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Hi I'm Michael

I'm an avid reader, an Eagle Scout, an unyielding optimist, I'm currently serving a mission in the north of France.

About Me

I'll be honest; I never really liked writing about myself. But I always say that life's not worth living if you don't step out of your comfort zone every once and a while. So, here I go! I came into this world a bit earlier than I was supposed to. Three months to be exact. I was born with right hemiplegic cerebral palsy. To sum it up without technical jargon; my right side is weaker than my left side, and some of the muscles in my right leg are in a state of near-constant contraction, resulting in a limp when I walk. Of course, I wouldn't dare let that slow me down. I've been skiing since I was five, and have competed on a local Special Olympics team since I was ten. I got my Eagle Scout this past November, and love spending time in the woods with my troop, even if the hikes are a little difficult. I love to read! I personally like sci-fi or fantasy novels the best, but I'm not too picky. I'm also kind of artistic, in a sense. My pencil-and-paper drawing skills could use some work. But I love doing artistic things on the computer. I love to edit photos and have more than my fair share of editing program and apps on my various electronic devices. One day I want to go into computer animation. Or at least that's my plan right now... On April 4, 2013 I received a mission call from the Church. I am now preparing to serve a two-year mission in Northern France.

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised in the Church. Like most kids in that situation, I became a baptized member at the age of eight. At the time, I did it because I had been told for years that baptism was the right thing to do. Plus, I really didn't know otherwise. So instead of focusing on why I became a Mormon, I'm going to focus on why I'm still a Mormon. I'm still a Mormon because the concepts the Church teaches tells me who I was, who I am, and who I can be. The gospel as taught by the LDS Church states that before we came down to Earth, we all lived in heaven with a loving Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. It explains that we are more than just God's creations, rather that we are all his literal spiritual children, with the potential to inherit all that he has. It reveals that this life is part of His eternal plan, in which we were given physical bodies and sent to Earth with agency, in order to learn. He gave us a Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who suffered for our sins so that we could repent of them, and whose ressurection on the third day ensured that one day all of us would be reunited with perfected physical bodies and have the opportunity to live with him again. The Gospel tells me I am here for a reason. To the rest of the world I may have been a victim of unfortunate circumstances. But I know who I am. I'm a son of my Heavenly Father. I have the chance to be all that He is. When I keep that in mind, it's easy to see why I was willing to get started three months early!

How I live my faith

I live my faith through optimism. After all, if God loves us, why would he want us to be sad? Sure, life's going to throw a few curveballs, but a smile seems to make things go over a little easier. So I choose to be positive. I choose to wake up at 5:00am for early-morning seminary (a special class held at the church building before school that gives us a chance to delve deeper into the scriptures), with a smile on my face. I choose to avoid things that don't match up with the standards the Church teaches, not because I feel I have to, but because I've seen the effects those things can have on my happiness. I'm always eager to serve others, and constantly seek for opportunities to make other feel the happiness I feel. Life's handed me my fair share of lemons, but with faith, a smile, and a little bit of elbow grease, I've learned you can make some pretty tasty lemonade.

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

Michael
When you really think about it, it makes sense that there would have to be a prophet somewhere on the earth today. After all, God has communicated with his people all throughout the Old Testament by using prophets like Moses. The system seemed to work well for the most part, and if it isn't broken, why fix it? Show more Show less

Why do Mormon missionaries proselyte?

Michael
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are the bearers of some excellent news. God lives, and He still speaks to us today through the voice of a prophet! The fullness of the gospel has been restored! Families can be eternal! When you have news like that, wouldn't you want to share it? Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe is the purpose of life?

Michael
We believe that after God created our spirits He instituted His great plan. In order for us to grow and develop, we were sent to Earth and gained physical bodies. We were given the power of agency, which allows us to choose our actions for ourselves. It is this agency and the experiences we have based on our decisions that will allow us to become like Heavenly Father. In a sense, you can say that this life is a test. Heavenly Father wants to know how we will act when we are not constantly in His direct presence. Fortunatly, he's given us a "cheat-sheet" in the form of ancient scriptures and revelations through modern prophets. Show more Show less

What is being a Mormon like?

Michael
Being a Mormon naturally comes with its challenges. Explaining to my friends why I won't see that R-Rated movie, or won't listen to that music. Avoiding substances and dietary choices that seem to be so popular today. Life is never easy for an LDS youth. But its also so much fun! Friendship grows so quickly. I've been to activities that placed me in a group of people I had never met before. By the end of the day, we were family to each other. It's really and truly impossible to explain what it's like to be a Mormon. But I can see it. I see it in the faces of my friends at Church. There's something in their eyes...a sense of peace, and yet at the same time a look of excitement. What's it like to be a Mormon? It's happiness, true and genuine happiness. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Michael
Of couse, Mormons believe that the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ is a necessary aspect of salvation. However, unlike many Christian denominations, we do not teach that belief in Christ is enough to achieve eternal life. As members of the Church, we feel that we must do all we can in life to live like Christ did in order to be saved. Since Christ was perfect, however, this is impossible. Which is where the concept of grace comes in. Once we've done all that we can do, Christ will step in and help us to repent on our sins. We do not believe that we are saved based only on our works, and we do not believe we are saved by purly the grace of God. We believe that the two concepts working in harmony is what will lead us back to Him. Show more Show less

Can you tell me about Mormon customs: how you dress for church, what holidays you celebrate, etc.?

Michael
Mormons will typically wear their "Sunday Best" to Church each week. This typically means suits, or at least a button-down shirt and tie, for the men and modest dresses or skirts for the girls. Of course, there are occasions where your only clean pair of slacks are at the dry cleaners, and nobody judges you for that...although you may be subjected to some good-natured joking around. ;) We celebrate Christmas and Easter just like any other Christian family. Those two days are set aside for the celebration of the birth and Resurrection of Christ, and we take the opportunity to spend time together as a family. Most Mormon families open presents and have Easter baskets, but we also set apart time to remember the spiritual aspects of such days. The symbolism, the sacredness, and the peace that comes at those times of year. Show more Show less

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

Michael
Everything! The whole world around me, the wonders of the universe, the way events in history and in my own life have transpired; to me all these things are amazing declarations that there is a God in Heaven. There are some that would have you believe that everything from the creation of the universe until now happened by chance. Really? A world this intricate was the consequence of mere luck? Our human bodies, with incredible mental capacties, just came along one day? When you really look deep down, the concept seems absurd. Now I'm not saying all modern science is false. Quite the opposite. The complexities of the big bang, evolution, natural selection, all of these things are so detailed that I find it hard to believe that no one's working behind the curtain. Show more Show less

Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorse political parties?

Michael
The Church does not support any one particular political party. It is true that most church members tend to be more conservative, but that is not due to any policies of the Church. What the Church does endorse is choosing political leaders and supporting legislature that is compatible with the gospel principles, regardless of the party. Show more Show less

Do Mormons regard the Bible as Holy Scripture and the word of God?

Michael
"We believe the Bible to be the word of God so long as it is translated correctly." Joseph Smith wrote. It is well-established history that when King James had the Bible translated, certain alterations and changes were made, simply because of the nature of translations. What was left is still the word of God, and is to be studied and pondered, but many plain and precious truths were missing, or certain replaced words had clouded the original meaning. Which is why we have the Book of Mormon, which fills in the gaps that were "lost in translation." Show more Show less

Why is authority to perform a baptism important?

Michael
Authority to preform baptism is important in the same way that a driver's license is important. Regardless of your intentions, if you are an unlicensed driver, you will recieve a ticket. While baptism without the proper authority may still have righteous intent, it has no eternal influence. Look at the world around us. God created so many complex systems and methods of keeping order. It stands to reason that he has a method for keeping order when it comes to baptism as well. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform proxy baptisms in their temples?

Michael
Does it really seem fair that those who died before having the opportunity to be baptized not get that chance? Or if they were about to get baptized but fell victim to an unfortunate accident? No, that's not very fair at all. So, God set up a system to make sure people got that chance. Their descendants could get baptized in their place, and the deceased would have the choice to accept or reject the work that's been done for them. Show more Show less

Why is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called Mormons or Mormonism?

Michael
Mormon is actually the name of a prophet-historian responsible for abridging and compiling an ancient record that was later translated by Joseph Smith and published, appropriatly, as the Book of Mormon. Rather than refer to the Church by its offical name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, critics of the Church chose to simply refer to its members as Mormons. The name stuck, and while we still prefer that the full, offical name of the Church is used when they refer to it collectively, we have no problem with people refering to individual members as Mormons. Show more Show less

What is the priesthood?

Michael
God rules the earth. With that said, it is not part of His plan for Him to be on earth at all times, sitting on a throne solving all our problems. As excellent as that would be, it wouldn't allow us to grow and develop. So, God gave certain men in both the ancient and latter-day church the priesthood, which is the authority to act in His name. That way, somebody could preform earthly ordinances and manage the temporal affairs of the Church. Show more Show less

To what do you attribute the growth of the Church?

Michael
In a world were the only thing that is constant is change, the Church remains resolute in what it believes. There is no variation in the Church's teachings based on where you are in the world. A lot of people, me included, find that level of consistency comforting. The Church's message is also very hopeful. God lives, His Son Jesus Christ died so that we can repent of our sins, and we are all direct spirit children of a Heavenly Father who knows and loves us individually and by name. That sort of message gives people peace, and is key to the Church's growth. Show more Show less

Why is self-reliance important to Mormons? Why do Mormons talk about emergency preparedness?

Michael
"The Lord helps those who help themselves," is a popular saying, and I believe it is one-hundred percent true. When we make an effort to be prepared for whatever the Lord may see fit to test us with, he is all the more willing to step in and help fill the gaps in our defenses. Plus, when you aren't worried about yourself, it's so much easier to go out and help others. Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Michael
I think a lot of it has to do with the way the Church is structured. Regardless of where you go in the world, the Church teaches the same things. That sort of consistency is uncommon in most other religious sects, and to some people it may be offputting. Since our interpretation of certain doctorine varies from most of the rest of Christianity, they also tend to label us as outcasts, non-Christains, and even cults. But we are in fact Christains, who worship Jesus Christ as the Son of God and as the Savior. Show more Show less

Mormons believe Jesus Christ is their Savior. Why do we need a Savior?

Michael
The very nature of our mortality, with our ability to make our own decisions and our human inclinations, gaurentees that we will all slip up every once and a while. But because no unclean thing can dwell in the kingdom of God, these minor slip-ups prove to be a major stumbling block in terms of our eternal salvation. So, Heavenly Father gave his Only Begotten Son to serve as a Savior. Christ intervened and through his sacrifice, gave us the opportunity to repent. True repentance wipes our slate clean, and gives us the chance to improve ourselves. Show more Show less

What is the Church’s position on abortion?

Michael
We believe that a physical body is a gift from Heavenly Father to each of us, His spirit children. Therefore, the Church has stated that it does not condone abortion. In a sense, abortion is denying another son or daughter of our Heavenly Father the opportunity to recieve this miraculous gift. Certain medical or emotional situations may make abortion an unfortunate necessity. For the most part, however, members of the Church who face an unexpected pregnancy are counseled to put the child up for adoption. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about the nature of God?

Michael
We believe that God has a physical body. Unlike our bodies, which have flaws and are subject to mortality, His body is perfected. He knows all, rules all, and loves all. He knows each of us by name. He knows the desires of our hearts, as well as our flaws. His purpose is to help us find our way back to Him. Show more Show less

In whom should we have faith?

Michael
"We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." Absolutely essential to our spiritual development is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Having faith implies a willingness to submit ourselves to His will, in spite of our incapactiy to see the outcome. Faith is not, as many people suggest, "blind." Our faith in Christ is strengthened by our recognition of his hand in our lives. Show more Show less