What American homeowner hasn’t had the pleasure of a door-to-door cold call from their friendly neighborhood Mormon? About a month ago I was home early from work when a couple of missionaries came a knocking. I was home alone with some extra time on my hands, and I was genuinely curious, so I engaged my two Mormon captives in a full-tilt interrogation.
You may already know this, undoubtedly because you are wiser than I, but engaging a door-to-door evangelist in conversation is like feeding a stray cat. They’re both quiet and unassuming until you feed them what they want… then you can’t get rid of them, short of wielding a large heavy object in an erratic or threatening manner (not that I’m advocating such, in either circumstance).
Last night the doorbell rang just after sundown. I asked Cheryl, “was that the doorbell? Who the heck is that?” “Maybe it’s a salesman,” she replied. “Nah, they would have the good sense not to try and sell you something after-dark on a weekday, when you’re likely to be tired and grumpy.” Figuring it was either friend or family, I eagerly ran to the door (I was still in good spirits from that ride to work on the bike). Boy was I disappointed. The Mormons had returned… this time with what (at a glance) appeared to be the local evangelism ringer… you know, the guy they bring in to bat clean-up with a man already in scoring position. It turns out I was in scoring position and the church elder was there to bring me home.
The minute I saw who it was I immediately recognized my error (a month or so back), and began to wrack my brain for an exit strategy. Unfortunately I had no better luck than uncle Rummy and the middle-east sunshine gang. Rather lamely, I offered up the truth… “We’re kind of in the middle of something right now, so it’s not a good time.” They took this in stride and left without complaint, but they’ll be back.
The thing is they seem like nice enough people, who undoubtedly are filled with the courage of their convictions to be able to withstand the abuse that is likely to come from going door-to-door. There’s a part of me that admires that, so I don’t want to be mean… I just don’t want to talk to them anymore. I’m finding it hard to come up with a nice way to say that to someone’s face. In light of our previous conversation, I’m afraid my standard “I’m sorry, I’m not interested,” will not suffice.
My wife thinks we should tell them we’ve seen the light since watching “Big Love” on HBO, and tell them we intend to follow the true path to salvation through polygamy; but I think they’d see through it. I’m not that good an actor and they’ve probably heard it before. Besides, like I said before, I don’t want to antagonize them. I wonder if they’re ecumenical enough to accept the, “I really like the church I go to,” approach. If they do it’s a win-win. If they don’t, then maybe I can mentally paint them with the “intolerant” brush, giving me a little license to get rude. That could be a little fun…