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Senior Australian Mormon Couple Featured by Media

Bob and Alma Jackson, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), believe they will be married forever, according to an article recently published in several Australian newspapers.

The Jacksons, who are both in their 90’s, have recently celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary at their home in the Chelsea Retirement Village in Maryborough, 250 km north of Brisbane. They believe that marriages performed in Mormon temples are “sealed” or blessed to last for eternity.  And they also believe that other family relationships can endure beyond death.

The pair met in Lancashire, England, when Mr Jackson was 22 years-old and in the Merchant Navy.  One night he “had nothing to do” and so attended the annual ball in Fleetwood where he couldn’t take his eyes off a 19 year-old beauty.

“Alma danced and I didn’t,” Mr Jackson remembered, “but things blossomed from then on.”  Not long after that the postman knocked on his front door with a letter.

“Basically it said ‘we have a khaki suit waiting for you to try on’,” he recalled. It was 1940, WWII had begun, and he was conscripted into the army.

“We were thinking of getting married but I got called up,” Bob said, “and I was with the anti-aircraft unit for the next six and a quarter years.”

During this time Bob Jackson requested a week’s leave to be married but his request was denied. He decided he didn’t need a week, and arrived at Alma’s work, giving her “the surprise of her life”.

“We went and saw the vicar at 12 noon, we were out of the church at 12.15pm, and at 2pm I was back at camp,” Bob said with a chuckle.

Bob Jackson’s war service was a worrying time for his wife, and the couple had to endure long periods of time apart.

“I’d get Alma a job at each camp, working in the office doing paperwork, but often she’d arrive and we would have moved on, or after a few weeks we’d have to move on,” said Bob.

Whenever there was an air-raid-blitz, Bob’s unit was sent to assist and, consequently, he travelled extensively throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland.

He also spent time in other areas of Europe after the war, where his unit was involved in “procurement at POW camps”.

Finally, in June 1946, Bob Jackson received his discharge papers and returned to his beloved wife.

The couple settled into life together and in 1950, with four children in tow, decided to migrate to Australia. The process took four years.

“I worked for ICI – Imperial Chemical Industries – and could stay in that job if I moved to Sydney,” said Bob.  “After four year’s waiting, we were given one month’s notice to sell everything and leave.”

One Sunday morning after arriving in Australia, the Jacksons and their children were getting ready to attend the local Church of England when two young men dressed in white shirts and dark suits knocked on their door.

“We had a nice chat and they gave us a Book of Mormon,” Bob said.  Over the next three weeks the family heard the discussions (or “flannel-board lessons” as Bob said they were called then) and the missionaries gave them another book to read called “A Marvellous Work and a Wonder”.

“My wife was so into the book, I hardly got a look at it,” said Bob.  They were baptised in 1960, four weeks after meeting the missionaries, in Greenwich, Sydney.

The Jacksons have been active Church members since that day, with Brother Jackson (as Church members call male Latter-day Saints) serving “in just about all the callings in the Church besides Relief Society President” (a role reserved for the women of the Church).

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.