Ah, I must admit that I admire their dedication. I wonder, however, that their missionary zeal carries them out into wild, uncharted areas at the edge of their map before they have taken their message to their direct neighbors. I speak, of course, of the dedicated young men in the bicycle messenger trade of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.
You may find it amusing that these gentlemen in cheap suits and humidity-limp shirts would wander to my doorstep in their proselytizing. They are different from the old African-American women peddling Jehovah as his Witnesses. To these, who hand out Watchtowers on such subjects as fraud, I can offer short comments like, “Hmmm … don’t you think it is ironic that you speak to me of fraud, who are taken in by the biggest fraud of them all … that somehow, a lily-white Jesus and his Aryan-seeming friends and apostles/associates would convince you, a child of former slaves who has grown up in the shadow of racism, sexism and poverty, that it is not necessary to seek any kind of heaven here on earth (for that would require wresting it from the hands of rich, white men, I’m afraid), but that your reward shall come in a future paradise, while others reap theirs now … that seems like a pretty clear case of fraud to me, my dear grandmother.” And they pause, and shake their heads, and offer to pray for me, of course, but after I part company with them I am sure they are difficult for their pastors to handle.
Nay, the Mormon lads are of sterner stuff. And still, as I explain to them that mankind is gone astray from (G)od because they refuse to spit out the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, to place their lives, like the sparrow, lion, lamb and lilies of the field in the hands of God, and insist that they have the knowledge of who must die (all who would oppose them) and who must live (man, glorious man, who must have a purpose greater than the jellyfish or hyena). To explain that we are the culture of Cain, the mighty agriculturalist, whose story the Hebrews adopted but did not themselves write, whose meaning they have never quite understood — the Caucasian farmers, who would kill off the hunter gathers and pastoralists, and for each white man slain would return death to the darker races sevenfold. I wonder, as they thank me for my well-thought out and logical explanation, on the spirit that fills their hearts — that glory of righteousness that insists that mankind has a greater purpose than any other species,
and would prove it by claiming some character flaw. ‘Tis not a character flaw, I tell them, but amnesia. That’s why we need prophets and seers. To remind us that we don’t know what we’re doing. And still they seek after the “one true path” that is suitable for all persons, in all times, in all geographic locations. A hyena does not seek to live like a lion; nor does a lion seek to live like a hyena. I tell them this. And I quote them the gospels. And I mention that I admire their bucket of sea water; but it is not the whole ocean, nor does its galvanized rim surround the whole of any truth — only a fragment.
Sadly, they may not visit me again. But they will send others. Those who refuse to live in the hands of the gods, but insist their own hands are divine, always do.
I pray for them. And for the proving ground that is this earth, the mere waystation on the way to greatness that will be consumed by their blundering and self-righteous dominion. I wonder how we managed to last this long, in free fall, thinking in defiance of the laws of gravity and aerodynamics that we have been flying under our own power.