My Discussion With a Missionary Who Has Too Much Free Time

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I help administer a website called Answerbag. The premise of the site is that individuals may submit questions on any topic and other individuals may respond with answers. In addition, individuals may rate the answers. In time, others may be able to determine based on the ratings how reliable an answer is. It is the ever-cheap-LDS answer to Google Answers.

The Mormon section is one of the high traffic areas. It is also one of the most energetic and explosive areas. This is partly due to the over-representation of born-again Christians and LDS teenage boys. One of the things the born-agains and the teenage boys do not like is having their answers rated with anything other than 100%. Their response to anything other than 100% ratings, of course, is to go and rate poorly otherwise useful and informative answers given by others.

I am a prolific poster there with my number of answers rapidly approaching 400 and the number of ratings over 500. Naturally, I have received more than one ?¢‚Ǩ?ìnegative?¢‚Ǩ¬ù rating and it does not affect me as much as it does some of the aforementioned parties. The times it affects me the most is when I am blatantly correct in my answer and someone insists I am not. Nevertheless, at over 500 ratings, the occasional negative one does not seem to affect my overall rating percentage, so it is no sweat off my nose.

At the risk of sounding as if I am rambling, I will get to my point. Earlier this week, one individual decided to take great offence to one of the ratings I gave to his less than eloquent response. Not only did he expectedly rate me poorly, he decided to write me an email. He informed me he was a missionary.

The first email seemed innocent enough but contained the declaration that I was prideful. It also revealed to me that he was intent on ridding the world of half-truths about the Church, and he inquired what my purpose on the site was. I politely replied to inform him that I was not prideful, that he will not be effective at ridding the world of half-truths by using the internet as his medium and that my purpose at Answerbag was to answer questions, and as an administrator, review submissions. I also suggested that refraining from childishly belittling other churches would go further to keeping the Church?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s image clean.

The second email from this missionary suggested that I had received my administrative responsibilities because of a bribe; that he was now a mission president; that being an Alpha Male now replaced my pride; that I was dishonest; and that I did not give out enough referrals to the full-time missionaries. My response was an attempt to assure him that I was neither dishonest nor an Alpha Male and that I, in fact, had a gospel discussion with my chiropractor the night before. I also pointed out that based on his grammar, it was doubtful that he was a mission president.

The third email established that his purpose in writing me was to ?¢‚Ǩ?ìpump me up?¢‚Ǩ¬ù. He said I did not have any ?¢‚Ǩ?ìballs?¢‚Ǩ¬ù and that my emails to him were taking up ?¢‚Ǩ?ìvaluable bashing time?¢‚Ǩ¬ù. He also revealed that I was the ?¢‚Ǩ?ìbiggest wuss?¢‚Ǩ¬ù he had ever seen, preachy (imagine that, a missionary calling me preachy) and ignorant (ironically, I believe he was not using it in the true sense of the word, referring to me as unlearned). Naturally, I responded to him that I need no pumping up. I told him the he was under no obligation to read my responses in the conversation that he initiated; if he felt it was a waste of his time, it was because he was not using his time wisely. I also informed him that I was neither preachy, ignorant nor a wuss. Oh and I told him that I was not taking sides in the ?¢‚Ǩ?ìwar?¢‚Ǩ¬ù of his, and that I was doubtful that the Lord was either.

The final email in this fiasco stated that I was now perfect?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùmind you it was said sarcastically?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùfunny, still the biggest wuss, scared, nerdy, hiding, hypocritical, cowardly, fence sitting and boring. He qualified the scared declaration with the apparent fact that the Spirit revealed this to him. He finished off the email by saying he was the son of Hugh Nibley. I assured him that none of the qualities he suggested I had were one I actually did. I also pointed out that fact that Hugh Nibley is 94-years-old; however, I also pointed out that since he was a mission president, it would make sense that his father would be 94-years-old.

I love it when people decide they want to start a inflammatory discussion with me. It is always so easy to point out the holes in their logic and the fallacies in their discussion. Unfortunately, intelligent people never initiate these dialogues. I wonder why that is.