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Hi I'm Scott

I'm a Mormon who teaches statistics in Wyoming. My wife and I have four kids.

About Me

I like to think of myself as a husband and father first. Next a statistician, an Elder in the church, and last a board game fan. I married my wife in 2001, and we have four children, a boy, girl, then 2 boys. They are about two years apart in age and the oldest was born in 2003. I have learned I never know as much as I thought I did about how to raise children. I teach statistics, but I'm still in grad school, trying to balance study, research, church, family, and my class. I probably qualify as a math dork because I love the mathematical theoretical stuff. My research interests are in math, finance, and biology. I serve in the church through teaching. It is a lot of work and time to prepare a lesson, but it is worth it. I love the complex board games. Just to list a few: Settlers of Catan, Dominion, RoboRally, Puerto Rico, Scotland Yard, and Thurn and Taxis.

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised as a Mormon, but that is not the reason I have stayed in this church. When I was a teenager I realized I would be asked if I wanted to serve a mission. That's a big sacrifice! I would lose two years of school, pay about 10,000 dollars, and who knows what would happen to the girls I was interested in. I took the challenge to seek the Lord seriously. I read the Bible, I read the Book of Mormon, I attended church. I spent long hours thinking and I prayed. I'm the type of person that needs to understand something in my head before my heart can listen. I realized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has answers you can't find anywhere else. The teachings match the Bible, and they explain how God's plan works in a way that makes sense. What keeps me in this church is the feelings I experienced. Describing it seems shallow - peace, calm, clarity... I just knew. I know this is the work of God. I knew serving a mission was the right choice. I know this church teaches the truth about Christ. I know the Bible contains the word of God. I know the Book of Mormon contains the word of God too. The feeling of the Spirit is clear, and it directs me to the Lord's path. I have sought the Lord many times in my life since then, and the answer is as clear and peaceful as the first time. I have learned that as I follow the Spirit I can have peace and happiness no matter what trials I face.

How I live my faith

I taught seminary for four years, and now I am a supervisor over other teachers. Seminary is like a "Bible Study" class for high-school aged teenagers. They meet every weekday before school starts. Every young man or young woman in the church is expected to attend all 4 years of high school. Each year a different book is studied, Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, or Doctrine and Covenants. It takes time to prepare a lesson and teach, but it is great to start the day at 6:00am with the spirit of Christ. That's the reason teenagers will actually choose to wake up an hour early to come. Now I visit other teachers in my city and nearby cities. I try to encourage them when they are worn out, give them tips to improve teaching, and together we ask the Lord what he wants done in the classroom. Those who have been involved in seminary will testify that bringing teenagers to Christ is worth the effort, time, and money it takes to keep a class going. Thank you to all you seminary teachers out there - remember "In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me"

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

Scott
The Lord has always called prophets to teach His truth. In the Bible was Moses, Elijah, Peter, and Paul. Today Thomas S. Monson is a prophet who speaks the truth from God and is authorized to lead His church. The Bible can be understood many different ways. A loving God wants us to have the truth and to be united, so He chose President Monson. Thomas S. Monson recieves his guidance from the Creator of this world. We have a way to learn what God has to say about gambling, the internet, prescription drugs, and current war. How do I know Thomas S. Monson is a prophet? The Savior said: "By their fruits ye shall know them". I know this is a church that seeks to follow Jesus. The Book of Mormon came through the prophet Joseph Smith, and that book has helped me follow Christ. I have asked God whether Thomas S. Monson was a prophet. Not a casual prayer, but sincerely seeking the Lord, and promising to follow his path. The spiritual confirmation that came took away doubt, and brought light and peace. I know Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. Sometimes the prophet teaches something I find difficult to follow. In those times I have gone to the Lord and asked if the prophet was right. As soon as I can honestly say, "Not my will, Lord, but thine" the spirit comes. It testifies to me that if I will follow the teachings from the prophet I will be blessed. One blessing is a greater appreciation for the sacrifice of my Savior Jesus Christ, and a greater desire to follow Him. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe happens to us after we die? What do Mormons believe about life after death?

Scott
After we die our body is buried, but our spirits continue to live, grow, and learn. Death will be a joyful reunion with loved ones who have died before. There is a lot to do as a spirit to prepare for the Savior's second coming. Many people died without being taught about Jesus. They need an opportunity to accept him as their Savior. One of the biggest duties of the disciples of Christ in the spirit world is missionary work to preach the gospel to other spirits. Eventually the Savior will come and bring peace to the Earth. This will be a time of healing and joy for those who have suffered. There is a resurrection where our spirits are rejoined with our bodies and we live again just as the Savior did. Those who have accepted Jesus, been baptized, and shown that they will remain faithful receive the blessing of continuing to progress as a family. The greatest blessing for righteous living is to receive all the glory, power and blessings from our Heavenly Father. This is one of the meanings of "going to heaven". The word "hell" is sometimes used for various things, but one use is to earn something less than the glory God wants to give us. Those who fall short of going to heaven will receive what glory they are worthy of, but their shame at not fulfilling their full destiny will burn in their souls. Our goal to be like Jesus. There is no other Show more Show less

What is the difference between attending church and the temple?

Scott
The church is where those that are seeking the Savior Jesus Christ unite and worship the Lord. Anyone is welcome to attend. The temple is a sacred building where we make covenants to serve God. The purpose is to seek blessings for righteous living, to report that we have lived righteously, and to promise Heavenly Father that will dedicate our lives even more fully. For that reason it doesn't make sense for someone to visit the temple until they have reached a level of worthiness. God has always had special places for advanced instruction. Moses went to Mount Sinai, the Savior went to the Mount of Transfiguration. The ancient temples in the Old Testament were sacred places to make covenants. I think of it as like a spiritual advanced topics class. It is a special reward that Heavenly Father gives to those who are truly seeking power from Heaven. Church is a great way to start the week. Being able to unite with disciples of Christ gives me strength to face temptations of the world for another seven days. The nearest temple is an hour and half away, but I still try to get there once a month. It gives me even greater strength to resist temptation, and as I learn about Heavenly Father's plan I find I have more desire to follow the example of Jesus Christ. It should be the goal of every person on Earth to go to the temple. Anyone is welcome (and encouraged!) to go as soon as they are worthy. An important step in being worthy is going to church every week. Show more Show less

What is the Mormon lifestyle like? How do Mormons live?

Scott
I don't drink alcohol, coffee, iced tea, or Coke. It is thoughtful to have juice, Sprite, or water. I will not watch R-rated movies, so I only want movies rated below R to be recommended. I appreciate being warned when there is a part in a movie that has bad language, sexual themes, or violence. I notice when others swear. I probably won't react, but if someone swears I am secretly expecting an apology. On Sunday I don't go to stores, movies, or restaurants, and I don't do school activities. If someone asks me a statistics question I'll be polite and answer, but I wish they would wait until Monday. Monday night is family night, so I look for fun activities for my wife and kids. I like when friends offer suggestions. When I plan on going to the temple or to visit church members (Home Teaching) I love it when my friends adjust schedules to make it easier. I love talking about my religion. I don't want to seem creepy, but even if when the other person things I'm wrong or has heard weird things about Mormons I always enjoy the discussion. I enjoy when friends ask me about my family. Even when I have family problems if someone suggests I need distance from them that will get on my bad side. I feel like helping those who help my family. I'm not perfect. I worry that people will see me mess up and decide the Mormon church is bad. I don't mind being called out on a mistake, but I hope they know I am trying, and understand I am still trying to be like Christ. Show more Show less

Why don’t women hold the priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? How do Mormon women lead in the Church?

Scott
The priesthood is organized by God. In the Old Testament only the Levite males had the priesthood (Numbers 8). In the New Testament times it was only the church leaders who had the authority (Acts 19). In more recent times it is offered to all males who live worthily. Were those who were not a Levite in the Old Testament less favored of God? Certainly not. They had a different role to play in the organization of God's kingdom. The authority to direct certain church matters has been given by God to men. It is not something anyone aspires to. Women have certain callings of leadership in the church as well. My wife has been in charge of teaching small children, leading groups of elderly women, and organizing activities for the congregation. I have seen many women call on the Lord with faith and perform miracles. Never assume that not having a particular priesthood office means a woman does not have power. The power of God comes through His will as we live righteously. The priesthood gives men opportunity to serve. I hope my service in the church teaches me enough about love and patience that I can catch up to my sweet wife. The day will come when we will stand before the Lord. He will not care what positions we've filled - only how we filled our role in His plan. Everyone in the church is given enough responsibility for their personal growth - and a chance to be involved in the church. We must understand that Christ is the head and we are merely following him. 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?

Scott
In the temple sacred promises are made. We promise to God that we will improve and live better. It wouldn't make sense for me to go to the temple if I cannot promise to live right. I wouldn't want to be held accountable for the sacred promises there until I have proven I can live some basic standards. It is just like baptism - you don't want to do it unless you're ready for the next step. We only discuss these promises in the temple because it is sacred, not secret. A secret you don't want others to know. Everyone is allowed (and commanded) to enter the temple, but they must treat it sacred and be worthy to enter. To discuss temple things outside the temple is like saying, "I think I know better than God." This is why we can be defensive about the temple. It is offensive if someone treats the temple lightly. In the temple the Lord promises us power and blessings. We are taught in more detail the plan that God has for His children, and the value of the family. I learned more about why God sent me to live here, and what it means to go to heaven. Everyone who wants to return to live with God needs to learn the covenants made in the temple. The temple is a requirement of God but those who have died need a chance to make those covenants. In the temple people can make sacred covenants in the name of someone who has died. If that person (in the spirit world) chooses to accept the covenant which was made for them they will have satisfied that requirement. Show more Show less

What is the Book of Mormon?

Scott
The Book of Mormon is scripture written by prophets as was the Bible. The first group you will read about was Lehi and his family. They lived 600 years before Christ in Jerusalem. The Book of Mormon tells how Lehi's son Nephi accepted the will the Lord and was blessed as he journeyed across the ocean to the American continent. Nephi's brother Laman struggled to follow the Lord's commandments, and he suffered. When I read about Lehi's family I can see myself in Nephi... and I see myself in Laman. It helps me to recognize the things I do to justify sin, and the blessings I receive when I choose what is right. When the people repented they were blessed with peace and joy. When they sinned there was war and suffering until they looked to the Messiah who would come. It took faith to believe in a Savior that was not in their land. I learn from their faith in a Savior that is not during my time. After the Savior died and was resurrected he visited this people and taught them. Those teachings help me live better. In 400 AD this people turned from the teachings of Christ and their record was hidden to avoid being destroyed. I can see similar things happening to our society, and I am more resolved to stand for what is right. In 1830 the Lord directed Joseph Smith to find this record called the Book of Mormon. When I read the Book of Mormon it brings me closer to Jesus. I know it is scripture, just as the Bible is scripture and it contains the truth of God. Show more Show less

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

Scott
The donation of 10% of all our income is called Tithing. This money is used to pay for buildings, upkeep, and certain activity funds. No one is paid for their service in the church, not the bishop, deacons, or any of the leaders. I work with the seminary program and I do it on my own time with my own money. It is nice to know that everyone is motivated by love, and not income. The rule of 10% helps keep money out of the worship service. No one asks for you to pull out your wallet during church. No one else sees how much you donate to church. It is done discreetly in closed envelopes after church. The purpose is to serve the Lord, not to show off or feel ashamed. There are other ways to donate more - the "Fast Offerings" are used to help the poor in your own town. The "Missionary Fund" helps young men and young women pay for their missions, and a "Perpetual Immigration Fund" helps people pay for schooling (usually in poor countries). We are encouraged to be generous and giving in these offerings. Remember the story when Christ paid the tax by asking Peter to fish, and the fish had a coin in it's mouth? The Lord has the power to pay for all the church needs Himself. Why does He ask us to pay tithing? It is for us to learn to put the Savior above money. When we are willing to give the Lord money it is easier to give Him our hearts as well. Show more Show less

What is being a Mormon like?

Scott
I will describe a typical Sunday morning meeting. I hope it will help others feel more comfortable with the idea of attending. The first hour begins with the Sacrament when the bread and water are passed around. It is usually very quiet. Then people chosen from within the ward (church unit) speak. When it is time to sing the songs are written in the hymn books. People understand that our small children have a hard time staying reverent. The second hour is Sunday school. There is a class for adults, and different classes for the children. The young children sing songs and talk about Jesus. The older children discuss the example of Jesus as it applies to school. For the adults, the teacher reads a passage of scripture and then invites comments. When I have something to share I often raise my hand. The third hour the adults are divided into a class for the women (called Relief Society) and the men (called Priesthood). The Priesthood talk about the difficulty of being patient, or leading the family prayer. Lots of discussion about being a good father and husband. The women talk about their roles as a mother, a wife, and/or in the workplace. Beyond Sunday service I visit families in the ward each month, and serve in my church calling. Everyone has a job even though no one is paid to do it. I try to visit the temple each month, read scriptures daily, pray each morning and night, and pray before every meal. The church of Christ affects me on a daily basis. 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?

Scott
The "Word of Wisdom" is the Lord's law of health. The title suggests that we need to be wise with how we treat our bodies. The Lord has forbidden coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs. Tea refers specifically to black, white, or green tea. Any Mormon who partakes of these substances has committed a sin, and should repent. Why has the Lord banned coffee and tea? I don't know. But the Word of Wisdom began in 1833, and forbidding tobacco or alcohol seemed silly then. Since 1833 many prophets have added or clarified the Word of Wisdom. Most recently the prophet has declared that the Lord forbids the recreational use of drugs such as Marijuana, whether or not it is legalized. The prophets have also counseled us to avoid any addiction. For that reason the prophet has warned against many addicting substances. Although it is not a commandment, church leaders have cautioned against caffeinated drinks such as Coke. Anyone who is addicted to a drink - whether or not it is due to caffeine - should repent to enjoy a fullness of the Spirit of Christ. What is not well known is that the Word of Wisdom also encourages us to live healthy. We should eat grains, fruits and vegetables. We should eat meat sparingly, get plenty of rest, and by physically fit. I think I would say I do not live the Word of Wisdom perfectly yet, because I could be more healthy. I have learned as I draw closer to the Savior I want to take better care of my body. Show more Show less

What is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' attitude regarding homosexuality and same sex marriage?

Scott
I know this is a sensitive because some people are unkind to those with same-sex feelings, and this is very unChristlike. I do not think of my friends as heterosexual or homosexual, I think of them as my friends. I will explain what the Lord has said, but I do not look down on anyone who believes differently. Marriage between a man and a woman is different. It is a union that can create children. This was ordained by God to be the way to have a family and for us to progress. Being a husband and father has taught me lessons I could not have learned any other way. Some people are born with feelings of homosexuality. Everyone faces some challenge when their desire does not match God's plan for them. Other people have a draw towards smoking, or a temper that tends towards violence. It is God's will that sex is only between a man and a woman. Those who have same-sex desires should choose to follow God's will. To say "it's impossible" is to deny the power of God. God gave us a part of His spirit (Romans 8:15) and we can choose even when it is difficult. Those who select to keep sexual relations between a man and a woman legally married are promised blessings. After 10 years of marriage I testify the Lord has been very kind to me. The spirit of Christ helps guide me and my wife as we grow in our duties as parents. I support the legal stance that the union of husband and wife should be treated differently, taught differently in school, and maintained as a holy union. Show more Show less

Do Mormons practice polygamy?

Scott
We are not polygamists, but there are several groups that use the name "Mormon", and some of them do practice polygamy. This is why you might hear on TV about a polygamist Mormons, but they are not the same religion. I have one wife, and I cannot try to marry another woman, the Lord would remove His Spirit and I would lose the blessings that come through His church. The real question should not be about polygamy, it's about doing what the Lord commands. In the Bible we read that Abraham had more than one wife, but we don't focus on that , we think of how faithful we was to follow the Lord. Christian, Muslim, and Jewish religions all believe Abraham was righteous, so we all believe God accepted polygamy at some point. In Revelation 21:12 the gate of heaven has the names of the sons of Isreal, who were polygamists. They are honored for their righteousness. In the 1800's the Mormon church did practice polygamy because the Lord commanded it. I personally have a great-great-grandfather who had multiple wives, and my family is descended from one of them. I am grateful my grandfather was faithful to the commandment given to him and that he raised children who learned to obey the Lord. In 1890 that was stopped because the Lord commanded it. Our duty is to obey the Lord, not to debate the reasons. A happy family is one that follows Christ, and the Lord has asked me to treat my wife like the queen she truly is. I hope I learn to love her the way Christ loves us. Show more Show less

Who founded Mormonism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Scott
God founded the Mormon Church. The first members of the church were Adam and Eve. All those who have tried to follow Christ were saints of the Church of Jesus Christ in their time. These are the latter days before Christ comes for the second time, so the church is named The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The name Mormon is a nickname, coming from the Book of Mormon. It was meant to be an insult (saying we are not really the church of Jesus Christ), but members today are proud to be connected to an ancient prophet such as Mormon. In recent years this church was organized through Joseph Smith in 1830. Joseph was only 14 years old when he was called by God to organize those who wanted to learn about Christ. He was humbly seeking to know God's will for him personally, but through him the Lord revealed some truths that could not be found in any church on the Earth. To be a legally recognized religion Joseph Smith was declared the founder. We do not consider Joseph to be the one that started our church - he was only a tool that the Lord used to restore some important truths. Our religion was not "founded" in 1830, it was "reorganized". It is the same church as Moses, Noah, Peter, and Mormon attended. We are the Saints in the latter days who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ. Christ is our leader, and He founded His church thousands of years ago. Show more Show less