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 Jonathan Kerby

I grew up in California, I'm a chemist and a Mormon. My favorite thing about being a member of this church is the safety I feel.

About Me

I'm a husband and father and everyone else I live with are girls! I'm told that no one would have paired my wife and I together at first, but they always say we are a good match. So, I guess that means one of us or both, do not give accurate first impressions. I work as an analytical chemist and I enjoy it. I am currently feeling a greater desire to serve in my community. One great opportunity I had was coaching baseball with 7-8 year old teams. My biggest hobbies are baseball, reading religious and scientific literature (usually about protein structure-biochemistry), and reading books in general. I like to apply new ideas I learn from people at work, or at church and see how it benefits my life and my family members' lives. I believe that I can use the principles taught in this church to overcome trials and complex problems that are always around me.

Why I am a Mormon

When I talk to people about organized religion, I find that increasing numbers say they are not religious. A few years ago, the University of Michigan did a study on weekly church attendance. They found that the United States was leading, but most of the world is dropping fast in number of church attendance every week. I thought about this and after talking with enough people came to the conclusion that church is not a priority anymore because we can press a button on a device and get a quick answer to nearly anything. The irony is there seems to be more dissatisfied people as a result. Things like faith are not learned in this way. Perhaps we don't ask the questions correctly. Questions are so important in a learning process, and in the LDS church, I started with some simple questions. For example, "is this the true church of Jesus Christ?" "where do people go after death?" "are the Bible and the Book of Mormon the word of God?" "Why am I here and why now?" All of the answers to these questions and many more came to me from God through my feelings and thoughts as I prayed and asked the questions. Because our church does not believe we have enough answers and don't need any more, I can learn the deepest truths about myself here. I know the common things like faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ are not just good ideas, but are real. I am blessed to have been raised in this church because I witnessed members aggregating their beliefs at all times; not just at church once a week. I am a Mormon because I get to put every teaching I learn to the test and see the good it does in my life.

How I live my faith

Some colleagues recently told me they could sometimes identify a Mormon in a single conversation. I asked myself, how can that be? What about Mormons is so different from others? Do we have accents? Is it the language we use or more so, that we don't use? Is it the minivans with screaming children and happy parents? It could be any or all of these. We have accents in a sense because we speak about the gospel in a matter-of-fact way. LDS members do use a unique language. For example a ward is a meeting place referring to our congregations, but usually when you ask someone to come with you to a "ward", that person might think you are referring to an asylum. Although in some cases, the two might be empirically confused, they are, in fact, different. Members of the LDS church are a "peculiar people" because they believe that the heavens are not only open, but near. Therefore, they have a closeness to God that brings with it a unique feeling. Mormons are often the first response to natural disasters like the recent earthquake in Japan because of their beliefs. And yes, some of them are easy to detect in a single conversation because they are trying to follow Jesus Christ with the revealed gospel He has brought back to the earth. I have found myself among this group of single-conversation-Mormons when strangers I just met ask me, "are you a Mormon?" I have a certain knowledge that this church is true and do my best to live it.

What are Mormon temples used for?

Jonathan Kerby
Mormon temples serve the purpose of preparing worthy members of the LDS church to enter the kingdom of heaven. In the rooms of the temples we learn of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His role as the Savior of mankind. We also learn and perform every necessary requirement God revealed to prophets of modern and ancient times that enable us to return to live with Him. What I like most about the temple is it can be in the loudest location, yet inside the walls, it is so quiet, I can think and listen. Show more Show less

What is faith?

Jonathan Kerby
Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge (Alma 32:21), but faith is the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Therefore, faith is born of evidence. Since evidence can be true or false, so can faith. When faith is powerful enough to lead to action, the fruits evidence the source. An example of false faith is seen on the news with acts of evil committed by misguided souls, most being forced to believe in their cause. An example of true faith is germ theory. A physician by the name of Semmelweis studied microorganisms (bloodborne pathogens) which caused deaths of many patients simply because the doctors did not wash their hands properly. The doctors did not believe and in fact, were offended by this assertion. Those who continued to practice without proper sanitation lost many more lives. However, those who embraced the truth of this finding saved many lives. True faith always overcomes false faith as shown when Elijah, the prophet called down fire from heaven to show the power of God while the priests of Baal could not do anything but hurt themselves. When we have faith in Jesus Christ, we experience peace, assurance, and safety. This is because Jesus made a perfect atonement for us and has the power to make us whole. We can have faith that He will make things right and have confidence that in His time, it will happen. Just as the people who embraced the truth with infectious diseases, if we have faith and follow the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, we will be saved. Show more Show less

What is Mormonism? OR What do Mormons believe?

Jonathan Kerby
Mormons believe that salvation is in Jesus Christ. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. While we call ourselves Christians, we believe God also revealed His gospel to other nations. We believe that Joseph Smith was chosen by God to recover the truths lost when the last authors of the Bible were destroyed centuries before. We believe many angels appeared to Joseph Smith including many authors of the Bible, and tutored him. The Book of Mormon was found as a record on gold plates hidden from the world and we believe this is the "marvelous work and a wonder" prophesied by Isaiah (Isaiah 29:14). We believe God restored His ancient church with all its appendages and core doctrines through Joseph Smith. We believe that prophecies from the Bible are fulfilled in the history of our church including the appearing of Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5-6 and D&C 110), the "other sheep" being nations in the Book of Mormon (John 10:16 3 Nephi 15:21-24), and the stone cut out of the mountain without hands (Daniel 2:44-45) being the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to name only a few. We believe that the heavens are open, God speaks through prophets today (Thomas S. Monson), and after centuries of being lost, God has reached out to us through prophets who receive constant guidance from the throne of heaven. You can find these things out for yourself by the power of the Holy Ghost which is how God speaks. Show more Show less

What are Mormon church services like? Are visitors allowed at church meetings? Can I attend church?

Jonathan Kerby
In our church, there are no paid teachers or preachers; everything is voluntary. We have congregational music (hymns), announcements for upcoming activities, and conducting these meetings is a member of one of the overseers (bishopric-one bishop two counselors) or a visiting leader-none of which are paid positions. These leaders choose some people of the congregation to speak and they can range from 12 year-olds on. The sacrament is like communion and the priesthood (males 12 and older) bless and pass bread and water to the congregation. We believe this to be the most important part of church because it is a time when we can reflect on Jesus Christ, renew sacred promises we made with Him and retain a remission of our sins. For this reason, this meeting is called sacrament meeting. It is quite common to see children run around in these meetings- it's part of the culture. The next two hours are Sunday School. Children ages 18 months to 3 years go to nursery, 3-12 go to primary, and the children have games, singing time, and scripture study. The adults also have classes with the women and men together second hour. In one class, for those who are not members or are new members, a class is taught where questions can be answered about the church. The third hour has the men and women each learning from the same lesson manual, but specific things are taught for mens' roles in the home and church, and womens' roles in the church and at home. Both learn tachings of Jesus Christ. Show more Show less

Do Mormons practice polygamy?

Jonathan Kerby
This church does not practice polygamy. At one time during the prophet Joseph Smith's life, plural marriage was practiced. This church is called the restored church of Jesus Christ referring to the words Peter spoke of as the "restitution of all things" which "all the holy prophets spoke of" since the beginning of time (Acts 3:21). As part of this restoration, plural marriage was briefly brought back to the church. It was practiced with Abraham (Gen. 15-16), David (1 Sam. 27:3), Jacob, Moses, and Solomon (D&C 132:1). It was only done at times when the Lord commanded it. The reasons for it were and still are only completely known to Him. However, He did reveal that it was to "raise up seed" which means to grow the numbers of His people so that His work could be hastened. (Jacob 2:30) My ancestor, Milo Andrus was one of the few in the church to practice plural marriage, or polygamy. I have no idea how difficult it was for him and his family, but I am grateful for his faithfulness and dedication. He also served many missions, which must have made it more difficult for his family. The church in the 1800's received a great deal of persecution for this obscure practice among other things, and in the year 1890, Wilford Woodruff, a successor to Joseph Smith, announced that the practice in this church had stopped (Official Declaration 1). Since then until now, anyone practicing plural marriage will be excommunicated from this church, which is the severest punishment in this church. Show more Show less