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Hi I'm Donovan

I love my family, the church, and history.

About Me

I am a married father of soon to be five children(four boys with a baby due in November). I am still finishing school, but I hope to get my PhD in history by the end of the year. I am currently looking for a job in a market that is not too job friendly. I love spending time with my family, watching movies, and playing basketball.

Why I am a Mormon

As a historian one of the things that I study is West African history, specifically African Spiritual systems. One of the things that impresses me most about these indigenous spiritual systems is that they are integrated into all aspects of the person's life. I strive to live my faith the same way. "Religion" is not only something that I do, it is something that I am. Through personal prayer, I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I have prayed personally to my Father in Heaven and asked him about the truthfulness of the gospel and scriptures, (the Bible and the Book of Mormon). I have asked Him if Joseph Smith was a prophet. He has confirmed to me through the sweet whisperings of the spirit that it is all true Joseph was a prophet, the scriptures are true, and President Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today. This confirmation has instilled in my soul a desire to be the best that I can be and to share this message with all others that are willing to hearken.

How I live my faith

I strive to do the things that God has asked us to do everyday such as read the scriptures, pray with all your heart, serve others, maintain a personal journal etc. I also serve in various capacities including being a scoutmaster and a home teacher which is a person that visits a few assigned families each month to share a spiritual message, find out how they are doing and if they need any help with anything, and generally just friendship them.

Do Mormons practice polygamy?

Donovan
No, members of the church today do not practice polygamy. Members who are found to be in polygamous relationships are excommunicated which means that their membership in the church is taken away. Show more Show less

What does Mormonism teach regarding baptism?

Donovan
Jesus Christ taught Nicodemus the importance of baptism in John 3:3. He said that except a man be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. We understand being born of water to be baptism. This baptism must be performed in the proper way and under the proper authorization from our Heavenly Father. Christ showed us the perfect example when he was baptized by John the Baptist and "came up out of the water" having been completely submersed. We believe that through baptism by immersion performed by one with proper priesthood authority, we can receive a remission of our sins, or in other words our sins will be forgiven by Heavenly Father. Show more Show less

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

Donovan
No, Mormons do not worship Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith was a prophet called by God our Eternal Father to restore the church of Jesus Christ to the Earth and for this he deserves respect, but not worship. Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior and only through his name can a person be saved. Show more Show less

What is a ward/stake/branch?

Donovan
Wards, stakes and branches are structural units of the church similar to the units in other churches such as Catholic parishes, or protestant congregations. A branch is the smallest unit in the church and is presided over by a branch president. Branches do not have enough members of the church within a close enough geographic area to constitute a ward. A ward is the basic structural unit of the church meaning that there is enough active priesthood brethren to fulfill the needs of the church membership. Wards are overseen by a lay clergyman called a bishop. A geographic group of wards and branches comprise a stake which is overseen by a lay clergyman called a stake president. Using this system of branches, wards, and stakes the organization of the church remains uniform throughout the entire world. Show more Show less

What is the priesthood?

Donovan
When Mormons talk about priesthood they are usually referring to one of two things. First, Priesthood is the power of God given to man to perform necessary ordinances on the earth. This power is given to worthy and faithful men in the church and should be used only to bless the lives of others. The Savior taught that except a man be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Being born of the water and the spirit means receiving the ordinances of baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. These ordinances need to be performed using proper priesthood authority in order to be valid in the eyes of God. Priesthood also can mean a collective group of priesthood holders. Show more Show less

Mormons believe Jesus Christ is their Savior. Why do we need a Savior?

Donovan
God, our Heavenly Father, is perfect. His perfection means that he is both perfectly merciful, and perfectly just. God has a plan for us to be able to return to live with him and our families forever. As part of his plan for our happiness, God has instituted laws. Obedience to these laws brings about blessings while disobedience causes terrible consequences. When we knowingly violate these laws we sin, become unclean, and are unable to live in the presence of God. Heavenly Father understood that all of his children save one, would fall short of perfection. God explained to his children, which is all of us, that for us to be able to return to his presence, someone would have to pay the consequence for everyone's sins. Jesus Christ volunteered to be that person. He volunteered to pay the eternal price for all of those who would repent and follow his commandments. Through his atonement, or payment for our sins, he has saved us, or in other words, he has given us all the opportunity to change, to become clean again, and to return to live with our Heavenly Father. Show more Show less

Where did Mormonism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints begin?

Donovan
The Church was initially organized on April 6, 1830 in Fayette, New York. The majority of the Church membership moved within a few years to Ohio and Missouri. Owing to severe religious persecution, practicing members of the church were driven out of these locations and settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, right on Illinois side of the Mississippi. Illinois eventually proved even more inhospitable than Ohio and New York. A mob killed the Prophet Joseph Smith and eventually forced many of the members of the Church out of their homes in the dead of winter. Members of the Church made the long trek west and settled in the Great Salt Lake Valley which later became part of the state of Utah. Ever since then the Church has maintained its headquarters in Utah. Show more Show less

Who is the Mormon prophet today?

Donovan
The president of our Church and the Lord's prophet today is Thomas S. Monson. Show more Show less

Who founded Mormonism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Donovan
In 1820, Joseph Smith Jr. wanted to know which church was right and which he should join. He read in James 1:5-6 that if he was lacking wisdom, he should ask God who would give him the answer. He went to a grove a trees near his home to pray. In a dramatic vision, he saw God the Eternal Father and Jesus Christ. When he asked them which Church he should join he was told to join none of them at the time. Through this vision, and other divine manifestations, Joseph Smith was given power and authority to restore or to begin again the Church of Jesus Christ. This occurred on April 6, 1830. Show more Show less

Why don't Mormons drink coffee, tea, or alcohol? What is the Mormon Church's law of health and proper diet?

Donovan
The Church's law of health and proper diet is called the Word of Wisdom because when Joseph Smith received the revelation containing most of the precepts of the law, the Lord told Joseph it was "a word of wisdom," for the members of the Church. Basically the Word of Wisdom teaches us that some substances are not to be consumed, others are to be used sparingly, and many things are wonderful to eat but we should use moderation in all other eating and drinking habits. An important part of LDS belief is that part of the reason that we are here on earth is for our spirits to learn to control our bodies. Products such as coffee, tea, alcohol, cigarettes, and so forth contain harmful and addictive chemicals that destroy our bodies and rest control from our spirits. The Word of Wisdom also teaches us to use meat sparingly. Sparing usage of meat provides our bodies with important proteins and nutrients such as iron that are hard to get other ways, but prevents many of the health problems associated with large consumption of meat, especially red meat, such as high cholesterol and heart problems. Just as important as the sections of the Word of Wisdom about what not to do are other sections that explain what we should do. We should eat fruits, especially in the season thereof, eat grains, especially wheat, and eat "herbs" or vegetables in healthy varieties. However, all of this should be done in moderation with thanksgiving to the Lord. Finally, we are also taught that we need to exercise and get enough sleep. I know this may seem extremely difficult to follow, but if we are able to completely stop consuming the things that they shouldn't the Lord will bless us with the power and ability to start working a little at a time on the rest, and the transformation will be exhilarating and powerful. Show more Show less

What is the First Vision?

Donovan
In the Spring of 1820 a fourteen-year-old boy named Joseph Smith Jr. went into a grove a trees near his home in Palmyra New York to pray. He was worried about his own salvation and confused about which church to join. He had read in James 1:5-6 that if any man lacked wisdom, they should ask God who would give to all men liberally. Joseph began to pray and at first he felt the powers of Satan striving to stop the prayer, when Joseph felt like he could pray no longer and was about to give himself up to ruin, he was suddenly released from this power and he saw a pillar of light directly over his head that came down till it rested on him. In the light he saw two personages whose light and glory defied all description. One of them spoke to Joseph, calling him by name and said, pointing to the other, "This is my Beloved Son, hear him." Joseph asked which church was right and which he should join. He was answered that he should join none of them, that none of the churches at the time had the complete truth. In this vision, and through later visions and revelations, Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet of God, to restore the complete truth, and reestablish the true Church of Jesus Christ in the land. Show more Show less

Why is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called Mormons or Mormonism?

Donovan
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are sometimes called Mormons because in addition to the Bible, we believe in additional scripture. One book of scripture is called the Book of Mormon. Mormon was a prophet/historian who lived many centuries ago in the Americas. God commanded him to make an edited record of God's dealings with Mormon's people. This book of scripture is called the Book of Mormon. While many people know us only as Mormons, I would prefer that they know us as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints because Jesus Christ is the focus of our church, not Mormon. Show more Show less

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

Donovan
Yes!! That is one of the best parts about the Heavenly Father's Plan for us. Marriage was never intended to be till death do us part. How sad would that be if all of the relationships that we spend a lifetime cultivating and developing had to dissolve at death. However, like all other blessings, this blessing is contingent upon our willingness to obey the commandments upon which it is predicated. That is to say, Heavenly Father has promised to give us this wonderful blessing provided that we do our part. Those families that keep the commandments and fulfill their obligations before the Lord will be together forever. Keeping the commandments is a small price to pay for such a wonderful blessing. Show more Show less

What is a “testimony” that Mormons speak of?

Donovan
A testimony is when a member of the church shares the knowledge that they have received from God through the Holy Ghost. James teaches us that if we ask God in faith, nothing wavering, He will answer our prayers, usually through feelings of peace and joy. This answer to our prayers is called personal revelation. When we share with others what God has communicated to us we are bearing our testimony. Show more Show less

Who wrote the Book of Mormon?

Donovan
The Book of Mormon was written under inspiration of God primarily by a Prophet/Historian named Mormon who lived on the American Continent around three hundred and fifty years after the birth of Jesus Christ. Mormon was commanded by God to make an abridgment of the records of his people. This record, which covered a period of over a thousand years, was to demonstrate God's dealings with this people. After Mormon abridged the record, he added a few of his own words and then passed the book to his son Moroni who added a few of his own words. Show more Show less

What are Mormon church services like? Are visitors allowed at church meetings? Can I attend church?

Donovan
General LDS services are comprised of three meetings that are combined into one three-hour block. Sacrament meeting is usually the first and most important meeting. In sacrament meeting the members of the church participate in the sacrament as instituted by the Savior at his last supper. After the sacrament members of the congregation give talks about specific gospel topics. The meeting is opened and closed with prayer and singing and there is often a musical number between the talks. Sacrament meeting usually lasts for 1 hour and ten minutes. After sacrament meeting we divide up according to age group. The children go to primary where they learn about Jesus and sing and have activities for the next two hours. The teenagers go to what is called mutual where they have spiritual lessons according to their age. The adults meet in Sunday School to discuss a gospel lesson taught by a gospel doctrine teacher. The last hour the men meet together in what is called priesthood, and the women meet together in the meeting of the women's organization called The Relief Society. These meetings are open to all people and we LOVE to have visitors. Please come and worship with us, you will be happy that you did, and we will be ecstatic to meet you. You can find a local congregation by going to lds.org and looking up the find-a-meetinghouse link. Show more Show less

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

Donovan
We believe whole heartedly in the promises of the Lord made to his people in Malachi chapter 3 where the Lord commanded his people to "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Donating ten percent of our income is what we refer to as tithing. In addition to the many blessings we receive from obeying this commandment tithing is also the financial program that the Lord has chosen to run his church at this time. This money is used by the church for many purposes including, to pay the utility bills, build and maintain new church buildings including meetinghouses and temples, and to buy supplies for humanitarian aid. None of the church clergy receives payment for their work in the church. It is all voluntary. Having been a student my entire married life we have never had much money. However, through our payment of tithing, I know that the Lord has blessed us and we have never had to be homeless or go hungry. Show more Show less