Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I’m going to hell for sure now …

When I heard the knock on the door and looked out the window and saw no car, I should have known.

It’s dark and dreary out right now, with that long, slow drizzle that can only mean one thing: it’s summer. It must have been sympathy that made me walk downstairs and open the door to the fresh-faced elders from Idaho and Utah. “Elders", indeed – they looked as if they had just barely graduated high school.

I like the Mormons. They are generally very nice people, whether they’re at my door or friends of mine. Although I’m not generally interested in sharing a faithful moment with them at my door, I do understand that they probably get more than their fair share of abuse. So I try to be as polite as I can, making gentle small talk while not getting too entangled. This is how I found myself telling bald-faced lies for which I genuinely feel bad right now.

“We’re pretty active in our own church” was what I said. Well, first of all, we only go at Christmas, and hubby and I aren’t exactly of the same faith. In fact, hubby doesn’t know what he believes. Anytime I ask him a question of faith, he says he has to ask the priest. When I once questioned him further, he said that if something were wrong with the car, he’d ask a mechanic, so how is asking a priest about what he should believe any different? Interesting, I thought. As for my faith, well, the politically-safe answer is “a little bit of everything", which is more or less true.

So why on earth, then, when the elders asked which church we belonged to, did I respond Roman Catholic? I suppose it was because it was the last church I attended a service at, and it’s hubby’s professed religion. But why didn’t I respond with at least one of the denominations in which I’ve actually been a confirmed member? I could’ve been spared the next question ("What do you think of the new pope?", which I think I finessed, but …)

Oh, gentlemen. You were just trying to save my soul, and I was trying to save you from yet another miserable rejection on a dreary night, trying to strike a balance between false encouragement and utter dismissal. And so – I lied.

What is it they say about the road to hell? Paved with good intentions? I don’t really believe in hell, but I acknowledge that I do not know everything, and that I could get to the afterlife and find out everything I believed was wrong. And if there is a hell, I’m pretty sure masquerading as a Roman Catholic to a couple of elders from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, along with whatever “heresies” I may or may not believe, will earn me a nice toasty spot.

My beliefs are too complicated to get into right now, but, basically, I just want us all to get along. Religion is just a human construct, and far too many feelings have been hurt, far too many wars have been fought, and far too many people have died because of religion. It’s just another way in which human beings try to out-do each other, or feel superior to one another. In my heart of hearts, I believe that we’re all trying to reach the same place. It’s just that we all have different maps.

I hope that they got out of the rain before getting too cold. If the locals find tonight’s Atlantic damp air miserable, I’m sure that those young gentlemen from Utah and Idaho are suffering mightily.

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