Look Right

by Janet Thomas

Associate Editor

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    Whether stepping off the curb or discovering gospel truths, London youth …

    “Watch out!”

    Startled, I jerked my head up to see a square, black London taxicab hurtling toward me, horn blaring, but with no squeal of brakes. It wasn’t going to stop!

    Stunned by the danger I was in, I was frozen in midstride until a surge of adrenalin helped me leap to the curb, my coat just brushing the taxi as it sped by. My close call was not the fault of the taxi driver. My own unconscious habits had placed me in that pickle. I always thought I looked both ways when crossing a street, but I don’t. As an American I have a habit of glancing to the left and, if nothing is coming, stepping into the street. In England, where they drive on the left side of the roads, you won’t live very long using that method to cross streets.

    After my brush with the taxicab, I noticed that on several busy intersections in London, the advice “Look Right” is painted directly on the asphalt. It became a little chant I would say to myself before I stepped off a curb, “look right, look right.”

    One intersection where “Look Right” is painted directly on the street is the one I crossed to go to the Hyde Park chapel in downtown London. Somehow the words “Look Right” seemed to mean something more in that location. The youth of the Hyde Park Ward have indeed looked to the right. In a city as diverse and cosmopolitan as London, these young men and women have made a choice not only about religion but about lifestyle.

    With people of all races and religions settling in and around this capital city, there are a lot of different lifestyles to choose from in London. It is not uncommon to see a young person with pink hair and fashionably baggy clothes seated next to a turbaned, bearded man in a three-piece suit on public transportation. The mix creates some interesting situations. For example, Sheryl Boydell, 15, lives with her parents and two brothers and sister in London. She attends a school where students speak 36 different languages, and her closest school friends are Muslim. Consequently, she encounters very little opposition or even interest in the fact that she is LDS. The students at her school represent so many different religious beliefs worldwide that hers is just one more. But because of this religious tolerance at her school, Sheryl’s beliefs and lifestyle choices are respected, and she tries to teach her friends about the Church when she has the opportunity.

    Sheryl is grateful that the Church is such a major force in the lives of her family. “How do I feel about the Church? I was brought up with it. When I see friends at school who are in one-parent families or in a special home because they don’t have any parents or have to go home to fights and arguments, there is just no comparison to the happiness our family has because of the gospel.”

    Yet Sheryl had to gain a testimony for herself. “The time I started wondering about the Church was when I started seminary because one of the first questions you had to answer in the home-study booklet was, ‘Do you have a testimony of the Church?’ I started thinking about it seriously. I think it is hard to know if you’ve gained a testimony when you are brought up in the Church because you don’t notice a change in yourself. When you come in from outside, you can notice the difference. But when you’ve been brought up in the Church, the feelings seem natural. It’s harder to recognize a testimony for what it is.”

    Church is a big part of Sheryl’s life. She said, “A lot of my social life is church. Family home evening is on Mondays. I go to seminary on Tuesdays, Mutual is on Wednesdays, and sports night on Thursdays. Then there are other activities on Saturdays. There isn’t a lot of time for anything else.”

    And one of those special Saturdays was a stake sports day. The youth of the London England Hyde Park Stake were meeting for stake competition in five-sided football and volleyball. Five-sided football is a fast-paced indoor version of soccer with goals marked on the walls on either end of the cultural hall. Before the action got started, the referee went over the rules with the ward teams. When he got to the rule about no physical contact between players, everyone just laughed. Spectators were out of the way up on the stage, and it was soon evident that that was the only safe place to be since the side walls took the brunt of flying footballs and bodies.

    With feet flying, sometimes hitting the ball or the opposing team’s shins, lots of coaching from the sidelines, cheering at every good move by both defensive and offensive players, and a few dives against the walls to gain possession of the ball, one ward team emerged battered and bruised but victorious. So much for “no physical contact.” The stake championship team would go on to play in regionals. After the good-humored intensity of competition, the young men were willing to talk about the Church.

    John Allen of the London North Ward said, “My parents have been members about 12 years. I was away from home for a while, but when I moved back, I was reintroduced to the Church. I had a special experience that confirmed to me that the Church is true, and I had to join after that.”

    Keith Barker, Hyde Park Ward, grew up in London and has been a member most of his life. “My Mum has always been a strong member. There was a time I came to church for the social part, to meet my friends, but when you believe something is true, your instincts just tell you.”

    While the girls were waiting for the volleyball to start, Carol Lindsay of the London North Ward talked about her conversion. “I read a book written by a Protestant minister about the trek west led by Brigham Young. I thought when I read that there must be something to this church if they would walk all those many miles for it. I walked into a chapel in Edinburgh and said, ‘Here I am, what are you going to do with me?’ I got impatient during the missionary discussions waiting for them to challenge me to baptism.”

    Mandy Young, 19, just moved from a little branch to the London North Ward. Her conversion story is just a little different. “I used to think Mormons were people with shaved heads and long, white robes,” she said. “But my Mum’s sister was a member, and she wasn’t like that. She didn’t go very often, but the home teachers would visit. We talked about a lot of things, and they invited us to church. My family went one week before I did. My family told me it was quite nice, and people participated instead of listening to one preacher at a big pulpit. The second week, I went and thought it was nice. I thought the lesson situation was very nice.” Now Mandy attends the London North Ward, and her 18-year-old sister serves as the Primary president in her home branch.

    The Hyde Park chapel is on a busy street near the Victoria and Albert Museum and just down the street from Hyde Park, the large park in the center of London. To get to the Hyde Park chapel, you can take the Piccadilly, District, or Circle Line on the underground to South Kensington station. Or hop on a red double-decker bus, a typical sight in London. That’s how the London youth come to church meetings, to Mutual, and to activities. But they have the habit of looking right, which stands them in good stead when learning gospel truths and crossing busy London streets.

    Speaking English

    We use the same words, but sometimes the meanings of what English speakers from opposite sides of the Atlantic say get lost in the crossing. Here are a few clues to the differences in English and American usage:





    pullover sweater


    dress jumper




    run in your nylons




    running shoes, sneakers


    rain boots




    children’s underpants

    plus fours






    Food and Home




    living room



    wash up

    do the dishes



    dust bin

    trash can






    French fries


    potato chips


    candy or dessert






    cookies or crackers


    a meal

    salad cream

    salad dressing

    ice lolly



    fruit punch



    Cars and Highways




    underground walkway

    dual carriageway

    divided highway





    zebra crossing


    fly over


    car park

    parking lot












    pass a car

    soft verges

    soft shoulders



    lay by

    rest area

    give way




    central reservation

    median strip

    Other Phrases

    On your bike!

    Get lost!



    Will it do?

    Is it okay?

    Have a go!

    Take a chance!

    creasing up

    doubled over with laughter

    A to Zed

    A to Z

    wind him up

    putting him on







    lie in

    sleep in


    two weeks




    friendly and easy to be with


    bangs on a girl’s hairdo

    toilet, loo, or WC

    rest room or bathroom

    body popping

    break dancing

    do it up

    fix it up



    way in


    way out


    Photos by Janet Thomas

    Young men and women of the Hyde Park Ward point out the correct direction to look when preparing to cross a London street. Red-jacketed guards with black fur hats stand immovable at official government buildings such as the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace.

    Sights and sounds typical of London make it an exciting city in which to live. Distinctive locations, such as the Tower Bridge and the House of Parliament, as well as red double-decker buses on the streets, are an essential part of England’s unique capital city. For young Latter-day Saint Londoners such as Sheryl, Keith, and Carol, living the gospel is a decision that affects all areas of life.

    The ornate turrets and towers of London’s famed government and religious buildings fringe the skyline. In uniforms inscribed with an emblem representing the Queen, the Beefeaters, as they are called, are hosts and guides at the Tower of London, a fortress on the banks of the Thames.