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Hi I'm David

I'm from Virginia, U.S.A. I'm a scholar and teacher in Near Eastern studies and a member of the LDS Church.

About Me

I'm currently a graduate student in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, focusing on Biblical Hebrew and ancient Egyptian. I'm married and have five children between 1 and 9 years old. One of my hobbies is family history research (I have Italian ancestry). When I have time to relax, I enjoy reading together with my wife and children (we like Frances Hodgson Burnett, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Sir Walter Scott, Mark Twain, and L. Frank Baum, among others).

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised in the LDS Church but was not completely "on board" early on. During my first year of college, I prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true. The answer did not come immediately, but one morning as I was reading in the Book of Mormon, I had an overwhelming feeling come over me, a beautiful feeling that erased all doubt and filled me with the knowledge that the book was inspired of God. I later served a two-year mission and have remained an active member of the Church. I have had scores of experiences in which I have felt the Holy Spirit convincing me of the truth, goodness, and importance of the Church's teachings concerning Jesus Christ. Even though being a member of the Church is not easy--it requires a lot of work and a lot of faith--I have always been able to reflect on these experiences and keep trusting in my Savior.

How I live my faith

In my academic work, I teach Biblical Hebrew classes and occasionally present and publish studies on scriptural language, imagery, and cultural context. In doing these things, I try to communicate my love for the scriptures. As far as actual church service, I have served in various callings, including as a youth leader, a class instructor, a Sunday School leader, and a secretary for the bishop (the leader of a congregation). I love to spend time with my family and try to show my love for them by my words and actions. I also attend the temple about once a week and participate in baptisms and other ordinances for my ancestors.

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?

David
There are no restrictions based on race or color for baptism or for receiving the Priesthood. I have friends of just about every culture on the earth with whom I have served in the Church. Some of my best friends are black members of the Church whom I know from when I lived in Nashville and Chicago. Prior to 1978, black members of the Church were restricted from holding the Priesthood, but things have changed a lot since 1978. The Church now has a CANONIZED official declaration (it is part of the scriptures that every member of the Church owns and carries to Sunday School) that clearly says that ALL worthy males in the Church may hold the Priesthood, regardless of race or color. This is not to say there is no prejudice in the Church--we need to do better, and Church leaders are continually pleading with the members to put away prejudice and closed-mindedness--but I personally rejoice in the diversity I see in the Church and the colorblind friendliness that I have seen in many congregations. Show more Show less

Do Mormons regard the Bible as Holy Scripture and the word of God?

David
I personally love the Bible and revere it as the word of God. I study it every day and have devoted a large part of my life to learning and teaching biblical languages, cultures, and history. Like all scriptures (including the Book of Mormon), the Bible has been copied many times, and in the process of copying, errors have been introduced into the text. Every page of the Bible contains words and phrases that read differently in different Hebrew or Greek manuscripts. In addition, the meaning of Bible passages is often ambiguous. For these reasons, I do not believe that the Bible is the ultimate source of revelation and guidance. The ultimate source is God himself, who communicates with us through his Spirit. The Bible, along with the Book of Mormon and other scriptures, has helped me many times to access God's guidance as I have studied it and prayed to God about it. Show more Show less