Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Spiritual Journey - My Acknowledging Christ, Part 3

Mormons don’t call God, God much; they refer to Him primarily as Heavenly Father. They call Jesus - Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost. The strongest influence upon my spirituality from the age of eight to fourteen was the Boy Scout program. My troop taught us to live true to the Scout Oath, Law and ideals, among which was “a Scout is reverent”. I was also very active my 10th through the 12th grade in Young Life and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). I have to admit my attendance was initially for social reasons, not spiritual. Soon though I loved the stories and how much happier I felt when it was over. I felt peace and hopeful. I remember vaguely one evening, sitting on the floor and then standing up when the Youth Minister called people to come forward, who wanted to accept Christ as their Savior and follow Him. I did that evening thirty-eight years ago when I was fifteen. I continued to be active in those organizations, taking a leadership role in FCA. My junior and senior year, the entire starting lineup on our football team were Christians.

In the 10th and 11th grade Kelly was my girl friend. I became very close to her entire family. She helped me get to know God and what it meant to be a Christian by our talks and Bible reading, associations with her friends and family and by going to her church, Ridglea Presbyterian in Fort Worth. I eventually joined the church because it felt like home. To this day the fellowship I received was the most wonderful thing I had experienced to that point. We eventually broke up because my family was Mormon and she kept degrading and criticizing the faith of my family. It was devastating. Also traumatic was the reaction my family had when they learned of my joining the Presbyterian church. I never felt “Presbyterian”, but as a member of a body of believers. Even the next year when I dated Tina and attended the Methodist church, I felt like a Christian, and that I was loved and accepted. I think because they were Methodists, they loved and accepted me, and tolerated my family’s religion. Methodists seem one of the most tolerant religions.

I never felt that my new faith was accepted by my family members, or my old faith accepted by my high school friends except for Tina and a few others. My brothers and sisters preached to me about how wrong I was, and wept for my leaving the Mormon faith. My mom was sad that I did so, but my father never expressed his opinion. My sense is that he loved me, and knew I was on my own journey. This was a whole new experience for me. I really loved God, but felt so conflicted by those around me.

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