It’s difficult to quantify spiritual development and dedication. Nonetheless, here are some indicators that I took the Gospel and my spiritual development very seriously:

  • Read the scriptures virtually every day of my adult life. Read the Book of Mormon over 40 times.
  • Gave out dozens of copies of the Book of Mormon as an adult—each with my heartfelt testimony inside—to labmates, friends, and acquaintances. Even as a professor at BYU I continued to give copies to friends who came to visit.
  • Listened/read each general conference multiple times through for many years.
  • Accepted all callings joyfully. Besides ward finance clerk and EQP, was in scouting (generally scoutmaster) for about 16 years. Recognized for service to underprivileged minority youth.
  • No funny business before marriage.
  • Showed up at virtually every move.
  • Was nearly always close to 100% home teaching for my entire adult life—was always good friends with my families.
  • Didn’t pick my friends as counselors in the EQ Presidency.
  • Consistently went out of my way to introduce myself to and sit by new people at Church.
  • Personal mission statement: Learn of Christ. Serve as Christ. Love as Christ.
  • My extended family probably got sick of me sincerely asking at every opportunity: “did you learn anything interesting at Church?” or “any new Gospel insights?”.
  • Always fasted on fast Sunday; fasted many other times for other purposes.
  • Planned to work in industry (was applying to Pharma and biotech companies), but ended up teaching at BYU—I applied because I was strongly encouraged to apply. BYU needed me, so I answered the call.
  • My wife had 4 children before I finished grad school. The 5th while living in an 800 square foot apartment completing my postdoctoral work. The 6th as a beginning professor. She had abysmal pregnancies.
  • Had entire family fast on a road trip rather than defile the Sabbath day.
  • Avoided travelling on Sunday when possible, but generally fasted on Sunday during my trips so I wouldn’t need to buy anything.
  • Never drank caffeine (or any other prohibited substance)
  • Never watched TV on Sunday. Never watched a Super Bowl.

Some of these seem pretty pharisaical to me now. But I did these from a sincere desire to strengthen my testimony and do the right thing in order to access the powers of heaven to bless others and to generally live in the best way I knew how.