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Hi I'm Alex

I can speak English, Spanish, and interpretive dance. I'm the definition of "awkward," I'm an engineer to be, and also a Mormon.

About Me

In addition to the above, I enjoy working with computers, playing videogames, determining how things work, mapping things out, doodling, and various other unsocial activities (like doing dishes). Chances are that this nerdery is hereditary, given that my dad is an aerospace engineer, my mom a shameless crossword-fiend/Whovian/Trekkie/blogger/ect., and my brothers are all computer geeks (our sister happens to be the exception that proves the rule). As for myself, I'm going to be an electrical engineer (shocking, yes). Contrary to all the afore-implied tendencies to keep to myself, I served a proselyting missionary for the Church. I was sent to the great California Long Beach Mission, serving in areas from Whittier to Huntington Beach (no, we couldn't surf there, so don't you dare say "lucky"). To date, going on a mission is the best decision I've ever made. For those who are interested, the usual list of favorites is to be found in the title text of this page. It obviously can't tell you exactly the kind of person I am, but hey, what's to stop you from guessing? At the very least it you could use it to break the ice on the off-beat chance that we cross paths someday.

Why I am a Mormon

Because it's joyful and true. I was raised in the church by very devout parents, but I have not always found joy in it. Since as young as I can remember, I found the thought of talking about my membership in the church to be intensely embarrassing. Thus, while I knew that the Lord expected me to serve a mission once I became of age, I was terrified by the thought of actually doing so. Sure, I read my scriptures, went to church, youth activities, seminary classes, etc., but my fear still remained. I knew what I should do, I knew that I was expect to go, and I knew that I probably owed it to myself to go, but I really really did not want to go (though I was too much of a little yes-man junior to admit so). This indecision continued for well after I graduated high school. What eventually broke up this veritable logjam of existential waffling was a prayer. One evening, after having a conversation with my dad on the subject, I prayed to our heavenly Father. I asked "Should I go on a mission?" He answered with divine assurance. Although I still had my fears, I went ahead with it and have no regrets. The memory of that experience has served as an anchor to my faith (cf Ether 12:4 and D&C 6:21-23). Try it yourself in earnest and see if it doesn't work. I have come to know there is a God in Heaven who is personally invested in our lives, who wants to forgive us, and who will help us overcome our challenges. This knowledge has given me great joy.

How I live my faith

By doing things. For the right reason. The Savior's capital-S Sermon on the Mount is a good place to start (Matthew 5-7, or 3 Nephi 12-14). Read it, learn it, live it, love it, repeat. It'll make you a better person. Then, once you figure out and truly feel what it is to repent, life will be magical again. Before my mission I was called upon to help empty the garbage cans and secure the church building after church every Sunday. There were some official-sounding titles attached to these responsibilities that have escaped my memory. Nevertheless, it was rad. Right now I am a missionary. In social terms, it has stretched me a lot more than my prior responsibility, talking with people, inviting them to repent, etc. It has, all in all, been a very humbling and difficult experience, and yet joyful and fulfilling as well. I may not be perfect, but am grateful that this opportunity has been given to me. It has been quite 'radical' (to speak more formally). Sir Isaac Newton said something about standing on the 'shoulders of giants' as a metaphor for indebtedness to all his scientific predecessors' achievements (cf 1 Corinthians 4:7). I feel similarly thankful for the scriptures. I have found that the meditative study of their words can work wonders. Through them, the Holy Ghost has brought to me many solutions to personal problems and given me much spiritual strength in my times of desperation. Read them for yourself and see what happens.

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Alex
Only through the grace of God can we be saved, so thus without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we would be hopelessly lost (see 2 Nephi 9 in the Book of Mormon to see what that would be like). No matter what we do, God does not owe us salvation. That said, some take this to mean that salvation is thus almost unconditional, usually citing a verse from Romans: "We preach that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:8-9; see also Alma 34:17) We preach this as well. Confession with faith in Christ is needed for repentance, which brings a "remission of sins" (or a "clean slate"). See Mosiah 4:2-3 and Alma 36:16-20 in the Book of Mormon for pitch-perfect examples of this in action. From personal experience, I have to say it feels wonderful. Afterwards, it remains our responsibility to keep our "slates" clean from sin (see Alma 24:13) by continuing to repent of our wrongdoings and by keeping the commandments that Jesus has given us (for instance: baptism). If we become unfaithful again, our prior confession won't mean much at judgment day (read Ezekiel 18). As we continue trying to emulate the Savior, we will see how truly imperfect we are, thus feeling inadequate ("big sandals to fill"). However, as we rely upon the the grace of God, He will make the way possible for us. We will be able to say, as the prophet Nephi, "My God hath been my support." (2 Nephi 4:20). Show more Show less

How can I know Mormonism is true?

Alex
"[Jesus] saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my father which is in heaven." (Matthew 16:15-17) Think about it. Peter, much like many others in Judea at the time, was a personal witness of the miracles the Savior preformed; and yet, seeing with their eyes and hearing with their ears, there were many who neither believed nor understood Jesus' role as Messiah. They could not be converted until they applied the heart to understanding (cf Isaiah 6:10) and seek revelation from God. In other words, you must "inquire of the Lord" (1 Nephi 15:8), or as Jesus put it: 'ask, seek, knock.' (see Matthew 7:7) Asking comes by prayer, seeking comes by study of the Book of Mormon, and knocking comes by being honest in your intentions and having a strong desire (I've knocked a lot of doors as a missionary, and let me tell you...). These are the conditions God has set, and I know that they work. Show more Show less

What is faith?

Alex
To have faith is to have the ability to trust in God. It encompasses not just a belief that He exists, but also a belief in the truth His words, His promises, His commandments, His impeccable character, etc. Without faith, we would receive no comfort of knowing are sins are forgiven. Without faith, we would feel no duty to serve God. Without faith, there would be unable to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. All meaningful action is brought about by faith. Faith is built first by acting on a desire to believe, and then further built by acting on faith. To avoid self-deception in the process, just do some honest self-reflection. As the old saying goes, "You reap what you sow." Thus, if the "fruit" of your faith is good, then it logically follows that the "seed" was good as well. As an aside: Outside of the religious context, the word 'faith' is also in spousal relationships. For instance, people can be described as being 'faithful' to their spouse, or their level of commitment and trustworthiness to their spouse is described as 'faithfulness.' I believe that the principle here is very much the same is it is with God. Our faithfulness is well-correlated with thoughts and deeds. One cannot claim to be faithful to one's spouse whilst having an affair. So it is with God. Jesus reminded us that "No man can serve two masters." Thus, one should walk one's talk. Show more Show less