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Hi I'm Fred

I'm a retired cabinet maker and English teacher. I build boats and bamboo fly rods, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I am father to either six, seven, or nine children, depending on how you count. (Blended families are complicated, but fun.) At last count, my wife and I had twenty-five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. I'm retired, now, but during my life I have worked as a farm hand, janitor, dishwasher, fry cook, salesman, cabinet maker, English teacher, and technical writer. Today I'm more-or-less retired, but I still have a little Internet business editing other people's books online before they self-publish. I've finished one novel of my own, but I haven't found a publisher -- yet. My day will come. I have two more novels that are partially complete. I'm an avid gardener, and I enjoy bottling the produce and fruit I grow. I also enjoy fly fishing, and I tie my own flies, build my own rods (including three bamboo rods), and even build my own boats. My boys laugh and ask whether I'm going to start making my own hooks or braiding my own fly lines, too. Interesting ideas. Maybe I'll try it someday.

Why I am a Mormon

My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father was agnostic, so I was raised a Catholic. (Even Dad had trouble resisting Mom when she had her mind made up.) But even though I went to Mass regularly, I admired Dad's self-reliant, skeptical agnosticism, and I kind of drifted into not really believing in anything. In 1964, when we moved from California to Utah, I discovered what Mormons were. As a wannabee skeptic and agnostic, I decided that Mormonism was a religion for hicks, rubes, and hayseeds, and I didn't want to have anything to do with it. Over the next few years, my anti-Mormon views became more extreme, and I often argued with people about Mormonism. In 1977, I happened to be in an LDS sacrament meeting in the Rose Park Fifth Ward in Salt Lake City. During the meeting, a new bishop was announced and "sustained." I sat patiently, waiting for the meeting to end. During the closing song at the end of the meeting, both the new and the previous bishops got up and went to the back door so they could greet the congregation as they left. As the bishops stood up, something happened to me. I like to say that it was as if God opened the top of my head and started pouring knowledge in. I realized with perfect clarity that I was wrong in opposing the LDS Church. I could see how much harm I was doing to myself, my family, and my acquaintances. I knew in that moment that the Priesthood had been restored and that the bishops I was watching were true servants of God. I was completely overcome and started to cry uncontrollably. My family had no idea what was going on. They asked me what was wrong, but I couldn't speak. When I finally regained my composure, I told my wife that I knew the Church was true, and that I wanted to be baptized as quickly as possible. That was forty years ago. Since then, I have had occasional moments of doubt, but when the doubts arise, I remember the way I felt that day. And I remember why I'm a Mormon.

How I live my faith

Three times since I retired in 2015, my wife and I have travelled with a retired eye surgeon to Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico, to perform free cataract surgery for the poor. My wife is Dr. T's surgical assistant, and I run the autoclaves to sterilize their instruments between cases. In our most recent trip (April 2017) we gave sight to 120 people, several of whom had been almost completely blind for years. For several years -- at various times in several towns -- I have taught an adult Sunday-School class. I've been teaching in my current calling for about three years now. I enjoy teaching, because I feel like I learn about as much as everybody else in the class put together. My wife and I are currently planning to serve a twelve-month mission for the LDS Church, starting in June 2017. We'll be serving in Rochester, New York, in the "Cradle of the Restoration." I'm somewhere between excited and scared to death about the idea.