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 Doug

I'm a scientist. I'm a father. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I met my wonderful wife in junior high school, not long after she moved from Puerto Rico to our small town in central Pennsylvania. We have one son who is rapidly growing taller than both of us. He is a talented jazz musician. I am a biochemist, and my wife is a physician. We went to college in our hometown and then grad school in Boston. After a long wait, we finally got married about the time we were both finishing school. Since then we've lived in North Carolina and Maryland. I have loved science since I was a kid. My father was a chemistry professor, and I wanted to be a scientist and a teacher like him. He was my professor for several college courses, which was fun. He died while I was in graduate school. I miss sharing my excitement about science with him. After spending so long in school, one of the fun things about being an adult has been continuing to try new things. I'm an amateur French horn player, and a birder, both interests that I've pursued as an adult. As a kid, I played golf with my father, but I stopped when I got serious about football. I was a kicker, which is kind of like golf with guys trying to kill you. I started playing golf again recently, and now my son and I play together often. After a scary experience when I was very young, I wanted nothing to do with swimming, but in my early forties I found a patient teacher, got over my fears, and learned to swim. Now swimming is one of my favorite ways to work out.

Why I am a Mormon

I am a Mormon because I have an abiding testimony that the Book of Mormon is a witness of the atonement of Jesus Christ, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet, through whom God brought that book forth and restored the fullness of the gospel. I know that God loves me, and is mindful of me. He speaks to us today through prophets and the Holy Spirit. The Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ. This statement addresses directly the two most fundamental questions to which anyone investigating The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must seek answers: (1) Is Jesus the Son of God, the Redeemer? (2) Is the Book of Mormon what we claim it is? If so, why does it exist? I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and the Book of Mormon is the foundation upon which my testimony of that fact is built. It is, one modern-day prophet has written, "...another witness to a doubting generation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God." In my favorite passage, the prophet Nephi says, "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophecy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." The Book of Mormon is entirely about the Savior. As I have read it, I have imagined the prophet Mormon, confronted with the task of distilling a thousand years of doctrine and history into a size that his son could bury in a stone box on a hillside. I imagine him prayerfully finding the things to tell us that would bear witness of Jesus Christ. The clarity of understanding, depth of testimony, and abiding faith required to create the record we have today is astounding and humbling to me. The gospel of Jesus Christ is coherent, consistent with what I know about the natural world, and fundamentally hopeful. It helps me every day, and explains the great mysteries of life. It is an ancient faith, equally at home in the space age, because it is the truth and it is eternal.

How I live my faith

I grew up in a Mormon family. My mother's family were pioneers. She was from Utah. My father's parents were both converts to the church in Pennsylvania. We lived there, and were one of only a few Mormon families in our town. We didn't go to church a lot of the time I was growing up, but my parents made it clear to me that they believed. By the time I left home to go away to school, I was reading and studying a lot, trying to reach my own understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Mormon church. There were two major emotional and intellectual driving forces in my life: science and faith. My father was a scientist, and that was what I wanted to do too. I was always grateful that it was clear in my church that there was no reason for me to be worried about science and faith contradicting each other. I was taught that many LDS church leaders were scientists. I understood that I could be both a scientist and a Mormon. A turning point for me came a couple of years after I was married. My wife was not a Mormon, but we both began to feel that we needed to atend church together, and we went to the local Mormon ward. We were nervous, but we were befriended and found a religious home. I began really living my faith, and I think that was when the real process of building a testimony of Jesus Christ and his atonement began for me. Applying the gospel in my life enabled me to understand the Savior's love for me in a way that I could not appreciate from isolated study. A few years ago, I baptized my wife. A year later, on the happiest day of my life, we were sealed for eternity in the temple. I love serving in the Church. I visit and provide service to members of the congregation, and have been a lay leader in our congregation. I love to see how the brethren respond when we're called on to help someone in need. Specific roles in the Church come and go, but what I love most about the Church is that it is a faith I live every day. It informs every aspect of my life.

Do Mormons only help Mormons?

Service to others is a basic tenet of the Mormon Church. One of the things I love about the Church, aside from its central teachngs and doctrines, is the way we work on a practical level to help one another. That is, just feeling sympathy for someone else's afflictions is not really a satisfactory, or satisfying, approach. The Lord blesses us very often through the actions of other people, and working actively to lift the burdens of others is one of the important ways in which we show our love for the Savior and our Father in Heaven, and try to become more like them. I think that in any cultural setting, church or otherwise, it is easy to become parochial and not look too far beyond one's immediate circle to find people to serve, especially if that circle easily presents a lot of opportunities for service. Mormons can be just as guilty of this as anyone else. We do try to look after one another in our congregations, but we also work individually and together to serve others in our communities. We are taught that all people are brothers and sisters, not just members of our church. I've never known a Mormon who, faced with an opportunity to help, chose not to because of a person's religious faith or lack thereof. The Church's humanitarian assistance infrastructure, both local and international, has always impressed me with its effectiveness, the engagement of church members, and impact on the community beyond the Church itself. Show more Show less