What Is a Church Community?
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Hi I'm Michael

I love computers, books, and music. I've lived all over the Southern US. I come from a large family. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

My family is both big and diverse. My parents have been divorced since I was 4. They have both been divorced again, but I have always been blessed to have a very good relationship with all of them, and they love me very much. I have 5 younger half-siblings, and I know what it's like both to be an only child and to live in a large family. For as long as I can remember, I've loved using and playing with computers, the internet, and basically anything electronic. I know a little bit about web design, and want to learn more about computer programming and design. I will soon be starting college, and I plan on majoring in computer engineering. I really enjoy music. I played the trumpet for 6 years in middle and high school, and participated in a jazz band and in marching band. My mom is a proficient piano player and teacher, and has taught me a bit about that, too. I love listening to almost all types of music, from rock to classical. I also love reading, learning, and math (it's my best subject). I also like being active (running, biking, and so forth), but I'm not so good at it.

Why I am a Mormon

As a high school student, our youth group did a "missionary for a week" activity, in which we were challenged to do a number of things that the full-time missionaries of the Church do. One of them was to read from the Book of Mormon for at least 15 minutes a day (full-time missionaries do even more than that). I read the Book of Mormon for at least 15 minutes a day for that week, but stopped at the end of the week. A couple days after I stopped, I realized that things seemed different. When I was reading the Book of Mormon, things in my life seemed to go better - I seemed to make better grades, have an easier time with my homework, and was just happier. I hadn't realized the blessings that had come from reading the Book of Mormon until after I stopped, but then I noticed that I didn't have the Holy Ghost with me as much, and just wasn't as happy. From that point on I began to read the scriptures regularly. It wasn't until quite a while later, when preparing for a mission, that I realized that because the Book of Mormon was true, Joseph Smith was a Prophet, and more importantly, Jesus Christ in the Son of God and the Savior of the world. I really don't remember exactly when I came to that conclusion, but I know it to be true. Since then, I have had continued spiritual experiences which have helped me to know that this is true and that I am doing the right thing by following Jesus Christ and the modern leaders of His church.

How I live my faith

To me, one of the most important aspects of living the Gospel of Jesus Christ is reading the scriptures. I love reading both the Book of Mormon and the Bible, and have learned for myself that they both contain truth about God's plan for us and how we can draw closer to His Son, Jesus Christ. I also love studying the teachings of the modern prophets and apostles. I know that doing this every day provides the foundation I need to follow Jesus Christ's example throughout my day and throughout my life. I also know that attending church is important. That is something I've done for my entire life, and I am grateful for the blessing of worshiping the Savior on a weekly basis and taking the sacrament in remembrance of Him. Without regular prayer, I know that I would miss many blessings which a loving Father in heaven has given to me. I always try to express gratitude to Him, as well as to ask for His direction in my choices. I have seen answers come from Him in many different ways, on numerous occasions.

What is a ward/stake/branch?

Michael
We usually hear people of other religions say "I go to the such-and-such church." In our religion, we usually say "ward" instead of "church." The difference is because we have more than one congregation, or ward, which meets in each physical church building. Although our buildings are often named after local features or street names for ease, saying which building you go to isn't always definitive enough. A ward is divided up by geographical boundaries, so people who live close together go to the same building at the same time. Each ward is lead by a volunteer Bishop who is called to the position by other church leaders. Wards are kept small so we can meet the other people in our ward and so the Bishop can effectively know the people in his congregation. This prevents impersonal mega-churches from being built or leaders trying to compete with each other for bigger congregations. None of the local church leadership is paid. A branch is a ward in which there's not enough members to have all of the usual church organizations filled, and is presided over by a Branch President. A stake is a collection of several wards and branches that meet together twice a year. Show more Show less