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Hi I'm Tom

I'm an economist and an educator. I'm married and I have three adorable little kids. I like outdoor activities. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up in the California Bay Area as the oldest child in a family of four. I'm now married and have three little kids of my own. Ever since I was in high school I've wanted to help people be more successful in their education. After I graduated from college I joined Teach For America and taught middle school math in Kansas City. Now I'm attending graduate business school with plans to help transform the field of education. My wife and I love to get together with other couples or young families to share meals, swap parenting stories, and play board games. I learned Spanish while living in Puerto Rico and I relish opportunities to talk to other people in Spanish. I love meeting new people and learning about other cultures.

Why I am a Mormon

My parents have been members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for my entire life. The way they lived their religion around me as I was growing up was a powerful example to me of how faith can bring spiritual power into our lives. When I was 12 years old I read the Book of Mormon for the first time and felt the peaceful, comforting witness of the Holy Ghost confirming that it is true and that God loves me and cares about my life. As a teenager and as an adult I have worked hard to consistently do things to strengthen my faith and deepen my relationship with God. Along the way I have had many experiences, both simple and dramatic, that have confirmed my faith. I love the verse in 1 Corinthians 214-15 when the apostle Paul tells the people, "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." At times in my life I have been confronted with doubts, but I have also experienced the power of God in my life enough to know that what I believe is true.

How I live my faith

My wife and I work hard to make our home a place where God's influence can been seen and felt. We've put up many pictures around our house to remind us of the two things that we value most: the family that God has blessed us with and the faith that brings us our greatest peace and joy. Although it can be tricky with an infant and a toddler, we try to study the scriptures and pray together as a family each night. We are also very involved with our local congregation and enjoy opportunities to teach lessons and give talks at church.

How can I know Mormonism is true?

Tom
If you sincerely seek to know if Mormonism is true, God will give you the answer. That is the only way you can really know for yourself. Conviction can't come from being convinced by me or by anyone else. At the end of the day, you have to go to God and ask him yourself. In order to get an answer, you also have to be sincere. You probably won't get an answer if you just pray casually or if you've already made up your mind on your own. If you really want an answer from God you should start reading the Book of Mormon and taking time to really learn about what Mormons believe. Then, as you study, you should pray to your Heavenly Father with an open heart and ask him if what you are learning is true. He loves you and he will answer your prayers. You also need to be ready to live with the answer you get. Christ didn't just ask people to believe in him, he asked people to follow him. Knowing that Mormonism is true will have an affect on the way you live your life. Making an honest effort to live the commandments that God has given us is a really important part in getting an answer from God. Jesus said, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself," see John 717. If you start trying to live the things that Jesus has taught through his modern-day prophets, you will come to know for yourself that those teachings are from God. Show more Show less

What is the difference between attending a Mormon Church and a Mormon Temple?

Tom
A Mormon church is where members of the church hold their weekly meetings and activities. Every Sunday, member gather at their local church to take the sacrament, listen to sermons, and participate in Sunday School. During the week, social activities, classes, and cultural events are also held at churches. Much of what happens at a church building revolves around serving each other, teaching the gospel to each other, and building relationships that strengthening us as a faith community. A Mormon temple is where members of the church go to receive instruction about God's plan and make commitments to live his commandments. In contrast to the activities that go on at a church building, the worship we do at temples is more of a time of quiet, personal reflection. Show more Show less

What is the First Vision?

Tom
When Mormons talk about the "First Vision" they are referring to the first vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith. As a young teenager Joseph Smith spent a lot of time thinking about religion. He was confused by the fact that there were so many different churches that all taught about Jesus Christ, but disagreed sharply about the correct way to follow Jesus. One day he found a verse in the Bible that says, "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” (James 1:5). The verse made him realize that rather than trying to come to his own conclusions about religion, he needed to ask God. In the spring of 1820, Joseph went to a grove of trees to pray and had the following experience: "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, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" God had been preparing Joseph to be a prophet for our times and to bring back the authority and the truth that Jesus Christ had established anciently in his church. The First Vision marked the beginning of Joseph's ministry as a prophet of God. His experience also shows us that if we have questions we can turn to God, and he will answer our prayers. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe is the purpose of life?

Tom
The purpose of life is to become what God wants us to become. We are His children and He knows our true potential. His plan for us is a plan designed to lead us to true happiness and peace. Ultimately, God want us to become more like Him and return with our families to live with Him. Before we were born we lived with our Heavenly Father. Because He loves us He created a plan in which we would come to earth, receive physical bodies, and gain experiences. We knew that life would be hard, but we also knew that the experiences available to us in mortality were necessary for our development. During life we experience both joy and pain so that we can learn to truly appreciate joy. We experience both good and evil so that we can learn to recognize the difference between them and learn to choose good. Life's experiences also help us develop attributes such as love, patience, wisdom and humility. Through these experience we are able to become more like our Heavenly Father. In our day God had revealed His plan to us through His prophets. He has also given us commandments as a guide for finding peace and happiness during life and ultimately finding our way back to Him. By studying God's plan and following the commandments we learn how to become what God wants us to become. Show more Show less

To what do you attribute the growth of the Church?

Tom
Many of my friends who are not Mormons have told me how impressed they are by our church as an organization. They admire our strong ward communities, the high levels of involvement among our members that results from our lay ministry, and the strong commitment to our faith that many young men and women develop while serving as full-time missionaries. They often attribute the growth and success of the church to these organizational management decisions. The organization of our church really is impressive. However, I don't attribute the success of the church as an organization to lucky innovations or good management decisions. I believe that the church's success results from the fact that the church truly is led by God. Jesus Christ is the head of the church and he blesses his leaders with inspiration to know how his church should be led. The real growth and success of the church comes from the fact that God's power is found in the church. Individuals who come unto Christ through his church can receive their own witnesses and inspiration to know that the church is true. Furthermore, people who join the church and live its teachings come to see the blessings of God in their lives. It is the power of God that leads to the church's growth. Show more Show less