Hi I'm Phil Graehl
I am the husband of a wonderful woman who is a great mother, a wonderful wife, and an exemplary physician. My wife is not a Mormon. She is a great example to me about things that really matter. I am a father of an extraordinary son, who loves life, befriends almost everyone, and who has an enormously compassionate heart. He teaches me a lot. As a family we enjoy time together. We love trail riding on horseback in the mountains of the American west. We enjoy time playing games and reading together. We pray together. I work as an orthopedic surgeon, and I enjoy the privilege I have been entrusted with to help people overcome injury and disability. I can't get enough of time in the mountains. I love hiking, riding, photography, wildlife observation, the sound of a breeze in the aspen, the smell of a high mountain meadow, and the view from a mountain summit. I am in awe of the many creations of God.
Why I am a Mormon
Quite simply I am a Mormon because I cherish truth. To me nothing satisfies yearnings, calms fears, promotes growth, and enlightens minds as well as hearts like truth. The fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ contains all truth, and it is within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ resides.
How has the Holy Ghost helped you?
My family was one that claimed membership in the Church, but was not active at all in attendance or worship. In spite of this I was dutifully baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints when I was eight years old. With this confirmation came the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. From the time of my baptism at age eight until my true conversion and activation at age thirty eight I was adrift in the world as pertaining to spiritual things. After attaining my desired goals in life I was surprised to find myself without the happiness and satisfaction that I had assumed would follow these accomplishments. My wife, sensing my dissatisfaction, encouraged me to read the scriptures which I eventually did. As a searched and pondered the word of God I began to receive inspiration, and confirmation of the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit testified to me of the divinity of Jesus Christ, and confirmed in my heart and mind that He is the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer. I came to know that the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth in these latter days, this being the dispensation of the fulness of times. I came to know that the happiness that I desired was only to be found within the gospel of Jesus Christ. This miraculous outpouring of knowledge I now recognized was a gift from God mediated through the Holy Ghost as I sincerely sought the truth with a determination to follow through with action on the truths that I was granted.
How has The Book of Mormon helped you understand the purpose of life?
The questions of "Where did we come from?", "Why are we here?", and "Where are we going?" are universal to the family of man. Many of us have asked these out loud. With others these questions prod quietly from within, barely perceptible, awaiting as it were an awakening. I fell into this latter category. As I read the Book of Mormon I had reaffirmed to me a strong and abiding witness that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer and the Savior of all mankind. In addition the Book of Mormon revealed to me more clearly why the conditions we encounter in this life are as they are, what the plan is that our Heavenly Father has put in place to allow his children to qualify for eternal life, and why it is essential that the life, ministry, gospel, and foremost the atonement of Jesus Christ are the cornerstone of this plan. Reading the Book of Mormon for me was as if a flood of bright light came into my life to illuminate the recesses of uncertainty and give meaning to those subconscious yearnings that prodded at me from within, and that I heretofore had not recognized or perhaps ignored. What a glorious feeling it is to begin to understand those things that the Lord would have us know, and to understand why it is He wants us to know them and to follow Him. How much easier it becomes to press forward with faith if we know with more clarity that the path we are on is correct and why that is so. I testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. To read it and receive that same witness in your own life will bring you immeasurable joy and peace.
How I live my faith
I live my faith by trying continually to become a better person than I currently am. It has taken me the better part of a lifetime to understand that the clearest path to achieving this goal can only come through continued obedience to the commandments of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ brings me revelations of truth through enlightenment by the Spirit. I have found that the light of truth when it shines directly on me often illuminates crevices in my character where changes need to be made. If I do not give into fear, or anger, or indifference about these foibles, but encourage or allow for humility then there is the hope of repentance which can lead to those changes, those improvements in behavior that I desire. Moving forward requires continued faith in the Lord and sincere efforts to pattern my thoughts, words, and deeds after Him. My record is not one of perfection by any means, but I find more than ever that my setbacks are easier to overcome and my heart is slowly, constantly changing for the better. To increase my faith, to draw closer to the Spirit, to guide my repentance I pray, fast, search the scriptures, and work to engender a desire to make necessary changes no matter how difficult they may seem. Results are slow, the process promises to be a lifetime and beyond , but I have embarked on this quest to overcome all manner of flaws including selfishness, anger, pride, and procrastination just to name a few. Why? I desire to be able to submit my will to God. I desire to be close to the Spirit of the Lord to hear his still small voice, and act as directed to be an instrument in His hands. I desire to be a blessing to others and to be free of selfish ways, to know the true joy in life which is available only through service in the gospel of Jesus Christ.