Be Careful What You Joke About

Yesterday I thought of a really awesome blogpost. But I’ve slept since then and now it’s gone. That’s sort of how things work–or don’t work–in my head.

So, until I remember what I planned on writing today, I’m going to tell you a little story about a friend of mine from high school. He was a Catholic boy and I was a Mormon girl. And there were a lot of us Mormon girls (and boys too) around because, as you may remember, I’m from southern Idaho. Which, while not the heart of the Jello Belt*, is definitely the nuts and carrots.

There weren’t a lot of Catholic boys around though. Only two, in fact. And a lot of us Mormon kids didn’t get that my friend was a pretty good Catholic. Like go-to -Mass-while-his-parents-were-out-of-town good.  Many of my Mormon friends and I, on the other hand, were the kind of kids who tried to get out of going to church when our parents were in town. There was no way I would have shown up at church without my parents. Which is probably one reason they never left town. Ever.

But, I was the “right” religion, so clearly I was on a more direct route to Heaven. We Mormons tend to think that way sometimes. (Although, I don’t think we’re the only religion guilty of that kind of arrogance).

Then one day I moved. To Cleveland, Ohio. Where there are more than two Catholic boys. Many, many more. But not many more than two Mormon girls. Especially at the Catholic school where I taught. In fact, there was only one there. Me.

And I figured out that there were really a lot of good people of all different religions. And maybe I didn’t have all the answers. And maybe I could learn something from all these other people that would increase my own faith in Jesus Christ and help me live my own religion a little better.

I also decided that not everybody needed to be Mormon. Actually, I think it’s best that not everybody is. Things tend to get a little weird when there are too many of us in one place. Case in point: Utah. (No offense, Utah. Love you! Your mountains are awesome!) And maybe that pastor guy who offended my cousins, Mitt and John, has been there and that’s why he thinks we’re a cult. (He’s wrong, btw).

Anyway, my point is, I’m not really a send-the-missionaries to your house kind of gal. I live my life so people can see what I believe, I talk about my beliefs, and I’ll answer any question someone may have about my religion. But, unless you ask me to, I’m not gonna send any nineteen year old boys to your doorstep.

So when I saw my old high school friend this past summer, I shared this philosophy with him. And we talked about lots of other things, including the fact that he should join Facebook so he could stay in touch with me and everyone else he’s tried to avoid for twenty years. I may have mentioned this a few times. Like maybe a hundred.

And guess what? He did join. So the first comment I posted to him was a very funny one about how now that I’d converted him to FB I had a book he should read and I was sending some boys in ties over to hand deliver it to him. And I laughed and I laughed at my cleverness. Because what were the odds of some missionaries showing up at his door in Boise, Idaho?

Well, pretty high actually. Because they did. And he was kind enough to offer to weed whack their ties for them (I’m sure in a very friendly way. He’s not the kind of guy to seriously threaten somebody with a gardening implement). And they offered to help him with his yard work. Which probably would have been easier for them to do if they hadn’t been wearing suits and ties.

I don’t know if they left a copy of the Book of Mormon with him– or if he’ll read it if they did– but, just in case, here’s a little message from some of my Baptist friends.

* the Jello Belt is the region of the United States from about Boise, Idaho, through all of Utah down into Gilbert, Arizona where many, many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints live (aka, Mormons) and consume large quantities of Jell-o concoctions they refer to as “salad”. These salads often include the unlikely ingredients of vegetables– such as carrots– and nuts.

9 thoughts on “Be Careful What You Joke About

  1. Angela Cothran says:

    Hey, I live in the jiggliest part of the Jello belt and I LOVE it. I've never understood why LDS people dislike Utah so much. We really aren't that bad. I had a Catholic friend that moved here from California and she said she never felt safer or had better neighbors. My hubby sometimes struggles with the lack of diversity (he's a California implant :)Love the picture btw!


  2. Jenny P. says:

    I'm a southern girl through and through… never lived anywhere but in the south except for when I was a student at BYU. Last year, I went to Utah for a week and was constantly distracted trying to decide if everyone I saw at Target was a Mormon or not. I guess you don't really ask that question all the time if you live there, but coming from a place where your congregation barely reaches 100 and your stake spans 10 counties and five hours… I think it would be hard for me to get used to such a booming Mormon population.I dated a good Catholic boy when I was in high school. We didn't have any Mormon boys so I kinda thought a good catholic boy was the next best thing.


  3. Melanie Jacobson says:

    We just got a new neighbor. She was in my house yesterday and at one I said, “Now don't run from the house screaming, but we're Mormon.” Really. I'm not making that up. Does it count as missionary work?


  4. Nadine Feldman says:

    Great message about religious tolerance. While I am not a Romney fan, I am disturbed about how much his religion has been maligned and used against him. I think your blog is a must-read for people who feel somehow upset or threatened by Mormonism. Nicely done!


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