I don’t know if you could call me a particularly religious person. I don’t go to church anymore—probably out of abject laziness, though I do have reason for no longer attending the church of which I am a former member—but I hold tight to certain beliefs. I don’t shove them in peoples’ faces, and because my religious education is sorely lacking, I’m not even all that comfortable with a welcomed discussion about religion. But I do respect others’ beliefs, and I’ll listen. I might learn a thing or two, if not about their beliefs, then about myself.

Or, I might learn something about someone else that I really didn’t want to know. Take this morning, for instance. I learned a thing or two about someone I know online. Who’d have thought the Internet could be so educational?

Long and short of it…I don’t find stories of missionary bashing funny. No, I don’t think it’s funny that you turned the hose on them. No, I don’t find humor in you sic’ing your dog one them. I’m not even going to crack a smile over the thought that you flashed a bare boob at them.

The thing is, as annoying as people find the missionaries (and most of them are Mormon, so I’ll look at it as Mormon missionaries), they’re just kids. They’re 19-21 years old (if they’re male, 21-22 if they’re female), out in the world for the first time, and they have—what to them—is an incredible gift. And it’s free. They don’t know you from a hole in the wall, but what they want for you is not wrought out of something evil; and there’s the thing—they don’t want something from you, they want something for you.

And all you have to do is ask, respectfully, that they not come back. They’ll honor that. And yes, eventually another couple of missionaries will be there, but not the same kids. Their replacements might not get the word, or there might be an entirely new set of people in charge of them by that point. Even so…does it really make someone feel better, or superior, to turn the hose on a couple of kids? Does it make them a better person?

No…I really think it just makes them look small.

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