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Hi I'm Nathan Ellis Rasmussen

I'm studying for a Ph.D. in linguistics. I've lived in Ukraine and Taiwan. I love music, computing, and philosophy.

About Me

I'm a Ph.D. student in linguistics, which I chose because of its numerous connections to other fields: Philosophy, psychology, computer science, biology, literature, anthropology. It's a good jumping-off point for a lot of interesting issues. I have taught English in both Ukraine and Taiwan (didn't manage to learn Chinese, though -- still trying) and I would recommend living abroad to anyone. When I have time for hobbies, I do Sacred Harp, which is a very rustic-sounding traditional American singing style, and Freemasonry, which is a society dedicated to brotherhood, relief of the needy, and the pursuit of truth in all forms.

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised in the Church but that doesn't excuse me from having a conversion story. At a point in my youth I knew I needed to get in contact with God. I thought I remembered that I'd left off reading the Book of Mormon at Mosiah chapter 2, and I read from there through chapter 5. Those chapters are pretty much spiritual boot camp. They will break you down in humility before God, and then build you up again as a new creation in Christ. That was a milestone in my thinking and my relationship with God. Another milestone, soon afterward, was a family trip to various sites in Church history. As we drove, I read and re-read a few articles about Joseph Smith's lived example and the teachings he revealed in the Doctrine and Covenants about God, humanity, and love. I had a lot of time to contemplate and to explore my own reaction to these teachings. I found that they resonated with me to the innermost part of my being. I subsequently learned some excellent lessons, both through classroom instruction and through experience, about the unmatched power of revealed truth. Growing up as a Mormon, and mostly among people who grew up Mormon, unfortunately creates a certain amount of confusion between revealed doctrine and merely customary understanding/practice. I had the good fortune to be a missionary in a place where the Church was new and the language barrier high, where customs were not so entrenched and the glory and value of true doctrine was therefore better evident. I think it allowed the power of the Gospel to touch a wider range of people. Finally, I will say that I've had difficulties and doubts but been carried through them by worship in the Temple, which is the House of the Lord. Even when it seemed most of my prayers were unheard and my scripture study yielded no insight or comfort or contact, the Temple was unmistakably radiant with God's presence and seamed with His power, a place where I could hear my God invite me to return. I testify of that.

How I live my faith

At church, I often have teaching assignments, which I love. There's really nothing better than a class discussion where different people bring together their different experiences and insights, and come away with a better understanding of what's true and how to live right. Our congregation being a bit small, there's plenty of work to go around, and I'm also serving as a financial clerk to make sure we handle the money right. Being good at details helps there. Finally, the Church has never assigned me to do this, but I've got a deal with God about volunteering to sing in the church choir wherever I am, and so I do that. I'm a baritone but I usually end up singing tenor.