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Hi I'm Seth

I'm a university professor, a father of four boys, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm a professor who studies the influence of media in society — specifically, the way digital technologies are shaping journalism. I care about this because I grew up in a journalism family and worked as a journalist — as a reporter and editor for a number of newspapers — before going back to school to get a Ph.D. and pursue a career in academia. I'm married to a writer who is one remarkable wife. Together we have four boys, bursting with energy, who keep us on our toes. We recently moved to Minnesota, and absolutely love it here. I have lived in several places around the country and around the world, including Oregon, Miami, D.C., the Dominican Republic, Spain, and, most recently, the meteorologically divergent locales of Texas and Minnesota. I have come to love and appreciate the people and cultures of each of these places, and of the role that diversity — in backgrounds, in ideas, in politics — should play in a healthy society. Being a professor is not the carefree life some might imagine, especially for someone on the tenure track. But in the spare time I manage to find, I like to discuss Big Ideas with my wife, play basketball with friends, wrestle with my boys, watch BYU football, and travel as far and widely as possible. My favorite place to be is anywhere in Europe — with Finland and Spain at the top of the list — and I hope to visit Asia, Africa, South America, and the all the rest as soon as time and money will allow.

Why I am a Mormon

I'm a Mormon because I believe in the "system" of Mormonism — both its doctrine and its program of worship. There are two parts to this. First, as I have studied and lived the teachings of this church, I have come to know for myself that it's true — that God lives and Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith was their chosen prophet in our era, that the Book of Mormon that Joseph translated indeed is a true book of scripture like the Bible, and that Mormonism is directed by modern revelation. Secondly, I am a Mormon because this church stretches me: its program of volunteer ministry and emphasis on fellowship has put me in a position to step outside my comfort zone and serve others (even when I don't want to!), and that has helped me become a better person, happier and more fulfilled. Between these two pillars (the church's doctrine and its organizational design), I have found my purpose and place in life.

How I live my faith

Being a Mormon is a 24/7 kind of religion—you don't just show to church on Sundays and call it good for the week. There is an expectation of daily devotion, of consistent prayer, scripture study, and service to family and others. Every morning, when I get on my knees to pray, I'm reminded that I'm a Mormon, and that a certain standard of living flows from that. I'm far from perfect, but I try to use those standards—of honesty, kindness, helpfulness, loyalty, and so forth—as the guide for how I act in my roles as husband, father, and professor. In the Mormon faith, there's also an expectation that everyone pitches in to make the congregation a real success. This means that everyone has a "calling," or some kind of assignment that involves serving in a particular capacity, and these callings change from time to time. At the moment, one of my callings is to teach a class at church to a group of other men about my age. As a university professor, I love teaching, so I appreciate the opportunity to talk about religion in this kind of setting on Sundays.