Yorkshire England, United Kingdom
If you had asked them ‘what’ they were, they would have said English, although the bright ones would have said Yorkshire, which was nearer the truth, and their religion was almost predominantly Church of England.
A different answer would have been forthcoming if you had asked a lad or lass from Saint Patrick’s School down the road from my home. They would have said their religion was Roman Catholic but would admit to being English or Yorkshire, although their parents or grandparents were more than likely to have been Irish.
To the children I knew, neither religion nor nationality mattered. If someone said he was Welsh or Scottish it was counted as being just another kind of English, as was Irish, and if he claimed Bethel Chapel as his religion we did not understand distinctions between denominations and so would not have dreamed of excluding anyone from being called a Christian because of differences.
We simple folks were undifferentiated because we had not learned to differentiate. We believed in and accepted that Christianity was a broad Church and nobody ever got into a spat or a fight over religious faith.
Would that it was so now, but we were children and had not learned that those that believed differently from us, be the difference ever so slight, had to be pummelled and abused.
Such was our ignorance, but it made for peace while the present climate makes for war.
I was christened in Holy Trinity Church Huddersfield when I was a few weeks old. I do not remember the ritual but my mother told me I was and I believe her.
When I was about five years old she steered me in care of my sister René who was eighteen months older than me to Brunswick Street Methodist Church Sunday School where my Christian education was variously attended to by Mr Telfer and Mr Porritt: two august merchant gentlemen, and to a lesser extent by the distant but likeable Reverend Johnson, the incumbent minister.
From Holy Trinity I gained respect and fear for the dead because its graveyard was a common playground for a small group of us that lived close to each other.
From the Methodist Sunday School, I learned about Palestine and some things about Jesus as a teacher and dispenser of undesignated blessings, and also as a healer and purveyor of kindness about whom some hauntingly evocative hymns had been written that I was blessed to learn.
I did not connect Jesus with God at that time. That connection came when I became a Mormon. I do not say this to cast any shadows over my Methodist friends. I am merely stating the facts of my education in Christian matters.
My connection to the Mormons, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” came about in an unusual way. Once made, it developed my understanding of what the Bible had to say about God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost, and I learned that God the Father was above all, and that Jesus was his Only Begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost was the minister of revelation and answers to those that prayed to God in the name of Jesus.
John 14:13-14 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
Although my initial conversion to Mormonism was miraculous, I discovered that God answered my prayers in various ways as well as through the ministry of the Holy Ghost, and I found I was become a believer in Almighty God, the Lord Jesus Christ and his Atoning sacrifice, and the Holy Ghost.
From that moment in August 1950 I knew I was a Christian, and my life has been blessed by him ever since. For these simple reasons I describe myself honestly as a Christian.
Later, I was pleased to learn from Alfred, Lord Tennyson that,
‘Tis only noble to be good. Kind hearts are more than coronets, And simple faith than Norman blood. (Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Lady Clara Vere de Vere)