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Hi I'm Joel

I'm a swimmer, an artist, athlete, student, brother and son. And I'm a Mormon

About Me

I am just finishing up my freshman year at college and will be leaving for my two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints June 2017. I'm an artist and athlete. I love school, and I love competing for my team in the swimming pool. As far as hobbies go, if it has anything to do with water, family or creativity, I'm in!

Why I am a Mormon

Well, I was a born into a Mormon family, so I guess you could say I'm a Mormon because of my parents. However, I have had to learn it on my own, and I've done that by studying the Book of Mormon. One of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon is about a great king named Benjamin. He lived in a time when the people were very close with God. He gave a long and moving speech to his people. After he talked, this was the response of the people: "And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." Another story I love is of Alma the younger from the Book of Mormon. As a young man, Alma openly spoke against the church, and criticized all those that believed in it. Later, when traveling down a road with his followers, he was visited by an angel who told him the error of his ways. Quoting from scripture, this is what happened: "the angel of the Lord appeared unto them; and he descended as it were in a cloud; and he spake as it were with a voice of thunder, which caused the earth to shake upon which they stood." After hearing the words of the angel, Alma experienced this “mighty change of heart.” Afterwards, he described this change of heart as "waking out of a deep sleep; being filled with light; being freed from chains; having your soul expand; being born of God." What both of these stories have in common, and what I love about them, is they are about the “mighty change of heart.” I think that this is possibly the greatest thing about our church. It has the ability to change people… to make them better. And it changed my heart. And that's why I'm a Mormon.

How I live my faith

For me, right now, living my faith is all about answering one question: "Will I serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?" When it comes to most people's view of a mission, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I am choosing to leave for two years during a time in college that will help determine the rest of my life. I am choosing to give up swimming for two years until I return, at a time when I have achieved even more success in the sport than I was expecting. And lastly the hardest of all, I am choosing to say goodbye to: -my great coach, -my great team, -and my amazing family for two years. But I know, that despite how much of a sacrifice this is, it is also a great blessing. I believe that the true purpose of a mission is for changing hearts, both my own heart and the hearts of others. I know how much joy I have gained from being a member of this church, I would be nowhere without it, and because I have received so much joy, I know that I want to share it with others. And I believe that even if I am to only change one person’s heart over two years, that the sacrifice would be worth it.