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Hi I'm Joel

I travel a bit, and teach a lot. I am a gardener, a father, a grandfather, and an avid outdoorsman. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I have spent over 30 years teaching every conceivable audience, in every conceivable circumstance, in all 50 states, fulfilling a crazy desire to travel everywhere, see everything. I love meeting people, and wish I could speak All their languages. A charter member of AEE, I have run treks, ropes courses, rivers and major outdoor concerns, often while dangling at the end of a rope. A lover of geography, the whole world beckons, and I consider myself a citizen of the world, and hope to see it all. Iguazu Falls, the high Andes and Alps, Bryce and Escalante Canyons are checked off (and on foot, too), and the Andaman Sea and Lake Baikal are on the short list. A school teacher for over 30 years, and one who has taught nearly every subject at the high school level, I gravitate toward Languages--and find writing stories and analyses of literature a kick--especially when a novel shows deep eternal truths, often truths unfathomed by the author who penned them. Just like the old folk song, I finally got out of college after 13 years, and wound up graduating at age 45, though I don't let anyone call me "doc." My one true success in life was landing my wife, and being allowed to know, raise and love nine wonderful children. I would have fit better into the 1700's, before technology, when a man could putter all day among his flowers without raising too many eyebrows, when the world was undiscovered, and when children were too well mannered to render an opinion on Dad's wardrobe.

Why I am a Mormon

It is pretty simple: I studied. Those who know me, know that I study, research and learn Everything. Insatiable curiosity. But behind it is a HUGE desire to know truth--about everything. How the world works in all its aspects, how people function and think, and what God desires of us. I studied over 50 religions, from all over. I attended many meetings. Only one answered all the questions. Only one was never in conflict with other truths from other disciplines. Only one embraced all of eternity. Only one held out the promise of a truly glorious future--a future of progress, of learning, or eventual mastery and triumph. So at first it was pure logic. But over time, as I obeyed the commandments and exercised faith, I have received the unspeakable gift, the voice of the Spirit of God revealing truths to me personally. I can now say, with many others, ancient and modern, that "I know more than they all." This is a priceless heritage, a personal gift, not shared with others. It is enough to know what God has in store for the faithful, how and why He created the earth, and to see His hand through all the turmoil of an ever more wicked world. I have no fear. I have seen the other side of death. I have come to know, slowly, but certainly, that God's full plan, and His authority, and His saving ordinances are to be found Only in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Being a teacher in a small community, combined with curiosity and a desire to support my students and friends, I have attended many churches, and have been invited many times to join a variety of other congregations. I gently decline. But when pushed, as I sometimes am, I simply say, "It is the doctrine," and to myself I say, "Why would anyone want to go backward, or step down?" I found the Father. I just wish I could shine His light brightly enough that others would also embrace it. All I am, and all the good I have ever done, is attributable to the fact that I am a Mormon.

How I live my faith

I teach classes, work with scouts, attend conferences and weekly meetings, even play the organ during services, but the Sunday activity and the weekly support of the members of the church is a small part of living my faith. The daily family devotionals are more important. The service to job, community and simply to people I meet are also important. My faith shows in my daily activities, from work to speech to driving to running errands. The support of other people in their efforts to do right, to excel, to find God. The conversations over the back fence. The simple fact that I can be trusted, and that I break neither God's moral code, nor the laws of the land. Whichever land I may be in. It is my hope that my consistency and decency will simply broadcast, as clearly as if I wore a sign, this is one who loves God. This is a Mormon.

What is the priesthood?

Priesthood is the power, actual power, God shares with righteous and worthy men, through careful channels and direct ordination. It is essential to administer ordinances, like baptism or marriage, that God will recognize. But in a personal sense, it is the reason my wife and son are alive today. Had I not possessed and been able to exercise that power, neither would have survived. Just as most good sons feel a strong desire to be with, a strong tie to, their fathers, God's priesthood binds me to Him, and allows us to share some intimate moments, blessing His other children. And priesthood always blesses others. It cannot be used selfishly. Show more Show less