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Hi I'm Raleigh

I am a father and a high school teacher. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I am the youngest of five children. I lived in Illinois as a child, but we moved to Arizona when I was in ninth grade. I played lacrosse in high school, and came to love that sport. I served as a missionary in the Philippines, and learned to speak a language called "Waray-Waray." I worked as a balloon twister in college, making just about anything that you can think of for restaurants, parties, weddings, and carnivals. I used to make everything from pregnant poodles to Disney princesses. And no, I never dressed up as a clown . I am currently living in Arizona. I am married with two young children. My wife and I are also guardians for her three youngest brothers, who are all teenagers. The five of them really keep us on our toes. I am currently teaching Psychology and Sociology at a high school. I am also taking online classes to get my Master's degree. I hope to be able to teach at the community college level in the next few years. I love to garden, bake, and read fiction.

Why I am a Mormon

My own personal conversion began when I was twelve. I had a bishop who substituted for my Sunday School class. He talked to us about the Book of Mormon for about a half hour. He described in detail the number of people who gave their time, talents, and even lives so that we could have that book. He then asked us how many of us had read it during the last week. I hadn't. He challenged us to read it every day the following week. I accepted his challenge. I think I actually only read it once. That bishop came back the next week to our Sunday School class again, and asked us if we had fulfilled the promise that we made. By the looks on our faces, it was pretty clear that not a single one of us had done what we said we would. The bishop then proceeded to repeat, word for word, the exact same speech he had given the week before. I have never been so impressed by someone's words in my life. This time, I was determined to read from the Book of Mormon every day for the rest of my life. This time, I kept my goal. The next few years were filled with experiences that were very difficult for me. I often felt alone and friendless. Every time I came home and had a bad day, I decided to read more than I usually did. After a year or so, I was reading from that book at least 30 minutes a day. A great power came in to my life. The things that bothered me and made my life difficult started to feel like nothing at all. I had a greater understanding of who I was and what I was doing. I used to hate the person that I was. I thought that no one cared about me or liked me. There is nothing worse than hating yourself. However, there is nothing greater than being so filled with love and understanding that you will never feel alone or unimportant again. I know that this book is from God. Nothing so good can come from anywhere but God. I know that everything good to come to my life since then, I can trace back to my decision to study the Book of Mormon.

How I live my faith

In our church, every member has a part. My role is to teach the class for adults on Sunday after the main worship services are completed. Each Sunday, I teach a 45-minute lesson based on the next part of the scriptures. This year (2011), we have been studying the New Testament. My style for this class is to read a few passages, ask a few questions designed to start conversations, and then I just listen to the comments that everyone else adds. I love teaching Sunday School, because I learn so much more from the class than they every learn from me. I am also assigned as a home teacher. For this responsibility, my brother-in-law and I visit several different families in the ward at least once every month. Here, we make sure that each family is doing well both physically and spiritually. We also share a spiritual message. I love baking, so I often like to share some bread or dessert that I have just learned how to make. I love being a home teacher because it is a great opportunity to make friends and draw closer to families that live in my neighborhood.

How can faith in Jesus Christ influence us in our marriages and family relationships? in our friendships?

Without my faith in Christ, there would not be a single aspect of my personality that would be the same. This is most noticeable in my relationships with others. When I compare how I treat others to how Christ treated his friends, family, women, children, and even enemies, I see where I am lacking. My faith helps me to see what I am doing wrong, and use Christ as an example of ways to improve. I know that I won't be perfect like Him, but I also know that I can become a little bit better. Each day, month, and year, my goal is to become more like Christ. What characteristics does Christ have? He is loving, kind, patient, responsible, hard working, forgiving, and many other qualities. These are the same qualities that will make me a good husband, father, brother, friend, coworker, etc. as long as I follow them. And when I fall short, repentance through the Atonement of Christ helps me to become clean again and move forward. Another thing that my wife and I do every day is that we read our scriptures together every night. We were promised when we were first married that if we faithfully read our scriptures together, we would never fight. You know what? We haven't had a major fight in the six years that we have been married. We have disagreed with each other, we have had our ups and downs as a couple, but in six years we have never had a major fight. I credit this entirely to our application of our faith in Jesus Christ. Show more Show less

Do you really believe there is a prophet like Moses alive today?

I absolutely believe that there is a prophet today! Every time I hear the words of the living prophet, I can feel both in my heart and in my mind the truth of the Lord's message through his servant, the prophet. Our current prophet, Thomas Monson, is such an inspiration. Mormons have a ton of opportunities to hear from our living prophet today. Every six months, the church leaders all gather for a conference that is broadcast over radio, satellite and internet. Our prophet travels all of the time, and our church publishes a monthly magazine that features the inspired words of our prophet and other church leaders. With each of these opportunities, we listen to the words not just with out ears, but also with our hearts. It is a special experience to listen to a prophet. I look forward to every chance that I have. The Lord has always used prophets. Most of them met with skepticism. When Noah, Moses, or John the Baptist first started teaching people, no one believed that they had prophets in their day, either. Yet each time, these prophets were able to lead the people closer to God. Show more Show less

What blessings can we receive through the gift of the Holy Ghost?

The gift of the Holy Ghost is the ability to have the influence of the Holy Spirit whenever it is necessary or desired. Whenever I need confirmation that what I am doing is in keeping with the will of the Lord, I can ask and know that I will receive personal revelation. The Holy Ghost speaks to our hearts and our minds. When the Holy Ghost is inspiring us, we feel happy, peaceful, clear in mind, and ideas come that we never would have thought of on our own. As long as I am working my hardest to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, I can know that I will receive guidance for my family. The Holy Ghost inspired me to make decisions such marrying my wife, moving to Arizona, and when to start my family. I can proceed through life without fear, because I know that the Lord approves of the decisions in my life. Show more Show less

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

No one forced me to serve a mission. My dad and mom always encouraged me to serve, but I never felt forced. I loved my mission. Everyone that serves with all of their heart, mind, and strength will benefit immensely. I can't even begin to list all of the ways that my life has improved because I served a mission. I am a better husband, father, employee, and friend than I ever would have been. If someone knows that this church is true, I don't see any reason why they would not want to serve. Though church leaders work hard to encourage the youth to prepare for missions, none of them is forcing youth to serve. Show more Show less