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Hi I'm Leo

I build, teach, and play hand drums. I love reptiles. I am adult ADD. I know some truths are eternal. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I live with my wife, son, and two daughters in Quebec, Canada. We share our home with snakes, turtles, frogs, a lizard, and a newt. We have a very rambunctious 2 year old beagle named Gryphon as well. I have been a student of percussion since the age of 12. I run a very small company called Treefrog Percussion. I build, repair, teach and play hand drums. I love facilitating Drum circles. I believe in the power of drumming and music to create, enrich and uphold communities. I recently discovered that I am ADHD, which explains a lot about the difficulties I have repeatedly encountered throughout my life. I have a very hard time sitting still - I am always on the go, doing something. I am creative but chronically disorganized. I am a bright guy who struggles to see projects through to completion. I can totally absorb myself in something, but I suck at time management and scheduling. My new goal is to turn my ADHD from what is probably my greatest liability into my greatest asset. My guiding principle now is a scripture which comes from the Book of Mormon: And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. (Ether, chapter 12, verse 27) I am more grateful for my membership in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and everything that has flowed forth from it, than anything else in the world.

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised in the United Church of Canada, and was engaged with my religion into my teen years. Then, almost overnight, at the age of 16 I simply lost my faith. I had some big questions which were simply not answered for me. I still felt that Christianity resonated with me, but there was something almost tangible that was missing with the experiences I had thus far. In my second year of university, I became friends with an amazing girl. She simply had an aura of happiness and good spirit about her. It didn't take long for me to discover that she was a Mormon. She asked if I would like to learn more about her church, and I went along at first primarily as a way to spend time with her. But I soon discovered that the questions that I had when I was 16 were being answered. A great hole was being filled in my spiritual life. I eventually was baptized, and made many new friends in my new faith. I loved attending church and extra-curricular religion classes, called institute. The girl who had introduced me to the church and I were engaged to be married, but that never happened. She called off the wedding, which was heartbreaking at the time, but she was really inspired. It was not the time for us. A few years later I married a wonderful woman, in whom I had a crush since high school. She was raised in the Mormon church. We did not have a temple marriage, and have still not been sealed in the temple, but I sincerely hope that we will someday. I can be a pretty hard guy to live with, and I am so grateful for my wife for putting up with me. I think we both have an eternal perspective about our life together. I know God loves us and will fulfill any righteous desire that we have for our family in His time. I know the church is true. Not in a relative sense, but in an absolute sense. Truth that is universal, for anyone, in any time or place, any situation. We are all children of a Heavenly Father, and through faith in Jesus Christ we can live with him again. I strive to follow his commandments for us on earth, and I know Jesus Christ can sustain me where I falter. I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the feeling of belonging in a church family. I love the prophets and leaders of the church, and I am consistently inspired by their messages. I have had some serious struggles to contend with in my adult life, including long bouts of depression, but I can't even imagine how I would have managed without my faith. In short, I am a Mormon because I simply would never deny the joy it has brought to me.

How I live my faith

On Sundays at church I teach a class for people just learning about, or who have recently joined our church. It is called "Gospel Principles". I love to teach, and I consider teaching one of the talents Heavenly Father has blessed me with. I especially love to teach the material in this class, because it is just the simple but precious fundamentals of our religion. I often think I get to learn more in my classes than my students. I also love to serve and help members of our congregation, called a ward, whenever I can. There are a lot of students and young families that come into our ward for a short time, and then move along to the next phase in their lives, so it seems like we are always helping someone move. I am a pretty handy guy and I love the chance to get to help someone build something or renovate. Whenever I can, I try and share my music with people in my community, both inside and outside the church. I play with a group that does Marimba music from Zimbabwe, and we played at our ward Christmas party this year. I hold a monthly free drum circle at one of our meetinghouses, where I share a lot of my knowledge and experience with drumming with anyone who can join us. I love the feeling I get when I can talk to someone about my faith. I wish I was a better missionary, and was more bold when it comes to sharing the gospel. I know that if I pray for these opportunities, the Lord will bless me with them.

How are the activities of the Mormon missionaries funded?

Leo
Many, many people think we pay those handsome, well dressed young men and women you see going door to door. But the truth is just the opposite. These individuals pay for their missions, often working and saving for years beforehand to have the funds necessary to go. Parents and families help finance the mission, but many missionaries fund what they consider to be two years service given to the Lord on their own. In an effort to give the most number of young people the opportunity to go, prospective missionaries pay the same amount to serve a mission, regardless of where they are sent. Obviously, it costs more to pay for living expenses in downtown Tokyo than in rural Uruguay. But two missionaries from North America who get sent to those areas pay the same for their missions. The church pools the money centrally, and then disperses it to individual mission headquarters around the globe to support these missions. Perhaps this is where the misconception regarding payment to missionaries originated. Show more Show less

Do Mormons only help Mormons?

Leo
The church has an amazing safety net to help support and sustain it's members. We strive to visit the members of our congregation often and help when and where needed. We want to make sure our members physical, emotional and spiritual needs are met. Most of us pay 10 % of our income to the church to help it continue the work it does. But we are not an insular religion. The church donates immeasurably with humanitarian aid on a global scale. But perhaps more relevant to the question are the thousands of individuals and congregations who actively engage in their community. For example, the church in our region supports the Ottawa Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental Dissabilities (OCAPDD) by volunteering hundreds of man hours every year on their Garlic Farm, which is their primary means of fund raising. Show more Show less

Why was a Restoration of the Gospel needed? Haven’t we always had the Bible?

Leo
The bible is an amazing, sacred book of some of the most important stories and lessons any of us can ever know. But as Mormons we believe that some sacred writings over centuries and even millennium have been lost to us, writings that rightfully should have been included in the Bible. Thus some very fundamental truths are either missing entirely, or have been subject to so much translation and interpretation over the centuries that they are no longer clear. One need only look at the hundreds of Christian denominations in the world to see the results of this lack of clarity. In my opinion, there are two most important things that an outsider should know about Mormonism. First, that we are Christian, we believe in Jesus Christ and we follow the teachings of the Bible. Second, that we believe that we have the organization of the church, its doctrines and authority, in the same capacity as Jesus established it when he was on Earth during his mortal ministry, and that it was restored to the world through the prophet Joseph Smith. This church organization does not exist because of decisions and structures made by men, but through divine revelation from Jesus Christ himself. This is Christianity the way he intended it to be. Show more Show less

What are Mormon women like? Do Mormons believe in equality of men and women?

Leo
There are many female members of my faith that I have met that simply blow me away with their spirituality. They are so connected with our Saviour, Jesus Christ, that their lives are simply reflections of his kindness, compassion, and sacrifice. But to be honest, I don't know how easy it would be for me to accept the gospel if I was a woman. The patriarchal nature of the church can be a major turn off for some women, my wife included. I think that there can be a perception that women are not treated as equals, and regrettably, in some instances they are not. I am not talking instances sanctioned by the church or it's teachings, but by men who unworthily feel that they hold dominion over their wives or daughters. I have seen this situation first hand and it makes my blood boil. To me, men and women in the church are unquestionably equal, yet fundamentally different. Learning to accept and embrace those differences is what supports true equality. We are all equal in the eyes of God - he loves each and every one of us perfectly as his children. Yet we have different roles to play in bringing to pass His work of returning to be with him in the life to come. Men cannot fulfill this destiny without women, and vice versa. Show more Show less