Hi I'm Brenden
I am a full time student at Arizona State University studying Aerospace Engineering. I love physics and learning how the world works as well as the design aspect of taking an idea and bringing it to life. Outside of school I practice a martial art known as Jujitsu. I attend a traditional dojo because I love the growth that comes from discipline, hard work, and self control when they are applied. I love to play the trumpet and I enjoy watching DCI (Drum Corps International). I also find a lot of fulfillment in singing. I've sang bass and tenor in various choirs and I see music as one of the best ways to get more out of life. I enjoy hanging out with my friends on weekends and hosting parties to hang out and have fun. I also enjoy camping when I get the opportunity and I love the great outdoors. I find that being outside is a fantastic opportunity to spend time with people while admiring the creation that is all around us. I recently returned from serving a two year volunteer mission in the England Manchester Mission. For those two years I had the opportunity to live in North Wales and the North-West of England and invite others to come unto Christ. I have worked in Stafford and Telford (in the Midlands), Wrexham and Colwyn Bay (in North Wales), Crosby (in Liverpool), and Oldham (Greater Manchester). I loved the time I was able to spend helping people and giving them the joy that I have in my own life.
Why I am a Mormon
I have been raised in this church but that doesn't mean that I don't have my own conversion story it just means that it might be a bit longer than some others. My testimony has come bit by bit as I have lived the standards given by God and as I've seen promised blessings be fulfilled. I have had the chance to pray and ask God if he exists, and if he loves me. I have always received comfort and love that I can feel in my heart. On other occasions I have asked to know of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the reality of Christ's sacrifice for all of us. I have never received a vision or had an heavenly being appear to me, but I have felt the spirit of God testify to me. These experiences which I have are enough for me to know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me, because of his love he sent his son, Jesus the Christ, to die for my sins so that I could return to live with them. I also know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the full gospel of Christ. I have felt the healing touch of the love of Christ help me off of my feet when I am sad or feeling alone. He has helped me to change my habits to help make me more happy. And he has protected me in times that I was in need. I have felt his direction in my life as I reach out to help others so I can see him help them as well.
How has the Book of Mormon brought you closer to God?
The Book of Mormon has taught me the importance of charity. When I read there seems to be an infinite number of references to the different ways that charity can help me. When I saw how much that I could gain by getting more charity I began to pray more regularly that I could receive as much of the love of Christ as possible. On these occasions I felt the spirit testify to me of the truthfulness of many things including the Book of Mormon, God's love for me, Christ's love for me, the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and different ways that I could change my life to become more charitable. When I made these changes my days were filled with more happiness, I got along with my family better, and the challenges of life seemed more bearable. I am very thankful for the Book of Mormon and how it continually helps me to align my life with the plan that God has for me. The Book of Mormon also serves as a constant reminder to me that I am loved by God and his son Jesus Christ regardless of what mistakes I have made.
How has your knowledge of the Plan of Happiness changed/benefited your life?
A few years back my Grandmother had cancer and we knew that she didn't have much time left. Even though my family was blessed to be able to spend a lot more time with her than we had originally hoped for it was still sad when she passed on. That was the point where my knowledge of the Plan of Happiness kept me up. Even during the time when we were sad for her passing I knew that she was in a better place. Because of the Plan of Happiness I know that I will be able to see her again and that we will still have the same wonderful relationship with each other. Another benefit that I have had from knowing about the Plan of Happiness is being confident that God has a plan for me to reach my full potential. I am always trying to push myself to be my best and sometimes when the results aren't what I was hoping for I can get discouraged. Knowing that there is a plan for me helps me to know that God can help me to be my best despite of my weaknesses.
Please explain the part prayer plays in your life?
I feel that prayer is one of the greatest gifts that we have been given here on earth. I use prayer as a way that I can focus my mind on what is most important. Through praying I strengthen my testimony and confirm truth that I have learned about. I have found that the times that I am more actively trying to pray regularly through the day are the times that I am better able to deal with the stress of life. I also realise that my overall mood improves when I use prayer as a line of communication between myself and my Heavenly Father. When I am trying to talk openly about the concerns I face in life as well as the good things that I enjoy, my mind is focused on the positive side of life and I receive a little bit more strength to take care of what I need to do. Right now I am currently serving a full time volunteer mission in the UK. As a missionary, prayer has become a larger part of my life than ever. We pray that we can be directed to people who are most in need of us so we can help them. I also pray that I can become more Christlike and that I can see opportunities around me to give service. Prayer is the tool I use to feel my Heavenly Father's love for all of his children that I meet with and teach on a day to day basis. It is because of Prayer that I can know and experience the fact that there is a God and that he has a fantastic capacity to love every one of his children including me.
What is hope and what do you hope for?
Hope is an assurance that regardless of what happens now that things will get better in the future. A lot of times today the word hope is used to mean something that is uncertain but in a gospel sense the word hope takes on a different role. Hope brings comfort because it is not uncertain, it is a desire that I know will be realised at some point. Hope allows me to endure the trials of life with a smile on my face because I know that I can handle, with God's help, whatever challenges are put in front of me. In my life I have hoped for many things, I hope to someday be a good husband and father, I have hope that my testimony of God's love and his goodness will constantly be growing and that I can use that testimony to help others. At the current time I am serving as a full time volunteer missionary in North Wales and the Northwest of England. This has been an opportunity for me to have hope for other people to find greater happiness and enjoy the blessings I have experienced. Every day that I go out I work hard so that this hope can be a reality. Even when "one of those days" comes along and nothing seems to be working out, I have hope that my Heavenly Father is aware of who I am and what I am in need of. I love how the scriptures describe hope as an anchor for our souls (Ether 12:4). I know that this is true and that just as an anchor keeps a ship from being tossed around when the wind and waves are fighting, hope brings a consistency into my life that I value.
Why do Mormons do family history or genealogy work?
Personally I enjoy genealogy because there is always a story behind something. I love hearing the stories from my parents, my grandparents and my great-grandparents, some stories are about themselves and others are about family members from farther back. Either way I love to hear and learn about those who have gone before, what they did and really knowing who they were. However even more important than learning about the lives of people who have gone before, we believe that family relationships do not end at death. We can be with those wonderful people who have already passed away through sacred ordinances like baptism that are performed in the temples of the church. Therefore doing Family History is not only about remembering my roots its also allowing me to meet them in person when the time comes. That day I will hear all of their stories, and probably a few more, from their own lips and the thought makes me really excited.
Please share your feelings/testimony of Joseph Smith.
My testimony of Joseph smith grows from my experience with the Book of Mormon. I have received more direction and answers to prayers from the Book of Mormon than from any other source. Also some of the most powerful spiritual experiences have began with me studying the Book of Mormon. I know for a surety that the Book of Mormon is something given from God to me to help me today. That testimony of the Book of Mormon then must be transferred to Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. The Book of Mormon is one of the largest fruits that have come from the work of Joseph Smith. Jesus Christ taught "Ye shall know them by their fruits....Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit...a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit" (Matthew 7:16-18). I know that Joseph Smith could not have translated the Book of Mormon unless he was acting under the direction of God. Because of that knowledge I also know that Joseph Smith was telling the truth when he said "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head above the brightness of the sun". I know that in that vision Joseph Smith saw God the Eternal Father, and Jesus Christ the Only Begotten Son, and that they both spoke to him and directed him in bringing about a restored church in this era. I know that anyone can receive a testimony of Joseph Smith by reading the Book of Mormon and praying to ask God if it (the Book of Mormon) is true, and if Joseph Smith did translate it.
How I live my faith
Every Sunday I go to church. In the past I have been asked to help in several ways including teaching the 11 year old boys with one of my best friends. Together we enjoyed talked about the gospel and how it can help them today. Currently I serve as a clerk in my ward where I help manage the temporal affairs under the direction of our bishop. At university I spend a lot of time in the Institute building where I can relax with friends in between classes, and go to classes that help me understand the scriptures better and get more out of them. I love the insights into life that I gain from studying at institute, I feel that there are so many deeper applications that I get because of studying with peers. Besides that I try to live my life in such a way so that people can know what is most important to me, family, my father in heaven, and the knowledge that there is hope and that the God is the source of all good things in this world. I spent 2 years serving a full time volunteer mission in North Wales and the Northwest of England. I spent my time speaking with people and doing anything I can to help improve their lives by inviting them to come unto Christ and enjoy the fullest blessings that they can receive. My favorite part of being a missionary is seeing the change that it makes in people's lives and the joy that comes into their eyes as they make promises with God.