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 Richley H. Crāpo

I was born in southern California and spent the past four decades as a Professor of Anthropology. I am now retired.

About Me

I spent four decades as a Professor of Anthropology, a secular discipline that studies human ways of life. This greatly affected my outlook and for many years I considered myself to be an agnostic. Since I retired I have come to recognize that wonderful thought it is, science and secular thinking are limited in their outlook since they provide no means for learning to recognize the existence of God or His role in our lives. Though I still value science for the secular knowledge it does produce using a non-theistic outlook and methodology, I have come to know by religious means that God does truly exist, that He is our loving Heavenly Father, Creator of our spirits, and that Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son in the flesh who through His great love for all humankind atoned for all of our sins and imperfections. Since then the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has uplifted my soul, been a source of many blessings and great happiness that was absent in my life before I obtained this spiritual witness. I can testify from personal experience that the days of miracles have not passed but are once again to be found on earth as they were in New Testament times through the restoration of the original Gospel of Jesus Christ through the latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith Jr.

Why I am a Mormon

My family joined the Church when I was sixteen, but I became disengaged from the Church during my studies as a graduate student at a major university where I was a National Defense Education Act Fellow. By the time I obtained my Ph.D. I had lost awareness of how joyful the life was that I had foolishly laid aside and replaced by purely intellectual pursuits and intellectual pride, as if secular though were able to answer life's most important questions: "Who am I really?," "Why do I even exist?," and "Finding that I do exist, what should I be doing for the rest of my life?" Although I styled myself a "humanist," someone who believes that one should behave in a way that brings no harm to others and should do good to others," I now recognize that such things are easy to say, but saying them does not always result in actually "walking the walk" and that a wonderful thing about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the great emphasis it has on actually helping us to find those opportunities, not just by the simple act of writing a yearly check to a charitable organization, but by actually participating with other like-minded people to get out and serve others personally rather than in impersonal ways. I regained my awareness that there is an entire realm of life and values beyond those known by secular thought and my testimony of the existence of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and of the restoration of the pure Gospel of Christ and His Church--a Church that actually has divine authority to teach in His name and perform the ordinances that are necessary for our return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. This happened because of the patience and loving support of active members of the Church who showed their love to me with kindness and a willingness to love me despite my shortcomings.

How I live my faith

We Mormons learn that true happiness does not come from a self-centered life but from loving service to others. The Church offers many opportunities to draw upon our personal talents and the gifts that God has bestowed upon us in service to others both within the Church itself and to our broader community at large. Within the Church, I have grown by being willing to accept callings that have allowed me to help our local members keep track of the needs of families in our neighborhood, both members and nonmembers, so that the elderly could receive regular visit from caring members and those in economic needs could be aided with food, help in their economic obligations and in finding employment. I cannot describe adequately how much more happiness this has brought to me than have other enjoyments at life such as personal recreation and travel, as enjoyable as they can be.

Who wrote the Book of Mormon?

Richley H. Crāpo
As an anthropologist, I have sometimes been asked whether it is not true that science has "disproved" the historicity of the Book of Mormon. While in my opinion it is the religious truths taught by the book that are important, it is also true that the idea in this question represents a misunderstanding of what those three sciences have found. They have not "disproved" anything of the kind. The most that can be correctly said is that to date they have not yet found anything that would lead a secular researcher (assuming he knew the history recounted in the Book of Mormon in enough detail) to decide that it is a correct history of a people. This is no less true of the Bible. Today, we know the location of the civilization of the writers of the Bible because that location was never lost to us. Had it been, archaeologists would be unable to identify the original location of Jerusalem itself, much less other biblical cities. I'm glad that this is so for both sets of scriptures, since it is religious faith, not scientific evidence but faith that is the foundation on which true religion must be founded. Salvation, for instance, depends on faith of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, not in secular evidence in his existence as a person. And faith comes by opening our hearts to the spiritual message God has given us, by pondering it, and by prayerfully seeking His confirmation through the Holy Ghost. Show more Show less