This incident occurred when I was an MBBS student in the North Karnataka Town of Belgaum. The narrative may be a bit shaky, but the facts and my thoughts are from my diary, I maintain since an early age.
The door was opened post-knock. They would’ve been cops, even the young looking one. They were wearing ties, but that didn’t matter. I used to wear one myself, once or twice. At least their shirts were clean. The two around-my-age, tied, comfortably short-haired young men asked if I was busy. Not busy enough to be, so in keeping with my policy of not turning away anyone at my doorstep, I didn’t.
Following the required “this is some apartment” small talk, I offered them something to drink. They wouldn’t have any beverages, but water would be fine. And if I believed in God.
So that was their game. Yes I do. They asked my religion. I asked what does a picture of Lord Ganapathi with dust settling thick on and around it make me? They didn’t know but had a better solution. “We’re Mormons” one said the other doing the head-nod routine. “And we’d like you to be “.
Yeah, I’ll bet you would. They told me a little on their religion, its history
and how fully satisfied it made them. It gave them an inner warmth, knowing theirs is truly the only religion. “If all men believe the Bible, all would be Mormons,” they told me. “Ours is the only one that gives everlasting life and to be Mormon is to know God.”
Wait a second, this time I was doing the head-nod. I asked how they could say that. What about the Buddhists, Catholics, Muslims and the rest of the lot. They’re right too. At least they say they are.
“They’re not,” the older looking one said. “A Mormon is the only true child of God”.
Then just what the hell am I? Not an atheist, but not temple-going devout or anything like that either. I wear the sacred thread around my body, placed there after a sacred ritual when I was on the cusp of puberty and sometimes ask why things are, but that’s His way of stimulating the thought process. I guess.
“But that’s not enough,” he said. “You must accept Christ as savior and devote the good in your life to Him. ‘A faithful man shall abound with blessings.’
But I have been blessed, sort of. I mean I’m healthy, got everything I should rationally want at this time and live a relatively major sin-free existence. There’s the little ones, but what is life without a little sin every now and then? Wait, sin according to who? I can’t see anything wrong with some of the things I do.
“To the word of God ” the younger looking one told me, this time the other head nodding. “You must start anew, accept Christ and the Bible as one, as the only one.”
This was getting old. So what they’re trying to tell me is that when the big whatever happens, Mormons will be the ones saved, the rest will suffer in hell and damnation everlasting and their merciful God will look down on the world He created and destroyed, surrounded by His so precious chosen few?
“Well not exactly,” he said. “But basically,” this time both nodding their heads.
So that was it. Kind of sounded like Nazis and the master race. My Mormon friends didn’t like it either. And everlasting life sounds kind of boring anyway.
“We’d really like to share this with you,” they said in almost unison. “To welcome you to our family. Forever.”
I don’t know. I kind of like the family I’m in now. And things don’t generally last forever. And my God is doing just fine. Only He’s different. He’ll save my two Mormon friends. He’ll save my friend who follows the Jain Tirthankaras as his own. He’ll save my atheist friend. Because He’s just and believes in the good. Kind of like the Mormon God. Or an Islam Allah. Or the gods worshipped by pygmies in the Congo.
My guests were becoming visibly upset. The elder tugged at his tie while the other scratched his head. And both got up to leave. “It’s been nice,” I said. They said nothing, so it was my turn again. “Always remember, Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.’ “
And thus they spake sharply, “We’re not mad! We just want you to know how good we feel! “
I really thanked them for trying. I stood on my porch watching them peddle off down the street on another mission of mercy. As they dimmed out of sight, I glanced heavenward, and saw a big white cloud that looked like it was smiling.