Saturday, October 6, 2012

I'll Go to Your Church if You Go to Mine

This is just another memory of how much of an arrogant prick I was when I was a fully-brainwashed member of the church.

I had this close friend from maybe third grade through eighth grade who was a hardcore evangelical Christian.  He was caught up in the whole Christian pop-culture thing, too (you know, showing kids that church is hip and cool and your only avenue to heaven).  He was a pretty cool guy, I guess, but he was pretty pushy when it came to religion.

And of course, since he was my friend, I wanted to save him from his well-intentioned but erroneous religious delusions and convert him to the only true church on the face of the Earth.  Sometimes, during lunch, it would turn into a Mothra vs. Godzilla thing while everybody else at our table just kind of ignored us until we were done debating.  We were two spiritual giants duking it out in an epic clash of doctrines and wills and the scope of the universe was the battlefield.

There was a time during seventh grade when he tried to give up arguing and make a deal with me instead.  "I'll go to your church if you go to mine," he said.  "Then you'll see the difference and you'll know I've been right all along."  He was willing to sit through a Mormon three-hour block if it meant I'd come sit through his church and, he expected, have my eyes opened to the truth.  I refused to make that deal.

Why?  Because I couldn't afford to miss a week of church, of course.  On the other hand, I found it completely acceptable to offer a one-way deal in which he would come to my church and I would not attend his.  The difference, of course, was that my church was true and his only had some of the truth, so it was completely acceptable for me to propose this alternate solution.  Sadly, he refused my one-way offer.  And, sadly, I had no idea how much of a prick I'd been to expect him to do what I wanted without ever bothering to meet him halfway.

There are plenty of things I did growing up that I did for Mormonism...and later came to regret.  I didn't realize then how rude, presumptuous, arrogant, and how (insert a list of dozens of undesirable traits here) I'd been.  But being a fully brainwashed, honest-to-goodness believing member gives you certain motivations to do things that aren't actually right. I regret that it took me so long to break out of that mindset and get to a point in my life at which, when I screw up, I screw up for my own reasons instead of some micromanaging religion's reasons.

So, wherever you are these days, Sam, I'm sorry I was such a dick.  I'll gladly go to your church with you now.  All that I ask in return is that you never, ever attend a Latter-Day Saint service.


  1. My experience with this was pretty different.

    There definitely were lunchtime religious brawls (but these occurred in the library...much to the chagrins of the librarians).

    And when it led to the "I'll go to your church if you'll go to mine," we accepted -- we weren't going to each others' churches on *Sunday*, but we'd go to different *Wednesday* activities.

    Going to his pentecostal church was pretty traumatic -- especially since I was led to a backroom and interrogated on a many-on-one level about why Mormonism was of the devil and what sorts of dire consequences would happen if I weren't saved.

    And then afterward, my "friend" wouldn't reciprocate. He wouldn't take a Book of Mormon because of course, he already knew that it was a devilish book, so there'd be no good there, and he didn't come to our Wednesday activity -- which, as anyone familiar to Mormonism would know, Mormon *Wednesday* activities...even if they are made to be spiritual in nature...are NOTHING like Sundays.

    We had this really AMAZING activity that was a recreation of the Plan of Salvation and people would go to different stations to recreate premortal existence, life, death, spirit prison or paradise, etc.,

    Even though we had different experiences in the end, it seems like we both have something that we each regret...funny how that happens.

    1. Holy crap. What a story. Maybe I should be glad I didn't take my friend up on his offer!