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Hi I'm Justin

I'm a music nerd, a theatre enthusiast, and a big brother. I love cheesecake, I'm an aspiring composer, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up in Mesa, AZ, and attended Northern Arizona University for a year, studying choral music education. I then served for two years as a missionary in New England, and I'm now studying at Brigham Young University. Music is a huge part of who I am – I love singing the most out of anything I do, I think. I do a lot of choir and vocal jazz, and I really love musical theatre. Piano is a large part of who I am as well, and I’ve done several solo performances as well as professional accompanying for singers and choirs. Playing the piano is also very therapeutic for me, and helps me get out those emotions I can’t express any other way. In addition to singing and piano, I also play alto saxophone, and I've "dabbled" a bit in cello and guitar. I also love composing and arranging my own pieces, and I hope to be a successful composer someday. I really enjoy acting - I love all aspects of performances, whether I’m on stage or in the audience. Aside from the performing arts, I love reading and hanging out with my friends. I am the oldest of four children - I have two little brothers, and one little sister. My sister was basically a stillborn, and the doctors said she wouldn't last the night...and here we are about 19 years later. She has a lot of mental and physical disabilities, but she has such an amazing spirit. I know that she is one of our Heavenly Father's most precious children. I feel truly blessed to have her as a member of my family.

Why I am a Mormon

I grew up in the Church, getting by on the testimonies of my parents until I was able to have some powerful spiritual experiences of my own during my teenage years. Those experiences helped shape my testimony, and when I graduated high school, I was very sure of myself and where I was going. Once I got to college that fall, however, everything seemed to fall apart. I wasn't sure who I was. I didn't know what I believed in or what I wanted anymore. I was faced with some very difficult challenges as well as facts about myself that I was forced to confront, and I didn't know what to do. I felt very lost. I started to try and piece myself together again without much success, and I strayed from God's path for a while, though my faith in Him remained and I never stopped going to church. Before long, I found myself on my knees, begging for an answer from Him as to what was happening and where I needed to go. I felt like I had been torn apart and dismantled, without any clue as to how to reassemble myself. I had a few very special, very intimate spiritual experiences with my Savior that year - He helped to build me back up again. I felt the amazing power of His redeeming love, and felt that I had been forgiven of my sins. I was given a glimpse of true, pure, eternal joy, and it is the sweetest and most wonderful feeling I have ever felt. I know with every fiber of my being that this Gospel is true, that my Heavenly Father knows me personally and loves me. Everyone has to have a conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, regardless of whether they were raised in the Church or not. I finally had to decide if I truly believed in the doctrines that I was raised on, and though my testimony wavered during that first year of college, it's now stronger than it ever has been in my entire life.

How I live my faith

I spent two years, every minute of every day, devoted to my faith by serving full-time in the Massachusetts Boston mission, speaking both Cambodian and English. The mission covers the area of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, a small part of New York, and the southernmost portions of Vermont and New Hampshire. My mission is the best thing and the hardest thing I've done in my life thus far. I wouldn't trade my experiences in New England for the world. There is always room for improvement and learning in our lives, and I continue to strive to become a better person each and every day. I have many shortcomings and weaknesses, but Jesus Christ strengthens me and helps me to overcome them. Through the Atonement, I am becoming the man, and eventually husband and father, that He wants me to be. I always do everything I can to help others. I do my best to live my life following Christ's example, sharing His teachings and His love in any way I can. That's why I'm serving a mission - I want others to be able to have a chance to experience the true joy that comes from living the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and for them to be able to feel the amazing power of His love in their lives. My favorite scripture: "Who shall separate us from the Love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." - Romans 8:35, 37

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

Justin
No member of the Church is required to serve a mission. All missionaries volunteer to serve and are not paid for their service. Young men may begin service at 18 years old, and young women may begin at 19 years old. Retired senior couples, men, and women may also serve missions. All missionaries, regardless of age, are called of God. Show more Show less

Why are only some Mormons allowed into temples? Is there something secret going on in Mormon Temples? What goes on in Mormon Temples?

Justin
Temples aren't "secret", per se; however, they are very sacred. In temples, we learn eternal truths and make covenants with our Heavenly Father. Because temples are so sacred, only those who are living their lives according to the standards of the gospel and keeping the commandments may enter. By doing so, they are worthy to enter into such a hallowed place, partake in learning of sacred truths, and participate in performing divine ordinances for themselves and for those who have died without the opportunity to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe is the purpose of life?

Justin
The purpose of this life is to gain the knowledge and experience that we need to become like our Father in Heaven. We also come to gain a physical body and to form family relationships. God loves us with an infinite and unconditional love, and He wants us to grow and progress. We each have the gift of agency, which means we can choose for ourselves. We are tested, and through our own experiences we learn good from evil. We pass through trials in this life to learn and become stronger - these difficulties are necessary for our eternal progression. We will never be put through a temptation or trial that we cannot endure. We may struggle, and life may seem unbearable, but the Lord is with us. As we trust in Him, He will sustain and strengthen us throughout our lives. Show more Show less

Why is family so important to Mormons?

Justin
Families are incredibly important - they are the central unit of our Heavenly Father's plan for us. We believe that families can be together forever, and that a husband and wife can be sealed together for all of eternity. The relationships we form with our families are immensely important, because these relationships and bonds extend beyond the grave. We have been given families so that we can grow and learn in a loving, caring environment. Not all homes and families are perfect, and many families are filled with strife, tragedy, abuse, and turmoil. This is not how the family is meant to be, but these trials won't last forever. We can and will be released from our burdens in this life. The adversary (Satan) is making a full-frontal attack on families, because they are so important to our Father in Heaven. I would greatly encourage those with questions about families to read "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." This document is revelation from God through His prophets on this earth, and contains the great and eternal truths of the family, and why it is so important. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

Justin
Yes! We believe in Christ, and through Him and His Atonement, all mankind can be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. He is the Son of God, and the Savior and Redeemer of the world. We can never repay Him for what He's given to us. I have felt the amazing power of His Redeeming Love in my life, and I am infinitely and eternally grateful to Him. I love Him with everything that I am, and I am determined to serve Him until the very end. Show more Show less

What is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' attitude regarding homosexuality and same sex marriage?

Justin
We are all children of our Heavenly Father, and He loves each of us with an infinite and unconditional love that we can't possibly comprehend. In the same way, we are to love our fellow men and women in this world, regardless of who they are. That includes sexual orientation. However, this does not condone homosexual acts, relations, and behaviors. These things are contrary to the Plan of Salvation and to the will of God. Some may ask why God makes people attracted to others of the same gender if He doesn't want them to act on those desires. I know that God makes absolutely no mistakes, but that the challenge of same-gender attraction is a trial that is given to some of God's children in the same way He gives other trials to others. The test is to master our bodies (both for homosexuals and heterosexuals), to control those sexual urges and desires, and not to act on them except in marriage between a man and a woman. To be attracted to one of the same gender in and of itself is not a sin - the sin lies in the sexual acts themselves. There are some members of the Church who deal with same-gender attraction, and as long as they honor their covenants and keep the commandments, they can go forth as a worthy servant of the Lord and member of the Church. Some are able to overcome this challenge in mortality, but many are not. God promises the blessings of eternity to those who cannot receive them, through no fault of their own, in this life, as long as they remain faithful. Show more Show less

What is a ward/stake/branch?

Justin
Because it would be impossible for all members of the Church around the world to meet together each week, the Church is organized into different geographic areas. This is done to figure out who will attend church services at what time and in which building. Local congregations are called wards (or branches, for a smaller number of people), and are organized so that each member can attend services near their home. The spiritual leader of each ward is called a bishop, and he serves the people in his ward as a volunteer (without pay). A group of wards forms a stake, and the leader of the stake is called the stake president. In places with a large population of members of the Church, there can be many stakes within one city, and in other areas of the world a single ward can cover multiple cities. Another purpose for being organized in such a way is so that the members of each ward and stake can lift each other up and "bear one another's burdens" - help each other out and keep track of each other, so to speak. I have a testimony of the organization of this church; it is inspired of God! Show more Show less

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

Justin
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the official name of the Church. We are sometimes called "Mormons" because we believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God alongside the Bible as a second witness of Jesus Christ. We do not worship Mormon, who was a prophet of God in ancient times, and contributed to the writings of the Book of Mormon. We believe and testify of Jesus Christ as the Savior, and as such, we carry His name as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Show more Show less

What blessings can we receive through the gift of the Holy Ghost?

Justin
Anyone can feel the guidance of the Holy Ghost, but having the Gift of the Holy Ghost means you can always have that influence in your life. The Holy Ghost (also called the Spirit) can teach us, warn us of danger, guide our choices, testify of truth, comfort us, deliver messages from our Heavenly Father, and help us to feel of His love. Show more Show less

Who is the Mormon prophet today?

Justin
God has declared that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He calls prophets to lead His church in our day, in the same way that He did in ancient times. Thomas S. Monson is the current prophet and President of the Church. He is assisted by two counselors - Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf. The three of them together make up the First Presidency of the Church. The members of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are currently Boyd K. Packer, L. Tom Perry, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, M. Russell Ballard, Richard G. Scott, Robert D. Hales, Jeffrey R. Holland, David A. Bednar, Quentin L. Cook, D. Todd Christofferson, and Neil L. Andersen. All members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are ordained as prophets, seers, and revelators. Show more Show less

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

Justin
First and foremost, I have felt the love of my Heavenly Father, on many occasions, so vividly and purely that I can never deny His existence. If I ever forget that He loves me, all I have to do is look around me at this beautiful, glorious Earth that He has created. To me, there is absolutely no way all of this could have happened and been created by chance. It's all so complex and magnificent - everything around us seems to testify of His existence. We are nothing compared to the whole of His creations, and yet He loves us more than anything else, and wants us to be happy and return to Him. I see His tender mercies daily in my life, and I am eternally grateful to Him for His innumerable blessings. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about "eternal life?"

Justin
Eternal life means living with God and with our families as exalted beings and progressing to become like God someday. Eternal life is the quality of life that God lives, filled with never-ending joy and peace. In order to achieve eternal life, we must keep the commandments and receive all the necessary ordinances of the gospel. Show more Show less

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

Justin
No. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, who restored His gospel and priesthood authority to the earth through him. Joseph also translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God. We honor and respect him as a prophet of God, especially for his mighty works on the earth and for his powerful testimony. Show more Show less