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 Derek Eckman

I'm starting my first year teaching high school math in Arizona. We have 15-month-old twin boys and a third on the way.

About Me

I am a recent college graduate, just starting my first year teaching high school math in Holbrook, Arizona. My passions are my family (my wife Selina, twin boys, and a third on the way), music, and helping children stretch and grow to reach their potential. It seems like a long time has passed, yet it's only been three years since I returned from my LDS mission in Seoul, South Korea. I ABSOLUTELY loved the time that I spent there, but family life seems like so much more now. I love my family and my extended family in Idaho. It's lonely to be alone here in Arizona, but we feel that God has lead us here and has a work for us to perform. We've only been married about two years, but I already feel like I can't live without either my wife or the boys. It's funny how you live for so long without someone and then they come into your life and it's like they have always been there.... Starting out in a new career has been challenging. I've been told my whole life that I am special, but it is hard to realize that I when I am just one of the many professionals in my workplace. Most of the people I work with have decades more experience than I do, and I once again feel like a child in a room full of adults. But I am trusting God that He will hold me up and teach me how to be a fulfilling teacher to all. I always remember to "trust in the Lord with all [my] heart, and lean not unto [my] own understanding. In all [my] ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct [my] paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Why I am a Mormon

I grew up in a "Mormon" family, and so when I was little I always went to church because my family did it. I did not think much of it and therefore did not get much out of it. However, when I was in high school, topics of science and history began to conflict in some ways with what I was learning in church. Because of that, I really began to wonder if these church teachings were true or not. About that time the late Gordon B. Hinckley gave all the members of the church a challenge to read the Book of Mormon. Now, I had read this book and the Bible before with my family, but I had never read them personally. So, I decided to begin reading the Book of Mormon. As I read, I came to know that the teachings within the book were good. I saw that if I lived by the things I was reading, I would be a happy, successful person. But I still didn't know if they were true. I read for over 6 months, and while I came to like the teachings more and more, I never really came to know if they were the true word of God. Then the day came when I finished the book. I still had no definite answer. On a Sunday afternoon I sat down to read the final chapter in the book, Moroni chapter 10. In this section there is a promise given that those who read the book, and then ask God sincerely if it is true through a heartfelt prayer, will come to know the book is true. Upon reading this section, I knew that I had to pray. The analyzing and logical approach that I had taken for months was not sufficient for me to know the things of God. So, I took a moment, by myself, and asked God if the book was true. When I asked that, all the thoughts and doubts that I had disappeared, and there was only one thought left in my heart: the book is true. Ever since then I have known the Book of Mormon is true. It is not more important than the Bible--it testifies of the Bible and Jesus Christ. Through it I now know that I can return to live with God in heaven. And that is what I want more than anything else.

How I live my faith

I'm not perfect. I've never professed to be. But I love and serve the Lord. I live my faith by being honest in school. I don't cheat on tests, I give a full effort on my school work, and I do my best to be a worthy recipient of whatever aid I receive, whether it be financial or educational. I live my faith by paying tithing. We have so little money, but we always give our 10% to the Lord before we do anything else. We have had no money problems yet, and I know that as long as we pay Him first, we will never have something financially that a little cutting back and budgeting can't solve. I live my faith by loving my wife. I push thoughts of other women out of my mind whenever temptations come. I do not degrade my wife by observing how others "do it" and comparing her to pornographic images or videos. I tell her that I love her, I hold her when she needs it and when she doesn't, and I always try to be there when I can. My wife is more important to me than anyone except the Lord and my personal relationship with Him. I live my faith by studying the word of God, as well as gaining secular learning. Secular and sectarian learning are not mutually exclusive--they balance each other. Anyone who goes to the extremes of one without the other can find themselves accepting non-truths. Finally, I live my faith by praying. When I pray daily I've seen my life improve and get easier, even though physically nothing has changed. I can't live without prayer, life just gets too stressful.

To what do you attribute the growth of the Church?

Derek Eckman
I think that most people who see the way we live are very impressed by what they see. We are a people who, if we live the way we believe, are generally very successful in our careers and very happy at home. I think this is one of the reasons we grow so quickly. Also, it is because the doctrine that we teach is simple and true. People see our happiness and the light in our eyes and it is something that they want. Show more Show less

Do you really believe there is a prophet like Moses alive today?

Derek Eckman
I believe that God has chosen a prophet in our day. I honestly don't know how I would live without the guidance of one! The truth of the gospel is contained within the Bible and Book of Mormon, and I study them daily in an effort to learn more of the life and teachings of the Savior Jesus Christ. However, to be honest, the youngest of the Biblical prophets/apostles died more than 1900 years ago and the youngest Book of Mormon prophet died around 1600 years ago. Furthermore, these men, inspired as they were, did not live in a day of modern technology, social networking, pornography, globalization, and other social and political winds of change. While I can find God's teachings on most of the moral issues of our day in holy scripture, it is difficult to know which way to turn in most other facets of modern life. To this end, God has provided a prophet and modern apostles for His children. Thomas S. Monson, the President of the church, is the modern prophet. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also function as prophets, teaching the doctrine of Christ and the ways to live this doctrine in a modern world. I learn of their teachings every general conference (in April and October), and it never ceases to amaze me how these often 80+ year old men know the issues of our day and have better answers than the Ph. D's of the world. I would invite you to search out a topic on lds.org and read/listen to their words. You too will feel just how inspired and informed these modern prophets are. Show more Show less