Chat With a Mormon Online
I'm a civil engineer in a national firm and manage the office where I live. My wife and I have been married for 24 years and we have 4 children. I also have lots of hobbies including preparedness, genealogy, gardening, carpentry, cooking, camping, and hiking. My wife comes from a long line of LDS families. I joined the church as a teenager - long before we met.
I listened to the gospel message as a teenager. My parents never attended church when I was a child and divorced when I was about 12. My mother had joined the church as a youth and decided to go back. She had the missionaries come to our home to teach me the gospel. I didn't understand the missionary lessons, but when I read in the Book of Mormon I knew it was true and also knew that joining the LDS Church was the right thing to do. It was a simple, quiet, warm feeling that came as I prayed about what I had read. That witness has never left me. There have been many challenges since then, and experiences which caused me to question my belief, but in every case when I thought back to that first experience feeling the spirit of the Holy Ghost I knew again that being a member of the LDS Church was right and good and that I needed to continue forward with that being part of my life. Over the years I have gained countless experiences which reinforce my decision to join the Church and I have come to appreciate so much more the atonement of Jesus Christ and the blessings God provides for me here on earth. I trust Him, and I know that He will be there with me through the good and the difficult experiences in life. I am so happy now. There have been so many blessings come from obeying gospel principles and integrating them into my life. I can't imagine how people get by without it. My wife and I have learned to listen to the counsel of our church leaders. Oftentimes it is not clear why we are asked to do something until years later. I remember being told in a church conference to look to the condition of our finances and that if we did so, our family would be blessed with peace. We followed that counsel and made changes to our financial goals. I can honestly say that over the next several years we were blessed in ways that can only be described as miraculous. It has been a lesson to us that when an inspired church leader asks us to do something, we need to pay attention.
For me answers often come as quiet, peaceful thoughts entering into my mind. I pray for lots of things - success at work, a peaceful day, a way to reach out to someone, blessings upon my family members and others, guidance in spiritual responsibilities like teaching a class at church or helping make a youth activity meaningful. Although answers can be very timely and direct, often it isn't until afterwards when I look back on the experience that I recognize an answer to prayer. A motivation, a new train of thought, a change of perspective, all can be answers to prayer.
I was thirteen years old when I was baptized. I clearly recall reading from the Book of Mormon and feeling that it was good and true. This was a witness from the Holy Ghost to me that I had found something that required me to make a baptismal commitment. I had to choose whether or not to follow that witness - and I chose baptism. It has changed my life in every way. I can't imagine life today without the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it all started with that seemingly small commitment to be baptized. We have all our lives to continue learning the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. A small testimony is sufficient reason to accept the baptismal commitment.
Because we want to share the blessings of the gospel with everyone, including our ancestors. That means sharing the ordinances of baptism and eternal marriage with our ancestors who did not have the opportunity to receive these blessings during their lifetimes.The New Testament talks about doing baptism for the dead Corinthians. We continue this work today in buildings we call Temples. In order to know who these people are and do this work, we participate in genealogical research.
Young men are expected to serve a mission. It is considered their priesthood responsibility. Young women are not required to do this, but are allowed to if they have the desire. My son served a mission in Guatemala because he has a testimony that the Church is true and wanted to share the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. I served a mission for the same reason many years ago. Great blessings come from missionary service, but that isn't why we go. We go to share the gospel with others because we know it will bless their lives.
For one thing, it teaches us how to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. As we make more right choices we become closer to God and more prepared to be directed towards further spiritual growth. Some principles take many years to learn and thus a long string of good choices precedes full understanding of a principle whether it be leadership, love, service - pick a virtue. Sometimes in order to learn we are required to do something because we trust it is right. We won't have a full understanding until we have done it for a while.
That God is aware of me and every detail of my life. The story about the lillies of the field or the birds who aren't required to work in order to be clothed or fed teaches a great lesson. When I feel challenged at work, or with a situation at home, or with a personal matter I know that I can approach God in prayer seeking guidance and He will understand my situation and respond. He is our Father.
We are concerned for the well-being of our children. Things we do to help them be protected and have spiritual guidance include daily family prayer and reading of the scriptures. While these may seem like simple activities, we have found that they bring great rewards over time.
Read the scriptures together as a family. Pray together. Talk with each other about the gospel. As we have done this consistently for over 20 years, we have noticed a wonderful change for the better. There are plenty of days when one would wonder if it's worth the fuss getting everyone together for these activities. It is. Without question it is. I can't say it with enough emphasis - spend the time and make the effort and you will see rewards years later and stand in amazement with gratitude in your heart.
I have served in many different capacities in the church. I was a missionary in South America for two years. I have taught Sunday School and genealogy classes. I've also worked with the missionaries teaching investigators and served as a counselor in church priesthood leadership organizations. For the last several years I have had the opportunity to work with Boy Scouts and it has been very enriching to learn leadership principles while having opportunities to be an influence for good in the lives of many young men. As I get older and gain experience I have become more inclined to take time out of my busy life to create opportunities to help others. This has become more important to me - certainly more important than working harder to make more money. Family matters. My children and my wife matter. Even extended family takes on more importance than it used to. Work should not take away from those relationships. My wife says I work harder than anyone she knows. That's my nature, and it's what I expect from the people I supervise. However, there is a point where my professional work needs to be set aside to make time for family activities like reading the scriptures together, teaching the gospel to our children, teaching them how to cook, taking them camping or to a good movie, and a multitude of other activities that are good and nourishing.