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 Nate

I'm a smart, good looking, and funny Mormon.

About Me

Somehow I managed to convince the most amazing and beautiful woman on the planet to marry me. It took a lot of convincing. At our wedding reception everyone, in line including the people that I invited!, kept saying, “You are so lucky” and “I don’t know how you got such a catch.” And no, not one person told my recently wedded wife how lucky she is. Our oldest boy Calvin is 4. He’s a bright and gentle boy. But despite loving to laugh, he is a master scowler. Graden is our younger boy. When you ask him how old he is he’ll say, “Four,” since his older brother Calvin is 4. When you ask him again he’ll confess, “Two.” I am an academic. I’m currently working towards my PhD in philosophy. I also love to write about the hilarious things my kids do. My dream is to one day read an essay on NPR’s This American Life. So here I am: I’m married to the most amazing woman in the world, the father of two boys, and I’m a Mormon.

Why I am a Mormon

I am a Mormon because I have read the Book of Mormon and God has told me that it is true. Here’s my story. After some turbulent teenage years I decided the Church was a good thing. The people in my congregation were good, sincere people, and I could see that the Church made there lives better. But I just wasn’t sure I believed it. My Bishop, the leader of my congregation, called me in his office to talk about it. He asked, “Do you believe in God?” I sort of did. I had prayed in the past, and I think God may have answered some of those prayers. And at that moment I felt that God was real, so I said, “Yes, I believe in God.” “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” he asked. I believed in Jesus as a historical figure, and weakly accepted the New Testament account of his life, so I responded, “Yes.” My Bishop continued, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ suffered for your sins and was resurrected?” This pushed the limits of my previous beliefs, but, in general, I seemed to have a vague belief that this was true. But at that moment it felt true, so I said, “Yes, I think so.” “Do you believe that the Book of Mormon was true?” Had I been asked if the Book of Mormon was true the day before I would probably have said “I don’t know” or “No.” But at that moment if felt true. It was the same feeling that made me feel that God was real and that Jesus is my Savior that same feeling “told” me the Book of Mormon was true: it felt true, so said, “Yeah, I guess so.” My Bishop persisted, “Do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God?” Had I been asked if Joseph Smith was a prophet the day before I would definitely had said, “No!” But Joseph Smith is the one who published the Book of Mormon. He either made the story up or it came from God, and I just said that I believed the Book of Mormon came from God. I guess that makes Joseph Smith a prophet. And, again, at that moment it felt true. I guess I would have to admit it, so I said, “I guess so.” Since I was now a professed believer, and I was almost old enough to be sent on a mission for the Church, my Bishop set up weekly meetings so that we could read the Book of Mormon together. During the first meeting I made some comment like, “Nephi--the first main character in the Book of Mormon--came to the Americas? And Jesus came to the people in America? I had no idea.” These were totally obvious points about the Book of Mormon, yet here I was at 18 learning about the Book of Mormon as if for the first time. I am sure these things had been said while I was physically present, perhaps a hundred times, but I was never really listening before. Now I wanted to know, and I was excited. It felt true. I distinctly remember driving away from one of those meetings on my motorcycle. Our meeting ended after dark, and it was late October, so the air was chilly. Yet as I rode home on my motorcycle and thought about what I had been learning, I felt my heart burn within me. My skin was cool against the wind, but inside my chest my heart swelled big and if felt so warm, and pure. This feeling made me recall some scripture passages that I had never understood before, where the person talked about a “burning in the bosom” or that their hearts “burned within them.” And the feeling was so pure, and I was so happy, that I knew that the feeling must have come from God. I knew the Book of Mormon was true because it felt true. Years later, this experience of reading the Book of Mormon for the first time remains the primary reason that I am a believer. I have had many other experiences, and found many other good reasons to believe. As a missionary I even saw several other people have the same kind of experience while sat right there in their living room. The reason I am a Mormon is it feels true, and I know that feeling comes from God.

How I live my faith

Last night was a typical bed-time scene at our house. Suddenly Calvin’s too sleepy to move. He’s so tired he can’t even sit up on his knees. With a little coaxing, he’ll get on his knees or sit on his mom’s lap and fold his arms. And then there is Graden’s praying. I start him off, “Heavenly Father.” “Heavenly Father,” he repeats, and then he dashes to the finish line, “Christ, Amen. Christ, Amen! Christ, AMEN!” Despite our constant instruction that a prayer is like a sandwich where you need to put something between “Dear Heavenly Father” and “Amen”, he still jumps the gun every time. So I try to think of what he will want to repeat, and say that. “Thank you for our family,” I say. No response. “Thank you for our family,” I say again. No response. This means that Graden, at this moment, is NOT particularly grateful for his family and so is not willing to say “Thank you for our family.” So I try something else. “Thank you that I could see the sandcastle,” I say. “Sandcastle,” he repeats. “Christ, Amen.” “Thank you that I could go to Max’s birthday party.” “Max’s party,” he repeats. And he adds with finality, “Christ, Amen!” I continue on, “Please bless...” “Christ, Amen. Christ, Amen! Christ AMEN!” The louder and louder Graden chants “Amen” the louder I speak, hoping to add something he’ll want to repeat, “PLEASE BLESS MAX TO HAVE A GOOD BIRTHDAY.” “Good Birthday. CHRIST, AMEN!” I finally give in. “Amen,” I say. The family adds, “Amen.” Mom then tells them to go potty on the way to bed. “I’m so tired,” Cal says laying back down. He’s too tired to walk, he wants us to think. But after we carry him to bed and tuck the oh so tired boy into bed, he’ll walk into the room to announce, “Graden wants some water in his sippy,” and later, “Graden lost his binky,” and later “Graden wants to go potty” these messages are only sometimes accompanied by Graden, in which case Graden needs no spokesperson. Somehow the boy that was so tired suddenly found the stamina to stay up for another 45 minutes, running the occasional errand for his little brother. The upside for him is that he gets to leave his room after bedtime and blame it on Graden. Calvin doesn't know were on to him, so shhh! That’s a typical night for us. A little laugh with the kids, a little prayer, and a whole lot of shepherding kids back to their bedroom after lights are out.

Why do you have 12 Apostles? They were just meant to be around for the time of Jesus Christ, not to be replaced with new apostles.

When Jesus was on the earth he chose 12 apostles. The Greek word for apostle, “apostolos,” indicates someone who is an official messenger, or one who speaks with authority from the one who sent him. The 12 apostles, then, are official messengers chosen by Jesus to speak in his behalf Luke 9:2. One of the apostles, Judas Iscariot, betrayed Jesus, which eventually led to Jesus’ death. After Jesus died, the apostles and other believers gathered together to choose a disciple to replace Judas as one of the 12 apostles. They debated between choosing Mathias and Barsabas, eventually choosing Mathias Acts 1:15-26. This process shows that the apostles thought it was important that there were 12 living apostles, rather than 11 or 13 apostles. After Jesus’ death, the 12 apostles continued to have the special authority to speak in behalf of Jesus Matthew 28:18-20. Many important revelations were received by the apostles after Jesus died. For example, Peter had a vision that Christians do not need to follow the dietary rules of the Law of Moses Acts 10. And when a controversy arose between believers over whether non-Jewish Christians should be circumcised, the apostles held a council at which it was decided that Christians did not need to be circumcised Acts 15. This event shows that when doctrine differences arise between believers the early Christians turned to the apostles to decide the issue, and once the apostles decided that Christians did not need to be circumcised that decision was accepted by believers. With so much division among various denominations of Christianity, there has never been a greater need to have apostles on the earth than today. There are many doctrinal differences today among believers of Jesus, and Jesus’ apostles have the authority to receive revelations concerning the will of God and have the authority to speak in Jesus’ behalf to settle these doctrinal issues. Mormons believe that God has chosen 12 living apostles to lead the Church today. These apostles receive direction from the Lord, and speak with authority in behalf of Jesus. That way the Lord can tailor messages to our needs, addressing issues such as internet pornography, gay marriage, and other challenges that we face today. So, Mormons see the modern apostles fulfilling a similar role to that of the ancient apostles. The modern apostles are, Mormons believe, chosen by the Lord to be his messengers who have special authority to speak in Jesus’ behalf. Having living apostles provides us with much needed guidance from the Lord for our own day. Show more Show less

Why are only some Mormons allowed into temples? Is there something secret going on in Mormon Temples? What goes on in Mormon Temples?

Temples are unfamiliar to most of us. The reason is that the Jerusalem temple was destroyed in 70 AD. Jewish worship then shifted to local synagogues and Christian worship eventually shifted to churches. Both synagogues and churches are open to everyone, which raises the question many people have today about why Mormon temples are exclusively for practicing Mormons. In the ancient world, however, it was common that only priests could enter into the temple and participate in what was to them sacred rituals. For example, only Israelite men who lived in accordance with the law of Moses and were ritually clean could enter the Jewish temple and participate in those sacred rituals. Mormons view their temples in a similar way to the temples in the Bible. Most practicing adult men in the Mormon church are priests, and priests of a certain rank are able to participate in what to Mormons are sacred rituals performed in their temples. Most practicing adult women are also able to participate in the sacred rituals performed in temples. Those who do not live in accordance with the teaching of the Mormon church are not able to participate in temple rituals, just as those who did not live the law of Moses were not eligible to participate in the rituals of the ancient temple. And so, like the temple in ancient Jerusalem, Mormon temples only allow practicing adult members to enter the temple and participate in what to Mormons are sacred rituals. Show more Show less