Brig’s typical day began with Elder Jensen waking him at 6 a.m. to pray and study the scriptures. At 7 a.m. they would join Elder Firth and Elder Bronson, two missionaries with whom they shared an apartment, for breakfast. One missionary was assigned to prepare the meal, another to clean up afterward. At 8 a.m. they would exercise, shower and dress, and be ready to hit the streets by 9 a.m. They filled their days by seeking out individuals that would listen to their message, an activity the missionaries called prospecting.
Prospecting took many forms. On one morning they might enter a large Hong Kong housing estate with multiple high-rise buildings of twenty or more floors, with twenty or more apartments per floor. They would knock on every door, afraid that behind the one door they didn’t knock on would be the one person waiting to hear their message. Nine times out of ten, nobody answered, but when somebody did the pair would introduce themselves as missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and that they had an important message they would like to share. Often, doors were slammed in their faces.
In the afternoons they might visit a local park and introduce themselves to a young student or housewife sitting by themselves on a park bench. In the evening they might arm themselves with various pamphlets that taught a specific church belief or doctrine, laying in wait for that one brave soul that would stop and talk to them for a few minutes.
There were days when nobody would stop to listen. Most “Honkies” were, if not friendly, respectful of what the missionaries were trying to do. Occasionally, local church members would invite missionaries into their homes for dinner. This was a special treat, as it meant good food, air-conditioning, and a chance to get off of their feet. Regardless, Elder Jensen would have the companionship back in the streets to spread the gospel by 7 p.m., returning to the apartment at 9 p.m. for scripture or language study, and lights out at 10 p.m.
Although far from easy, Brig’s mindset allowed him to power through those first few months without too much conflict. At first, he was as unknown as any other new missionary, and Brig was content to have it that way. However, it was only a matter of time before the rest of his colleagues learned they had a celebrity in their midst. To Brig, there were three types of missionaries. First, there were those that were intimidated by his famous ancestry and seemed to expect him to perform a miracle at any moment. Second, there were some missionaries, like Elder Jensen, who felt compelled to show Brig how much better they were than he was. Third were most missionaries, who treated him like everybody else.
Missionaries looked forward to Sundays as they broke up the monotony of the rest of the week. They attended the various church services with the rest of the local members, and if they were lucky (blessed), they would have somebody to baptize. Sometimes, a church member would bring a non-member friend to services and introduce them to the missionaries, who would then, if the person was willing, teach them the basics of the gospel. There was a series of ten lessons that they required a prospective member to hear, comprehend, and agree with, before being invited to become a Latter-Day Saint through baptism by immersion for the remission of their sins. Baptisms were performed on Sundays, and on a good Sunday, there would be multiple baptisms. More often than not, there were none. Hong Kong was not an easy assignment. Honkies favored Buddhism or ancestor worship as they had done for hundreds of years. Catholics, Baptists, and Protestants also preached in Hong Kong and had been building schools, hospitals, and churches since the 1800s, when the British governed what was then a small fishing village. Parents and grandparents held a strong influence over their family’s beliefs and often refused to give their children, even their adult children, permission to become a Mormon.