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Hi I'm Jake Player

I'm an abolitionist. I love the outdoors. I'm studying microbiology, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm currently a student studying microbiology at BYU Provo, and plan on pursuing a career in medicine. I work with people with disabilities as well as in a research lab studying disinfection. I volunteer and work with several groups whose mission is to bring an end to the global epidemic of human trafficking, or modern-day slavery. I was raised in Alaska, and in my free time I love doing things outdoors like hiking or camping. I served as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the France Lyon Mission and speak French fluently. I recently married my wonderful spouse, and we love going out and enjoying the arts and the outdoors together.

Why I am a Mormon

I believe that when I was young I had consistent spiritual experiences, but I didn't necessarily understand enough to recognize them yet for what they were. By around the time I was twelve years old I started to read through the Book of Mormon on my own for the very first time. As I did, I felt and recognized the presence of the Holy Spirit testifying to me of the truthfulness of what I read. As I've continued to exercise faith throughout my life by attending church, fulfilling ecclesiastical responsibilities and services, serving a mission preaching the restored gospel in France, and striving to understand the scriptures and remain personally pure, I have continued to have spiritual experiences that have further instructed me and strengthened my personal conversion and faith in Jesus Christ. I've personally felt His love and the reality of His atonement in my own life, and know that the great joy these things have brought me are freely given and available to all who seek to learn more.

How I live my faith

I believe that the most important way to live my faith is to try to follow the example of Jesus Christ in my daily life and act as He would. I try my best to always serve others and to be engaged in good causes. I believe in boldly loving others and not being afraid to stand up for what is right, even when it goes against the grain. I live my faith in gratitude for all of blessings that I have received and love to share my beliefs with others so that they might feel the same. I believe in the importance of small and simple things having a big impact, and always strive to read my scriptures daily, pray meaningfully, and regularly attend the temple. At church I teach a class covering the basic principles of the gospel that is usually attended by people new to, returning to, or unfamiliar with the church, although many other members also attend by preference.

Do Mormons regard the Bible as Holy Scripture and the word of God?

Jake Player
Absolutely. We believe, love, and study the Bible regularly. According to a survey done by the Pew Research Center, Mormons on average know more about the Bible than any other religious or denominational group. The Bible relates the history of the Jews through the experiences of ancient prophets leading their people, the personal ministry of Jesus Christ, and the early history of the church He established among His followers, and it is the word of God that can help guide and direct us in our daily lives. We also believe in the Book of Mormon, which contains the ancient history of a group of Jews that left Jerusalem and crossed the ocean to the ancient Americas, were led and guided by prophets, and had Jesus Christ come and personally minister after His crucifixion to them as the Savior of the whole world. Some claim that the Bible is perfect and complete, and that the Book of Mormon is an unacceptable addition to the Bible. We do not believe that we are adding the Book of Mormon to the word of God, rather that it is His word that He has given to us just like the Bible, that He loves and communicates with all of His children throughout the world, and that their records can constitute Holy Scripture. The Book of Mormon and the Bible work together as two complimentary references that help us understand God's word. By studying, pondering, and asking God for the truth, we can receive a witness of the truthfulness of both the Bible and the Book of Mormon through the Holy Spirit. Show more Show less

What is the difference between attending a church and attending a temple?

Jake Player
In our faith we have both our regular meetinghouses (churches), as well as temples, and they are not one and the same. Our regular meetinghouses are places of worship that we attend on a weekly basis for church services and where we meet with other members of our "ward", which is comprised of other members of the church within our geographic location. Anyone and everyone is always welcome to attend church services, and we freely welcome visitors and returning members. Temples are sacred places that we believe to be the "House of the Lord" here on earth. Like temples in ancient times, they are holy places of learning. In temples we perform sacred rites that we believe are essential to eternal salvation, much like the baptisms that we perform outside of the temple. We also believe that in the temple we can perform these same rites by proxy for those who are deceased and never would have had the opportunity to have learned of or accepted the gospel in mortality, giving them the chance to either accept or reject the gospel on their own terms from the other side. This allows everybody the respect of their personal choice, and is also in align with the justice of God by not unfairly punishing the many of His children that never had the opportunity to learn of and accept the gospel here on earth. We believe that in order to partake in these rites that one must be spiritually prepared, so only members in good standing are issued temple recommends that allow them to enter the temple. Show more Show less

Who wrote the Book of Mormon?

Jake Player
The Book of Mormon is an abridgment of records that were kept by the ancient ancestors of modern Native Americans. In Old Testament times God's chosen people were growing and spreading. Some of these people were led by God to build boats and cross the Atlantic Ocean, and there they started to grow and prosper and fill the American continent. The Book of Mormon is the ancient record of these people engraved primarily by their religious leaders concerning their dealings with each other as well as with God. They had prophets and a knowledge of Christ, and were visited by Him after His crucifixion. Mormon, a prophet and historian, was commanded to abridge the annals of his people, and is the primary author of the Book of Mormon. During his lifetime, his people started to grow increasingly wicked and they sought out to kill the followers of Christ. Around 400 A.D., Mormon's son, Moroni, was the last righteous man to whom the records were entrusted, and he was commanded to hide the records in a hill so that they wouldn't be destroyed by the wicked who were seeking his life. Many years later, around 1822, Joseph Smith, a young man living in modern New York state, was visited by this same Moroni as a heavenly messenger, and led to the hill where he had previously hidden these plates. Joseph Smith later translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God into the English language. Show more Show less

What are Mormon women like? Do Mormons believe in equality of men and women?

Jake Player
Mormon women are absolutely inspiring. When I think of the of the goodness and example of my wife, I can't help but be amazed by what a positive and caring impact she has on those around her. And she's not alone. I've had so many amazing and inspiring examples of outstanding Mormon women in my life that have personally impacted me with their stalwart faith, spiritual sensitivity, intelligence, and kindness, that I know I would not be anywhere near the same person without them. Mormons love and respect women; in fact women comprise a majority of the membership of the church! We absolutely believe in the equality of men and women, but we also understand and accept that like with any two individuals, we all have unique differences and strengths that can work together in a complementary fashion with others to better enable us to lift and support others around us. We highly value parenthood, and believe that both spouses should be involved as much as possibly in unity when raising children. Although there are always unique family circumstances that merit individual adaptation, one parent often takes time out from their career to raise their children full-time. Although the world often demeans parenthood, we consider this noble pursuit at least as valuable and fulfilling as the work done by the other parent. If anyone ever has doubts concerning the value of Mormon women, ask them yourself! They are more than willing to speak for themselves on the matter. Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons drink coffee, tea, or alcohol? What is the Mormon Church’s law of health and proper diet?

Jake Player
Mormons believe that their bodies are a sacred gift from God. We also believe that as such, He has regularly given His people counsel for their proper care. Similar to the Kashrut (dietary laws) given anciently to the Jewish people, we believe that God has given us commandments concerning the proper care of our bodies in modern times. Known as "The Word of Wisdom", this provides some specific counsel, namely abstinence from alcohol, coffee, tea (made from the tea plant, herbal teas are fine), use of tobacco, and the use of any other non-prescribed drugs. The Word of Wisdom also generally counsels against the consumption of any substances that could be habit-forming or addictive on a personal level for an individual. Additionally, the Word of Wisdom counsels us to eat healthy amounts of fruit, vegetables, and grains, and to avoid an excess of meat in the diet. Common misconceptions including abstinence from caffeine, chocolate, etc. are without doctrinal basis. Blessings promised for keeping the Word of Wisdom include having sufficient energy for our physical demands, mental alertness, and greater freedom and self-control. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about the nature of God?

Jake Player
We believe that God is the the literal Father of our spirits, and that we are created in His image (meaning that our physical appearance resembles His). Being born of loving Heavenly Parents, we each share a personal relationship with God as our Father; and as His children, we each have the potential to become like Him someday. We believe that God (the Father), Jesus Christ (the Son), and the Holy Spirit are three distinct beings perfectly unified in love and purpose. We also know that both Heavenly Father and Christ (after being resurrected) have perfect, immortal physical bodies, whereas the Holy Spirit exists only as a spirit. God is the all-powerful, all-knowing ruler of the universe. He knows and loves each of His children perfectly, and wants each of them to learn, grow, make good choices, and return to live with Him again. Despite this, because He loves us, He respects our personal ability to choose, even if we use it to reject Him. He allows us to learn and grow from earthly trials and the consequences of our actions, even if it can be difficult for us. In His mercy, He sent His Son to enable us to overcome our mistakes and return to be with Him. He is perfectly just, and only He can perfectly understand our earthly experience and righteously judge us to determine our eternal reward. We can each communicate with God through personal prayer, and He often responds to us through the Spirit by putting thoughts, feelings, or impressions into our hearts and minds. Show more Show less

What is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' attitude regarding homosexuality and same sex marriage?

Jake Player
There can be a lot of confusion and frustration about Mormon beliefs on homosexuality, often stemming from misunderstandings of intent, practice, and semantics. To be clear: Mormons do not believe that it is a sin to experience same-sex attraction. We do believe, however, that marriage was instituted by God, not man, and that God has declared that marriage be between only man and woman, that it can last beyond physical death, and that any sexual activity outside of marriage is sinful (be it homo/heterosexual). Although we don't have all the answers, we do believe that God is just, and that no blessing shall be spared His faithful children, which would suggest that a fulfilling and loving heterosexual marriage would become a real possibility for all of His children, be it in this life or the next. Regardless of an individual's personal choices, however, we believe it is our duty to love and support all of our brothers and sisters in our mortal journey. Just like we have no problem associating with, serving, respecting and sharing personal convictions with, and enjoying common interests with those that drink alcohol, coffee, or tea (which is contrary to our belief), we likewise invite the LGBTQ+ community into our lives, even if we don't personally participate in all of the same practices. Similarly, the Church has historically advocated for LGBTQ+ rights (such as equal employment and housing opportunities) that don't directly oppose our beliefs concerning marriage. Show more Show less