Here's the play by play of the last two missionary visits. Since SO much stuff has happened and been said I think this is one of those times when the video format is best. But just in case you really need to know what a missionary visit is like here you go...
Well, well, the night finally arrived. The night of our missionary dinner. You all may recall that long ago (or at least it seems that way) I clicked on the link for my free Book Of Mormon which set this whole thing in motion. After some shenanigans they dropped in, Kid flashed them, they admired our woodwork (how could you not?), and then they said they wanted to come back and share a lesson. But no Book Of Mormon. Now not being Mormon I was a bit surprised... I kind of thought you ask for the book they bring it to you and share their message. Not so in Asheville. They like to do this in slow, very slow, increments apparently.
So visit number two goes down. They came over one evening a couple weeks ago, I think you may recall that they can't come in unless Mr F is home (let's face it...I'm just too hot), to share a "lesson". Still no Book Of Mormon! At this point Mr F is trying to kind of bow out of the discussion because he is factually not interested... but they are intent on having a "family meeting". To make matters more awkward they kept reading things and then asking us pointed questions like "What do you think a Prophet is?" which kind of took us off guard since... um... we are not religious... at all. But at some point they gave their testimonies and I was just so touched and taken with their youth and sincerity. After quite some time they had us pray (which if you don't believe in a Heavenly Father per se can be incredibly awkward to lead... which of course I did... since there was no way in Hell Mr F was going to do it). Then we got our hands on the book. They bookmarked some passage for us to read and asked us to pray to God about whether or not Joseph Smith was in fact a prophet. They wanted to come back in two days but I had them schedule us in for two weeks later because I knew there was no way I was going to get that kind of homework done in a couple of days. To make up for it I asked them to come back for dinner. They seemed pleased.
They were really so eager and hopefully that both Mr F and I confessed, after they had left, that we had both questioned "what if Joseph Smith really is a prophet? Now don't go getting too excited. Even if he is, and maybe he is, neither one of us believes that... we just don't believe he isn't either. Does that make any sense? I suppose I'm agnostic when you get down to it. But I digress. One thing they did say that particularly tickled Mr F & I is that "The Book of Mormon is either all true or it's all false". Is it just me or is that a weird thing to say? So Mr F and I spent the rest of that night chanting "It's all true or it's all false!" Over and over. Kid asked what was true or false and I told her either Joseph Smith is a prophet or not and that we were supposed to pray about it and God would give us an answer. So she went into the living room and knelt down by her desk with her arms in a highly contorted and exaggerated prayer position and prayed. She came back and told us that he was a prophet.
In the next few days Kid was quite taken with our new "bibles". They have color prints of paintings of biblical and mormon images... Kid was loving them. She was also loving the bookmarks which had paintings of Jesus on them. She stole them. We lost our spots.
Another week goes by and I'm getting nervous because the missionaries are coming back and I don't know what sections to read. I was feeling like I do in those weird high school flashback dreams where I have an exam but I haven't gone to any of my classes all semester. Because while I don't want to be Mormon I did say I would read it and pray on it and I follow through on my word goddamn it! I was also starting to stress about how I was going to let these guys down... and really starting to regret agreeing to another meeting... and to making them dinner. I was trying to be nice but now it was starting to feel like I had set them up.
Through an insider tip I get some appropriate reading recommendations. I read the passages. I *prayed* on it. And I have to be honest I didn't receive a message, or feeling, or enlightening that this was the religion for me. So there. I followed through. What more could be expected of me?
So I start to obsess about the impending meeting. I plan my menu and get the house clean. And I start researching Mormonism hardcore style. And, people, I'm serious when I say it is just not a good fit. Forget about the fact that I'm not even technically Christian, I don't believe in God in that kind of a way, I don't believe in Heaven, I don't believe that men and women should have different roles, or that there should be a hierarchical church structure, and I do believe in gay marriage & drinking strong drinks and hot drinks when necessary (daily)... in short I don't think I could get more un-Mormon. So I decided that I was just going to be honest and straight forward. Why should I be afraid to tell some 19 year old guys that I don't believe in their religion?
So about 15 minutes before they arrived I downed a *strong drink* to take the edge off (Don't worry I chased it with a piece of orbitz gum so that they wouldn't be scandalized). I put my crescent rolls in the oven and then they walked in. But low and behold it was not our original dynamic duo. They'd switched out one Elder for another... and this one you knew was the "big guns". I'm serious. He had a completely different air about him and I thought to myself "shit". I was mentally prepared for the other Elder. I had been as upfront as possible with them about not wanting to convert... but I admit agreeing to "pray on" the Book of Mormon may have left them with mixed singles. It is just so hard to disappoint people!!
The evening started off nicely. We talked about the election as they were eager to hear more about what had happened and which states had flipped. Then we had dinner and they ate as much as I expected... and I was really glad that I made as much as I did!... and we talked about the Biltmore estate. The conversation was easy and comfortable (at least for me, I was drunk... just kidding).
Then we adjourned to the living room and started the discussion. The badass Elder asked how I came to have contact with the missionaries and I laughed and then explained the whole saga. I was explicit that I was not looking to convert and that I just love to study different religions and cultures (you all know that's true). I was really proud of myself for getting that out in the open right away. But that was not the end of the conversation. They asked if we had ever felt the Holy Spirit in prayer and in what ways we felt the LDS church was similar to other churches. I wowed them with comparing it to the Amish church (dude... I'm serious there are a lot of similarities).
That's when Mr F started going on & on (& on & on) about Catholisism.... keep in mind he hasn't been to church in about 20 freaking years. Now I knew he was trying to be polite and add to the discussion in the way he could... and that he didn't want to overtly hurt anyone's feelings by admitting how he really feels about religion. But at some point an Elder asked what we felt about baptism and that triggered some kind of long diatribe from Mr F and instead of saying I don't believe *that* he said "I can see that" "I can see how that would give you the true authority". Dude! I wanted to jump out of my skin. He was seriously saying exactly the wrong thing if you don't want to be signing yourself up for more visits (and he doesn't). I'm not kidding for a couple of minutes I think the missionaries thought we might be converted afterall. I tried to jump in and help him redirect the conversation. The truth is Mr F doesn't want religion and I got him to say he isn't missing it in his life. Then they asked me if I was missing religion in my life and I laughed and said "the truth is I'm missing a LOT in my life... I don't have any friends for one thing."
I honored the guys for their commitment to their mission. I sincerely do hope that what they believe is true and comes to pass for them. Mr F and I both do. But it doesn't make us believe it. It doesn't even makes us want to believe it. If we're wrong we're wrong.
They invited us to read some of the Book of Mormon everyday and sincerely pray about it's truthfulness. They asked Mr F if he would do that. He laughed and said "I don't want to say I'll do something and not do it" They respected that. Then they asked me and I said I would. (I know, I know). But to clarify matters when they said they wanted to schedule another visit I said I'd be more than happy for them to come back and discuss what I had read and that I'd be happy to make them dinner if they'd like. BUT that I wasn't searching for one religion and that that wasn't the answer within me and I know that they need to use their time wisely and that their mission is to proselytize. AND I wanted them to make the best decision for their mission. That kind of stopped them in their tracks. The badass's whole facial expression changed and you could see him evaluate the situation. I told them I enjoyed their company and I'd be happy to spend time with them and continue the discussion but I really understood that they had goals to meet and it was up to them. Either way I would read the book because I would have anyway. The badass said they'd come back and talk to me some evening... but that they wouldn't have time for dinner.
So... long story short... 3 visits down... one to go. I think (think) that they are getting the message.
Although I did leave out that at one point Mr F said he would need a serious sign like being struck by lightening to have the kind of revelation they have had. And I said "like a burning bush!" Then one Elder said to the other "Next time bring gasoline."
I thought that was hilarious.
Mr & Mrs F rehash the visit for your enjoyment: