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Hi I'm Joel Ricks

I grew up in Puyallup and Eatonville. I served almost 12 years in the Air Force before becoming a school teacher and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I have been a public school teacher for the last 14 years. I have taught middle school shop, reading, science, geography, leadership, and study skills. I have also served as a Dean of Students at a non-traditional high school and am now in my 3rd year teaching in alternative education. My hobby for the past 25 years has been youth sports. I have been able to coach each of my 4 children and basketball and baseball or softball. I have been involved in scouting for about that long too. My favorite activity now is sitting in the recliner watching the Mariners or one of my recorded series from the discovery channel.

Why I am a Mormon

I was born into a large LDS family so I didn't know much about any other religion till I served as a missionary in Ohio. At the age of 18 I went away to college and saw a different side of living (even mormon living) than I had known before. That experience caused me to think about what I was going to do, religiously, with my life. I had read the Book of Mormon once as a bet with my girlfriend, but that was more of a speed reading thing than anything else. So I went through the same process as most LDS converts. I started reading the Book of Mormon and really praying about it. It was about that time that my sister died and I discovered that the things I had been taught about God's plan for our salvation and happiness were the only teachings that made sense. That, and the good feelings that accompanied my Book of Mormon studies sealed the deal for me. There have been periods in my life when I have struggled with doing all that I know I should be doing, but through it all, my family and my faith have been seen me through.

How I live my faith

All of us are examples of what we truly believe. As a school teacher I am not allowed to share my faith with students but I make sure they know how I try to live my life. I tell my students the same thing I have told my children, "If you hear me say it then you can say it." It helps keep my language clean and it tells others that clean language is important to me. Over the years I have served in many capacities within the church. I have been a Cub Master in Cub Scouts, a Scout Master, Varsity Team Coach, and Explorer Leader in Boy Scouts. Ive also had a number of callings in the church working with adults. Currently I am the Ward Mission Leader so I get to spend lots of time with the missionaries. As I mentioned earlier, I have been a youth sports coach for a long time. In addition to coaching on the teams for my children I have also coached Middle School baseball, basketball, and track. I also had the privilege of serving on our local Public Library Board of Directors of about 4 years.

Why was a Restoration of the Gospel needed? Haven’t we always had the Bible?

Joel Ricks
During His ministry, Christ organized one true church and invited all of the Jews to join with him. After his death He sent the apostle and other disciples to preach that same gospel to all the known world, including the Gentiles. The New Testament is a collection of the writings of those charged with keeping those teachings and the church pure. Eventually, all of those church leaders were killed off and the church began to splinter apart. If, as Paul said to the Ephesians, there is to be, "One Lord, one faith, and one baptism" then there had to come a day when God would have to restore his TRUE teaching to the earth so that we wouldn't be left alone to sort out the many different 'lords, faiths, and baptisms'. To help us (and all his children who have ever lived on this earth) He called a prophet, just as he has always done. The prophet God called to begin this restoration was Joseph Smith. As a witness of his calling, Joseph Smith was given the ability to translate The Book of Mormon. I invite you to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true because if it is true, and I testify that it is, then Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God and His true gospel is back on the earth. Show more Show less

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

Joel Ricks
Being a missionary in some form is a responsibility of every Christian. We are the candle on the hill that must not be hidden. In the LDS church it is a priesthood responsibility for all worthy and able young men to serve. However, not all young men accept this call. There is no punishment associated with not serving a mission. The way I see it is that those who do serve are blessed in ways that can only come from missionary service. As with everything else in life, God blesses us when we do what he commands or wants us to do. Missions are not just for young men though. My mother served a mission in Las Vegas, Nevada a few years after my father died. she was about 68 at the time. My son served in New York when he was 19 but my oldest daughter just recently left to serve in Michigan. She is 25 hand had been teaching elementary school for the past 4 years. She'll go back to teaching when she returns in 18 months. Though she has only been serving for about 6 weeks, her letters home show a lot of emotional and spiritual growth already. It is through missionary service that we "teach all nations" as Christ taught in Matthew 28:19 but it is also how he teaches us to love others and to love him. Show more Show less