I spend a couple days a week simultaneously working and taking care of kids. Needless to say, I choose the work rather carefully (nothing that can’t be interrupted by kids) and don’t work an entire day those days. Generally, the pattern of the day goes like this:
Morning: I work while they watch Sesame Street and then play.
Afternoon: Some sort of outside activity like going to a park or running errands, possibly both.
Today the afternoon’s outside activity was raking leaves. I needed to do the raking and I was pretty sure that Abby and Rebecca would want to jump in the leaves.
As I was doing it, I noticed two men walking down the street, both of them in button down shirts and ties. Having been alive for a while, I know what this means. The people walking down the street with books in their hands are probably pushing some faith. Mormonism seemed most likely given their ages.
At this point I had a choice. I could stay outside and wait for the inevitable attempt to share the faith or I could bring the kids back inside and pretend to not be home when they knocked on the door. I decided to stay outside, largely because I wanted to finish raking.
I have a visceral negative reaction to salesmen of any kind. I just don’t like it when someone attempts to convince me that they have something I need. I prefer to make that decision myself, preferably without someone constantly talking at me.
I watched them as I raked, observing as they knocked on the door of each house on my street, slowly getting closer. Amusingly, no one opened the door at any house–even where I knew people were home.
As they grew slowly closer, I thought about how to respond to an invitation to learn more about the Book of Mormon. My options as I saw them at the time:
1. Hostility: “Get the @#$%#$ off my lawn!”
2. Irony: I could attempt to convert them to my religion. As someone with a B.A in religion who put in two years of seminary, I can tell people much more than they want to know about John Calvin, the Heidelberg Catechism, TULIP (five doctrines of Calvinism), and the history of Christianity. Unfortunately, this would start a long (and possibly interesting) conversation and I just wanted to rake my leaves.
3. Listen politely: Again, I wasn’t up for being polite at that moment. Watching a 3 and 4 year old (next to a slightly busy street) doesn’t lend itself to long conversations.
Bearing in mind my personality, three was the most likely option. I don’t personally enjoy being rude or attempting to convince people that I’m right about things. By contrast, I’m sure I’ve listened politely to people I disagree with for hours at a time.
In the end, things turned out okay. The conversation went like this:
Them: Would you like any help raking leaves?
Me: Nope. I’ve pretty much got it covered.
Them: Are you interested in the Book of Mormon?
Me: No. Not really.
Them: Well, have a good day. We’ll see you around.
You know what’s ironic though? I actually am interested in the Book of Mormon. I majored in religion because religion interests me and the Church of the Latter Day Saints is a growing religious organization. One of these days I’d like to read more about their beliefs. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet and I don’t want do it with someone hovering over my shoulder, hoping that I’ll convert.