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Hi I'm David

I'm a grad student studying new ways to fight disease. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I never do well in these "about me" sections. I think my Facebook "about me" page is 4 or 5 years old. I recently graduated from college where I met the woman I love, and we got married in the Temple in December of 2010. I am now a graduate student pursuing my PhD in microbiology, which means two things. One, that I spend my time learning about bacteria. Two, that I am a big friendly nerd. I enjoy playing Ultimate Frisbee and making music. I play the piano, guitar, and lots of things that look like guitars.

Why I am a Mormon

I struggled for a lot of years with this very question. I grew up in the Mormon church, so at first it was easy for me. I was Mormon because it's what my parents did, and what their parents did, and that was that. But as I grew up, that answer just wasn't enough any more. When I was 18, I started thinking seriously about my faith. Mormon young men generally serve full-time missions for two years when they turn 19, and I didn't want to waste two whole years of my time preaching something that I didn't really believe. So I decided that it was time for me to find out for myself if this was all true. I've always thought like a scientist, so I analyzed this question in the way that makes sense to me. Piece by piece, bit by bit. I know that this is not the way most people approach questions of faith, but I knew that God answers questions in ways that we are able to understand, and I just don't understand the touchy-feely stuff. I started with the most basic questions. Do I really believe in God? Does He know who I am? Does He care who I am? I worked my way up from those to more detailed questions about specific religions and practices. So piece by piece, I built my beliefs. Piece by piece I thought, and I prayed, and I listened for God to answer. He didn't answer me all at once. I never had a moment of overwhelming "A-Ha!" and knowing that it was true. But I do believe that God answered me, and that He continues to answer. He exists. He loves me. He has a church on the earth, one that is absolutely true and has His authority to baptize, to heal the sick, and make families eternal. And that's why I'm a Mormon. 

How I live my faith

I have been involved in the LDS community in many different ways. That's one of the nice things about the church- you have opportunities to serve in lots of ways, some of which you are good at and some of which you get to become better by doing. Right now I lead a pack of Cub scouts and teach Sunday School to a boy who needs some special attention and care. Outside of my church activities, I try to live my faith every day in the way I interact with others. I try to be a good example of a follower of Jesus Christ and treat everyone I meet the way He would treat them.

How can I find someone to talk with, in person, about the Mormon religion?

David
Well, I'm guessing that you found my Mormon.org profile on my blog, which means you can contact me. That would be pretty easy, no? If you found this some other way, then you've got a few options. Talk to pretty much any Mormon you know and they will be excited to talk to you about the church. If you don't know a Mormon, poke around Mormon.org to find how to contact the missionaries in your area. Give them a call and let them know what you want to talk about. I was a missionary for two years, and I promise they won't bite. Show more Show less

Why do Mormon missionaries proselyte?

David
Well, I can't speak for all Mormon missionaries. But I can say why I proselyted. It boils down to a simple fact: I believe. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe that He taught us the way back to live with Him after we die. I believe that some of the things that Jesus taught can be done without a church to help- give to the poor, love our neighbor, have faith in Him- but that some things have to be done as a community. I believe that He gave His authority to certain men- the Apostles- to perform those necessary ordinances like baptism. I believe that this authority still exists, and is found in the Mormon church. I believe that there are many good people who are following Jesus Christ to the best of their ability, but are unable to be baptized with His authority because they do not know where to find it- or even know to look for it. Because I believe these things, I could not pass up the opportunity to proselyte. I have found the most precious gift imaginable. I have found the true restored church of Jesus Christ. How could I keep it to myself? Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

David
I believe that there is no way that we can buy our way into heaven. There is no amount of good that we can do that would "earn" salvation. But that is no excuse not to do good. Mormons believe that all can be saved by grace, but only after we make our best effort. We have to demonstrate a desire to obey the Lord, even though we will fall short. Christ's grace not only saves us from death and Hell, but it makes us better people during our mortal lives. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

David
I have heard this question from lots of people. It turns out that there are two different meanings of the word "Christian" that people use. One is "Someone who believes that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world," and the other is "Someone who believes that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and is also not Mormon or Catholic." The second definition is what used to be called "Protestant." If that's what you mean, well, it should be pretty obvious that we don't fit the bill. If you mean the first definition, then the answer is "Absolutely." "Mormon" is just a nickname. It came because we believe in the Book of Mormon as an additional book of scripture that accompanies the Bible. The church is actually called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We believe that Jesus Christ himself is at the head of our church, and we believe that it is through Him and His sacrifice for us that we are able to return to live with God after this life ends. As I see it, that makes us Christian. Show more Show less

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

David
The short answer is no. No, we do not. The longer answer is, well, longer. I view Joseph Smith in much the same way as I view Moses. Moses has always been one of my heroes. He was a good man who had a special mission from God. He struggled, he faltered, but he did as God commanded him. Did Moses have his faults? Absolutely. But can I still learn from his example? Of course. Similarly, Joseph Smith was nothing more or less than a good man who had an extraordinary mission from God. He was a man with faults and quirks, but I admire him just the same. I can learn from his example. We often seem like we worship him because we take some shortcuts when we are talking. These things do not confuse us, but I can see how they confuse those who are not of our faith. When we say things like "Joseph Smith restored the church of Jesus Christ" that is a shorter way for us to say "Joseph Smith acted as the mouthpiece of God on earth and through him God restored His church to the earth." Kind of a mouthful. It is something that I am trying to change in the way I personally speak, but don't let it confuse you if you hear a Mormon take the short way. 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?

David
When I was younger, I saw this as an exclusive thing: some people are allowed in and some people aren't. But that's not the case at all. In the temple, we make covenants, sacred promises with our Heavenly Father. The only reason that some people are not allowed to enter the temple is because they are not ready to make those promises. Everyone is invited to prepare themselves to go to the temple, and to enter the temple and make those promises when they are ready. As for the secrecy, there is nothing I would consider secret. Again, we invite the world to come and see what we do in the temples. Anyone is welcome, if they have spent the time to prepare and committed to the Lord that they will follow Him. Because of the very sacred and personal nature of the promises we make in the temple, we generally don't discuss them, but I think that sacred is different from secret. Show more Show less

What will the Mormon missionaries talk about when they visit my home?

David
As someone who was a missionary not too long ago, I feel like I can give a pretty good answer to this. If the Mormon missionaries come over to your house, the first thing they will talk about is God. They will talk about how much he loves us, and how he communicates with us to guide our lives and make us happier. They will talk about ancient prophets, like Moses and Isaiah, and modern prophets like Joseph Smith. And they will talk about what those prophets have taught us about God and His plan for us. Of course, they don't have a script that they just read regardless of what your needs or questions are. The things I listed above are the things they usually talk about on their first visit to someone's home, but if you want to know about something else, you just have to ask. When I was a missionary, I loved it when people had a specific question for me because it helped direct me to their individual needs. Show more Show less