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Hi I'm Alan

I'm a neurologist. I love brains. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I am a husband and a father. I am a neurologist, a distance runner, and a musician. I love the Lord and I love my family.

Why I am a Mormon

I grew up in this Church, but that is not why I'm still here. As a youth I struggled to decide whether I would believe and live the principles of my religion, or whether I would follow some other philosophies I found in the world. I felt intuitively that the gospel gave sound advice on how to live my life: avoid self-destructive behaviors, be nice to other people, etc. But I did not know whether I believed in God, and I felt that if there was no God, then life didn't have any real meaning or purpose. In the middle of this struggle within my soul I found two verse which nudged me along. The first was in The Book of Mormon, in the writings of a prophet named Alma. He recorded some teachings he gave to a group of people who were a lot like me: interested, but without much faith. He instructed: "But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words. (Alma 32:27)" These words appealed to me because they suggested a starting place I could attain; I did not feel like I had any faith, but I did have a desire to believe. Alma also phrased his challenge in the form of an experiment, which appealed to my scientific side. Something moved within my soul, and I decided to "experiment upon the word." This experiment gave meaning and purpose to my prayers, and within a short time I began to recognize the emotions and sensations which are produced by the Holy Spirit. This was evidence to me that God is real, and that he both knows me and cares about me. I felt that he was listening to my prayers, and answering them by sending his Spirit to me. As I continued my experiment I found that Alma's promise was true: "It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me. (Alma 32:28)" The second verse I encountered a few months later, as I was struggling to decide what I was going to do about this change that was happening within me. I found that I was easily distracted from the gospel by many things which competed for my attention, such as work, music, and friends. As I focused my attention on these other things and neglected my personal religious observance, that feeling of being close to God would fade away and I would start questioning again whether I really believed in God. During this time I read a comment made by Joseph Smith about the opposition and ridicule he faced after he told people about his vision where he saw God and Jesus Christ. He said: "I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation. (Joseph Smith-History 1:25)" The thing that struck me in this statement was how firmly Joseph stood behind his experience. He knew it was true, and knew that God knew it. As I thought about this statement I began to see myself in it: I was in possession of evidence; I had experienced the reality of God. In short, I had a testimony. It was therefore my duty to act upon this knowledge, and I felt that God would be offended if I denied my witness. These two important lessons became the starting place for a wonderful journey in the gospel, which I am still enjoying. I believe and know with all of my heart that God is real, that he knows me, and that he cares about me. It requires effort to know God, but that is true of every worthwhile thing in life. I testify from my own experience that God is real, and I promise you that it is worth every effort to know him.

How I live my faith

I served a 2-year full-time mission for the Church in England starting when I was 19 years old. I have also been involved with teaching teenage boys, working with local missionaries, teaching Sunday school, taking care of very young children during Church meetings, and many other jobs. I try to be an example of the believers when I am at home and at work, and in everything I do.

Are Mormons Christians?

Alan
I consider myself a Christian. I define a Christian as a person who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. A Christian is someone who centers their faith on Christ, who worships him and looks to him for salvation, believing that no other person or thing can save them. This is what we believe, and exactly what our scriptures teach. Some people try to say that Mormons are not Christians, and I don't understand this. In order to claim that Mormons are not Christians, you have to employ a meaningless definition of "Christianity." Show more Show less

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

Alan
No. "Worship" is reserved for members of the Godhead: Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Worship means giving absolute devotion, adoration, and submission to someone, and only God is worthy of receiving true worship. God said "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)" So what do we think about Joseph Smith? He was a mortal man called by God to serve as a prophet, and he was a great prophet. We love Joseph Smith, we study his teachings, and we are grateful for the work he did. But we do not worship him any more than we worship Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, Peter, or any other prophet. We worship God. Show more Show less