Saturday, July 01, 2006

A Seed Has Been Planted

When my inlaws came to town, they asked if they could take my daughter to church with them. I was unsure. Chloe adores her Grandparents and they wield heavy influence over her. Her grandparents love the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Mormons) and can’t contain themselves when given an opportunity to proselytize. I tolerate their rantings because I, too, adore them and I am comfortably secure in my agnostic cocoon. Chloe, on the other hand, will follow them to the end of the world if given a chance. Most six-year-olds do not hold the power of critical thinking.

I gave in. Sure, go ahead (maybe I’ll get laid this morning). Instead I gardened and George slept blissfully, unaware of what terror we were to face that day and for many days later.

In a matter of three hours, my delightful child had been brainwashed. Doubtful that the kindly primary teacher could wield such power, I was convinced that throughout Sacrament meeting, Primary opening exercises and the rides to and from Church, her grandparents were giving Chloe a crash course on the Gospel. She came home bouncing off the walls from the sugar she’d been consuming and a newfound knowledge of Christ.

“Mom, Mom,” she breathlessly declared, “I know about God and they talked about Jesus and look at this picture I drew… it says Jesus loves me backwards and if I put my face in this hole and look at the mirror it’s talking about me and I need some scriptures because I’m supposed to have scriptures at church and LOOK, I got this HUGE bag of CANDY.” Whew.

Okay kid, accept Christ as your Lord and Savior and have some candy.

George tried to balance her overzealousness on a level that she could understand. “Chloe, do you know how you like to play with your disappear friends (that’s how Chloe refers to anything make believe)? Jesus is Grandpa and Grandma’s special disappear friend. In fact, he’s many people’s special disappear friend.”

“Oh.” She exclaimed as she thoughtfully nodded her head.

Now eat your candy.

2 comments:

  1. My kids got candy at our Protestant church in the States. Sad when it becomes a bribery thing. (It never was for our kids - just an added bonus.)

    Back in missionary times in China over a hundred years ago, they called converts who came into the fold because of the food involved, "Rice Christians."

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  2. I should clarify that I don't really believe that her Sunday school teacher was trying to bribe her. I taught that same class for many years and I doled out plenty of candy. I adored my students and took great pleasure in making them happy. So I didn't really appreciate how hard it is on parents when their kids get out of Sunday school bouncing off the walls on their sugar highs.

    And in spite of my cynicism towards religion and my disbelief, I enjoy attending church immensely. The community it offers is priceless. I just struggle with that the thing that draws most together, is also usually the thing that separates them from the "others".

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