Mission Experiences, Chapters 23 & 24

This entry is part 12 of 18 in the series Mission

Chapter Twenty-Three
Bob and Betty

When I was first transferred to Scarborough and met Elder Eldridge I was immediately presented with perhaps the only real serious instruction that he had for me during our time together. As we were making rounds visiting members a certain couple named Bob and Betty Moore were on the list. As we approached their house Elder Eldridge stopped the van and looked at me and said:

“You need to listen to me and give heed on this one. The Moores are nice people but Sister Moore is not so great as a cook. Unfortunately, they love having the Elders over and love feeding us. Now we can handle most everything she makes except for one dish and that is her chicken curry. If we ever are visiting with them and they offer us chicken curry we are fasting. Believe me, you don’t want to be mister nice guy and eat it.” Then he again emphasized with great feeling, “Remember WE ARE FASTING if she ever offers us chicken curry.”

“What’s so bad about her chicken curry?” I asked.

“There are horror stories going back years about what happened to Elders who ate it. Believe me you don’t want to find out.”

“I’ll take your word for it,” I said making a mental note to not partake of her chicken curry. “It shouldn’t be difficult as I do not like anyone’s chicken curry here.”

Note: When they killed chickens in England they didn’t cut their heads off and let all the blood drain out but hung the chickens for several days in the marketplace with their heads on with the blood still within the body. This had the effect of giving the chicken a very bad taste in my opinion.

“Anything else I should know?” I asked.

“Well, they are a little strange, “ he said.

“How’s that?’ I asked.

“They are not exactly a ‘follow the prophet’ or follow he authorities type of members. They are sincere but do things their own way.”

“For example?”

“I’ll give you a good one,” he said. “As you know when we give healing blessings two or more Elders are supposed to be present. Well, Brother Moore ignores this protocol and often gives blessings to others all by himself. Then instead of working with the Branch President he just goes off on his own and visits members and blesses them. He does a number of things like this without having authorization. Word has gotten to the Stake president and they are thinking of disciplining him, maybe even disfellowshipping him.”

This arose my curiosity and I had to ask, “So what about the people he blesses. Are they healed?”

“That’s the really weird part,” he said. “A lot of people in the branch swear they’ve been healed by him and keep calling on him when they need a blessing. But then, instead of getting another Elder to help he just goes off by himself contrary to church instructions.”

“But if he blesses people and they are healed, wouldn’t that be an indication that he is not under any condemnation by God and shouldn’t be disciplined?”

Elder Eldridge looked at me with some surprise and expressed strong disagreement. I found it strange that even though he was in trouble himself for violating rules that he didn’t have much tolerance for Brother Moore doing it.

“Anything else I should know?”

Brother Moore has read a lot and his thinking does not conform 100% to the modern church. He believes he gets revelation and visions and everything he comes up with does not meet with approval from church leaders.

“And how about Sister Moore. Is bad cooking her only vice?

“She supports her husband but hasn’t done anything odd that would get her into trouble with the church. She does have one odd belief though.”

“What’s that?”

“She thinks she will meet the resurrected Joseph Smith before she dies. She is almost obsessed with this and tells everyone about it.”

“Where’d she get an idea like that?” I asked.

“It’s in her patarchal blessing. The Patriarch told her that she would meet the Prophet Joseph in the flesh in this life. She interprets that to mean that he will return as a resurrected being and she’ll get to meet him some way.”

“That’s an odd thing to have in a blessing,” I said. “Usually patriarchs stay away from specific prophecies or usual statements like that.”

“Usually,” he said, “but fortunately for her the church won’t find fault with her for merely believing what an authorized patriarch told her.”

That said, we went in to visit with them and we hit it off right away. They were what some would call simple folk. They were rather plain in looks, mannerisms and speech but were spiritually sensitive and had their own kind of intelligence that went over the heads of orthodox thinkers.

I worked a total of eight months in Scarborough and maintained a close relationship with them for the whole time period. It wasn’t long before we began just calling them Bob and Betty rather than the more formal “Brother and Sister Moore” as mission protocol demanded.

Bob was completely bald and reminded me of a Telly Savalas, except much softer in nature. Betty was tall and thin and reminded me a bit of Olive Oyl from Popeye fame.

Fortunately, as time passed the Stake President didn’t take any action against Bob for giving blessings alone. After Elder Eldridge left and I was in charge I made a visit to the branch president. He told me that the Stake President passed along to him the decision as to whether to take action against Brother Moore. I asked him what he thought and he said he didn’t like handing situations like this.

I told him that I didn’t think there was any major problem to handle and would encourage Brother Moore to take someone with him when he gives blessings.

He seemed relieved and during my time there I never heard any more talk of disciplining Brother Moore.

One day when we were in their neighborhood we paid them a visit. They both seemed more cheerful than ever and Bob had an announcement for me.

“Elder Dewey, last night I had a vision so real that it seemed like I was right there. In it I saw your wife – the person you will marry.”

“Really?” I said. “What did she look like?” No one had ever had a vision like that about me before and my interest was indeed aroused.

Chapter Twenty-Four
The Girl with the Long Dark Hair

“I saw you and your wife in the Valley of Adam Ondi-Ahman and she seemed fairly tall with long dark hair.”

“Can you give me any more details?

“I can’t draw you a picture he said but I did see her clearly enough that I think I would recognize her if I ever saw her in the flesh.”

“So, if you had a true vision then I should only get serious over someone who is tall with long dark hair,” I said half joking.

“All I can say is that is what I saw and I felt like I was there for the spirit was very powerful.”

I had a lot of faith in Bob’s purity of heart and if anyone would receive a true vision it would be him. Therefore, when I returned home, attended the University of Idaho and started dating again I was always keeping an eye out for a tall girl with long dark hair.

I dated quite a few girls and got fairly serious over a couple but couldn’t find anyone who I found attractive who fit the description. This person had to be in the church for at that time in my life this was an essential criteria for a mate.

Finally, after some time, I did meet someone. She was a girl named Diane who lived in Moscow but had been attending another university. I met her in the hallway of the church and immediately noted she was tall with long dark hair, longer than average anyway.

I turned on my charm and managed to secure a date. We dated about three times and really hit it off. At the end of the third date she told me she had some news I may not like.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“I’m going on a mission,” she said

“A mission – where?

“Finland. I’ll be gone for two years.”

Now, normally I was happy to see anyone follow his or her dream and go on a mission, but this disturbed me.

“Are you sure that’s what you want to do now? After all, we’ve seemed to hit it off here.”

“The decision was made before we started dating and the prophet has called me so I have to go,” she said. “In fact this will be the last time you will see me. I will be doing some traveling, visiting friends and then I will be off to Salt Lake.”

“What a bummer,” I thought to myself.

We said our goodbyes and she promised to write. Then a couple days later I had this vivid dream and in the dream I clearly saw her and a voice told me I would see her again before she left. I thought that was an odd message but then next Sunday at church there she was. She had unexpectedly returned home for the day. She was rushed but we did spend some time together and again said our goodbyes.

After this my imagination went into overdrive and I asked myself why I had such a vivid dream. Since she fit the description of the tall girl with long dark hair maybe it was a sign that she was the one. The irritating thing was that I was going to have to wait two years to find out for sure.

During the next two years I dated a lot of females but none of them were tall with long dark hair. There were several that I liked but the nagging question as to whether Diane was the one caused me to keep a distance in a number of cases.

Then I had a bright idea. I would send Bob a picture of Diane and see if he would recognize her from his vision. This I did and a short time later I received a reply.

He said she was close but didn’t think she was the same one he had seen.

This did not totally discourage me for several reasons. First, I really liked her and secondly, that dream kept gnawing at me. I couldn’t shake the possibility that she was the one. After all, Bob said she was close; maybe he just wasn’t remembering correctly.

I managed to remain unattached for the two years and finally the day of her return arrived. I called on her at her parents home in Moscow and I was somewhat concerned that she didn’t seem to be as excited about seeing me as I her. Then to add to my consternation she said, “I’m leaving tomorrow.”

“Leaving? You just got here.”

“Everything was arranged before I returned,” she said. “I start a teaching job in Portland in a couple days and have to leave immediately. Maybe I’ll see you during the holidays.”

She was only able to spend a short time with me for she had lots of relatives to entertain during her short stay at home. We again said goodbye.

“What luck,” I thought to myself. How was I ever going to find out if she was the one if she keeps taking off on me?

During the next few days I was beside myself wondering what to do and then I decided there was only one course of action. I would move to Portland and date her and find out for sure one way or another.

At that time I was a member of the AFLCIO union and I called the Portland office to see if they could supply me with a job there. They said they could so in a few days I was on my way.

I was nervous as the dickens a I approached her door in Portland. After all, we had only dated a short time and maybe in her mind I was just one fleeting guy on a string of many in her past.

The door was answered by a kindly older couple who owned the home and Diane was lodging with them. They explained that Diane was gone and would return in about an hour and I was welcome to wait. We hit it off right away and remained friends for years.

During that next hour I tried formulating something in my mind to explain why I was there so I didn’t come across like a stalker. Finally, she arrived and didn’t seem surprised at all to see me. I told her I had a job in the area and had moved there so I decided to pay her a visit.

We had a nice visit, but the old spark didn’t seem to be there. Even so, I still had to find out for sure. I asked her out and we dated a couple times, but that old feeling seemed missing. She seemed different and I couldn’t put my finger on the problem.

Finally, on our third date she said, “There’s something that I need to tell you.”

“That doesn’t sound good,” I thought to myself.

She continued, “I fell in love with an Elder on my mission and we plan on getting married when he gets home in a couple months.”

“Really?” and I thought I didn’t have to worry about her getting romantically involved on a mission.

Then I told her the real reason I came to Portland. I told her about Bob’s vision, my dream and that I needed to find out if we are meant to be together.

She was fairly open to the idea and said, “I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to marry this missionary, but if it’s God’s will you and I be together I’m willing to follow. Let’s both pray about it and see what answer we get.”

I agreed that sounded like the best plan. We decided to be apart for three days and pray and contemplate and then meet again.

I prayed like crazy and didn’t really get a yes or no but finally did get an impression. The impression was that Diane was going to get the right answer and I was to accept it.

Finally, the three days were up and I anxiously awaited her answer. She said she received a clear answer that she was supposed to marry the missionary and not me.

I reluctantly accepted and we agreed to be friends. I still saw her now and then and with the pressure being off we seemed to enjoy each other’s company more than ever.

Meanwhile I met another young lady named Rhea and I fell for her big time, more than I ever did for Diane or anyone else I had dated.

Earlier I had made this list of about 30 characteristics that the girl I marry must possess and she had almost all of them. The only thing she lacked was the long dark hair. She had light brown hair of average length and was fairly tall.

On a lark, I sent Bob a picture of her, but he wrote back giving me a definite no. This did not discourage me though for I was head over heels crazy about her. I consoled myself thinking that maybe Bob didn’t see the real thing. After all, a lot of people have dreams and visions that do not come true.

One thing that was of supreme importance to me was that I marry the right person and this choice be confirmed by the Spirit. One of the reasons for this was that from the time I was a small child I strongly felt within that there was one certain person I was supposed to marry and I had to find her.

I had finally found a person that met all the points on my list including capturing my heart. Now the question was… did the Man Upstairs approve?

Copyright 2010 by J J Dewey

Series NavigationMission Experiences, Chapters 21 & 22Mission Experiences, Chapters 25 & 26

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