I was baptized on June 11, 1989 in her faith. Of course we know as Catholics that there is only one baptism. I thought that my baptism was not valid and had to do it right…according to how the Church of Christ interprets it. I believed that they were the true Church that Christ had founded on Pentecost. It’s a long heart ache story that really doesn’t matter anymore. But when I “defected” I thought that if for some reason I discovered I was wrong I would have a valid marriage and would not need to convalidate. I refused to write a letter to an authority that I presumed to have no authority. That would have been acting like I didn’t think they really did have authority. I figured that they do not have the right and that all of their bad evils of the past were evidence that they could not be God’s leaders of the Church. I was isolated in the Army and struggling with lots of emotional baggage at the time brought on by bad priests, bishops and deacons along with the lay heresies of the day supported by the priests. It was a bad time in the Church as a whole. I wanted to go back to the seminary, get ordained and “change” things to be more orthodox to protect children from perverts. I supported a married priesthood to give a better example of marriage and provid clergy with direct experience what its like to raise a family, deal with a spouse, in-laws, etc. It was twisted I admit. But it was my sincere belief at the time.
Church of Christ Christians are known for their intense strategies of procelityzing other Christians even if they were similar in belief. They belief that they are members of the one true church. Their elders are considered bishops. My FIL was an elder. Thus when they heard I was planning on going to the seminary they saw it as a chance to save me and hit me really hard. When I approached my military chaplain he got angry at me because just a few months prior to this conversation of what it would take to get married he blew me off angry and then elaborated that I would/could never understand any of it and then told me that the military diocese bishop would never approve or give a dispensation for me to marry this woman who is now my wife. I asked naively for permission to marry a non-Catholic, to marry in her church, and to raise my children in both faiths if possible so that they did not feel the way I grew up - constantly divided. The reason is that her family would have never agreed and she might have just dropped it. There is more but it’s more about logistics and timing. If I were to ever get married to someone that would stick by my side I knew this was it. The fact that I heard a voice tell me it’s okay to marry her three times motivated me, made me believe I was supposed to marry her. To this day I believe my perception was correct.
I believe my pastor allowed me to slip back under the wire by not treating me as a formal defector because I never wrote a letter. And even if I wrote a letter the bishop could have denied it. So in order to be gentle with us, knowing my wife’s background, it was best to bring us in quietly to avoid the attacks from anti-Catholic family bent of making us come back to the truth, Church of Christ view.