Friday, September 19, 2008

The Decision


I had just finished unloading students at Barancca Elementary School at the last part of my morning school bus run on September 19, 2008, when I felt the decision. It was not rational, but it was clear. When I got home Birgitta greeted me at our back door and before I could say anything, she said she knew what had happened. I had decided to apply to the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) for membership--IF they would have me just as I am.

If I were pressed to explain, I would refer to two tipping events. The first was a personal letter from Russia by a Mormon patriarch to Eastern Europe; the second was my awareness of a 30-year scandal in the OCA that had just become public, which had brought down their highest ecclesiastical leader.

In the first case, I had renewed a correspondence with an old Mormon friend, a retired professor of Russian whom I had met at a conference in Salt Lake City the previous month. The last time we had interacted before then was when we had worked on a project together at BYU in early 1979. His letter convinced me that further communication with Mormon leaders would be fruitless.

In the second case, I recalled an old dream (November 1966), where I am with friends telling them that I am at odds with the Church and that
"...the administrative structure needs complete overhaul, beginning with the old men at the top...It's not that one or two might not be retained in an advisory capacity because of their experience. And their removal isn't because they aren't 'good' men..."

Well before becoming aware of the OCA scandal I had generally thought of "The Church" only in Mormon terms. Now I was able to see it in broader, traditional and inclusive Christian terms.

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