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 Courtlan

I'm a Mormon. I grew up in Utah, but my family and I now live in the state of Washington.

About Me

I am a father of four young children. They keep my wife and me plenty busy. I truly enjoy being a parent, because in spite of the challenges that children present at times, nothing can compare to the joy of being unconditionally loved by someone else the way my kids love me. Parenthood is a huge responsibility, but the daily rewards--the love, the humor, the fun--far outweigh the difficulties. As imperfect as I am, I am sincerely trying to be a good role model and to teach my kids the things they need to learn to succeed and be happy in life. I was blessed with parents who did this for me, and I believe that nothing is more important for a child. I also love and honor my wife for all of her efforts in raising our children and for her love for me. I don't know what I'd do without her. As for my employment, I am an attorney in the public sector in the state of Washington. I was one of those people who went all through school--even graduating from college with a math degree--not knowing what to do for a career. Four years after I got my bachelor's degree, I started law school, having decided that the manufacturing jobs I had been doing weren't what I wanted to do forever. Going back to school has blessed me with a job I enjoy and the ability to support my family without my wife having to work outside the home, and I am grateful for that. One of my favorite hobbies is hiking. I don't do it as much as I would like to, but I've been on several hikes and backpacking trips in the Olympic and Cascade mountains here in Washington, including taking a group of scouts hiking up to the crater rim of Mt. St. Helens. That was a really neat experience. My primary remaining hiking goal, however, lies in Salt Lake County, Utah, where I grew up. In Salt Lake County, there are--according to one list--32 distinct summits over 10,000 feet in elevation. I've ascended 25 of them so far, and I want to bag the other seven before I die. Another hobby of mine is sports, both participating casually and watching sports on television, which doesn't happen much anymore. Another is Latin-based languages--I can read French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian fairly well and often read my scriptures in those languages. Another is cars--I like to keep up with the latest models and trends by reading my favorite car magazine, while fantasizing about all the fast cars I'll never own or drive.

Why I am a Mormon

Since my parents were active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I grew up attending church every week. As a teenager, I began to desire to know for myself whether or not the Church is true, because I had been taught that I needed to find out for myself. I never doubted or wanted to follow any other path, but I wanted a personal witness from the Holy Ghost that this is God's true church. I had felt the influence of the Holy Ghost many times during church-related activities, such as singing spiritual songs, but two instances stand out as clear initial answers in my search for knowledge. The first occurred when I was in 9th grade, as I read the testimony of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, speaking of a vision they had of Jesus Christ, as recorded in the book The Doctrine and Covenants, section 76, verse 22. They said, "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him. That he lives!" As I read that, I felt the Holy Ghost come over me, and I knelt and prayed for my own confirmation that Jesus Christ lives. The Holy Ghost confirmed that it was true. The second experience occurred right after my grandpa passed away, when I was 17. I knew he was a good man who had tried to pattern his life after Jesus Christ and who had been a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I wanted a confirmation that our church's teachings about salvation were true. As I prayed, I got that answer. I felt the Holy Ghost confirm to me that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the one true church of Jesus Christ on the earth, and that its teachings are true. As a result, I know this to be true. That witness, that testimony from the Holy Ghost, has never diminished since that time. Rather, it has grown as I've felt the Holy Ghost confirm to me specific principles of the gospel, and also as I've continued to have many wonderful experiences related to the gospel and the Church. I testify that Jesus Christ lives. He forgives my sins when I repent. I have faith that because of His Atonement, I will be able to return to live with my Father in Heaven after this life. I know that through the ordinances available in this church, my family and I will be able to live together eternally if we follow Jesus Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it provides spiritual strength to those who read it. And I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by a living prophet, who has been chosen by God to lead us in the paths we should follow to achieve happiness and salvation. This knowledge makes all the difference in my life, because it gives me the faith and perspective that shape my attitudes and actions. As imperfect as I am, I know that everything will work out for the best in my life, and this brings me incredible peace and joy.

How I live my faith

In our church, we don't ask to serve in specific positions, or "callings." Our leaders pray for God's guidance and inspiration in determining whom to "call" to a specific position. And those "callings" aren't permanent. In our local "ward," or congregation, I have had the opportunity in recent years to serve in several different callings that have been very rewarding, as I have had chances to interact with many good people--both youth and adults--in activities and experiences that have strengthened our faith in Jesus Christ. I have also been able to serve through a practice called "home teaching," in which families in our ward get visited by someone from the ward each month to ensure that their needs are met. Each home teacher is paired with a companion for home teaching, and they are assigned to visit specific households each month and serve them throughout the month in whatever way they can. This is very rewarding to me.

Who was Joseph Smith?

Joseph Smith was a young boy who lived in upstate New York in the early 1800s. He wanted to know which church to join, but he didn't know how to choose from among the various churches. Then he read a verse from the Bible, in the book of James, which says, "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." Joseph decided to pray and ask God which church to join. When he did, on a spring morning in 1820, God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to him. They told him that none of the churches then in existence was true. God's true church had been intact for some years after Christ's mortal life, but in the years following the deaths of the apostles, the people strayed from the truth. The authority of the church was removed, and there was no prophet to receive revelation to guide the church. Spiritual darkness prevailed. But it was not God's plan to leave the darkness in place forever. Joseph Smith was the instrument through whom Jesus Christ established His church once more. Through the power of God, Joseph translated the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Joseph received the priesthood, or authority of God, from heavenly messengers. And he received many revelations to help bring the truth back to mankind. I testify that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

Absolutely! I have learned over the years that everything we do in the church is ultimately geared toward helping all of God's children learn more about Jesus Christ and be in a position to come unto him and receive eternal life through Christ's atoning sacrifice. Show more Show less

Do you really believe there is a prophet like Moses alive today?

Yes, I believe there is a living prophet today named Thomas S. Monson. I believe that God communicates through him for the benefit of all mankind. I have felt peace in my life as a result of following the counsel of the prophet and his predecessors. On the other hand, I have noticed that when I have ignored or chosen not to follow the counsel of the prophets, it has led to unhappiness. Show more Show less

What is a “testimony” that Mormons speak of?

As an attorney, I frequently hear the testimony of witnesses who are stating facts that they know to be true. Similarly, when a member of our church speaks of a testimony, he or she is speaking of a knowledge of a true principle or fact. This knowledge comes to a person through the power of the Holy Ghost. In John, chapter 14, verse 26, the Savior said, "the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things." We believe that the Holy Ghost, also known as the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of God, can come upon us to testify of truth. We experience His presence through feelings such as peace, joy, and warmth. I have felt these feelings over and over when I have heard, read, thought about, or prayed about the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is why I say I have a testimony that this is God's true church on the earth. I know this to be true, through the power of the Holy Ghost. God invites all of His children to gain a testimony of the truth for themselves. The way to gain such a testimony is to ask God to help you find the truth, having faith that He will lead you to the truth, and having enough sincerity and humility to accept it when He leads you to it. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about Jesus Christ? Do Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?

Yes, we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I know that He is my Savior, and I love Him. He has saved me from death, in that I, like everyone else, will one day be resurrected and live forever. He has also saved me from sin, as long as I come unto Him, repent of my sins, and do my best to follow His example and His commandments. This promise is extended to everyone. It is by the grace of Jesus Christ that we are saved, after all we can do. His love for each one of us, individually, is so great that He was willing to suffer excruciating pain and agony, beyond what we can comprehend, for each one of us, individually, to make our salvation possible. And He lives and loves each one of us today! I have felt that love, and it is the sweetest feeling there is. Show more Show less