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Hi I'm Jeff

I'm a relatively-late-in-life convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints--and it has changed my life.

About Me

Divorced and remarried, I have three grown children on the East Coast and five step children here in Arizona. Meeting my current wife--an eternal companion, teacher and friend--was a blessing that flowed from my decision to join the church. My professional field is organization development--one that espouses values very close to those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Currently a self-employed consultant, I have worked in the telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries in New Jersey before moving to Arizona. I love to read--to advance my knowledge of the gospel, to stay current professionally and for sheer entertainment.

Why I am a Mormon

My interest in becoming a Mormon was piqued by friends who shared the Book of Mormon with me and by professional acquaintances who impressed me and turned out to be Mormon. The Mormon Church does not have a large presence on the East Coast. Despite having received three copies of the Book of Mormon, I stubbornly avoided reading it. I described myself as "spiritual" but not "religious". Having grown up a Presbyterian, I felt myself to be a Christian. It was pretty easy since it put no demands on me at all. All that began to change when a professor in my master's program, knowing my interest in "servant leadership" handed me a Book of Mormon and introduced me to King Benjamin and the concept of service that is the outward demonstration of what we, as Mormons, believe. Through another person who came into my life for a "season", I started taking the missionary discussions. When challenged for baptism, the choice was obvious---in fact it didn't even feel like a choice. It felt like a natural extension of who I was as a person. But I had to make changes. I balked at tithing but have found it to become natural and second nature to give back a small portion of what I have been blessed with. I asked the missionaries to provide a technical/medical explanation for why drinking coffee was discouraged but other caffeinated beverages seemed to be okay. They explained that it was a matter of obedience and demonstrating my faith not necessarily science. That made sense. When I was in high school, we had played a church league basketball game against a team with "LDS" on their shirts. I asked my Sunday School teacher what that stood for and he went on and on with an explanation mocking Joseph Smith's first vision and translation of the Book of Mormon. The skillful teaching of the missionaries helped me let go of that early image and see the beauty--and necessity--of the restoration. At 53, I was on a new path--a life changing path.

How I live my faith

The church is run completely by lay people. That has provided me with opportunities to continue to develop my knowledge and myself through teaching others, attending weekly Sunday School classes and listening to other members of my church family discuss how the gospel applies to them. I've had opportunities to serve in leadership roles. I've served as an employment counselor in one of the church's employment centers where we helped people out of work understand the spiritual nature of that experience and develop a plan to improve their temporal welfare as well. I also have daily opportunities to serve others--inside the church and outside. A formative experience for me--as a home teacher--was working with a new member who was a widow and who contracted cancer. We talked about her disease, her patriarchal blessing, her sealing to her deceased husband. I was able to administer the sacrament to her in her home. Her attitude in dealing with her disease was "bring it on". She was inspiring. Knowing that life extends beyond mortal life is a source of daily comfort. The church's ability to respond--immediately and effectively--to all kinds of disasters continues to impress me. Mormon helping hands are on the spot sometimes before formal relief organizations get there. Knowing that humanitarian relief is getting to every corner of the world is a source of continuing satisfaction in my decision to join the church and support it with my time and my talents. What I value most is that Christ expects something of me every day. I enjoy my Sunday meetings and observing the Sabbath fully I value that I am expected to put the gospel into action every day of the week if only in how I choose to relate to those I meet. A smile and a kind word can make any one's day better. I'm not always good with this but I am getting better. I think that's what the gospel does for me. It asks me to do something so that I can become more like Heavenly Father and Christ.