News Release

Returned Christian missionary not recognised in own country

Following the recent public debate about whether the UK is still a Christian nation, one young Warrington man who is decidedly Christian, returned to England after spending a two year full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Switzerland and France.  On his return, he was met by bemused employees of the Warrington Job Centre. Daniel James, after serving a mission for two years, tried to register at his local job centre but it proved to be a problem when no-one believed he was English!  Daniel’s accent was so thick and French sounding that officials needed proof of his citizenship before they could start to help him to seek work.

While sharing the gospel in France his faith was strengthened. Daniel learned to persevere in trying times as he tackled foreign food and customs. At one point his arm was broken and a miracle happened in that his French doctor suddenly and for no reason decided he liked Daniel and waived his entire fee, which would have cost him thousands of pounds if he had to pay it for himself.

One hundred or so members of Daniel’s home congregation welcomed him back on his return to this country but it wasn’t so easy at the Job Centre. Officials asked Daniel to produce a birth certificate and other documents to prove his status.

It was funny in hindsight to be home but not recognised as English and a great eye opener to twenty-one year old Daniel, who says in a small way he saw his country through the eyes of an outsider.

It took him a long time to develop his French accent. Latter-Day Saint young men and women are encouraged to serve a mission at age 18 for two years to share the gospel of the Saviour, Jesus Christ. One of the 13 Articles of Faith from the Church states, ‘We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience’.

Daniel says it was a privilege to be allowed to share his beliefs in France. Sometimes it was difficult to communicate in a new language and Latter-Day Saints’ beliefs are similar but a different type of Christian belief to the mainly Catholic religion taught in France. Eventually he found he was welcome. He says, “As long as people are respectful of one another, I do not see a problem in living in a mixed society, where all people and religions are welcome”.

It is a principle of Latter-Day Saints to treat people kindly and with courtesy, and to allow others the same privilege of worshipping Almighty God as they please.” Ephesians 2:19 states, “Now, therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” Are we not all God’s children? Most of the faiths in the world, worship Him, and the British system has laws in place that strive to live by Christian morals.

About the incident at the Job Centre, he says, “There was no harm done. I was treated with courtesy. I am proud to be British, even though the staff took a while to recognise me,” he laughs. “It taught me to look at strangers with more kindness.” The Job Centre workers were able to help Daniel eventually and he is now seeking employment.

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