Not only did I grow up in a Mormon family, I grew up in a very conservative Mormon family. My father was a member of the John Birch Society during part of my teenage years. But all in all it was a good childhood - no complaints here. When I was twelve I begged my father to hire me to work for him in his sign business so I wouldn't have to work in the potato fields like most of the other kids my age. He agreed which meant that over the subsequent years he and I developed a good relationship, because of which I pretty much did what I was told. I attended church every Sunday, paid my tithing and eventually went on a mission to Virginia and West Virginia. I was engaged just six weeks after I got home to a girl who just six weeks previous was a total stranger to me. But my mission president, my stake president, my bishop and my family all either told me or implied that my next "duty to the Lord" was to get married in the temple...and like I say, I pretty much did what I was told.
The year before I left for my mission my father and I tinkered with electric cars and finally came up with something that worked well enough that we could use if for driving around town. I actually worked out one of the last kinks in an electronic circuit the day before I left for the mission training center in Salt Lake City (the fix later broke and dad had to hire someone else to do it right). While we were going through our testing and debugging phase a number of newspapers ran articles on the car/me/dad combination. There was even one the church magazine, "The Improvement Era," (or just "Era") I believe in 1975. While on my mission, in 1976, I mailed some information about our car to Popular Science Magazine, and a few months later they did an article on the story too. It was because of that publicity that I was able to make around $15,000 selling through the mail, plans for building the car that I had printed up. The money paid for the remaining half of my mission and left me with enough money to get married when I got home. It looked to me like the "Lord" was taking care of me, had plans for me, and that my patriarchal blessing was well on it's way to being fulfilled. All I had to do was keep hanging onto the iron rod and paying my tithing and I'd continue to be blessed.
Then the rude awakenings started.