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Hi I'm Brooke.

I'm an amateur philosopher. I'm an aspiring teacher. I'm a writer who wants to change the world, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm attending a state university for a degree in Philosophy. A question I get a lot: "What are you going to do with that?" My stock response is "Teach" but the truth is, I want to write. I just need something to write about, and what more could I want to write about than the questions that have puzzled humanity for centuries? I have every intention of teaching, though, in addition to writing. Nobody changes the world on quite so personal a level as a teacher, after all. I also have a passion for linguistics, and I am determined to learn a few languages to supplement my study of both this field and my major. I've been blessed with a lot of artistic inclinations. In addition to writing, I've been known to draw, sing, dance Argentine tango, and (most recently) knit. I am preparing to serve a mission for the Church. I want to get married in the Nauvoo temple. Other things I like, in no particular order: rock 'n roll, British comedy, chocolate, international travel, the smell of jasmine, and the sound of bells. I dislike mayonnaise, internet shorthand, unrequited love, and being in debt.

Why I am a Mormon

I am a Mormon because there is no substitute for the wisdom and peace the Gospel, as preached and practiced within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, brings. I may have been raised in the Church by devoted and wonderful parents, but I still have had to discover on my own that it is true, and gain my own testimony. To me, the Gospel means hope through purpose. I am a philosophy enthusiast, in addition to being a young adult at that point in life where you really start to quest for your own identity in relation to things, places, people you know, and people you don't know. It is so easy to get lost in the fleeting present. It is so easy to despair at all the pain and the feelings of futility in the world. But it is so hard, for some reason, especially in academia, to believe in something bigger, greater, wiser than yourself (It's hard enough to believe in your "self", according to some schools of thought). I think this is because the thought of being nothing, being a sentient but negligable and forgettable scrap of matter in a great big sea of higher power, is frightening. The fear of feeling small and alone sometimes goads people (irrationally, I think) into believing they ARE the biggest, greatest, smartest thing. This closes their minds to the possibilty that being a small part of a big plan doesn't make you any less valuable, let alone to the possibility of knowing your part, which is unfailingly greater than you could have invented for yourself. Purpose like this gives hope, light, and courage in a way that substituted self-idolotry never can, and the Gospel of Christ gives purpose incomparably greater than any mere mortal invention. To me, a humble amateur philosopher in the throes of developing an identity, the Gospel brings not only hope of resolution to the puzzle of who I should be becoming, but a promise.

How I live my faith

Many good and faithful people raise an eyebrow when I tell them what I'm pursuing in school. It's true that Philosophy values skepticism over faith, whereas in the Church we opt for faith over skepticism when in doubt. But there would be no study of philosophy if it did not also value "reason"- that is, the human capacity to infer, deduce, theorize, comprehend, teach, remember, learn, etc. I am a big supporter of reason. I think it is a divinely-given gift with which people are endowed in order to make practical sense of their environment, and to understand more abstract concepts. But its application is not infallible. I think Descartes was on to something when he deduced that error of human judgement is due to a lack of sufficient information, more than a lack of the ability to make a proper judgement. People in my field tend to forget that any argument or conclusion, even aloof end-of-discussion Skepticism, is subject to possibile insufficient information. This is the loophole through which I thread my faith. Having an understanding and belief in Christ makes practicing philosophy a little like practicing beginner's geometry. It means that there IS an answer, a point you're trying to prove about a triangle (or "the meaning of life" or ethics). It is available, but you must determine why it is true. If you are skeptical on a Geometry test about the premises and conclusion that the teacher provided for you, you are probably going to get detention. But if you accept the givens, and use the knowledge you have, there will be a way to accomplish your task and prove what you've been asked to prove. Studying philosophy teaches me a lot about reason, and having reasons. I know many intelligent people disagree with mine, but I desire to communicate that living as a faithful Latter-Day Saint does not mean "blindly following" if that doesn't work for you. I live my faith by first having it, and seeking then by to understand it with the best God-given tools at my disposal.

Who founded Mormonism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

If you want to get quite technical, the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the One whose name is in the title. Of course, He has many servants, one of whom was called, even from youth, to head the restoration of the "fullness" of the Gospel. This was Joseph Smith, who, after much pondering and a little bit of Biblical inspiration (see James 1:5-6) decided at fourteen years of age to ask God which church he should join. Upon performing this humble act, God and Jesus Christ personally appeared before him, as they had done for prophets centuries earlier. They told him that no church on the earth correctly interpreted the teachings of Christ, or taught all the truths necessary to apply them fully. From that point on, Joseph prepared to help set the restoration in motion, communicating with God and Christ as had prophets in Biblical times. Some years after that first visitation, Joseph received the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the power of God, and was given the long-lost Priesthood power (that is, the authority to use God's power, righteously, in God's name), as well as the responsibility of organizing and leading the Church with all the additional knowledge now being made available. To say that we honor Joseph Smith as an inspired man and a great prophet, is accurate. To say we deify or worship him, is definitely false. His courage and faith cost him his life, but the work he did for God has survived to touch the lives of millions. Show more Show less