Wednesday, January 16, 2008

How I Became a Mormon--Part 11

On the Verge

While it was true that the first time in an LDS church made an impression on me, I was not absolutely sure I was ready to take the plunge, as it were.

What followed thereafter was an invitation by the missionaries to take a trip to visitor’s center at the Church’s Laie Temple. That visit was very touching, and in a similar way to what happened at the first sacrament I had attended the week before, I found myself moved to point of tears at several junctures while at the visitor’s center. During that visit, we watched the movie “Testaments,” which was about the visit of the resurrected Christ’s to the Americas. Christ in the Americas? While this was news to me, I did not dismiss the possibility.
Soon after the trip to the Laie visitor’s center, my wife and I were invited to what is called a “cottage meeting.” The meeting, held for investigators of the church, would be at the mission president’s home in the ritzy neighborhood of Kahala. I imagined that the mission president was some rich local white guy, or a haole, as white people are referred to in Hawaii, probably an attorney or a doctor or a rich businessman.

As it turned out, the mission president, in this case, was Ronald K. Hawkins from Orem, Utah, who was “called” to his position as mission president for a three-year period. When called like this, the individual leaves his job and home and family behind. He does bring his spouse, in the case of President Hawkins, his wife Anne, a wonderful woman who my wife took an instant liking to.

At the cottage meeting were probably a dozen and half investigators along with the missionaries who were teaching them. Accompanying my and me were our two missionaries, Elder Samuel Manasco from Delaware and Elder Michael Webber from Wisconsin, two young men we would come to know well abd have a lot of affection for.

The meeting included an opening hymn, which we all sang. A lover of music, especially spiritual songs sung by groups or choirs, I was feeling the spirit as we sang. President Hawkins, a kind, friendly, gentle man, gave a welcoming talk, and then we spent the rest of the evening just mingling and enjoying some ice cream and snacks.

During the meeting, President Hawkins came up to me wife and me and matter-of-factly asked, “So when are you going to be baptized?”

Looking at each other with happy grins on our faces, my wife and I answered, “No one has asked us yet.”

Hearing that, President Hawkins summoned Manasco and Webber and said to them, “The Turners need a baptism date. Can you accommodate them?”

And a date was set two week hence. Yes, the Turners were on their way to becoming members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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