Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Art of Religion

A million years and three lifetimes ago, when I was an IT consultant, my job involved traveling to meet with prospective clients and pitching my company's services. Traveling for business was new to me, and I was still learning the ropes of efficiently and effectively packing professional attire that let me adhere to airline rules on baggage, yet still show up unrumpled at client meetings.

Before one particular trip, my boss pulled me aside and mentioned that our upcoming client had a dress code of sorts.

"You mean beyond corporate attire?" Admittedly, I was young and green in the ways of the world. Other than a ball gown, I couldn't imagine anything dressier than a business suit.

My boss nodded. "No pants. You have to wear a skirt and it has to fall below your knee."

I stared at him, mentally running through my wardrobe to see if I'd need to go shopping.

"Also, your shoulders and upper arms need to be covered. Oh, and wear your hair up. Not too much makeup, and low heels."

"Who is this client?"

"LDS," my boss said. When I didn't nod with recognition, he raised an eyebrow. "Mormons."

Fast forward twenty-five years, and the Heir, my singing, acting, musical-loving son, texts me from college. He'd been carrying an armload of packages across campus and, at one point, lost his grip. A guy came over and asked if he needed a hand, and the guy and his friend helped the Heir carry his boxes another five minutes to his destination. The young men then introduced themselves as Mormons, and asked the Heir if he was religious at all.

When told that he was interested in religions as a whole, the men said, "great, here's a copy of our book."

"Oh, like the musical!" my son said.

"Yeah, we get that a lot."

"You guys should start an outreach group on campus."

"Great idea," they said. "Do you want to start it with us?"

At that point, my son backpedaled a bit since he had return to his friends to help transport more packages. "No, but thanks for the help and the book," he said.

When he told me he'd almost been recruited by Mormons, we laughed about it together. My thoughts drifted back to my trip to Salt Lake City, and how restrictive the church had felt to me, an outsider. He did say he wanted to learn about different religions, which is great. It's how I found my own spirituality. Not to taint his enthusiasm, all I said was that they have a lot of rules, and suggested he read their book. I'll be interested to talk more after he reads what is likely the first bible he's ever really seen. (Yes, I know, I'm a horrible, agnostic parent.)

Am I worried he might decide to convert to Mormonism and become a missionary? Well, considering he met the recruiters while dropping a box of beverages for his e-gaming club, not really. I was raised Catholic, but am not religious at this point in my life. All religions are interesting to me, as they are to him. I trust the Heir will find his spiritual way just as I did, though I suppose anything is possible. I do hear they have a pretty impressive choir.

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