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Hi I'm Jim

I'm a Mormon. I grew up in Walla Walla, Washington. Much of who I am today has been shaped by my extensive service in the church.

About Me

In high school I worked on farms. I hoed strawberry plants; cut, bailed and stacked hay; and drove wheat trucks and combines. Three college summers were spent fighting wild fires, or supporting other fire fighters in Alaska. It is awe inspiring to see a tree "torch out" and act like a huge roman candle. I obtained a Bachelor of Engineering Science degree in Chemical Engineering at Brigham Young University. I recently retired after 41 years working as a fire protection engineer helping large industrial and commercial enterprises prevent or reduce loss to property and income from fires, floods, earthquakes and hurricanes. My personal time was divided between helping my wife raise eight children and church activities. One week we attended 11 basketball games of our children. In due season there was also football, soccer, track and cross country. I get teary eyed when I see significant triumph over serious challenge. I have enjoyed researching my German from Russia heritage and serving in several church leadership roles, both ministering and administering. Now my wife and l most enjoy being with and watching the growth and development of our 28 grandchildren. We plan major family reunions every other year and frequently get together in between with available family members.

Why I am a Mormon

First, I am a Mormon because my dad was lucky enough to marry a Mormon and subsequently convert to her faith when I was six years old. So, I was raised as a Mormon. That only lasts so long before you need a better reason. Secondly, I feel like the Lord has kept me in His church by supplying a steady stream of light, knowledge and encouragement - here a little and there a little, as the scriptures say. For example, by the time high school was over I had had my fill of church. But for reasons I still can't fully explain, when I left home to attend the University of Washington in Seattle, I followed my dad's last admonition and attended the church's program for college students. Through my activity as a freshman there, I desired, qualified for, and received a patriarchal blessing. The patriarch was a total stranger; still I left his home absolutely convinced the blessing was inspired by someone who knew me very well. The blessing was tailored for me. It helped me serve a full time mission in England. While still a college student, shortly before getting married, I was inspired to know that I would soon be asked to serve as a counselor to my bishop. After graduating and three moves later, another inspiration came -- I was "told" I would serve as the bishop to our congregation in New Jersey. Similarly I "just knew" beforehand when I was about to be asked to serve as a counselor to our stake president. I have said more than once that the Lord has told me many times, many ways, that He wants me serving in His church. Now the reason I am still a Mormon is because of the non-verbal ways He repeatedly has so sublimely said, "Thank you for your service." I love Him for that.

How I live my faith

My personal religious observance includes daily prayer, reading scriptures or listening to them while driving in the car. I ponder and meditate seeking to better understand how God would have me live, how to receive the Lord's strength to carry out His will. I fast with a purpose. My wife and I discuss gospel principles and lessons that she or I have been asked to teach. That also happens when the children call home. We attend church each week, and usually include some activity at a temple at least once a month. Over the years we have enjoyed singing in the choir, teaching a class and mentoring the youth in scouting or other activities. Until recently my wife and I led two addiction recovery support groups using an approved twelve step program adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous. In addition, with another male member, I visit half a dozen members once a month sharing a spiritual message and befriending those assigned to us, mostly single adults. I also teach a church class of older men once a month. I love serving the Lord. I was a full-time missionary in England & Wales. I was a clerk twice & a counselor to 3 bishops & 2 stake presidents (training bishops & other lay leaders). I have served an entire congregation as their bishop twice (New Jersey & Washington). Much knowledge, happiness & joy come from such activity. It is humbling to help others come to the Lord & see the depth of their feeling as they develop a relationship with their Savior.

Do Mormons regard the Bible as Holy Scripture and the word of God?

My favorite book of scripture is the Old Testament. There are lots of reasons for this. First, I think it is because I first read it through after reading the latter-day revelations found in our book of scripture called the Doctrine and Covenants which are mostly from the early 1800s. A strong impression came to me over and over again while reading how God dealt with his children in Old Testament times -- "same God doing the same things." It was more eloquent than that but words can't do it justice. He has always loved His children and worked through prophets to help them. Second, I find the examples of faith in the Old Testament inspiring. I wish I could be more like Daniel and his friends, or Ruth or Hannah. I want to be more steadfast like Samuel was throughout his life. I would love to be thought about and described as God described both Saul and David in their early lives. Elijah is my kind of guy; willing to do really hard things in partnership with God. Third, I love the wisdom and "nuggets of truth" found scattered throughout and also concentrated in the Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. They certainly understood mankind and how to get along with each other and help one another. Fourth, it thrills me to see how the prophecies come true. Sooner or later they all have or will come to pass. I have used that fact to help me place more of my trust in God. He is a God of truth and cannot lie. He knows all things and works for the good of His children. Show more Show less