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ABOUT ME


This is where I get to tell you all about myself! Don’t worry, I’ll try and be as brief as possible and only talk about the important stuff.

I recently married the most wonderful young woman in the world: McKall Lynn Brewer Rappleye! I am currently attending Utah Valley University (UVU) and working towards a degree in Political Science, with a minor in Religious Studies. I’m hoping to eventually transfer to Brigham Young University (BYU) and continue towards my degree. Ultimately, I hope that one day I can teach for the LDS Church Education System (CES), as well as teach Political Science in High School and College.

I love football and basketball and try to watch every BYU football game and as many of their basketball games as possible[1]. I also enjoy listening to music. My favorite band is a progressive metal group called Savatage. I currently have more than 6,000 songs on my iPod, which could play for 19 and a half days non-stop! As you can tell from my major, I love politics, and (as the purpose of this blog will make clear) I am very passionate about studying and defending my religious beliefs! Together, I consider the Gospel, music, and politics my “Three Passions.”[2]

Enough about all that irrelevant stuff! I know you probably don’t care all that much about me, but I would like to share a few particular points about my life and experiences which I think provide an important background for my viewpoint, and for my reasons in starting this blog.

My Family and Upbringing

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as is the rest of my family. My great-great-great-grandpa, Tunis Rappleye, helped build the Kirtland Temple; he was among those who were persecuted and driven from their homes in Missouri and Nauvoo, and he came across the plains with Brigham Young (in fact, Tunis drove one of Brigham’s wagons across the western frontier and into the Salt Lake Valley)[3], as did many of my other ancestors. I grew up in a family that was proud of its Pioneer heritage. I am the fifth of eight kids (Yeah, I know, we Mormons always have big families! Really, though, eight is nothing! My Dad’s sister has 14 children!), and I would like to think I am the most brilliant of them all! Okay, so I’m not really the most brilliant, but I’ve got more to say than all the rest of them combined so that has got to count for something. Of the eight, six of us have now moved out, while the other two are still in high school right now.

My parents have done a fantastic job raising us! So far, we have all graduated high school, four of us have completed full-time missions for the LDS Church (3 Elders, 1 Sister), and all five who are now married have gotten married in one of the LDS Temples (where we were each sealed together with our spouse for time and all eternity!!).

I grew up in South Jordan, UT, which (if you ask me) is the most perfect place on earth! I had a lot of fun growing up with so many siblings, and we still enjoy every opportunity we get to be together for big family events and activities.

High School Debate

The pleasant picture I just painted you about my family life isn’t entirely accurate. That is not to say I don't love my family, it's just that things weren't always picture perfect (believe it or not, eight siblings do not always get along). Growing up I had a habit – and you could maybe even say a talent – for arguing. While in my sophomore year at Bingham High School I was in an argument with my older brother when he suggested I join the debate team. So, I started my “debate career” my junior year. Somewhat overwhelmed by all the technical aspects of formal debate (specifically of Policy debate), my junior year was somewhat uneventful; though I did get some positive feedback from judges at some of the meets I competed in, as well as from my coach and teammates. Discouraged from the lack of success I had my first year, I wasn’t planning on doing debate the next year, but my coach pulled me aside and told me that he needed me next year. I can’t remember everything he said to me, but he padded my ego just enough to get me to go down to the registration office and have my schedule changed to include debate the next year.

My senior year I switched over to Public Forum debate, a type of debate more fit for public discourse. Public Forum (PF) was less technical than Policy, and involved more reasoning, logic, and analysis. PF was also a very new type of debate, which was still finding its place and purpose. As a result, I feel that my partner and I (it was a two-on-two form of debate) really helped mold the event, at least in Utah. We won several awards over the course of the year, placing in the top three at almost every tournament. Our team made a trip out to Arizona for a Southwest Regional Tournament. My partner couldn’t make the trip, so I paired up with another teammate where we went undefeated in the regular rounds and ended up placing in the Top 20 (out of over 100 competitors).

As a team (the full Bingham Debate Team) we won the State Championship that year (2005) and my partner and I were contributing members of the State team. That year, my partner and I were honored at Bingham with “Speaker of the Year” awards for our event. I remember being so happy that I had finally found something I was good at.

Among all the fun and success I had my senior year in debate, I met my wife to be, McKall Brewer (who was also on the debate team), though I didn’t know it yet. In fact, we hardly even talked to each other that year. The next year, I went back and helped coach the PF teams at Bingham, at the same time I started to take interest in McKall. After a few visits to her home, though, nothing really came of my efforts.

The Virginia Richmond Mission

In August of 2006 I entered the Missionary Training Center (MTC) to prepare for my mission to Virginia. After three weeks I stepped off the plane into the musty Virginia air! I’ll never forget those two years! I had a lot of good experiences, met a lot of wonderful people, and made a lot of friends.

One of the craziest things that happened to me was getting hit by car while I was on my bicycle! Yeah, I seriously got hit by a car; and we are not talking about just a small accident, we are talking about me being launched off my bike and going some 30 feet or so through the air! Fortunately I didn’t break any bones, and I’ll be forever grateful to my Heavenly Father for protecting me and allowing me to be uninjured, making it possible for me to continue my missionary service!

I trained several missionaries and had the chance serve in a few leadership positions throughout my mission. One of the best honors was when The Virginian-Pilot newspaper went to my Mission President and told him that they wanted to do an Article on LDS missionaries. They wanted to spend a day with a set of missionaries, and my Mission President chose me and my companion, Elder Van Wagoner. It was great to know that we had that kind of confidence from the Mission President! The article, entitled “Mormon Missionaries Spread Faith in the Bible Belt” was printed on my birthday in 2008.

One thing was for sure, Virginia was definitely a part of the “Bible Belt”. As a result, people would often try to argue (or “Bible Bash”) with me and my companions. I tried to resist it, but sometimes my old habit (or did we decide it was a talent?) of arguing would get the best of me and I just couldn’t help it! I’m sure I’ll share more about my “Bible Bashing” experiences at another time.

I finished my mission in August of 2008. Going home from a mission is a bitter-sweet moment. You are excited to return to your family, but you feel like you are leaving so much behind as well.

For Time and all Eternity

A few months after getting home from my mission, my cousin asked me if I knew a girl named McKall, whom he had met down at BYU. I informed him that I did, and got a little excited at the prospect of perhaps seeing her again (since we had lost contact while I was on my mission). I asked that he try and get her phone number if he happened to see her again, honestly not really expecting it to happen. A few weeks later, my older brother gave me a slip of paper that had been passed on to him by my cousin. There it was – all seven digits! It took me a week (and some encouragement from a friend of mine) to work up the nerve to call her.

We went on our first date on November 22, 2008. We had dinner at the Pizza Factory in Provo, and then went to Nickelcade. I know it sounds lame, but we had a lot of fun!

Things progressed nicely from that point on, and on May 8, 2009 I proposed to her at a gazebo along the Provo River Walkway back behind the Pizza Factory.

On August 18, 2009 we got married for time and all eternity in the Draper Temple. It was a long, busy, beautiful day that I will never forget!

I love McKall very much, and I am so glad to know that we will get to spend the rest of our lives – and all of eternity – together. She gives me purpose, motive, and meaning each and every day of my life, and even though we haven’t been married long, I can honestly say I’m a better person because of her! I truly can’t say where I would be without her love in my life!

Ummm…Sorry!

Oops…Well, that went a little longer than I was expecting! Sorry about that. Now you know all you need to about my life. I know it was long, but I really feel that having this understanding about who I am will greatly help you understand where I am coming from. I promise I won’t be going on and on about my life again.

Thanks for visiting, please come again!

-----------------------------------------

Notes:

1. For anyone else who might happen to be a BYU football fan, I recommend byufootballtalk.blogspot.com; and isportsweb.com/sport/college-football/byu-football. For college football fans in general, I suggest collegefootballhaven12.blogspot.com. All of these are blogs managed by my older brother, Scott, who knows a lot about football and does a great job writing about it.
 
2. It should be noted that these were classified as my “Three Passions” while I was still in High School, before I fell in love with my wonderful wife, McKall. Perhaps these could be more accurately classified as my “Three Intellectual Passions.” It goes without saying that nothing, except my devotion to God and Jesus Christ, exceeds the great love I have for my wife.

3. Alveretta S. Engar, The Westward Call (Unpublished document in private family collection. Photocopy in my possession.), pg 1. Also see: Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church (Edited by B.H. Roberts), Vol. 2:206, 376; Vol. 4:13

Pictures:

1. Family Photo:  August 2008, South Jordan, UT. Top Row (from Left to Right): Sara; Noelle (holding her daughter Lily); Cory (Noelle's husband); Scott (holding his daughter Gabriella); Sandra (Scott's wife); Angela (holding her son Sterling); Lance (Angela's husband), Dad. Bottom Row (from Left to Right): Me; Joslyn (Devin's wife); Devin; Derek; Isabelle (Scott and Sandra's daughter); Aimee (holding Caroline, daughter of Scott and Sandra); Mom (holding Trever, son of Angela and Lance).

2. Engagement Photo: June 2009, Provo Canyon, UT at Vivian Park. Copyright 2009 - Don Polo Photography. 

3. Wedding Photo: August 18, 2009, Draper UT at the LDS Draper Temple. Copyright 2009 - Don Polo Photography.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the footnote on the family photo. I was wondering who that guy on the back row holding the baby was, and that hot woman next to him. He is one lucky guy. Not to be offensive, but he has the best looking wife out of all of you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, that may very well be the case...but only because my wife was not in the picture just yet.

    ReplyDelete
  3. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    Just kidding, not boring or irrelevant at all. I was hoping it would go on longer actually. I think you will do a great job in the CES (note the complete confidence). YOU RULE just like Led Zeppelin, er, I mean Heavenly Father!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Haha...Thanks Weston (or should I say "Screaming Nephite"?). When I got started, I really felt like it was important for people to understand more about my background. I think it helps to understand the perspective I am writing from.

    And I appreciate your assurance of my...well, let's just call it "seminary teacher potential." Haha.

    ReplyDelete

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