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 Neylan

I'm a writer, I'm a mother, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I was born and raised in New York City as the only daughter of an opera singer and a lawyer. I thought growing up Mormon in New York was the best childhood ever. I liked being different from my peers, having a unique identity, and I had powerful experiences there that led me to be committed to the Church. I attended college in Connecticut and worked in public relations and marketing after college. I am currently a wife, the mother to three young daughters, a freelance religion writer and an associate creative director at an advertising agency.

Why I am a Mormon

God has a plan for this world, and a plan for each one of us. As I've studied the scriptures -- particularly the Old Testament -- and learned about how God interacts with people and what He expects from us, I have come to understand that we are part of a vast architecture that is far bigger than just our here and now. It's that perspective that leads me to believe that Joseph Smith restored truths that Jesus Christ originally introduced to the world, but that were subsequently lost through the natural faults of mankind. I believe in the Restoration, in the renewal of true doctrine that occurred in the early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That's why I'm here.

How I live my faith

Since I've lived most of my life in places where Mormons are uncommon and often misunderstood, I have felt empowered to represent my church and my beliefs to people who might have never met a Mormon before. I hope that those people I have introduced to the Church see me as someone who is engaged in the lives of my friends and family, trying to support and lift them up where I can. I hope I am someone who takes a rational, thoughtful approach to life, understanding that the decisions I make here will impact who I am in the future and in the eternities. I try to spend my time in ways that will bring me closer to God and Jesus Christ: through my writing, through music, through study, through service, through my family and specifically my children.

Why don’t women hold the priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? How do Mormon women lead in the Church?

I am passionate about strengthening the women in the Mormon Church and celebrating the role that we have within our organization. In fact, I founded and edit The Mormon Women Project, a website featuring interviews with Mormon women who have made interesting choices in their lives and can act as role models to others: http://www.mormonwomen.com. As in many other organizations, members of our church have different responsibilities: some are given the responsibility to lead congregations, some the responsibility to lead families, some the responsibility to teach the youth and others to offer compassionate service to those in need. Similarly, the responsibility to use the Priesthood power is given to adult men in our organization. However, the blessings of the Priesthood are available to and felt by every member, man or woman. Every member can be healed through the Priesthood, blessed by it, and given special gifts through its power. The power to use the Priesthood has sometimes been abused or misunderstood, which is why our detractors claim our women are being denied something that gives men power over us. Joseph Smith said, "We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.... No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned...." (Doctrine & Covenants121) In my experience, the women of our church have lead in their own spheres so effectively that they rarely feel excluded from Priesthood operations. My own mother, a single mother of one child with a demanding career as a singer, was a beacon to LDS women of her generation of someone who could have a hugely positive influence through her music without a man at her side. I had numerous other examples of women in my youth who excelled in their chosen fields, including the field of motherhood, because of and not in spite of our church's reverence for women. Although much maligned in other faith traditions, Eve is a hero to the Mormons because, as we are taught in a verse from the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 2:23), Adam and Eve couldn't have children in the Garden of Eden. It was Eve's monumental decision to eat the fruit and leave the Garden that made our existence possible. She knew what she was doing. She chose a tough life outside the Garden because she understood that's how mankind could progress. Show more Show less