My Sikh origins, and testimony

by Kashmir Lidder

LDS Christians and Sikhs - Kashmir Lidder

I was born in a village called Lidder Kalan, in India in Punjab. My older brother and younger brother were also born there. We lived as an extended family and were farmers. The land was fertile and irrigated by underground water. We were able to live off the land, considerably better than others in the cities.

In the 1950’s my father decided to emigrate to England to provide a better life for his family. Labourers were needed desperately in England to run the factories. He sent for us in 1954, when I was only five years old. I went to primary and then secondary school and became well versed in the New Testament and Bible stories. By birth I was of the Sikh religion and my parents were Sikhs by tradition.

When aged 16 some missionaries came to see us. They came because my younger brother was going to what was then known in the Church as the Mutual Improvement Association. They started teaching us the gospel. Though my parents were traditional Sikhs they gave permission for us to be taught. I will always remember the missionaries asking my brothers and me to pray about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. I remember the warm feeling that I had that it was true. We were baptised in June 1966.

I was attending church regularly and desired to go on a mission. I knew that my parents would not allow me to do this, so I decided to leave home. I stayed at a member’s home. The bishop prayed about my situation and told me that the time was not right, so I went back home.

After completing my five-year engineering apprenticeship, I was made redundant. I prayed earnestly as to what I was to do. As I read my patriarchal blessing it said that I would be called to teach within and outside of the Church. I then undertook a one-year teacher training course and commenced teaching. Whilst teaching I was approached by another teacher with a proposal for an arranged marriage. My older and younger brothers, and sisters, had already become married in this way.

A registry wedding was arranged. I had only once briefly met my wife before the registry wedding. A date was set for the Sikh Wedding a year later. There was no contact with my wife until a few months after the registry wedding; we met secretly and I explained to her I was Christian and gave her a Book of Mormon. However, this did not go down well as she told her parents and then both families engaged in persuading me to leave the ‘Mormon’ church. I made promises to do this. It tore me apart and I cried bitterly, as though I had denied Jesus Christ.

The Sikh marriage took place, and I kept my promise to not to go to Church for six months. Every Sunday I would get the yearning to go to Church. I went secretly to a member’s home to take the sacrament and always paid my tithing, read the scriptures. and prayed daily. I desperately needed a solution to this problem.

One day my best friend from the Church provided it. I was to leave my parent’s home and establish a home elsewhere. I managed to get employment in Burntwood (Staffordshire) and bought a home there. After some time, my wife Rajinder let me go to a one-hour meeting one Sunday and I was called as the Sunday School President. But Rajinder refused to let the children go with me and at one time ripped up the Book of Mormon in front of me. She had been brought up as a strict Sikh and did not want to dishonour her family.

In 1982 we moved to Hemel Hempstead (Hertfordshire). The meetings were now ‘consolidated’, and I stayed for the whole three hours. I was called as the Elders Quorum President. An elderly missionary couple were assigned to visit my home, and for the first time Rajinder said a prayer and felt the Spirit. I subsequently baptised her; we were later sealed in the London Temple with our children.

In 1986, I was called to be the Branch President. I served in that capacity for three and half years and was released when our branch was merged into the Watford Ward.

My testimony has grown from strength to strength. I love the Lord and his restored Gospel. I am in His hands and will always give thanks to Him for saving me and sending those missionaries. The evidence that this is the true church, is too great; I cannot deny it. Regardless of what happens to me or my family I will bless the Lord my God. I believe in His goodness, and that He will uphold me if I do as He asks. I give daily thanks for all the blessings He has given me and the tender mercies He has shown me.

I have recently published a book called LDS Christians and Sikhs. This book was the result of an inspiration I received to invite Sikhs to come to Christ. I have included many testimonies from Sikhs who have converted to the Church. I hope that it will do some good in persuading and inviting Sikhs to examine their religion and to offer them further blessings through the Gospel.