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Hi I'm Ryan

I'm currently traveling the world with my family while I serve my country as a diplomat. I'm also a Mormon.

About Me

Three main things define me as a person - my family, my career and my faith. I am first and foremost a husband and a father. I have been married for almost ten years, and have three wonderful children, ages 6, 4, and 2. Although I can't say that the years have been perfect - we've had our fair share of trials! - I can say that they have been wonderful, and we have drawn closer together as a family because of them. I am always excited to come home after work in order to be with the people I care about the most! For the last eight years, I've traveled the world with my family while serving as a diplomat with the United States Foreign Service. During this time, I've been assigned to the U.S. Embassies in Manila, Philippines Kyiv, Ukraine and most recently as the deputy spokesman for the Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. Finally, I am also an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have served in a number of church positions, most recently as the Bishop of my ward congregation in Stockholm, Sweden. I am open about my faith, and most of my acquaintances know that I am a Mormon. In addition to the three main areas above, I enjoy running, photography, playing the piano and going to the theater as often as circumstances allow.

Why I am a Mormon

My parents converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when they were newly married. That means that I was "raised Mormon," and was expected to go to church and participate in church activities with my family. I will freely admit that it was a bit of a bubble, but it was a rather idyllic way to grow up! However, I had the opportunity to spend my junior year of high school (age 15-16) abroad as an exchange student in Graz, Austria. My host family was about as completely different from my real family as one can get. For example, while my real dad served in the military in the seventies, my host mom traveled to the United States to protest the war. But they were a wonderful family! They worked hard, were people of integrity and conviction and loved each other very much. They were, and are, good people. I grew to love them. Interacting with them, I was exposed to the world outside of the bubble in which I had grown, and it gave me the opportunity to scrutinize myself and my beliefs. I often thought, "If one can be a good person without being Mormon, why am I Mormon?" I took my year to decide for myself whether the church was true. I can trace my personal testimony of the church to my exchange year. During my time in Austria I read the Book of Mormon completely in both German and English. Reading in another language caused me to really study the Book of Mormon, something that I hadn't done previously, and after my studies I prayed and asked God if it was true. He answered through the Holy Ghost that indeed it was. I also had to sacrifice and attend church by myself. By making a personal effort to go to church, I gained a personal testimony of its veracity. But maybe most importantly, through prayer I gained a testimony that Jesus Christ is my Savior, and that He is aware of and watching over me. I am still a Mormon because the testimony that started in Austria has grown through the years and sustained me in all aspects of my life.

How I live my faith

For me being a Mormon is a natural part of who I am and what I do and living my faith means, to me, simply trying to be a better person today than I was yesterday. Practically, my life may look a little bit different from my neighbors. We gather as a family for morning and evening prayers, for example. We go to church every Sunday (barring sickness and travel, of course). I'm also often seen reading the scriptures on the bus on my way to work. I find that the best way to tell others about my faith is simply to be honest and forthcoming. When people ask me why I don't drink, I'll explain it's because I'm a Mormon; When they ask me what I did over the weekend, I'll tell them I went to church. This has often led to conversations about the church, and just as often led to quick changes in the topic of conversation! I do also try to help and serve others. Within the church, this is fairly easy. We do not have a paid clergy, but different members are asked to fill different roles in the congregation. I have served as the bishop of my congregation for the last year and a half and have found great joy in helping others with both temporal and spiritual needs. I also try to be available for friends and family with whatever their needs are. On a more private side, I also try to seek the Lord's help in everything I do. I try to live in such a way that I will be guided in my vocation as well as my family and church life. I try to keep the commandments and be receptive to promptings from the Holy Ghost. I work on repenting from past mistakes and trying to be more like Jesus Christ.

What are some things that tell you there is a God?

Through the years, I have felt God's hand and influence in my life. I have received answers to prayers and have felt Him nudging me in various directions. These things have generally not been earthshattering or come as great signs from the heavens, but have rather been calm, cool, soothing promptings about the little things. This is precisely why I feel I have a Father in Heaven. When my kids come to me with little needs, whether they want more juice or to go outside and play, I will glady give it to them. The fact that Heavenly Father answers my little prayers lets me know that He is there and loves me as He loves all of His children. In addition to answering my prayers, nature has always played a role for me in confirming the existence of God. I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel extensively and have seen many amazing landscapes, sunsets, mountains and oceans. I cannot believe that these things simply came to be by accident, nor that I came about by accident. This is not to say that I don't believe in science - but I can say that I believe that science and religion are not incompatible. Science simply helps us explain how God was able to create all the wonderful and beautiful things around us. Show more Show less