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Hi I'm Will

I'm the happiest man in the world. And I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I have a delightful marriage, am the father of four (all now out of the house), grandfather to one, and foster parent to a desert tortoise. When I was born, my dad was a cowboy on a cattle ranch in the Tehachapi Mountains outside of Bakersfield, California. Perhaps as a consequence of that heritage, I love plucking my banjo and singing cowboy tunes. (I play poorly and sing just as badly as I play.) After college at BYU, I worked for over twenty years as a business software designer and developer. I recently started a new career as a private fiduciary--something my wife says is a "made up" profession. In a nutshell, I help elderly people deal with their finances and all aspects of their lives. Shortly after high school, I spent two years in Sao Paulo, Brazil as a missionary. I loved my missionary experience. The things I learned and shared and felt there still impact my life every day. I really enjoy running on mountain trails, mountain biking, rock climbing, backpacking, snow camping, canyoneering, and just about any back-country adventure. I love boogie boarding, scuba diving, kayaking, and am a really terrible surfer (my surfing is even worse than my banjo playing). Everywhere I go I pick up trash. When I was a Scoutmaster, the boys called me a "trash magnet". Leaving the world better than I found it is part of the rent I pay to live here on this planet.

Why I am a Mormon

When I was born, my parents were already members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In my younger years my family attended church "somewhat" regularly, but not every Sunday. When I turned 12 years old and was ordained a Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood, everything changed for my family. My Dad was of the opinion that "you don't drop your children off at church--you take them yourself." For him, that was a matter of integrity. So we started going to church--virtually every week. Coming to believe for myself wasn't an event, but a process. Not long ago I hiked through the night with a group of teenage boys so we could be on top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park in time for sunrise. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the sky grew lighter and lighter while we stood on top of that massive granite mountain. Finally the sun peeked over the ridge to our east. That is how my feelings and testimony about the gospel of Jesus Christ have grown: slowly, almost imperceptibly, but now I know for myself, deep down, what truth is. And it blesses my life every day. The gospel of Jesus Christ helps me to be happy. Often, as I write in my journal for the day, I record this thought: "I think I am the happiest and most blessed man on the whole earth, bar none." My life isn't free of challenges or problems, but I sure am happy.

How I live my faith

It seems like all of my life I have been fascinated by stories, particularly family stories. And everybody has a story to tell. When I was a teenager I sat down with my grandmas and used a cassette tape recorder to capture their voices telling their stories. Those recordings have become treasures to me and my family. One of the things I believe is that family relationships can last beyond the grave, thanks to ordinances performed in our holy temples, if we will choose to live faithfully and right and repenting quickly when we make mistakes. Because of that belief, members of the Church work to identify their family members through family history research. Research results in names, dates, places, and statistics. But for me, it is the stories that bring people to life. And it is in sharing those stories, passing them down from one generation to another, that binds our hearts together in love. Being a Mormon is not a Sunday-only practice. The Church has a lay ministry, meaning no paid clergy and everybody gets to do something to help. For a number of years I was the bishop of our ward--the minister or pastor for our congregation. Fortunately, I didn't have to do everything myself; I was surrounded by great people willing to contribute ideas, inspiration, talents, muscle, and resources. I depended heavily on the counsel of the other leaders and members of our congregation. What I did frequently was support and help individuals and families work through their challenges, and coordinating the help of other members to do the same: consoling a family in the death of a loved one, then arranging the funeral service; welcoming a new baby into a home and offering help with meals for the first few days; helping someone fresh out of prison deal with the challenges of being on the outside; marriage counseling; parenting struggles; financial problems; and the list goes on. Problems are a part of life. Mormons help each other through them.

What blessings can you receive from reading the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and other scriptures?

I had a very interesting experience some time ago. This particular day I spent some time studying the scriptures, as I try to do every day. (I figure if I am going to encourage others to study the scriptures each day, it would be a good idea to take my own advice.) On this day I studied a chapter in the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 23), which quotes extensively from the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah. Isaiah's writings can be kind of difficult to understand. I read the chapter. I reread the chapter. I thought about it. I considered it. Finally I wrote this in my study journal, "Honestly, I didn't get a thing out of the scriptures today. Tomorrow is another day." And it was true. I didn't get a single glimmer of inspiration or revelation, not a single new idea. Not a thing that meant anything to me. But what was interesting is that in the course of that day I had three profoundly spiritual experiences, each of which filled my heart with the Holy Ghost and moved me to tears. Although I hadn't gotten "a thing" directly from the scriptures that day, I had been immeasurably blessed just the same. And I feel those blessings came because I had studied the scriptures. Sometimes I only make it through a single verse of scripture. Speed and volume aren't the point. Consistency and depth are the point. I've found that studying the scriptures each day has added a profound degree of spiritual strength to my life and character. Show more Show less