(just another face in the crowd)

     Nemo might have been a better name for me, because I'm really no one of any account. I have no degrees, own no businesses, or even a home. You've surely never heard of me before, and will most likely never meet anyone who has. You won't find my name heading this site, or any page in it. In fact, you'll have to hunt a bit just to find it. Why? Am I ashamed to own this? Not at all. It's simply that this is not about me, promoting me, gaining fame, notoriety, recognition, money, or anything else. This is nothing more than a labor of love for my fellow man, as well as an outlet for the thoughts that weigh upon my mind, and the burdens which prey upon my conscience.
     And, who knows but that angels may look more kindly upon me for having voluntarily undertaken this task.
     Born poor to poor parents, I was raised in a military environment, my 'log-cabin-and-candle-light' genesis, some might say; a 'trailer-park' up-bringing to others, but one which, at least, emphasized intelligence, cleanliness, inquisitiveness, competence, curiosity, neatness, structure, order, discipline, and lifelong, individual, learning. As a result, I grew up to be what's called an auto-didact. And, though, having read probably no more than a hundred books that I can recall, mostly non-fiction, they were at least well-chosen, uncommon, and not the least intellectually frivolous.
     I even include a bibliography.
     Both my parents' and my own careers blessed me with a broad set of experiences with both people and places. I've resided in various locations around Frankfurt and Stuttgart in Germany, a total of about eleven years, and visited most western European countries, and England, too. I've lived at least a year in over a dozen, far-flung locations around the United States of America, even close enough to Canada to experience a bit of their culture, and to Mexico to experience a bit of theirs, and have visited much of the rest of it. I've driven from Florida to New York, from New York to California, from California to New York, and then back to Maryland again, from Idaho to Louisiana, from Texas to Oregon, from LA to Idaho Falls, from Galveston to Chicago, and from Salt Lake City to Seattle, and more. I've even additionally flown, coach, between the USA and Europe several times, and across the USA probably more than 60 times. So, yes, I'm well-travelled. I have that in my favor.
     I served a four-year term in the United States Air Force myself, giving me all that experience and education. I believe I was told that the Community College of the Air Force estimated that to amount to an associates degree, but that was never formalized. I graduated from die technische Fachhochschule in Esslingen, Germany, but never got that transposed to the American school system, and I have no proof it ever even happened, so that can hardly be counted either. I both attended and worked at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah for three years, mostly just so I could keep the job I had there as a computer hardware and software consultant, but never graduated or got a degree in anything. In both Germany and the United States, I took probably two dozen classes in subjects as diverse as photography, electronics, and human resource management. I even challenged a standardized test in Astronomy 101, based on what I'd learned from various sources, and got a 95th percentile score. I tried. And I'm not without the benefit of a well-rounded education, but I can't prove a thing.
     Big deal. Like I said. I'm nobody of any account.
     I learned a few dialects of German (including the standard highlands variant, Hochdeutsch) fluently, even natively, beginning at the age of four, but that's hardly noteworthy in a world where so many people speak two or three languages from birth. I have, as of this writing, five children that I can call my own, and they are widely recognized as exemplary, but, then, again, so do many others. Probably you do, too.
     My entire history and person can be described as 'above average', but, in a wider context, not exemplary or even extraordinary. In short, I will have passed through this world having hardly left so much as a footprint to tell that I was ever even here at all.
     And yet, I do have an education, one achieved much as, and entirely because of, my greatest hero, Joseph Smith. And it is that which I offer here to anyone reading this. This is not directly based on any of my formal education or experience, however unusual, but rather on what I've learned on the side, based on what others before me have done, by taking further the work which they started, and which has so inspired me, and for which I can hardly take any credit. Truly, I stand on the shoulders of giants. So, even this work can not really be called my own. And yet, I stand there where no one else appears to stand: Alone. What I share here, I find nowhere else quite like I present it here. I got it all from the very same places that others search. I found it the same way that others claim to have sought. But, as Enoch wrote, paraphrasing, no one else is going to tell it to you quite like I'm going to tell it to you. And I hope that there is value to you in that.
     That, after all, is exactly what Paul did. All the things he wrote, had been written before, just not quite like he wrote them.
     There is always room for more.
     And amidst all my pitiful struggling in this world for my own place within it, ever striving to redeem my own inheritence of God by obtaining and offering in exchange whatever services and/or treasures the powers that shouldn't be hold it ransom for, a light has been slowly breaking upon me, and it has finally reached a point of self-propagation, of ignition, kindling what often feels like a fire in my soul, compelling me to spread to others, whether they want it or not, a light that will eventually consume me, and, hopefully, them, too.
     I have already taught my children: The day will come when each of us must decide whether we will await death's inevitable grip to take us back to face God, or we leave the world and our families behind, striking out on our own with whatever breath remains in us, to find God on our own terms, in the service of God, via humanity.
     And that can only mean following in Paul's footsteps. In Peter's footsteps. In Joseph's. And the master's.
     And if that means casting a few confused and deluded christians to figurative lions, then so be it.
     Because the lions they'll cast me to will not be quite so figurative.
     For every Daniel, there are thousands of nameless, forgotten martyrs under stones, and atop ash-heaps.
     If you would undertake this work, you have to know where it leads.
     And that's where it leads.

~~ Marcus Aurelius ~~