Hi I'm Rob
I'm a birder, geographer, husband, and father of three. I love birding and have traveled to all 50 U.S. states as well as to Europe and South America to watch and study birds. I have a Ph.D. in geography and study ways to make cities good for people as well as birds and other wildlife. I also work with Mayan communities in Central America to preserve their traditional knowledge about birds and their environment. When I'm not traveling or doing bird stuff, I enjoy spending time with my family, watching movies, and reading history, biographies, and books about science and nature.
Why I am a Mormon
I grew up in the Mormon church and was baptized when I was eight years old. I loved Jesus Christ and the stories of the prophets and apostles. I wanted to follow Jesus and be like him. I had the simple faith of a child. Now I am an adult with graduate training and degrees in science and the humanities. I have spent years studying and trying to follow the teachings of Jesus and his prophets and apostles. While it isn’t always immediately obvious how scientific truths fit together with the spiritual teachings of Jesus Christ and his prophets and apostles, I have found that these two sources of truth go together and strengthen each other. I do not have to wear one hat to be a scientist, and another hat to be a Mormon. I look for truth wherever I can find it, and when I find it, it always blesses my life and the lives of those around me. I am a Mormon because I have proven to my own satisfaction that the teachings of Christ and his ancient and modern apostles and prophets are true. When I study the scriptures and pray, I come to know Christ not as a character in ancient Middle Eastern tribal literature, but as he really is—a Divine Being who loves me and guides me in my daily life if I take the time to feel his love and listen to the thoughts and feelings his Holy Spirit brings to my heart and mind. God has told me that this is his church, and I am able to confirm the truth of its teachings continually in my daily life.
How can your talents and gifts bless others?
One of my favorite things to do is to get others to see birds! When I'm out birding, I like to invite others passing by to look at birds in my spotting scope. It is a lot of fun to see their joy as they get a good close look at amazing birds like eagles and loons that are too far away to see without a scope. After we look at some birds, we usually have a good conversation, and sometimes I am able to find other areas of interest that we share. Birds brings us together. Once we get together, we often find other ways to bless each other's lives. We all have talents and interests. I have found that when we share them with others, it usually just opens doors for further sharing and caring for each other. For me, birds open that door, and I am always blessed by what I find when that door opens with another person.
How I live my faith
Six days a week I find beauty and inspiration in studying nature. On Sundays, I worship God and serve others in my local ward congregation. Every day I study the scriptures and pray for guidance and to give thanks for my family and the wonderful blessing of living on such a beautiful earth. My faith leads me to love all the creatures in nature, and to try and love and serve everyone around me. That isn't always easy the way our society is today, but I often feel guided and blessed with peace in my dealings with others, and in my daily life.