Hi I'm Richard
I first started drumming at age 15. In some ways drumming helped me through the troubles of my youth. It gave me focus, helped me develop a talent, gave me and my friends a goal with the band. Also studying philosophy and putting my ideas into songs and papers helped me to cope with life and ponder the great 'life questions'. I must say at that time I was pretty critical towards society, including religion. Then a great change occurred... (continue reading at 'Why I am a Mormon')
Why I am a Mormon
One night I was philosophizing about the great life question: "Why is there something rather than nothing?". I figured that, as a philosopher, I had to take all possible answers to that question into serious consideration, including the (religious) option that there was a Creator. While I was pondering about what or who then this Creator would be, what attributes He must have, all of a sudden something changed in my experience. It was like my spirit grew bigger than the boundaries of my body. I felt very peaceful and 'light'. At the same time I noticed that my room was filled with the presence of another Spirit, who gave me a 'seed' of understanding...an insight communicated from spirit to spirit, without words. I instantly knew and felt that there WAS a Creator, and that not only did He create our world...He created ME...He KNEW me. I felt His love for me and that love automatically invited me to get to know Him. I knew that by getting to know my Creator, I would also find out who I am and what my purpose in life is...His plan for me. This event started me on a three year journey to get to know God, and to find a religion that 'matched' the experience that I had. I knew that only thát feeling in that first revelation could guide me towards truth. I read about Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam (anything but Christianity) and found many truths there...but never a fullness of it. Then I was offered a Bible on the street and started reading about Jesus. His words in the Gospel of John pierced my soul, and that same feeling came back! I understood in that moment that Jesus had something to do with the Creator - something special, other than in all other religions - that in some way He connected man and God. I then started visiting many Christian churches, which initially was a setback...I saw how they all in different ways tried to imitate the church of Christ and his Apostles as described in the Bible, but didn't succeed at it. It seemed more like they were 'playing church'. Most of all it didn't feel good in the meetings and in the discussions, so I decided that I wanted to be a Christian on my own. I found a Christian friend who taught me the Gospel in his home (just like in New Testament times!). That I could relate to, and looking back, that was the ideal stepping stone for me. After a few weeks this friend gave me a Book of Mormon, which I started reading and, at 2 Nephi 31, found out that God could talk to me through this book also. The last two verses were like a 'calling' to me. Soon another young man joined and together we continued our search for the true church of Christ. Everywhere we came and talked about the Book of Mormon we were frowned upon. Eventually the man who taught us (who was not a member by the way, but strongly believed in the Book of Mormon) said that if we wanted to learn more about Joseph Smith, the translator of the Book of Mormon, and the Church he founded, we had to go to the church mentioned on the title page. This we did! We looked up the name of the church in the phone book, got hold of two missionaries who gave us the address of the nearest church. When we came there, we immediate felt 'at home'. The Spirit was strong and after we were handed the bread, we looked at each other and knew we both thought the same thing: that by taking this bread we showed our desire to become one with these saints. We nodded to each other, and ate...and never left the Church again. (continue reading at 'How I live my faith')
How I live my faith
Quite some things changed in my life, but then again quite some things did not. I'm still a drummer and songwriter, but I now write songs with my best church friend about 'life's great questions' and the principles of truth that answer them, principles I found in the restored Gospel. I went on a mission to teach the wonderful people in Greece and Cyprus. This inspired me to become a teacher of philosophy, which I do with great fervor at a college in the Netherlands. But most importantly, in the Church I met my best friend who became my eternal partner. She is the light of my life! I never felt so pure and at peace around any girl. She made me want to be my very best. We wrote every week when I was in Greece and we were married in the temple 6 months after I returned. We are happily married and have a wonderful girl and two boys. I found that life's greatest joy is found in the family and that it's not holding me back in my career, but fuels me with great purpose and stamina. Music is an important part of our family life, of course!, and every family home evening we sing hymns, play guitar and (lots of) percussion instruments and the kids love it! But personally it touches me the most, that when I start to tell my little girl about Jesus, her face starts to glow and she testifies right back to me, saying: "And daddy, Jesus looks after us, He is our Shepherd." I feel so grateful that that same Spirit who gave me my first revelation in my room at age 19, now fills our home and the hearts of my children. If little children can know these truths so naturally...like they 'remember'...I know that all of us can remember. And really, that's all that a revelation is: remembering truths that are already ours, but just need the right open mind and a touch of the Holy Spirit, to become active again. It changes us from the inside by opening our understanding to 'the world of the spirit', which holds all truths about our premortal life, our purpose here and the life to come.