I was out being taken for a walk by the dog when I saw them. Out of the corner of my eye. "Look away! Do NOT make eye contact, that will only provoke them into attacking. Don't even look in that direction!", I told myself. I focused my eyes straight ahead. They were about a block and a half away from me, if I just kept moving forward, they'd go off in the direction of another scent.
"Hello, ma'am. Just out taking a walk?"
"Yeah, just walking m'dog". *Sigh*, here it comes. The pitch from this young 20's Mormon "elder". I knew it from the telltale signs: the bicycles, the black pants and shoes, the white shirts, the dark ties, short helmeted hair, no tattoos, no facial hair, no piercings: LDS missionaries.
"We're just going around telling people a little about our church", okay, it was clear now that they weren't going to just go pedalling off. I turned and did the eye contact thing, then I looked at his name tag with the etched "church of JESUS CHRIST of latter day saints".
"Oh. Right, okay, LDS, yeah. We used to live in Utah. We did the 6 or 7 lessons when we were there", I told him, hoping that would encourage him to seek someone else to missionize. He stayed next to me, though, with his cohort right behind. Asked me what I'd thought of the lessons, asked me how long ago it was, asked me where in Utah we'd lived.
We lived in Utah for about 3 years. Although I'm not swayed by the teachings and practices of their church and I'm not impressed by the prophet Joseph Smith and his "revelations", I will say that Mormons in general make for pretty good neighbors. Sure, they had this communal lifestyle that kinda said, "your stuff is our stuff" and "our kids are your responsibility too", but it was tolerable. For about three years.
And one thing that bothered me about living there was that the non-Mormons, the Gentiles, did a fair amount of Mormon bashing. When I'd ask what they knew about the Mormon church, it was mostly gossipy stuff, not actual teachings. They'd always sent the missionaries a-packing.
So when they came to our door, we let them in. We were honest with them up front. We weren't interested in converting, we just wanted to know a little more about what made our neighbors tick. At first, I think they saw us as a challenge, but by the end of the lessons, they knew we weren't to be swayed.
So I told this new guy. No thanks, I wasn't interested in a refresher course. No thanks, I don't need any help around the house. No thanks, fortunately, I don't know of anyone at this particular time in need of spiritual guidance. Thanks, but no.
Lots of good camping there, though... Utah.