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Hi I'm Raleigh

I thought I would be different from the all the men in my family who were sailors. I wasn't: Go figure. I'm a Mormon

About Me

As a military "lifer," I travelled and then travelled some more. When my children, all military brats, often were asked where they were from, each would look baffled and say, "I don't remember, but last year I lived... just north of London." Kids are the greatest! I inserted college and graduate school into my military career. I started out as an E-1 (Navy) and worked my way through the ranks, retiring as an O-4 (Air Force). I became enthused about US and European history. And now, years later, I still enjoy reading a variety of subjects. I have an electronic reader which I frequently update, but, secretly, I prefer turning pages. I caught the photography bug as a junior in high school. The teacher who was a pro, knew how to inspire. I became the guy who toted a camera usually taking family photos, all the while pursuing that once in a lifetime, "best scenery shot." Today, I have about two thousand photos that I have taken through the years. A precious few are stunning." I was "hooked" on tying fishing flies, enjoying the satisfaction that comes from tying one that looks exactly like the insect the fish have grown fond of. The thrill is casting one of your own, and getting a strike. I reluctantly gave that up when I realized I no long had the core strength to safely stand waist high in frigid, cold, rushing water: It was more like wet hiking than fishing. Considering the alternative, the view of that treacherous mountain stream has grown more lovely from the bank.

Why I am a Mormon

I was a teenaged member of a Protestant religion and lived at home. I had a basic understanding of the Old Testament, was very familiar with the New Testament, and regularly said my personal prayers on "bended knee." Two missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints knocked on our door one evening. We did not want them in our house: Those two were the most unwelcome of any desiring to enter our house. We responded with a chilly, contemptuous refusal. Undaunted, they said they had come at the request of an esteemed relative, and indeed they had. (We were unaware that my mother's parents had recently joined the Church.) I was personally skeptical of nearly everything, but as the visits progressed, I read from the "Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Chris" as the missionaries requested. In all of my previous scripture study and years of regular church attendance, which experience included being mentored in a youth seminary, I never, no not ever, had a spiritual experience. As I read the Book of Mormon I began to understand that it was probably true: That its authors were individuals who lived centuries ago, and who, more than likely, were actual prophets. The missionaries encouraged me to pray to my Father in Heaven, in the Name of Jesus Christ, and ask if the Book of Mormon was the word of God. Fearful that this could be an unsettling life changer, (none in our family knew of one Mormon who lived within a thousand miles of our home,) I retired to my bedside and asked the question, wanting, but never expecting an answer. I immediately felt a burning in my bosom, my heart pounded, yet I felt such a calming, sweet spiritual experience. At that very moment I became aware that God knew me personally, and he was informing me that the truth men have sought for centuries was to be found within the pages of Book of Mormon. I was later baptized by one authorized to do so, and profoundly wonderful, spiritual experiences continue to bless me.

How I live my faith

I have served the youth of our Church as one of their leaders. I still thrill to the sound of an adult stranger calling me by name and telling me about the wonderful experiences they had with their peers and me, and then bringing me up to date on their life. The decade plus years as mentor and teacher of youth were filled with rewarding memories that always outpaced the sacrifice. Through the years, I have made myself available for visits to those who were ill, in hospitals, or in nursing homes. I have begun recently to have an increased awareness of the home-bound elderly in our own extended family. And have responded with regular, short, visits where needed. I just want to do what the Lord would have me do. I have grown to love those who struggle with life, and remain positive and ever faithful to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Just three years ago I completed my task as a pastor in our church. I worked with unemployed men and women who were struggling during a time of economic down turn. I was grateful for the principle of self-sufficiency. And witnessed time and again how such individuals worked to make their lives better while receiving some Church assistance: Always refusing a "dole." Among our flock were hundreds of members who wanted to demonstrate their love and affection for Jesus Christ by doing good works and striving to become more perfect as they matured. I believe that's what all of Christ's children want to do.