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Hi I'm Michael Cockrum

I'm a southerner without an accent, I love to read and write, and I'm a Mormon!

About Me

"My full name is Michael Benjamin Cockrum. I am 21 years old and I've lived in the state of Arkansas for most of my life. Surprisingly, even though I'm from the south, I don't have a southern accent. I have a younger brother and sister, and two of the greatest parents in the world (but I might be biased)! I love my family and I want to be with them for rest of my life (and longer)! One of my biggest interests is books. I love reading! Some of my favorite authors are Dianne Wynne Jones (Howl's Moving Castle), Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), and Terry Pratchett (Discworld). I also enjoy reading ancient scripture, including The Holy Bible and The Book of Mormon. Another big interest of mine is videogames. Some of my favorite games are Final Fantasy VII, Super Mario Galaxy, and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Finally, I have a unique taste in music that extends throughout all genres, from classic rock (Boston, Styx, Journey), to pop (Coldplay, Michael Jackson), to some instrumental music (ThePianoGuys, Soundtrack Music). I think I've ultimately decided that I want to be an author. I'm currently writing a book called Islands of the Dragon which features a world of floating islands, feisty dragons, and an evil conspiracy that threatens to destroy everything the main characters hold dear. I'm writing it as a hobby right now, but when I finish it, who knows? I'm a southerner without an accent, a bookworm, and I'm a Mormon."

Why I am a Mormon

"I was first baptized into The Church when I was eight years old. I still remember how warm I felt and how happy I was to finally be baptized. My dad was a convert and my mom's family was converted when she was baptismal age, so I am the first generation in my family to be born into the Church. However, this doesn't mean that I don't have a testimony of this work, far from it! I remember that my first conversion experience took place when I was around fourteen. I was taking seminary classes, which challenged me to gain a testimony of the gospel. So, I read The Book of Mormon through for the first time and prayed about what I had read. Every time I prayed, I had the same peaceful feelings come to me from my baptism. As I've gotten older, my experiences with The Holy Ghost have gotten stronger. The same feelings I felt at my baptism have only gotten stronger and the answers I've received through prayer have grown more specific. I've never really had a Paul/Saul moment, but I've had small spiritual experiences that have increased my testimony, piece by piece. It seems like the more I give up for Jesus Christ and His Church, the greater the blessings I receive. I have reached the point where I know that this Church is true, no doubt in my mind about that. As I've learned about other faiths, I've come to realize that none of them have the doctrines I cherish, the opportunities to serve, and the eternal blessings that this Church has brought me. This is my home."

How I live my faith

"I do my best to stay positive as often as I can. I believe that the purpose of my life is to have true joy, so I try to avoid behaviors that bring me unneeded sorrow or grief. This is why I try to stick to media that's positive. I've heard of a lot of movies, videogames, and books which try to depict destructive behavior as fun or exciting, but I know from experience that these things will not make me happy. So, I avoid them as much as I can and encourage my siblings to do the same. Another place I live my faith is in my family. I believe that families can be together forever, so I want to make sure my family will want to be with me to begin with! I do my best to serve my parents and honor their judgement. In return, I have nearly endless freedom. If only my siblings would learn that too. Another way I apply my faith is by studying The Book of Mormon. I love this little book! It has made such an enormous difference in my life! Whenever I read The Book of Mormon, I always find direct parallels to my life! If I were to apply everything this book asks, I would be nearly perfect. However, since I'm clearly not perfect, The Book of Mormon offers me hope through its stories of change and repentance. Even for people who are not interested necessarily in the Church, I highly recommend this as a book which has changed my life! Overall, my experience as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has shown me how to live a happier life than I could have otherwise."

What is a “testimony” that Mormons speak of?

Michael Cockrum
"A testimony is spiritual knowledge of the truth which is given to us by God. The Savior, Jesus Christ, taught us how this is done: "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. (John 14:26)" Thus, we gain a testimony when we recognize that what The Holy Ghost bears witness of is the truth. The most important testimony for members of the Church is the knowledge that The Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. This testimony can only be gained by reading it and asking God in prayer whether it is true. If we have no desire to participate in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (even if we knew it was true), God will not grant us a testimony we will only discard. In addition, if we try to come to our own conclusion about The Book of Mormon without asking God, whether by our own study of the Bible or other materials, we are not obeying the will of our Savior who said 'that every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Luke 11:10)'" Show more Show less

Why did your church previously practice plural marriage (polygamy)?

Michael Cockrum
"God has, at times, commanded His prophets to practice polygamy and they have always regulated its practice with great care. The Book of Mormon teaches us that monogamy is God's standard, unless he commands otherwise (Jacob 2:27-30). The Holy Bible also teaches that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all practiced polygamy and that they have received eternal life (Genesis 16:1-11, Matthew 8:11). We can see from these scriptures that whether polygamy is sinful or not is dependent on God's will, not our own personal opinions. After the death of Jesus Christ and His Apostles, many practices such as baptism for the dead and polygamy were utterly condemned by Christianity. These were actually condemned for a okay reason; nobody on earth had the authority needed to regulate their use. These practices were abused so badly that it would give anyone a bad taste in their mouth and this stigma against polygamy has existed ever since. When God called another prophet to the earth and restored His Church, the framework was put back in place for the proper exercise of polygamy. If it was ever necessary, God could reinstate it. There was a time in Church History when God commanded Joseph Smith and other saints to practice it. His plural marriage followed the guidelines which God had given in the Old Testament and in The Doctrine and Covenants. I know for myself that he followed the example of Abraham, '[who] believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness... (James 2:21-23)'" Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about the Bible? Do they regard it as Holy Scripture and the word of God?

Michael Cockrum
"We certainly do! As Christians, we love The Holy Bible and we love to use it side by side with The Book of Mormon! The biblical accounts of the Savior in The New Testament are essential for building our testimony of Jesus Christ and we also value the words of the ancient prophets in The Old Testament. We believe that The Holy Bible is the Word of God. However, we know (both from secular history and from Joseph Smith's ministry) that after thousands of years of turmoil, persecution, and confusion, we do not have all of the revelation that was given before the compilation of The Holy Bible. The Book of Mormon confirms the testimony of The Holy Bible, while acknowledging that "there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book... (1 Nephi 13:28)" This is why there was a restoration of the gospel in the first place; The Holy Bible alone does not have everything God wants us to know! When we learn that The Book of Mormon is also the Word of God, we can use its words to decipher The Holy Bible's greatest mysteries. We can also use it to detect places where the traditional translations are flawed. We can then read The Holy Bible with a renewed perspective; the same perspective the ancient prophets intended when they originally wrote it. This is the invitation we make to rest of the Christian world; read The Book of Mormon and see for yourself how it will increase your love for The Savior and His Book!" Show more Show less

What is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' attitude regarding homosexuality and same sex marriage?

Michael Cockrum
"To explain our viewpoint, I need to describe what God has in store for us; Eternal Life. Eternal Life means to live in the presence of God with our family in resurrected bodies. It also means to live with our beloved spouse and to have an eternal increase (we can have more children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc, forever)! This is a fullness of joy! This is what we hope for after this life! However, what if we couldn't have this blessing because we couldn't have children? This is a big reason why we oppose the practice of gay marriage; it physically prevents its participants from receiving this blessing. The resurrection will resolve infertility and other weaknesses that prevent childbirth, but our gender is an eternal characteristic and can't be changed. If we allowed gay couples to be sealed together for time and eternity, we would be barring them from the blessings of eternal life forever! This is why God has given us commandments that prohibit homosexual relationships. We do not know all of the reasons for same sex attraction in this life, but we do know that Heavenly Father is merciful and that He loves all of His Children. Our position is to follow the Savior, who loved us enough to stand up for our eternal privileges, even when He was hated and despised for it." Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Michael Cockrum
"We believe that Jesus Christ is both just and merciful. These two virtues, no matter how contrasting they might seem, are both found in The Savior. While Jesus Christ was on the earth, He suffered and died for our sins. Because of The Atonement, all of us will be resurrected and delivered from the tyranny of Satan. We will all be brought into the presence of God and will inherit a better world. This is Christ's mercy; His Grace that He gives us all freely. However, His Grace will not rob Him of His justice. We will all be judged and rewarded according to our actions in this life. In the Book of Revelation, John was able to witness this judgement for himself: 'I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:12)' All of us will have a place in God's kingdom, but His highest degree of glory, The Celestial Kingdom, is reserved for the righteous who 'received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given— That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins... (Doctrine & Covenants 76:51-52)'" Show more Show less

Why are only some Mormons allowed into temples? Is there something secret going on in Mormon Temples? What goes on in Mormon Temples?

Michael Cockrum
"Our Temples are dedicated to Jesus Christ and the holiest parts of His gospel. They are not elaborate stadiums used to broadcast their events, but they are quiet, private places where the Holy Ghost is unrestrained. The Holy Bible contains many accounts of the sacred nature of Temples and asks us this piercing question: 'Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Psalms 24:3-5)' All of the ordinances (sacred ceremonies that represent promises with God) performed in the Temple are related to the eternal salvation of our immediate families and deceased ancestors. Baptisms for the Dead are performed so that even those who died without the restored gospel can receive its blessings, The Endowment is performed so that we can learn more about our eternal privileges and prepare ourselves for the second coming of Jesus Christ, and The Temple Sealing allows us to bind our families together for time and all eternity. All of these ordinances are centered on Jesus Christ and His Atonement. The full details of Temple Worship are too sacred to make public, as it is the nature of wicked or embittered men to "administer that which was sacred unto him to whom it had been forbidden because of unworthiness. (4 Nephi 1:27)'" Show more Show less