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Hi I'm Joe Blanco

I am a retired accountant living in Arizona with my wife, I am a grandpa, and I am a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up in Southern California, and as a youth I fit right into the free fun-loving lifestyle of beaches, parties, and sports. Where I grew up every youth had their own car at 16 years of age, if you didn't have a built-in swimming pool your neighbors did, and school was the main focus of life. Then, the Vietnam War started, I joined the Navy for four years, and I found out quickly that the lifestyle I knew as a youth was not the lifestyle most others had. There were hardships in the world, pain, and people that lived only today not knowing what tragedy tomorrow would bring. When I left the Navy I was a changed person. My focus was to be the best husband, father, and person I could be, and I started to ponder about the meaning of life and my part in it. Part of that discovery was the realization that I could have a postive impact on kids, so I volunteered for such things as Little League Baseball coaching and Boy Scouts of America. I love working with kids, especially my own kids, and I have tried to always let them know that they are special. Today, some of the kids I worked with still keep in touch with me to let my know how they are doing. As far as my career and interests, I graduated college with a degree in Accounting, I worked for the Federal Government for 26 years, and now I am retired and enjoying my grandkids with my wife. I enjoy playing golf, I am an amateur photographer, I love camping, and I am an expert in using the TV channel changer. I am truely blessed.

Why I am a Mormon

I have always wondered about God: Did he exist, if so why did He put me here, and now that I am here, what am I suppose to do? I was baptized into a Protestant faith at the age of 4 years, but obviously I didn't have any real beliefs at that young age. I first became interested in finding out whether God existed when I was in the Navy during the Vietnam War. For a period of about 8 years I read many books about religions, I attended many different churches where I lived, and though I met many good people of many faiths along the way, there was always something missing, an inward peace of knowing they were right. When I was introduced to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I didn't know much about them, but one unique thing that their missionaries told me was that I could ask God directly to receive an answer to my questions. I didn't have to depend upon the opinions of other people. That divine process is called prayer. Since I had always tried to figure out things on my own, it took some time for me to open my thoughts up to someone, namely God, whom I did not know existed. But when I got to the point that I sincerely desired to know if God existed, when I thirsted for answers with real intent, and showed a particle of faith that I was willing to follow the answers to my prayers, something miraculous happened to me. While praying in my living room I received divine communication, an force of pure intelligence outside of my being, telling me that God existed, that Jesus Christ was His Son and my Savior, and that through Him and only Him, could I be saved from my fallen condition. In one brief second I knew that praying worked. I continued to pray and received answers that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God like Moses, that the Book of Mormon was the word of God along with the Bible, and that this church had the authority to act in God's name. My questions had been answered, and I joined the Church within days of knowing these truths.

How I live my faith

Since joining the Church some 31 years ago, my life has totally changed. I have daily communication with my Heavenly Father through prayer and reading my scriptures. Though I still have life's trials and challenges, I know that Heavenly Father and my Lord Jesus Christ loves me, cares for me, and wants me to return to them some day. Many of my callings or assignments with the Church have been with the youth of the Church, so I am still working with the youth within my community. The Church has also stretched my abilities that Heavenly Father has given me. For a period of 6 years I was the bishop of my congregation, or what we call a ward. As the bishop, I was the leader of my ward and my duties included preaching, teaching, counseling members with challenges, performing marriages, presiding over Church services and other services like funerals, and almost anything that needed attention. Some weeks these duties would take 25 to 40 hours of my time to complete, and all without pay since our Church is a lay church meaning that the clergy work without being paid. Church membership demands alot, but why wouldn't it? In order to follow the Lord, it takes commitment, it takes focus, it takes obedience, and it takes sacrifice, but why wouldn't I do that for someone who died for me upon a cross on Calvary. He is my friend, He is my master, and I love Him with my whole heart.