Candy Carson, GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson’s wife of 40 years, has written “A Doctor in the House: My Life with Ben Carson,” in which she relates how faith has undergirded the couple’s relationship.
Born Lacena Rustin and later nicknamed “Candy” for her love of sweets, the former real estate agent talked with RNS about her faith journey as her husband ventures into U.S. politics.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: You write that running for public office wasn’t on your husband’s bucket list and “certainly” wasn’t on yours. Do you still believe, as you wrote, that God is opening doors for your husband to run for president — even after the major shake-up of his staff?
A: Yes. Things aren’t working quite as they should, and with any business or almost anything there’s growing pains so you need to tweak it. So with the restructuring, some of the people didn’t want to stay so they tendered their resignation.
Q: But you still see this as God opening doors and the race continues?
A: Oh my gosh, yes. I just heard that we had quite a surge in donations this weekend because of the switch-out. That’s God. That’s the way he works.
Q: You grew up in a strict household with good grades expected and regular churchgoing. What was your denominational affiliation and what do you recall of your early religious life?
A: I was Episcopal. Going to church, my mom was the organist and she required that all of us learn piano and at least one other instrument. My sister and I learned organ, too. Sometimes she would have us play on her behalf and she could take a little break.
Q: Do you think you would be Seventh-day Adventist if you had not met Ben Carson, who invited you to an Adventist church near Yale?
A: I don’t know, but God works those things out. He puts people in your life to affect you in certain ways. It just so happened that he and his (Yale) roommate were wonderful young men. I started attending church and as a result of their inviting me to do the (organ) audition and then when I didn’t do well on that they invited me to join the choir. And the rest is history.
Q: People at your Baltimore Adventist church didn’t believe that your husband was the first neurosurgery resident to train at Johns Hopkins. How would you describe the church and how did you convince them?
A: They couldn’t believe that there was a black one there. It raised some eyebrows that I was coming there by myself all the time and I would say, “Oh yeah, I’m sorry my husband couldn’t come this week because he’s busy at the hospital.” Why should they believe me? They don’t know me. The minister finally took it upon himself to visit the hospital and found Ben there.
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SOURCE: Religion News Service
Adelle M. Banks