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Hi I'm Joe

I live in Arizona, was raised Catholic, and help process imaging data from Mars for NASA. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

2008 was a very difficult year for me. I knew with a certainty that the only way forward, after eight years of trying everything else, was to divorce my wife. I had two sweet children, aged 4 and 2, and that fact weighed heavily on me as I moved forward with the decision. Fast forward past seven and a half months of hell, punctuated by things like not being able to legally see my own children, being forced to pay for a home that I was not legally able to go to and we arrive at the beginning of 2009, the beginning of my new life. I will never forget in January of 2009 when, in our new home, I sat down with my kids in what would become their bedroom as we said our first family prayer... ever. I remember feeling like I needed to say a prayer and they just sat on my lap as I said it out loud. I remember thanking God for our new start, for the opportunity to have a positive environment for the children as well as for myself. I remember making a promise to make the very most of our new start. I don't remember the whole prayer, but at the end, we all cried together. That is all ancient history now. I am married to a beautiful wife and we are raising two wonderful children together. I am a computer programmer working with data from Mars for NASA. I also love to do photography of people and landscapes. I am happier than I have ever been in my entire life! :)

Why I am a Mormon

In February of 2009, I was going through what little I had been left with after divorce, deciding what to keep and what to donate/recycle. During this process, I ran across my old Junior High year book. I read a dedication written to me by another young man. As I read what he had written, the strangest thing happened to me, I felt utterly compelled to contact him. I ended up finding him on Facebook of all places, and we talked back and forth and about old times. During our discourse, it came up that he was Mormon, and I mentioned that in my adult life, that I truly felt that my Mormon (LDS, Latter Day Saint) friends were some of the best people I knew. This was certainly NOT to say that I didn't have excellent friends that weren't Mormon! Over the years, I have truly been blessed to have some of the best friends I could ever hope for, of all backgrounds possible. So then it happened, he asked me if he could send missionaries over to my house... Missionaries! The people I had flipped off as a kid (you read that right...). I didn't relish the idea of missionaries coming over, but I figured I would at least TALK to them. I like computers, technology, and electronics a great deal. I do work for NASA, mostly related to Mars. It may strike you as odd then, that I, of all people, could believe in God, that I could believe in "organized religion". That seems to be a trend lately - that people either believe in Science or they believe in God, but rarely both... Yet I do. And for me, the wonder of science is something that instills in me even MORE awe of God's creation! In the book of Mormon, it talks about a "Tree of Life". That story truly spoke to me and as I read it, I felt my heart turn to Heaven. I found myself realizing the Book of Mormon was true and that the LDS Church is God's Church here on earth. I went to Church the day after the missionaries gave me the Book of Mormon, and I have gone every Sunday since!

How I live my faith

Today (August 2011), I serve as a "Ward Executive Secretary" - I help my Bishop organize his calendar and meet with all the people that need his help. It has really been an eye opener to realize just how much time he spends helping others. One of the things men in the LDS Church do is something called "Home Teaching". This is where we teach others what we know, help to uplift them and provide assistance in any way we can. This has been a tremendous blessing in my life - I have one family in particular that I serve and they have had a major struggle for nearly a year. The father in the home was a truck driver, shipping cars from one coast to the other. He was earning six to seven thousand dollars a month and their family was doing quite well. Then, almost all at once, things got really rough for them. His diabetes hit him with some major infections, and he ended up in the hospital last year in October. He has now spent several months (a week or more at a time) in the hospital since then. The complications have extended to include congestive heart failure, near complete loss of his vision, and currently, he is not able to stand for very long before fatigue sets in. But this man and his family, they have an absolutely positive outlook on life despite all these hardships. Through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have been able to help this family, by serving them myself, as well as with my companion Home Teacher, and have gotten help from the entire local Church (called a Ward). We all chip in to help them out in whatever way we can. My love for this family has grown immensely since I first met them last year, and it was great being able to bring them Christmas presents for their children this past December when they had no money for such things. From Matthew 25-40: "...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." I love the scriptures and I love this Church!