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 Tom

I am married and have eight children. I teach computer science at a university. I am a Mormon.

About Me

My life revolves around my family. I have eight wonderful children and my deepest satisfaction comes from spending time with them and watching them grow and succeed. We enjoy music, playing tennis, traveling, and just talking and joking. My wife died recently after a seventeen-year battle with multiple sclerosis. For much of that time, my children had to assume household chores of cooking, cleaning, laundry, and helping to care for their mother. This was a defining experience for my family and it drew us closer together. My youngest son will soon serve a full-time two-year mission for the church, as did his three older brothers and I. Professionally, I am a university professor. I love to teach students in the classroom and to work with them on research projects. I also do research with many excellent colleagues in several countries who I enjoy writing scientific papers with. I was raised in Minnesota and my great-grandparents all immigrated to America from Norway or Sweden. I have visited the beautiful locations where each of them was born, and have spent thousands of hours researching my genealogy. I value my heritage. Some of my students and I are developing computer software to assist with genealogical research.

Why I am a Mormon

I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a teenager. My family had neighbors who were Mormons and the mother of that family told my mother about how a 14-year-old boy named Joseph Smith knelt in prayer in a grove of trees to ask which church he should join. In response, God the Father and his son, Jesus Christ, appeared to him and called him to be a prophet. My mother immediately felt in her heart that this had actually happened. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is remarkable in its bold claim that God and Jesus literally appeared to Joseph Smith and spoke to him. Through Joseph Smith, another book of scripture was given to the world --- The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. This book contains the religious history of some ancient inhabitants of the American continent, including the visit of the resurrected Jesus Christ to them shortly after he concluded his mortal life. The Book of Mormon contains a promise that anyone who reads it with a sincere heart, with faith in Christ, and a commitment to follow its teachings and who then asks God in prayer if it is true, will come to know by the power of the Holy Ghost that it is in fact true. I have come to that assurance, and reassurance, numerous times. I remain an active member of the Mormon Church because it brings me joy and fulfillment. It is led by a living prophet and twelve apostles. It is led by Jesus Christ. It is His church.

How I live my faith

A key experience in my spiritual growth was the two-year church mission I served in Africa starting at age 19. My mission taught me how to love and serve people, even those who disagree with me, and how to recognize communication from the Holy Ghost. My mission helped me to develop a deep love for Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, and cemented my desire to serve them throughout my life in any way possible. The Mormon church emphasizes the importance of the family, and my wife and I have tried to make our family the central focus of our lives. We have tried to teach our children the principles and values that lead to happy, productive lives. We have done this through reading the scriptures most days with our family, praying together as a family and individually, holding a weekly Family Home Evening, and by setting a clear example for our children of obedience to the commandments. The church stresses the importance of education, and we have set that as a priority for each of our children. A spiritual life is something to be lived, and not a mere academic exercise. I try to follow Jesus Christ by learning about him, striving to obey his commandments, and working to develop his attributes in my own life. These are all deeply personal activities that are central to my life.