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Hi I'm Ben Dawson

I love to fish, sing, juggle fire, and play with my family. I studied at Harvard and MIT. I'm a husband, a father, and a Mormon.

About Me

I am the oldest in a family of five brothers and one (tough) sister. We all love practical jokes, playing sports, and drinking large quantities of egg nog and fruit juice. Growing up I lived in Colorado, Alaska, California, and Oregon. When I was 15 we built a home on part of the farm where my mom was raised. I played several sports—soccer, water polo, cross country, and pole vaulting—though I was never as skilled as my brothers and sister. I also enjoyed public speaking, student leadership, singing, and being part of two school musicals. I studied mechanical engineering at Harvard. Coming from rural Oregon, it was overwhelming at first and a constant challenge, but I loved my time there, the friends I made, and the variety of extraordinary opportunities to learn. After my freshman year I left to serve a two-year mission in Bulgaria--an extraordinary experience that dramatically shaped my perspective on life. It really taught me to see all people as God's children that he loves deeply. After returning to school and graduating, I worked in Washington, D.C. on engineering risk analysis projects for NASA, the US Air Force, and US Navy. In D.C. I also met my amazing, talented, and beautiful wife Brittany in a congregation for singles where we sang in a Christmas choir together. We were married in 2008 and shortly thereafter moved back to Boston where I studied business and systems engineering at MIT and where our first son was born.

Why I am a Mormon

I am a Mormon because I have studied and lived the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; I have felt of their truth and seen their powerful positive effects in my life and the lives of others. I have experienced and observed many small miracles, evidences of God's awareness of and love for each of his children, including me. And I have felt many quiet confirmations from God that He is real and aware of me, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is his church on the earth today. Many Mormons say, "I know the church is true." By this we mean that it teaches the true and complete doctrines of Jesus Christ and that its authorized representatives have the authority to perform the ordinances of Jesus Christ's gospel such as baptism, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the sacrament (communion) in remembrance of Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf. In saying this we mean no disrespect to other faiths. Mormons are not superior to other people in any way. We admire the sincere adherents of other faiths and think highly of all people who seek to live lives of goodness and kindness to others. We feel have simply been given a more complete view of God's plan for his children and are anxious to share it with others.

How I live my faith

My faith permeates the way I view the world, set priorities, and make decisions. It motivates me to follow the example of Jesus Christ in keeping God's commandments, serving others, and seeking God's guidance for my own life. It reminds me to be thankful for the many great things in my life. It reminds me to be humble. And patient and kind with others. Quick to seek forgiveness and quick to offer it when needed. It reminds me that families are meant to be eternal, that parenting is one of the highest callings, and that anything we want to really last needs constant care and attention. It reminds me to live up to my promises and ideals. It helps me find moral courage when it would be easier to stay quiet and go along with the crowd. In addition to the subtle day-to-day influence my faith has on me, it offers me many opportunities for service. Because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints does not have professional clergy for its congregations, members voluntarily serve in a variety of roles as asked by local lay leaders. A few examples from our experience: Last year, when we lived in North Carolina for an internship, my wife and I woke up at 5:15 each weekday morning. She taught an early morning scripture study class, known as seminary, for high school students in our congregation. The class started at 6:30 each morning and since we had only one car, she dropped me off at work before going to the church building for class. Both she and I attended seminary during our high school days and found it a source of strength, so we were glad to help the youth in our congregation through this program. Prior to that, when we lived in Washington, D.C., we served as nursery leaders in our congregation. We were, in effect, Sunday school teachers for several children from two to three years old. We had brief lessons, snack time, play time, and singing time. Being with those children was a joy for us and gave their parents time for quiet personal spiritual renewal.

Are Mormons Christians?

Ben Dawson
We certainly think of ourselves as Christians. Jesus Christ is the central figure in our doctrine and worship. We accept Him as the only way we can return home to God. We believe the Bible and its account of his ministry and the doctrines he taught. I personally believe the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are entirely consistent with the Bible and in fact clarify many issues that aren't clearly resolved in the Biblical text. Some people, however, based on their own definitions or interpretations of what it means to be Christian, or based on misunderstandings of our beliefs, label us as non-Christians or claim that our Christianity is non-biblical. Show more Show less

Why do Mormon missionaries proselyte?

Ben Dawson
I loved serving as a missionary in Bulgaria. Many of my friends back home and many people I met in Bulgaria wondered why I was a missionary among people who had largely accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. We serve as missionaries because God has restored and revealed information about His plan for His children with greater clarity than has been available to most people, even Christians, before our time. We find great peace and joy in the blessings that come from understanding His plan for us. We know that He wants those blessings made available to all his children. And we find our own happiness is magnified in sharing them with others. We respect and honor the sincere adherents of all religious traditions. We love to rejoice together in the principles and doctrines we believe in common and the values we share. I would hope that insofar as anyone feels they have been blessed by knowledge from God they would try to kindly share it with others, including me. Our attempt is to do just that. Show more Show less