Hi I'm Michael
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!
Please share your feelings/testimony of Joseph Smith.
Joseph Smith was an amazing man. I think that regardless of what you religiously believe, that much is clear. He went through an awful lot supporting what he knew was right. I personally know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he was called of God.
How can your talents and gifts bless others?
God gave us all talents. It's part of what makes us all individual, and He can utilize those talents in a variety of ways. This website, which I'd consider to be quite a blessing, is the direct result of the inspired efforts of people who are talented in web design and programming. A lot of people are gifted musicians, writers, artists, or atheletes. But not all talents are physical skills. Some of the greatest people I know are talented when it comes to understanding gospel principles, or comforting others, or simply being a good friend. So don't feel like God doesn't love you simply because you can't play the piano! Your gifts are there. They may not be obvious, but they're obviously important!
How has your knowledge of the Plan of Happiness changed/benefited your life?
The Plan of Happiness has benefited my life greatly. To know that I am a son of my Heavenly Father, with the potential to be like Him, has made whatever challenge I face in this life miniscule in comparison to the rewards. Understanding that my life here on earth, with all my imperfections and struggles, is just one chapter in a story that never has to end... It's an amazing feeling...
Why/How do you share the gospel with your friends?
Why do I share the gospel with my friends? Because it's amazing, that's why! It's excellent news and a hopeful message, which everyone (especially us youth) needs these days. Of course, I'm not going out hunting investigators. I share the gospel through optimisim. I just try to be the most upbeat I can be, and when people notice that, it can lead in into a discussion about the Church. Of course, mormon.org profiles are an excellent way to spread the gospel. I try to let my friends know via social media whenever a whole bunch of answers get added on.
How does making right choices help us make more right choices?
I'm a skiier, so I think it best to answer this question with a skiing metaphor. Say your on the mountain, and you've just started your run. Towards the beginning, you have less momentum, and it's harder to turn. However, as you make your way down the hill, you build up speed and fall into a rhythm, and it becomes much easier to maintain control. Choosing the right has the same effect. Frequently choosing the moral high road builds "spiritual momentum." Then, when life suddenly throws metaphorical rocks, trees, or toddler ski schools into your path, it's easier to manuver around them.
Can you think of a specific challenge in your family that Gospel Principles helped overcome?
I have a little brother who is a high-functioning autistic. He's great fun to be around...most of the time. But...he has his days. It can be hard, and sometimes I feel like God gave my family these challenges just to make us suffer. That couldn't be further from the truth. Heavenly Father gave my brother his specific challenges because those challenges would help him, as well as the rest of our family, grow to be the people we need to be.
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.