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Hi I'm Roger Hiatt, Jr., M.D.

I am a lifelong Southerner, father of six, and a child psychiatrist. And I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I was born in Richmond, Virginia, where my father was a resident physician and my mother raised three children. We moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1964 when my father took a job there as a medical school professor. One of my earliest childhood memories is of April 4, 1968 - the day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in my hometown. To this day, I remember the fear and misunderstanding that existed between the races at that time. Later that same year, I remember attending first grade in the newly-integrated public schools of Memphis. Although a white child, I felt a sort of kinship to my black classmates. Because I was raised in the South as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I knew what it was like to be a distinct minority. We, too, experienced misunderstanding and even hatred, not because of the color of our skin, but because of our faith. Years later, my own daughter would be denied admission to a Christian school in Little Rock because of her faith. Yet adversity builds character, and so it goes with my family. Growing up with the medical background of my father, combined with the childcare nurturing of my mother, led me to an interest in child psychiatry from an early age. Now, after more than fifteen years in that practice, I am constantly struck by the fact that the solution to many of our children's emotional and behavioral problems lies in following the principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Why I am a Mormon

I was blessed with parents who loved me and taught me gospel truths. Their example and devotion to following the Savior inspired me. As a child psychiatrist, I am reminded on a daily basis of the perils of a lifestyle at odds with the teachings of Christ and the safety of following His example. In my own life, I often fall short of Christian discipleship. When I sin, I feel the loss of the Holy Spirit's influence and experience a strong desire to get that back into my life. I am thankful for the Atonement of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who made it possible for us to repent and be forgiven of sins. I know He lives and loves us. I know He stands at the head of this Church that was restored by Him through the prophet, Joseph Smith. There is a prophet who lives on the earth today and guides this Church under the direct supervision of Jesus Christ Himself. The Book of Mormon was translated by divine guidance and is the companion witness to the Bible prophesied by Ezekiel: "... take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand." (Ezekiel 37:16-17) I know that all who take the challenge found at the end of the Book of Mormon to read and pray about it will receive a witness of its truthfulness. (see Moroni 10:4)

How I live my faith

Service to my community is a a hallmark of both my occupation and my faith. While a Scoutmaster in our congregation, I assisted my own son in completing an Eagle Scout project that created gardening space where troubled teens could learn the value of hard work and the satisfaction of a job well-done. Another Boy Scout organized the relocation of an entire special education school, and yet another spearheaded the accumulation of donated clothing and books for the use of children in a homeless shelter. Also, missionaries from our church gave many hours of service painting murals on the walls of a residential treatment facility, while families in my congregation volunteered to provide Easter baskets for the children who lived there. As a faith, we strive to follow the Lord's counsel: "... Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40) Many of the children with whom I work come from homes where they have been severely abused or neglected. Teaching parents and caregivers to deal with children in a loving, Christlike fashion is an effort in which I engage both professionally and in a church setting. The principles are the same, or, as I like to say, "Truth is truth, wherever you find it." It is a challenge and a sacred opportunity to adapt gospel principles to meet the needs of an increasingly secular society.