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The other day, as my daughter was sitting on a bench catching some sun before her music lesson at the University of Cincinnati, two young women came up to her.
“Hi,” one of them said, “what are you doing?” She was obviously the more talkative of the two.
My daughter’s mind was racing. Do I know these women? I don’t think I know them, but maybe I do. No, I don’t know them at all, she realized as she answered their question. “Studying French.”
“What other classes do you take?” The talkative young woman wore a short–sleeved maroon t-shirt with a long flowing floral skirt.
“I don’t go to school here,” my daughter said. “I’m in high school. Do you go here?”
“No,” the floral-skirted woman answered. “We’re Mormons. We travel around the country talking to people.”
It was then that my daughter realized that these women were trying to convert her. She took it in stride. The three of them talked a few more minutes about this and that.
Somewhere in their brief conversation, they asked my daughter what religion she was and she told them that she was Jewish and was happy to be Jewish. After that the young women must have realized that it was time to move on. They said their goodbyes.
As they walked away toward a small group of students sitting on the steps of a nearby building, my daughter thought about how many strangers they must talk to in a day. How often do they find a person interested in becoming a Mormon and how many times a day are they rebuked? she wondered.
“The young women,” she told me that night as we sat at our kitchen table having a cup of Earl Gray tea, “were very happy spending their days talking to people about their religion. They told me that they had grown up Mormon and that they knew exactly how to live their lives because the Bible tells them all the answers.”
My daughter was amazed by the women’s strong set of beliefs. “‘All the answers,’ she said to me. Wow.” And then she took another sip of tea.