Yesterday evening, when I 'phoned Susan at Helen's house, Susan reminded me of another anniversary. On the 27th of December, 1969, with Candace - Susan's sister - riding pillion, I rode my Yamaha 50cc motor scooter to Greg's house, in Manoa Valley. It was to be my last night as an unbeliever. The 'Greg' in question was a friend, a fellow taxi driver, an apostate French-Canadian Roman Catholic, and a keen Scientologist. I was myself more than interested in Dianetics and Scientology, but was unqualified to be audited for two reasons:
- use of psychoactive drugs - Scientology is incompatible with such substances, not for moral reasons, but because the drugs interfere with auditing - I had taken LSD that evening - a frequent practice of mine at the time
- lack of money - auditing is expensive
(Perhaps the two factors are related - drugs are expensive, too :-))
Poor Greg! He had been a good friend and had been seriously trying to help me (I very badly needed help) with Scientology, when I show up with Candace, and announce - maliciously (I wanted to see some fun) - that Candace is a Christian. In the end, Greg lost me to his cause. As he said when I left that night, "they [Scientology] would have to get 'round to "clearing" me once "this sector of the galaxy" was clear."
As I have described in a kind of testimonial, it was I who was caught. Greg began attacking Candace's Christianity; I listened - the only time in my life I had ever heard anyone talk about Jesus in a personal way - and at about 5AM the next morning, at Bill Arnold's flat in the basement of his father's church, knelt and told God that my life belonged to Him.
That was forty years ago now. I have had so very much to learn, and am still so very far from where I should be - but that God took pity on me - pretty much down and out at age 27 - is inexpressibly good.
I only regret that in the forty subsequent years I have responded so poorly to His grace - yet He has kept me thus far from the ultimate disaster of rejecting Him; has given me, indeed, the wonder of being a Catholic now; and I hope and believe will grant me the grace of final perseverance. May He do the same for you who read this, and for many!