What Is a Church Community?
Loading.....

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 Paul

I'm a 6th gen member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who runs, bikes, and swims, therefore I am a Mormon.

About Me

I am the husband of an extraordinary woman (26 yrs), father of four, 3 beautiful Daughters, 1 excellent Son, & Grandpa of 2 (D's of oldest D & Son-in-Law). I am retired from the United States Air Force (Survival Instructor) & work now as a civilian in California. I have earned 5 college degrees MS, BA, AA, AAS (2). In my spare time I enjoy all types of physical activity. Favorites include triathlons swim, bike, & run, ultra marathons 26.2 mi+, and fishing. I am also an avid cyclist. Road or mountain it makes no difference.

Why I am a Mormon

My ancestors baptized into the Church in 1840 were converted to the Gospel by Elder Wilford Woodruff an early Apostle of the Church in England. My parents and Grandparents on both sides were members of the Church. I was taught the saving truths of the Gospel as a child, accepted them as a teen, and have come to know and cherish them deeply myself as an adult. I am not an active member of the Church today because of the influence of my ancestors. As a conscientious, inquisitive, and every now and then deep-thinking individual I have come to know some things about this Church and Gospel that are very special to me. The Holy Ghost has taught me things and manifested divine truth to my heart and soul. Of these things I am certain. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints offers the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world! You too can know this for yourself! You'll come to know just as I did, by the Holy Ghost.

How I live my faith

I serve as the leader of a quorum of priesthood brethren in a local congregation of the Church in the region in which I live. I have served 2X as a Bishop of the Church (previously) & I enjoyed this opportunity immensely. Service in the Church is an unpaid labor of love. I derive great personal satisfaction & blessings from faithful Church service. This type of service freely given by so many members (on such a broad scale) sets the Church apart from any other religious organization on the earth today.

Do Mormons only help Mormons?

Paul
Of course not! Our 13th Article of Faith states we believe in "doing good to all men". That means everyone. Mormons believe that all of humanity are God's well beloved children, that we are literally siblings in the family of God. With this understanding in place it is easy to serve and help others regardless of what circumstances provide the opportunity to do so. After the hurricanes that ravages almost all sectors of Florida (and the Gulf Coast region in general) in the past 15 years I have joined work parties of other members to place communities devastated by these destructive storms back on their feet. We sought out our members homes helping and healing them AND all of their neighbors. Show more Show less

What is the Church’s position on abortion?

Paul
That it is a sin and one should not submit to or participate in this practice unless the mother is not expected to survive childbirth or the fetus is the result of rape or incest (both of which suspend the agency of the mother). In the case of the latter two, abortion is to be considered only after prayerful consideration and confirmation & counseling with ones Bishop. One can be forgiven of the sin of abortion. Show more Show less

What is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' attitude regarding homosexuality and same sex marriage?

Paul
The Church considers homosexuality a sinful practice that is engaged in via the agency of the individuals involved. What I mean is that those who participate in homosexual activities make the choice to do so. No one is born gay as that would be contrary to God’s plan of happiness for His children. Nor would He (God) place someone on earth who was wholly incapable of keeping His commandment pertaining to sexual conduct. Our Heavenly Father has revealed that sex (all forms of intimate relations) are to be exercised only between a man and a woman who are legally married to one another and in no other forum. The genders of the two parties and the exclusivity of their participation in sexual activity is central to acceptable obedience to God’s commands in this area. Additionally the first commandment given to Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden was to “multiply & replenish the earth”. This important commandment is thwarted by homosexuality. While it is no secret that many (including members of the Church) struggle with feelings of same sex attraction this does not (nor will it) change what God has revealed. As a result the Church has (& will continue) spoken out on this subject all the while insisting that the “one man, one woman, married” paradigm is God’s design for the happiness & destiny of all of His children. As far as the importance of the topic goes it is certainly relevant as numerous members of the Church struggle with homosexual feelings or actions. It is my understanding that as long as an individual does not act on homosexual feelings or tendencies (there’s the agency again/the ability to choose) and conducts himself or herself in accordance with God’s commands no disciplinary measures are taken and standing within the Church is maintained. Members who engage in homosexuality on the other hand face disciplinary measures that may restrict their membership in the Church or remove their membership altogether. Many people are aware the Church has been active in causes that support marriage as a union between one man and one woman. This institution supports the traditional family composed of a father, a mother, and children. Since we believe the family to be the basic unit of society and the foundation upon which good communities and nations are built we are concerned with any institution that strikes against that model. Homosexuality and same-sex marriage is incompatible with our understanding of the plan God has for His children. A great summary of the Church’s view on families is encapsulated in The Family: A Proclamation to the World (on the Church web site) Show more Show less

What is the Word of Wisdom that Mormons talk about?

Paul
The Word of Wisdom is a health code originally revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith in answer to a prayer concerning the actions of the early leading brethren of the Church (re tobacco, smoking). The Lord revealed to the Prophet that tobacco was not for human consumption, nor were "hot drinks" for the belly. Later leaders clarified the guidance of the Lord concerning prohibited substances into the current list which includes prohibitions against the following: Coffee, Tea, Alcohol, Tobacco (in all its forms), & harmful drugs (including prescription drug abuse). Other portions of the revelation refer to proper nutrition (including not overeating), getting proper rest, etc. I live the WofW and have found the health benefits to be excellent. Section 89 of the Doctrine & Covenants teaches the Word of Wisdom (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/89) Show more Show less

What is Mormonism? OR What do Mormons believe?

Paul
Mormon was a prophet in ancient America. He was the compiler of the records that became what is now called "The Book of Mormon". "Mormon" is a nickname (sometimes historically a derogatory term) for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka LDS Church). Mormons are followers of Jesus Christ who believe that the Godhead (consisting of the Father God, the Son Jesus, and The Holy Ghost a personage of spirit) are THREE SEPARATE and distinct persons. We believe in personal responsibility for our own sins and misdeeds and that repentance through the Atonement of Christ is available to all. Obedience to God's commandments brings happiness and salvation. We believe in Faith, repentance, baptism (by immersion), and the gift of the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands). We believe priesthood power is again on earth. We enjoy the same organization as the primitive Church with Apostles & Prophets at the head.We believe in revealed scripture like the Bible and Book of Mormon. We believe that the literal gathering of Israel (God's covenant people) is underway in our time. We support & sustain all believers of any faith in the practice and profession of their belief system and desire the same privilege. We are a law abiding group and teach our members to honor & sustain their national leaders wherever they live. We espouse all of the virtues the Apostle Paul taught in the New Testament. Show more Show less

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

Paul
No. All young men are strongly encouraged to prepare for & accept a call to serve a full time mission for two years in one of the over 300 mission areas in the world. In the October 2010 General Conference President Monson, the Lord's prophet declared: "I repeat what prophets have long taught—that every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much. Young men, I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary." Many young men (I was one of them many years ago) determine that they will fulfill their priesthood duty and put aside all of the things of the world & serve the Lord full time for 2 years. I was blessed beyond compare for taking this opportunity & I look forward to seeing my son (currently 16) serve when he is 19. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about "eternal life?"

Paul
We believe that we are immortal beings; we will live forever. "Eternal life" is a quality of life in the hereafter specifically the type of life that God our Heavenly Father lives. God desires for all of His children to return to His presence and with Him partake of eternal life. This blessing is secured by being baptized, receiving the Holy Ghost, being ordained to the priesthood (for males), attending the temple (both men & women), being sealed (married in a ceremony in an LDS temple that transcends death aka eternal marriage) to someone of the opposite sex, and then enduring in faith and obedience to the end of ones life. With the addition of the grace of Jesus Christ (His enabling power made possible by His Atonement) it will be possible to live in the presence of God our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ FOREVER. This doctrine is the most powerful motivator for me as I have a great desire to not only merit the companionship of my wife forever but the ability and blessing to do it in God's presence! Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about the Bible? Do they regard it as Holy Scripture and the word of God?

Paul
The Bible contains God's words as given to prophets anciently. Mormons accept the King James Version of the Holy Bible as the most correct translation available. We believe in the literal word of God contained therein. We also have 3 other books we consider to be scripture: The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine & Covenants, & The Pearl of Great Price. I believe the Bible to be the word of God! Show more Show less

What are Mormon women like? Do Mormons believe in equality of men and women?

Paul
I think the self-description oft repeated in the Young Women’s program of the Church is apropos: “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us and we love Him…”. Mormon women are beautiful, sweet, patient, loving, kind, smart, self-assured, creative, tolerant, empathetic, nurturing, righteous, self-assured, magnanimous, not to mention unreal in the kitchen! These and a hundred other adjectives describe the Mormon women I know, most notably my incredible wife! Mormons believe in equality among the sexes. Church doctrine posits that advancement in the eternal realms that lie ahead (aka your standing in the post-mortal life) is dependent upon the successful and mutual efforts of a man and a woman. We literally believe that no man or woman can inherit the fullness of Heavenly Father’s blessing without their opposite gender spouse by their side. Now that’s equality on a grand scale! Show more Show less

What are some of the ways that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helps those around the world?

Paul
The Church's humanitarian effort is broad & effective. I have witnessed it first hand having been through several hurricanes. Gov Jeb Bush once said there were two organizations (aside from the Red Cross) that had been particularity responsive to community needs in the state of Florida following a hurricane: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, & the Mormons. That was funny to us members as those two groups are one in the same! The Church sends aid in many forms worldwide in the event of natural disaster, humanitarian, educational, agricultural, etc needs. More info here: http://lds.org/humanitarianservices/0,19749,6208,00.html Show more Show less

Why are only some Mormons allowed into temples? Is there something secret going on in Mormon Temples? What goes on in Mormon Temples?

Paul
Only members in good standing (living the fundamental commandments of God & His Church) are allowed to enter the temple once they have certified their worthiness (compliance with the commandments/standards mentioned earlier) to their Bishop (local leader) and Stake President (regional leader). One must be a member for at least 1 year before being eligible to obtain a "temple recommend" (document that certifies worthiness and allows admittance to the temple). Youth ages 12-18 are allowed admittance to perform proxy baptisms by meeting the same standards as adults. As far as the second question: there are no secrets in the temple. God our Heavenly Father desires to share all of the blessings of the temple with each of His children who are adequately prepared to understand, value, and cherish what has been dispensed inside temple walls. Temple attending members like my wife and I do not discuss the inner workings of the temple as these things are a sacred part of our relationship with our Father, not a secret. If these things were secret they wouldn't be offered to all who are prepared to receive them. For me the temple experience is where heaven meets earth! Third question: Patrons of the temples around the world leave their worldly pursuits, (whatever they may be) change from Sunday best into white clothing, and then participate in a variety of activities (ordinances) designed by our Heavenly Father (& revealed by revelation to His Prophets) to ennoble, bless, and enrich the lives His children here on earth as well as those who have already died. The crowning ordinance of the temple is the sealing ordinance where a man and a woman are "sealed" (married for time & all eternity, not "until death do you part") together forever if they are true and faithful to each other and the covenants they have made. Everything done in the temple is for the benefit of God's children. His love for us is manifest there more perfectly than any other place I know! Show more Show less

What is a ward/stake/branch?

Paul
A "branch" is the smallest organized unit of the Church usually consisting of less than 100 members. Branches are often found in rural areas where there are not enough members to create a ward. A "ward" is a standard congregation of between 100-600 members. If a ward (congregation) becomes too large it is split and two wards are created. Wards are almost always named for the location in which they reside (ie Perdido Ward near Perdido Key FL). Where multiple wards share the same area numbers are sometimes used to differentiate between them (ie Pensacola FL 1st Ward, 2nd Ward, etc). (I believe the Church has moved away from the numbering system in recent years in favor of each ward having a unique name). A "stake" is a group of wards (and branches), is regional depending on where in the world it is found. Most stakes comprise wards & branches from a number of communities that are near one another. Most stakes have around 10 units in them. For example the Kingsland Georgia Stake (of which I am currently a member) comprises units in the following locations: Fernandina Beach, Fla (ward) Hilliard, Fla (branch) Kingsland, Ga (ward) Waycross, Ga (2 wards 1 & 2) Brunswick, Ga (2 wards 1 & 2) Jesup, Ga (ward) Darien, Ga (branch) Show more Show less

What is the difference between attending church and the temple?

Paul
The Church is for weekly worship services, social activities, etc. All are invited any time to enter a Church building for worship or other purposes. The temple is a specially dedicated edifice for covenant making and vicarious work which is open to the public prior to being "dedicated". Following the dedication temples are only open to members who have a "recommend" to enter. All faithful (living the commandments/standards of conduct) members of the Church (12 yrs and older) who have been members for at least 1 year are eligible to receive a temple recommend. A valid temple recommend will grant access to any temple on the planet (currently 134 operating/7 under construction /16 announced) Show more Show less

Do you really believe there is a prophet like Moses alive today?

Paul
The scriptures teach (Amos 3:7) that God will "do nothing" except He will "reveal His will to His servants the PROPHETS". He (God) speaks to men today through a prophet just like He did anciently! That's one of the coolest things abt the restored Church; we have the same organization today as the Savior did when He organized His Church in the meridian of time. "Apostles & Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:19-20) Show more Show less

Can husband and wife be together forever? Do you believe that families will live together in heaven?

Paul
YES! That’s the awesome thing about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. The power to seal on earth and have that sealing recognized in heaven is back on the earth. This amazing power was restored by divine means through the Prophet Joseph Smith in the early days of the Church in this dispensation (time period). “Sealing” is one of the ordinances that is performed only in sacred temples and is only received by those who are spiritually prepared (obedient to the commandments, faithful, recommended by their Bishop local leader & Stake President regional leader). When one is sealed to their spouse they are married with a set of covenants (promises) that bind them to each other in a covenant with God our Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ, & the Holy Ghost. This sacred and remarkable blessing and opportunity allows the partners in the marriage to remain intact as a couple beyond the veil of death. My wife and I were sealed together on September 4th, 1987 that was (and still is) the happiest day of my life. Many other happy days have come and gone but that is the day we began our eternal journey together. I believe that if we are faithful to each other and our Heavenly Father we will have the privilege of being together as a family in the hereafter. This is the most satisfying of all gospel truths to me. I LOVE IT!! Show more Show less

Who wrote the Book of Mormon?

Paul
The Book of Mormon has numerous "authors". The men who wrote the book were prophets of the ancient Americas and were under divine command to record the spiritual & temporal happenings of their day with the intent that those teachings and knowledge would come forth in a future day (the time in which we now live) for the benefit of God's children then (NOW!). There are 15 individual books within the BofM each entitled after the main author. The Prophet Joseph Smith TRANSLATED the book from reformed Egyptian into English. He didn't author the book. That was done anciently, compiled by a prophet named Mormon (thus the name of the book & the nickname of the Church). Show more Show less

What is the Law of Chastity?

Paul
The law of chastity is a set of behaviors (and non-behaviors) pertaining to sexual purity. In a nutshell it is that unmarried persons are not to have sexual relations (of any kind) with one another outside of a legal and lawful wedding. Per the law of chastity married persons are permitted to engage in sexual relations but complete fidelity to spouse is required. Additionally behaviors like being involved in pornography (inside or outside of marriage) are a violation of this law. Relations between man and woman (husband and wife) should be of a type and fashion that are acceptable to both partners. Homosexuality is a contravention of the law of chastity and is forbidden of the Lord (regardless of a so-called marital agreement). The law of chastity also forbids masturbation as this is a misuse of sacred God-given power. The prophets and apostles (President Boyd K. Packer prominently among them) have spoken out ever increasingly on the subject of the law of chastity. There are numerous resources on the topic on LDS.org (key word: chastity). Satan’s main desire is to destroy families (in all stages) and he finds great success in deceiving mortals into abusing themselves and each other by violating the tenets of the law of chastity. Article of faith #13 states “We believe in being honest, true, chaste…” Show more Show less

How does the Church finance its operations?

Paul
While the Church has a few business interests that generate revenue the lion share of the finances are handled using funds generated by the faithfulness of the members in their tithes & offerings. A tithe is just what the word indicates: "a tenth". Faithful & obedient (it is a commandment) members give 1/10th of their interest (what they gain) as a tithe to the Church each year. Members account to their local leader (Bishop) each year concerning this in "tithing settlement". In earlier times tithing was paid with commodities or money. Now almost all give money. My wife and I tithe 10% on our gross income. There are many blessings that come from obeying this commandment. Tithing funds are dispersed in a very strict & disciplined manner (& only for certain things) by the "Council on the Disposition of the Tithes" this council is composed of the First Presidency (3), the Council of the Twelve Apostles (12), & the Presiding Bishopric (3). No one else has the authority to designate where this ongoing and considerable stream of revenue goes. Show more Show less

Why is family so important to Mormons?

Paul
The family is the basic unit of the Church, of society, and indeed of the family of God. We believe that God is in the family and that we are literally his spirit children. All mankind are related to one another by virtue of shared spiritual parents of whom God the Father is one. Jesus Christ is the firstborn of the Father in the spirit & the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. Knowing my relationship with my Heavenly Father is a great joy to me. Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Paul
Many uninformed persons with no formal knowledge or experience based approach mis-label the Church as such. By some definitions of "cult" the Church (along with all other systems of religion) may be partially described. That being said the general interpretation of the term when applied to Mormonism is in a negative context i.e. "Mormonism is a cult so stay as far away as you can lest you get deceived and sucked into it". This is 180 degrees out from the Church I know as a lifetime member. All of the focus of this Church is directed at and towards God, our Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ His Son. With scriptures ancient and modern with prophets and apostles of both periods, and with faith and assurance borne of the Holy Ghost, we declare "come and see" for yourself. Walk into any meeting place of this Church on the planet and determine for yourself if what you see is a "cult". I think not and so will you! Show more Show less

Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorse political parties?

Paul
No. It is the policy of the Church to remain politically neutral. Members of the Church are encouraged to endorse candidates and causes they believe most closely approximate their personal feeling regarding moral & ethical leadership. The Church does involve itself in issues that threaten freedom of religion (Santaria) or on issues of morality (Prop 8 in Ca) for instance. Show more Show less

Why is it important for us to take care of our bodies? Why are our bodies called temples of God in the Bible?

Paul
The short (and maybe not so obvious) reason to care for our bodies is that we have been commanded to do so. The mortal body is the temple (abode) of the immortal spirit that is within. It is also the host of the Holy Ghost (when one has received that gift) when we are living in accordance with God's will. Creating a harmony between the body & the spirit is best achieved when we care for our physical bodies. We should not mark them up with tattoos or piercings (one in each ear for the ladies according to the prophets). Observing the word of wisdom (the Lord's code of health) is also a commandment. Taken together these principles may lead us to greater health, vitality, and enjoyment in this life. Dereliction will likely result in diminished health and enjoyment and most certainly in regret (when it comes to permanent alterations like tattoos). Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about Jesus Christ? Do Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?

Paul
That He is the firstborn of God our Heavenly Father in the spirit and the only begotten of God in the flesh. He is our eldest spiritual brother, our advocate, our Savior & Redeemer, and importantly our friend. He is God's most righteous Son and our perfect exemplar. Show more Show less

Are there restrictions based on race or color concerning who can join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have the priesthood?

Paul
All of God's children are invited to come & feast on the words of Christ & of His living oracles. All worthy (faithfully striving to live the commandments) male members of the Church 12 years and older are eligible (and encouraged) to receive the priesthood. I was ordained a Deacon in the Church at age 12. The priesthood has been a great blessing to my family and I. The priesthood operates upon principles of Christ-like service and is never employed to the benefit or aggrandizement of the one who possesses it. Show more Show less

Who is the Mormon prophet today?

Paul
The prophet currently is Thomas S. Monson. He is the senior most Apostle (by order of ordination to the Quorum of the Twelve) and was ordained President of the Church upon the death (Jan 08) of Gordon B. Hinckley. His two counselors and the Twelve Apostles are also sustained (upheld & supported as) as prophets, seers, and revelators. Only the prophet and president is authorized by the Lord to exercise all of the priesthood keys on the earth. The other apostles work under his direction. Show more Show less

In whom should we have faith?

Paul
Jesus Christ PERIOD. We are reminded in the Bible (John 14:6) "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." A modern Apostle has said "Jesus knows the way because He IS the way". If we place our faith in any other being or system our eternal salvation lies in the balance. Only those who accept the Savior & His terms will receive a fullness of the blessings God intends for all of His children to have. Show more Show less

Do Mormons practice polygamy?

Paul
Mormons practiced polygamy (actually polygyny) for a number of years (~1840-1890s) a manifesto was issued by President Wilford Woodruff announcing that the practice would be eliminated in the Church. Mounting political pressure by the federal government & a revelation to the Prophet concerning the future of the Church if the practice was not outlawed precipitated the change. Following some continued practice in Canada & Northern Mexico post 1890, President Joseph F. Smith (6th President of the Church) issued a 2nd manifesto in 1904. Since that time the official policy of the Church has been to excommunicate anyone who openly advocates or practices polygamy (polygyny). To clarify: No one who practices polygamy is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the mainstream Church) Show more Show less

What is the difference between attending a Mormon Church and a Mormon Temple?

Paul
Church buildings are for weekly religious services (Sacrament Meeting), social events (scouts, young women, meals, plays, etc). Temples are dedicated for a higher and more specific purpose. In temples worthy (members of at least 1 year who are living all of the major tenets of the faith) members participate in instructive ordinance work that binds individuals & families to God via covenants. These sacred ordinances address most effectively the purpose of life and more specifically God's Plan for all of His children and how He will bring each faithful one back into His glorious presence. I love going to the temple & I strive to soak up every whit of the experience. Being promised the opportunity to be with my wife (based on my faithfulness) FOREVER is my most valuable possession! Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Paul
Grace is "enabling power". It is provided by Jesus Christ who states that "his grace is sufficient for all men who humble themselves before me" (Ether12:27/Book of Mormon). Grace is required because all have sinned and "come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). We believe that personal effort is also required in order for mankind to be saved in the Kingdom of God. Both Grace (Christ's enabling power) and Works (our personal efforts and faithfulness) are required. All men are saved from death through the Atonement of Christ (all will be resurrected). All men who have faith in Christ, repent, accept ordinances & covenants and keep them & His commandments, (enduring to the end) will receive eternal life (life with God & Christ) and will be permitted back into the presence of God forever! Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform proxy baptisms in their temples?

Paul
 Work for the dead those who have left mortality underscores the love and mercy of our Heavenly Father. Since baptism is a physical ordinance it must be performed here on earth. Since it is also a requirement for entrance into the kingdom of God it is necessary John 35 for all who will receive that blessing. Without this important ordinance many having died without the opportunity to be baptized would be endlessly shut out from God's kingdom. Baptism on their behalf allows them upon fulfilling the other requirements of baptism faith, repentance, acceptance of the terms, covenants, etc to accept the work done by proxy. There is a misconception among some that if a person is baptized by proxy that they are a Mormon or that somehow their agency is suspended. This is not true. Each person for who proxy work is accomplished has the option to accept or reject it. Baptism for the dead was practiced in the ancient Chuch 1 Corinthains 1529 Paul refers to the practice and a misconception about the resurrection. Members of the Church in good standing of both genders/boys must hold the Aaronic priesthood age 12 and older may participate in vicarious baptisms in all of the temples of the Church around the world. Show more Show less