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Hi I'm Mark

I'm a middle school teacher. I'm a Democrat. I'm a former agnostic. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up in a mining town in the Rockies. After I earned a BA in history, I served in the US Marine Corps as an artillery officer on active duty for four years and in the reserves for another five years. I then went back to school to become a teacher (where I knew I could earn the big money). I've now been teaching 7th graders for (gulp!) 24 years in a rural area. I enjoy working with kids and their parents. I love to engage the kids with mock trials (one at the county courthouse) and competitions. I also lose a lot of bets, which is why you may see me in animal costumes or pink party dresses if you ever visit my school. I also wear mail armor during my medieval unit. I've twice now had the honor of escorting groups of students to Ireland and the United Kingdom. There's nothing better for a teacher than to see kids' eyes light up as they see, for instance, the actual Rosetta Stone in the British Museum. My beautiful wife and I married in 2005. She recently completed a BA degree at our local college. I'm also the stepfather of a wonderful girl. Both have brought so much joy to my life. My favorite TV show? Top Shot, of course. My second favorite TV show? Project Runway. (I'm sure there's a psychologist out there very interested in my mind now!) My favorite activity? Travel with my family, preferably in Europe. My favorite family activity? Family prayer in the morning and evening.

Why I am a Mormon

I grew up in a Protestant church, but budded into an agnostic as I basically substituted science for religion. A beautiful young woman gave me a Book of Mormon when we were going out in high school. I read and rejected the book, then we broke up because of some stupid things I did and of which I am not proud. For the next two decades, I enjoyed inviting in the Mormon missionaries to use my powerful logic to disprove their cult. The beautiful woman mentioned above and I returned to each other after 25 years. The thing that is still amazing to me as a former agnostic is that I was suddenly ready to READ (that is, to actually try to understand instead of critiquing) the Book of Mormon...and to ask the Lord if it's true. Guess what? I asked the Lord. It IS true! What I thought was a cult contains truth that has changed my life. My life is better. I'm married to the best woman in the world. (Sorry, guys, she's off the market.) I'm in a church that is headed by and centered on the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. The members of my local church are all joyful, service-centered people who welcomed me in like a long-lost relative. The best piece: I will see my late father, mother, and brother again because of our Savior's sacrifice. Yes, I'm a (gasp!) Democrat. Many of my friends think the LDS Church is a wholly-owned property of the GOP. It's not. It's a family-centered church, so of course many of the messages we hear on Sunday concern the family and how to strengthen our relationships. I don't see how the family can be considered a political topic. There's no Democratic or Republican way to strengthen the family. There's only the Lord's way.

How I live my faith

You may be thinking that the LDS church put me, as a former agnostic and missionary-baiter, in some form of probation. The church leaders did not! In fact, I've held every position in our mens' group, and I've been a Sunday School teacher. All in the last eight years. The best part of being a member is serving others. Sometimes this service is personal and individual, such as the day a member learned about my continuing back problems and cleared the snow from my driveway with his huge snowblower while I was at work. Sometimes the service is more group oriented. We strive to keep in touch with all of our members and to serve their needs, just as the Savior did. There's nothing better than knowing you're doing the things that make our Savior happy.