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Hi I'm Andrew!

I'm a dad, a husband, and a High School Spanish teacher. And, I'm proud to be a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up in rural Missouri, USA. I've also lived in Argentina, Oregon, Virginia, and Utah. I teach High School Spanish in a small high school. I love learning about other people, cultures, religion, history, and language. I completed a B.A. and a M.A. in Spanish. I've been married since 2004 and have three children.

Why I am a Mormon

I suppose a skeptic would think I am a Mormon because my parents were Mormon. It's true that I owe my faith in large part to their decision to become Mormon before I was born. However, the decision ultimately has been mine to be a Mormon and to continue to be a Mormon, and that decision is one that I've taken very seriously and that has been very central in my thinking and who I consider myself to be. I suppose the most crucial moment in my decision making process happened when I was about 14 years old. I was challenged by a church teacher to read the Book of Mormon for myself and to seek to know if it was indeed God's word like the Bible. I somewhat casually accepted the challenge, not really sure if I would have the motivation to carry it out. I started reading the Book of Mormon and then something rather miraculous happened to me—I couldn’t put it down! I hungered to read the Book of Mormon. I read it nearly every spare moment I had. I had many spiritual experiences while reading the book that witnessed to me it was true. When I finished reading I kneeled down and asked God if the Book of Mormon were really true. In answer the thought/feeling came into my mind: “Andrew, you already know it is true!” I thought, “Yes, I do! I have felt that time and time again." After finishing the Book of Mormon I pursued the Bible and the other scriptures. Before that school year had ended I had read all of the Book of Mormon, Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. I saw how the Bible reaffirmed my faith in the Book of Mormon and in the Church. I came to know for myself that “Mormonism” was true. I continue to search the scriptures, pray, ponder, think, grow, and learn. I have read hundreds of books related to the church and Christianity in general. Time and time again my faith is reaffirmed in what I experience and learn. I continue to be Mormon because I continue to have experiences that reaffirm the witnesses I have already received.

How I live my faith

I try to live my faith day to day in how I interact with other people and with God. Each day I spend some time in prayer, meditation, and scripture study. I try to seek God's influence in my life. I currently serve as a bishop of our LDS congregation. I spend several hours each week meeting and counseling with members of our congregation, as well as administering church programs and services. I try hard to live my life in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ. My faith isn't just a big part of my life, it is central to who I am and what I do.

How do I become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church)?

Andrew!
In order to become a member of the Church, you must be baptized by a member of the church who holds the proper priesthood authority. Prior to baptism you must be taught six lessons by the missionaries and attend church a few times. Show more Show less

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

Andrew!
Do Jews worship Moses? Do Protestants or Catholics worship Paul or Peter? The plain answer is no. Joseph Smith was a prophet and apostle just like Moses, Paul, and Peter. That is how we see him. He was only a man, but a man of God. Therefore we do not worship him. Worship is reserved for God alone. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform proxy baptisms in their temples?

Andrew!
"Baptism for the dead" is a way to bring the blessings of baptism to those who have not been properly baptized. Christ wants everyone who is accountable to be baptized. It is through faith, repentance, and baptism that we can receive the blessings his sacrifice offers us. Since many people have not had the opportunity to be baptized by Christ's authorized servants, those baptisms are performed on their behalf in temples. In the next world those individuals who receive proxy baptism will have the opportunity to accept or reject the ordinance of baptism performed on their behalf before the resurrection and final judgement. Show more Show less

Why did your church previously practice plural marriage (polygamy)?

Andrew!
No one really knows beyond the fact that God required it. A revelation was received through the prophet Joseph Smith commanding the practice on a limited scale. Later the practice was retracted by the Lord. Any individual who enters into the practice or plural marriage today is excommunicated from the church since the practice is not currently authorized or condoned. Show more Show less

Why is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called Mormons or Mormonism?

Andrew!
Latter-day Saints have a book of scripture called "The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ." Very early on, Latter-day Saints were nicknamed "Mormons" or even "Mormonites" because of our belief in the Book of Mormon. The nickname stuck. Although we don't mind being called "Mormons," technically there is no such thing. Mormon was the name of the main ancient author/prophet of the Book of Mormon. Show more Show less

Do Mormons practice polygamy?

Andrew!
No. Any Mormons who enter into the practice of polygamy are excommunicated from the church. The practice of plural marriage was nearly brought to a complete end in 1890 when President Wilford Woodruff issued a manifesto. However, a few plural marriages were authorized after 1890 particularly in Mexico and Canada. In 1904, President Joseph F. Smith issued a second manifesto which was approved by the church prohibiting all plural marriages church-wide. Since that time, all who enter into polygamy are excommunicated from the church and are not, therefore, truly Mormons. Show more Show less

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

Andrew!
The Book of Mormon records that the resurrected Jesus Christ appeared to the people somewhere in the New World. The exact location of this event is unknown. You can read about this in 3 Nephi, starting in chapter 11. Show more Show less

Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorse political parties?

Andrew!
No. There are faithful Latter-day Saints of many different political persuasions. We are encouraged to be good citizens and to exercise our right to vote by seeking out wise, honest, and good individuals to be our civic leaders. Show more Show less

Who founded Mormonism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Andrew!
The short answer would be "God." We believe the church was restored by divine revelation. However, Joseph Smith was an instrument in the hands of God in bringing it about. We revere him as a prophet and apostle such as Moses or Peter in the Bible. Of course, Moses didn't found/start Judaism and Peter didn't found/start Christianity. In both cases it was God who revealed himself and ultimately was the one who gave them the revelations they received to build up his Church. We view Joseph Smith in the same light--a prophet of God who worked to build up God's church. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

Andrew!
Yes. We accept Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world and as the only way to God. Are we "traditional" Christians? No. We believe that traditional Christianity has some teachings that are in error and that the authority to perform gospel ordinances such as baptism has been lost in traditional Christianity. We, in that sense, are not traditional Christians. However, we do fully embrace Jesus Christ as our Savior and the one and only source of salvation and we do fully embrace and believe in the Bible like other more traditional or mainstream Christians. Show more Show less

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

Andrew!
No. Missionary service is voluntary. Young men are encouraged, if physically, mentally, and spiritually capable, to serve missions. However, if they choose not to there are no adverse consequences to their church standing. Young women are not encouraged to serve as missionaries, however they may do so if they desire and if they are physically, mentally, and spiritually capable. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about the nature of God?

Andrew!
We believe in God the Eternal Father, in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. These three constitute the Godhead called the "Trinity" in most Christian churches. They are one in every conceivable way except in their being. In other words, they are three distinct individuals who are perfectly united with one common purpose, mind, will, power, etc. In that sense, these three beings are one God. They want us to return and live with them. Each member of the Godhead is omniscient, omnipotent, all-benevolent, and omnipresent through the power of the Spirit. The Father and the Son have immortal, perfect, glorified bodies of flesh and bones. The Holy Ghost is a spirit and does not have a physical body. The Father is literally the father of our spirits. We lived with him before we were born here on earth. Consequently, we are all brothers and sisters. He hears and answers our prayers when we pray to him in faith. Jesus Christ is also a spirit son of our Father in Heaven. He is, in that sense, our spirit brother. However, he is so much more than just that, he is our Lord and our God and our Savior. He was born on earth as the Son of God the Father and the virgin Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. His teachings given during his mortal life are found in the New Testament in the Bible. He died for our sins and was resurrected the third day. He ascended to heaven where he is now our advocate pleading our cause with the Father so that our sins might be forgiven on the conditions of repentance thanks to his atoning sacrifice. The Holy Ghost is God's messenger. He witnesses of and teaches truth. He testifies of the Father and the Son. He helps bring the purifying effects of Jesus Christ's sacrifice into our lives. Although the Bible does in fact teach these principles about God's nature, as Mormons we know these things about the nature of God because God has revealed himself in our day and age to living prophets and not only because they are taught in the Bible. Show more Show less

Why do you have 12 Apostles? They were just meant to be around for the time of Jesus Christ, not to be replaced with new apostles.

Andrew!
In the New Testament, in the fourth chapter of the book of Ephesians, Paul says that there would be apostles "till we all come to the unity of the faith." Whereas that day has not yet come, the need for apostles has not ceased. Further, there is nothing in the Bible to prohibit the possibility of more apostles besides the original 12. As a matter of fact, there are more than 12 mentioned in the New Testament. Paul, Matthias, Barnabas, and James the Just are all called "apostles" in the New Testament and yet none of them were included in the original 12 Jesus called as recorded in Matthew chapter 10. Show more Show less