opinionBy E.R.K. Dwemoh
Accra — Many are the relatives, friends and acquaintances who have asked me at one time or the other: "Why did a person like you join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?" Usually, I have smiled and mumbled a few words, or said nothing at all.
Surprisingly, however, I find myself being asked the self-same question by more and more people, and sometimes, again by those who have already asked!
To set the minds of those who have asked the question at rest, and (this may surprise some of you) to quench my own burning desire to go public with the story of my conversion to Mormonism, let me now place on record why I am now a Latter-day Saint.
I had gone to visit my daughter in America in 1996 and happened to sit in on discussions she was having with two young men, who were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The things they said about the family, the love of God for His creatures, obedience to His commandments, the nature of Godhead, baptism and other gospel principles and doctrines interested me greatly.
As I listened to these young men more and more, sincerity in them reached out to engage sincerity in me. Something out of this world hung in the air - something fresh and sweet and gentle and kind. I like to believe that God Himself, at that moment, spoke to me through the young missionaries of the Church who sat before me. And when they asked me to apply Moroni 10:3-5(in the Book of Mormon) which says, among other things: " Ask God if these things are not true, " I knew that sincerity was indeed the watchword. They were asking me to ask God myself, that I might learn from Him directly.
I thought that this was the most noble challenge I had ever been thrown! I resolved, then, to "ask God" myself although I believed all that they had said. If I could help it, I was not going to hang my salvation on sincerity alone. Knowing for myself must override any other feeling. And it is He who has manifested to me that this Church is true!
Some of my questioners also add: "Don't you know that there is a scripture in Revelations (22:18&19) which says that we must not add to or subtract from the word of God? But here the people are actually adding to the word of God by introducing to the world the Book of Mormon! What do you say to that?"
Well, with great respect to all who read this let me shout a reminder - God did not say in Rev. 22:18&19 that He would not add to His own words. God rather warned us against man adding to (or subtracting from) His word. And who said the Book of Mormon was written by men outside the same context that the Bible was written by men? God commanded the Prophets of the Bible to write just as He command the Book of Mormon prophets to write.
And by the way, do we all know that the scriptures about not adding to or subtracting from the word of God can also be found in Deut.4:2? It seems to me then that if we attach the same meaning Deut 4:2 as we attach to Rev.22:18-19, the entire Bible should have ended at Deut. 4:2! It clear then those two scriptures must be looked at in a more dispassionate way.
As this point, let me quote also 1 Chronicles 29:29 "Now the acts of David the King, first and last, behold they are written in the book of Samuel the Seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the Seer." We are told clearly to read the "books" of Samuel, Nathan and Gad for more information on King David. We "find" the Book of Samuel in the Bible and presto, we also find more information on David the King! But although we find repeated actions of both Nathan and Gad in the Bible (2 Sam7:12; 1 Chro17; 1Kings 1; 1Sam 22; 2Sam24) and find proof that they were "men of God" to whom God spoke and gave directions, we cannot find anywhere in the Bible the "books" they were supposed to have written (no doubt, under directions from God).
And if that were so, which human now (or then) has the "authority" or "mandate" to say: "The books of Nathan and Gad were not part of the Jewish canon of scriptures!" Is it not callous for the Bible to whet our appetites in this way (concerning the "books" of Nathan and Gad) and then leave us stranded? Is this not a pointer to the fact that this is not the way it was meant to be? Suddenly, we see it all - long before any of us now living were even born, those God warned in the two quotations we have referred to had already begun their work. They had already even removed whole books from the Scriptures.
The question now is this: Would we call them "scriptures" if the "books" of Nathan and Gad were to come into possession of Christian today? And would that not mean that God wants us to have "more" of His word? (Allow me to say, by the way, that "more of His word" would more correctly mean "His words that were lost" through the demonic activities of men) So then, the more gripping question would be: How can we establish their authenticity? In my considered opinion, this is where we might listen to the Book of Mormon (for what it is worth). And the Book of Mormon says "ask God".
And not just that. It also promises that "by the power of the Holy Ghost, (we) may know the truth of all things!" What knowledge we find there! What refreshingness! So for those of us who would sincerely want to know (and not just brush off the testimony of whoever God might use to bring forth "scripture"- lost or new) we would "ask God." Only He can reveal to us that what we hold in our hands is "authentic", true. It does not matter if it is "supposed" to be the "book" of Gad or Nathan, or a "book" called the Book of Mormon. (By the way, the books of Gad and Nathan are not the only ones "lost" from the Bible).
But here comes another question: Are we all aware that the Bible speaks of the Book of Mormon? It is my testimony to you who read these words now that the "stick of Ephraim" spoken of in the book of Ezekiel (37:15&19) is the Book of Mormon. It is my testimony to you also that "the book" referred to in Isaiah:11,12,18 is again the Book of Mormon. Note also, please, what verse 24 says. I further testify to you that I, Edward Richard Kwabena Dwemoh, have learned "wisdom" and "doctrine" as I have given myself up to the "searching" of the scriptures more and more.
Horace Mann, a great American educationist once said: "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." If even one person out of all those who read this make the effort to "search" those scriptures I have quoted here and "asked God" for truth to be shown him (or her) and does this in all sincerity of heart, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that "by the power of the Holy Ghost" that person "may know the truth of all" these things. And I most certainly would consider that "a victory for mankind!"