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 Mark Davies

I'm a professor of linguistics. I love learning about different cultures, and I like "big questions".

About Me

I'm a professor of linguistics. I really enjoy learning about different cultures, languages, religions, and ways of thinking, and I try to find the good in all different types of belief systems. I also really enjoy getting out in nature -- I find this spiritually very satisfying. I'm the father of three boys, and I love them and my wife very much -- this provides real meaning to my life.

Why I am a Mormon

Truth be told, I'm LDS in part because of the simple fact that I was born into the Church -- i.e. my parents were Mormon, and that's how I was raised. Nevertheless, this system of belief provides a lot of meaning to my life, and that's why I stay with it. A huge question in religion relates to (or should relate to) the question of what happens to the billions of people who have not belonged to one's own religion of choice. Some religions teach that everyone outside their particular "flavor" of religion (which is invariably limited in time and space) will be damned forever by a cruel, vengeful God. On the other side, some believe that pretty much any religion works -- regardless of what it teaches or what its adherents do as part of that religion. I really appreciate the teachings of the LDS (Mormon) Church -- that there are clear requirements to return to God, but that everyone -- regardless of when or where they have lived -- will have the same opportunity to accept these truths -- some here in mortality, some after they have passed on. It's a nice balance. I also really like the idea of eternal progression. I'm a professor by trade, and I love learning and growing. Some religions teach that God will put a "cap" on how much we progress. Even with billions of years of existence, they teach, God will say "to this point, and no further" -- forever and ever and ever. The LDS Church teaches that God has not placed any limits on how much we can progress over billions of years. Both of these teachings -- the possibility of universal salvation, and the belief in eternal growth -- are essentially very optimistic in nature. This is not a narrow religion, limited to this life only, or to just a small group of people in a particular time and place.

How I live my faith

I'm not an overly-social person -- religion and spirituality are most meaningful for me at an individual (and also a family) level. While I attend church every week, in all honesty this is probably not the most meaningful part of my religious experience. Nevertheless, sustained activity in the Church -- especially at the local/congregational level -- has been a real source of strength for my family over the years, and I really appreciate that. At an individual level, I enjoy (and need) "down time" from my job, to contemplate the meaning of things -- "what it's all about". This often happens as I'm sitting out by the river that runs by our house, or as I am walking up in the canyon. I often feel a real connection to "the Infinite" at times like this. I have always admired monks and mystics in other religious traditions, and I find a lot of meaning in the "contemplative life". I also find a lot of meaning -- religious meaning -- in my family. Although I am a contemplative person, I do realize that it's very easy to become overly-selfish, and to not think much about others. That's why a family helps keep me grounded. While it might not always be "fun" to work and sacrifice for others in a family, it's what makes us better people. My wife is quite different from me, and it has been a very good thing to (try to) learn to see things from her point of view, and to try to meet her needs. And taking care of kids -- if done right (which I only occasionally do, I'm afraid) -- is a very Christ-like service. We give and give and it often seems that we don't get much back in return, and this unselfish aspect is what makes it Christlike.

Why do Mormons perform baptisms for the dead?

Mark Davies
A huge question in religion relates to (or should relate to) the question of what happens to the billions of people who have not belonged to one's own religion of choice. Some religions teach that everyone outside their particular "flavor" of religion (which is invariably limited in time and space) will be damned forever by a cruel, narrow-minded God. On the other side, some believe that pretty much any religion works -- regardless of what it teaches or what its adherents do as part of that religion. Of all of the religions of which I am aware, the Mormon teachings on this question strike the best balance. Yes, there are clear requirements to return to God (e.g. baptism). But everyone -- regardless of when or where they have lived -- will have the same opportunity to accept these truths -- some here in mortality, some after they have died (i.e. "baptism for the dead"). It's a nice balance. I could never, ever believe in a religion or a God that damns 99% of everyone who has ever lived on the earth -- just because they weren't fortunate enough to be at a particular place and time when certain practices or beliefs (e.g. Christian baptism) were available (e.g. Korea in the 600s, or sub-Saharan Africa 700 years ago). With the teachings re. "baptism for the dead", we see evidence of a very merciful and loving God. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about "eternal life?"

Mark Davies
The LDS (Mormon) Church believes in eternal progression. Some religions teach that God will eventually put a "cap" on how much we can progress. Even with billions of years of existence, they teach, God will eventually say "to this point only, and no further" -- forever and ever and ever. The restored gospel, on the other hand, teaches that a loving God -- who views us as his children -- has not placed any limits on how much we can progress over billions of years. The more we progress and learn, the happier He is. I'm a professor and I love learning and progressing, and the LDS teachings on eternal progression really resonate with me. We believe in an expansive gospel -- nothing parochial or provincial about our views on eternity and "the meaning of everything", and I like that. Show more Show less