Clicking on a link to cracked.com is like opening a bag of chips—one leads to another, and then another, and then another, and before you know it you’ve polished off the whole bag spent hours tracking from 7 Disgusting Parasites You Didn’t Know You Had through to 15 Terrifying Facts About Kittens, by which time it’s two in the morning and you’re all out of chips. Normally, I would conceal this as a guilty pleasure, but a link I ran across today cries out to be shared.
5 Hardcore Realities of My Time as a Mormon Missionary looks at the world through the eyes of one of those short-haired clean-cut white-shirted apparent aliens who occasionally teleport onto our doorsteps to talk to us about Jesus and stuff. It’s a great article. Here is what I learned:
#1. The kids (they’re mostly kids) not only don’t get paid for their two years of missionizing – they pay for the privilege, to the tune of ten to twelve grand. They are adjured to start saving up their pennies from, like, early childhood, so they can afford to spend eighteen months to two years as the cult equivalent of door-to-door salesmen. Families are also expected to help out, on top of their mandatory tithe, fast offerings, and other contributions.
#2. The kids are prepared for their servitude at a missionary training centre, a kind of boot camp with overtones of 1984 and Dotheboys Hall, where ten hours a day are spent studying the bible – which boils down to memorizing scripts for converting the heathen (anybody who is not a Mormon). Anything remotely entertaining, from snowball fights to masturbation, is verboten. So is privacy.
#3. You can forget about trying to trap the kids into a doorstep conversation about, say, the Mountain Meadows massacre. If it’s not in the script, it’s not on the menu.
#4. The kids’ results are achieved and assessed rather creatively in the Glengarry Glen Ross mode: Always Be Converting. Fortunately, a lot of the converted don’t stay that way.
#5. Mormon missionaries, contrary to appearances, are actually human. Who knew?