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 Derek Thornton

I'm a religious history nerd. I love ultimate frisbee. I eat Oreos for a living, or at least sell them. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

If I could realistically change my middle name to "Adventure" I think I would. My ultimate goal would be to spend my life helping under-privileged kids go sky diving from 20,000 feet, or braving spider monkeys in the amazon, or ascending glaciers with a pick axe. I've actually thought through a scenario where I'd teach kids American football in Ghana. I'd set up a foundation that would purchase a field in Accra. The main purpose would be to feed the hungry. A soup line would be established to feed all in need. The teaching of football would be an ancillary benefit, providing the youth a positive outlet and opportunity to improve both their minds and bodies. My general temperament though is far too laid back to pursue these dreams without greater resources. My joie de vivre outweighs any ambition however to pursue an adventurous lifestyle. I live in North Carolina. I have an amazing wife, three incredible little boys, and one bonus baby princess. I am grateful for what I do have. I grew up in Seattle and proudly retain a strong Seattle sports heritage. Go Hawks! I read historical non-fiction. Religious history is my passion. However, I love to write fiction. I completed my first fantasy adventure novel and look to write more. A conversation on religious doctrine, of any religion, would be a day well spent.

Why I am a Mormon

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is truly God's church here on earth. I was born into this church but I hated the thought that I was just following what I was told, that I was just a close-minded adherent of my cultural upbringing. I needed to see what was out there. I have attended a dozen different christian churches. I've been to Catholic Mass in three different languages. I've seen the pope. I've been to Seventh-Day Adventist, Jehovah's Witness, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Mennonite, Baptist, Evangelical, as well as many other worship services. I've read every book in the Bible, Dhammapada, Tao te Ching, Ramayana, parts of the Bhagavad Gita, and Quran. I've read the creeds of Christendom and studied the various world mythologies. I have actually tried to put myself in the shoes of the worshipper and see the eternities from their point of view. And through it all my testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ has only grown stronger. This is one of the only places that acts as a pure conduit of faith rather than any part a business. No one is here to make money or seek power. This church is solely concerned with the salvation of souls. I love the simple truths of the gospel. I am so blessed to have so many testify of the great plan of salvation and sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and to actually feel his presence in my own life. A big picture view of the gospel really is about making us individually and collectively better and more like our father in heaven.

How I live my faith

Faith is ever evident through example. I believe that there is no stronger message to share than living a life of walking in holy places. Staying out of trouble is a line you give to teenagers but there is a sweet peace and harmony in avoiding the obvious pitfalls in our paths. There is plenty of adventure and enjoyment to living that doesn't involve seeking trouble. A good life isn't just choosing the path less traveled, or path of least resistance, because we will all make mistakes. It is honestly evaluating the path of eternal progression. Service is the great teacher and master of us all. Our Savior set the example for us. We will find such sweet happiness in our involvement with others. I have served in many capacities in the church. From teaching the very young, to the youth, to the men of my many congregations. I served a full time mission in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. I developed a firm testimony that the church is about the salvation of souls and not the business of profit. Everything that is done in the church is done voluntarily and without remuneration . Everything done is to bring to pass the salvation and eternal life of all God's children.