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Hi I'm Tom

I'm a School Bus Driver and former City Councilman. I've been married for about 20 years. I've been a Mormon all my life.

About Me

I am the last of six children. I have a degree in Political Science and was elected to serve on the City Council in 2006. I have been married since 1995. My wife and I have not been able to have children, but we enjoy time with our 26 nephews and nieces.

Why I am a Mormon

You might expect that the answer is that I was born into it, which is true but there is more to it. That was an excellent beginning. I have, however, known people who were born into it but don't choose to stay. I had parents that demonstrated their faith daily by studying scriptures and praying. I have not always been as constant as they are, but enough to make a difference in my life. To make it last my whole life I had to develop my own strength. When I was young I got to a point where I felt I really needed to know for myself. I studied the scriptures some and prayed a lot. I felt the influence of the Holy Spirit for the first time and learned to recognize it. Through continuing study and prayer I have been able to renew that witness and I know the doctrine is true.

How I live my faith

Over time my faith and testimony have become part of who I am. I live my faith without thinking about it most of the time. People I meet know that I am Mormon by the way I act. I don't smoke or drink and I never tell filthy jokes or stories or use course language. People know this about me and because I never vary they don't try to change me. I also don't force my beliefs on anyone. If you have to force it never becomes real to them. Because of this people aren't afraid to talk about religion with me. I can share my beliefs in a non-threatening environment and people know they can ask me anything about my beliefs and they do.

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

Tom
The Church does not endorse parties or candidates. The Church does take positions on moral issues that impact our members. The members of the church are allowed, and encouraged, to seek out good candidates and support them for office. In some places a majority of the Mormons may support the same candidates, but the Church does not endorse them, even candidates that are members of the Church. Show more Show less

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

Tom
 When I walk in the woods and see the intricate patterns in the plants and animals, I know there is a God. When I look in the sky at night and feel the cool evening air I know there is a God. When I watch people and how precious each one is in their own way I know there is a God. The God I see in all these places is a loving Father who cares about every person and every plant and animal. I believe this is the way he wants us to be, too. Show more Show less

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

Tom
For church on Sundays I usually wear a clean white shirt and a tie along with nice pants, sometimes, usually during colder months, I wear a suit and tie. My wife usually wears a nice skirt somewhere between knee and ankle length and a nice blouse and/or sweater. This is pretty typical of members of the Church. I suspect that local customs effect what is worn in other parts of the world, but the standard is that we try to show respect for our Heavenly Father in what we wear. If someone shows up less dressed up they are not turned away from worshiping with us. As members of the Church we celebrate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and resurrection at Easter. We also celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas like all Christians. We also enjoy celebrating other local and national holidays where we live, as well as celebrating family events, such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Show more Show less

How are the activities of the Mormon missionaries funded?

Tom
I decided I wanted to serve several years before I was old enough to do so. As I progressed toward the time I could go I prepared myself through study of the gospel and learning skills I needed to live on my own. Another part of preparing myself was earning money to pay my own way. Missionaries fund their own missions as much as they are able through saving up before hand. In the event that a missionary wishes to serve but does not have sufficient funds other family members or members of the church may help out. Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons have paid clergy?

Tom
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we believe that each member is called to serve in some capacity in the Church. Some may be called to teach a class, or to lead music, etc. Members may also be called to leadership positions. The leaders each serve for a period of a few years and are then released from that position. While serving in any role members continue to hold a regular job outside of church. By giving a piece of the work to each person there is no need for a full-time cleric at any level. We share the work and therefore nobody is paid for their service. A side benefit of this is that we tend to willingly donate our time in other areas of our lives as well, offering to help others on a purely volunteer basis. This helps us to learn to serve as Jesus did during his ministry and to feel charity for others. Show more Show less

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

Tom
The Church does not require anything of anybody. Everything we do is of our own choosing. The church encourages all members to do missionary work whatever their circumstances. We have a saying "Every member a missionary" which exemplifies our responsibility to share the gospel with those we meet. We also have individuals called to serve missions. We believe that being a missionary is a privilege and a blessing for ourselves and others. Young men are more strongly encouraged to serve than others as it is seen as their responsibility to be missionaries. They serve for 2 years, usually beginning shortly after high school. Young women usually serve for 18 months and older adults and couples can serve from 1 to 2 years depending on their circumstances. Missionaries submit paperwork indicating they are ready and willing to serve and the church assigns them where they are needed. All missionaries serve voluntarily and pay their own way. While assigned as full-time missionaries they are considered official representatives of the Lord and his Church. Show more Show less