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Hi I'm David

I'm a Mormon postgraduate student in Scotland.

About Me

I am currently a PhD student in Scotland, although I'm originally from the United States. I am married and have four children. We love being here in Scotland! As I was growing up, my father worked for the armed forces, so we moved around a lot. Although I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, I have lived in California, Idaho, Massachusetts, Texas, Houston, Wisconsin, England, and now Scotland. I also worked for two years in Brazil as a missionary for the Church. I have loved experiencing life in all of these different places. The subject I am studying at the university is Divinity, or Religious Studies, with an emphasis on Biblical Studies. I love studying the Scriptures and also other non-Biblical religious texts. I am fascinated by how people see their relationship to God, both anciently and today. I love talking to people about religion--hearing about their beliefs and sharing my own.

Why I am a Mormon

My parents were both members of the Church when I was born and I was raised a “Mormon.” It is a credit to my goodly parents and other family members that I was well taught in the religion of my fathers. I grew to love participating in Church and love the doctrines I was taught. Among the many lessons I learned, I was taught that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ in a vision in 1820 and was called to be a modern-day prophet. He translated ancient records, like the Book of Mormon, by the power of God, thus declaring that the heavens were open once again, and that God was giving us further truth to accompany the Bible. I learned that we have, as in biblical times, a prophet today who guides this Church. I also learned that we have, as in ancient times, the priesthood–the authority to act in God’s name, and also temples to worship him in. I learned that through the sealing power of the priesthood in ordinances performed in the Temple, my family could be sealed together for eternity. I learned that God the Father was real and that Jesus Christ, his literal Son, was my Savior and that they love me. This is what I learned in my youth. As I got older, I continued to believe firmly in the Church, but the idea of “learning for myself” and receiving my own witness of the truthfulness of the Church was often present in my mind. I knew that I could not simply keep going on depending on the testimony of others–-I had to know for myself, through some spiritual manifestation to me, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was true. I wanted God to tell me that it was true. This is how the great men of God from the Scriptures and how modern witnesses had come to know the truth–-directly from God himself. As was my custom, I studied as much as I possibly could about Joseph Smith, the Church, and about religion in general. A visit to Israel when I was 16 strengthened me spiritually and gave me more motivation to pursue the witness I desired. However it wasn’t until I was 19 and had entered the Church's Missionary Training Center in preparation for serving a full-time mission to Brazil that I really decided that I needed God to answer my prayers and tell me that the Church was true. If I was going to teach other people about the Church, I needed to have a clear testimony that what I was teaching was of God. It was at that point that I really began praying for my Heavenly Father to tell me that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon was true. I prayed a number of times, but didn’t feel that I had received any answer. On one particular night, however, when I was kneeling at my bed and praying to God with all the sincerity that I could muster, truly desiring to know, I felt something different. Again, I asked God about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon–-and as soon as I asked, I felt an incredibly strong, warm feeling fill my entire body. It was a feeling of love and peace so intense that I knew it was from God. It made me smile and want to weep for joy and I knew that my Heavenly Father was answering my prayer and that He was telling me that the Church was true, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and that he translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. I now knew this not by the wisdom of men and books, but because God had revealed it to me by His Spirit. This witness became an anchor to me while I was in Brazil and teaching people the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I knew, without a doubt, that what I was teaching was true. My mission only further reinforced my testimony. When we would sit down with people and teach them about Joseph Smith, his First Vision, and the Restoration, I would feel that intense feeling of the Spirit again. This feeling would fill the room, and I knew that the people we were teaching could feel it as well, because we would ask them and they would acknowledge the feeling. This was pretty much a daily experience on my mission. I came to recognize, by the Spirit, that God is truly mindful of his children–-that whether rich or poor, saint or sinner, God loves each of his children and is very willing to share his blessings with all of them. There is an unmistakable feeling that accompanies the truth that can only come from God. It is not a feeling of simple excitement, of adrenaline, or of any other feeling that the world can produce. It comes from God alone and is felt when truth is being communicated. Because I have recognized this feeling of the Spirit in conjunction with hearing or speaking of the prophet Joseph Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I know these things are true and of God. Some may question the reliability of our own feelings in determining the truth of any thing, but I would say that I know that this was not a feeling that I could produce in myself. The feelings of the Spirit are too powerful to be produced internally or by any worldly source–-when you have felt and recognized the Spirit of God, you know that it can come from no other source than from Him. If this seems to be “foolishness” to you, I would encourage you to ask God about these things. As we read in James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." Having this testimony of the Truth has strengthened me and given me confidence to further pursue religious studies. Because of my testimony of the truthfulness of the doctrines of this Church, I have dedicated my life to the study of religion, with the firm conviction that Joseph Smith’s claims will hold true no matter how deeply I dig. Because of the witness of the Holy Spirit, I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, that he restored the ancient Church of Jesus Christ and His Gospel in its fulness, that the Book of Mormon and other modern scriptures are true, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s church on the Earth, guided by Jesus Christ Himself.

How I live my faith

I attend Church every Sunday at my local congregation, which happens to be about 13 miles away from where I currently live. But it's not a sacrifice at all to be with our fellow church members and be able to participate in church meetings and worship the Lord. In our congregation, I serve as the president over an organization made up of a couple dozen men that is organized to provide fellowship, brotherhood, and opportunities to serve the other members of our congregation and the local community. I organize meetings of the group, teach lessons regarding the Gospel and the Lord's standards for living our lives, and also assign others to teach and help in various ways. I organize the group into teams that go out and visit many of the members of the congregation. We call this "home-teaching." The goal is to visit every individual in the Church in his/her own home, so that we can strengthen them spiritually and emotionally, learn of their family's needs and help out wherever we can. These service opportunities help build a great sense of brotherhood in the Church, helping it to feel like one big "family" that you know is always there to count on. I've lived in many different places and the most comforting thing for me, when I move to a new place, is to know that a big Church family will be there with open arms to receive me and my family and help us get adjusted to the new place. That's something I can always count on and it is very comforting.

Why do Mormons believe in the Bible?

Like other Christian faiths, Mormons cherish the Bible that has been passed down to us through the Judeo-Christian tradition. One of our "articles of faith" (statements of Church belief) states that "We believe the Bible to be the word of God..." It has always been one of the principal foundation stones of our theology and tradition. In a world of scepticism towards traditional religious views, we believe that it is our responsibility to hold those ancient traditions high, stand as witnesses for and publish the Word of God as widely as we possibly can. Many Mormons take the Bible more literally than most people. We believe that God created the World; we believe in Heaven and Hell; we believe in angels and also the existence of the Devil; we believe that Christ will return and that the events in the Book of Revelation, including Christ's millenial reign on the Earth, will actually take place. We take these and many more themes in the Bible quite literally. We have a strong belief in revelation -- that God communicates with human beings, and we believe that the Bible preserves a record of God's ancient dealings with mankind. Some people don't think that Latter-day Saints believe in the Bible, often because they have heard of other books that we use, like the Book of Mormon. We believe that God's word can be found in other places outside of the Bible that he has so graciously given us, but that does not diminish our belief that the Bible is the Word of God. Show more Show less