But first, three years before that.
January 2013. I was the First Assistant to the High Priest Group Leader. High Priest. Doesn’t that phrase call up some interesting mental images? As a Mormon then, it was a “calling” I took very seriously. I had responsibilities. They were not lightweight.
I also had a time-consuming job as a Database Administrator for a very well known luxury retailer in the DFW Metroplex in Texas. Yeah. That luxury retailer!
Time, being precious as well as scant, I tried to balance these two major parts of my life; providing for my family and the ecclesiastical responsibilities assigned to me. One of those of the latter was the responsibility for doctrinal education and teaching. I oversaw the small group of instructors for the High Priest Group. Many times an instructor would fail to show up or had a last minute conflict with meeting time and so, those many times, I was the defacto substitute instructor.
My knowledge of Mormon doctrine was pretty solid, if I do say so myself. It was no problem for me to, without prior preparation, stand before the group and present a cogent lesson with just a brief perusal of the lesson material.
But back to January 2013. The course of study for the adult Sunday School and correlated lessons for the Priesthood “brethren” and the Relief Society “sisters” was Church History and the Doctrine and Covenants. (If any of this terminology confuses you, don’t worry too much. Effectively all men and young boys 12 years of age and older all belong to the Church’s male “priesthood”. All women 18 and older belong to the women’s organization called the Relief Society, whose origins are interesting but will not be discussed at this point.)
Taking my teaching responsibility very seriously, I took advantage of the course of study to delve deeply into Church History, USING CHURCH PUBLISHED BOOKS. It took 14 months but I read the Church’s Canon of scripture twice, the seven volume “History of the Church”, the six volume “Comprehensive History of the Church”, the “History of Joseph Smith by His Mother” (Joseph Smith, Jr. founded the Mormon Church in 1830), and the twenty six volume “Journal of Discourses”.
My mind was whirling! My “testimony” lay in tatters. My whole world had been severely shaken.
My next post will pick up with the next part of this story.