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Hi I'm Jeff

I grew up in the New York City suburbs. I own my own design firm. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I’m a 38-year-old father of three living children, who, along with my wife, are the center of my life and my world. I have an A.S. in Computer Graphics Technology and a B.S. in Construction Graphics Communication, and I now work from home as a database developer and occasional graphic designer. When I’m not busy working or serving in the Church, I enjoy playing with my kids, watching TV (including plenty of old shows on DVD), playing classic video games, collecting beverage cans—really!—and just plain having a great time with my family and friends. You can read my blogs at EmptySodaCan.blogspot.com and BookOfJeffrey.blogspot.com.

Why I am a Mormon

When I was a junior in high school, I met a girl that seemed to have everything. We fell in love almost immediately, and it wasn’t too long before I learned she was a Latter-day Saint. I didn’t know too much about “Mormons,” but my parents warned me, before I met her family, that I had better be on my best behavior because “Mormons” are very strict. Thus, when I first entered their home, I was surprised to find a very normal family in all respects but one: they obviously loved and respected each other to an extent that I had never known. Not that my family was bad, mind you, but theirs was just, in a word, *amazing*. I wanted that for myself. One night, my girlfriend and I were talking on the phone and the conversation became a spiritual one. The conversation turned to the gospel, and when it ended, I couldn’t get to sleep. I tossed and turned for hours, not knowing if what she said was true, but knowing that I had to find out. Finally, some time after 5:00 AM, I heard a tiny voice in the back of my mind, repeating what I had learned as a child, in my Protestant Sunday school: “If you want to be forgiven, Jesus can forgive you.” For the first time in my life, I prayed aloud, and my prayer was undeniably answered. Over the next few months, I learned more of the gospel of Christ, both from the full-time missionaries and the girl that I loved. Thanks to them—and especially to my Savior—I was baptized on 31 August 1991. Over twenty years have passed, since that fateful day in my young life. I have seen and learned many things in that time, including those that have challenged my understanding and/or tried my faith quite severely. But whenever I have reason to doubt, I can return to that very first promise: that I can pray to my Father in Heaven, and He will answer me. And just as He did, over two decades ago, He consistently confirms that it’s true.

How I live my faith

Over the years, I’ve had many opportunities to serve in the Church. I have served in ways as simple as playing piano for a weekly men’s meeting, or as complex as teaching the teenagers’ Sunday school class. From 1995-1996, I served a full-time mission to Andalucía, Spain. Latter-day missionaries are unpaid and provide their own room and board, so I had to save up for about a year, before I could leave. I then spent each day, for almost two years, teaching Christ’s gospel to the Andalucíans—and learning just as much or more, along the way. These days, I try to live my faith by praying and reading the scriptures daily, but more importantly, by teaching my children to follow Christ’s example in all things. I certainly don’t claim to be perfect, but we parents have the primary responsibility in teaching our children, and I take that responsibility quite seriously. Whether I’m helping a sick friend to heal, or a new neighbor to move in, I hope that my children recognize that membership in Christ’s Church doesn’t just mean showing up for Sunday services it means doing what He would do—and loving it.

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

Absolutely not. Joseph Smith was a Christian prophet—one who, like Moses, Abraham, or Simon Peter, taught the words of God and Christ to the people of his time. While the prophets and Apostles—including Joseph Smith—certainly merit our respect, there is only One who deserves our worship, and that One is our Father in Heaven. Show more Show less

How can I know Mormonism is true?

This, to me, is the coolest part of the gospel. There are lots of people who are happy to tell you what to believe, but neither the Savior’s Church nor his disciples will make such a demand. Each of us needs to learn for him- or herself whether or what the Church teaches is true. Some 2,000 years ago, the Apostle James encouraged each of us in this way: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” —James 1:5-6. Through prayer, each of us can learn wisdom from God. We don’t need to rely on some other individual, but can request it from our Heavenly Father Himself. I know the Church of Jesus Christ to be true not because it’s been proven to me logically—although that is also true—but because I have asked our Heavenly Father and received that confirmation. And more importantly, you don’t have to take my word for it: you can learn from Him in the same way I have. Show more Show less

What is the Law of Chastity?

The Law of Chastity is simply this: that each person be completely faithful to his or her spouse. This obviously means no extramarital affairs, including premarital sexual relationships. However, the spirit of this law dictates that each of us be *emotionally* faithful to his or her spouse, as well. As an example of this, I’ve read stories of individuals having online “affairs” with people they’ve never met in person, yet that relationship is every bit as real as a face-to-face relationship—and every bit as damaging to a preexisting marriage. As one who met my own wife online, I know how incredibly serious a cyberromance can become. We need to make sure that, even when we’re in a seemingly innocent situation, our faithfulness to spouse remains intact in every way. So, in short: don’t have sexual relations before marriage and remain completely faithful once you are married. Pretty simple, huh? Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

In my experience, the word “cult” just means “a religion I don’t like.” I’ve heard plenty of people apply this term to the Church of Jesus Christ, but when I ask them what they mean by it, not one has been able to give a reasonable answer. In short, some people fear what they don't know, and it’s easier to justify that fear when a pejorative be applied. Show more Show less

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

Certainly not! However, we do believe that those of us who have been blessed with Christ’s gospel in our lives have a responsibility to share that gospel with others. As the Savior Himself commanded in Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” We take that charge quite seriously. Show more Show less

What is the Church’s position on abortion?

The general rule regarding abortion is pretty simple: don’t do it. However, the Lord and His Church also recognize that we live in a very complex world with complex situations, and occasionally the best course of action doesn’t fall into a neat little box bounded by the general guidelines. The Bible, for example, states that “thou shalt not kill,” yet we read of several times in the scriptures where, in deference to a higher law, the Lord allows or even commands His servants to do so. On rare occasions, abortion can be one of these exceptions. In the event that a woman’s life or sanity is genuinely endangered, she (and the baby’s father, if possible) have every right to take the matter to their local Priesthood leader (e.g. the local bishop). If, by some chance, both he and the parent(s) feel that an abortion might be the best end to the pregnancy, they should take their concern to our Heavenly Father, in prayer, and ask His guidance on the matter. Of course, since Father is over all life and death, He is uniquely qualified to make this decision, and through prayer, we can know His will in any matter. Thus, if Father, in answer to this prayer, lets both the parent(s) and their Priesthood leader know that an abortion would be the best option, then and only then is it justified. Show more Show less