Each Tuesday morning institute students gather for a breakfast class at 7am in Manchester to study the scriptures together. This however, was not the case on the morning of the 1st May 2018. Instead of the class, the students were invited to travel to London for a special institute outing at the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
On the steps of Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament eight students from the Manchester, England Institute accompanied by Luke Kerr and Mark White of Seminaries and Institutes climbed these steps to witness another moment of history.
As you walk towards St. Stephen’s Hall there are a collection of plaques and each pays tribute to moments of history that have taken place in that location. William Wallace stood trial in 1305 on one spot, Winston Churchill lay in state nearby in 1965 and Nelson Mandela replied to questions close to the place that Queen Elizabeth the Second stood on her silver Jubilee in 1977.
They made their way to a committee room in Parliament where they listened to an Apostle of the Lord, Elder Christofferson, address parliamentarians in the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Freedom of Religion or Belief.
Following the Parliamentary Group meeting the students visited the House of Commons and the House of Lords concluding their visit at the evening song service at Westminster Abbey.
Elder Christofferson was introduced to several MPs and was given a tour of the Parliament by Stephen Kerr MP who felt it “a wonderfully significant thing for our country to have an Apostle of the Lord stand at the Treasury despatch box in the House of Commons.” Stephen Kerr requested that a new copy of The Book of Mormon will be presented to the House of Commons to be placed in the Treasury despatch box on the table in the House of Commons with a simple inscription in the form of a blessing from The First Presidency upon the peoples of the United Kingdom, The Queen, the Prime Minister and the Government and members of Parliament.
Students had the opportunity to meet and talk with Elder Christofferson before and after the event. One of the students Antony Deighton who studies Aerospace Engineering at the University of Manchester felt particularly “impressed by the way Elder Christofferson interacted with each of the people there, you could tell that he had spent time getting to know individuals and their lives, he really cared for each of them. I won’t forget this experience any time soon”.
Leaving Parliament that day, exiting St. Stephen’s Hall, one of the students, Calum McNally, who was baptised in December 2017, pointed out a large mural depiction of Moses holding the tablets with the commandments high on one of the walls. We truly felt blessed to have been able to see a latter-day Prophet of the Lord in the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland!