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Hi I'm Brian

I'm a scholar, a professor, a traveler, and a writer. I am a father of 4 boys. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I've often been asked, how does a family of six pick up and start a new life in graduate school? My answer Faith and Hard Work. We're like any other average family who leaves a steady job to pursue a doctoral degree. A mid-life career change, and the uncertainty that goes with it, does a lot to solidify your faith. We have a love of travel and culture--both my wife and I served missions in foreign countries--and we find joy in music, games, and exploring what life has to offer, no matter what country, state, or city we're in. We have been particularly dedicated to teaching our four children the value of learning about the diversity of cultures and histories around the world.  

Why I am a Mormon

 I am a Mormon because I have seen the principles work in my life. It's that simple. I learned a great lesson from my mother. She was converted to the Church at 16. Fast forward 25 years I had heard about her conversion story a lot, how her friends were a great example to her and how she felt she needed to join the church, but I didn't see the real root of that decision until I was preparing to serve my own mission for the Church in Spain. One day, we had a knock at the door from some representatives from another church. After a brief introduction, they began questioning her about her faith and the decision to join the LDS church. They asked her Why are you a Mormon. I've never forgotten her response Because they're the only ones who could answer all my questions. For me, I've seen the same. The teachings in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have always been a source for explanation and guidance to all my questions. This is particularly so because of the power of prayer and modern revelation. While serving a mission in Spain, we were talking to a man about our beliefs and he posed the question What makes you Mormons any different than anyone else? In contemplating my response, I had a repertoire of responses A modern-day prophet, ANOTHER testament of Jesus Christ the Book of Mormon...but when I answered him, I realized that it all came down to one thing Revelation in our day. Revelation--just like with Peter, James and John, Moses, Abraham, and so many of the Biblical Prophets--it happens today in the same way it did then through prophets. In the Old Testament, in Amos, the Lord makes it clear that in everything He does, he "revealeth His secrets unto His servants, the prophets". There's not much room for error in that statement. After centuries of confusion following the death of Christ's apostles, we needed a prophet to guide us. That prophet was Joseph Smith, and from that time 1820, we have had a Prophet to guide us. We have a prophet today, his name is Thomas S. Monson. This of course doesn't mean that the Prophet is the only voice for the Lord in our lives. We also have the power to receive our own inspiration from God. The Prophet directs our Church, but it is our responsibility to understand God's will in our own lives and know whether the Church, the Book of Mormon, and his Prophet today, are, in fact true.

How I live my faith

Though I have held and continue to hold responsibilities in my local congregation called a Ward, including teaching, leading, singing in choirs, and playing the piano, I believe that I live my faith by continuing the work I performed as a full-time missionary in Spain. I think living my faith means sharing it with others in the way I act and the things I say. As a University Professor, I have the opportunity to really influence a lot of individuals who are in the thick of making the decisions that will last a lifetime. Though I don't share my specific beliefs in my classes, I try to show by example what it's like to be a Mormon, and specifically, I try to uplift and inspire those around me. Outside of my teaching, I try to find opportunities to answer questions and inspire those who may be seeking for truth.

Why is authority to perform a baptism important?

When Christ was on the Earth 2000 years ago, he established his Church with order. He selected apostles and gave them authority, the priesthood, or the power to act in his name, including baptizing converts. After the death of the apostles, that authority was lost because it was not passed down according to the way Christ had established. It makes sense that today, that authority would still be needed to baptize. Baptism is a wonderful symbol of conversion and dedication to Christ, but it should be done by someone given the proper authority. And that authority was restored by Christ's original apostles, who visited Joseph Smith and gave him that authority. The priesthood has been passed down from Joseph Smith to ALL worthy males who have the priesthood today--just as Christ had established when he was on the Earth. Show more Show less