93 year old Alexander David William Mackenzie is the father of six children, twelve grandchildren, seventeen great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. In 1961 the Elders came knocking on a cold, wet, blustery day in Denton, near Manchester. Bedraggled, wet and weary, Frankie Mackenzie saw their plight and rushed them indoors and listened to their message. I’m Elder John Pitcher’ said one. ‘And I’m Elder Sam Gentry’ added his companion, ‘We want to tell you about Jesus Christ’.
‘You’ll have to come tomorrow morning when my husband Alex will be here’.
Alex Mackenzie arrived home that evening to be told by his six year old son Malcolm ‘God and Jesus are coming to see you in the morning’.
The following morning Alex didn’t really fancy seeing God and Jesus but Frankie said that he couldn’t be so rude as to go our when, ‘The boys were coming and after all, you only have to listen to them, what harm can that do?
Although he believed that the Gospel was true as soon as he heard the message, Alex was uncertain about baptism. He felt unworthy to join the church because he couldn’t be sure that he could live the commandments. Grant Thorne, then Mission President of the North West British Mission visited him. He astounded Alex by actually telling him that no-one was perfect in the church! If Alex was baptised and received the gift of the Holy Ghost, he would overcome his challenges.
The whole family, apart from Alex’s eldest son, were baptised in the Wythenshawe Chapel, the first family to be baptised there. It is now the Manchester Stake Centre.
In 1964 they moved from Denton to Jersey in the Channel Islands, a delightful island closer to France than England. At first, there was no church on the Island but when the branch opened, Alex was simultaneously Branch President in Jersey and First Counsellor in Hyde in Cheshire!
Frankie, Alex’s wife, died in 1969 at the age of forty-five. He says, 'If I hadn’t been a member of the church and had the Gospel in my life, I don’t know how I could have got through that terrible time. My testimony of the doctrine of Eternal Families was my light in the darkness of my loss.' This same faith has supported him and his family through the deaths of four of his children and two of his grandchildren.
Having held almost every position in the ward since the church’s re-establishment, Alex is known to everyone as ‘Pop’ and is looked on as the father of the Jersey Ward.
His grandson, Joseph Mahy is serving a mission in Texas, his grand-daughter, Alexandra Mackenzie Johns served in the North of England, has directed the Nauvoo Pageant and created and directed the British Pageant in which another grandson, Matthew Mackenzie, played Arthur Ashton. She will be directing the British Pageant this year in 2017 at the Preston Temple site.
Without those two young missionaries, knocking on doors in a storm, none of these things would ever have happened. Alex Mackenzie, John Pitcher and their families have remained friends for over 55 years, that’s missionary follow-up!