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.
It was in Canada that my testimony grew the most. My wife joined me in Canada and was baptized during our stay there. After completing my master's program, I got admission to do my Ph.D. studies in biochemistry at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. I was now in the home of the Mormons.
Logan had some of the nicest people I had ever met on this planet. Even though there were not more than a hundred black Africans in the city, both member and non-member Africans felt very much at home among the Mormons of Logan. It is the city we have enjoyed the most in all our traveling experience. To this day we still maintain our contacts with the good people of Logan. We were sealed in the Logan Temple in 1985.
I have enjoyed my 30-plus years of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have never regretted a second of it. I have served in various callings, including as a bishop. My life has been influenced both temporally and spiritually for good by the teachings of the church. I bless the day I met the missionaries. I have no doubt that the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the church is the fullness of the gospel. I cannot say I am perfect, but I know the church has taught me the correct principles I need to govern my life, and it is for me to be true and faithful to the laws and ordinances that I have been taught.
comments on this story
I have read the Book of Mormon several times and know it is truly another testament of the Savior, and a holy scripture like the Bible. I pray that the message of these two volumes of scripture will reach all nations, peoples, kindreds and tongues. I have no doubt that the Prophet Joseph Smith was a prophet called to restore the fullness of the gospel in these latter days.
I know that Jesus Christ atoned for my sins so I can be reconciled with him and the Father through repentance and obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. That I might live worthy of these blessings and endure to the end is my sincere prayer.
Jonathan Adjimani, Ph.D., is a senior lecturer in the department of biochemistry at the University of Ghana, and a member of the Ofankor Branch of the Accra Ghana Adenta Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.