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Hi I'm Joyce

I'm a new graduate, a former systems analyst, a grandma, a musician on a mission, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

 I am a mother of five and a grandmother of ten. I grew up in a small town in Appalachia but have lived my adult life in a large city in mid-western USA. My first college degree was in computer science. After working in that field for about 30 years I went back to school to study music. I wanted to acquire the skills to express musically those things that words alone can't fully convey. I studied at a local college to do undergraduate work in music. When I decided to do graduate study, with my husband's support and blessing, I "went away" to schooI. I lived in an apartment near the school during the week and came home on weekends. I recently graduated with a master's degree in choral conducting. I previously established a summer community choir in my area of the city. Now that I am finished with school, I can expand the program year-round to give many others the opportunity to express themselves through music and to build and strengthen communities through singing. When I went away to school, I had just finished five years' service as president of the church's women's organization across 10 urban and nearby suburban congregations. In the fall, when I am not making music, I'll be teaching a high school religion class and enjoying my family.

Why I am a Mormon

I am the youngest of ten children. My father and some other family members converted to the Mormon Church before I was born. We attended together as a family when I was very young, but later many family members stopped attending. My father continued to go to church and he invited me to go with him. I loved that time with my father. My father's faithfulness was a powerful example to me of what it meant to be loyal and true to one's commitments. I think during my teenage years it would have been easy to drift away from the church as most of my siblings did. However, two aspects of my experiences at church prevented that from happening. First, I had an opportunity to serve. When an older teen who played the organ in sacrament meeting went away to college, I was asked to replace him even though I played only piano. I was needed. Second, I began to have little experiences that form a basis of my own religious convictions. Once a Sunday School teacher practically begged us a certain part of scriptures. I thought, "Oh, why not? I like to read." While I was reading -- and it was pretty casual reading with no particular expectation of anything -- I felt a powerful assurance that what I was reading was true. These experiences formed a basis for many more experiences as I became an adult and made the gospel of Jesus Christ the basis for my life.  Bit by bit I've learned that God really does answer prayer and that the Holy Spirit does guide us. I hope I am humble enough to acknowledge divine mercies even though I am not smart enough to be able to explain how God does what He does.

How I live my faith

I used to believe that living my faith was obeying all the "don't" commandments, especially the ones that distinguish Mormons from others don't smoke, don't drink, etc. While I still avoid things that I know are not good for me, I believe the best way to live my faith is by the "do's". I don't want people to know me as a Mormon because of all the things I say "no" to as much as I want them to realize that because I am a Mormon I say "yes." Yes to caring about others, being friendly, participating in what is good with other people of other faiths without worrying about differences, being happy and cheerful, remembering another person's accomplishments or trials, illness or good fortune and expressing interest and sympathy. I attend an inner city congregation that is racially and culturally diverse. There is a real spirit of family there even though we are a relatively small group. I enjoy helping with the music -- playing the organ and piano in services and leading the choir. I like the fact that we get opportunities to contribute in different ways, even when we may be short on experience. I've taught classes and helped in the nursery. For five years I was president of the women's organization spanning ten congregations. We planned big service days including visits and service to nursing homes, prisons, homeless shelters and food pantries. I loved making it possible for others to serve.