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Hi I'm Mark

I'm a dad and a husband. I'm trying to become a better person. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I live today in the same town where I was born and raised. I love sports, and still try to compete with my kids. I'm passionate about my family, my religion, and my work. I love my life and feel very blessed. One of the most important decisions I've made in my life was to serve a mission for my church. Of all places, they sent me to Hawaii for two years, so that helped. I developed a great love for the Polynesian people - I love how easily they laugh, their simple but powerful faith, their tremendous generosity, and their focus on the family. Looking back, my mission changed my life. It was there I discovered the person God wants me to be, and I'm still trying to become that man. I can't adequately describe the things I saw and the experiences I had in Hawaii. Before I left on my mission, I met Kimberly my wife. She waited for me for two years (well, she didn't get married while I was gone) which is something that doesn't happen too often. I asked her to marry me, and that was the most important decision of my life. I feel fortunate every day! After seven years, we had twins, Lincoln and Rachel, and I couldn't be more proud of the people they are becoming. Ten years after the twins, we had Samantha. She is literally a miracle, and every time I look at her I am reminded that God loves me. For the last 23 years I have worked for the same financial services firm that I love where we help people achieve some of the most important goals they have in their life.

Why I am a Mormon

The most important reason why I am a Mormon is because I believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Jesus Christ's church restored again here to the earth. As I try to live its teachings, I've found it to be a great source of happiness and direction in my life. I have always appreciated the fact that Heavenly Father doesn't want us to take someone else's word that this is true. He wants us to find out for ourself. In my experience, the key to knowing if this truly is Jesus Christ's church is to read the Book of Mormon, ponder in your heart the message it contains, and then pray and ask God if the Book of Mormon is truly from Him. As I have done this, I have found that He will answer your prayers through the power of the Holy Ghost.

How I live my faith

I appreciate how this church provides so many opportunities to serve others. We don't pay ministers or priests to teach and serve us, which gives us a greater opportunity to teach and serve each other. Everyone is given a responsibility to teach or serve in some way. Some of these responsibilities have been very challenging for me (and not always something that I might have volunteered for), but I know I have learned important lessons through these experiences. I feel that serving others is one of the most important ways I can follow the Savior's example and become more like Him. I also recognize that my family has been blessed by other's efforts to serve us. I am especially grateful for many church members that have had a tremendous positive influence on my kids, and are helping them become the kind of people I hope they will be.

Do Mormons only help Mormons?

Mark
No. We strive to help everyone. In fact, the church is organized in a way to provide members with opportunities to help both members and non-members of our church. For example, when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States in 2005, I received a call from a church leader asking me to volunteer time at a church storehouse in downtown Salt Lake City. This building had various food products that had previously been produced by other church members (canned peaches, rice, beans, pasta, etc.). Our job was to sort this food and put it into individual boxes that would be delivered to families in Louisiana, Mississippi, and other states. We loaded these boxes directly onto a truck that left that afternoon and arrived in the Gulf states three days later. When it arrived, other church members unloaded the truck and distributed the boxes to families (both Mormons and non-Mormons) in need. It was wonderful to have an opportunity to help people in desperate need so many miles away. I felt grateful to be a member of a church that was organized in a way to provide this assistance, and to give me the chance to serve and help people in need in a meaningful way. Show more Show less

What is a ward/stake/branch?

Mark
A ward or branch is a basic organization within the Mormon church, and is what you might otherwise call a "congregation". They are defined by geographical boundaries, like a group of neighborhoods, or a city. Members that live within the geographical boundaries of a ward or branch meet together each week to worship together at Mormon chapels. A ward is typically around 300 members, while a branch is a smaller congregation, but functions in the same way. The church is organized into smaller units like wards or branches to allow members to build strong relationships, to encourage members to get to know everyone in their congregation, and to provide everyone with opportunities to serve. Each ward is led by a bishop. Each branch is led by a branch president. Groups of wards are then organized into stakes. A typical stake will consist of 6-10 wards or branches. A stake president leads the stake, and is responsible to teach and train each of the bishops or branch presidents within the stake. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about family?

Mark
We believe the family is more than just the most important unit of the church, or even our society. The family is central to our Heavenly Father's plan for the happiness of His children here on this earth, so supporting and strengthening the family is the main focus of our church. As we come to earth, we are put in families so that we can strengthen and encourage each other, and ultimately help each other be able to return to Him. His goal is not only for our family to be together here on this earth, but to be joined together as a family forever. Families can be together through accepting the atonement of Jesus Christ and through sacred ordinances that are performed in temples. Satan knows that the family is central to our Heavenly Father's plan so he is doing all he can in the world today to destroy families. Satan knows that the most effective way to disrupt Heavenly Father's plan is to diminish the effectiveness of the family. Because of these beliefs (families can be together forever, true happiness in this life will come through our families, and that the family is central to our Heavenly Father's plan for us here on this earth), a primary focus of our church is strengthening and supporting the family. Show more Show less