Chat With a Mormon Online
I grew up in Oregon. Participating in sports and attending University of Oregon sports events (football, basketball and track) were a big part of my life. I am still a Duck fan. I live in the Midwest with my wife and children. Like my father and my grandfather, I am a doctor. I practice diagnostic radiology. I like to read, write and teach. I like to be outside on nice days--especially when I get to use my chainsaw. We attend Shakespearean plays every summer. Our home is something of a gathering place for our children's friends. My wife and children bless my life daily. My religious beliefs add meaning to every activity of my life.
On my twelfth birthday, I received a Bible from my parents. As read the four Gospels, I discovered the personality of Jesus Christ. He was compassionate toward the sick--both spiritual and physical. He had great power but sought only to do the will of the Father. He was "meek and lowly of heart" yet he condemned hypocrites without apology. I was sure that I had never met anyone like Him. I wanted to be his disciple. After discovering Jesus in the Bible, I started attending church more often--I was already a Mormon. I went because I liked what I heard and felt. The lessons answered my questions. Many church members clearly loved me more than I loved myself. The promised literal resurrection of my body after death surprised me. As an Aaronic Priesthood holder, I served my congregation by passing, preparing and blessing the sacrament (similar to the Last Supper). I felt like I was becoming a modern disciple of Jesus Christ. Despite these good feelings, I was hesitant to be a Mormon. Why didn't others respond to the Church as I had? Did I really need to keep all the commandments taught by the Church? Could my search for truth be over at such a young age? Did I really need to be a Mormon to be a disciple of Christ? Attending college in Boston for two years, I met many Church members who were not hesitant to be Mormons. Their full participation in the Church provided them with spiritual evidence--peace of mind, self-discipline and happiness--that I lacked. I decided to try the same approach. Since choosing to participate more, and hesitate less, I have been richly blessed with experiences confirming to me that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's original Church returned to earth. I believe that I have received the ordinances and made the covenants required to become a disciple of Christ. My challenge now is to keep those covenants through faith in Christ, repentance, the help of the Holy Ghost, service to others and enduring trials well.
The Book of Mormon is another witness of Jesus Christ. It confirms the witness of the Bible that Jesus is the Christ. When I read the Book of Mormon, I feel the Holy Ghost's confirmation that Jesus is our Savior. It provides a deeper understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ than any other book. I have benefited by this understanding. It has brought me closer to God.
Joseph Smith was called by God and Christ to re-establish the Church of Jesus Christ on earth. Joseph sacrificed everything, including his life, to fulfill this mission. No other man on earth has added so much to our understanding of the personality, power and purposes of Jesus Christ. Without Joseph, I would not know the Savior nearly as well as I do. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3).
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus challenges me to bring not only my actions but also my feelings in alignment with his teachings. In my experience feeling often precedes thought. Anger and lust and hatred flare within me--often uninvited by thought. They cannot be replaced by forgiveness, love and service to others only by self-discipline, although self-discipline is essential. Jesus wants to change my heart as well as my mind. "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you" he commands. Jesus commands what seems impossible to the natural man within me precisely to teach me that this natural man must die. I must be reborn, a new man, redeemed by the atonement of Jesus Christ. This process of repentance and redemption is slow in my experience. But it is liberating. I am grateful that Jesus and the Father expect more of me than I would ever expect of myself and that the Holy Ghost is their minister helping me to someday meet their expectations.
My faith in Jesus Christ gives meaning to my life. As his disciple I try to be the same person at home, at work and at church. I try to keep God's commandments and watch for His hand in my life. I try to be grateful for blessings and learn from adversity. I try to repent of my sins. I try to approach problems with my heart as well as my mind. I try to care more about others than myself. My membership in this Church has helped me discover truths that I never would have found on my own. Some of these truths have been discovered as I have fulfilled my duties in the Church: preaching the Gospel, caring for others and serving in the temple. Most of these truths have been discovered as I have applied Church teachings in my own life and in the life of my family. These truths constitute answers to many questions. What is happiness? What would God have me do? Can I find peace of mind? What will happen to me after death? Does God love me and all his children? I have felt God's love for his children as I have served them--especially when they are humble and willing to change in order know God. These feelings of God's love for his children have confirmed to me the reality of God and convinced me that he loves me too, despite my sins, my laziness and my rebelliousness. And having received this witness of God's love, I am obligated to continue to serve him by serving others.