I didn't go to any church on a regular basis until I was in high school. I went to junior high in North Carolina after my parents divorced. I still craved knowledge and approval from God. My cousins and I passed a church and walked inside of it just to feel close to God.
I had some friends that were Jehovah's Witnesses and they gave me a book on youth and morals. That was my only guidance at that point and when I read it, I obeyed. I have to say before this book I was a "bad girl wanna-be". I guess since my parents were never around I had new found freedom and was really mixed up. We got involved with drinking, smoking (I hated it), swearing, just doing stupid things that teens feel like they have to do to be cool. I really flunked at being a bad girl because I still had too much of a conscience to do anything horribly bad. I straightened up in 9th grade and went back to my goodie-goodie self. It didn't take long to get the bad girl phase over with. It wasn't me.
We moved to Utah the summer after 9th grade. My dad retired and he and his wife decided to settle in Utah. At this point, my only brother Gene wanted to move in with his dad. We followed because my mom didn't want to be away from my brother. So that's how I ended up in Utah.
One day after getting home from school I met a man who was knocking on doors inviting people to church. It was a Baptist church, which is the religion I affiliated myself with. I told him I was looking for a church to go to. That was the beginning of strengthening my knowledge and testimony of Jesus.
A popular topic preached from the pulpit was our neighbors the Mormons. Mormons are lost souls who are brain-washed. They worship Satan. Satan is the head of their church. They believe in a different Jesus, who is just a brother and not the real Jesus who is part of the trinity. The Jesus who is God in flesh. The trinity compared to an egg - you have the shell, albumen and yolk, but it's all an egg. The same is with God, who is Jesus and the Holy Ghost. They're the same entity.
As a Baptist, I believed in the trinity. I believed God was invisible. I could never quite understand that because whenever you see the sun peeking through the clouds with bright rays of light, or a beautiful sunset - that's what God is. Beauty from the sky. I wondered if he might be a giant brain in the universe. How can He be invisible?
I had many friends at school and most of them were very good Mormons. We would sometimes discuss religion and they were very respectful towards me and my beliefs. Because I was a "good girl" a lot of people assumed I was Mormon anyway. My next door neighbor, Wendy and I went to the Baptist church together. When her younger brother was mad at us he would say in his meanest tone, "You Mormons!" That would really upset us and sometimes Wendy would beat him up.
Wendy was my best friend at the time and we had the common bond of being a different religion that most of our friends and associates. We went to church faithfully every Sunday and sometimes Sunday night. There was a sermon on baptism and how if you are not baptized, you won't be able to sit at the table with Jesus for a feast after the Rapture. The Rapture is the second coming and all the born again Christians will disappear from the earth and go to Heaven. The others will stay behind and go to Hell to be tormented forever. Wendy and I decided we didn't want to miss out on the feast in Heaven so we decided to get baptized.
We wore our blue jeans and got baptized on January 9th, 1983. For the weeks leading up to my baptism, my friend Merilie met with me to discuss "life and death matters". More about that next time.
.....to be continued......
12 hours ago