Editor's note: This week, Mormon Times shares the testimonies of five scholars who are faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Click here for the list of scholars.
I grew up in a Presbyterian home, and attended a Methodist primary school and a Catholic high school. I was a church-going Christian but did not understand most of the principles of the gospel. My understanding of things about God and his son was shallow. It was basically that of a hell prepared for the sinners and a heaven for the righteous and that Jesus Christ came to die for my sins so I could be saved and that I should strive to live righteously.
This was what I understood of the gospel up to the end of my undergraduate education. Though this provided a fairly good living guide, I felt I was still lacking a good understanding of certain Christian doctrines. The only scripture of my own I remember having was a pocket-size New Testament. I relied mostly on what was preached on Sundays from the pulpit for understanding.
After my undergraduate education in biochemistry at the University of Science and Technology (now Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology), in August 1979, I had a unique opportunity to undergo practical training with Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis) and Hoffmann-La Roche pharmaceutical companies in Basel, Switzerland. It was during my sojourn in Basel, on my second practical training with Hoffmann-La Roche in July 1980, that I met two well-dressed young men on the Rhine Bridge while walking home from work.
They introduced themselves as Elder Edgar Snow and Elder Edward John Warner, and said they were missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They asked whether I had heard about the church or the Mormons. I told them no. They wanted to know if I was interested in knowing about the church. I thought to myself, how could I refuse a conversation with two pleasant, good-looking, English-speaking young men in a German-speaking part of Switzerland?
They took my address and booked an appointment to meet with me in my hostel during the week. So they came at the appointed time and brought the Book of Mormon and taught me about Joseph Smith and his quest to know the truth and his reading of James 1:5, which led him to pray to God for knowledge of which was his true church. They told me about the visitation by the Father and his Son Jesus Christ to the young Joseph Smith as he prayed to know the truth.
I took interest in the story, especially because it was the first time I had heard it and it was a great surprise to me that God the Father and his Son should speak to man directly. They gave me the Book of Mormon and told me it was another testament of Jesus Christ and challenged me to read and pray about it. It was quite a challenge, since reading was not a favorite pastime. But since I was out of school and had not much learning to do at the time, I took up the challenge and started reading. I don't know whether they sensed my lack of enthusiasm to read, as they had selected portions of the book that I could read if I did not feel like reading the whole book to start with.
During a period of two weeks, I read more than I had been assigned and prayed to know if the book was of God. I felt good about what I had read and about the simplicity of the teachings of the book. Its message about repentance really came to me strongly. A thought came to me that made it feel like the Lord had opened up the opportunity for me to go to Switzerland so I could be taught the truth about his gospel. After investigating the church for about a month, I was baptized on Aug. 22, 1980, in Basel.
In September of that year, I left Switzerland for Ghana. To my surprise I did not hear much about the church in Ghana but continued to study the Book of Mormon. My testimony about my newfound faith continued to grow. I left Ghana for Canada to pursue a master's degree in biochemistry. To my surprise, the LDS Church in St. Catharines, Ontario, was right across the street from where I found my student accommodation. By this act, I knew the Lord was preparing me to learn more about the church.
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