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Hi I'm Darren

I'm a husband, father, dog lover, small business owner and nature lover. I'm blessed and happy, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up in a Mormon family in Southern California with five brothers and sisters. I always loved being outdoors and it became my career later in life (more on that). I served a mission in Italy (the southern part) and loved it. I taught a lot of people about the Gospel, and in turn, they taught me a lot about their lives and their love of God and of each other. All in all, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I loved Italy so much I majored in Italian (and other stuff). My wife transplanted me from California to Wisconsin in 1984. It wasn't that hard. For someone who loves water, it made sense to move from the desert to a state with 14,000 miles of rivers and streams. I have two kids, both on missions. My daughter is serving in the Italy Milan Mission and my son is serving in the Idaho Pocatello Mission. They are not only my children, they are my friends. Paddling is my passion, and the only thing better than paddling is getting someone else into it. It changes people's lives, and I guess that's why I decided to make my job my vocation. I feel extremely blessed to work with the best people in the world. The staff of my shop are not like my family, they are part of my family. Outside paddling I am an amateur blacksmith, woodworker and author. I write columns and essays for outdoor magazines and my first book will be published in Spring 2014. I have the coolest wife in the world who loves to paddle too.

Why I am a Mormon

I'm a sixth generation Mormon. My ancestors were converted to the Gospel in England 150 years ago and settled in Utah. My grandparents were great examples to me of being proud of their heritage. That said, I had to make my own decisions. There are times in my life where I had doubts, as do all, but I prayed and asked for guidance, as I still do daily. I was drawn to the Gospel because of the love the Saviour has for all of us...and I wanted to experience that directly and intimately. My testimony of Christ is that he is my Saviour, but just as importantly, he is my brother, and he loves me. I study other religions and philosophies, and there is much to learn from them...beyond the writings of some of the great Mormon theologians (Hugh Nibley, James Talmage, etc.), I also enjoy the writings of some of the early Christian writers like Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure, St. Augustine, and modern ones like Thomas Merton and C.S. Lewis. I love the Gospel because it makes me a better husband and a better father. It makes me a better businessman (really!) because I know that all my staff and all my customers are my brothers and sisters. .

How I live my faith

I live my faith in a few ways. First, I have callings in the church. I have been a youth instructor, adult instructor, nursery worker, president of our men's group, and I'm currently in the Bishopric of a Young Single Adult Ward. The service is important and it binds us together as a family. Second, I try to be a person who does what God would do if He were present. We are, I believe, the "boots on the ground" for God and Jesus Christ, who I believe expect us to love each other. The Good Samaritan is one of my favorite stories in the Bible...it was a good example to us, of course, but it's also an example of someone seeing past the labels we create for each other and helping a fellow child of God. Third, I try to be a good example. This doesn't mean I'm pious (frankly, I'm pretty rough around the edges sometimes), but my friends and everyone I contact knows I love them. I try to see the divine in everyone...it is always there. Always.

How can we stop the spread and influence of pornography?

Pornography is insidious. Because of the internet, people can consume pornography in secret. There is no reason to go to the X-rated video store and risk the shame of being seen there. Pornography is an addictive product, and it is designed to appeal to the basest impulses of man it is mostly a male problem. Pornography is evil for many reasons. My feeling is that it is most evil because it turns God's children from human beings into objects to be used for their own so-called pleasure. A child of God is precious. If we see a person as one of God's children, a child He loves as much a he loves all of us, we will not be tempted by pornography...if we avoid it and pray to God to help us see others as He sees them. I have seen pornography ruin marriages and lives. Men, please remember that if you are tempted. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons baptize their new members?

We baptise new members because we all need to be baptised by proper authority. It's a blessing for someone who creates a new life in the Gospel to be able to wash away their sins. Show more Show less

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

The Mormon Church does not endorse politicians or political parties. The Church does support legislation that supports our core beliefs. For example, when the State of Utah wanted to create a lottery, the Mormon Church encouraged members to not support that because gambling is against our values. While the Mormon Church membership may seem socially conservative, that may be due to the media focusing on members in the news who are conservative, such as Senator Hatch, Mitt Romney, Glenn Beck, etc. The Mormon Church is clear that these people do not speak for the Church, and their opinions are theirs and theirs alone. Celebrities who imply that they speak for the Church are not being truthful. The only people who speak for the Church are the prophets and apostles. There are many Mormons who are socially liberal who had strong testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am proud to be one of them. Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons have paid clergy?

My answer to that would be a Socratic question: "Why does everyone else have paid clergy?" If everyone does a little, then many hands make light work. When one of our members is in the hospital, we take turns going to see them to make sure they're okay. The principle is that we all share the load and do what we can do. Show more Show less

How are the activities of the Mormon missionaries funded?

I can tell you how they're funded. We write a check every month and send it to the church, and they forward that to our two children on missions. Some of the money came from their savings, most from their parents. It's a sacrifice for our family, but it is worth it. Frankly, when our son left I think we saved money because he ate so much. :-) Show more Show less

What are Mormon women like? Do Mormons believe in equality of men and women?

To quote Wallace Stegner, "their women are amazing." And they are. My wife is a great mother and fantastic wife. She also has a career as a math teacher. She contributes to our family income, but that's not why she teaches...it is her calling. She loves to help kids (especially girls) learn that they're not "dumb at math." A true Christian marriage is based on mutual respect and love, and if any man treats his wife as an inferior, he has already lost the most precious thing he can have. If you are not equal, you're not following Christ. The Church teaches men to respect and love their wives, and to lead the home as equals. Joseph Smith taught that a man who practices unrighteous dominion over anyone (including his wife) has lost his ability to have any influence and the priesthood he holds is pretty much worthless. Only by kindness and meekness and love can a couple be truly united. Differences are part of life, and my wife and I have had our share, but the important part is to resolve the conflict in God's way; on your knees, together in humility. Mormon women are strong, intelligent and spiritual. They have a huge impact on their families, their Church and the world. Show more Show less

Why is it important for us to take care of our bodies? Why are our bodies called temples of God in the Bible?

Let's say you gave someone a nice coat. The next time you go to their house, you see it on the floor, covered with dirt and grease and mud. You feel horrible...is that how they treat your gift? That was a precious coat, and it's being used for a doormat. God gave us amazing bodies. They can do wonderful things, and when we abuse them, it's like throwing the coat on the floor. You can disrespect your body by eating bad food, too much food, smoking or taking drugs, getting drunk and not keeping yourself clean. Treating God's gift of your body healthy is a great way to show Him you're grateful for your life. Show more Show less