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Hi I'm Spencer

I'm a graduate student. I'm a nerd. I'm a Francophile. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I've lived in a few different places, but I've lived the longest in Kentucky, so I guess that's where I'm from. In December 2012, I graduated from Brigham Young University with a major in French Teaching and a minor in Political Science Teaching. I try to keep up with both fields: I've been studying French for over ten years, including two years as a Mormon missionary in France and Switzerland, and I'm a pretty big news junkie. After working as a French/Debate/Keyboarding teacher for a few months, I started the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology graduate program at Michigan State University in August 2013. I'm interested in using technology (especially games and simulations) to help students see why studying foreign languages, civics, history, and other fields in the humanities is important. I'm an admitted geek: I like Star Wars, board games, Wikipedia, Battlestar Galactica, comic books, Firefly, roleplaying games, webcomics, and Nerf guns. I've taken one year of Arabic, and I keep telling myself that I'll learn Esperanto, but I never get around to it. I'm married to my best friend, a beautiful girl from California who always makes me laugh.

Why I am a Mormon

Both of my parents are Mormon, and a lot of people assume that that's why I am too. I guess that's partly true: my parents have always taught me what they believed, and I've tried to follow their example. As I've grown older, though, I've personalized those beliefs. I am a Mormon not only because my parents are, but also because I choose to be. Some people ask me about all the rules in the Mormon church. I guess there are a lot of things that I'm expected to do as a Mormon, but I like to think of it as a training regimen for a spiritual marathon. It might be demanding, but it makes me stronger and more powerful. I know that God rewards us when we obey His commandments. That's why I've chosen to be a Mormon and live those rules: every time I do, I am rewarded. I have a peace and joy in my life that grows the more I follow the teachings of the Savior and His prophets.

How I live my faith

A few years ago, I was a teacher for a Sunday School class in a congregation for students specializing in foreign languages. I got to teach in French, which was a fun way to keep up the language! Even more fun, though, was getting the chance to really study the scriptures so that I could teach some stories to others. The other students in the class were wonderful and I felt like I learned more from them than they did from me! Even though I'm not a teacher anymore, I like to contribute in classes and complete the assignments that people give me. I enjoy giving talks, but I also worry about saying the right thing. When I'm not in church, I try to let people know about my religious beliefs. I try not to be pushy, but I make sure people know that I believe in God and that I don't drink, don't smoke, and don't swear. I love answering questions about my church, and I try to maintain and improve the image that people have of Mormons. When I'm on my own, I try to evaluate whether I'm living the standards that I've been taught. I want to be more like the Savior, and even though I'm far from it now, I'm doing my best to improve.

Why are only some Mormons allowed into temples? Is there something secret going on in Mormon Temples? What goes on in Mormon Temples?

Spencer
When I learned about the atom in elementary school, it was pretty basic. Something in the middle, and some rings going around it. In middle school, they taught me more about what those parts were called; in high school, they went so far as to teach me how it was organized. When I got to university, I figured I knew everything important about the atom, but my physical science professor taught me brand new things about the atom that took a lot of effort to understand. At first I felt betrayed by all my former teachers: why hadn't they told me these things? Then, I realized that to understand something so important, it was important to take it in steps. I believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the same way. God has a lot that He wants to teach us, but He can't do it all at once. When we're young, we go to classes for children, when we're older, we attend the adult classes, and when we're old enough and ready enough, we go to the temple. There's nothing secret about what goes on inside the temple. It's a place where we go to learn and to worship, and what we learn there is so sacred that it's reserved for those who have proved that they are ready. I didn't know much about the temple before I went, and I feel like I still have a lot to learn. I know that going to the temple is one of the most sacred learning experiences I will ever have, and I feel like it would cheapen this experience if I didn't have to prepare myself and make myself worthy to go there. Show more Show less

What is faith?

Spencer
Faith is trust. It's more than belief, it leads to action. You can build your faith by simple acts, like praying to God and asking Him to confirm to you that He is there. When He does confirm His presence to you, you can trust that He will answer your future prayers. As He does answer more and more prayers, your trust in God grows. When you've built up enough trust, you will have the confidence to do what God asks you to even though you aren't sure how it might work out. Show more Show less