Chat With a Mormon Online
I'm currently a a graduate student pursuing a PhD in computer science, but I really consider myself a bioinformatician (a field at the crossroads of computer science and biology). Even though graduate school takes up a great deal of time, I try to stay well-rounded, and capitalize on opportunities to play basketball, volleyball, or outdoor adventures. I also try to be engaged in the community, and serve on a graduate student activities committee and spend time at the local Boys and Girls club. I also love to make music, including singing and playing musical instruments like the piano, guitar and occasionally the carillon.
I feel like, quite often, religious and secular philosophies don't mix very well. The secular world would have you think that success can only come by putting others down, or taking advantage of others' misfortunes. Christ taught the rich man to sell all he had and give it to the poor. A second dichotomy exists between the philosophies of an inspired creation or evolution. Most people either vehemently appost one position or the other, or maintain a casual indifference between the two. I feel like the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints help me to find the balance between the two. Strong scientific evidence points toward natural selection, but that doesn't preclude guidance by a divine hand. Likewise, the Gospel teaches us to give of our time and finances to those less fortunate than we, and then shows us that only then can we truly find success. So to sum it up, I'm a Mormon because I have found that the secular and religious knowledge and experience I can can coexist. Instead of presenting a religious environment void of the scientific method, it encourages me to ask questions. And then, most important, it provides answers.
This past summer our ward placed a huge focus on doing service. I'm regularly involved in cleaning the church and helping members of our church move, but over the summer, the intent was to do something more. So we planned a lot of activities that would get us involved (a blood drive, Habitat for Humanity, etc). After the summer goal had come to a conclusion, I felt motivated to continue doing service in the community, so I volunteered at the local Boys and Girls club. It's only a small step toward helping out in the community (I'm only there 2 hours/week), but it's a step nonetheless. I think that naturally, Mormons have a strong desire to help out--especially with large disasters or humanitarian projects. But if everyone who was religious would spend a little time during the emergency off-season providing help to the community, we could make it a better place for everyone.