I have never written about myself or my family, so please forgive me if this self-analysing approach is not written in one segment. I am going to write it in three segments and ask that you have the patience to read them all. As i'm sure with most of you who have written down your personal stories; tears and deep emotions were probably brought to the fore. I expect the same as I press the keys of this computer and retell my past.
Well, where do I begin? How far back do I go to enlighten you on how I found this incredible 'work' here in the far-flung region of South-East Asia? Okay. Dad. I'll begin with my dad .... Janos Mellar.
Having been conscripted into the Hungarian army at 16yrs old my father fought against the Russians in the 'second world war'. He was taken prisoner and placed in a Russian POW camp in 1944.
He and two of his friends managed to escape and make their way back to his village in the Gava District of Hungary. His intention was to say a temporary 'goodbye' to his parents and siblings knowing that if he was caught he would almost certainly be executed. (Unbeknown to my 19yr old father he was never to see his family again in this life). The war was almost over and Germany was on the brink of surrender. He did not want to live under the yolk of Russian (communist) rule, so as a refugee he made his way through a ravaged war-torn Europe to his eventual settlement in England in late 1946. He met my mother 'Anna' in England in 1952; she had also migrated from Austria as a 20 yr old emigrant seeking a new life, and within 6 months they were married.
Over the next few years myself and my five sisters were born. We lived in the region of England known as the Midlands; Nottingham/Derbyshire, (otherwise known as 'Robin Hood' country). We were raised as Catholics and were educated in Catholic schools. Most of our teachers were Nuns. We were required to go to 'Mass' (church) every Sunday and take 'communion' (a piece of wafer placed on out tongue by Priests which represented the 'body of Christ'.) We were questioned (first thing) every Monday morning at 'school registration' to see if we had attended Sunday Mass. Anyone who had missed the Mass had to provide a good reason (excuse) as to why!? (If you can imagine ... some of the 'made-up' excuses were brilliant, inventive, and just so funny! Originality of story and a convincing performance was the key to getting through this ghastly ordeal on the Monday mornings!) "Wo be unto that child who had a poor excuse!" and the Nuns showed little mercy! (You just made damn sure you went to Mass the following week!) The trouble was, was that the 'Catholic Mass' is a one and a half-hour service spoken in Latin! .... Latin!! .... "I mean come-on??" Who as a kid can speak the almost dead language of Latin!? So, not only did you have to sit in a limbotic state of boredom, on a cold wooden bench (pew), in an unheated stone-walled giant mausoleum (church), but you had to listen to a silk-robed guy standing at the Altar, talking to you in an ancient Roman language! "Boy oh boy". (Now some of you may think I'm being judgemental here, but I'm relating to this memory with the eyes of a young child and how I felt at that age.)
I was twelve years old when the Mormon missionaries first came knocking on our door. My parents, with their broken English accents welcomed the two young Americans into the house and listened to their new enthusiastic message. And so began my personal journey with the Latter-Day-Saints version of religion, philosophy, and way of life. (And oh boy, was it a ride!) As a youngster my childhood was (at times) rigid and structured in the Catholic way, yet my family upbringing was one of extreme happiness and contentment. As I got older Catholic dogma and ritual observances became less important, and was seldom enforced by Priests or Clergy. This to me was a new-found freedom and a welcome introduction to the world of teenagers; yet all was about to change as the conversion-process to Mormonism finally took root and won-over my family's convictions. I was 13yrs old when my family was baptised into the Mormon church.
My sisters and I were promptly kicked-out of our Catholic schools after the faculty Priests tried (unsuccessfully) to convince us that Mormonism was an 'evil American cult' whose members practised polygamy and whose founder (Joseph Smith) was a charlatan and anti-Christ! And so our lives were completely turned upside-down as we were cast out of the world of Catholicism. Now, as a young Mormon and priesthood holder, I endeavoured to be a good example of how a 'god-fearing' servant of our Lord should behave as I cut through the tribulations life would soon throw at me! (Well .... maybe it was a noble thought at the time .... but how little did I know?)
I often reflect back and ask myself 'how seriously did I take the Mormon religion throughout my membership years?' Why was I serious and dedicated one minute, yet doubtful and uncertain in the next? What drove me to eventually serve on a two-year Mission, yet within two weeks of my 'home-return' become inactive for the remainder of my life? (Hmmm. I'll begin with that in my next segment).
For the second part of this story I will begin by reminding you that my parents were foreigners living in England. Both were basically fleeing war-damaged countries (Austria/Hungary) and trying to make a new start in what they thought was a more stable and secure environment. Never, in all of my childhood did I ever witness prejudice or discrimination against my family in any way or by anyone. However, we were often looked-at and perceived as being different; we were the Mellar Family. and a perception was imprinted into our psyche that we were unlike a traditional English family. Our food, traditions, interests, and close friends were foreign-based rather than English-based.
This psychological perception ( of being different) has always remained with me; it never goes, and is still with me to this day. (Now, please don't think this feeling was one of aloofness or self-importance ... No! ... it is more a feeling of disconnect or detachment from those around me) and I think it was linked closely to the attitude I had as a young Mormon having just joined the Church at 13yrs old. In 1969 I new nothing of what the Church expects from their young Priesthood holders. When I was ordained into the Aaronic Priesthood I felt different, special and distinct. It was a feeling that gave me inner strength ... even at that young age.
I, (unlike many I have known) have never had a fear of change, and having this attitude has carried me through the many adjustments in my life. The teenage years of my Mormon lifestyle was obviously a world apart from the teenagers of my home town. The small 'Ward' I belonged to had a regular Sunday attendance of about 50 to 70 members, so my my Mormon friends were few. Smoking, drinking, coffee, tea, Coca-Cola, drugs, etc. were forbidden ... Damn it! ... What was a young teenager supposed to do!? I was surrounded by teens having a good time, whilst I had to live the 'Word of Wisdom!! (not fair!) I was a good-looking kid; girls swooned over me (honest). I was invited to many parties etc. but had to behave and live-up to Church expectations (not fair!) I had to buffer myself from the typical interests teenagers have as they go through their adolescent years (not fair!) My Mormon values were being constantly challenged. But though I managed to stave off most temptations a mild resentment of "why must I remain detached from worldly attractions?" began to eat at my mind. I took umbridge at why the Church restricted my 'free will' and constrained my wants.To resolve this dilemma I determined my mindset to going on a Mission. If anything was going to put a stop to my wavering attitude a Mission would settle it.
The oldest of my sisters (Maria) had already moved to America and was living in SLC. She was now married to a return missionary whom she met in England. I wanted to live up to the expectations of her incredible husband and this was another reason for me to go on a Mission. The Scotland-Edinburgh Mission is where I was sent.
My two years in Scotland (1977/79) were the most rewarding and maturingly concentrated time of my life. I will not go into the details of my Mission (it would require much too much writing) ... so I will sum it up by saying this .... Did my attitude change? Was I now convinced that the Latter-Day-Saints doctrines, principles and outlook on life was worth my complete dedication and commitment ..... No!!
Since finding this 'Work' I have read that 'free agency is the most protected right of all the Laws of the universe'. My Mission, together with my adolescent/teenage years left me feeling as though I ha 'missed-out', that my true feelings of Free Agency had been taken from me. I felt resentful and in some ways cheated.
Please don't get me wrong, my Mission was very successful and rewarding, however, at the end of two years I felt as though I had done my bit; Church requirements had been fulfilled and I was now free again of strict observances.
I gave my homecoming speech the second Sunday after my return. I spoke, I smiled, I shook hands, I hugged and kissed. Then I walked out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints for good!
I have never been to a Mormon Church meeting of any sort since 1979. What I had never given up though throughout the following years was my belief in the basic principles of Church doctrine.This Mormon doctrine, imprinted onto my mental psyche is what carried my through the next 34 years and brought me to the point where I first became aware of the MWAW.
My 34 'wilderness' years had seen me join 'Her Majesty's Prison Service' in my early thirties. My 20+ years in this service were mostly served as a teach/instructor to both staff and prisoners. The majority of my teaching was involved with (SOTP) Sex Offender Treatment Programs), so I had to work closely with psychologists and mental-health professionals. The other areas of which I was deeply involved were Race Relations and Suicide Awareness. What I have seen, heard, witnessed and experienced was at times extremely disturbing, so it is not for this time to write. What I can tell you though is that my core church beliefs remained with me throughout, and this gave me the resolve I needed to continue. My 'being different' attitude was an asset, and on many occasions gave me a much needed resource of strength.
Two children, two divorces and an early retirement at 57 yrs old saw me leave England and relocate to Thailand. Building a new life at such a late stage was just 'another change' that I had planned-on for several years. It was here that I could finally cast-off the shackles of a previous life and start again. New friends, new climate, customs, food, language, etc. I had resolved to do three things in my retirement ... learn to play a new instrument .... learn a new language .... write a book. Whilst still working on the instrument and language bits, I did manage to write a book called 'What and Why we must Question' And it was whilst doing the research on this book that I first came across the MWAW in 2015.
Not only did it encompass much of my core Mormon beliefs, but many of the inconsistencies that had kept me from re-joining the Mormon religion were being explained and countered in a logical and rational way. The more I read and learned the more convincing it sounded.
Scripture was (after 34yrs in the wilderness) a foreign language to me; I thought it an irrational and ridiculous way to talk and read. So the first book I read was was 'Human Reality'. After reading this book my whole outlook on life, death, and truth was transformed. It was like a 'mouse-trap' it snared me and wouldn't let me go. It enticed me to learn more and find out what we humans are all about. You see, being in another country and 'starting again' means you can choose for yourself how to proceed. I will explain more of what I mean by this in my final segment.
Segment 3. (final part) of my story.
It was 2013 when I moved permanently to Thailand. By 2016 my house-build was completed, I had just gotten married (for the third time) and I had recently discovered the MWAW.
Now, my discovery of the MWAW was not a 'blinding flash of awareness and comprehension!' ... no ... it was instead a gradual unearthing of mysteries that were explained in a logical and commonsensical way. Real-Truth was gradually being laid-bare in front of me as I delved deeper into its new disclosures. I was open and willing to accept the new revelations provided it made sense. I would often debate with myself (in my head) the pros and cons of a new piece of information and see if it passed the 'inner-mind-inquisition'. To be truthful with you, some of the newly-found disclosures had a hard time getting through, but the overwhelming reality is is that I was a believer, and my lack of comprehension was probably the reason why I had difficulty in accepting some things. To accept some of these truths i learned it was okay to doubt; it was okay to question. Blind-faith or straightforward acceptance was not my way, I needed to question and convince myself of their validity.
As you get older the more reflective you become of past events in your life, and you constantly ask yourself ... "Would I have done things differently then, knowing what I know now?" I can only suggest that the answer is for the most part 'yes' however, decisions made in my past have fashioned who I am now. Had I not had the ... "I am different" ... attitude as a young man would I have been so accepting of change? Had I become a staunch member of the Church (after my Mission) would I have been so open to the MWAW? Had I not lived a normal (worldly) life would I have been closed-minded? Had I not kept the basic Mormon beliefs inside me would I have shown interest in the MWAW whilst doing my book research? ... heck I don't know? ... But this I do know, I am at this present time a follower, and I can accept no other truth other than what is found in this work.
I live on the edge of a small village in the Issan Province of North-East Thailand. I am barely a one hours drive away from the Laos and Cambodian borders. My house is surrounded on three sides by rice paddy-fields, and I live a mostly isolated life; only seeing and talking with Westerners maybe two or three times a month.
My conversations are superficial with no in-depth topics of discussion. My wife is a Buddhist and I am surrounded by Buddhists. Temples and shrines are common-place where I live. My only communication with the MWAW is via this computer. I have never met another follower of this work or talked to one. In the last five years since coming across this Work my only verbal communication with anyone was with Monica Smith who would patch me through to Christopher when I asked a couple of questions during the 'Podcast Radio Shows'. Now please don't get me wrong; I love this situation. I choose to live this way. I am very content with where I am at, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Finding this Work was possible because I am here in Thailand. It made it possible for me to not only believe this 'Truth' but to get to know it and try to understand it. This isolation gives me the time and peace I need to find my 'balance, and this balance is very important to me. I am the supreme judge of my behaviour, deeds, and actions, and I intend to preserve the peace necessary to maintain an acceptable balance.
At 64yrs old I can only continue to listen, learn, and endeavour to do what my conscience tells me with regards to furthering this Work. As I continue to press the keys of this computer and use it to try and spread what is allowed by those who councel us, I will carry-on experiencing this Work through a small square screen. I truly value a world of seclusion. My self-induced semi-isolation allows my mind to open up and explore Humanity from an insulated viewpoint. I can only hope that my imagination and limited comprehension will sustain my involvement. Forgive me for not being an engaging member of this Group; it is the way I am, and this does not reflect the respect I have for each of you.
So until change may once again dictate my course .... I thank you for reading my story.