Hi I'm John
I love the outdoors, maybe because I'm not the biggest fan of crowds. I love the amazing world Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have blessed us with. Not being able to go hiking and camping was the biggest deprivation I struggled with on my mission. I also love eating healthy, because when I eat healthy, I feel healthy. But that doesn't mean I don't have a sweet tooth sometimes.
Why I am a Mormon
I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because I know by the Holy Ghost that Jesus is my Savior. I was raised in the Church, and I thought it was interesting when I talked to people on my mission who said that because I hadn't ever investigated any other church, I couldn't know the Mormon Church is the only true church. I always thought that was interesting. Isn't just about everyone raised knowing that cigarettes are harmful or that George Washington was the first president? Being taught something as a child doesn't immediately make it not true, and having been taught something since I was born doesn't mean I haven't asked questions and prayed for my own testimony. First, I know God lives because I've seen the evidence all around me all my life and because I know He answers prayers, second, I know Jesus Christ is my Redeemer because I've felt the Spirit as I've pondered about His Atonement and read from the scriptures, and lastly I know the Book of Mormon is true because I've read it, prayed for the Spirit, and felt the Spirit teach me. Some of the things that have reinforced my testimony the most have been experiences with other faiths. With all due respect to the good things that come from good people from all faiths everywhere, I've yet to talk to someone about what they believe without being more thankful for my knowledge of Heavenly Father's plan, the plan He has because He loves us.
Can you talk about the missions of the Church and your participation in them?
In order to go on a mission, a person or couple has to apply. This is different from applying to be hired as a minister, as assignments are made by inspiration, not be where someone does or doesn't want to go and missions are not paid. In fact, missionaries pay to serve. (Family and friends help financially when necessary.) Nearly every country on earth has missionaries in it. Some countries that don't allow proselyting have non-proselyting missionaries called to humanitarian missions or other service. I served as a missionary for two years in northern Colorado. Serving a mission was the best choice I've ever made. Growing up in the Church, it was admittedly an easy decision as it was certainly a firm expectation and I didn't have any reasons not to go, but I'm still extremely grateful I did. Over the course of my mission, I served and proselyted in 5 different cities between northern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming. I served with 9 different "companions", 6 of which had been raised in the Church and at one point or another had not actively attended church. My mission taught me about God, about His children, about the world, and about myself. It taught me about the scriptures, prayer, faith, and love. It helped me see God's children closer to the way He sees them. It taught me about my family. It helped me better understand how much Jesus Christ loves us, that He was willing to suffer for everything, and He wants to help us. The missionary program is another sign of the true church. The young men that serve as missionaries are between the ages of 19 and 28. Most have not spent years becoming intimately acquainted with scripture. They must rely on the Spirit. When those they teach listen sincerely, they will hear the Spirit, not so much the missionaries. Feeling the Spirit is a powerful, undeniable witness that can be hard to describe. That is the witness that leads to conversion.
Why do Mormons go on missions?
We go on missions because we want to share what we have, and because the Lord has commanded us to. There is no shortage of good churches and good people in the world. Good people are everywhere. And bad things happen to people. But Christ has paid the price for all of those things. That is the most important thing we preach. Our most important goal is to help people get closer to Jesus Christ. And many people already believe in him. If you're reading this, maybe you're one of them. But there is more. Jesus taught people to do specific things over and over again, one of them was to be baptized. After Jesus Christ ascended, his church, authority, and teachings were changed. There were still good people, as there have always been, but nobody had authority from God anymore, the authority Christ had given his apostles. Without leaders who hold that authority, we can still love Christ, but we can't follow his example because he was baptized by someone who had authority from God - John the Baptist. Today Jesus Christ has reestablished his authority, teachings, and church, so we can be baptized by someone with his authority again! Who wouldn't want to share something so exciting?
How I live my faith
I've learned that some of the most important things in life are also some of the most basic, like going to church every week and reading the Book of Mormon and praying daily. I am committed to doing those things, and I notice the blessings. I feel I've also learned to take my baptismal covenant more seriously. (My baptismal covenant is the promise I made to Heavenly Father when I was baptized, and each week when I have the bread and water of the sacrament, to take the name of Jesus Christ upon myself - think, say, and do what He would think, say, and do.) I've learned it makes me happier to be kinder, not get angry as easily, not procrastinate as much, and be willing to help more often. In short, the more faithfully I follow Christ, the happier I am.