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Hi I'm Stephen Earl

I'm a Mormon. I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada in the midst of the casinos. That garish world pushed me the opposite way

About Me

I have practised law for 34 years and enjoy representing clients in various zoning and development projects, but my life is really based in my wife and family. We married while still in college and recently celebrated our 38th Weddiing Anniversary. My sweet wife and I have 5 children and 12 granchildren with two more on the way. Our first child arrived just over 9 months from our wedding day, so we really needed the Savior and His Restored Church to guide us. We have known tradegy and triumph, great joys and deep heartaches. Early in our marriage, I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease "PKD" that caused a series of severe infections and ultimately resulted in renal failure. I received a kidney transplant in 1989, which has given me 21 additional wonderful years of life in which to witness our children grow up, serve missions, get married in the temple and begin to raise families of their own. Through all of life's experiences, it has been our faith in the Lord that that kept us centered and balanced with a solid foundation. We are now entering those "senior years", when movies cost less, but different portions of our old bodies hurt every day and yet we look forward with excitement to the new opportunities we will have to grow, to love, to serve, to learn and to play.

Why I am a Mormon

My parents were both members, so I grew up in a Mormon home and was baptized at the normal age of 8. For most of my youth, I believed in the Gospel because I loved my parents and therefore believed as they did. But when I was 14 years old, my mother died of PKD -- a genetic disorder. I was devastated and the faith I had borrowed from my parents was shattered. I felt God could not exist, if He allowed such a loving woman to die when her family needed her so much. That night my father brought our small family together in a kneeling prayer in our family room and despite his own pain at losing his sweetheart, he expressed his love for and faith in the Savior and prayed that somehow understanding would comfort our hearts and our testimonies of the Gospel would not be diminished but strenghtened. As my father prayed, behind my closed eyes I felt light fill the room and I was sure that angels were present. That night understanding did reach and comfort my boyish heart. It was at that moment of such great personal anquish that I knew of myself that the Gospel was indeed true. Many experiences have deepened my faith over the years, but I still trace the birth of my personal witness to that night. I believe miracles -- both great and small -- follow those that believe in Jesus Christ.

How I live my faith

Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints brings me daily joy and helps me to respond to the challenges that come my way. Membership in this Church involves far more than merely attending a couple of worship meetings on Sundays. Our congregations are organized by geographical boundaries, so we go to Church with other members that live right around us. We get to know each other well and become like Paul said to the congregation in Ephesus "fellow citizens" in the "household of God". (Ephesians 2:19). We know and care for each other. We mourn each other's tradegies, we celebrate each other's triumphs. In many ways, we are a large extended family, no matter our individual our circumstances. As our neighbors notice this inner joy we feel together despite the challenges we all face in life, we hope they will seek to know more about this Restored Gospel of Christ and become part of this household of God. We have a lay ministry, so we fill all of the assignments (or callings) in our local congregations (we call them wards). There is no paid ministry. By profession I am an attorney and spend my days helping clients solve their legal problems and try in these legal endeavors to be a disciple of Christ and allow my faith to guide my actions and help fashion solutions. At the same time, I have been asked to serve in various volunteer positions in my congregation, such as being a teacher in Sunday School classes and in various leadership capacities. Serving in these "callings" brings me peace and keeps me centered. The simplest way to say how I live my faith is that faith in Jesus Christ is at the center of how I try to live. It is the basis for the decisions I make. I try to avoid compartmentalizing my life between my profession, my family and my church service. All of these activities are simply part of each day. Christ spent his life serving those around him and encouraged all of us to do the same. He called it Charity - the highest virtue.

Mormons believe Jesus Christ is their Savior. Why do we need a Savior?

Stephen Earl
In order to understand why we need a Savior, we need to understand why we are here on earth. We believe that we lived with God in a pre-mortal state as spirits before we came to earth. There was a Council in Heaven and all of us were there. We had progressed as far as we could as spirit children of a loving Heavenly Father. To become more like Him, we needed to come to earth to gain a physical body and be tested to see if we could live the commandments outside God's presence. This is called the Plan of Salvation. Lucifer stepped forward and said that he would require our obedience to the commandments and thus ensure we all returned. Lucifer wanted all the glory for saving us. Then Jesus Christ (God's Only Begotten Son) stepped forward and said that we must have our free agency to choose right or wrong on earth in order to truly progress. He offerred to come to earth and live a perfect life to allow him to accept the burden created by our sins. In this way, He would satisfy the demands of justice with his own life and thus reconcile us to God through repentance. Christ offerred all glory to God. Christ's plan was accepted and He did all He promised He would do. Without Christ as our Savior, all of us would be condemned by our sins and never allowed to return to God's presence. I am grateful for the Savior's Atoning Sacrifice that makes it possible for me to overcome past sins, correct my behavior, and try to better each day. Knowing the Savior loves me, gives me courage. Show more Show less

Why are Mormons asked to donate 10% of their income to their Church?

Stephen Earl
The giving of tithes and offerings is an ancient principle of God's Church. In the Old Testament, it says Abraham went to the Prophet Melchizedek to pay his tithes and offerings. Tithing is a principle of both obedience and gratitude. All the blessings we have come from our Heavenly Father and He asks only that we return to him 10% of our increase each year. These funds are then used by His Church to extend the Lord's Gospel throughout the world. Chapels and temples are constructed, humanitarian service is extended in emergencies, people are helped. I have full faith that the leaders of the Church selected by the Savior will be inspired to use the tithes of the Church as the Savior would. Again, tithing is a principle of obedience, gratitude and faith. We need to always pay our tithing no matter how limited our financial circumstances. When the Savior was on the earth, He viewed the widow's mite as showing more faith than the rich man's showy donation. And the Lord promises us that when we pay our tithing in faith, he will "open the windows of Heaven" and bless our lives abundantly. When my wife and I were in school, we had very limited funds. There were times as we paid our tithing that we weren't really sure how we would find enough money to live. But we had both been taught to pay tithing in faith and every time, unexpected funds would come to meet our needs. I know this is a true principle. The Lord is generous with us and asks only for 10% in return. Show more Show less