I'm not sure if I ever wrote about this story here but it's kinda funny and ironic...
I like to stay active in my local atheist meetup groups and enjoy getting together with like minded individuals. Last summer, on a beautiful August day, there was an atheist meetup happening just about a 10-15 minute walk from where I live. So as I was walking over, I see these two young women approaching me on the sidewalk. They each looked about 20 years old or so, and from a distance, kind of like hipsters.
I expected them just to pass me by but when I got close to them they suddenly asked if they could talk to me for a few moments. Being slightly late for the meeting, I hesitated, but then decided to entertain their idea. One of them handed me a small card and then with great enthusiasm said, "We'd like to talk to you about Mormonism. It's amazing, it's absolutely changed my life." I should've seen this coming. There is a Mormon missionary center just a mile away from me where they send kids from Utah and other extremely red republican areas of the country over to spread the "good news".
Then the other girl asks me, "What have you heard about Mormons?" Wow! Being asked this question is like every atheist's dream! So I told them exactly what I heard about Mormons. "You were an officially racist organization that thinks black people are inferior", I said. Both of the girls were shocked, their bulging eyes giving it away. I could clearly tell they were not expecting that answer.
After a second or two of awkward silence, one of them says, "Well we don't believe that stuff anymore. You probably think we're polygamists right?" This attempt to change the subject didn't go unnoticed. I pressed further on the race issue and one of them said, "Well I'm not a racist, and nether is she." So I respond, "I'm glad that we're all not racists and everything but your religion officially was."
At this point I can see both of them are beginning to lose confidence in me. They realize I'm not ignorant about their religion as they had hoped I was. So I said, "Look, I'm sure your experience with Mormonism is wonderful and all but it's just not for me. But I'll take your card and look into it. OK?" They seemed relieved in not having to deal with me and we part ways.
Looking at the card it has a picture of a Hispanic woman on it, I suppose in an attempt to appeal to the immigrant community where I live. Mormons actually think Native Americans were a tribe of Israelites who sailed from Israel through the Mediterranean Sea and across the entire Atlantic Ocean to the New World sometime around 600 BC (an event not upheld by any scientific, archaeological or historical evidence).
All in all, I had a funny ironic story to tell my fellow atheists at the meeting and we all had a big laugh passing around the card. Looking back, in a way I felt a little bad for being so harsh on the two girls because they were just so wholesome and sweet, in that goody-two-shoes Mormon kind of way. But then I'm reminded of the lies and nonsense they're spreading and it goes away.
Welcome to Atheism and the City. This blog is about exploring atheism through contemporary urban living. I live in New York City, the secular metropolis, and I have an avid interest in all things religion, science, philosophy, politics, and economics. I am an atheist, a humanist, a philosopher and a thinker, and the purpose of Atheism and the City is to write about my thoughts and experiences on the subjects and topics that I have a passion for. Feel free to respond to any post whether or not you agree.