“I Will Be Obedient,” Says New General Young Men Leader

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor

  • 24 June 2015

Brother M. Joseph Brough and Sister Emily Jane Thompson Brough.  Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Article Highlights

  • Brother Brough was serving as a mission president in Guatemala when both his father and Sister Brough’s father passed away.
  • He had to give up his two coonhounds that he loved when he was called as mission president.
  • He wants the Church members to know that he is grateful for his companion and that he will always be obedient.

“I will be obedient to my Church leaders and do exactly what they ask and go wherever they ask.” —M. Joseph Brough, second counselor in the Young Men general presidency

During the three years M. Joseph Brough served as president of the Guatemala Guatemala City Central Mission, from 2011 to 2014, he lost his father and his father-in-law.

Although his wife, Sister Emily Jane Brough, could have returned to the United States for the funerals, the couple decided in both cases that she should stay in Guatemala and continue with their missionary work. “We knew we were better off staying and working as well as we could,” said Brother Brough, sustained April 4 as second counselor in the Young Men general presidency. “That was exactly what her father and my father would expect of us.”

Brother Brough was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on December 11, 1963, the first of Monte J. and Ada Lanette Brough’s seven children. He spent his youth in Farmington, Utah, and Robertson, Wyoming, where his father became his greatest mentor as they hiked, hunted, and fished.

His mother and father taught him the importance of keeping the commandments like the Sabbath day. His father made it clear that though those activities were important, they had no place on the Lord’s day.

The family moved to Minnesota when Joseph’s father, who would later serve as a member of the Seventy, was called as a mission president. Joseph had coonhounds and loved those dogs. Soon after knowing of the mission call, he wondered what to do with his dogs. When he talked to his father about the problem, his father said, “They would not do well in a big city; you will need to figure that out with Heavenly Father.” After prayer and reading the Book of Mormon, Joseph knew his Father in Heaven required him to not be a burden to his parents and leave the dogs behind. He contacted a man who had dogs and found a good home for his hounds. He still remembers the broken heart he felt as the man drove away with his dear friends.

Brother Brough wants the young people of the Church to know that he learned from that experience that Heavenly Father always blesses the obedient. “Heavenly Father recognizes every sacrifice,” he said. In time, he came to understand that exact obedience brings not only blessings, but miracles as well.

It was while attending seminary at Davis High School that he met Emily Jane Thompson. The first time he saw Emily, Brother Brough remembers saying to some of her friends: “I think that is the prettiest girl I have ever seen.” What he learned later is that she was as pretty on the inside as on the outside. Today, she is Brother Brough’s best friend, and the thought of having her at his side for eternity brings him great joy and hope. They were married on April 25, 1985, in the Salt Lake Temple; they are the parents of four children.

Before the couple married, however, Brother Brough served as a missionary in the Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission. Originally called to serve in Mexico, he never received a visa and his call was changed to Guatemala. The change opened the way for the young Elder Brough to serve with the mission president, Jorge H. Perez, who would become a “most influential man in my life,” he said.

During the early years of his marriage, Brother Brough and his young bride lived in a basement apartment in the avenues in Salt Lake City. They were very poor, like most young couples, and enjoying the struggle. But because of family connections to the ranching industry, their diet was not typical. “We always had meat, including steaks, and [sometimes] nothing else,” he said.

After he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master of business administration from the University of Utah, the family moved to Mesa, Arizona; Richmond, Virginia; and Boise, Idaho. Work ultimately took the family to Logan, Utah, where Brother Brough worked for Icon Health and Fitness and owned a 30-acre farm. The four Brough children learned many lessons on the farm, where chores included taking care of cows, sheep, horses, and pigs. “It is the best way we know how to raise kids,” said Brother Brough.

Over the years, Brother Brough served as a bishop, ward Young Men president, and high councilor. He loves working with the youth of the Church. As he starts his new calling as a counselor in the Young Men general presidency, Brother Brough wants Church members to know two things about him. First, “I am very grateful for Heavenly Father’s plan, and I have the greatest companion in the world.” Second, “I will be obedient to my Church leaders and do exactly what they ask and go wherever they ask.”

Biographical information

Family: Born December 11, 1963, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Ada Lanette Barker and Monte James Brough; married Emily Jane Thompson on April 25, 1985, in the Salt Lake Temple; four children: Whittney Oleane (Logan) Smith, Olivia Rouchelle (Andrew) Dallen, Mallin Joseph (Marisa), and Ganzie Lauren; seven grandchildren.

Education: Received a bachelor of arts degree in finance and a master of business administration from the University of Utah.

Employment: Worked 18 years for Icon Health and Fitness in Logan, Utah; an owner and vice president of Rotational Molding of Utah, in Brigham City, Utah.

Church service: Former president of the Guatemala Guatemala City Central Mission from 2011 to 2014, high councilor, bishop, bishop’s counselor, ward Young Men president, and full-time missionary in the Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission.