Chat With a Mormon Online
The youngest of three, I was born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania. I served a two-year full-time mission in Idaho. After graduating from college in Utah, I spent some time in Kenya volunteering with a microfinance organization, helping impoverished families support themselves and educate their children. I then moved to Silicon Valley where I began working as an IT consultant. Here, I met my beautiful wife, who will be joining me for a work rotation in Europe next year. Although I'm a technology geek, I also love to play sports (soccer, basketball, baseball, football, volleyball). I love traveling to new places and have come to appreciate focusing more on memorable life experiences than on buying expensive possessions. I'm not an avid reader, although I wish I was. I do stay fairly informed, though, as I enjoy reading and watching the news.
Not a lot of Mormons live in Pennsylvania. I grew up attending a branch where 30-50 would attend weekly worship services. In most social circles, I was "the Mormon." I often felt like expectations were much higher for me to make good decisions. Although this sometimes put me under a little pressure, it was for the best. It prompted me to find out for myself at an early age. Is it true? Is it worth it? I studied the scriptures--particularly the Book of Mormon, but also the Bible. I prayed to know that it was true. I didn't really have the dramatic turning point in my life some experience. It's not like one moment I was completely lost, and the next everything was different. It was a slow, steady process. I came to know the gospel was true by living it. As I obeyed a commandment, I'd look for the blessings promised. The greatest blessing was typically peace of mind and a closer relationship with my Heavenly Father. Being faithful to what I know to be true helps me be a better husband. A better friend. A better employee. Someday, a better father. Eventually, I know I have a path back to my Heavenly Father. But even if it was just for right here, right now, I'm happier living God's commandments and the standards of the LDS Church.
One of the most important elements of faith is the way it influences who you are and what you do. I'm not perfect, but I'd like to think I'm getting better today than I was yesterday. I believe God is more concerned with the direction we're headed than we're at this second. You need to be honest with other people, but you also need to be honest with yourself. Pick out one or two things to improve on, and make it happen. One of the best ways to do this is to think beyond your own problems and find opportunities to serve others. My wife and I have been really lucky this past year. She has been a leader for the young women, and I have been a leader for the young men. That means that a good portion of the time we spend volunteering with the youth, I also get to spend time with my wife. It has been so much fun seeing the youth learn and grow in the gospel. Even though I was called to teach them, I have learned a great deal from them as they serve each other, other church members, and the community. It seems like it's becoming a rare thing in the world to see teenage boys volunteer to perform exhausting manual labor to clean up a city park. Then again, these aren't ordinary individuals. They're spiritual giants. They have learned to set their priorities straight at a very young age. Many of them have very strong, spiritual families that have provided a winning formula for success. Others have had to take the initiative to rise above extreme adversity. All of them are inspiring. It is evidence to me that God places us here on earth for a reason. That we all have a purpose to fulfill. I also serve as a home teacher. We are asked to visit a few families from the congregation each month to reach out and offer support when needed. It's a simple way for members of the Church to stay connected, and lets each family know there's someone they can call if they ever need help. Some of my closest friends in the church have often been my home teachers or those I home teach.