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Hi I'm Ryan

I'm a dad, a computer nerd, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm lucky to be married to the most wonderful woman I know. We are parents of four awesome kids. I've always been drawn to computers and electronics - inside and out. I'm the guy that family and friends call when it won't turn on, connect, or print. I work for a large dental software company, doing - what else? - tech support and training. I enjoy writing and studying history. I played the accordion when I was younger, but haven't touched it in years. I am a great admirer of a cappella music - how do they blend their voices like that? - and maybe someday I'll learn to sing.

Why I am a Mormon

Jesus said, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself" (John 7:17). That has been my experience. As I've tried to live the teachings of the church, I've felt peace from the Holy Spirit. Gradually, I've come to realize how important it is to my life. I've studied the words and marveled at how perfectly the pieces of doctrine fit together, like pieces of a puzzle forming a glorious picture. I count my blessings and thank the Lord for all He has done, and all He continues to bless me with. My membership in The Church of Jesus Christ is priceless to me. The teachings of living apostles and prophets are precious and wonderful.

How I live my faith

I've formally served within the church many ways, from typing up the Sunday bulletin, being a missionary in another state and in my own neighborhood, teaching a class, or serving as a clerk to the congregation. I don't separate my faith on Sunday from the rest of the week - each day, in what I say, in what I do, I do my best to be full of integrity. I try to follow the example of the Savior - exercising patience, brotherly kindness, knowledge, etc., to every neighbor, customer, commuter, or family member I deal with. I don't always get it right - I'll be the first to admit that - but practice leads to perfection, right? And Jesus will make up the difference - wait, no - I should say Jesus will make ALL the difference for me.

In whom should we have faith?

Ryan
The Apostle Paul declared, "Your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (1 Corinthians 2:5). Jesus, the Son of God, has provided the only way and means to return to our Father in Heaven. Through repentance and and reliance upon His atoning death and resurrection (and through His generous grace and mercy), we may obtain this blessing. We must trust in the Lord Jesus Christ with all our heart; and lean not unto our own understanding. In all our ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct our paths. (see Proverbs 3:5-6). Show more Show less

Can you tell me about Mormon customs: how you dress for church, what holidays you celebrate, etc.?

Ryan
When attending Sunday worship services, we come wearing what many would describe as "Business Attire" –shirt and tie for the men; a modest dress for the women. When attending other meetings during the week, you might see casual clothing, exercise clothing, scout uniforms, or whatever fits the occasion and purpose of the meeting. In-or-out of the church building, members are encouraged to dress modestly – showing respect for their bodies as "temples" where the Spirit of God can be a welcome visitor (see 1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Depending on where you live, you'll find members of the church celebrating the same holidays as the culture around them. The root word for "Holiday" is "Holy Day" and you can find special meaning in many of the popular celebrations. My family opens presents from Santa on Christmas and colors eggs for Easter – but we also take time-out to think on the role Christ played in those holidays. We celebrate our country's independence day with fireworks and Thanksgiving day with turkey dinner – with an extra emphasis on giving thanks to our Heavenly Father for allowing us those blessings. We even trick-or-treat for Halloween – though our family's personal preference leans toward the fun, cute, and lighthearted celebrations over the scary or gory thrills. Show more Show less

Do Mormons regard the Bible as Holy Scripture and the word of God?

Ryan
The Holy Bible is an incredible and irreplaceable book! Where else can one read the first-hand account of apostles and others who witnessed the Lord's life, teachings, and mission?! It is a tremendous blessing for our lives today and yes, the Word of God! As originally spoken and recorded, the holy scriptures were inspired through the Holy Ghost. They were pure truth. Over time, those words were passed through human hands, who copied and translated them. Whether an honest mistake; carelessness; or corrupt purposes, errors or omissions have crept into the text of the Bible, changing the author's original intent. Look at Hebrews 6:1 for a simple example: ‘Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.’ If a man leaves the principles of the doctrine of Christ, how can he be saved in the principles? We need not be concerned about the validity of concepts contained in the Bible. The Holy Ghost first motivated and inspired those individuals who have recorded the scriptures. As guided by the same Spirit, when we read the wonderful words, we can be enlightened to understand the truths that the original authors intended. We also have the advantage of access to other authorized writings, such as The Book of Mormon and words of prophets who live in our modern day, who add clarification to the interpretation of the Bible where such errors in the text may exist. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about the Holy Ghost? Who is the Holy Ghost?

Ryan
Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are called the Godhead. They are unified in purpose, which is to bring about the salvation of you and I, Heavenly Father's children. The Holy Ghost is the revealer and testifier of all truth. He is a "personage of Spirit" and can speak to our spirits, providing guidance, protection, and knowledge when needed. I compare his physical presence to the sunshine. Both can only be in one place at a time, but their influence can be everywhere at the same time. The sun is felt by light and warmth. The Holy Ghost can be understood by peace, love, comfort, or reassurance. The convincing power of the Holy Ghost is so great that there can be no doubt that what He reveals to us is true. I've felt his influence often in my life. As I read the scriptures, I find understanding and assurance enter my mind. As I pray, at times I feel guided to include people or situations which I did not think of myself. More unusually, I have been given guidance as if someone were speaking to me. These thoughts or feelings enter my mind, and simply feel authoritative and right. Always though, the choice is left up to me to follow through or not. And always, when I have, I've been blessed for it. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Ryan
As we begin to “come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and His matchless power, and His wisdom, and His patience, and His long-suffering towards the children of men,” it is natural to also begin to understand "a sense of your nothingness, and your worthless and fallen state" as a sinful human being (see The Book of Mormon, Mosiah 4:5-6). Fortunately for us, our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are full of goodness, wisdom, patience, and mercy. They are willing to extend graces to us, despite our sins and shortcomings. The word "Grace" can have several meanings including: - elegance or beauty - an attractive quality or talent - to show favor or goodwill - to extend clemency or pardon All of these definitions can describe the kind of grace that our Heavenly Father extends toward us, His children. Show more Show less

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

Ryan
In short, it is probably because people like easy-to-remember "labels" to identify groups of people. Using abbreviations is a common practice in many places of society. For instance, citizens of the United States of America are more often called "Americans"; and employees of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are referred to as "Cast Members". In the times of the New Testament, the apostles of Jesus Christ taught a "new" and unfamiliar-sounding message to the people. Those that didn't understand the message called believers "Christians" to be able to identify them generally. At first, it was probably used in a derogatory way by those opposed to the faith, but in time it became acceptable so that the followers of Christ themselves began using the term. Similarly, when members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints introduced a "new" and unfamiliar-sounding message that included a new book of scripture called The Book of Mormon, those that didn't understand the message gave the people a nickname of "Mormons" and the church as the "Mormon Church." The name stuck. While it is easier to say "The Mormons", the true name is much more meaningful. When we are baptized (in symbolism of the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ), we commit ourselves to be followers and examples of Christ. We become members of the Church of Jesus Christ. And we become saints (as in disciples) in the latter-days. 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?

Ryan
Imagine walking onto a college campus and demanding to take the highest-level final exam for a subject which you had were only casually familiar with. You would probably not do well. The experience might seem confusing or frustrating. The exam would contain terminology that you do not understand. You might even walk away thinking that the entire field of study was crazy. In reality, the field of study was perfectly sound, but your preparation was not. In addition, your presence might be a disturbance to others in the room who are sincere in their efforts to accomplish the work. In many ways, this is comparable to the experience of worshiping within the temple. It is held as a sacred place where those who are ready for the "graduate level" training may attend. Members who attend the temple must be active worshipers in their congregations for a period of time and must receive a "recommendation" from their bishop (leader of the congregation). Believe me, your bishop will be delighted to advise and help you qualify to attend the temple! In the peaceful solitude of that sacred and dedicated place, you will feel the Holy Spirit teach, comfort, and instruct you in the gospel, or in personal problems, decisions, or relationships. You will learn how sacred and special the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ was and you will recognize more clearly what it means to repent - in ways that are more powerful and beautiful than you may have thought possible before your visit to the temple. Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Ryan
Movies are sometimes called "cult classics" when a small group of people are fiercely devoted fans of the film. These people dress in character, and quote lines from the movie. Others who don’t enjoy the same movie just "don’t get it" – and what we don’t understand, we tend to mock or deem of no worth. Something like that can happen with religion. Any group that worships in a way that is "different" can be seen as cult-like. The wearing of ceremonial clothing or quoting of sacred texts might have the feeling of those movie goers. Those who don't participate get the similar feeling that they are witnessing cult-like behavior. There is even more room for misunderstanding when "a cult" is spoken aloud and misheard as being "occult" (using black arts, magic, etc). Rumor, assumptions, and lies spread from there. Another point: Cults tend to be small, closed groups. The Mormons are millions in membership and certainly not closed off! You are welcome to mingle with us, read our books, attend our weekly worship services, and learn why we are so excited about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! Show more Show less