Sunday, January 6, 2008

How I Became a Mormon--Part 3

From Kamehameha to Boise to the Waiting Room of a Mormon Temple

With not even an inkling of a thought that I would become a member of the Church of Jeus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or any church for that matter, I graduated from Kamehameha in 1976. Because of athletic talents I had along with good physical size (6’4, 230 lbs), I received many inquiries from colleges looking to add me to their football teams. One of those was Brigham Young University, the school affiliated to and supported by the Mormon church. Those college inquiries led to several scholarship offers but not from BYU, not that I would have attended there anyway. I eventually decided on Boise State University, where I attended and played football for a year. The drinking and partying that had begun at Kamehameha continued in a bigger way at Boise. After all, I was far away from the watchful eyes of my parents, and I had no gospel or church to guide me.

Homesick for Hawaii after a year, I forfeited my scholarship, left Boise, and returned to Oahu, where I continued partying and drinking, a good deal of which was with my Kamehameha buddies Ted and Clint. About a year or so after I had returned from Boise, I got a call from Ted with some stunning news: he had joined the Mormon church and had been baptized. One of the things I knew about Mormons was that they didn’t drink, so for Ted to join the church and give up drinking, I figured he [A] had gone pupule (a Hawaiian term for crazy), [B} had had a spiritual experience, or [C] had found a good Mormon girl. While I do not know if A and B applied to Ted, I do know that C did.

And Ted also announced to me that he was going to marry that good Mormon girl and that I was to be the best man at his wedding.

The wedding ceremony took place at the Mormon temple in Laie on Oahu’s north shore. I can’t recall the exact year, but it was in the early 1980s. Ted informed me that although I was his best man, I could not attend the ceremony in the temple because I was not a member of the church. The same applied to all of Ted’s family. So Ted’s family and I spent time together in the waiting area outside the temple while Ted and his bride were being married inside. What kind of strange and secret things were going on in that temple that we could not witness?

Unbeknownst to me, 20+ years later I would be entering that same temple with my own bride as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. But there still was a long road to travel before then.

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