Thursday, January 3, 2008

How I Became a Mormon--Part 1

I was not born into the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In fact, I did not become a member of the LDS church until I was in my late 40s. On that same day, January 29, 2006, my wife Jacqueline was also baptized into the church. I'll be writing primarily about my journey to Mormonhood as well as touching on my wife's. It has been an interesting and eventful journey. And we have only just begun.

I was born and raised in Hawaii on the windward side of the island of Oahu. And I still live there today. Except for the first five years of my life and a couple years spent away on the mainland to attend college, I have lived all my life in a town called Kaneohe.

All through those years, I lived my life without knowing that my maternal grandmother was a member of the Mormon church. I also went through 40+ years of my life without knowing that my father, too, was a member, having been baptized as boy. My grandmother, Elizabeth Turner, passed away when I was five or six, so I didn’t know her well. I cannot recall any memories of her attending church or talking of church or any such thing. I’m not even sure if she was still attending church during the time of my early childhood. I’ve come to find out that she had attended church faithfully for a time but like some members do, she fell away.

My dad, I came to find out, never had much to do with the church after his baptism. In a conversation I had with him after I was baptized, he told me that he had received a priesthood blessing from brethren of the LDS church as a boy after he had become very ill. My dad told me he believed that the blessing had something to do with his recovery from the illness. Nonetheless, my dad said that he had other things on his mind during his youth other than church. This was Hawaii after all, and the allure of the beach as well as sports and friends was more appealing to him.

And I could relate. As a youth, I also felt the tug of sports, the beach, and friends. As I was growing up, my dad never said anything to me or my four siblings about any church, let alone the LDS church. It was my mom, who was born a Catholic, who pushed us toward church. And it wasn’t the Catholic church. Instead, my brothers and sisters and I attended a nearby Nazarene church in Kaneohe for a few years. I was never enthusiastic about attending church, but I learned not to squawk about having to do so because I learned that it was best not to rock the boat in my household.

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