David L. Tayman III was born on Nantucket Island,* Massachusetts, where his father, an Assemblies of God minister, was planting a church. Methodically moving his way south (with a brief two-and-a-half year detour a little further west in Springfield, Missouri, where he befriended his first Mormon during Freshman year of High School), David eventually ended up in Savannah, Georgia, earning his BFA in Film and Video from Savannah College of Art and Design. Meanwhile, David’s interest in Mormonism was growing. He discovered and delved into anti-Mormon literature at the Lifeway Christian Bookstore where he worked, then regurgitated oversimplified forms of this literature Mormon friends and contacts in a somewhat mean and ignorant manner. Then he visited Utah for the first time, where some Sister Missionaries giving a tour of the Conference Center in Salt Lake City caught him lying about claiming to have read the entire Book of Mormon. Finally, in his last year of college, David surrendered to the inevitable and was baptized LDS on February 28, 2004, and confirmed on the 29th—Leap Day.
Shortly following David’s graduation and baptism, he moved to Atlanta, where he met the amazing woman who would become his wife. They became engaged, and then (while engaged) both left to serve full-time Missions. David was 25 when he left, and 27 when he returned—by far the oldest non-senior Elder in the Washington Seattle Mission at that time. David returned from his mission in November 2008 (a few months after his fiancée returned from her mission to Ontario, Canada), and was married in the Atlanta Georgia Temple the next month. He now has an amazing nearly-three-year-old daughter, works as a project manager at a software development and consulting company, and serves as a High Councilor in his stake.
David’s avocational academic interest in religion began with the study of ancient and biblical texts, and eventually shifted to early LDS Church History. At his wife’s encouragement, he started the biblical studies and temple-themed blog Visions of the Kingdom in August 2009, which was re-named Improvement Era in March 2011 to reflect his new focus on primary source texts in 19th-century Church history (and other related Mormon Studies topics).
* Most of the poetic stories you may have heard about men from Nantucket are slightly exaggerated.