Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Get to know You Monday--Jeff Baker

We're excited to introduce you to one of our newest authors,




1. What is your favorite food? Ice cream.

2. Do you prefer chocolate or vanilla ice cream? I almost always prefer chocolate over vanilla.

3. What is one food you despise? Japanese food. I learned that the hard way when I was in Japan for two weeks.

4. Is there a book that changed your life? The Book of Mormon, of course. There have also been a few books that I feel like changed me, or at least the way I think: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, The Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and The Road by Cormac McCarthy

5. What is your favorite sport? Chess.

6. What is your favorite kind of music? I love Christmas music. I usually get a good two or three months out of the year to listen to it.

7. What is your favorite song? It changes frequently. It’s often from the last Disney movie that I watched; I get those songs stuck in my head for awhile.

8. What one place would you like to visit that you haven’t? There are so many places I would like to go! Here are just a few: England, Australia, Peru, Africa, Germany

9. What is your favorite thing about yourself? I’m happy. I hate it when I’m not happy, but I’m usually happy, and I like that.

10. When you have an hour of free time, what do you like to do? It depends on whether I want to get one of my projects done, do something with my family, or whatever. If I have a spare moment that isn’t devoted to projects or family, then I like to play video games. I really enjoyed video games as a kid, and while I don’t find as much time to do that anymore, it’s something I’ve never quite grown out of.

11. What is the strangest thing you ever did? Ate bee larvae. On my mission, there was a member who raised his own bees to make honey. He had us suck honey straight out of honeycomb, and then he gave us some that had bee larvae. I didn’t know that until after I’d eat it, however.

12. Have you ever lived in another country? I served my mission in the Dominican Republic, but that’s the only time I’ve lived abroad.

13. Have you ever met a famous person? I met the mother of the first family who was baptized in the Dominican Republic. I don’t know if that’s considered famous or not, but I thought it was pretty neat.

14. What was a favorite adulthood event? My honeymoon in Finland. It was something of a different honeymoon than most since it was several months after the wedding and we traveled with my mother-in-law (who is Finnish but lives in the United States) and my sister-in-law, and we stayed with my wife’s grandfather (who still lives in Finland). But it was a lot of fun.

15. What was a favorite childhood memory? We would go camping quite frequently, and I have many happy memories playing in the dirt with dinosaurs or whatever else.

16. What countries have you visited? The Dominican Republic, Japan, Finland, Russia, and Estonia. I know those are a random mix of countries, but there’s a good reason for all of them.

17. What cartoon character best describes you? Dumbo. I won’t explain why.

18. If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would it be? Probably Finland. Other than that, I’d like to live in the Dominican Republic again.

19. Do you prefer sweet or salty foods? I have a horrible sweet tooth.

20. Are you a collector of anything? I collect ties from different countries. I have a tie from every country I’ve been to as well as Peru and the Netherlands.

21. What is your favorite color? Definitely red. That’s also my mother-in-law’s favorite color, so we have to take turns being the red pieces when we play board games or card games.

22. What book are you reading now? I’ve been reading The Mormon Way of Doing Business. My wife got it for me for father’s day a year ago, so it’s taking awhile for me to read. I’ve also been reading A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller, Jr., which is a post-apocalyptic novel that my brother’s father-in-law recommended to me. And I started reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien in Spanish, but I’m only a few pages into it.

23. If you could have a dinner with three people (real of fictitious, dead or alive), who would you choose and why? I never know what to say when someone asks me this question. Why not the First Presidency? I don’t personally know anyone who can say they’ve had dinner with the First Presidency, so I suppose that would be pretty nifty.

24. What was the best decision you’ve ever made? Get married and start a family. It’s also the most disruptive decision I ever made, and I’d had a lot more time and money if I hadn’t made that decision. But I couldn’t be happier, and you can’t buy happiness with only time and money.

25. What is one item that you really should throw away, but probably never will? A Haitian barrel doll. I got it on my mission because it was one of those bizarre things that you wouldn’t expect a missionary to bring back but everyone does anyways.

Jeff at ten months.

Jeff (on left) with his younger brother Eric.

Jeff serving his mission in Bani, Dominican Republic.

Jeff and his wife Suvi on their wedding day.

Proud new father. Jeff with his son Issac shortly after his birth.

Jeff and his family, son Isaac, wife Suvi.

WHY I WRITE: I've always enjoyed the scriptures. By the time I graduate high school I'd read all of the standard works at least twice. When I was on my mission, I did something I'd never done as part of my scripture study: kept a missionary study journal. In it, I wrote down scriptures that I thought were insightful or that I otherwise wanted to remember. After my mission, I started typing them in a spreadsheet document, and there were quite a few insights that I had forgotten. One day I realized that some of these were probably interesting enough to be in a book... so I decided to write one! There were literally thousands of entries in my missionary study journal (like six thousand or so). First, I narrowed it down to about one thousand. Then I narrowed that list down to a couple hundred. Then I narrowed that list down to about one hundred, and I set to work writing. I took each entry and thought, "What is the core idea that makes me so excited by this particular scripture?" And then I wrote a paragraph, backing it up with other scripture references. In the end, it was simply a compilation of "Messages from the Scriptures."

3 comments:

  1. Fun interview. I like ice cream too. The book sounds really great!

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  2. Thanks. When I was on my mission I kept careful track of how much ice cream I ate. I'll have to go look it up again... but it was incredibly high, even though it was third world ice cream.

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  3. A grateful readerJuly 23, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    Great Book! I was given it as a gift and I read it right off. This book taught me so many insights that I hadn't already thought about. I want to read it again and when I do, I plan on reading 1 insight a day and pondering on it through the day. It would be fun to keep my own personal little journal of what I learn and the feelings I have. Thanks to the author and his cute little family for the many hours that went into this book.

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