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Hi I'm Mark

I'm a Ukrainian-Canadian husband and father of three, a sports enthusiast and amateur magician (very amateur!). I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up on a farm in Eastern Canada and have since lived in the United States, England and Spain. I am a convert to the church and had the opportunity to serve a two-year spanish-speaking mission in the United States. I am a husband and a father. I love spending time with my beautiful wife and our three kids and have learned well that nothing brings me greater joy and happiness than being together with my family. I work for a large international financial services firm. I enjoy the outdoors and love sports! I try to stay active by playing touch football and basketball as much as I can. I am also an avid skier and played intercollegiate rugby (this will be important later on in my profile). I've also loved magic ever since I was a kid, and I've learned a few tricks from time to time. A few years ago I challenged myself by signing up to participate in a church talent night, thankfully no auditions were required! My three tricks went well that night, and, several birthday parties later, I was a welcome standing addition to the following year's talent night!

Why I am a Mormon

My family has a strong tradition of Catholic beliefs and where I grew up there were few Mormons (only 2 that I remember in a high school of ~2,200 students). Surprisingly, in my teenage years my mother and my sister began investigating the Mormon beliefs and later chose to be baptized. Their conversion caused anger and conflict in my family. They were accused of turning their backs on family and on tradition. I was also angry and blamed them for causing many fights and contentions during those years. In short, I blamed Mormonism for the unhappiness in my family and I wanted nothing to do with it! With difficult circumstances at home, and in my final year of high school, I began exploring opportunities to get as far away as possible. Rugby was my ticket out West and I enrolled at a large, predominantly Mormon, university in Utah to play rugby-still adamant that I would never join the church. My roommates and many of my teammates were faithful members of the church and I was learning more and more about Mormon values and beliefs, mostly through their examples. I had more knowledge about basic Mormon doctrine than most people investigating the church, but it was the example of these friends that caused my change of heart. They were wholesome and friendly, and seemed genuinely happy. I felt they had something that was missing from my life. After completing the missionary discussions for a third and final time, left contemplating baptism and the severity of potential consequences with my family, I prayed sincerely to know if the church was true. The answer came as an overwhelming feeling and I saw clearly how the Lord had been preparing me throughout my life. I now needed to overcome my pride and anger, and understood that the Lord would take care of things in my family. I was baptized the next day. I'm a Mormon because I felt deep in my heart that it is true. And yes, I've since seen a visible softening of hearts towards the church from members of my family.

How I live my faith

The church asks a lot of its members. In addition to what others may view as high moral and health standards, there is no paid clergy and this provides opportunities for all members to work in the day to day aspects of the functioning of the church and in teaching sermons and lessons on Sundays and throughout the week. I've had the opportunity to work with the teenage youth as an adviser and scout leader as well as amongst the adult body of the church as a teacher and administrator. On one occasion, I had the opportunity to help prepare and conduct a men's choir for a special event - a "calling" that I certainly was not at all qualified to complete on account of my lack of experience and ability. With a lot of help from my wife, and others, I worked hard to learn what needed to be done. On the night of the event, the choir sang and I conducted. Far from perfect, I like to think we sounded beautiful! That experience taught me a lot about music, and taught the choir a lot about patience! In my personal life, I read my scriptures on a daily basis because I feel that by doing so I will stay close to the teachings of Jesus Christ. I also conduct personal prayers with my Heavenly Father at least once each morning and once each night, to help me evaluate how well I'm doing living his commandments and what things should be changed in my life. I also try to avoid things that I feel are bad for my body and my spirit, this includes declining alcohol when it is offered to me, or quickly changing the television channel or webpage when inappropriate/obscene images or content arise. In my family, my wife and I reserve a weekly family night to spend time together and with our children. We generally begin with a few songs and a brief message from the scriptures or other church materials, followed by treats and an activity. Most importantly, we try to make these family interactions fun and will often play games or think of some other fun activities.