Is This Appropriate?

Last night before I left work, I stopped to talk to my boss. He asked me about a few days I had requested off. While we were talking about it, I brought up the fact that the reason I would need those days off is because I am getting sealed in the Boise temple to my husband who I am currently civilly married to.

After a long pause and some awkward paper shuffling he said, "Let me just ask you one the Bible it says that Jesus himself said there would be no marriage in Heaven. So why do Mormons think that they need to be sealed for time and all eternity?"

I honestly didn't know. I just said, "I don't know, I'll have to read that scripture and get back to you." He is a Roman - Catholic. During our hour long conversation, he asked me a bunch of questions and talked about Jesus a lot. He had the missionary discussions a long time ago, but never joined the church. He has been surrounded by Mormons his whole life, so he knew all my canned answers. Which are really the only ones I can spout off when I am cornered by my boss. I am very bad at talking to Anti-Mormons. I have no witty comebacks, and I haven't memorized the Bible and Book of Mormon so that I can recite scriptures and explain it all right then and there. It wasn't until after our conversation that I finally remembered all the answers, but by then it was too late. We dicussed the fact that the Bible was translated by people who weren't even around Jesus during his life, or how could we take the words of Jesus at face value since they were written by someone else entirely. We talked about more books of the Bible, and I explained as best as I could. Some things we agreed on, sometimes it seemed like he was de-bunking his own faith in favor of Non-Denominational Christianity. All in all, it was an awkward debate masquerading as a "discussion" between two adults. Afterwards I felt stronger in my faith, but a little hurt even still. He mentioned that the girl who worked there before me was also LDS. She had gotten pregnant and moved to the Midwest so her husband could go to dental school. Yes, the classic Mormon story. Apparently they too had a talk, and she said all the same things I did I am sure.

Anyway, I could talk about what our little "debate" was all day. But the question I have is - Was this appropriate for a boss to ask these questions and start talking about faith in work? It's not like he was attacking me, but he also wasn't having a calm civilized conversation with tolerance and objectivity. He was questioning my faith and trying to prove it wrong by "citing" examples. Maybe I just felt uncomfortable - but does anyone else encounter this?

By the way, I asked my husband about the "no marriage in Heaven" thing, and what it means is that you can't get married in Heaven because someone has to do the work for you here on Earth. Rather, marriage must be done on Earth, it cannot be done in Heaven. I wish my husband were inside my head during times like that.


sunlize said...

I say that it's inappropriate. Especially because your boss and you are not equals in the workplace. I think it's fine to say that you're getting married in the temple, and I think his response should have been, "That's nice" or even "Oh" if he wasn't thrilled about it. Religious debates or discussions are fine outside of work. I think it would be okay to discuss religion or politics with a coworker outside of work, but I'm not sure if I would do the same with my boss. Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

It's not appropriate. I know the feeling because something very similar happened to me. My boss from a job about 4 years ago found out I was LDS and began questioning everything in a similar way.

Eventually I was treated differently because I wouldn't agree with him. It sucked.

Oh, and I know the feeling about not knowing the right answers at the right time. I wish my husband had ESP sometimes LOL.

Brian Phelps said...

I sincerely appreciate your feeling of not quite being "all-Mormon." I am a convert of 17 years, married in the temple, and still don't quite fit the mold. For example, I still -- am I terrible? -- go skinny-dipping when I'm backpacking and no one's around.

I don't volunteer to help the Elders proselytize during the week as I have two businesses to run, a 1 1/2 acre yard to care for, four young sons at home, and two callings already. I could be at church a lot more than I am. Sometimes I think -- am I going to hell? -- that Church leaders forget that Church is to enable us to live, not that we live to go to, be at, and participate in Church activities.

When they went around Elders Quorum and asked each of us to name our Book of Mormon hero, I embarrassingly took a pass. My heroes are live human beings who are out there doing it now.

I'm in Young Men's now, but I heard the Elders asked last week in the Sunday quorum meeting what our dream job is. My answer: no job. I hate jobs. I've had more than 30 of them, thank you.

I'm endowed and get to the temple about once every 3 or 4 months. I wear my garments, though I'm a bit quick to doff them when it's 100 degrees outside and I have yard work to do.

Sign me, The imperfect, still learning humility, Mormon.

Marsha said...

I agree that it was inappropriate. I also think it's inappropriate for employees or bosses to bring up religious debates during work hours with other co-workers or with their clients or patients.
I'm going to be vulnerable here, so I hope I don't get blasted...up front, I am not a Mormon.
I am a patient of a Mormon health professional. Early on in my relationship with this health professional, there were some issues going on in my church that had me bugged and I vented to him about it because the stress was affecting his treatment of me. He took the opportunity to try to convert me over to the LDS. I have convictions otherwise and when I told him I wasn't interested, he wanted to know why. Well, one thing led to another and before we knew it we were debating and arguing and it was counter productive to what he was supposed to accomplish with me as a patient. I will be totally honest here...because he was so adamant about his position, it made me all the more determined about mine. Then God convicted me of what I was doing. I went back to him and appologized for arguing and debating. Told him I was wrong to do it and that I wouldn't do it anymore with him. He in turn appologized to me for doing the same thing and said he learned it was the wrong thing to discuss religion with his patients at work and wouldn't be doing that anymore. Since then, we have become good friends.
The thing that is difficult, is that when someone, be it Mormon, Baptist, JW,...whoever it is invites another to come to their church and if the person knows they can't go along with the doctrine of that church and declines, then the other usually wants to know why. When they hear the reason, they become defensive and then you end up with issues. So, what's the can we explain our differences and still be friends? Is it possible?

Marsha said...

From Brian's post above:"Church leaders forget that Church is to enable us to live, not that we live to go to, be at, and participate in Church activities."

Even some Christian churches have this problem. They claim, "Something for every member of the family!" Read between the lines...Every member of the family will be so busy running different directions that you won't have time for anything else, let alone your own family!

I am so thankful for the church we found. Just the basics...nothing more. We don't get entertained and are not smothered with weekly activities but we get taught the Bible, are encouraged to study and read materials at home and learn as much as we can. We have time to spend with our children each evening, reading the Bible & other worthwhile books and in prayer. The only times we don't have time to do this is if we goof up and don't make it a priority. We are encouraged to obey what God commands of us in our daily lives and our dealings with others. It's really great.

Anonymous said...

Maybe your boss truly cares for you and wants to make sure you know what you are getting into. Just because someone only believes in the bible and has questions for you doesn't mean they are anti-mormon. All religions think they follow the true church and all religions suffer from forms of prosecution, not just mormons. Your boss probably wants you to be careful of any secret ceremonies because he is worried about your eternal salvation, as any follower of Jesus would be.

Good Luck!

Raymond Teodo a.k.a. was_bedeutet_jemanden said...

I personally don't see a problem with talking about religious views with your boss, probably because sharing the Gospel has become so natural to me; I'm used to it. What I probably wouldn't agree with is if you had already told him previously that you do not wish to discuss such matters and he keeps it up. That's not respecting your wishes, and that isn't right.

And by the way: Don't worry if you can't think of "witty comebacks" or if you can't come up with an answer to every concern your boss might have. It is the spirit that should do the teaching, and the spirit will help you bring things to your memory, in the right place and at the right time. Usually, if I have no answer for my friends (or work colleagues with concerns about the church), I just bear them my testimony, because i know that that helps bring the spirit into the room.

Just continue to read and study and pray, and the Lord will help you increase your Gospel knowledge. And if by then you STILL don't feel comfortable in talking about such things with your boss and he continues to bring religion up in your conversations, I'm sure there are appropriate channels within the workplace which you can go to to make a complaint.

All the best!

Raymond Teodo

Anonymous said...

It's kind of hard to judge without having actually heard the conversation. It's possible that he was just genuinely interested in learning what you had to say in response to questions he has about your religion. I don't think there's anything wrong with that; it's not something I would do at work, but to each his own.

I've experienced this problem from the other side of the fence - being grilled about why I left the church by Mormon employers and co-workers. I understand this questioning to a point, but don't so much appreciate the constant comments from my boss about how he would give me a raise, give me time off or promote me if I would become an active member again.

My own opinion, just because people raise questions or are even critical of the church does not mean they are anti-mormon. I hate the anti-mormon label. I don't understand why so many church members are unable to engage in a serious intellectual debate about the church without feeling like they are being persecuted.

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