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Hi I'm Clay

I grew up on a farm near Somerton, Arizona. I'm a horticulturist and botanist. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up on a farm near Somerton, in Yuma Valley, southwest Arizona. I joined the Church in my early teens. After high school served a two-year mission for the Church in the Okayama region of southern Japan. I served in the military. In college I majored in botany and horticulture. I like baseball, reading, hiking, nature walks and bird watching. Twice I ran Avenue of the Giants Marathon, in the redwoods in northern California. I'm a horticulturist, and live in south Florida.

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised in the Baptist faith. The Baptists were very earnest and taught from the Bible. They planted the seeds of religious faith in my young heart. I will always be grateful to the Baptist people for what they gave me. As my sisters and I grew up, however, we attended services less frequently, and just disappeared from the faith. Somewhere along the journey we shed the Baptist religion like extra baggage on an overburdened handcart, so to speak, and don’t remember where on the prairie we left it. After my parents divorced, Mom went to work at a bank. One of her co-workers was a Mormon. Mom found him to be honest, hard-working, and responsible. They discussed religion regularly. She accepted his invitation to receive the missionary discussions. At that time I knew very little about the Mormon Church. I had heard of Mormons, but in my young mind I equated them with Mennonites. I vaguely remember an anti-Mormon sermon by one of the Baptist evangelists. I had also heard of Joseph Smith's visitation by the angel Moroni, but assumed it was a frontier legend like Paul Bunyan. My information was limited, but I was only a boy at the time of our formal introduction to the Church. The moment the missionaries walked through the door of our house, looked into my eyes and shook my hand, something about them instantly penetrated to my soul. When they began to teach us, it seemed as if the world suddenly flooded with light; or as if they had just turned on a light in a dark room. After each of their visits my Mom, sisters and I marveled together and observed how, "Suddenly everything just fits together," and we were eager for their next visit. I wondered why the whole world were not joining this Church, whose teachings were so lucid, so complete and so compelling as to be irresistible. The day my mother, sisters and I were baptized into the Church was the greatest day of our lives: The day when Jesus lifted and took us to His heart, so rich in blessing.

How I live my faith

In my community, I help felons re-adjust to life after they are released from prison. In my Church, I try to make outsiders feel welcome.