So you can understand that I was very much looking forward to meeting and conversing with these people. Mostly since I wanted to see how exactly they would try to convince me this bullshit had anything to do with reality, and how their mechanics of conversion differed from other Christians. During my time as an atheist, I had not spent time with fundamentalist. Not knowingly at least. I had no hopes (or possibly fears) of these people having even one well-substantiated piece of evidence to provide me, so that even one small flicker of a god’s light would find itself lit inside me. I’m open for anything which there is evidence for. If the Mormons could somehow show me anything that could be classified as reasonable concluding, I’d most certainly start parading around in magic underwear. But we all know that this most certainly was not going to happen.
Almost directly after 1 PM my phone rang. It was David, who said that the mass was over for the day. He asked me who the missionaries were I had met earlier that week. I told him I couldn’t quite remember their names, only that one guy’s last name probably was Hawkins. “Oh Elder Dawkins!” he exclaimed. He told me that Dawkins and Hitchens were attending the mass that was held later in the afternoon. Yes, I already knew about the fact that two separate masses were held in the LDS-church of Dis. Apparently there are too many Mormons living here. Maybe half of them could be put in a mental institute instead? No. I actually think they just have two separate masses just so they can say that they have two separate masses, and make it seem like they had a lot of adherents.
David said that he would much rather see me in the future attending the mass he went to, so he asked if it was okay for him to ask some missionaries from that mass if they were willing to teach me. Yeah, sure, you know, whatever. I heard him talking with someone. I faintly heard him asking them to be my teachers. He then asked me if I wanted to talk with the missionaries. Yeah, sure, you know, whatever. On the other side of the line now spoke a cheerful young lady. She spoke with an odd accent. I had never heard someone speaking my native tongue with this accent, so it took a while before I realized that it was an American accent. She was very ecstatic about the fact that she would get to be one of my teachers. We didn’t talk that much, just arranged a meeting, and then David was back on, hoping that I’d have a good upcoming week.
Well, this certainly was going to be interesting. Now I had the burden of university studies as well as god on my back. Not a good start and I had just moved to Dis two days earlier. My studies went on well though, I never found it too much of a burden to have these two things in my life simultaneously. The problem was that once I started getting engaged in a lot of other activities, such as acting, working and becoming part of the Student body, THEN things started to escalate to a point where I wanted to fall into a coma and sleep for a few centuries. But my passion for the Mormon project still grew day by day, so there was no way I was going to quit when I had come as far as I had.
I was all giddy with excitement after I came home from the university the day I was to have my very first meeting with the missionaries. I was looking around my apartment. It really was not messy at all. Somehow when moving away from home and having my completely own apartment I tried to keep it clean. Not as clean as possible, but nice-looking at least. I did realize though that maybe I should hide the copious amounts of liquor and anti-theistic books that I had on my shelves. I packed them all in one big box and put it under my desk. There they would actually lay for the rest of my time with the Mormons. I kind of grew a liking to the box. Whenever I sat on the computer I could just reach for a good book or a drink. Same goes for when I was doing homework, which is ultimately the reason I had to get rid of said box.
There isn’t really that much commotion in the stairway of my apartment complex. I rarely hear people coming and going. Most people who live here are elderly, retired people, who use the elevator. There is this one bastard who always uses the stairs though, and often comes home late in the night. Oh wait… that’s me. No wonder I can hear him so well then. In addition to me mostly only the mailmen use the stairs. So when someone is coming up the stairs at irregular hours, it catches my attention. Especially if I hear voices. It could of course only be in my head, but highly unlikely. I felt butterflies flapping around in my stomach. People say a butterfly flapping its wings in China can cause a tornado to form in the USA, so imagine what ten butterflies in my stomach felt like. No, I’m not implying I felt flatulent. Don’t take things that literally. Then the doorbell rang.
My apartment now seemed as sinless as can be. I bet an exorcist couldn’t be able to sense the slightest of evil present if one would for some reason make an inspection. I opened the door and outside was standing three ladies. Yes, ladies. I really couldn’t call them girls or women, since two of them dressed like my grandma, and she’s one helluva lady. The grandma look-alikes had name tags displaying the texts “Sister Harris” and “Sister Dennett”. I felt quite uneasy with Harris’ big glasses. Combined with the clothes I felt like a guy being under the watchful eye of a librarian, suspecting me of being a ne’er-do-well. I don’t think I’ve ever ne’er-do-welled. I’ve hooliganned, I’ve shenaniganned, I’ve no-good-nicked, and sometimes I find myself rabble-rousing, but I don’t like being watched at as a ne’er-do-well. The third lady, or well, this one was more of a girl, since she was clothed like a sane 21st century girl. She had no name tag, and no handbag. Maybe she had just escaped from some mental institute and tagged along complete strangers.
They introduced themselves and we shook hands. The third girl was just a tag-along from the Mormon Church, and I was kindly asked if she could join us. Well kind of late for me to say no now, wasn’t it? I couldn’t just let her stand there outside my door alone. She might tag-along some other lunatic if one were to pass by. So naturally I asked all of them to come inside. Maybe that’s just a good thing. I might have become too confused talking with people who dressed like it was the early ’40s, telling me things right out of ancient folklore.
My apartment has a limited amount of sitting possibilities. This stems from the fact that I rarely have visitors, and that some people have a hard time choosing a place to sit if there are too many sitting possibilities. Sofas are unnecessary since I don’t have a TV. I didn’t want them sitting on my bed, which coming to think of it, an exorcist might get a sinful vibe from. But I have two comfortable chairs for visitors, which meant that the poor third visitor had to sit on a kitchen chair.
The meeting started off with the general “how have you been”-crap, after which they asked if we could start with a prayer. I take it back, I’d rather have the “how have you been”-crap than the “let’s telepathically ask an invisible omniscient being to do stuff for us that he still knows we are going to ask for and has long ago decided what he is going to do anyway”-crap. I also find it funny how god would actually be able to hear millions of people simultaneously murmuring to him. Another funny aspect is that you often hear that “One day for God is a thousand years on earth”. I remember my confirmation priest trying to say that evolution can be compatible with the Bible, since when it says god created earth in 6 days it should be read as “millions of years”. You can also hear this “one day = 1000 years”-argument from fundamentalists. Some have said that this is why god takes so long with his plans for Armageddon, since 2000 years after Jesus’ death is just 2 days for him. Huh, so that basically means that he in one day hears all the prayers made in 1000 years. Maybe that’s why prayers seldom are answered, since this omnipotent being is not able to answer them all. He just labels most as “junk mail” and goes on preparing Armageddon. Yes, that must be the reason. Still, I didn’t like the idea of a prayer. I hadn’t prayed in over three years, and usually when I talk to myself I don’t clasp my hands and bow down my head. But since Harris’ was the one who wanted to hold the prayer, I just had to sit there, bow down my head and clasp my hands. Easy enough. I still felt ridiculous though.
During our first meeting we just kind of… chatted. About how I had gotten in contact with the Mormons, what I thought so far, and what I knew about the church from before. Well since I already knew very much, I told them that I had done some research to prepare myself. I should have been more specific, since they clearly underestimated my knowledge of their church. I received my very own copy of the Book of Mormon (hereafter referred to as BoM), and they told me that to gain divine enlightenment I should start by praying and reading the BoM whenever I had time or felt like it. I was also handed a pamphlet, which was about the restoration of Jesus Christ’s gospel. At the end of our meeting a prayer was once again held. Jesus, how much time do these people waste on praying?