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The Glue Which Keeps Me To My Faith

By Al McCartan

I had heard of the Mormons, of their wonderful pioneering adventures and of the spiritual home, Utah. I knew of the young men, who wore neat suits, hats and rode bikes and who were excellent baseball players – well, to a seven year old. Always ready with a wave and friendly greeting.

Folks in the town where I lived claimed they were Seventh Day Adventists, others said "No! They were Jehovah's witnesses." In fact every religion other than Anglican (Episcopalian), Catholic or mainstream Protestant was selected for these men. I had had Church thrust upon me and at boarding school, Church attendance was compulsory and I was heavily influenced by the Anglican Church.

It was, therefore, no wonder I eschewed religion in all its form, once I was free of that controlling body. I did not pursue the matter, nor at that time did I care and thought no more of it, that was until 1957.

I was at a YMCA dance in Sydney and made myself known to a couple of young ladies who were there enjoying the fun. I befriended one of the girls and walked her home and asked if she's care to go to the beach with me on the next Sunday. "No," she replied. "We go to church." My reply was. "Which church?" She replied," We're Mormons, have you heard of us?" I had to answer in the affirmative.

Instead of the beach on the Sunday, we made a date for a movie the following Saturday and I promised to go to her church the following Sunday.

I was outside the church and I felt that there was a barrier preventing me from going in. The girl I was hoping to date was already inside teaching a Primary class at Sunday School. A friendly policeman (well, he was in civvies at the time) and his fiancée, saw my predicament and asked me what the problem was.

Apparently, the barrier I was encountering was Satan's way of using an earlier innate shyness. I 'fessed up and said that I was a bit scared and knew only one person. "No problem," was the reply. "Come in with us and I'll introduce you."

The policeman, Ron, who later reached senior rank in the force, introduced me to members of my age peer group and to the then District President, who was presiding that day. A young missionary, Elder Fulmer, was preaching and later spoke to me and gave me a tract to read. Luckily I was then joined by my "date" and she explained to me the service and what happens.

What threw me, was the paying of ten per cent of one's earnings and the Word of Wisdom, which because of my early teenage years, meant restrictions. However, it was the way elder Fulmer preached that had me thinking. Hey! I can't find fault in this guy.

In a month I had moved away from the district and will admit to going back to my old habits and kind of mocked one of my peer group, who befriended me. I teased him as to his paying tithing, of not wanting a wine or two with the guys or for not going to the beach on Sunday. But! In the back of my mind, I admired him.

Let's cut to 1959 and with my Army unit, helping with security at the Billy Graham Sydney Crusade. I was a cocky 18-year old and it showed. A very humble student, Han, from Singapore, challenged me to go to church that night.

It was on the train, traveling North across the Harbor Bridge, that I decided to take up Han's challenge – but to which church. Well, the Anglicans had, Barbara McMullen, I was keen on her. The Presbyterians had Jenelle Dearborne, I was really keen on her.

A voice in my head said "The Mormon Church. The Mormon Church". When I arrived home, I rang the Mission Home and spoke to President Weldon V. Moore, it was a lucky call, and I asked what time the service was if the Church had a chapel on the north side. "Sure," he said. "A new chapel, in Greenwich."

I lived about a mile from Greenwich. I went that night, in those days, we had Priesthood and Sunday School in the morning and Sacrament at night. Lucky I caught the Sacrament service.

I did not need much convincing, it was an easy transition from the regulated rites of Anglicanism to a more liberal but truer faith.

I did not look back. In June, I was baptized by my Missionary teachers, Elders Don Addis and Danny Erbe. Just a normal conversion, you bet. But here's the capstone.

Two years later I had attended a combat preparedness course for deployment to South East Asia. Returning from the course, I found out that a lovely girl friend of mine, Lesley Perry had died in a motor accident, this devastated me.

Two weeks later, she appeared in a dream. I remember these words she said to me. She called me by my nickname and said: "Tangles, The Mormon Church is true."

Lesley was an Anglican and apart from me telling her about my faith, she had never set foot inside an LDS chapel or talked with the missionaries.

That's the glue which keeps me to my faith. A faith I cannot or will not deny.




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