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Hi I'm Matt

I'm an outdoorsman, a wildlife biologist, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I was raised in the Smokey Mountains in North Carolina in a protestant background. My family found the Church in 1997 through the Boy Scout Program and we have had a wonderful life living with the restored gospel of Christ. I a graduate student in wildlife management, and I believe there is something most sacred in nature and enjoying its beauty and bounties. My career goal is to become a professional wildlife biologist and help manage natural resources. I am an avid outdoorsman and I believe nature is created of God to testify of His Son Jesus Christ, and that I am a steward of that creation to use it wisely. I love to hunt, fish, hike, camp, and spend my time in the outdoors. I find my greatest spiritual and inner strength in 3 places: the holy temple, my home, and in nature.

Why I am a Mormon

I was taught about the LDS Church when I was 13. I am a Mormon because I find great happiness in living the doctrines and teachings of this church I know them to be of God. It is hard to explain why I love this church and gospel so much, but the most important thing I can say to answer this question is this I have prayed about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and the teachings of this church, and I received a strong feeling in my heart and mind that they are true, something that I could not deny. It was a feeling that is very sacred and hard to explain, but I know it was true. It is because I know it is true that I choose to live the things I am taught in the Church. I find great peace, solidarity and direction in Mormon teachings and I know they will bring the blessings of God into my life. I learn in this Church that I am literally a child of God, that He loves me and wants me to return to His presence with my family, there to be a family forever and have the same joys that God does. I learn that the purpose of this life is to learn, progress and become more like God is--charitable, loving, full of faith--and that death is only another part of that progression. I truly find a fullness of the gospel in this church--a fulness of joy, of life, and of understanding.

How I live my faith

I live my faith by doing the following things: 1.) Treating others with kindness. I believe that the heart of true Christianity is kindness. A kind word can do good like a medicine. I try to treat others with the same kindness that I would expect from them in return. 2.) Studying the scriptures. By reading and studying the word of God, I learn the teachings of Jesus Christ, learn to recognize the Holy Ghost, and gain greater spiritual insight as to how I can be a better Christian. There is something about a thorough study of the scriptures that refines character, softens the heart, and strengthens the spirit and the mind. 3.) Prayer. I believe that through daily prayer I can communicate my desires, gratitude and feelings with God. 4.) Obeying the commandments. I believe that the first law of heaven is obedience. I know that the standards, covenants and commandments of the Lord are true and that if I follow them to the best of my ability, He will bless me with greater spiritual guidance, understanding, and a sense of peace and joy in life. 5.) Serving others. Christ went about doing good. He has commanded all of His disciples to do the same. I believe that through serving others I learn how to forget my own interests and receive joy through helping others in their hard times. I also believe it helps teach us more about our dependence on God and feel greater gratitude for His blessings.

Why do Mormons perform baptisms for the dead?

This may seem like a strange doctrine at first, but may I first invite you to think about the idea of vicarious work--something done by someone else in behalf of another. The great Atonement of Jesus Christ, His sufferings on the cross and in the garden of Gethsemane, and His resurrection, was something He did for all mankind of every age, era and nationality. He did something in behalf of billions of yet unborn children of God. This is the same with baptisms for the dead, the idea that those of us here on the earth who are worthy to enter the temple can be baptize in behalf of our kindred dead. We read that in the first book of Peter he states that "the gospel was preached to them that are dead," and Paul asked in Corinthians, "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?" There are billions who have lived on the earth and have not had the chance to hear the gospel of salvation or receive its ordinances. Since the apostles had been killed, these ordinances and the authority to do them were lost. Through the prophet Joseph Smith they were restored. Now we have the chance to give those billions of people a chance to have the ordinances of baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and even the marriage ordinance eternal marriage, so that we can be with them in heaven. However, the choice in the end is up to the individual for whom the work is done. God wants all of His children to have the gospel and be saved. Baptism for the dead is another means of helping that come to pass. It is a manifestation of God's great love for all of His children throughout all the ages of the earth. Show more Show less

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

No. We do not. We worship God alone and follow the example of Jesus Christ our Savior. We speak so highly of Joseph Smith because he was the prophet that the Lord chose to restore the fullness of the gospel in our day. After the death of the apostles, the Lord's church fell into disarray and men began to act on their own interpretations, forming thousands of different beliefs and doctrines and churches. The fullness of the gospel, the pure teachings, doctrines, ordinances and authority of God, the same as in the Apostles' day, was restored through Joseph Smith. He was given revelations and priesthood authority that had not been seen in thousands of years, and he became as a latter-day Moses. We believe and testify that Joseph Smith was the prophet of the restoration of the gospel, and that it was through him that God restored the same New Testament church that existed in the time of Christ and the Apostles. However, we do not put him above God or Jesus, for They have commanded us that beside them there is no other, and that we are to worship God only and not man. We look to the prophet, the president of the Church, for guidance, direction and commandments from the Lord, just as in the time of the Apostles, or in the time of Moses. The prophet is God's representative on the earth, a man who receives instruction from Him for His church.  It is just as Amos 37 says "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about the Bible? Do they regard it as Holy Scripture and the word of God?

We love the Bible. We believe it is just as sacred as our other scriptures. Without the Bible the doctrines of Christ would have been completely lost. We believe all of the doctrines and commandments in the Bible. The reason we put so much emphasis on the Book of Mormon is because it was written for our day. Joseph Smith, when he was a young man, sought to know which of all the different churches was the right one. In his day, the early 1800s, there were a lot of churches in the area, all claiming different doctrines. Joseph studied the Bible for himself and pondered its writings. It was a scripture in James 15 that inspired him to go and pray to ask God which church was right, which experience led to the appearance of God the Father and Jesus Christ, who told him that none of the churches were true and that Joseph was to bring about the restoration of the true Church under Their guidance if it had not been for the Bible, the gospel would not have been restored. Show more Show less

What is the Church’s position on abortion?

This has always been a hard question because it is a very touchy subject, morally and politically. The Church does not support abortion, primarily because it against the Lord's commandment "thou shalt not...kill, nor do anything like unto it." The general authorities of the Church have plainly stated that no member of the Church is to support or commit an abortion, and that those who do so may be subject to Church disciplinary actions excommunication or other disciplinary actions. We encourage that women who are pregnant outside of marriage put their children up for adoption the Church Family Services can help find families for them who want to have more children and will raise them in a caring and loving home. When a birth is the result of incest or rape, or if medical authorities have determined that the mother's life or health is in serious jeopardy, then these situations may justify an abortion, but only after the mother and father if applicable has consulted with local Church leaders and has sought out through earnest and sincere prayer what should happen. We believe that human life is sacred, and that mankind should use their procreative power wisely and according to the laws of God. We cherish those powers because they help us draw nearer to God and become more like Him.  Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about the nature of God?

We believe that God is an actual being and that we were made in His image we look like Him and we are all His children. He is a tangible being and has a physical body, but He is perfected, glorified and full of goodness, love and glory. We believe God loves all of His children with a pure love that is never-ending, nor is He a respecter of persons. He feels sorrow when we sin, and He has joy when we repent and live righteously He has feelings just like any father experiences for his children. At times He also feels godly anger when His people when they do wickedly, which can be found in the Old Testament. God's greatest desire, His great plan of happiness, is for us to come to earth, gain a physical body like He has, to learn and progress, and one day return to be with Him and experience the same joys and glory that He does--the gift of eternal life. He is ever watchful over us, and He knows all things. He hears and answers prayers when they are given in sincerity and faith. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about family?

We believe strongly in the family unit and its importance in human society. One of our most unique doctrines is that we believe families do not end after this mortal life, but rather that they can continue into eternity. We believe that a husband and wife, if married under the proper priesthood authority, can be sealed together as companions for all eternity, and that if they keep the covenants they make in the temple they and all their children who obey the commandments will be together in heaven, forever a family. It is a joyous thing, and something that gives me great hope and faith, to know that when my parents pass away I will still be their child and they will always be my parents. We believe childrearing is a sacred gift and that motherhood is the holiest calling a woman can have. We believe that husband and wife are equal partners, though they may have different roles in the family unit. We believe children are a gift and that they are to be treated with love, admiration and devotion, but also with counsel and care, as parents are also teachers and counselors. It is in the family that children and parents learn to love each other, care for others, and develop righteous living habits. We believe and testify that if a home is based on gospel principles and moral values, the children will always know the way they should go. We truly echo the scripture "train up a child in the way he should go, and when is old, he will not depart from it." Show more Show less

Why do Mormon missionaries proselyte?

Mormon missionaries proselyte not merely to invite people to join the Church but rather to spread the knowledge of the restored gospel, to tell people that God has once again called prophets and apostles, does miracles, restored His authority, and has made known His will to mankind as He did in ancient times. They invite people to read and pray about the Book of Mormon for themselves, then to prepare themselves to be baptized and make sacred covenants with God, to become members of the Church. I served a two-year mission and never once told a person they were going to hell, because that is not man's place but God's. Missionaries are not sent to judge the people but to help them come unto Christ through the restored gospel. This gospel is so wonderful, its teachings so sublime, and its doctrines so complete and joyful that we desire to let all people know about it and to partake of it for themselves. We invite all people to know of these truths for themselves, to trust in God and ask Him in sincerity of heart, promising them that they will know for themselves and not of another. When a person has their own God-given witness that something is true, it is much more powerful, converting and empowering, and this is what our missionaries and our members want everyone to have in their hearts. Show more Show less

What is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' attitude regarding homosexuality and same sex marriage?

We believe that all people are children of God and that He loves every one of us, regardless of our challenges. He wants us all to return to His presence. There are many on this earth who have same-gender attractions, many of whom feel those urges are natural and undeniable. These urges must be very conflicting for them because there is no drive stronger than that of sexual attraction. The LDS Church welcomes people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. However, we do not approve same-sex relations. One may ask, why so? We believe that our bodies are temples, created in the image of God, and that the powers of procreation are sacred and God-given. We believe that these powers are only to be used between husband and wife because they are used as a supreme expression of love but also to bring children into the world, and with those children the great joys and experiences of parenthood it brings about families. We believe that God has sent us here to have families and experience those joys, and that it is not according to His purpose when those sacred procreative powers are used outside of marriage between a man and woman. It would be the same as if you gave your child a brand new sports car and they went and wrecked it or used it unwisely. In the Old Testament the Lord states that homosexual relations are not righteous and are sinful Leviticus 1822. We stand by this doctrine, but we do not tell people with same-sex attractions that they are not worthy of God's blessings. Instead we invite them to trust in the Savior and His atoning sacrifice, His grace and mercy, to help them cope with and overcome this challenge. We know that He will help them, bless them and comfort them, and we do all we can to help them. We love them, we cherish their souls, because every soul is great in the eyes of God, regardless of their challenges. Show more Show less

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

We believe that Adam and Eve, by partaking of the forbidden fruit in the book of Genesis, fell from grace and gained a knowledge of good and evil. They became mortal and subject to temptations of the devil as well as natural imperfections. People are imperfect, and sometimes we do things we wish we could forget and we feel pain about it. Because we are mortal and imperfect and we sin, we cannot be in the presence of God because nothing unholy can stand in His presence; He is holy and full of glory. God is just, and according to justice we must be punished for our sins, and that punishment is being separated from God. He does not want us to be separated from Him, but because of sin it must be so. Jesus Christ came and offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, a vicarious sacrifice. Christ paid in full the demands of divine justice for all mankind, but it is like an inheritance; we must accept and believe in that sacrifice He made and change our lives in accordance with the laws and ordinances of the gospel. He has made the sacrifice, and the only thing He asks from us is that we obey His commandments, live His teachings, and repent so that we can be covered by His grace, for it is truly by His grace alone that we can be saved, because we could not do it for ourselves. We obey the commandments and the gospel, but in the end it is His mercy and grace, His divine power to save, that saves us. Without the sacrifice He made, our obedience would be for nothing. Show more Show less