I decided to give religion another try. It had only been a month since I had sworn off Mormonism. God and I were not on speaking term but I missed the community. I walked into a non-denominational church. Huge crucifix on the wall, huge coffee shop, huge gift shop, and even a guest services counter.
“Excuse me.” I said to the jolly woman at the desk, “When is your service for young single adults?”
“Our youth programs are listed in this pamphlet-“
“oh… I’m sorry. I was looking for activities for unmarried people in their 20’s.” I corrected
Jolly looked at me a little confused. “Are you an expecting mother?”
“What? no!” I said, immediately checking my stomach for a taco baby. “No I’m not pregnant. Unless you believe in immaculate conception. Ha ha.” She gave an un-amused smile.
“Well we have an expecting mother’s class or a small Bible study for adults of all ages.”
“Christ no!” I thought, “Sounds like seminary all over again(See: Seminary Buff). And no offence to expecting mothers, but I relate to better to women who don’t have little people inside them telling them when to pee.” I leaned over the desk searching for a pamphlet with activities for 20’s singles. At Mormon Church there were loads of fun activities every week. I went home and scoured the internet. I finally found one service for people in their 20’s and 30’s. Jackpot!
I walked into a dark room with a smoke machines and laser beams. I enjoyed watching the rock bad play and the pastor’s enthusiasm. People were shouting and having fun. I couldn’t quite get into the raise the roof style of worship but I had just spent the last 26 years baptizing dead people so who am I to judge. I cringed every time he said the words sinner or saved. What do those words even mean? Afterword I met a cute girl with a nose ring and she invited me to her house for a pizza party. I was excited to make some new friends. I had loads of questions for them. “You don’t believe you have to be baptized to go to heaven?”, “Marriage is not required?”, “You don’t have a problem with drinking?”
“Well, we don’t believe in getting drunk?”, Said nose ring.
“Oh…okay” I failed to see the difference. “What about clothing? Can you ware tank tops? ” I said, assuming they would say “Yes!”
There was a slight pause. “We believe in dressing modestly,” said another girl. I suddenly felt very self-concusses about my strappy polka dot dress. As we continued talking I realized how similar these people were to Mormons. One guy swore and was chastised for it. Yeah they had tattoos and nose rings but they also had specific ideas about how life was to be lived. Soon they started asking me questions about the Mormon Church. I used to know how to answer these questions. Not anymore. I told them what I perceived the church to be, and I did not hold back. One man was very interested in what I had to say. He was a youth minister.
“So how does it feel now that God finally hears your prayers?” Said the minister.
“um… I think God has always listened to my prayers… What are you saying? You don’t believe God hears the prayers of Mormons?” I asked. Everyone laughed.
“Well of course not. Mormons aren’t really with God.”He said
“hang on! hang on!” A knot formed in my stomach, “You are telling me that of the millions of Mormons out there God is just plugging his ears. Sure I don’t agree with how it started but I doubt God would punish these people. I mean they pray, ‘in the name of Jesus Christ Amen!’ What about my brothers and sisters who go to church every Sunday for three hours?”
He launched into a story about how he knew a man who was blind and sick. So he prayed and the guy got better. I didn’t see how God answering his prayer negated God answering a Mormons prayer. I told him about some Mormon miracle prayers.
“Well that’s just a coincidence.” He said. Then the minister jumped up on the couch. He threw a coat over his head and started dancing. Everyone began laughing as he sang…
“Look at me I’m joseph Smith I have a magic hat.
My golden plates have never been seen
but God wrote them and that’s a fact.
So join me a my lovely wife and all her lovely friends
And we will start a new planet where the sex never ends”
You know that friend you have who is really really fat. And even though she makes jokes all the time about how big she is you don’t ever join in. Well I kind of felt like that. I can make fun of Joe Smith because I lived it. It is the heavy weight that shaped me. When this little show tune started I had no respect for the Mormon Church. I should have jumped up on the table with him. Something in me knew this was wrong. For the first time I sympathized with the church. I was still angry. Angry that I had lived my life around what I now believed to be a lie. But I wasn’t going to become a better, happier person by tearing it apart. I left that night and I never went back. I guess you could say I received the gift of tongues. I learned to bite it.