As promised, here is the account of another attempted stumbling block on my journey for God.
I mentioned in the last post that I was baptized on my eighteenth birthday. Just a note- my father attended my baptism -pretty good considering he did not usually attend church. Little did we know he was going to pass away the coming February. I am glad he decided to be present.
Afterward, we had a gathering at my house, of baptism -goers and birthday party-ers. At that time, I was working a summer job between high school and college, and met a few new friends. A guy I worked with had been talking to me at work on breaks and at lunch. I was reading the Bible on lunch breaks--he was reading...the Book of Mormon. He suggested we do a joint Bible study. He was clearly proselytizing; he questioned the image of the crucifix, (even thought I was becoming Baptist, I guess he didn't know Baptists didn't use them), likening it to memorializing a friend shot to death by hanging up a machine gun. Even to my untrained ear, that sounded like learned propaganda. Still, he was nice and I thought it was harmless to be friends. I know my mother was kind of concerned about the friendship. I think we may have even gone out a time or two. So- back to the birthday/baptism party. I invited him, but instead of attending he dropped by for a very brief time and waited while I opened the gift he brought. Now-mind you I was freshly baptized, practically not dry yet. It was a Book of Mormon. Talk about a Hail Mary pass! Or whatever a Mormon would call that. Joseph Smith pass doesn't have the same ring. Perhaps Brigham Young? Anyways, I saw it for what it was and dismissed it. I do think I may have read little bits of it here and there out of curiosity, but if you think the Bible is outlandish in places--this book requires a real stretch of the imagination. I should add here that when I went on my merry Baptist way, his interest in me quickly faded.
Still, not one to throw away books, it was stowed in a cubby in my room. Now I know I told you the story of the paper writing incident, that also occurred in my room. One piece of the bigger picture is that my eldest brother suffered from some type of schizophrenia. He had occupied this room in the past. He had been known to get himself involved in some outlandish things, some of them occult in nature. Some of that stuff happened in the bedroom I now occupied.
There was not a dramatic incident as before, but I do believe that I had taken a step by joining the Baptist church, certainly I was learning more about Christ, reading the Bible, and hearing good foundational teaching. Boy, I sure had a long ways to go yet, but as it is sometimes said, it was a good thing I could not see all I was yet to encounter in my walk with God. Sort of like when you have a baby, it is not helpful to think, I will change 487,353 diapers before this child is potty trained...something like that. And let's not go to the land of putting them through college...so!
I believe now my bedroom, that I spent much time in from age 13-17, was kind of a spiritual battle ground. After I learned more about the Christan faith and the realities of the spiritual world, I got rid of that book with no qualms, understanding at least, that to be too fast and loose with forces beyond my understanding was not wise. Especially when God specifically prohibits dabbling in such things. Now I do not think the book itself had any power unless I read and believed it, nor that the Mormons are evil people. I do understand that they are not considered Christian, as they do not believe in the Trinity, and do believe some things decidedly outside the boundaries of Christian theology. I think I underwent some challenges and even attacks in that bedroom, struggling in my adolescent mind to come to grips with God and how to best find and follow him. Many thanks to all who prayed for me, and of course to my guardian angel. There was another large hurdle yet to transpire, that I would weather partly in that room. This one was going to shape a large part of my adult life. I will tell you about next time.