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Hi I'm Russ

I'm a Mormon.

About Me

 I grew up in Arizona but after graduating, I've lived in NJ, PA, CA, Moscow Russia and now in TN. I've been married almost 17 years and have 4 kids. Moving around so much has been challenging for them, but they've managed pretty well and have developed some great friendships around the country. One of our biggest challenges as a family came while I lived and worked in Moscow, Russia. Originally, the plan was for the entire family to come over but circumstances changed, and I ended up being there for about 10 months on my own before finally returning home. I was able to come home every few months, but our kids were young at the time and it was really tough. I gained a lot of appreciation for our military and the challenges they face being gone from home for months at a time. I really enjoy woodworking and being outside. I've been trying to grow a garden, so far my brown thumb has dominated the attempt but hopefully this year I'll do a little better. I recently built a chicken coop in our backyard my wife wasn't so happy about it initially, now I just need some chickens. I picture myself as a gentleman farmer and rancher, so far its all I can do to keep the grass mowed and the weeds trimmed. Maybe one of these days...

Why I am a Mormon

I was born and raised a Mormon, but along the way I've had experiences that have convinced me that this is Christ's church. I haven't had visions or been witness to miraculous experiences, but instead I've had very subtle, yet unmistakable feelings that Jesus is the Christ and that he atoned for my sins. As I've studied His gospel, I've felt that same assurance that the gospel today is taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Joseph Smith restored Christ's church to the earth in the early 1800's. I grew up all of my life being taught that and I believed it. However, a few years ago when living in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, I began to feel it with my heart. Being in a lot of the same places that Joseph Smith had been, he started to become more real to me. I felt the Spirit of God as I was in those places, and those seeds of faith and belief that had been planted in me during my youth, really started to take root. i felt the assurance from my Heavenly Father that the church and all its teachings are true.

How I live my faith

I currently work with the boys youth group in our local congregation. I really enjoy the opportunity to be with them, and it is very fulfilling to see them grow and progress from boys to men. In addition to teaching them on Sunday, I also participate as a Boy Scout leader with them during our weekly youth night. We have a lot of fun on campouts and outings. Since our church does not have any professional clergy, I've had a lot of opportunities to work in different parts of our local congregations. It is great to be so involved because I feel needed and useful within our congregation. Some of the most memorable experiences I've had have come from opportunities to help others work through problems, grow in their faith and testimony of Jesus Christ, and learn more about his gospel. Most Sundays are pretty busy for me and my family, but busy in a good way. Church services are about 3 hours, but it is broken up into three 1 hour segments. I usually have some church meetings and business to take care of before the services so a good part of the day is spent at church. It may sound strange, but as busy as I am on Sunday, I look forward to it all week long. Focusing on others and serving them really helps me keep my priorities strait and I feel like it really helps me perform better in my job and in all my relationships with others.

What is the First Vision?

 The First Vision refers to Joseph Smith seeing God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. This vision came in response to Joseph's question about which church to join. At the time, he was only 14, but for a 14 year old was pretty serious about finding out what God wanted from him in life. He read a passage in the Bible that gave him the confidence to ask God which church was true. Joseph decided to act on his feelings and go to God in prayer. As he did so, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him, the same way they had in times past to ancient prophets. Jesus Christ told Joseph that His church was no longer found on the earth, and the He wanted Joseph to restore it. For me, one of the most touching parts of the First Vision is that God called Joseph by name when He and Jesus appeared to Joseph. That has helped me to understand my relationship with my Heavenly Father, and to know that He knows and loves me. Show more Show less