Hi I'm Brad
I was born in Bellevue WA, but moved around most of my life. The longest my family ever stayed in one place, was about four years. Aside from me, there are four other kids in my family, and my parents. I've probably spent too many hours with a controller in my hand, but gaming is one of my passions. I also love to make short films with friends and other forms of art. I believe there's never a reason not to laugh. I recently returned home from serving the Lord on a Mission in Fresno California.
Why I am a Mormon
I'm certainly not the first Mormon in my family; we go back several generations. I have pioneer heritage, as well as converts as close as my Grandfather. Every single one of my ancestors has a testimony and a reason for joining the church, from my Great-great Grandmother in South Africa, who went to "save" her family from the Mormons, and every other who has come before me. I am a Mormon because it gives me a peace which is not found anywhere. Despite anything which happens in our life, that peace can be had at any moment. I cannot describe the sense of love that comes as I pray during those hours of loneliness or betrayal. Nothing compares. There is no heart-ache, no sorrow, no pain that cannot be overcome by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. There isn't enough room in this world to say all that can be said about that Atonement, and I don't think we should limit ourselves to what has already been said.
How has your knowledge of the Plan of Happiness changed/benefited your life?
I remember when one of my uncles passed away in a tragic accident. I remember that I was very young at the time, and I really loved him. I also remember, knowing that I would see him again. Because I had learned about Gods Plan of Happiness, I knew that our family would see him again, and that there was no reason to be sad. I still know now, just as I did at that young and tender age, that families are meant to be eternal. I know that we will see our lost loved ones again, and that death is not the end. I know that because of Jesus Christ, all men shall be resurrected, and those who lived his gospel shall live together with their family forever.
Which of the Savior’s teachings have influenced you in your life?
One of the Saviors teachings that has had a lasting affect on me is the principle of enduring to the end. My mission president once explained to us that enduring is more than just barely making it. Its more than waiting until things are over. Enduring requires all your effort. It means that you didn't passively think Jesus Christ was the Son of God, but that you believed His words so much that you went out and did them. It is humbly submiting to the will of the Lord, realizing without him that you can do nothing, and that only through His grace that you can enter into His presence. With that grace, though, you can press forward steadfastly, never wavering. God will not give us a temptation more than we can handle, and he also will not give a commandment we are unable to live. Life is not about complacency. We all make mistakes, and at times we fail, but we cannot let that failure destroy us. God doesn't create failures. He didn't create any one of us to barely scrape by. It is the devil that tells us that we can't or don't need to live by the Lords standards. As fallen man, we have doubts and disappointments. We don't always serve God. It is those parts of our lives we need to change. Thats repentence. Enduring to the end means that we strive to keep that change of heart. Enduring means that we love and believe in Him so much that we don't let our weaknesses get in the way of serving him. I know that I am an not a very skilled, attractive, successful, or strong person. Life has been hard and lonely. But those things don't have to define me. The Savior of the World, The Supreme Being, The Lord God Omnipotent has suffered, died, and risen for me. I know that he is my Messiah. I love Him, and I know that He loves me. It is that knowledge that gives one the power to endure to the end.
How has the Book of Mormon brought you closer to God?
So far I have read the Book of Mormon five times. The first time I read it, I was about 11 or 12 years old. I found the book to be very inspiring and full of good stories that I could relate to. I found scriptures that applied to me and my life. It filled me with strength and gave my testimony of Jesus Christ a boost that remains with me to this day. The next time I finished the Book was when I was 16 years old. In the church there is a religious class that is provided for high school students called seminary. In seminary you study the scriptures, reading a different book each year: Old Testament one year, New Testament the next, etc. This year we read from the Book of Mormon. I found even more knowledge in this reading than the last. I learned more about how I should live my life and what our Father in Heaven asks of us. I also learned about how the Book of Mormon and the Bible work together. That the word of the Lord runs together. The third time I read the book, was just before I left on my mission. I don't want to go into detail, but this was a very trying time of my life. Possibly one of the hardest points I've ever experienced. I was dealing with a lot of depression, heartache, lonliness, and anxiety. I didn't think I would make a good missionary with all these emotions in me. About two months before I left, I got a letter from my mission President that invited me to read the Book of Mormon before I came out. I am not exactly a speed reader, so I didn't think I would be able to do it. I began, and kind of put it off until the last month before I left. It was at this point, that I allowed myself to listen to the Spirit, and to read deeper than I ever had. I found that this book was written by real people who had weaknesses and didn't live ideal lives. I never realized how much sorrow they felt, but Jesus Christ gave them hope to press forward. I finished the book the night before I left. I have never been happier.
How I live my faith
I live my faith in everything I do. Right now every moment is dedicated to selfless service. As a full time missionary, I taught the Gospel of Jesus to everyone who will lend an ear. I would not have been disowned or looked down on for not going. Service comes in many ways, I teach, but thats not all. As Latter-day Saints, we try to serve people of all faith, backgrounds, ethnicity, or status. Yard work, moving, visiting the lonely, listening to the sad, anywhere a hand is needed, we strive to be. That is true Christianity. As is said in Will L. Thompsons hymn, "Have I Done Any Good?", "only he who does something, helps others to live."