Let’s be honest: we here at Mormon Buzzz are suckers for a good story about millennials sharing goodness, and the story of best friends Brandon C.W. Johnson, Wendall Strong, and Cody Myers definitely fits into this category. They took a 90 day trip visiting 22 countries in Europe and relying purely on the hospitality of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Following their travels, they created a documentary film about their experience called the Mormon Connection. The documentary follows their epic trip and showcases how vast and accommodating the Mormon network really is.
The three met at BYU – Hawaii, and after comparing experiences they had all had road-tripping and staying with members of the Church, they had an idea to create a documentary film highlighting the global network of the Church. With limited experience traveling, filmmaking, and even more limited funds, the friends looked to the Internet to support them in their new venture. They started a Kickstarter campaign, bought some filming equipment, and began networking with the members they were planning to stay with.
Johnson said, “A documentary should test an idea or theme, and this documentary went out to test the Mormon network.” It took about four months of work and planning to make the trip possible. Social media helped them get in touch with potential contacts in Europe, including a website called Mormon Explorers that connects LDS travelers with member hosts all around the world. They all had experience with the hospitality of members before, but the opportunity to show that to the world was too good for them to pass up. “The question we asked was, ‘Do we as members of the Church really treat each other as brother and sisters?’ We think members are aware that the answer is yes, but what we were hoping to document was that if people treat others like brother and sister, like the Mormons do, the world would be a more connected place,” Johnson added.
Johnson talked about how members use this network without even being aware of it. Having only joined the Church three years ago, he provides a unique perspective on the global influence the Church has that members often take for granted. “I was baptized 30 days after coming to BYU-Hawaii as a non-member, and as a convert to the Church I quickly became aware of how amazing this network is.” He said that out of all the other churches and organizations he has been a part of, just from a networking standpoint, the “Mormon network” is the most amazing and far reaching network on the planet. Myers said, “We had people helping us out for no reason, just because we were from the same church…a lot of members don’t recognize the amazing community they are a part of.” The three can’t wait to help them recognize that.
This month marks a year since Johnson, Myers, and Strong left to Europe to film, and the documentary is set to be released this month.
For updates on the films release be sure to follow the Mormon Connection on Facebook.