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Charles M. "Chuck" Peterson
Lakewood, CO

Charles M. "Chuck" Peterson was born in Massachusetts and raised in Pennsylvania.  When Chuck was 10 years of age, a pair of Mormon missionaries rented an apartment from Chuck’s parents over his father’s furniture store.  Chuck’s mother asked the elders about their church (she was taking lessons from another religion at the time).  Of course, the elders were more than willing to teach her about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She was baptized in Lake Erie early one Saturday morning before the swimmers hit the beach.  Chuck and his brother were baptized several months later in the YMCA swimming pool, 3 days before Chuck’s 11th birthday.

Chuck recalls hearing the Joseph Smith story from the missionaries and believed it from the start, even at that tender age.  Having never heard of Joseph Smith and “Mormonism” before, he had no preconceived notions about the Church.  Very few people knew about the Church in that part of the country, consequently, he experienced very little prejudice toward the Church.

His first encounter with critics of the Church came while serving a mission in New Zealand.  Frequently, if not most of the time, when they met with somebody to teach them the gospel, anti-Mormon literature would mysteriously show up in their contact's mail boxes.  Or neighbors and relatives would caution them about “those crazy Mormons.”

Upon completion of his mission, Chuck served a tour of duty with the U.S. Army, serving most of his time in Thailand.  After graduating with a master’s degree in public administration from BYU, Chuck went to work for the Federal Government.  He developed and taught seminars in program management, planning, and evaluation to government employees through most of his career.  Now retired from Government Service, Chuck occupies his time by developing websites and pursuing business interests on the internet.

He has served in many church callings including home teacher, Sunday School teacher and president, scout master, teachers quorum advisor, elders quorum counselor and president, stake and area athletic director, stake high counsel, bishop, and is currently a stake family history center director and Temple worker.

While serving as a home teacher Chuck encountered more anti-Mormon literature.  A sister, who had recently joined the Church, was given an anti-Mormon pamphlet by her cousin, at a family reunion.  She asked Chuck if what was said in the pamphlet was true.  Most statements were typical of such literature.  However, one quotation from Joseph Smith as stated by the author appeared very damaging.  Chuck took the time to look up the quotation.  The author had changed one word in the quotation to make it sound damaging.  Chuck took the pamphlet back to the sister and told her that, if the author was willing to be so dishonest as to change the wording of a quotation to fit his own devious purposes, he could not be trusted in anything else he said.

In the end, Chuck feels that each person must obtain their own spiritual testimony of the gospel, through spiritual means.  While there are answers to most criticisms of the Church, members and investigators can’t possibly have answers to every criticism.  It would take a lifetime of study to do so, and probably not even then.  SHIELDS provides a great service for those curious about the answers to Church criticism (member and non-member alike).