Sunday, January 13, 2008

How I Became a Mormon--Part 10

Three Hours of Church?

Also on that first day at church, after attending the first hour-long part, which I came to learn was called “Sacrament Meeting,” my wife, my children and I were then shepherded by friendly ward members to Parts 2 and 3 of a usual Sunday at church for a Mormon family. Part 2, also an hour long, was called Sunday School. My step-daughter Jamie, 17 at the time, was taken to a class for young women. Meanwhile, my wife, my stepson Dustin, and I were taken to a class called “Gospel Principles.” Taught by Roy Hirokawa, a longtime member of the ward, the class, which is for investigators and newer members of the church, was about the plan of salvation on that day. Among the things mentioned in class that morning was that in addition to a Heavenly Father (aka God), there also was a Heavenly Mother. Wow, that was news to me.

Also in attendance at the class was Bishop Matthew Corry. As the bishop of the Kaneohe 1st Ward, he functions in a way like pastors and priests of other faiths lead their congregations. I later came to find out that Bishop Corry does not usually attend Gospel Principles class. Though I’m not certain, I think he was there that day to help us feel more at home.

After Sunday school, my wife, again accompanied by friendly ward members, was taken to what is called “Relief Society” which is yet another class, in this case for all the women of the ward 18 years and older. I don’t know what kind of “secret” stuff they talked about in Relief Society that day, but I’ve come to find out that Relief Society has been a blessing for my wife, my family, and for many members of the church.

In the meantime, Dustin and I were escorted to a meeting called “Elders Quorum.” Presided over by Tommy Friel, who I mentioned in Part 9, Elders Quorum was a meeting for all the men of the ward over 18. In Elders Quorum, there was yet another lesson. In it, I heard terminology like “priesthood” and “brethren” and “setting apart” and “ordained.” To say that I was confused and bewildered was understating how I felt. At the same time, though, I was intrigued. Would I become a part of all this? At that point, I still wasn’t sure, but what I could not deny was the good feelings I had at Sacrament Meeting that day. No, I could not deny the spirit I felt.

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