Fun fact: I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormon, for short. Mormons and JW’s are not the same. They are, in fact, very different.
I am an EMT, which means I spend several hours sitting next to another person in the cab of a van, interrupted only briefly by other people’s emergencies. With this in mind, a normal person hopes for a decent partner for the day to make the shift tolerable. My boss, bless his heart, knew that I was a Mormon. With this knowledge he decided that this other EMT who was a JW would be a great partner for me, because we were the same.
The problem is- we are not the same religion, and even if we were- that does not mean that we will be instant BFF’s. That is not how friendship works.
Anyway. This shift started out very uneventful. A toothache, a stubbed toe, a knee that had been hurting for a decade. Simple calls. But then we had some downtime on a post, during which we were swapping stories of our time on the road. It was during this time that the shift took a turn.
I told my partner the following story:
My partner and I were responding to a belligerent intox with the police department. RPD had the patient restrained upon our arrival, and he was yelling and spitting at them. They got him onto our stretcher and re-cuffed him to the stretcher so we could do our jobs safely. The patient continued to thrash and yell profanities, but that was normal. My partner, however, once the doors of the back shut, told the man that if he was more like me then he would not be in this predicament. My partner went on to tell him that I was a Mormon, and therefore did not consume alcohol. He also told him that he needed Jesus in his life.
It was my partner’s next question that made this story- he asked me if I had my Book of Mormon in my backpack. I did, so he got it out and asked “Where’s the best place to start?” To which I replied, “Probably the beginning..” and so my partner opened the Book to 1 Nephi and began reading. He read the Book of Mormon to this angry, drunk man all the way to the hospital (a good 15 minutes).
This was meant to be humorous, however it opened a pandora’s box of questions and glares that I was not intending it to. My partner then commenced to interrogate me the rest of the 10 hours about my religion and why we believed the things that we did. She challenged my faith with scriptures from the Bible, told me I was wrong, and made me feel disheartened by her attacking nature. I was texting my boyfriend through this, and he reminded me that she was trying to make me feel wrong and stupid for my faith because it was different than hers and she did not fully understand or accept this fact. So the day trudged on, I defended my faith to this person to the best of my ability…it was EXHAUSTING!
It was what happened at the end of the shift that really shocked me. She came up and told me that she ENJOYED working with me. I looked at her, with as shocked a face that one can muster when being that mentally and physically exhausted, and she replied to the look that “it is rare to find someone this age with any type of faith, and even more rare to find someone who can defend theirs with the tenacity that you have. It was refreshing to work with you.” And I was speechless. Needless to say, I have not picked up a full shift with this person since, but we did work a standby together and we talked about music instead of church and it was much less exhausting.
Long story short: Mormons are Mormons, not JW.