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Hi I'm Jeff Burg

I grew up in Gig Harbor, Washington. I am a pediatric dentist. And I'm a Mormon.

About Me

My parents joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints when I was young. Growing up in this Church is about all I remember. We lived in the state of Washington, near Tacoma. In a high school graduating class of about 250 kids, I think only 3 of us were Mormons. None of my closest friends were members of this Church, but they all knew I was a Mormon. As Mormons, there are certain gospel principles by which we try to live our lives. One of those is what we call, The Word of Wisdom. It is a way to respect our bodies by avoiding certain substances, such as smoking, alcohol, and other drugs. As a teenager who just wants to fit in with other kids, living those principles can be difficult. I was lucky for two reasons. First, my friends knew that I was a Mormon. And while they probably didn't understand what that meant, they knew there were some things that I chose not to participate in that made me stand out. I was lucky, because no one ever pushed me to do something I didn't want to do. They respected my decisions. Still, being the only one of my friends doing things differently would have been very difficult. The other reason I was lucky was because two of my closest friends were state champion wrestlers. They were twin brothers who made physical fitness and healthy habits a top priority. As such, they avoided the same things I did. I could rely on them to avoid harmful substances for athletic reasons, and they could rely on me for religious reasons.

Why I am a Mormon

As I stated earlier, my parents joined this church when I was young. Growing up a Mormon is all I can remember. There were times in my youth when I would feel the Holy Spirit confirm the truth of some principle or subject to me. Although as a child and teenager, I wasn't always excited about the prospect of going to Church on Sundays, once there, I felt a good feeling in my heart. I felt like I was in the right place. When I turned 19 years old I decided to serve a mission. In our church, a mission is an opportunity to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to other people for a period of two years. Shortly after arriving in the Missionary Training Center and starting to learn the lessons I would be teaching, I began to wonder if I had a true testimony of the things I would be teaching to other people. Particularly, I began to wonder if I truly believed the story of Joseph Smith and his First Vision. I didn't feel like I could ask other people to believe something I was unsure of. In my prayers every night and morning I started pleading with God to know for myself if Joseph Smith was truly a prophet. The question weighed on my soul. If I couldn't get an answer to this fundamental question, I didn't see how I could go on with my mission. One day while studying the lessons and focusing on the language (I was called to France), I turned a booklet of pictures that accompany the lessons, and saw an artist's rendition of Joseph Smith praying in a grove of trees. At that moment, I was completely caught off guard by the feelings that flooded my heart and mind. It is a difficult thing to describe. I felt a wave of emotion like peace and love and joy all at the same time. And I knew, on a very deep and fundamental level, that the story of Joseph Smith was absolutely true! I knew that God loved me and had answered my prayer, and I know to this day that Joseph Smith indeed restored the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth.

How I live my faith

As a Mormon, I believe in Jesus Christ and the gospel He lived and taught. I try to be understanding, kind, and generous to those around me. As a pediatric dentist, I come into contact with children and their parents or caregivers every day. Sometimes there are children who have many dental problems causing them to feel pain and miss school, but whose parents are unable to afford the cost of appropriate dental care. I have always made it a priority to treat these children anyway, at no cost. I have been greatly blessed in my life and I feel like that makes me responsible to bless the lives of others. My wife and I are also foster parents. Sometimes parents of children make serious mistakes that require their children be moved to a safe place. During that time, the parents can work out their problems and get their lives set on a better, healthier course. We recently had four young children living with us and our four natural children. What a full house that was! These four children lived with us for six months while their parents made significant life corrections. We love this family and are extremely proud of the parents for the progress they have made. We still get together with them to celebrate birthdays and holidays, or babysit the kids when their parents just need a night out together. My family and I are also part of a non-profit community group that provides service to other communities in need. We have recently traveled to a Navajo Nation community and provided food, clothing, renovation help, and dental services for a week. We have also provided similar services to the people of Samoa. While in Samoa, we provided the materials and labor to make desk and chairs at two elementary schools. These sound like large, outward acts that can be readily seen by others. But the more significant way I can live my faith is in small acts of service every day. A smile and a "hello" or holding a door for someone can be just as profound for the recipient.