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Hi I'm Jeff

My wife and I have two beautiful daughters—one with severe disabilities. I'm a Scout leader, a magazine editor, and a Mormon.

About Me

I am a husband: I was blessed to marry a wonderfully talented, brilliant, beautiful, and faithful woman. Together, we enjoy playing board games (like Ticket to Ride), attending music concerts and theater productions, hiking in the mountains, and attending a monthly book group with friends. I am a father: One of my favorite phrases to hear is "Thanks, Dad." My wife and I have two beautiful daughters. Our oldest is, like her mother, highly intelligent, musically gifted, fun to be with, and passionate about reading. Our younger daughter suffered severe brain damage at birth; she functions at about a 3-month-old level physically and (as far as we can tell) intellectually. She is not mobile or able to communicate. She is fed by a tube and has frequent seizures. But she has a beautiful smile and a contagious laugh and greets me each day with a big grin when we sing "We're so Glad when Daddy Comes Home." I am a magazine editor: I work with talented writers, editors, and designers in creating a print and online publication for more than 200,000 people. I enjoy the creative process and am gratified by letters from readers who find inspiration and insight in the content we produce. I am a son of God: I find great fulfillment in my spiritual relationship with my Heavenly Father. I have a deep faith in Him, His Son Jesus Christ, and His plan for me. That faith fills me with hope and strength and inspires me to strive harder to serve Him and His children.

Why I am a Mormon

As a child I learned the gospel from my parents and was baptized when I was 8 years old. When I was 12, I made a choice that became significant in my life. In my school, each day began with a short reading period, during which we could read any book we chose. I chose to read the Book of Mormon. For much of that school year I carried the book, with its bright-blue cover, to school and read it during "zero period." I recall walking the halls with my book under my arm, feeling self-conscious of the bright cover and the occasional teasing comments. But I also vividly remember sitting in the back of the large red-carpeted music room and reading stories of generals and kings, of fathers and brothers, of missionaries and prophets. These were real people—I could see that—and their stories of faithful tenacity coupled with their words of testimony found a home in my heart. I grew to love the Book of Mormon and I felt of its truth. I finished the Book of Mormon that year, but I did not stop reading it. I returned to it again and again through my teenage years, becoming more familiar with the people, their stories, and their faith. These people, I learned, knew of Jesus Christ and they spoke and wrote abundantly of His life and mission. And after His resurrection, He visited these people—the other sheep He spoke of to His disciples in Jerusalem. I loved reading His words to the Book of Mormon people and learning of the miracles He performed among them. At the same time, I studied the Bible, learning of the Savior's ministry in the Old World and finding mutually strengthening similarities between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. As I continue to read the Book of Mormon today, 30 years later, I still find messages that develop my character and and my faith in Jesus Christ. I love the Book of Mormon. I love the people whose stories it contains. I love the truths it teaches. I love the Savior it reveals. And I know that it is true.

How I live my faith

Boy Scouting has been a big part of my life. As a boy I enjoyed Pinewood Derby races (I still have my second-place car) and summer camps. Through Scouting I gained many valuable skills that I use still today, and I learned much about leadership and service. I will be ever grateful for the adult leaders who taught and mentored me in my youth. In my adult life I have had many opportunities to return the favor, as many of my church assignments have been Scouting related, and I have spent several years as a Scout leader of one kind or another. This means I frequently find myself lying in a sleeping bag in a small tent, tossing and turning through a restless night. :) I love camping with Scouts (despite the sleepless nights). We have a great time together, exploring natural wonders, hiking, telling stories around a fire, playing games, and learning new skills. I find great joy in watching young men progress; I have been at it long enough to see energetic 12 year olds become responsible 16 year olds turn into diligent college students develop into devoted husbands. Of course Scouting can't claim credit for all that growth, but it certainly contributes, and seeing rambunctious boys become good men makes all the long, cold nights worth it. I love being a Scout leader. The gospel of Jesus Christ affects every aspect of my life, from church assignments (like Scouting) to the way I treat others to my life goals and priorities. I have recently adopted a passage of scripture as a sort of motto for my life. Although I still have a long way to go toward this ideal, I hope that someday my efforts at living the gospel can reflect the values expressed in this scripture: "And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end" (Alma 27:27).

Why do Mormons perform proxy baptisms in their temples?

A friend once expressed to me a concern regarding her church. She had deep faith in the Savior and in her religion, but the priests of her church taught that theirs was the one true church and that to be saved, one must be baptized in their church. No one else had a chance, including the millions who have lived in places or times without access to her church. This doctrine troubled her because it condemned so many to hell through no fault of their own. She wondered if my church taught the same thing. I was grateful to be able to tell her that although our doctrine is similar (ours is the one true Church and salvation is found only here), we also have a beautiful doctrine about the redemption of the dead. After this life there is a waiting period (before resurrection and judgment) called the spirit world. There, those who know the truth teach the gospel to those who do not. In this way, all people who have ever lived—in any place or time—will have an opportunity to learn the truth. Those who accept the truth then need baptism, but as spirits they cannot participate in a physical ordinance. This is why we are baptized for our dead ancestors in temples, in the hope that they will accept the gospel and the baptism we have performed for them. To me, this is one of the most wonderful doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is one of the greatest evidences that the Lord is both merciful and just and that the reach of His Atoning grace is, indeed, infinite and eternal. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

The most sacred moment of my week occurs each Sunday when I partake of the sacrament (the Lord's Supper) in remembrance of Jesus Christ's body and blood. One sacrament service years ago was particularly meaningful to me. As the ordinance neared completion, we ran out of cups of water (which we use in place of wine). Our large congregation sat quietly as new cups were filled and the prayer was said. Then I watched with surprise as the water was presented to only one person—a teenage young man. This experience touched me deeply. For several minutes, more than 300 people waited so one person—a mere boy, really—might drink the water in remembrance of Jesus' sacrifice. What a striking witness of the sacred, personal nature of the sacrament—and the Atonement it represents. During the sacrament, my heart is often stirred with profound gratitude and love for Jesus Christ. I frequently feel the spirit of God, witnessing to me that Jesus—that perfect, holy Son of God—suffered for my sins. Though I am imperfect, weak, and prone to error, I have a part, individually, in His matchless gift of grace. Are Mormons Christian? To be Christian, to me, is to accept the Savior's Atonement personally. To be Christian is to be born again in Christ, having a change of heart that affects every aspect of one's life. To be Christian is to have a vibrant faith in and devotion to Jesus and to seek to follow Him daily. Are Mormons Christian? Am I Christian? I pray earnestly that I am and that we are. Show more Show less