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I am a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was just on fifteen years old when I joined the Church. I believe that for a fifteen-year-old I was rather philosophical and sought answers to the great questions of life, such as: ”What is the meaning and purpose of life?’

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its gospel teachings I found the answers to these questions—answers that made sense—and a model of existence that was consistent within itself and harmonious with the world as I knew it. I realised that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could truly justify its claim to be a restoration of the church that Jesus Christ established on the Earth nearly 2000 years ago. The Church greatly expanded my mind and continues to do so over fifty years later.

I have found the teachings of the Church to be profoundly deep, and on many levels of spiritual and intellectual thought. The Church is rich in intellectual and academic scholars. Their studies and research give even greater credence to the claim that the Church is truly the restored church of Jesus Christ and its leaders hold His true priesthood on this Earth. The great minds of the Church have opened my mind and raised me to a greater level of understanding and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ than I had otherwise been able to reach. I consider myself fortunate to live in a time when an irresistible amount of evidence for the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the reality of Joseph Smith as a prophet of God is available to us. The teachings of the Church have indeed been placed on a solid foundation.

My thirty-five years as a teacher of university courses also taught me a great deal about both my subject of mathematics education and about people and how they learn. Through the study of mathematics and physics and the laws that govern this universe I came to stand in awe of the master mathematician and scientist who planned and created this Earth that we might enjoy mortality. I also learned the futility of applying purely human reasoning to spiritual matters. Arguments whose axioms exclude the possibility of the existence of God or of events not explicable by scientific observation are guaranteed to also exclude answers to spiritual questions.

Joining the (LDS) Church was like stepping out of the darkness and into the light. For Latter-day Saints life is an endless search for truth and light. Education and learning are fundamental facets of the Church. I was privileged to spend my professional life as a teacher of teachers, knowing that the learning that I shared with them would influence not only this generation, but generations to come.

The Apostle Paul wrote that in the last days mankind would be “ever learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth”. When the light of the gospel quickens our intellect we can be ever learning and come to a knowledge of the truth. I am and will be forever grateful for the learning and knowledge that I have received along the path that I have trodden.

My studies and teaching in the area of mathematics have taught me to think in logical ways. I have found that applying these ways to studying the gospel has been very helpful. I see no conflict between the genuine truths of the academic world and the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have come to believe that there is room in the gospel for all truth.

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Barry Brocas has qualifications in mathematics, surveying, and teaching and spent the majority of his professional life as a lecturer in mathematics education at a New Zealand college of education. As such he has had leadership roles in both his subject area and in administration, including being head of department. After retiring from the position of Senior Lecturer in Mathematics Education at Massey University in 2005, he was commissioned by the New Zealand Ministry of Education to write material for teachers for the Ministry’s website, and to write a mathematics curriculum and teaching guide for the Tokelau Islands.

Posted April 2010