Hi I'm Brianna Nielsen
I'm a student at BYU-Idaho, a returned missionary (Brazil Maceió Mission), a soccer player, and a scuba diver.
Why I am a Mormon
I am a Mormon because I searched for myself to know if the doctrine that is taught within the church is true. It came to the point where I didn't need to rely on anyone else's word for it, but I applied the teachings and experienced the blessings that testified to me that the teachings really are true. I searched through prayerfully studying the Book of Mormon and then asked the one person who knows everything and that I knew wouldn't lie to me: God. I am a Mormon because I chose to be, not because anyone forced me to be or convinced me to be. It was a decision made between me and my Father in Heaven.
Why/How do you share the gospel with your friends?
Since religion is sometimes a touchy subject, it can be difficult to verbally share the gospel. Of course I take advantage of any given opportunity and I treasure those moments. But I believe that the most powerful way of sharing the gospel is through living it. Actions speak more powerfully than words. I am not by any means the perfect example, but I strive to be. I know that each day I can become a better example, and when I have some fall backs I know that the Lord is gently encouraging me to improve. Through this process of becoming a better of example, I know that I can help others on the way. We may never know the difference that we make in other people's lives, but I know that people are observing what me or anyone else is doing and that their lives can be touched.
How has the Book of Mormon brought you closer to God?
Without having read the Book of Mormon (BOM), I didn’t know much about the church and depended on my parents’ testimonies. It wasn’t until I pushed myself to read the BOM that my testimony finally began to grow. Your testimony and faith in God needs to be nourished daily, just like a seed. Without nourishment, it won’t grow but weaken. As your testimony begins to weaken, you begin to doubt, and start asking questions. Luckily though, you can refer to the BOM and the Holy Ghost for answers! The BOM answers questions of the soul. There are two types of questions that I had found myself pondering while my testimony wasn’t strong. There's questions about the eternal perspective, and then those questions that are temporal. Some examples include, “What is the purpose of life?”; “How can I become more involved in church?” I wasn't going to answer those questions until I read the BOM. It's one thing to hear someone tell you the answers, and then finding/reading it yourself. It’s the feeling of confirmation you get when you actually sacrifice your own time to figure out an answer for yourself. You always remember those experiences. “As we gain faith that the BOM is true, we can begin to answer questions about the purpose of life and hope of eternal life. It describes the plan of happiness, which gives meaning and perspective to life. And as we read the BOM with guidance of the Spirit, it will help us answer personal questions.” (Preach My Gospel) I don’t think there is a better way to put it than that. In Moroni 10:3-5 there is a promise given for reading the scriptures: He promises us that if we read the BOM and ask questions about it with sincerity, then the Holy Ghost will give us an answer. You will have a feeling of confirmation that will build your testimony. You will know that the gospel of Jesus Christ written in the BOM is true. And after reading the BOM and praying about it, I finally know for myself that it’s true. I use my written testimonies as evidence of it.
How has your knowledge of the Plan of Happiness changed/benefited your life?
When I was on my mission in Brazil, my grandfather had passed away and I started to really wonder if the plan of salvation (plan of happiness) was real. I had been preaching it to many people for a whole year already, but this was the first time that my testimony of it was really put to the test. I began to search earnestly in the scriptures and I prayed and fasted many times to receive a feeling of confirmation that all that I had learned and taught about the plan were true. I received that comforting feeling and I knew that the teachings concerning the plan of happiness were indeed true. My knowledge of the veracity of the Plan of Happiness helps me to push away those feelings of worries and doubts of not seeing my deceased relatives again. I know that if I do the things that the Lord has commanded me to do while here on earth, I will one day be able to see my family again in the Kingdom of God. Now that I have this testimony or surety of it, I feel that I am capable of helping others who are struggling because they lost loved ones. I have that hope of seeing my family again after this life, and I am so grateful for that knowledge because it brings me a peace of mind. My knowledge of the Plan of Happiness also helps me understand my purpose in this life. I know that Heavenly Father has certain expectations of me, such as: have faith, repent daily, be baptized (the same form that Jesus Christ was), receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end (keep the commandments throughout my life). I know that if I do those things, I will be able to live in the presence of my Heavenly Father again with my family for the rest of eternity. This knowledge encourages me to do better each day and help those around me do the same as well.
How I live my faith
I don't just go to the weekly church meetings, but I strive to understand the gospel better through personal scripture study and then apply it in my own life. When given the opportunity I try to share the things I know to be true with others so that they can receive the blessings that I have experienced in my own life.