There was a test. Fortunately, it was only three questions long. And they were more like statements. Did I believe in God and Jesus Christ and had I repented for my sins?
Next to each of the questions/statements were boxes that had to be checked. A checked box indicated a "yes" answer. An unchecked box was a "no." Since there wasn't a box for "It's OK with me," I checked all three.
At the end of the test (on which I got 100 percent) was the final caution: "If you have not yet prayed for forgiveness of your sins, please take a moment to do so now before giving us your credit card number."
Note: It's also possible to become a rabbi or an imam this way. I picked Christian because it's the one with which I'm most familiar. And if I'm going to hell for it, I want it to be Christian hell. I'm not learning some whole other language of damnation.
A week later, I got my certificate in the mail. I hung it on the wall and set about the business of being a Christian pastor.
What? Yes, even though I'm really a Mormon.
My qualifications? Well, I don't know. I suppose people expect a minister to have some sort of formal training, a degree from a divinity school or the like.
If I scraped all of my training together, I would say three years of LDS seminary (two of them early morning), a couple of years as a missionary, the police academy and 37 years of marriage give me a ministerial doctorate in getting the [stuff] kicked out of me by life.
I don't feel at a disadvantage. Lots of other people got into this business with less and did OK. Plenty of others got into it with more and really screwed it up.
I'll need a title. For now, you may refer to me as Pastor Kirb. His Holiness Kirby the Second also works. So does the Right Rev. Rob, Bad Shepherd, Deacon of Doom and Bishop Mayhem. Hey, there's no reason this can't be fun.
Anyway, I'm a man of the cloth now. Whatever that really means. To me (and you) it means I can now organize a congregation, accept tithes, counsel lost sheep, hear confessions and sell indulgences.
Note: I'm not absolutely sure about that last one. I'll have to do some checking. If it works out, I'll post a fee schedule here.
I know what you're thinking: "That Kirby isn't a real Christian pastor."
The hell I'm not. In addition to the certificate (in a frame with real glass), I have a white shirt I can wear backward, AND I can legally marry people.
I called Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swenson to see if my ordination was good. She said I'm fully OK to join people in holy matrimony.
Sherrie: "Your credentials are good. I'm not sure you are."
I'll perform my first wedding in September, when I ask Brook if she takes Nate to be her awfully wedded husband.
Clearly, I'll need to practice before then.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/notpatbagley.