Friday, 24 May 2013

Who am I? Where did I come from?

Being the first post, I think it only fair to tell you a bit about myself.

My name is Paul and I currently live in Ottawa, Canada. Although my Dad did not join the church until I was 9, I was essentially raised in an LDS home (my Mom converted years before I was born).  The only lifestyle change my Dad had to make when he joined was to give up coffee and start coming with us on Sunday.  A year after Dad was baptized we were sealed as a family and I still remember the feeling of calm as we waited in the temple for my parents to finish their endowments before going to the sealing room.

I have always lived where Mormon are a tiny minority, and the church has always been important to me.  I never had to be dragged to church, or reminded to pray before going to bed.  No teenage rebellion, no wrestling with the decision to serve a mission or not.  I had a strong internal motivation to do what was right.  Because I was very focused on serving a mission from Primary on up, I studied the gospel diligently as I completed all four years of seminary. Yeah, I was a strange kid, but I didn't get in people's face about it.  I wasn't some obnoxious, overzealous holier-than-thou jerk.  All this is in no way intended to sound like a boast, I have my sins and flaws and weaknesses like everybody else, and you'll probably see evidence of that here from time to time. 

When I was 17 I met a girl at a youth conference dance and I fell in love with her that night.  After the dance I was thinking of how amazing she was and God decided to jump into my internal conversation to tell me very clearly that she was the one.  He had to tell me three times to get past my too-good-to-be-true defenses. Lucky for me I had enough sense to realized that sharing this revelation with a 15 year old girl I only just met would be a bad idea, so I didn't tell her about that until after we were engaged.

Sheri lived 100 miles away in another Stake so we had a long distance relationship for 2 years without the advantages (or disadvantages) of cell phones and the internet.  Exactly two years to the day after we met I was ordained a missionary and took off to England and it became a very long distance relationship.  Shortly after I returned we decided we had enough of this and got engaged.  I moved so we could be in the same city at long last, and we married in the Washington DC temple.  We are currently in our 25th year of marriage and have 6 amazing kids.

Over the years I've served as a Sunday School teacher for youth and adults, Cub Leader, Primary teacher, Ward Clerk, Ward Mission Leader, Elder's Quorum President, and other callings as well.  My wife has almost always been in Primary, usually doing the music.  She has a love for little kids that is endless and a gift in working with them.

I'm a very traditional, conservative, Mormon.  I like to think of myself as being very well  informed about the gospel and the church but I'm always happy to learn more and understand better.  I've done a fair amount of amateur apologetics online, taking on hostile anti-Mormons often enough to know that they don't have a leg to stand on, and they rarely will be honest with themselves enough to admit when they are wrong so there are better ways to spend my time.

I'm very conservative in my politics as well and I see a lot of connections between gospel principles and the principles of good government.  The Book of Mormon has an amazing amount of content that relates to politics and government.  I pay close attention to what goes on both in the USA and Canada (having a vested interest in both), and also around the world.  And by conservative I'm talking about ideology, not about political parties.  I have volunteered to help local candidates I believed in, but I would never run for office myself.  I also wrote a number of op-ed articles for Canada Free Press several years ago.

I have very clear ideas of what is right and what is wrong and those ideas are not influenced much at all by what is popular with the world or what is politically correct.  I'm not inflexible though, I don't  look down on people for holding opinions I disagree with.  In fact I love having conversations with such people as long as they are intellectually honest about it.  It helps me understand both their view and my own better, and I would rather be corrected of a wrong idea than win a debate for the wrong side.

I love movies of all kinds as long as they are true to human nature and not pushing some agenda rooted in false ideas, and I especially enjoy good science fiction/fantasy.  Stuff like Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, Stargate, X-Files, etc.  I also spend a lot of time online keeping up with current events, learning about topics of personal interest, doing research for personal projects etc.  I hope someday to find the discipline to write the several novels and screenplays floating around in my head, as well as the discipline to shed this extra weight I've picked up since my 20's.

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