If only you had been a better ghost
“I’m going to fix myself a nice, hot cup of coffee,” I snicker childishly, “Would anyone else like one? Coffee is so tasty and warm and it’s such a pick me up on a chilly winter’s day.”
This was the Mormons’ fourth missionary visit to our flat. I had made a point of testing their faith whenever they came over. I’d start by offering them hard liquor and continue by asking moronic questions about their afterlife: apparently Dr Banner would be welcome in the Celestial Kingdom but the Hulk would have to be left at home.
Their first visit had been in my absence when flatmate, Spoons, who has a uncomplicated mind, had been coerced into letting them in. To this day I wonder what they had told him via the entry phone. Apparently their religion invests in them Derrn Brown-like powers of persuasion and even picking up the phone to them was like looking into the eyes of the gorgon.
Bashfully, Spoons had told me of the Mormons’ first visit. Still more bashfully, he told me that they would join us every Wednesday evening until (a) we were converted or (b) they were converted. One second they had been wondering freaks taking pause on the doormat, the next they had become regular parts of our lives.
“What were you thinking, Spoons?” I ask, appealing to what approaches reason in him, “You’re a Catholic! Your god must be spinning in his grave.”
Spoons assured me that the Mormons’ regular attempts at conversion would be a good test of his Catholicism and my Atheism and besides, the Mormons were all women and they were really, really, hot.
“Hot Mormon women?”
“Yeah,” said Spoons, crossing his heart and hoping to die, sticking a needle in his eye, “One of them looked like Gillian Anderson. She was stunning”.
Four visits later, I have still not seen the Mormon that looks like Gillian Anderson. Either the Mormons save their best-looking Missionaries for inaugural visits or Spoons had lied to placate me.
The three women who regularly visited us, while not bad looking, had impossible-to-offend, glazed-over demeanours as though their souls had been laminated. They wore the same facial expression chosen by Cliff Richard an a few of the more attractive Autons. One of them, Sister Audrey, had a slightly squiffy eye and would often go on hysterical tangents about how great Joseph Smith was and she would have to be reigned in by the other two: Sister Winnie and Sister Kate. Yes, Sister Audrey was the hottest. If they were to convert me, Sister Audrey would surely be my Fanny Alger.
I had initially decided to sit out of their conversations with Spoons, opting instead to sit on the other side of the room, smoking cigars and drinking coffee and masturbating. The Mormons did not respond to this no matter how loudly I coughed to get their attention.
I don’t know if it was their Derren Brown Powers or if it had something to do with Sister Audrey’s squiffy eye, but as I earwigged their conversations, it became all too tempting to join in.
The ‘lesson’ I remember most fondly is the one about the various levels of Mormon afterlife. I remember them saying there is no Hell to worry about but there are levels of Heaven called ‘Degrees of Glory’. After you die, you become a ghost. The quality of your hauntings are judged by someone and then you are allowed into one of three classes of heaven.
The best class of heaven is called the Celestial Kingdom. They have everything there: extra legroom and sexier stewardesses. Your meals are all-inclusive and the toilets are clean. The two ‘coach’ classes of heaven, behind the curtain, are certainly not bad but if you’re in one of them you probably can’t help but wonder how things might have been different if only you had been a better ghost.
Sister Audrey explained the three classes of heaven as three stars in the night sky, the Celestial Kingdom being the most brightly-burning. This metaphor confused me for ages: I genuinely thought for a number of weeks that Mormon heaven was a physical place in outer space, like something a Scientologist might believe. Interestingly, I find this less mad. I think L. Ron Hubbard would kick Joseph Smith’s ass in a fight.
I’ve since discovered that Mormon ghosts do not fly off into outer space. I have also discovered that the Sisters lied about there being no hell: the lower class of heaven – the Telestial Kingdom – is indeed a shithole for cunts.
As the weeks passed, I asked Spoons how the hell we were going to get rid of the Sisters.
“The same way I get rid of anyone I don’t like,” said Spoons, “I wait until one of us dies”.
Even then, I protested, you would not be free. You’d probably end up sitting next to one of them in the Celestial Kingdom.
“Robert, I doubt you’d end up in the Celestial Kingdom,” said Spoons.
He is wrong. I’l be there. Life is cruel that way.
In the end, Spoons and I did a far more heroic thing than wait for death. We eventually moved house.
“Coffee is so tasty and warm and it’s such a pick me up on a chilly winter’s day,” I say to the Mormons on that fourth visit, “Oh! But Mormons can’t have stimulants. How silly of me, I’m sorry. Slurp, yum”.
“Actually,” said Sister Kate, “We only abstain while we’re on Missionary duties.”
I’ve since discovered that is a lie too. Those lying Mormons. If there is one thing I learned from their lessons, it is where liars go when they die. Burn in Narnia, you not-bad-looking lunatics.