Powerful Doctrine

February 13, 2005

At stake conference today I saw Orsee Bonsu across the crowd and reflected on his powerful testimony that he bore to us in the Colonial Hills II ward last week on Fast Sunday.

He is from Ghana and stood to testify of his conviction that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s true Church on the earth. He related what brought him to this knowledge, and it was the power of the doctrines of the Restored Gospel (and doctrines that are really only clear in this dispensation of God’s dealings with his children). The particular powerful doctrine of the Restored Gospel that he focused on as having the power to lead him to the Church was the doctrine of baptism for the dead.

Dr. Bonsu was concerned about the welfare of his father. His father had been a very good man, according to Bonsu, but had died with no knowledge whatsoever of Jesus Christ. Bonsu figured that if God were truly just, he would never condemn someone for having died without baptism if that person had never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel and accept or reject Jesus Christ. With all of the doctrinal rangling between Evangelicals and Latter-day Saints, with the former accusing the latter of not being Christians, this aspect of Evangelical belief remains infirm and disconcerting to the truly thoughtful followers of Christ. It greatly bothered Dr. Bonsu as well.

He investigated many churches and met with the missionaries as well. He was mildly interested during the initial discussions with the missionaries and many of his appointments with them fell through. But then Dr. Bonsu asked them about the welfare of his deceased father. The power of the doctrine of baptism for the dead struck him to the very core and he knew that this was God’s true church. He got baptized soon thereafter and was called immediately to serve in his stake’s family history center. Now, he has been called to head up family history for the whole continent of Africa. He is driven by the principles behind the doctrine of baptism for the dead. His testimony reminded me of the basic principles of the Restored Gospel that function as proof of its truthfulness and also that enrich our membership in this Church. I realized I had been taking this earth-shatteringly important principle of the Restored Gospel absolutely for granted.