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Hi I'm Sandy

I grew up in a secular family with a Jewish heritage. In my early adulthood, I discovered the Restored Gospel.

About Me

Professionally, my original career was as a computer information analyst and corporate communications professional, which also included the roles of mainframe computer programmer, webmaster, photographer and graphic artist. However, in recent years, I finished law school, passed the bar exam, and am now an attorney who works within the national government. I'm married, with one daughter of high school age. My wife is herself a convert who was able to serve a full-time mission. I enjoy computers, photography, old TV and radio programs, shortwave radio, satellite communications, and other items of that nature. And, of course, I enjoy reading. Within the Church, my assignments (known as callings) have included assisting the missionaries, teaching in Sunday School, configuring Church computer equipment, leading priesthood quorums or groups, and serving as an assistant clerk.

Why I am a Mormon

For a number of people, the conversion experience begins through contact they have had with the full-time missionaries. Mine was not one of them. By way of background, my late father grew up in an orthodox Jewish family, the son of eastern-european immigrants. My mother, who is not Jewish, lived a secular life, and my father became that way also. Thus, my own experiences with religion were very limited. It was mostly based off of whatever I happened to see on the television. My experiences with the Church began with what I personally witnessed with a Latter-day Saint family who had pronounced a blessing over a meal. In retrospect at least, I felt the Spirit from that occasion, although at the time I could not articulate it in those terms. Even then, I did not ask questions of the family, but kept that experience in my mind. Later, I would read of the experiences other members have had in joining the Church and also began reading books regarding faith and doctrine. After a number of weeks, I began attending Church meetings, but I also explored Judaism and would also attend their meetings as often as circumstances would permit. At some point in the process, the missionaries were engaged, but that was really not how I joined--in fact, I took the lessons with them for over a year. For me, the path included getting my arms around Christianity (given my background), accepting Christ, and beginning to take the steps that a member would take. Ultimately, I received my own confirmation through the Holy Ghost that I have found the restored Gospel, and that the same is true. I must emphasize that this was not a one-time event, for experiences have continued following my baptism, even until now.

How I live my faith

The first answer I would give is that being a Mormon or a Latter-day Saint is not a once-a-week endeavor only. It is something that, as a family, is at the front of our minds, from morning family prayer, to the closing evening prayer at bedtime. When faced with a decision or challenge, and especially one having lifetime implications, one of the questions is whether the actions we contemplate are compatible with our spiritual well-being or eternal outlook. This is a spiritual question that requires a spiritual response, and so we strive to manage things accordingly. With our daughter, we strive for an environment that is always compatible with the Spirit, and teach her things to the end that she will continue to develop her own testimony.

What is the Law of Chastity?

Sandy
At a basic level, the Law of Chastity teaches us that there are to be no sexual relationships outside of marriage, and also to be virtuous in our thoughts. It further teaches that within the context of marriage, sexual relations are very sacred. Because the very definition of marriage has been disputed in a number of locales throughout the world, the Law of Chastity is to be viewed together with "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," defining marriage as between one man and one woman, and Official Declaration 1 in the Doctrine and Covenants, which ceased the practice of plural marriage among Latter-day Saints. Obviously the Law of Chastity encompasses conduct, but it is important to stress that it extends to what lies within our hearts, even if this were to remain unseen or unspoken. Show more Show less

How can I know Mormonism is true?

Sandy
The basic answer is that confirmation of the truths of the Restored Gospel come through personal revelation through the power of the Holy Ghost in response to prayer. A scripture often quoted in this regard is from the Book of Mormon, at Moroni 10:3-5. Stated differently, the Restored Gospel is true, not simply because someone had told me so --although sharing the Gospel is regarded as important-- but because I had received my own knowledge independent of anyone else. Show more Show less

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

Sandy
No. However, we recognize Joseph Smith as a prophet, seer, and revelator who was instrumental in the translation of the Book of Mormon, and in a broader sense, in responding to the commandments of the Lord in restoring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. It would not be uncommon to say that he is esteemed in the same way as one of the early prophets, such as Moses or Abraham. Show more Show less

How can I find someone to talk with, in person, about the Mormon religion?

Sandy
Through this web site, you have already started the journey. A friend or neighbor who you know to be a member of the Church would be another excellent resource. If you don't know anyone who is a member, and want to find someone to speak to directly, the next step would be to search for "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" in your local telephone directory, use the links within this site to start a chat or send a message, or call 888-537-6600 (within the United States or Canada). Show more Show less

What is a “testimony” that Mormons speak of?

Sandy
In a court of law, a witness is under oath to provide testimony of things that the person knows to be true, either because he or she witnessed a particular event, or in the case of an expert witness, the person testifies on the basis of his or her experience and training. In either case, the objective is to give relevant knowledge or information to a fact-finder that is intended to lead him or her to a decision. In our Church, we use the word "testimony" in much the same way. To have a testimony of the Restored Gospel is to speak from one's own knowledge that the things spoken of are true, such as the need for a Savior, His actual glorified existence in the present day, the need for a restoration of the Gospel and its present reality, and the role Joseph Smith had in it. That means that the person giving the testimony had to have received a spiritual witness of these things through the Holy Ghost. It is also often the case that when a person bears testimony, the Holy Ghost will bear witness to the things that are being said, and in that way, both the speaker and the listener are each edified. Show more Show less

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

Sandy
If a mission is defined as a formal period, typically 18-24 months, where one is dedicated to sharing the Gospel on a full-time basis, then my answer would be no. Perhaps the most prominent reason is that although a full-time mission is stongly encouraged, especially as to young men, there are also standards of worthiness that one must have in order to be able to go on a mission. In addition, there are instances--perhaps exceptional--where a Church leader may receive revelation that another course of action may be more appropriate for a given person. However, in another sense, the answer is yes in that we all have a responsibility and a commandment to share our testimonies with others. For example, in Mosiah 18:9 in the Book of Mormon, we read that one of the covenants that we make at baptism is to stand as witnesses of God at all times and places. This can be done without a formal calling. If, for instance, a member gives a Book of Mormon to a non-member neighbor, this is already an act of missionary work. Show more Show less

Why do Mormon missionaries proselyte?

Sandy
The basic answer is that missionaries proselyte, first, because they are the means of providing access to the Restored Gospel and to the scriptures, and in that sense, are a catalyst towards conversion; and second, because they have the inspired desire to do so. True conversion happens through the direct influence of the Holy Ghost. By "catalyst," then, what I mean is that the missionaries bring a seeker of truth to the point where he or she may have their own personal witness and testimony, through the power of the Holy Ghost, of the ideas that are being shared, and the things that are being taught. Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Sandy
From my own experiences, there are two basic reasons why the term is used. In the first, the word is used by a few persons of other faiths or denominations who express disagreement with certain elements of doctrine--for instance, the view that the Book of Mormon is additional scripture or that God continues to reveal Himself today through living prophets. In such instances, all we can do is to "agree to disagree." The other basic reason relates to a misconception or misunderstanding that Latter-day Saints, by following Church teachings or by adhering to certain norms of behavior, lose personal autonomy. In fact, what we teach is that our Heavenly Father gave us freedom to make choices for ourselves. We can choose to follow the teachings, or we can act otherwise. Either way, we are expected to accept the consequences of our choices. In other words, we are not compelled to take any specific course of action. However, we also teach that the greatest happiness, both in this life as well as beyond it, comes from following these teachings, and from following the guidance and counsel provided to us through the scriptures, through personal revelation, and yes, through a modern-day Prophet. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

Sandy
Emphatically, yes. We esteem Jesus Christ as a member of the Godhead who has personally taken upon Himself the sins of the world, and whose act of Atonement we rely upon if we are to have eternal life. He is central to our conduct and daily activities. The formal name of our Church incorporates His name. Show more Show less

Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorse political parties?

Sandy
No. Church leaders may, from time to time, outline positions regarding moral issues based upon the scriptures and upon revelation, but advises members to prayerfully choose the most qualified candidate, regardless of political affiliation, who share compatible views. Members are also encouraged to actively participate in their communities to the extent personal and family circumstances will allow, and to peacefully speak out on matters of interest or concern. Show more Show less

How can we stop the spread and influence of pornography?

Sandy
I believe there are three basic answers I can provide. The first is to avoid viewing or reading pornography ourselves. The second is to filter, as best as we can, what we allow to come into our homes, such as through the use of content filters on our computers, or ratings locks on our television, cable, or satellite systems. The third is to actively oppose the spread of pornography in our interactions with civic and government leaders. Show more Show less