Let's start with a little background: when my parents were married my dad was Mormon and my mom was Methodist. Mom converted to being a Mormon a couple of years into their marriage and for the first eight years of my life our family was very active in the church. Then my parents got divorced and left the church. For years afterwards the church would call our house and invite me and my younger brother back to church without my mom with whom we lived. Understandably, I declined.
All of my adult life whenever I've moved my name has eventually ended up on a list in the local ward (kind of like a Catholic parish) and I've started to get regular visits from the missionaries. I've always been cordial and have even taken the time to sit and chat with them, give them my background story, give them something cold to drink and then sent them on their way. The visits were usually about six months apart and generally not too bothersome so I didn't feel compelled to do anything about it, but that all changed over the last couple of months.
For some reason the local ward in Clemmons has decided to ratchet up the visits. Our household has had three visits in the last month, and unfortunately for my wife I haven't been home for a couple of those. She was born and raised Catholic – I converted to Catholicism soon after we were married – and we now attend a Moravian church. Literally, there's no reason for her to talk to these young people other than she's married to me. Last week the missionaries showed up and my wife had finally had it. She asked the young ladies to leave us alone (the last few months our missionaries have been young ladies) and was curt enough that one of the young ladies started crying. She asked what she was supposed to do about our situation and talked about how stressed she was being away from home and of course my wife felt terrible about it. She commiserated with the young lady, explained it wasn't anything personal, but that we just desired to be left alone. That's when it got weird.
According to the missionaries the only way to stop the visits is for me to meet with the local bishop (think priest/lay minister) and fill out paperwork requesting that I be removed from their list. That of course floored my wife, but she took the bishop's information and it's sitting on our kitchen counter where it will continue to sit until I act. I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do, but I do know this: I don't respond well to unreasonable demands and this most definitely feels unreasonable.
Here's what I'm likely to do in the short term:
- Contact the bishop and ask him to remove me from their list immediately.
- If he refuses I'll put up a no soliciting sign on our property and doors and tell him that any representative from the church, missionaries or otherwise, who set foot on my property without being invited will have the sheriff called on them and I'll ask that they be charged with trespassing
- Under no circumstance will I meet with him, in much the same way I won't meet with a salesperson to fill out paperwork to get him to stop selling to me.
That's about as far as I've gotten. I should note that I really respect these kids who leave home for two years to do what they consider their calling in faraway places, and I really don't want to have to take out my frustrations on them, but if the LDS is going to demand I jump through some silly hoops to get my name off of some list I never put myself on then their messengers will have to deal with it.