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Hi I'm Grant

I'm a consultant, I've got a dry sense of humor, I'm a travel addict, I feel like France is my second home, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm a single 20-something who is passionate about living life to the fullest. I think I get that from my parents and grandparents: a boring life was never enough for them. I get fulfillment through travel, developing new talents, learning languages (I speak English and French fluently, as well as some Spanish, German, and Portuguese), enjoying nature, and of course through practicing my faith. I travel for work as a training consultant in the Healthcare IT industry. Every week, I fly across the country to help hospital staff better develop learning tools to help their staff start using new software. It feels satisfying to help people get excited about change and, indirectly, improve healthcare. In the past, I've worked in classrooms, getting that adrenaline rush from presenting to large groups. While I miss that rush, my passions have grown towards the theory and logic behind effective learning. So, yeah, I am a fun-loving guy who is just enjoying life, trying to make a difference, and ALWAYS planning my next trip!

Why I am a Mormon

Why I became a Mormon is a very simple answer: I was raised by Mormon parents. The real question is why I still am one. I don't like to do something just because I'm told to. I want to make my own decisions. I feel like my destiny is something for me to discover, unfold, and modify. Mormonism liberates me in a way that no other religion or lack of religion can. One of the big emphases of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that of discovering for oneself. Following blindly is detrimental. Therefore, from an early age, I was encouraged to discover for myself what my beliefs are. Since the establishment (or restoration) of the Church in 1830, leaders have taught that the biblical counsel to seek, knock, and ask until we understand God's will. When I was younger, I didn't really take the time to apply it. However, when I finally decided to try out this advice to see if it worked, my life changed. I found out that you really can counsel with the Lord. You can propose what you think might be a good life decision, and God will confirm it or steer you away from it. God is not a silent deity. As I've learned that I can develop that personal relationship with Him, it's been incredible to see that following the answers I get leads to success and profound experiences. So, if I've discovered how to communicate with God at a personal level, why do I still need Mormonism? Partially, it's because one thing God has confirmed for me is that actively participating in this Church is what He wants for me. Maybe even more importantly, though, is that Mormonism helps me to develop that relationship with my Father in Heaven. It helps me recognize God's answers more clearly. I'm better able to see His guidance and love. Living Mormonism enriches my life. The more fully I live my faith as a Mormon, the more profound my relationship with my Creator.

How I live my faith

I believe that living my faith is all about building a relationship with God. The first way I try to do this is by jumping on opportunities to help others out whenever they need it. God has given me so much, so I need to use the energy He's given me to make a difference in others' lives. It's really in serving others that I better see how God feels about me and how He serves me. In addition to just day-to-day opportunities, I regularly teach a class at Church on Sundays. The other way I try to build that relationship with God is through studying His words. I can't accept just a static understanding of His Church. So, I research the teachings, history, and practices of the Church. I can't imagine God ever wanted me to be a member of a Church ignorantly or inactively. Therefore, though service and spiritual research, I keep my religion practical and informed.

What do Mormons believe is the purpose of life?

Grant
The purpose of life is to find happiness. Not fleeting moments of pleasure, adrenaline rushes, or occasional moments of peace: real, lasting happiness. Some decisions we make bring us sustainable happiness. Others, momentary perks. Others still, sadness. God designed this life so that we could each learn--through successes and failures--how to consistently make the decisions that create and build upon our happiness. Some of these would be considered religious. Others are just life lessons. All of them are divinely given. God then caters each individual's circumstances to direct us towards those learning opportunities. Though these experiences may be immediately fulfilling or difficult for years, it is our choice to integrate the lesson into our way of living or to fight against God's influence and refuse to learn. Eventually, God will give everyone a chance to learn every life lesson necessary for eternal, sustainable, perfect happiness. This is the same type of happiness that God has. The purpose of life is, therefore, to perfect the art of living in such a way as we become happy forever, living with God, our family, and everyone who likewise chooses happiness. Show more Show less

What is a ward/stake/branch?

Grant
Mormon congregations are called wards or branches, depending on the size. Multiple wards and branches make up a stake (similar to a Catholic diocese). Most congregations are designated by geographic boundaries, but occasionally there are demographic-specific wards, such as those for minority-language groups. Currently, I attend a ward for unmarried twenty-somethings in the Washington DC area. A ward is lead by its Ward Council, which is made up of men and women from that congregation. Show more Show less

Do you really believe there is a prophet like Moses alive today?

Grant
Yes, I believe that Thomas S. Monson is the current prophet on earth today, just like Moses was back in his time. I believe that he, as a prophet, receives special insight into how to lead God's children and help them live fulfilling lives and prepare for life after death. I once had a roommate who thought it was ridiculous to believe in God, let alone a prophet. Conversations with him helped me realize that one reason I can believe in a prophet is because I have felt God speak to me. The recognition of God's guiding influence helps the idea of another man being guided by God to accomplish something becomes much more credible. Is the prophet perfect? Definitely not. But just as I don't feel that Jonah's evasion of Nineveh, Moses' self-doubt, or Paul's "thorn in the side" nullify their sacred callings, I believe that God works through Thomas S. Monson and other imperfect servants. Seeing the good that God brought about through His imperfect prophets and apostles during biblical times helps me to have hope that I can still be useful in bringing about good and helping others. Show more Show less

Do Mormons practice polygamy?

Grant
Nope. Polygamy was abandoned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1890 (see "Why did your church previously practice plural marriage (polygamy)?" for more details). At that point, there were a few tiny breakaway groups who did not appreciate the change and formed small sects and added the adjective "Fundamentalist" to the names of their new churches. Today, very few (if any) members of those breakaway churches have ever been members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Over time, their doctrine has grown away from that of "mainstream Mormonism." Just as you would not say Protestant faiths such as evangelical Christians, Baptists, Lutherans, etc., are Catholic (they protested Catholic doctrine and practices and formed their own churches, hence "Protestantism"), these breakaway sects of Mormonism really cannot be equivocated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some misinformed journalists erroneously refer to these polygamist groups as "Mormons" or members of the LDS Church. But, rest assured, if you hear of polygamists today, they are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Show more Show less

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

Grant
My Church is officially called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Quite a mouthful, I know. In addition to our belief in the Bible, we also believe in the Book of Mormon (described in more detail if you look at the "Book of Mormon" section under "Our Beliefs" up top). In the early days of the Church (early to mid-1800's), Latter-day Saints were heavily persecuted. Among the least serious attacks against Church members was the development of the label "Mormon," used as a slur for members and referencing our belief in the Book of Mormon. The term "Mormonism" grew as a natural expansion of the nickname. Over time, the term "Mormon" has lost its inherently negative connotation in many parts of the world, but it is still not the preferred term. We prefer "members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," or simply "Latter-day Saints" for the less vocally ambitious, because it focuses on the center of our faith: Jesus Christ. We especially don't like "Mormon Church" because it removes the Savior's name from our Church, but "LDS Church" is fine when you don't want to say the full name. We still use "Mormon" in things that are cultural: the "Mormon Tabernacle Choir" being the easiest example. However, when it comes to matters of faith, we prefer the official name of the Church. "Mormonism" sticks because it's an easier term than "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-ism." Show more Show less

Why don’t women hold the priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? How do Mormon women lead in the Church?

Grant
I don’t know. But priesthood is understood differently in Mormonism than in most traditions. In many ways, Mormon women actually do “hold the priesthood.” Men and women receive God's power and authority (the broadest definition of priesthood) when they are baptized and confirmed, when they receive a specific responsibility or calling, when they become missionaries, when they receive their temple endowment, and when their marriage is sealed. These are all experienced by both men and women. The distinction is that only men are ordained to priesthood offices, and that is what people mean when they claim that women “don’t hold the priesthood.” Frankly, I don’t know why this difference exists. So, what does women exercising priesthood look like? Both women and men give sermons, sit on governing councils, give monthly ministerial visits, perform temple ordinances, preach the gospel as missionaries, and teach classes. For example, my grandmother's global-level positions required her to give sermons to worldwide audiences, organize large-scale celebrations, visit many countries to train local leaders, develop programs to be implemented globally, and determine Church-wide curriculum. In most traditions, all of these tasks are reserved for those who are ordained unto the priesthood; in Mormonism, these and other responsibilities come through baptism, confirmation, callings, missions, endowments, and marriage sealing, which are available to all. 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.

Grant
The New Testament apostles were called by Jesus as part of the primary leadership of His Church, under the direction and tutelage of the Savior Himself. However, this was not ever meant to be a one-time offer. With the loss of Judas Iscariot, the apostles prayed to know who should be called to fill the gap. They felt the impression to call Matthias, which they did (Acts 1). Other apostles were killed off, and Paul was called as an apostle at some point after his conversion. Paul taught that it was upon a foundation of apostles and prophets that the Church of Christ was built (Ephesians 2). However, the persecution of and apostasy within the Church was so rampant in the first century that the apostles were killed off and there was no one worthy and ready to fill the gap. The Church was left without the inspired roles of apostles for centuries. In the 1800's God restored His Church and called twelve apostles to reinstate that ancient quorum. Today, that quorum continues to exist. Each time an apostle dies, a new one is called. It's the pattern established in the New Testament and the pattern that exists today. Show more Show less

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

Grant
Though the Church practiced polygamy in the 1800's (approximately 5% of the Church practiced polygamy at its peak), it was much more structured and limited in scope than people imagine. The first marriage was pretty much like any other of the day: a man and woman would court, fall in love, and get married. However, due to the extreme persecution against Latter-day Saints (aka Mormons), many Church members were murdered, especially men. This meant a much greater number of Mormon women than men, all during a time when it was more difficult for a woman to obtain work. Perhaps as a result, God commanded that polygamy be organized under the direction of Church leadership. After a man had married a woman whom he had courted and with whom he had fallen in love, he might be asked to take on an additional wife or additional wives. These women were assigned to him (it wasn't him seeking out as many beauties as possible). The first wife always had the final say in whether or not she would allow her husband to enter into other marriages, and many historical accounts show it was often the wife who insisted the husband accept the call. So, really there was a lot of mutual respect and commitment (and agreement) in polygamist marraiges, always by assignment and according to need. Show more Show less

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

Grant
No. The Church encourages all members to research the issues, prayerfully consider positions, and actively participate in the community and government. It does not, however, support any political party. As a result, members join political parties at all parts of the spectrum. I have Mormon friends who are Tea Party and others who are proud Communists, though most of my friends tend to be moderates rather than at the extremes. The Church leaders encourage each of us to follow the dictates of our conscience in the political arena. In most political matters, the Church leaves it to its members to take their various positions. On select issues, the Church does take a particular position, though these rare occurrences generally deal with religious freedom and moral issues. Still, the official positions are not always aligned with one party. Show more Show less

In whom should we have faith?

Grant
The faith that ultimately matters is faith in Jesus Christ. It is only through faith in Him that I can be saved. Faith in Jesus gives me hope. It motivates me to follow His example in serving others. It heals me. And--I'll repeat it just for emphasis--faith in Jesus Christ leads to salvation. Faith in ourselves, in our spouse, in the Church, and in humanity help us along the way, but only faith in Jesus Christ saves. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

Grant
Yes, we are Christians. We believe we are the Church of Jesus Christ. We worship Jesus as the Son of God, the Resurrected Lord, the Redeemer, the Savior, the Creator, etc. etc. etc. We try our best to follow His teachings and believe that salvation only comes through Him. We believe in the biblical account of His life and ministry. We believe that He continues to guide men and women today. Where the confusion comes in is when it comes to post-biblical doctrines. We do not adhere to the dogmas and creeds created in councils in the centuries after the apostles were killed off. While we are biblical Christians and apostolic Christians, we are not creedal Christians. The most obvious distinction is that we believe in the Godhead instead of the Trinity. In other words, we believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three distinct Beings. They are perfectly one in unity, purpose, knowledge, and holiness, but separate in physicality. For me, this doesn't keep me from worshiping my Savior Jesus Christ. Rather, it makes reading His references to praying to His Father, doing the will of His Father, and ascending to His Father less mysterious and more comprehensible. I feel that giving more attention to the explanations of Christ in the scriptures than those from the Dark Ages helps me better come to know my Lord. Show more Show less

What is done with the tithing that Mormons pay?

Grant
The tithing that members can choose to contribute goes towards (1) the physical maintenance and construction of Church buildings, (2) the administrative costs of the humanitarian program, (3) the publication of Church materials for classes, (4) supporting the missionary program, and (5) supporting other Church programs and organizations. It does not go to paying clergy, since Church service is unpaid. Show more Show less

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

Grant
I grew up hearing the nostalgic stories of men and women who had completed missions. They strongly encouraged me to go on a mission, and I believe that God wanted me to go. However, I knew the choice remained with me. When I filled out the application, it was because I wanted to be a missionary; there was no threat of punishment or loss of standing in the Church for not going. I am so glad that I went. All young men are strongly encouraged to go on a mission, and young women are encouraged to participate. Retired couples are also encouraged to leave on missions. The choice, however, is that of each individual. Show more Show less