They mean well. They really do. (Or at least, I think they do.) But holy smoke are they annoying! You’re mooching around the house, minding your own business when the doorbell rings! It’s two men in suits, and one of them is holding a bunch of cards with pictures of Jesus on them. Alternately, it’s a Piper Laurie/Carrie’s Mom lookalike, right down to the crazy hair and black dress. Charity freezes out of your system as you anticipate the awkward scenario to follow while the people on your doorstep try to invite you to their church in a way that implies you’re hell-bound or incredibly intolerant if you say no, or have all the paperwork ready for a formal conversion. Brrr.
There are ways to deal with this scenario. I’ll name a few survival methods that either I’ve used, or have been recommended to me by friends and family.
1. Get it over with quickly. Sometimes you have to talk with them and the easiest thing to do is just accept the card, assert you know who Jesus is, and get on with your life. This happened to me when I was accosted by a couple of young Elders while my dog had stopped to fertilize the nearby tree. (Really, guys? You couldn’t have waited?)
2. Tit for tat. Let them go through their spiel and then talk about your worship preferences. It’s only fair, after all.
Now… if you’re feeling playful. And the old “sorry, I’m busy” excuse has a surprisingly high failure rate.
3. Put on earphones and pretend you don’t hear the bell (requires foresight, some sort of device, and that you be facing away from the door).
4. Turn out the lights and pretend not to be home. This was recommended to me by an old friend who once lived down the street from the local Mormon congregation. Apparently her family adopted this tactic quite frequently. But if you do pretend you’re not at home, for goodness’ sake, don’t get caught. It’s most awkward.
5. If female, mention that you’re single. One of my aunts apparently had a pair of Mormon missionaries positively flee when she told them that she was unmarried (they had asked to speak to her husband). If there really is a man in the house, use your imagination. I suppose the idea that you’re living together but not married could scare the more righteous types off, or make them more determined to “save” you. It’s kind of a craps shoot, really.
6. If female, be scantily clad. My mother had a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses positively flee when she answered the door in a bathing suit (her gardening attire of choice). Pajamas don’t work so well– it has to be really obvious sleepwear, and the less there is the better. (Works better with young male missionaries. Older female ones can adopt the “we’re all girls here” attitude.)
7. If male, simply answer the door wearing gaudy lipstick.
Finally…. Never just slam the door in their faces. It’s just plain rude.