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Hi I'm Derek

I was born in Chicago but raised in Arizona. I have a BA in Humanities and an MBA. I am a computer programmer and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I am the oldest of four children. Growing up, I was always a bit of a nerd, far more interested in computers, books and school than I was in popular music or sports. In high school, I loved making amateur (very amateur) movies with my friends and I played several musical instruments in the marching band, jazz band and the orchestra. After high school, I had the opportunity to be a missionary in Spain. I love Spanish and the Spanish people more than I can say. Since returning from Spain I have earned three college degrees. I spent a semester studying in Jerusalem. I have worked as a balloon man, a customer service representative, a fraud investigator, a Spanish teacher and computer programmer. I have gotten married and have 5 children. When I do have free time, I write computer applications just for fun, read books, run marathons and go to movies with my brothers-in-law. In spite of my nerd status ... I even go to Diamondbacks games with my dad.

Why I am a Mormon

My parents were Mormons. In fact, my great, great, great grandparents crossed the plains to settle in Utah over 150 years ago. Still, I don't believe that simply being born into a religion is a good enough reason to stay there if you don't believe it is true. About the time that I was 14 or 15 years old, I started to wonder if everything that I had been taught by my parents and teachers at church about God was actually true. At this same time, I started attending a seminary class in addition to my other high school subjects where I was able to study the scriptures on a daily basis. My conversion happened quietly over time as I started to study the scriptures every night before I went to bed. I read the entire Bible and I also read the Book of Mormon. It wasn't the first time that I had read the Book of Mormon, but it was the first time that I read it really wanting to know if it was true. As I consistently read the book and prayed to know whether it was from God, I felt the spirit of the Lord confirm to me that it was and this is a process that continues up to the present. When I read the scriptures, pray daily, serve others and keep the Lord's commandments, I feel His spirit in my life and I feel close to my Father in Heaven. However, when I let some of those things slide and I miss prayers for a few days, forget to read the word of God or get too busy to serve others or follow the commandments, I feel a distance between myself and God and I know that I need to change. I am so grateful for the church in my life and the happiness that it brings to me and to my family even when there are obstacles or hardships to overcome. In this sense, I am no different than any person that the missionaries find and ask to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Simply put, I am a Mormon because I read the Book of Mormon myself and then asked the Lord about it in prayer. I have felt the Spirit of the Lord testify to me throughout my life that the church is true.

How I live my faith

I have had many opportunities to serve others at church. My favorite has been to be the teacher of the 11 year old boys in Sunday School. In the year just before they went to Junior High, I had the privilege of teaching them each week about the prophets in the Bible or the Book of Mormon or about the life of Jesus Christ. I really felt that I had the chance to make a positive impact in their lives and prepare them for some of the difficulties they might face in the coming years. In the past I have also been able to teach very young children (5, 6 and 7 year olds) in Sunday School, work in the Boy Scouts with the teenage boys in our congregation, organize service projects with the men, be the assistant clerk to our Bishop (the leader of our congregation) and I currently teach an adult Sunday School class which I enjoy very much. It does not matter so much where you serve but that you are doing something for the people around you. That is one of the things that I love most about the church ... the number of opportunities that it gives me to serve others. On a regular basis I get to do things as varied as mowing neighbor's lawns, preparing and teaching lessons, visiting the sick, going to friends houses to share a spiritual message from the prophet with them, helping people move into or out of their homes, with my wife taking meals to people who are having a difficult time in their lives, assisting the Boy Scouts as they serve others or planning activities for members of our congregation. I feel that if I were not a member of this church, it would be much harder for me to find all of these opportunities to help others and, in turn, experience the joy that comes with such service. Personally, it is when I am serving others that I feel the closest to my Savior ... because that is what he would be doing if he were here.