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Hi I'm Curtis

I'm a professor at a college in rural northern Arizona, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I work at a mid-sized college in northern Arizona as a professor of Spanish where I teach Spanish and research language acquisition and linguistics. I am also a doctoral student in an Instructional Design and Technology program. I work with a group of adult males at church, which mostly consists of moving people in and out of the area, and most importantly, I'm a father to two boys whom my wife and I are raising bilingually (English-Spanish). The eldest is four and the youngest is two, and I call both of them the greatest of my little experiments. So far, linguistically speaking, things are going great. It's been surprisingly easy to get them to speak both English and Spanish. Getting them to wake up dry in the morning . . . well . . . that's another matter.

Why I am a Mormon

One of the perks of being a teacher is the opportunity to spend your summers swept up in reckless academic abandon. You get to let your mind wander all over the world and sometimes your luggage gets to come as well. So, as the summer draws to a close and classes reconvene, faculty can often be heard sharing their summer exploits. One of my colleagues often asks, "So Curtis, what kind of crazy Mormon thing did you do this summer?" This time, I was ready. "I dressed up as a pioneer and pulled a handcart some 50 miles across the high desert for a week, re-enacting the travails of the Mormon handcart companies of the 1840's." His jaw dropped and I could tell that I really stupefied him this time. "Wow, that's a lot better than your scout camp trip from last summer" he replied. Eventually he and my other colleagues get around to the main question that's on their mind, "Why?" Mormonism seems so demanding; why do it? I suppose I do it BECAUSE it's demanding. I think God wants to be involved with us, and we with him. So often we want to be involved with God, but on our terms. When we're in trouble, we want him near, but after that, we want him out of our hair. The minute he starts to ask some hard things of us, we back down. But it's the hard things that get us somewhere, that bear fruit, so to speak. Here's an example: -Fasting--Once per month, we Mormons abstain from food and drink for 24 hours; we then donate the money we save from the meals we don't eat to the church, which later employs the money to care for the hungry and sick among us. Essentially, we in the majority who are blessed to eat every day, don't eat a couple of meals per month and pass our plates to those who aren't so lucky, and when we all do it, they too are cared for each day, until they're back on their feet. Think if every organization the world over did this! We'd stamp out world hunger and disease without breaking a sweat. Demanding? Yes! But the payout is great.

How I live my faith

I help lead a group of adult men at church. We meet for an hour every Sunday and we discuss topics relevant to our lives. Mostly we talk about the challenges of living in today's world. We are concerned about the way the world seems to be growing ever-more casual regarding standards of civility and morality. Nevertheless, we are optimistic about the future and the good things the world may hold for us and for our families. Part of this optimism lies in our own willingness to work together to help one another at church, in our families and within our communities. Primarily, we are a body of men who are willing to work and serve other members of our congregation. Not long ago, we talked about some of the temporal benefits of Mormonism. Many of these are brought about by our willingness to serve one another. We made a list of benefits and now I share 3 of them with you: -Mormons save on weddings--Most Mormon weddings are held at Mormon temples for free. Receptions afterward are held in Mormon churches, also for free. Members of one's congregation are often available to put up and take down decorations for free. It's great to start married life without going into debt over a lavish wedding. -Mormons work for free--It may be surprising to some who have seen a Mormon service and marveled at the reverence and decorum with which it is conducted, but there are no paid clergy in the Mormon church. We're all volunteers. -Mormons are healthy--Long before Surgeon General warnings appeared, Mormons said "no" to tobacco, alcohol, coffee/tea and other harmful substances. The result is that Mormons compose one of the healthiest demographics in the world. Our belief in abstinence before marriage and strict fidelity afterward, also contributes to our health. Mormons also love exercise. Nearly every Mormon church building is also equipped with an indoor basketball court to promote exercise. All that, and you can always find a good dentist, that's just the way we roll.

Who was Joseph Smith?

Curtis
The accounts of Joseph Smith's life vary widely. The truth is, we do not know as much as maybe we'd like. We do know that he was born in Sharon, Vermont into a family that eventually boasted 11 children. His family was religious and he learned to pray and read the bible at a young age.His family moved frequently and often he found himself living in areas of great religious excitement. He simply wanted to know if God had a church that He was leading and directing, for he wanted to join that church. He asked God in prayer and received an answer that God's church was not on the earth at that time and that he (Smith) would be called to restore God's church and be God's prophet, much the same way God had called prophets among the children of Israel in biblical times.The church he started in 1830 with 6 members has grown to over 14 million today. Josiah Quincy Jr., relative to John Adams and John Quincy Adams, son of one of Harvard University’s presidents and who would later become Mayor of Boston wrote a book about influential figures of the past in which he wrote these words: "It is by no means improbable that some future textbook...will contain a question something like this: What historical American of the nineteenth century has exerted the most powerful influence upon the destinies of his countrymen? And it is by no means impossible that the answer to that interrogatory may be thus written: Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet." Not bad for a poorly educated farm boy from Vermont. Show more Show less

How can I know Mormonism is true?

Curtis
It's funny; nearly everything in this life can be given to another person. You can give away money, an awesome motor scooter (although, who would want to), and you can even give away secular knowledge. A skilled teacher can make even the most novice student come to understand complex topics, such as science, and in my case, the correct use of semicolons; but interestingly enough, perhaps the most important thing in this life cannot be passed from one person to another--faith in the Jesus Christ, and in his true church. The only way to obtain spiritual knowledge is to seek truth from the source--our Heavenly Father. However, so often we don't do enough on our end to obtain real answers from the Lord. We often "take no thought save it [is] to ask him" (D & C 9:7). He wants us to do our part and truly seek answers for ourselves. When we truly seek and earnestly strive for answers from God, we prove to him our willingness and desire to actually "go and do" the things that we will obtain from him, when the answers come. When we have done our part, He ALWAYS does his. If we "pray with real intent, having faith in Christ" that we'll receive the answers we seek, they come. I like to seek answers for myself by really doing the leg work on my own, then I go to the Lord with my decision and seek confirmation. When I'm right, warmth and peace come, when wrong, "a stupor of thought". The Lord's answers can be clear and the formula is simple, if we earnestly seek and do our part. Show more Show less