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Hi I'm Jim

I’m an electrical engineer. In my free time I enjoy woodworking, upholstery, foreign languages, cooking; and I’m a Mormon.

About Me

I am an electrical engineer, specializing in the designing of custom semiconductor memory devices, ranging is use from motor control devices to super computers to pace makers. I have been an engineer for 30 years. I have authored 7 US Patents. I have made presentations to professional and university engineering groups, and have had the opportunity of mentoring dozens of entry level engineers as they began their careers. I love working with wood. A family Christmas tradition is that the main gift for everyone has been a piece of furniture made by dad – cedar chests, curio cabinets and so forth. My favorite wood is birch with a natural finish. I love the contrasting grains between heart wood and sap wood. I also work occasionally with stained glass. I enjoy history, science and languages. I speak Dutch (from serving an LDS mission to the Netherlands), and have studied German and Russian and I'm currently studying Spanish. My interest in history is coupled with an interest in genealogy. Far more significant to me than my professional achievements was the completion of a five generation story of my family history – a ten year part-time endeavor. My greatest love is my wife, and my family. I have one son and three daughters. Three children are married, with three grandchildren total. Two more will join us in 2011. I served an LDS mission Holland. My son served a mission to Russia. My youngest daughter is currently serving a mission in Indonesia.

Why I am a Mormon

My mother was an only child from Vienna, Austria. She was a convert to the Mormon Church while young. In 1938 at the age of 20, after numerous impressions from the Spirit, she left her homeland and came to America. My mother’s sponsor was the missionary who had baptized her years earlier, who was also working on his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin. My father was also a doctoral student at UW, and that is where my mother and father met. From my father’s side I was a 5th generation Mormon, and I will acknowledge that in my youth I simply followed in my parent’s footsteps. However, on many occasions in my life, I have faced crossroads of decision regarding my faith. Some have been slightly challenging. Some have been greatly significant. When did I gain my personal testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and all that it stands for and teaches? I don’t know if I can say precisely. It was gradual. However, I will share one moment that touched me deeply. In the 1970’s I served a mission for the Church in the Netherlands. On one cold, rainy evening, on a day when it seemed like no one wanted to talk with us about religion, I was definitely depressed in spirit. While I was cooking dinner I just couldn’t seem to shake my despondent mood. I finally leaned against the wall, and quietly poured out my feelings to the Lord. Just moments later, I felt a type of warmth come over me that I don’t recall ever feeling before. Then, not with an audible voice, but as an impression, I heard and felt the message, “It’s alright. This is my work that you are doing. This is true, and this is where you need to be right now in your life.” I may have been born a Mormon, but I am still responsible for my own personal conversion. It has come primarily through pondering Mormon beliefs, questioning other religious theologies, and even examining scientific criticisms of religion in general – all with an open heart to accept final answers from the Lord.

How I live my faith

Over my 30+ adult years I have served in a number of ways (or callings) in the Church. I have taught Sunday School to age groups ranging from 2 year olds to pre-teens, teenagers and adults. I have served as both a councilor and executive secretary to a half dozen bishops in various congregations. I have been a scout master, an activities chairman, and even the unofficial woodworker for my Stake (a collection of LDS congregations). I have learned the important truth that the more willing I am to serve, the more I grow and learn from those experiences. However, I have also realized that my greatest joy has come not from working with a large group of people, but from working with individuals. A few examples are: - showing and helping a group of 5 or 6 young women how to make jewelry boxes from exotic hardwoods as Christmas gifts to their mothers. - helping a learning challenged young man work his way through Scouting toward the Eagle rank. - seeking out and offering scholastic tax credits to a financially strapped divorce mother so that her son could participate in his extra-curricular band programs. - taking freshly baked cookies to a woman who always does that kind of thing for others, but who has never had someone bring cookies to her (and this when I was a teenager). These are the things that Jesus’ teachings are really all about. It’s not the buildings – it’s not the meetings – it’s not the sermons or the social gatherings that make a religion – it’s “What are you doing to help people? What are you doing to help the ONE? What are you doing to help your family?” All of the awards in life, the US patents that I’ve authored, the house I live in, the commendations and promotions that I’ve received will mean nothing in the eternities if when I stand before the Lord he were to say, “. . . but did you really make a difference in anyone’s life?”

How are the activities of the Mormon missionaries funded?

Mormon missionaries are primarily funded by their families. In some cases, years before a mission, the young man or young woman may have set certain financial goals so that the financial burden on the family will be lessened. Years before my son began his mission, his goal was to save enough money to pay for all of the initial expenses to outfit a missionary. Being called to Russia meant a lot of extra clothing that someone in Central America wouldn't need, but he paid for it all out of his savings. Our family finances were able to cover his monthly expenses and financial requirements. Sometimes there are families who cannot afford to cover all of a missionary’s expenses. In these cases extended families are first sought after for support. I have had two nephews which needed financial support, for which we gladly contributed 10% of his monthly requirements. When extended family still isn't an option, the local church unit can ask its members for either general of specific donations. Because of a good financial income I have felt myself honored and blessed to be able to support a Bishop's call to help raise funds for a young man who desires to serve, but just cannot acquire the funding. Show more Show less