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 Carl Gustafson

I'm a retired healthcare executive electing to give service to others to make the world a better place.

About Me

I am a life-long member of the church, but I have lived most of my life where the members are sparse. I grew up in the West at a time when people still valued their pioneer heritage, worked hard, and combined adventure with success. I had the adventure bug, so jumped at the opportunity to attend ivy league schools. Graduation was followed by two years in the US Army in Germany. Before leaving the USA, my sweetheart and I honeymooned at Airborne School in Ft. Benning, Georgia in July. Exhausting! We came back to graduate school for an MBA. Although I majored in marketing, people problems were more interesting, so my career was in Human Resources. Promotion was often by changing companies or locations. Over the next 40 years we moved about every 5-7 years. Natural catastrophes seemed to follow us. We were there for the first east coast blackout, Mt. St. Helens blowup, San Francisco earthquake, Oakland hills fire, Phoenix 100 year flood, and Hurricane Andrew. We get uncomfortable when life gets too easy. So, we joined the BYU China Teachers Program for two years teaching students at prestigious universities in China. Such appreciative students! Later, I was asked to lead a congregation of church members in a college town in Ohio for three years. Afterward, we moved to Florida. We managed a large food bank serving patrons along the central Florida Gulf Coast. Among the blessings of life we have eight children and 30 grandchildren. We look forward to reunions.

Why I am a Mormon

I am a Mormon because: 1. After study and prayer, the Holy Ghost manifested to me the truthfulness of the gospel taught. 2. I believe God the Father is the father of our spirits, loves us, and created this world for our testing and development. He offers us a plan of happiness that if followed will lead us to eternal progression and eventual godhood like our Father. 3. I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. In the preexistence He accepted a special mission to come to earth to set an example for us, and to take upon himself the punishment for our sins, to spare us if we follow his teachings. 4. I believe the words of ancient prophets in the scriptures are the revealed word of God and worthy of our attention today. 5. I believe that God continues to guide mankind through modern day prophets whose inspired teachings are embodied in modern scriptures and their inspired spoken word. 6. I believe that after Christ's death the priesthood authority to act in his name was soon lost through the deaths of his apostles and apostasy from his true doctrines. But, Christ restored His gospel and the priesthood authority to administer sacred ordinances in modern days through Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 7. I value the precepts given to us for living happily in today's world, such as: a dietary law that protects mind and body; sexual purity before marriage and fidelity to spouse afterward.; strengthening of the family and its existence beyond the grave; service to others to assist them in their spiritual and temporal welfare. 8. I value the optimism of our church members. We take the long view. We are in the process of building the kingdom of God on earth preparatory to Christ's triumphal return. Let all men choose what they want and believe .We want to establish a latter-day Zion where we can live among those who are pure in heart, in righteousness, and there are no poor in spirit or material needs.

How I live my faith

There is a scripture that reads: "...when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." While I know that only through Jesus Christ's grace can we return to be with God, still He looks upon our works as evidence of our faith in Him. I have found numerous ways to follow Christ's example of service, some tied in with my work: chairman of Ford Motor's foundation to provide funds to worthy local non-profits; chairman of San Francisco CofC committee to encourage more employer childcare facilities. Elected to Oregon's 3rd largest school board. Member of board of Catholic Charities of Diocese of Miami. As a member of the Mormon church, I have led local men's organizations in serving the material needs of widows and single mothers with families as well as offering spiritual support. The Church has a world recognized welfare program to aid the needy. As support for this I have helped harvest crops and participated in group canning projects ranging from peaches to peanut butter. After Hurricane Andrew and other emergencies we made special efforts to help people move into habitable housing, fix their roofs or clean out their mud filled rooms. My wife taught at a Jewish high school and the kids were surprised that Mormons wearing yellow T-shirts were volunteering to help everyone, not just members. Mormons also believe they have a special message that we should share with the world. Most of our young people give two years to serve as missionaries anywhere they are called in the world. Their expenses are paid by the families. We have supported four of my sons and one daughter on foreign missions. My wife and I have just sold our home and will begin to serve a two year mission together wherever and doing whatever the Lord wants us to do.