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Hi I'm Byron

I'm a father and a husband. I'm a Ph.D. candidate in world politics. And I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I consider myself very lucky to have spent significant portions of my childhood and adult life traveling to and living in many different areas of God's broad, beautiful earth. I have played my little violin on the streets of Vienna, kicked the soccer/football around at the Cape of Good Hope, broken bread with students in Beijing, and studied intergovernmental organizations headquartered at the foot of the Alps in Geneva. At the moment, our family is blessed to live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, while I finish my Ph.D. degree in political “science”. My wife and I met while we were university students enjoying a study abroad program that took us from Greece up to England. She is a keen historian with an eye towards the aesthetic representations of everyday life and we are happy to have both been in school at the same time through multiple advanced degrees (which seem to drag on and on...). We recently welcomed our first child into our lives here in Halifax. Our boy, as is the case for most parents I suppose, is the deepest and most abiding joy in our lives. His laughter, his fascination with other children, and his love of the fresh breeze on a walk around the neighborhood please us more than almost anything. (Although, I cannot deny that all-night crying fits combined with publication deadlines and the like has taken its toll on both of us!) I love learning from people that are different from me and seeing how they navigate different limitations and possibilities.

Why I am a Mormon

One of the things I've learned by studying people and the ways we try to make sense of the world is that our knowledge is always incomplete and subject to new discoveries. It is hard for us to see how our day-to-day conventions obscure some of the most foundational elements of our lives. Even careful, methodical observations can be misleading. For this reason, I have learned to turn to a personal, yet all-knowing God for answers to some of my most fundamental questions, such as 'How should I perceive and treat other people?' 'Why do horrendous things happen to good people?' and 'How can I overcome self-destructive tendencies and be free in my own personal life?' Although I must admit that answering such questions is like peeling back the layers of an onion, the knowledge I have received from divine sources thus far has been absolutely central to my sense of stability and dignity. This dignity comes from knowing that I am a child of God and that every human being is likewise a child of God; this stability comes from knowing that my life is not a mistake and that mistakes need not define my life. I have learned these things from spiritual, largely unobservable, yet undeniable confirmations I have received. The Book of Mormon has, over time, become the source which has given me the clearest and mostly deeply affirmed witness of the love of God for his children and of the divine mission of Jesus Christ. As a student of social relations, I know all too well how easy it can be to dismiss the Biblical account of the life of Jesus as fable or an exaggerated account. The Book of Mormon stands as a confirming testament (from a distinct yet contemporary people's record) of the most central and eternally important facts about Christ: that he really lived, that he made it possible for us to overcome our failures and be reconciled to God, that he died and was resurrected, and that we can, as a result, progress in love and knowledge after this life with those we have loved here.

How I live my faith

One of best parts of being a member of the Church is that we share responsibilities and rotate them amongst ourselves. Thus, our relations are not defined by salary or training, as could be the case with a paid clergy, but rather by the mutual opportunities and challenges that we face together as we fulfill different “callings”. Bishops, presidents of organizations, teachers, speakers at services... all are filled by a series of rotating “lay” members. Thus, I have been a “president” of one organization and I have also been a middle-of-the-night hospital driver or a roof fixer-upper. I myself have often been the beneficiary of these types of service, both materially and spiritually. Of all the opportunities for service within the Church, however, I probably enjoy “teaching” most; not because I am particularly knowledgeable or skilled, but because it (1) forces me to sit down and work through the words of God and his prophets, my thoughts, and the insights of friends (whether within or without the Church) and (2) it allows me to solicit answers, advice, and experiences from those who worship with me. For our family, however, the most important ways we live in accordance with our faith in Christ is by trying to follow his example of love, empathy and solidarity as closely as possible. Rather than seeing others as victims who stand in need of our charity, we try to view every individual as God's child who, at times, may need us to stand in solidarity with them as they overcome challenges and who, at other times, we may need to call upon to see us through. One of the ways we try to do this is through community and educational organizations, cooperatives, and other voluntary associations that seek to provide a service, bring people together, or transcend social barriers. Sometimes we have privileged access (through education, language skills, or familiarity with political or economic resources) that can be mobilized for those who are voiceless in some specific way.