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I am an elementary school teacher, husband, father of four, soon to be five, beautiful, energetic, and intelligent children. I enjoy the outdoors, baking and cooking, gardening with my wife and kiddos, and living life with an eye of faith single to God and Jesus Christ..
I grew up in a family that embraced the Gospel. I had two sisters and a brother, and we were all baptized when we were eight. Growing up in the church wasn't always easy. I went to schools were I was in a religious minority, and I wanted to fit in. My brother died when I was a teen, and it was hard. How could that have happened? How could God do this to my family? I saw how torn apart my parents were and I believed that something good had to come from this. I believed that God loved each of us and that we are all His children. It was hard to understand why we had to go through this trial. My faith was shaken, and I decided to learn for myself what life was all about. I made some wrong choices but never stopped believing in God or Jesus. I read the Book of Mormon with a desire to know if what I was reading was from God or if it was just a good history book. I went to the Lord in prayer, and the sweet whisperings of the Spirit told me it was true. I finally came to the realization that God does love us and His love is so deep he allowed His Son to die for each of us. This conviction led me to serve a mission for the church. It was four years after coming home from serving a mission for the church, getting married and starting a family of my own that tragedy would strike my family again. My father unexpectedly died. This was one of the hardest things I had gone through. The difference this time was my knowledge that families can be together forever through the mercies and love of Jesus Christ. It is what carries me everyday of my life. I continue to be an active member of the church because I know for myself that a loving Father in Heaven allows us to go through sin and repentance, sorrow and pain, as well as happiness and joy so we can become better and more like Him. I am grateful that He has restored His church so we can be blessed with so many wonderful gifts and blessings which enable us to be forever families.
There have been many of the Savior's teachings that has influenced my life. Probably the biggest is the Atonement and repentance. I will be the first to say that I am not anywhere near perfection. However, how grateful I am that my Savior, Jesus Christ has helped me return back to my Heavenly Father by dying for me. Words truly cannot express how I feel entirely. In my life, I chose to withdraw myself from Christ's loving arms. To know that no sin I committed was too great to keep me from feeling His love when I was humble enough to go back to Him. I love Jesus Christ. What a wonderful gift repentance is. I truly look forward with anticipation for the day when I can see my Lord and Savior with my own eyes, and will be able to wrap my arms around Him and say "Thank You."
Prayer is the way I communicate to my Father in Heaven. He wants to know how I am doing, my fears, desires, successes, struggles, and my questions. I go to Him in prayer before any major decision is made. When I was struggling with the decision to uproot my family and move from Utah to the Midwest of the United States, my wife and I went to the Lord in prayer many times. Many tears were shed in the process of making this decision for our family. We knew we couldn't make such a life changing decision on our own. Our prayers we answered, and they continue to be answered to this day. I thank God that we can pray, be heard, and a loving answer be given.
Many people believe that we worship Joseph Smith. This is not true. I have never met the man, but what I have learned and prayed about Joseph Smith I know to be true. I know that the young boy of 14 wanted to know the truth and sought divine assistance in his search. I know that in response to humble and sincere prayer God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith. It wasn't a dream or a made-up story. Just as the sun rises and sets each day, Joseph Smith saw what he saw. I know that the Book of Mormon, which Joseph Smith translated by the gift and power of God, is a true testament of Jesus Christ. I know that through Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ's church was restored to the Earth and the priesthood authority was also restored. I know that temple blessings were restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that he died because he would not deny what he saw, and did was through God's power and grace. I appreciate, honor, respect, and love Joseph Smith. I believe that he was an instrument in the Lord's hands to help bring about his Father's work and glory. I look forward to the day when I can finally meet this man among men, even a living prophet of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I live my faith by attending my weekly church meetings on Sunday. At church, I teach two different classes. One class is designed for new members or for those learning about the church. The other class I teach is for the 12 year old young men. These allow me to learn about myself, the gospel, and others. I have four families that I and another man visit in their homes to share a gospel message and to see how they are doing. At church and throughout the week, I have been assigned to assist the missionary efforts which has become a blessing in my life. On every other day, I live my faith by trying my best to have personal prayer morning and night, a family prayer before my kiddos go to sleep, and a prayer with my wife before retiring for the day. I also read from the scriptures each morning which helps set the tone for the day and keeps Christ's love and mercy within view. In the church, we have many opportunities to serve our fellowman. Whenever these opportunities arise, I seek to serve. I enjoy following Christ's example of "loving your neighbor as yourself" and joy in selfless service. I also live my faith by trying my best to set a good example to my family and to those I meet in the community and work with. Being a good example of living a christian life is important because it outwardly shows my inward beliefs and convictions.