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Hi I'm Colin Hetherington

I'm a college student. I'm a violinist. I was an atheist. Now, I'm serving a Mormon mission.

About Me

For me, high school began as a rough experience - unhappieness, disappointment, and tragedy became the 'norms' of my life. With the exception of my test scores, my academics were abysmal and, owing to pessimistic antisocial proclivities, I had few friends, nor did I have motivation to change. I was distant from what family I still had. I rejected the notion that God even existed, and I had nowhere to turn for relief. Some exceedingly persistent and loving friends introduced me to the gospel - to Christ - in the middle of my sophomore year of high school. They worked with me, in spite of my initial hostility, and my life began a transformation after accepting it. My college grades are stellar, I have grown to love, my family is tighter, and I have been able to cope better with life's many challenges and see trials for the blessing that they are. Since joining the church, I've found by sweet experience that the best things in life are the things of God. This applies in every facet in my life, and I have felt it most strongly in my favorite pastime - music. I've always had musical inclinations, even from a young age. I first picked up the violin in 4th grade, and progressed quickly. In retrospect, music was one of the means that the Lord utilized to give me good, solid friends with strong testimonies - people who have helped me through some of the darkest times of my life. My favorite musical experiences have been those in which I have shared my testimony of God through music.

Why I am a Mormon

I haven't always belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and before I did, I lived a bitter life as a subscriber to a lot of worldly teachings. I considered myself to be a student of science and an epistemophiliac. I studied secular history and watched educational channels on television as a pastime. I was certain that there was no God and no rational religion. This eventually changed. My mother was disabled in an accident, and members from the local congregation brought us meals for several weeks while she began the process of recovery - people we didn't even know! I went to a few youth activities, but refused any invitation to attend church and scoffed at their testimonies. I still, however, acknowledged them as good people living Christian values, which I respected. Finally, a friend who had invited me to church in the past on numerous occasions gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon. Inside it, she had written down her very heartfelt and sincere testimony. To humor her efforts and with a seed of desire to find the truth, I read from the book and prayed. I felt different, but I didn't quite understand what I felt, and it only cost me 10 minutes. I went to church the following Sunday, much to the astonishment of my friends, who were quite astonished to see such a vocal opponent of their beliefs sitting in a Sacrament meeting. I felt good, as though I was doing something right. I was taught by the missionaries, and the seeds of my testimony grew. In time, I agreed to be baptized. Such a feeling and impression as I felt in my heart overpowered whatever secular knowledge I previously had held to be true. Looking back on it, I needed only to humble myself and open my mind as I did in order to receive that confirmation. I am a Mormon because doing good feels right. I am a Mormon because I know Christ loves me. I am a Mormon because, by the power of the Spirit of the Lord, I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints true.

How I live my faith

To serve God righteously, charity is a necessity. It's the sine qua non of my faith. God has given us time, so I try to use it well. Before my mission, I regularly visited the widows who live within the boundaries of my ward, or congregation, and would play violin for and talk with them. Most of them don't get many visitors, so I feel as though I'm helping to brighten the day of someone who may not receive very much attention otherwise. I also visit several families in my ward on a monthly bases as a part of the Church's home teaching program. Along with another member of the ward, I share a message with them and help to make sure that their basic needs, spiritual and temporal, are met. In church meetings, I perform violin and sing occasionally. Every so often, I am also asked to speak in church on Sunday before the whole congregation. This is a blessing because, as I prepare to speak, I learn new things about the topic and how it relates to me. The base meaning isn't necessarily any different, but the way that I look at the scripture changes and truly resonates stronger. When I speak before the congregation, the Holy Spirit impresses certain feelings upon me about how I should share what I studied. I read the scriptures daily, including the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, and other latter-day revelations. When I read, I feel and notice my mental and spiritual understanding of the scriptures expanding. When tempted to shirk my duty, I think of what Jesus Christ suffered through. I have been through many trials of my own, but He took upon Himself our sorrows, our sins, our infirmities, our flaws - everything - upon Himself. He died so that we could have a chance. I refuse to let his sacrifice be in vain, and so I follow His commandments so that I will be saved, and that I might have the strength to teach others the way to salvation. I now share my testimony of that powerful truth as a full-time missionary in the Virginia Richmond Mission, Spanish-speaking.

Who was Joseph Smith?

Colin Hetherington
Joseph Smith was a man born in Vermont in 1805, and we do not worship him. Nevertheless, his importance - historical and spiritual - is something that is of profound importance. To understand who Joseph Smith was, one must first understand what a prophet is - someone chosen by God to act as a messenger and make known his will. The term "prophesy" is derived from this because the Lord would tell them of things to come to warn the people and tell them what they needed to do to prepare or avoid the coming storm. He had specific directives, one of which was to translate the Book of Mormon. He did so by divine power allotted to him from God. It was also through him that God, by heavenly messengers, restored the authority that was lost at the elimination of the original and few subsequent apostles - who were also prophets - and was used as the tool to restore the Lord's church and open a dispensation - a time in which there is a prophet on the earth who is actively revealing God's will - in which the fullness of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ would be available for all who would accept it - the Last Dispensation before the fullness of times. He had numerous visions and revelations, some of which are recorded in the "Doctrine and Covenants," one of the standard canonical works accepted by the church. Joseph Smith was a man, but did more for the salvation of mankind than all but a few. Show more Show less

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

Colin Hetherington
As a full-time missionary myself, this question has a special meaning. Heavenly Father calls prophets and they reveal the Lord's call to us. Before addressing anything in relation to doctrine its self, I want to testify of the marvelous opportunity that it is to serve a mission. My devotion to my God is stronger as a result of my service, and I've witnessed many miracles as a confirmation of my faith and devotion to the Lord. As missionaries, we are given this opportunity to proclaim a living and loving God. We also gain experience to help us later in life. We have many great guides and teachers - our mission president, the senior missionaries, other missionaries, our companions, and the friends we make. Above all is God, who guides all. The theme of missionary work is liberally found throughout the scriptures and we are called to "cry repentance" and "teach all nations," among other things. Through latter-day revelation, we learn that all worthy and able 18-25 year-old men are commanded to serve for 2 years. They do not receive any consequence for not doing so out of respect for their agency (or ability to choose), except from God. The church doesn't force. Young women are also able to serve, starting at age 19, for a period of 18 months. I am a member of the church, in part, due to diligent sister missionaries. Retired individuals have the blessing of serving, too, if they choose. They often have a specific directive and mission length; they help support local areas. Show more Show less