Friday, January 4, 2008

How I Became a Mormon--Part 2

After a few years, I learned that if I dragged my feet enough on Sunday mornings, my mom would stop insisting and reminding me to go to that Nazarene church. And because she stopped insisting and reminding, I stopped going to church. Thus ended any association with any religious body for many, many years.

Starting in the fourth grade, I attended Kamehameha, a private school for students of Hawaiian ancestry. Part of Kamehameha’s mission was still to instill students with a Christian foundation, and as such, at Kamehameha there were Christian-based classes interspersed with the standard 3R type. We at Kamehameha also learned Christian songs, the most memorable to me being the Doxology (“Praise God from whom all blessings flow…). We also prayed before our lunchtime meal. I though all this Christian indoctrination was okay and I didn’t balk at it.

I can’t remember when I first heard of the Mormon church. However, I can remember the first of my Kamehameha classmates who was a Mormon. His name was Stanton Akana, and he entered Kamehameha in the ninth grade. What was different about Stanton was that he didn’t cuss and swear like all the other male students. Let me qualify that not all male students cussed and swore, but almost all of the students I hung out with, mostly jocks, did.

Stanton was a jock, too. But he was different. In addition to being a non-cusser, he was hardworking, humble, and obedient, classic LDS virtues as well as classic virtues of jocks known as a coach’s dream. And Stanton was that. A strong, tough, hardhitting linebacker on the football team, Stanton had the respect of us all.

I also was on the Kamehameha football team, and after observing and interacting with Stanton and his cleancut Mormon ways, did I have aspirations of becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? Not at all. Instead, I had designs on partaking of the fun that was part of high school life at Kamehameha at that time, namely drinking and partying.

And during my Kamehameha days, I did a lot of drinking and partying. A couple of my closest friends and drinking buddies at Kamehameha were Tom and Clint (not their real names). I mention them here because eventually they would join the LDS church but not after living in apostasy for a number of years. I will mention these two more later.

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