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 Alanna

I'm a mother, reader, traveler, blogger, and a life-long student. And I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up on Bainbridge Island, did study abroad on the island of Zanzibar, and served a mission in Japan. Living island-free in Virginia has at times felt very dry to me, but a recent trip to Hawaii definitely helped remedy that problem! I attended Brigham Young University for 8 years, completing my undergraduate degree in English and then getting a master's degree in humanities. During that time, I also managed to travel to Africa twice, serve a mission in Japan, and spend a month roaming around Europe on my own. I also met Craig and convinced him to marry me. I left BYU with two degrees, one husband, a really long thesis, and a baby two months shy of being born. We moved to Virginia where Craig teaches high school and I chase after our three (soon to be four!) kids and try to teach them everything I loved about the humanities. Nothing makes me happier than when they recognize Ode to Joy or Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony! I love learning new things. Since leaving school, I've studied up on natural birth, cooking, nutrition, and have been working on turning myself into a runner (that's on hiatus until this next baby comes, however). All of these are things that I never even thought would interest me, let alone become passions in my life, so I guess the real question is, what will I fall in love with next?

Why I am a Mormon

There are so many reasons that I love the gospel. I love that it gives me understanding as to what my purpose is in life. I love that I know that I can be with my wonderful husband and my sweet children for eternity. I love knowing that there is a God who knows me by name and cares about me so much that He sent His Son to live and die for me. I sometimes wonder how people who don't have this understanding can even get out of bed each morning, life must be so hard without this knowledge. But I also love the little details of the gospel-- the things that probably aren't essential aspects of the gospel, but still make me happy anyway. I love that being a Mormon forces me to always be trying to be a better person. I love going to church and seeing my friends and their children there. I love singing in the choir and hearing everyone's voices join as one in worship. So much about this church makes me happy.

How I live my faith

I live my faith mostly by serving others, namely my family, but also in any church callings that come my way. Since we moved to Virginia I've bounced around a lot, serving as our congregation's music chair, being on the activities committee, teaching women and youth, and even getting to work in the Primary, Young Women's, and Relief Society presidencies. It's exhausting, but I always love whatever I'm doing. And I love knowing that while I'm trying to help people in whatever ways I can, there are others serving and teaching my own children as well. It's so beautiful the way we try to serve one another.

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

No, it's completely your choice. I don't even remember anyone ever telling me I ought to serve a mission, it was just always something I wanted to do. According to my grandmother, when I was 8 years old I announced that I would serve a mission in Japan and tell them to stop hunting whales. I DID end up serving in Japan, although I stuck to just preaching the gospel rather than preaching conservation, too! I really made the decision when I was twenty years old, sitting down and making one of those pros and cons list. I quickly saw that the blessings that I knew would come from such service far outweighed any sacrifices I might make. Plus, I was excited at the idea of living abroad and learning a new language (although I would have happily served in the United States, if that had been asked of me!) When I actually got to Japan I was shocked at how difficult being a missionary was-- riding a bicycle in the snow (in a dress!) while trying to learn Japanese was one of the hardest things I've ever done. But knowing that I was serving my Savior made it one of the happiest times in my life, too. Successfully completing a mission has given me confidence that I can tackle just about anything in life! Show more Show less