Friday, February 1, 2008

religious fervour

Tonight on TV there is a program about the Mormons. Part of it covers the missionaries and their training. The training at a special college is more intense than that for an insurance salesman.

I recall working on my WW2 jeep on my back with oil and grease and dirt all over and two of the blackties approached me down the driveway...."Hi that an army jeep? It's a beauty!' said one whilst the other lad positioned himself ready to start the spiel. "Yes and no thanks" was all they got from me. Tonight on the TV show I saw the training with exactly that approach.

Another time when I was Teacher in Charge of a school in the Gulf of Papua in 1962, sitting on the steps of my one-roomed donga looking out to sea when I saw a white man walking past on the beach. Someone to talk to! I yelled and he stopped and looked at me; walked toward me and as he approached started telling me he was on a mission for God. A bloody Jehovah's! Even though he was going to give me a serving of the bible I invited him to stay the night. As I recall he wasn't too heavy and he may have had a beer?

Teaching high school back in Western Australia I have taught a number of Plymouth Brethren kids. They are easy to pick out in a crowd. The girls wear denim skirts and have long hair with a head scarf. The girls are not allowed to study academic subjects. The boys look very vegan somehow and always get employment within a large circle of Sect businesses. When they were in the government education system they were not allowed to eat with other humans and at lunchtime a string of people movers arrived at the school to take them away for lunch. They are not allowed to have or view computers. Any member of the sect who opts out is denounced and not allowed to talk to family remaining in the sect.

I taught genetics to a year 10 class in which there were five 'Brevo' members. I had to announce at the start of each lesson whether I was going to mention anything concerning sex. They would get up and leave if we were going to get a bit rude. Lots of fun with that one!

I could go on with stories about AOGs, Seven Day Adventists, Methodists and Catholics, but I won't, because some of my friends belong in that lot.

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