What Is a Church Community?

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Hi I'm Richard Newton, Jr

I'm a husband, father, physician, and a Mormon.

About Me

A family physician, having been in private practice for 20 years, I was directed to the Church and to my vocation when I had a spiritual experience at age 13, while living in Malawi, in Central East Africa. Though other experiences have had their impacts, that year was an amazing educational experience and was the pivotal event in my life. Because of that I embarked on a religious pilgrimage that brought me to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as guiding me through high school, college, medical school, internship and residency, and my professional life. The other major influence in my life is my wife and the family we have created, currently with five children and 8 grandchildren. 

Why I am a Mormon

This is the embarrassing part: As a scientist (a biologist specializing in human medicine), it seems contradictory to testify of an entity that cannot be seen, measured, weighed, or otherwise proven by physical methods. However, the spiritual experience I had at age 13 started me on my search for religious Truth. Despite my Presbyterian upbringing, I lived that year in a house where my foster mother was Catholic (I had attended Mass before, and have since), was attending a Church of England-sponsored school, attending a Baptist religious instruction class, and was "hanging out" with a Nazarene missionary's daughter. So it is that I relate to the testimony of Joseph Smith who, like me, was surrounded by various religions and not knowing how to discover which was right. Then, like him, at age 14 I had a (another) religious experience - this one directing me to the Book of Mormon. I knew this book of scripture was True. Therefore, the prophet through whom that book came had to be a True prophet, and the church he restored through the Priesthood of God had to be God's True Church. Many special experiences through the years since then have verified for me over and over again that this testimony is True.

How I live my faith

Being a member of the church is not something that I do on Sunday the Church is a way of life. That means I pray with my family morning and night, in addition to personal prayers in the morning and throughout the day. That means personal scripture study daily. That means sharing the responsibility for a group of my Church brethren on Sundays, as well as visiting assigned families at least monthly and singing in the choir. That means paying tithes and offerings to the Church to support programs in my own congregation and in my community, as well as missionary work locally and throughout the world. That means being a missionary myself - sharing my testimony of the Church here and with others I contact in daily life. And that means doing my best to live a Christ-like life, knowing that I fall short but can improve with repeated effort. Jesus Christ then makes up for my short comings - that's what repentance and the Atonement are all about.  

What is a ward/stake/branch?

Richard Newton, Jr
A ward is a local congregation made up of people in a particular geographic area. In a rural location that area may be quite large, whereas it may include only four contiguous blocks in Salt Lake City! A stake is an administrative collection of a number of wards (usually about 10), much like a Catholic diocese is a group of parishes, or a Synod a group of protestant congregations. Show more Show less