I could have guessed the guy's last name was Farnsworth, although I must admit that's only because it came up once on Futurama. But I had no clue about the first name. Apparently it's Philo. Poor guy.
|Professor Hubert Farnsworth (left) and his distant ancestor Philo T. Farnsworth (right)|
That day, I learned that I don't like being treated like an idiot by Mormons.
I like to think that I'm a reasonably smart guy. I'm used to being the smartest guy in the room but I also have plenty of experience being the dumbest guy in the room. And I think I'm pretty good at telling when I'm intellectually outclassed. I try not to push things when I realize that I'm arguing with someone who's better informed than I. I have gaps in my knowledge and I have plenty of stupid moments, but I try to accept my mental shortcomings gracefully.
This time, it was a struggle.
I was furious. What I really, really wanted to say was, "Okay. I wasn't aware of a particular historical factoid. You belong to a cult started by a horny nineteenth-century con man, but I'm the stupid one, right?" I didn't say it. But it was the first angry thought to flash across my mind the instant I felt insulted and it very easily could have slipped out.
I couldn't let it go for the rest of the night, either. Any time it turned out that I knew something that someone else didn't, I relished it as a vindicating (if immature) triumph. That same sister had never heard of the little plastic balls they make for you to put your hamster in to let it run around. HA! I'm smarter! I know what a hamster ball is!
Anyway, it really got under my skin. I was genuinely surprised by how much it got under my skin. It's clearly not important, but it seemed so important at the time only because the implied accusation of cerebral inferiority came from a source whose own faculties have been hindered by decades of brainwashing. I'm starting to think that maybe I need to sit down with some of my family members and start laying out in detail my personal beliefs and my problems with the church, because keeping quiet and biting my tongue is starting to become more difficult.
Then again, opening up a can of worms by initiating an "anti-Mormon" discussion could prove even more difficult. It's crazy that even though my journey out of the church has been tamer and less dramatic than many others, I'm still left with lots of situations that leave me with no desirable solutions.