Hi I'm Michael James
I'm a father and a husband. I'm a social scientist. I'm a Mormon.
I studied Psychology at University and have since gone into doing social and public health research, working with statistics to answer scientific questions about the social determinants of health. I'm currently working on a PhD about the role of people's social and economic circumstances in how mental health and smoking and drinking behaviours develop over the lifecourse. I come from a family of three children and grew up in Nottingham, England. I am now married, living in Glasgow, and I have three daughters of my own. I enjoy spending most of my spare time with my family, and being involved with the Church, but as often as I can find some time beyond that I like to read books, listen to music, play the guitar and write songs.
Why I am a Mormon
I grew up in the Church, and although I had always believed what I had been taught, as a teenager I had to decide for myself if it was what I wanted. I had to decide if I was willing to follow the standards the Church teaches and whether I was willing to devote time to serve in the Church. I would not still be an active member of the Church if I had not found out for myself that it is true. I tried daily to pray and read the scriptures, and to learn the teachings of the Church. I tried to apply in my life the principles that I learnt. Eventually, I decided to ask God in prayer if the Book of Mormon was true. I remember receiving a distinct impression as I prayed: "Why are you asking? You already know it is true." As I looked within myself I realised that this was correct. I already felt within my heart that all of the principles and teachings of the Church were true, that they came from God, and that I would be happier living them. That conviction within my heart got there because I had consistently read, or been taught, the words of God and then followed them. As I lived the Gospel, piece by piece, day by day, almost imperceptibly, the Spirit of God bore witness to me that what I was doing and the way I was living was right, and over time this had built up into a heart-felt conviction of truth. I still have this conviction now and as I continue to prayerfully study and apply the word of God it gets stronger and deeper, day by day and year by year. I know that the Gospel is true, and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, just like the Bible. I know that this is God's Church on the Earth, and that it has been restored in our time so that we might have all of the blessings that God desires for us, including and especially the opportunity to be united with our families forever.
How I live my faith
I live my faith most importantly in my family life. I believe my family can be forever, that those relationships can last beyond the grave and into eternity. My family is my priority. I work in my job to ensure they are provided for and, outside of work, I consider enriching and strengthening my relationships with them to be one of the best ways I can use my time. I have also served in the Church in a variety of ways and I try to help in any way I am asked. I was a Missionary for the Church in Switzerland, where, for two years, I taught others on a day-to-day basis about our beliefs and practices. Since that time I have also been involved in organising social activities for young single adults in the Church, in keeping local financial and membership records, and in various teaching and leadership responsibilities. I currently serve as the Bishop of our local ward. This role is something like a pastor or a minister in other churches. I preside over a congregation of around 100 members. I am often involved in speaking or teaching during our Sunday meetings and I try to be available for private, individual counselling, striving to help people overcome personal adversities or weaknesses. I also manage the church's local welfare assistance programme. I believe strongly that my faith has benefited my life a great deal, and I try to be open in discussing this with anyone who expresses an interest, in the hope that they might also benefit from what we have.