In the Mormon faith, God was presented to JoAnn “not as the mysterious, ineffable source of all creation, but simply as an evolved human being who meted out salvation much like an insurance agent issues a policy: with little passion and lots of contingencies.” Now, her soul “is at peace and I rest secure knowing that the Lord’s unfathomable grace and mercy are gifts to be received with deep thanks, not to be earned in anxiety.”
My pathway home to the Catholic Church required an all-terrain vehicle to negotiate the steep, rocky, tortuous roads including dead ends, cul-de-sacs, and detours. Unlike many of the Journey Home stories, I was not trained in theology or doctrine. I attended no seminary, Bible college, or religious institute. But a great deal of informal education in those areas plus years of lay ministry led me to the Catholic Church. And it all started early.
I stood on the edge of America, sand under my feet and the warm water from the Atlantic Ocean washing over my toes. On the horizon I could see them: early morning thunderheads. All lined up and towering into the sky–some closer, some farther away–but all beautiful and majestic; standing like sentinels ready to fight an unseen enemy and seemingly ready to protect. As I watched, some of these thunderheads developed into giants, with the telltale anvil head shape. While others, shaded from the sun by the larger clouds, simply died off, giving no rain to the earth. This made me think of the parable Jesus told about the seeds scattered along the roadside. Some of these storms had taken root, but in shallow ground. After starting out quite hopeful and impressive, they died out in the shadows of those who were fulfilling their cyclic duties of sea to rain, rain to sea–their roots were not deep enough. I could certainly relate.
As I became disillusioned with the Mormons, I became nostalgic for, and then attracted to, the Catholic Church. The lack of passion or spirituality in the ward meetings made me think of the saints, such as Teresa of Ávila and Thérèse of Lisieux, who actually went into a spiritual ecstasy just thinking about Christ. You would never find that in the Mormon church, nor in any Protestant church that I attended. There is simply not that connection to Christ.