What Is a Church Community?
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Hi I'm Tiffany Dawn

I'm a Mormon. I live in the State of Idaho in the United States. I have also lived in Oklahoma, Utah, and Texas.

About Me

I am a professor at Brigham Young University-Idaho. I finished my Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma in May 2011. The Church has blessed me during many years of schooling, where I needed to stay focused on my studies but also keep my spirit strong. As one's worldly knowledge grows, it is easy to consider many different truths about the world, but I know that there is only one truth when it comes to my Heavenly Father's plan for me. I am one of very few professor mommies, working full-time, with a PhD and young children. Life is busy, but very rewarding. I am a fortunate minority and happy to talk with you about decisions in higher education, motherhood, and marriage....and yes, you can do all three. I didn't say it was easy, and it certainly is not for everyone, but I find it very rewarding. There is no way I could manage all three without my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and my membership in this Church. I can't even begin to describe how it works. It just does. It's true and always will be. I also have a child with a disability, making life ever more challenging, but being given the gift of serving him in his capacities and being grateful for him in my life is what it is all about. My husband and I are also very passionate about sports and scouting. In fact, my spouse works for the Boy Scouts of America. Yes, we both work full-time, somehow without outside childcare, but we manage the lives of 2 children under 3 yrs.

Why I am a Mormon

I have found this to be the only true church in the world. I read the Book of Mormon when I was 15 and I knew that it was a true book. I know we have a loving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ who want us to grow, learn, be happy, and return to them one day. By remaining active in my faith, I have the encouragement and energy I need to face daily temptations and serve others.

How I live my faith

I am currently a leader in the Young Women's organization within branch in Oklahoma. I currently attend a Spanish branch and my spouse is serving as a branch counselor. Though we are a smaller congregation compared to other wards in the area, we are very close to each other and everyone helps to keep our faith and labors strong.

What is a ward/stake/branch?

Tiffany Dawn
A ward, stake, and branch are units of organization within the Church that accomplish weekly religious services for their members. They represent different sizes and geographies of congregations of people in a given area. Many branches are organized by larger geographical areas where there may be fewer members of the church living nearby or that there remains a particular need in the area that is better suited by a smaller congregation organized in this way. Often branches are characterized by facilitating gospel teaching in a given language that is prevalent in the area but not as widely spoken. Branches are led by Branch Presidents and counselors who organize the members into groups that serve our families in different ways. For example, our children and youth have their own meetings just as there parents and other adults do (wards also have these organizational groups as well). As branches grow, especially in priesthood leadership provided by worthy adult males in the congregation, they may eventually become wards. Branches can be as small as 10-15 people and as large as 300 people, although it is likely that they will be organized into wards at larger levels. Wards are very similar to branches although they typically represent larger congregations (as compared to branches) and follow stricter geographical boundaries of where the membership comes from based on their addresses. They often have more organizations than branches and represent more needs from the membership who attend. Wards are led by a Bishop and counselors and also organize their members into groups to serve families. Wards can be as small as 50 people and as large as 500 people, but are usually managed into congregations of reasonable size between 100 - 300 members. Stakes are collections of wards and branches within a given geographical area and most typically represent 10-12 congregations of people (who come from nearby wards and branches). The Stakes are led by Stake Presidents and counselors who work closely with Bishops and Branch Presidents to manage the affairs of their respective congregations and also provide direction from the higher levels of church authority and leadership. All clergy and leadership (wards/branches/stakes, etc.) within the Church serve voluntarily, without pay, and by virtue of their worthiness to serve in a given role. Even the very highest of authorities within the church follow this model. Show more Show less