Sorry Roommates, the Mormons are Coming

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Sometimes you take a flier for eyebrow threading and toss it in the garbage on the corner and you're not sure why. Your defenses were down, perhaps, or you were feeling charitable, or out of sorts, far from home, lonely, disarmed by something the distributor said, by his face.

Elder Mellor, pale in his long black coat, caught me at a vulnerable moment. He and another 23-ish-year-old black-coated man were taking long strides down Broadway, towards me. The reporter inside me wanted to know: investment bankers or Mormons? Ah shit, the latter, and the tall one caught me looking. Elder Mellor pivoted behind me, caught up in two strides and was walking with me, introducing himself.

"Have you read the Bible?" he asked me. I made a ceremonious attempt to swat him aside -- "Yeah, but actually, I'm Jewish." -- but the fact of the matter is, I was not ungrateful for some human interaction on the strange, cold Upper West Side.

"Right on," he said, and started in on the talk: The Book of Mormon is basically the sequel to the Old Testament, told by a living prophet. This living prophet (who, to be clear, is neither L. Ron Hubbard nor Mitt Romney) wrote the Book of Mormon to prove to his followers that he was real. "Because if your friend told you he could jump 20 feet in the air, you'd want to see proof, right?"

It was painful to answer that juvenile a question, but whatevs, approaching strangers on the street is hard, and this kid was impressive. When he asked if he could come give me a book and explain it sometime, he called me "sister," and I gave him my address. Our address. So all I'm saying is, that might not be the Chinese food deliveryman.

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