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Hi I'm Mark

I am a mathematician, a philosopher, a musician, and a father. I work as a software engineer. And I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm kind of a nerd. This brought me nothing but trouble when I was a kid, but now it's fun. I enjoy learning things. With two boys under the age of four, I don't have a lot of spare time, but I try to find time to study some of the things that I have no need for in my career. In particular, I like Physics, Biology, Astronomy, Paleontology, Macroeconomics, and just about anything you might hear about on Radio Lab. I also love to garden, and to go out in nature, and observe the way wild ecosystems work. I've been learning about Permaculture a bit, and I love the ideas so much, that it may become a second career for me some day. I like to play board games or video games if I get a chance. (I said I'm a nerd.) And I love to play piano. I inherited a very nice piano from my grandfather, and I love to sit and improvise for 30 seconds at a time until one of my boys climbs up to "help". My children are my greatest joy. I know it's cliche to say so, but when I'm with them, my heart swells up inside me like no other time. I freak out with barely contained excitement every time I see them learn something, or create something, or most especially, when they do something kind or selfless. I am so deeply honored to be their father.

Why I am a Mormon

I have always wanted to know the truth, particularly about those great and ancient questions which continue to haunt wise men until answers are found. Who are we? Why are we here? Is there a God and who or what is He? And why do bad things happen to good people? Although the Book of Mormon went on my read-some-day list when I was about twelve, it never became a priority until a friend of mine, who had recently converted to the Church testified to me of its truthfulness. After I started reading it online, a feeling began to stir inside me, and I knew that I needed to learn the truth about the Mormons. I decided to invite the missionaries to talk about it with me and when they arrived, they were accompanied powerfully by the Holy Spirit, which I had learned to recognize. Again, I knew that I had to persist until I understood why these very young men carried with them such an incredible Presence. For some reason, I didn't expect the simple and obvious answer, that the things they taught were all true, and that the Church they represented was God's Church. To whomever may be reading this, let me be clear: This Church is The True Church of God. Anyone who knows me today knows that I am a man of integrity, so don't imagine that I am suddenly spinning tales when I tell you that I know with certainty that God is real, that Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son, and that Jesus was sacrificed and suffered tremendously, so that you and I can be restored to wholeness. And because God has now restored His Church to the Earth, we live in a remarkable time in which He has called prophets, seers, and revelators to teach us to be holy even in these complicated and difficult times. Nothing I can give to you or do for you has any significance in this life if I cannot convince you to speak with the missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and accept their invitation to be baptized. I pray that you will have the wisdom to do this.

How I live my faith

The first thing that most people notice about members of our Church is what we don't do. We don't curse. We don't have sex outside of marriage. We don't watch shows that go against our standards. We don't go out or work on Sundays unless there is an emergency. We don't smoke, drink alcohol, or do drugs. We don't even drink coffee or tea. I choose not to do these things, because for my own greater good, my Father in Heaven has told me not to. I am happy to stay away from these things, because I recognize the great benefits of leading a more pure life, and because I love to please my Lord and God. Some of my friends ask, "What DO you do?" as if all the fun stuff is off limits. No, there are plenty of fun things to do that are good and wholesome if I need a little entertainment. But most of my time is spent doing more meaningful things. As a Mormon father, I spend most of my free time with my family. I want my little boys to always know beyond any shadow of a doubt that I love them deeply, and that they are my top priority. My wife is my very best friend and the most fantastic woman I have ever known. Every night, I lose much needed sleep so that I can spend more time with her, discussing the day's events, making plans, or whatever. Most of the rest of my time is spent in service to others. 10% of my gross income goes to the Church as my tithe, but not one penny of that goes toward a paid minister. God calls faithful members of the Church to fill each necessary leadership role for a time, without compensation. One of those roles is my responsibility right now. And countless other opportunities to give of my time and talents are always available. In fact, there are so many good ways to spend my time, that I often have to choose carefully between one important cause, and another even more important work. The rich fulfilling feeling I enjoy because of the service I give is more than a sufficient reward.

Do you really believe there is a prophet like Moses alive today?

Mark
Yes. Believing in God is a challenge for some people. I guess I can sort of understand that because very few people actually see God or even hear His voice directly. It requires some faith. But believing in prophets is easy. You can see gobs of videos of them on mormon.org. And you can see them speak live the first weekend of April or October on BYU TV, and wherever else General Conference is broadcast. Believing what they say may require some faith from time to time. But I can't imagine why a person wouldn't want to at least hear what they have to say. If I tell you a PROPHET OF GOD is speaking to the whole world this October, and no I'm not just pulling your leg, aren't you just a bit curious to watch or listen a little? And yes, I am telling you exactly that. Once you hear what prophets have to say, the great challenge is the same as it has been throughout history. Will you be in the group that wants to stone them? Or do you have the courage to follow them? And yes, this is a serious challenge for a lot of folks. Show more Show less

What are some things that tell you there is a God?

Mark
The Holy Ghost tells me that directly actually from time to time. And I think I can take His word for it. The Spirit of Promise has established a lot of credibility with me over the years. But other than that, I'm a logical, analytic, critical thinker. Life and the Universe are clearly engineered, not a product of stochasticity. You have to be very imaginative, and highly motivated to want to see it any other way. Also, he always answers my prayers. So after the pattern established by Descartes, I might well say, He answers, therefore He is. Show more Show less

Is it true that Jesus appeared in North America after his crucifixion and resurrection according to the Book of Mormon?

Mark
It's amazing that we were graced with His presence here on Earth at all. It's the greatest miracle in all of time. The Book of Mormon also tells about his visitation to the Western Hemisphere. There were prophecies of this visitation. And there is archeological evidence of it. Long before I ever joined the Church, I heard strong testimony on two separate occasions, given by Native American people about the stories of this visitation that are still handed down from one generation to the next. One woman in Idaho had been raised in the Church, because when her Mayan-descended great-grandparents learned the gospel from the Mormon missionaries, they immediately recognized the same stories that their grandparents had told them. Another man was descended from the Northern Tribes of Alaska. I don't think he knew anything about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. But while I was in Alaska, he told us about the meaning of the name Mount Denali (Great One). He said, "People think that the name refers to the great height of the mountain, but no, it is named after The Great One who visited my forefathers 102 generations ago. He descended from the sky..." But none of this is why I believe it happened. No amount of logical deduction can convince someone of truths that so profoundly influence everything about the way we see and understand the world. The only way I can imagine anyone coming to certain knowledge of this is through prayer, and a great step in faith. Show more Show less