June 16, 2017

solicitors WELCOME

Years ago, a 20-something man came to my door asking if I would like to purchase a magazine subscription.  When I politely declined his offer, I assumed our conversation would be over.  I was wrong.  We continued to talk and he asked if I was Mormon.  I told him I was.  He then told me that Mormons never buy subscriptions {clearly, he'd never heard of the Ensign, New Era, Friend or Liahona} and attempted to make me feel like I was not fulfilling my Christian duty by purchasing 12 months worth of Sports Illustrated.  Once he left my house, I spent the rest of the day being mad and frustrated that this person had so unfairly judged me.

I decided a NO SOLICITING sign would be a worthwhile purchase.  I contemplated where I'd put the sign so that it was noticeable, but not tacky.  After a few days, I gave up on the idea and resolved to just not answer the door the next time a solicitor came knocking.

Fast forward to today and I officially made the decision to never display a NO SOLICITING sign on my house. 

As mentioned above, I am Mormon.  Officially, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  For the sake of simplicity, I'll refer to myself as LDS and my religion as "the church."

As of December 31, 2016, there were over 70,000 LDS missionaries serving worldwide.  Missionary service is strongly recommended for all able young men beginning at the age of 18 (after completing high school or its equivalent).  Young men (referred to as Elders) serve for up to two years.  They have no official say in where they serve, they pay their own way, and, besides weekly e-mails, they do not contact their families except for on Christmas and Mother's Day.  Young women are welcomed to serve missions beginning at age 19 for up to 18 months.

We Mormons love our missionaries.  We take pride in the fact that we send our young people all across the world to preach about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We love the missionary program so much that when the Broadway play The Book of Mormon hit the scene {you know, the play that mocks missionaries, an entire religion with over 15 million members, and then some} the church simply made this one official statement:

"The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ."

When the production made it's way to Los Angeles, the church bought space in the playbill with ads like "the book is always better" and "you've seen the play, now read the book."  Considering the importance of the Book of Mormon and the missionary efforts to those of the LDS faith, these responses were pretty brilliant.

See, so not even an offensive, perverted, vulgar, yet acclaimed, Tony Award winning production brought to you by the same industry that demands inclusion from Mike Pence can sway us from sending out and loving our missionaries. {To be clear, #I'mWithHer}

But, here's the ironic part of it all.  Missionaries are solicitors.  One of the ways they meet, connect and eventually teach people is by going door-to-door.  Missionaries, of course, can and do meet people under different circumstances, but the fact remains that most of them knock on doors in hopes of finding someone who will listen to them.

My parents both served missions in Germany.  My husband served a mission in Canada.  All three of them went door-to-door practically everyday.  How, then, can I openly deny solicitors at my own house?

Believe me, I've thought of a plethora of reasons how to justify displaying a sign:  it's illegal, it's dangerous, it's inconvenient, people make cute signs now (seriously, google "Cute No Soliciting Signs") so I don't have to worry about my house looking tacky, etc.

But, then I think about my parents, my husband and the thousands of missionaries currently serving for a religion that I belong to.  When I think about them, an outward, physical declaration denying solicitors on my house just seems......unnecessary.  Wrong even.

I know I'm probably in the minority when it comes to this.

But, at the end of the day, I feel best inside when I say, "Solicitors, Welcome."

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