Out of Mormonism in Africa
I joined the Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) in mid 1994. A close friend introduced me to the full-time missionaries. At that time I was a novice in Christianity and didn’t know much, so it was an easy job for the missionaries to feed me with their lies unopposed, and I thought I was receiving the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I remember during the six missionary discussions, the missionaries asking me on every visit if I had any questions. But I didn’t know enough to have any serious gospel questions to ask them or challenge them on any of their doctrinal teachings.
The Anglican Church where I formally belonged practically knew nothing about Mormonism, so there was not any place then that I knew of, where I could have turned to for alternative information. Internet was also unheard of in Uganda in those times.
Six months after starting the discussions, I was convinced that I had found the true church of God on earth, I must admit that even when I was still in the Anglican church, I really didn’t think it truly represented God’s interests on earth. So when I heard the Mormon story, it seemed to fit well and things were somehow adding up. I was shown verses (John 10:16, Ezekiel 37:15-17, Isaiah 2:1-3, Isaiah 29:11-13, etc) in the Bible that, so they said, talked of Joseph Smith, Jesus’ visit to the Americas, and more. I was told that Isaiah 2:2 refers to the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah, for it is located in the mountains and many people from all over the world visit it every year. The story of one Charles Anthony failing to read a supposedly sealed book was fascinating, as I was told it fulfilled prophecy in Isaiah 29:9-14.
Anyway, I embraced their stories whole heartedly and entered the waters of baptism and soon after joining the LDS Church I was called as the Young Men’s President. I progressed well in church callings and I was a very active member of my branch, called Jinja branch, located in far Eastern Uganda. I, on several occasions, held multiple callings concurrently, including that of Seminary teacher, Keyboarder player, Institute teacher, Elder’s Quorum President. I read extensively church literature and the more I read, the deeper my conviction grew that the church was true. Everything seemed to add up well.
After about three years in the Church, I was called on a mission to the Kenya Nairobi Mission, which was then, geographically speaking, the largest Church Mission; comprising of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. It has since been divided into two missions.
Serving a mission exposed me to a lot of the inner workings and politics of these so-called “men of God”.
And it was during my mission that I developed a lot of internal questions in my mind regarding church doctrines and its scriptures. And though the Mission didn’t tremendously shake my “testimony” of the truthfulness of Mormonism, it shaped my thinking and probably prepared me for my eventual leaving Mormonism.
I served under two mission presidents; the first one was a man from Sacramento, California. This is one man who had little respect for Black Africans and even white South Africans. The white South Africans where also looked at as being sort of inferior to them, regardless of their white skin.
If I had studied, assimilated and internalized better some racist words (2 Nephi 5: 21; Alma 3: 6) written in the Book of Mormon, maybe that wouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did.
But anyway, I didn’t generalize this problem as I thought that the character and behavior of Mission Presidents, or of any church leader for that matter, was their individual personal weakness and not necessarily church policy to under rate Africans.
A year into the church, a Christian friend had told me about the priesthood ban on Blacks before 1978. He was trying to persuade me to leave Mormonism, but I didn’t find it a good reason to leave it. I asked some church members about the priesthood issue and they confirmed what my friend had told me.
I was satisfied with the official explanation in the Official declaration in the D&C, and that the Lord had actually sanctioned the priesthood ban. One elder even pointed out to me that in the Old Testament it was only the Levites who held the priesthood. I was not even thinking that skin color had nothing to do with that.
It’s strange that I learned about the priesthood ban from non-members, but now I know that it is a deliberate church policy to hide from the members of the church information that contradicts their doctrines.
I was asked about this priesthood question several times by investigators who had some prior knowledge about the church, but this is one question which we were trained in the local MTC to defend, and how cool it is to for a black Africans to defend it!
One thing that kept on disturbing me, even before I left for my Mission, was the role of revelations/inspirations played in issuing callings. I, for example, saw non-tithing paying and dishonest members being called to sensitive church positions. I wondered why God would inspire church leaders to call such people to strategic church callings. So I kept doubting claims by church leaders that whenever a calling was made, it was the Lord who inspired them to call that particular individual to that position.
Back to my Mission field; racism and favoritism was rampant, especially for the North American Missionaries. Not that they were bad people, I just wondered why everyone was not treated fairly. The North American boys had or rather developed this attitude of “knowing it all”, I think, just because they were from Utah, and near church head-quarters.
For example, if an African missionary was called to a leadership position like a District or Zone leader, the whites would resent it and they would do everything possible, and find faults to make sure the African missionary was released.
All this just simply brought a question to my mind: Why would the Only True Church of God on earth (as we were told this church was) not treat everyone with fairness and dignity, after all they were saying that we are all children of the same God. Little did I know then that Mormonism had a long history of racial discrimination.
Anyhow I rose through the ranks (probably by sheer luck) on the mission field to the highest one of all, to Assistant to the President (AP). This is a prestigious position among full-time missionaries and almost every missionary aspires for it. It didn’t mean much to me besides having a few privileges of driving, living in a nicer apartment, etc. Since no one in my family were members, they wouldn’t understand what being an AP would really mean among other Mormons.
Being an AP enabled me to closely rub shoulders with the Mission President, a man from Provo, Utah and also with “other powers that be” in the mission field. It also enabled me to observe whether his decisions were really influenced by God or purely by his own mind.
I remember one time, I just woke up in the morning; without prayers or anything, wrote up a transfer list and forward it to him for approval. I recommended that certain Elders be transferred to other areas while others be released from District leaders position. To my surprise the mission president approved my recommendations. There I confirmed that many of these leaders decisions are based on logic or rather Human wisdom and not necessary revelations as they claim
I remember a fellow African missionary bringing be me a book written by Mormon “apostle” Bruce R. McConkie. I read all of it. This “apostle” did not have any kind words for Africans. But despite all this, I was still convinced that the church is true, only certain individuals made misleading statements: That is what I thought!
Another question which kept ringing in my mind during my mission was, if Mormonism was right and true, why weren’t more people seeing it? Why were we only baptizing villagers and not professionals and intellectuals? Why were my tireless efforts to convert high profile people not yielding any fruits?
I remember trying very hard to get a Ugandan lady, who was working for a UN agency in Tanzania, baptized, but it didn’t happen. I gave her all the literature, read with her the Book of Mormon, taught her all the discussions, built a good relationship of trust with her, prayed with her and even fasted for her, but still she didn’t take the discussions and the church seriously. My wish and dream was to get her baptized, but it did not happen. Now, when I look back, I understand why we were mainly baptizing villagers – Mormonism is not true and the others could see it.
After a two year stint as a full-time Mormon missionary, I returned to my home in Uganda . I was immediately called to the District Council and served there with all my heart, mind and strength, believing that I needed to do all I can within my powers to serve God so that I can qualify for the Celestial Kingdom . After all in Mormonism, it is by one’s own works, we are taught, we can earn eternal life.
The pressure was also mounting on me to get married immediately, but that I resisted. I must also add that my temple experience was horrible, and perhaps that was a reason why I was not interested in marriage, which to a Mormon, would have to be a temple-marriage.
My deliverance from Mormonism.
I think it was by the Lord’s intervention that I decided to leave Mormonism. Why? I had visited BYU’s website so many times that I had even memorized the site’s address. But on one particular day I forgot it and so I decided to “Google” it. I typed two words: “Mormon Church” and “BYU”.
That’s when I landed on the exmormon.org website. I read almost all the information on that website within a few hours. I was truly thirsty for knowledge. This website exposed me to many things that I had never even thought about. I followed a link to the HIS Ministries website (www.hismin.com) and read information on it. I compiled a list of questions that I presented to the Mission president. Little did I know that Mormonism does not tolerate dissenting views. The questions were dismissed as the work of apostates. Soon after that some people (read: local Mormon leaders) started to look at me “stone-faced” whenever I saw them.
It’s interesting to note that I also had had a similar attitude a few months prior to my encounter with the exmormon.org website.
One day when I was walking on the street, I bumped into a family friend who was attending a Theological Seminary. He invited me to their school and introduced me to their pastor. I was very brave and confident that this pastor will see that their Pentecostal churches are wrong. I was introduced to other pastor-students as a Mormon, and everyone suddenly looked at me as if something was terribly wrong with me. But their whispers and stares at me just hardened my resolve to show them that Mormonism is right and they are wrong. I was somehow excited about this opportunity.
They made an appointment with me to visit them the following day. On reaching our discussion room the following day, I saw on the table about 10 anti-Mormon books (now I know those books are not in reality anti-Mormon at all, as most if not all information in them is sourced from Mormon Church’s own books). They handed me one. I started reading things about Brigham Young and other early church leaders. But I lost interest in the book by reasoning that there are many people who don’t like the Mormon Church and it’s obvious that the enemies of the Church cannot write good things about the Church.
They tried to get me into further discussions about Mormonism but I refused and left the place.
The power of fake religions like Mormonism is to fully condition people to their doctrines and beliefs. That is what still puzzles me.
I am sure that finding the exmormon.org website (when I was actually planning on going to BYU’s site), was directed by the Lord. From that site I started to learn the true history of the Mormon Church, and I regained my ability to think and reason for myself and really seek for the truth.
As my search for knowledge continued, I wanted to learn all I could about Mormonism. I bumped into a website of a former Mormon bishop from Canada, Bob McCue. I liked his writings and essays so much that one day I spent almost the whole night reading his writings. I copied them from an internet café into my flash disk and brought them to my home computer. I learned to respect this man’s writings about Mormonism and his post-Mormon experiences, even though he was not a Christian.
After extensively reading information on his website and also reading information on a website of a former well-known exmormon, Richard Packham, I was literally on the brink of becoming an atheist. I almost bought their seemingly logical reasoning about all Christianity being false and man made. Thank God I linked up with Dennis and Rauni Higley of H.I.S Ministries International, before it was too late.
We exchanged emails almost on a daily basis. They sent me ‘The Truth about Mormonism’ booklet, “The Book of Mormon vs. Bible” DVD, and other DVDs as well as Christian literature which helped me and my friends a great deal in transitioning from Mormonism to the True Jesus Christ of the Bible. I said the prayer on page 51 of that book and accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. Since I was used to reading the Bible and looking at Christianity as “through the Mormons eyes”, I decided to immediately start studying the Bible in earnest. The Higleys agreed to help me to understand it well. I read from page to page and whenever I had any question, I would forward it to them and they would promptly get back to me. God bless them.
After thoroughly reading the Bible, with the aid of about a hundred of Chuck Missler’s Bible Study audio tapes Dennis and Rauni had sent me, and also Higleys answering lots of my questions, coupled with prayers, I was able to overcome my Mormons tainted knowledge of the Bible.
Anyway, after uncovering the mask on the Mormon stories, I shared them with my friends, some of whom accepted them. We then decided to resign our membership in the Mormon Church. Word spread around like wild fire and all kinds of stories were cooked up about us. But that didn’t deter us from leaving.
After officially leaving Mormonism, I felt this deception should stop, so I prayed about it and decided to do everything possible within my powers to let others know about lies of the Mormon Church. I emailed the Higleys and told them about my plan, and they provided support in many ways as the Lord enabled them. With their permission, I reprinted their “The Truth About Mormonism” booklet and other Christian literature that we distributed to Mormon District Conference goers.
I have noticed that areas (like Africa ), with extreme poverty levels, are fertile recruitment grounds for many false religious groups like Mormons. Cults tend to flourish a lot in these areas. The priesthood ban actually was a blessing to Africans. They did not bring Mormonism to Africa before 1978. They taught until 1978 that, “Negroes in this life are denied the priesthood: under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty (PoGP, Abra. 1:20-27). The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them…the negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned, particularly the priesthood and the temple blessings that flow therefrom, but this inequality is not of man’s origin. It is the Lord’s doing…”(Mormon Doctrine, 1966 edition, p. 527.)
Even now the fact that very few Africans know about the true colors and history of Mormonism worries me a lot. The situation is worsened by the lack of internet access to many Africans. I ask every one who reads this story to pray for the people of Africa will not to join this destructive cult, which will not lead them to salvation as it claims, but to internal destruction.
I am grateful that there are many ministries reaching out to the deceived Mormons. I would probably not have become a Christian if ministries like H.I.S Ministries International were not around. They are a great help to deceived Mormons. Personally I had already started on the road of becoming an atheist, but I turned around after talking to them.
Those who are still in Mormonism, I invite you to come to know the True Jesus Christ of the Bible. He is the ONLY ONE who will lead you to salvation, NOT Joseph Smith. I, just like many others have been where you are; hated anything that didn’t promote Mormonism, I despised the so-called apostates, but now I know that I was wrong. If Mormonism is the truth, it should not fear investigation. Investigate it and see if its teachings are in harmony with Biblical teachings. You will find that it is not biblical.
Salvation is a FREE Gift. We cannot “buy” it with our works as Mormonism claims; “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NKJV.)
The word grace means “undeserved favor.” It means God is offering you something you could never provide for yourself: forgiveness of sins and eternal life. God’s gift to you is free. You do not have to work for a gift. All you need to do is joyfully receive it, and believe with all your heart that Jesus Christ died for you!
Christ Is At Your Heart’s Door: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and I will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20, NKJV.) Jesus Christ wants to have a personal relationship with you. Picture, if you will, Jesus Christ standing at the door of your heart (the door of your emotions, intellect and will). Invite Him in; He is waiting for you to receive Him into your heart and life.
You Must Receive Him: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12. NKJV)
When you receive Christ into your heart you become a child of God, and have the privilege of talking to Him in prayer at any time, about anything. The Christian life is a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And best of all, it is a relationship that will last for all eternity.