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Posted by: Mon ( )
Date: September 17, 2012 02:06AM

This is great!! Didn't hear about it at the time another exmormon!

Folau content after ditching Mormonism

November 8, 2011

Rob Forsaith

A change of faith has steeled Israel Folau ahead of the immense challenges awaiting him in the 2012 AFL season.

Folau was a devout Mormon since childhood but his family cut ties with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints earlier this year.

Greater Western Sydney's code-hopping star now practises under the Assemblies of God fellowship, at a Tongan service similar to the Hillsong Church.

He couldn't be happier with the change in spiritual path.

"I had a personal experience with the holy spirit touching my heart," Folau told AAP.

"I've never felt that before while I was involved in the Mormon church - until I came to the AOG church and accepted Christ.

"It's been an amazing experience for me personally and I know a lot of people on the outside have been saying stuff about why we left.

"And some people (are) assuming that we left because of money, and all that sort of stuff.

"I know for myself that it wasn't.

"But I guess at the moment, the people on the outside don't really know the main reason why we left."

The 22-year-old instigated the change himself after researching the history of Mormonism, and said the move was easy to make.

Folau's friends have been understanding and supportive for the most part, but he admits it has been hard on a few of them.

God will play a large role in Folau's life as he attempts to secure a berth in the Giants' side for their season opener against Sydney.

"He's certainly going to help me a lot out next year (in the AFL) and throughout my whole career," he said.

"It's going to be very important."

A number of NRL players have interrupted their career to undertake Mormon missionary duty, most recently star flyer Will Hopoate.

However the church doesn't have a hard and fast rule on the issue.

Folau opted out of missionary work earlier in his career while playing for NRL club Brisbane, as did former Queensland State of Origin teammate Ben Hannant.

The Giants will start pre-season training on Wednesday ahead of their maiden AFL season.

Folau recently enjoyed a two-week break in Tonga, where he visited family and had rare time away from the football field.

He's yet to discuss specific pre-season goals with the club but has been buoyed by the recruitment of AFL veterans during trade week.

"It has been a big year for me personally, so it's good to get a few more players on board," he said.

"Guys like Luke Power, with their experience, certainly can help me out on and off the field.

"It's exciting times ahead."

© 2012 AAP

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Posted by: Mon ( )
Date: September 17, 2012 02:23AM

Never on a Sunday

Article from: Sunday Herald Sun

Dave Donaghy

October 05, 2008

FAITH prevents Israel Folau's family seeing him on his big day, but they will be praying for him.

Israel Folau is set to star in the biggest game of his life today, but his family will have to wait for his phone call after the full-time siren to find out how he went.

Just as they did last year, Folau’s devout Mormon parents, Eni and Amelia, will not watch today’s NRL grand final between Melbourne Storm and Manly.

They are effectively restricted from doing anything on Sundays that does not involve earning a living.

So Folau’s family faces an anxious two-hour wait to discover whether their son has claimed a second successive premiership.

Last year the young giant called his parents from the dressing room to deliver the good news about Storm’s 34-8 triumph over Manly, the club’s second premiership.

“It doesn’t suprise me at all (that they can’t watch),’’ Folau said.

“It happened last year and it’s been happening my whole life. It doesn’t really affect my game. I understand.’’

Folau said his younger brothers had found it toughest not being able to watch the grand final last year.

He expected it to be the same this time around, with the teenagers forced to wait until Monday to see how their big brother went.

“I rang them up after the game (last year) and told them we won,’’ Folau said.

“They were pretty happy.

“They watched the game the next day on replay.

“None of my brothers will be watching the game either. It will be pretty hard on them.’’

Folau’s youngest brother, John, said it was one of the most exciting moments of his life when the call came to tell them Storm had won last year.

He said the family would again gather around to pray for Folau at a morning church session and again at kick-off time.

“We pray for him to play well and to get through the game without injury,’’ John said. “It’s an exciting time.’’

The youngest Folau, however, said there were no thoughts of sneaking out to watch the game.

The grand final marks the end of the Folau era in Melbourne.

The prodigiously talented 19-year-old, already with two Tests under his belt, will head to Brisbane next year after signing a four-season deal worth $1.6 million.

Storm officials were devastated to lose Folau given he is still years away from hitting his peak.

But Folau said he had no regrets because family always came first.

“I made my decision - no second thoughts. I’ll just try and finish on a good note before I leave,’’ he said.

Folau also revealed he has struggled to carry the extra load this season – both his growing bulk and the weight of expectation.

He’s shot up 4cm, packed on 5kg of muscle and will tonight be wearing boots a size bigger than when the season started.

In just two years in the NRL, Folau has won a premiership with Melbourne, gets the chance for another today, has been part of a successful Queensland Origin campaign and represented Australia.

While his stature in the game continues to rise, Storm staff are also stunned by Folau’s physical gains. He now stands 198cm and 105kg ... and there’s no end in sight.

His boot size has gone from a 12 to 13 this year.

But sizing up his 2008 season, Folau wasn’t completely content.

“I’m still happy with my year, but probably not as much as what people expected from me,’’ he said.

“I think teams have been targetting me (in defence) this year ... but I’m still pretty happy how the year’s turned out. Rookies usually have that second-year syndrome, but I haven’t really thought about that.’’

But in a warning to other centres, Folau said he was learning how to throw his massive weight around.

“I struggled a little bit to carry that extra weight, in a short time,’’ Folau said. “But I’m getting used to it now.

“At the start of the year, even though I was 100kg I felt a bit light and wanted to put on a bit more weight. Now I feel a bit stronger and more confident.’’

Melbourne physiotherapist Mary Toomey said Folau had been forced to manage growing pains in his back and calves this season.

“I think Izzy’s got another year or two (of growth) left in him. He’s going to end up being a 110kg centre,’’ she said.

After a whirlwind 2007 season, Folau said he would savour a second title even more today if Storm were successful.

“Winning a premiership in my first year was unreal, but I couldn’t soak it all in. Now I’ve got the opportunity to do it all again,’’ he said.

“I was pretty nervous during the week (in 2007).

“I knew what to expect this year. We’ve got to come out firing.’’

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Posted by: spanner ( )
Date: September 17, 2012 02:38AM

Fantastic. Nice that they gave his reason.

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Posted by: Mon ( )
Date: September 17, 2012 08:31PM

Yeah I think its a pretty big thing to openly say I left because of the history. I wish this story had been bigger over here, because he was so looked up to as a good Mormon his opinion might actually get a few islanders having another look at the chuch.

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Posted by: hello ( )
Date: September 17, 2012 02:39AM

This is cool. I hope plenty Tongan families will jump to Assembly, or back to LMS or Independent Methodist, like Vai Fo'ou, or Catholic. Anything but Mo! ").

I guess the family is so serious about religion, that they became disenchanted when they found out Moism has been lying to them. Cool!

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Posted by: upsidedown ( )
Date: September 17, 2012 03:03AM

Hope this encourages other Tongan LDS to look into the history of lies that the church has pushed on people.

Tongans are a smart but faithful culture. But when they are treated so poorly by being told so many lies disguised as "Faith Inspiring Stories" about being Lamanites and their ancestors skin being turned dark there is sure to be some anger at the deception and lies.

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Posted by: canadianfriend ( )
Date: September 17, 2012 10:03PM

"The 22-year-old instigated the change himself after researching the history of Mormonism, and said the move was easy to make."

Ahhh..history, the cojcolds worst enemy. That, and the internet, which puts that nasty history at everyone's fingertips.

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