Rochester, NY

11:25 PM

It’s been a busy day (two interviews to start and end the day, and emails along with phone calls). My brain is full and I’m tired (but I’m typing).

I had a breakfast interview with a friend of mine from high school. It was very interesting to talk with him. Back in the day we ran in similar, but not the same, circles. He isn’t someone I’ve stayed in contact with on a routine basis over the years, but he is someone I was always glad to see when I’d bump into him. I didn’t know much about his life since high school other than what I heard from mutual friends and Facebook.

Last week I posted something about my book and video on my Facebook page. He commented and said he would be happy to talk with me about being Born Again. Because I knew him back in the day, and because I have family who is Born Again, I was excited to talk.

I arrived at a diner in Greece at 9 AM and we caught up on a lot of different topics. We had a lot of similarities from our past. As time went by, and as is the case in my interviews, he had something I was looking for: a calm and peace that comes with faith and ceding control. He shared his story and it is a great one. He still has struggles just like any of us, but I could tell he was a different person from who I knew in high school and my early college years.

I’m not sure if was the timing or his words or because I knew him, but he had me thinking. Luckily my tape recorder was going, because I was having a conversation with myself. “Andrew, you may be making this whole research thing much more complicated than you need to. Religion and faith are massive topics, but to be Born Again you just have to profess your faith. You just have to say you are a sinner and you believe in Jesus and God, and you are on your way…”

I realize those aren’t the exact words and it’s not that simple or cut and dry (or is it?), but he had me thinking in a different way than I have thus far. I did not act on it and the thinking was a short blip (we actually spent three hours together), but it stayed with me as we said goodbye, as I drove home and as the day went on. “Am I making this whole thing too complicated?”

After some work, some food and the gym, I went to a 7 PM interview at a local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). My thinking and questioning had subsided some, but not fully. It turned out I was talking with a local leader of the church. He was the president that oversaw four or five counties.

Walking in, I didn’t know that much about LDS other than I had played in a Mormon basketball league one year as a kid, I had a few friends from high school who were Mormon and a good friend who did a Mormon mission. I had heard about Mitt Romney, no caffeine and alcohol, tithing 10%, and the past way of multiple wives, but I didn’t really know what it was all about. I also knew that the founding of the religion took place not far from my hometown, in a town I used to play in basketball tournaments: Palmyra, NY. It’s pretty cool when a religion with over 14 million followers is founded near your backyard.

Now is not really the time to go into depth on what I learned about the Mormon faith (I found it very very interesting and there is still a lot to grasp). But as we talked and I listened (I was there for two hours), I felt like the research and the interviews I’ve done up to this point made sense. They felt right. Sitting there felt right. I was listening, but I was also soaking up how cool it was to be able to learn about the different religion and beliefs.

I guess as I type tonight, I’m not yet ready to decide. I’ve only scratched the surface. I feel like I need to learn more and share what I learn. It’s going to be an interesting journey (and one I’m trying to truly appreciate).