Sunday, December 10, 2006

Wherever I Go, There They Are

The Mormons always find me. I have no idea how. It would be scary/creepy, but Mormons are fairly benign little stalkers; all they do is send you friendly letters and invite you to church. They make sure to enclose a monthly calendar of events, too. It's nothing to seriously freak about, and yet . . . .

I made it a year and a half here without them finding me, which makes me wonder whether maybe my dad turned me in. He's done that before. He knows I hate it, but my dad's kind of an ass that way. I can hear him now:

"So they send you a letter once a month, big deal! I wish someone would send ME a nice letter once a month. It beats getting bills, you know? That reminds me, you're not back on the credit cards, are you?" And then we're off onto a big long nag. It's better not to bring the subject up at all. If he turned me in, he turned me in. If the honchos in Utah went crazy updating their national "Where the Mormons At?" database, okay. Either way, they found me.

A year and a half's actually kind of a long time for them. Gettin' sloppy, Mormons!

So tonight the boyfriend brings in the mail and he's sorting it and he stops at one piece and asks, "Do you know a Joseph and Emma Smith?"

"Oh hell," I say. "No. It's local, right? I have mail from someone in my town?"

"Sure do."

"Lemme see."

So he hands it off to me and I rip it open and the red Xeroxed calendar of events tells me all I need to know about what's up, but I read the first few sentences of the letter anyway:

Dear Ilyka:

My name is Emma Smith. I'm in the Ilyka's Town Third Ward. My husband, Joseph, and I moved to Ilyka's Town four years ago from Some Other Place. We have two sons, ages 8 and 5 . . .

They always think I CARE about any of this. That's what kills me. I start reading it aloud to the boyfriend:

I would really just like to get to know you. It doesn't have to be at church.

"Isn't that nice?" I say to the boyfriend. "She's perfectly willing to bring her Book of Mormon to the Village Inn, instead. To accommodate my apostasy. That is so tolerant of her."

"Don't they know you're Catholic now?"

"They don't CARE," I explain to him. "They think it's their duty to try to win me back, even though I converted to Catholicism and that's like barely one rung up from converting to Judaism for Mormons. They might actually respect a conversion to Judaism more, in fact. But whatever! Why can't they leave me alone to be an apostate in peace?"

"What happens," my boyfriend wants to know, "if you leave the Mormon church? What's supposed to happen to you when you die?"

"I think it depends. Like if I had a real testimony of the church, and then I left it, that's very bad, and I think in that case I go to something they call Outer Darkness, which is like hell. But I don't think I really ever got around to getting a testimony. I never quite advanced to the rank of True Believer, you know? So I think the worst I could possibly get is the lowest rung of Mormon heaven. It's like the Motel 6 of heavens."

"So no jacuzzi."


"Probably no room service, either."

"Definitely not."

"But you still get free HBO."

"See? That's what I'm saying. How bad is that, really? They're going to have to come up with a grimmer vision than Motel 6 to scare me back into three hours of church on Sunday."

"But if you leave the Catholic church--"

"--I'm going to Purgatory, right? I mean, best case, that's what I get."

"I think so, but I don't know. My mother would tell you you were going to hell."

"Your mother is crazy."

"Well, duh."

And that's what makes the possibility that my father reported my new address to the Mormons so hysterical. See, I'm a former Mormon who converted to Catholicism (and when I figure out why, I will tell you). But my father?

My father is a former Catholic who converted to Mormonism.

If he's wrong, he's going to Purgatory. If I'm wrong, I'm going to Motel 6.

Who's got the better deal here, Dad?


Heraclitus said...

"The Motel 6" of heavens is awesome. And, "They might actually respect a conversion to Judaism more, in fact." Sure, because then they could just baptize you after you die. (Though, seriously, no offense if you don't like non-former Mormons making fun of Mormons.)

Anonymous said...

arrange to meet them somewhere and then don't show up. I bet if you do that 6 or 7 times they might give up....