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Hi I'm John

I'm a life-long Utahn. I'm a dad and husband, a software consultant, and, most definitely, I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I work in the software business as a consultant for libraries--and I enjoy that a lot. I also enjoy sailing and playing racquetball. And I like to read all kinds of things (no wonder I get along with librarians!). I have an accomplished and beloved wife, two wonderful daughters, and a great son that we adopted from Bulgaria. We are pleased to have added to our family my son's wife (and their new baby) and my elder daughter's husband.

Why I am a Mormon

Although I grew up in a Mormon home in Utah County--probably the most Mormon county in the US, I'm a skeptical person. So, I'm not a Mormon just because my parents were. I'm a Mormon because I have had sacred experiences that convinced me that this was God's true church. My prayers to know if there really is a God, if Joseph Smith was a prophet who saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, if the Book of Mormon was true, if I should serve as a missionary--all these have been answered with a subtle, but most emphatic "Yes." The great thing about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that you do not have take anyone else's word for it. During my wonderful time as a missionary in Korea, I was privileged to see a number of people take the same steps I had taken: read the Book of Mormon, pray, attend church to feel the Spirit of God there--decide for themselves. Each time someone did this with a sincere heart, they received the same answers I did. My life has been so blessed by being a member of Christ's church. I've been blessed to court and marry a lovely daughter of God--and to do so in a temple of the Lord by priesthood authority that bound us together in heaven as well as on earth. We were blessed to have two daughters and to add an adopted son to our family also. I've been privileged to be part of a loving community of saints: people who have helped me and my wife through tough times, loved and taught my children, and allowed me to return those gifts to them. The Gospel and my faith in the atonement of Jesus has allowed me to repent, feel forgiven, and grow stronger in faith and hope. God has truly given to me "good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over."

How I live my faith

My family and I pray together morning and night and before meals. We read scriptures together in the mornings. I try hard to be a good father and husband. I have had a variety of assignments in our church congregations. One of the most special was serving as the clerk (record-keeper) for our congregation. During my time in that assignment, I worked closely with two different bishops (the head of a Mormon congregation, or ward, is a man who is a member of the congregation and serves as bishop for a few years--it's not a paid assignment). From my vantage point, behind the scenes, I saw these fine men's impressive love and service. I also was able to see the other members' efforts in our ward: so many people working in so many ways to bless the lives of others is a great thing. All adults who actively participate in church also have an assignment to visit specific members of the ward each month. Over the years, I've become close friends with families that I've visited and delivered spiritual messages to. And, in turn we've been blessed to have wonderful people visit us and uplift and help us. One of the men who visited us came and delivered a wonderful gospel message on Sunday, and later in the week, came over and helped me unplug a toilet--that's the kind of neighbor and friend I hope to be too.

Can you tell me about Mormon customs: how you dress for church, what holidays you celebrate, etc.?

John
Mormons where I live, dress and behave in ways that would not seem odd to typical, main-stream Americans. In years past, I traveled a lot on business; when I went to formal business meetings, I wore the same suit I wore to church on Sundays. We wear nice clothes to church, but there's no particular pattern or standard. We celebrate the same holidays others do here in the US: like Memorial Day and the 4th of July; also religious holidays like Easter and Christmas (The 4th of July is special because it's the birthday of one of my daughters--she gets fireworks on her birthday every year.) There are some differences: although we often have New Years Eve parties, no alcoholic drinks would be served (but we'd still have a good time). While we do not drink alcohol as part of celebrations when others might, we do enjoy other, typical activities: games, dancing, singing, and playing musical instruments. (Our 4th of July daughter plays the saxophone in her school's marching band.) We believe in dressing modestly, but that does not prevent us from enjoying swimming or playing sports. As a missionary, I saw Korean Mormons observe the usual holidays of their culture and country. Wherever Mormons live, our customs are not all that different from those of our non-member countrymen. Sometimes the customs get modified or adapted to align with principles we believe, but most likely, if you were to join a Mormon family or church group in celebrating a familiar holiday, you'd enjoy it. 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?

John
Entrance to temples is restricted for at least two reasons: First, in the temple, we make sacred covenants (promises to God) to obey his commandments and to consecrate (dedicate) our lives to building up his kingdom. We believe such promises must not be made lightly--indeed, we accept that violating them will result in God's condemnation. So, only people who are committed to keeping covenants with God are allowed to enter the temple. As Jesus warned his disciples about turning away from the Gospel after receiving it, it is better not to enter into covenants you cannot keep than it is to make and then break them. Secondly, the temple is a place of holiness and, in the temple, we symbolically move from the mortal realm into the presence of God and Jesus Christ. To maintain that sacredness and holiness, those who are simply curious or who might mock what is there are not permitted to enter. Remember the respect that Jesus insisted be shown to the temple in Jerusalem; we believe in showing the same kind of respect for the holiness of our modern temples. Some aspects of the covenants and ceremonies in the temple are things we do not talk of outside of the temple. God requires that we maintain their sacredness by not speaking of them outside those sacred precincts. People who are antagonistic toward the church tend to make distorted (or absurd) claims about what goes on in temples. All that happens in temples is uplifting and in harmony with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Show more Show less