I believe that the first thing I ought to say about myself is that I was born into (that is under the covenant) the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in November of 1962. I was blessed as a baby on "Fast & Testimony Meeting" in December of 1962. When I was eight years old, I was baptized as a Mormon male member on December 5, 1970, and was confirmed on December 6, 1970. When I was 12, I graduated primary and was ordained a deacon. At 14, I was ordained a teacher and had my "patriarchal blessing." At age 16, I not only received my driver's license in the state of California but also I was ordained a priest. Driving gave me my liberty. And I found it easy when on the morning of a given Sunday when I was informed that I had to give a two and a half minute talk that my brother would enlist me to drive him to his girlfriend's house in Santa Ana. Needless to say, I missed sacrament meeting that day.
The only thing I loved to do was to go skating. I met one of my best friends there, and he taught me that real friends love and appreciate someone for who they are and not for what they are trying to be. When the church let me down, my friend and his friends were there to make me feel better. There, I attained acceptance. Mark Woodhouse was a guy that I idolized. He was also the stake president's son. I thought that if there was any one person who would do it all, it would be Mark. One day, I came into the kitchen and my mother told me that Mark just got married to Tammy and that they had to get married because Tammy was pregnant. I had a car, but I walked to Mark's house. Mark's father met me at the door. When I went inside, he asked why I was so upset (there was a rumor that since I never had a girlfriend it was speculated that I must be gay. President Woodhouse believed it). He asked me if the reason why I was upset was because I had a sexual relationship with a boy. I choked the words "nothing like that" out and asked where Mark was. He said that the church had allowed him to finish the "roadshow" and that he was at the church. I left and walked there.
Mormon church buildings always have a back door. That night, I was pretty happy to find that it was unlocked. I walked in, and the first person I found was Tammy. I went right up to her mouthing the question, "Is it too late to kiss the bride?" I guess my words seared her, and she appeared visibly shaken. She said ok after I kissed her cheek. I asked her where Mark was, and she said that he was in the "Junior Sunday school chapel."
When I arrived there, Mark's friends were around, and one of them was singing a song. I tried to get to Mark, but all I could do is flag him down and mouth my congratulations. I disappeared as soon as I said it. From that time on, the years just seemed to slip by. My attendance dropped to about once a year. While I still believed in the core of Mormonism, I had around me people who were always wondering why there were certain things believed in but kind of ridiculous in their opinion. I came to the conclusion that these little observations didn't bother me as much anymore.
Marcia was a person that I always knew, but didn't think much about. That was not to say I didn't like her. One day, I stopped to see a friend of mine. I had a Mazda RX-7, and I found out that Marcia really liked the car. I took her for a ride. It was later that month that I decided I really liked her and spent the next few months trying to convince her that I was the guy for her. She and her brother were always Christian. John used to argue with me about his faith and Mormonism. I found out later that his father bought Dr. Walter Martin's "Maze of Mormonism" and that John was reading it. He came out on the porch and "let me have it." I never knew where he got his information until later.
It was Christmas of 1989. Marcia and I were spending a bit of time together. I always stopped by, and we talked--sometimes until late in the evening. On Christmas day, I stopped by. Her father died that morning. I spent the next couple of months trying to help the family out as best I could. One time after a date that went awry, she said that I would never accept her for what she was and would never accept her faith. I told her that I would prove it to her that I wasn't afraid of her religion and asked her to take me to Church. She said she wouldn't because I would never accept it. I told her that I would call her brother. He was just dying to get me into that Church. After that first visit to his Church (The Cornerstone, a FourSquare Pentecostal Church), I found that the Mormons were wrong about their devotions. One day after Church, we went out. Marcia and I were not seeing each other, and we were talking about God's plans for us finding our mates. I said, "Well, I believe that if I don't find her here, she'll be waiting for me in heaven." He said that she would be there, but she wouldn't be my wife because Jesus said that there was no marriage in Heaven. I demanded that he show me in the Bible where Jesus supposedly said that. He told me that it was in there, and if I really wanted to know, I would find it. I didn't want to hear that.
The following week, I went on vacation. Before I left, I spoke to the Pastor of that Church. I asked him to give me some references for the church I left (he knew I was Mormon) and could he help me out. He told me about "The Changing World of Mormonism" by Jerald & Sandra Tanner and said that the book would answer all my questions. No, it didn't. But, it was a start. I went on vacation, and, while I was spending the night at a Motel 6 in San Jose, CA, I looked up my concordance and found the passage my friend was telling me about (Matthew 22:30). It felt like all the blood was draining from me. I quickly looked at a little topical index that I brought with me and said out loud to God, "I wonder what else I don't know!" When I returned from that trip, I contacted the Pastor immediately and told him that I wanted Christian Baptism. In April of 1990, I was Baptized. While I didn't stay with that congregation, I did move to an Evangelical Free Church and was a member there for six months. While I was attending, a friend that I met at a Bible class (which was held in a Lutheran Church) started studying theology. Roughly a year to the day, we were confirmed as members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. My friend Brandon, also the best man at my wedding, was ordained a Pastor on November 29, 1998.
I went to Concordia University, formerly Christ College Irvine, to study for a degree which would help me go to seminary myself. From there, I changed majors (a Bachelor's Degree in Management and Communication) and moved to Fort Wayne, IN. In 1995, New Year's Eve, on CompuServe, I met Amy. She was in Texas while I was finishing up my studies there for the management degree. Through a chain of events, I wound up not going on to seminary there. We got together and decided that Indiana was not in our future plans, so we moved South to Tennessee. It was there that we decided to make our home for the time being. We got married on May 18, 1997, and made our home in Dickson, TN. In September, 1997, Amy made her profession of faith and was Baptized. She is now a Jewish Christian and believes that Y'Shua is her Messiah, just like I do and our baby practices. Just last year, we moved closer to Nashville. Both of us have different jobs. I work at SunTrust Service Corporation, and Amy works for the a motel as a front desk clerk. Our baby was born on November 22, 1998. She was Baptized on December 6, 1998, and will be celebrating her life with us every Sunday at Church. We attend Faith Lutheran Church in Franklin, TN. I have an interest in apologetics, comparative religions, theology, martial arts, country music, writing, and other interests. Amy loves country music, cooking, dancing, and reading. She also likes being a new mother (for the second time--her first daughter was born in 1983). Our daughter Erica likes keeping us on our toes crawling everywhere, trying to put things in her mouth, and surprising us with little smiles and laughs.