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 Blake.

I'm a husband and a father. I coach youth sports. I'm an actuary. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I am a husband and a father of six children. My greatest hobby has been to coach my kids sports teams...Boys & Girls Club basketball, Little League baseball and AYSO soccer. Over the last thirteen years I have coached 31 teams and have created life long memories with my kids and their friends. I still have a few teams left to coach before all the kids get into high school! It has been great to see the youth that I have coached grow up, play sports in high school and then graduate and go off to college. Sports teach youth, coaches and parents many important life lessons. During the day, I work as an actuary, helping organizations that sponsor pension and other retiree benefit plans design to finance and administer these programs to help their employees plan for retirement. While not that well known, an actuary has been rated among the top jobs in the country since 1988, the year I joined my company. I have been married for nearly 25 years to the first girl I ever fell in love with. We met as freshmen at BYU. She has been a rock in our relationship, supporting me and our children in our activities while helping our family learn to love to be together. She has taught our children to live a well balanced life. Together, we have attended their games, concerts, recitals and award ceremonies, as well as their graduations (three high school and one college, so far). I was raised on the US east coast, but we moved to Southern California 19 years ago, and we're here to stay!

Why I am a Mormon

I was born into an LDS family, but I grew up in New Jersey and Connecticut, where few Mormons lived. I had Mormon friends, and they played a significant role in my life. However, because I was surrounded by good people of many faiths, I learned to be comfortable discussing a variety of religious beliefs, and I learned the importance of studying the gospel to decide what my core beliefs were. As I watched the actions of others, both my age and older, and both in our church and others, I became impressed with the character of those who made choices consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I noticed something about them that spoke of goodness and confidence. I enjoyed being with and listening to those who showed the evidence of successful...a happy life and a happy family. I decided that I wanted those things also, so I read, studied and prayed about the gospel. I attended church and also the church's early morning seminary class, a scripture class held before high school. I read my scriptures and prayed (my parents had set a good example for me in this regard). I did my best to follow the teachings of the Savior and to keep the commandments. I tried to avoid the habits and activities that are common in high school that I had learned would not really lead to happiness. During this time, I developed a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and a desire to share my testimony with others. I served a mission for the church in the San Francisco area for two years, teaching both English and Spanish speaking individuals and families. I was able to see the impact that accepting and living the gospel had in the lives of those who joined the church. Through my experiences I have learned that the gospel of Jesus Christ is filled with not only words of wisdom, and guidance for a happy life, but that through the atonement and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we can return to live with our Heavenly Father again. This faith helps keep me grounded, and is why I'm a Mormon.

How I live my faith

Faith in Jesus Christ is both something to be learned and something to be lived. I don't think that you can really understand what the Lord taught if you aren't willing to put his teachings into practice. Growing up as a Mormon, I have had plenty of opportunities to practice what we preach. Since I was a teenager, I have had an assignment each month to visit other members of our congregation, at first with my father, and then, after I left home, with another brother in the congregation. These visits quickly turned an assignment into a friendship. Today, with one of my sons, I continue these visits. We talk about our families, discuss a spiritual message, offer to help with anything our friends need, and leave with a prayer. We have painted fences, done yard work, provided rides, moved furniture, and other things...and each time we leave we feel better than when we came. I have had many opportunities to work with young people in the church, as an advisor, teacher and bishop. Teenagers today are awesome (we have had five teens so far, with one more nearing that age). They have so much potential, and are capable of so many great things. As a parent, I want nothing more than to have my kids see their intrinsic value and set goals to reach their potential. Whether it is in academics, sports, music, theater, literature, or any other noble pursuit, they can do much good if they believe in themselves. I now have the privilege of spending time with the youth in our congregation, reminding them that they can accomplish more if they will fill their lives with the principles of the gospel. If they can strike a balance between their secular pursuits and their spiritual development, they will be happier. Gaining a testimony and strengthening their faith in Jesus Christ by following his commandments will help bring peace to their lives and allow them to focus more intently on their other pursuits. My wife and I are grateful that other adults have done the same with our kids.

Why don’t Mormons have paid clergy?

Blake.
I think that people will often work hardest at and spent more time and energy doing something that they love, especially for people that they love. Parents will do anything to help their children become the best they can be. Spouses will sacrifice their own interests to help support each other. Friends will drop what they are doing when another friend is in need. We do these things because we care about each other, and for no other reason. Something tends to happen when money gets involved. Parents who give their children money may have a tendency to dictate how they think that money should be spent. Spouses who put each other on a "budget" may become frustrated when their financial priorities don't match up. Friends who borrow something and don't return it may cause issues in their friendship. To me, the same thing can happen when money gets involved in religion. Not that anyone intends to be influenced by money, but can we really be open and honest with someone about the difficult teachings of the Savior and his commandments if we need that person to somehow contribute to our livelihood? I'm glad that in our church, we don't have to face that possible dilemma. We simply serve because we love the Lord and try hard to love each other. Monetary contributions to the church go to build our chapels and temples, and then pay for their upkeep, or to specifically help the needy, locally and around the world. Every dime that we contribute goes to its intended purpose. Show more Show less