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Hi I'm Mike

I'm a retired newspaper journalist (before blogging). Raised Catholic, I'm a dad and grandpa and happily married. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up in a St. Louis suburb, attended Catholic schools and even went to a four-year preparatory seminary (high school) for priests. I will be forever grateful to my parents and the nuns and priests who nurtured my faith in a loving God. I served in the Air Force, graduated from the University of Missouri and almost 40 years in newspaper journalism. I have a son and two daughters from my first marriage. My wife is a lifelong Mormon. Between us we have nine children and 17 grandchildren and look forward to many more. I have lived in nine states and worked for eight newspapers. I love the smell of printers ink and am sad that newspaper journalism is shunned by younger people in favor of the Internet and TV. But I bet the town crier said the same thing when the printing press forced him to face retirement. I love road trips, especially to Zion National Park. My wife and I have been blessed to travel by car throughout California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Texas, as well as visiting family in Missouri. We also have gone to Hawaii and hope to return. I lived most of my adult life in Florida and often miss the ocean. But I also love the deserts of the Western United States. I pray that I'll be able to continue reading everything I can get my hands on in retirement. Favorite books: Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lost Horizon, 1984, Tale of Two Cities and anything my daughter suggests (such as The Help). I also love musical theater. I work at the Las Vegas Temple!

Why I am a Mormon

"Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?" Those are the three questions I asked my young missionaries when they first visited me when I was 60 years old. Everything they taught me about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Book of Mormon, the prophets and the restoration of Christ's church on earth and God's plan for each of us just made sense. The Book of Mormon is an inspired work of God. For me, it filled in the gaps in the teachings from the Old and New Testaments. When the missionaries talked of our Father in Heaven and our spirit existence with Him before we came to earth, my response was: "Yes. Tell me more!" I could see many of the beliefs I cherished from childhood were true, but limited. I know that my Father in Heaven is a living being who loves me and loved all of us enough to allow his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins, to take upon himself our sadness, our depression, our doubts and guilt, so that we could be free to serve God and our fellow creatures on earth. I know if we keep our commandments and covenants with God, we will return to His celestial kingdom with Him forever. I'm grateful we have living prophets who help guide us and teach us what our Father would have us do. It never made sense to me that God would no longer send prophets to help us after His Son, Jesus Christ, returned to His glorious kingdom. I love the teachings of the church, the Word of Wisdom, which not only helps us spiritually, but physically. I know the priesthood that Christ established along with His church has been restored and priesthood duties are the work of all worthy men in the church. I am grateful for the guidance from my bishop, his counselors and all members of the church. I am proud of the church's work helping those less fortunate or who have experienced tragedies or setbacks in their lives. I love that the church's leaders encourage self-reliance and hard work but never hesitate to lend a hand.

How I live my faith

When I learned about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from my young missionary visitors, I knew what they said was true. But I still held back when they asked if I would be baptized. Then one of them asked: "Brother Bray, what are you waiting for?" After my initial irritation at such an impertinent question from a 20-year-old to someone three times his age, I prayed and pondered about the question. What WAS I waiting for? It didn't take long to see this is what my Father in heaven wanted me to do. I was baptized at age 60. My son and two daughters already were church members. My dear wife has been a member all her life, and her faith inspires me daily. I love the three hours we go to church on Sunday, taking the Sacrament and listening to testimonies, attending Sunday school and learning gospel principles, and meeting with fellow high priests and hearing their thoughts about the church's teachings and the gospel. My wife and I were called to be ward missionaries, and we accompanied young missionaries visiting those investigating the church's teachings. I was able to testify about my beliefs, which helped strengthen my faith and clarified thoughts that came to me in prayer. My wife and I taught Sunday School to 7-year-olds (she still does), and I was blessed to baptize two of our students. I enjoy sharing the joy I feel from knowing my Father in heaven lives and loves me and has a plan for my salvation. I often joke that I can pray in Latin easier than in English. Prayer is like singing to me; it not only can be heard (sour notes and all) but can be felt in my heart. After I was baptized, I received the gift of the Holy Ghost when I was confirmed a member of the church. That small, quiet voice has never stopped prompting me to choose the right. And I am grateful for a living prophet and apostles. I have stumbled in my life, but I know a loving Father and dear Savior and brother Jesus Christ are with me.

Where did Mormonism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints begin?

Mike
I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the same church, restored through Joseph Smith, that Christ established on the earth before his death, resurrection and ascension into heaven. Restoration of the Christ's church was necessary because of the centuries of deviation from the teachings of Christ after the apostles died. The many reforms of the church over the years inevitably failed, because God our Father no longer communicated with us through a prophet, and the priesthood authority extending back to the apostles was forfeited. The church of Jesus Christ had to be restored at the direction of God himself, not reformed. In this final dispensation, the church will remain true until Christ's second coming. Show more Show less