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Hi I'm Michael

I'm a husband and a father. I'm a traffic engineer. I love the outdoors. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

When I started college, I wasn't sure what I wanted to be "when I grew up". Here I am, many years later, and I'm a traffic engineer - a career I had never considered or even heard of when I was a kid. When I tell people I am a traffic engineer, they either ask "What does that mean?" or they tell me about a traffic problem they want fixed, like to change an intersection's traffic signal timing or to widen a road. When I explain some of the complexities and constraints involved in fixing traffic problems, I often hear people say "I never realized that there was so much involved in building roads or moving traffic." I think people and their lives are like that - simple or unappreciated on the surface, but complex when viewed in more detail. My favorite thing to do is spend time with my wife and children. They make me happy, teach me a lot, and help give purpose to my life. We're not perfect, and life doesn't always go the way we want or plan it to go, but we try. A saying posted in our kitchen sums it up best: "Family - We may not have it all together, but together we have it all." Another thing I love to do is spend time outdoors hiking. Hiking gives me some quiet time to think and helps me put my life's challenges in perspective. Hiking has also allowed me to see many of God's beautiful creations in nature.

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised in a Mormon family, but that's not why I'm a Mormon. Having lived most of my life in places where there have been few Mormons, I have had ample opportunities to learn about other religions. From the time I was a child, my parents and church leaders taught me that I needed to find out for myself if I thought the Mormon religion was true or not. It wasn't enough for me to rely on the words or beliefs of others - I needed to find the answer for myself. I resolved at a young age to read the words of God found in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon (a scriptural account of God's dealings with people in the Americas). While reading the scriptures, I would think about the counsel and promises I read and then tried to apply them in my life. I found the promises in the scriptures to be true - the more I obeyed God's word, the more peace, happiness, and understanding came into my life. This was a witness to me that God's words are true. I also prayed to God to help me know that He exists, that He loves me and knows me, that my life has a purpose, and whether or not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (i.e., the Mormon church) is truly God's church on the earth today. I didn't see any angels or hear any voice from heaven, but God did answer my prayers. The answers came in feelings of peace and comfort to my heart and in enlightenment in my mind. The answers also didn't come all at once, but rather, slowly over time, like the rising of the sun - the transition from dark to light is gradual and almost imperceptible, but over time you begin to notice how much lighter it has become. I continue to learn and grow in knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of God and his plan for me and my life. I have tested the doctrine, policies, and practices of the Mormon church and have found them to truly help me be a better person and inspire me to try to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ - that is why I am a Mormon.

How I live my faith

Jesus says in the Bible "By their fruits ye may know them". I interpret this to mean that what I do demonstrates who I am and what I believe. To that end, I try to do as Jesus would do if he were in my shoes. I definitely am not perfect at it, but I try to be the best Christian I can. In the scriptures, there are many examples of Jesus stopping what he is in the middle of doing or saying to help an individual in need. This indicates to me how much Jesus cares about each person. I try to do the same in my everyday life - treat everyone with respect and love and look for ways to help others. I normally do this in small ways, like giving a friendly smile, asking how people are doing, holding a door open for someone, or giving out compliments. I try to focus on the positive rather than the negative.  A few years ago, my wife and I felt directed by God to volunteer to be foster parents. Being a foster parent can be very rewarding, but it can also be very difficult and frustrating. I often have to rely on my faith in God and that he loves everyone and has a plan for them to help give me perspective during the hard times. As a foster parent, you need to love kids in foster care like they are your own children, but at the same time prepare yourself and the kids in foster care for the possibility that they may go back to live with their biological family or with others. It can be quite an emotional roller coaster trying to do both of those things at the same time. Many times I think "Will all the time and effort I and my family put into fostering children in our home make any difference in the life of the kids in foster care?" Many of the kids in foster care are so young they will have no memory of being in our family. I take comfort knowing that God cares about each person individually, and I have to trust that God is in control. I do the best I can, and then leave the rest in God's hands.

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Some Christian churches point to certain New Testament scriptures that say it is by grace that we are saved. Other Christian churches point to different New Testament scriptures that say it is by works that we are saved. Does the Bible contradict itself? If not, how can both views be correct? The answer is found in the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 25:23): "It is by grace we are saved after all we can do." Thanks to Jesus Christ, we will all be saved from physical death. The grace of Christ does this for us. There is nothing we can do to cause or prevent our resurrection. All will die, and all will be resurrected. Thanks to Jesus Christ, we all have the opportunity to be saved from spiritual death - or not being able to live with God again. No unclean thing can enter God's presence, and because we all sin and fall short, we would all be "unclean" if not for the doctrine of repentance, which is made possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ. If we are willing to do our part and repent, Christ's atonement "erases" our sins, making us clean again before God. Without Christ's grace, we could not repent and therefore our works in and of themselves cannot save us. However, without our works of repentance, Christ's grace cannot come into play to save us from spiritual death. Thus, it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do. Show more Show less

What is the role of the husband and the wife in the family?

Husbands and wives are equal partners. They work as a team to help the family. It is important to note, however, that "equal" partners does not mean they each have the exact same roles. This is no different than a 50/50 business partnership, where each partner has equal say and stake in the business, but one partner may be in charge of the business administration while the other is in charge of marketing/finding clientele. In the family, fathers' primarily roles are presiding over (or leading by good example) the family with love, providing the necessities of life, and protecting the family. Mothers' primary role is nurturing and teaching the children. Both parents help each other out in their respective roles. In extenuating circumstances, one parent may have to take on more of the other parent's role temporarily or permanently. My wife and I both have our own opinions of how to do things, and when we don't agree, we talk about it and try to come to a compromise or win-win solution. It's not about one of us forcing things on the other or beating the other into submission. We work together as a team. It's not always easy, but we've found God to be a great resource to go to when we have questions about how to raise our family. The family unit was created by God, and He will do all he can to help families be successful. Show more Show less