Hi I'm Joseph
I am an Army Chaplain serving in Germany with my wife of 18 years and 4 children. I have been in the Army for almost seven years. I have the best job in the world. I get to work with people of all faith backgrounds to nurture them along their life's journey and help them through difficult times. I also get to work with some of the most amazing leaders and people that our country can produce. I am humbled that the Lord has allowed me this privilege.
Why I am a Mormon
I am a Mormon because I believe it. I believe in the divine origin of the Book of Mormon. I believe it was translated by the gift and power of God by the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon promises us that if we sincerely seek a witness from the Holy Ghost of its truthfullness, we will receive one. I have received that witness. For me, the only possible response to having received this witness of the Holy Ghost was to live my life in accordance with the teachings and principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in the Bible and the Book of Mormon and to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Everything good and positive and of worth in my life has come to me as a result of that decision I made more than 20 years ago to commit my life to Jesus Christ.
How has the Book of Mormon brought you closer to God?
I would like to share one of the most sacred experiences of my life. It is the first time I consciously felt the witness of the Holy Ghost bearing witness to me of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. It was a difficult time in my life. I was feeling alone and abandoned. I had made some tough choices, which I felt were right in God's eyes, but were not accepted by friends or family. I was in a very dark place personally. I was preparing to serve as a missionary. I recall sitting on the edge of my bed. I was reading in the book of Second Nephi in the Book of Mormon. Now I had felt spiritual feelings before. However, this experience was something more. I began reading chapter two. As I did I began to feel a powerful sense of the presence of God. The words on the page held my attention like never before. This sensation continued until I reached the twenty-fifth verse which reads: "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." Upon reaching that verse, in this very dark time, I felt the love of God literally pouring over me in a way that I knew could not have been my own imagination. It was overwhelming. It brought me to tears. In that moment I knew that the promises of the Book of Mormon had been verified and that it was real and true. I have never forgotten that experience and have referred to it often. Some may say it was all in my head. I had felt spiritual feelings before, the kinds of heart-warming feelings we associate with doing good to others and reading scripture or learning new truth. This was something different, something powerful. I had received the witness promised in Moroni 10:3-5. I knew it and I could not deny it.
What is hope and what do you hope for?
This is actually a question that has been on my mind lately. What is hope? I believe hope is our first incentive to seek relationship with our Heavenly Father. Hope precedes and is encouraged by faith. We first hope for a thing and then we seek after it. We hope that there is more to life. We hope that there is a God who is interested in us. Some may hear the story of the Restored Gospel and hope that a restoration of ancient truths is possible. Once we possess hope, the natural response is to begin seeking, enquiring, and learning. Could God call a modern prophet in our day? Could He give us more of His word in the Book of Mormon? Could the prophetic office continue today with modern prophets? I hope so. That hope leads me to ask of God through prayer. Prayer leads to the confirmation of the Holy Ghost. That confirmation increases my hope and becomes faith which leads to action. We act by committing our lives to Christ and joining with His Restored Church in these Latter Days. I hope that someday all will know the joy that comes from the knowledge of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
How I live my faith
As an LDS Army Chaplain, I wear many hats. Not only do I strive to meet the needs of my LDS brothers and sisters here on our FOB (Forward Operating Base), but I am also tasked with the challenge of providing worship services to Christians of all backgrounds and, if needed, to ensure access to worship opportunities for minority faith communities. It is a unique opportunity to share faith with others of diverse backgrounds. I try to relate as best I can on common ground and focus on the things we share so all can feel safe in sharing their spirituality with me. I conduct Bible Studies for non-LDS service members and Scripture Studies (Book of Mormon, etc.) for our LDS service members. With all of my duties, I also try to squeeze in my personal devotional time every day. This consists of scripture study, prayer, and contemplation. Living one's faith in a combat zone is a challenge. It is hectic and busy and often not very spiritual. Negative influences surround us - which makes that personal time with my Heavenly Father all the more important.