As Brig became more rebellious, continually antagonizing and testing his father, Brenda became more obedient, driven, and sought every opportunity to please him. She embraced being a young Mormon woman and was every bit the role model that the Youngs were expected to be. Of course, Brenda lived without the pressure of being the first-born male. Still, she was too young to understand her brother’s attitude, and often chastised him for his bad behavior. Consequently, Brig and Brenda grew apart.
Brig’s circle of friends changed. He began drinking beer and chewing tobacco, two significant rule violations for members of the Mormon Church, and ones that threatened to derail him from fulfilling one of his most important responsibilities as a Young and as a Latter Day Saint – serving a Mormon mission.
One warm evening, Brig had been out drinking with some of his climbing buddies near the base of one of their local rocks, and boasted that he could free climb (without ropes) a specific route they had been contemplating. Of course his friends called “bullshit,” and Brig was forced to accept the challenge. To be fair, his buddies didn’t expect him to climb, and they certainly didn’t expect him to climb right then, but Brig was seventeen, over-confident, and buzzed on liquid courage. Even sober and during the day, the route would have been challenging. But buzzed and at night, Brig fell and landed badly. He broke his left arm and both legs in several places, but his head had miraculously gone unscathed. Doctors told him how lucky he was, and that he would need several months of rehabilitation. The doctor prescribed Demerol, and Brig learned that drugs could take away more than just the physical pain, at least temporarily.