NOTE: After writing this post I realized that there are a lot of terms and doctrines specific to the Mormon faith that our non-Mormon readers may not be familiar with. We created a glossary for our blog here, but there are so many new terms in this post and I am way too lazy to write up a bunch of additional definitions, so if you find yourself a little lost, either: A) Ask a question in the comments and I'm sure someone will answer. B) a good source glossary can be found at this Website. Or C) You can Google it, but the information may not match up with what I was talking about.
One thing I have been seriously failing at lately is my home teaching. I remember being a missionary and looking down on members who failed to complete their home teaching with such disdain. The missionary version of myself would be seriously upset with the now version of myself.
So here I am. Not only am I no good at home teaching, this week when my Elders Quorum Leader called to see how I have done for the month of May, I lied. Actually, I might be able to argue that I "stretched" the truth. After all, I did have a funny text exchange with one of the sisters that I am assigned to, and one of the guys I'm supposed to visit came over with a dozen other people to watch the Champions League final on Saturday. So I counted those as visits... who am I kidding though, I lied.
Tom: So, uh hey Jake, just calling to get your home teaching numbers.
Jake: Um, I got about half.
Tom: Half? So... three?
Jake: Um yeah, I got Nelly (text exchange) and Britney (She is Nelly's roommate, I'm sure Nelly relayed our textersation to her) ...had a good visit with Ryan (soccer game) but just haven't met up with the others.
Tom: Mmm, okay. You know as a Quorum we are trying to get 100% this month.
Jake: Yeah. Yeah, I remember the lesson Scott gave last week.
Tom: Yeah, so, could you (he paused) ...we are calling everyone a little bit early this month--
Jake: Right, good call. Good reminder. I'll get the rest of em' before the end of the month.
Tom: Okay. Good. Well, Um, Brother Halifax, will you finish your home teaching 100% for the month of May. (I recognized the "direct will you question" that they taught us all in the MTC. Right away. I didn't really think I would, I just wanted to get off the phone so I could get back to playing Modern Warfare)
Jake: You bet buddy. (I hate it when I call people buddy, I only do it when I'm uncomfortable.)
As soon as Tom let me go I added his number to my "DON'T ANSWER" profile in my phone. The thought process being, 'If I don't answer I don't have to lie.'
The past few days I have been feeling guilty. Not really guilty. Just a teeny bit guilty, at first... then as I dwelt on it more I started to feel like a real arse. I'm sure you agree if you read the previous paragraphs. First off, home teaching is like the easiest thing in the world to do. Secondly, no matter how I slice it, I lied to Tom. Lies that weren't even necessary. There's no penalty for failing to do home teaching... at least no immediate penalty. There's one later on, the whole failing-to-magnify-your-calling thing could be called into question. I just went, and for no reason, added lying on top of that. It's like getting pulled over for speeding and the officer discovers your insurance is expired.
So, I decided after feeling the weight of guilt, that I would at least get the three people (I hadn't already lied about) before months end.
My home teaching companions name is Steven. I have never seen him in Elders Quorum, and only spoken to him once at the Ward Talent Show, so I tried calling and texting him, but he had probably already changed my number to DON'T ANSWER in his phone months ago. So after getting myriad lame excuses from my roommates, I resolved to fly solo.
The other three people I home teach are girls. Two of them are roommates and the other one lives on her own. Part of the problem with home teaching (which is only going to compound my poor display of character so far) is that none of the girls I am assigned are very attractive.
That's not to say that just because a girl is not seeing her home teachers that she is unattractive. Aaron and Nick teach 4 of the hottest girls I have ever seen, and I am pretty sure they have never once made a home teaching visit.
I do think though that if there was some side flirting available that I would be more likely to want to spend half an hour or so getting to know someone, which, I'll admit, is horrible and far from Christlike... but true. So, I prepared a quick little spiritual thought put on a tie and scheduled appointments for last night. First I went to Erin's house. We visited for about 30 minutes and it was mostly uneventful.
Then I went to Nancy and Stephanie's apartment. I didn't know these two very well. I said hi to them in sacrament occasionally. Neither is very cute, though they're not at all ugly either. Nancy is short and fat. She has one of those faces, that makes me wish she'd lose 50 lbs because then Calvin would want to date her. Her face was really cute it was just shrouded with the blubber of years of over-indulgence. Stephanie was her opposite. She was tall and skinny but broad with big features like her eyes and forehead. She basically looks like Andre Kirilenko would if he were two feet shorter, a woman with long dark hair. The could have made a comic pair the likes of Chris Farley and David Spade... but I can joke about that another time.
The first thing I noticed as I walked into their living room was a large life-sized cardboard cut-out of Jacob from Twilight. I said, "Hey, it's Shark Boy!" Nancy scowled at me and then laughed and rolled her eyes, "Haven't heard that one before Jake." She lightly slapped my arm and continued as she led me into the living room, "We are both total twi-hards, and we don't care who knows it." I wanted to roll my eyes and make my usual "twi-tard" comment, but decided to wait till we knew each other better.
We spent a little bit of time getting to know each other. I found out where they worked and they did likewise. Discovered that they had met down at Snow College 6 years ago and had lived together ever since. We chatted about the ward a bit and then I gave my thought.I finished with my usual "I'm your home teacher speech" (that I stole from a guy on my mission, I liked it so much) it goes something like, "I'm not going to say 'Is there anything I can do for you or anything you need?' at the end of every visit. I am yours, you can call me or text me whenever you need anything."
When I was done Nancy said, "Well, I do have a question for you?" I said, "Of course." She said, "Do you believe in polygamy?" I was a little thrown and most likely made a stupid face. They both laughed and Stephanie said, "That's a way to general way to ask Nance... What she means is, do you think that Polygamy will ever come back?" I expected these kinds of questions from non-members usually looking to start a fight, not from two seeming "Molly's".
"Well, (I laughed nervously) Um, I'm not really sure." Nancy recreated the look she gave me at my Shark Boy joke earlier and said, "Oh come on Jake, you're one of the most blunt guys in the ward. Now that we are friends Just Give it to us?" Stephanie grinned and said, Just pretend Calvin or Aaron asked you the same question, what would you say to them?" We just want to know what you think."
I would say to Calvin something like, "I hope not because if it did I would always feel like I had to have exactly the same number of wives as you." And to Aaron, I would probably say something like, "Don't worry about it dude, but, if it does make a come back I'll send any of the wives that aren't cutting it your way."
I decided regardless of their intention I couldn't very well say anything like that. I stuttered, "I think tha-, well, I, I, Hmph..." I paused and looked at both of their faces. I was searching for some kind of context. What was the purpose of this question? Their faces looked slightly mischievous but leaned more towards serious intent. It didn't feel like this was a joke. So I decided to just do like they said and tell them what I really thought.
I finally said, "No. I don't think we will see it as a practiced principle again in this life." I expected them to be happy, as most girls get nauseous at the mere mention of plural marriage, but their faces looked more like I had just told them Santa Clause wasn't real. Nancy said, "Don't you think that it is part of a higher law that we will someday get to live when we are ready." I replied, "Uh, I'm no scriptorian, but if I remember in 2nd Nephi or Jacob somewhere it says that the Lord could command polygamy in order to raise up seed unto him, but that otherwise, one man, one woman, was the law." They stared at each other and back at me, I continued, "I just don't see the Lord needing to command polygamy again anytime soon. Missionary work is abound, and--" Nancy cut me off, "So you don't think that when we have to live the law of consecration that Polygamy will just be reimplemented?" I said simply, "No."
Stephanie grabbed her scriptures and started thumbing through them. Nancy watched her as though her friend would find some scripture saying,"verily I say unto you polygamy will be the way of the future." While she was looking through I asked, "What is this about?" Nancy looked at me and just said, "Its just a topic we talk about a lot and want to know more about, but everyone we talk to gets all weird about it." I felt flattered that my lack of weirdness got me into this uncomfortable conversation.
Stephanie pulled out some scripture from Doctrine and Covenant 132 and cited it as their reasons for thinking polygamy was imminent in the Church. I vehemently disagreed, though I honestly haven't put loads of study into the topic, I still feel like I have a pretty good grasp on things, and that just didn't seem right.
We chatted about it for another 20 minutes or so. If we had been arguing I think I would have won. I think however that they had already decided what they thought was right and just wanted someone to agree with them. I wanted to end the conversation so I decided to fall back onto my old standby... humor. I jokingly said, "If polygamy does make a comeback that would be good for you two, you could figure out a way to marry the same guy and just keep living together."
Nancy and Stephanie looked like they just got caught stealing from the cookie jar. Stephanie's pale complexion changed at least three shades darker. In a nervous reaction they both looked around nervously and twice in the 20 seconds their eyes rested on the cardboard cut-out of Jacob Black. They both scoffed at the idea and laughed it off, but their body language and reactions were pretty damning evidence to the contrary.
I'm not going to state this as a fact. However, I am pretty sure that Nancy and Stephanie's secret fantasy is for polygamy to be practiced again in the church so they can be sister wives to Jacob Black or Taylor whatever-his-name-is...
I'm so glad that my guilt led me to do my home teaching this month. Think of the revelation I might have missed out on. I look forward to delving into the oddities these girls might have to offer me later on. And by association, offer you.