Sunday: October 8th, 2006. Mormon Sacrament Meeting.
Since I attend church with my wife and kids as a general support structure, I thought I could chronicle some of the wacky things I hear over the pulpit, sermonized as inspiration or motivationals. I intend to post on this thread when and if a truly worthy gem of a candidate drops into my ears sending shockwaves of disgust into my gut… or perhaps something that sends my eyebrows way over the top of my head. I will also post general curious and puzzling interactions with supposed members of Christ's only True Church On Earth (c).
Today's gem of a Sermon: Adversity
This sermon was given by an mid 50's single lady who I had never seen before at church but who claimed to be a long term member of the congregation. She felt qualified to address the topic since she had to "go through" losing her son to an illness.
She explained her insights as to how god works in mysterious ways.
Point #1: She has a nice man in the church who calls her out of the blue every single time she is feeling really low. God inspires this man to call her up. This is a miracle.
Point #2: One day years ago, she had a sick child in the car who threw up, then she got a flat tire on the freeway and she pulled over to the side. This was a serious trial for her, she was weeping hysterically. She was even wearing a white suit so she was unable to fix the tire. (please).
Insert her miracle: Just then, a state trooper pulls up and fixes her tire and gets her on her way again. God does work in mysterious ways.
Point #3: As she preached to the choir and congregation, this woman waxed a little more bold with the following statement:
"We have Jesus Christ to raise us up in our trials and tribulations. If any of you have been coasting along without any trials, you are not living the gospel strictly enough. God tests his people! God tries his people! You need to embrace your struggles and trials! This is God's way of helping you grow! If you lived life without any struggle, you would never amount to anything!"
(I don't even need to comment, but I did roll my eyes into the back of my head.)
Point #4: Complete with a wagging finger, and peering over her librarian style glasses she warned us all with the following:
"If you think that you can get through your trials without Jesus Christ, you are a FOOL!"
I sat up at that point. What tha…? This lady just called me a fool! The nerve! Who does she think she is? My blood pressure dropped when I realized that she cannot help herself. Yes, she is in the death grip of a social virus that is killing her softly from the inside.
She ended her sermon with her testimony that she knows that God lives, Joseph Smith is a true prophet, and the book of Mormon was translated by the power of god as a second witness of Jesus Christ. She also explained how she knows God sustains each and every one of us through our trials.
That meeting ended. I take my daughter to the Nursery. A fellow whom I have not seen in months pops in and notices me. This is the guy that took 2nd place on NBC's weight TV loss sensation program "The Biggest Loser". He was all chiseled abs, toned body… last year. Now he is a dough boy again. Whatever, I mean, I can't fault the guy, food is highly addictive. Anyway. So he has not seen me nor has he made any attempt to befriend me in all the years we have gone to church together. It has been casual pass in the halls stuff. You might guess what my next irritation in this Chronicle of Mormonia will be:
DoughBoy and I, catching me clueless, are some how best friends today. How did I miss this blossoming of friendship? Puzzling… it was very odd to not see this man for months and suddenly here he was, smiling, pumping my arm like a slot machine, really genuinely interested to engage me in conversation. Slap on the back, how ya doing, Noggin, good tah see ya Noggin… Man how have ya been Noggin!! by the way, what do you do again? Oh geez that's right. I thought you bought and sold property for a living? Well, DoughBoy I do that, but I am also part owner of a family owned roofing/ construction business.
You are? Oh wow! How did I miss that?
(Oh, I don't know, Dough boy… maybe it's because you and I do not know each other past Hello and Goodbye)
Anyhow. His eyes actually light up and get really big. I mean it was practically cartoonish. Dollar signs in eye balls… cue the ringing sound of a cash register… it was all there. I kid you not. This is what comes out of his mouth complete with a really large and enthusiastic grin:
"Ohhhhhh.. then… you have e x p e n s i v e insurance!!"
**said to me with piercing eye contact as he nodded his head "Yes"**
Me? Oh shitsticks! I wanted to kick him in the nuts. I also wanted to tell him to wipe the drool off of the left side of his mouth. What was I, some grade A filet mignon cut of beef? Jesus. Believe it or not, he actually pursued his bad taste in social graces.
"Who do you use for Insurance? You know I sell insurance now right?"
I purposefully grounded my right leg onto the floor… I had to command my foot not to move as the fast twitch fibers were spasmodically begging me to engage them to move the foot to the general direction of his crotch. I was definately feeling mined, culled, catalogued, filed away. I was feeling used.
"I dunno, some firm out of San Jose".
"San Jose!! Wow. We are going to have to talk about that!"
And with that, he made some comment about how I looked like the 49er's quarterback Steve Young and he was gone. Off to the glories of his god. I wanted to shout after him…
"No, no, uh, Friend… I don't think you should bother yourself…"
But he was already mining his next potential client down the hall way somewhere. He was pumping their arms like slot machines too. Because that's really all I was to him. A slot machine. Lucky Seven! Come on Lucky Seven!!