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Hi I'm Dennis

I'm a psychologist, a husband, a father, and a Mormon. I live in the Seattle area and work at a university.

About Me

I am a psychologist, husband, and father of two. I live in the Seattle area, where I conduct research at a university. I am from Idaho Falls, Idaho, and have recently lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Why I am a Mormon

I continue to find "newness of life" through my faith in Jesus Christ as a Mormon. When I am at my best in living my faith, my heart expands in generosity and I feel more connected with those around me.

How I live my faith

"I see from my house by the side of the road By the side of the highway of life, The men who press with the ardor of hope, The men who are faint with the strife, But I turn not away from their smiles and tears, Both parts of an infinite plan- Let me live in a house by the side of the road And be a friend to man." -Sam Walter Foss, House by the Side of the Road

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

They will share the basic beliefs of our church, and ideally will have a conversation with you about your own beliefs. During the first visit, they likely will share our basic beliefs about God, Jesus Christ, the role of prophets, and the Book of Mormon and Bible. Don't hesitate to ask them questions, or to frankly express your doubts or concerns. Recognize also that although missionaries are typically very kind and enthusiastic, they are hardly infallible representatives. For many, their missionary experience is a spiritual journey in which they themselves are learning more about the gospel--so please be patient with their relative inexperience and possible foibles. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

"By this shall all men know ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35). Inasmuch as Latter-day Saints exemplify the love of Christ, we are Christians. Inasmuch as we do not, we are not. Show more Show less

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

Church attendance is weekly and is open to people of all faiths and backgrounds. Members renew their faith through taking the sacrament (like communion), offering prayers, and giving brief sermons. Hymns are sung by the congregation, and Sunday School is also included. Temple attendance is limited to members in good standing (who have what is called a temple recommend). These members perform sacred ordinances on behalf of themselves and ancestors who have passed on. Mormons vary in how often they worship at the temple, depending on their availability and location. Regular attendance (whatever that means for each member) is encouraged, if possible. Show more Show less

Do Mormons only help Mormons?

When my family moved two years ago, we had significantly underestimated the difficulty of transporting our furniture and belongings from the parking lot to our apartment (a much longer distance than we had expected). A neighbor (who I later learned was a Mormon) discovered our plight, contacted other Mormons in the area, and within less than a half hour, about a dozen individuals were on hand to help us move in--an answer to our prayers! They did this, having no idea that I was a Mormon (this occurred in the midwestern U.S., and no visible cues even remotely hinted at our faith). This story exemplifies perfectly our mission to help all who are in need. One of the four key missions of our faith is to help the poor, and that includes everyone. Show more Show less

Can you tell me about Mormon customs: how you dress for church, what holidays you celebrate, etc.?

Mormons typically wear "Sunday best" to church. For women in the U.S., this usually means a dress; for men, it usually means a dress shirt, tie, and slacks. Mormons are generally free to celebrate whatever holidays they want, and this probably varies by culture and region. In the U.S., Mormons typically celebrate the major Christian and secular holidays; I personally feel comfortable celebrating non-Christian religious holidays (e.g., Jewish and Native American holidays) with friends. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

On top of anything that we can personally do, it is through the grace of Jesus Christ that we are saved. It is a misconception (unfortunately, among some Mormons) that we can "earn" our way to heaven, or that we are saved by our works. Although we are judged in light of our works, they do not save us. Those who say otherwise, whether they are humans or angels, are preaching a false gospel. But Christ's grace does actualize our own efforts, and we do have agency to reject his grace. Accepting or rejecting the grace of Christ is evident in our actions, not simply in our professions of faith. 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?

As a Mormon, I do not believe that drinking coffee, tea, or alcohol is inherently bad, nor do I think negatively of non-Mormons who drink of these substances. (Jesus drank alcohol, after all.) But we believe that God commanded church members to abstain completely from these substances, because of "evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days" (D&C 76:4). When one looks at alcohol (and tobacco) consumption from a collective level of analysis, who can deny the awful consequences of these substances on families and individuals? I don't think anyone in the church is calling for societal prohibition, but we do believe that Latter-day Saint families have been greatly blessed by abstaining wholly from alcohol and tobacco. Yes, there are likely many among us who could drink responsibly and whose health likely would not be compromised in a serious manner--but it's a small price to pay. Coffee and tea are more difficult to explain. The answer is not because they have caffeine--this is a common misconception that has been officially repudiated by church leaders. (I occasionally drink caffeinated beverages.) But I do think that the general public underestimates the negative impact of these substances on the spiritual well-being of our busy-busy-busy society. Being a Mormon helps me to understand that I do not need to consume these substances to be awake and alert. Show more Show less

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

No! I have and continue to vote for who I feel is the best candidate, across political parties and persuasions. I personally am politically moderate, and I am friends with many conservative, liberal, and moderate Mormons. Show more Show less

Why is family so important to Mormons?

Because what is most important is that which can last the longest--and we believe our families can last forever. Show more Show less

Why did your church previously practice plural marriage (polygamy)?

Polygamy enabled Joseph Smith to institute God's commandment to link all of God's children together through binding covenants, in this case via kingdom dynasties centered on prominent male church leaders. Polygamy was believed at the time to be the will of God, was practiced in secret at first (including some polyandrous marriages), and evolved into a prominent principle among the church in 19th century Utah. It was a great trial of faith to Latter-day Saints (both women and men, as well as the institutional church) and was eventually disbanded under the inspiration of church president Wilford Woodruff. Since then, monogamy has been recognized at last as "the Lord's law of marriage" (as taught in our foundational scriptures all along) and a better system for linking the entire human family was implemented (i.e., sealing children to their parents, as taught in our foundational scriptures all along). Show more Show less