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Hi I'm Rich

I'm 75, I love Christ, my extended family, researching mountain butterflies, choir, and toy trains and you bet I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I like people, want to be a better listener, and enjoy being there for others. Yes, I need to work on the listener and helping part, but have certainly seen wonderful change! I went to high school in Texas, graduated from Stanford University, worked on a cattle ranch, in real estate, and with tropical plants. After 35 years of working decided to retire and follow a dream. Spent the last 17 years volunteering with the National Park Service. I created a project to inventory butterfly species and monitor their abundance in one of the prettiest mountain locations in the west. Sounds crazy, a bit, but try thousands of hours hiking mountain trails, looking at wild flowers, and chasing butterflies with the help of over fifty project volunteers through the years. It got the enduring volunteer award and has been a spectacular retirement! Add three wonderful sons, one still resists baptism...that great principle of agency... plus two wonderful daughters-in-law, seven grandchildren and I'm a happy camper at 75. Add to that, joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and becoming a Mormon over thirty years ago! I've been richly blessed with Christ as a friend and the Holy Ghost as a guide. When your friends are trying to be better people, one's path is full of sunshine! Trials and problems are part of life but being happy trumps it all. I love living my life as a Mormon, it makes it meaningful, growing each day, being a better person and following Christ. it's the best!

Why I am a Mormon

As I think back to college days in the 1950s I remember a friend practicing on a huge organ set up in a garage behind the music building. I soon learned that his goal was to play another organ, at the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. He felt there was none better. I knew of the Mormon Choir, its superb sound, and had recently met a lovely girl in one of my classes. She invited me to hear a talk she was giving at church, a Mormon Church. These were my introductions: the organ at the Tabernacle, the Mormon Choir, and a beautiful member. They made a lasting impression about the quality of the Mormon faith. I don’t remember much about the visit to her ward but it seemed there were strange names for things! Such was my knowledge of Mormons when, over 25 years later, my wife found the Book of Mormon in the Library. She prayed about it and suggested we visit the local Ward. Soon the missionaries were teaching us. The kids loved them! They turned on a whole new world of happiness and fun. She was baptized. I wasn’t so sure. I was thinking in an intellectual way. Prophets had always seemed to me bigger than life and that they were living today seemed a stretch. Then the missionaries suggested I read Mosiah 18 in the Book of Mormon. I realized I had nothing against a life built on Christ’s teachings. I could find out for myself how I and the members put such things into practice. I was delighted by President Hinckley, one of President Kimball’s Councilors, it was a relief to see his open candor. He taught me, by his actions, about living prophets. I love my oldest son from my first marriage and hope one day he will bring his family into the Church. Yet when I think of those two young boys from my second marriage, how they grew into superb young men thanks to their mother's love and the role models of so many ward members, I know for us baptism was right. It opened up a whole knew world of care and affection. It sustained all of us during some very difficult times.

How I live my faith

In retirement I have volunteered approximately 17,000 hours pursuing my butterfly project. The project is unique as far as I know. We are monitoring mountain butterfly communities over an extended time period, with survey transects ranging in elevation from 7,700 to 12,300 feet, a 4,600 foot elevational range. Our 15 years of baseline information will allow comparisons far into the future, highlighting change in the insect community driven by our collective actions while here on earth. When a close relative asked why in the world was I volunteering such hours, I answered there simply isn't enough money to hire people to investigate the changes taking place on park lands. The unique talents of volunteers play an increasing role in providing the information necessary for management, preservation, and the public's appreciation of these beautiful and complex areas. In fact, I feel the protection of many species will depend to a great extent on volunteerism, a uniquely American trait. Volunteerism goes to the core of the Mormon Church. It's day to day activities at the unit level are managed and administered by its members. There is no paid ministry. Its success is determined by its members' involvement. Yes, sometimes it seems 20% do the work and 80% are along for the ride. Nothing new there, just like the rest of the world, and Church members are just that, a cross section of the world. But a cross section committed to being better people. I can't think of a better group with whom to associate. That was new for me, having friends committed to putting Christ's teachings in one's life and reaching out to others. Like every male member I hold the priesthood whose responsibilities I don't take lightly. I try and live my life so that when asked I am worthy to give a blessing of comfort, in the name of Jesus Christ, to those in need, the sick, the distraught, the dying. It makes the days so much richer trying to be aware of the needs of others rather than oneself.

Who is the Mormon prophet today?

We think of President Thomas S. Monson as our living Prophet. He and his two Counselors and the Quorum of the Twelve lead us as Apostles and Prophets. When I was investigating the Church it seemed to me difficult to imagine a Prophet in these times. They had always seemed larger than life. As I became familiar with the Old Testament, I realized that Prophets were not always perfect, they were human, with a gift of leadership and the Holy Spirit. It made sense to have such people even now. I remember when President Hinckley was sick and President Monson, one of his Counselors, was presiding at a regional meeting. It was coming to us in a broadcast at our local Stake Center. I suddenly had the strongest feeling that all would be well if he became our Prophet. And all was well, as President Hinkley passed and President Monson became our present Priesthood leader, Prophet, Sear and Revelator. Recently in the Church's October 2011 Conference, his talks "Dare to Stand Alone", "Stand in Holy Places" and "Until We meet Again" are typical of the love and guidance he has for all. Read them, and see if you wouldn't love him, with his Councilors, and the Twelve Apostles too. As I told my son, after more than thirty years, I can't think of a better group of people with whom to associate. Our family found them in the Mormon Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: all trying their best to follow our Savior's example. I know at 75 I'm still growing in the process. Show more Show less

What is the Word of Wisdom that Mormons talk about?

Back in the 1830's the Prophet Joseph Smith, founder of our Church, was inspired by God to direct the members to give up alcohol, tobacco, coffee and tea. Maybe the latter two because of the caffeine, certainly the other two because of the havoc they can play in one's life. Before I was baptized, I did love my beer and wine! So when non-member relatives get together I've been know to receive great ribbing from all! Such is agency, they respect mine. After all these years, alcohol is no longer of interest. Smoking I never did understand. I like to think that Joseph Smith went to Heavenly Father in prayer, to ask guidance on how to deal with boisterous church members, and got more guidance then he expected! Certainly he had bad experiences with boisterous non-members! Maybe his wife Emma was fit to be tied with all those cigarette butts left by visiting guests. In any event, I'm in excellent health, and grateful to have had those Words of Wisdom in my life. Grateful that Joseph Smith received inspired answers to prayer. I see the difference those words of guidance have made to me as I continue to age. Show more Show less