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Saturday, 22 November 2014

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Mormon missionaries aiming to save souls in Carlisle

Young Americans Nathan Jensen and Benjamin Hansen are not in Carlisle to see the sights, they’re here to save souls.

Mormons in Carlisle photo
Benjamin Hansen, right, and Nathan Jensen

The 20-year-old Mormon missionaries have been in the city for the last six weeks as part of a two-year stint in the UK.

Nathan, of Utah, and Benjamin, of Idaho, have a strict itinerary that leaves little room for anything other than religion.

Their days and evenings are spent spreading the word, either by talking to people on the streets or knocking on doors.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints they already promise not to drink, smoke or have sex before marriage.

As missionaries they have to obey a host of other rules in order to focus their minds on what they’re preaching.

The list of forbidden activities includes watching TV or films, reading anything other than church publications and dating.

Contact with home is also limited.

Nathan said: “It’s definitely hard being away from our families but we get to email them once a week and give them a call at Christmas and Mother’s Day. Being in the service of others definitely helps lessen the longing.”

Usually new missionaries are guided by a Mormon who has already been working an area.

But in order to have a ‘whitewash’ of preconceptions, Nathan and Benjamin were left to find their own way about Carlisle.

So far so good, according to Benjamin.

He said: “I like it. I think it’s a beautiful city, there’s a lot of nice scenery, I guess that’s what Cumbria’s famous for. There seem to be a lot of young families here, it’s a nice place.”

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