Les Dennison speaking in 1985

Trade Union leader's informal remarks at a meeting in Caux, Switzerland

I was born in London and reared in Geordie-land in the North-East of England, in the mining area near Newcastle upon Tyne.  Much later I moved to Coventry.

I had an amusing incident:- I have a sort of special diet which means I cannot eat anything with flour in, or milk, or any sort of cereal.  The diet is known as a gluten-free diet. The medical term is coeliac.  My wife and I were going through some woods and she fancied a cup of tea.  We went into the restaurant and the smart young Scots waitress was there. My wife ordered the tea and some cake. I told the waitress I would like some gluten-free cake. The waitress looked rather puzzled.  In sympathy I said, ‘I am a coeliac’. She said, ‘Oh that’s all right sir, we serve a lot of foreigners here!’

I don’t intend to give a lecture because in the past I have found when I did people tend to go to sleep.  I am going to give you a potted biography of my life and then I expect questions.

I was born illegitimate. I never knew my natural father. The man who was called Dennison, the name I took, was the man who accepted the role of my father and was the father of my 5 brothers who were called Dennison and my 2 sisters. The sad thing was it was so obvious that I was not a Dennison. My father, Bill Dennison, was 6’ 2”. My brothers are all big men, completely different-looking, so it was fairly obvious that there was something rather strange about this eldest ‘brother’ in the Dennison family.

When I was 7 or 8 at school it became fairly obvious that I was a ‘bastard’, as they said in the North-East where I lived and I hated it. I transferred my hatred to my mother. I hated my mother till she was 72, till I had the thought to go and ask her forgiveness.  That is where my hatred began, as a young boy.

I was always rebellious and would not take any instructions from my mother, but my father, Bill Dennison, was a man who cared and tried to give me love. I started down the coal mines when I was thirteen and a half. I was fired when I was eighteen and a half. I descended then to tramping around the country looking for work. I finished up in the Midlands, which was Coventry.

There I joined the communist party. Another man who joined the communist party at the same time with me is now in the House of Lords, a man called Jack Jones. Then, when the Spanish Civil War began, we both volunteered to go to the Spanish Civil War. I was under 21 at the time. When they discovered that, I was sent back home.

In 1939 certain units were being formed in the British army which had to go to Finland. I was directed by the communist party to join the army, even though the communist party was against the war at the time, saying it was an imperialistic war. I was allowed to join the army this time, and I joined the special unit due to go to Finland. But I am afraid that when we were landing in Narvik, the German army arrived there as well so we had to retreat. I was evacuated with the other men and finished up in Northern Ireland.

Immediately it was suggested that I become involved with the fighters in Northern Ireland because I was trained - one of the launching pads of the communisation of Europe was to exploit the divisions in Northern Ireland. I got involved with the Catholic revolutionaries there till I was discovered. Then the army officials incarcerated me, myself and two other men. We were eventually sent as far away as possible out of trouble and that was the Far East, Singapore.

I arrived in Singapore in 1940. There was no war then with the Japanese. I spent time in Malaya and then the Far Eastern war broke out.  I was then engaged in the war with Japan. I was eventually taken prisoner and became a prisoner-of-war of the Japanese forces for three years and eight months. We spent various times in Singapore, Malaya, Thailand and Burma. In the process we helped to build a railway through the Thai jungle. Then I had the exciting experience of helping to build a bridge over the River Kwai.

We were liberated in 1945. Many people ask me did I then reject my communist ideas? No, they burned fiercely within me. I was going home to, once and for all, put right the things that were wrong in society.

My wife had thought I was never going to come home. She was informed by the War Office that I was missing, presumed dead. My two eldest sons had been born before the war so she was officially a war widow with two young boys. To her chagrin her husband turned up. She wasn’t too happy she said later. Our marriage wasn’t a happy marriage. My wife Vera was an attractive young blonde girl of 17 when I made her pregnant and left her with a child. I only came back and married her because I was threatened that if I didn’t marry the girl I would be duly dealt with by certain people. So that was the basis of our marriage, which was pretty awful for my wife for over 30 years and for my children.

The next 25 years I was completely convinced of the necessity to be involved in the Marxist battle to capture the hearts and minds of people.

It is important to realise this. Very few people joined my ranks as a communist because people had all sorts of inhibitions. Those who did join the ranks of the communist party left within 2 years because they could not tolerate the discipline within the communist party but I wasn’t worried about that. No good communist was. Because what we had done was plant an idea in minds. The idea was that you had to be involved in struggle and conflict, make people aware of the contradictions in society, make them conscious that they needed to struggle and be involved in struggle within the classes of society. I have travelled the world time and time again and seen many people, good people, Christian people, being used and exploited on the issues of South Africa, religion, peace, all through ideas being fed by a trained militant communist.

When I was 47 I met this idea of Moral Re-Armament. I thought it was rather a naive idea. I was an atheist. I had 4 sons and a daughter and I allowed none of them to be baptised. It made my wife very unhappy. At that time there were certain conflicts in the family. My eldest son, Karl (whom I had called after Karl Marx) is a good boy. I had great ambitions for that boy. He got himself involved with a girl and I didn’t mind that - it was part of his training - but he came home and said he wanted to get married. He was only about 20. I couldn’t tolerate that but he was quite adamant. I decided to find out who this girl was and, to my horror, discovered she was the daughter of a senior officer in the army. I thought it was intolerable that a son of mine should marry into this decadent bourgeois officer class. There was an awful fight and I threw him out of the house. I refused him permission to get married so he went to the magistrates and they gave him permission over my head. I refused to go to his wedding. I refused to allow my wife, his brothers or sisters to go to his marriage.

I never saw him again for two years till I met MRA and was challenged by this idea. I thought it was rather naive but at the same time, being a good Marxist, I would not chicken out of a challenge. I said, ‘All right, I’ll try listening.’ I listened to my conscience. I wouldn’t listen to God. I didn’t believe in God. The first clear thought I got was to go to Karl and invite him back home, tell him the truth about why I did what I did.

I laughed at the idea. I said it wouldn’t work because I was quite convinced that if I knocked on Karl’s door - well I told my friends - ‘there’ll be a punch-up’. He was built like me. No way could this thing work. It was too naive. Yet over the weeks these people kept insisting, ‘Why don’t you finish this experiment?’ But I said no, it wouldn’t work.

I had reckoned without God. My wife came to me one day and said, ‘I have been invited by these MRA friends of yours to go and see some slides of a place called Caux. They are going to give me a lift in the car. When we come back shall we give you a lift home?’ At the time I was working on a big construction site, where I was convenor. I agreed.

They arrived in the evening to give me a lift but instead of going to the south of Coventry where I lived they went the north side and stopped outside my son’s door. My wife said, ‘Now Les, you have had the thought to see Karl.’ I was very angry. I was not very enamoured about a woman telling me what to do at any time, so I said so. Then, to prove that it would not work, I went up the garden path, knocked on the door and to my surprise Karl opened the door, grinned all over his face and just said, ‘Hello Dad, what do you want? Come in!’  When I went in he asked again and his young wife came forward, so I just said, ‘Well, er, I, um - your mother wants you to come home for Christmas.’ Then I said, ‘Well, no, I would like to tell you the truth of why I did what I did.’

At that point, his young wife came and kissed me on the cheek and said, ‘We have known all the time Father why you did what you did.’ Then that Christmas the whole family was together. I always remember standing with my back to the fire, watching the whole family round the Christmas tree. It was the first time I had seen them all laughing together. All my training as a Marxist began to evaluate the situation. I had spewed out doctrinaire theories on socialism all my life, believing them intensely, but I couldn’t bring reconciliation in my family. Here a simple experiment of listening and being obedient, even though I didn’t believe it would work, had brought reconciliation.

My immediate next thought was ‘will it work in industry? will it work in my union? will it work in society?’ It does. I have seen management change. I have seen many people change. I have seen many men like myself change. I decided to change. The important thing was that when meeting these people, they all talked about their guidance from God and I was rather inhibited by this God business. But they were the first people I had ever met who, when I attacked their belief in God, did not defend themselves. I was always taught that anybody who defends themselves will be on the defensive and not sure of what they believe in.

It was quite a new experience for me to meet people whom you could look straight in the eye, did not seem inhibited when they talked about their God, and just carried on as if I did believe or I didn’t believe - they didn’t seem to worry.

I began to long for this quality that these men had. I knew the comradeship, the discipline and the sacrifice of a group of men in the communist party, but here was another quality, a quality of caring - not sentimental caring but a caring for a man who had a need. I wouldn’t admit to a need but it was there. I went on for quite some time applying these ideas, finding they worked, but all the while looking for this other dimension of God.

I was the President of my union for the whole Midlands area. I was due to go to a meeting in a place called Peterborough, 60 miles from Coventry. Meanwhile I had been given a book by a Norwegian called ‘Out of the Evil Night’. I was moved deeply by this book because he had a similar experience to me:- he had been incarcerated by the Nazis. During his incarceration he saw the need to ask the Nazi commander’s forgiveness for his hatred. I was gripped by the whole recounting of his experience in this book. On my way to my meeting in Peterborough that Saturday I read the book, arrived at my meeting, completed my business, came back, sat on the station at Peterborough waiting for my train to go to Rugby, then from Rugby to Coventry. My train arrived, I sat there and my train left and I was still sitting on the platform. I couldn’t understand it. I caught the next train.

When I got into the carriage I began reading my book. Then I became conscious of a man in the same carriage and he turned out to be a priest. He smiled and, looking over his specs, said ‘Good evening’. I was emotionally moved by this book. A man like me who had been fed on material dialectics for over quarter of a century, did not understand what a faith was. This mystique my materialistic mind could not comprehend. I just didn’t know what they meant by faith, when they talked about faith and believing in God. When I looked at this man and saw he was a priest, I said, ‘How does a man find God?’ I think he was rather surprised. He said, ‘You must have faith, my man.’ I replied, ‘I don’t know what you mean by faith.’  He pursued the question and, when he discovered I was a trained Marxist, he said, ‘Oh yes, I understand, I understand.’ He dropped the subject then began talking about my family. When he discovered I had sons he said, ‘Tell me, when your sons were tiny did you ever pick them up, throw them in the air, catch them and have great fun with them?’ I said, ‘Sure, sure. Any man who loves his sons has great fun with his children.’ ‘You’d tell them you would give them this and that and do this and that...?’ ‘Sure.’ ‘When your son was tiny in the garden and playing with his little pals he would boast to his pals wouldn’t he about his daddy - my daddy can do this, my daddy can do that. My daddy can take me to the moon!’ I said, ‘I suppose so, yes.’ He said, ‘Well, why does your son say that?’ And quite spontaneously I said, ‘Well I suppose my son has faith in his dad.’ The old priest leant across and touched my nose with his finger and said, ‘That’s what I am talking about. The faith your son has in you.’ The penny dropped. I felt afraid.

I left that man at Rugby. I went on to Coventry. I called in and had a few pints of beer because I still drank at the time. Vera was waiting for me when I got in the house about 11 o’clock. My wife Vera was convinced I was drunk because the first thing I asked was, ‘Do we have a Bible in the house?’ But apparently my daughter had been given a Bible some three years previously and kept it hidden in her room. Vera brought it down, gave to me and went to bed. She thought the sooner she got out of my presence the better, as she thought I was drunk.

I prayed for the first time in my life, because I was concerned at what had happened on the train. I missed the train; I met a man on the next train who made the word faith real to me. I took this book, snatched it open rather arrogantly and said the first conscious prayer I ever remember in my life. ‘All right, if there is a God and this is the word of God, prove your existence.’ The book came open at Corinthians II, chapter 2, verse 5. ‘You shall not find God through your intellect but through faith.’ I closed that book with a snap and I was scared.

I was scared. These three incidents. These coincidences, I called them. They rather upset me. I couldn’t comprehend them. I couldn’t explain them but they were real. They happened. I told no one about this experiment and spent a week with this thing inside me. The following weekend I went for a walk. I went across the fields and came to a church. It was about 7.30 in the morning. I thought I’d go into the church and maybe I would find out what it was all about. I went into the church, again I was gripped by fear and I came out. I spent another week with the same predicament. Then I retraced my steps of the previous weekend and went into this church and knelt at the back. It was about 7.45 in the morning and there was a group of people at the front of the church. I didn’t know what they were doing. I know now they were participating in a Communion service.

I knelt at the back, tried to pray, felt cold, felt cynical, thought ‘if my associates see me now, they will think I have gone soft’.  Then the people began to come out of the church. I dived down in the pew so I would be inconspicuous and then, when they all went out, the priest came and said, ‘What’s your trouble brother?’ I said, ‘I am looking for God but I think I am wasting my time.’ I stood up, and he took me by the arm and led me to the door of the church. Then he stopped and said, ‘Shall we go back and pray?’ I said, ‘Do you think it will do any good?’ We went back and knelt down and he prayed. We stopped and he looked at me said, ‘What’s your name?’ I said, ‘My name is Dennison.’ He said, ‘No, no, I mean your Christian name. Christ knows you by your Christian name.’ I felt embarrassed at this but I said, ‘My name is Leslie.’ He began to pray for Leslie. One thing he said in his prayers was, ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock and whosoever shall open the door I shall come in.’

At that point I was filled with a sense of my evil, a sense of horror at the things I had done in my life and I had done some awful things. I cried out. I cried out for help. Then an incredible experience of all the things that were tight in my gut seemed to go loose. I had talked about peace all my life. I never knew peace till that moment, that deep inner peace. I got a glimpse I believe of how God wanted the world to be. The most important thing was the almost overwhelming sense of forgiveness. I came out of that church feeling so different. I believe people in the street were looking at me.

When I got home the family were all there and they said, ‘Where have you been, Dad?’ I said I had been to church and, of course, everybody went quiet. ‘Dad’s been to church!’  Then about 9 days afterwards, when this priest discovered I was an ex-communist, he came down and said, ‘You know what happened to you? You were reborn.’ I said, ‘I don’t know what you mean by reborn. All I know is that something happened that I can’t explain but I will never forget. It was so real.’ He said, ‘We call that rebirth. Will you come and witness this in the church?’

I was well-known as a communist and a rabble-rouser so, when it got known that this ex-communist was going to speak at the church about his rebirth, the church was full. I always remember standing at the front of this church rather self-consciously. I began to recount the story I have told you and when I got to the point where the priest and I talked and I said, ‘I am looking for God but I am wasting my time?’, the priest came forward and he said, ‘Well, brother Dennison please let me speak at this point.’ He turned to the congregation and said, ‘When I saw this man I thought he looked a rather disreputable-looking character. I thought he was one of these men who comes in and thinks the priest is an easy touch. I thought he was after some money and my first thought was to get rid of him quietly. I took him to the door to get rid of him. As I stood at the door the thought seared through my mind of a letter I had received from a priest who had been on the train from Peterborough to Rugby telling of a man he had met who was in search of God.’

I had often said to my associates in the trade union, ‘It is not a matter of faith with me, it is a matter of fact’. The Holy Spirit exists and the whole idea of forgiveness is real. From that point on, I became a more complete revolutionary. I wasn’t interested in coming in to be a good boy. I met an idea that actually put a real cutting edge on my revolutionary passion and concept and that is the wisdom of God.

The meeting ended with some questions from the floor:

Q: Why did you join the communist party?
Les: Poverty, injustice, degradation, inequality, all these things I saw as a worker and a miner. As miners in those days, we were treated as second-rate citizens. We lived in awful hovels. We didn’t have a bath. There was a big zinc dish which you washed yourself in, in front of all the family. Ten of the family lived in three rooms. Your earnings were pretty low. The whole environment - I burnt against it. Plus, the fact that my hatred had been born, the hatred against my mother. The thing that makes a good Marxist is a conscious hatred. Lenin says ‘the essence of truth is a conscious hatred against the things that are wrong in society and the people who cause the wrongs’. I haven’t stopped hating what is wrong, but I have stopped hating the people whom I blamed for what is wrong, which is difficult, but important.

Q: Is it true that socialism is completely different to communism?
Les: I don’t think so. Socialism is a very nebulous term. When I have met people who say that Christianity and socialism are compatible, I ask them to tell me what they mean by socialism. Then you get a load of nebulous conjecturing and what have you. My idea of socialism is where you have the system that is completely dependent on central government which decides what’s best for you in your life. They deny you the most cherished thing God has given you – freedom. Freedom to think, to decide, to worship, socialism negates that. Socialism says we must abide by the consensus decision, so accepting the discipline of listening to God as an individual is overruled by the socialist concepts.

Q: How did you try to exploit the situation in Ireland?
Les: Quite easy. There has been a festering sore there for nearly 600 years. We had British settlers go to Ireland and exploit the situation. They treated the Irish Catholics as barbarians. I am not speaking in favour of either side. All I know is that every situation I was involved in - I wasn’t involved to resolve it, I was involved to exploit it. Every strike I led was not so much to bring better conditions to workers but actually to plant the conscious idea in a person’s mind of the necessity to struggle, the necessity to be involved in class war. If I resolved the situation to the benefit of the workers, all to the good. I got credibility for it.

Les: a comment for the Japanese in the audience - It is most important. Because, after three years and eight months as a prisoner of the Japanese, I developed a more conscious hatred against that nation. I said, even though I was an international socialist, I would be completely intolerant towards the Japanese nation. My hatred was real because of the treatment myself and others had.

I saw 70,000 men die on building a railway through the jungle. I saw 4,000 men in my own camp die building the bridge over Kwai. I have got scars on my shoulders and back which.... I don’t like showing.... but all the things I saw I blamed that nation for. That was when I came here to Caux for the second time with my wife, who was happy about my change. When I arrived at the front door my host said, ‘You are just in time, Les. We have got a marvellous delegation of Japanese.’ And I said, - well I wasn’t very courteous about it.

But my wife said, ‘Les, if that is how you feel about the Japanese nation, this idea doesn’t work, does it?’  I spent three days. I was living in that hotel at the top there, the Grand Hotel. I spent three days trying to work it out. I came down here to a meeting and there was a Japanese General. A Japanese General! A man called General Sugita. There was a German miner leading the meeting here, a man called Max Bladeck.  He introduced the Japanese General and this General said, ‘I was in command of the campaign in Malaya and I was in command of the campaign in the Philippines.’  I was intrigued. He was among the senior people of the Japanese and I thought this man was of the highest class, the samurai class, the warrior class who never lose face or bow. But this man bowed low to me and said, ‘I don’t ever expect you to forget the horrors of what happened and those camps but I do beg your forgiveness for me and my nation.’

What do you say in the face of that?

Then I was in Japan five years ago. When I was in Osaka, and I was at a big meeting there. My wife and I spoke and somebody told the people ‘This man was a prisoner in Thailand and worked on the bridge over the river Kwai’. I don’t try to broadcast it too much myself but after the meeting a gentleman came and bowed low to me and said he had been part of the Japanese forces who were in that area. And in front of 400 people, he publicly asked my forgiveness. As a Christian you cannot maintain hatred under those conditions.

I have since found that the Japanese nation is one of the most courteous, most gracious nation I have ever been to. If I had to live in any other nation but England, and I hope I don’t have to, I would live in Japan. Truly.

Q: Is it too small to fight an ideology without another ideology?
Les: You can’t. [People say] there are various ideologies but there are only two. This was why I stayed in the communist party for so long. During the exposures of Stalin, I was shattered. During the times of Hungary and the horrors of Hungary, I was shattered. but I could not see any alternative. That great vision, that great socialist vision, the only way I could reach it was through the impassioned great world ideological concept and discipline I had. To retreat from the communist party and go to a political party was like going to an ideological vacuum. You mustn’t confuse the communist party with a political party. A political party is an end in itself. The communist party is a world ideological force that used a political party as a means to an end. The number of communists I have seen change, have changed and accepted this MRA and found a faith in the process. They have done so, without exception, because they have been presented with a world ideological concept superior to their own. They are not interested in being good boys. They are interested in putting right what is wrong in society. If you have got the answer to that, a sincere Marxist will listen to you. If you can present the facts, the way you work out these answers, and it is better than his, he will go along with you.

An ideology is an idea that is fundamental and basic in your mind, so when you are deciding on anything it is invariably decided by that basic idea. If you are motivated by ambition, that ideology of ambition decides what you are going to do. If you are motivated by sex, that motivates your ideas. It is too small. Too small to help the world that has other ideas. If you have an idea that burns to put the world right, to right the wrongs in the world, brother - well that is great. It is exciting, satisfying, and it is the only way to live.

Q: How did your relationship with your wife go after you got into MRA? Did it change?
Les: It did change miraculously but it took God to change it because we were never happy. There was no love between us. All Vera did was bear my children and look after my children, feed me and look after the home I lived in. It was an awful life to live. She went in fear. I was a violent man.

When I met MRA I tried for 10 years to win her trust and confidence. It was difficult. My second youngest son who wasn’t convinced by my new ideas because he had been treated pretty badly by me, said ‘Don’t worry Mam, this man will revert back to normal. He won’t keep this up.’

It was the fellowship of MRA - the people who kept fighting for me to get straight with my wife, to be honest with my wife, to learn to love my wife. They said God would give me love for my wife and he could teach my wife to trust and love me as well.

It was 12 years ago - after we had been married nearly 32 years ... a friend was constantly chivvying me about my relationship with my wife. I used to get annoyed because I was honestly trying to win her confidence and her trust. There was a new relationship growing between us and a love I didn’t believe could exist between two people - not a love of demand but a love of care.  I remember once I got so angry I said to this friend, ‘What have I got to do? Lie down and let the bloody woman walk on me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, you can do that as well.’

On another occasion a friend of mine and I were out one weekend meeting some industrialists and again the conversation got round to my wife. I said, ‘Look, back off, Back off! Vera and I are beginning to find a trust and I am honestly finding a love for Vera that I didn’t believe existed, so just back off, will you?’ ‘Ok’ he said.  Then he wrote me a letter some days afterwards, thanking me for the time we had with these industrial men. At the end of his letter there was just this one phrase - ‘I don’t doubt your declaration, Les, of your new-found love for Vera but I ask you just one thing:- Do you cherish her?’  Now I don’t know how you explain cherishing. Have you ever picked up a tiny bird out of a nest with no feathers, it is trembling in your hands and you are so clumsy you are afraid you are going to kill or hurt it? Have you ever picked a beautiful flower or seen a butterfly? Cherishing a person is a new element of loving.

That began, a new role, a new love, resulting in the thing my wife had longed for, for years, being married before God in church. We were never married in church, of course. Just about ten years ago, Vera and I and all our children, all our grandchildren, Vera’s brother and sisters, my brothers and sisters, 60 guests, went to church and had a marvellous celebration, knelt and gave our vows in the marriage ceremony  Everybody thought it was great. I have got a photo of Vera coming out of that church. She was radiant. You have heard of radiant beauty. She was radiant.

That began a completely new relationship. Cherishing. My eldest grand-daughter who has since presented me with my great grandson, I always remember she came up and she said, ‘It’s unique Grandad, to be at the wedding of your grandparents!’

Then we moved a lot together. I decided from then on I would never do anything without discussing it with my wife. Before, I never discussed anything with her. Now, whenever I went to a meeting or went to travel abroad, I never did it without Vera. We were united on this thing. It is a love of two people that I long for everyone to find. It has a dignity, a humility that demands nothing and gives everything.

Q: What do you now think of the communist party in your own country?
Les:  It is in a sad state. It is divided actually. I meet many of my old comrades. Some attack me. Some are courteous and quite a number are envious. I remember one leader who is on the executive of the communist party, a trade union leader, whom I invited to come to the Westminster Theatre to see an MRA play. I said, ‘It is a bigger revolution, Bill.’ He said, ‘I know, Les, and I have been to the Westminster Theatre, and seen the play as well. A damn good play. But it is too late for me - I have got to change on too much.’ I just pray for men like that. He is a good man. He cares.

The communist party in Britain is split at the present moment - this is important. After 60 years of trying to bring socialism in China and in Russia, many sincere communists are disillusioned and are just there because of the power and privileges it gives them. They long for an alternative. It is what Dr. Paul Campbell said the other morning. We should think for these nations. The sincere revolutionary, if you present a big enough idea, he will go along with it. Just imagine China and the Russian leaders getting a glimpse of the vision of this revolution.

Q: How would you tell us people here how to go about changing the world, with this revolution?
Les: Quite simple. Start applying the four standards to your life and learn the simple discipline that you have got two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you talk. Have fellowship amongst yourselves. It is not a set of restrictions - it is not telling you not to do something. It is actually asking you to do more than you are doing now.

People ask me how you maintain your passion. I read and I travel. The thing that makes me sad is when I see people in their homes who switch on the TV and see these horrifying scenes of degradation and poverty in various countries. They think ‘umm that’s pretty grim, that’, and they switch it over to the dancing girls. We have become callous. We don’t hurt. We have got to feel the pain of the sword of truth. If we don’t hurt, we won’t care. If we don’t care, we won’t be able to give help to these nations who need it.

There is nothing more exciting than going to these places. I remember staying in New Delhi in an area where the Harijans live, the untouchables, the lowest caste in India - Harijan means ‘children of God’.  I met a dignity in them that we have lost in our families, in spite of all the poverty amongst them and their families. A spiritual dignity. I remember going and living in some of the tribal areas in Africa. There is a quality of life there which we have lost.

About these four absolute standards:- I thought it was so naive, it was for the girls, but it is the most revolutionary concept. There is only one other revolutionary concept bigger than that - it is that line in the Lord’s Prayer I have learnt since I started to read the Bible:- Thy will be done. Before that, I heard people talking about Christ’s passion and I didn’t know what they were talking about. The only passion Christ had was to do God’s will. Full stop.

With special thanks to Ginny Wigan for her transcription, and Lyria Normington for her editing and correction.

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