By Rokson Lau
When I was young, my father was a Methodist by name and my mother practiced the traditional Chinese religion of Taoism/Buddhism as per the seasons of the year. I followed my mother to all her religious activities during my childhood years.
We lived about 2km north of the Bukit Timah Chapel. I went to school at Newton Kindergarten. Almost every day we had to pass the chapel before we arrived home. At that time, the chapel was a big old bungalow house. I would often see a group of Caucasians, both young and old, dressed formally standing around the front of the building under the hot Singapore sun.
I wondered what went on in that old bungalow house. This curiosity stayed with me in my teens when my secondary school was further down town and I took the same route home every day. I witnessed the bungalow being rebuilt into a bigger building that looked more like a club house to me. It never crossed my mind that it was a church, but I told myself that I would find out what was in that building when I grew up.
Although I attended a Catholic mission school, I never accepted Catholicism as my religion. However, I did enjoy the quietness of the cathedral and stories about Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, and Jesus Christ. During these early years of my life, I was having a hard time at home. My parents’ marriage was falling apart. There were fights and quarrels at home all the time. I was the youngest child in the family and I just wished that everything would be okay one day. Whenever I felt sad, I looked towards the moon at night and prayed in my own way asking for peace, harmony and love at home. I was hoping that my family could be together again.
After my ‘O’ levels, I went to Ngee Ann Polytechnic (1981). I got to know a classmate, Cindy Chen, who was a new convert of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I noticed that she was different from the other Christians who declared that non-Christians would burn in hell. Her message was full of hope and gave answers to all the questions like, “Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where will we go after this life?”
As much as it was very interesting to me, I kept myself from being ‘converted.’ I am the only son in my family and I knew my mother would be very sad if I chose a religion different from hers. However, that didn’t stop me from attending church activities. I was first invited to a church dance at the building I thought was a club house. It was my first time attending a dance as well as my first encounter with other church members. I made Cindy promise not to give my telephone number to the missionaries who were eager to fellowship with me during the dance.
Without much surprise, the missionaries called me. I rejected their invites readily. Later, I was invited to a Missionary Open House by Karen, Cindy’s younger sister. Almost everyone wanted me to take a copy of the blue book called The Book of Mormon. I rejected them again. I was thinking that if I really want to read it, I can go to MPH Bookstore and find it for myself.
Then a situation arose when I had to use the cultural hall of the chapel daily for my group study in preparation for an exam. The missionaries would come by to share a few thoughts and bear their testimonies to me. One particular sharing that touched me deeply was about how families can be together forever.
That caught my attention and I started taking the missionary discussions. At the same time, I also joined my friend and attended the Institute class every Thursday evening. I was challenged to see if Heavenly Father was real and if He would answer prayers. I made a covenant with Him that I would attend church every Sunday if He would help me with my exams. Well, I did well in my exams and I kept my part of the covenant in attending church every Sunday without fail.
I embraced the teachings of the church. They were simple, easy to understand and made perfect sense to me. Through fervent prayer, I knew for myself that the teachings were true. They were what I’d been searching for to fill the voids in my life. As much as I wanted to be part of the church and be baptised, I didn’t get permission from my mother. That didn’t stop me from attending church. I came to church faithfully and was given a special non-member calling to be the Branch Newsletter Coordinator. I got to interview church members, write articles and publish the monthly newsletter for the Singapore Branch.
After almost 2 years of ‘investigating’ the church, I finally got permission to be baptized from my father. I was baptized in October 1983 by Elder Terrence Lim.
I did my National Service (1984 - 1986), and received much protection during that time. I was called to serve as a missionary in the Singapore Mission (1987 – 1988). I was blessed with the opportunity to attend Brigham Young University both in Hawaii and Provo, Utah (1989 – 1993). In 2002, I was married to my wonderful wife at Salt Lake Temple for time and all eternity. We are blessed with three beautiful and talented children.
My Heavenly Father loves me and wants the best for me. I am grateful that the true church of Jesus Christ has been restored on earth to bless us in these latter days.