Saturday, June 25, 2011

If I'm Wrong, Please Don't Tell Me

Recently, I entered into conversation with a religious zealot (at least he seemed to be to me, he was probably just an average religious person). I did not mean to. These days, I'd much rather talk about the weather. But we were traveling together, and I didn't know how to stop the onslaught of questions that came from being seatbelted next to someone for the next three hours.

I am usually good with religious zealots. I'd like to think I could take Michele Bachmann on like any quick-witted high school student and have her eating out of my agnostic hand with gratitude. I'd like to think that I could invite over the fundamentalists who predict various days and months for the long-awaited Rapture and woo them with my logic and creme brulée until they start donating to Planned Parenthood, just like me.

But, after the three hours with this religious zealot, I felt as if I might reclaim Mormonism just so my head could stop exploding. He wanted to know why I left. My reasons of patriarchy, racism, lack of human rights/equality, historical cover-ups and fuck-ups, feeling like shit in the Temple, not really believing in polygamy, Prop 8, not really believing in much of an afterlife (which caused him to shake his head at me in hopelessness and sadness at my current state of beliefs), and a slew of other problems didn't seem to be enough.

This wasn't his first time maneuvering around this kind of discourse. He craftily counteracted most of what I had to say--hitting on sore spots and soft spots alike. So much so that any faltering ex-Mormon might feel motivation to immediately find their nearest Bishop--repent, and get on with procreating. I kept trying to explain my point of view. I kept trying to explain the way I felt. I kept trying to tell him I was happy with my decision. None of these worked or satisfied him--but only angered him.

It was a surprise attack from a source I hadn't anticipated. And, it was a battle I thought I could win. I keep learning the lesson that some people just aren't worth the energy, but I think I'm finally getting it.

From now on, I'm going to adopt the mantra of my dear friend Nubian, who, before sharing her opinion with me casually says,  "If I'm wrong, please don't tell me." 


Nubian said...


LizF said...

Ha! Great advice :)

Newt said...

Heheh. Yeah I just explain that it doesn't feel right to me at this point, say who knows what the future will hold, shrug vaguely, change the subject. I haven't ever really loved talking about personal things like that unless it's someone I'm close with.