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Hi I'm Zach

I'm a physics student, programmer, outdoor enthusiast. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up in the suburbs of Minnesota. My father was always a geek; chemical engineer by trade, he was intellectual and nerdy. He was also a powerfully spiritual man. Growing up with someone who was so knowledgeable in both science and faith, and who didn't really draw a line where one ended and the other began, helped me develop what I feel is a unique perspective on faith, and on science. Science's goal is to find the truth, and my faith is that truth. My mother taught me, more than anyone else, that there are different types of knowledge, and of learning. She's not the math and science geek my father is, but she has her own way of viewing the world. Knowing that two people can see the world so differently and still believe that same thing goes a long way to proving how deep the gospel is. My whole life, I've always been fascinated in the reason for things. I was never content with just being told something worked; I wanted to know why. Because of that driving thirst for knowledge, I chose to study physics in college.

Why I am a Mormon

I'm a Mormon because as I learn more and more about the universe in my studies, I find more and more confirmation that the things the church teaches are true. The doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is deep. It does not end at the basic, core principles. It does not leave you wanting a reason why. The Church answers more questions about life, the universe and everything than anything else, religion, science or philosophy. The fact that this church constantly admonishes its members to ask for confirmation from God about what it teaches is by itself remarkable. How many other organizations allow and encourage such personal investigation? I don't know of any other faith that puts such a strong basis on personal testimony. In fact, many of my friends of other faiths don't even really know what a testimony is. Mormons do not follow the faith blindly; we all feel personally a confirmation that what we believe in is true. For some, that confirmation comes through a feeling of peace, others (on rare occasion) a vision or other sign, and countless other ways. For me, my confirmation is the constant insight I get from studying it. I feel everything continues to make more and more sense the more I study and pray. Science and my faith accomplish things in the same way. They both try to explain how the universe works, and our place in it. My belief in science stems from the logic and anecdotal proof it offers. My belief in my faith stems from the same reasons. This church has proved itself to be true in so many ways, whether its the Word of Wisdom with its knowledge of health that was vastly ahead of science at the time, or the fact that Mormons are such happy people, or the way the Church's system of welfare actually produces progressive results instead of dependence. I'm a Mormon for countless reasons, but mostly because it does more than fill in the gaps science leaves behind: It illuminates and confirms what I already know.

How I live my faith

I teach Sunday School every Sunday to a group of local teenagers. Not being a whole lot older than them myself, I have a pretty good idea of the culture and situations they experience every day. In a world of degrading morality and subtle sexism, I try to offer what insight I've gained to help them through the tough times. Giving them tools to both find out what they believe in and stand up for it when they do is how I help others.

What is the difference between attending church and the temple?

Zach
Church buildings are standard buildings of worship and learning. In them, members and visitors attend to learn more about the gospel, hear what many people have to say, and gather strength from on another. The ordinances (or, practices, even rituals) performed in a church building are of a personal and temporal nature. In other words, the things we do in church are for our personal benefit, and vastly related to our life on Earth. The Temple is the literal House of the Lord, as it was in ancient times. God the Father, as well as His son, dwell there, and only worthy members are allowed to enter, because God's presence can withstand no unclean thing. Even among members, interviews are performed to ascertain worthiness, and the workers in the Temple can turn anyone back whom they feel is not truly worthy to enter (this almost never happens). Furthermore, the ordinances in the Temple are mostly for the benefit of other people, and in all cases, are related to the eternal wellbeing, and not just the temporal. Temples manifest the goodwill of God, in allowing people who have passed from this world to still receive the saving ordinances required for salvation. Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Zach
The word cult has a myriad of definitions. Its connotation is usually negative, but the actual definition of cult is not bad at all. I suspect the justification of calling Mormonism a cult is based on the fact that, in many ways, we our not simply a religion in the way many people view the concept. While many members of other relgions go to church on Sundays, and are considered very active and devout, Mormonism requires more than just church attendence. These requirements include the responsibility to visit other members of the congregation to check on their well-being, to help strengthen their testimonies and to get to know them. Members are also encouraged (but not required) to attend many optional activities for fun, edification and socializing. Because of these expectations, Mormons tend to be a community inside the community, perhaps even a different culture in many ways. I suspect this communal tendency is a large reason for the cult label. None of these expectations, however, differ in any way from what the Savior taught when he was on the Earth. He encouraged people to 'love thy neighbor' and taught about administering to the needy and afflicted. Paul often talked in his epistles about associating and getting to know members of the faith. These behaviours are timeless, and make the members of the church stronger, physically, emotionally and spritually. It also increases the effectiveness of welfare. Show more Show less

What is the Mormon lifestyle like? How do Mormons live?

Zach
Mormons live in many ways similar to everyone else. We are, afterall, just people. We are not perfect people, and do not pretend to be. Among our numbers are single mothers and fathers, estranged children, students, laborers, the poor and the wealthy. We go to work, go to school and take care of our loved ones the best we can, just like everyone else. As a whole, though, we strive to hold to a higher standard of living. And by standard of living, I don't mean financially wealthy, or cultured, or whatever. We simply strive to follow the admonition of Paul in Phillipians 4:8, where he says, in different terms, that people should strive to do as much good as possible, following after things that are of good report and worthy of praise. In short, we expect our members to love their family and their community, refrain from bad language (this is not just limited to swearing), harmful habits (including drugs, but including all things that are detrimental to progress), immorality and infedelity, talking behind people's backs, harboring grudges or unclean thoughts, and many other things. We also teach personal responsibilty and independence. God (and the church) will aid people, but only after all they can do on their own. Adhering to these principles as a culture has led to the church having an extremely low divorce rate, well educated members, and the financial strength to help members of the world community in times of need. Show more Show less