Friday, January 11, 2008

How I Became a Mormon--Part 8

Dating, Marriage, and Problems

A hike was one of the first dates I had with my future-wife Jacqueline. Actually, it was her idea to go on a hike, and we found a local hiking club and we joined them one Saturday in 1994 for a five-mile hike. I eventually got the hiking bug and became an avid hiker. I mention that here because I hiked so much that the mountains of Hawaii became my church and chapel in my search for God.

I dated my wife for eleven years before she finally consented to marry me. We had many good times during our decade-plus courtship. In the months preceding our wedding, my wife and I were living together in her apartment in Wahiawa, located in the central part of the island of Oahu. To my surprise, Mormon missionaries visited my wife and her two children at the apartment and taught them lessons. The missionaries were cordial to me but I felt ill at ease with them there, probably due to guilt and shame issues for living such a sinful life without church.

Because I had communication, anger, and other issues and I was unable to deal with these issues well, there were some dark times for us at Wahiawa. I always thought of myself as a quiet, gentle man, and when all this anger and rage came out, I blamed it on Jacqueline. The truth was that Jacqueline wasn’t my problem--I was and I needed help.

To help us through the darkness, at my future wife’s suggestion, we began attending a community church in Mililani. The church was okay and the people there were nice but there seemed to be something missing. I also got to know the pastor there, and he and I began meeting once a week at his office to fellowship and to talk about the bible.

Also during this time, I got word that my high school party buddy, Clint (recall him from Part 2), had been baptized into the Mormon church, along with his wife and two children. I was puzzled by this. After all, Clint and his wife were highly successful professionals in their fields. What did the Mormon church have for them and their children?

On June 5, 2004 at 3:21 in the afternoon (654321), Jacqueline and I were married in a Christian ceremony at the chapel of the Kamehameha Schools. We had our wedding reception in Mililani. Many of our family and friends were there, including Ted and family and Clint and family—the Mormons. To my relief, they didn’t push their religion on me. Not once. Without realizing it, I was impressed by that.

In the months that followed we moved to my home in Kaneohe. Our budding marriage didn’t go smoothly and we sought out counseling for help. Also during that time, Mormon missionaries showed up at our home. Wanting to keep the door open to the help I needed to be a better husband, I agreed to talk to them and go through lessons they had.

When I mentioned to my pastor friend that the LDS missionaries were visiting me, he warned me that they might be the proverbial wolves in sheeps’ clothing. Ironically, his comment to me, instead of making me want to avoid the Mormons, actually made me want to know more about them. So I, along with my wife, continued to meet with the missionaries in the coming months.

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