Robert Kirby: What your pet says about your faith — or the lack of it

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Robert Kirby

It’s coming. Won’t be long before The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints instructs congregational leaders to inquire about pet ownership during temple recommend interviews.

Everything else will be the same — booze, drugs, infidelity, apostasy, support of the brethren, etc. No surprise, right?

But then it happens.

Bishop • “Now, this is important, Brother Noggle. Do you own a cat?”

You • “Do … what the hell?”

It sounds like I’m making this up, like the time I reported that the “land Bountiful” mentioned in the Book of Mormon was, in fact, Bountiful. In Utah. Home prices in Davis County soared until a church spokesman announced it was only a rumor started by a servant of Satan.

I’m not kidding this time. According to an article published by Religion News Service, “cats are the preferred pet among those who never go to church.” Presumably this includes atheists.

So, at the very least, pet cats are a strong indicator regarding the potential absence of faith. What about other pets?

Well, Christians — even versions who don’t like one another — prefer dogs.

It makes sense. Which type of believer would prefer a pet whose most enduring quality is groveling worship of a superior being, a beast that requires constant affirmation from this being?

Cats, on the other hand, acknowledge no superior. They think they are gods. In fact, cat owners tend to fawn over and even worship their pets.

Who else? Well, Jews, the story states, also prefer dogs to cats, but they are more likely than other faiths to own a small mammal or a bird.

The article said nothing about Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. I would have to guess at those groups and I’m not going to try.

For Mormons, the bigger question may become which types of pets are approved for stewardship, and how should they be treated?

Animals that commonly qualify as food will almost certainly make the cut.

Sorry. That came out wrong.

What I mean is that the Great Creator provided them for human sustenance. It’s in the scriptures — somewhere. Look it up.

Speaking of cuts, the church will almost certainly disapprove of all forms of birth control among pets. It wouldn’t be long before a general authority in conference denounced neutering as a deliberate attempt to thwart the canine Plan of Salivation.

Presumably snakes are out. All the trouble in the world is due to the presence of a serpent in the Garden of Eden. The place was crammed with all sorts of animals, including dinosaurs, but it was the snake that couldn’t be trusted.

Pity, because I would love another snake. I had one a long time ago, but now I have a wife and a number of small grandchildren. As instructive as it might be to let them watch a rattler swallow mice, it isn’t going to happen.

My wife and I don’t have any pets, which according to the recent story may just put us in real danger of apostasy. But there is a dog — a yellow Labrador dumber than a bag of gravel — that belongs to our daughter’s family upstairs.

Daisy obviously senses that we’re backsliding, because she spends most of her time downstairs in adoration of us.

Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.