He waited 22 years for invitation to join

Amond Reed, 83, investigated the Church for 22 years before he was baptized. Actually, he was ready to be baptized much sooner, but no one asked him.

Brother Reed's recollection of the Church goes back to 1938 when he and his late wife, Gwendolyn Himes Reed, began dating. About 35 people then attended the Independence Branch.They met in a meetinghouse that was dedicated Nov. 22, 1914. This stately building, which stood near where the Independence Stake Center now stands, served the Church until 1960.

"We started attending the branch meetings on our third or fourth date," he said.

As their romance blossomed, so did his interest in the Church. They were married later that year and he attended Church faithfully, and began paying his tithing and served as Scoutmaster.

In the 1940s, a mission president spoke at the branch about tithing.

" `Here's Brother Reed, who isn't even a member of the Church and he is paying his tithing,' the mission president said. I didn't know what to say. Later, he said that if he ever caught me down by the river, he would baptize me. I told him I was ready right now. No one said anything, and I did not hear another word about it for many years."

The branch began to grow in the 1950s. The first stake in the area, the Kansas City Stake, was created in 1956. And on Oct. 1, 1960, after a heartfelt invitation by his wife earlier in the day, Brother Reed was baptized. Two years later he and his wife were sealed in the Logan Temple.

Asked why he wasn't baptized sooner, he remarked, "You know, I've often wondered that myself."

He said that the Church continued to grow in the 1960s, "and seems to still be increasing. We now have more and more wards, and more and more missionaries, and they are effective."

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