What Is a Church Community?
Loading.....

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 Hansen

I'm a student majoring in linguistics. I'm a nerd. I'm currently serving a full-time mission in Jacksonville, FL. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I've lived all over as my Dad served in the Army, but he's retired in just the last few years to San Antonio, TX where my parents are currently living. I'm the oldest of 6 kids, 3 boys & 3 girls. I finished my associate's degree in San Antonio to cover my basics, and then started into my major in linguistics in the Fall semester of '09. I love learning about anything I can, and I love stories. That leads to a love of and fascination with movies, books, music, games, any medium by which one can tell a story. I also love computers, I've always built my own desktops, and one of my hobbies is maintaining and working on the one I have now. I'm a quintessential nerd of the classic kind. Pretty much any hobby that immediately makes you think "nerd" is one I enjoy. I've already mentioned books, movies, music & games (including computer & video games of all kinds, especially RPGs & other games with strong stories, but also board games, pen & paper RPGs, etc.). I also love anime & manga, history, foreign cultures, drama, art, & many other things. I tend to be a contradiction of myself. I'm very analytical & logical, I love science & math, but yet at the same time I'm majoring in one of the humanities, and I'm a story junky wanting to learn all I can about the human experience. I can't do poetry because I'm too literal, but yet I prefer fiction to non-fiction. I'm currently serving as a missionary for the Church in Jacksonville, FL.

Why I am a Mormon

I'm a Mormon because it's true, everything that we teach is true. I've prayed & asked my Heavenly Father about it, & He has witnessed to my heart over & over again throughout my life that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is His one & only true church on the earth today. I was born into the church, so I've always know it. Even so, when I was about 11 years old, I realized that I needed to know for myself if the church was true. I read the Book of Mormon for the first time, & then I knelt in prayer & asked my Heavenly Father if it was His word. I received an answer that it was, and I haven't looked back since. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior & Redeemer. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God given to His people here on the American continent. I know because I've asked Heavenly Father, and because of the continuous witness I've received as I've lived the principles the church teaches, and worked to follow the example of Jesus Christ. How wonderful it is to know how to find happiness not just in this life, but the next as well! How wonderful it is to know that my family can be together forever, both the one I have now, and the one I'll eventually start whenever I get married. The gospel is such a glorious thing, & I'm grateful to be able to have a knowledge of it, & so I do my best to do everything Christ has asked of us, including belonging to His Church.

How I live my faith

I've always been active in the church, and right now I'm living my faith by serving a full time mission for the Church. I'm spending two years serving the Lord by spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Jacksonville, FL. It's such a privilege to be serving my Savior Jesus Christ full time at this point in my life. It's not at all easy, it's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life to this point, but it is amazing, & fun, & wonderful. I love my Heavenly Father, and my Redeemer, & one of the best ways I know to show them how much I love them is to serve them, & what better way to serve them than by spending all of my time trying to teach people about them, and how to live the way they want us to? I want everyone on earth to be happy, healthy, & safe, & I know that the only way for that to happen not only in this life, but in the next, is for us to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and live according to His teachings. That's why I'm serving a mission right now, which is how I'm living my faith.

Do Mormons only help Mormons?

Hansen
Of course not! As a missionary my chief concern is helping those not of our faith to grow spiritually & become acquainted with the teachings of Jesus Christ. I'm just 1 of over 55,000 missionaries world-wide who devote 2 years of their lives to serving those around them, mostly non-members. As to temporal concern, the Church has always been one that stretches to its greatest capacity to serve all who it can. When disaster strikes, we're among the very first on the scene providing relief & service to those whose lives have been affected. literally tens of thousands of man-hours, and millions of dollars are volunteered by members of the church each year to help those in need regardless of faith, nationality, creed, color, or sex. We believe in following the example that Christ set of caring for those in need in any way we can. As James says in James 1:27: "Pure religion... is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." As a people collectively, and as people individually, we strive to exemplify that in our lives everyday. Show more Show less

How are the activities of the Mormon missionaries funded?

Hansen
The missionaries of the Church, mostly young single members of the Church (men have to be at least 19, women at least 21), serve full time all day every day for about 2 years (18 months for women, 24 months for men). We go out teaching people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, striving to help build people's faith & their relationship with their Savior. All of this is self-funded by the missionaries themselves. Generally, we've saved for many years to be able to serve our Heavenly Father & His Son, Jesus Christ with all our hearts & all our time. The Church has an equalized fund that allows all missionaries to pay the same amount each month into the general mission fund, which is then redistributed according to local needs to individual missions (divided geographically all over the world), and then to individual missionaries. This way, a missionary serving in, say, Guatemala, pays the same amount per month as one serving in, say, Tokyo, Japan, so that everyone can afford to serve a mission. Otherwise, the missionary in Guatemala would be paying something like $40-$50 a month, whereas the one in Japan might have to spend something like $2000-$3000 a month. This keeps everything fair & balanced, & makes planing for a mission easier since you don't know where you're going until you're called there. Show more Show less

Do Mormons regard the Bible as Holy Scripture and the word of God?

Hansen
Absolutely! It is through the Bible that the core concepts of Christianity have been transmitted through the centuries to us today. It tells us the history of God's dealings with his covenant people the House of Israel, His calling prophets to lead them, and probably most importantly, it relates to us what we know of the mortal life & ministry of our Savior Jesus Christ. What people often don't seem to realize is that missionaries use the Book of Mormon because it is a Testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these latter-days, but that in no way detracts from the value of any other work of scripture, especially the Bible. We love & revere the Bible as the word of God as spoken by his servants the prophets. We spend 2 of every 4 years studying it in our Sunday school classes each week, & all of our High School age youth spend 2 years studying it as part of the Church's 4 year seminary program (an early morning scripture study class that meets through the school year), and anytime you hear any member of the Church talk you're just as likely to hear quotes from the Bible as from any of the other scriptures. Personally I love the Bible. I love the history & the stories of the Old Testament, & I love the accounts of the Savior's earthly ministry, and of the early Church following His ascension. The things we can learn from it all are innumerable, and invaluable. Thank God for the Bible! Show more Show less

Why is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called Mormons or Mormonism?

Hansen
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is founded on the belief that we are literally the Church of Jesus Christ, with Him being our leader, the Chief Cornerstone of all we do, say, and believe, yet members of the Church have been known by the nickname of "Mormons," and their beliefs termed "Mormonism" since the very early days of the Church. Why? Because of our belief in the Book of Mormon - a book of scripture detailing the history of a people that lived anciently on the American continent. This book was named for its chief author (or more accurately, compiler) the prophet-historian Mormon, who compiled & abridged the records of his people in the final days of their civilization. Upon his death, and following the destruction of his nation, his son Moroni took charge of this sacred record. Moroni completed the record, and added a title page, naming the record after his father who had compiled it: the Book of Mormon. When Joseph Smith completed translating this record into English in the late 1820s, its publication under the title of "The Book of Mormon" quickly led the public to adopt the name of "Mormons" as a nickname for the followers of Joseph Smith, who believed the Book of Mormon to be a sacred book of scripture, which, acting as a companion to the Bible, testifies of the role of Jesus Christ as Savior & Redeemer of the world. Show more Show less

Who wrote the Book of Mormon?

Hansen
Like the Bible, the Book of Mormon was written anciently by prophets called by God to teach His people about Him & His will. The chief author is a prophet-historian named Mormon (hence the title of the book) who lived about A.D. 400 somewhere on the American continent. He was tasked by God with compiling the records of his people's history into a single volume. This history starts with another prophet named Lehi, who lived in Jerusalem about 600 B.C. Lehi was commanded by God to take his family & flee before the coming captivity of his people at the hands of the Babylonian empire (which is recorded in the Bible in the book of 2 Chronicles, chapters 24 & 25). Lehi's family was then commanded to build a ship that would carry them across the ocean to the Americas. There, they became two great civilizations: the Nephites - named for their leader Lehi's son Nephi, & the Lamanites - also named for their leader Lehi's son Laman. The Book of Mormon mainly chronicles the events in the history of the Nephite civilization over which Mormon served as a military leader. Mormon takes the most important of their prophets' writings & gives us an overview of the highlights of the 1000 years of Nephite history. Ultimately, the Nephites people were destroyed by the Lamanites. Following Mormon's death in the war, his son Moroni finished the record, named it after his father who had compiled it, and buried it to protect it from people who would destroy it. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform proxy baptisms in their temples?

Hansen
When Christ lived, He taught that except a man be born of the water & of the Spirit (that is, unless a man is baptized & receives the Gift of the Holy Ghost), he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5). In other words, baptism is not just a good idea, it's necessary to our salvation. Furthermore, baptism is only binding beyond this life when it is performed by the same priesthood keys which Christ gave to Peter, His chief Apostle (Matt. 16:17-19). What then, is the fate of the millions (billions even) of people who have lived & died without ever even having the opportunity to receive baptism by that proper authority? They too must receive baptism, but it must be performed in this life, by a physical body. Because of the mercy of our Heavenly Father, who loves all His children equally & without prejudice, a way has been provided from the beginning to allow all men to have the blessings of baptism, and by extension, the blessings of salvation. In the temple, a Holy place, the House of God, we are able to use the priesthood authority of God to perform baptism by proxy, on behalf of those of our deceased ancestors who did not have the chance in mortality to be baptized for themselves. Those on the other side of the veil separating this life from the next, then have the choice available to them whether or not to accept the baptism performed on their behalf. Show more Show less

What is the First Vision?

Hansen
The First Vision is the name we use to describe the experience that started the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ in modern times. In the early 1800's, a young man named Joseph Smith was struggling to decide which church he should join. He knew that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He knew that the Bible was the Word of God. Beyond that though, he was confused because every church he attended taught different & conflicting things about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Not knowing where else to turn, he started reading the Bible looking for answers. There, in the spring of 1820, he found a passage in James: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5). Knowing that he needed answers that only God could give him, Joseph decided to do just that, and "ask of God." Joseph went to a grove of trees nearby his home in western New York, and there he knelt in prayer. In response, God, our Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ appeared to him. The answer they gave him as to which church was correct in its doctrine was that none of them had the full truth, and none of them was truly the Church of Jesus Christ as He had established it in His lifetime. Joseph was instructed that he was not to join any church, and that he would be an instrument in the Lord's hands to restore the gospel in its fullness to the earth. Show more Show less

What is a ward/stake/branch?

Hansen
Rather than having churches built at random by local members, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a definite pattern by which all congregations are set up. Each local congregation is called a ward (or a branch where the congregation is too small to be a ward), and is defined by geographical location. There are no paid clergy in the Church, so a ward is led by a member of the congregation who has been asked to serve the members of his area on a voluntary basis. This leader is called a bishop (or a branch president in a branch). A group of wards forms a stake. Stakes are led by stake presidents who, like bishops, are members of that stake, and are asked to serve in that position on a voluntary basis. Stakes are organized into areas led by general authorities of the Church from the first two quorums of Seventy. The areas are then in turn led by the quorum of the twelve Apostles, and the First Presidency of the Church. This organization is possible because all units (or congregations) of the Church operate in uniformity with one another. Using the same teaching materials, the same positions & organizations, & the same general handbook to run everything by. Each ward forms a family of members who seek continuously to serve one another, and help each other to be the best people that we can all be. No one is paid for their contribution to the whole, & so all service is from the heart, given without guile or expectation of personal gain. Show more Show less

Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorse political parties?

Hansen
No, the Church has never, and will never endorse political parties or candidates. It maintains a strict policy of political neutrality. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a long held tradition of patriotism & is a strong supporter of the right that each member has to participate in their government, & the responsibility that each person has to actively take part in selecting those who govern & represent them in government. Each election, the Church releases a statement to the members to the effect that we are each responsible to study the issues that affect us & our communities, research the candidates available for the positions being elected, prayerfully select a candidate that we feel will best represent our opinions & values, & then exercise our right to vote for that candidate. The Church does speak out on issues of morality, and values as they are affected in the political arena. For instance, while it would never endorse a candidate, it will on occasion issue statements of concern about the possible consequences of a certain bill being passes as law, or something of that nature. Further, the Church in no way limits the political activities of its members. Any member is welcome to run for political office, work for a political candidate, vote for whoever they chose, etc. The Church will not however endorse a candidate because he or she is a member. Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons have paid clergy?

Hansen
We believe that each of us has the responsibility to serve one another, and to work together to make the Church run. We are each the hands & feet of the Savior in doing His work. No one is paid for their service in the Church because if it was a job, then corruption would quickly set in. We each work together, on a voluntary basis to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn & grow in various positions of leadership & responsibility. The Lord chooses who fills what position & at what time, so that each of us is able to learn new skills, meet new people, & grow as individuals. The people that fill various roles at different times are often not the best qualified, or the most liked, but they are always the person that needs that experience the most, and that has something the Lord would have them contribute to the group that they couldn't otherwise, even if that contribution is just to try the patience of the people around them :0). I am so grateful that our Heavenly Father loves us enough to give us all opportunities that we wouldn't seek out for ourselves, to help us to become the people that He wants us to be. Show more Show less

What is the Law of Chastity?

Hansen
In brief, the Law of Chastity is the Lord's law of moral purity. It says that we are to have no form of sex outside the bonds of legal marriage between husband & wife. In this life, the ability to create life is one of our most sacred privileges, & among our most important responsibilities. To act as creators in concert with our Heavenly Father, is one of the central purposes for our life here on earth in the first place. We are to raise a family, providing bodies for those of our Heavenly Father's children who have not yet had the opportunity to be born into mortality, & then supporting & building one another to be the very best people that we can be. Because this procreative power is so sacred, the act so intimate, & the family so vital to our eternal salvation & progression, the Lord has given us the law of chastity to protect us from the irreparable damage we can so easily do to ourselves & others if we allow ourselves a casual attitude toward our bodies & the intimate sharing of them in sexual relationships. We also ensure happy, fulfilling family lives for ourselves & our loved ones. The things that the law of chastity covers include all forms of sexual contact of any kind, but further it extends to the purity of our thoughts, & maintaining a high standard in what types of things we allow to enter our minds. This means avoiding all forms of pornography completely & without exception, as well as ensuring that our thoughts stay clean & virtuous. Show more Show less

What will the Mormon missionaries talk about when they visit my home?

Hansen
The message of the missionaries centers on our Savior & Redeemer Jesus Christ. The missionaries teach about the purpose of Christ's mission on earth, His atoning sacrifice on behalf of all people everywhere. They teach about the gospel of Jesus Christ: the pattern He taught by which if we live, we can return to live with our Heavenly Father. They teach about the restoration of the gospel through a modern day prophet. They teach about the Plan of Salvation that our Heavenly Father has provided for us to become more like Him & to be happy through all eternity. Lastly, they teach about the things that Jesus Christ has asked us to do in this life to prepare ourselves to live once again with God, our Eternal Father in Heaven. Throughout all of the things they may share though, the missionaries teach people how to come closer to their Savior through personal study, prayer, & obedience to the things He taught both in His mortal ministry, and through His messengers the prophets. All of these things are for the purpose of helping all to share in the joy that the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have in following the example set by Christ to show us the way to be happy both in this life & the next. Show more Show less

Why is family so important to Mormons?

Hansen
Family is the basis for everything that is important throughout eternity. In our pre-earth life, we were all part of our Heavenly Father's family as His spirit children. There we learned & grew to the extent that we were able to in that environment. Then, Heavenly Father sent us here & put us in family units on earth knowing that this is the best way for each of us to learn & grow in this life. Through families, we are able to support one another, learning to love, serve, teach, & strengthen each other continuously. Central to our purpose here on earth is to start a family of our own, where we may act as partners with our spouse in sustaining one another in being the very best people we can possibly be. We also have the privilege & responsibility for providing more of our Heavenly Father's spirit children with bodies, and loving homes where they too may have the opportunities to learn & grow that we've had. Through the priesthood authority of God, we can be sealed together as a family for all eternity. After death, in the next phase of our lives in eternity, Heaven will be the continuation of the ideal home. If we haven't done all we can to create the best home in this life, then our homes after this life will suffer for it. It is our responsibility to strive to help our families to become the very best people they can each be, thus our lives here on earth, and throughout eternity are the happiest they can be. Show more Show less