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Hi I'm Morris

I am a jet captain for a regional airline. I also love flying general aviation aircraft just for fun, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

My father earned his pilot's license when he was working as a cotton mill worker in Thomaston, Georgia. He took my mother flying often. Unfortunately, he was killed in an auto accident when I was 11 months old so I never knew him. In order to help me learn about my father, my mother told me the stories of the times when my father took her flying and how much she enjoyed it. I was fascinated about flying and wanted to be a pilot, just like my dad. We were very poor, living on welfare and the meager social security income from my father's death. I started flying when I was in the tenth grade as soon as I was old enough to get a job. Through lots of hard work I earned my pilot's license as I graduated from high school. It was my dream to be an airline pilot. But without a college degree, and no professional flight experience, my dream would have to wait. After high school, I attended college for a couple of years. Unfortunately, I could not work full time and continue to keep my grades high enough to avoid the draft. I decided to join the US Army as a pilot and to finish my college later. I served in the US Army as a helicopter pilot in Viet Nam, Ft Hood, Texas; Korea, Ft Carson, Colorado; Germany, and finished my 20 year Army career at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. During my last few years in the Army, I earned my college degree in Aeronautical Science. I also used my military benefits to pay for the advance flight training required to be an airline pilot. After retiring from the US Army, and with my college degree completed, I was ready to fulfill my life long dream to be an airline pilot. I applied to Comair Airlines and was hired soon thereafter. I have enjoyed my career as an airline pilot for the last 21 years. It has been a very rewarding career, flying everything from propeller aircraft to flying jets to 82% of the speed of sound. I have travel extensively through the United States and Canada, seeing so many wonderful sights and spectacular views of this beautiful world. As I approach the end of my airline career, I look forward to giving back to the aviation community as a flight instructor and safety counselor. I want to share my dream of aviation with future pilots and help them to reach for the sky. I am the father of two sons and four daughters, an six grand children. My wife and I have been married for the last 29 years. My oldest son has earned his pilot's license and other have the desire to do likewise.

Why I am a Mormon

From my earliest memory, my mother took me to the various churches in the area. We attended the Assembly of God, The Church of God, Baptist, and many other churches. When we moved further from Thomaston, Georgia, we started attending a small non-denominational church near our country home. I believe that it was later organized as a Pentecostal church about a year or two years later. I remember the revivals we had in that old church. They were really inspiring at times and fearsome at others. My favorite preacher was one that everyone called “Uncle Bob,” although I never knew his real name. Uncle Bob was an unusual minister. He had a full beard and always wore his hair long. He always wore bib-overalls and wore no shoes. As he traveled around from place to place, he walked. He must have walked over most of the state of Georgia preaching the gospel. He literally lived as the apostles of old, traveling without purse, and script, and shoes and yet he lacked nothing. (Luke 22:35) He lived inside the church while he was in our area. Members of our congregation would take turns bringing him food. As was the custom, offerings were taken at each revival service and given to the preacher. Uncle Bob would accept the offering but he would never keep very much if any of the money for himself. Instead, he would seek out the poor within the congregation and give the offerings to them. Since my family was very poor, we were the recipient of his kind generosity at times. I remember him looking down at my bare feet and asking me if I had any shoes. I told him that my old ones were too small and worn out. After that night’s service, he dropped by our house the next day and gave my mother the offerings collected, to buy me some shoes, without saying another word to us or anyone else. I also remembering being the recipient of the blessings from God when I got pneumonia. We were too poor to go to the doctor or to get any medicine. My mother trusted in God for all our help. When she took Uncle Bob some turnip greens from our garden and cornbread for his dinner, she asked if he could come over and pray for me. He came over immediately, anointed my head with oil, and pronounced a blessing upon my head, rebuking the illness that beset me as was done by the disciples of old. “And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” - Mark 6:13. I remember recovering soon there after and believe to this day that my swift recovery was due to the prayers and faith of Uncle Bob. He loved those whom he taught and everyone loved Uncle Bob. We always look forward to his return as he passed through for the next revival. We had other good preachers that came through that small church, but none whom I loved and respected greater than Uncle Bob. If anyone ever was a disciple of God, he was. He set a high standard for me to judge all future ministers for the rest of my life. When I was a teenager, we moved out of the country to the city of Atlanta, Georgia. My mother sought out churches near by to attend. There were many great evangelist who passed through that great city. Some had revivals in very large tents that covered over two acres of ground. They preached fire and brimstone sermons, calling upon the people to repent, to obey the commandments or else they would be cast into a lake of fire forever. They taught us to fear God and his wrath. At the end of their sermons, they would pray for the sick. I witnessed what I thought were miracles, the sick seemed to be healed and even satanic forces were cast out. They also taught that we should pay them our tithes and offering. They used the often quoted scripture of Malachi 3:8, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.“ They asked more money than we had at the time to help them in their revivals. To collect the offerings, they would pass around large plastic buckets. After the offerings were gathered, they rebuked us sharply, saying that if we did not pay them our tithes, we were robbing God. They told us to dig deeper in our pocketbooks and give more. They then passed around the offering buckets for the second time, and many times for the third time. Finally, they would passed out pledge cards to those who did not have any more money and told us to promise to pay them a certain amount for the next twelve months. The collection of offerings would take up to an hour or more to complete. Our family did not have very much money, but my mother gave all that she had. She believed in the principle of paying our tithes and offerings to God so she pledged more throughout the year. I was not so sure of the intentions of these evangelists. We started going to the church of an evangelist who was based in Atlanta. It was an old movie theater building in the five points area. He was much like the other evangelist of that time who collected large sums of money from the poor and asked those without money to pledge to him, and to God, that they would help in his ministry. Since his sermons were much like the others, I grew tired of the same old rhetoric. I skipped the meetings and talked to a contract printer in the evangelist's printing shop. I became fascinated by the printing trade. I learned to be a printer and was offered a job there. Later when the contract printer moved on, I took over the printing shop and became a member of the evangelist’s staff. While working the the evangelist offices, I began to see the darker side of their ministry. I witness their misuse of the offering they received from the poor. I also saw and heard how they staged healings and other miracles which I witnessed. They literally used the fear of the Lord and His damnation to rob the poor of their money. Unlike Uncle Bob, it was plainly clear that their intentions were not to serve their followers but only themselves. My faith in religion and of God was crushed. I thought if this was true religion, I wanted no part of it. I never wanted to attend any church again. I even questioned the actual existence of God. I wandered if God had really created man in his own image or if man had created God in his image or imaginations. I remember the first Mormon I ever met. His name was James Adams. I met Mr. Adams through the contract printer that worked for the evangelist. Mr. Adams had a print shop of his own. I was so impressed with him that I asked for a job. He was a great guy and a great boss. The guys of the two print shops stayed very close and went on fishing trip to Florida each year together. The other guys teased Jim because of his curious abstinence from coffee, tobacco, and drinking alcoholic beverages. He did not seem to mind our teasing, and always was in a happy mood. Jim knew that I loved to fly and he wanted to go flying with me. When he heard of the HemisFair to be held in San Antonio, Texas, in 1968, he asked if I would be interested in going with him and his wife, Jan. He said that he would share the expenses in renting the plane to go. “Of course I would love to go!” I said. This was the opportunity of my lifetime up to that point. We had a great time at the HemisFair, seeing all the exhibits from over thirty countries from around the world. Then Jim and Jan subtly introduced me to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They invited me to an exhibit sponsored by the Church. It was all very nice but at the time, I still was not interested in attending any church. The next Mormon I met was in Viet Nam. He, like myself was a helicopter pilot at the same army airfield. I would see him from time to time at the Officer’s Club for dinner. He made an impression on me. He was a nice guy, but he did not spend too much time around the O’ Club, drinking as the rest of us did. The other helicopter pilots teased him, much like we teased Jim Adams. For this reason I did not get to know him personally but I admired him for his standards. After Viet Nam, I returned to Fort Hood, Texas. It was there I met the third Mormon in my life. He and his wife lived in the apartment below. They were a nice couple. At that time, I was reconsidering going back to church as I began to think about starting a family. They ask me if I would like to know more about the Mormon church. I was still not too sure about going back to any church, but I agreed since the other Mormons I had met were people I admired. Soon thereafter, they invited the missionaries over and they began teaching me about the Church. Many concepts they taught were different than anything that I had ever heard before. After each lesson, the missionaries asked me to pray about the things they had taught me. I did and it all seemed to make since. As they continued to teach me, I began to learn more about the love that Jesus Christ has for each of us. I learned about the atonement in which He took upon Himself the sins of the world, including mine. They also taught me that they, nor any of their ministers received pay for their service in the church. I was amazed! Then I learned that the ministers, called bishops, were ordinary men, like myself, who volunteered their time in the service of the Lord. From my earlier experience with Uncle Bob and by studying the scriptures, I knew that this was a principle of the true church, if any existed upon the earth. In a matter of two short weeks, I learned more than I had ever learned in my life about Jesus Christ and his mission. The most curious thing about this experience was that it somehow seemed that I was not learning the things being taught by the missionaries for the first time. It was more like I was remembering these things, but I could not remember when or where I originally learned them. I told this experience to the missionaries. They confirmed that the things I had learned were learned first in my pre-earth life with God. Everything they had taught me, I had learned in the spiritual world, before I was born on this earth. It was a marvelous experience. So when the missionaries invited me to be baptized, I gladly accepted. The missionaries said that there was one more thing that I needed to do to be baptized into the Church. They said that I needed to find out for myself, if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the true Church. Then, they invited me to read the scriptures from the Book of Mormon which say, “Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” - Book of Mormon, Moroni 10:3-5 As I read these powerful scriptures, I realized what I had to do. After all, if I joined any church, I wanted to make sure that it was the true church of God. So I determined to kneel down and ask God, just as these scriptures said, and just as Joseph Smith, the first prophet of the Church did when he was only 14 years old. He was in the same state of confusion as I was, wondering which church of all the churches of the day were true. Joseph Smith was prompted to pray and ask God when he read James 1:5. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” This is his story in his own words: “Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible. “At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to "ask of God," concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.” - JS-History 1:12-13 So, like Joseph Smith, I was determined to find out for myself if this Mormon church was the true Church of Jesus Christ. Late one night I knelt down and prayed, asking the questions that were heavy upon my heart. I prayed, “Heavenly Father, the missionaries have taught me things about the Mormon church. Many things they teach are much different than I was ever taught in my life. They certainly seem true to me. I have read from the Book of Mormon, which they have said was translated by Joseph Smith by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost. “Heavenly Father, is this the Book of Mormon the true word of God? Was Joseph Smith a true prophet, chosen by Thee to translate this book and to help restore the true Church of God upon the earth?” After asking these questions, I paused and waited for an answer. I was determined to remain on my knees all night, if necessary, until God answered my prayer. I did not have to wait long. The answers came in a calm and peaceful voice. They struck so deep within my soul, that I knew the voice was from God. “Yes,” the voice said. “It is true. It is all true. The Book of Mormon is the true word of God. Joseph Smith was a true prophet chosen by God. And The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the true Church, established by Jesus Christ himself through his prophet, Joseph Smith.” Since that night, I have never doubted the things I heard by the voice of the Holy Ghost are true. I have had other many struggles, both of a spiritual and in my personal life. But in those times, I have sought answers to life’s questions from God. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, answers have come, and my soul have been comforted, even in the darkest of times. I must admit, I have not met any Mormon missionaries who went out dressed like Uncle Bob, or without purse, or script, or shoes. But I have seen many who have given their all, to serve the Lord without any expectation of any earthly reward. “And Jesus said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.” - Luke 22:35 So it has been with all the Church leaders, with whom I have worked and served. They serve God because they love him. And they love the people they serve, because they love God. “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” Book of Mormon, Mosiah 2:17

How I live my faith

I am serving as Employment Specialist for our congregation, assisting those who are out of work to find jobs and to prepare for job interviews. I have served in many leadership positions, including Branch President, Counselor in the Bishopric, Stake High Councilor, and High Priest Group Leader. I have also enjoyed serving in the Boy Scout program as a scout leader and as an Aviation Merit Badge Counselor. Outside of the Church, I enjoy participating in the Young Eagles program, offering young boys and girls the opportunity to experience the joys of flight. I have also especially enjoyed participating in the Angel Flight program, transporting the critically ill and their family members to clinics, which would not be possible without the assistance of pilots using their private aircraft without compensation. As I approach the end of my career as an airline pilot, I look forward to serving with my wife as missionaries for the Church. There are so many opportunities to serve the Lord and his people. The possibilities seen endless. We look forward to either being called to proclaim the gospel or serving in any way, any where the Lord may see fit.

How are the activities of the Mormon missionaries funded?

Morris
Missionary service is a volunteer service, paid for entirely by the individual member or other family members. They serve those whom they teach because they love Jesus Christ and have heeded his calling to, "Come, follow me." Show more Show less

What is done with the tithing that Mormons pay?

Morris
Tithe offerings are used to help build the kingdom of God upon the earth. Much of this money goes toward building and maintaining chapels and temples around the world. The Church also supports the three church sponsored Brigham Young Universities in Provo, Utah; Laie Hawaii; and Rexburg, Idaho. No tithe offering is paid to local church leaders as they are all voluntary lay ministers. Show more Show less

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

Morris
All young men have the duty to prepare themselves to accept missionary callings. While young women do not not have this responsibility, they are invited to serve. Men and women who have reached retirement age are also encouraged to serve as missionaries. All serve as volunteers, and eagerly accept calling to serve wherever the Lord needs their service. Both my my sons have served missions. The oldest served a mission in California and my youngest son in Brazil. I also have a daughter currently serving in California. My wife and I are preparing to serve as a missionary couple as soon as my youngest gets established in college. Show more Show less