Ahh the switches were both at the top position. I flipped them both to the bottom position and I believe the transmitter and receiver are now paired because the receiver is showing a green LED. However, when I turn on the transmitter, the screen is blank. Also, the motors are not spinning when I give throttle. A few days ago I tried messing with the switches I noticed that if both switches were not in the up position, the transmitter screen would not turn on and would only emit a quiet crackled beep. After going through the pairing procedure, flipping the switches back to the up position does not bring the screen back; now when I turn on the transmitter, the screen is blank and it seems the sticks are unresponsive.
As for running it without the brain, I am planning on plugging the ESC pwms directly into the receiver which would give the module power.