Hi I'm Ben Jones
Mormon convert, adoptive father of 3, father of 3, grandfather of 6, stepfather of 3, step-grandfather of 13.
I program computers for a living. I started out in computer graphics in 1976 when it was not a household word. Originally I wanted to do computer graphic movies but that was about 19 years before Pixar made their first feature film so I ended up doing flight simulation instead. Later I got into analyzing computer programs and generating web pages from them. More recently I was using supercomputers to analyze data for the US government. I married a woman with three half grown kids. I adopted them and then we had three more together. That really helped cement the family together as the older kids loved being big brothers and sisters to the little ones. She died when our youngest was 18. I remarried and acquired three step children in their thirties and 10 now 13 step grand children. Two of my children now have 3 children between them as well. One of my daughters is now like a sister to the step-daughter who introduced me to her mother. I love choral singing. I served in the Mormon Tabernacle choir for 4 years 1987-1991 when I lived in Salt Lake City. My wife and I now sing with the Mormon Choir of Washington DC.
Why I am a Mormon
I was raised Methodist. My parents were very devout, very involved in service to those around them. I gained my knowledge of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ by reading a 10-volume children's Bible but rejected religion by the time I went off to college because it seemed to bear little resemblence to what I had read in the Bible. After I received my master's degree, I moved to Salt Lake City to take a job with a computer graphics company. My mother told me to "watch out for those Mormons." I joked that I was going to become one. After several years, I started attending a Unitarian Church because I felt like I needed something to do on Sunday. Then I married a woman who had been a Mormon but had dropped out because of her divorce and was now attending the Episcopal Church. My parents first words to her when I introduced her over the phone were, "You are the answer to our prayers." We were married in the Episcopal Church and my wife persuaded me to join the choir. I found myself singing a lot of the same anthems my parents had sung in the Methodist Church choir. I began to be touched by them. A year later on Christmas morning, a month before I adopted my wife's children, the oldest girl had gotten into a spat with her mother and had been sent to her room. Her brothers were really put out with her for "ruining Christmas". Out of the blue I said, "Well today we are celebrating Christ coming into the world to forgive us our sins, so I think we ought to forgive her." They looked at me as if to say, "What planet are you from?" but shortly afterwards, their sister apologized and we had a wonderful Christmas. Over the next several months I felt something growing inside of me that I'd never felt before to the point that I finally felt I should stand up and be counted and got confirmed a member of the Episcopal Church. Three months later, that same girl, who was now 16, decided she wanted to be a Mormon again. My wife admitted that she did too, that she knew within two months of marrying me that she wanted to be back in the Church but didn't have the nerve to tell me for fear of scaring me off. I asked, "What kind of a hold do THESE PEOPLE have on you after four years outside the Church?" She explained that every week when she got up to do the lay reading in the Episcopal Church and saw the blank looks on the faces in the congregation, she realized that many of them didn't have a clue. She said she understood the Scriptures as a Mormon, not as an Episcopalian. We talked for hours. I didn't see how I could ever be a Mormon but she asked if I'd at least read a book on the subject, called "A Marvelous Work and a Wonder" It explained the doctrines of the Mormon Church so well that within a week I was ready to be baptized. Although my parents did not fully understand my decision, they always attended church with us when they came to visit and were very impressed. Shortly before my mother died, 5 years after I joined the church, she said to me, "If this church is true, I want to be baptized." A few months after my mother died, I was accepted into the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
How I live my faith
Faith is something I live every day. I pray in the morning and evening and over meals. I treat all people with respect because they are all sons and daughters of God, even those who don't know that they are. I have accepted numerous callings in the Church, such as Boy Scout leader, printer, computer specialist, counselor to the Bishop. They have all been wonderful opportunities to step outside of myself and deal with people I might not otherwise have been interested in. For example, as a scout leader, I dealt with boys I would have avoided when I was their age just because their interests were so different from mine. Everywhere that I have lived or visited, I've sought out the nearest Mormon Church and found immediate acceptance. I've continued to read many books by members of the Church, which have strengthened my testimony and I often look for opportunties to tell others about the Church. I've also done much volunteer work outside of the Church, following in my parents footsteps.