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Hi I'm Grant

I live in California and I am a business attorney. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I am married to a wonderful wife and we have six children (three married and three in college) and currently six grandchildren. I love my family and enjoy spending time with them. We love playing board games. Two of our sons actually created their own board game which we often play when we are together. I also like to garden. It is a nice break from the stress of being an attorney. One of my sons and I built a three pool stone water fountain in our front yard. Another son help me build a curved stone path lined with lilies. We live in Southern California, so we have great weather that allows us to grow various types of palms and several tropical plants, including some exotic fruits such as passion fruit, loquats, and bananas. I am also the managing partner of a law firm, so I deal with both litigation and transactional legal matters, as well as a lot of administrative and employee related issues throughout the workweek.

Why I am a Mormon

I am a Mormon because I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s only duly authorized church on the Earth. I realize that most other religions teach a lot of truth and do a lot of good, but this Church is His Church. I am also a Mormon because I have felt God’s love heal my soul. I know that Jesus is the Christ, and that through Him we all can be saved if we turn to Him and allow Him to convert us. A number of years ago, while I was in the midst of a personal crisis, my wife mentioned that she felt the issue I was dealing with was part of a much bigger picture. She felt that in some unknown way it was related to a couple of business failures I experienced several years earlier. This rang true. I knew she was right, even though there was no apparent connection. I yearned to see this bigger picture. I turned to the Lord and was willing to do whatever He required. I placed everything on the altar and did not hold back any sacred cows. I was willing to sacrifice what I thought was a basic characteristic of my personality, being an entrepreneur. I told the Lord that if it was His will, I would become a teacher or pursue some other line of work that would facilitate me spending more time at home. I was willing to abandon my insatiable quest for financial security, which had dominated much of my life up to that point in time. I turned my whole heart over to the Lord and humbly asked for help. I was then blessed with one of the greatest experiences of my life. It is best understood by visualizing the image impressed on my mind at the time. I saw a large, flat, dark body of water extending as far as I could see in every direction. This sea of darkness was not black, but very dark and gloomy. The finger of the Lord came down and touched the water. Then, this sea of darkness opened up in all directions, just as a drop of oil on water spreads out quickly in all directions, and I saw a bright light shining up out of the opening. As the water opened up, the light became brighter and brighter, and I felt my sins being washed away at the same time the emptiness in my life was filled. As the light grew brighter I could see the source of my problems and how I had hurt others close to me. I could see how I spent much of my life trying to fill emotional deficiencies created by growing up in a dysfunctional family that moved on the average of every nine months. I could see how I attempted to fill these emotional holes in inappropriate ways. I could see that I, not my wife, was the cause of much of our marital difficulties. I was shocked! No, this couldn’t be me. But it was. I could hardly stand to look at myself. I was repulsed by my past behavior, just as two magnets with the same polarity are repulsed by each other when shoved together. The Lord propelled me in the opposite but correct direction by forcing me to see my faults; yet, He empowered me with hope. I knew everything would be fine. I no longer felt the emptiness that compelled so much of my past behavior. The Lord’s love filled the hole. The light seemed synonymous with the emotion of hope and power that grew as the light became brighter. I could see clearer, until everything was bright and I was completely filled with joy, hope and love. What glory! What light! What love! I can’t describe it. I felt as if I were born again. I was freed from all that held me bound. I was no longer held captive by the emotional black holes that pulled me down. I no longer had any desire to sin. After feeling the Lord’s love and acceptance, everything that bothered me no longer was important. I felt free to love others without fear of rejection. I no longer felt driven to prove myself. My anxiety dissipated and I felt at peace. I felt healed from all my sins. I was free. I now realize that the sea of darkness represented my heart, and as I opened it up to God, he filled my soul with light and love. I know the Lord is there, waiting to fill your life with love if you will simply open up your heart to Him.

How I live my faith

The Church does not have a paid ministry, so all of the members are asked to assist in various ways. Currently, I serve in the church in a variety of ways. 1) I am in charge of coordinating a group of about a dozen families in our congregation (“ward”) to clean our meeting house for a week every two months; 2) I am the scout committee chairman for the scout troop sponsored by our ward; 3) I am the secretary for a men’s group in our ward; 4) I visit a few of the members of our ward on at least a monthly basis to bring them a spiritual message and see if they have any needs we can assist with; and 5) various teachers in our ward regularly ask me to substitute teach lessons for them when they will be out of town or otherwise not able to attend. I also formed a non-profit corporation to promote the production, publication and distribution of uplifting materials in all forms of media. This non-profit organization also donates many copies of a book I authored to prisons and jails in various states across the country in hopes that it will help some individuals deal with their emotional challenges and turn to Christ. I periodically receive very touching letters from prisoners who mention that this book has been instrumental in helping them turn their life around. Of course, I try to live my faith by following the Savior's example in my interactions with my family and in my dealings with others. I try to be a positive influence on those I meet, whether it is simply similing at someone as our paths cross in the supermarket, to spending time helping someone deal with a crisis in their life.

How can we stop the spread and influence of pornography?

Grant
I believe individuals need to seek and feel God’s love, and society needs stronger families, in order to stem the spread and influence of pornography. Other efforts may be helpful, but I feel that these two concepts are the key to overcoming the tsunami of filth that is engulfing society. Let me explain why. We each have a spark of divinity within us that connects us all to each other. This is what makes us different from all other creatures. It is how we instinctively know right from wrong, regardless of our culture or upbringing. God is love. Because we all have a spark of His divinity in us, we all have an innate basic need to love and to be loved. However, because we are born into an imperfect world, all of us have been disappointed and let down by others we depend on. This creates an emotional vacuum that sucks us down like an emotional black hole. All of us have some emotional deficiency resulting from being raised by imperfect parents in an imperfect world. However, in some people these emotional holes are extremely large due to abuse and neglect. As the quality of family life deteriorates in society, more individuals have greater emotional black holes that pull them down with an ever increasing force. We all are subconsciously searching for ways to fill our emotional holes that were created by a lack of love. Unfortunately, some people seek to fill their emotional emptiness with things that are very destructive such as drugs or alcohol. Many of us take good things to an extreme in an effort to fill our emotional needs. Some people seek the rigidity of rules and strict discipline to give themselves a false sense of control, while others reject almost all restrictions in hope of escaping from the emptiness that haunts them. However, none of these things fill our needs. Consequently, our emotional needs often grow because we are looking for love in all the wrong places. This is particularly evident regarding issues of sexuality. Intimate sexual relations with one’s spouse can be one of the most physically and emotionally fulfilling expressions of love we experience. Consequently, it is natural for someone seeking love to try to simulate this experience. However, a counterfeit experience does not satisfy the desire for an intimate loving relationship. Instead, it leaves the participant empty with an even greater emotional black hole that pulls him down. This subconscious quest to fill our personal emotional void has a greater impact on our lives than we probably realize. Additionally, while we are searching for ways to fill our own emotional emptiness, we leave potholes behind us in the lives of individuals who are close to us, especially our children who depend upon us for their understanding of love and how to relate to others. This perpetuates the draw of inappropriate behavior, particularly pornography and illicit sexual activity. Yet, the same emptiness that haunts us acts as the impetus for the search to find God, who is the only thing great enough to fill the emotional black hole at the center of each individual’s personal universe. The only way to actually fill the emotional void that was created by a lack of love is to turn to the spark of divinity that is in each of us, and follow it. God, who is love, is the only source great enough to completely fill our personal emotional black hole. We draw closer to God by following that spark of divinity in each of us that directs us to know what is right and true. The more we seek light and truth, the closer we draw to God, and He fills our life with His love. The more we follow the impressions we have of what is right, the more we are able to recognize that guiding divine light within us and we become more secure because we know who we really are. We become more whole and more connected with other individuals and with humanity. We become more at peace with ourselves and the universe, and our anxiety decreases. The more we follow that internal divine spark of the light of Christ within us, the more we submit to Him, until we completely submit and open ourselves to Him. He then is able to fully fill our emotional holes with love and liberate us from the draw of our emotional black hole and eliminate the allure of pornography and other destructive behavior. We then feel a broader spectrum of emotions more intensely. Gratitude fills our life with joy and peace. It is as if we are born again into a more full and abundant life. Once our own emotional holes are filled, we are freed to love others more deeply and broadly. We become less concerned with ourselves and more interested in others. The depth of our love increases. At the same time the breadth of our love, or the number of people we care for, increases. Our families will become stronger and allure of pornography and other counterfeit love substitutes for our children will decrease. In the process, we also become more like God because we feel more love for others. Show more Show less

What is the priesthood?

Grant
Priesthood is the power and authority of God.1 It is helpful to understand the following three concepts in order to comprehend the subject matter of the Priesthood: 1) Priesthood Authority, 2) Power of the Priesthood, and 3) Priesthood Keys. Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably, but generally they have distinct meanings. Priesthood Authority is the permission to act in God’s name delegated to mankind through ordination; Power of the Priesthood comes from ones’ unity with God, the source of all innate power; and Keys of the Priesthood refers to the right to direct the utilization of the priesthood, typically for the administration of Church affairs. The following analogy, even though somewhat flawed, may help you distinguish the utilization of these terms and their corresponding concepts. A person needs to receive permission from the state in order to legally operate a vehicle on public streets. If an individual meets certain prerequisites, such as reaching a minimum age and passing a test, he is granted a license to drive. Think of this as being similar to God granting permission to individuals to act on His behalf if they satisfy certain requirements. This authority is obtained through ordination to the Priesthood. All worthy male members of the Church 12 years of age and older may be ordained to the priesthood. Generally, when members of the Church refer to the Priesthood, they are referring to this concept of Priesthood Authority. However, just because someone has a license to drive does not mean he is a good driver. Think of our driving skill as the Power of God. It is an individual matter. The Power of the Priesthood comes from one’s unity with God, which is achieved by aligning our will to His. Consequently, if our life is out of harmony with God’s teachings, we alienate His Spirit and have less of His power. I personally believe that the Power of the Priesthood is inseparably connected with the pure love of Christ (charity). I believe it was through the power of God’s infinite love for us that He was able to effectuate the atonement. Consequently, I believe that as we diligently seek to follow the Savior, God fills us with His love and His power to do good in the world and bless others.2 Now, just because I know how to drive and have a license does not mean that I can go and pick the nicest car in the parking lot and drive off. The person holding the keys to that car needs to give me permission to drive his car. Similarly, just because one is ordained to the priesthood and is a good person does not mean he can unilaterally decide who is going to run the affairs of God’s Church. God’s kingdom is a house of order, not confusion, so He calls certain individuals to preside and direct the administration of Church affairs and the utilization of priesthood authority at each level of Church organization, whether it is local or national. Let me try to demonstrate why this is so important. Anyone can go on the internet and purchase a minister certificate for a minimal fee, and then perform various ordinances such as a marriage ceremony. Now, what would happen if anyone could go on-line and purchase a police certificate and then unilaterally assert the police power of the state according to his whim? I dare say that ungodly consequences of confusion and turmoil would result. I believe the same principle applies with the kingdom of God. Going back to our vehicle analogy, the person with the keys to a car can direct and limit another person’s right to drive that vehicle, such as “you can go to the store” or “you can use the car for your date tonight, but be back by mid-night.” Likewise, the Church leaders holding Priesthood keys direct the administration of various priesthood ordinances, such as baptism, priesthood ordinations, and blessing of the sacrament. Additionally, a person can have his driver’s license suspended for a major violation such as reckless or drunk driving. The same thing can happen with one’s priesthood authority if he commits a major violation of God’s laws. The individuals holding the keys in God’s kingdom determine the right one has to utilize the authority that was previously received by ordination, and thus help maintain order in the Church. Continuing this somewhat flawed analogy, a driver’s skill level is not necessarily tied directly to his possession of a driver’s license. Often individuals growing up on a farm learn how to operate various vehicles on their private property at a young age. During the great depression, my dad drove a large truck full of coal from mines in the mountain to a central distribution center down in the valley when he was only 14 years old. Likewise, everyone has the ability to connect with God and obtain His power to do good in the world. However, certain things still require his authority. Yet, everyone has the ability to access God’s power through faith for help in their personal lives. I strongly believe that the faith and prayers of some non-Mormon friends were instrumental in God blessing my grandson who was born with multiple heart defects. However, as James directs in the Bible , God also provides for those with Priesthood authority to combine their power from God with the faith of all concerned to bless the sick.3 Regardless, one needs to receive authority from God through ordination from one who has authority in order to have the power to perform ordinances on behalf of God. Through these priesthood ordinances the power of godliness is manifested. Priesthood ordinances are a means whereby we become more at one with God. Baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, the sacrament, and temple ordainances all bring us closer to God so that we can experience more of his power in our life. As with the anointing of the sick, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint’s unification of Priesthood Authority (by ordination) with the Power of the Priesthood (through one’s unity with God through faith) resolves one of the major internal conflicts of Christendom. The Catholic Church bases its authenticity on the concept of ordained priesthood authority, while Protestant doctrine rejects this precept and instead adopts a concept called a “priesthood of all believers” which holds that all Christians have equal potential to minister for God and that no formal ordination is required. In reality, both the Catholic and Protestant theology regarding this issue have some merit, but if viewed properly they are each part of the whole picture which God restored when He re-established His Church in the latter-days through the Prophet Joseph Smith. As the Catholics properly teach, it is apparent from the study of the Bible that God intended His Church to have a properly ordained ministry. Paul taught that “no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.”4 Christ ordained his twelve apostles so that they would have his authority to preach on his behalf and to heal the sick.5 The Bible is clear that God intended this ecclesiastical quorum of twelve apostles to continue because it states that one more must “be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection” to replace Judas Iscariot who betrayed the Lord.6 Christ also called and appointed seventy to minister on His behalf.7 Paul’s instruction to Titus to “ordain elders in every city” demonstrates that the practice of ordaining local priesthood authorities continued after the death of Christ, as does Timothy’s ordination to the priesthood.8 The principle of an ordained ministry is so ingrained in Christianity that even Protestant churches that reject the need for ordained ministers often still continue this practice. The Roman Catholic Church claims it is the true church by attempting to trace its authority through a succession of popes back to Peter. Even though there is great scholarly debate regarding the validity and accuracy of this claim, there is no question that the supremacy of the bishop of Rome anciently was not universally accepted, resulting in the Great Schism in 1054 A.D. when the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches split, accusing each other of falling into heresy. Regardless, it seems obvious to me that the world lost the light of the full gospel and that this led to the Dark Ages. Again, my vehicle analogy may help explain what happened. If I give my son the keys to my car to run an errand, and he in turn gives them to a friend to take care of the errand for him, who then gives the keys to someone else to use as he pleases, who then thinks he has the right to drive everyone else’s car, it is obvious that they exceeded my permission and lost my authority to drive my car. Similarly, the apostles held the keys of the kingdom after Christ’s death, but because they were all killed before they could ordain replacements for each of them, the keys to direct the Church as a whole were lost. Consequently, only the local leaders had authority to direct the work in their respective area, but no one had authority to replace them when they died. Accordingly, over time, true priesthood authority in the ancient Church was replaced by a counterfeit theocracy that did not have authority from God to act in His name, regardless of the sincerity of some of the individuals involved. Additionally, because the Church lacked true priesthood authority and revelation from God, the priesthood became corrupt and there was great confusion regarding various doctrines. Even though Martin Luther, a priest in the early 1500’s, initially was simply trying to reform the Catholic Church, the tyranny and corruption was so pervasive that his message struck a chord with the masses and sparked a revolt that eventually lead to the creation of numerous Protestant (protesting) churches. I believe that as Martin Luther sought truth and goodness, he drew closer to God and felt His love and power flow into his soul, as all people can and should experience. When Martin Luther contrasted this source of power from the light of Christ with the empty practices of the Catholic priesthood, he reached the conclusion that an ordained ministry was not required by God. In essence, he threw the baby out with the bath water. It is understandable how he reached this conclusion when we realize that the priesthood he was evaluating was not authorized of God, yet the doctrine of an ordained priesthood as taught in the Bible is still a true doctrine. This truth was recognized by other reformers and early Protestant leaders such as Roger Williams, the seventeenth-century pastor who founded Rhode Island. Roger Williams later refused to continue as pastor in Providence on the grounds that there was “no regularly-constituted Church on earth, nor any person authorized to administer any Church ordinance; nor could there be, until new apostles were sent by the great Head of the Church, for whose coming he was seeking.”9 That is why God sent divine messengers in these latter-days to restore the priesthood authority that was previously lost. We now have in the restored Church apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists, as spoken of by Paul to the Ephesians.10 These priesthood offices were previously established by the Savior when He organized His Church in the meridian of time. We recognize the two orders of the priesthood and the offices contained within them: the lesser priesthood is the Aaronic Priesthood, named after Aaron; and the greater priesthood is the Melchizedek Priesthood, named after Melchizedek, to whom Abraham paid tithes. The Aaronic Priesthood was restored on May 15, 1829, under the hands of John the Baptist, and the Melchizedek Priesthood within a month under the hands of the ancient Apostles Peter, James, and John to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Thus those possessing the priesthood today claim the authority to act in the name of God through this priesthood that was restored by these divine messengers.11 Of course, the amount of power from God which an individual ordained priesthood holder personally possesses depends on the degree of his unity with God. Today, all worthy male members of the Church 12 years of age and older may be ordained to the priesthood.12 Sometimes church members even refer to the adult male population of the Church as the Priesthood, but that usage is more of a colloquialism than proper usage of the term. Some people criticize the Church because females are not ordained to the priesthood. We do not know all of God’s reasoning, but we do know that God loves all of His children, male and female, and that throughout the history of the world God has limited the priesthood to be borne by various groups; yet, all of God’s children are invited to enjoy the blessings of the Priesthood in their lives, including receiving power from God through their faith to do much good in the world in their individual capacity; and, in the eternities all who are faithful in following the Savior will receive a fullness of His grace and be made equal in power, might, and dominion.13 Many people do not realize that today some sisters in the Church are given authority to perform various ordinances in God’s temples. The temple presidents’ wife used to be called the high priestess of the temple, but this title was changed probably so that people would not be confused in thinking that she held the same priesthood authority as the brethren of the Church. I certainly do not know all of the reasons why God has directed at this point in our eternal existence that only worthy males be ordained to the priesthood, but I would like to suggest one possible partial reason. One of my non-Mormon legal secretaries attended a number of our church services and mentioned the following observation to me: “The women in your Church are like women in the other churches I have attended, but the men are different. All of the women are sweet, caring, and devoted, but unlike men in other churches, the men in your Church are also caring and devoted individuals. I finally figured out why, and it is because the men are so involved in running the affairs of the Church.” I believe that women generally have more natural Christ-like attributes, so God has directed that all worthy men in His Church receive the priesthood so that we will be put in a position where we will develop more of these Christ-like attributes as we serve others in our priesthood responsibilities than we would otherwise develop if left to our own devices. Regardless, I do know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God’s Church on the earth, and that He directs the affairs of His Church. I would like to share one very spiritual experience I had several years ago regarding this point. As a young man, one of my clients was a famous Baptist preacher (his funeral was covered on national television). One day he chided me that once the pressure on the Church was great enough, it would succumb and change its policy so as to allow blacks to hold the priesthood. I assured him that God directed the Church and it would never yield to public pressure. Well, that same week the Church announced that the Lord had revealed that all worthy men in the Church could be ordained to the priesthood, regardless of race or color.14 Naturally, I imagined the razing this minister would give me the next time we met. Regardless, I decided to follow the Church’s instruction to pray about issues to receive my own personal confirmation that this change in policy was from God. As I prayed, it was as if I could hear a great host of deceased persons in the spirit world shouting for joy because now many of them and their friends would be able to have saving ordinances performed for them in the temples, which thought had never occurred to me before. And then I heard in my mind this piercing question, “Would you deny all of this happiness (in essence for me to simply save face with the minister)?” Then it was over. As only God can do, I was simultaneously rebuked and humbled while inspired and uplifted. I received the confirmation I prayed for. So, I personally can testify that God directs the affairs of this Church and the administration of His Priesthood authority. I invite you to investigate and study these issues for yourself, and then ask God to give you your own witness that it is true. I promise you that if you ask with real intent, He will answer. 1 Gospel Principles, pg. 67. 2 Moroni 7:48 3 James 5:14 4 Hebrews 5:4 5 Mark 3:14; John 15:16; Luke 9:1 6 Acts 1:22-26 7 Luke 10:1 8 Titus 1:5; 1 Timothy 4:14 9 James E. Faust, Ensign, May 2006; See also William Cullen Bryant, Picturesque America; or, the Land We Live In, 2 vols. (1872–74), 1:502 10 Ephesians 4:11 11 James E. Faust, Ensign, May 2006 12 D&C Official Declaration 2 13 D&C 76:94-95; 132:20. 14 D&C Official Declaration 2 Show more Show less