After just six months of missionary work in a suburb of Philadelphia, two Mormon missionaries, Abner and Zebediah, returned to their homes in Ogden, Utah.
Their families were startled by the young men's premature return. Typically Mormon missionaries spend a year or more in faraway places, trying to win people to the one true faith.
Abner and Zebediah decided it would be easier to explain if they called their families together and talked as a pair. So that's what they did. The Abner family, 16 in all (very tired mother) and the Zeb family, 10 in all and still counting (very tired mother) convened in the basement of the nearest Mormon church.
Abner said, "We have gathered you together tonight to tell you all that Zeb and I have seen the light. We have become Druids."
Some family members gasped.
Zeb said: "We were slogging door to door in a middle class neighborhood. We came to this house with a nice lady inside who gave us pie and cider and told us that the god we worship is temperamental, jealous, has a spotty record on environmentalism, and allowed the Romans to torture his own son."
Zeb's little Mormon brother peeped: "Yeah! In the Bible it says, 'I am a jealous god!' So Zeb's gotta be right!"
Abner continued: "The lady said that her religion is filled with kind Goddesses and totemic animals -- and Gods too -- and that it seeks to honor those deities by preserving the earth and celebrating the lives of those who came before us."
To which Zeb added: "Well, heck's sake, we Mormons already steep ourselves to the gills in genealogy. So why not set aside one night a year to pray to all those folks whose names we've traced back all the way to the Magna Carta?"
"This is blasphemy!" roared Zeb's father. (Zeb's mother just sighed and tried to keep her eyes open.)
"Now here's something really wonderful," said Abner, ignoring the interruption. "The nice lady said that if we follow her faith, we wouldn't have to abstain from mastur ... mastur .... massssturrr ... uhhhh ... turtle dove love. Because there's nothing sinful about having an urge to think about ssssss..... ssssss..... sssssss..."
"Remember, Abner, we practiced this part," Zeb said.
"There's nothing sinful about turtle dove love!" Abner exclaimed.
"It serves as a natural population control, to say nothing of allowing young teenage boys to blow off steam so they can concentrate on something besides controlling their sexu...... ssssss....."
"What's turtle dove love?" asked Abner's younger brother.
"Jerking off," replied Zeb's equally younger brother.
"Aren't we supposed to not do that?" asked yet another pinch-faced teenage brother.
"Well, being free to engage in turtle dove love is just one little side benefit of Druidism," Zeb explained. "Druids encourage their followers not to over-populate the planet..."
This caused the boys' moms to perk up for a moment.
"And their festivals aren't all about drinking Jesus blood or worshipping torture. They're all about being really kind and warm and loving, and enjoying yourself as long as no one gets hurt and the furniture doesn't get stained."
"What was that last part?" Abner's dumbfounded father asked.
"He got it wrong," Abner answered. "He meant, 'An thou harm none, do what thou wilt.' And if you can't say anything else about that sentiment, at least you can say that it'll save the kids a lot of memorizing verses from the Book of Mormon."
The little kids all started to cheer and asked how they could sign up to be Druids. The moms converted right on the spot. The teenaged boys rushed off for some alone time. The girls contemplated a life that included more than diapering one baby after the next after the next.
And then Anne woke up, and it was time to make supper.