Jasen Wade’s journey to an acting career has been like a pioneer trek across the dusty plains. Wade served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Moscow, Russia, from 1993-95. After his mission, Wade started out studying psychology and history at Weber State, but his interest soon dwindled. The brother-in-law promised to reimburse Wade for the gas if he didn't like it, so Wade drove to Cedar City. About four years later in 2001, Wade was preparing to graduate when he learned Kieth Merrill, an award-winning filmmaker and writer, was hosting a three-day workshop at SUU. On the last day, Wade was able to get some one-on-one time with Merrill, who asked the aspiring young actor what was keeping him from going to Hollywood? Merrill has met hundreds of wannabe actors, but the meeting with Wade is still clearly etched in his memory. On his way to Southern California, Wade pulled off Interstate-15 at the Cedar Pocket exit in the Virgin River Gorge and took a walk. One defining moment came when a close friend told Wade that if he ever wanted to make it in Hollywood, he had to be willing to sacrifice everything.
After seven years in Los Angeles, Wade’s manager believed the actor was on the verge of a big break, but Wade felt it was time to pursue something else. Wade doesn't share all the details, but in his state of despair, he distanced himself from family, friends and the church.


More than a year into the sales job, Wade figured out that for him to even make $30,000 a year, he would be required to put another five years into the company. Wade had spent previous summers employed as a wildland firefighter for the Bureau of Land Management. From the moment he stepped on the stage in Springdale, Wade has carried a deep desire to be part of films that tell compelling and inspiring stories. When speaking to youth groups, Wade often shares lessons he’s learned over his career.
Whether it’s on the sidewalk or in the laundry, finding a little cash here and there feels pretty great. He had dreamed of becoming a veterinarian as a child, so he looked into his fourth major, animal science. He noticed "the brooding young cross between James Dean and Marlon Brando" in each workshop and thought there was something heroic about his look.
He threw himself into the work and was able to land several local and national commercials, along with various short and feature films.
For those willing to compromise their values, there were chances to jump-start a career, but Wade was determined to keep his promises and declined such offers. For about nine months he was forced to live out of his car because he couldn’t afford rent. Somehow he felt at home with a chain saw, hardhat and smoke-filled clothes, surrounded by flames in the blistering August sun.


In addition to the income, fire keeps him grounded and adds a certain authenticity to his characters. And then there’s the morning he woke up depressed and penniless in a Pennsylvania Walmart parking lot. Wade witnessed the best and worst of human nature, but knew the Lord was watching over the missionaries. But when he learned the process involved some law enforcement training, he bailed out and transferred to the University of Utah.
He occasionally pitched a tent in the woods, but Pennsylvania park rangers wrote him trespassing tickets, so he found himself parking at Walmart for the night. I thought this dream should have come to fruition many years ago, but there was a reason for it. Perhaps if I had done something earlier, it would have taken me in a different direction,” he said.
1, 1989, rebel forces in Manila, Philippines, attempted to overthrow Philippine President Corazon Aquino. During a week of skirmishes between government and rebel forces in Manila, the LDS temple there came under attack.



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