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Hi I'm Tom

I'm a research scientist, an entrepreneur, a husband and a father. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm a first-generation American, the son of Chinese parents who were born in the Philippines. I've lived in New York City, Manila, Cambridge England, Cambridge Massachusetts, Silicon Valley, Utah, and the Los Angeles area. I hold a PhD in computational biophysics. I'm married, and we have three children who make us glow with pride.   

Why I am a Mormon

A good friend in graduate school shared the Book of Mormon with me and offered that it was the word of God - another testament of Jesus Christ. I decided to take that seriously. After many months of taking an unreasonably left-brained approach to that big question - a foible of which I'm guilty almost every day - I finally followed the admonition to "ask God... if these things are not true... with a sincere heart, with real intent". To my surprise, I received a clear answer. God does answer prayers.  

How I live my faith

I can't think of much in my life that isn't deeply influenced by my faith.  

What is being a Mormon like?

Tom
It's a huge commitment - a lot of time and a lot of hard work. But it's also the source of the most important blessings available to us. Show more Show less

Why do Mormon missionaries proselyte?

Tom
You and I are imperfect knowers of the truth. We try our best with the information we have, our prior beliefs and biases, and the incentives or disincentives that surround us. Because we're imperfect, you and I share with each other what we've learned - especially when what we're sharing is the path to great blessings. Show more Show less

What is faith?

Tom
I exercised faith when I was 42 and first learning to unicycle. I lunged forward on my one wheel, fully thinking I would fall, but also trusting in my children's hints that I could catch my fall by pedaling to propel myself forward. Today, I can go several miles at a time! When I do so, I still exercise faith - but I rely on it much less now that I have seen my children's teachings work in practice. I also exercised faith when I was 22 and first investigating Mormonism. Having received an answer to my initial prayers, I acted on what I had learned, "lunged forward," and devoted years of time and effort to living the Gospel. Today, I still exercise faith, but I rely on it much less now that I have received years of confirmation that the Gospel is true. In both cases, knowledge has come from devotion and practice. Faith was only the first impetus to give it a chance. Show more Show less

How are the activities of the Mormon missionaries funded?

Tom
Our son is currently serving a full-time mission on leave from college. Like most families, we contribute a fixed sum per month that's the same no matter where a missionary serves. When a family cannot afford to do this, fellow church members rally to help out. Show more Show less

What is Mormonism? OR What do Mormons believe?

Tom
We believe that important portions of the Gospel were lost through the centuries, and that they were restored by revelation through Joseph Smith between 1819 and today. We believe that God continues to reveal truths through his living prophets and through the Holy Ghost. Knowing and acting on these truths is essential to obtaining the most abundant blessings available to humankind.  Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe is the purpose of life?

Tom
Our main purpose in mortality is prepare to meet God. We also form family relationships that can continue in eternity. After we leave mortality, our lives continue with further purpose to progress eternally, becoming more like God.  Show more Show less

What are some things that tell you there is a God?

Tom
If you've hiked in unmarked territory, you've probably seen a trail marker - a neat column of rocks left behind by another hiker. When you see such a carefully arranged pile, you can easily recognize that it was created by intelligence, not thrown together by random forces. Similarly, the beauty and simplicity of natural law constantly give me a strong subjective impression that a great intelligence designed it all - not necessarily the particular patterns and assemblies we see around us, but the exquisitely elegant fundamental laws that generate them. As a scientist, I have studied how physics explains the behavior of large molecules essential to life, and how the principles of evolution can be used to synthesize solutions to complex problems. All of these experiences have reinforced my belief. Show more Show less

Why are Mormons asked to donate 10% of their income to their Church?

Tom
Our church is like a big family. When my wife and children use money that I earned by working, it doesn't feel like giving. Honestly, that feels more like giving to myself. We're a unit, a team. It's the same way with church. We're a worldwide family. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Tom
God wants us to achieve our full potential. We were placed on earth with the ability to choose so that we could learn to exercise our agency. Doing good works - choosing well - is an essential part of that learning. But we invariably stumble and fall short. God's grace takes us the rest of the way. In other words, we believe that "it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." - 2 Nephi 25, verse 23 Show more Show less

Why is family so important to Mormons?

Tom
Family is the fundamental unit from which the fabric of society is built, both here on earth and in eternity. A child can seek happiness in many ways, but is most likely to find it in family life founded on the fullness of the Gospel. For that reason, a child has the right to be reared by a mother and father who are absolutely committed to each other and to their children. Show more Show less

How can I know Mormonism is true?

Tom
Since I became a Mormon more than two decades ago, my understanding of Mormonism has deepened and been confirmed over and over. How? Its teachings ring true. Seemingly unrelated doctrines wind up pointing to the same core plan - that God loves me and wants me to learn to exercise my agency. And applying the principles in my life has brought me and my family immeasurable joy.    Show more Show less