When Brian Breshears and his friends started discussing religion and the purpose of life, they always seemed to come up short on answers. In fact, they often felt that things were way over their heads. But they knew somebody, somewhere, had to know the truth. That’s when the name Mickelle Thompson popped into Brian’s head. Of course, he thought, Mickelle has an answer for everything.
Several hours later, Brian and his friends met Mickelle and her friend Lindsey Miller at a local restaurant. At the time, this scene in Chesapeake, Virginia, made for an interesting picture: two clean-cut, LDS teenage girls with open scriptures on one side of the table. Three scruffy-looking boys, sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes, on the other side.
That picture, however, has changed. Today Brian is sitting on Lindsey and Mickelle’s side of the table.
Brian’s transition actually began several months earlier in drama class. As usual, Brian started his day with a glance at the call board, a bulletin board drama students at Great Bridge High School must check three times a day to note auditions and rehearsals. Usually it contains pretty run-of-the-mill stuff, but something different caught Brian’s eye that morning—a colorful flyer announcing that Mickelle Thompson was willing to answer questions about a recent 60 Minutes episode featuring her church’s prophet. Brian hadn’t seen the interview, but he knew Mickelle was LDS. All the kids in drama called her “the Mormon.” “I saw her at lunch that day and asked her about the interview,” says Brian. Mickelle gave him a videotape of the interview, and he watched it that night.
“I was a little bit curious and wanted to know more,” Brian says. His curiosity led to more questions—questions which Mickelle and Lindsey always seemed to know the answers to, no matter how or when Brian asked them.
Before the meeting at the restaurant, Mickelle had been the center of attention at a drama cast party. “Mickelle was sitting off to the side, and I started talking to her, and everyone started joking around about her being Mormon,” Brian says. “We asked her about anything. I remember she was so calm and collected with it; she answered our questions seriously.”
Then there were the conversations over lunch at school with other friends who had seen Mickelle’s note. “We’d sit by the wall, and I’d bring my scriptures every day and just talk about all sorts of things,” says Mickelle. “I would go home, and with my dad I’d stay up late at night and look up things in the scriptures to answer their questions.”
When Brian met up with Mickelle and Lindsey at the restaurant a couple of weeks later, he was once again impressed. “I had gone to a lot of churches before that and asked questions and they couldn’t really answer them. But Lindsey and Mickelle were quick to answer my questions.”
Brian revelled in their responses. “He just soaked everything in,” Lindsey says. And he did so for good reason. “At the time, mentally, I didn’t know who I was. I was totally lost,” Brian says. “I felt like I had hit bottom. I guess that’s when they came along. I didn’t know what I believed. I didn’t have anything to hang on to. They were there when I needed answers.”
School ended for the year, and slowly Brian started coming to church. He asked more questions and continued his friendship with Lindsey and Mickelle. For months he went to Sunday meetings and Wednesday night activities. “Things started to change in my life the more I went to church,” Brian says.
By the end of the summer, Lindsey knew that Brian was up to a bigger challenge—the early-morning seminary type of challenge. But getting Brian to wake up at five every morning wouldn’t be easy. So Lindsey made a deal with him.
She had six books to finish for a summer reading assignment, and she told Brian that she’d finish her homework in the last three days of their summer break if he’d go to seminary and be present 80 percent of the time.
Brian didn’t expect Lindsey to come through. “I said, ‘That’s an easy deal. I’ll take that one,’” Brian says. “But come the first day of seminary, I was sitting there.”
Eventually, Brian had asked almost every question possible, and Lindsey knew it was time for her to ask a question. Brian said yes, and soon the local missionaries, Elders Vasas and Chugg, taught him the first discussion.
They began at a normal pace. Then one night, the missionaries showed Brian a video about the early Saints and their struggles to build a temple. Brian had never asked much about the early history of the Church and was amazed at what he learned. “I was totally taken back by this video and the dedication shown by the Church through all these trials,” Brian says. “When the video was over, I said, ‘I want to speed the discussions up. I’d like to get baptized.’”
On November 6, 1996, the day before his birthday, Brian entered the waters of baptism. Thirty nonmember friends came to his baptism. New friends from seminary and church filled the chapel. Of course, Lindsey and Mickelle were there too. Just about everyone who had answered Brian’s questions in the past six months was there to see him make this covenant.
“My baptism day was the most awesome experience of my life because I had so much to be wiped clean,” says Brian. “It was the most releasing feeling I’d ever had to know that I could be forgiven.”
Brian’s future is looking up. So are Lindsey Miller’s and Mickelle Thompson’s. While Brian found the gospel, Lindsey and Mickelle found the joy that comes from sharing it.
“I’ve learned how to use the scriptures a whole lot more and share them with other people. It’s really not a hard thing to do,” Mickelle says.
Lindsey says, “When I got to know Brian, I didn’t really think he would be likely to join the Church. I don’t know how a person could have been in more trouble. He went from the very bottom to the very top. I’ve now learned that you can try to share the gospel with anybody.”
Right now Brian is waiting for his mission call to share the gospel with “just about anybody.” Already, he’s started serving the Lord through missionary work. He’s given a Book of Mormon to his parents. Lindsey and Mickelle marvel at the example he’s been to other youth in the area as they’ve faced struggles and temptations. “He’s the one setting the example now,” they both echo.
And nothing could be more true for the young man who once sat, full of questions, at a table with two bright girls who seemed to have an answer for everything. Now Brian sits with them and shares the joy that comes from knowing.
Editor’s Note: Brian Breshears is now serving in the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo West Mission.