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Hi I'm Jim Nolan

I grew up in the Bay Area in California, and I have lived in Santa Barbara for the past 25 years. I am a convert to the Church.

About Me

I am in my late 60s, I have 4 grown children, 3 step-children and 1 daughter. My wife died from cancer about four and half years ago. I live by myself in Santa Barbara, California and I retired as the manager of Information Technology at a medium sized manufacturing company in town several years ago. I joined the Church when I was 28, so my life before joining the Church seems like it happened to someone else because I am such a different person now. I joined the Marine Corps when I was 19 and I fought and was wounded in Vietnam before I was 21. I had a bad case of PTSD and struggled with life until joining the Church, meeting my wife, settling down, and starting on my path to becoming a "normal" person, husband, step-father, father, child of God, and most importantly Christian.

Why I am a Mormon

I joined the Church when I was 28 years old. I was single, I had been drifting and having a lot of trouble due to my PTSD. I had been out of the Marine Corps for 7 years. Two young missionaries knocked on my apartment door one rainy night in the Bay Area. They were soaking wet. I really didn't want to talk or anything, I just wanted to give them a break from the rain. We talked about the weather and other unimportant things until one of them asked would I like to learn more about their Church. I quickly answered no, but one of them quoted some scripture and talked briefly about it and asked if they could come back next Tuesday and just talk about religion in general, and for some reason I said, yes. They came as scheduled, but the talk didn't go very well. They told me all about Joseph Smith and then asked if believed them. It was a silly story, full of angels and golden plates. I was not impressed, but somehow they managed to make another appointment for the following Tuesday. When the fateful day came, I was determined that they would not get me to make another meeting. Before they arrived, I recalled that they gave me some things to look up in the Book of Mormon and they asked that before I read the from the book, would I pray to Heavenly Father to know if the book was true. So I prayed, sort of - I had never done so before and it was pretty basic - and then I read the scriptures. The first passage was interesting and I didn't know quite what to make of it. Then I read the second passage, Alma chapter 32. I read the passage and I was immediately overcome. I felt a warmth in my heart that burned through my whole body and I knew. I actually knew without a doubt, not just that the Book of Mormon was true, but that the Church was true, Joseph Smith was a Prophet and the current Church leader was a Prophet. The missionaries came in that night and I said, "You'll never guess what just happened to me." My life hasn't been the same since.

How I live my faith

I have come to realize the benefit and joy that comes from serving and helping others. I find it very important to focus on others and not myself. By being aware of the needs of others I have far less time to worry about my problems. I volunteer at UCSB every January to April (winter quarter) by participating in a religious studies class about the impact of the Vietnam war on people and society. I enjoy helping the students learn about the effects of war on the individual and society. I enjoy teaching lessons in Church to those who are not members yet and are investigating and learning about us. There are so many questions that people have and I like being able to talk to them and discuss the meaning of the gospel and especially learning about the things that set our Church apart from the other Christian faiths. One of the things we do in our Church that I enjoy very much is what we call Home Teaching. The men in the Ward (congregation) that are active, healthy and able to do so, each are assigned three or four families in the Ward to visit and check up on at least once a month. The women do the same thing and call it Visiting Teaching. I currently visit three families, one I have been seeing for over eight years. It has been such a joy to watch the children grow and be involved in their activities. They have three boys and a girl. The oldest boy served a mission and the next boy is on a mission now, in Ghana. All the boys have been active in sports. The girl, the youngest child, is almost 16. When I started seeing them, she was only 7 years old. It is so nice to see them grow and to visit them every month and bring them messages that reinforce the values and teachings that the parents are giving them. It's nice for families to have this kind of support where the children hear messages and values from someone outside the family. There are too many other things to mention them all here, but I really appreciate the influence of the Church in my life.