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Hi I'm Mike

I'm a husband, a dad, a parasitologist, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I am finishing up my Ph.D. in microbiology, I am married to someone who has been a good friend more than half my life, and we have three kids under age 7. If I could, I would run, ski, fish, camp, and eat sushi everyday while exploring the rainforest, but I can't. Life is good anyway.

Why I am a Mormon

Quite simply, I am a Mormon because I learned that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true and that God wanted me to be a Mormon while in college. No, this was not part of the curriculum of a biology major. Nor was it peer-pressure, as there was only one other Mormon attending my university at the time. What really happened was that I decided that I, as someone raised in secular household, should learn something about Christianity. I decided to read-up on the subject and attend church meetings from a variety of denominations. I had attended several and seen several different versions of Christianity. Then one Sunday my travels brought me to a small branch of the church in rural Minnesota. After attending, something told me to that I had to come back again the following week. I have since learned that that was the Holy Ghost, which little by little has shown me the veracity of the Church. I had no idea what effects heeding that prompting would have in my life. I joined the Church about 9 months after my first visit. About 9 months later, I was ordained an elder, and about 2 years after that, I served as a full time missionary. I was married in the temple less than a year after my mission to my wife, who is also a convert and returned missionary. I have now been a Mormon for ~14 years, and am a much better person because of it.

How I live my faith

I do my best to read the scriptures and pray. I teach my kids to do likewise. I try to be nice to everyone, to be patient and loving. Sometimes I don't succeed. I then try to repent and do better. I look for opportunities to tell others about how being a member of the Church makes me happy. At church I have, from time to time, responsibilities that require a lot of time. However, fullfilling these responsibilities makes me feel good because I know I am doing what the Lord wants me to do.

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

My understanding is that a cult is defined as a religious organization that has rules different from society at large and that is led by a charismatic leader. Such could be said for Christianity in it's early days. Jesus, a charismatic leader, gave "rules" such as "love your enemies" which were unheard of. As members of the church today we do things in ways that some may call strange. Although are we not commanded to be a "peculiar people"? And we still have a charismatic leader: Jesus Christ, the Creator and Savior of the world. Show more Show less

How can I know Mormonism is true?

One of the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that all of us are entitled to personal revelation from our Heavenly Father. He loves us and will never lead us astray. The only way to know if "Mormonism" is true, the only way to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet, or if Jesus is really our Savior is through such personal revelation. Now the real question is how does one receive a revelation. For some people, including many who I taught on my mission, all they had to do was ask in a single sincere prayer if the Church is true. While asking the question, they felt feelings of love and peace, and knew in their hearts that the Lord's answer was 'yes'. I wish it had been that easy for me. I had to read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover, I had to regularly attend church meetings, I had to read the teachings of current church leaders, and pray repeatedly for an answer. While I felt good about what I was doing as I investigated the Church, for several months the only answer that I felt I was getting to my prayers was "Learn some more and ask me again tomorrow". I did just that. I would read from the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants and then ask if what I had read really came from God. Then, one day while on a long run, I all of a sudden felt a love stronger than I ever had and heard a voice in my mind reassuringly saying "Yes, it's true". That afternoon, I set up a date with the missionaries for my baptism. Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons drink coffee, tea, or alcohol? What is the Mormon Church’s law of health and proper diet?

We do not drink coffee, tea, or alcohol, because we were commanded not to do so by a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and we are promised blessings for our obedience to this law. Lots of people think that this is because of health or addiction risks associated with coffee, tea, or alcohol. While I agree that we avoid these risks, I don't think we obey this law because we can avoid alcohol or caffeine or some other compound, but that we obey this law to show our love to our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ, who gave us our bodies and said "if ye love me, keep my commandments". Show more Show less

What is the Church’s position on abortion?

The Church believes that in some cases, such as in instances of rape or in which the life of the mother is at risk, abortion may be appropriate. Obviously, in such dire circumstances, the mother will need as much support as possible, and so mothers should consult with their bishops to get that support. We do not accept abortion as a type of birth control, and seek to empower girls and women to be able to choose not to get pregnant prior to conception. Show more Show less

Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorse political parties?

No. During the last presidential election, one strolling through our church parking lot on a Sunday would see polital bumperstickers of all flavors. In the US, there are active members of the Church serving as elected officials from both major parties. Show more Show less

Why are only some Mormons allowed into temples? Is there something secret going on in Mormon Temples? What goes on in Mormon Temples?

I have always thought of the temple as the Lord's University, and in order to understand, we need to have the necessary background information. This analogy breaks down, however, in that many universities pride themselves on being selective and only admitting the best and brightest. The Lord's University is not selective all are invited to prepare to attend and be blessed thereby. Show more Show less