January 15, 2007

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

A few incidents have happened recently that involve acquaintances from church.....

1. We went to dinner at our old friends' home about a week ago ~ we meet up with them maybe twice a year to have dinner and catch up. He used to be my bishop and she and I were visiting teaching partners for years, and we worked in the primary presidency together for years also. My son had told their son that day at school that we don't go to church anymore. They didn't mention any of that to us and we had a lovely time. I tried hard to discern if they knew about me, but I couldn't tell. I thought that was nice. He said the blessing on the food, and when he said, "We are so very grateful for the Gospel in our lives" I almost snorted. Almost.

2. Thursday afternoon, I got a call at home from a woman in my ward, inviting my husband and me to a White Elephant party at her home Friday night. I called her back once my husband gave me her phone message, and told her we had other plans but thanks for the invitation. She and I talked a bit about work (we have similar jobs) and the joys of being behind, and it was nice. At the end of the conversation, when I told her I had to get back to work, she said she missed seeing me at church. I said, "That's nice. Thanks for the invitation! Goodbye." What did she want me to say? It's not like I've ever been invited to her house before.....if we were close friends, MAYBE I'd discuss my not being at church with her. Maybe.

3. Today, my cell phone rang. I've only had this phone for a few months, and the only person I gave it to was the primary president I worked with just before I left the church, so she must have given out my number. She's friends with the man who called me...I'll call him Jay. He was a single man who was in my Gospel Principles class when I taught it for 3 years. He was actually only in that class for a short period of time, maybe a few months, before he moved.

He was calling me to invite me to his baptism this Saturday, because I was a great influence on him in that class, and he felt it'd be really special if I could be there. What could I say? Instead of committing, I asked him if he was in my ward again, and he said, "No, it's been 16 months since I was in your ward." I told him I'd have to look at my schedule, but that I really appreciated his letting me know about his baptism. I said something like, "Wow. I know how important your baptism must be to you. Congratulations."

So, does my friend the Primary President really think Jay's call is going to get me to change my mind? Does she not realize I feel depressed now, knowing how well I taught Gospel Principles to those poor souls who believed me? I know damn well how convincing and good I was at that job. It wasn't a small class, either. Sigh. Incidentally, the Primary President is the mother of the woman who had the White Elephant party. Coincidence? Maybe.

4. While I was on the phone with Jay, my sister Tony called me on my land line. She is in a different ward here, but it's the ward I used to be in so there are many people I know in her ward. My sister was at the baptism of her neighbor's kid, and she was approached by two different and unrelated people who asked, "How's Lisa? How's she doing?" One was the mother of my son's friend at school, so I don't mind her asking. She is a very nice woman whom I admire greatly. Our sons are interested in maintaining a friendship, so I know her concern for us is real and legitimate.

The other one is actually in my ward, just an acquaintance, and she said to my sister, "How's Lisa doing? We've missed her so much. The entire ward is praying on her behalf." I just laughed. The ENTIRE WARD? Does this mean they announced a special fast or prayer for me? Doubt it. I asked Tony if this lady asked the question using that hushed tone you use if someone died. She laughed hard and said, "Of course she did!"

Tony, if you're reading this, you know you're only going to get more of this. You know how to avoid such stuff altogether, right? Just don't go to church!! ;) But, if this is not an option for you, then you can and should say these words to anyone who should ask in future:

"Why don't you call Lisa and ask her yourself? Here's her number. I'm sure she'd love to talk to you herself rather than have you talking about her when she's not around."

It's fascinating to be going through this. Just when I think that nobody cares anymore, I get contacted again.


Anonymous said...

Oh, they always care. They never stop caring. The caring will never, ever, ever end. It's eternal.


C.L. Hanson said...

Speaking of congratulating somebody on a baptism...

I was chatting with some mishies here a few months ago, and they mentioned they were going to be attending a baptism.

Out of curiosity I asked:
me: A kid or a convert?
mishie: a convert. [then goes into an elaborate story about the person...]
me: Is it one of you guys performing it?
mishie: Why yes, actually, I am.
me: Oh, congratulations!

It was one of those speak-first-then-think moments because as soon as I had congratulated him I was thinking "What am I saying???" lol

But it was clear from the way he was telling me about it that he was he was proud of this accomplishment, so I guess it was kind of a natural response...

Sofi said...

Oy vey! I can only imagine what you're going through. The Mormns can be sooooo obnoxious. My baby bro, who was the only non-member in my family, was baptized in his teens, just so the ward members would leave him alone. It was an extreme move, but it worked. Well, at least until he stopped going to church.

Cele said...

Lisa, honey don't be rash.

DO NOT SAY THEY CAN CALL YOU. DO NOT GIVE OUT YOUR NUMBER. and wear clean panties when you cross the street. Oh gosh, I'm getting old and turning into my mother.

It's just delirium Tony, Lisa has a fever. Someone pass me the asprin, please.

Lisa, Lisa, Lisa

belaja said...

I've been completely out for over two years and NOBODY has ever love-bombed or harrassed me. And they know I'm here, oh, yes, they know I'm here.

I'm really, really, really hurt. I have no fun mo-stalking stories to tell.

Y'all are just making this stuff up, I know it.

Rachel said...

First off...Thank you for adding me to your blog roll.
That is how they keep thier hooks into you. They let you think that you are off the hook and then they get all subversive and try to act all innocent. What they are doing is trying to keep the church forefront in your mind so that you might have an epiphany and realize how horrible it is that you aren't holding to the iron rod anymore and get you to return.
It isn't easy being dis-assimilated from the Morg once they have you.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Chanson, that's hilarious. I so relate. It's interesting to me how careful I try to be when talking to members these days. I try to temper what I say so I don't give them an idea that I'm softening back toward the fold.

Sofi, I'd love to hear more about your little bro. Sounds like a great story.

Cele, I'm glad you care. But you see, I'd rather tell them off myself than have them try to dig dirt about me off my sister. The asses.

Belaja, it's for real. Unfortunately. If I had made it up, it would be way more exciting and full of drama.

Rachel, I am so glad to be out. I can't describe it like it feels.

Bishop Rick said...

This and other similar stories have convinced me that becoming an exmo should coincide with moving.

Just one of many said...

SML, I got my letter about a month and a half ago, and have been left alone expect for the duffus who called my husband asking about anesthesia. This was the same guy BTW that sent my 8 year old letters from his primary class saying he should still read the BOM!! I told my husband I would leave his ass if he returned his phone call!
Once my letter was sent in...life has been better. They realize I am forever doomed to outer darkness! *hugs*

JMK said...

Hey, that's weird! When I posted my comment last night, my user name and picture showed up. Tonight, it's showing my comment (the first one in the queue) as "Anonymous." This must be Blogger karma getting back at me for ranting about anonymous commenters over on my blog. Hm.


from the ashes said...

Sorry about all that, SML! About the primary pres thinking Jay's baptism might influence you back--I don't think that's what she was thinking. I think that TBM's have very little comprehension of the way we think, and she probably was just thinking she was being nice. She still thinks that you would be happy about influencing someone to be baptized, so she wanted you to be a part of that. And if it touches your heart, well, that's a good bonus, no?

When I hear about baptisms, I also say congrats. Not out of habit, but because it really is a big rite of passage for them. For me to put on a sour face would just be misunderstood and rude, I think. Doesn't mean you have to go, of course.

from the ashes said...

I couldn't find an email address for you, so I'll just say it here: I'm sorry about HiveRadical on my blog. I think he crossed a line into "very insulting" in a reply he wrote to you. I called him on it, and asked him to cease and desist or go away.

Bull said...

I find it rather amusing how awful members think it is when people stop coming. Oh, what horrors that person must be going through. How terrible to be able to choose to do whatever you want other than going to church. It's also amusing how they talk among themselves about how much you are missed but don't miss you enough to actually call.

On the other hand, those that do make personal contact don't seem to be well received either so perhaps it's a can't win situation for the members.

I think it's more an indication of how all your church friendships are completely intertwined with church activity rather than a genuine friendship that can survive without the church.

Holly said...

No one has contacted me in so very, very, very long, for which I am profoundly grateful.... but I still have that nightmare where I'm somehow back on my mission, trying to explain that I CAN'T stay, I MUST go home, because I have a mortgage to pay and a job I want to keep and a coffee habit and oh yeah, I don't believe the church is true. And everyone just smiles and pats my hand and tells me it will all work out OK, because I'm doing the Lord's will.

I HATE that nightmare.

pokerspice said...

My kids just got the proverbial "We missed you in Primary. Hope to see you next week." notes in the mail. The envelope was addressed to my children, a return address only, no name. Oh please! I almost returned them. My youngest said, "I'm not going to church. I hate church." What do they say? "Out of the mouths of babes?"