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Hi I'm Luther

I'm an educator. I'm a computer scientist. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm a teacher of computer science at the University of Virginia; I also work with the Family History Information Standards Organisation. I love algorithms, proofs, logic, English, and teaching. I write light verse and fantasy-genre fiction, used to fancy myself an illustrator, and play tabletop role-playing games.

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised Mormon, though that does not explain my current faith. A defining moment was when I was working on writing out my personal metaphysics one day after philosophy class and realized that I had no basis for accepting my senses, my logic, or my experiences with the holy spirit as being trustworthy, yet I trusted them all. After further consideration I determined that, though the three rarely disagree, I have more confidence in the correctness of the spirit than I do in the correctness of the mind or physical senses. The ensuing years of experiences and mistakes, miracles and frustrations, have given me no cause to to doubt that choice. I am as confident in the being and nature of God as I am confident of anything. He has verified again and again that leadership and teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are correct. Though I am not a perfect Mormon, I am perfectly confident that a Mormon is what I ought to be.

How I live my faith

I have served in many ways, from teaching 3-year-olds to performing secretarial tasks for local priesthood leadership. My current activities include mentoring several young students and maintaining financial and membership records for my local congregation. I attend several mid-week scripture study groups with the Institutes of Religion in addition of sabbath services and organizational meetings. It is a rare day that does not find me engaged in some formal church activity. I also maintain daily devotion through prayer, scripture study, and meditating on the Words of Life.

What is faith?

There is insufficient evidence in this world to resolve any question innately. However, we must act or we die, so we must accept some basis of beliefs without external support, on which we can build a framework of belief to inform our actions. Those basics element are called axioms or doctrines, and our trusting them is called faith. Faith may be supported by our own innate desire to believe, by the success of actions based on the resulting beliefs, and by their agreement with other beliefs. Show more Show less

What is a ward/stake/branch?

In short, a ward or branch is a congregation, a stake is a groups of congregations. I enjoy etymology, so a bit about why these words mean what they do. At first members of the church would gather in ad hoc groups wherever they happened to be. With the establishment of the city of Nauvoo this was formalized, each ward of the city meeting separately. The term “ward” for meeting groups outlasted the city. As with city wards, wards today are mostly organized geographically. The term “stake” is short for “stake of zion,” an old-testament image where the tent of zion has many stakes keeping it strong and spreading its protection over a wide area. For a time in the 1830s the church had two main groups, one in Missouri and one in Ohio, and the Lord used to term “stake of zion in X” to identify them in revelations. The usage of “stake” for regional groupings of several congregations has lasted to this day. Most modern stakes contain 8–12 wards. The term “branch” is most likely also of scriptural origin, possibly from the allegory by Zenos wherein the faithful are likened to an olive tree and branches of that tree are planted in scattered locations in hopes they will grow and prosper. A branch today is largely the same as a ward, except it is either smaller or located in an area where stakes have not yet been organized.  Show more Show less

What is the priesthood?

The word priesthood is used to mean several things. “The priesthood” can mean persons who officiate within a religion. Most men in the Mormon church are part of this definition of priesthood, as most women are part of its parallel organization “the relief society.” “The priesthood” can also mean “the power of God” as wielded by Himself, or “the power of God” as delegated to his servants. “The priesthood” is often used to mean “the authority to perform X”, for various X such as administration of the sacrament of the Lord's supper or the ordinance of baptism. Finally, “the priesthood”, or more commonly “the priesthood keys”, is the right and responsibility to receive inspiration how to administer the organization of the church.  Show more Show less