A few months ago I was talking to a Mormon acquaintance about his religion and it ended with an invitation to go with him to speak with a few missionaries from Utah (big surprise there.) I walked into a small, bare classroom, sat down with Ben (said acquaintance), and waited for the missionaries to arrive. Twenty minutes passed and they hadn't answered their cell phones after numerous calls, so Ben bent his head and prayed that they would arrive safe and not get into a car accident or be murdered or fall into a ditch or trip or fall or die. About five minutes passed and the missionaries arrived.
"Elders! I prayed you would arrive safely!"
"Ben! I thank God everyday for you! You've saved our lives, I'm sure!"
Uh, what? This exchange was enough to imprint a clearly confused look upon my face. Regardless, I sat down and we began our talk.
"Katharine, would you like to open the discussion? You must start and end with a prayer, and if you feel particularly close to God during it you must pray then, too. Begin with 'oh heavenly father' and close with 'in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.'" Of course, being raised by atheist parents has left me with little knowledge as far as prayers go, so I asked if I could pass.
"No. Thank the Lord for all He has given you. He's given you life, he's given you a wonderful friend who cares enough about you to give you this opportunity to be with us and learn about everything you don't know, being raised by atheist parents, God bless them. Just pray; can you do that for me?"
I said my prayer. Thank you for this or that or whatever nonsense they told me to say.
We then continued with our discussion about various subjects. The only real memorable phrase that comes to mind is at one point one of the Elders mentioned that on some days he just sits at home and reads the Book of Mormon all day and it gives him this warm, indescribable feeling. I asked if it was like an orgasm. He never answered.
Eventually though, we came to the following conclusions:
1) God does not hate homosexuals. These are good people, they are just tempted by the devil to do evil deeds and therefore need to be saved in order to get a place beyond the pearly gates.
2) The point of life is to learn so one can become perfect in the afterlife and be prepared to serve God unconditionally.
3) One will only be admitted to Heaven if he follows the Mormon religion. It is not acceptable to simply try to be a good person; if a person ignores the prophets, even though they cannot give substantial proof of being sent from God aside from a mark on his record of being in an asylum, he will go to Hell.
Then they made the mistake of bringing up sex.
At that point, I'd had enough of this. I simply said, "Well see, I'm not against premarital sex. I've even had an abortion this year, but hey, at least I took the proper precautions, right? I mean, I hate kids and killing off one or two isn't so bad, is it?" At this point, I received such a look of immense disgust that I had to leave before my skin started to sizzle or something of that nature. "Well I've got to go, thanks a bundle!" I swear I felt a flame beneath my feet as I walked out of those doors.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.