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Hi I'm Tom

I grew up in Canada but when I went to Utah to play college football I learned about the church, now I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I always liked puzzles when I was a kid so I think that is why I like to fix things; my car, things around the house, pretty much anything. I love living near the water. There is something peaceful about the water. Recently I've been lucky enough to travel; that's fun. Most importantly I'm a husband and a dad.

Why I am a Mormon

I'm a Mormon for a lot of reasons but primarily because it just feels right. I knew as a teenager that I was missing something in my life. When I went to school in Utah and learned about the Mormons I found the pieces that had been missing. It was somewhat like that New Testament story about the sheep hearing the shepherd's voice. I heard it in my heart and knew it was right.

How I live my faith

I've spent the better part of 30 years working with the youth in the Church, which has helped to keep me feeling young. Right now I'm volunteering as a Boy Scout leader for a patrol of 11-year old Scouts. I don't wear my religion on my sleeve but it is important to me to show people, particularly young people, that believing in God and being a good person are not things to be ashamed of. Also, that you can be well educated, well read, and work in a demanding profession while maintaining your faith. Religion and science are not at war with each other because God is the ultimate scientist - and mathematician, which I really admire.

What is being a Mormon like?

Tom
In most ways it's just like being anything else. Being a Mormon provides a foundation for my life but I still have to live my life just like you. I think being a Mormon helps me to make better choices in life. I know it helps me to be a better husband and father. Show more Show less

What is faith?

Tom
I've taught this principle to young people for many years. I tell them that "faith is a can of tomato soup". That usually brings a funny look but when you think about it it makes sense. When you take a can of tomato soup down off the shelf you believe 100% that there is tomato soup in that can but you won't actually "know" there is tomato soup until you open the can. I then explain that "faith is an expectation based on experience". Because there was tomato soup in that can every time I opened it I now expect there to be tomato soup each time I take a can off the shelf, even though I can't see into the can to be sure. It is the same thing in spiritual matters. As we have spiritual experiences we come to expect certain results. That is the process of building faith until it is so strong that we know what to expect, even though we can't "see" the result in advance. Show more Show less

What is the Mormon lifestyle like? How do Mormons live?

Tom
You probably know some Mormons already because Mormons live just like everyone else. In some areas they are few in number, in others they may even be the majority (for example in Tonga). Their children may be on your daughter's softball team or on your son's hockey team. While you may not know that they are Mormons you may have noticed that they seem particularly nice. Mormons tend to be good neighbors, and willing to help out. Some are rich and some are poor. Some are civic leaders and some live quiet lives, away from the limelight. Some Mormons have large families but others do not. So while we are all different we are bound together by a common belief in Jesus Christ and in the hope of eternal life, and that prompts us to reach out to our friends and neighbors with love and kindness. Show more Show less

Who wrote the Book of Mormon?

Tom
This is an interesting question. The Book of Moron is like a Reader's Digest version of a much larger record. A prophet/leader named Mormon did most of the editing of these historical and religious records to provide us the bulk of the text in the Book of Mormon. However, the first part of the Book of Mormon is taken directly from a family record kept initially by a prophet/leader named Nephi and then by his brother Jacob and Jacob's descendants. The last part of the Book of Mormon was edited and written by Mormon's son, Moroni. The Book of Mormon was translated in the early 19th century by Joseph Smith, Jr., who dictated the text to several scribes who took down the dictation in long hand. The principal scribe was Oliver Cowdrey, a young schoolteacher. A copy of the original handwritten text is preserved by the church in its museum. Show more Show less

Are there restrictions based on race or color concerning who can join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have the priesthood?

Tom
The simple answer is no but anyone familiar with the church understands that this has been a source of contention over the years. While there was never a restriction on who could be baptized into the church, during the early years of the church in Missouri a practice developed that male members of African descent would not receive the priesthood. At the time, shortly before the civil war, tensions were high in Missouri about race issues and in light of all the other persecution the church was receiving this policy likely appeared to be the easiest course of action. When the church moved west to Utah this policy was not revisited and various opinions grew up around the policy. In the mid 20th century President McKay clarified that any restriction on the priesthood was not based on doctrine but on policy, but because the policy had been in place so long he did not believe he could alter it without direct revelation from God. That revelation did not come during his lifetime but it did come a few years later to President Kimball. Since that time there has been no restriction on which male members may be ordained to the priesthood. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Tom
This is a topic for debate even among Mormons who are trying to figure out the competing principles of "grace" and "works". In the end, however, we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and but for His grace would be eternally shut out from the presence of God. Jesus taught that if we love him we have to keep his commandments (John 14:15). There really wasn't anything new in that because Old Testament prophets taught the same thing (e.g. Ezekiel 20:19). What this means in practical terms is that God expects us to do our best to follow the rules that he has established for our life (the commandments) but God also realizes that even with our best efforts we are going to make mistakes. As no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God there had to be a way for men and women to become reconciled to God. That way is in and through Jesus Christ, who suffered the sins of all men but on conditions of repentance. In other words, His grace is available to us but we have to repent (or change) and conform our life to His teachings as best we can. If we are sincere in our efforts then His grace is sufficient for us (e.g. 2 Cor. 12:9; D&C 17:8). Show more Show less