Mad, bad and dangerous to know

missionaries-elders-mormon

Nice lads. (Found at Matt Fradd)

Well. I’ve been trying to write the same post since April 2015, and it might (just) be about to be writ… or not… so a little preamble might be in order.

I was at work. The phone rang. It was the wife. She immediately went on a rambling explanation about two clean-cut young men standing on the doorstep. When would I be home to meet them?

Well, it made sense. They were offering something that I badly needed. The comparative religion / cult shelf was missing “The Book of Mormon”. Ironically, I’d seen them sitting in a car on the street the night before. Since they must have noticed me diving through a handily open window in order to avoid them, it couldn’t possibly be awkward when we would finally meet.

Nice pair of misguided lads, with an intensity and fervour which would no doubt serve them well in other parts of their lives; one a lapsed Catholic from Germany, the other a failed Presbyterian from Pennsylvania, both disowned by their families. We had an interesting enough discussion, largely encompassing issues of faith and living a faith centred life. We tried to make it clear enough that we were in no way interested in “joining”, but they were pretty insistent on returning a few days later, “once you have had time to read a set of passages in the book”.

Well, three days later, the Book of Mormon devoured, discarded, and in its rightful place on the shelf, who could be bothered with the follow-up? When they arrived they came with a third, who just sat observing, and we thought little of it. The discussion was more focussed, and very much driven by their insistence on the need to be baptised. Not just any baptism would do, of course; only baptism in the form of the Church of Latter Day Saints would suffice. Obviously.

So we talked of the greater mystery of the sacrament of baptism, the touch of the Spirit, and how that feels. The lapsed Catholic sat in slacked jawed awe for most of the hour, whilst his two companions, lost in the philosophical hoops through which we whipped them, had recourse only to fall back on the official line “but, you need to be baptised”.

I was having too much fun. The following Sunday we attended Temple. Mistake. It became blatantly clear that they had managed to corral the most needy, socially outcast and disenfranchised of the community. But it wasn’t that, so much, which caused the ruckus. It was the no alcohol Communion.

The following Tuesday, a goggle of five Mormons came knocking at the door. One, most surprisingly, the local LDS bishop. When the bishop himself was unable to understand the alchemical significance of the ritual elements of the sacrament, it became pretty clear that, even he, hadn’t given the greater mysteries much thought at all. He seemed oblivious to the completion represented by the Last Supper, and was more than a little offended by the assertion that the LDS service amounted to a denial of the Mission of Christ. (Did I mention I was having too much fun?)

Our young lapsed Catholic friend, on the other hand, had a new brightness in his eyes. Something had gelled in him regarding his previous faith, which suddenly made sense in a way that it hadn’t before. Most of the rites of the Catholic service retain deep symbolic truths, even if those officiating and celebrating the Mass merely go through the motions without considering the significance of any of the individual elements. In the discovery of this, something had opened within him that threatened to set him free.

An unexpected visit on the Thursday from the initial pair. “We’re sorry. We’re not allowed to associate with you anymore.” What? Wow! To go from zero to hero to persona non-grata within a week? Mad, bad and dangerous to know! I could get used to this notoriety.

Our new German friend thanked us more deeply than was appropriate, given the reason for the visit. His time among the heathens was coming to an end, and he was returning to Germany in the next couple of weeks. The wife rustled up a small, appropriate gift and that was the last we would be bothered by the Mormons. (We both revel too much in telling new Mormon visitors that they need to get the Bishop’s permission to enter our house…) Whether we succeeded in “turning” him, we may never know. Faith is a double-edged blessing which has the power to either free or enchain.

Anyway – what rambling? And what has this all to do with April 2015, some ten months off at the time of these events?

It was the baptism. For months prior, I had the feeling that a baptismal enactment had to be completed. Confusing? Very much. So when “you need to be baptised” was accompanied by the laying on of a thorny crown, you find yourself attending Temple and annoying cultic Bishops…

It wouldn’t be until April 2015 that any of it would make sense.

(To be continued… the fabled “next post”)

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About Running Elk

My given native name, Running Elk, was bestowed in 2008 as I took my first steps as a fully fledged Medicine Man of the Zuni tradition. A most unlikely candidate for the role, my journey as a healer began some four years prior. The detour onto the shamanic way was most unexpected, yet has been one of the most rewarding challenges to date.
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47 Responses to Mad, bad and dangerous to know

  1. alienorajt says:

    Brilliant! I was hoping this one would be born on the blog eventually! Love it. Very funny, but also very wise and thought-provoking. xxx

  2. alienorajt says:

    Reblogged this on Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman! and commented:
    Do read this lovely, funny and wise one by Running Elk of Shamanic Paths: Read, relish and share!

  3. Sue Vincent says:

    H…. before I scrape myself up off the floor here… we’re never finally getting it…??? xxx

  4. janmalique says:

    I was wondering when this was going to see the light of day. 😏

  5. janmalique says:

    Reblogged this on strangegoingsonintheshed and commented:
    Thought provoking and very funny post.

  6. We lived in Salt Lake City. Many never left town to take on their mission. My husband used to toy with their theology, from the front porch. The first 2 humans he encountered out of state when he landed were Mormon missionaries in Michigan. Funny story.

  7. stevetanham says:

    Reblogged this on Sun in Gemini and commented:
    Only in the hands of Running Elk…

  8. I do love this. Quite fabulous.

  9. I don’t attend mass anymore… but for awhile, my wife and i would go to Christmas mass service. It’s when they celebrate Christ’s birth and death at the same time; that is something not enough people see the significance of.

    • Running Elk says:

      Indeed! Have often wondered how many recognise it, or are even aware of it, during the service. 😀
      (And have to admit to some confusion as a child, as to how we could be celebrating His death a mere 4 months after celebrating His birth… How did he fit all that stuff in such a short life? :p )

  10. Sue Vincent says:

    Reblogged this on Sue Vincent – Daily Echo and commented:
    I spent several summers as an unofficial refreshment stop for Mormon missionaries. Nice young men, whose commitment to actually living their faith earned my respect. They would knock on my door, we would agree that it was pointless trying to convert me…a lost cause… and I would feed them home-made scones and herbal teas. We had some wonderful conversations, they introduced me to the joys of Terry Pratchett and I introduced them to a very different perspective. I never managed to get myself banned by a bishop though…

    • Running Elk says:

      Now, I never thought of HERBAL teas! They might have stayed longer… 😉 Wouldn’t do their mission for a pension – certainly hardens them up for handling rejection, and keeping on despite it.
      Thank you for the share, Sue. Much appreciated. 🙂 xx

      • Sue Vincent says:

        I generally grow my own and they were quite acceptable 🙂 I wouldn’t either, but they were all such nice, earnest boys… I felt obliged to feed them… xx

  11. I have a similar story. And now, living as we do in the country, only once in 16 years have the Rosicrucians come to give us their words. We gave them ours. We parted, if not friends, yet with a deeper understanding of why would could never BE friends.

    • Running Elk says:

      I had no idea the Rosicrucians came door to door: we only get Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses… the latter being much harder to shake off without reverting to an uncomfortable level of rudeness. To part with a mutual understanding is a blessing, indeed! 😀 xx

  12. alesiablogs says:

    Your amazing voice through this adventure captures you brilliantly as your helped us the reader grasp what you were going through. Great post.

  13. Emily says:

    Hey! If you want to get a perspective on Mormon missionary work from a member of the LDS faith, check out my blog itsblissful.wordpress.com 🙂

    • Running Elk says:

      Thank you, Emily.
      You are naughty! The chaps that came to visit said they weren’t allowed online. (Or is that just the chaps… 😉 )
      Look forward to spending some time at your blog. 😀

      • Emily says:

        While we are serving missions, we aren’t supposed to surf the web, call home, etc. outside of purposes that relate directly to the missionary work as it is distracting, and we are setting aside that time for serving the Lord. But outside of our missions we are actually encouraged to use technology, social media, etc for good purposes like connecting with friends, staying updated on worldly events, researching, sharing, etc. 🙂 I hope you do enjoy my blog!

      • Running Elk says:

        Good to have that cleared up, Emily. 😀
        Learned a lot already. Loving the Temple dress styles – and seems very appropriate, rather than just turning up in “Sunday best”.
        Hope your mission is fruitful. When do you set off?

      • Emily says:

        Thanks! I leave January 25, 2017. 🙂

  14. Pingback: The Feathered Seer – Part 1 (or “whatever happened to The River of the Sun?”) | Shamanic Paths

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