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Hi I'm Ken

Born of Jewish parents, I grew up in California and attended UC Berkeley in the 1960's. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up in the wine country north of San Francisco and attended UC Berkeley from 1964-1968. In those years, Berkeley was a center of great national social/political turmoil, including the civil rights movement, opposition to the war in Vietnam, and questions about some traditional moral values. As one expression of that turmoil, the folk music era erupted, and I took up the guitar in hopes of imitating many of the well-known folksingers of the day. At UC Berkeley, I majored in chemical engineering and went on to graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In graduate school, I became interested in applying chemical engineering to medical problems (specifically, blood-material interactions) and earned a Masters Degree in physiology on the way to my PhD in chemical engineering. Following graduate school (and now married and also now a Mormon), I completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at two medical schools and then accepted a faculty position in chemical engineering at Brigham Young University (BYU). In the 35 years since we came to BYU, we have raised 4 children (all now BYU graduates), and I also have been grateful to become friends with thousands of wonderful students. I will be retiring in 2012 and may just rekindle the interest in music that had to be put aside in the bustle of work, family, and church.

Why I am a Mormon

My parents were of Jewish heritage (my grandparents were Russian Jews who immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900's), but there was no religion practiced in our home. Yet curiosity about God occasionally crossed my mind during childhood and then became more serious in college as I learned about the remarkably complex universe in which we live. In graduate school, I met a wonderful and bright Wisconsin girl who was a life-long practicing Lutheran, and our blossoming relationship brought me to attend church with her, learn of their doctrine, and read the New Testament. My initial skepticism turned to curiosity, but the doctrines seemed incomplete and confusing. Investigating other churches revealed equally-confusing doctrines. Moreover, there was a general feeling that one could never know the "truth" but that mankind was left to choose one's own philosophy and choose a church that supported that philosophy (if one existed). When we encountered the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the ""Mormons"), we found a doctrine that answered my questions and that agreed with much of life's observations, and we found that God had provided a way to KNOW the truth (not just hope or believe it). We were invited to listen, read, and pray about what we were learning. Though initially skeptical (it does sound pretty wild, after all), we came to KNOW that Jesus is the Christ, that His Church has been restored to the earth, and that there is a living prophet on the earth today. We also came to know that God hears and answers prayers and that we are better prepared to recognize those answers when we understand what He is trying to help us become. In May of 1972, my wife and I were baptized into the Church.

How I live my faith

As members of the Mormon Church for nearly 40 years, we have served in many church assignments ("callings"), ranging from teaching youth to teaching adults, from providing leadership to organizations to providing encouragement and help for individuals and families. My wife has served in leadership positions in the organization that teaches children, the organization that teaches young women, and the organization that teaches and encourages adult women. Similarly, I have been a Scout leader, advisor for young men, and a leader for adult men. For 5 years, I was the Bishop of our ward (congregation), which is somewhat like being the minister of a congregation in other churches.