My Daughter's Best Friend Was A Mormon
This is a very difficult piece to write, and as I do, I am unsure whether I should print it or not, so I will tell it just as it happened. It does relate to politics, in a manner of speaking. The names are changed to protect identities. My younger daughter, Ruby, was in high school, and through her part- time job met a beautiful, vivacious, funny and loving girl who became her best friend. Angela spent hours and days at a time in our home and I grew to love her dearly. She, my daughter, and I spent so much time talking. She was open and sincere, and she was Mormon.
I had never known a Mormon before (sounds crazy, I know, but true) and although I was aware of Mormon history, I was ignorant as to Mormon beliefs. I was curious and Angela was more than willing to share her religious beliefs. I let her know from the start that although I do not go to church anymore, my background was Catholic. She told me things like the coffee I drink turns your insides black (tea, also), and I would always tease her and ask her if she wanted a cup of coffee. She would laugh that infectious laugh she had and then we would eat cookies or some bread I had made, or better yet, she would share dinner with us.
One night as we sat around our dining room table, I said, "Angela, let's just compare the things we both believe and see how much our religions have in common." I expected there would be many beliefs we shared, but then I asked the question that I regret, because the answer has stuck with me all these years.
Everytime I hear Willard Mitt Romney speak, I cannot help but remember. Everytime I hear him say one thing on Monday and an entirely different thing on Tuesday, I think about the one question and the answer that left me cold.
Do Mormons Believe In Lying?
We had gotten past the things like the coffee, the tea, the caffeinated beverages, the fact that only certain areas of the Mormon temple were accessible to certain people and the underwear, but then the simplest of questions stopped me in my tracks.
"Mormons don't believe in lying, right?" Angela, without any hesitation in her voice or change in her expression said, "It's okay to lie, as long as it's not to another Mormon."
Does that explain Willard's etching and sketching, changing his talking points each time he opens his mouth? It's okay to lie? As long as it's not to another Mormon?
Best Friends 'Til Marriage
Ruby and Angela remained best friends for a long time. They did all the dumb things teenagers do, and they did them together. Angela met a young boy and he was not Mormon, and when he converted so that they could marry, it was not a surprise. We were all excited and happy! Even though Angela was still a teenager, she had explained that in the Mormon religion, if she got to be twenty and not married, she would be considered an old maid, and that would not be good.
What was a surprise, was that as the wedding came closer, my daughter was told that she and Angela were no longer going to be friends. What's more, my daughter would not be invited to the wedding. The time for childish friendships was done.
My daughter has not seen her or heard from her since.
This has troubled me for a very long time and I don't intend to be offensive. I have never liked the idea of judging people by their religious beliefs. I try to take people for what they appear to be and how they treat me, mine, and the rest of the world. I have always thought that if you are kind and honest, treat others with respect and dignity, religion or lack of religion doesn't really matter.
But maybe it does...