Hi I'm Tony.
I'm a middle-aged 40-something who loves to hike, play volleyball, waterski, and be in the Great Outdoors. My sweetheart and I have been married for 26 years and have two children: one graduated from BYU and one is completing a two-year mission in Texas. My wife excels me in most everything, but has consented to let me be a part of her life anyway! She is completing her 1st year in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and we have both been incredibly blessed by her experiences. I find immense joy in helping others and in spending some time each week by myself in quiet reflection and contemplation.
Why I am a Mormon
I grew up in a wonderful family that went to a church every time the doors were open in our small town. Yet, there were always some questions that no one seemed to answer. I remember as a teenager while on a youth campout one night looking up into the crystal clear, starry, moonless night wondering why I was on the earth and where it all began, how long life had really been going on in this big universe, and what might have happened had I not been born, and if it all mattered anyway. A short time later during my senior year in high school some missionaries came along. I began to discover that there is a perfect, fully detailed, nothing-left-to-chance plan designed by our Father in Heaven. I also discovered that all of the frustrating divisions in Christian doctrines I had encountered while growing up had been resolved through the blessing of our Father and His Son restoring Christ's Gospel again on the earth, in preparation for His Second Coming. The blessings and experiences I've had since becoming a member of the Church have given me a rich, deep understanding of the purpose of life, of our beginnings in a premortal world, and of our grand destinies ahead, if we will only develop the spiritual attributes that God desires us to have. As I've matured spiritually, I have lost those frustrations that characterized my early confusions and misunderstandings of the various Christian doctrines. I still cherish the personal, spiritual experiences that I was blessed to receive in my childhood and early teens, and the beautiful people who were there for me. Yet, with a quiet joy that defies words and a 'peace that passes all understanding', I have an ever-growing light and knowledge within, given from Him. I'm so very blessed to be in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I want everyone I know to feel the same way and have similar experiences so they, too, can have all the blessings that our Heavenly Father desires to bestow upon His children.
Please share your feelings/testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel.
One of the most satisfying aspects of knowing that Jesus Christ has re-established His Gospel and Church again on the earth in preparation for His Second Coming is having an understanding that the Church organization we have again on the earth - a prophet, apostles, seventy's - is exactly the same as the one Jesus set up anciently. We can and do receive revelation from our Father through a living prophet for the Church and for our individual lives and families as directed by the Holy Spirit.
Can you talk about the missions of the Church and your participation in them?
I had the blessing of serving as a missionary for two years in Vancouver, Canada, speaking Cantonese Chinese. It has been one of the clear highlights of my life as I learned how to seek and understand the promptings of the Holy Spirit and met people who changed my life for good. While the Church and its new converts certainly benefit from the service of young missionaries, perhaps the greatest blessings are reserved for those who serve as they come to truly give selflessly and gain great insights into the type of life our Savior lived as He walked the earth two millenia ago. Devoting two years to complete service paid for by one's own resources, and without expecting any sort of compensation in return is truly the greatest pre-marriage experience a young man or young woman can have. I know it was for me.
How I live my faith
It's been my privilege to have many different assignments - "callings" - in the Church that have helped me grow in both practical and spiritual ways. My amazing wife and I have discovered the blessings of physical preparation by practicing self-reliance skills such as growing a garden, saving for a rainy day, and teaching our children how to do the same. We've also been blessed to live near temples - Houses of the Lord - that allow us to frequently enter in and participate in proxy ordinances that bless our families both here and in the hereafter. We have lived in Utah for just over a year, and now for the first time in my life, being only 7 miles from a temple (instead of a couple hours) has allowed us to go weekly to the temple to perform vicarious baptisms for our ancestors. Our family is certainly more closely knit together in unity and love as we spend time together doing things that give us wholesome recreational activities, teach us self-reliance, and prepare us for the blessings of being a family throughout the eternities to come.