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Hi I'm Alan

I grew up in Canada and then in Hawaii, I speak Japanese, currently work in the travel industry, and, I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I am a dad. I am happily married, and I have two wonderful teenage children. I graduated from college and graduate school. I currently work in the travel industry in Hawaii. I enjoy serving others in lay Church assignments and responsibilities, and during my personal time, I enjoy keeping physically fit through regular excercise.

Why I am a Mormon

Although I was raised as a Mormon, I choose to be a Mormon because of special experiences I had and continue to have with my Father in Heaven. I have not seen Him, but I have felt his Spirit on many occasions. Probably the experiences that had the greatest impact on me and that served as my conversion experience and anchor of faith today followed shortly after my graduation from high school in Hawaii. After graduation, I began to attend college in Hawaii. As I entered my second or third semester of college, the reality that I was quickly approaching 19 years of age began to weigh heavily on my mind. In the Mormon church, worthy male members are ecouraged to serve a two-year mission at that age, and at that time I realized that I really did not know for myself if the Mormon church was true and knew that without that convition, I would not be able to effectively serve a mission. I knew that I needed to know for myself that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was true in order to dedicate two-years of my life to missionary service. Well, it just so happened that at that time, I was taking a course on the New Testament. My professor was a wonderful teacher. He used great skill in opening our understanding of the expressions of Paul and the other Apostles and leaders whose words grace the pages of the New Testament. I had done my part and had been studying the assigned scripture readings for the class. When we reached the book of James, my professor emphasized the scripture James 1:5. He reminded us that this was the scripture that left a powerful impression on Joseph Smith. This was the scripture that inspired Joseph to seek an answer from God pertaining to which Church was true. It left an impact on me also. That same night when I was preparing to turn in for the evening, I got what seemed to me to be a strange notion. I thought something along the line of “well, I have been studying the scriptures I have been assigned to read. . . . maybe if I ask if these are true or not I will receive an answer too.” So, as I knelt beside my bed and began my evening prayers I asked my Heavenly Father if what I had been studying was His truth. I did not know what to expect. To be honest with you, my expectations were rather low. It was not that I did not have faith in God's ability to answer prayers, but rather that I questioned whether I had really done enough to qualify for an answer. However, upon asking Heavenly Father that question, I began to feel something. At first I thought my mind was playing games with me, but as I knelt at the side of my bed the feeling began to envelope my entire being and was so strong that I then realized that it was not something my mind was creating but came from a power without. This feeling, this force, this impression, it was from God! I do not have the words to describe it. You may have experienced something similar and understand this well. The best description I can put in words is to say that it was a feeling of overwhelming power, a feeling of love, and it seemed to touch every part of my being. It was also an uplifting and edifying feeling. It made my entire being wanted to shout for joy. Incredibly, it was familiar feeling. I knew it was not the first time I had felt it. However, I could not remember ever experiencing such an impression so powerful in my entire life. Nonetheless, it seemed so familiar. I can only ascertain that it was something I had experienced often before I was born into this world. That impression must have lasted ten to fifteen minutes. I knew it was from God, and I knew it was an answer to my prayer. I had experienced a powerful witness of the truthfulness of the New Testament. The Holy Ghost had spoken to my soul. I knew for the first time in this life with a surety that God lived! I knew that Jesus was the Christ because God had answered me through His Spirit. He had confirmed that the New Testament was His Word, and that book testifies over and over that Jesus is the Christ. Well the impression eventually began to fade and finally left me. As the impression left, I concluded my prayer and then contemplated what I had experienced. I began to feel a sense of real fear. Why? Because I looked at my life and the many foolish mistakes I had made. I no longer had an excuse. I now knew with an assureity that God lived and I knew that He required that we keep all of His commandments. I knew that I had to make changes in my life, and I knew I had an obligation to serve Him and to serve Him well. I ask you, “was my testimony complete?” To that my answer is no. I knew that God lived and that Jesus was the Christ, but at that point in time, I did not have a confirmation concerning the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. As a result, I made it my aim to gain that testimony. I dug up a Companion Study Guide for the Book of Mormon that I confess I had used very little during an earlier semester’s study of the Book of Mormon. With that companion guide I commenced my first serious study of this book of scripture. Over a period of approximately three-months, I carefully read the Book of Mormon and the accompanying study guide until I completed the entire text. During that journey I had many experiences with the Spirit, but, due to a lack of a keen spiritual sense at that time in my life, I was unable to recognize that what I was feeling at that time was indeed the Spirit. It was only several months after the fact that I was able to recognize that. However, as I concluded the Book of Mormon, I followed the promise of the prophet Moroni found in the Book of Mormon in Moroni 10:3-5; a promise that if we asked God with real intent that He would reveal the trutfulness of the Book of Mormon through the power of the Holy Ghost. Once again, I knelt beside my bed and in my evening prayer I asked God if the Book of Mormon was true. I received an answer to that prayer. It was almost identical to the experience I had a few months earlier with the New Testament. As a result, I came to know that the Book of Mormon was also His truth, and I knew that Joseph Smith had to be a true prophet of God because this scripture came to us through him. Shortly, thereafter, I submitted my application to serve a full-time mission. I knew this work was His work, and I knew it was my duty to share it with others. Therefore, I was determined that I was going to serve a mission for the Lord. In preparation for that missionary calling, I enrolled in a Missionary Preparation Course. I wanted to better prepare myself. I do not remember the name of the teacher. I do remember one experience. During the middle of that course, the Mormon prophet Spencer W. Kimball suddenly passed away. At the passing of the Mormon prophet, the most senior living Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is sustained as the next President of the Church. At that time, that man was Ezra Taft Benson. Well, at our next class session, our Missionary Preparation course instructor challenged all of us in that class to go to the Lord to receive for ourselves a personal witness of whether or not Ezra Taft Benson was truly the man the Lord had selected to lead the Church at that time. Well, I took our instructor up on his challenge, and that night, once again, I knelt beside my bed and asked our Heavenly Father if Ezra Taft Benson was truly his selection to lead the Church. Again, I felt the Holy Ghost encompass my entire being. Again, I received an answer to an important question. I now knew that this was truly His Church. I believed that to be the case, but this answer clearly revealed to me that this was His Church, and that President Benson was His chosen prophet. Well, I have since felt the Spirit on many occasions, but these three occasions were very special and very sacred to me. I cannot deny that I received a powerful witness of the truth on these three separate occasions. The Spirit truly confirmed to my entire being that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that the Book of Mormon and Bible are the Word of God, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is His Church, and that we have a true and living prophet who leads this Church this day. I know this. I really know it to be true. Today, as I continue to live by the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I find happiness and joy. I experience the feelings of the Holy Ghost almost daily, and these daily experiences are a constant reminder to me of those special spiritual experiences I had years ago. And, that is why I choose to be a Mormon. Oh, and by the way, I did get to serve that full-time mission. I was called at the age of 19-years old to serve a two-year mission for the Mormon church in Japan. And, that is why I speak Japanese (and I use Japanese almost daily in my employment--what a blessing)!

How I live my faith

I live my faith by first and foremost trying to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ with my family within our home. The family is ordained of God. I really believe that. In 1995 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." This declaration reminds us of principles that tie family to our purpose in life and to God. In our home we try to apply these principles. We found that a simple list of practical actions helps us successfully do so. Our family refers to these as the "Seven F's"—family prayer, family Scripture study, family service, family fun, family home evening, family council and frequent temple worship. Our family tries to start and end each day by kneeling together in prayer. We take turns so every member can offer at least one prayer each week. We also strive to make time daily to read from the Scriptures as a family. Each member reads a Scripture verse, and then we talk about what that verse means. We continue reading until we complete a single page of Scriptures. We also look for weekly opportunities as a family to serve others, and strive to have at least one weekly fun activity for the entire family. Those activities rarely cost much and often occur within the walls of our home, such as playing a board game or watching a DVD. Our family home evening on Mondays consists of an opening and closing prayer, Scripture study, the singing of hymns and a short spiritual lesson. We take turns weekly so each one has an opportunity to teach. On Sunday evenings we also do our best to hold a family council where we review schedules and plan the week. In this meeting we ensure that we schedule the other six F's into the week, discuss important issues facing our family and solicit input from all family members in an effort to reach solutions to family concerns. Frequent temple worship involves regular attendance at a nearby LDS temple. We have found that these "Seven F's" help our family run smoothly, grow closer together, reduce unhappy surprises and draw us closer to God. Ultimately, our family is strengthened. We are happier because of it. I am confident that this is pleasing to a loving Father in heaven. After all, families are ordained of God. I also currently have the opportunity to serve in a lay leadership position in our local congregation. I truly enjoy the opportunity of serving others and helping them to draw nearer to their Heavenly Father and to realize their potential as literal spirit sons and daughters of God. I also live my faith by serving as a hometeacher. In this capacity, I visit five wonderful families who are members of our local congregation. I try to visit each family at least monthly. Each visit normally consists of a prayer to open the visit, a short spiritual message, an inquiry to see if there is anything I can do to be of help to the family, and a prayer to close the visit. These visits are usually very short but extremely sweet. I can say that I truly love each of the families I have the opportunity to be a hometeacher to. In fact, I think I am the greater benefactor of our visits because I become a better person each time I visit with these families and watch how the Lord blesses their lives.

What is a ward/stake/branch?

Alan
A ward is the term Mormons use for a local congregation. These wards, or local congregations, usually cover a geographical area, and each ward usually consists of a few hundred church members. Each ward has a bishop (similar to a pastor) who is the spiritual lay leader of the ward. Each bishop has two adult male counselors who are also lay leaders and who assist the bishop in his responsibilities as the spiritual leader of the ward. In addition to the bishop and his two counselors, each ward usually has several programs with lay leaders to help strengthen families and individuals that belong to the ward. There is a Sunday School program (for Gospel teaching and learning), a program for the young women (ages 12 through 18; and appropriately referred to as the Young Women's Program), a program for the young men (also ages 12 through 18; and also appropriately referred to as the Young Men's Program), a program for young children ages 18 months through 11 years old (we call that the Primary), a program for adult females (we call that the Relief Society), and a program for adult males (we call that the Priesthood program). A branch is the term Mormons use for smaller local congregations. These branches, or local congregations, also cover a geographical area, and each branch usually consists of a few dozen to several hundred church members. In place of a bishop, each branch has a branch president (similar to a Mormon bishop) who is the spiritual lay leader of the branch. Similar to a bishop, wach branch president also has two male lay leaders who serve as his counselors. In form, the branch is almost identical to a ward with the same programs listed in my description of a ward above. Probably the largest difference between a ward and branch is that a branch is usually a smaller congregation and that it has a branch president instead of a bishop. A stake is a term Mormons use for a grouping of local church congregations within a larger geographical area. Each stake emcompasses several wards and branches, but usually consists of no fewer than six wards/branches and no more than twelve wards/branches. Each stake has a stake president who is the spriritual lay leader of the stake. He assists the bishops and branch presidents of the wards and branches within the stake by providing counsel and training to those leaders. In a nut shell, the stake president ministers to those who minister within the boundaries of the stake that he serves. Each stake president has two adult male counselors who are also lay leaders and who assist the stake president in his responsibilities as the spiritual leader of the stake. In addition to the stake president and his two counselors, each stake has twelve additional male lay leaders who are called high councilors. These twelve high councilors also assist the stake president and his two counselors to train and strengthen ward and branch leaders within the stake (with a special focus on strengthening the adult males of the church). Each stake also has other lay leaders such as a Stake Sunday School President (with two counselors) whose responsibility is to train and strengthen the ward and branch Sunday School program leaders and teachers, a Stake Young Women's President (with two counselors) whose responsibility is to train and strengthen the ward and branch Young Women program leaders and teachers, a Stake Young Men's President (with two counselors) whose responsibility is to train and strengthen the ward and branch Young Men program leaders and teachers, a Stake Relief Society President (with two counselors) whose responsibility is to train and strengthen the ward and branch Relief Society program leaders and teachers, and a Stake Primary President (with two counselors) whose responsibility is to train and strengthen the ward and branch Primary program leaders and teachers. All responsibilities, including leadership responsibilities, in wards/stakes/branches are lay positions. No one is paid for their service. Show more Show less