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Hi I'm James.

I'm a Texan, geologist, family man, and I'm a Mormon!

About Me

I'm a husband to an amazing wife, as well as a father to four small children. I love my family, weekends, science-fiction, and good music. I'm a geologist by trade, but I'm also interested in other areas of science as well as politics, history, and watching movies. However, what I'm really passionate about is theology and LDS scholarship. I love studying the scriptures and Church history and thinking about, writing about, and talking about LDS beliefs. I'm especially interested in Book of Mormon research, inter-faith dialogue, and in sharing the gospel. I'm a volunteer at FairMormon.org, a group of faithful LDS defenders and researchers. I'm a native born and raised Texan, and proud of it. I've also lived in Oklahoma, and consider it my second home.

Why I am a Mormon

Being a Mormon is such a strong part of my identity. On occasion I am asked why I've chosen to be a Mormon. I like to say that my decision is supported by three pillars: spiritual experience, reason, and practical benefits. (1) I've had sacred spiritual experiences with Deity that have led me to find strength, comfort and peace in the gospel. They have guided me into becoming a better person than I could be on my own. But more than that, I believe that God has spoken to my heart and my mind that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His sanctioned institution on Earth. (2) Through my own personal study of the gospel I've come to find that LDS teachings are intellectually satisfying. There is nothing that shouts "false" to me, and there are many things which shout "true" to me. I'm continually engaged in this study and I really enjoy and am thankful for LDS scholarship (and non-LDS scholarship) on these topics. (3) Finally, I've observed that I am at my happiest when I'm following the teachings of LDS leaders. When I'm faithful to my covenants with God I have the Holy Spirit with me. I've been blessed materially as well, which I attribute to living my life as a Mormon. Living the lifestyle of a Latter-day Saints is a very happy way to live. That observation alone compels me to be a member of this Church. I'm fond of a quote by Joseph Smith that says, ..."and if we [Mormons] go to hell, we will turn the devils out of doors and make a heaven of it." Latter-day Saints are the happiest people on Earth! These are the three pillars of my faith. The scientist within me is continually examining my beliefs, and the child of God within me is continually at peace and happy with my choice to follow Jesus Christ by belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

How I live my faith

I've had the opportunity to do lots of neat things as a member of the LDS Church. Perhaps the most noteworthy among them was the two years I spent as a missionary in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, serving and teaching the people about Jesus Christ. I've also been a volunteer Sunday School teacher, I've served as a counselor to the "bishop" (the leader of a local congregation), and I've had the chance to participate in many service projects (from cleaning up hurricane debris, to painting a house, to singing Christmas carols for the retirement home).

What is being a Mormon like?

Being a Mormon is awesome! I especially enjoy being a Mormon in Texas/Oklahoma, where I am a religious minority. It gives me the chance to be different and set an example to those who don't know a lot about Mormons or Mormonism. I love the peace of knowing that I will be eternally linked to my family members, especially to my wonderful wife. I can't imagine heaven without the relationships with family and friends that I have now. Being a Mormon has allowed me to view the universe and the Earth through a prism of faith, while remaining free (even encouraged) to pursue all scientific avenues of inquiry. Mormonism is surprisingly progressive in its embrace of all truth, no matter where it comes from. Joseph Smith once said, "We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true "Mormons." I love that. Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons drink coffee, tea, or alcohol? What is the Mormon Church’s law of health and proper diet?

I live and follow the Word of Wisdom as currently interpreted by modern Prophets. This means I abstain from tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, and illegal drug consumption. For me the Word of Wisdom is less about health concerns and more about obedience. Like the ancient Israelites of old, our idiosyncratic health code serves as a social marker to distinguish us from the world and set us apart as a "peculiar people". I can't tell you how many gospel conversations I've had that resulted in someone asking me about the Word of Wisdom. Not only am I healthier physically because I live the Word of Wisdom, I am also part of a community of saints bound together by a common dedication to obedience and faith in the Lord's wisdom. Show more Show less