A conversation in my Spanish class today, between Me and Dude I Suspected Of Being Mormon:
Me: Did you just learn Spanish in school or have you lived in a Spanish-speaking country?
DISOBM: Actually, I first learned Spanish when I was living in Central America for a couple years.
Me: Really? Where in Central America?
DISOBM: Honduras. Yeah, I was there from '01 to '03, then I went back and did a couple of internships in the summers of '04 and '05*.
Me: Cool. So those last two trips were internships. What were you doing the first time?
DISOBM: Oh, that first time I went as a religious missionary.
Me: LDS? [Assuming that if he's not he won't catch the reference.]
DISOBM: [Raising eyebrows] Yeah, are you LDS too?
Me: Yeah. Well, I used to be.
[Later in the conversation...]
Dude I Now Knew Was Mormon: You said you used to be LDS? So, um, have you just not gone in a while or did you, you know, stop going?
Me: I left.
DINKWM: Like, when you were a teenager?
Me: No, just in the last couple years. I actually served a mission in Spain.
DINKWM: Oh, okay. I thought your Spanish was too good to have learned in school.
Me: Yeah, my wife is still actively LDS.
DINKWM: Have you joined some other church or organization now?
Me: No. I was attending the United Church of Christ for a while, but now I'm pretty agnostic.
DINKWM: It's funny. When you first walked in the room, I thought, that guy looks like he could be Mormon.
This is the first time I've had this conversation. Since leaving the church I've been a little nervous to meet Mormons and explain that I used to be one. I was worried that they would immediately grill me on why I left the church, looking for the concern they could resolve and bring me back into the fold. Or else, like, not want to talk to me at all. But at the same time, I knew that if I met a Mormon I'd want to let him or her in on the fact that we have a bit of shared history. I was relieved today that my classmate seemed just as happy as me to have something in common to talk about, and he didn't seem to feel a need to reconvert me, at least not in this first conversation.
As for me looking Mormon, I'm okay with that. It probably had to do with my recently cut and neatly combed hair, my clean shaven face, and the white undershirt showing beneath my collar. I happen to find that clean-cut Mormon missionary look attractive, so I'll take his associating me with it as a compliment.
*Dates have been changed to protect those lacking photographic memories.