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Hi I'm Clif Barber

I am professor of human development and family studies, and have worked at three public universities. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up on a small farm in the Northwestern region of the United States, and have fond memories of riding horses and camping in the mountains. In high school, I participated in the sport of wrestling, and was active in student government. After completing my first year of college, I served for 2 years as a missionary in southern Brazil, which proved to be a life-changing experience for me. In choosing a career, I was strongly influenced by the examples of those who taught the college courses in which I was enrolled. I was particularly attracted to teaching about family relationships, and conducting research that can be applied in ways that strengthen families and communities. As a result, I have spent almost 40 years as a professor of human development and family studies and as an administrator at three public universities. Most of my research has focused on issues related to aging in the context of family relationships. In my teaching, I have always tried to convey a strong belief reflected in a tagline that I coined several years ago: "Families are earth's orchards; tend them carefully". My recent research examines the extent to which religiosity is helpful for Mexican-American families caring for elderly parents. My wife and I have been married for 44 years. We have four children and nine grandchildren. Because both of my parents were artistic, one of my hobbies is using watercolors and pastels to create landscape paintings. I also enjoy doing family history research.

Why I am a Mormon

At one point in his ministry, Jesus asked his disciples: “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? They answered, “Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” Then he directed the question to them: “But whom say ye that I am?” Simon Peter answered: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” In response, Jesus said, “Blessed art thou…for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 16:14-17). Peter’s testimony was not the result of the reasoning of men, but the product of personal revelation from God. So it is with me, and why I am a Mormon. As much as my professional training has inclined me to learn by reasoning, in spiritual things I have followed the counsel given by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians: “The things of God knoweth no man, but [by] the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:11). Consequently, what anchors my soul to spiritual truths are “whisperings to my heart” that I cannot adequately explain to those who rely on solely on scientific proof and intellectual pondering. From this source, I have come to believe in existence of a loving and almighty God in heaven, who is the father of my spirit. In coming to earth, I was given a body in His image, and am here to walk by faith and learn obedience. I know that Jesus Christ is God’s Son, and believe that I can only return to God’s presence through the grace offered through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I believe the Church that Christ established on earth fell into apostasy after the apostles were killed, and that it was restored in the latter days through a prophet named Joseph Smith, who also translated the Book of Mormon from sacred records. I have read the Book of Mormon, and in praying about it have felt the sweet influence of the Holy Ghost affirming its truths, as well as the truth of other scripture, both ancient and modern.

How I live my faith

Although I always fall short, I am ever striving to follow the example of my Savior, Jesus Christ. He went “about doing good” (Acts 10:38), and was always patient and compassionate. Keeping His example in mind, I have always tried to recognize that my students have lives beyond the confines of the classroom and the campus. In one-on-one meetings with my students, conversations that begin with an academic concern often end up being focused on much broader issues involving family relationships and the role of life’s trials in growth and development. Additionally, in my career I have been very blessed to work with wonderful and outstanding colleagues…faculty, staff, and administrators. We have not always shared the same core beliefs, but I have always tried to respect their values. On those occasions when a few have challenged my values or been disrespectful of things I hold dear, I have tried to be patient and avoid conflict and confrontation. In the various communities and states where we have lived, I have always volunteered time to support organizations whose aims and missions are focused on improving the quality of life of older persons and their families. In my own “faith community”, I have worked with persons representing a broad range of ages. For a number of years, though, my efforts primarily involved youth ages 12-18. With them, I have engaged in and led discussions on a variety of topics, including relationship with parents, the value of education, the process of selecting a career, and the importance of managing financial resources. I have most enjoyed working with youth in outdoor settings, such as scout camp in the Colorado mountains, or a simulated pioneer trek on the wind-swept plains of Wyoming. Lastly, I have tried to be a loving father, husband, brother, son, and grandfather. I often don't "measure up" in terms of doing what Jesus would do, but I try very hard.