Hi, I’m John McConkie
I’m a designer, an architect, a reader, a runner, and a family guy. I’m a Mormon.
Oh, and I also love deep conversations, music, philosophy, thinking, psychology, writing, poetry, sketching, painting, hiking, camping, cycling, and… the list goes on and on. I think there is an endless stream of good things to experience in life – things that are meaningful and fascinating. If you ever feel that you have so many interests that you have to pare things down, then you and I have something in common.
I love to live life with passion and intensity! I like to get the most out of life – enjoy it for all it’s worth. I would rather miss out on a little sleep than miss an opportunity that might not come around again. More than that, I love to share those things that have meaning with a friend. Having something in common like that really strengthens relationships, especially those that matter most. I don’t know what I would do without my family and close friends – people who care and stand by me in any circumstance, even when life isn’t so inspiring.
My favorite person to share with is my beautiful wife. She and I have been married for sixteen years and we have a family of three boys and two girls. They are a lot of work, but a LOT of fun! We have great times together. There is never a dull moment at our house, not unless everyone is gone. We may not have a perfect marriage, or a perfect family, but we definitely have something special that is worth cherishing!
For most of my life I have lived in Utah and I love it! I love the mountains and prairies, the beautiful snow, the deep forests, and the red rock deserts. Besides Utah, I have spent a lot of time living in California, too. It’s my other home. Give me a beach with a view of the ocean and I’m more than content. Most of the time, however, home is more of an attitude. When I am surrounded by my favorite people in the world, I can’t think of a better place to call home than that.
Why I am a Mormon
I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t acknowledge that I am a Mormon because of my family, at least to start with. Many of my family lines have been members of the church for eight generations and were among the pioneers who first came by wagon to settle the west. All the stories you may have heard about the Mormons coming west, well, that was them. They had a lot of faith. They left a lot behind, and they also left me a rich heritage of courage and determination that has shaped who I am. Yet that isn’t enough to for me to be a Mormon. You see, I’m big on experience, especially experiencing things for myself.
I’m a Mormon because of my own faith and what I have learned. I’m not a skeptic, but I tend to question everything. I want to know why, and I want to know for myself. Taking things on “good faith” isn’t enough for me. I want my own faith. I want to believe in something because it is right, and not just because someone else said so.
When I was younger – when I was in high school, in fact – I had an experience that changed me, or at least changed the way I thought about spiritual things. I had been taught to read the scriptures as a way to feel closer to God. I had read in the Old and New Testaments, and the Book of Mormon, and I believed they were true. I knew they were a record of God’s dealings with His children, but I hadn’t quite internalized them yet. That’s when things changed.
On one occasion, I was reading in the Book of Mormon when I felt something different. It wasn’t dramatic, and I didn’t see angels, but I felt something. It was while I was reading the story of a young man named Nephi. He was a good role model, but he seemed a little out of reach, like he was something that I couldn’t be. Nephi always seemed to be obedient. He wasn’t rebellious and he didn’t complain. Instead, he did his best to learn what God wanted him to do and then he did it, or so I thought.
I gained a new appreciation for Nephi, when I came to the part where he mentioned his weaknesses. I was shocked. Instead of thinking that he was close to perfect, I listened to him express his frustrations about temptations and how they could so easily overwhelm him. Suddenly I realized that this role model of a prophet was more like me than I had thought. I could relate, and that started a change. A small feeling of hope began to grow. That is when I felt something else.
As I continued to read, I experienced a comforting feeling that just felt good. It was peaceful yet inspiring and energizing. It felt new but familiar at the same time. Looking back, I believe it was something I had felt before but hadn’t quite recognized. That something was the witness of the Holy Ghost. I remember the impression coming to my mind that the words I had just read were true. The account wasn’t just a story. It was a true experience of someone who wasn’t that different from me. I felt like I had just made a friend because we shared something in common and he had given me encouragement.
This instance led me to other experiences in the scriptures where I learned more about the ministry of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Instead of just reading, I internalized it. I studied the promises made to ancient prophets in the Old Testament, and I read about the appearance of Jesus Christ to the ancient people on this continent after His resurrection. Again and again I had that same confirming feeling that what I read was true. When I experienced this feeling, I felt connected with God – that somehow He was able to communicate with me through that comforting feeling to let me know he was pleased with what I was doing.
This feeling of closeness to God is the reason why I am a Mormon. When I learn something new and I get that feeling, I know I am heading in the right direction. I may be far from perfect, but that feeling gives me confidence. It also gives me a greater reason to have faith and make good choices when things are hard. The more I have learned about my own faith, the more I have felt that comforting feeling.
I know God lives, and I know He will speak to us through the feelings of the Holy Spirit. I Know Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Because of what I have felt, I know the Book of Mormon is true, and I know the Bible is true. This feeling of peace and comfort guides me in everything that I do. I know it is a pattern that God wants for all of His children.
How I Live My Faith
I don’t think my faith needs to be showy, but it should be apparent in how I live each day. For me, it starts with prayer. Because I believe in God, I pray to Him in the morning when I wake up. I kneel down at night, and sometimes I pray while I am I’m driving in my car. Wherever I am, I try not to let my prayers be repetitive. Since God is our Father in Heaven, I try to talk to Him like my father. I express my gratitude for how He has blessed me, and I ask Him for direction. When I do, I feel the influence of the Holy Spirit guide me to make good choices.
In addition to daily prayer, I still try to read in the scriptures every day. Some days it may be just a few verses, and other times I get to study a subject more in depth. As often as I do this with the intent to increase my faith and repent, I feel that connection with God that I felt years ago when I was in high school.
Quite often, praying and reading the scriptures is just a small part of how I live. The real test is how I act during the week when I’m not at church. It shows in the way I treat other people when I am at work. It also shows in the types of things I do when I have spare time. I am happier when I try to live like Jesus did. The gospel of Jesus Christ is so closely woven into everything I do. It has made me a kinder person. I am more patient and less selfish. I feel so much better when I am focusing outward toward others instead of just satisfying my own interests.
Living my faith has made our home a much better place, too. My love for my wife increases as I feel closer to God. When I try to follow Jesus Christ, I feel like a better husband and a better dad. If I can be a greater example, it’s more likely that our kids will try to do the same. This gives us the best chance possible to feel the comforting influence of the Holy Spirit in our home. When all of us feel that influence, we want to be better. We try harder. We have a deeper motivation to forgive each other and we are much, much happier. And to think, it all starts with faith.
Serving in the church gives me another opportunity to live my faith. Each member of a congregation is given a calling, or an opportunity to serve as a teacher, a leader, or some other role that can bless someone else. Quite often I have been given callings where I had no experience in that area beforehand. I have served as a scoutmaster, a choir director, a teacher, and numerous other callings. I have even served as a full-time missionary for two years. Each calling has provided me an opportunity to rely on God for help and become something that I wasn’t before. This has taken faith on my part, but has been well worth it. I have really enjoyed the different callings I have had.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Mormon Temples Used For?
We consider the temple to be the House of the Lord. It is a special place of worship where members must prepare themselves spiritually in order to enter. It is also a place where we can feel the influence of the Holy Spirit without the distractions of the world.
Inside the temple we learn about God’s plan for His children and what we must do in order to live with Him again. Those who go to the temple do so to make promises to God, called covenants. They promise to be obedient to His commandments as a demonstration of their commitment to Him. In return, God promises His children blessings in this life and in the life to come.
These covenants are made during sacred ceremonies, called ordinances. One example is marriages that are performed not just until death, but for eternity, making it possible for families to be together forever. Without these covenants and ordinances, we cannot receive all the fullest blessings that God has prepared for His children.
While members of the church enter the temple to participate in these sacred ceremonies for themselves, they also return again and again to perform these ordinances vicariously in behalf of those who are deceased but may not have been able to enter a holy temple. For instance, someone who did not have the opportunity to be baptized during their lifetime may have the baptism performed for them so that they can choose whether or not to accept this work done in their behalf. This is the primary reason why members of the church research genealogy and their family history.
The temple happens to be my favorite place on earth. Whenever I need additional guidance in my life, or I desire to be closer to God, I go to the temple to worship and ponder solutions to my problems. When I go to the temple, I feel such a comforting, peaceful feeling that makes it easier for me to think about God and my relationship with Him. I love how I feel when I worship in the temple.
Why/How do you share the gospel with your friends?
I love to share what I have learned with anyone who is interested. I have been given so many blessings by God, and I have been blessed by so many others who have been kind to me, I hope I can do something to share what I have been given. Most often this happens in conversation. "Hey, guess what happened to me? I just discovered the coolest thing! Would you like to come with me? I think you would enjoy this." The best way to share things that matter most is to share it with a friend.
For more information about Mormons and what they believe, or if you would like to create your own profile on why you are a Mormon, visit:
This is not an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am solely responsible for the views expressed here.