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
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
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
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
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
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.