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Hi I'm Joel

I am a soldier. I'm a husband and father. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I spend most of my days working and taking care of and enjoying my family. When I get some time to myself it goes to my hobbies or to church activities. I love my wife. She keeps me busy, but she understands me. Our marriage isn't perfect, but it's very much worth it. I live 24/7 because I always know that times will come when I can't be with my family, when I can't enjoy the things I love. I have been to Iraq twice and am getting ready for my second trip to Afghanistan. I've lived in 16 places in the last 9 years. I chose this life, despite the costs associated with it, because I find great fulfillment in it. I stand between the wicked and the weak. The work that I do saves lives. I have been able to live my life as a protector, rather than a destroyer. When I'm at home, I do peaceful things. I garden. I build things. I play with my kids. I take my wife on dates when I can. I hike, kayak, or swim. These things help me to rebalance after having to fight everything the world throws at me through my job. When it comes down to it, I understand how I can affect the world around me. My children will live on and teach others the good things I teach them, just as I represent the values my parents and my grandparents taught me. Nothing in my life is more precious, more important, more vital. I am a force for good, because I am a protector, an example, and a Father.

Why I am a Mormon

I am a convert. I was raised Catholic, but found myself questioning my faith when I was about 17. I drifted between religions and philosphies, taking those things that seemed to make me better and leaving the rest, and didn't expect to find any one religion that made sense to me. I met Brandon during my first tour to Iraq. He was my boss at work. Despite the difficulties all around us, he was always laughing and joking. It made things easier. One night, we got to talking about religion. I told him my story, and he told me the story of Jospeh Smith, an early american young man who was also searching for religion but losing hope that he would ind one that made sense. He told me that when Joseph Smith prayed about what church to join, he was visited by God and Jesus Christ, who instructed him that all religions had been corrupted by mankind, though many still reached for Him. God led Joseph to a new set of scriptures called the Book of Mormon. These scriptures presented mankind with a new opportunity. We recieved scripture that was translated through the Spirit of God, and never corrupted by mankind. We recieved heavenly guidance and direction that we could trust. I never expected to find any one religion that made sense to me. But, as the weeks went on, and I read the Book of Mormon, and listened to the lessons Brandon offered me, I realized that I understood. Every time he taught me new doctrine I would be amazed at how it seemed to fall in line with the things I always felt should be. Then I would pray about the new lesson that evening, and every time, I knew that it was true. I am a Mormon because I now understand that I am a son of God. I understand why He sent me here. I know he has given me the guidance and direction I need, through the scriptures and the prophets. And I know my family can be together forever. I'm a Mormon because I've always been a Mormon. I just didn't understand who I was until God sent me Brandon.

How I live my faith

Being active in the church brings me the type of peace I need in my life. I have worked with Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts; taught Sunday School to 8 year olds and 16 year olds; and worked with the missionaries to teach others about the wonderful things Brandon taught me. Church keeps you busy. If you're not busy, you're not becoming a better person. There is no such thing as treading water in life. You swim upstream or you let the current carry you back. God sent me here to grow, and this is how I do it. Helping people through church makes me a better person, not because I'm better than else, but because I'm better than I was before I learned all of the wonderful lessons I've learned through the experiences I've had. Befriending and helping individuals and families at church that need a hand has made me a happier, more peaceful, more productive, more loving person. Church makes me a better husband, father, brother, son, friend and soldier. I am who I am because I know who I am, and I didn't know who I was until I joined the church and started becoming who I am.