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Hi I'm Jeff

About Me

I'm a husband, father, grandfather and a son of two wonderful parents who have passed away. I have a dog who makes many demands of me and my wife. I graduated with honors from college and earned a masters degree. I've been a teacher, trainer and mostly have served in sales management positions for major insurance companies.

Why I am a Mormon

As I began my second year of graduate school, I shared an office with another grad student. On the day we first met, I took him on a tour of the town. We finished his orientation at my favorite bar where I offered to buy him a beer. He informed me that he did not drink because he was a Mormon. By the time I had reached graduate school, although raised Catholic, I came to doubt the existence of God. It was from this perspective, an agnostic, that I began to deal with this Mormon friend and many more I would meet in the next several months. One day visiting my friend’s apartment I met my next door neighbor who dropped by – it turned out she had recently converted to the Mormon Church. We were mutually intrigued that evening and she made a mental note to "work on me" and I did the same – vowing to myself to enlighten my new friends from holding to their silly religious beliefs. The rest of that month resulted in argumentative discussions between both friends and me on the subject of religion. Actually the next six months saw the same discussion repeated almost continuously. I learned that one of my other next door neighbors was also a Mormon. I further discovered that the couple who lived there the previous year were Mormons. I was also surprised to learn that one of the guys I bowled with was a member of the Stake High Council. I was meeting Mormons everywhere I went - which is surprising for a small Midwestern town that was heavily Catholic and where the LDS Church had the smallest church building I had ever seen. During one of our arguments I agreed to attend church services. We attended during the day of Ward Conference. Sunday School was the first order of business. I remember being greeted by everyone. In fact, every male member of the Church came up to me and offered his hand. Sacrament meeting was the main session of Ward Conference. The thing I remember most was the noise of all the little children - screaming - yelling - crying. It was so noisy that it was difficult to hear the speakers at times. Later I asked why there wasn't a "cry room" or better yet, why not leave the small children at home until they're old enough. That gave them the opening to teach me about the important role the family plays in the Church. As time went on my interest in the Church increased - still more for social than spiritual reasons. I met a former graduate student, who now was becoming a minister in a protestant church. He was shocked that I was regularly attending church, but almost more shocked when he learned it was the Mormon Church. He suggested that I investigate some protestant theology - that I would find it more satisfying. Until that time, I had thought that Mormons were protestants -- I brought the issue up and was offered a copy of the Book of Mormon, which I promptly refused. My new grad student friend and I share the same birth date. My neighbor’s arranged a dinner in our honor. One of the neighbors invited her parents to the dinner. Her dad was a member of the Stake High Council. Professionally he was responsible for research and learning programs at the university. They had thoroughly briefed him on my case. The dinner progressed nicely. The High Council member, in a subtle fashion, bore his testimony by telling of his efforts, at a younger age when he questioned the authenticity of the Church, to use scholarly investigation in disproving the Book of Mormon. He seemed to me to be extremely effective in his arguments and was careful to bring up points that would appeal to my beliefs or lack of beliefs. I was anxious to argue with him, but decided some preparation was in order. I really had not focused on the Church and its unique teachings rather my attacks had previously been focused on organized religion in general and on the Bible. Later that night, after the parents had left, one of my neighbors threw a copy of the Book of Mormon to me it was one that her dog had chewed up in spots. She simply said, "Read it." I took it but let it sit on my desk in my apartment. We went to the stake center one day for a basketball game that my neighbor was coaching. I noticed a display of pamphlets and took several -- needless to say that pleased my neighbor. When I returned home, I began to read them. One was entitled, "What the Mormons think of Christ." I read them all that afternoon and as I read that one, I found these words: "Under the direction of the Father, Christ was and is the Creator of this earth and all things that are in it, and also of worlds without number." I also learned that Mormons believe that Christ is a separate being from God the Father. I thought back to my young days learning from a Catholic catechism. The first question in the catechism taught that God the Father was the creator of the earth and the catechism taught that God and Jesus and the Holy Ghost were somehow mystically one being not three. Reading these words in the Mormon pamphlet opened a realization for me that this Mormon religion was, in deed, a unique religion. I determined that it was deserving of closer inspection on my part. I began to read the Book of Mormon. My friends told me to circle any parts that I questioned, and to write those questions in the margins. The pages soon became full of circles and the margins full of questions. Before long, I had about five full typewritten pages of questions. Each time I saw the neighbor’s dad, he would tell me about a promise of the Book of Mormon contained in the Book of Moroni. I told him I could not pray about something I did not understand. He responded that it doesn't take a theologian to gain a witness of the Truth. I quickly became engrossed with the Book of Mormon. I would spend hours reading it. Soon I came to a passage in Mosiah, chapter 3, verses 5 through 10 which speak of the eternal mission of Christ. I immediately called my friends and demanded to know just who created this world. I pressed them for information on the nature of the Godhead, and about many of the questions on my five pages of questions. They answered what she could and called the Bishop for help on some of the other questions. Finally, one afternoon they suggested that I talk with the missionaries. For some reason, I said, "yes, but give me a couple of weeks." During those two weeks, I quickly read through the Book of Mormon, jotting down questions as I went. I quickly scanned the Bible, especially the Old Testament. I looked at the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. I read every bit of anti-Mormon literature I could get my hands on. I asked people what they knew about the Mormon Church. All of this culminated in a sort of brief composed around three main lines of argument to prove the Mormon Church was false -- totally untrue. I was sure all of my arguments were sound. I was absolutely convinced that they could not all be refuted. I arrived to meet with the missionaries with my five pages of questions and my multi-paged brief. I discovered the neighbor’s dad had been invited and was present, as were my friends. By the time I posed my first question, I could tell that the missionary Elders were uncomfortable with me -- even afraid of me. Eventually, the missionaries had to leave for another appointment there was obvious relief on their faces. The neighbor’s dad stayed. Every single argument I advanced and every single question I posed, he either successfully refuted or answered to my satisfaction. I was beginning to feel uncomfortable -- even afraid of what was to come. Much to my surprise, he would anticipate my arguments and bring them up himself. To my temporary dismay, he refuted every single argument. All I was left with was the promise of the Book of Mormon. That I could pray and receive an answer. This I did not believe. I knew that I could accept the challenge of that promise and that I would finally be satisfied that the Church was not true. I started praying that night. My prayers were simplistic with no base of faith nor desire to know the truth. My friend suggested that I call the missionaries for advise on prayer. The Elders asked me to read Section 9 of the Doctrine and Covenants and to read the 22nd chapter of Alma in the Book of Mormon. Starting that evening, I began to be sincere in my prayers. I wanted to know. A member of the Church, who hardly knew me, told me I wasn't listening. That same day my friend was speaking with his mother in thousands of miles away by phone I'd never met her. She told my friend I wasn’t listening. That same week I received a phone call from Salt Lake City the University of Utah was offering me a fellowship. I began to have dreams - very clear in my mind, in which I saw myself living the Gospel. At one point I asked myself, "Do I already know it's true?" I received a burning sensation in my chest just as I finished that question. I became frightened. I quickly sought out an old friend and started up a conversation, simply to avoid the thoughts and feelings I was experiencing. That evening my friend and I had a terrible argument. I was totally in the wrong, but too stubborn to admit it. Eventually, I knew he was right, and I began to feel humble - for probably the first time in my life. A feeling emerged in my chest that was of immeasurable proportions a burning sensation which was unmistakable. It had been ages since I last cried. My eyes were full of tears. I asked my friend if he had ever experienced the feeling described in the 9th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants. He said that he had. I asked him what it felt like. He described it and asked for my reaction. I told him, "I think it's true. I think the whole thing is true." I was qualifying my statement and he realized it. He asked me to pray, to my astonishment, I accepted. The beautiful words I uttered did not seem to originate with me. I kept thinking of the King in the 22nd chapter of Alma. How he wanted so much to know the truth! In my prayer, I told Heavenly Father that I knew the Book of Mormon was true. I knew that He lived. I knew that Jesus was His son. I told him I knew that Joseph Smith was His prophet and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the true Church. When I finished praying, my friend testified to me that he felt the Holy Ghost. I told him that while I was saying the words of the prayer, I did not feel their truth, but that all at once, I knew them to be true. As I said that, the feeling of a burning sensation filled me more than it had previously. I began to fill with tears again. I experienced an emotional sensation that was stronger than anything I'd ever felt in my life. I committed that I would join the Church as soon as possible. Throughout that night until four of five in the morning I felt the spirit so strong. I gained a witness of each truth over and over. As Moroni repeatedly appeared to the Prophet Joseph, so the Spirit repeatedly witnessed the truth to me.

How I live my faith

I try to to maintain a daily prayerful relationship with my Heavenly Father by praying on my own and with my wife. I also try to study the gospel on a daily basis. I serve as a member of the High Council, an advisory group of High Priests who serve our local Stake President (a Priesthood leader who oversees the Mormon equivalent of a diocese). This permits me the opportunity to provide training to other priesthood leaders and represent the Stake President to one of our local congregations (called wards). I also serve as a Temple Ordinance Worker helping our members perform sacred ordinances in the temple.

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

We believe that we are all saved in immortality by grace - by the atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. We believe that this gift of immortality which is a physical resurrection of our body and spirit, is given to all by the intervention of our Redeemer. We believe the teaching of our Savior that in our Father's house there are many mansions. We are saved to one of those mansions as a joint heir with Jesus Christ of all that the Father has by our faith in the Father and the Son and by our obedience taking on ourselves sacred covenants, starting at Baptism by immersion and by receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by authorized priesthood holders, to always remember our Savior, to keep His commandments, to live our lives to invite the Holy Ghost to be a constant companion to us. By expanding our covenants upon priesthood ordination and when we perform sacred ordinances in the temple we can place ourselves on a path to eternal life with our Savior, our Heavenly Father and with our own families through the great blessings of eternal marriage and eternal families. The knowledge of these great eternal family blessings is available in the Mormon Church because we have a Prophet of God on the earth today. Show more Show less