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Mormon in America: Meet the Jacksons, a modern Mormon love story

Rock Center

When Juleen Jackson met her husband, Al, he was not the man she had pictured marrying. The African-American Al Jackson was gripping a beer at a bar.

"I was holding my beer and I had the beer of a buddy out on the dance floor," Al Jackson told Kate Snow in an interview airing Thursday, Aug. 23 at 10pm/9c on Rock Center's hour-long look at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 'Mormon in America.'

Al and Juleen Jackson hit it off instantly.

"We dated for about three weeks and she said, 'If you really like me, you're really going to like my church," Al Jackson said.

Al, raised a Southern Baptist, converted to the Mormon faith. Now married nearly 20 years, the couple have five children and live in a traditional Mormon household in Salt Lake City, Utah.  They read scripture daily and spend three hours in church every Sunday. They’re trying to raise their family with Mormon values in a world that can seem so secular and sexual.

"It's hard to sit down and watch a ballgame with my son because of the commercials. They sexualize everything," Al Jackson said.  "We take every opportunity we can to teach our children and hopefully, they're able to make good decisions when they're out on their own."

Of the family's commitment to their Mormon values which include not drinking alcohol or having caffeine, Juleen Jackson said, "I don't see so much of it as, you know, a uniformity code that we all have to kind of march to...I want to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I want to live the commandments of the Lord..and they bring me happiness. I'm not doing anything I don't want to do."

Editor's Note: Rock Center's in-depth look at the Mormon faith, 'Mormon in America,' airs Thursday, Aug. 23 at 10pm/9c on NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams.