Hi I'm John
I'm a father of 4 and have been married to my lovely wife for just over 17 years. I am a pediatric interventional cardiologist, a complicated way to say I work with and perform procedures on children who are born with heart disease. It's the product of a life long dream I had to be a doctor. When I was 19 years old I served a 2 year mission for my church in Buenos Aires, Argentina. When I returned home I completed my Psychology degree and went on to study Spanish literature. Little did I know that this would later provide a wonderful opportunity in my profession. I now participate in an annual medical mission to Santa Cruz, Bolivia where I can continue to work with the wonderful Latino people. When I'm not working, I love to attend my children's activities like listening to my daughter play the clarinet in the school band, or watching my boys play baseball. I enjoy reading, although sometimes my "reading" takes the form of audiobooks. My favorite author is Terry Brooks. While not typically a "fantasy book" reader, I can't put his books down.
Why I am a Mormon
The LDS Church has provided me with guidance throughout my life. It helped me avoid dangerous choices in high school. It taught me how service to our fellowmen brings happiness and fulfillment in our lives. We believe that our Heavenly Father wants us to enjoy the love and companionship of our families forever, just as we would want to spend eternity with Him. The Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that we can have that. Knowing that I will have the opportunity to be with my family forever is one of the most amazing promises that the Gospel provides. I am frequently asked how I can do what I do, working with children with heart disease. My most frequent response is it provides an amazing opportunity to intervene in the lives of these children and give them a chance at a longer and better quality of life. But I don't ignore that the seriousness of the diseases they face sometimes results in death at a very young age. This is what troubles many. I have seen many families suffer with that loss. When I was 22 years old I lost my dad to cancer. I would take him back in a second, but that time proved to be one of the most spiritual of my life, for through that experience, I received a strong testimony that my belief in an "eternal family" was true and very possible. I felt a comfort beyond what I can express that Christ's sacrifice for us provides that opportunity. It is that certainty that allows me to witness what I have and do in my work. It provides me a perspective that I can try to convey to comfort the mourning family. It allows me to know that our Heavenly Father loves us perfectly.
Why do Mormons go on missions?
The mission is an opportunity to serve others. Some missions are service based, some are education based. The type that is most often associated with our church is proselytizing missions. I spent 2 years in Buenos Aires, Argentina as one of those missionaries you see in white shirt and black name plaque. The mission has the goal of sharing the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe many of the pure and precious truths of the Gospel were lost after Jesus Christ was crucified and the Apostles died or were killed. We believe that Joseph Smith, Jr. was called to restore those truths. We share that message to anyone who will hear. The interesting aspect of this is the message is provided by young men and women who are not professional preachers. The message is simple, but more importantly, the testimonies we share cannot be taught. We obtain our testimony in the same way we ask those to whom we talk to obtain them, through prayer. Our message is that God answers prayers and will confirm to those who seek it, His will regarding this message. We only deliver the message. It is between God and the listener what they will do with it. We are called upon to share the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is why we go on missions.
How I live my faith
Life as a Mormon is great. The LDS Church has its members direct the daily activities of the local congregations. As such, we have varying assignments that change over time and give us a great breadth of experience. I have taught children; I have taught adults. I have organized congregation get-togethers and meals and worked with administrative elements. I recently finished serving as the Cub Master to our local Cub Scout troop. I now serve as a counselor to the Bishop, the congregation's leader, much like the pastor or priest. Each experience has been unique, and each has taught me something about myself and allowed me to improve myself. More importantly, it provides innumerable opportunities to serve others. One thing we are all asked to do is serve as "home teachers" or "visiting teachers." This is a way to have a few families that we visit at least monthly to provide a brief message, but also to make sure they are doing okay and serve them where they have needs. It allows us to care for the members. Then in turn, we have our own home and visiting teachers that visit us. That helps complete us as a "family."