ADAM ONDI AHMAN, Second Life—When I first met Skyler Goode in Second Life, he was only 8 years old. When I met him the next day in real life, he was 51 years old — a grandfather who had retired from the U.S. Air Force.

Skyler Goode is the creator of an online Mormon community in a virtual reality role-playing game on the Internet called Second Life, or SL for short. In real life (RL for short), he is Keith Thompson, a high priest in the Stayton, Oregon, ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What began as a hobby to fill time has become a personal mission to create a real sanctuary where people can feel spiritual while role-playing in a virtual world.

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