Greg and Elder Richard G. Scott at the Palmyra Pageant.
Greg particularly admired Elder Scott. Elder Scott was a
 member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Greg found the Church himself. I’ll let him tell the story.

(Note: I am aware that this does not reflect well on some others. I’ve obscured some identities although they will be obvious to some of you.)

My conversion witness experiences to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 04/23/1983 & 04/24/1983. 

--   Losing & finding my Masonic pin at Holiday Inn; 1st visit to Oakland LDS Temple
 In 1979 I was hired to work for Western Wheel Division of Rockwell International to design and build a large factory to manufacture cast aluminum automobile wheels in Laurinburg, North Carolina.  I was working out of their automotive headquarters in Troy, Michigan, on the north side of Detroit.  Thus, I was always working away from home until the plant was ready to start up, when we would move to Laurinburg.  [My first wife] was fine with moving there.  As this was about to happen, Rockwell decided to delay the opening of the plant, due to cancellation of orders from General Motors. Aluminum wheels were just beginning to be offered by car companies and sales were sluggish.  I was then transferred to Western Wheel’s headquarters in the Los Angeles area, where they already had six plants.  [My first wife] refused to move there.

During the months where I was gone from home during the week for work, [my first wife] had become involved in a sexual affair with [REDACTED], who was my best friend and a fellow Master Mason at that time.  When I would call home during the evenings, [REDACTED] would always be there.  My young girls told me that he was sleeping with [my first wife].

I did not want to lose my family; so, when home one weekend, I confronted both [my first wife] and [my best friend at the time] in a meeting.  I told them to either stop their affair or get divorced from [REDACTED] and me so they could legally be together.  [He] did get divorced, but [my first wife] did not want to be divorced, yet they still were interested in each other.

It was during this time that I tried turning more to my faith for help and guidance.  I had been as involved in the Methodist Church as I could be.  I’d held every position that I could, except for becoming ordained as a minister, which would require getting a degree in divinity.  As I’d gotten more involved, I came to see the Methodist Church as a business, rather than a true religion.  I spent my nights away from home for business studying other faiths, searching for more religious truth and guidance.  Many people spent their nights on the road drinking and partying; but I did not want to go out with them.

This seeking more faith continued for several years, even after I left my job with Western Wheel, refusing to move to L.A.  The defining moment came when my boss and the human resources manager took me to a singles apartment complex, where they had rented me an apartment and supplied it with food and booze.  They took me around the pool with women in bikinis and other groups of singles.  This really offended me and I quit on the spot.

Once back in Huntington fulltime, I continued my study of other churches.  Besides visiting them and talking with their leaders, I’d speak with friends about their churches.  I then went to the city library and got books on religion.  I eventually read all of them, putting off any about Mormons until the last.  What I had heard about them led me to think they were not good.  Then I remembered what my dad had told me, when we visited Salt Lake City on a family vacation.  As we drove around Temple Square, dad said Mormons were quite different than Methodists, but not bad people.

So far, my search was like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle.  I had my core of Methodist beliefs.  Some other churches would add beliefs [pieces of the puzzle]; but often they would also lose some pieces I already had together, pieces I had found to be good. I was surprised where some of the new pieces came from, churches I had heard ‘bad’ things about.  These were from Pentecostal, Seven-day Adventist, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witness and others.  During my research, I learned things about their beliefs, which I studied, prayed about and evaluated.  It was not until I came to the last faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that I discovered any one church speaking badly about another.  Over one half of the books in the Huntington library about the LDS faith badly attacked it and their alleged beliefs.  Plus, these books were written by other faiths, not other sources!  This confused me.  Why would churches attack another?  Why would they be in a public library?  I later learned that the head librarian was from Idaho and raised to hate Mormons.  This problem there was later corrected when [my first wife] became president of the library board.

Actually, my studying both the books by the LDS Church along with the books attacking it helped my learning.  I found that the claims of the other churches were false, misleading and outright lies!  Actually, this was not difficult to discover.  This strengthened my acceptance of LDS beliefs.

Thinking that Mormons were only a small group living in Utah, we were amazed to discover they were all over and even had a chapel in Huntington.  We ran into a couple of members at a school party for our daughters.  Then, we began meeting with missionaries.  I was believing what I was learning, but on an intellectual level rather than spiritual.  I needed to receive a witness of the truth.

At this point, we went on a trip to California.  This was several years after Western Wheel.  Aluminum wheels had started becoming very popular.  General Motors was needing more than were available and contacted one of their large suppliers of other castings, asking them to get into making aluminum wheels.  This corporation was Cast Metal Industries, International.  They had 15 divisions casting and machining parts for G.M., but they knew nothing about making wheels.  Due to G.M.’s experiences with me [detailed in my personal history], they recommended that CMI International hire me to start up a new division.  CMI did this.  This then led to my traveling to California to visit manufacturers of equipment that were special for making wheels.  I had dealt with them before while with Western Wheel.

On this trip, I was accompanied by the heads of other CMI divisions and our wives.  The first week was spent in the Los Angeles area.  The second week was to be spent north of San Francisco in Windsor.  Only one other couple was continuing on to Windsor with us, [Redacted] and his wife.  [My first wife] had been learning things about the LDS Church with me, but was not believing any of it.  At the end of the first week, we were driving up the coast to Windsor.  Before leaving L.A., I drove to the LDS Temple and went to the visitor’s center.  Everyone else remained in the car.  We spent Friday night in Santa Barbara.  Now, this is significant!  This is where the LDS couple we met in Huntington had learned about the gospel, while he was attending college to study photography.  We stayed at the Holiday Inn that night.

The next morning, we checked out of the motel and went to a restaurant for breakfast.  It was there that I noticed that my Masonic pin was missing from the lapel of my suitcoat.  It was very important to me.  My dad had given it to me when I became a Mason, as he was.  It has a square and a compass, with a letter G on it.  Masonry is based upon the Bible, especially the building of King Solomon’s temple.  The pin symbolizes seeking for the lost word of God.

I immediately left the restaurant before ordering or eating and went to search for the pin.  The rental car I had then was a Lincoln Town Car, the top car at that time.  It has smooth thick leather seats.  I searched all over it and then returned to the motel.  I got a key to the room and returned to it.  I remembered that the pin was in the lapel the night before, when I removed my suitcoat and hung it up.  Then I searched carefully all over the room, not finding it.  Then I knelt over the air conditioning unit that was just under the window.  I then prayed as I had never prayed before as a Methodist.  I asked Heavenly Father to be guided to find the Masonic pin, which stands for the lost word of God, as a witness that the LDS Church was true.

I then left the room which I had already searched and went to the car which I’d also searched.  I was done with searching.  I’d set God up with an impossible task.  As I was about to turn on the ignition, I felt a prick on my right leg, about 2/3 ’s of the way down to my knee.  This was on a smooth leather seat that I’d searched and sat on before, plus for about a minute or more just before feeling the prick.  I reached down and removed my Masonic pin.  While this is almost impossible, it was all physical evidence.  What happened next was spiritual.  Right in front of me outside the windshield appeared a huge ball of immense brilliant white light, far beyond anything I’d ever seen!  I’d seen welding torches, molten magnesium and other earthly bright lights, but this was vastly different.  Still, all of this was physical.  Then, as this light came down and enveloped me, I experienced an immense flood of knowledge entering me.  It was like a download of computer information.  I don’t know how long this lasted, but I estimate from 15 to 30 minutes.  When it was over and the light removed from me and went back out of the car and disappeared, I was completely exhausted and shaken.  I felt full of new knowledge.  Upon returning to the restaurant, I found everyone else done eating and waiting to leave.  I was drained white and not able to talk about what had occurred.  The [Redacted]'s left us at San Luis Obispo to visit [Redacted]'s brother, who was a professor there.  We then drove up to San Francisco and stayed the night south by the airport.  I was not able to tell [my first wife] what had happened.  I told her that I wanted to drive across the bay to Oakland to visit the LDS Temple there in the morning.  She was livid and refused.  She had not been there before and wanted to spend the day at Fisherman’s Wharf and other tourist spots.

The next morning, we awoke to very thick fog and heavy rainfall.  I persuaded [my first wife] to allow me to drive to Oakland, provided that we would leave there as soon as the weather cleared up.  Once at the temple, we went to the visitor’s center and were met by a senior missionary couple, Elder Ruben and Sister Maurine Butler.  They showed us videos and taught us.  He gave us a tour around the temple with umbrellas.  As we walked close to the building and I reached out to it, I could feel a strong power, almost like electricity, coming from the building.  In front of the temple, on the left side was a Stake Center that was conducting services at the time and we toured it, ending up at the family history/genealogy room.  As we were preparing to leave, the weather was just starting to clear up [perfect timing].  We had not shared anything about us spiritually with Elder Butler.  He turned to me and told me that he had received a witness that I was meant to join the Church and asked me to contact him when I became a member.  He then turned to [my first wife] and told her that she’s not yet believing everything, but that she would be drawn to the Church, perhaps by something as simple as genealogy.  We had not mentioned it, but some months prior [my first wife] had been involved with genealogy and traveled with her grandfather seeking out family.

The Necessity of Greg's Strong Witness of the Truth

Greg’s witness was a strong one. We often discussed it. He
Picture from 1983, the year Greg was
baptized into the Church.
believed that the strength of the witness he received was necessary to help him overcome the damaging effects of witnessing and experiencing unrighteous local church leaders.

I hadn’t had much experience with unrighteous local leaders, at least I don’t remember much, even though I grew up in the Mormon Corridor and was fully immersed in the Church experience.

His faith, his witness, never wavered despite all that Satan threw at him over the years. He died with his faith intact and his covenants kept.

Right after his baptism, he discovered that his heart could be touched in ways that hadn’t affected him in the recent past. He was tearing up and getting emotional over spiritual things. He thought he was going soft. It frightened him. Finally, it was explained to him that it was because of his baptism, his covenants and his new openness to spiritual things. He wasn’t going soft. He was getting stronger, spiritually stronger and was becoming sensitive to the Spirit.

Families and Temples

Another picture of Greg in 1983.
His determination and strength were amply demonstrated when his family got sealed in the temple. Seasoned members are well aware that when you take important spiritual steps and make important covenants, like temple covenants, Satan completely loses any subtlety. Suddenly, everything starts going wrong in your life. You lose jobs, you lose other material possessions, disasters happen, you have car trouble, etc. ad nauseum. In short, ANYTHING can happen.

Greg’s experience was in line with all of this. His first wife was trying to argue that these were all signs that they shouldn’t go to the temple. Greg, defying her and Satan both remarked, “WE’RE GOING!” And they did.

Serving in the Lord's Church
This pictures probably dates to around
1983, when he joined the Church.

In the Church, all positions are staffed by volunteers. All jobs are called “callings.” Greg always threw himself into church work, conscientiously doing his calling and it grated on him he couldn’t do more.

He especially loved serving as a Mission Leader in our local congregations. He would coordinate with the full-time missionaries – Elders or Sisters – and any local members called to serve local missionaries. We often assisted the missionaries in their teaching.

He actually did his callings too well. One of his last callings was as High Priests’ Group Leader. About two weeks before the April 2018 General Conference, the bishop called him and told him to stop calling any of the High Priests about their home teaching or having Personal Priesthood Interviews (PPI’s) with them. Greg was incredulous. This was completely against all church policies and procedures. It was pretty much against anything rational.

Taken on Greg's birthday in 1991.
This particular ward was pretty dysfunctional. The men were used to recording their statistics on a whiteboard in the High Priests’ room. (Yes, they had an actual High Priests’ room.) They complained to the Bishop because they didn’t want to field phone calls or answer questions about their home teaching assignments. So, the bishop ordered Greg to stop.
There was nothing efficient or effective in this old system. It obviously didn’t work. It made no sense to continue it but when people are married to the status quo they resist change.

That same General Conference also instituted another mammoth change. It changed Home Teaching to Ministering. This was no issue for Greg. He didn’t need to make any alterations in what he was doing; he was already ministering properly. Since the change eliminated the need for stats, he just stopped bothering with them.

Speaking in the Church
Greg in 1991.

Instead of paid clergy, members take turns speaking in Church, as assigned by bishopric.

After Greg died, I found his last prepared talk in a notebook in our car. There is a reason why it was there.

Since I suffer from chronic illness, it is often more difficult for me to prepare a talk than to give it in church. I never know when I will have enough good hours to prepare.

So, I hit on the following system. I prepare a talk. When it is fully prepared, I notify the bishopric that I have a talk in reserve and they can slot me into the speaking schedule when they need me.

Greg got into the habit of preparing a talk and holding it in reserve until needed too. However, when he died, he had one prepared and I didn't. This is the talk I found.

He didn't have a chance to give this talk. I have attached it below and you can choose to read it if you would like.

It is called: Distractions and Deceptions of the World

Greg in Marion, Indiana, a short time before his death.

Next: Part 4: Tribute to My Husband Greg Cook - His Years in Law Enforcement

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