Taylor: Master Chief, Halo, Paintball, Engineering, Mormon.

Hi I'm Taylor

About Me

I grew up in the Salt Lake Valley in Utah, have two loving parents and two crazy nut jobs for younger brothers. Learning is important to me as that gets you where you want to go in life. Technology, science, and, more recently, the gospel are amazing things to me. Thanks to an incredible love for Legos, I decided early on that I wanted to design and build tanks, guns, or whatever I could get my hands on in that industry. Through high school this desire developed in some engineering courses where I decided I wanted to work for a military engineering company. I started going to Utah State University in the Mechanical Engineering Program so that I could further my dreams, then decided to serve the Lord for two years as a missionary. Without a doubt this was the best decision of my life and while it was difficult it was also the best time in my life so far. It helped me develop and refine my thirst for the gospel and bless the lives of others who I came to love as both of us came closer to Christ. Now I'm back at USU working on my degree while still trying to remain a spiritual person in a crazy world. I love the challenge. I have an eclectic taste in hobbies and interests that ranged from video games (Halo is amazing), golf, reading, random music genres, and many, many movies. My family's ranch in Utah is one of my favorite places in the world because I can read, relax, and pulverize pumpkins with my family's arsenal of handguns and rifles, unleashing my inner hick.

Why I am a Mormon

Why NOT be a Mormon??? I am a Mormon because it helps me learn and grow. Christ wants us to be perfect and the only way we can do that is by following Him in His true Church. I was born into the Church, but, like everybody else, I had to come to know the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ for myself. There are three steps that I am continuing to take to learn of Christ's truth and plan for me. The first is reading the Book of Mormon. Then I really think about what it means for me and apply what I learn to my life. Finally, I pray about what I learn and feel while I do the first two steps. By doing this I know through the Holy Spirit that the Book of Mormon is God's words to His prophets in ancient America. It's so cool that we can read them today and feel His love for us as we do so. I also know this is Christ's Church, not some church started by some guy, and that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. I learned these things by reading the Book of Mormon and as I read the Bible it teaches that these things are true.

Personal Stories

Why do Mormons go on missions?

Many members of the Church have served missions to preach the gospel and I am currently doing so for a period of 24 months. My purpose as a missionary is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End." As I have done so the people I have met with and I myself have followed these five main points of the gospel and drawn closer to Christ. I'm doing this because I know that there are those of God's children that need to hear the gospel so that it can help them in their lives. My experiences so far have brought me closer to Christ than I ever thought possible, and I know that my influence has helped others come closer to Him as well. I have seen the gospel change people's lives for the better. I have seen the power of God work through me, prayer, and the Book of Mormon to answer people's deepest questions and help them overcome terrible addictions. The experiences I've had have proved to me and to others that there is a God in Heaven who watches over us and cares about what we do.

Please explain the part prayer plays in your life?

Prayer is how we communicate with our Heavenly Father and without it I don't know where I would be. I pray every day many, many times to seek what He would have me do. Almost every time I find myself asking for strength, support, guidance, and answers for others and myself. Through these prayers I have felt His Spirit tell me what I should do, where I should go, whether the Church is really His Church, and that the Book of Mormon is His words to us today through His ancient prophets. I have been strengthened many times in the trials I have faced and given the strength necessary to do His work. Prayer has proved to me that there is a God, He is my Heavenly Father, and He cares about me. A while ago my camera, something that is important to me on my mission, but is insignificant in the grand scheme of things, stopped working. I prayed that it would start working again. After doing all I could to fix it myself and seeking further guidance in prayer I felt that I should try hitting it a couple times with my hand (yes, I was slightnly frustrated, but that's not why). It instantly started working again! As it is put so eloquently in Matthew 6:26, "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" God loves us and knows and cares about our simplest problems and desires and He wishes to help us. All we have to do is, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" (Matthew 7:7-11).

How has the Book of Mormon brought you closer to God?

By helping me understand and find for myself that He is there. Through my studies of the Book of Mormon I have come to learn of His presence and that He cares about my smallest problems and questions as well as the big problems that I've had to face so far in life. There have been many experiences, especially since I started to serve the Lord as a missionary, where I have had questions for Him and challenges I had to face that threatened to tear me down spiritually and emotionally. In these experiences I came to the Lord seeking answers, faith, and even the strength to continue the next five minutes in my labors. I was guided to passages of scripture in the Book of Mormon that not only applied to the situation I was in, but directly answered my questions and built my resolve to press forward. Through the Book of Mormon I have been healed spiritually by my Heavenly Father. This is a great tool He has given us to find answers to our deepest concerns and find His love for us. The experiences I have had with the Book of Mormon have changed my life and helped Him form me into what He wants me to be. I'm still not all the way there, but I know that as I continue to seek His guidance for me in the scriptures and through prayer, I can heed the admonition of Moroni and, "come unto Christ, and be perfected in Him" (Moroni 10:32). To all who haven't yet had such experiences with the Book of Mormon or who are in need of guidance in their lives, I give you the words of James 1:3-6: "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."

Please share your feelings/testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel.

First of all, the Restoration teaches me God lives and Jesus Christ is His divine Son. He is there, and He answers prayers. There was a young man who sought truth and knew not where to find it. To answer his simple prayer for guidance God the Father and Jesus Christ decended in a pillar of light to bring back the light this boy desired and the world needed. I know this experience happened because each time I hear it I feel the Spirit of God telling me, again and again, that it happened. Joseph Smith was told he would be a servant of the Lord to bring back what had been lost, the true Church of Jesus Christ which so many had been searching for since it's loss soon after the death of Christ's original apostles. That means something to me about the character and love of our Heavenly Father. How He saw His children lost and wandering in the world (Amos 8:11-12) and He provided a way for us to come back to Him and know the truth. I feel uplifted as I think about how much God loves us and how this is taught to us through the Restoration. Without His love we would still be searching fruitlessly to find the true gospel and have no place to find it.

How has the Holy Ghost helped you?

Almost every day there is some problem, concern, or other issue which comes up in my life. With these I need help, guidance, and, often, comfort. The Holy Ghost has provided these for me on many occasions. One of the names of the Holy Ghost is the Comforter and I feel it describes perfectly what one of His many roles is. Another purpose is to teach us of truth. One scripture which helped me learn more of what the Holy Ghost does is John 14:26, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." Through study of the scriptures, particulary the Book of Mormon, I have felt the Savior's love for me through the peace given by the Holy Ghost. Prayer has helped me to learn of the truths this Church teaches as I felt the Spirit tell me it is right. The Spirit helps me to know of my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and what they have done for me. Although life can be difficult it has been made better for me by knowing there is a loving God who speaks to us individually through the feelings of the Holy Ghost.

How has The Book of Mormon helped you understand the purpose of life?

I grew up a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and knew the things we're supposed to do because I had learned them every Sunday in church and from my parents. They all taught well, but it didn't really stick because, while I knew the right words, I did not understand what they meant I had to do. It's only when I opened myself up to God and started to really read the Book of Mormon that I started to change and become a better person, all which happened because I was trying to know why I am here on this earth. I learned in Alma 34:32 that, "this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." So we're here to get ready to live with God again, but what kind of "labors" are we talking about here? This I found in Mosiah 2:41, "and moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it." It is part of our purpose to come here and learn to obey the laws God gives us so we can return to live with Him again. All things we do in our lives are bringing us closer to or further away from Heavenly Father who's presence is the highest goal we can aim for in this life. Sometimes this outlook on the purpose of life can seem somewhat robotic or oppressive, but we need to remember, " are, that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25).

What is hope and what do you hope for?

Hope is such a simple little word which entails so much. There are a bunch of great scriptures with define it, but the best way I can explain hope is by saying it's the desire of our hearts for something to happen or be real. As I look around the world I see more and more of people who seem to have lost hope for things to get better. Often people become complacent when things aren't going so well and they fall into this state where they stagnate. This is not what God wants for us. He wants us to be happy, to thrive, to do our best to improve our situation and become better people. Often I hope that I'm doing what God wants me to be doing. The commandments are there to guide us in the right way and I have been lead many times by the scriptures, prayer, and the feelings of the Spirit, but it can be easy to ask if what we are doing is really God's will. Does he want us around the people we are around? Am I doing my best to learn from the experiences He is giving me? Day to day we rely on hope that we are being led in the right path and not in some other way. That is why it has been so important for me to obey God's laws and do what I can to come closer to Him. As I have done that I have been able to build a greater and greater hope for what I'm doing now and for the future. There is so much uncertainty around us it's scary, but as we come closer to Christ we can have hope that things will work out. They won't always be easy, but we can have hope and trust that everything will turn out the right way in the end if we follow Christ.

Think about your everyday activities. What are things you act upon each day where you cannot see the end results? How does faith move you to action?

Oooooo.... Well, I'd have to say that faith starts moving me to action just to get out of bed every morning. Think about that decision. Here you are making the first decision of the day that starts off a whole domino effect for what happens. Maybe something terrible will happen, or maybe you'll get a raise at work for being there on time. Who knows? The thing that keeps me going is having faith that everything will work out. All the time we are making decisions that could change everything. Which way do I drive to the store? What do I say to help this person through this incredible challenge in their life? In every decision the outcome is out of our sight. I could get in a crazy car wreck, or help somebody by the side of the road if I go the right way to the store. I could say something which changes their life for the better. Really though, we can't see that when we make the decision, so we must act in faith, not knowing what the end result will be. Faith in turn moves us to do things. When we have faith in Christ we believe in His promises to us, such as eternal life, for following Him and keeping His laws. The faith to receive this incredible blessing from God is what leads us to doing what's right, even if it's not popular. It's a fact that the world has it's standards and the Lord has His, which are much higher. He asks us to live His and, while they may seem restrictive, they free us from the problems the world's standards cause. How do we know that? FAITH.

How does making right choices help us make more right choices?

Imagine one domino falling over and hitting another, and another, and another... It just keeps going on and on and on, building up momentum, speed and strength as it goes. Even more importantly, it becomes easier for each successive domino to knock over the next one. Making rightous decisions in our lives comes in just the same way. Throughout my life I have made good choices and bad ones. I have followed Christ and I have not. What's great is that, even though the bad choices slow down the dominos of my life, there is still enough momentum to keep me going. As we countinue through life it gets easier and easier to make the right choices because we have made those decisions part of who we are. Nobody's perfect, but the road gets easier as you travel along it if you make the right decisions. On the other side of the equation is what happens if we make bad decisions. When we do what's wrong it may seem easier at first, but over time life gets harder and harder. Why would we want to put ourselves in that kind of situation? Life is so much better when it's easy!

Could you talk about your baptism?

I was baptized at the age of eight and, quite honestly, the most memorable part of it for me was feeling water stuck in my ears after being immersed in the water. Over time though I have come to appreciate that early decision much more. Recently the scriptures found in Mosiah 27 from the Book of Mormon have come to be meaningful to me on the impact baptism can and must have on me. As Alma, a repentant sinner was told by our Father in Heaven, "all mankind... must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters." In being baptized I promised God I would remember Him and keep His commandments, which is easier said than done. As I have tried to do this I have faced hardship, but in return have found the returned promise of always having His Spirit with me fulfilled. Times of trial have been lessened in their emotional effect because I felt Him tell me of His great love for me. By all means I am an imperfect person with many stuggles of my own, but I know that through my baptism I can say as Alma said, "after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God." This process is by no means complete because I'm still wading and repenting, but as I endure to the end everything will work out. I know the Lord well enough to trust him in that promise.

Please share your feelings/testimony of Joseph Smith.

I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He had questions about religion as a young boy, the most pressing of which was knowing what church he should join since the Bible so clearly taught there was one true church. As he studied the scriptures and thought upon the things he learned from them he came to upon the truth of how God will answer the questions of those who ask Him (James 1:5-6). After continuing his study and pondering on this verse and others similar to it Joseph decided to ask God. In doing so God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, came to Joseph and told him to join none of the churches and how the true church would be restored again to the earth. For the remainder of his life this man did his best to submit to the will of the Father and bring back the true church as Christ had originally established it. He and the people who joined Christ's church suffered persecution from mobs and militia which eventually culminated in the martyrdom of the prophet. Though just a man with his own imperfections and flaws he was called of God at a young age as was Samuel and preached repentance and eternal life through the Atonement of Christ. As evidence of Joseph being a prophet the Lord provided the Book of Mormon, which was translated by the prophet through the power of God, so all could know the one true church was again on the earth. Instead of denying this book before his death as a liar and hypocrite would do he was cut down just minutes following a final, powerful statement of the book's truthfulness. I know he was a prophet because of this book. Not because of what he did or how he did it, but from the simple peace I have found in reading the teachings of ancient prophets as they were translated by him. My belief is not in a simple man, but in the works of God which were accomplished by one of his servants and those who continue to guide the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today.

How can we develop greater harmony in our homes?

If you can master three simple things which take a relatively small amount of time the happiness in your home will explode. First, PRAY on your own, as a family, as a couple, and as often as possible. Doing so brings down blessings from heaven, allows you to ask for God's assistance, and brings you together. Pray for each other, especially when you don't get along. Second, STUDY the scriptures. This can create time spent together as a family doing somethig wholesome where the love of God can be felt and children can learn from the parents as the parents learn from the children. Finally, attend CHURCH every week. Learn from other members of the congregation how they are raising their families, see how the "ward family" works with the Bishop at the head, and worship God as He has commanded us to do. Mastery of these basics takes a lifetime, but the effects can be seen in your life after a matter of weeks or months. Keep at it and every little thing will be alright.

What has helped develop greater harmony in your home?

If you can master three simple things which take a relatively small amount of time the happiness in your home will explode. First, PRAY on your own, as a family, as a couple, and as often as possible. Doing so brings down blessings from heaven, allows you to ask for God's assistance, and brings you together. Pray for each other, especially when you don't get along. Second, STUDY the scriptures. This can create time spent together as a family doing somethig wholesome where the love of God can be felt and children can learn from the parents as the parents learn from the children. Finally, attend CHURCH every week. Learn from other members of the congregation how they are raising their families, see how the "ward family" works with the Bishop at the head, and worship God as He has commanded us to do. Mastery of these basics takes a lifetime, but the effects can be seen in your life after a matter of weeks or months. Keep at it and every little thing will be alright.

Which of the Savior’s teachings have influenced you in your life?

Which of them haven't influenced me? The entire gospel which He taught is based in love, service, and helping others to come to know Him. He invited us to follow Him and that is exactly what we need to do in this life and I try my best to do this. The gospel of Jesus Christ can be distilled down to five main principals and ordinances which are having faith in Christ, repenting of the things He doesn't want us to do, being baptized by the right authority from God to wash away our sins, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost which guides us in our lives, and continuing always to do the first four things and keep His commandments. Each day I try to build my faith in the things He taught by reading the scriptures, praying, and trying to live the laws He gave us. Of course, I'm not perfect, so I need to repent of the things I do wrong. The reason Christ died on the cross and suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane is so that we can repent, or give up, these things and have them washed away through baptism. Baptism is important because not only does it wash away our sins, but it is a promise which I have made with God to help other people, let others know I believe in Him, and keep His commandments. In return, God promises to give us eternal life and more of His Spirit. This last one comes through the gift of the Holy Ghost, which, as we keep the commandments, He gives more and more of so we can be led in the right way throughout our lives. Of course, I'm not always perfect, so I have to keep building faith, repenting, taking the sacrament each week to renew that baptismal promise, and try to bring the Spirit into my life by doing what I know is right. The teachings of Christ are centered around helping us to become better people who will be more like Him. More loving, caring, obedient, and, well, Christlike.

How has attending Church services helped you?

There I find the peace I need to get through the week. This is a pretty crazy world we live in, or at least it is for me, and it feels incredible to have a place I can go to feel closer to God and not worry about all the stuff that's going on outside. It's a place where I can learn more of what He wants for me in this life and receive answers for questions I have. There was a time several months ago when I wanted to know how I could improve myself, so I thought about it while attending church. Over the time I spent there that Sunday thoughts came to my mind and answered my questions, helping me to know what I needed to work on at that time. Life can seem so much more... worth it... when I have that right mindset to start me off for another week.

How I live my faith

I served Christ on a two year mission in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission. This was a sixteen hour a day service opportunity that I paid out of my own pocket to do. I spent my days teaching people around me about how the Prophet Joseph Smith was inspired by God to bring the Book of Mormon to the world and restore His true Church to the earth again. Out there I show people how our Lord has a plan for each of us, and that Christ's gospel is on the earth again. It was a beautiful thing trying to guide others to come closer to Jesus Christ when so much of the world is rejecting Him. I got to show people the way to have happier, more fulfilling lives, just as Christ would do if He were standing here. Now living at college I continue to love the Lord and I do all I can to serve Him by serving His people. As it says in Matthew 25:40 "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." I try to live by that because I was not sent here to be some mindless robot, but an individual seeking to help those who need His help.