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Hi I'm Joel

I'm from Southern California, and I'm a master's student in mechanical engineering. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I am attending graduate school in mechanical engineering. I like building things. Because I live in an apartment, my building projects are kept pretty small--I customize toy cars and make dioramas. I also like getting out and mountain biking or playing Ultimate. My wife and I have been married four years and we have one very smiley baby boy. He brings so much joy to our lives! We are learning to be parents, and as hard as that can be, it is a wonderful experience.

Why I am a Mormon

I have been raised a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for my whole life. I know that the teachings of Jesus Christ (the gospel) bring my family close together, and allow us to have better relationships than we would without them. But even more importantly than that, I know that the gospel as taught in this church is true. I have prayed many times to know whether or not the things I learn at church are true; I have prayed to know whether or not the Book of Mormon is true, I have prayed to know if the teachings of the current prophet are true. Each time I have received a gentle confirmation that what I am learning is right, and that it is the path that my Heavenly Father wants me to follow. That confirmation--the reassuring feeling of peace and confidence--comes from God through the Holy Spirit.

How I live my faith

I enjoy going to church. I like having a chance to interact with others who, like me, are doing the best they can to live a good life and follow the example of Jesus Christ. I like the discussions we have in Sunday school classes, and the things I learn from the examples of others. Church is important because it improves my life the rest of the week. I learn how to better care for my family, how to serve my neighbors, how to forgive those who have hurt me...and then I get to go home and try it myself. I make mistakes, but because Jesus Christ suffered for my sins, I can repent, be forgiven, and try again.

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

We believe that only through God's grace can we be saved. We are taught that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), and we are also taught that "no unclean thing can dwell with God" (1 Nephi 10:21). There is no way that our own efforts can cleanse us from sin. The best that our own efforts can do is to bring us unto Christ, and it is through His merits, His perfection, His atonement, and indeed His grace that we are made pure. One of the prophets in the Book of Mormon, Jacob, was told by his father that "thou art redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer" (2 Nephi 2:3). God does have conditions under which we can receive this incredible blessing—He will not force salvation upon anybody who does not want it. The same prophet, Jacob, later told the people of his land to "cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life" (2 Nephi 10:23). I love that verse! We are free, and we are given the choice of where we want to end up. But through his prophets, God has made clear how we must make the choice: through our actions. Again, our actions don't grant us salvation; instead they demonstrate to God that we desire access to His grace. "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God,...and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved" (2 Nephi 10:24). Show more Show less