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Hi I'm Mike

I was baptized when I was 21 and going to college. I co-founded a chapter of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up in a small, northern California town where everyone knew everyone. I grew up with a desire to get out of town, but as I got older I realized that I was neither country nor city-boy. I've seen San Francisco, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York, Philadelphia, London, Paris, and Buenos Aires. I like the edge of suburbia. I have a degree in Landscape Design and Architecture. My college friendships, education, challenges, and successes have contributed to who I am today. I was fortunate enough to be at the right spot at the right time to build a foundation for a fraternity chapter. I cherish my fraternity experience for the lessons it offered in loyalty, brotherhood, morality, teamwork, and diversity. I'm now married and it's been almost five years. My wife and I had the opportunity to try our luck at a business. We bought an existing franchise shipping store. It was an expensive education, because after two years we realized we couldn't make it work. The finances just weren't there and it turns out that my fantasy of my wife as a business partner wasn't going to workout. Our decision to buy a business has loaded us with $50k in debt on top of student loans and house we cannot sell. However, because of this experience my wife now runs a lucrative home-based eBay business. We've turned or loss into a potential long-term gain and are now down to almost $30k.

Why I am a Mormon

Ever since I was a kid, I enjoyed learning. After school I'd always watch TLC and The Discovery Channel before the days of reality tv. I was open minded about religion. I've attended non-denominational Christian churches, Methodist, and Catholic services. I was always willing to listen to what was taught. My first in-depth experience with the Church was an introduction to the missionaries from my father who learned about the Church from his boss. I agreed to listen to the lessons that the missionaries shared because of my open mindedness. I never knew that I would have so many questions and that I would learn so much. The concept of a perfect, consistent God made so much sense to me. I learned about the cycles of the Truth on the earth, or dispensations and apostasies. For me, so much made sense. I had never thought about the concept of one true church or authority or priesthood. By reading the Bible, these principles became so clear to me. It was clear that God had an observable, consistent method to all his organization (and that fact that He is organized). I began to know that there must be a true church or God did not exist, but I knew God did exist. I must have investigated for 6 months or so. I talked to many different missionaries and they were very helpful in answering my questions. While I was sincere in my inquiries it was brought up that I needed to take action. I was uncertain about baptism and becoming a Mormon. There was opposition; fraternity, girlfriend, social life, etc. Right when I was asked to give up alcohol I had just brewed a large batch of beer! At the time it seemed important, however, interestingly the entire batch was sour! I took it as a sign. I began to pray to know if the Church was true and if the Book of Mormon was true. My answer came the morning following a late night, solitary prayer on a park bench. I literally cried to God. My answer was clarity and peace; my doubts were erased.

How I live my faith

Since becoming a member of the Church I immediately began to think that the next matter of business was to get married and start a family. I was almost engaged right after college, but it didn't work out. I was sad and confused. My Bishop asked me about my feelings for serving a mission and I admitted I thought starting a family was more important. He invited me to pray about serving and to pray to have a desire to serve. After studying, searching, and praying I received an answer to this quandary while driving home from work. It was as if I was talking to myself in my head. My answer was "I must be willing to sacrifice all things if I'm to be faithful to God." To me, this meant I must be willing to serve if the Lord calls me. He did call me and I served two years in Argentina. My mission was fun and challenging and it was the most important two years of my life. It accelerated my to a different level of being. It's hard to explain the difference it has made. It's as if 20 years of life were condensed into two. Being in the Church has afforded me many opportunities to teach and I've found it's something I love to do. I am not afraid of public speaking and I'm not afraid of teaching or talking on a subject on short notice. Being a member has given me plenty of practice to do what so many people are afraid of doing. It's one of the things I most enjoy about the Church. As members, we teach each other and we're not paid for doing it. Instead of one man doing all the studying, preparation, talking and serving, we each get an opportunity to lead or teach and therefore learn. I have learned that the Gospel is all about consistent progress of ones faith. It's not about comparing one to another. It's about where we are along our own journey to God. I've learned that so many people focus on the physical, mental, and emotional, but forget the spiritual. All four are important and my faith is link that binds everything in life together.

What is the First Vision?

The First Vision is what we call the event that ushered in the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. It started with the religious revival in the united states in the early 1800's. A boy named Joseph Smith was caught up in this revival and he was looking for a church that had all of truth. At his young age he saw that organized churches did not agree with one another. Knowing the Bible contained the word of God, Joseph had faith he would find an answer by reading the scriptures. He hoped he might discover what the Bible taught to be the true church. He found James 1:5 which teaches us that God freely accepts and approves of our questions which he wants to answer. Joseph was inspired to take his petition directly to Heavenly Father in prayer. While he prayed alone in a nearby forest, God answered him directly. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared in person to Joseph to answer his prayer. To this appearance we refer as the First Vision. There are other times when God has appeared, such as the baptism of Christ or in the Garden of Eden. When the Church of Christ ceased to exists only a few decades after Christ's crucifixion, it can be said that the Heavens closed and visions and appearances stopped. The First Vision event marks the beginning of a new period when God began to pour out his truth and revelation through the restoration of His Church. Since that event, authority, power, revelation, visions, and blessings have returned. Show more Show less

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

Yes, we do believe the Holy Bible to be the word of God. We believe that many people were inspired to bring forth the Bible for all of the world to enjoy. In fact, many people opposed the printing of the Bible in a common, readable language. We honor those that fought to publish the Bible. Because of their efforts, the basic teachings of the Gospel have spread and an awakening occurred hundreds of years ago. While we believe the Bible is not 100% correct due to misinterpretation or corruption, we believe that the correct parts are indeed correct. We believe Christ really was born of Mary the virgin. We believe that John the Baptist really did preach faith on Christ, repentance, baptism, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We believe Christ called Peter, James, John and others to be His apostles. We believe that John saw the past, present, and future and wrote it down in the Book of Revelations, which was organized as the last book in the Bible. We believe there could be other holy scriptures that might have been left out of the Bible that other servants of Christ might have written. We also believe that God may have called other servants at other times and in other locations. And that these servants may have written holy works that we have yet to discover. We do not place limits on whom God calls and authorizes. It is because of one holy book that the title Mormon is derived-- The Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons drink coffee, tea, or alcohol? What is the Mormon Church’s law of health and proper diet?

I think God has always had a law of health and I think most major religions technically have laws of health. Many people find it very reasonable to take care of their body. Regarding Mormons, the basic belief is to abstain from tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, and illegal drugs. These items are listed as substances that corrupt the body and build addictions. The law is not entirely based on whether scientifically a certain amount is or is not beneficial or harmful. The law is based on what the potential harm is. For example, if everyone only drank 8 ounces of beer a day, nothing bad would probably happen. However, we know it is silly to think that people would stop at 8 ounces. Many people argue that these substances in moderation are okay, however, what is moderate for me may not be moderate for you. Because, one drink for dinner for some might become 5 or 6 and then a drunken accident. It's important to note that the Church does not produce a list every time something prohibitive appears on the market. It would be absurd to tell people how many ounces of unhealthy potato chips to eat or which fast food burger to avoid. Those matters ARE left up to the scientists, etc. We are expected to take care of our bodies and eat healthy and wise. Also, it is implied that abusing prescription drugs is bad and prohibited. So, we are given some specific items to avoid while we choose other foods and substances wisely. Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Some people believe Mormonism a cult in a similar way that urban myths spread. Most often it is due to misinformation, fear, and dislike. It would be easier and nicer to say that Mormonism is different than one religion or another. It's not necessarily negative to say something is different. For example, lemons are different than limes. While they're both similarly shaped and they come from nearly identical trees, they have different color and flavor. If someone said lemons are delicious and limes are disgusting, what would you think about that person or that statement? Well, obviously that person has a strong dislike of limes for one reason or another. Now, you've been around enough limes to know they're not so bad. You probably wouldn't listen to someone tell you why limes are the worst things for you in the world, even though they have good vitamins. At least, if the person was a good friend you might research limes to find out for yourself. I use this analogy to describe Mormonism. People will say Mormons are generally good, yet use a negative term like "cult" to show their distaste or disagreement. Obviously it shows either they are uninformed or biased. Mormons have some sacred temples and beliefs that we don't freely share. We believe those important spiritual matters are reserved for those prepared to know it. We know individuals don't share intimate matters except with understanding confidants. What may seem an exclusivity is something we want all to enjoy. Show more Show less