Date: March 26, 2021 11:35PM
Two fine young men knocked on my door to visit with me. Although I have not stepped foot in a church building for 22+ years, due to particular reasons my name is still on the church rolls. In going over their lists, apparently seeing my name caused their bosoms to burn.
I LOVE it when the missionaries stop by. Due to COVID, and my home being blacklisted throughout the mission a while back, I haven’t had any stop by in a few years. Over the years I have offered my home as a “safe haven” where missionaries can stop by, take a load off, grab a bite to eat/drink (tonight I gave them a half-eaten pizza that I couldn’t finish off), and just be THEMSELVES.
According to rules, they weren’t allowed to come inside. It was some sort of COVID-related rule, and even with my best persuasion, they wouldn’t budge (I must be losing it). They wanted to though, as I had the NBA game on TV and they were peering over my shoulder in awe of the massive autographed sports memorabilia collection I have hanging on my walls (“Brother Jaxson, this is BY FAR the best door we have knocked on”).
Two kids from Utah (Draper and Logan), been out 6-7 months, had a pretty nice ride too (new Chevy Equinox). We talked on my front porch for around 30 minutes. I gave them a little of my history, told them how I was raised in the church , walked off of my mission, had a terrible 19-year temple marriage, and how things got a lot better once I left the church. I told them how since leaving I had become more loving, helpful, charitable, etc. than I was when I was a member. I mentioned that when I did things, it wasn’t with a focus on what “blessings” I might receive, but I did so because I felt they were just the right things to do…like giving my pizza to a couple of strangers.
I have always made it a point to not preach to them. I used to years ago and it did no good. I let my example speak for itself. I let them see that I don’t require some “god” in my life in order to be a good person. I did share with them though that it would be impossible for me to have a testimony of Joseph Smith. And without that…well…everything else comes crumbling down. I mentioned that they could come over ANY TIME, that other missionaries have dropped by over the years just so they could set their current lives aside for a bit. They were welcome to do the same. And if they don’t try to convert me, I won’t try to convert them. I did say though that the odds were that one of them would leave the church within six months of them returning home. Within 5-10 years there was a good chance they could both be out. If they had any questions, I would be there for them. I then dropped my favorite line on them - “Church leaders like to jerk the membership off by saying that ex-mos are those members who want to sin. The next time you hear that, know that the leader saying that is lying to you. Also, that once you leave the church you will live a life of misery. That is a lie as well. My worst days in my life outside of the church are better than my BEST days being in the church.”
We wrapped things up with them asking if they could come back and take a tour of my sports memorabilia collection once their restrictions were dropped (hopefully in a few weeks). I told them to come by whenever they wanted and that many missionaries before them had taken selfies with some of my pieces. I told them I loved them, respected them, to be safe, and if they were going to dedicate two years of their lives for something…then to work hard at it. We fist bumped, they took the pizza, and off they went.
Afterwards I got curious about if they had seen/read the CES Letter. If I see them again I’ll ask.