The Book of Mormon opens on a doorstep very much like your own.

The smash Broadway musical, making a six-day Portland run this week, begins with the clear-eyed, full-hearted, short-sleeved protagonists learning how to spread their faith by doorbell at a Salt Lake City training center. Coached up, the fresh-faced Mormon boys are sent to convert hostile Ugandans with only their magic underwear and fanfiction wherein the biblical Jesus Christ has new adventures in the ancient Americas.

Hilarity, as it's wont to do, ensues.

But let's say you see the play and don't hear anything else about the angel Moroni. Or, let's say you don't want to hear anything from anyone on your doorstep. Who does, right? Yet, as Portlanders, we mustn't be unduly rude, even if we have important television programs to watch. So we asked four confirmed door-knockers about the most polite yet expedient way to get them the hell off your porch. Here's what they said.

Girl Scouts: Claim you're on a diet. 

"The most helpful response from the girl's point of view is to tell her honestly why you are not interested in buying. However, if you don't have time to explain, the best standard response in my book is that you are trying to eat healthy and don't eat cookies anymore. It is a common response I heard that didn't offend me or hurt my feelings, and I respected customers’ healthy dietary goals.” 

—Julie Sygiel, former Girl Scout who sold 10,000 boxes of cookies over 12 years and now owns Dear Kate, maker of leak-proof women's underwear.

Jehovah's Witnesses: Just tell them you're not interested.

"Be polite, with a smile and say, 'I'm really not interested right now, but thank you for coming today.' To be real, I've actually told people that before, co-workers and non-Witness friends who ask what they should say if they're not interested. We have a job to do by talking to people and finding ones that are interested. It's their prerogative!” 

—Jehovah's Witnesses friend who asked not to be identified.

Fuller Brush Salesmen: Sorry, no thanks. 

"Well, gosh, I dunno. I guess just tell him that you're really not interested. Wow, I dunno. If there was someone that came around that I really didn't want to talk to, that's what I'd tell him."

—Judy, telephone customer-service representative for Fuller Brush Company. (A local salesman and company manager did not return calls for comment.)

Mormons: In areas with heavy missionary presence, keep copies of their literature by your door.

"When missionaries knock on your door, and they will, tell them you've already been given a notarized copy of the Book of Mormon. Like any good Mormon, I've already highlighted my favorite parts.... P.S. As goofy as this whole thing sounds, it's true. There's no way in hell some 17-year-old boy wrote this. Plus, it made me a better person.” 

—Inscription in a Book of Mormon given to the author several years ago.

Headout Picks


[MUSIC] The prolific experimentalist and ex-Yellow Swan returns to Portland, and he’s brought a set of mangled near-techno with him. Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St., 239-7639. 8:30 pm. $6. 21+.


[MUSIC] Like the pre-fame White Stripes and the Stones before them, the L.A. sextet look back to the ’50s and ’60s, where the group harvests the sounds of Chuck Berry guitar riffs, doo-wop and surf, and filters them through a sieve that sounds like a mash-up of a Casey Kasem playlist, regional garage heroes and Morphine. World Famous Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick St., 285-3718. 9 pm. Free. 21+.
[MOVIES] Five Allen classics (Annie Hall, Manhattan, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Hannah and Her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanors), all in 35 mm. It’s the most fun you’ll have without laughing. Except you probably will. Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave. Various showtimes. $6 for one, $9 for two, $12 for three.
[TV] Fred and Carrie are back...and this time it’s the 1790s! Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan St., 7 pm (under 21 permitted with legal guardian) and 10 pm (21+). Free.


[MUSIC] The titular bandleader may be the least famous member of her own trio, as it comprises legendary guitarist Bill Frisell and the inventive drummer Brian Blade. But Scheinman, as a violinist, arranger and composer, has a versatile résumé of her own. Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan St., 223-4527. 7 pm (under 21 permitted with legal guardian) and 9:30 pm (21+). $25 .


[BOOKS] The celebrated sci-fi author and longtime Portlander reads from her new two-volume collection, The Unreal and the Real. Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651. 7:30 pm. Free.


[LECTURE] OHSU biology and neuroscience professor Larry Sherman weighs in on the nature vs. nurture debate with a story about his own biological family—which includes five siblings who grew up under very dissimilar circumstances. Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 236-9234. 7 pm. $5 suggested donation.