I was reading The Liberal Agnostic Who Could as she discussed the dilemma all inactives face — what to do with the poor wankers who show up on your stoop to home teach you in an effort to achieve 100% for the quorum and create one more heartwarming tale of reactivation. They are just trying to fulfil their obligations and it’s bloody awful dealing with the guilt of shutting them down. So usually inactives make a half-hearted effort to be civil without allowing any copies of the Ensign to actually be waved at you. It’s exhausting and annoying.
This happened to me periodically until I managed to get to the point where the church no longer had my current address and mobile number. That isn’t to say they didn’t try contacting me at work, but that’s another story. The last time this happened the bishop assigned some bloke who was the second counsellor in the singles ward and an LDS Social Services therapist. Clearly I was an extra special case to warrant his attention. His epic failery at being genuine was baffling. My reaction to this e-mail is, two years later, still a cause for laughter:
[My name, misspelled] – Hello! Just wanted to check in with you and see how things were going. 🙂 My home teaching companion just moved back to Taiwan, so I’m solo for a while. How was your holiday? For once, I didn’t travel far, but just stayed local and had a nice dinner with friends. 🙂
Is there anything I can do for you at this time? If you have any time this month, Id love to get a chance to meet you. Take care and have a wonderful day. 🙂
[Home teacher’s name and mobile number]
Ugh. How . . . insincere and obligatory. Forget the horrible grammar and the fact that the wanker didn’t even spell my name correctly. There is a universally accepted limit of no more than one smiley per 100 words of text. It should never be violated. I pondered what to do. I could ignore. I could engage. I could shut him down. At this point I had no meaningful social relationships with anyone in the church other than my family and the ward I grew up in. But they were far away, and I considered a novel approach to the situation. I really didn’t feel I had anything to lose.
Thanks for the message. Please don’t mistake my meaning because I don’t want to ever come off as hostile. I just want to be really honest here so nobody gets their time wasted. If your purpose in reaching out is part of some reactivation effort, I’m not interested in going to church. I haven’t been offended, I’m not sinning, and I’m not full of pride. I just disagree with church doctrine, teachings and policy enough to where going to church serves no purpose. If it works for other people, great. I’ll never tear them down. But it’s not for me and the causes of my objections are unlikely to ever change.
I’m sure you have the best intentions. I realise you’re in the difficult position of needing to do your home teaching and me shutting you down prevents you from fulfilling your assignment or hampers ward goals for reactivating members. But I am not up for an awkward one hour visit where you show up in a suit and read something out of the Ensign and ask me if there’s anything you can do for me and I say no, but thank you for asking. Again, not trying to be rude here, just honest because I’m sure you’re as busy as I am.
That being said, if you actually want to meet me, I am always up for making new friends. I live in [redacted], so I’m sure it would be easy for you to join me and my friends when we go out sometime. I’m glad to hear your holidays went well.
I never heard back from him. Truth be told, I was a little disappointed. It proved that this bloke really had no interest in me as a person. I was a project. A statistic. Not a friend. I stood my ground and offered the chance for him to get to know an uncompromised, authentic me. And he refused to take the opportunity because, if I wasn’t going to fit neatly into his worldview, he wasn’t going to be arsed to try to be my friend.
I was also a little disappointed because it would have been fun to find out what his reaction was. Shock? Bafflement? Anger? This level of frankness is not part of The Unspoken Order of Things in LDS Chapels. Fakey-nicey-wicey is. I disrupted the hand-wringing, obligatory way that Mormons interact with one another and took personal responsibility for my behaviour and interactions. Perhaps that’s just too scary for an LDS man to see in a woman.
Either way, it worked. I never got love bombed again.