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Sep 16 2009

A blogger's dilemma

I got out of my biology laboratory about two hours early thanks to my awesome lab partner being bored and coming in to start an hour early. As I was happily walking home, I ran into something you’ll reliably see on a fall afternoon at Purdue: the two Mormon guys with their Books of Mormon and posters about Jesus.

Mormon: Hi, do you have a minute to talk?
Devil on my shoulder: Oh my god, this will probably make a hilarious blog post. Who doesn’t like illogical arguments from Mormons?! Do it, do it.
Devil on other shoulder: I’m want to go home, drink a coke, and take a nap. Don’t you dare.

Unfortunately for you guys, lazy Jen won out and I just said “No thanks.” Well, I guess I’m still making a blog post about it, so whatever.

To be honest I don’t like engaging random preaching theists unless something special really draws me in. I have talked to the Mormons once, and it went something like this:

Me: *accidentally makes eye contact* Oops
Mormon: Hi, would you like to hear the question of the day?
Me: Oh no, now I’m curious. Sure.
Mormon: What’s the meaning of life.
Me: Life has no preordained purpose, only that which you give it.
Mormon: *shocked look, like no one has said that to him all day* …What? You don’t believe in a God given purpose?
Me: I’m an atheist.
Mormon: …What? *even more shock*

Unfortunately I needed to run to class so I couldn’t stay and answer his further questions about my godlessness, not like it really would have made a difference. I would have gone on being a heathen, and he would probably still be giving away pocket bibles in his short sleeve dress shirt and little backpack*.

*As a side note, would someone like to enlighten me why the Mormon missionary outfit is so dorky looking? I mean, I understand that they don’t want to walk around in jeans and a t-shirt, but why not a long sleeved shirt or a polo? Why where the little backpack that straps in front at all times? Do they dislike homosexuality so much that they refuse to listen to basic fashion advice?

17 comments

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  1. 1
    Chris Wellons

    I once had a guy run up to me when I was on my way to class and ask, “Would you like to talk about god?” I said, “Not right now, but I know some other people that do” and gave him information to contact our non-theist group, so that he could be a guest speaker at a meeting or something. He never got back to us.

  2. 2
    JD

    You shoulda talked to them… You never know when your well-reasoned words may plant that crucial seed of doubt. Granted most of the time it will roll right off them but personally if someone asks me about it I never miss a chance to let them know where I stand.

  3. 3
    Thom Blake

    I always talk to missionary mormons – they tend to be nice people and I like offering them a rest and the temptation of illicit substances. They feel better about themselves either because they managed to avoid temptation or because they did something that feels good. I just try to avoid talking about religion.

  4. 4
    sstaylor

    In general, any cogent argument against them is going to be met with their personal testimony that god told them that it’s true. On the other hand, you just might plant an idea that they just can’t leave alone.As to why they dress so dorky: A:They’re given a rigid dress code (white button-up dress shirt, conservative tie, dark colored dress pants (if not full-blown suit); B: they’re 19-21 years old and have little fashion sense. C: What they do can be somewhat physically taxing, as well as tough on clothes, so practicality rules the day. They’re sent out with enough clothes to last them 2 years, and usually have little money beyond a small monthly stipend from their parents or their own savings, so buying new isn’t usually an option. So they go out with stuff that’s mostly built to last.

  5. 5
    Rev. Ouabache

    Mormon: What’s the meaning of life?You missed the perfect opportunity to say 42.

  6. 6
    morsdei

    Rev, that’s the answer to the “ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything”The meaning of life seems trivial by comparison…

  7. 7
    Jim H.

    Speaking of street preachers, Brother Jed is coming to Purdue this Friday. Guaranteed ridiculosity!-Jim (a Purdue reader by way of Pharyngula)

  8. 8
    mcbender

    I had this exact experience a few months ago. One of those strangely dressed Mormon missionaries approached me on the street and asked if he could talk to me, and all I managed to do was mutter “No, you may not” and keep walking.It was only after walking away that I realized it could have been fun.I tend to be more confrontational with accommodationists (whether atheists or wishy-washy deist/”spiritual” people who believe in belief) than with actual dyed-in-the-wool faith-heads (to borrow a phrase from Dawkins). Partially, it’s because I know so many more accommodationists, but I’m sure that doesn’t account for all of it and I really wish I knew why I had this problem.

  9. 9
    Mike Brownstein

    The Mormon guys look like the Geek Squad…I confuse them sometimes…

  10. 10
    Anonymous

    A great way to handle Jehovah’s Witness can be found on Dave Hitt’s Quick Hitts Podcast “Can I Get A Witness” http://www.davehitt.com/podcas… Very funny! Not sure if it’ll work on the Mormons. But, worth a listen anyway.

  11. 11
    Kat

    I managed to get my previous two addresses blacklisted by the Jehova’s Witnesses.The first time, my Mother was defrosting steak, so I painted my face with the blood before answering the door. We didn’t even get to the “want to talk” stage; they just ran away at the sight of me.The second time, both my dogs (large beasties) went nuts barking and before I opened the door, I loudly yelled “LUCIFER! DAMIEN! QUIET!” those not being the dogs names, they didn’t shut up. I opened the door just in time to glimpse the Witnesses turning the corner of my street, running for all they were worth. No Witness ever comes to my address more than once.I should probably stop playing with them… but it’s just so much FUN.

  12. 12
    Dr. Teeb

    I really like your response to the “meaning of life” question. It was very well put!

  13. 13
    Anders

    You wrote: “What’s the meaning of life. ..Me: Life has no preordained purpose, only that which you give it.Mormon: *shocked look, like no one has said that to him all day* …What? You don’t believe in a God given purpose?”There is a a blog post in the left menu at bloganders.blogspot.com that contains a proof of the existence of an Intelligent and Perfect Creator (of the universe).I would like to hear what the Mormons you meet answer after you tell them that.

  14. 14
    mcbender

    Anders, if that’s your idea of “proof”, I think you need a dictionary.

  15. 15
    Gwenny

    RE: missionary attire. Having been Mormon for a decade, I suspect it serves a couple purposes. One, they look so stupid no intelligent woman, ie one who might be interested in sex, will have anything to do with them. Two, the Mormons seem to be attempting to force the entire world into a stupid dress code. Do you know that in the 1990s they declared that men could not serve the sacrament unless they were wearing a suit, tie and shoes. Which may not mean much to you, but for the brothers in topical places, like Hawaii, where a suit is incredibly uncomfortable, it’s a burden.As for them hating homosexuals, I think the missionary system is probably the best way to encourage homosexuality. Forcing two 18 yo men to be in charge of policing each other’s sex lives is like leaving the 2 yo in charge of keeping the puppy out of the cookie dough.

  16. 16
    bcoppola

    With the Mormon and Jehovah’s Witness solicitors that come thru our neighborhood, I find that saying “I’m an atheist” pretty much shuts them down. Either they figure I’m a lost cause, or they’re too flustered to know what to say next.I’ll have to ask my Hindu neighbors what kind of response they get.

  17. 17
    Patmos Pete

    Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

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