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Hi I'm Justin.

I'm a husband, a father of six, and a medical illustrator. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

Born in southern California, I grew up the second of seven kids in an amazingly supportive family. I attended high school on Molokai, Hawaii, served a mission for my church speaking Spanish in south Texas, graduated from BYU and received a masters in Biomedical Visualization from UIC (Chicago); but the best schooling I received was the 12 months I spent at BYU's study abroad in Jerusalem. I love studying the scriptures (in English, Spanish, or Hebrew) and the cultures of the people in them until I feel like I can personally know them, gaining insight and applying the principles I learn to try and become more like my Savior. I love great art and beautiful design, I enjoy working with the wonders of this digital age by editing video and designing on my computer. I opened my own business as a medical illustrator within a year of finishing school and am constantly amazed by the beauty and function of these incredible bodies that God has given us. I love to travel and see the world, studying history, peoples, cultures, and languages. But mostly I love to spend time with my remarkable wife and our five children. Without them I could neither have grown half as spiritually or emotionally as I have, nor would I be able to see so clearly the long path of improvement I still have to travel.

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised in a family where my mother's side had been Mormon since the days of Joseph Smith but my father's side had joined just a couple generations back. Still, for me, I grew up surrounded by testimony of Jesus Christ, strong examples of people I admired who were seeking to live good Christian lives, and when I was old enough to really start questioning if the things I'd been taught were true, I couldn't separate the teachings that I'd simply heard and accepted from the truths that I knew independent of anyone else's word. The Spirit had whispered to me so many times about the truthfulness of the gospel plan, partly from living the principles and seeing the blessings that came from obedience since I was a child, that I couldn't "back up" and start without any preconceptions because those truths were already assure to me. I have spent years - my entire life - studying the scriptures, our own church history, and on my knees with fasting and prayer and I know that any question I have has an answer. I know Jesus Christ lives, that He is my personal redeemer, that His teachings and example are the only way to "pass" the test of this life and return with our purpose fulfilled. I know He speaks through prophets, anciently and modernly, that the Bible and Book of Mormon contain His word. Knowing there is a plan, knowing what I should be doing, and knowing what came before and will come after this life help give me the total trust and faith I have in Him. There is such peace and joy that comes from this knowledge, despite the hardships that are and will come... especially when I live according to the truths that I know. I have seen countless miracles, both small and great, through ancient witness and my own personal experience, and I know that the authority of God has been restored and is used to lift and help all His children today.

How I live my faith

I believe that a person's faith should be a part of every aspect of their life, not just their religious observance one day a week, so I try to make sure I include time each day for personal and family scripture study and prayer. I seek for opportunities to teach my children good behavior and service and appreciate the help and assistance that church attendance and the Holy Spirit give me in that regard. Because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has no paid ministry, I've enjoyed and benefited from being asked to serve as a teacher of the adult Sunday School class (gospel doctrine), the early morning youth Bible study class (seminary), as President of the Young Men (boys 12-18), counselor to a Bishop (leader of a local congregation), and several other positions from which I have grown as much if not more than those I have served. Currently I serve on what's called a "High Council", assisting with the coordination of multiple local congregations (called "wards"), specifically over those early morning seminary classes. During the year between finishing my schooling and starting my own business, I worked at a high-stress job for a company which held an occasional Friday "collective employee review" meeting. One such weekend I was struck by the contrast of this meeting where all I heard was "give me more, do more for me, I want better compensation, I won't do that unless I get more"... and then voluntarily attending a 6am Sunday morning meeting where a group of individuals from all walks of life (mothers, fathers, students, bosses and employees) sat around and talked about the needs of others... real physical and emotional needs, and how we could help them. How we could serve and sacrifice for them, and hands went up volunteering to do so for no personal gain or recognition. These were people living their faith, not just preaching it, but seeking in every possible way to pattern their lives after the Savior's... a life of service and care for others.

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

Justin.
In a recent trip to the eastern United States, my family visited such historical sites as the homes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, as well as the childhood home of Joseph Smith. In a similar manner as we view the founding fathers of our country, we honor Joseph Smith as a man who courageously and willingly sacrificed everything required of him to perform the work that God, our Heavenly Father, wished for him to do. None of these men were perfect, but as they were divinely inspired by God we acknowledge the role they played and are grateful for them. Just as no discussion on the creation of the United States would be complete without President Washington, our understanding of how God restored his gospel to the earth would be incomplete without recognizing the role Joseph Smith played in that process. Just as we do not worship Moses, Abraham, or Peter, we recognize Joseph Smith as a man whom our Savior Jesus Christ was able to speak to that His message might be available to those seeking it. We worship God our Father and His son, Jesus Christ. If you ever hear a Mormon teach a gospel principle by saying "Joseph Smith said..." or "Joseph Smith taught us...", then know that we are viewing his teaching as one inspired and prompted by the Spirit, the same Spirit that will testify of its truthfulness. I am forever grateful to all those who have sacrificed that I may be blessed with the knowledge and privileges that I have today, none more so than our Lord Jesus Christ. Show more Show less