Friday, February 15, 2013

My Spiritual Journey - My Upbringing, Part 2

I was born in 1959 to the parents of Karl and Irene in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am the youngest of six children. Both of my parents were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) or Mormon church. As an infant I was blessed and named in the church shortly after birth. I do not remember ever being associated with any other faith or religion. My mom was a devout member of the LDS church from my earliest memories until she died in 2001, as was her entire family in Utah and Idaho. My dad was raised as a Minnesota Lutheran and later converted to the Mormon church not long after he married my mom. I have two brothers and three sisters. From oldest down, they include Karl, Kristi, Julia, John and Irene.

The three oldest children I know were active LDS. Karl and Julia served as missionaries for two or three years when they were in their twenties, both in Taiwan. My oldest sister Kristi married a returned missionary and has always fully embraced her faith. Growing up we lived in Texas, and I recollect my sister Irene going to church quite frequently growing up, and her having friends there. My brother John went to church as I recall, but with our age and interest difference (~8 years), we didn’t communicate very much. My attendance at the Mormon church was much less than my siblings. I recall not wanting to go, my dad not going very often, and sometimes my mom dropping me off at Wednesday night meetings. The talk of going to church virtually always produced an argument in the family. The reasons for me not wanting to attend were not philosophical, but social. I didn’t have any friends there. There may have been one other kid from my school there, but we weren’t good friends.

During that time I knew of God. At eight years old, I was baptized on a Saturday afternoon. I was wearing all white clothes, and so did the man who baptized me. I think it was my dad, but I am not sure. To this day I remember the man saying a prayer, and dunking me fully under water. LDS people baptize by immersion, and do so in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. I remember two witnesses watching real close, and how clean I felt afterwards. After I dried off and changed clothes, I sat in a chair in front of a small group of friends and some men put their hands on my head, and said a prayer including the words “receive the Holy Ghost”. I know my dad was one of the men this time. This is not a unique experience for young Mormon people. It happens this way with most LDS children at the age of eight, when they are considered the “age of accountability”.

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