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Hi I'm Jon

I'm a Minnesotan, technical writer, volleyball player, choir singer, and awesome-winter-beard grower.

About Me

I'm a married 30-something with three kids, but most days I feel much younger. My wife and I got married in an 800-year-old German castle. I do technical and marketing writing for a data-science company in Minnesota. I bike to work a lot, and I like to play volleyball and soccer. I have sung with many top choirs over the years, and I'm taking piano lessons with two of my kids. I have been reading the Old Testament and New Testament to my kids at night (cover to cover, partly to help them fall asleep), and now we're reading the Book of Mormon.

Why I am a Mormon

I was born into a Mormon family, the descendant of Mormon pioneers. But I also grew up a Minnesota Democrat, the son of an English-teacher dad and a mom with a full-time job outside the home. Habit, expectation, and social pressure got me through my youth until I was able to think critically and clearly about my religious choices. At some point I recognized that the true principles taught by the Church can bring me closer to God than any other method. This came as a result of years of studying, analyzing, praying, reading, thinking, discussing, and experiencing. Mormonism also has the broadest tent with the most flexible cords. The Church invites everyone to bring all the truth they can and see if we might add something to it. This openness and inclusiveness is not well publicized, even among Mormons. But at it's core, Mormonism is willing and able to include every truth, regardless of who on Earth said it. We're always looking for more light and knowledge. The foundational doctrine of Mormonism is that God still speaks to his children through modern prophets, as he has from the beginning of time. Besides all this, no other organization, religious or secular, produces people who are so dedicated, caring, helpful, law-abiding, faithful, compassionate -- in short, truly and deeply Christian -- as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That's why I choose to be a Mormon.

How I live my faith

I go to church every Sunday out of habit, out of duty, and out of necessity. My education and profession has taught me to recognize the incessant messages of deviance and selfishness that are passed off as "normal" these days. So I go to church every week in part to fortify my defense against that endless attack. Don't get me wrong, sitting in church is not always fun. Sometimes it is downright boring. But I'm not there to be entertained. I go to church, read scriptures, pray, study the intricacies of religious history and philosophy, etc., to help build up the spiritual strength I need to improve my person and withstand the never-ending attacks on my spirit. Almost every day, I analyze and think critically about my own experiences and existence. I've studied a lot of different "improvement" organizations, religious and secular. But I haven't found a better source for enlightenment than the pure doctrines at the core of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So far, nothing's come close. And that's why I keep going back.

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

This is a common question, and even some Mormons are confused about the answer. Excerpts from ancient scripture (see the Book of Mormon references below) make it clear that Mormons do believe in salvation by grace. Of course, faith in Christ is usually demonstrated by good works, and he expects his followers to do just as he would do. But our works do not "save" us. We can't save ourselves; that's the Savior's job. To insinuate otherwise would be arrogant at best, and blasphemous at worst. The ancient prophet Lehi said, "No flesh ... can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah." - 2 Nephi 2:8 The ancient prophet Jacob (Lehi's son) said, "Remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved." - 2 Nephi 10:24 And the ancient prophet Nephi (another son of Lehi), said "We know that it is by grace that we are saved." - 2 Nephi 25:23 It should be noted, this last verse is a point of some debate, since it also mentions "all we can do," which is usually interpreted by some Mormons as meaning we have to "do" certain things to "earn" salvation. But reading this verse in the true context of it's surrounding verses clearly shows that Nephi was referring here to the law of Moses, which the ancient people kept out of obedience to the commandment, despite the fact that he knew the law was "dead unto us" and "we are made alive in Christ." Also, the discourse in the New Testament about "faith without works is dead" (James 2) is usually mentioned with this question. While it is an excellent sermon, it doesn't have to do with the question of salvation by grace, i.e., that Jesus Christ (his works, his efforts, his power) is the only way for mortal men to return to heaven. Man cannot save himself. He can't jump high enough, he can't do enough, he can't even build a tower tall enough to get there. It is, plain and simple, the atoning sacrifice of the Savior that brings us back to heaven. That pure doctrine has been repeated by every great prophet, in both ancient and modern times. Show more Show less