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Hi I'm Brett

I'm a graduate student studying international relations. I'm a husband and, soon, a father. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm a 23 year old university student studying psychology. I speak Ukrainian and Russian, and I love to learn new languages. I think a clever pun is the funniest thing in the world, and I try to make them as often as I can actually manage to be clever. I enjoy witty and well-written movies and TV shows, and as my family and friends can attest, I love to quote them--maybe a little too much.

Why I am a Mormon

I was born into the Mormon church, and like many people in that situation, I grew up faithful to Mormonism simply because it was my parents' church. For much of my childhood, that was the case, and at the time I was content with that. However, when I was ten years old, my father had a severe crisis of faith. His crisis spread to all of us, in one form or another, and I remember that it hit me very strongly. I wish I could ascribe my current faith to some great miracle, but in reality, it came piece by piece, assembled like a jigsaw puzzle over a decade of doubt, study, and prayer. However, all that I've learned, felt, and discovered has led me to this great truth: there is a God who loves us all, and he is earnestly seeking our best welfare. He has given us great gifts--the scriptures, the Spirit, the power of prayer--but most importantly, He gave the gift of His Son. In fact, that is the crux of my faith, that Jesus truly saved me from sin, and that by following His path and His example, I can live with Him and with God again.

How I live my faith

I believe that the essence of my faith is service. In the Bible, Jesus Christ taught that what we do to even the least of our brothers and sisters is actually done to him; similarly, the Book of Mormon, a book of scripture that provides an additional testimony of the gospel of Christ, teaches that when we're in the service of our fellow beings, we're only in the service of our God. I believe that the truest expression of Christianity is loving service and unfeigned kindness. In my local church, I teach in our Sunday school. Beyond that, I try to live in such a way that when people learn I'm a Mormon, it makes them think better of the church, and not worse.

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Brett
Like almost all churches, the Mormon church has had its fair share of detractors. Among Christians, there are many who view us as “unorthodox,” especially given our faith's rather miraculous origin story and our reliance on scriptures in addition to the Bible. It is important to remember, though, that however different many of our beliefs may be, in the end we're remarkably similar to other churches in the areas that count the most. We believe that people should love one another, serve each other, do good continually and of their own free will, and most importantly, we believe that, by doing these things, people may transcend their worldly problems and one day enter into a higher, heavenly plane. Is the Mormon church a cult? No; it's a congregation of people seeking to improve themselves by serving others. Show more Show less

How is the Book of Mormon different from the Bible? How did Joseph Smith obtain the “golden plates” or Book of Mormon?

Brett
Before discussing their differences, let's look at some of their similarities. The Bible is an amazing book written piece by piece by holy men over a long period of history. The Book of Mormon is as well. The Bible contains the works of prophets and apostles who preached of God and Christ, and who helped their peers live better and happier lives. The Book of Mormon contains similar works by similar prophets and apostles. Most importantly, the Bible contains a record of Christ's ministry, including His own teachings, miracles, parables, and example. In the Book of Mormon, we find an account of another visitation of Christ, and we are able to read even more of His teachings, miracles, and parables, and experience His perfect example once again. The Bible was written by people living in or around Israel. The Book of Mormon was written by people who left Israel and traveled to the Americas. Once there, they grew into two nations--one righteous, one wicked. The Lord called a series of prophets who taught His gospel to the inhabitants of the land. Eventually, following his resurrection as mentioned in the New Testament, Jesus Christ Himself visited the people in the Americas, teaching them His new covenant and blessing them. In the end, however, hundreds of years after Christ's appearance, the people of the Book of Mormon rejected His teachings and became wicked and warlike; the righteous were hunted down, until the very last prophet--a man named Moroni--sealed up the record containing the writings of the prophets. Over a thousand years later, Joseph Smith experienced the First Vision and saw God and Jesus Christ. He was soon visited by an angel who identified himself as the same Moroni who had sealed up the record centuries earlier. Moroni told Joseph about the record--a collection of writings inscribed on gold plates--and showed him where it was located. Joseph Smith was able to find the gold plates containing the words of the ancient prophets and, by the power of God, translate them into the Book of Mormon. Show more Show less

Do you really believe there is a prophet like Moses alive today?

Brett
I remember the first time I read the story of Moses. I was taken aback by the utter power of that one man's conviction; because of his faith, God empowered him such that an entire nation was not only brought out of bondage, it was held together in the wilderness and organized into a Godly people. Why, I wondered, would we be any different today? As for myself, I may not be a literal slave, but I'm certainly in bondage to the many vices that plague me. Even after finding help for these through the Church and the Spirit, I still have to wade through a wilderness of constant temptation, depression, and heartache--in other words, life. And in the end, I need help becoming the man of God that I so desperately want to be. Just like how the Lord spoke to Moses and made him into His prophet, even so does He make righteous men into prophets today. Thomas S. Monson is the living Moses, the man called of God to lead each of us through our bondage and our wildernesses until we, too, become men and women of God. Do I believe there is a prophet like Moses alive today? Absolutely I do. Show more Show less