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May 15, 2014

Faith Journey Continued #2


At age 17, I accompanied my neighbor, Barbara, to her Mormon Church. It had been years since my Episcopalian confirmation. As a teen, I lost my interest and dropped my attendance. Remember, it was not a particular value in my family. They had better things to do on weekends and soon enough, I did too. But Barbara persuaded me with tales of great dances at the Mormon hall and the cutest of boys. And, I was attending Pasadena Community College without any particular aim, so I needed a cause to perk up my existence.

Right off, I thought everything at church was bland. We worshipped in a stark, unadorned, hall that paled compared with the more formal and art-filled Episcopalian sanctuary. Even the communion that I always loved to receive at the altar on my knees was passed down the pews to the sitting participants and consisted of white bread and water. As far as I was concerned, from my vast childhood experience, the Mormons were short on drama and mystery.
We began going to Sunday school, and our teacher was a really cute older Mormon boy probably just home from his mission. I was delighted since I had lots and lots of questions for him about religion and faith. I had been to enough worship services to know a bit about Mormonism except that most Sunday talks (instead of sermons) were actually on the sins of drinking alcohol and smoking instead of theology.

I asked questions, and the teacher avoided general discussions and talked about what Mormons believed. As an emerging adult who was truly interested in issues, I craved dialogue but he was not there for that purpose. He was the teacher with the Truth that we, as pupils, were to receive. I remembered that even my unprincipled priest had been open to theological discussions when I was a child. As a late teen, I knew at that moment that I could never be a Mormon even though I most appreciated their healthy focus. I could never espouse a religion where there could be no actual discussions of topics because the members knew they had the truth all wrapped up in a single package. All they had to do was to memorize it. There was little room for doubt. I knew that was comfortable for some. But, it was uncomfortable for me. I wanted to keep my options open.

Here's an interesting sidebar to this episode in my life. Because they were so much fun, I invited my twin friends, Annie and Dennie and a former boyfriend, George, to those Mormon dances. A few years later, Dennie married George, Annie and Dennie joined the Mormon Church along with George and his parents. George became a member of the priesthood and he and Dennie have been on several missions to Brazil where he recently completed three years as the President of the large Mormon temple. I believe that I have been responsible for augmenting the Mormon Church by several faithful latter day saints, so I'm sure that they didn't miss my absence. However, if there is any truth whatsoever about Mormonism being the "one true faith," I hope I get a little credit for my evangelism which has now extended to the twin's children and grandchildren.

Posted by Marilyn at May 15, 2014 1:30 PM


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