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Hi I'm Mike

I live in the mid-Atlantic area of the US, I work in the nuclear power industry and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I’m a dad with six great kids. I am a husband to a truly wonderful woman – we’ve been married for 18 years. I am an engineer with a local electrical utility. I am active in my community, serving: as a merit badge counselor for the Boy Scouts, on the local Zoning Appeals Board and as a Ruritan. I raise honey bees. I would like to call myself a gardener, but the weeds could draw that into question.

Why I am a Mormon

My parents joined the church when I was very young. I can still remember sitting in front of the TV watching Dark Shadows when the missionaries came to our home to teach my mom the discussions. I’ve been raised in the church my whole life; being baptized when I was eight, receiving the Aaronic Priesthood when I was twelve, graduating all four years of Seminary, receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood when I was eighteen and serving a mission in Ireland. I’m about as “Mormon” of a Mormon as you can get. Being a Mormon is more than just a “cool” name. No matter when you join the church, whether as a child of eight, as a teenager or as an adult, to be a true member you must be converted. This conversion may be dramatic, (including unusual dreams, occurrences and experiences) or it may be very unremarkable – simply a matter of fact. Whatever the occasion or circumstance, you will need that “baptism of fire” to truly appreciate and understand the Gospel of Christ. My conversion, I am sad to say, came while I was serving my mission in Ireland. Since you are reading this I must make an assumption that you are most likely not a member of the church. As such, you probably are not familiar with various Mormon terminologies. Mormon missionaries always go in pairs or threesomes. Unless it is an emergency, a Mormon missionary may not be on his/her own. So when a missionary refers to his/her companion, this is the person(s) they are currently assigned with. My first area was Galway – on the west coast of Ireland. It was 1981 and I had been on my mission for about three months. My companion and I were standing by some church displays (street boards is what we called them) we had made; waiting for passersby, who showed an interest, to stop and read what was on the displays. When they stopped, we would approach and talk with them about the church. Three young men (probably in their early twenties) approached our display. My companion saw the building that these men came out of and recognized that they were not interested in discussing the church, but rather that they were interested in arguing points of doctrine and starting, what most likely would turn out to be, a heated debate. My companion told me later that he saw this as a “learning opportunity” for me (my being out for such a short time). As the men approached, my companion slipped around the corner (we were set up right on a street corner), but was still very easily within earshot. I tried to introduce myself, but the three just began an onslaught with verbal attacks against, and questions about, the church. I immediately realized that they were not interested in a dialogue, but were interested in verbally pummeling me into the ground. One would “fire” a question at me and before I could begin my answer the second would begin his question. As I forgot the first question and tried to begin discussing the second question, the third would begin his question. As soon as the third finished his question the first man tauntingly re-asked his question followed by an additional comment/question. After the first round of the three men I felt dazed and a little confused. The men kept asking and demanding answers. It was as though they were trying to show off in front of each other, “Who can ask the Mormon missionary the tougher question?” The “assault” did not last long – maybe four to five minutes. It ended when a fourth man across the street called out to the three with me, that they needed to hurry because their train was about to leave. After the three left, my companion could see that I was shaken by this experience, and as a result, we took the displays down (they were portable) and went back to our apartment. For the rest of that day all I could think about was those men and their questions. That night they occupied my dreams. For the next few days these men and that encounter were all I could think about. I believed that the church was true, but that encounter shook me down to my very core beliefs. At that point in time, I realized that my faith, my testimony of being a Mormon, was based solely on my friend’s and family’s testimony – I did not have one of my own! I felt sick to my stomach. My world was beginning to crash in around me. I found myself serving a mission for my church which, all of a sudden, I wasn’t sure if it was true anymore. I realized that I needed to do for myself what we as missionaries always told nonmembers to do; that was to read, pray and ask God if it was true. I started with the very basics. Did I believe in God? Yes! Did I believe in Jesus Christ? Yes, but I admitted to myself that I did not fully understand Him or why He even came to earth. Did I believe in the Bible – was it inspired and God’s word to mankind? Yes, but I had not read either the Old or New Testaments completely! Did I believe in the Book of Mormon? Was it also the word of God? A pause came to my mind - I was not sure. I am ashamed to admit that at that point I had never fully read the Book of Mormon – I had only read a few chapters here and maybe a book within the Book of Mormon there. I immediately knew that I had to find all of this out for myself. I had to either know that the church was true, and what I had been telling people was correct or I had to pack my things up and go home! I now knew where I stood. I started that very day with the New Testament. On a mission, missionaries have about three hours a day of personal scripture study. I maxed those three hours out and read everywhere I could. I read on the bus, on the train I even found myself reading while walking down the street going from door to door tracting. I devoured the New Testament. I read it within a few weeks, but I did not just read it, I purchased companion study guides for the Bible and read them along with the New Testament. I cross-referenced, footnoted and took notes. I prayed too! I had prayed my whole life, but I found myself in a realm of communication with God that I had never been in before. After my companion and I had gone to bed, and I was sure he was asleep, I slipped out of my bed and knelt continuing in prayer. I even found myself waking up in the morning still on my knees. I had to know that the Bible was true. I truly believed that my life, my very soul, depended on it. I’m sure God began to hate me, as I vexed Him so much with my prayers. He finally answered me, and I now knew that the New Testament was truly the word of God. My answer told me that the Old Testament was true too, but I still knew I needed to read it. And I would. Next I began on the Book of Mormon. Again I read like my life depended on it. I devoured it just like I had done to the New Testament. I read making footnotes and cross-references. I already had a companion study guide to the Book of Mormon – I just had not used it. I began putting it to great use! My prayers were none-the-less intense while I prayed about the Book of Mormon. I prayed to know if the book was in fact from God. I prayed to know if it came to Joseph Smith as he said it did. I prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I prayed to know if the Mormon Church was God’s church. Finally, to my relief, I received answers to all of my prayers. I saw no angel, I had no vision, but I did receive a manifestation of the Holy Ghost to me such that I then knew, beyond any doubt, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ and that the heavens are open today. Why am I a Mormon? Before I answer that, let me first tell you why I am NOT a Mormon. I am not a Mormon because of my parents. I am not a Mormon because of my wife. I am not a Mormon because of my friends. I am a Mormon because I remember that chance encounter, with those three men, that happened over thirty years ago now; and what that drove me to do. I am a Mormon because I read and studied to find out what the scriptures were about, and then I asked God if what I had read was true or not. But I didn’t just ask God, I hunted Him and would not relent until I received an answer – whatever the answer was. I was prepared to follow God either in the Mormon Church or out of it! And finally, I am a Mormon because I received that sure witness that God lives, that Jesus Christ died for us and that the Mormon Church is Christ’s church here on the earth. Now…it is your turn. Borrowing the words from Alma in the Book of Mormon, “…I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you?” (Alma 5:14-15). I tell you that the Mormon Church is true, but do not be a Mormon because of me. Find out for yourself! I wish you a good hunt!

How I live my faith

There’s an adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. I suspect that people’s actions are much the same way. To me living my faith is trying my best everyday to live up to the standards that Jesus set. Have I gotten it right yet? No…not by a long shot, but I still try. I also live my faith by serving as the minister in my congregation. The Mormon Church has no paid clergy. Leaders are called from the congregation to serve in various positions throughout the church (e.g., Sunday School teachers, Youth leaders, Organists and Pianists, Music directors, etc). There is no set length for a calling, but they usually last for 3 – 5 years.

Do you really believe there is a prophet like Moses alive today?

Mike
One of the very unique teachings of the Mormon Church is that we believe in a modern living prophet of God just like Moses, Abraham or Noah. God has always spoken to mankind via His prophets. In fact, He tells us through His prophet Amos that he will do nothing unless He reveals it first through His appointed prophet (Amos 3:7). Since we know that Jesus Christ is unchanging (Hebrews 13:8), why would He stop sending us His prophets? Are we any different from our ancestors? Does God love us any less than our ancestors (Acts 10:34)? Then why can’t there be prophets today? Show more Show less