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Hi I'm Nate

I'm an exercise scientist. I teach Samoan. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up in an active Mormon family, the third of six kids. I played sports throughout my youth, including football, track and field, wrestling, basketball, and a season of lacrosse. I was also involved in Boy Scouts and our church youth group. I served a two year full-time mission to the Samoan islands. There I learned to love the people, their language, culture and food. In the years since then, I have tried to maintain my language abilities and read as much as I can about the history and culture of the Samoan people. Doing so has given me additional missionary experiences among the Samoan people. Since my mission I have been a student, earning bachelor's and master's degrees in the exercise and nutritional sciences. My fields of study have taught me much about the marvels of God's creations. I am a husband and a father. My family means everything to me. Despite the challenges of marriage and fatherhood, I can say that many of my greatest joys in life have come from being a member of a loving, Christ-centered family. My primary hobby is reading. I read mainly nonfiction, especially items of historical interest, but I have recently rediscovered fiction.

Why I am a Mormon

At some point in the life of every child born to active Mormon parents the child must choose for him or herself whether to accept or reject his or her parents' faith. I am one of those children; despite being raised in an active Mormon family, I had to decide for myself that Mormonism was the thing for me. Growing up, I never had any reason to doubt the truthfulness of the Gospel or the account of the Prophet Joseph Smith or the veracity of the Book of Mormon. Yet, it wasn't until I was 16 years old that I began to vigorously pursue an understanding of my Mormon faith, with its doctrine and history. This search for a personal testimony of the truth was inspired in large part through my association with good friends at school--many of them fellow Mormons--and the invitation by a loving seminary teacher to read the entire Book of Mormon before a certain date. I committed to finish the Book of Mormon, but the night before the due date I still had 65 chapters left to read: 3 Nephi 1 through Moroni 10! Instead of going to sleep that night I sat up in my bed and finished--for the very first time--the Book of Mormon. At that time I didn't hear choirs of angels, but I didn't need to. I was at peace. I had kept my committment and I had a conviction that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Since then I have reread the Book of Mormon many times. Its guiding influence has blessed my life in countless ways, not the least of which has been the centering of my faith on the Savior Jesus Christ. I am a Mormon who chooses to remain Mormon because of my own personal experiences, and not merely because I was born to Mormon parents.

How I live my faith

Right now my responsibility in our congregation is to spearhead our members' efforts to share the gospel with family and friends. I work closely with the full-time missionaries, frequently making visits to members of our congregation as well as people not of our faith to teach them more about the Church and the gospel of Jesus Christ. The best part of my responsibilities is being able to talk about how the gospel has changed and blessed my life. Though I was born to active Mormon parents, I had to figure out things for myself. My decisions to pursue a personal testimony and live up to God's commandments has brought me more joy and happiness than I can describe. I'm always grateful to share my feelings about the gospel with those who are willing to listen and know more. In addition to my duties with missionary work in our congregation, I recently helped out for a few months with Sunday lessons with the 12 to 13 year old boys. Sometimes they could be a handful, but I saw in them so much strength and potential for doing great good in the world. I think I learned as much from them as they learned from me. Instead of getting into trouble with friends or drugs or whatever, these young men faithfully do their duty within their congregation and community. They are a constant reminder that there is much good in the rising generation.

What is the First Vision?

Nate
What we call the First Vision is the personal appearance of God and Jesus Christ to the boy Joseph Smith in the year 1820. Joseph went to pray in a secluded place to seek for answers relative to his personal salvation. Specifically, he wanted to know which church he should join in order to obtain that salvation he was seeking. In answer to his sincere prayer, God and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph and instructed him to not join any of the then extant sects because the creeds that had been formulated over the centuries since the death of Christ and His apostles were not consistent with God's revelations as contained in the Holy Scriptures. Instead, Joseph was to wait for further instructions which eventually included a divine commission to reestablish Christ's true church on the earth, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Show more Show less

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

Nate
Emphatically, NO. The Mormon Church has members in hundreds of countries, of almost every nation, kindred, tongue, people, and--as you can imagine--political persuasion. The Church does encourage its members to be actively engaged in civic duties whenever possible, including voting in local and national elections and running for public office; but the Church never dictates what political party to join or who to vote for. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

Nate
Mormons definitely are Christians. And we Mormons are left frustrated and confused when our fellow Christians of other denominations say things that imply that Mormons are not Christian. As far as I understand it, the only qualification for being a Christian is to be a devoted follower, or disciple, of Jesus Christ. Being a Christian, then, transcends denominational loyalties. It is true that Mormons interpret the Bible differently in many instances than many of the so-called "historical" Christian denominations; neither do Mormons subscribe to the creeds (Nicean, Athanasian, and so forth) which were formulated many years after the time of Jesus Christ and His apostles. But insofar as there is no single, unified Christian denomination to which all Christians subscribe, I believe that the title Christian cannot rightly be denied any person or group of persons who in all sincerity and good faith seek to live according to Christ's teachings. As modern society grows increasingly secular and even hostile to all forms of religion and expressions of faith, it will become more and more important for Christians everywhere to fellowship with and support one another in spite of their theological differences. Show more Show less

Do Mormons only help Mormons?

Nate
Not too long ago, I joined with two other men from our local Mormon congregation and the two full-time missionaries to help a non-Mormon family move all their belongings to a new house across town. We had a fun time getting to know this family and they were grateful to have such support from people that they hadn't really met until the day of the move. Mormons are always willing to lend a hand to help in any way they can. We are known for being able to organize quickly at the "grass roots" level and respond to community needs, be it disaster cleanup, restocking a food bank, or helping a neighbor who is not of our faith to move across town. Show more Show less

How can we come to know our Father in Heaven?

Nate
First, Mormons believe that God truly is the Father of all humanity, and that He desires for us to interact with Him as we would with an ideal earthly father. For His own purposes, our Heavenly Father does not reveal Himself to us in a forceful manner. Instead, He wants us to willingly search Him out. Heavenly Father already knows everything about us, but we must actively seek to learn about Him. We can do that by careful observation of the natural world, by studying the scriptures which teach of Him, and by exercising our God-given powers of reasoning. There is, however, a way to come to actually know our Father in Heaven, not merely know about Him, however good that knowledge may be. It's been said that talking with our Heavenly Father is called prayer, but when He talks to us it's called revelation. Conceptually, prayer is fairly simple. We speak to God just as literally as if we were speaking face-to-face with a beloved father or father figure. Revelation, on the other hand, can take many forms such as dreams, visions, strokes of insight, peace, hope, faith, love, and more--but the common element is the communication of specific, relevant, edifying information that blesses one's life and draws one closer to, multiplies one's knowledge of, and increases one's acquaintance with God. Ultimately, it's through revelation, not human reason alone, that we are able to come to know our Father in Heaven. Show more Show less

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

Nate
It makes sense that if God called prophets in the past, then God would call prophets today. The fundamental needs of humanity haven't changed much, if at all, throughout its history, and many of those needs are spiritual in nature. Prophets are humble men who have received the divine commission and authority to teach God's children of all things spiritual. Are there dangers associated with this idea of living prophets? Sure! Jesus Christ specifically warned His disciples against falling prey to false prophets. But Jesus also gave a way to distinguish true from false prophets when He said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." We can know by careful study and sincere prayer whether God has called a prophet to guide us today. Show more Show less