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Hi I'm Ren

I am a physician who specializes in lung diseases and intensive care medicine. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

In addition to taking care of sick patients in the ICU, I also teach and train younger doctors in my specialty. When I'm not at work in the hospital, I enjoy doing things with my family. My wife and I have four boys and one girl, and we love to be together. We especially enjoy outdoor activities, like camping and fishing. My boys and I are active in scouting, which has helped introduce us to many of the activities we enjoy doing together as a family. Our children are also involved in sports and music, and we enjoy supporting their activities and performances together.

Why I am a Mormon

I was born into a family already in the Church, but the decision to be a member in the Church and to be as active as I am is my own. I have had a number of experiences that have convinced me that I am doing what God wants me to do as I continue to serve actively in this church. I served as a missionary in Finland for 2 years when I was 19-21 years old. During that time, I found my commitment to the gospel I was trying to teach people challenged often. There were times when I felt my own certainty shaken by the arguments I heard from people I met, and once I felt so shaken that I wasn't sure I could continue to go on. I had a friend who helped me through that rough time. He did not try to tell me what I needed to know or do; he just suggested that I needed to talk to God directly and find out from Him what was true and what was right for me to do. I followed his advice and prayed very intensely for a number of days. I studies and pondered and by the end of about 2 weeks, I knew that I was in the true church, that I could look any person in the eye and tell them that I knew this independent of anyone else's belief or influence on me. I look back on that time as a defining moment in my life, when I learned for myself that this is true, that God does speak to us, and that He will let us know His will for us if we ask. One other defining experience I had which taught me much about our Heavenly Father and His love for me was when I became extremely sick as a college student. I was so sick that the doctors caring for me in the hospital advised my parents that I would probably die, since they could not offer anything more to treat me and my condition was so poor. My parents were devastated, since I am their oldest child and I had always been very healthy. They began to plan my funeral--I was 21 years old--but they also had great faith in the Lord, and continued to pray that if He wanted me to live, I would live. After several days of being in a coma, I began to improve and eventually woke up. I was in pain and my brain did not work normally for many months. I couldn't remember most of my earlier life at first, including even my parents or my own language, but things began to come back to me almost immediately. I struggled with many frustrations, since I had always had a very good memory. Through those struggles, I learned a powerful lesson about how our Heavenly Father views us. Our worth in His eyes is not due to our abilities and strengths. It is due to who we are, His children. I have never felt as close to Him as I did in those months of bitter struggle, worried about my future, whether I would be permanently impaired or able to finish school and go on to my dream of a career in medicine. I learned that those things are fine, that they do matter to our loving Father, but it is not what is most important to Him. I know He loves me, and as I learned what He needed me to know, He chose to restore my memory and the health and abilities I needed to complete my education and go on in the career I chose. I will never forget, though, that my career is not the main thing that defines me to God. I will do anything He ever asks me to do, because I have sensed how deeply and truly He loves me. I know He wants me to be happy forever, and nothing is more important than discovering and following His plan for me and my family.

How I live my faith

I have always been active in the Church. I have had many different callings or responsibilities over the years and currently I serve as a bishop, which means I lead a congregation of church members in my area. My favorite part of this calling is that I get to teach and work with the youth, whom I regard as one of my most important responsibilities. I spend a lot of time thinking about the members of our congregation. I pray for them and I study the scriptures every day as I seek for inspiration about how to serve and guide them. I am personally grateful for the guidance of bishops I have had in the past. I know a little more now about how much concern they had for me, since I feel the same concern for those I serve now. No matter what calling I have officially in the Church, the greatest focus is in our home and on our own family. I feel the most important work I do is with my wife and our children, and as I watch our children growing older understand more and more how much life's greatest joys are in the family. We have one evening each week which we reserve to be together--Monday evening. This weekly family night has been a huge blessing for us, as we have watched our children remain close to us and to each other as they mature, with a solid understanding of what we believe and how they can grow up happily and successfully.

What do Mormons believe about the nature of God?

We believe God is our Heavenly Father. He is a very personal God and He wants us to know Him, because we are His children. He loves us and wants us to be happy. In fact, that is why we are here. This whole life is simply a part of His eternal plan for the ultimate happiness of His children, and if we follow His plan for us, we will be happy and return to live with Him one day. One of the best ways to understand God is to pray. Prayer is an intense form of worship, but also a personal and 2-way communication between any of us and our Heavenly Father. The more we seek to know God in our prayers, the better we will know Him, and we will learn to understand when He speaks to us. I know He does speak to us because He speaks to me. I have learned time after time that He hears me when I pray and answers me. Answers to prayers don't always come in the time and way I expect, but they do always come, and I trust that whatever the answer is, it will be the best for me because it is from my Heavenly Father. Some people have a hard time believing in a loving Heavenly Father because there is so much suffering in the world. The answer to this dilemma is one of the truly great insights the gospel gives us. To understand why there is suffering in the world, we have to understand why we are here at all. This whole life is part of the plan, and Heavenly Father has created an experience here for each of us that is designed to make us into the kind of people we need to be. The experiences of this life are different for each of us. Many people suffer with trials that are no fault of their own, and have nothing to do with any choice, good or bad, that they have made. If someone suffers because of an earthquake or tsunami, that is a trial they have to overcome. Other people suffer because of the bad choices of others, like the victims of child abuse or crime. They also have to learn to overcome their trials. It is not that God wants us to suffer necessarily. He loves us and wants us to be happy, but He also knows that we need to have our experiences and that without some trials, it is unlikely that we will ever turn to Him in the way we need to in order to understand Him and become who we need to be. The central feature of the whole great plan put in place by our Heavenly Father is the Atonement of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Most Christians understand that the Atonement is that great sacrifice which Jesus made for us all, to take upon Himself the burden of our sins, so we can repent of them and receive forgiveness when we break the commandments of God in this life. What many people do not understand about the Atonement is that it is through this same sacrifice that Jesus also took upon Himself the burden of our other afflictions, our pain and our infirmities, our sorrows and disappointments, our fears and trials. If we let Him, He will take those burdens from us just as He takes our sins. If the trials we face in life make us turn to Him for this much needed relief, they have done their job. We will have become more like the people we need to be in order to be happy eternally, and that is what God intends. His perspective is far longer than this life only. He is looking into eternity for each of us, and his goal is our maximum happiness. I learned this principle when I was a young man and was very sick. I suffered greatly, both physical pain as well as mental anguish, for a long time. I did not see why I needed that experience at the time, but I had enough faith to trust in God and I knew that things would work out for me no matter what. I learned much about the Atonement as I went through that trial, and only as I learned to trust in Christ, to humble myself and turn my will over to Him, was my illness removed from me and I was restored to health. I know not everyone is relieved from their affliction in this life the way I was, but I do know that the Atonement is the power that delivers us all from all our trials. The more we learn to use it, the more we feel God's love for us and the better we know Him. Our perspective becomes longer and longer, approaching His eternal perspective for us, His children. Show more Show less