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Book shares life and times of an African-American Mormon

Published: Thursday, April 21 2011 4:30 a.m. MDT

"It was clear to me what I needed to do. When I came home, I made preparations to leave my job," he said.

Hamilton felt impressed to quit his job with the parole board and self-publish his book. Some questioned his decision, but a few months later the lawyer resigned and focused on becoming an author. He had faith if he dedicated his time, talents and means to advancing the Lord's work among his people, he and his family would be blessed.

"It was a great experience," Hamilton said. "It was a struggle, but the Lord provided. We didn't know it would take as long as it did, but we had miracles. In my family, we feel like we consecrated our lives to this effort."

The book's foreword is written by former Utah Jazz player Thurl Bailey, a longtime friend of Hamilton.

Hamilton named his publishing company Ammon Works after his Book of Mormon hero. In the Book of Mormon, Ammon rejected the chance to be king and went with his brethren on a 14-year mission to the Lamanites. Despite many hardships, Ammon and the missionaries were courageous and converted thousands.

"He represents this idea that through love and service, you can overcome cultural differences," Hamilton said. "I feel like Ammon. I represent a cultural change that has had to overcome the traditions of their fathers. Conversely, I also feel like a Lamanite because others have been like Ammon to me and converted me through love and service."

The Last Laborer

Finally, Hamilton leaned forward in his chair to describe the book's central message.

In Hamilton's research, he found a talk by Elder Bruce R. McConkie, "All Are Alike Unto God," delivered at a CES Symposium at BYU in August 1978. In the talk, Elder McConkie referenced the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20) and related it to the 1978 priesthood revelation.

"I was taught that God was a fair God, a loving God," Hamilton said. "The parable touched me like when Joseph (Smith) read James. A whole new world opened to me. That became the focal point of my attempt to give some thought to this issue. … When you consider the timing, that God has never given all his blessings to all his children at the same time, and that 1978 was the first time the priesthood was given to all worthy males, when you look at it that way, it leads you in a different direction. God is in control."

Hamilton wrote his book with the message that everyone is now an 11th-hour laborer in preparation for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

He hopes his story and thoughts will help bring people, especially African-Americans, closer to the Savior.

"I hope something in there will resonate with them," he said. "Maybe something has hurt them, caused suffering, but maybe they will say, 'This guy was able to hang in there.' Maybe they have issues with the '78 revelation and this causes them to say, 'I never looked at it that way before. I never went to the Lord on this, but I am going to go to him now.'"

"Last Laborer" is available at Deseret Book, along with www.lastlaborer.com and www.keithnhamilton.com.

Email: ttoone@desnews.com

Twitter: tbtoone

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