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Hi I'm Melanie

I'm from Alaska and have a master's degree in landscape architecture. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I was born and raised in Alaska. It's really not that interesting, at least it's not as incredibly unusual as others seem to make it. Let me just clear up a few misconceptions. First, I do not have a pet polar bear. I've never even seen a wild one. Second, I do not live in an igloo nor have I ever seen one. Third, there are no penguins. Wrong hemisphere. I studied landscape architecture and graduated with a master's degree a few years ago, and currently work with the government. Say what you will about the government, I love working there. In my spare time I'm an artist. I work mainly with pencil, pastels, and oils, though I've done a bit of everything. I love playing the piano and have a ridiculously massive movie collection. Like all good Alaskans, I love camping and fishing, but to be completely honest, I am a whimp and require warmth and dryness. I love nature, but I want to be comfortable. I love traveling and want to visit every continent including Antarctica before I die. So far, I've been to three.

Why I am a Mormon

The quick and easy answer is that it makes me happy. In the end, it all comes back to that. Besides the fact that I believe this is the true church of God and it is the only path back to His presence, it makes me happy right here-and-now. Everything Heavenly Father does, His laws and commandments, is for our happiness. He wants us to be happy and the guidelines He gives us are what will make us most happy. At times in my life, I haven't been as strict in keeping the commandments and I can see the difference it makes. Those times I have strayed from God even if it's not that far are the hardest points of my life. And the funny thing is, it's not because the times were rougher than others, but because I didn't have His strength and spirit with me. It's amazing to see how much more capable I am to bear up the hardships when He is on my side. Even when the commandments are difficult to follow or when the sacrifices seem to much, I can see the blessings that flow into my life. No matter how much I give up or how hard it seems to follow the path, I always get back more than I gave up and I know that it is because God is blessing me. I know God loves each and every one of His children. I know that this is the true path back to Heavenly Father. I feel it's truthfullness in my life. But even if I didn't, I know that it brings me comfort and happiness.

How I live my faith

A lot of my time right now is taken up with serving as the leader for the women's organization, the Relief Society, for my ward. It keeps me super busy, but it's so much fun, because I get to spend my time helping the women of the church stregthen their testimonies. I get to organize activities for the women and make sure when they have problems someone is there to help them. It's amazing to have such an active role in helping the women come unto Christ. Besides that, I attend the church meetings on Sundays and weekly activities, which takes another chunk of my time, but I do enjoy it. I might not be the world's best volleyball player, but it's still fun to get together with other people my age and hang out.

What do Mormons believe is the purpose of life?

We were sent here to this earth to receive a physical body and to learn and grow. Our life on this earth is integral to our emotional growth and maturity. It gives us an opportunity to expand ourselves in ways we couldn't while living in His presence. In my own mind, I view it like moms and dads sending their kids off after they're grown up. It reaches a point where every kid needs a chance to become their own person, learn for themselves, and gain experience, so they leave home and become and adult. This life is our time to leave the heavenly nest and become spiritual adults. Show more Show less

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

Required is such a strong word. Young men, 19 years or older, are asked to serve as missionaries, though they are not required to do so. Heavenly Father asks them to donate their time and energy in the form of a mission to help spread the gospel to all the people of the earth. But they are not reprimanded by the Church if they choose not to or if they are physically unable to do so. Young women, 21 years or older, and older married couples are allowed the opportunity if they choose to serve.  Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

This is something I have heard a lot over the years and the most common reason I'm given is that they believe we worship Joseph Smith more than God. Almost every time someone said the Church was a cult they would mention that. It is simply not true. We revere Joseph Smith because he was the prophet called to restore the Church to the earth. We respect and love him, but we do not place him above God or Christ. We look up to all the leaders of the Church and in that way we are no different than any other religion who honor their leaders. Show more Show less

What is the Relief Society?

I love Relief Society. It is a wonderful organization for women that is dedicated to helping them spiritually and temporally. We are focused on helping us and those around us draw closer to God and bear their burdens. The Relief Society is what its name says. It's about giving relief to those around us, no matter what their trials might be. Relief Society is about charity and love. Show more Show less

Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorse political parties?

Nope. The Church mainly stays out of politics. We all have the right to choose for ourselves who we want to represent us in the political arena. Occasionally, they take a stance on a particular topic, but never a politician or political party.  Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

Absolutely. This is one of those questions that always puzzles me, but I suppose most of the miscommunication comes from people not knowing the full name of the Church. We are the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His name is right there in the title. He is our Savior and the leader of this church. Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons have paid clergy?

I am so glad the Church doesn't have paid clergy because it gives a chance for every member to serve. By having everyone pitch in and move God's work forward, we all get a chance to learn and grow. Some of the times I have improved the most, whether it's my understanding of the gospel or personality, has happened when I've immersed myself in serving in the church. It has helped me overcome my shyness, taught me patience and charity, it has helped me understand the importance of using my time wisely, and taught me so much about the scriptures and doctrines of the gospel. Show more Show less

What will the Mormon missionaries talk about when they visit my home?

The missionaries come to teach the basic principles of the church. They are there to teach and discuss the doctrines of the church, so that you can understand who we are and what we believe. They will help you understand how to communicate with our Heavenly Father so that you can pray and discover the truth for yourselves. Show more Show less