Hi I'm Fred
I'm still driving motorcycles - since I was 15 years old. Although I'm not as adventurous or hyperactive as I used to be, my curiosity of why things are the way they are, and a knack to invent or fix things make me a natural for my profession. I'm an engineer. My career spans aerospace and rocket science, international consulting, and now auditing of research and technology activities. I was an Eagle Scout and like being outdoors - hunting, fishing, camping, flying - even though I now spend most of my time working on a computer.
Why I am a Mormon
I was raised a Roman Catholic in a Polish/Italian/Irish neighborhood. I had good parents and a pleasant childhood. My father took our family to church regularly. I attended Catholic grammar and high school where I was taught by nuns, brothers, and priests who were sincere, honorable and knowledgeable. They set good examples for me. But as a child I felt that some kind of living ingredient was missing from Catholicism. During my religious studies I was surprised to learn that some of my teachers shared a similar sense of a missing living ingredient in Catholicism as I did. We accepted this by rationalizing that even though something was missing, Catholicism was once the original church founded by Jesus Christ and thus we should do the best we can with what is left of it because there was nowhere else to go. We also hoped this was true. As I continued my religious studies in high school, I had increased doubts about Catholic doctrine. I discussed my doubts about the existence God with a priest at my school and sought his help to overcome my doubts. He was very sincere and concerned about me, but said there was nothing he could do to help me. I realized his faith was not much better than my own, and this only turned my doubt into disillusionment. I began to lean towards a kind of atheistic belief that man created God. It was not in my nature to criticize or fight against religion, but rather to support and encourage it for people who felt they needed it. However, in my college years I could not find peace within myself by rationalizing away the existence of God. I wondered about many events in my life and in the lives of others around me. I had a scientific inquiring mind, and saw beauty, order, and structure in the universe that I could not attribute to chance or randomness. I realized that good and evil were absolute qualities - that no matter how much reasoning could be applied to label them otherwise, truth could not be changed. I began to feel that God must truly exist somewhere. I felt lost in life and desired to find the truth. I tried to reconcile myself with Catholicism, but I could not reconcile my earlier disillusionment. When I graduated college, I had a feeling that if I moved to the Southern United States I would find what I was looking for there. Soon afterwards, I was offered a job in Tennessee, and moved there to begin an engineering career. I was only there a few months when I met two Mormon missionaries at a small-town county fair. Earlier in my live when I was a cub scout I had a den mother who was an exemplary Mormon lady. So I knew that Mormons were good people. I just didn't know too much about their beliefs. I had no apprehensions about approaching these two missionaries and asking them about their beliefs. I was not particularly impressed by them, and we talked only briefly. Since I lived in a small town, I ran into these missionaries again a few weeks later, and they invited me to hear more about their church. I took them up on their offer, partly out of curiosity and possible entertainment. They taught me some of their basic doctrine, which I found strange and far-fetched. I left them being unimpressed both with them personally and their doctrine, and dismissed any further interest in the Mormon Church. But a few days later, for some reason I didn't understand at the time, I awoke one morning with a very strong impression that what the missionaries told me was true, regardless of how unreasonable their teaching may have seemed to me, and that I should listen to more of their message. A few weeks later I ran into another set of missionaries and asked them if I could learn more. I listened to them with an open mind and heart. Yet as I contemplated their teachings, I could feel a thousand years of Catholicism as an element of my existence. I studied their teachings for many months and was troubled by some concept that were hard for me to accept at first. But I also began to understand my disillusionment with Catholicism, which I still wanted to believe in. Gradually as I became enlightened by what I felt was a higher level of truth and knowledge in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, I could no longer find peace within myself with Catholicism. I began to realize that the living ingredient that I felt was missing in the religion of my childhood was personal revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost, which I came to recognize in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After investigating the Church for six months, I was baptized knowing that I had found what I had sought, regardless of what everyone else thought about me or the Mormon Church. I felt something familiar, like I was coming home - a new beginning - and that I was finally progressing on the right road of life.
How has your knowledge of the Plan of Happiness changed/benefited your life?
Being baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was without exception the best and greatest decision I ever made in my life. My earlier religious life taught me what I must do to live with God again (and also what not to do). But the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ - the Plan of Happiness or the Plan of Salvation - taught me things I was never taught earlier: what real happiness is as opposed to temporary pleasure; how we can find real and lasting happiness - to be truly happy and not pretend to be happy, and more importantly, why we need to be happy in God's eternal plan. Happiness is not a chance occurence. I have been truly happy all thru my adult years as I lived my faith. My faith has enabled me to live a fairy-tale happily-ever-after marriage to my wife for 34 years. I was blessed with six children and experienced the joy of being a father. I found financial peace of mind, physical and mental health, and hope in the future. I know how to forgive myself and others and I continually do so. Knowing my purpose in life - who I am, where I am going, and what to expect - has given me self confidence and a desire to take responsibility for myself and my family. I was freed from fear, guilt, debt, and dependency, and I learned to avoid many of life's booby-traps. I can look back on my life and see that I made the right choices. Even though I had my share of disappointment and tragedy in life (I lost a rebellious child who died of drug abuse), I understand God's eternal plan. I can stand before God with a clear conscience, knowing I did the best I could in all things. I can accept the challenges He placed before me. And I can trust in His judgments and His eternal purposes in spite of my imperfections.
How I live my faith
When I was a young adult I was a scout leader. But as I got older I served my church in various financial, auditing, and adminstrative positions, including group and executive leadership on a local and regional level. I also volunteered as a disaster relief worker on several flood, hurricane, and tornado clean-up efforts, both with my church (as a Mormon "Helping Hand") and my local county government Emergency Response organization. As a result of this experience, I was chosen to serve in a temporary paid capacity with the federal government on disaster relief work following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.