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My Own Story 2015 Aug .pdf



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Title: When thinking of my life I often think of these words from one of my favorite musicals:
Author: Esker A. Babb Jr.

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My Own Story
By Esker A. Babb Jr.

My Own Story
By Esker A. Babb Jr.
…the heart, mind, and soul of

‘just an ordinary man’…

I’m the one who writes my own story, I decide the person I’ll be
What goes in the plot and what will not, is pretty much up to me…
…We will write each day and night and do it well and faithfully
A wonderful story of sadness and glory, it’s written by Jesus and Me.
Carol Lynn Pearson --My Turn on Earth

1

My Own Story
By Esker A. Babb Jr.

Preamble
I Esker, son of Esker, the son of Joseph make an abridgement of the records of my
proceedings in my days. I do it in the language of the English and in the traditions of the
Americans and the Protestants…and the Mormons. I do this so that all those of my seed
may know that their father knew that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the real,
true, and living God. And that Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God. And that the
Book of Mormon is the true word of that God, and he who brought that book forth in this
time, Joseph Smith, was and ever will be a true prophet. And that the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church of God on earth today. That knowledge was
given me when I was just a teenager and it has been tested through many years of life
now and it still stands as the truth, stronger than ever.
I will write much in these pages of my thoughts, hopes, dreams, and experiences,
but if you learn nothing more of me than this, that I know that God is real and that His
church is on the earth today, for the Holy Spirit testified to me of this, then it is enough.
However, if you would like to know how I came to know these things then you may want
to continue reading, for although this knowledge can come to you in one moment of time
(and often does, as it did for me in late December of 1979), the things that prepare your
mind, heart, and soul to receive it can take years, or a lifetime,…or even more.
As you will see in this narrative, I have made many mistakes. I am a frail and
flawed being who very often feels unworthy to call himself the servant of the most high
God, yet God has been merciful to me and has never in all my stumblings taken away
from me this testimony, my most precious possession on this earth. Now I leave this
testimony with you, my posterity. My most earnest hope is that you too will be given this
gift, and that you will honor and cherish it as I strive to do. To the best of my knowledge
I am the first of my bloodline to have this testimony in our times…and I pray with all my
heart that I will not be the last. I bear in these pages as much as I can remember of the
man that I was, the man that I am, and the man that I hope to be, and I do this in the hope
that somehow it may be a help to those who follow, that these words may somehow help
you to share in my strengths and avoid my weaknesses. I hope that we may all share in a
great victory that this life can be if we with the Lord’s help make it happen, and that we
will meet again someday in the better world that awaits us.

2

My Own Story
By Esker A. Babb Jr.

Index
Preamble

2

Index

3

Prologue

4

Book 1-The 1st Millennium
Chapter 1 – Roots: The lives of Esker and Lucille Babb

12

Chapter 2 – Childhood and Boyhood in Pace, Florida (1960 to July 1978)

88

Chapter 3 – First Year in US Army and Conversion to the Church (July 1978 to July 1979)

124

Chapter 4 - Two Years in Germany, Growth in the Gospel and Service (July 1979 to July 1981) 130
Chapter 5 – Between Army and Mission (July 1981 to October 1981)

197

Chapter 6 – Mission to Santiago, Chile (October 1981 to May 1983)

214

Chapter 7 – Marrying Holly Ann Clanton and years studying at Pensacola Junior
College (May 1983 to May 1986)

294

Chapter 8 – Living in Lake City, Florida Ward with Holly and studying at
University of Florida in Gainesville (May 1986 to June 1988)

328

Chapter 9 – Return to Pace, Florida and Breakup with and Divorce from Holly
(June 1988 to summer 1989)

348

Chapter 10 – A New Beginning with Kelly Seymore in Pace, Florida
(Summer 1989 to July 1992)

366

Chapter 11 - Moving to and Living in Mesa, Arizona with growing new family
(July 1992 to June 1995)

477

Chapter 12 – Starting over again, Bankruptcy and return to Pace, Florida
(June 1995 to November 1998)

560

Chapter 13 – Living in Crystal River, Florida (November 1998 to August 2006)

696

Book 2-The 2nd Millennium (January 2000 and after)

727

(Chapter 13 Continued)
Chapter 14 – Starting over yet again in Idaho Falls Idaho (August 2006 to present)

1151

Epilogue – The Final Chapter…or is it?

1198

3

My Own Story
By Esker A. Babb Jr.

Prologue

When thinking of my life I often think of these words from one of my favorite musicals:
I’m the one who writes my own story, I decide the person I’ll be
What goes in the plot and what will not, is pretty much up to me…
…We will write each day and night and do it well and faithfully
A wonderful story of sadness and glory, it’s written by Jesus and Me.
Carol Lynn-Pearson --My Turn on Earth
We all write our own stories. Our destiny is, for the most part, a thing of our own
choosing. We are indeed who we choose to be. My life is the some total of the choices
that I have made. Have I chosen wisely? Have you, my children and grandchildren,
chosen your lives wisely? Read on and judge for yourselves.
Sometime early in the 21st year of my life while serving in the U.S. Army in
Germany I got a copy of Saturdays Warrior, a musical play for Latter Day Saints very
popular at that time. Although there are many good songs in that play with many good
themes, there was one song which stood out to me and still brings literally tears to my
eyes every time I hear it or sing it or even think of the words. That has happened maybe
a thousand times in the past couple of decades, for this song became almost a theme for
my life. The words of this simple song have influenced my self image and my life’s
goals I think more than any I had heard before or heard since. These words have rang in
my mind a thousand times influencing every action and decision I have made over the
last almost three decades. The song is the “Paper Dream”.

Paper Dream
I take some paper in my hand, and with a pencil draw a man
A dream of what I’d really really like to be
A man with courage in his brow, who’s licked his doubts and fears some how
A warrior of great nobility

4

My Own Story
By Esker A. Babb Jr.

But who am I, just a wondering kid
A cipher on the wall, not even brave at all
And where’s my dream like his that I would fight for
And where’s my cause like his that I would die for
And in his eyes he’s not afraid, because you see he’s got it made
A dream of what I’d really really like to be
A tall and noble fiery youth, who’s not afraid to die for truth,
Who’s tall and straight but best of all he’s free
But who am I, just a wondering kid
A cipher on the wall, not even brave at all
And where’s my dream like his that I would fight for
And where’s my cause like his that I would die for
But still the paper is in my hand and every day I sketch the man
Who knows that truth and what life’s all about
My conscience says I should be him
I guess I could at least begin
But chances are
I’d probably
Strike out.
Paper Dream-Saturdays Warriors.mp3

It is now October of 2006 and I am nearing the end of my 46th year. We have just
moved to Idaho Falls, Idaho and I have begun a new career as a Shift Refueling Engineer
at the INL. The theme of this year has been to begin a new life in a new place for the
whole family. It seems fitting that at this time I will begin to put on paper many of the
thoughts and memories of my life both, the good and the bad, the many things that make
me who I am. For whom I am, for better or worse, will determine much of what my
children are. I have kept journals for most of my adult life, first in writing and for the last
few years mostly verbally on tapes and CD’s, yet there is much that was never recorded.
These things ring through my mind so often, often with much regret and pain, and
sometimes with much joy for the blessing and knowledge that a merciful God has given
me. I hope in this humble work to record some of those thoughts and memories in a way
that they may be of some value to those I leave behind. Yet if not, at least it will help me
to share them with the paper…who knows, maybe some day soon that may be the only
way I can remember!
I recently gave a talk in church. It was the first talk I gave in the new ward in
Idaho Falls, the Coltman 1st Ward. It was an unusual talk in that I felt the spirit direct me
in what to say stronger than I have felt it in perhaps two decades. It seemed the perfect
preamble to the story of my life.

Talk for October 28, 2006
Discouragement, One of the Adversary’s greatest tools.

5

My Own Story
By Esker A. Babb Jr.

As you may know my wife and I and our three children moved here from Florida
a couple of months ago. I think that we are about to find out just how different the
winters are here! Of course being the new family in the ward as usual the bishop asked
us to speak in sacrament meeting. The next time I get asked to speak I hope that it is at
the last minute that way I don’t worry about it the whole week. I have found that if one
gets asked to speak on a subject, the subject is often not what we are good at but our
weaknesses…things that we need to focus on and work on. Since the Bishop did not
specify a subject I thought I could escape this fate and speak on something that I am very
good at, something less personal, but as I tried to prepare during this week my mind kept
coming back to this one subject, my greatest weakness, and I believe one of the
adversary’s greatest tools against all of us.
Many years ago shortly after I had joined the church I heard this fictional story. I
didn’t quite qet it then, but for some reason it stuck in my mind, and now many years
later I understand it much too well. The story is about the Devil’s garage sale. On display
stood many large, shiny, complicated tools. Each was labeled with a tag representing
many great temptations and grievous sins. Yet in one corner sat a tiny, dull, simple tool
with a very high price attached. It had many dents and dings and had obviously been
heavily used. When asked why that battered and worn out old tool was so expensive, he
replied smugly, "That one is called DISCOURAGEMENT. I can use that one on
everybody."
I would like to read part of one of my favorite parables of Jesus found in Matthew
chapter 25 starting at verse 14 through 18…..
For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who
called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he
gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to
his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received
the five talents went and traded with the same and made them other five talent.
And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had
received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money……….
If you remember the Lord was not pleased with the one who failed to use what he was
given. He repeats this even more directly in D&C 60:2.
But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouth, but they
hide their talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man. Wo
unto such for mine anger is kindled against them.
So why would someone who knows the truth of the gospel fail to use and increase the
talents that God gave him? I have come to believe that it is frequently not the fear of the
world that stops them, but fear of failure, a lack of self confidence,…in a nutshell,
Discouragement.

6

My Own Story
By Esker A. Babb Jr.

To illustrate this I would like to present you with some good examples and one
bad example of those who have dealt with discouragement. First I will present you with
the counter-example, that is the way NOT to do it, and that example would be ME. To
help you understand what I mean I need to tell you my story since I joined the church.
I grew up in little protestant church in the country near Pensacola, Florida. When
I was 18 I signed up for a three year hitch in the U.S. Army and went to boot camp.
During the first week or two of boot camp I was befriended by a young man named Bob
who did not participate in the vulgar things going on around us. He invited me to go to
church with him promising that if I said I was a “Mormon” I could go with him on a bus
off the base to a place where the girls wore dresses instead of green uniforms. Of course
that sold me immediately. After a wonderful fast and testimony meeting I was whisked
off by two young men to a room where I received my first missionary discussion. It was
my last missionary discussion for more than six months. Bob and I wound up in the same
barracks for the year after boot camp and I continued to go to church with him.
Something just felt right about going there. Each night we talked about the doctrines of
the church most of which I agreed with, except for that strange thing about Joseph Smith
and the Book of Mormon.
One night during the Christmas holidays I was on guard duty all night, and I spent
most of that night reading stories from The Book of Mormon. I had been reading parts of
the Book of Mormon for weeks before. Just before I was to be relieved of duty the next
morning Bob came down and we sat talking about what I had read through the night. As
we were discussing the people in the Book of Mormon a feeling came over me so strong
that I can remember it more than 27 years later like it was yesterday. I looked Bob in the
eyes and said, “Bob this is true, this is real.” I didn’t quite understand it then, but the
Holy Ghost had given me a sure testimony that the Book of Mormon was true and that
Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. The next week I began to take the missionary
discussions again and a little over a month later I was baptized.
The next two years in the Army I spent staying as active as possible in the church,
studying and learning and serving in every way I could. When I left the army and came
home I had decided that I had to go on a mission, so I applied and served my mission in
Santiago, Chile. When I returned from my mission I felt the Spirit so strongly and was
determined to continue faithful in every way.
So then I began the task of dealing with the everyday challenges of life in my
hometown. I will not burden you with the details, but there was a venture that I felt very
strongly that that the spirit was guiding me to do. I entered into this venture in good faith
and gave it what I thought was my best. To make a very long story very short…it turned
out horribly. Despite my best efforts and intentions I failed miserably at this thing and
many people that I cared about and trusted said bad things about me.
After that I changed. I felt that if I could misread the promptings of the spirit so
badly in this matter, how could I ever trust my ability to know God’s will in anything. I
lost my confidence in myself and began to avoid any duties in the church; indeed I

7

My Own Story
By Esker A. Babb Jr.

avoided any spiritual activity at all. I was afraid of screwing up again and harming the
lives of others with my vain attempts to know God’s will. I had let Discouragement
overwhelm me. I never lost that testimony that had been given me, that precious talent
from the Lord; you might say that like the man in Jesus’ parable, I buried it in the sand.
Since I did not listen to the spirit, I rarely felt his presence…and for many years I felt like
I was living in darkness and alone.
Now that I have given you the bad example I would like to contrast this with the
best example of overcoming discouragement of anyone I have ever known of…that of the
prophet Joseph Smith. If anyone ever had reasons to be discouraged it would be him.
Despite his long and faithful service to the Lord he met heartache, loss, and
disappointment at almost every turn. Yet, when the mobs beat him and tarred and
feathered him he would get back to work as soon as he was able, when his heart was
heavy with the loss of his children he would do his duty anyway, when trusted people
slandered and betrayed him he carried on and later forgave them, and when he knew that
he would soon loose his life he made the statement, “Shall we not go on in so great a
cause.” When I think of how easily I succumbed to discouragement I am so humbled by
his great example. The Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, "We are troubled on
every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not
forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;" In other words discouragement may creep in
occasionally but it need not be permanent nor overpowering. So long as we keep our
focus on our savior Jesus Christ and continue to get up each and every time we are
knocked down.
Around the middle of last year I had some events in my life that let me know that
if I was ever going to make a change in my life the time had to be now. I vowed that I
would obey the Lord’s commands and follow the promptings of the spirit to the best of
my ability and take whatever consequences followed. The difference did not come
immediately, but slowly I began to feel closer to the Spirit and to once again feel
promptings that I knew were from Him. I know that I have made many mistakes in the
past and will undoubtedly make mistakes in the future, but I plan to follow Brother
Joseph’s example and keep going no matter what.
At the beginning of this year I felt impressed that the time had come for my
family to move west again where my wife could be close to her family. It was difficult,
but I could list more than a dozen unlikely “coincidences” that have happened to make it
possible. I have no doubt that we are where the Lord wants us to be, although I don’t
know the reason yet.
As we made the drive out here a remarkable event happened, an event that would
not have happened to me if I had not been doing my best to get close the Spirit. My wife
and I felt that we should drive through Nauvoo and while there we went to visit Carthage
Jail. While there in the upstairs room where the prophet Joseph Smith died, I felt
something that I had not felt in so many years. I cried many tears as the Holy Ghost bore
solemn witness in my heart that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. It was
unmistakable, clear, and as powerful as when it was first given to me 27 years ago.

8

My Own Story
By Esker A. Babb Jr.

Brothers and sisters, Jesus was clearly speaking to me when he spoke of the man
with one talent. In the short time I have been here I have seen wonderful people standing
here with many more ‘talents’ than I…dear brothers and sisters with beautiful testimonies
and a wonderful gift for sharing them. I can only lay claim to one talent, but it is more
precious than anything I ever have or ever could own. This gift was given to a stubborn,
headstrong, yet somewhat naive 19 year old long ago, and reconfirmed with great power
in the heart of a weary and cynical 46 year old man this summer, and buried in the earth
for much too long. Here and now I dig up that talent from the earth and give it to
you…it is this…..
Brothers and sisters, I bear witness to you that I know that my redeemer Jesus
Christ lives. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that the man
Joseph Smith from whose lips the words of that book fell was a prophet of God. And I
know that we have a prophet of God, Gordon B. Hinckley, leading the church today. For
the Holy Spirit has born witness of these things to me.
“Shall we not go on in such a great cause?”
In the name of our precious Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

I finally began the act of actually writing this story in 2006, my 47th year of life,
and the writing has already spanned several years and promises to span a few more. The
chapters were not written in order, but as the individual stories came into my memory,
then they were pieced together like a great jigsaw puzzle. As I wrote I tried to relate the
events about which I wrote to what was happening in the present in my life, in the world,
or in other parts of my life. Therefore you might find things about events decades apart
spoken about on the same page. Since I went back and added parts that I thought of later,
the present may also change in same page. Although this might seem like it would
confuse the reader, I think that it is a good thing and I have done this on purpose, because
I see my life and the lives of my family members as a continuous whole. I want to show
how we are all tied together and how we share so much more than we will ever be able to
see with the perspective of just a moment, and day, a year, or even a single human
lifetime. I hope to give you a sense that the past, the present, and the future are not really
separated and that the people in them are not really separated either, but are all part of a

9


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