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Hi I'm Elder Jensen

I'm a college student, I study evolutionary psychology and non-human primates, and I'm a Mormon Missionary.

About Me

I'm 22, single, and a Junior majoring in Psychology at a 4-year university. I study evolutionary psychology, which examines how the brain developed over time and how those developments led to some of our instincts and behaviors. I've done behavioral research on Rhesus Macaques and Titi Monkeys at the California National Primate Research Center, where I looked at how and why certain species of primates (including humans) organize themselves into family-based groups and stay together for life. I love jazz music (I play tenor sax), and literature. Right now I'm taking a hiatus from school to serve as a Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I've been assigned to serve in the South Dakota, Rapid City mission, where I'll be until mid-2016.

Why I am a Mormon

I was born into a very faithful family, so I grew up being taught about the gospel. However, like everyone else in our faith, at some point in my life I had to believe for myself. When people ask me how I know God is real, the Priesthood power is real, how I know the Book of Mormon is God's word, and how I know all the other things that make up my testimony, I like to tell them it's like gravity. When you lift a ball up in your hand and let it go, it falls to the ground. You can do that once, and it will seem unusual and interesting. But you do it again, 10 times, 100 times, 1000 times, and it becomes impossible to deny that gravity is real, and it will always be real. That's how I feel about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have had so many spiritual experiences in my life as I've followed Christ's example in having faith, repenting, being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, that I can no longer reasonably deny that the things our Church teaches are all true. Many of the spiritual experiences I've had have not been miracles or physical manifestations, but a burning in my heart and mind as the Spirit testifies to me of truth, or subtle miracles as the Lord changes me to be a better person through His Atonement. Individually, these events are intriguing. Together across my life, all together, they form an undeniable base of evidence that has turned my belief into faith, and my faith into absolute knowledge. I'm serving a mission because the gospel has blessed my life so much, and I don't deserve it. I've met hundreds of people not of my faith that are just plain better people than me, and those people deserve to have the same blessings I have enjoyed. I know this church is true. I know God is real. I know Jesus Christ lives. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that it's true. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know we have a living prophet today. I have found these things to be true by asking God and receiving and answer, and so can you.

How I live my faith

Before I started serving as a full-time missionary, I spent about a year teaching Sunday School for the 16 to 18 year old high school kids in my ward. I wasn't expecting such a big calling! It's a lot of work keeping a class full of juniors and seniors focused, especially when you're not much older than them. I grew so much as I helped them come closer to Jesus Christ, and I learned more myself than I could have ever taught them. As of June 2014, I'm following God's plan for my life by serving a full-time mission. While serving missions, missionaries set aside everything else in their life and spend 18 months (for Sisters) to two years (for Elders) serving the Lord with all their heart, might, mind and strength. It was difficult leaving my family, work, college education, and many other things behind, but I've already gained so much more from my missionary service. I've become so much better as a person as I've worked diligently to share our gospel message with the world. It's impossible to serve people without coming to love them, and I already love the people I've been assigned to teach and serve so much. It's a great privilege to have the support of my family so I can put everything I have to working out here. I know my mission has already blessed my life so much, and the Lord will continue to reward me for my service by making me into a better student, a better scientist, and a better future husband and father.

How are the activities of the Mormon missionaries funded?

Elder Jensen
My missionary work, like that of all missionaries in the Church, is on a strictly volunteer basis. I don't get paid for my work (and I wouldn't do it for money!). We pay our own way through the Church to go on missions, which helps us by managing, distributing and budgeting the missionary funds. Our lodgings are provided, and we receive a living stipend for food and other expenses. My family has made real sacrifices and is working hard to allow me to serve God for 2 years of my life, and that's something I'm incredibly grateful for. The whole Church contributes to full-time missionary work through tithing and other voluntary donations to the tithing fund, and it's both a great blessing and a sobering responsibility to have their support like this. Knowing so many people are helping me doing this work is one of the things that keeps me working hard and getting up at 6:30 every morning. Show more Show less