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 Austin Smith

I'm a reader, a lawyer, a liberal, a friend, and a Mormon

About Me

I've spent most of my life in the DC area where I grew up and went to high school. I also lived for 5 years in the bay area of California and loved it, and I spent four years at college in Utah getting a Computer Science degree. I lived in the Baltics for 2 years doing a Mormon mission, teaching people about Christ, his gospel, and his church. I love conversations that investigate why we do the things we do. I love anything funny. I like to read good books and watch well-made and powerful films. I'm a lawyer because I've always found legal questions and solutions fascinating.

Why I am a Mormon

I grew up a Mormon, so it's always been a large part of my life. That answers why I have been a Mormon, but not really why I am currently a Mormon. I am proud to be a member of this church because it helps me live a better life, one where I can look at what I'm doing and see how I can improve it. It gives me a community of fellow believers who can help me be better, whether that's by helping me or giving me opportunities to help and serve them. The church points the way towards Christ, who I believe is the ultimate example for us and our only hope for salvation.

How I live my faith

I live my faith in mostly quiet ways, I think. I like to study the scriptures--Mormons believe the Bible to be God's word, as well as the Book of Mormon and a few other collections of prophetic writings. I do that either on my own or in conversations with friends and family. I speak with God through private prayer every day and feel his comfort and love and reassurances. I also attend church services every week, where I hear other members of the church like me talk about how the gospel of Jesus Christ has helped them and where I get to share my own thoughts and experiences, hopefully helping others as well. This helps me see how I can apply Christian principles in my life and gives me practical opportunities to do so.

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

Austin Smith
No. I happen to be a pretty liberal Democrat. I have good Mormon friends who are extremely conservative politically. Mormons come in libertarian, liberal, moderate, conservative, and apolitical flavors, and everything in between. There are prominent politicians from both major US parties in Congress. Show more Show less

What is the Church’s position on abortion?

Austin Smith
In general, the Church is against elective abortions. In cases of rape, incest, or when the health of the mother is endangered, abortion can be justified. This is a religious position, and the Church does not take a stance on political debates about abortion. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe happens to us after we die? What do Mormons believe about life after death?

Austin Smith
We believe that a person's spirit lives on after death, and everyone will eventually be resurrected, which means that their spirit will be reunited with their body. After this bodily reunion, however, our bodies will be immortal--unable to die again--and perfected. This truth gives me hope that I will be able to see my loved ones again even after death. Death is not the end. Mormons believe that in the afterlife, people will be judged according to their heart, deeds, and thoughts. Rather than a simple heaven/hell dichotomy, Mormons believe that there are many different gradations of heaven that people can go to after they die. This makes sense to me, since an either/or choice is just too stark and unforgiving to categorize the variety of lives humans lead here on Earth. In the afterlife, we believe that we can continue to learn and grow to become more like God--eternal progression. A very comforting truth we believe is that families can be together forever, even after death. Show more Show less

What is a “testimony” that Mormons speak of?

Austin Smith
A testimony is a spiritual witness of eternal truth. For example, when I learn more about Christ and apply his teachings in my life, I feel a greater measure of God's spirit--evidenced by an increase in love for all those around me, feelings of peace and warmth, and happiness. That same spiritual confirmation I have of Christ has been repeated in similar ways when I have investigated the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith, the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and other aspects of the Mormon church. Thus I can say that I have a testimony of Christ, of his prophets including those alive today, of his scriptures, and of his church. God's spirit has told me that these things are real and true, and experience has demonstrated their goodness to me. Show more Show less