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Hi I'm Don

I'm a husband, a father of six, a lawyer, and a military officer. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm a husband and father with six children. I also serve as a military attorney. I enjoy racquetball, sudoku, and reading. I got my bachelor's degree in theater, and still enjoy acting, though I don't get to do it much. Before military service, I worked a lot of different jobs, including substitute teaching, secretarial work and odd jobs like selling shoes. For five years, I worked as a classical music broadcaster, which I enjoyed a lot. I had the opportunity to use my creativity in creating recorded announcements for the station where I worked. Now I work to help my country stay in compliance with laws and ethical requirements. My job has given me the chance to see some other countries and I love going to cultural and historical sites with my family.

Why I am a Mormon

I'm happy that I was raised s a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The values I grew up with have given me a solid foundation for a happy life, and I'm teaching those values to my children. When I read the scriptures, both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and when I listen to the words of modern apostles and other church leaders, I feel the rightness and truthfulness of their words. I believe that is the influence of the Holy Ghost, testifying to me that the things I'm hearing or reading are true. I can feel that same influence when I pray for guidance, and when I speak and teach the gospel. The integrity I see in the lives of my family and other Latter-day Saints also shows me that the faith we're devoted to is founded on holy truth.

How I live my faith

Like other Latter-day Saints, I give service in my ward (congregation). I've served in many positions, such as children's music leader and bishop's counselor (a bishop is the lay leader of a local congregation, and his counselors assist him in leading the ward). Right now, I serve as a Cub Scout den leader. I live the gospel at home in small, simple and very important ways: Each week, we gather as a family for Family Home Evening, a special time set aside to pray, talk, teach, sing and have fun together. Each evening, we gather for family prayer. I pray with my wife and on my own. I visit the homes of a few fellow ward members to help look after their welfare. I donate some of my income to charitable causes, both within and without the church. For example, I make contributions to the Perpetual Education Fund, which helps church members in poor and strongly disadvantaged areas get on a firm basis to support themselves financially, and improve the overall welfare of their countries. I've served as a full-time missionary for two years. I did this in Quebec when I was 19-21 years old. I have also prepared my children to serve missions: My oldest son has finished his mission and my second son is preparing to do the same. I participate in service projects in the communities in which I live, such as cleaning and painting. Recently, my ward (congregation) held a cleanup project at a church of a different Christian denomination nearby.

Why do you have 12 Apostles? They were just meant to be around for the time of Jesus Christ, not to be replaced with new apostles.

Don
We believe that just as new apostles were called after Jesus was gone in the time of the New Testament, apostles are meant to be leading Jesus' church on earth today. This was revealed through a prophet of our own time, Joseph Smith. Show more Show less

What is the Church’s position on abortion?

Don
With regard to individual practice, we believe that abortion should not be done except in cases where the life or health of a mother is seriously endangered or where, because of rape or incest, the pregnancy produces serious emotional trauma. Decisions about this need to be made carefully, and on an individual basis. We can seek God's guidance through prayer and through counseling with church leaders. With regard to abortion laws, Mormons have a wide variety of beliefs about what the laws of their countries should be about abortion. Show more Show less

Who founded Mormonism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Don
We often refer to Joseph Smith as the founder of the church, because the church was officially organized under his leadership in 1830. But we believe the "foundation" of our faith is much older than that--that it goes back as far as the history of mankind. We believe God has spoken to men on earth through prophets and apostles in various ages, and that our faith, and the authority that goes with it, are a continuation of the true church of God that has existed on the earth in other times. It's still the Church of Jesus Christ, but now it's restored to the earth in the latter days. Show more Show less

What is the Law of Chastity?

Don
The law of chastity means refraining from sexual activity outside of marriage between a husband and a wife; in other words, total abstinence from sex before marriage and total fidelity after marriage. We know that's not the standard of the world, and we know it's not necessarily an easy law to live. But we do believe it's what our heavenly Father wants for us and what will bring the greatest happiness to us as individuals and as societies. Show more Show less

How does the Church finance its operations?

Don
The Church asks its members to pay tithes and other freewill offerings. These funds go to pay for the everyday operation of the Church. Donations are also used for helping the poor and funding humanitarian efforts all over the world. There are a few business operations the Church owns, and these pay taxes like any other business. The Church uses those profits to pay for things that tithing wouldn't be appropriate for, such as paying modest living allowances for a few full-time leaders, and paying for improvements in the area around Church headquarters. Show more Show less

Why is authority to perform a baptism important?

Don
I believe God does things in an orderly way. Jesus went to John to be baptized because John had the proper authority to do it. He didn't just pick someone at random. This and other examples from the New Testament and from other scriptures tell me that having the right authority to baptize matters. I have a firm belief that Joseph Smith received this authority from John the Baptist in our time, and that we have that authority on the earth today. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform proxy baptisms in their temples?

Don
Jesus taught that everyone should be baptized by proper authority. Jesus himself went to John the Baptist, who had that authority, to keep that commandment. But lots of people have lived and died with no chance to be baptized. Our Heavenly Father has provided a way for everyone to receive the blessing of baptism, even if they don't get that opportunity while they're living on the earth. He has revealed through prophets that if we perform baptisms on behalf of people who have died without receiving baptism, those people--whose spirits live on, and who continue to have their own free will--can choose to accept or reject the baptisms we perform for them. So we perform baptisms for our ancestors in temples. The act of performing a proxy baptism doesn't "convert" anyone, and we don't list those people as members of the church after the baptisms are performed. Doing these baptisms is like a way of sending an invitation to those who have died, saying, "We've done this baptism for you. Please accept it if you want." We have no way of knowing who accepts and who doesn't accept. We just try to create as many opportunities as possible for those who have died, and let them make the choice. It's done with great love and respect for those who have died. Show more Show less

What is the Word of Wisdom that Mormons talk about?

Don
The "Word of Wisdom" is a code of healthy living. Our Father in Heaven has told us, through prophets, some things that can help us to respect our bodies and take good care of them. We abstain from using tobacco, alcoholic beverages, coffee, and tea. There's a larger principle at work, other than those prohibitions, and when we apply that principle, we try to avoid all harmful and habit-forming substances, and try to take good care of our bodies. That's no absolute guarantee, of course, that we will suffer no health troubles; Mormons are human just like everyone else. But statistics seem to show that we're some of the healthiest people on earth, and I believe that's largely due to keeping the Word of Wisdom. I know it's been a great blessing in my life. I have a family history of alcoholism, and if I hadn't been raised to stay away from alcohol altogether, I wonder if I would have fallen prey to that terrible disease. I'm so grateful that it's something I'll never have to worry about! That brings a great peace to my life. Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Don
I suppose many people call the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a "cult" because they're suspicious of those who understand the Gospel of Jesus differently. We believe in modern prophets--that God has continued to speak to us through chosen prophets in our own time, just as He spoke to us through Abraham, and Moses, and Peter in ancient days. We also believe that He has given us additional scriptures: The Book of Mormon stands together with the Bible is testifying of Jesus Christ's divinity. Many people are unused to the idea that God still talks to man, and have developed the idea that God's words must all be restricted to the Bible. These, I think, are the main reasons some refer to us as a "cult." I find that many people abandon the "cult" language once they gain a better understanding of who we are, how we live, how integrated we are into their communities, and what we truly believe. Show more Show less