Welcome to Agreeable, a bimonthly advice column in which I will tell you, dear Reader, as to whether your planned course of action is “agreeable” or “hmph”. Direct your questions (max 200 words, please!) to the admin address (see ‘About’, above) with the subject line “Agreeable”.
I work in an office where there are many LDS people, but also many (possibly a majority) who are not LDS. For the most part the non-Mormons are pretty cool and don’t take the LDS culture too seriously (for example, one guy has a big poster of Captain Moroni on his office door and people either ignore it or make fun of it). The guy in the office next door to mine, though, is pretty hard core about proselytizing. He frequently quotes scriptures in business meetings and will tell people that they should repent. It bugs me, not because I disagree with him but because there’s an office policy against evangelizing in the workplace and it’s also possibly against the law. I have mixed feelings, but I’d like to report him to the folks in H.R. — what do you think?
Hmph. How does that work? I’m an MBA, I’m a regional director of sales, I’m a Mormon! On-going, uninvited proselytizing of co-workers is a breach of workplace norms. If your company has a policy against evangelizing at the water cooler, this guy may end up speaking with H.R. sooner or later. If someone has confided to you that this guy is really bothering them, or worse, discriminating against them on the basis of religion, encourage that person to see H.R. and offer to act as a witness. But unless you know something specific you should resist that other thing Mormons are famous for–tattling for things that don’t concern them. It sounds like Mr. Zealous bothers you not because he is creating a hostile work environment, but because you are concerned his boorish behavior reflects poorly on you. You should give your co-workers some credit. They ignore or joke about Captain Moroni and they are likely doing the same to Captain Garments. It’s easy to stereotype Mormons if you only know one, but the office gentiles associate not only with your proselytizing friend, but you and the other half of the office. Take a page from your co-workers. Ignore him or make fun of him.
Our family attends church regularly, loves the gospel, goes to the temple, etc., etc. But here’s the problem: we don’t like having home teachers. Frankly our schedule is already packed with work and kids and life, and the last thing we want to do is to clean up and take time out to have them over to share a First Presidency message that we’ve already read. I know that our current HTs won’t really understand, but I want to tell them to spend their time visiting people who really need it and leave us alone. Is that cool?
Agreeable. Home teaching is about serving one another, not making lives unnecessarily more complicated. Feel free to have a frank conversation about your family’s real needs and how your home teachers can best serve them. At the same time, remember that the sociability among the saints plays a big part in making church wonderful. The ties that bind don’t develop if you don’t get to know people at more than a superficial level. Things are going well now but it would be good to have a comfortable relationship with your brothers in the gospel should you ever need to call on them for help. Monthly First Presidency messages can feel stale, but quarterly joint service projects would be good for your family, home teachers who want to feel useful and some of those people you mentioned who could really use the help.