Hi I'm Garth
I grew up as the youngest of 5 children. I think being the youngest in the family helped develop my powers of observation. By the time I was 16, I felt very comfortable taking things apart and fixing up a 52 Plymouth from the years spent watching my brothers working on cars. I also began to play the piano at 8 and the organ at 14. I have many fond memories of countless hours spent playing the organ for my mother as she sang. Over the years, I have enjoyed the opportunities to continue developing my musical talents and abilities by playing for our congregation. Fifteen years ago my wife and I moved to Colorado to raise our three wonderful children. Since I'm a bit of a Tesla fenatic, I love the dynamic weather and lightning storms. I began the largest trial of my life a year ago when I survived a stroke that affected my medula and brain stem from two dissected arteries in my neck. I'm not the person I used to be, I'm not yet the person I want to be, but I have come a long way and still have a ways to go. I am grateful for the opportunity to live on this earth and witness miracles in my life.
Why I am a Mormon
I'm a 4th generation member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. My Great Grandfather joined the church in England when he heard the missionaries speaking with someone else while digging a ditch. He later looked them up, joined the church, left his family who didn't join the church, and came across the plains to be with the early saints in the Salt Lake valley. Therefore, one of the reasons I'm Mormon is because of my heritage. Intellectually and spiritually, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints makes sense to me. I believe in God. I believe he sent his son to earth to die that we might live again. I believe Christ had power and authority. I believe he established his church on this earth at the meridian of time. I believe that church, power and authority fell away. I believe a live branch can't grow from a dead tree. I believe Christ's church, at the meridian of time, was restored by Joseph Smith. I believe the Book of Mormon is true. I love the people. Looking only at the organization, it is the most incredible organization in the world with a lay ministry. The welfare system is second to none. I know of no other way of life that I would rather live.
What have you done successfully to shield your family from unwanted influences?
I was so proud of my daughter when she was in 4th grade. Her friend was being teased by the 'popular' girl in school. She turned to her and asked, "You must not believe in GOD?" Puzzled, this girl asked, "why?" My daughter responded, "Because if you did, you wouldn't act this way." As we strive to protect our families from the influences of the world, they in turn protect others.
Think about your everyday activities. What are things you act upon each day where you cannot see the end results? How does faith move you to action?
After surviving a stroke last year from 2 dissected arteries in my neck, I have been left with over 2 pages of symptoms including the left side of my body being numb. I have many questions, such as what is permanent, what can I overcome, will I be able to become a productive adult again, will I be able to hold a significant job, will I drive again, will my family and caregivers be OK? In the midst of these and many more questions, I have felt compelled to practice the piano every day as therapy to enhance my healing journey. Yes, I had to go back to scales to reconnect my hands with my head. But I do it. No matter what. If I'm feeling bad, I might not be able to get out for a walk, but I make sure I practice. I can't see progress from day to day, but month to month, I'm getting better. Though part of my brain is dead and the left side of my body is numb, I'm experiencing healing and more functionality. I know I would not be as far as I am without the faith to do all I can do and place the rest into the arms of our loving Heavenly Father.
How does making right choices help us make more right choices?
As we taught our children right from wrong the topic of smoking came up. Our youngest, who was quite precocious asked, “Why is smoking bad for you?” We responded, “Well, it can make you sick.” He asked, “Why?” “It can give you something called cancer.” “What is cancer?” “It’s a disease that can make you really sick.” “If you get really sick, can you die?” “Yes.” “So, if you smoke…you can die?” “Yes.” For the next several years he ran up to every person he saw smoking and asked them, “Why do you smoke?” He never got an answer (other than a sheepish grin) from anyone, which led to the statement, “Don’t you know if you smoke…you can die?” It is true that making correct choices leads to more correct choices…the opposite is also true.
How I live my faith
I have the opportunity to run all the music at church. Last year I had a stroke and lost the ability to play the organ, piano, and conduct the choir. Part of my rehabilitation is I faithfully play the piano every day. After a year, I have started to play the easier Hymns in church again. Additionally, I teach a class once a month in our Men's organization. I also visit with several families each month, which we call home teaching. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in the church. I especially feel closer to our Heavenly Father through the spirit of music.