We've had 3 lovely meetings now and I've worked my very hardest to be hospitable, even whipping out the brownies and milk (because Utah missionaries live on a diet that is composed exclusively of brownies) to try and make them feel welcome. Let me introduce you to these sweet gents:
Elder 1 is from the states and has a german name that I can never remember so I just think of him as Elder Googenheimer. Elder 2 is from one of those boring states you pray (even if you're atheist) that you'll never have to drive through, so he's Elder Cornfield. Wonder Twin Powers ACTIVATE!
We like Elder Googenheimer. He's pretty thoughtful and polite. I told these guys straight up that I was an ex-mormon that used to be extremely active and fully-believing. I gave them the somewhat abridged version of events so they'd have a fair warning. Also, I didn't really want to waste several evenings politely nodding my way trough the Gameplan of Salvation. So, sweet Elder Googenheimer listens to my stories, woes and tyrades and doesn't try to bullshit me. When I give him a question, he tries to give me an intelligent, thoughtful answer. When I shoot that down and repeat the question, he says "You know, that's just a really good question." And that's it. No bullshit.
Elder Cornfield does a lot of the talking. A LOT. I explained to him in no uncertain terms why his analogy of same-sex attraction being like alcoholism was inaccurate, inappropriate and total bullshit and he responded with "Ok, but what I was going to say...." wasting nearly 15 minutes of my life with irrelevant old news. Guy has doublethink like you would not believe. I don't know if he thinks he's winning or he just keeps coming back out of polite obligation. As for Elder Googenheimer, his motives and real opinions are difficult to sift from his silence. We have meeting number 4 tonight. Baptism commitment is on the 5th date, right?
The hub finds this experience massively entertaining and tries to let me do a lot of the talking. He says it's been good to learn more about me because he had no idea that I spoke exceptionally fluent Mormon. It's my first language, after all. I know what answers they're going to give me before they give them because if I didn't, I wouldn't have left (good luck making sense of that sentence).
It also seems that the MTC is slipping in the quality of its training. That or they say "Oh, you guys are just going to Utah. Nevermind the software updates, Frank, just plug them into the matrix." Can't say I blame them either, "The Place" is brimming with Mormons, ExMormons and devout Anti-Mormons of all faiths. The demand for missionaries is pretty damn low. Still, I haven't picked up my quad scriptures in over 2 years and (I'm putting it modestly here) I can dance circles around these guys when it comes to knowledge of the scriptures. That's everything from what they say to where they say it. And they thought I was kidding when I said I'd been devout...
These poor little proselytizers haven't even read the bible cover to cover. They're talking to some one who read the OT front to back, the NT front to back twice, and the DaC page 1 to the end, and the BoM cover to cover 3 times, not to mention the first six Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites books. They don't really know what to say when I tell them I prayed about the BoM each time I finished it and never got that "burning in the bosom" it so explicitly promises. As an added bonus, my Mother-in-Law is like a Shiite Baptist, so my husband had a pretty well-versed biblical/anti-mormon upbringing.
Actually, the burning in the bosom thing was kind of hilarious (and I like to pretend I was wearing something cleavage-bearing for that meeting). I told them "Dude, I sat on my knees, praying about this for at least half an hour and was finally like 'ok, LORD, I'll be here when you get a minute. I've got school in the morning so I guess I'll go to bed'." They give me an answer that essentially says that God works in mysterious ways and I retort, "Sure, but he also promises in James to not upbraid. Seems like a lot of my unanswered questions could be resolved by upbraideth-ing not." They tell me maybe I wasn't ready to learn it or I was too proud or something and, ignoring that last one, I tell them it's kind of cruel to upbraid on a question you're coached to ask throughout your entire life.
Maybe we'll FINALLY hit feminism tonight...
Consider this post a suggestion box if you've got some unique and/or incontrovertible questions about the doctrine, history, practices etc. of Das Cherch because Gawd's men are ON IT!
Not to mention, I would sure love the potential discussion.