1977 was the year I graduated BYU and moved to Houston. A strapping, single, 24 year old chemical engineer. Ready to conquer the world.
I moved into The Richmond Chase, a brand new complex. My apartment was an “efficiency” unit on the second floor, overlooking a quadrangle green that was surrounded on all four sides by other pristine buildings just like mine.
On the ground floor of the apartment at right angles to mine lived a single woman about my same age. She was cute and possessed all the physical attributes that attract attention from the opposite sex. Her name was….well….I’ll call her Marilyn….Marilyn Monroe. Of course, she turned my head. I went out of my way to run into her.
We chatted. I quickly realized that this beauty didn’t really attract me beyond her appearance. Very nice person. Marilyn just didn’t click with me. But….it soon became obvious that I clicked with her. She was now going out of her way to run into me. Although, I was not interested in a dating relationship, I soon saw an alternative opportunity.
Three years previous, I had returned from 2 years of full time missionary service. Sharing the gospel and bringing people into the church, are prime directives for LDS members. During my college years, I had not seen many chances to proselyte. But now, I was in the real world where 99% of the population was not Mormon. And here was Marilyn Monroe, a non-member who was excited to hang out.
As a dutiful missionary, I told her about the church. How could she not be interested? I called the missionaries. The lessons began. Ohhhh, was she ever anxious to have the missionaries….and me….come to her apartment almost every evening. The lessons were completed in a couple of weeks. Marilyn’s baptism was put on the calendar.
Over those 2 weeks, my discomfort grew with each discussion. It was obvious that Miss Monroe’s principle object was not the true church. She was looking for the true catch. I tried to explain this to the missionaries. They were confident that Marilyn was the most golden of golden investigators. I next spoke with the ward mission leader. He was equally confident that baptism was unquestionably the proper course.
My dear Marilyn never managed to attend a single Sunday service. Sheesh, the lessons only took a couple of weeks, giving her little opportunity.
More Than Baptism in the Font
The much anticipated day was here. I got to the building early to change into my whites. Marilyn had insisted that I perform the ordinance. The starting time arrived. No Monroe. And then…there she was. All dolled up and…..drunk!!! Unsteady on her feet, I rushed to hold her up and sit her down.
The baptism was canceled. More lessons started immediately. Marilyn’s date was reset for the following Saturday, the same day as one of the 8 year olds.
Once again, I arrived early and changed into my whites. With a primary child getting baptized, there was a crowd. Marilyn showed up sober during the opening song. I was very relieved.
The program proceeded. Time for the ordinances. Marilyn and I were sitting on the front row. We arose together. Turned. Then slowly walked down the center aisle. Side by side. Clothed in the purity of our white baptismal vestments. A chapel full of people. The innocent Miss Monroe must have felt like she was about to become the proud Mrs. Young.
We marched out of the chapel. Down the hall. Into the baptismal room. Marilyn and I then parted in order to enter the font from opposing sides. I descended the stairs into the warm water. Waded across the font. Extended my hand to guide my pretty admirer. Arm to the square, I pronounced the prayer. Then eased the girl in my arms down under the water and up again. It was done…..well not quite. The unexpected climax was about to happen.
It’s tradition to close the doors to the font immediately after the baptism is complete. This allows the participants to exit in dignity. Drenched clothing can immodestly cling to and inappropriately highlight certain body parts.
The doors were closed, leaving Marilyn and I in semi-darkness. Water up to our waists. Drenched clothes clinging in inviting immodestly. Alone. Completely alone. Just me and Marilyn. The pretty and petite girl in her wet whites looked up at me with longing eyes. Then, she threw her arms around my neck. Squeezed us together in a tight embrace and……launched her mouth onto my lips. Lips, mouth, moisture. A kiss dripping as much as our dripping apparel. I had never ever experienced anything like it. I thought a kiss was just with the lips. This was a completely full mouth kiss in the midst of the full wetness of the baptismal font.
Frankly, it was a turn-off for me, especially considering where we were. Double especially, considering that there was a crowd of fellow members just on the other side of the not so soundproof doors.
Late That Night
I can’t remember anything that happened after the kiss….until 10pm that night. The phone rang. It was Marilyn. She seemed troubled and HAD to talk to me. Would I come down to her apartment? I knocked. The door opened. There she stood in a captivating nightgown. Marilyn Monroe…in her nighty…in her make up…in her lipstick…in her coiffed hair. Ten at night and she looked great. Well guess what. I was a single man. I had just baptized her. I crossed the threshold.
We sat down and she eagerly explained that she wanted to date. She had been baptized to please me as a possible mate. Her hopes were high that we would sleep together that very night. Oh man! Awkward and sheepish, I tried to let her down gently. Soon her cheeks were streaked with tears and mascara. But, she was about to reveal what she thought was her trump card.
Nightgown-clad-Marilyn reached up and clasped her plunging neckline. She pulled it down. Her left breast burst into view. I was stunned. Maybe mesmerized. Never had I seen a naked breast in the flesh. Now, one was only a few inches away. I cannot remember what thoughts ran though my young, hormone riddled mind. Somehow, I managed to tell her to cover up. Then the real drama began. Tears. Sobs. Finally, threats to commit suicide if I walked out the door. Why didn’t I love her? Why wouldn’t I go to bed with her?
I was naive, scared and highly inexperienced. What to do? Oh, what to do?
The clock stuck midnight. The very hour that the Holy Ghost goes to bed. But, I couldn’t go to bed. Not here. Nor could I leave and allow a suicide. Fortunately, the Holy Ghost stayed up a few minutes past his bedtime. A simple idea slowly unfolded in my head: “Call the bishop!” Yup, he’ll come to my rescue, to Marilyn’s rescue. He’ll know exactly what to say and do. We just had to hold on until he got there.
I made the call. The phone rang several times. It was late. Would the bishop answer? Thank heavens, he finally did. What a relief. He listened to my explanation. Then said, “She’s not going to kill herself. Go home.” That was it. He hung up.
With dread in my head, I headed home. Slept very poorly.
The next day I saw Marilyn walk across the quad. Anxiety alleviated.
The beautiful Miss Monroe and I….never…spoke….again.
A Missionary is Born
So, I’ve just described my very first missionary experience as a civilian member. Over that next 30 years, I was to be called many times into missionary responsibilities. Two stints as ward mission leader…a total of 6 years. Bishop…5 years. High council with the missionary assignment…4 years. Ward missionary…I can’t remember how long. Sunday School teacher for the investigator class…you get the point. Over the years, I’ve Participated in dozens of conversions and baptisms.
And all this…..launched by Marilyn Monroe and her naked breast. What an eye opening way to begin a proselyting career in “the only true and living church” on the planet.