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Hi I'm Kevin

I'm a husband and dad. I take care of people with movement disorders and do brain research. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

My parents were Mormon, but I grew up in South Carolina so I was one of maybe 4 or 5 Latter-day Saints in my high school of 1600 students. I was in the marching band, and on a city league swim team during the summers. I was a full-time missionary in Los Angeles and southern Brazil. When I returned, I finished college and then went to medical school. At work I am a professor at a medical school. I do brain imaging research on Tourette syndrome and Parkinson disease. I love trying to figure out how the brain works and how diseases can change our behavior. Away from work, I like to read and spend time with my wife and children.

Why I am a Mormon

I believe this is Jesus' modern church. I really do. That's what it comes down to. I believe God is real. I believe He is our Father in Heaven and loves us. I believe He knows more than we do. I believe He wants us to know how to live in a way that makes us better and happier people, and makes society better too. I believe that God gave us prophets to address those very goals. That's what I believe, but why do I believe it? There are reasons of the head and of the heart. I have read the Bible through. I've read the New Testament and the Book of Mormon many times. I've read much of what the leaders of the Church have said over the past 180 years. I believe that the teachings of the modern Church of Jesus Christ accord with and amplify the teachings of the New Testament. Also, like one of the Book of Mormon prophets, "I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit" (http://scriptures.lds.org/alma/5/46#45). It's hard to describe what it is like to feel the Holy Spirit, but for me it includes a sense of peace, sweetness, and clarity of thought. How do I know that isn't just wishful thinking? Faith plays a role, but also if something really is from God, I think it should make me a better person, help me understand life and truth better, and make me happy (compare http://scriptures.lds.org/alma/32/28#26). The things I learn at Church do all that. I want to say just a word about religion and science. I am aware of numerous areas in which scientific information has challenged religious faith. As a neuroscientist and neuropsychiatrist, I know about some of these in great detail. However, I do not see any ultimate conflict between science and the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our religion can embrace anything true. In fact, Latter-day Saints are taught that "the glory of God is intelligence," and we believe the Lord commanded us to learn about "things both in heaven and in the earth." There are things I don't understand yet, but that is part of faith: having patience to give our Heavenly Father a chance to explain things to us on His own timetable.

How I live my faith

That's a big question. It's awkward to answer, because I am so far from getting it all right. But I can say that the gospel has made me a much better person than I would have been otherwise. I guess I see my Christian discipleship in two parts. One is stuff I do. The other, and probably the more important part, is who I am trying to become. The "stuff I do" includes public things, like going to Church or accepting calls to serve in Church assignments. I spend about 3 hours a week at church as an ordinary member, plus there's shuttling kids to youth activities or early morning seminary (Bible study class). My current calling primarily involves training Church leaders in the area. It probably takes an additional 6 hours a week, or more. I also am assigned to visit 5 families from our congregation in their homes every month, to give a short lesson and make sure they are OK. The "stuff I do" also includes family devotional time every week, and personal scripture study. Now the part about becoming. I think, like many people in the world, I sincerely try to become a better person, to notice my weaknesses and ask the Lord's help in overcoming them. This is about being a better son and husband and father and doctor and manager and neighbor, and even about being nice to obnoxious drivers on the way to work. I am very grateful for the lessons at church that remind me of things I need to work on. I also feel that the callings to serve in the Church help my personal spiritual development, because when you undertake to do the Lord's work, you know you have to try to get closer to Him in order for Him to guide you.

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Kevin
We absolutely believe that the only way to heaven is through the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ. No one can earn his or her way to heaven. We are not saved by our works. We are saved by our faith in Jesus Christ, by His grace. However, we believe that faith in Jesus Christ requires more than lip service. We believe that the kind of faith that can transform a human soul is "faith unto repentance" (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/alma/34/15-16#14)--in other words, faith that moves us to do what Jesus asks us to do. This meaning of faith makes sense in ordinary life: if I say "I totally believe you will give me a $1,000 bonus if I show up 5 minutes early to work," but then I make no effort to get to work early, obviously I don't really believe that! It also makes sense to me theologically, because we believe God created us as His children, not as puppets. He wants us to become more like Him, and that means we have to choose to start acting the way He acts and thinking the way He thinks. So real faith motivates us to action. Jesus Christ has commanded everyone to repent--to stop doing bad things (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/mark/1/14-15#14). Obviously we humans can't succeed in that during this life, but with the Lord's help we can succeed one step at a time. He has also commanded us to receive ordinances (sacred rites) such as baptism (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/acts/2/38#38). These outward works are not sufficient to save us, but they are necessary because God said so. Show more Show less

What are Mormon women like? Do Mormons believe in equality of men and women?

Kevin
Mormon women are incredibly diverse, as you might expect in a worldwide church. I'll give you one example. My wife is one of the coolest people I know. She finished college by her 20th birthday, she has a master's degree in mathematics, she's studied German and Spanish and ASL, she knows the Bible backwards and forwards, she volunteers with the BSA and with the kids' schools, she manages a busy house, and she generally gets more done before noon than most people get done in a week. We believe that men and women are equal in God's eyes and that a marriage should bless both partners. I like this quote about Adam and Eve: "She was not taken from his head to stand over him, nor from his breast to go before him, nor from his back to walk behind him, nor from his foot to be trodden upon. She was taken symbolically from his side—close to his heart to stand by him as a noble companion" (Theodore M. Burton, “A Marriage to Last through Eternity,” Ensign, Jun 1987, 12; probably paraphrasing an older source such as Matthew Henry, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, 1708–1710, volume 1, commentary on Genesis 2:21-25). Show more Show less