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Hi I'm Josh

About Me

I'm a teacher. I've taught Spanish for 16 years, and I've recently begun a new career teaching English as a second language.. I'm a husband and father of three. And in my free time, or between rushing here and there, I'm a musician. I played woodwinds for many years until I had a hand injury that prevented me from continuing to play some instruments. I continue to play piano as much as I can, flute, recorder, and to sing. And most recently, I have learned to play the guitar. I love many types of music, such as classical, jazz, religious music, and various ethnic styles of music, particularly Hispanic folk music, Andean music, bossa nova, Celtic music, and Sephardic and Klezmer traditions.

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised as a Latter-day Saint, but I would choose it 100 times over if I had the chance. My parents were both converts, and met when they were both already members. I'm grateful to have had parents with deep convictions and who invested the time to teach us and make sure we learned from the scriptures. I knew the Bible and Book of Mormon stories well growing up, which was a great strength to me when I was an adolescent. At age 14, I began to read the Book of Mormon seriously for myself when I felt like I was in a time of personal crisis. I worked at being consistent in reading every day. I wasn't perfect, but I kept up my efforts. I was so enriched and encouraged by discovering for myself such wonderful heroes, like Nephi, Alma the elder and Alma the younger, Captain Moroni, Ammon, Mormon, and many others. I felt like they were my personal friends and heroes. Their counsel taught me to gain self mastery, to pray, to be humble, kind and pure minded, to seek out the influence of the Spirit in my life, to repent, to have hope, and ultimately to know God better. The Book of Mormon significantly shaped the foundations of my life from a young age and continues to be a strong influence in my life. It is now a significant positive force in the lives of my children as we read to them each night and discuss the principles and lessons taught in the Book of Mormon. The spiritual and moral impact of the Book of Mormon stands as a witness to me of its power and correctness, and by extension of the divine origins of the restored Church of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon also helped me as I began to study the Bible on my own as well. Over the years, I have become increasingly impressed by the deep and powerful connections that these two books have. There is such a richness of meaning that these two books bring to my personal life, as well as to my understanding of the prophecies, and in recognizing the active role that God is playing in the world today. I have come to understand that God has a plan for our world, and a major part of that plan is to bring us together to a unity of faith and knowledge about Him. I rejoice in the good that so many other churches and organizations are bringing about. I feel a deep passion about standing together with our brothers and sisters of other faiths, with whom we share so much of our vision of what is good and what God has called us all to do in the world. I wish I could reach out and invite everyone to honestly and sincerely read the Book of Mormon and benefit from the heroes, the counsel, and the spiritual strength that I have.

How I live my faith

I am open about what I believe and talk to friends or associates if they are interested. I respect others' views and rejoice in the traditions and good things they believe. I have served in the church my whole life. I have held various responsibilities in the church over the years. I served a full time mission for two years. I taught the 9-10 year-olds for a couple years, directed choirs for several years, taught in the Sunday School, served in priesthood leadership, served as a clerk over financial and membership records, as a local missionary and mission leader, and currently as organist. And of course I have been a home teacher since I was a teenager, which has given me the opportunity to visit with various families each month, keep up with their lives, and help them in very direct and personal ways. I'm happy to serve in the church because I love feeling like I'm giving something positive to others and that the church is helping me develop talents or have experiences I wouldn't otherwise have. I'm grateful to have been a good influence on people who look to the church for strength, assistance, and encouragement. And I feel it a wonderful blessing to have given of my time and talents voluntarily. That's what we all do, whether our callings are large or small. It's one of those things that makes us feel like a family at church.

How can I know Mormonism is true?

This question always reminds me of the issue faced by those who lived at the time of Christ’s mortal ministry. How could they know that Jesus was truly the Messiah or that he was the Son of God? Of course, many of them saw him perform miracles. But there were also many who saw the miracles and did not believe. So the answer ultimately lies elsewhere, namely in a person’s responsiveness to the whisperings of the Spirit, and the trust they place in that influence to guide them, even in the face of fear and doubt. It was Simon Peter who was inspired to bear witness of Jesus saying, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” to which Jesus responded, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:16-17). And when Jesus was questioned by the religious and legal leaders about his own identity and authority, he called upon six witnesses besides his own: the witness of the Spirit, the witness of his Father, the witness of John the Baptist as a mortal witness, the witness of his own acts of goodness and godliness, the witness of the scriptures themselves (which would require a re-evaluation of the interpretive traditions of his day), and the witness that a person would receive if they obeyed what he had taught (John 5:31 – 39; 8: 12-14, 17-18; 7:16 – 18). If we would count ourselves among those who would have accepted Jesus as the Christ and counted ourselves as Christians at that time, then we must have been among those who believed the witnesses that Jesus presented. The standard we must meet today is no different. The restored doctrines, the revelations, the Book of Mormon, all of these things must satisfy the same tests of testimony. How can we know if any church or any preaching or principle is true, whether it be “Mormonism” or any other doctrine? We must first listen to learn rather than to criticize (1 Corintians 13: 7). We must allow ourselves the possibility that our current or prior understandings, no matter how well intentioned or faith based, might not be complete or might contain some inaccuracies upon which we can improve (Isaiah 28: 10; 29: 14). We must take those questions to God and expect him to be responsive to us (James 1:5-6). Of course he doesn’t always respond on our time table or in the way we expect him to, but he has ways of letting us know that he sees us, knows our hearts, and loves us, and will guide us to truth, wisdom, and goodness, even at times and in ways that will surprise us. We cannot be the ones to tell God that he has already spoken and so must not speak again, or that he may act in power, but then prescribe to him the limits of that power. There must be a full acceptance of God’s authority and autonomy, a willingness to learn through obedience or through a trial of faith, rather than setting preconditions for obedience (John 7:16 – 18). Of course, I don’t mean to imply that we should be foolish, gullible, reckless in what we try out or embrace, or rash in our approach. The steps or principles I have outlined are scriptural and should be followed thoughtfully, prayerfully, carefully, and with much study. But in the end, we should neither expect the answer to come only in reasoned or academic arguments, nor in showy signs or miracles. Instead, we must value, trust, and seek out the testimony of Peter for ourselves, namely to gain knowledge by inspiration directly from God to our hearts and minds. As Christ very simply put it, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7 - 8). And again, “If ye have faith, and doubt not,… all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:21 – 22). How could the answer be anything but to ask God and to trust him that he can answer? If you learn all you can from positive and trustworthy sources, do your best to obey God's will the best you understand it, and ask God if you are on the right course, he will surely hear your prayers and guide you in ways that are personal and meaningful. Show more Show less