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Page last updated at 09:35 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 10:35 UK
Mormon faith 'gives me direction'
Paul Brooks
Paul gives one-tenth of his annual income to his church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as Mormonism, was founded in 19th-century America.

It has more than 12 million members world-wide, including 190,000 in the United Kingdom.

For Paul Brooks, from Stanford-le-Hope, his faith shapes his life on a daily basis, including his diet, finances and even the way he expresses himself.

"It's what allows [me] to focus on what is important in life and gives me direction," he said.

There are still a number of myths surrounding the religion, not least of all that they can have more than one wife.

But the 27-year-old father-to-be says that is not true.

"It's right that we did practice polygamy in America over a 100 years ago at a time when men were being killed off because of persecution... but it was only a very small number that were practicing it," he said.

"I have one wife and she's plenty enough for me."

'Stronger for it'

One of the ancient customs revived by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is tithing.

I don't lack anything in my life and by making the correct choices it allows me freedom to choose again
Paul Brooks

It is the custom by which members give one-tenth of their annual income to the church, and provides its main source of income.

"It's something that I've lived for years now and I believe that as I give some of my money back to my heavenly father that he will bless me in all that I do and I will put my trust in him that he can do more with 90% than I can do with 100%," he said.

What Paul eats and drinks is also very important to him.

"There's something called the 'word of wisdom' which is something that [was] revealed to our first prophet Joseph Smith," he said.

"[It] says that we shouldn't drink alcohol because it's bad for us, we shouldn't smoke, we should take a lot of things in moderation - so no tea or coffee."

Something else which sets him apart from other young men in their 20s is the fact that Paul has never said a swear word to anyone or to himself.

"I remember at school people would say to me 'oh come on say this word' and I'd say 'no'," he said.

"But you know I'm stronger for it, my language is clean. Yeah, I do find it offensive on the television when I hear swear words."

Some may say leading such a strict life could limit the way Paul leads his life; but for him this could not be further from the truth.

"I've always had the freedom to choose whatever I want," he said.

"I don't lack anything in my life and by making the correct choices it allows me freedom to choose again and again, so it doesn't limit my choices it actually expands them."



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