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Hi I'm Ben

I grew up in Eugene, Oregon. I'm serving a full-time mission in Lyon, France. I am a Mormon.

About Me

I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have a brother and a sister, and I will complete my studies at Brigham Young University after my mission.

Why I am a Mormon

I have been raised in the church since birth and have continued in it since. As a little kid, I came for the snacks (and because my parents took me every Sunday). As a Deacon, I came to be part of a Quorum, to learn my Priesthood responsibilities, and to be with my church friends. Now I go to church, in addition to fulfilling responsibilities, to learn about the Savior and strive to be more like Him. Membership in the church has grown to mean something infinitely essential to salvation. Something more than just going to meetings. It has meant taking on responsibility to make myself better, and actively helping and encouraging others to do the same. It is easy to forget, for a time, why we do what we do. Sometimes, it feels like such a routine of “Seminary, Mutual, Church, Repeat” that we cease to think about the What and Why, but focus on the When and Where. Seminary is early, Mutual is time-consuming, and Church often feels very long. But there are good reasons for these things. If we didn’t need to be reminded of God’s commandments, if we never sinned or made the wrong decision, and if we were never challenged or tempted in life, we would not need these activities. But we do need reminders, we do sin, we are challenged. All the time. This Gospel gives us a way to atone for our transgressions and progress to perfection in Heaven. It is incredibly necessary to all of our salvation. More than just bettering ourselves, the church helps members look beyond themselves, see the big picture, and use that knowledge to help others. The Priesthood is all about service, and our church is a selfless, service-oriented church. The Savior’s example of giving service and selfless love to everyone he met is the perfect way to return to Heaven. Once we love our neighbors more than ourselves and are willing to carry their burdens as well as our own, all the other commandments fall into place; all the other aspects of the gospel are easy.

How I live my faith

One individual who I know followed that advice was the prophet Joseph Smith. This incredible yet seemingly-ordinary boy of 14 was righteous enough to see the Father and the Son in the flesh. Later on, he remained righteous enough to be entrusted with the plates, righteous enough to translate them through the power of God, and righteous enough to become the first prophet, seer, and revelator of this dispensation. I've never thought much about whether I trust Joseph Smith. I believe that he was called of God, yes. I believe that he translated the Book of Mormon, yes. I believe that he was a prophet and that he preached the true gospel of God, of course. I suppose that the word "trust" infers a deeper faith. I believe that 1+1 is 2, but I don't trust that fact per se. To me, my "trust" in Joseph Smith means that I hold all of his teachings to be the truth, and I exercise faith in that belief because I place the meaning of my entire life upon the restored church and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's one of the only things I can trust. I am grateful for the testimony and example of Joseph Smith. I am grateful for the wonderful talk and testimony given by President Uchtdorf, not simply for providing much of my talk, but for the inspiration insights that he shares. I believe that the first vision happened exactly as Brother Joseph said it happened. I believe that he restored the church under the direction of Heavenly Father. I believe that we have amazing leaders in the church, that President Monson is a true prophet, seer, and revelator.