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Hi I'm David McClellan

I study molecular evolution. I love my kids. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

My dad was a nuclear engineer who worked on nuclear bombs during the cold war. He helped foster my love for science. I cannot remember a time that I didn't want to be a scientist. Although my graduate work was in genetics and DNA sequence analysis, I also have a great love for physics and chemistry. I was a professor for seven years before taking my current position as a Senior Research Scientist in Maine. I love my job and I believe in the mission of my institution. I love my wife and children. My oldest son just returned from a mission in Portugal and my daughter is currently a missionary in South Korea. My wife and I are very proud of both of them. We also have two younger sons who love playing in the forest that surrounds our home.

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised Mormon. In fact, my ancestors have been LDS for several generations and many of them personally knew Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Although the LDS church is a huge part of who I am now, I had to find out about its truthfulness like everyone else...on my knees. I read the Book of Mormon several times and already had a strong belief in it before serving a mission in Washington, DC. I remember the first time I taught about how Joseph Smith had seen Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in a vision and had found out that men had corrupted Christ's church over the years and that it could no longer be found on the earth. The Holy Spirit was stronger than I had ever felt it before and I was overwhelmed by the intense impression that what I was saying was true. It is hard to explain now, but at the time I had to stop what I was saying and look into the eyes of the person I was teaching and exclaim "Wow! Did you feel that?" After a moment of basking in that feeling, which I had never felt before, I continued teaching. I now see this a pivotal point in my religious life. The Holy Spirit continues to confirm my belief. It now permeates the fabric of my soul. I know it is true.

How I live my faith

I have been active in the LDS church my entire life. I now serve (without compensation) as the branch president in our area, meaning I am like the pastor of our branch, which encompasses nearly an entire county. It is a hard job, and I dedicate several hours each week to caring for the church members in my area, but the Lord has blessed me greatly. I am responsible for caring for the poor and needy, asking people to voluntarily serve in staff positions in the branch, overseeing the youth program, and missionary activities. I try to make sure that everyone I interact with knows that I am a Mormon. A few people are curious about how I can be a pastor and an evolutionary biologist. I know my situation is out of the ordinary, but I see the two as completely compatible. My science and my religion are two ways I can identify and embrace truth. They are not contradictory; they are complementary. I see my science as a wonderful way to study Heavenly Father's works, while I see Mormonism as a wonderful way to study Heavenly Father's plan.