Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The MYSTERIOUS CAUSE & PREPARATION--of the Andersen Family: NINE YEARS FINDING THE FAITH TO MOVE TO "THE JUNGLES & MOUNTAINS OF THE MAYA "

CLICK FOR:  PREVIOUS POST 

****************
Part 1
THE MYSTERIOUS CAUSE and PREPARATION TO ACT:  Nine Years Finding the Faith to Make the 1967 RISKY….JOURNEY to the LAND OF THE MAYAS
By Cordell M. Andersen, life-long volunteer Field Director
We will now launch ourselves into trying to understand the lifetime efforts of the Cordell Andersen family,  in making what later was called:
The 1967 RISKY, BREATHTAKING PIONEER JOURNEY  TO THE JUNGLES & MOUNTAINS OF THE MAYA,
….moving to rural Guatemala—literally  heading into the teeth of a dangerous storm, where the death rate for children was 50%, where we would be isolated from modern essential services, and where had exploded a Cuban/communist supported GUERRILLA WAR targeting those thought to be wealthy, like landowners and people from the U.S.—all  making difficult to understand the move  to the then... 

DANGEROUS & MYSTERIOUS JUNGLES and MOUNTAINS OF THE MAYA 
NOW THE CRUCIAL QUESTION:
In all frank honesty, what had happened in our lives during the previous 9 years—from the end of our LDS missions to our leaving for Guatemala in mid-1967—motivating  such a seemingly perilous, but faithful move?
The spiritual foundation of it has been described in
PART 1: 0-22 years of
Cordell M. Andersen  
The rest of the difficult reply to the question is found in
Part 2: 22-31 years - PREPARATION
Nine Years Finding the Faith to Make the  1967 RISKY....JOURNEY to "GUATEPEOR"* 
*GUATEPEOR is a derogatory term for Guatemala used in jest! 
You’ll see it used in a bit as I also laugh at myself calling myself a “Rodeo Clown”
It is being written at this moment with a summary that is this post:

PREFACE
But, why bother with this history of a
 “sort of crazy” family?
A quote from the RISKY…JOURNEY post might help:
Two other returned LDS missionaries from Guatemala had quickly reacted to the feeling had by many—that something had to be done to respond to the urgent “CAUSE” but had failed within 6 months and have been forgotten.
Our effort …. wasn't expected to last very long either, but our Andersen 
family pioneering endeavor was different—first  achieving a 14 year "Ammon-like"  period, but then persisting and was still going strong after 50 years,  so perhaps is historically of great value to report about fully and honestly.  It didn't work out being just another crazy, flash in the pan, ill-prepared undertaking as everyone but my father had predicted, but honestly reporting the truth of the effort has strangely ruffled feathers.  BUT WHY?
 
On digging into my files, and those of my father, to accurately write  "the rest of the story"  I became convinced that more details of the history had to be told in frank honesty, including that of my family and personal life that--some Foundation leaders had said didn’t need to be told, rather they felt we should just stick to the work and accomplishments of Foundation projects. 
Yet, due to gossip and all kinds of rumors that surfaced over the years, I felt that in the end the truth should be known, removing the burden from my shoulders and let the truth take us where it may. 
It couldn't be as bad as where gossip and rumor has taken the history causing the loss of many friends.
THE DIFFICULTIES OF “the rest of the story”
As explained further along, it would be…..


“……….a risky challenge as demonstrated by one LDS General Authority, William Bradford—who  had heard a scandalous version of my history and demanded I confess—so, as I began an honest 2 hour long recounting of my history....his first response was, "The devil was deceiving you," but I continued undeterred, with him later shockingly injecting, "Satan was trying to destroy you!"  But unbothered I continued with him gradually changing his attitude, eventually saying, "Well, there might be something to this."  For a brief moment he comprehended some and counseled  me, saying,
“Don't tell anyone as no one will understand!"

I went on to say in that section:
One unique man, Harold Brown, showed that it was possible to understand fairly by having an .......
 .....unbiased open mind, an understanding heart, a spiritually perceptive spirit, and courageously honest soul.”
Brother Brown is sadly gone. But, I hope and pray a few such individuals still  exist and will be interested as it was a story worth living and of great value to understand fairly as did Brother Brown.  So, I will now  stick my neck out and give all a chance to understand this PART 2 of my autobiography entitled PREPARATION to ACT.  The “rest of the story” will continue to be told in the COMPLETE FINAL REPORT that comes last.
DIVINE GUIDANCE
To guide me in gradually revealing all--I had a very profound dream, that two times was interrupted by waking for various reasons, but each time as I went back to bed, the dream continued without missing a beat, convincing me it was much more than a simple dream.
A brief summary follows:
I saw myself invited to speak in LDS General Conference but told not to worry about what I would say as it would be on the teleprompter.  Nevertheless, I felt like I had to prepare in my mind a special message just in case.
Through a lot of interesting and informative details in the actual dream, including being shown the technically complicated control room where it was explained to me how they could quickly edit out unacceptable remarks.  I finally got to the point of standing behind the pulpit looking out over the vast sea of 22,000 souls plus millions of TV viewers. 
 At that moment I recalled my experience as a 17-year-old—known at that time as a very timid soul--in the old Provo Tabernacle in a Stake Conference in 1953  when looking at what for me was "a vast sea of 3,000 souls," I bowed my head thinking a brief  prayer and was then guided by the Lord to speak His words.
In the Conference Center, after a brief silent prayer, I looked at the teleprompter to know what I was supposed to say. It had a message in bold letters clearly from the Lord, saying:
"SPEAK THE TRUTH FROM YOUR HEART!"
That ended the dream….so,  I was disappointed not being able to see what happened by attempting to give my own special message. I interpreted the message as guidance from the Lord in writing my history,  and this section on The MYSTERIOUS CAUSE & PREPARATION, the RISKY...JOURNEY, then the COMPLETE FINAL REPORT.
Likely an honest recounting of history will....
"ruffle a few feathers," but "we have all sinned and fallen short...."
....and all need to have an honest chance to have
"a broken heart & contrite spirit,"
and
HEAL OURSELVES and THOSE HURT.

Are you surprised people were “HURT!”
Misunderstanding & believing false reports were responsible for…
 SOME INFANTS DYING! OTHER GOOD PEOPLE CAUSED 
TO LOSE FAITH!

CAUTION!  The author refers to  serious mistakes—that literally caused loss of life,  spiritual destruction and loss of faith—perpetrated  by individuals and groups of individuals  REVEALED IN HOPES OF MOTIVATING REPENTANCE!  SUCH ARE  NEVER INTENDED TO INFER THAT THE RESTORED FULLNESS OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IS IN DOUBT

************************************
INTRODUCTION

A KEY PART OF THE FOUNDATION OF MY LIFE

 Part1—of the "Checkered--Faith & Works"....Autobiographical history 0-22 years old, just takes us to the end of my mission and that of Maria in late 1958.  Our leaving for Guatemala was in mid-1967—so there is a nine year gap I call PREPARATION that will help us understand and appreciate  the RISKY….JOURNEY section that will follow.

I will now  summarize very briefly that critical portion of “the rest of the story” to give all a chance to understand what we were going to attempt, then how we came to have the courage and the faith to make what some called “a reckless and crazy move.”

First, THE MYSTERIOUS  CAUSE

 The Sacred Book of the Mayans, THE POPUL VUH, states that anciently their people had a darkness come over them, causing them to lose their original sacred book,  and bring upon them all the terrible problems they suffer today. LDS people call this “a curse,” described in detail in 2 Nephi 1, of the Book of Mormon, which for you who might not be LDS, is considered by us as the sacred book of the indigenous Americans, newly revealed to the world.

But, the Mayans have ancient prophecies of a day when they will solve the problems and prosper.  Correspondingly, LDS people believe in scriptures that say, paraphrased:

“They will awaken, come out of darkness into the light, and blossom.”

OUR CAUSE WAS TO APPLY A FORMULA TO HELP THEM OVERCOME “THE CURSE” & “BLOSSOM”

A CHANGE WAS URGENTLY NEEDED:  As an LDS missionary in 1958 I was sent to the remote area of Coban in Guatemala with a special purpose given by the Mission President. It was an area known among the missionaries as The Siberia of Central America, due to its remoteness, rain thirteen months a year, and difficult missionary work.

The area’s missionary work was stagnant and difficult, and the missionaries would evolve into a pattern of hiking out into the mountains, and not actually do a lot of missionary work. When one would be changed and a new one sent, the one having been there for a while would soon infect the new missionary with the same discouragement continuing the pattern.

I had a different mind-set due to a prophecy about my life by Church leader, Hugh B. Brown, inferring a future that would be among the Mayans, and the Mission President Wagner knew this and so I was chosen and was sent in fresh with a new missionary, both of us un-exposed to the discouragement, so we would take seriously our mission. On arrival at the grass landing field in an Aviateca DC-3 two engine war-surplus airplane,  I was seeing for the first time in my mission Q’eqchi’-Mayans  in their typical colorful clothing, and to me the area became my  Shangri-la.   

We quickly knocked on every door in town and had no success with traditional missionary techniques.  We seriously took a long look at what we were doing—on what we were supposed to be doing, and concluded we were going about our job wrong.  We realized our main purpose, especially among the Mayans was to find an understandable way to get back into their hands  their newly found Sacred Book, and let it take them where it may, rather than being obsessed with baptisms.  If we could have them accept the book, and find an effective way to help them understand, it would guide them to an awakening and blossoming. 

Consequently I was inspired with a strategy to do that, FIRST, telling them with pictures how progressive their ancestors were who some called “The Greeks of the New World,” THEN read to them from the Popul Vuh about a darkness that had come upon them bringing all the problems they still suffered, and LAST, prophecies about the latter days when “They will awaken, come out of darkness into the light, and blossom.”  But they would need their Sacred Book, which we would tell them has now been found, which would help them overcome “the curse & blossom.” 
So, our new system would first have them feeling great about their ancestors and therefore feel good about themselves and their ability to improve their lives.  Next,  accepting their book and help them to understand  it and have the confidence to find a new life.  Then I realized that the method had to outline the steps they would need to take to really blossom. 
So….. THE FORMULA that had come to me in the “visions of the night”  as a missionary in 1958,  came to be called 
The Philosophy & Principles of the Good life.

Our PURPOSE then was to awaken the interest of  Mayans to overcome “the curse” and organize projects to help them apply the  principles of the Good Life,   which was our 
 MYSTERIOUS  CAUSE.

**************
 PREPARATION-1958 to 1967
Before the 2nd leaving for Guatemala in 1967 we had a 2 hour long “heart to heart talk” with my parents, ending with him giving me a Father’s blessing.  I quote (in outlined form):

“I described emotionally the long chain of spiritual experiences had since I was a young boy, including my  
(1) NDE at 16 convincing me I had to dedicate my life SAVING PEOPLE, then me following Dad's example achieving 
(2) spiritual conversion to the Book of Mormon, then I went on to explain 
(3)  my mission experiences, focusing on 
(4) Hugh B. Brown's prophecy about my life, then  as a missionary 
(5) seeing Indian babies dying that I had to do something about, and later  
(6)  profound experiences when I was President of the Spanish American Branch in Provo, including  
(7) critically  on the snowy slopes of the Henry Mountains when, as had happened  anciently to Enos, then to Ammon and his brothers from the Book of Mormon--I literally had "the spirit of the Lord work on [me] .....," and I had my encounter with the Lord giving me the courage to make the move--and was supported by Maria and the kids.”

But, it involved impossible challenges we have to describe to fully understand.

MY TO DO LIST FOR RETURNING TO GUATEMALA

1.      Marry the right companion to support me in the adventure.
2.     Fulfill my military obligation. 
3.     Graduation from BYU
4.     Work in Andersen Samplers, building up the business and accumulating capital for the Guatemalan Adventure, as well as investing capital to make enough money for our new life.
5.     Do research, investigate and make exploratory trips to prepare the way for a move.

THE CHALLENGE & KEY EVENTS PREPARING US
My last day in the Central American Mission was memorable described in my autobiography, but it boiled down to my Mission President, Edgar L. Wagner, taking me to the airport.  I was hoping to insert here a picture of him, but can’t find one—my camera was stolen during my mission (in Managua). One of his chores as a Mission President was to talk to the missionaries in a way to hopefully prevent them falling in love with a local girl—so his preaching  became pretty extreme even calling one of us gringo’s marrying a Lamanite girl “a sin.”  He especially seemed to pour it on during the last months of my mission when I was Secretary of the Mission. He claimed knowing my girl friend, Maria, who had spent a year or so in the Mormon Colonies in Northern Mexico before migrating to the U.S.  This forced me to analyze his arguments, and it was quite easy—but I was respectful of his intentions and resisted any debate or getting him in a strangle hold.
But on the way to the airport he said,
“I know who your girl friend is, and you are fully aware of my extreme preaching on such a mixed marriage, but want you to know that on getting back together with Maria, if you both feel the way you did before your missions, ignore everything thing I’ve said and MARRY HER QUICKLY!”



At the airport a very special woman was there to say goodbye having made the long and difficult trip from Coban on the bus.  It was Sister Carlota de Yalibat mentioned often in my writings from my mission, and in the RISKY….JOURNEY  history.  I had already said goodbye to President Wagner, and last of all had a tearful parting with this very special sister, not saying “ADIOS,” rather “HASTA  LUEGO,” as I knew that as soon as possible I had to PREPARE and then RETURN TO THE “LAND OF THE MAYAS.”

Maria, was still in Mexico, remaining there to help her mother acquire a Resident Visa to come to the U.S.  and so I used the time to check out three other very special young ladies I had on my list—but, even though they were all wonderful women, it was quite easy to perceive that being my wife in a pioneer adventure in the “jungles & mountains of the Maya,” would be out of the question for any of them.

WHO WAS MARIA BERNARD?
She was from Tierra Blanca, Veracruz, Mexico with a tragic, but interesting past for  our possible future together. She was the 3rd child born to Angela, her mother—Graciela was her sister, and brother Albert.  But when Maria was a baby their father was killed by cattle rustlers on their ranch.
His widow, Maria's mother, was emotionally wounded seriously, and soon was swindled out of their property, all of them ending up literally starving in a thatch hut.  They were saved by aunt Clementina, mother of Aurora, who years later would marry Jim Penrod, and be the ones to start AYUDA’s project in Cunen, Guatemala.
So, Maria was raised by her aunt, in Tierra Blanca, and they were all early converts to Mormonism we see in an old photograph of the LDS branch members.

I’ll first insert a picture of the group with a picture of Maria as a young lady superimposed. 
 
Maria is the little girl shading her eyes on the left, next to her brother Albert, and then Graciela, also shading her eyes.  I’ll insert below the complete group picture with a special purpose as in it we see on the back row, far left, one of the young—but very tall, full time LDS missionaries, who good fortune would have it was HAROLD BROWN, who years later became one of the most key actors in our entire history. 
He was—about 33 years later,  in 1973 the LDS Regional Representative who surprised us with his visit at Valparaiso —as though he was an ANGEL FROM HEAVEN, when we were going through the roughest period in our history.

He had known us for years, and even for a time lived a crossed from the Andersen home on Ash Avenue in Provo.  In 1973 from his home in Mexico City, he explained he had kept a close eye on what we were doing, hearing some very negative reports, but also some very positive ones—and figured out what was happening—we were being “laughed to scorn” –or criticized by some of our own LDS people, as had happened anciently to Ammon and his companions, criticized by their people. 

He surprised us with a visit and was the only Church leader to come and investigate with an open mind, and spiritually perceptive heart, and when hearing what was happening at the hands of the LDS Mission and Leaders from Salt Lake City, he literally broke down in tears and in significant ways encouraged us to continue.......and, even later when I became more controversial, he listened with an open mind and became my supporter throughout his life, rather than turn against me as so many friends and family did.  He was the first to begin calling me a…
“Modern Ammon,” and us “A Family of Ammons.”

NOW BACK TO THE HISTORY AFTER MY MISSION
Soon I was asked to  present a Welcome Home Sacrament Meeting Program, resulting in a friend and local businessman, Tom James, asking me to work with him. I tried, but soon determined it best to work with my father who had recently published in the Journal of Bacteriology a report on the Andersen Sampler and was getting tons of inquiries from all over the world.  We established  the family partnership,
 Andersen Samplers & Consulting Service. 
Dad soon discovered that I was the only person he had found to that point who could drill with a jewelers drill press the 2,400 AIR jets in each sampler—all the way down to the smallest about the diameter of a human hair. 

After my Sacrament Meeting, I was also asked again—as happened when I was 17, to speak in Stake Conference in the old Provo Tabernacle, and again had an unforgettable experience talking about my mission experience to a very large congregation—and congratulated by many, some saying I then spoke with an accent as though I was a Mexican trying to speak English—which was a compliment for this guy who had failed Spanish in high school, but discovered at the beginning of the mission--no Language Training Center yet-- my own system for learning that had me  speaking faster than the average missionary. It was one of the great spiritual experiences of my life.  I actually went on to major in Spanish at BYU, and on graduation was offered a fellowship to get a Masters Degree at Kansas State University, but Guatemala and preparing to return was my priority.

“1.  MARRY THE RIGHT COMPANION”
In December I received my induction  papers to report to the Army in January, but not
wanting to be away from Maria for 2 more years I panicked and joined the Army Reserves on December 31st, signing up to be trained as a Medical Specialist, which turned out to be for our life in Guatemala, an inspired move.  
 Maria arrived that same day.

 
I was finally obedient to my Mission President, and Maria and me quickly decided to get married on January 20th—her birthday, in 1959.  NOTE: I’m joking about finally  being obedient!
DISASTER STRIKES—AFTER THE HONEYMOON A NEW CHALLENGE
A week after the honeymoon, I was going to have to report for Basic Training at Fort Ord, California, after which I would be sent to San Antonio, Texas at Fort Sam Houston for medical training.  Once settled into our apartment in Provo I began excitedly talking to Maria about our future plans which would eventually be to leave the U.S. and migrate to Guatemala to live and work among the rural Mayan people—with  Coban as the target area.  Somehow in the excitement of marriage and the honeymoon, that subject hadn’t come up—A BIG MISTAKE!
Her reaction was never imagined—I was so naive—She was ready to explode and said,
“If that is your plan, it will be best for us to immediately get a divorce!”
I was a very orthodox Mormon and “divorce” was not part of my vocabulary. I launched myself into a step by step recounting of all of my spiritual experiences as a young teenager, then as a missionary,  including the prophecy of Hugh B. Brown—all adding up to my “Ammon-like” mission and future that I assumed a good Mormon girl would be excited about.
But my explanation fell on deaf ears and she replied,
“I didn’t struggle all my life to get out of Mexico to just go back, especially to live out in the sticks in Guatepeor!
I began again very emotionally reviewing everything, but then it was clear it would get me nowhere, and besides, I thought, “The truth is that it is going to take quite a while to PREPARE properly and somehow during the years it would take, she will come around,”  so I backed off and privately laid out a subtle plan of PREPARATION—a bit more complicated than the one I already had.
A day or so later I talked to a Mexican friend, Benjamin de Hoyos, who knew Maria and he told me that “She came to the U.S. with the plan of marrying a rich gringo and living in a big house  happily ever after!”  Poor Maria!  She had got a bad deal with me…to say the least—except, as I joked years later, she got the big house  when living in the haunted Central House at Valparaiso!
 
OFF TO THE ARMY TO BECOME A MEDICAL SPECIALIST
My autobiography will tell a lot of interesting details, but after initially hating and
fighting all the vulgarity and immorality surrounding me in the Army, I found a way to turn it around and “next to my mission experience it became to that time the greatest experience of my life.”  It was so much that way that afterwards I was used by Church leaders to speak to youth groups and help prepare them for having positive experiences in the Military.
In the San Antonio part of the six months of training I took Maria with and we associated with Spanish speaking people in LDS branches  where I was given callings.  That was part of my plan:  ASSOCIATE WITH LATIN AMERICANS ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY.

THEN BACK TO BYU EVENTUALLY GRADUATING IN 1963
Of major importance we got together with other Latin American students and ex-missionaries to study the Gospel in Spanish every Sunday afternoon.  Eventually that was converted into the Spanish American Branch.  I became the Elder’s Quorum President.  Importantly the Branch Presidency believed all those attending should forget Latin America and remain in the U.S.--having gathered to Zion, but I held exactly the opposite view and initiated a monthly fireside to promote us all preparing to go back and be of service where it was needed most—Maria, indirectly was my target.


AT BYU….I COULDN’T FORGET FOOTBALL &
MY ONETIME DREAM OF THE NFL

—injuries reducing my
DREAMED OF SUPERBOWL to

THE BYU“Flag Footall” CHAMPIONSHIP 
--AN EXAMPLE OF DETERMINATION & NOT ACCEPTING BULLYING--
Quoting first from….FROM  PART 1: 0-22 YEARS  of my autobiography.  

Note:  This is important if you want to understand me and who I am.

I had also been pressured by Chuck Peterson and the BYU Cougar Club,  to go out for Freshman football, along with Grit Young (Steve Young's father) and others and did so, but my ankle was hurting me—from the serious injury in my senior year in high school,  and I protected myself too much. I just couldn't play football that way, and so after two weeks dropped out. I was then asked by my old California friend, Tom Green, to join him in forming a flag football team to play intramural football, and so 
one tough bunch of little guys registered a new team,  
The MACCABEES.
 WHERE DID THAT NAME COME FROM AND WHAT DID IT MEAN?
A bit over 2000 years ago the mighty Greek army attempted to conquer the Jewish people and wipe out their culture. Incredible brutality was unleashed on the Jews and they were going through a great period of darkness, when one family and their leader, Judah Maccabee, created a revolt against the unbeatable Greek army. He was a fearless leader and a brilliant strategist who inspired many to take up arms and eventually saved the Jewish people and way of life. So….
….Maccabees are unbeatable mavericks!
As MACCABEES—to  win, we had to play hard and rough. I was made the captain and outlined our basic plays, and we won the championship that year—1954 . Soon we all went on missions……

On returning we got the MACCABEES going again, but things had changed as in previous years there had been too many injuries so there were all kinds of rules and regulations. In 1954 and before there was just one narrow flag down our back which was very difficult to grab so we just played tackle football acting as though we were reaching for the flag. From 1959 on, as seen in the picture, there was a flag down each side and strict penalties for knocking down players.  BYU had doubled too in size from 5,000 students to 10,000, and so rather than just two intramural flag football leagues, there were 4. To have a bit of advantage, and run faster than anyone else, I played barefoot even when on frozen turf—with thick socks taped around the ankles to not fall down.

We won our league, and in the playoffs beat another league winner, and then came the CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, against a bunch of giants—all athletes on scholarship from the baseball and  track teams, captained by Bob “Andy” Mostellar, all-star pitcher on the baseball team who later went on to play in the Major Leagues.  He was tall, 6’+ and their quarterback, so became my man on defense, and I his when on offense.

Prior to the game they were vocal making fun of us as a bunch of midget football players, and so we decided to teach them who we were on the kickoff which they would receive.  Each of us had to take out our man—literally! 
I remember that play so perfectly it is incredible, but Mostellar got the ball and swung to his right while each of our guys surprised their guy knocking them down. I was the only one left to get him.  As he came charging down the side line I launched myself into him hitting him on his hip, lifted him into the air, and slammed him to the ground—totally surprising him and knocking the wind out of him.  He was so mad at my flagrant foul he tried desperately to get to his feet and punch me out, but couldn’t get his breath and was helpless—it was really funny!  The same happened all over the field and penalty flags flew everywhere.  It was likely the only play in the history of any kind of  football when literally every player on a defensive team was called for a flagrant foul!

That moved them down the field close to the goal, and our zone defense didn’t work and they made a touchdown.  We came back with our own touchdown, and then decided  on defense to play man-for-man, so it turned into a strange game—rather than rushing quickly Mostellar, I carefully stalked him to keep him from getting around me.  After their first touchdown, we matched them touchdown for touchdown, and ended up losing by their initial touchdown.
But it was a memorable way to play basically my last football game.  If nothing more we showed them we wouldn’t accept bullying and fought them like true MACCABEES to the end…..just as you’ll see in my Guatemalan adventure I resisted and fought bullying to the end, refusing to accept injustice and unrighteousness.
 
 
 
SORRY ABOUT THAT, BUT I COULDN’T RESIST REMEMBERING--WITH A SMILE, MY LAST FOOTBALL GAME—
WOW I LOVE FOOTBALL!

NOTE: On honestly analyzing what happened, it occurs to me now that my attitude to instantly react--taking no guff from any bully, perhaps cost us the championship. Our insistence on getting instant satisfaction on that first play had  them scoring easily the first touchdown that won them the game. Otherwise, we might have—during  the normal game--taking no guff,  WON THE GAME & HUMILIATED THE ELITE ATHLETE/BULLIES! But, I have to admit that I remember that first play with a smile.
In the Guatemalan Adventure, you'll notice I usually controlled myself in the face of unrighteous bullying, and rather—retained  my calling, letting the bullies leave or the interview to end, and then showed my tenacity by going to work and showing the bullies with great success that they had been wrong.

I THEN  LAUNCHED MYSELF INTO THE TASK OF PREPARING MY RETURN TO THE LAND OF THE MAYAS WITH  TENACITY.
BACK TO GETTING AN EDUCATION
I majored in Spanish, taking the easy way to graduation, along with a minor in History, but actually trained to become a Seminary Teacher with the idea of maybe one day being the one sent to Central America to establish the Seminary system, and even did my Student Teaching, but then I was turned off by an orientation that emphasized how lucrative it could be by being “especially spiritual!”   I dropped that plan, still planning to in some way establish the first Seminary Class in Guatemala, but do so as a non-paid volunteer.  Getting paid for teaching the Gospel, just wasn’t right—for  me.

I was first working part-time as a janitor early every morning, and then in my extra time working at Andersen Samplers which I began to see would be my ticket back to Guatemala so, even though able to graduate in 1962, I went an extra year to have as my minor Business Management, and while doing that worked part-time as the Administrative Assistant to Raymond Beckham, of the BYU ALUMNI ASSOCIATION as well as part-time with Andersen Samplers.

RESEARCH, INVESTIGATIONS & EXPLORATORY TRIPS
At the BYU Library I devoured every book they had about Guatemala, and began forming different business schemes for our life in Guatemala.  I shared all with Maria, preparing her more and more to think positively about Guatepeor. 
We always attended ex-missionary Reunions at LDS Conference times and eventually stimulated separate meetings talking about us returned missionaries doing something to help as Brother Hugh B. Brown had prophesied.  I was elected to head the movement and contacted an ex-missionary, Gary Cooper, who had gone back to hustle one of the O’Donnal daughters, and had a proposal he made to our group.
I investigated as best I could and had my contacts in Guatemala checking out the proposal, but there were serious questions and so I began making plans for a trip—after my BYU Graduation in the summer  of 1963.

THE SPECIAL FIRESIDES
At the Branch several firesides had been presented by groups from Latin American mission areas, but they didn’t do well, and I prepared a fireside to show them the way and convert Maria.  My camera had been stolen during my mission so I didn’t have slides, so I took slides of pictures from National Geographic and other magazines and presented a pretty good result.  Maria began softening. By then I had graduated and was planning my first trip back to Guatemala, along with an ex-missionary companion, Frank Lawton, and a couple of friends from BYU, Garth Norman, being one of them.

FIRST EXPLORATORY TRIP IN 1963


Frank drove his car with us to El Paso.  From there we took a Pullman style bus to Mexico City. Then we jumped on the train all the way down through Veracruz and on to Tapachula, and from there took Guatemala’s narrow-gauge railroad to Retalhuleu and John O’Donnal’s rubber plantation where we were supposed to find Gary Cooper.  
 Some of O’Donnal’s rubber trees seen on the right.

O’Donnal said that Gary  had given up several months prior and gone back to the U.S. without ever notifying us. That’s when I had the discussion with O’Donnal who criticized the research I had done and shared with Gary about his proposal being against the law in Guatemala.  O’Donnal just laughed and said I didn’t know how things were done in Guatemala, and that the project proposal could have been done by paying bribes to government officials, etc. He made fun of my resolve to be honest and not give in to the bribe system. That was the beginning of me having serious doubts about the honesty and sincerity of the man who would become a leader for the LDS Church in Guatemala.

Frank and me rented a car and did some touring and I was able to get a lot of pictures of my own for the slide show, as well as having very revealing experiences, and meeting some very fine people. 

 
   Frank headed home alone as we had come, I remained for a while doing more research, and eventually flew home.
 
THE NEW SLIDE SHOW BEGINS CONVERTING MARIA
I was able to vastly improve my slide show, showing Indian Guatemala, but also showing the O’Donnal’s living in a very nice home, with swimming pool, as well as many views of Modern Guatemala City.  Maria, of course always went with me to the firesides, and after this one remarked, “Living in Guatemala City would maybe be alright—living in a nice home and having three maids!”     In four years some progress was made—more needed described next.

WORK TO BEGIN ACCUMULATING CAPITAL

After my graduation in 1963 from BYU I became the first full time employee of Andersen Samplers & Consulting Service.  I was also  released early from my Army Reserve duties as an Instructor in Utah Valley in Emergency Medical Treatments, due to pressing orders for Andersen Samplers  considered of National Security importance as dad’s sampler had become the cornerstone of the Government’s Biological Warfare Detection System.

I produced the first formal brochure for the business, seen to the right, and put adds in scientific magazines and journals and sales increased quickly with sales in all 50 states, and in 30 foreign countries.

CALLED AS BRANCH PRESIDENT
During 1964 I was called to be the President of the Spanish American Branch that had by then more than 120 adult members, representing 11 Latin American countries, as well as Canada and the U.S.
I called as my counselors Efren Flores, from Northern Mexico, and David Buist, an ex-missionary also from the mission in Guatemala and Central America, who was married to a Latin American woman from Texas.
SUMMERTIME 1965—THE 2nd EXPLORATORY TRIP & CLINCHER FOR MARIA
The Branch was mostly composed of BYU students, so summertime was a time of a lull in the action.  So I chose it as a time for a much more serious exploratory trip to Guatemala—this one specifically for Maria’s benefit.  By then we had three children:  Julie, almost 6, David 2-1/2, and Cristina  18 months.  Cristina was too small to get much out of the trip, so my mother volunteered to take care of her for 1 month.  Julie and David, both understood Spanish, but wouldn’t speak, so we would leave them with Maria’s relatives in Tierra Blanca, Veracruz and be forced to begin speaking.  Maria would go with me on a 10 day whirlwind tour of Guatemala, including Coban and the remote area from there across the country. 
With Maria we first visited the O’Donnals so she could see a sort of gringo family living well in Guatemala and being of help. Then on to the City, seeing.... 
MODERN GUATEMALA.
Then to  INDIAN GUATEMALA at Patzicia  where I was able to show her after a Sacrament Meeting, malnourished babies that needed help.


 
Then we made a visit to the home of the most outstanding LDS family, the family of Branch President Pablo Choc, his home seen on the right—with  dirt floor, soot blackened interior from the open cooking fire, etc.  Sister Choc, we see in the picture, along with the older daughter to the right, were both killed in the 1976 earthquake, when the adobe walls were instantly turned to dust, with the heavy roof of timbers and tiles crushing our friends.   
 Daniel Choc, as the first Mayan to become a full time missionary for the LDS Church, also was killed in the aftermath of the quake that killed 25,000 in the country.

We then continued to Lake Atitlan that some believe to be



“the most beautiful lake in the world.”











From there we drove up to Solola, and on the outskirts of the town  had a hair raising experience getting pictures of  REAL INDIAN GUATEMALA....











  .....along with legitimate recordings  all of which helped make my next slide show  professional quality.





  




We continued to Chichicastenango, and then back to the city and....

 















........down the Atlantic Coast Highway to visit the magnificent ruins of QUIRIGUA, getting more wonderful photographs.


 
Then a quick trip to Lake Izabal, almost getting caught in a monsoon in our small aluminum boat........
 
....and on to the mountain stronghold of remote Coban—COLONIAL GUATEMALA where Maria was able to see there was one General Store, one Dental Clinic, one pharmacy,  an old government Hospital and schools.

Then quickly across the country through what would two years later be my CINE CHAPINLANDIA—the traveling movie tour....
 
.....then to the ruins of ZACULEO, and down to Quetzaltenango and a District Conference seeing some of my converts from 7 years before in the leadership.  Then back to Mexico to get the kids who were by then speaking Spanish like the natives.


After that trip, Maria was saying,

“WELL, COBAN WOULDN’T BE SO BAD, 
BUT NOT OUT IN THE STICKS!”
With that, I was all of a sudden under the pressure of finding the courage I needed to do what I’d been talking about so much and  knew I had to do.  I would have to  abandon what had become a very comfortable and lucrative future, and plunge me and my family into the mysterious and dangerous “jungles and mountains of the Maya” that by then were in the middle of a vicious Guerrilla War trying to convert Guatemala into another Cuba.
It had taken me 5 years to brainwash…..I mean, mentally condition Maria into accepting my vision, now I had to quickly strengthen my faith to be as strong as, or even stronger than was Ammon’s in ancient America--he didn’t have a family to also worry about!

INTERESTING PROBLEM FROM TESTIMONY MEETING
Soon after returning from our trip to Guatemala having made a lot of headway with Maria, one of our Guatemalan members of the Branch, who along with her family had been converted by John O'Donnal in Retalhuleu, had also made a trip back to Guatemala.  She stood in Testimony Meeting, and described how she had literally been tortured in Guatemala to witness all the poverty and suffering, and said it was so depressing that she had made the decision to forget all that human misery and never return to her country.  I of course thought, "What a disaster!  Rather than be concerned for her suffering people and wanting to do something to help, she rather put blinders on, and turned her back on her people." 
Gratefully, Maria also reacted as I did.  Interestingly years later when living in Guatemala I learned that said member's younger brother, Julio Cesar, an LDS University student in Guatemala City had become the leader of the main Guerrilla rebel group in the country.  Somehow, as far as I know it never became public knowledge that he was a Mormon.  Eventually he, and his brother, Alfonso, were both killed by Guatemalan security forces. 

Years later  I attended in Salt Lake the Missionary Farewell Sacrament Meeting Program for the mother in that family, and it was fascinating to hear leaders in that meeting talk about how that family had suffered “the murder of the two sons” called “Freedom Fighter  martyrs!”  It was interesting to see how the family defended two that created such mayhem, chaos and loss of innocent lives in Guatemala--almost mine!
Now back to more pleasant developments.

THE CHAT WITH MY PARENTS POINT OUT KEY EVENTS
That brings us to what is described in my heart to heart chat with my parents in 1967,
(6)…… profound experiences when I was President of the Spanish American Branch in Provo, including (7) critically  on the snowy slopes of the Henry Mountains when, as had happened  anciently to Enos, then to Ammon and his brothers from the Book of Mormon--I literally had "the spirit of the Lord work on [me] .....," and  had my encounter with the Lord giving me the courage to make the move…..”

REDEDICATING MYSELF AS BRANCH PRESIDENT
…THEN AWAKENED TO DO MORE …
To begin the school year in September with even a larger membership in the branch, Maria and I, along with my counselors, rededicated ourselves to do even better than we had the year before.  Maria was now more supportive than ever as we had gradually moved onto the same page about our future.  We were in all respects the  
“perfect marriage” – finally.

I knew that to find the courage to now actually move closer to the dream of getting back to Guatemala, it was a spiritual matter as had been the case anciently with Ammon and his companions. 
I began my day always being up early—no later than 6:00 AM, beginning with scripture study, and then going to work.  I would dedicate my evenings to as quickly as possible interview personally every member of the branch to get to know them, and be able to get the branch organized, fitting every member into a calling they were best qualified for. 
My plan was to then quickly do a second interview with everyone as part of a plan to solve what had been our greatest problem in the past—chastity, and marital relations. This would culminate sometime in October with a Special Sacrament Meeting focusing on that, followed up in the evening with a Special Fireside with a panel of experts with  questions,  answers and discussion.
On September 28th I got a call from one of our members from Guatemala who had a friend just arrived  needing a place to live, and a part-time job.  Her identity will be kept confidential, and for the purposes of this history we will call her Nora.

That evening I was actually exhausted from all the activity and needed a rest, but I told the friend to bring Nora over.  When they came I recall vividly coming into the living room with an instant knowing of this young 21 year old.  There were profound feelings of knowing and love.   I instantly reacted as had the General Authority, 12 years later,  and as would be normal for many active Mormons, thinking,  
"The devil is trying to tempt me!" 
I recognized I was going to have to be very careful and said a silent prayer.  The beautiful feeling continued, and I made arrangements to help Nora. 
That night I was up late,  after the family had retired, studying the scriptures and praying.  My love for Maria in no way was diminished, but the profound feeling for Nora persisted and I couldn’t help but think, “Is the Church going to restore plural marriage--again?”   I was pronouncing the PROHIBITED “P” WORD that importantly was once in Mormonism a badge of honor as the  “DIVINE, ESSENTIAL PRINCIPLE OF THE FULLNESS OF THE RESTORED GOSPEL,”  but in modern Mormonism, 
HAD STRANGELY BECOME POISON!
Note:  From this point on is the area of my personal history that some in the Foundation leadership--20 years later when the matter surfaced,
felt didn't need to be revealed to the public, rather just focus on the positive work among the needy done in the name of the Foundation. But, now on my own, I felt it best to tell the rest of the story myself, rather than be ambushed later by those who dont understand.

I had just read Jacob 2, pretty strict about the idea of multiple wives, and replied to my question, “There is no way such comes back officially by the Church!”  The Church was enjoying too much the acceptance and even admiration of many in the world.
 I knew well by that time that the famous Manifesto,  that orthodox Mormons believed was a revelation--the Lord stopping that principle, however just a simple glance made it clear it wasn’t the Lord talking.  And, while not widely understood,  even the Leaders secretly continued the principle until being caught by the government in their deception by 1904, when there was a 2nd Manifesto, and to show they were serious this time, excommunicated in 1905 a couple of the Apostles.  One, John W. Taylor, President Taylor’s son—known then as the Prophet’s prophet,  who happily accepted the punishment continuing with his three wives throughout his life, knowing it wouldn’t stand in the eternities and there was no need of repentance nor returning to Church membership.
The Church was tired of persecution, and entered a new phase to become acceptable to the world,
So I had questions and needed greater understanding, while realizing too clearly the possibility of this being an “attempt by the devil to destroy me and render me useless in the work of the Lord.”
I put into service the alarm clock I had used in the last part of my mission to get up an hour before the other missionaries,  now arising at 5:00 AM. as I had done in the Mission. Then drive to the chapel to spend a few hours of study and prayer.

The old chapel, on 1st West & 4th North, had an altar—like the ones in the temples, and I would kneel at that altar and pour my soul out to the Lord for  greater understanding and strength I needed and
then go to my office for study. My office window is the open one on the right.  The prayer room was just down the hall with a window looking east we see on the left under the gable. 

I knew that the General Authorities had instructed Bishops to do away with such, but there it was for me to use and it intensified the spiritual feelings while praying.
At times I would go down to the chapel and play some hymns on the piano and then continue my study of the scriptures. By 8:00 I would return home, have a quick breakfast and then go to work.  This went on for months, seeking to leave no stone un-turned in my effort to cleanse and purify my life seeking the courage I needed for the move to Guatemala, and multiplied many times in intensity by this young lady who had entered my life who I felt a divine love for equal to what I continued to feel for Maria.  In a sense I was living the spirit of the higher law of Celestial marriage.

In the beginning of the struggle for understanding I naturally considered all the normal  explanations that would occur to a person of faith—that Satan had something to do with this, but time after time, the wonderful spiritual love persisted inspiring me to do more in my quest, adding to my agenda of duties with the branch members a weekly temple excursion filling my car each time with my youthful members.
I realized that in a very pure spiritual sense I was living with my feelings the higher law of marriage, or Celestial marriage as it was originally called. Never was there any hint of temptation or carnal thoughts.  Eventually it was revealed to me that one day I would lose Maria in some way, with the possibility of Nora taking her place.  The only way my orthodox LDS mentality would permit me to interpret losing her was her all of a sudden passing on—which would only be a temporary loss, but we would be together in the eternities.
But, I had to keep an open mind about what that losing might mean.
But, whatever that might mean my prayers then became pleas with the Lord to permit Maria and me to begin the adventure among the Mayans together.  We had come so far and I didn’t want that to be in vain.
 
THE HENRY MOUNTAINS THEN BECOME 
CENTRAL TO THE DRAMA
Maria and I had planned a great adventure in Southern Utah for the weekend of the mid-October deer hunt.  I had an outdoor magazine interested in the article I would write:  About a great outdoor trip to Southern Utah—driving to Bullfrog Bay on Lake Powell, just then filling up where there was only a boat launch ramp.  Then after a great day of spectacular scenery and fishing, we would drive up into the Henry Mountains for a great deer hunt.
I awoke that Thursday morning, October 21st,   filled with ominous impressions that if Maria went with, as planned, there would be a tragedy. Perhaps my faith was weak, but I didn’t want that to happen yet, and had silent tears rolling down my cheeks when Maria awoke and noticed. “What’s wrong?” she asked.  I replied I had a feeling of tragedy about the trip and told her, 
“You aren’t going with. I’m going alone!”
That evening I had another “chastity interview” and it was with Nora. 
I then in the dark left for Southern Utah keeping myself awake during the long drive with a continual prayer to the Lord. I arrived at Bullfrog Bay finding myself alone, but rather than sleeping, I pulled out my Spanish Book of Mormon, and just flipped it open with no chapter in mind. It opened to the Book of Enos, and I read,
“And I will tell you of the wrestle I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins. – Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests;  and the words which I often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sank deep into my heart……..”
I knew in that instant that I had to go through on this trip the same kind of spiritual transformation  experienced  by Enos and decided I would fast. 
I continued studying carefully the Book, reading up through the discourse of King Benjamin in Mosiah 5. On finishing the 21 page section, I knelt in prayer, and then began again the same section feeling even more powerfully the spiritual messages.

 All of a sudden the day dawned, October 22nd,  without having slept, but something very profound had changed in me. 
I wrote at that time:  “Some profound changes had happened during the long night—everything was so beautiful!  The Spirit of the Lord had unlocked to my understanding the secret wonderment of my surroundings.  I was left in humble awe at the beauty of the rock formations, the shadow effects, the reflections on the water, the cool morning breeze, the desert plants—even the tiny ones.  There was a new sensitivity, a new joy in truly being alive!”

 While focusing on the spirituality of the days alone I was determined to also fulfill my outdoor purposes for the trip.

So, I boated down the lake to Lost Eden Canyon getting the photographs I needed.  I didn’t fish as I already had good photographs for that aspect of the experience I would write about. 
I then headed for the Henry Mountains that were covered up high by a new mantle of snow.  I drove up the west side past hunter’s camps in the aspens, until I was into the snow, and parked for the night and lit my propane gas heater to keep warm.

I got out my Book of Mormon again, and after a word of prayer, carefully read through the 21 page section from Enos to Mosiah 5, then knelt in prayer.  This was repeated a number of times until 1:00 AM, Saturday October 23rd  when I knelt again, but this time it was different.
“I was flooded with the Spirit of the Lord and filled with a love I had never known before.  I felt clean and filled with unspeakable joy and happiness. As I was embraced by the warmth of His love, fear fled and I spontaneously began making promises to the Lord in whose presence I was kneeling.  I covenanted to do what I had known for several years I had to do.  I now really believed, I really loved and  I was more than willing to stake my life on that conviction, and promised to leave with my family for Guatemala as soon as possible and the Lord promised me that as long as I faithfully persisted in serving those He called, ‘MY LITTLE ONES,’ I would  be protected and guided by Him.”  Fear had been overcome by love.
I slept peacefully as never before in my life.
In fact I slept too peacefully, as when I awoke it was light, and I was supposed to be on  top of the mountain.  I struggled up through the snow and about halfway to the top noticed a hunter coming behind me several hundred yards who all of a sudden began shooting at a herd that gradually moved between us, and he then let off another shot that whistled by my right ear, and I yelled hitting the snow. 
As I lay there I envisioned that if Maria had of been with me, she would have been standing to my right and would have been lost.  I said a heartfelt prayer of gratitude to the Lord for having answered my prayers preserving her life to help me lay the groundwork for something of importance among the Lamanites in Guatemala.
NOTE: Later I talked to the hunter who had almost shot me—in fact when he heard me yell and I hit the ground, he had thought he had hit me, and was grateful when  in a moment I got up and continued up the mountain.




In spite of feeling weak from fasting, I continued to the top of the mountain having seen silhouetted in the early morning sun two huge  bucks. 
From there I shot the biggest mule deer of my life, but he kicked himself down  the wrong side of the mountain.  So I had to de-bone the deer and   along with the antlers  struggled to the top with a 150 lb. load and slid down the other side to my van.
I rested during the remainder of the day and towards evening headed for home, but as I got to the pavement I felt the need to pray, so walked along the river and knelt in prayer, and there was filled with the impression from the Lord that I had to talk to Nora in some way about what I was experiencing.  That filled me with a natural ominous feeling that such could be harmful to her, so I had my wrestle with the Lord, who persisted with even stronger impressions of what I had to do.  I finally gave up the debate and promised the Lord to do it, but added that if in any way I was being deceived, rather than doing anything that would hurt Nora, I would prefer giving my life, and told the Lord I would give him all the chance he needed to take me if  that would be best.
To give Him a chance to take me, I did something that would be considered crazy, and determined to drive home at full speed, only slowing down going through one community  along the way.   As I raced through the mountains—once I couldn’t make the turn and left the road—it  all of a sudden became like a dream—seemingly  as though the van had wings that somehow got me back on the road.  While it took me about 5 hours to get to Southern Utah, I made it home in 3 and was alive. 

It was late, but I was greeted by Maria and my mom.  Mom,  during the week had a dream that there would be a tragedy on that trip to Southern Utah—that was when she understood Maria was going with me, but later learned I had gone alone.  She was with Maria anxiously waiting for me. They were both convinced the tragedy would be me, so when I walked in I got a wonderfully emotional and loving welcome.

THE GREATEST SUNDAY OF MY LIFE
 
I continued my fast, and the next day, October 24th  had the Sunday of my life.  In Priesthood meeting, there was some kind of discussion going on, and the Elder’s Quorum President, Roque Quiroz, turned to me and said, “President Andersen, can you help us?”  I gave a simple explanation.
For Sunday School I was sitting up front observing all who entered and wished I could have been the greeter to be able to hug all as I was overwhelmed with a great love for everybody, including even one or two that were problems.  After the opening exercises something strange happened, as all came forward surrounding me—all  wanting to give me a hug. Nora was part of that very loving scene.  I had never experienced anything quite so wonderful and humbling before.
Afterwards I got a ride home for Maria and the kids, and remained in my office doing the final chastity interviews.  Then the Sacrament Meeting, and the Special Fireside, followed by a whole line of members who wanted to talk to me again—to clarify inaccurate things they had told me in the interviews.  I finally finished the last draining  interview  at 11:30 PM and headed for home, feeling very strongly that I needed to share openly with Maria everything I had been experiencing—prior  to the next day talking with Nora.
I did my best, but was frustrated at being understood by her.  She was understanding my guarded explanation to be about plural marriage.  She had experienced in the Mormon Colonies in Mexico, when only 15 years old, the advances of Joel LeBaron of  that infamous Fundamentalist family, and no matter what I said, it didn’t matter. By 3:00 AM I gave up, expressed my deep love for her,  and tried to sleep concluding I couldn’t talk with her again about what I was experiencing.  But, I was restless, and by 5:00 AM when my alarm sounded, decided to drive to Salt Lake and attend a session in the Temple, convinced that if in any way I was being deceived in all that I was experiencing, it would be there where clarity would come. One of the modern Apostles once said:
“At the temple the dust of distraction seems to settle out, the fog and the haze seem to lift, and we can see things that we were not able to see before and find a way through our troubles that we had not previously known.”
I returned home more convinced than ever that I was being guided by the Lord and had a guarded visit with Nora relating some of the background in my spiritual conversion and development, including many of my missionary experiences and my conviction that I had an important work to do among the Mayan peoples of Guatemala and was preparing to return as soon as possible. I also had felt strong impressions she should go on a mission, and told her with her comment that she had been approached before, but cool to the idea.   I also had envisioned some of her future that would be very difficult and  troubling, and told her that if she ever felt the need of advice and help of any kind, she should not hesitate to look for me, and I would never fail her.
NOTE: The next Sunday after Sacrament Meeting, Nora asked to speak with me, and in my office said, “How do I make it known I accept the call to go on a mission?”  I immediately filled out the Application to begin the process.

WHAT HAD REALLY HAPPENED ON THAT SPECIAL SUNDAY?
Two weeks later, on November 7th  in a Testimony Meeting, the Elder’s Quorum President Roque Quiroz, related the experience in the Quorum meeting when asking me to clarify whatever, and said, “As President Andersen spoke to us, his words penetrated my soul as never before, and as he spoke he was surrounded by a heavenly light!” 
My counselor, Efren Flores, had learned some of what my challenge was, and also confirmed that he had noticed a very evident spiritual transformation in me and made some very nice comments that confirmed the good spirit I felt that special day and through this entire period.  I only mention these two, to indicate that something special was happening to the extent of other’s witnessing it,  and it was all good.
As it worked out, Nora, ended up leaving Provo in early November with a very emotional parting between us.  The day she was to leave for San Francisco she had sent an envelope to me with one of her roommates that had $160 for tithing for the wages she had earned doing work for Andersen Samplers & Consulting Service, and requested I write a letter of recommendation introducing her to Church leaders in San Francisco informing them she “had been called on a mission,” which apparently she was taking very seriously.
I went to the apartment where she lived with other students and members from Central America to give her the letter.  We were outside on the porch to say goodbye  and there was a warm embrace, hesitating a bit as we separated,  then the whole matter was left in the hands of the Lord. 
After getting back to my car I all of a sudden realized that after separating slightly from the embrace we remained for a moment our noses separated by ¼ of an inch, when it would have been natural to show love—but I didn’t even notice, much less felt temptation as was always the case in spite of the deep love I felt for her and at times demonstrated subtly by her too.

MORE TEMPLE CONFIRMATIONS
A few weeks later I had ominous impressions about Nora living in San Francisco, and again fasted and prayed for her and went to the Temple, and there had revealed to me the reason why I had to have that talk with her—important for our future.

WHAT REASON?
One purpose of prophecy is....that when what was predicted begins to be fulfilled, there is immediately a growing of faith.  When at some future date there would begin a quite miraculous fulfillment of what was inferred, Nora's faith would have a chance to be multiplied and increase the chance of total fulfillment and pave the way for her having the confidence in me necessary to help the attainment of our purposes.
   
 But,  seemingly wanting a more sure confirmation from the Lord, a month later I

attended a special Priesthood session in the temple on Saturday, December 4th.  I was in the Celestial Room, looking into a small sealing room with its altar—similar to the one shown,  when a heavenly vision was opened up to me filling me with overwhelming love such as only can come from God and the whole experience was confirmed by the burning in the bosom, and I shouted within myself to the Lord, 
 “It is enough Lord, I will bother you no more on this matter.” 
For  sure, the vision clearly showed me for whatever reasons, I was chosen to live Celestial Marriage in some way,   but the whole matter was left in the hands of the Lord and, along with Maria, we prepared to leave for Guatemala as soon as possible.
Twelve years would go by with neither me nor Nora  having any knowledge of each other.  It was left confidently in the hands of the Lord, but as you will see it was far from over as eventually the Lord intervened again in our lives as all of a sudden she had desperate need--which I had foreseen, but she didn’t know what had become of me—so the Lord helped her as will be explained at the right chronological point in the FINAL REPORT.  But,  it was without me taking any initiative while never going through a day without feeling the love for her and Maria, and having both of them always in my prayers. 
CRUCIAL HISTORICAL NOTE:  As you will see this matter was of critical influence both in my relationship with the Foundation leadership, and also with LDS Church leaders, so it will be briefly blended into the  history described in the FINAL REPORT. It became a seemingly unending drama—or as our friend Carl Jacob called it, “A never ending soap opera,”  from the beginning going through a period of 12 years "leaving it in the hands of the Lord," and then quite incredibly renewed with a period of 8 years of struggle--attempting to understand and do what the Lord wanted all three of us to do--and we should have made it then, yet again it would "be left in the hands of the Lord" unbelievably for 30 years without neither Nora nor me having any knowledge of the other—but always loving, never forgetting and always believing.

 During those years the plot would thicken somewhat and I would actually be given the opportunity to fulfill the covenant of Celestial Marriage, and in a tragic sense “lose Maria,” not as anticipated, but nonetheless lost—but, as we’ll see maybe not forever.
So, it still wasn’t over for any of us, but left faithfully in the hands of the Lord and after 30 years of knowing nothing, out of the blue there Nora was again for the third time over nearly 50 years.  Our relationship could of, and maybe should have been realized at that point, but 30 years of growing--each in our own way, took its toll--and me especially growing sort of old with related complications had again our relationship put on hold, and so our union seemingly remains for the future as I had seen clearly in the vision. Some detail will be woven into the FINAL REPORT. 

THE FIRST LEADER TO HEAR RUMORS IN 1978
The details of the vision in the temple are not revealed here, nor were they revealed to the Leader, William Bradford,  mentioned at the end of the RISKY….JOURNEY writing, who  was told my story—taking two hours, so there were a lot of details related then, except for the details of the vision—only  telling him basically as I have also related here, assuring him “It was a revelation in the Temple confirming what was happening was from the Lord,”  and who concluded  counseling me,
“Don’t tell anyone--no one will understand.”
But, within six months  he had broken the confidence and related the matter to six others in a distorted way—for  said leader it  had become “a dream.”   The main one  told was Apostle Boyd Packer, who  in two long 1979 interviews with me, to get a recommend for my daughter Julie's wedding, began weakening my confidence in him by demonstrating he still believed I was guilty of  the debunked,“illegal adoption work that destroyed the missionary work in many rural areas,” plus other comments—like labeling the rumored Nora as “a tramp,”  as well as trying to get me to admit the temple experience he called “a dream,” was  from the devil, and repeatedly all of a sudden accusing me of adultery, which I calmly told him each time was not true.   He then insisted I tell him the whole history, but I replied, 
Sorry, it's not possible because my Priesthood leader counseled  me,
‘Don’t tell anyone.........’”

That didn’t help in my relationship with him, however his negative attitudes and lack of inspiration had me unconcerned, but he couldn’t deny me the recommend.
 
…I had seen a vision, and I knew that the Lord knew he had given me a vision, and it couldn’t be denied without forfeiting my future in the eternities.

THE DIVINE POWER OF A HEAVENLY VISION
The outcome of that Fall of 1965 was  profoundly positive  for our future.  As we LDS have seen, like in the life of Joseph Smith, a literal HEAVENLY VISION, is powerful like nothing else.  But, for such a risky, faith motivated move—our  God appointed mission  to the dangerous LAND OF THE MAYA was so profoundly serious—actually  a life-long risky cause, that it would  require one more year of PREPARATION, I will describe next.
SERIOUS PREPARATIONS FOR “THE JOURNEY”
During 1966 I focused a lot of my attention on working and promoting Andersen
Samplers, and investing all of our surplus money acquiring first, the vehicle we would need—a Ford 150 pickup, seen on the right,  equipped with a special camper with a modified interior.  I installed overload springs, and got tough Michelin tires that would withstand heavy loads.  Then began acquiring other equipment we would need for our first project in Guatemala:  4 - 16mm. movie projectors, a public address system, 2 large 9’ x 12’ professional movie screens, 3 – portable generators, etc.



 The THIRD EXPLORATORY TRIP
In the summer of 1966 I was approached by archaeologist Garth Norman for an\
expedition in Southern Mexico—to sites relative to the Tree of Life Stela between Tapachula and the Guatemalan border where we were to end up.
 I was doing some work  as a free-lance photographer and had professional 4” x 5” cameras and capability of doing night photography to make visible the relief on stelae.  
I converted the camper into a dark room to be able to immediately develop the 4” x 5” —color and black & white film. I would be the driver on the expedition, and after finishing with Garth would travel to Coban for more exploring and investigations prior to our family move.   

We see to the right Garth examining one of the negatives in my camper/darkroom, with containers of all the chemicals I had to use to process daily the film—to make sure what I was getting was professional quality for Garth’s purposes. 
In my RISKY….JOURNEY history I mention that expedition, continuing to Coban, then coming down with malaria resultant from my night photography,  and  driving  home alone—unable  to eat, treating my malaria, and spending more on soda pop than on gasoline! Gasoline was then very cheap in Mexico, like .15 cents/gallon.

I returned with many more professional quality photos and was able to upgrade my slide show which became quite popular in the Utah Valley area.





THE OCTOBER 1966 CENTRAL AMERICAN MISSION
EX-MISSIONARY REUNION
Those in charge of the Reunion had heard about my program and invited me to show it at the reunion.  This was a great opportunity to begin waking people up and remind them of Hugh B. Brown’s prophecies about the Mayan Indians in Guatemala and our prophesied participation.  I reorganized the program especially for them, beginning with all the color and beauty of Guatemala and the Indian culture, then showed them the other side of the coin—the poor and suffering even among those we had converted and claimed to love.  
 They needed help, and… 
….if not from us as ex-missionaries, from whom?

Among some, it irritated the heck out of them showing the needy and suffering. President Wagner was there and seemed to be fine with the program, but President Hancock, who had replaced President Wagner, came charging at me like an angry bull, and I learned there  that telling the truth was not always well received.  I mentioned this in the RISKY..JOURNEY  history, and don’t need to repeat, except to say...

....MARIA & I WERE IN AGREEMENT  TO TALK NO MORE, RATHER ACT.

***********************
OUR FOURTH EXPLORATORY TRIP—THIS TIME AS A FAMILY
That 2-1/2 month trip—from mid-November to the end of January 1967,  is mentioned in the RISKY….JOURNEY  report, and need not be repeated, except to quote the last paragraph:
That experience convinced us it was time to go and we announced to our parents we would leave in four months. I promised my father that during those months I would produce a 2 year supply of Andersen Samplers so he could continue the business without me.  I trained my younger brother, Howard, to do the office work and shipping, and then worked an average of 19 hours/day six days a week--almost ruining my health, but finally put in dad's storeroom hundreds of Samplers.
NOTABLE
From Part 2 of my autobiography, “THE PREPARATION,”  

Maria and I had patiently and lovingly….. 

…moved from “DIVORCE,” in January 1959 to us being united TO ACT TOGETHER by 1967

 I knew that in some way I would eventually lose her for this life, but in the meantime we had to make the best of what time the Lord would give us together.
 WE THEN PREPARED & BID FAREWELL
So, on July 12, 1967, with a lot of faith, we headed south the FIRST TIME to Nogales, Arizona/Mexico to cross the border.  Then on August 9th,  we had our heart to heart talk with my parents, then received a “Father’s blessing,” and left for THE SECOND ATTEMPT and soon we were legally driving carefully south through Mexico towards Guatemala.
  
 It would not be easy, but we knew that the Lord would be with us as long as we heeded His promptings and did the best we could.  That JOURNEY was successful the...
....ANDERSEN FAMILY PRIVATE PEACE CORP...
...crossing the border into Guatemala on  
AUGUST 19, 1967, then 50 years later on AUGUST 19, 2017 
I celebrated alone the amazing 
GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY
  with a Hot Fudge  Sundae at McDonalds and retired the 
GUATEMALAN FOUNDATION
That was a group of generous brothers & sisters, spearheaded by my father, Dr. Ariel 
A. Andersen, all of whom cared deeply about the
Lord's "little ones"  we lovingly served for 50 years
in the Mountains of the Maya, and whose loving donations are said to have…
“Saved thousands & aided many tens of thousands acquire an education!"
To all those selfless people that made up the Foundation we send our love
and appreciation for your generosity over these many years.
*************
I will do my best to finish  Part 2 of my autobiography, and when done will make it available here but I’ll first concentrate on writing…..
…“the rest of the story”
first with 
PART 2:  THE RISKY, BREATHTAKING 1967 PIONEER JOURNEY TO THE JUNGLES & MOUNTAINS OF THE MAYA,
 and then
PART 3:The COMPLETE FINAL REPORT

And thereafter quietly fade away!
************