Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash Vol. XXIX: How to deter Mormon missionaries, reader frustration, the evils of chicken abortion

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Matt Labash
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      Matt Labash

      Hi, welcome to “Ask Matt Labash.” I’ll be your host, Matt Labash. The idea for this column – if idea isn’t too strong a word – is that it is not a column at all. Rather, it’s a conversation. One in which I do ninety-five percent of the talking. If you did most of the talking, you’d have to watch my eyes go dead and my attention wander until it was my turn to talk again. So trust me, it’s better this way.

      For those unfamiliar with me from my day job at The Weekly Standard, I’ll give you a capsule bio by way of introduction: I have the gift of wisdom. Does that sound arrogant? I’m sorry, that wasn’t my intention. I didn’t choose wisdom. It chose me. If I had my druthers, I’d have chosen another gift, perhaps the untold riches of Lil’ Wayne, whose teeth are made of actual diamonds, or to be the sexiest man alive, like Rachel Maddow. But wisdom is what they gave me, so wisdom is all I have to give back to you.

      This is not, you should know, a mere advice column. If you need advice, I’ll give it. But the only rule here is that there are no rules. You can ask me a question about anything that’s on your mind: current events, pop culture, media, theology, string theory, fishing tips, wicker repair. The only limits we have are those of your imagination. And those of my knowledge base. Which is considerably limited, truth be told. So try not to ask me anything that requires research. Though they tell me I have access to Google on this computer if we need it.

      If all goes according to plan, ours will not be a traditional writer/reader relationship. It’s more complex than that. I might empathize or cajole. I might educate, instruct, or inspire. I might pretend to answer your question while actually reporting you to Social Services, since you’re a dangerous person who should not have contact with children. I might tell you to climb up on my shoulders, that you’re not heavy, you’re my brother. Or I might tell you that you are heavy, and that you should hop down until you lose a few pounds. I might just sidle up behind you, put my big strong man hands on the small of your back, and whisper in your ear the words of the poet, Kenny Rogers: “We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?”

      To which you’ll say something like, “I can’t, I’ve got to go home and wash my hair.”
      To which I’ll say something like, “Shhh. We’ve got tonight babe, why don’t you stay?”
      Wherever this takes us, our journey begins now:

      <i>Matt Labash is a senior writer with The Weekly Standard. His first book, <a href="">Fly Fishing with Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys</a> will be published next month by Simon & Schuster.</i>

EDITOR’S NOTE: Have a burning sensation? Consult your doctor. Have a burning question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.

Hey Matt, the Mormon missionaries in my neighborhood are really annoying. How do you suggest I keep them from talking to me when I am doing yard work? – Matt Hutson

Just tie a pork chop around your neck and have your wife run through the sprinkler in a wet, cut-off abaya. Hold up a second. My mistake. That’s how you keep annoying Muslim missionaries from bothering you at home.

To deter missionaries of any persuasion from disturbing you during yard work, the best thing to do is keep your lawn mower revving loud and at full throttle – without the grass catcher. If they come anywhere near you, pretend like you don’t notice, then blow your cuttings all over them. Test their faith. See how serious their commitment is. If they really want to convert you, they won’t mind doing so while covered in dandelions and fescue.

Though personally, I enjoy Mormon missionary encounters. I usually invite them in for pound cake and caffeine-free sodas. They’re invariably polite and well-mannered. They wipe their feet. They say thank you. They have firm handshakes. They’re some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. The only thing I don’t trust about them is all the Christer bait-and-switching. If you don’t cut them off and force them to show their cards, Brother Enos will usually spend the first half an hour selling you on how similar Mormonism is to Christianity. They even sock it to you right there in their moniker, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Now as a Christian, I don’t claim to have a monopoly on J.C. (though in fairness to us, we did name our whole religion after Him). But if my beliefs and your beliefs are basically the same with slight variation, why did you interrupt me from edging the lawn, to sit in my living room and try to convert me to the teachings of Joseph Smith, which were purportedly passed along on golden plates buried in a hill in upstate New York by the Angel Moroni, who is supposedly a resurrected indigenous American? Even if I’m a proselytizing Baptist, I don’t waste a perfectly good Saturday afternoon trying to do the same to Presbyterians.

Of course, when it comes to spectacular claims regarding holy books, we all have our crosses to bear, so to speak. But even if you don’t buy into the water-to-wine bits of the New Testament, at least Christ’s teachings have stood the test of time, enough so that we mark the whole of recorded human history before His birth, and after. Whereas, Joseph Smith’s extra-biblical teachings have only lasted since 1830, and all Mormons really have to show for it — besides the rock’n’roll genius of Jimmy Osmond — is a BYU basketball team that just this year, won their first NCAA tournament game since 1993. When I share such sentiments with my missionary visitors, that’s when they usually start sweating and leave. Not because I outdebated them in a devastating display of Christian apologetics — I’m not exactly Thomas Aquinas. But  because before I’d invited them inside, I turned the thermostat up to 90 degrees. You try sitting through one of my harangues in your long-john temple garments in that kind of heat. Even when they’re pumping lots of fluids, they usually head for the door before I have to show it to them.

NEXT: Find out why Labash no longer speaks to The Daily Caller

  • J L Fuller

    Mormons are Christian. We just are not Trintarians. We believe in the biblical version of Christ not the fifth century Greek philosopher version found in Trintarianism. May I suggest you try to find Trinitarianism in the bible or even the all-in-one unknowable mysterious God thinking found in most traditional
    Christian denominations? You can’t. It isn’t there. That version came about as a political accommodation to those Greeks I talked about. Christ nor the apostles taught or practiced anything like Trinitarianism. It was foreign to them. Please do your home work.

  • blewits

    There is nothing better to finish my day than a Matt Labash article, a side of Jim Treacher poetry (yes, I said it) and a barely chilled Merlot.

    ahh, Thanks man.

  • jn

    I use to fly into Salt Lake on a regular basis and on several occasions sat next to some young man returning from missionary duty. The experience was both educational and inspiring. Always there would be a large group waiting to greet his return. What impressed me most was the dedication to their cause. I’m Catholic but I still have great respect for these good folks. God bless em.