanted to leave me with a copy of the Book of Mormon (BoM) and get my phone number so they could send some Sister Missionaries to my house. Yep, that’s right. We’re all familiar with the boys on bikes, but girls do missionary work for the Mormon church, too. They only go for 18 months as opposed to two years, get to drive cars, and don’t canvass. And, from my personal observation, have to wear the fugliest dresses they can find.
Anyway, the Sissy Mishies and I hit it off rather well, and they kept coming over to my house, even though I’d pretty much told them I wasn’t going to convert no way no how no matter how many glurge stories they read me, dioramas made out of Dixie cups they showed me, or times they read bits out of the BoM and asked, “How does that make you feel?”
(Because of this, I *have* read the entire BoM. You’re not missing anything.)
Anyway, one day I was riding my bike home from my United Methodist Church. I remember distinctly it was a first Sunday, which meant I hadn’t eaten anything ’cause I don’t eat before Communion (it’s a thing). I hear someone calling my name, and I turn around, and one of the Sissy Mishies was waving her head out the window of a VW Rabbit. The car pulled up beside me and we exchanged greetings. “We’re on our way to church!” Sister burbled, “Do you want to come with?”
I was young and naieve and thought ‘Oh, it can’t last more than an hour or so, and I do want to see what goes on, even though I’m getting hungry…’ “Sure!” I said, and they followed me to my apartment complex and waited while I locked up my bike.
Three long, boooring hours later, I’m standing in the gym, with a cup of punch in my hand trying to stave off a blood sugar crisis and say nice, noncomittal things to the Sissy Mishies as they probed me for information on how I liked the ‘service’. And that’s when he came up to us.
Friends, I must confess, I judged him harshly as he approached. He was wearing a suit that was about a size and a half too big, he had coke bottle eyeglasses, a bad, patchy buzzcut, no chin, and was shorter than my 5’4″. On his jacket was a Returned Missionary badge (in Spanish, I remember that much).
He peered up at me with watery eyes and said, seriously, without even offering his name or asking mine, “God has told me we will be joined forever in heavenly marriage.”
I’m not proud of what I did. But, well– I couldn’t help laughing. And once I started, I couldn’t stop. My future husband got disgruntled and stalked off, and the Sissy Mishies bundled me up as quickly as possible and drove me back across town to my apartment.
I could end with some nice, round statement about, oh, I dunno, gender roles in religion… But dude, seriously, I wonder to this day if that line ever worked on anyone.