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Hi I'm Thomas

I was raised in Utah, served with the Hmong people, married into the Mexican culture, now live in North Carolina, & I'm a Mormon!

About Me

I was born and raised in Utah. I really didn't even leave Utah much except for a few family vacations when I was young. The first time I left Utah for any "extended" time period was for my LDS mission...to be a missionary and share my beliefs with others. I was called to serve in San Diego California specifically amongst the Hmong people (a small hill tribe from China/Southeast Asia). After completing my 2 years of missionary work I returned home to Utah, but I just couldn't settle in! I felt the desire to return to California. I ended up returning a few months later, but I quickly learned that living a 'mormon' lifestyle in California is harder than I had thought--and it was MUCH different than it had been as a missionary!! My friends just didn't understand why I lived the way I did, and I found it very difficult to be open about my beliefs. The peer pressure and the desire to feel 'belonged' or 'part of the group' wore me thin. I fell away from my beliefs and have had a rough road back 'home'. Well...along that road, I married and divorced (with two children from that marriage); then remarried and am currently separated (with 3 children from that marriage). It is very difficult to acknowledge that I have failed at marriage twice -- I very much dislike that -- but I work hard to keep Christ in my life and ensure that my children have a stronger foundation to their testimony and personal worth than I had!!

Why I am a Mormon

Although I was born into a family who were quite active in the LDS church, I still needed to know for myself why I was a Mormon...and if it is true! My ancestor's on my father's side have been involved with the LDS church since back in the 1830's when the gospel was restored through Joseph Smith; but my mother was a new member of the LDS church, having been raised Presbyterian. I enjoyed hearing the experiences of both sides of my family! My mom provided a 'recent' example to me of someone who had been searching for the truth, and how the LDS church had changed her life. On the other hand, my paternal ancestors provided the "faith-building" experiences as I heard the stories of their persecution and struggle to practice their religion. My desire to know for myself caused me to kneel in prayer and ask God. I remember having a beautiful feeling inside me and I realized that my ancestor's struggles and my mother's search for the truth was not in error. I know that I am in the true church of Jesus Christ. Even though I had that knowledge, I still became lazy and allowed myself to fall away somewhat. My desire to feel God's love and be truly converted to Christ's gospel brought me back. I have felt Heavenly Father's love on so many occasions. I know I am a child of God. I know that I am a very important part of His family. I know that, similar to my desire for my children to be happy, God has a strong desire for all of His children to be truly happy and He has provided us a way.

How I live my faith

I have discovered that I love to serve! The ability to help other people have greater happiness, or a more meaningful day, or a less burdensome day has become a big part of my life. Strangely, this used to be one of my bigger weaknesses! The Lord speaks of this 'miracle' in the Book of Mormon in the following manner: "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." I feel that service amongst others and within the Church is what draws our family closer together. I've had great opportunities to learn more about my children as we work together to lend a helping hand. My family truly loves to be involved. The Sunday church activities are great, but we also look forward to activities or service opportunities throughout the week to help us stay focused, and feel the presence of the Holy Ghost more continuously in our lives. I believe that we are all children of God and knowing this helps increase my desire to serve others. I specifically remember a time when we were living in Tijuana, Mexico and our entire family joined with other LDS/Mormon families in the area to help paint over graffiti. Our goal was to help improve the image of the community where we lived, and help our neighbor's be happier...or more at peace, I guess.

What is the Atonement of Jesus Christ? Why was it necessary for Jesus Christ to sacrifice His life?

Thomas
For me, the "atonement" of Jesus Christ is the definition of "grace". The scripture's discuss the fact that we are saved by grace. While this is true, it is often times understood differently. The issue of grace caused some confusion for me as I was learning more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I remember a time when I wanted to understand the purpose of Christ's sacrifice more clearly and as I read through the scriptures, I began to reflect on the definition of grace. I know from other studies that we need to be pure, or completely cleansed of sin, to return to God. No matter how hard I try, I cannot remove the wrong's from my life. I feel that I have learned that once I have done my best ... truly my best ... then Christ fills the gap. I know that Christ took my sins upon him and that because of this, if I repent, my sins actually can be removed. My debt will be paid. God will forgive me. This grace makes it possible to stand before God as a cleansed or pure individual. Just as with any debt, it couldn't be forgiven without someone paying for it. Jesus Christ volunteered, and therefore through the atonement, His grace is manifest. And by His grace we are saved after doing all we are able to do by ourselves. I am very thankful for Jesus Christ, and for the atonement. I try to live my life as perfectly as possible. I do my best, and by doing my best, I feel that it is one of the ways I can show my gratitude for all Christ has done for me. Show more Show less