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Hi I'm John

About Me

I grew up on the east coast in Washington DC; after graduating from Yale University, I moved to California to pursue a career in screenwriting. My wife is an opera singer; we do not have any children yet, but plan to in the near future.

Why I am a Mormon

I was born into a family with a mother who is Mormon and a father who is not. While my mother gave me a strong upbringing, grounded in the faith, I ultimately needed to decide for myself if I would continue living it into adulthood. That decision reached an inflection point with the decision of whether or not to serve a full-time two-year mission for the Church when I was 19. Though I had many questions about the Church, something inside of me knew that serving a mission was something that God wanted me to do. I was called to serve in Rome, Italy, where I learned Italian and spent 10+ hours per day out on the streets conversing with people about life's big questions, and the answers found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those conversations, coupled with prayerful reading of the scriptures, carried a strong conviction to my soul of the truthfulness of the doctrines that I was studying and teaching. Jesus taught, "If any man will do His will, he will know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." Through living the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have come to know of its truthfulness. I have experienced profound, rich, meaningful blessings in my life. Not a day goes by that I do not thank God for his hand in my life. Living the Gospel fills my life with a deep sense of meaning. I feel a partnership with God in bringing about something marvelous. Being a Mormon fills me with comfort and resilience in difficult times, and even fills otherwise mundane moments with a great sense of peace, vision, and hope.

How I live my faith

I have a strong faith in Jesus Christ; the Church presents no end of opportunities to put that faith in action. Some days, that means visiting families in my congregation at their homes and sharing a brief message from the scriptures together; other days it means driving downtown to teach Sunday School to the inmates at the federal prison; others it involves interfaith work. One of my church responsibilities involves building bridges between our church leaders and leaders in the community, including local business, education, government and religious leaders, in order to understand the community's needs and see how our leaders can direct the church members they lead to meet those needs through service. Beyond formal church service, I also live my faith simply through living. Being a Latter-day Saint is a 24/7 commitment. It influences the clothes I wear, how I treat my body, how I think about others, and how I think about God. I live my faith through daily scripture study and prayer; I live it in the tone of voice in which I speak to my wife; through the regularity with which I try to stay in touch with my family members across the country; through the attitude I take to my job, and through a million small things every day. I live my faith by striving to be guided by God in my actions, remembering that life has a meaning and living in accordance with its purpose. I feel my weaknesses regularly, but also know that God has provided a way for me to overcome them and return to him.

What do Mormons believe happens to us after we die? What do Mormons believe about life after death?

Mormons have a very strong belief in the afterlife, and a fairly detailed picture about what goes on there. We basically view this life as a time of learning and testing, somewhat like a cosmic university, from which we attain the degree for which we have prepared. As in earthly universities, each degree has certain requirements that must be met, and certain privileges that come with fulfilling those requirements. While each of these degrees carries with it a certain level of joy (in the final analysis, it is very difficult to end up miserable in the Mormon eternities), the highest level of joy carries with it certain basic requirements-- namely, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and being eternally married to a spouse. Since not all people have the opportunity to learn these principles (many will die without ever even hearing the name of Jesus Christ), there is a time between death and the resurrection and final judgment during which they are taught these principles. Think of it as "night school," a time to catch up on things that ought to have been learned in mortality, but were not. Once one arrives at the final judgment and resurrection, one will be judged according to their faith in Jesus Christ, and their obedience in keeping his commandments. A scripture in the Book of Mormon states, "It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." We will also be resurrected, and inherit that which we have prepared to inherit. Show more Show less

Is it true that Jesus appeared in North America after his crucifixion and resurrection according to the Book of Mormon?

Yes. When he appears in the Book of Mormon, Jesus tells those he appears to that they are the "other sheep" of which he spoke to his disciples in Jerusalem. He also told those he appeared to in ancient America that he would go on to visit yet more sheep who were neither in their land, nor in the land of Jerusalem. We have no idea where these other people were, but it is evident that it was important to the Father that the resurrected Christ visit them, and that they hear his voice and see him. It makes sense to me that, as Christ's redemption was important to the entire world, and not only to those in the lands surrounding Jerusalem, he would communicate that message across the globe. Show more Show less

Are there restrictions based on race or color concerning who can join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have the priesthood?

No. We are a Church that believes in continuing revelation from modern prophets. One of those Prophets stated, "Every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color." Our Prophets have also spoken out repeatedly against racism in any form, calling to repentance those who harbor racist feelings in their hearts or manifest them through their actions. Show more Show less