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Hi I'm Monte

I'm an artist, an art teacher, a purveyor of curiosities, and a Mormon.

About Me

I'm a husband to an AWESOME wife and a dad to two FANTASTIC daughters. I like cartoons, video games, comics, vinyl records, books, sandwiches, ukulele, harmonica, and owls. When people ask me what I do for a living, my answer is "artist" but that answer encompasses a lot of disciplines. I'm a creative director with a background in video games, but I also teach college art classes, draw comics, animate, and (occasionally) paint. And I've never met a piece of scrap paper I didn't want to attack with a black magic marker.

Why I am a Mormon

I'm a Mormon because the teachings of the church help me to be a better person in all avenues of my life - at home, at work, in the arts, and in the classroom. I can honestly say that my faith impacts my life on every level, and I go to church to be the best I can be in everything I do.

How I live my faith

I'm grateful to have had many different opportunities to serve. I've organized service projects, taught Sunday school classes, chaperoned activities, and scheduled visits with families who need support. I've worked with children, teenagers, and adults, with new members of the church and with people not of our faith. I served a full-time, two-year mission (the "tie-and-name-tag" kind) in Northern California. I like to help people apply the teachings of the church in practical ways, to truly emulate Christ in their relationships with other people inside and outside the church. I'm not perfect, but I do my best.

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Monte
Not everyone understands my religion, and misunderstandings lead to labels. That's just the way of the world. But the truth is, my religion is Christianity. I'm a Christian, and my branch of Christianity allows for the fact that God speaks to his children upon the earth today. That understanding is a gift that I am truly thankful for, and I genuinely hope that more people will understand it, too. Show more Show less

What is the role of the husband and the wife in the family?

Monte
My wife and I are partners in every way. We have common goals and specific responsibilities in our family, and we share the sacrifices and the rewards of building a strong home. Our goal is to raise our daughters in an environment where they can grow as Christ did: "In wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." (Luke 2:52) In other words, my wife and I are responsible for the intellectual, physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being of all the people in our home. Show more Show less

What are Mormon women like? Do Mormons believe in equality of men and women?

Monte
Well, my wife is Mormon and I'm crazy about her! She's intelligent, dedicated, zany, and hilarious. She's also a woman of faith, driven to live a life of purpose and quality. I respect her and (as a father of two daughters) I'm happy to be a member of a church that offers all women the respect they deserve. Show more Show less

Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorse political parties?

Monte
No. There are members of the church who are Republicans, members who are Democrats, and members who are independent (like me). I participate in politics in the same way I live my faith: According to the dictates of my own conscience. Show more Show less

What is faith?

Monte
I heard this definition in church recently, and I just love it: "Hope is positive thinking. Faith is positive action." Faith, for me, is not merely belief. It's much more than that. Faith is what you do because you believe. Show more Show less

Why is it important for us to take care of our bodies? Why are our bodies called temples of God in the Bible?

Monte
Our bodies are called temples of God in the Bible because they are the place where our spirit lives. There is a teaching recorded in our church history that words the concept in this way: "The spirit and the body are the soul of man." (Doctrine and Covenants 88:15) Our bodies make it possible for us to think, act, and make decisions for ourselves. This is a gift, and when you're given a gift the respectful thing to do is to treat it well. Show more Show less

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

Monte
No. We respect Joseph Smith just as we do the other prophets of the past, such as Moses, Isaiah, Peter, James, and John. But Mormons are Christian. We worship God and Jesus Christ. Show more Show less

Why are only some Mormons allowed into temples? Is there something secret going on in Mormon Temples? What goes on in Mormon Temples?

Monte
"Sacred" and "secret" are not the same thing. When a thing is sacred, it's special; it's treated with respect because it means something. A secret is, for the sake of being exclusionary, merely hidden. The temple is a sacred place; the most sacred place of all, besides the home. The temple is a place where I learn about the eternal nature of the individual and of families, and by this I mean that I learn to view myself and my loved ones the way that God does. Before I visit the temple I prepare myself spiritually, so that the experience is as enlightening as it is intended to be. Every member of the church who is willing to do the same can enter the temple. Show more Show less

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

Monte
Mormon customs are pretty standard fare: We go to church on Sunday, we pray everyday at meals and before we go to bed, and we do a lot of church stuff during the week (scripture study classes, potlucks, and so on). We dress up when we go to church, but not so much for the weekday things. The most important holidays on the calendar are Christmas and Easter. These are spiritually significant to us, as they are to all Christians. We also celebrate the big national holidays and family events in all the ways one might expect: We go trick-or-treating, we watch football, we eat turkey and pie, BBQ and birthday cakes. Not all at the same time, of course ... but that would be AMAZING! Show more Show less

What is the Word of Wisdom that Mormons talk about?

Monte
The Word of Wisdom is the name of code of health that Mormons live by. Simply put, we commit to exercise, eat healthy, and to not use tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, or illegal drugs. We do this to show God that our desire for spiritual enlightenment is greater than our physical appetites. For those familiar with Lent or Ramadan, the Word of Wisdom is very similar, only year-round. Show more Show less

Who is the Mormon prophet today?

Monte
The man we refer to as the prophet is the president of the church, Thomas S. Monson. For anyone who is interested in his history, there is an excellent work called 'To The Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson' by Heidi S. Swinton that I recommend. It's inspirational, it really is. More importantly, I would encourage anyone who is reading this response to listen to this inspired man. Search lds.org for his addresses and hear him for yourself. I have heard him speak many times and read his words often, and when I have followed his encouragements and his direction I have felt real happiness. I know this can happen for you, too. You owe it to yourself to find out if he is what we believe him to be. Wouldn't knowing that a prophet of God is alive on the earth make a difference in your life? Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform proxy baptisms in their temples?

Monte
Jesus taught that we must be "born of water and of the Spirit" to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5). Like most Christians, we believe baptism is essential for everyone. We also believe that God allows us to be baptized for our ancestors who passed away before being baptized themselves. This doesn't automatically make people Mormon who don't want to be; rather, it gives our distant relatives the ability to choose for themselves in the next life. Proxy baptisms are another example of God's love for His children. Christ did something for me that I couldn't do on my own, and God's plan allows for me to do the same for others. No one is excluded from heaven because of circumstances they couldn't control. Show more Show less

Who founded Mormonism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Monte
The church was organized in 1830, with Joseph Smith as the first president. Joseph Smith, ten years previously, prayed to know which church to join and, like the prophets of the Bible, was visited by God and Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith was chosen by God to do His work, the result of which today is a worldwide religion with millions of members spread across many countries. Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons drink coffee, tea, or alcohol? What is the Mormon Church’s law of health and proper diet?

Monte
In the church, members live by a code of health called the Word of Wisdom. Simply put, we commit to exercise, eat healthy, and to not use tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, or illegal drugs. We do this to show God that our desire for spiritual enlightenment is greater than our physical appetites. For those familiar with Lent or Ramadan, the Word of Wisdom is very similar, only year-round. Show more Show less

How is the Book of Mormon different from the Bible? How did Joseph Smith obtain the “golden plates” or Book of Mormon?

Monte
The Bible is a book of scripture that records the words of the prophets and the mortal life and ministry of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is also a book of scripture, the record of an ancient civilization that lived in the Americas and interacted with Jesus Christ after His resurrection. The Book of Mormon was delivered to Joseph Smith by an angel, and was translated by the gift of God. The prophet Ezekiel promised that this would happen, and it did (Ezekiel 37:15-17). Members of the church recognize both the Bible and the Book of Mormon as the word of God. This story is amazing, to be sure. Fortunately, there is a word in the Christian faith for amazing events, and that word is MIRACLE. The Book of Mormon is a miracle, but the only way to know for sure whether or not the Book of Mormon is true is to read it and to pray about it. I have done both, and it changed my life. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Monte
We believe in the grace of Jesus Christ. Lehi, a Book of Mormon prophet, taught that "there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah" and that Christ "shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved." (2 Nephi 2:8-9) Show more Show less

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

Monte
We are Christians, but we are often referred to as Mormons because we believe the Book of Mormon (like the Bible) is the word of God. It's just a nickname. The official name of the church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Show more Show less

What is a “testimony” that Mormons speak of?

Monte
Testimony is another term for what many Christians refer to as a witness, a spiritual confirmation from God that a thing is true. You gain this witness through prayer, study, or any activity that allows you to feel the Holly Ghost. Show more Show less

What is a ward/stake/branch?

Monte
Members of the church attend the chapel nearest their home. Congregations are called wards, and groups of wards are called stakes. The term "stake" is used to evoke an image that the church, as a whole, is a tent (like the tabernacle of the Old Testament) with supports all over the world. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe is the purpose of life?

Monte
The purpose of life is happiness, the kind that comes from knowing that God has a plan for each of us, a reason for being born and a reason for living. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons baptize their new members?

Monte
We are baptized to show our willingness to follow the example of Christ and to be counted among his followers. We believe that baptism creates a covenant with God, one where we promise to keep his commandments and He promises to forgive our sins. It's a beautiful, pivotal experience; the beginning of a new life. Show more Show less

How can we increase our faith in Jesus Christ?

Monte
Christ taught that if we seek, we shall find (Matthew 7:7). If we want to find an increase of faith, we need to seek out ways to be more faithful. Prayer, scripture study, and service to others will align us with the will of God, and when that happens, our faith will grow. Show more Show less