Utah is a unique microcosm. Different from almost any other place in the world because of the overwhelming influence of the Mormon church in personal and public settings. Those who do move into Utah from elsewhere are often overwhelmed by the initial experience of encountering their new Mormon neighbors. While those of us who have left Mormonism continue to be bombarded by the long tentacles of Mormonism at every turn. As an aid to those of us living in Utah...I wanted to give guidance on how to handle these close encounters.
Close Encounters Of A 1st Kind: This is the most common category of close encounter. It involves sensing something from a Mormon while in a public place. It could be a quick turn of a head from someone who saw you drinking an adult beverage in a public restaurant. The avoidance of eye contact from someone you know who sees you drinking out of a Styrofoam cup. That subtle judgmental expression you may receive as you mow your lawn on a Sunday morning as your neighbors drive off to church. Encounters of this type are very slight but evident...more a feeling or a perception - anything like that fits into this section. If you experience this kind of encounter...it is best to raise your adult beverage in the direction of the Mormon and give them a wink of your eye or a flip of your middle finger.
Close Encounters Of A 2nd Kind: A bit deeper than the 1st kind, to have a 2nd class encounter you must have experienced a personal invasion of your private space by a Mormon. You see Mormons are raised to believe that there is no such thing as personal boundaries. Their personal boundaries are violated so often by their own ecclesiastical leaders through invasive interviews through out their own lives that they see nothing wrong with invading others rights to enjoyment of public spaces. You have experienced a close encounter of the 2nd kind if you have been asked to alter your activity or behavior while in a public setting. This close encounter would come in a direct communication to you such as “Could you please refrain from using that kind of language in front of me” or “I saw you jogging without your garments on, What were you thinking?” This kind of encounter is generally best handled by telling the Mormon who wants to alter your behavior to “Fuck Off”.
Close Encounters Of A 3rd Kind: Violation of your most personal private space is involved in this class of encounter. You’ll know that you have had a close encounter of the third kind if you’ve been sitting in the privacy of your own home enjoying a quiet moment reading Carl Sagan’s book “ A Demon Haunted World” or watching an HBO “R” rated movie while enjoying a cold beer, when the door bell rings. This unannounced invasion of your personal space by members of the local bishopric or home teachers is the most common encounter of the third kind. If you do encounter this kind of encounter...it is best dealt with by merely shutting your door in the faces of these unannounced intruders and kindly telling them to stay the Fuck out of your life.
Close Encounters Of A 4th Kind: The rarest of Close Encounters, a class 4 encounter relates to an experience involving personal contact or communication with a Mormon priesthood leader or apologist. These Clashe of the Titan moments are rare because the only thing those who have left Mormonism want is to be left alone. However, members of the Mormon Church can not get this reality through their thick white and delightsome heads. So after having experienced close encounters of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd kind repeatedly, the non-believer generally seeks out an encounter of the 4th kind. These types of encounters are usually an errand in futility... but damn they sure make you feel great after finally being able to kick some major Mormon ass. Just being able to articulate all the reasons to a Mormon of authority as to why Mormonism is NOT what it claims to be can be exhilarating.
Close Encounters Of A 5th Kind: This class of encounter is sometimes used to define Abduction cases involving Mormons. This is perhaps the most insidious encounter. You will know that you have experienced an encounter of the 5th kind if the minds and souls of your family no longer respond to logic, facts and reality when Mormonism is being discussed. In these sad situations your family has been abducted by Mormonism.