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Hi I'm Craig Sheppard

I'm a systems architect. I love designing and building things. I am a Mormon.

About Me

I think of myself as a creative person. Creativity covers all areas of life. I like to paint pictures. Each year during my family holiday, we all take our paints and create canvas souvenirs. The quality is variable, but we love doing it. I like to build things and enjoy time out in the shed (which I designed and built). My current project is a little greenhouse of my own design in the garden, made from windows taken out when the double glazing was put in. I enjoy creating short humorous films with my family. We show our films at our Family Film Festival each year in which each of my siblings show films that their families have made. For work, I am a systems architect. This too is creative. My job is to the design the framework for our software product that will allow the developers to quickly build new features. Okay, I know that software is often regarded as nerdy, but it allows me to be innovative and creative and I find that rewarding. I am very happily married to Linda and together we have four children. Although my eldest are at university we look forward to them coming back home where we have a fun time together. We live in Leighton Buzzard, in Bedfordshire. To keep fit, I like to play squash and though I'm only a low to middle ranking player I run the squash leagues at the local leisure centre.

Why I am a Mormon

My parents were baptised into the church just before I was born. Whole heartedly, they embraced the doctrines and practices of the church. As I grew up, I saw the resulting stability and felt the love in my home and I liked it. The doctrine that we are literally sons and daughters of God sunk deep into my heart and mind. I was someone special. The words of the apostle Peter, "Ye are chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar people" seemed to apply to me. At 18 I went to Scotland for two years as a missionary to invite people to come closer to Christ. Not many accepted my invitation but I had plenty of opportunities to discuss faith and religion, both teaching and learning. Through these conversations I learned to understand other faiths and ideas. I realised I already had answers to questions that were still unanswered by other faiths. Is there real purpose to life? Why does a righteous God allows evil in the world? Why do we have commandments? What happens after we die? Why are families important? and lots more. The philosophical cohesion of the answers are important to me, but knowledge of God should be more than theoretical. It should also be from personal experience. I have looked for and found God actively involved in my life. I was born with club feet. The doctors consigned me to a wheelchair for a life as a as a cripple. Through God's intervention, I was walking and running before I was eight. I have been given ideas and understanding at key times of my life. Prayers have been miraculously answered. As I have contemplated Gods work, I have felt a feeling of goodness and love sweep over me. These are personal experiences with things beyond myself. These are not insignificant things. The peace of mind that comes from feeling accepted by God is a great positive force in my life and I value it greatly. The Mormon Church teaches what I need to do and the sort of person I should be to maintain this peace and happiness. That is why I am a Mormon.

How I live my faith

I follow the prophets. Not follow as in twitter, just tracking the trends, but follow as in listening to what they say and then applying it into my life. The prophets teach us to hold a family home evening. This is where we dedicate Monday night to being with the family. We have developed a formal structure containing singing, prayer, reports by family members of the week’s highlights, a spiritual teaching, games, a treat and other stuff. I recently tried to simplify the programme but the children wouldn’t hear of it. They loved the whole thing and didn’t want to lose any. The prophets have taught us to pray together as a family and read the scriptures together every day. We do so. Each morning we kneel together and one of us will pray for the important things of the day. A little while ago, I was talking to a Christian friend in India and told her how my family life had been blessed by family home evening and family prayer. I described what we did and how we loved it. She decided to try it too. We met up again recently and she was excited to report that she had been doing it in her home. Her children loved it and she reported that a special spirit was being felt in her home too. The prophets have taught us to be faithful and to accept responsibility in his church. There is no paid clergy in the church and he works through us, imperfect though we are. As I have accepted calls to serve I have been are able to bless the lives of those around me. I have had some special experiences in doing so that are personally richly rewarding. There is a side effect of this service. I have been taught a range of significant skills including public speaking, meeting management, how to work with youth and children. I have been able to learn patience, kindness and love. I've served in various ways at church and am now serving as the Bishop of my congregation. This requires me to dedicate significant time, but as always I see an increase in love and blessings flow from God.