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Hi I'm Raj

I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I was born in the U.S. to immigrant Indian parents who met and married in Minnesota (and probably wouldn't have met in India). I was born there (in Minnesota) and grew up in San Diego. I grew up learning English only, as that was the only language my parents had in common, even though they speak with their respective families in their respective Indian languages. I joined the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints when I was 20 (see below for more on that) and served a Spanish-language mission in Seattle, WA. So I'm a Spanish- and English-speaking American Mormon of Indian descent. How much sense does that make? I'm married with two small children and am a graduate student studying Caribbean literature and culture. Someday I hope to have a job. I love teaching, and taught one year of 8th grade English in Southern California before starting graduate school. Since then, I have taught at the college level while pursuing graduate studies.

Why I am a Mormon

I wasn't raised with a specific religion, my mom a practicing Hindu and my dad uncomfortable with all organized religion. By my adolescence, I believed in a higher power but didn't have a sense of its characteristics or how best to approach him/her. I did pray occasionally in my own way, and I firmly believed in doing good to others irrespective of who they are or how they treated me. In college, I studied various world religions with a more academic interest, but also with an eye to learning truths from various belief systems. I incorporated truths that I found compelling while never feeling compelled to join any of the various religions I was studying. I did not expect to find any religion encompassing the fullness of truth. In California, I attended a school with many LDS students, and had a few close LDS friends, but I didn't know their beliefs. I didn't have any negative experiences, nor any misconceptions about the Church. I saw them as just another group of kids at my school. I began to learn about the LDS Church while dating an LDS woman, whose religion was central to her life. I wanted to know more about this Church for two reasons: first, to learn about the beliefs of the woman I was dating, and second, for the sincere but somewhat detached interest in truths guiding people's lifestyles. The first Sunday meeting I attended, however, introduced me to a principle I hadn't encountered elsewhere: the work Latter-Day Saints perform in holy temples in behalf of their deceased ancestors. I no longer approached learning about the Church for the two reasons mentioned above: I was now learning for me. As I learned about the Gospel, I realized that all the truths I had been collecting--from religions as diverse as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism--were accessible in one place. I chose to be baptized, for the first time taking a step into something about which I did not know everything but which was moving me enough to know it felt right.

How I live my faith

I actively participate in my church, currently teaching in a children's Primary class every Sunday. In the past, I have helped coordinate missionary efforts in my congregation, in addition to making regular visits to people in need. On a daily basis, I live my faith by reading Scriptures, praying, spending time with my family, and seeking opportunities to help others. I believe in Jesus Christ's teachings that we should love one another, and I strive to improve my life such that I can reflect His teachings. In fact, one of the central reasons I am a Mormon and live the teachings of the LDS church is because I know I can rely on Jesus Christ. I used to feel that all my mistakes were mine to fix, by myself. I even tried to correct things that weren't my fault. One of the most sublime truths I know is that God has provided a way, through His Son, to help me fix my own errors with His assistance. While this doesn't absolve me of personal responsibility, it does mean that I do not feel the burden of going it alone.