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Hi I'm Tona

I live in New England with my husband and family on a little farm. I'm a college history professor, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I wouldn't say I'm a superwoman, but sometimes I could use superpowers to keep it all together. I have four children - by this summer, two teenagers still at home and two young adults both serving Mormon missions. My husband and I live on a little farm where we've raised (over the years) chickens, turkeys, and pigs and now even a couple of pet donkeys. I teach US history full-time at a nearby college where I am a scholar of religion and media in American history. I contribute to several blogs about history, teaching, and religious studies, and I have worked as a consultant helping public school systems improve teaching and professional development in history and social studies. I love to travel, write, read, knit, and cook. Our family enjoys cheering each other on in running events and supporting each other in community service. One of my sons and I help organize a community 5k race in our town on Thanksgiving day, and our family has been able to travel to places in Asia and Africa for medical volunteer work.

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised Mormon, so it's always been a part of my life. But I've also traveled in parts of the world where there are few Mormons, and I've studied other religions as part of my graduate work and my scholarly research, so I think I might know a little more about other faiths than most Mormons. I certainly appreciate the goodness of and perceive divinity in all people regardless of their religious affiliation. In my experience, Mormonism adds to the goodness and light in the world by helping people live their faith, serve others with pure love, and change their lives by developing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That relationship transforms life into something extraordinary, the everyday into something sacred. Through the gospel I've learned that no one is unworthy of God's love. I've been strengthened as a wife, a family member, a mother, a teacher, a scholar and a Christian disciple. My faith isn't perfect; I have doubts and questions. My children when they were little asked "why" all the time - that's how they learn, and it's no different with me, as a child of God I learn by asking honest questions and never thinking I know all the answers. The idea of continuing revelation (both personal and for the church as a whole) is a big part of my faith; I think God has a lot more in store not only for me but for the planet and its people. I'm just grateful I can contribute whatever I can to help make my world a kinder, more equitable and nurturing place.

How I live my faith

Building strong friendships is a big part of my faith -- some of that comes naturally when you live in the same congregation for almost twenty years and you get to know people on a genuine level through loving and serving them. Being Mormon means never being alone in times of trouble (or happiness!) and I've been both the giver and receiver of kindness during sickness and grief over the years, as well as taking part of many celebrations of births, baptisms, weddings, and mission service. I love to sing; music is a lifeline to my Heavenly Parents for me, and I share that joy by leading our congregation's choir which welcomes anyone who wants to be there regardless of ability or age. In our town, the Mormon church is part of a local council of Christian churches that puts on a community Christmas concert each December, and leading the huge combined choir in joyful Christmas music was a real highlight of the last year for me. This coming summer I will be one of the adult leaders in a 3-day conference for the Mormon teens in our area and also at the youth camp for teenage girls.