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Hi I'm John

Born, raised, and still living in Virginia, I'm a high school teacher, husband, father, grandfather. And I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I teach history at a small high school in Virginia. This is my chosen profession, and I enjoy it immensely. I can honestly say that I enjoy getting up every day and going to work, and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. But I do have a hobby or two. I enjoy woodworking and I enjoy playing the guitar. About 10 years ago, I wed the two hobbies and began making acoustic guitars in my workshop. When I'm not at work or at Church or doing something with the family, I'm probably building a guitar.

Why I am a Mormon

About 35 years ago, I tagged along for lunch with a fellow I worked with and one of his buddies. During lunch, the buddy talked almost non-stop with my friend about the Mormon Church. When I got back to work, I couldn't stop thinking about the things that fellow said, and I wanted to know how he could know those things. The next day, I casually stopped by his department and struck up a conversation that eventually led to my questions. And my questions led to an invitation to meet two missionaries who would teach me about the Church. A few nights later, he introduced me to Sister Beck and Sister Guymon--two missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During the next 5 to 6 weeks, they taught me and my wife the gospel. They encouraged us to read The Book of Mormon and to pray about it. For several weeks, I read from The Book of Mormon and prayed to know if it is true. I grew discouraged when an answer did not present itself. Then, one morning as I prayed, I felt a strong influence of the Spirit. It was as if it said to me, "The sisters have been teaching you the commandments, but you are still not living them." You see, they had taught me about something called the "Word of Wisdom," which instructs Latter-day Saints to abstain from drinking coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages. It also proscribes the use of tobacco. That morning, I dropped my cigarettes into the waste can and began my new life as a non-smoker. A few days later, I read from The Book of Mormon and then knelt beside my bed. Again, I asked Heavely Father in prayer if this book and the teachings of the missionaries were true. I had no sooner spoken these words than a feeling of warmth enveloped me. I have experienced this feeling during other sacred moments since then, but before that day, I had never felt anything like this. I cannot fully describe it in words, other than to say that I felt warm, loved, and at peace. And yet it was so much more. When I closed my prayer that morning and rose to begin my day, I knew that The Book of Mormon was true, that the teachings of the missionaries were true, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's Church. These realities have been confirmed many times since then, but I shall never forget that morning long ago. We moved from the home where this took place just a short time after, but it will always be a special place to me.

How I live my faith

Our children are grown now and have families of their own, but I still recall habits we developed during their growing-up years. We had family prayer each day, and we would try to read the scriptures together. Each week, we held what is known in the Church as "Family Home Evening"--a time for all family members to be together, to sing, to pray, to teach one another a gospel-centered lesson, to play a game, and to have a dessert. At least, this was our routine. Other families might do something a little different, but the important thing is to set aside a night each week to be together and to really, seriously interact as a family. The children are grown; grandchildren have come into the picture. But still my wife and I begin each day with family prayer and reading the scriptures together. We're not quite as consistent about Family Home Evening as we were when the children were at home, but we still like to turn the TV off on Monday nights and spend an hour or so talking with each other about a chosen gospel topic. While we have always served in the Church in a variety of ways (and still do), I still think those times of learning about the gospel in our home are among the most precious experiences we have had.

Mormons believe Jesus Christ is their Savior. Why do we need a Savior?

We have all come into this life from the presence of our Heavenly Father--a perfect being who is the Father of our spirit. He sent us here to see if we would keep all of his commandments. He wants us to return to his presence where we too can become fully perfected. But no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. If any one of us does a little self examination (and we're really honest about it), we have to admit that we have done things in our life that we wish we hadn't done. In effect, we have all sinned. Now, if we have all sinned, yet our objective is to return to Heaven Father (but no unclean thing can enter into His presence), how can we overcome the mistakes we have made? What enables us to become clean again? The answer is the Savior. Jesus Christ stands as our mediator with the Father. In the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Calvary, He took upon himself the sins of all mankind. In other words, He has paid the price for our sins, and if we follow Him and do as He directs, our sins are forgiven and we are made clean. And all He asks is that we repent--that we recognize the mistakes we have made, that we feel sorrow for not having done as our Heavenly Father would want us to do, that we ask our Heavenly Father to forgive us, and that we then change our behavior and not make the same mistake again. As we do this, we are relying upon the merits of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and we are exercising faith in Him. Show more Show less