The Mormons met one of their key global leaders, Apostle Gary. E Stevenson at Hotel Africana in Kampala last Sunday during a major annual conference. Hotel Africana conference centre teemed with Mormon faithful and other members of the public including Lekoa Solly Mollo, South African High Commissioner to Uganda. Apostle Stevenson accompanied by his wife and other church delegates jetted in the country last week. He is visiting Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia.
It begins at home
Apostle Stevenson is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Also known as, elder Stevenson, he commended Uganda’s uniqueness in handling Christian matters.
“It lights our hearts to see many of our missionaries from different countries serving in Uganda. We thank Ugandans who take care of foreign missionaries in the communities they serve. It is a beautiful country for Christian work,” he said while addressing Mormon faithful on Sunday.
Elder Stevenson, urged Mormons to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to children.
“A new emphasis is to be home centred and church supported. We have a bigger responsibility to teach the gospel to children. The church should support the home. Homes are the primary place to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.
Fredrick Kamya, the president of the Kampala South Stake, the equivalent of a diocese, says elder Stevenson is on a pastoral visit to Uganda to find out how the Mormons in Uganda are doing.
He is assigned to the South- East Africa region comprising Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa and the islands of Madagascar and Seychelles.
Sam Odong, a member of church, says it was a special conference for him.
“It is my first time to see the apostle and he gave us encouraging words, especially on the plan of salvation that even if we die, we still have opportunity to live again. And when you follow the principles of the church, the gospel will change your life. We have strict discipline in our church.”
Their holy book
Mormon is a nickname derived from the book of Mormon which is used during prayers alongside the Bible.
According to a brochure titled: Basic Information on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Uganda and the world, “The book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. It works hand-in-hand with the Bible. What is contained in the book of Mormon are scriptures written by prophets who crossed from the land of Israel to The Americas.
The scattering of the 12 tribes led some tribes to move to America with their faith. The prophets received revelations from Jesus and wrote them down on gold plates. These texts have been passed over to generations of Mormon faithful.” It reads in part.
“The book does not replace or compete with the Bible, rather it goes hand-in-hand with the Bible to deepen our understanding of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Saviour of the World,” The brochure adds. The Mormons believe life does not end when they die because Jesus lived after death.
Role of men
The men hold the priesthood and each father is a priest in his family. He can baptise his children when they are eight years old and give them a name and a blessing when they are born. He can also give his wife and children special blessings of faith when they are sick or troubled.
Currently, there are approximately 160 Mormon missionaries in Uganda. Powell Lupaka, the ecclesiastical leader of the church in Kampala, said it is a historical and blessed event receiving one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ.
Kamya says the conference is held twice a year.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims over 15,000 members in Uganda scattered across the nation in 29 congregations. The church is governed by living prophets and apostles. It derives its mandate, from the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ during his mortal ministry 2000 years ago in Jerusalem.