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Hi I'm Matthew

I'm an eclectic. I'm a husband and father. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm married with three children--two girls and a boy. I love spending time with my family, writing, reading (fiction and nonfiction), swimming, puzzles, watching movies, and all kinds of games. I frequently pick up new hobbies or interests for a little while, especially ones that help me develop new skills. I have a Masters in Psychology, and I advocate for biofeedback. This is a revolutionary approach to health that allows people to train their bodies and brains for optimal performance. It changed my own life several years back as treatment for panic attacks due to social phobia, and I hope someday to use this new technology to serve people in need. Until 2015 I was a professor teaching psychology and human growth and development. Now I work in the auto insurance industry, evaluating claims to help people in need get back to where they were before an accident.

Why I am a Mormon

I was born into a Mormon family, but as I grew up I had to find out for myself what the church meant to me. I remember as a teenager praying to know if the Book of Mormon was the word of God. At first, my mind was so made up that I wasn't ready to hear anything. I realized that I was afraid of what the answer might be. If the answer was "no," would I have to go find another church? What would I tell my family? Only after I was really ready to confront these fears and listen for the truth did I hear the answer God had for me. Now I'm a Mormon not because of my parents, but because of God. God told me this is where I can best seek Him. Whoever we are, getting answers from God can be scary, because God expects us to act on what He tells us. I told God I was ready to leave my church and go find another--or even start a new one--if that's what He really wanted of me. I needed direction, and I was ready to act on it. I know that if you prepare yourself to act on God's directions, He will direct you to the best life you could ever lead.

How I live my faith

In my professional life, my business is bringing out the best in people, and sometimes that means helping them confront stressful issues. When I do this, I also pray for God to guide me, so that I can help people be their best. When science and religion appear to conflict, I often find myself playing the middleman in online discussions, either on social media or in public forums. I'm a staunch defender of both the scientific method and religious thinking, and I fully believe that accurate science and religion do not need to conflict.

Do Mormons practice polygamy?

Matthew
Actually the Book of Mormon condemns polygamy, with one exception. Jacob 2: 27 says, “for there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife: and concubines he shall have none..." which is a pretty clear condemnation of polygamy. However, verse 30 gives the exception: "for if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things." The conditions for that exception (i.e. reproductive purposes) were met in the early church under Joseph Smith, which is why it was commanded. Later, the practice was no longer needed, so it went back to being condemned. It is no longer needed to sustain the growth of the church, and will thus remain in condemnation until those conditions are met again. I personally hope they never are. I am so thankful for a God who set all of this in print in the Book of Mormon, long before Joseph Smith or Brigham Young spoke about the practice. God's foresight and wisdom in this matter allow us to see clearly what was the rule, and what was the rare exception. Show more Show less

How are the activities of the Mormon missionaries funded?

Matthew
Most missionaries serve at their own expense. My family and I saved up money for many years for me to go on my mission to Alabama. I remember as a child donating a tenth of my money to the Lord (tithing) and another tenth to my mission fund. I had a little bank that had three compartments so that I could save money in these three categories, and then every once in a while I would empty out those two sections and write out a donation slip at church. When it came time to serve a mission, I discovered that the money that I had been saving those many years since I was about 5 only totaled less than half of the money I needed. I worked hard during the final year before I left so that I could get above half, and my father paid the rest out of his own funds that he had set aside for his children's missions. What happened with my mission funds actually reminds me of the atonement of Jesus Christ. When it comes to the rewards of the celestial kingdom of heaven, they are not something that we can earn. We can try--and try very hard--but we're not going to make it on our own. Like my father, Christ is less concerned about how much we are putting in, and more concerned with whether it's our best effort. If we give everything we have to the work of getting to heaven, we demonstrate the commitment he is looking for, and he will make up the rest. Show more Show less

What is the Atonement of Jesus Christ? Why was it necessary for Jesus Christ to sacrifice His life?

Matthew
I've experienced the Atonement, but can't describe it in words very well. Physicist Richard Feynman said that he distrusted artists who could not say how they knew art was good or bad, until he experienced this inexplicable art sense for himself at the Sistine Chapel. The Atonement works the same way--it can be easily felt, but not easily explained. That being said, I will do my best to explain the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is a transcendent event that allowed Christ to suffer every kind of pain known to man. Pain is the consequence of sin--our own, or someone else's--so by suffering the consequences of all the sins of the world, Christ was able to pay the price for our sins, like a person bailing a friend out of debt. Because He had not sinned himself, he was the only one with a positive account, and thus the only one who could pay for the sins of another. Christ thus freed of the spiritual "debt" that kept us out of the presence of our Father in Heaven. This explanation may raise more questions than it answers. I certainly don't understand much about HOW Christ's suffering frees us from sin, any more than I understand much about how my car works. But fortunately--like my car--I don't have to know how the Atonement works in order to use it. I have felt the freedom that comes from Christ paying the price for my sins, so that I don't have to feel that pain any more. When I am suffering, I know He knows what I am going through, and how to help. Show more Show less