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Hi I'm Michael

About Me

I have been a student on and off for most of my life. I'm finally at the beginning of the end of my formal education, working on a doctoral degree in theatre history and dramatic literature to prepare for a career as a college professor. I started dancing when I was five years old, doing mostly ballet, tap, and jazz. Then I started singing in a church youth choir and performing in theatrical productions. Once I started performing I never really stopped. On my journey to a doctoral degree in theatre, I have studied Russian literature at an Ivy league school, worked in public relations for a regional bank, worked as an opera singer, done human resources for a major food manufacturer (that makes some of my favorite cereals) and a hospital, earned an MBA with a focus on organizational behavior. And of course during all this I found time to dance, sing, act, choreograph, design costumes, and write, direct, and produce shows. As amazing at it was to perform with the Los Angeles Opera and the Joffrey Ballet and in places from Australia to Norway, my favorite performing experience has been performing in a production called "The Savior of the World" that is produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This musical depicts the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I've done the show twice and have been moved by the message and by the love demonstrated by my fellow performers.

Why I am a Mormon

The summer after my high school graduation, I worked as a volunteer staff member at the National Jamboree of the Boy Scouts of America where I became friends with several Mormons. Then one day I received a call on my dorm room phone. The person on the phone told me that one of my friends that I had met at National Boy Scout Jamboree thought I might be interested in meeting with missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our first meeting was on January 14, 1998. At the end, they shared with me a passage from the Book of Mormon that said, "Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things ... that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." And though I was skeptical of the story of Joseph Smith and had a hard time enjoying my reading in the Book of Mormon, I wanted to know if what I was being taught was true. So I started to read the Book of Mormon regularly and to pray. I also started to attend Mormon church services. One of the first weeks, after church, there was a baptism. As I witnessed this man's baptism, I felt the presence of the Holy Ghost clearly and distinctly. It was that evening that I went home and prayed and learned for myself by the Holy Ghost that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that Joseph Smith really did see God and Jesus Christ and that the Book of Mormon is truly scripture like the Bible. It was that night that I decided to become a Mormon by being baptized. When I was baptized, I was filled with joy. I could not stop smiling. I had found the faith I had been searching for for years. I could speak with conviction about God and Jesus Christ and the plan they prepared for us. I began the journey that I am on now as I continue to try to become more like Jesus and to more closely follow His teaching.

How I live my faith

For me, being a Mormon and living my faith is about finding opportunities to help others and being blessed by those opportunities. For example, I have been able to teach lots of different groups of people in my church congregations from nine year old children (maybe my favorite) to men my age to young men and women preparing to be missionaries. Teaching others has helped me learn more about what I believe and what those beliefs mean to me. I have grown to love all my students. Teaching is one of the activities I have enjoyed most since I have joined the church. What is amazing to me is all the different ways I've been able to serve in the 11 years that I have been Mormon. I have led a congregational choir and been responsible for planning activities. I've been able to help those who are new to the church in adjusting to new friends, new teachings, and to a new church community. I have been able to visit different members of my congregation to support them and help with things like fixing appliances or moving. And then there are the different activities like religious classes during the week, "family nights" on Mondays, camping trips, service activities, Christmas parties, musical and dramatic performances, and many, many other things. There are always lots of different options. Sometimes I don't want to participate. I don't really like playing sports or at least I didn't think I did. But recently I have enjoyed playing ultimate frisbee and volleyball and basketball at different church activities. I went because I wanted to support the people who planned the activities and because I believe there are opportunities to bless people's lives that I would miss if I decided to skip the activities and stay home to watch television or to read. But surprisingly, I was the one whose life was blessed. I grew a stronger love for my church friends and for God, and I had a lot of fun.

What are Mormon women like? Do Mormons believe in equality of men and women?

Mormon women can't be described as a group really except to say that they are diverse. I've known Mormon women who are college professors, full-time mothers, business women, leaders of nonprofits, professional performers, doctors, lawyers, and many other things. Most of them have tried to live their faith in a way that is authentic and personally meaningful. As a result their lives look different from each other and often, different from the lives of women of other faiths. While most Mormons recognize that there are differences between men and women that allow them to complement one another, we also believe that men and women are equal before God and ought to be treated with equality in the world. We believe that the greatest blessings that God has prepared for us can only be received by a man and woman united together in love and marriage. So not only are men and women equal, but they need each other. Personally, I have been inspired by the lives of the Mormon women I have been able to see in action and get to know. And while I know that the eternal potential of men and women is equal, I have seen many Mormon women doing more to reach that potential than some Mormon men. Show more Show less