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Hi I'm Richard

I'm British, I run a small company in the UK, I'm far from perfect but I am a Mormon and my faith holds my busy life together.

About Me

I work throughout the UK and Ireland, travelling thousands of miles every year and meeting many people. I employ several people and am responsible for a great many things as managing director of a company. I also have a large family - not something I ever planned - and they again need me to provide leadership and example and for whom I must work constantly to support. In case you're wondering what large is, that's 9 children I must support financially to greater or lesser extent! People wonder why I'm not on benefits and sometimes I wonder why too, because there seems never enough money, however I'll come to that again below. One other personal thing I will share with you is that I have a disability. It's not an obvious one - you would have to know me very well to notice, but it's there and it affects my interpersonal relationships a great deal and I have to concentrate and work very hard on these things all the time. Nevertheless, I count myself successful. Otherwise I am unremarkable. I'm university educated, I'm 40 with an expanding waistline and receding hairline and I hate wearing a collar and tie. So why am I doing all the things, that may seem to you reading this, as incompatible with my personality?

Why I am a Mormon

My story is very much one of being the Prodigal Son. My parents joined the Church when I was very young and I basically grew up as a Mormon. They taught me as best they could, as did others assigned as teachers and leaders. However, upon reaching my teenage years, I decided I wanted to enjoy more of what the world had to offer and I began to drift away. By the time I was 18 I was very much into wine, women and song or however else you would like to describe it. I was hardly a rebel or tearaway, I never smoked or did drugs, but the wine and women were enough for me. Nevertheless I got married and we had children. And I drank more than ever, to help cope with a stressful job amongst other things, and drifted into some behaviours incompatible with family life. My marriage fell apart, I lost my job, my home and many friends. One day I found myself with nothing except the clothes on my back and one pressing thought on my mind: I needed help and that the help I needed would come to me if I approached God. I knelt in my hotel room and asked the Lord to take a hold of me and my life and show me the way. I then went out into the streets to look, not knowing what I would find. Before long I found myself outside a Church meetinghouse. I did not know there was one there before, but I was there and there were people present. I approached them and straight away I met the Bishop, who was kind, understanding and helpful - and no older than I! Before long I had a new home, I began to mix with new friends who took me in and asked no searching questions and I repented of the things I had done. With the Lord's help and the support of members I turned my life around. I have not touched a drop of alcohol in over 10 years and my destructive behaviours are almost all gone. I am a different person, yet still the same old me. I have a wife, more children, a better job, more money, more friends but most of all I have more hope. I have more stress too but greater capacity to cope.

How I live my faith

I live my faith day to day. I need to be constantly reminded of the things I need to be doing - some things never change - yet now I feel I have a personal relationship with God and His Son Jesus Christ. Without their help I struggle. As someone who now holds the priesthood, I find myself often in positions where I am being asked for advice and guidance or a comforting word or some explanation as to why the world should be so shockingly bad at times. I find myself often being a teacher and an advisor, whether formally in teaching other members in organised lessons at church, or informally in my own home with my won family or in another's home supporting them or even with relative strangers on the street. I find myself privileged to give a word of hope or suggest another solution that may help another find their way, as I found myself doing years ago. This is not just a religion that asks you to go to church on Sunday and makes no further demands. Neither is it a dogmatic straitjacket confining you to endless rules and regulations. We are encouraged to read, to question, to ask and to pray. We are entitled to reveleation from God Himself and, if we understand and follow the teachings of Christ, to salvation and immortality. I am more free than I have ever been because I am free to choose my way in life, fully understanding the consequences of right and wrong choices but always with the assurance that there is always a way back if I get it wrong sometimes. That is Christ's gift to us all and He will help us to reach the standards that He has set, standards and rules designed to keep us away from danger. Life is far from easy but it is liveable and enjoyable because there is always tomorrow and I can always do better. I am always busy yet I do not worry about my weaknesses because God knows what they are and helps me to compensate for them and use my strengths to better advantage. My most important roles in life are as a teacher and a father, not chief executive.

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

We consider Joseph Smith to be a great man, who did so much to better the lives of people, whether he knew them or not. He was a great leader and a generous soul, a great teacher and a tireless worker. Like so many other great men and women, we consider Joseph to be worthy of respect and his life and sayings worthy of study, because they reveal the life of a disciple of Christ and the teachings of salvation. Latter-day Saints consider Joseph to be a prophet of God and instrumental in restoring the Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ to the earth, with all of its teachings, its authority and its promises. He was and is a person of great importance in the Church. Neverthless, with all his accomplishments he is still a man, with all of the imperfections and frailties of any man. He was a servant and a messenger, pointing the way to one greater, to Jesus Christ whose instrument he was, revealing the truth as he was commanded. We do not worship Joseph Smith. Jesus Christ we worship as the Son of God and the Saviour of Man, yet He too points us towards the greatest of all, God the Father. Him we adore and serve and we allow Jesus and His servants to help us along the way back to God. We do not want to be like Joseph, as great as he was. We want to be like Jesus and follow Him to kneel at the Throne of Almighty God. Show more Show less

Are there restrictions based on race or color concerning who can join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have the priesthood?

I am white and my wife is black. Our children are therefore something in between. Some people think these things are important. They are not. They contribute to what we are but they do not define us. We aim to take the best of our mixed European and African heritages and combine them into something uniquely ours. A piano has black and white keys and you cannot make great music without using both. This is made so much easier by the one thing that does define us and which is important: the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the culture that comes from being a Christian. It binds us and guides us and makes us who we are. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints restricts no one on the basis of race, colour, background or nationality. My wife and children will have all of the same opportunities as anyone else and no one will consider their race or colour in offering them opportunities to serve. Only their faith and maturity matter and their desire to serve God. Show more Show less