And now for something completely different. I’m going to talk about what I like about the church (Eli, you can stop trying to reboot your computer, nothing is wrong with it)
For my younger years I lived in Laie Hawaii, where my father was a librarian at the Church Collage of Hawaii, now called BYU-H. The town back back then was probably 90% LDS. There was only one non-LDS girl in my 2nd grade class, and none in 3-5th grade. All my teachers were LDS except one, and Mrs Schilling was the only non-LDS teacher in the entire school. Our principle was on the High Council. This was the time of afternoon primary, and once they announced in school that primary had been canceled for that day. Bonus points if you can pick out Bishop Bill in his 5th grade class photo (hint, he is the skinny nerdy one!)
I have wonderful memories growing up in this LDS environment. All my school friends were also my church friends. We could wander the streets of the town as little boys without a care in the world, and our parents didn’t care. My cub scout leader lived three houses down, and our Bishop next door. Everybody looked out for everybody. I would not trade those memories for anything.
We moved as I started Junior High to central California. Church was now a 30 min drive vice a 5 min walk. but as I started high school and entered Young Mens, the Church provided a wonderful structure for my teen age years. Three years ago I blogged about it here on W&T. I’m still in contact with two of those friends.
I had a great mission to Concepcion Chile, with kind and wonderful mission presidents, and some strange and eccentric companions. I learned Spanish, which I still speak to this day, met some wonderful people, got to visit Cuzco and Machu Picchu in Peru on my way home, and overall had a great time. I’ve blogged about my mission here, here, here and here.
Before my mission my one year at Cal State Fresno was not very good, maybe a 2.5 GPA. After a two year hiatus for my mission, where I learned study habits and grew up, I had a 3.9 GPA upon graduation.
I married a wonderful woman in the Oakland Temple. She was an adult convert and the only member in her family. She regrets to this day that her mother was not able to come to the wedding.
I’ve lived in eight wards my adult married life, in Southern California, Virginia, New Jersey and Maine. All my Bishop’s were kind men, trying to do good. I’ve had some crazy ward members, but also made friends in each area. Last Sunday a member of the EQP and friend invited me come walk with him on the beach at sunset while his dog chased birds. We talked about everything but church.
I don’t drink, smoke, or chase women. I have a rather hyper personality, and sometimes wonder if I would have had problems if I used alcohol.
I have served in almost every calling a man can have in a ward: YM Pres, EQP twice, teacher of just about every class in Sunday School, Clerks of every type, Bishopric counselor twice, and Bishop once. I stayed away from Stake callings, having only been Stake SS Pres and Stake auditor. I like to think I did a good job in those callings.
While Bishop I only convened one disciplinary council, and that was to re-baptize a person after they were excommunicated. I took care of everything else informally. One of my favorite things to do was conduct weddings. I did a hand full of them. Only one was in the church. The rest were in back yards, at the beach, or on some cliffs overlooking the ocean near Santa Barbra.
I believe the Church does some good, and it has done good by me. I’m the quintessential “cafeteria Mormon” and proud of it. I do not believe the Church it is the only way to God, or it is the only “True” church. The Church is not good for my non-binary grandchild, and I’m glad they have left the church along with their mother, father and sister. For my other two married children, the church is providing a good environment for them.
I’ll probably stick around at Church until I die in one form or another, if for no other reason than to have the Monty Python song “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” played at my funeral in a Mormon chapel!