Hi I'm Gary Olsen
I am a father of 5 and grandfather of 12 - I love woodworking and gardening and my family is my life. I taught high school for 7 years then earned a masters' degree in Computer Aided Manufacturing and have worked in the computer industry for 30 years. I worked for a software company, programming the visual system for flight simulators - the life like computer images displayed in front of the pilot in a flight simulator. I could land an airplane from a keyboard. In 1998 when Microsoft was developing their Windows 2000 operating system, I worked at Microsoft on the Redmond, WA campus for 2 years, testing beta versions of Windows 2000, writing technical documentation, etc. and became an expert in Windows' Active Directory technology. Using that experience I authored a book called " Windows 2000: Active Directory Design and Deployment". When Windows 2003 came out, I authored a 2nd book called: "Windows Server 2003 on HP ProLiant Servers." Since then I have authored hundreds of technical articles for TechTarget.com (searchWindowsServer.com and SearchEnterpriseDesktop.com), as well as Redmond Magazine (www.redmondmag.com) and Microsoft's TechNet magazine. In addition I have spoken at a number of technical conferences including Microsoft's TechEd 2011. I am founder and President of the Atlanta Active Directory Users Group, and have been named Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for Directory Services for 6 years.
Why I am a Mormon
I am a fifth generation Mormon, all of my great-great grandparents joined the church in Ireland, Scotland, England and Norway in the 1800s and emigrated to Utah. I have one great grandfather who was born on the Mormon Trail in Nebraska, and a great-great grandfather who died on the Mormon Trail in Wyoming. I had great great grandparents who lived in Nauvoo, Ill. in 1845 when the Mormons were driven out of Nauvoo in the winter by armed mobs. Though I have grown up in the church, I still had to determine if I believe the doctrine of the church or not. When I was 13 I decided I did not know if the church was the true church of Jesus Christ. After all, if all Christian churches teach different doctrines, and since there is only one truth, either one has to be true or none are true. What makes our church the one that is true? I struggled with it for a year. I read the Book of Mormon, I attended church meeting, I performed assignments given to me. I finally decided that I knew it was all true. It wasn't a vision or a specific experience - more of an accumulation of things that suddenly all came together. During my lifetime, many friends and associates have challenged my beliefs. Yet the more I question the Joseph Smith story and other doctrines, the more I'm convinced they are true. I have studied other traditional Christian doctrines and they make no sense. I'm a Mormon because I have had the spirit of God testify to me in quiet, yet unmistakeable ways that this is the restored church that Jesus Christ established on the earth after His death. It has all the same characteristics - Apostles, prophets, etc. and we have a prophet of God who determines church policy and doctrine thru direct revelation from God. There are no conventions where members lobby and vote on accepted church doctrine. There is a prophet and 12 apostles who are directed by God - just as in the ancient church. I follow them because the spirit of God has testified to me that they are men of God.
How I live my faith
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the fabric of who I am. These beliefs are the value system that governs my daily decisions, thoughts and actions. I try to live my every day life as if Jesus was walking next to me. Obviously temptations come and being imperfect I sometimes yield to temptations that requires me to repent. How grateful I am for the Atonement of Jesus Christ - knowing that His infinite sacrifice made it possible for me to repent, gain forgiveness from God and become clean. I was married to my sweetheart, Colleen in the LDS Temple in Logan, Utah on a cold, snowy January day 41 years ago. We believe that that ceremony was more than a wedding for this mortal existence, but that we were sealed as a couple - and a family - for eternity if we live our lives in keeping with the commandments of Jesus Christ. We have been blessed with 5 children and now have a wonderful blessing of 12 grandchildren. Working to bring my family into the next life with God and enjoy an eternal, celestial relationship. Though I have been blessed with a great career (actually 3 careers), it doesn't define me. My career is a means to provide a living for my family. One of our prophets said "The greatest work you will do is within the walls of your home" and Colleen and I have adopted that as a guiding philosophy. When this life comes to a close, we can't take our house, our cars, big screen TV, electronic devices, boats, expensive vacations, nor our fame, degrees, titles, fortune or worldly posessions or accomplishments with us. We can take our intelligence, our family and the record of the good - or bad - works we have done and how we have kept the commandments of God, with us. I donate much time and expense to helping the less fortunate around me. I have been blessed a great deal by God and I have an obligation to use those things He has blessed me with to help and bless others. The Lord uses each of us to answer the prayers of others.