What Is a Church Community?

The video player could not be built.

Do you want to chat with a missionary?

We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Start a chat or call us at 1-888-537-6600.

Hi I'm Tyler

I'm a hiker, a biker, a world traveler, a husband, a father, a doctor, and a Mormon.

About Me

I'm married to a beautiful girl and we have a dog whose curly black hair is so long you can hardly see his eyes and a son who in our completely unbiased opinion is the cutest little boy on the planet. My wife is a nurse and I'm a doctor, we live in California. I'm from Utah, but I've lived in Mexico, Kazakhstan, Argentina, South Africa and Philadelphia. My wife and I love both the East and West coasts, and she especially misses New York. We like traveling, rock-climbing, music, and reading. My favorite authors right now are Chaim Potok, Abraham Verghese, and J.K Rowling; my wife likes them, too, but would add Barbara Kingsolver. We like music by Sting, Beethoven, Rascal Flats, Madelina Peiyroux, and Frank Sinatra. My wife is a foodie, and I am the beneficiary of her amazing cooking.

Why I am a Mormon

When I was 14, I decided I wanted to know whether the religion my parents had taught me was true. That summer, my family and I had a chance to visit the place where Mormonism began, in upstate New York. I thought that would be the perfect place for God to answer my prayer and so, during our trip, I prayed and prayed and prayed--but the answer didn't really come. That's not to say the answer was "no"--far from it, I felt very much at peace but didn't recognize the answer I was hoping for. Many months later, I was preparing a lesson for church on the founding prophet of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. It was fall in Utah, and the air was cool and the leaves had turned their thousand shades of yellow, orange, and red--I can still remember seeing them from the front window where I sat reading to prepare my lesson. I still remember arriving at the following words in Joseph Smith's written account of what happened when he asked God in prayer what to do about religion: "I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me, I saw two personages standing above me in the air, whose brightness and glory defy all description. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other: 'this is my beloved son, hear him.'" Mormons consider that event, which we call "the first vision," the foundation of the restoration of Christ's gospel and, for me, it the foundation of my testimony. I had read those words many times before that fall morning, but when I read them then, something changed inside me. I don't know how to describe the feeling that came over me. Think of the feeling of spring's first warm sunlight after a long winter, think of that kind of light dawning in the most personal part of you: beautiful, calm, and intuitively true. I don't know exactly how it happened I just know that in that moment, I came to know. And I still do.

How I live my faith

Some of the famous Mormon things are the most obvious, I guess: I don't drink coffee or alcohol, I don't smoke, I go to three hours of church on Sunday. Beyond that, though, my Mormonism informs just about every aspect of how I live my life. Because I believe my body is divinely designed, I do everything I can to keep it healthy and I try to enjoy the beauties of life--its sights, smells, sounds, and tastes--as much as I can. Because I believe my family can last forever, I try to be a loving and dedicated husband and to make my wife's happiness my chief concern. Because I believe we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, I attempt to treat everyone I meet with kindness and respect. In fact, it is this last belief that prompted me, in large part, to become a doctor and my wife to become a nurse. We think it is a special privilege to come to a person in his moment of need to try to help him feel better.

What are Mormon women like? Do Mormons believe in equality of men and women?

Well, if they don't, nobody has informed my wife. She has Bachelor's degree in vocal performance and another in nursing. She worked full time last year as a nurse and works full time this year as a mom. She is energetic and independent and I would have it no other way. We believe we work together in the care and nurture of our family and our lives together. While we have distinct responsibilities, we believe in being equally yoked in all we do and in making our family our first priority. At the same time, we both believe in the importance of education--both the formal kind we engaged in in college and beyond and the informal kind that will last the rest of our lives. We are both politically engaged and love to read. We both pursue hobbies and interests that we hope make us well-balanced and happy people. We both serve in the church is positions that allow us to offer service to those within and without the church. Show more Show less

Why are only some Mormons allowed into temples? Is there something secret going on in Mormon Temples? What goes on in Mormon Temples?

We consider many of the details of what happens in the Temple to be sacred and so do not discuss them publicly. This is not unusual. Certainly we all have experiences that are so beautiful and personal we would not want to share them in public. In broad terms, however, the temple is about the same thing Mormonism in general is about: who we are, why we are here, and where we are going. Indeed, the temple traces our eternal arc, it provides as invitation to come back to our heavenly home. Show more Show less

What are some things that tell to you there is a God?

I am a doctor. I have spent a good portion of my life studying science. For me, nothing speaks more eloquently to the design of a caring creator than the delicate balance that is biology, chemistry, and physics. I do not pretend to know every detail of how we came into being. What I do know, however, is that each life on Earth is made possible by an impossibly intricate and complex network of genetics, proteins, molecular machinery, and chemical reactions that is dizzying to study and awe-inspiring to understand. Think for a moment about that first moment after a human egg is fertilized--there, in that single cell, in those 46 chromosomes, resides the information that will direct the construction of everything from the fibers of the heart's muscle to the neurons that run like highways through our brain. Science convinces me that we--and all the richness we see around us--cannot be accidental. Show more Show less

Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorse political parties?

Nope. In the US, the Democratic leader of the Senate is Mormon, as is a former Republican presidential hopeful. I have friends who are Republican, Democrat, independent, and, for that matter, Communist--all those people are Mormon. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform baptisms for the dead?

Jesus taught that a man must be baptized to enter the kingdom of heaven but, of course, this would be patently unfair if it damned the overwhelmingly large majority of those who have existed during human history to hell. Baptism for the dead is a manner of offering essential ordinances to those who have died. It is important to understand that baptism for the dead constitutes only an OFFER. It is not considered conversion--that is, we believe that those for whom the work is done vicariously may accept or reject the offer as they see fit. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

If being a Christian means accepting Christ's grace, then, yes, I am most decidedly a Christian. If you don't believe me, I invite you to read the Book of Mormon. I think you will find that it provides eloquent testimony of Christ's divinity and his role in atoning for our sins. Show more Show less

What is Mormonism? OR What do Mormons believe?

Mormonism is the belief that some part of you--some essence of your identity--has existed forever and will exist forever and that we can enter into loving relationships with one another--whether as family or friends--that will never end. It is a system of laws that allow enjoyment of life on Earth and that point us toward a vision of life beyond. It is the answer to life's great questions: who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? It is the substantive response to sincere existential angst and the motivating force behind a great amount of good in the world. Mormons, of course, and I, first of them all, are not perfect, but the worldview is expansive, enlightening, and beautiful. Show more Show less

Why are Mormons asked to donate 10% of their income to their Church?

Because I studied for such a long time to be a doctor, I had a funny kind of "grace period" as far as tithing went--10% of nothing is nothing. This year, when I finally started to earn a regular paycheck, I was somewhat surprised to find that 10% of a regular paycheck is quite a lot. As I have paid my tithing, however, I have found that doing so is more a matter of faith than a matter of money. It is about putting God first in my life and trusting that things will work out when I do. Although I make nowhere near a full doctor's salary I'm still in training, I find that we always have enough and to spare. Show more Show less

What are some of the ways that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helps those around the world?

I can answer this on a micro- and macro- level. On a micro level I can tell you that five years ago I spent a summer in Kazakhstan teaching English at an orphanage, I spent a month this summer caring for patients with HIV in South Africa, and I've spent much time besides helping those in need. On a macro level, I forgo food the first Sunday of every month and give the money I would have spent to the Church to be given to the poor. Because all members do this at least once a month, the Church is able to offer substantial humanitarian aid to people of all faiths and nearly all nationalities. Indeed, community organizers often remark at how impressively efficient LDS charities are in providing care after natural disasters: we are often one of the first groups on the ground. Show more Show less

What is the role of the husband and the wife in the family?

We believe that our primary role is to support one another and to love and nurture our son. Because we believe our families can last forever, our family is our first priority. In our home, we share the daily responsibilities: my wife cleans the bathroom, I do the dishes, she buys the groceries, I do the laundry. My wife loved being a nurse and loves being a mother. I love being a doctor, but know that my primary responsibility is as a father and husband. Show more Show less