Chat With a Mormon Online
Work: I am the founder and president of SymBiotechs USA, a prosthetics design and manufacturing company. I am a cancer survivor and an AKA (Above Knee Amputee). I design and manufacture products that allow for snowboarding, wakeboarding, skiing, rock climbing, and other activities that were previously considered impossible for AK amputees. The hardest part about cancer for me was the loss of "normal." That ability to do things that were already an important part of life to me. The ability to live a normal life again is my cure to the worst parts of cancer. I like to think it's just as important to the patients who tell us we've given them their lives back as well. These patients include other cancer survivors, soldiers injured in the line of duty, extreme athletes who have suffered amputation, and others around the world. Personal accomplishments: Through the use of my designs, I have personally become the world's first above knee amputee (AKA) telemark skier, pro rock climber, and wakeboarder. More exciting to me, I have built a company that is blessing lives around the world! I have made things possible that I was told I would never be able to do as an amputee, and now other amputees worldwide are doing the impossible with me. These accomplishments have all been wonderful blessings I never could have achieved without God's hand in my life. Family: I can't possibly do my parents justice for all they have given me. Both of them spent unusual amounts of time with me teaching, inspiring, and just loving me and my siblings through our lives. My wife is the most amazing woman I know! I fell in love with her 'before' first sight. I was getting my hair cut by her friend when she came over to visit. The second I heard her voice my heart jumped and the next several seconds felt like ages as I waited to see her face. She came around the front of my chair to say hello and all my suspicions were confirmed. I began chasing after her that night. Together we've had two amazing boys and we have another on the way. My family is the greatest joy in my life and truly a blessing from heaven. Future: I will continue developing prosthetics that will further the possibilities for amputees to participate in full and active lifestyles for work, play, and family life. I am working to build a company that not only provides the products to make the impossible a reality, but that also inspires people's minds to believe in their own possibilities. I am also working to design and provide prosthetics for the specific needs of third world countries while we are developing advanced prosthetics for more modern countries. Philosophy: Never shy from a complement or shrug it off trying to be humble. Anything complementary about you is a gift from God. To deny that you are worthy of the complement is to deny the gifts of God. Accept praise as it comes, but praise God always and give thanks to Him in all things.
I am LDS (Mormon) because I believe that God still loves His children and that in today's world, more than ever, we need Him in our lives! I know that a God who has always followed a pattern of revealing His truths and guiding His children through this difficult life would not leave us helpless to find our way through this life, hoping to find the right 'opinion' of his word out of thousands of beliefs and interpretations. I know that Jesus Christ is my savior and that He has called prophets in our times just as He did in biblical times. Why wouldn't He? We need His direct guidance now more than this world ever has! I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet just like Moses was, and that our current prophet Thomas S. Monson is too. I have earned these beliefs through careful study of both the Book of Mormon and the Bible and through sincere prayer to our Father in Heaven.
Near the end of my mission I met a lady who had been investigating the Church for over 9 years. She had studied diligently with several religions during that time. When she told us she wanted to be baptized she said there were just a few questions she wanted ask me first. Her first question took me by surprise. "Does your dad do wood working?" she asked. "Yes" I answered, thinking that was an odd question. "Did you ever work in the shop with him when you were younger?" she asked next. Again, I answered that I had, still confused about why she was asking questions she seemed to know the answers to. Her next question startled me. "Did you wear a red and white flannel shirt when you worked with your dad in the shop?" She could tell the question had taken me off guard. Nearly ten years earlier my grandfather had died. I had saved one of his shirts to use in his wood shop where my dad and I built a scale sailboat together during the two weeks we spent taking care of his estate. I wondered if she had tracked down my family, oceans away and somehow learned about my past. Seeing that I was perplexed by her insight, continued. "I should tell you why I'm asking this," she said. "Nine years ago when I first met the LDS missionaries, and read from the Book of Mormon, I prayed to God and asked Him if I should join this Church. After my prayer I lay in bed silently. I closed my eyes and an image flashed through my mind. I saw a father and son working in a wood shop. The boy was young and he was wearing a red and white flannel shirt. I didn't hear any voices, but I was overwhelmed with a good feeling, and with the feeling that that boy was the missionary who would baptize me! I had no idea that it would take nine years, but when you first came to my door, I knew you were that boy!" We entered the waters of baptism together on the very last day of my two year mission in England. Seeing other people experience the happiness that I have experienced was so rewarding! I can't think of a better reason to serve others than to share in their joy and to know that our Savior is joyful for each soul that is brought to Him as this good sister was. We serve missions because we love our Savior Jesus Christ, and because we love our spirit brothers and sisters.
When I was fourteen years old I was diagnosed with bone cancer in my left leg. For the next two years I was in and out of the hospital for chemotherapy and about nine surgical operations that involved amputating my leg above the knee. As an active fourteen-year-old, all I could focus on at the time was staying active, and being "normal". At school I was called a skinhead and threatened by other kids who didn't know why I had no hair. I was avoided by kids who thought cancer might be contagious and I experienced many other reactions. I always tried to stay positive, reminding myself often that if God had a plan for me, I didn't need to worry about anything else. I miss that child-like faith that becomes so hard to hold on to as life gets more complex. After cancer I was often asked things like "wasn't that so terrible for you?" and "weren't you so depressed while you went through all of that?" I thought back to the nights in a hospital bed, knowing that it was leading to my amputation and hoping just to stay alive, but I hadn't experienced any of those emotional burdens. I realized why one day while I was reading the Book of Mormon. Speaking of the coming Christ, The prophet Alma wrote "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and sicknesses of his people." (Alma 7:11). I realized that my simple trust in the Savior had allowed the burdens of my illness to be lifted from me, and absolved in His atonement! It had never clicked for me before, that an infinite atonement could not only save me from sin, but also deliver me from sadness, despair, illness, and pain. Since that time I have tried to remember that simple principle and apply the atonement of Christ in every part of my life. Every aspect of my life has been a blessing from God! I believe that He has endless blessings for all of us. Some are disguised as challenges and many are difficult to recognize as blessings, but with His help, and just a little bit of faith on our part, blessings we never would have imagined are available to us. Just as anyone would share something that has blessed their life so much, I try to share the joy our Savior has given me with others in hopes that they will find the same joy and rescue that I have.