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Hi I'm Mike

I'm a husband and a father; an innovator and a builder; a thinker and a worker. I'm a work-in-progress, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

My wife and I have 9 children, and the cutest grandchildren ever! I have been an engineering/scientist computer programmer for over 30 years. I have run in 3 marathons; and still run and hike just for the fun of it. I am building a CNC (computerized) machine shop in my garage, and love to design, model, and build software and hardware projects; with a tilt toward robotics, powered vehicles; and I especially like to exercise a flair for the unexpected. My list of projects started is longer than my list of projects completed, but my list of accomplishment is far more memorable than my list of failures. I also spend a sizable portion of my time in various volunteering efforts, including as a volunteer chaplain at the state maximum-security prison. I will most likely never be rich or famous, but my family loves me, so what else matters?

Why I am a Mormon

I think the human brain is wired to search for and recognize repeating patterns - and conclude with a belief in truth and a faith in the (as-yet) unseen. I think we also have an intrinsic discernment between right and wrong - and a desire to be found (or at least perceived) in the right. And of course we have a desire for happiness, in all of its various forms. Like young Joseph Smith, I look around at the confusion and agenda-serving assertions of so many people proclaiming so-called truth, and I just don't see it. I believe in a God who is infinitely more powerful, knowledgeable, creative, and loving than even the potential in man; and that we could never discover the truth of Him without Him revealing it to us. And that in the absence of that revelation man is pitifully inadequate to imagine the reality of God. I believe that the principles of eternity, as revealed by God to his prophets, resonates with truth. That the beautiful continuity of truths and principles explained by the prophets, both ancient and modern, nourishes my faith, and is confirmed by the un-mistakable influence of the Holy Ghost. They ennoble and give direction to my desire to choose the right, and they enrich my life with happiness. My faith in the revealed word of God, and my knowledge of our past before we were born, the purposes for which we exist here in mortality, and the future beyond the grave that fulfilling the purpose of life prepares us for; fills me with a gratitude for a loving Father in Heaven, and a desire to be all that He sees in me to be.

How I live my faith

When I was in college, I had a chemistry class where we were given an assignment to follow a written set of instructions, and identify what we produced. The instruments were the typical things you would expect to see in a chemistry lab, the ingredients were likewise just a shopping list of un-extraordinary chemical-sounding things, and the processes, though quite detailed, were easy enough to understand and follow. After an hour or two of goofing around (as college kids are prone to do) I finally finished the lab and I was ABSOLUTELY amazed at what I had produced - it was an artificial mint flavor! That was just about the coolest thing I had ever seen. In retrospect, I learned a very valuable lesson that day. If I am faithful to someone who deserves my trust, and am obedient to their counsel, I can accomplish far greater things than I ever could on my own. I think it makes good sense to ask that His will be done rather than to be too specific in my petition to Him, because He has a MUCH better imagination than I do of HOW to answer my query or solve my problem. The knowledge I have of the nature of God, my relationship to Him, and of the priorities of life that He has set out for us, give me direction and motivation to be active and engaged in life - to be involved in making the world a better place, and myself a better person. I know that I will always live with imperfections and the need for continuous correction and improvement, but I also know that the only hope for success in meeting His expectations of me will be for me to never give up, never stop trying, and never lose my grasp on the gift of the Atonement He made on my behalf.

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

Mike
The Bible is an anthology of writings by many prophets: some of it is historical, some of it is allegorical, some of it is prophetic, some of it is philosophical, some of it is arguably even suitable. Some of its contents were written for instruction, some of it for chastisement, some for salutation, etc., and each for its own respective audiences. But it’s all we got, and it IS of intrinsic value such as it is – incomplete, transcription and translation errors, intentional omissions and non-prophetic edits, internal discrepancies, and all. Each book in the Bible was (more or less) written independent of all others, and arrived in our hands by various and unknown paths. (Some even by unhallowed hands.) The Book of Mormon contains many of the same KIND of content as the Bible, but the differences are significant: it was written for US (the modern-day reader) as its audience; the contents were very carefully controlled and handed down from one prophet to another; and the transcription, abridgement, and translation were done by prophets under direct instruction from God. Notwithstanding the differences of the places and dates of the sources of the Bible and the Book of Mormon, the similarities of doctrines are striking, edifying, and intentional: Striking because of the cross-referential (and complementary) integrity; Edifying because of the broad spiritual subject matter; and Intentional because it was inspired by the same God to prophets throughout the earth and in all ages. Show more Show less

How can we increase our faith in Jesus Christ?

Mike
You can study a subject and increase in knowledge, but you still have to decide for yourself if you believe it to be true. You can validate the claims and premises, and you can rationalize the conclusions, but all temporal knowledge is tentative, pending being proved or disproved by each new discovery. Take the subject of Jesus Christ. You also have to decide for yourself if you believe it is true. You have to study it, validate the claims and grasp its significance in your life. But simply reaching a knowledgeable conclusion regarding Him is not faith; that is simply a temporal knowledge, precariously in danger of some new discovery that you might be convinced carries the weight of disproving your premises (belief). Faith is the measure of the depth of your belief, not the evidence of it. Faith is what you accept as a validation of the claims of the subject in lieu of empirical evidence. Faith is not a conclusion, it is a decision. Faith becomes an immovable decision when it is confirmed by an absolute truth; when it is inspired by the Holy Ghost, which is personal revelation from God Himself. So, how do you increase faith in Jesus Christ? (1) study it out thoroughly, (2) ponder it at length, (3) conclude the reasonableness of it, (4) resolve with real intent to follow through, (5) ask God if it is not true, (6) see if He does not answer your petition by the power of the Holy Ghost, (7) acknowledge your answer, (8) repeat. Show more Show less