|Sam King, front and center, with the Gaule family on his baptism day.|
"'You never know what will happen when you give a copy of the Book of Mormon to a friend,' said John Gaule, a member of East Grinstead Ward, Crawley England Stake. His sons Danny and Joe had been friends with Sam King since Sam was a seven-year-old attending St Catherine's Primary School. When the Gaule family moved to the village of Bletchingley, Sam lived just around the corner and began spending a lot of time at the Gaule home.
"'We often spoke to him about the Church, but he was not interested,' John said. 'He was like a son to us, so I went to his home and presented his parents with a copy of the Book of Mormon. I hardly knew his parents, but I didn't want to go behind their backs. They took the book, and several weeks later I asked Sam if anyone had read it. He said he didn't know, but he didn't think so. I thought that's the end of that, they will probably throw it in the bin.
That was five years ago. Sam was baptized a member of the Church on March 24, 2012 by John Gaule. Sam talks about his friendship with the Gaule family, the power of the Book of Mormon, and his conversion in glowing terms.
"'The Book of Mormon came into my household when I was only 13. My parents handed me the book but I never really touched it. To me it was just another book on the shelf. My parents had asked me to throw it away many times, but for some reason I just couldn't do it. If it had been any other book, I think I would have happily binned it, without a care in the world. But this was a book given to us by the father of Danny and Joe.
"'In July of 2008, I was taken on holiday by the Gaule family to Sri Lanka. This trip really strengthened our friendship and was my first trip abroad. The first time I attended the LDS Church was in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. I met some missionaries there from California and Ohio, and was intrigued to learn more about beliefs of the Church. I felt the openness of the members. It was testimony day and I felt the eagerness and happiness of the people who shared their feelings.
"'Last August, after receiving my college exam results, I went to a party to celebrate my successes. Later I began to ponder life and its purposes, the values and standards I had observed from the Gaule family, the love I had felt from them, and my thoughts about the Church. What happened next was quite unexpected. I felt an incredible sensation fill my chest and my heart. I had never felt so warm and happy in my life, and did not know at the time that this was the Holy Spirit urging me to learn more about the LDS Church. I decided to begin reading the Book of Mormon and I began to pray. After I had read only a small section of First Nephi, I knew that this book was true and was another witness of Jesus Christ.
"'About a month later I started talking to the Gaule family more about the Church. I am sure they were pretty shocked. I remember talking to my friend's mum, Felicia, and saying, "I want what Joe and Danny have." I knew that I didn't have what they did and this was the gospel and their membership in the LDS Church. I first met the missionaries - Sister Casasola, Sister Burrows, and Sister Allred of the England London South Mission - on September 19th. Being with them has been the most amazing half year of my life. We met at the Gaule home and at the London Temple Visitors' Centre, where they served. I strongly recommend anyone who is not in the Church to meet the missionaries and go to the Visitors' Centre. They will find a strong, uplifting spirit at the Visitors' Centre near the temple. The missionaries are incredible people and we have become fantastic friends.
"'I was raised by a loving and caring Mum and Dad, and I am grateful that they raised me correctly. But I need the Church in my life. I now know that there is a God, why we came to earth, and where we are going. I have learned to know about Jesus Christ from reading the Book of Mormon. I already have a loving family, but another family also loves me. I cannot contemplate what life would be like today without the Gaule's and the Book of Mormon. Their love and friendship kept me from throwing it in the bin, and I am so thankful.'"