Two years ago Cliff Morgan cradled his 14-year-old daughter Jasmin in his arms as she died as a result of substance abuse.
Soon after the tragic death of his beloved daughter, he became acquainted with missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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He learned about the Gospel of Jesus Christ from those missionaries, and after several months decided to be baptised a member of The Church of Jesus Christ in May 2011.
Recently Morgan shared his life story with youth, parents and local leaders of the Church at a special gathering in Tauranga, New Zealand. He spoke of his 25 years of gang membership and activities, and of the outcomes of the choices he has made.
The first remark he made to the group was this solemn declaration: “Jesus Christ will forgive you.”
“My life was drugs, guns and violence,” he said. “I took part in a lot of bad things.”
“I had friends that had been shot or beaten, and died. I saw a man hang himself. I had a criminal history of manslaughter because a bad choice had led to the death of someone I knew. “
He said that on the day his daughter died she had collapsed at a neighbour’s home.
“She died on the floor while I was holding her. The last time I saw her I had growled her for playing round with petrol.”
“I never got the chance to say I was sorry,” he said.
“This has been grim talk,” he said, as he concluded his remarks, “but I have never been cleaner in my life than now.”
“There is hope for everyone. It is never too late to change. There is always hope."
Morgan says he is enjoying being part of a Latter-day Saint congregation. He serves as a volunteer supporting other members of the Church and the wider community.
Roseanne Jones and Ray Mihaere contributed to this article.