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Hi I'm Ryan

I love my family. I paint, play music and on occasion skip a few rocks. I study classical Chinese literature, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

My wife and I just had our first child and we're loving being parents. Balancing family and the demands of a rigorous PhD program has been an adventure, but I couldn't do any of the things I do without the support and love of my amazing wife and daughter. I suppose you could say I love school and learning, since I have pretty much guaranteed that I will be in school forever. I love teaching, whether it be at the university level or teaching classes in my local ward. One of the best feelings in the world is successfully helping someone to understand and apply new knowledge; especially when it makes their life better. I love to create and that includes drawing and painting as well as writing--both academic papers and fiction when I can spare a few minutes for it. My wife and I like to write music together; we're not trying to be rock stars, we just like the creative process. We also love road trips, especially when there are good tunes on the way and extended family at the other end. We also like food; all kinds and cooking (or eating out, ha ha) is one of our favorite hobbies. We're just loving the ride and the best part is we get to do it together.

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised in the church, my parents both being members. But it wasn't until I was 14 years old that I really experienced the "crisis of my faith" as it were. Being a teenager is rough, more so when you are one than when you look back I suppose, but I faced some problems and had some questions about life and the best way to live it happily that I just couldn't answer. So I turned to the faith that I had been raised to trust and the God I felt confident was waiting, lovingly, to hear my pleas. And the most miraculous thing happened, in my moments of need and doubt, when I felt the most alone and low, I turned to Him, called out for Him and He answered me. I can never fully explain how amazing it is to know that God is active and aware in our lives; but more specifically in my own life. When I took my questions before Him my heart was softened and comforted and my mind was opened to new truth and greater possibilities. Through the years since then, He has guided me through thick and thin and I have enjoyed the closest of relationships with His spirit. I have learned to hear His voice and, for the most part, how to understand it and live by His counsel. I'm not afraid of the future, no matter what it holds because God is with me. He has been since I was a boy and will be forever. His assurances speak peace to every aspect of my life. I know my wife and I can make a happy home and family, that will last past this life and into the eternities. I know I will be a good scholar because I seek His guidance in how best to improve my talents. I know that I can continue to pare off idiosyncrasies in my character and continue to improve as an individual because I feel Him shaping me and providing me with experiences that test my mettle and strengthen my trust in Him. I know that my mistakes and shortcomings can be rectified and improved upon because Jesus Christ gave His life to teach me and to save me, and for that I will be forever grateful.

How I live my faith

I serve as the Sunday School president in my ward and it's a service that's right up my alley. I love helping others to learn, and it's even more amazing to help others learn to teach. Together with three other men who serve as my counselors we help organize and train the teachers in all the classes and groups in our ward. I love to get out and get my hands dirty in the service of my neighbors. We often find ourselves moving someone in or out of the neighborhood on a Saturday morning, smashing up an old pool with sledge hammers (my most favorite of late), cutting down trees or weeding gardens. Whatever the need, it's a privilege to serve. I love the varied opportunities to serve in the church. Today I teach in the Sunday School organization, tomorrow I may work with the children in the nursery, or the youth. Being so young myself I still feel a productive affinity with the youth of my ward, and I try to make sure I give them what relevant advice and experience I have. Of course one of the keys to helping people is respecting their personal ability and responsibility to choose and be stewards of their own destinies, and I just want to be ready and available whenever people need me, or even before they know they do. I look at all the Lord has given me in the way of talents and possessions and know that I have them so I can give to others.

How is the Book of Mormon different from the Bible? How did Joseph Smith obtain the “golden plates” or Book of Mormon?

It has always seemed more than just reasonable, it has seemed right that there is more than one record of the Lord speaking to His people. I believe that all peoples deserve to have His word, and that He has communicated with many people throughout the ages and throughout the earth. When we record our dealings with God we too participate in laying down content that our children and their children will be able to look to as continual witness that God loves and speaks to His children. The Book of Mormon is another witness that God is leading and teaching His children no matter where they may find themselves located. Together with the Bible these ancient records of the new and old worlds of the Americas and the Middle East present a grand narrative of the children of God as they have sought His face and the courage to do His will. Inspired scripture recorded by the Lord's servants in any age will always come together in confirmation of the truths of His gospel and the divinity of God and His son Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Show more Show less