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Hi I'm Colton

I grew up as the child of nomadic herdsmen. I am a freshwater fisheries biologist. I'm a "Mormon".

About Me

I'm the fourth of five kids, born into a ranching family from eastern Arizona. Before my parents retired, our cows moved up and down the mountain from summer to winter, and we followed them by moving twice a year (hence the "nomadic herdsmen"). I'm a PhD student in Ecology; specifically, I study how fish communities respond to forest fires. I work in the spectacular Tushar Mountains of south-central Utah. I'm fairly outdoorsy - some of my favorite activities are fishing, camping, swimming, snowboarding, hiking, kayaking/boating, and soccer. I love reading books, going out to eat, and watching movies.

Why I am a Mormon

I am a highly scientific and logical person, and faith is difficult for me. Honestly, if I hadn't been born into a Latter-day Saint (Mormon) family, I'm not 100% sure I would have been able to accept the church. The faith of my parents, family, and friends helped me through difficult times as a child and teenager until one day I actually felt an answer to my prayer. When the moment arrived that I wanted to know whether the church was true more than I wanted any other knowledge on earth - God spoke to me. I can't perfectly describe the experience, but it was unforgettably impressionable. I now know, independent of anyone or anything else, that God lives, that I am His son, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His vehicle for helping us make it through our earthly existence. I really don't want to sound cliche, but I am a Mormon because I know with certainty that it is the Creator's path for me. There are still a lot of things that I don't know or understand, but I can never deny that God has shown me this much.

How I live my faith

I live my faith on a day-to-day basis. It's one thing to know that the church is true, but sometimes it is another thing to be the perfect Mormon. I try to do my best, though. I do appreciate that the organization of the church makes it simpler to participate and interact. For instance, I have a few friends that I am asked to check up on every month, and someone likewise comes to visit me monthly to make sure I am doing well. Also, everyone is given an assignment in their home congregation (like teaching Sunday School or organizing activities), and when we all do our part, the church rolls right along smoothly. It is a remarkable system, considering everyone, including the Bishop (our version of pastor or preacher) is a volunteer.

How can we stop the spread and influence of pornography?

Colton
People all too often (Mormons included) focus all of their attentions on teaching their children how to avoid things that we are NOT allowed to do. Granted, that is important, but any discussion of right and wrong must be allowed to include things that are RIGHT. Parents rarely talk to their maturing kids about how to give someone an appropriate kiss, or about holding hands, or about building trust and love and setting boundaries so that they can maintain a healthy and wholesome relationship. It is important for anyone trying to avoid pornography to understand what a healthy family relationship means. This kind of positive reinforcement will much more fully illuminate the problem with pornography than simply talking about why pornography is bad or how it is so addictive or demeaning or spiritually dangerous. Thorough knowledge of the righteous alternative will help anyone grasp what is so pernicious and evil about pornography, or any activity that endangers spiritual happiness. Teaching about the evils of pornography without teaching about how to have a beautiful and healthy relationship is like teaching people how to drive by only showing them pictures of traffic accidents. Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons drink coffee, tea, or alcohol? What is the Mormon Church’s law of health and proper diet?

Colton
The all-too-common answer is because coffee and tea have caffeine, and alcohol and drugs impair your judgement and increase your risk of making poor decisions. While these are valid personal reasons to live the code of health (we call it the "Word of Wisdom"), the real reason is because we have been asked by the Lord and His prophets to do so. He was under no obligation to explain further. Unfortunately, in our modern world it is easier to say "caffeine is bad for you" than to say "I believe in a living prophet, and I know and trust that he reveals the will of God, including the Word of Wisdom". As time passes we are learning more and more about the negative side effects of these substances, and that is great, but these are not our principal reasons for obeying. Surficial living of the Word of Wisdom misses out on a lot of what it has to offer - it teaches us about moderation in our diets and in life. We should avoid addictions of all kinds - not only substance abuse, but video games, media, sports, and even work can all prevent us from maximizing our lives if we become addicted to them. And we mustn't forget what is often glossed over in the Word of Wisdom: the "do's" - eat lots of grains and vegetables, fruits and herbs, and meat in moderation. We reap not only physical, but spiritual, social, and even financial blessings from obeying. Show more Show less

What is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' attitude regarding homosexuality and same sex marriage?

Colton
The world's arguments regarding a person's genetic or cultural susceptibility toward homosexuality are completely irrelevant. We all, unfortunately, carry our individual cornucopias of temptations, and whether you are naturally or socially predisposed to alcoholism or dishonesty or homosexuality or violence or any other immoral inclination has absolutely nothing to do with the rightness or wrongness of acting upon that temptation. We cannot afford as a society to attempt to make ourselves feel better about committing sin by arguing that we cannot help it. That is a slippery slope that will end in personal, familial, and even national chaos and destruction. We believe in striving to raise righteous families, and in marriage between a man and a woman. The scriptures have made it abundantly clear that homosexual behavior is wrong. What is less obvious is that having temptations of one kind or another is okay and even expected. It is what we do with those temptations that determines our standing before God. Even Christ himself was tempted. Whether the temptations eventually go away or not, we are here on earth to learn to become better than our animal selves. You are a child of God, and you are neither defined nor restricted by the category of your temptations - you decide what to make of your life by how you act. As long as we follow God's rules (even though it may be difficult), we are welcome to participate fully in His church and gospel. Come sit right next to me. Show more Show less

What are some things that tell you there is a God?

Colton
I have the good fortune of having grown up outdoors. My father is a rancher, and I have spent a great deal of time knocking around fields and woods and rivers. In all my experience, I have never understood why people insist that science and religion are mutually exclusive. None of us understand exactly how the earth and solar systems were created. We have all seen life change and...gasp...evolve...right in front of our eyes. Does that mean that God doesn't use evolution, or that every single step of creation was micromanaged by deity? God's timetable is not ours. I see the handiwork of God every time I look through a telescope. I can't imagine there being no God when I consider the vastness and clockwork organization of the universe. The incomprehensible scale of beauty displayed by the Earth and the cosmos is a painting orchestrated by the great Artist Himself. Yet all of this pales compared to the seed of godliness that I feel within myself. Mankind is the greatest evidence of God in existence; we are the culmination of creation. That one species could be so self aware, so loving, so violent, so hateful, so compassionate, is evidence of how unique we are as children of God. Despite the fact that I sometimes fight it, I know that the love that I am capable of feeling and the spiritual yearnings that I have and the peace and contentment that come from doing what is right teach me that I belong to something larger, something eternal; that I am not my body. I am a son of God. Show more Show less