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Hi I'm Gwen

I was born and raised in central Alabama, and have lived all over the S.E. U.S. Now my husband and I live in North Alabama.

About Me

I have been married for over 30 years to the same man, and we have a great relationship. We have one grown son who lives in N.W. Florida. We have one pet, a Chiweanie dog (cross between a dachshund and a chihuahua). I enjoy family history (genealogy), reading, walking, day hiking, gardening, sewing, swimming, and computing. I've completed an associate's degree in Computer Information Systems. I've traced some branches of my family tree hundreds of years into the past.

Why I am a Mormon

I first head of the LDS (Mormon) church in my early teen years. When I was 19, tracting missionaries knocked on our door one day. They taught my mother and myself the gospel (my parents were divorced by then). After much prayer, I received a testimony and was baptized. Since that time, I've always known with every fiber of my being that the LDS church is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and I don't belong anywhere else. It's difficult to explain *how* I know, I just do. There aren't really words to explain it, but Mormons who have had a conversion experience will tell you the same thing. But beyond the spiritual feelings that I have, the teachings of the LDS church are just so logical to me. For example, the teachings about families, food storage, the Plan of Salvation, and Christ in America. I also like the fact that members are encouraged to dress up for church meetings and conduct themselves in a reserved, respectful manner during Sunday services and other sacred events. Even as a child, I felt that sacred events such as Sunday services required a certain level of respect, reverence, and decorum. Now, don't think this means I live the teachings of the Church 100% all the time. Nor am I always "prim and proper" (in fact, only during church!) I am still human and imperfect; I make mistakes. But I am trying. So why do I continue to follow the teachings of the Mormon church? Because in addition to my strong testimony, I can't imagine another way of life for me. I don't say that just because I've been a member of this church for more than 30 years either. I felt this way when I was a new convert, before I married my husband.

How I live my faith

I mainly try to always do the right thing. To me, this means the most morally valid choice. You might say that I recently completed a seven-year compassionate service mission; my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer in February 2006, and with the support of my husband I quit my job to care for him. Until the last 6 months of his life, this consisted mainly of driving him to medical appointments, the grocery store, and so forth, as well as helping him manage his financial affairs. I am an only child, so there was no one else to fill this role. Dad passed away in August of 2012, and then of course it took a few months to settle his final affairs. I've not held many callings during this time period because caring for him was rather demanding. My father was a very unsophisticated person who found even paying his electric bill to be a challenge. He and my mother divorced when I was a teenager because they were not happy and my father was at times abusive. But I loved him in spite of his faults, and I would not trade the time I had with him after his cancer diagnosis for anything. My husband and I both miss him terribly, but we know that he has returned to Heavenly Father and is at peace. He is back with his parents. His oldest brother passed on before him, and they loved to fish together in this life. I know they are fishing together now, making up for lost time. Dad was always a very active man. In January 2012 his cancer began to rob him of his abilities and cause him increasing pain, and this upset him terribly. My husband and I are glad for him that his suffering is over, even though we wish he could still be here with us. Because of our faith, the time Dad had after his cancer diagnosis, and the suffering Dad endured during the last months of his life, we find it easy to accept his death and know that he's watching over us.

Can you tell me about Mormon customs: how you dress for church, what holidays you celebrate, etc.?

Gwen
We encourage both visitors and members to wear their best clothing to church. Most of the men you see at our church services will be wearing suits, sport coats, and ties. Most of the women will be wearing either dresses or a skirt and blouse. However, such attire is not absolutely required. I myself have been forced, for a short period after having surgery, to wear more casual clothing. We believe it to be more important that a person be at church rather than rejecting their attendance because they can't adhere to a dress code at the present time. As for the holidays we celebrate, we celebrate Christmas and Easter in our church services, due to their spiritual significance. Members also celebrate important family events such as birthdays or anniversaries, in addition to holidays unique to the area where they live (i.e., July Fourth in the United States). Show more Show less