LDS Question 11: How did Miki become converted to the church?
Growing up, my family really didn't believe in going to any specific church. Living out on the farm, there was always things that needed to be done and my father, raised Catholic and having survived parochial school, didn't really want to belong to any religion. And Mom didn't believe that she had to be on any church roster to get into heaven. All you needed to do was be a good person.
Somewhere along the line we had been given a King James bible and an illustrated book of bible stories. Loving to read, I can remember reading the bible stories and can still see some of those illustrations in my mind. So I was familiar with the stories as I grew up.
I also loved the school library. I would rather be in the library than outside at recess. One day (this was in the 4th grade) as I was trying to find a book to read, I found a book about Montezuma. That caught my interest as my brother was a Marine and the Marine hymn talks about the "halls of Montezuma" so I was curious as to what that could be. What I discovered became a lifelong fascination with the ancient Mesoamerican civilizations. (Aztecs, Mayans, Toltecs, Incas, etc).
[Fast forward to high school] I had been applying to various universities.
My parents wanted me to head out to college, live on campus, and just experience being at college and away from home. Now this was the time when co ed dorms were becoming quite popular and my parents, being the loving and concerned parents that they were, wanted to be sure that I would be safe.
My wife and I reserve the right to use---in some places---younger pics of ourselves, because now we're old and fat [ter]. This pic has a story; when she and I were just friendly dance partners for 3-1/2 years, I tried to find her a boyfriend, so I made her a profile online; this was one of those pics . . . a beauty, huh? =0)
During the summer prior to my senior year, we made a trip to Utah to see the BYU campus. I was quite surprised to see how green it was there in the middle of July. We picked up some literature and wondered around campus a bit. So I took the ACTs for the BYU admissions and SATs for the admissions to the Oregon schools and mailed everything off. The results were that BYU came back not only with an acceptance to the university, they offered me a scholarship and a grant if I would attend there. AND I wasn't even a member of their church. The Oregon schools didn't offer me anything. So off to Provo I went. Up to that point, the only thing I really knew about the "Mormons" were the Osmonds. So here I was in Utah with my entire wardrobe changed (there was a strict dress code at BYU dresses to the knee, no shorts or jeans on campus except on Saturday. You could only wear dresses or pantsuits (now there's a term that dates me. . . . . . smile) to class. Out went the mini skirts and hot pants that were what I was used to wearing. I went from living out in the sticks to living in a dorm. That strict code also meant no drinking or drugs, but I wasn't involved in any of that in high school so that didn't involve any change. Just the drastic change in my wardrobe.
Every semester, one of the requirements is that each student take a religion class. Even though I wasn't a "Mormon", that requirement wasn't waived. So all Freshmen are required to take "Book of Mormon" as their religion class with the 1st half of the book being covered the 1st semester and the remainder the 2nd semester. One of my roommates had a Book of Mormon class that required a workbook with assignments that had to be completed before each class. (Mine only had reading assignments). One day while she was working on an assignment, I noticed that her workbook contained a drawing of people in an "Aztec" manner of dress. I wondered why would there be a drawing of Aztecs in her Book of Mormon workbook. I looked at my roommate and said "Those are Aztecs." She replied "Yes." I reiterated "Those are Aztecs. I recognize them." She replied once more "Yes." She had no idea that I had been fascinated and reading about Aztecs since the fourth grade. She just looked at me with a puzzled look on her face. So I asked her "Why are there Aztecs in your book?" Now knowing a frame of reference as to my comments she explained that the Book of Mormon was a record of the some of the ancient peoples that lived in the Americas. That was why there was a drawing of Aztecs in her workbook. All of sudden my religion class became more interesting as I knew these people. I had been reading about them for half of my life.
I soon started meeting with the missionaries. Everything was just so logical. Everything made perfect sense. And a few months later, the day after my birthday, I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the best decision I've made in my entire life.
That's how I became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. =0)