Chat With a Mormon Online
I am a married father of four. I have a son that died in 2007. My oldest daughter is a college graduate and is married. I have two daughters in Junior HIgh. I grew up in Michigan. I never met a member of the Church there and knew almost nothing about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I graduated from a state university with a BS Geology/ Business degree. I was commissioned as an Army Officer and became a pilot, flying helicopters in many different countries. My last duty station was Ft Lewis, Washington in Tacoma. I have made Tacoma my home since coming here in 1985 from Korea. I went to Graduate school for a Master's degree while I was at Ft Lewis. I became a veteran in 1987. I was finally introduced to the church by my friend (who later became my wife) in 1991. I own a small business as a Public Insurance Adjuster. We help people on their insurance claims after large disasters, such as fire or flood. In 2007 my only son, named after me but I called him Buddy because he was always with me, was murdered by a random shooting from a mentally ill immigrant. I don't think that I could have ever gotten to a good state of mind again were it not for the eternal truths that I have learned since becoming a member and doing my best to live what I have learned. Buddy and I went on several camping, backpacking, hiking and kayaking adventures through our involvement in the Church. Now that he is dead those memories of the adventures we shared are some of the sweetest.
I had no real impression of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints prior to being introduced to it by my girlfriend (my wife, Heidi) in 1991. I joined the Church for myself; because the more truths I learned the more I knew that If I was going to be honest with myself that I had no reason to not join the church. Joining was easy. Becoming a real convert took quite a bit of time, effort and a desire to be a New Man. I was 31 years old when I was baptized. I have to tell you, it was difficult to put away the old me and to become more closely the man that God intended me to be. I had grown up kind of rough. I started working construction when I was 13 years old. That environment of working around construction sites put me around grown men that talked often of the things of the world, and used pretty salty language in nearly every sentence spoken. I worked as a construction foreman in the biggest prison in the world when I was just 18 years old. That place really put some rough callous on my spirit. As a college student I was in a social fraternity that made the movie Animal House seem tame and then I became a soldier. My first marriage failed because I selected a companion based upon the wrong criteria. You can imagine that I had a lot of bad habits from all sorts of exposure to the rougher elements of life. It took me a while before I was able to finally and fully put away all of those things. Since I became a convert I have learned what living a life filled with real joy feels like. I know my real purpose in life. I know who I am and whose I am. I am a son of God and I know that he knows me and that he loves me.
We are all supposed to be emulating Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven; two perfected beings. The more experience I have at choosing to do what is right the easier it becomes to consistently make those choices. The old expression, "...practice makes perfect..." has been appended to, "... Perfect practice makes perfect!" When I develop the life habit of doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing, regardless of circumstance or who may or may not be watching then I build integrity and the challenges of life seem to become infinitely more endurable.
My family is involved in our ward (that's what we call the local unit of the church that we belong to). We attend church every week. We are engaged in many of the extra-curricular activities of the church. My wife, Heidi, and I have been very involved through the years working with the youth of our ward. We do spend a lot of time in service to others. Being an active, involved member requires real effort and what some could consider as sacrifice. We are provided so many opportunities to serve, grow, and love others. The quality, depth and true richness of our lives keeps improving as we continue to get our lives more in line with what Jesus Christ has taught us. It takes time and commitment, and is not always very convenient. It is the right thing for us to be doing though. I have never given what may be conceived of as a sacrifice without being overwhelmingly blessed in some way to over-compensate me for it. God's economy is marvelous.