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Hi I'm McKell

I'm bi-winning, I'm a missionary, I'm a techie, I'm a zombie slayer, I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I was adopted at birth, and so had the privilege of being sealed to my parents (and my siblings as they came along as well). Things I like? Reading, noms, guns, knives, singing, writing...stuff, and being around people who enjoy being around me. I enjoy being eloquent, and I have a penchant for epic music. My ancestors and my penny whistle both came from Ireland. I've been known to make apple fritters that are "larger than an infant's head", though i abandoned that vocation to begin my ministry, and I do in fact own a sword. At the moment I'm serving a full time mission in the city of Antigo, Wisconsin, in the Wisconsin Milwaukee Mission. I do love my family, but I don't think I ever realized that quite as clearly as I do now. Let's see...my favorite hymns are "Praise to the Man", "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief", "The Spirit of God", and "If You Could Hie To Kolob". My ambitions include finding out what that song actually means, becoming a superhero, writing a novel, and possibly getting a real job, like a police officer or a psychiatrist. Sure, maybe my aim is high, but Stan Lee didn't create Marvel Comics by not writing comic books. In fact, as one of my favorite superheroes addresses the matter: "I liked to ask...why don't people chase their dreams? How many rockstars grew up to be dentists? How many astronauts grow up to be accountants?" My philosophy is that: It's your dream. Whether it happens or not is up to you.

Why I am a Mormon

Like I said, I was raised in the church. Like most people my age, I found other interests in life along the way, and it took a big roundabout happening to make me realize just what the church means to me. Why am I a mormon? I'd say it's one part hereditary, as I'm good ol' pioneer stock, and several parts personal choice. I know of assurety that what I'm out here teaching is the absolute truth, and that's enough reason for me.

How I live my faith

Currently, I'm devoting all my time and efforts into serving as a full time missionary and it's been a ride. I get called to serve in Wisconsin and spend 7 months in Michigan, who'd have thought? I've been at it for...let's see...2...3...6...27...no, i mean 23 months now, and I would not have guessed that by this point I would have ridden out 2 tornados, eaten a chicken foot (I didn't know there was enough there to eat), gotten hit by a car (sort of), worked on a dairy farm, been, um...kissed by a raccoon, made the crucible change from getting fat to getting...less fat, named a wild kitten Mithrandir, crashed into a tree (several trees at once, actually), had to shove my companion through a bathroom window, cleaned root beer off of a ceiling fan (yeah, that's what I said too), or become a pennywhistler (pennywhistl...ist? one who plays the pennywhistle), but most of all, I never would have guessed how much I'd've had the opportunity to witness the Gospel of Jesus Christ help change and improve the lives of our Heavenly Father's children. I put on the tag to teach, but really I've learned so much more, about myself, about the world, and most of all, about the Lord Jesus Christ, and His gospel.

Why do Mormon missionaries proselyte?

McKell
The common misconception is that missionaries go out into the world to "get baptisms" and to increase the membership of the church. The reality of it is, the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is found within His church in these latter days. What manner of Christians would we be if we didn't answer the call and take the responsibility to share the truths and principles of salvation with anyone and everyone? In giving 2 years of our lives to serve the Lord (which is a small sacrifice, in terms of everything He has already given us), we seek to fulfill our responsibility of inviting all mankind to partake of the joy of His divine love. I know from sacred personal experience the divine joy and happiness of watching someone descend to the waters of baptism, I having done my humble part to open up the doors of His gospel to them and bring them closer to Him. How great indeed, was my joy, in each soul I've helped to bring unto Christ. Show more Show less

What are some things that tell you there is a God?

McKell
One of my favorite novels says it best: when asked a similar question, the protagonist answers thus "...the smell of sizzling bacon...I had only to look as far as the breakfast table". But in all seriousness, just about everything. The scriptures, of course; prayer; church attendance; the witness of the Holy Ghost. But quite frankly, I need only step out into a clear, cool night and gaze in wonder at the millions of stars I can see, and the countless other heavenly bodies i can only imagine. I need only conceive of the majesty of the mighty Utah mountains I call home, or the sun setting on the vast, sweeping Wisconsin horizon. To me, the scurryings about of tiny ants, seemingly insignificant to the universe, shows me the hand of the Lord. Blessings and positive experiences bear witness that "men are that they might have joy", that He wants me to be happy; conversely, sorrow, trials, and afflictions also point me to Him, in that He wants to give me every opportunity to learn and grow while in this life. He created all things, and all things, simply in their very existing, tell me that there is a God. Show more Show less

Is it true that Jesus appeared in North America after his crucifixion and resurrection according to the Book of Mormon?

McKell
You betcha. Christ Himself said "other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd". Those other "sheep" of the house of Israel had made their way to the Americas, as is detailed in the Book of Mormon; He did indeed visit them, ministered unto them, and organized His church amongst them, just as He had done previously in Jerusalem. What's more, He spoke to them of still other "sheep", neither there nor at Jerusalem, that He had yet to visit. This is only logical; He was, I mean, is, the Savior of all mankind, thus, He must have visited His followers and believers wherever they were to be found in the world. Show more Show less

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

McKell
Did the children of Israel worship Moses? Joseph Smith did more for the salvation of mankind than anyone who ever lived, save only Christ Himself. Christ was perfect, the Son of God, and the Savior of us all. We love and worship Him. Through Joseph Smith the Lord restored His Gospel, but it was still His, not Joseph's. Joseph Smith was a man, a great man and Prophet of the Lord, but still a man. We testify of his divine calling, we revere him, and I think I would just die if I ever got to meet him, but the God of Heaven is the only One we worship. Show more Show less

Can you tell me about Mormon customs: how you dress for church, what holidays you celebrate, etc.?

McKell
Well, we celebrate most of the usual holidays, Christmas and Easter, of course, as well as Halloween, the 4th of July (in the U.S.), and other national holidays in other countries; birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and all that. In fact, we celebrate the 24th of July as Pioneer Day, the day that Brigham Young, the 2nd Prophet in latter days, first set his eyes upon the Salt Lake Valley. In my neck of the woods, there's a big to-do with parades and rodeos and such to commemorate the day. For church, it's appropriate for men and boys to wear slacks, a button down shirt and tie, suits, sport coats; for women, dresses or skirts and blouses that are modest. Basically your typical "Sunday best". That being said, however, the focus of church meetings is to worship the Lord and to partake of the sacrament, not to look fancy. Dressing up shows reverence and respect for the Lord and His house, and invites a spirit of worship. Also, it's common for us to open and close certain functions, such as family or church parties with a word of prayer, as well as blessings on meals, as a family in the morning and/or evening, and in private to begin or end the day. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about the Bible? Do they regard it as Holy Scripture and the word of God?

McKell
Why, yes, in fact we do. God loves His children from every age and time, and has always given the gospel to them, through prophets He called to do so. These writings, along with accounts of Christ's ministry, form the Bible as we have it today. However, unfortunately, it's also apparent that over centuries of retranslation and religious disputes, errors and changes have found their way into the text. So we do consider the Bible to be the word of God "so far as it is translated correctly." Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform proxy baptisms in their temples?

McKell
Well, from the time the apostles were killed, and by that I mean the time that the Nephites descended into apostasy, to the time that Joseph Smith witnessed the First Vision, was centuries. People "hungered and thirsted" for the word of God, but divine inspiration was nowhere to be found. Divine authority, necessary to perform proper baptism, was gone. And in the mean time, thousands of thousands of people on earth either had no opportunity to recieve and accept the Gospel of Christ, or were baptized without the necessary authority; these conditions continue today. Since baptism by proper authority is necessary to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, God provided a way for those who never had the opportunity to recieve the ordinance by means of a living proxy standing in their place. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

McKell
At the moment, I wear a tag with 2 names on it. One is mine; the other is the name of the church I represent. It isn't the church of Joseph Smith, or even the Mormon church. It is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Bible tells us that to be Christ's church, it must bear His name. Jesus Christ is the Head and Center of our religion. He is our Savior and Redeemer, and, as a Book of Mormon prophet said, "we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach and prophesy of Christ". Indeed we are Christians. Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

McKell
Since the Book of Mormon was published, the church as a whole has been given the nickname "Mormons" or Mormon church. This definitely leads so some misunderstanding for those who aren't familiar with the name Mormon and who he actually was (the abridger and compiler of the ancient record that eventually became the Book of Mormon). Further, other people, lacking in information or in open opposition, slap the "cult" label on out of ignorance, misunderstanding, or mischaracterization. Still others may find our doctrine peculiar, unorthodox, or just downright different. The truth of it is, we are not a cult in any sense. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a restoration of Christianity after the manner that Christ organized it during His ministry. Show more Show less

What is done with the tithing that Mormons pay?

McKell
The Church as an organization is completely self-funded and debt free, because of the tithing of the members. Each able member is asked to pay 10% of their income to the Church. The principle of tithing has been around since at least the days of Abraham. Through Malachi, the Lord has promised His people that he would "open the windows of heaven and pour our a blessing...that there should not be room to recieve it". So faithful members are more than happy to donate what is asked of them. The money is used for things such as building temples, meeting houses, seminary buildings, basically all the Church's fiscal needs. Show more Show less

What is the Word of Wisdom that Mormons talk about?

McKell
The Word of Wisdom was a revelation given to Joseph Smith in response to his questions to the Lord on overall well being. It emphasizes eating healthy, wholesome foods, such as grains, vegetables, fruits, etc., while cutting back on meats, and prohibits the use of tobacco, alocohol, coffee, tea, and illicit drugs. Pretty obivious, as someone once pointed out "don't do things that kill you". What's more, is that the negative effects of tobacco and alcohol use and abuse were known to the saints long before medical studies showed the same thing. Our bodies are very sacred gifts to us from God. They are created in His image, and He asks that we treat them with respect and has promised to pour out His blessings for doing so. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about the nature of God?

McKell
We believe God to be our Father in Heaven, literally the Creator of our spirits, as well as the Supreme Creator of the universe. He has a physical, tangible body of flesh and bone, though He is glorified, perfected, and immortal. He is also filled with mercy, kindness, and love for all of His children, and desires nothing more than for us to be able to return and live with Him, to become glorified like Him and to inherit all that which He has. Show more Show less

Why do you have 12 Apostles? They were just meant to be around for the time of Jesus Christ, not to be replaced with new apostles.

McKell
You'll recall that after the death and resurrection of Christ, the Quorum was short a member, and, under Peter's direction, chose Matthias to fill Judas Iscariot's place. Later, Paul was also chosen to be an apostle, presumably to fill another gap. He mentions in his epistle to the Ephesians that Christ's church should be built on the foundation of prohpets and apostles, and their role in that is to bring all to a unity of the faith. Show more Show less

Why is family so important to Mormons?

McKell
Families are meant to be eternal, and through the sealing power of the Priesthood, that is possible for all those who live worthy of the blessings therein. According to the testimony of Matthew, Christ gave Peter this power, and the same sealing power was restored to the prophet Joseph Smith in the last days. Bound in Heaven as on earth, through these sealing ordinances performed in the temple, our family relationships can last beyond the veil and into the eternities, robbing death of its sting with the promise that we will see and be with those we love once more. Show more Show less

Why is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called Mormons or Mormonism?

McKell
One thing that makes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints unique is our belief in an additional volume of scripture called The Book of Mormon. In the early days of the Church, the nickname "mormon" (and as a function of that, the term "mormonism") was derived by those unfamiliar with the actual title of the Church, and the nickname has been around ever since. Show more Show less

What is a ward/stake/branch?

McKell
A ward refers to both a geographical area assigned to attend and worship at a certain building, as well as the congregation of people living therein; a stake, on the other hand, is a collection of wards, usually 5 to 7. A branch is basically a smaller congregation, but organized the same as a ward; a district is likewise in relation to a stake. Each ward (or branch) is presided over by a bishop (or branch president), who is asked to volunteer. Stakes (or districts) are presided over by a stake president (or district president). Show more Show less

What is the purpose of the welfare services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

McKell
Christ instructed His followers to care for the poor, the sick, and the needy, and the church's welfare systems are set up to do just that. Those participating don't just get a free handout, though. When at all possible, participants are asked to give back as they recieve the assistance, building both self-confidence and work ethic. The work they do, in turn, blesses others benefiting from welfare services. Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons have paid clergy?

McKell
The Lord, during his ministry, advised His disciples to "lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth...but treasures in heaven". Jesus Christ served out of love, not for any reward. He recieved no lucre for His ministry; the New Testament epistles even discourage paid clergy. Christ took no money or compensation, as his followers it's our duty, or privilege, to serve our fellow men out of love, not motivation for reward. Show more Show less