Chat With a Mormon Online
I was baptized into the LDS Church in my early twenties after searching for a church that taught what I found in the Bible. It was one of the best decisions of my life and has benefited my wife, my six children, and my nine grandchildren. I like music and theater, I enjoy riding my motorcycle in the back roads, hiking, and weight-training. I work as a software engineer and data architect and have pretty much always been a techno-geek. But my most valuable time is spent with our family.
I was raised in a Christian fundamental church and gained a relationship with Jesus Christ early in my life. By the time I was a Junior in High School, I reached a point where I had questions which were not being answered. Most notably, I understood portions of the Bible differently than what I was being taught, and some of these items were completely ignored. These were things that had been confirmed to me by the Holy Ghost but I could not get satisfactory explanations from those who were supposed to be able to provide answers. I reached the point where I decided I must search for the "true" Church -- that there must be at least one out there that had the complete, correct doctrine; one that understood what I had come to understand and who could answer my questions. I attended a lot of different Christian denominations but while many of them had different understandings than the church of my youth, none had the same understanding I had obtained. And most continued to ignore many of the things I had come to understand. After a period of about three years, I met a friend with whom I eventually shared my search and this friend suggested I attend her church. She told me it was the Mormon church and that was one I had not yet researched. I didn't know much about the "Mormons" other than they were portrayed in western movies as the guys with black, broad-brimmed hats, beards, and sometimes had multiple wives. On that first Sunday, I was impressed by the speakers and what they shared. Afterwards, I was introduced to the missionaries and I asked if they would teach me more about their church. They gave me a Book of Mormon and asked me to read some assigned verses. I read those, and more, and I immediately knew it was scripture. It spoke to me the same way the Bible spoke to me and I could feel the same Spirit when I read its words.
One of the things I have come to understand is just how truly important family is to having true joy in this life and in the life to come. As a young father, I didn't really understand this but over time, as I've gained experience, I have come to see that nothing gratifies me as much as seeing my children make right choices and teaching their own children to do the same. I've thought a lot about why this is: It isn't simply so they all do the right thing but because of what doing so brings into our lives -- peace in knowing we are in harmony with God and man, joy in seeing that what we've invested of our time and resources has blossomed into something valuable and worthwhile. What more can one ask for? Don't we all live for the purpose of knowing that we made a difference in someone's life? As grandparents we can play a very critical role by sustaining the decisions and judgement of our children as they learn to parent. It can be so valuable for a grandchild to hear from another source (whom they trust and love) that what Mom and Dad are teaching them is right and good and correct. As grandparents, we have a unique opportunity to help our children learn to be better parents much sooner than we did because we can share what our experience has taught us. But it is always important to remember that you can only *offer* this guidance. They are under no obligation to follow it.
The "restoration of the Gospel" became a key factor in my joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The restoration is central to the doctrine taught in the Church. In my quest to find the "true" church, I was seeking those who understood the gospel as it is found in the Bible, and in the teachings of the original Apostles and their followers. My own studies had found that much of what is accepted as "Christian doctrine" today was actually formed in the councils held in the 3rd to 6th centuries. Studying the writings of those who knew and followed the original Apostles -- Polycarp, Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, and Iraneus -- I found that their teachings differed in significant ways from what had become accepted Christian doctrine. These differences combined with the things I had found in the Bible and which are left out of the accepted doctrine, led me to realize I needed to find a body of Christians who were teaching the doctrine as taught by Christ and the original Apostles.
For all my studies which led me to search for the "true" Church, it was the Book of Mormon that became the foundation for my conversion. When I first read it, I immediately felt the Holy Ghost confirming to me that its words were true. I've since come to understand that it was my willingness to believe that allowed the Holy Ghost to testify to me that it was true. Not that we should ever believe blindly but we should always approach with a willingness to accept the Lord's will in all that we do. In this way, the Book of Mormon has helped me more than in any other. When I read the words of Nephi where he tells his father, "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." It resonated with my soul. His words were how I have always felt and they were truth to me. Living my life with this central principle has made all the difference and continues to impact every choice I make and every path I walk.
My wife and I attend the temple about once a week, regularly attend Sacrament services each Sunday, and serve regularly in callings and other assignments, serving in our ward and stake congregations. We uphold the laws of our nation and believe in a life of honesty and integrity -- of being true to our word. I strive to improve myself and overcome those things that get in the way of me being a better person. I try to look for opportunities to help others and to share the blessings I have been given with others.