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Hi I'm Richard

I am a US historian, an academic librarian--and a Mormon.

About Me

My PhD concentrates on US civil rights history, and I work in a university library in the South. My chief hobby is being a "Jack of all trades, master of none," but I cook (and clean) at home for the family. When I have time I am a woodworker and repair or bind books by hand.

Why I am a Mormon

How does one become a convert when you've been born and raised in the church? By questioning everything and listening carefully to the answers. Lots of folks do the first part, but I find that few do the latter. In looking at American religious history as a scholar I've seen that my church is one of the few that does not expect me to swallow everything whole. Thoughtful reason has a place along with faith. I have friends in and out of the church who try to rely wholly on one or the other in their pursuit of truths. With a living, prophetic connexion to divinity, I feel the church provides the best place for one who truly seeks and is aware of how limited they are. I am a Mormon because I think carefully about my faith, and not because I do not.

How I live my faith

I have led children's music, been a lay leader (a bishop), taught Sunday school, and currently sit on the stake high council. No matter where I am called to serve I see church members ministering to the needs and abilities of individuals without notoriety. My present calling asks me to travel quite a bit, but I enjoy visiting the wards and branches (large and small congregations) in our surrounding area. The personal sacrifice of financing my own travel is a small consideration (even given current gas prices). In 2009 I helped coordinate our church's response to the ice storm that shredded forests and knocked out power across western Kentucky. I saw 400 people drop what they were doing with only a few day's notice, to spend a long day cutting and stacking downed tree limbs. Many had driven several hours, hauling their own food and supplies, before through a long, exhausting day cutting downed trees and clearing yards for folks they did not know. We worked alongside members of other faiths, but I was pleased at how quickly and effectively our call to service was activated and heeded.

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

Jesus Christ did, but as in ancient times, he did so by authorizing mortals to speak in his name and to carry out his work. Joseph Smith Jr. was ordained by Peter, James and John, the Lord's own apostles, in 1830. That is why this is "the church of Jesus Christ" and not the church of Joseph Smith. With priesthood authority back on the earth, that line of apostolic authority has continued unbroken to the present time. When the church was large and stable enough, a new quorum of apostles was chosen and ordained in 1835, and today "the prophet" serves in that position as the senior apostle. Like the seven ministers mentioned in Acts, today local leaders--stake presidents and bishops--are further authorized to work with individual congregations. I've been there and seen the Spirit working. The church is headed by Jesus Christ, not by Thomas Monson or anyone else. They are merely the agents. Show more Show less