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Seventy-three Baptized in Nigeria Makurdi District


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Seventy-three Baptized in Nigeria Makurdi District (Full article)

Not sure what to think of something like this. They were baptized but were they really converted or just going along with crowd and their friends and family?

"On 24 June 2023, the Makurdi Nigeria District of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held a baptismal service. Seventy-three individuals were baptized, the result of the combined efforts of a District Presidency, the full-time missionaries of the Nigeria Enugu Mission, and members who were anxiously engaged in sharing the gospel with their friends and neighbors."

 

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From the link: “Great miracles were recorded although the adversary fought back,” said Sister Iniembe Hembadoon Linda of the Makurdi District. “We overcame all our challenges by the power of the Holy Ghost, who actually led this great work.”

There are 5 wards in Makurdi which has a population of roughly 365,000.

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You should read Dale leBaron's book about what happened when he and another set of missionaries entered Africa in 1978.  They baptized 1000s over three or so months --- all well prepared, most of whom had been living the Gospel and attending meetings that looked alot like our own wards for years, using LDS materials sent by SLC for years.  

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2 hours ago, The Nehor said:

There can be a problem in tribal and clan type cultures where if the head joins a faith the rest follow. I know in some missions there is a problem with such leaders trying to negotiate bringing in their whole family.

A terrible tragedy, to be sure. Oh that all mankind may have 21st century western wisdom to stand as a city on a hill that cannot be hid.

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4 hours ago, Judd said:

A terrible tragedy, to be sure. Oh that all mankind may have 21st century western wisdom to stand as a city on a hill that cannot be hid.

I am sensing sarcasm.

I am mostly feeling sorrow for those who might be coerced to join due to familial pressure when they do not believe it or want it.

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12 hours ago, JAHS said:

Seventy-three Baptized in Nigeria Makurdi District (Full article)

Not sure what to think of something like this. They were baptized but were they really converted or just going along with crowd and their friends and family?

"On 24 June 2023, the Makurdi Nigeria District of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held a baptismal service. Seventy-three individuals were baptized, the result of the combined efforts of a District Presidency, the full-time missionaries of the Nigeria Enugu Mission, and members who were anxiously engaged in sharing the gospel with their friends and neighbors."

 

 

12 hours ago, The Nehor said:

There can be a problem in tribal and clan type cultures where if the head joins a faith the rest follow. I know in some missions there is a problem with such leaders trying to negotiate bringing in their whole family.

You have a lot of experience with these kinds of situations, do you?

9 hours ago, rpn said:

You should read Dale leBaron's book about what happened when he and another set of missionaries entered Africa in 1978.  They baptized 1000s over three or so months --- all well prepared, most of whom had been living the Gospel and attending meetings that looked alot like our own wards for years, using LDS materials sent by SLC for years.  

Dale LeBaron? I think you may have this confused with Brother to Brother, by Rendell Mabey, which tells the story of two missionary couples, who not long after the 1978 revelation on the priesthood, were sent to Nigeria in order to work with the self-organized LDS groups that had sprung up all over Nigeria and Ghana. 

The book tells about their experiences locating these groups, teaching them en masse, holding mass baptisms of hundreds of people, and teaching and calling local leaders from among the leaders who had originally organized these groups. In some cases, these people had organized entire districts of faux-Mormons! 

The OP describes a case of 73 people being baptized at once. Nice, but not a record-setter. From Mabey's book:

"The following day was fast Sunday, and sixty-seven more people were baptized, bringing the total number of new members since that previous afternoon to 187, We then organized the Eyo Branch, Cross River State District, and late that afternoon President Ime Eduok asked me to draft a legal paper that his attorney could file in Lagos, the Nigerian capital, to help strengthen Church recognition throughout that country…"

A photo from a similar event:

5XdkgI5.jpg

 

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An incident described in Brother to Brother, where the two missionary couples were driven in a taxi to a meetinghouse way out in the toolies that they had been told about. When they arrived, they observed that a number of people had just shortly before had been in the process of leaving the meetinghouse.

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Moments after leaving our taxi, we were greeted by several men in colorful native robes, clearly religious leaders of some kind. Foremost among them was a wiry little man who introduced himself as Evangelist B. J. Ekong, head of the so-called LDS churches in Isighe and several other villages of that general area, His eyes were alert, full of intense expectation, and he smiled radiantly as though the purpose of our visit had already been revealed. "How truly wonderful!" he exclaimed, and he began seizing our hands. "Praise be to the Lord! Welcome! welcome!"

We had anticipated a cordial welcome, certainly hoped for one, but nothing quite like this. For a moment it was hard to find an appropriate reply. "Well, we're very happy to be here," Ted said. "Looks as though you've just been holding a meeting of some kind. "

"Yes, yes indeed," came the reply. Those with him nodded, beaming as though they shared some marvelous secret. "We must go ring the bell and summon our people to return immediately!"

"Oh, I don't think that's necessary for the moment," I began, but the Evangelist was irrepressible; all of them were filled with the same explosive spirit.

"Ah, but you don't quite understand," he persisted. "We really must ring the bell! The members of this congregation have been waiting for years. They have just completed a twenty-four-hour fast, praying to the Lord that his missionaries would come."

It is impossible to articulate the feelings of that moment, but the bell itself seemed full of rejoicing, and within minutes of our arrival we were seated in positions of honor before a congregation of approximately seventy-five people. All of them, even the smallest infants, seemed to observe our every movement and expression with fascination, and the Evangelist B. J. Ekong arose to offer his welcome in English.

"We have awaited this glad day for many years," he said, speaking in tones of great humility and dignity. "Now, very suddenly and without notice…” He hesitated, eyes glistening. "Now, very suddenly, you are here among us. You are here to bring that light and knowledge we so greatly desire and to show us the paths we must follow." He then turned to us more fully, making a slight bow and sweeping gesture with one hand. "For such a blessing we must thank our Father in Heaven everlastingly. Welcome, beloved and honored friends — welcome and welcome!"

Quote

At the Conclusion of our remarks, various leaders from among the gathering arose to add their welcome and to ask questions, The heat was intense, and the entire congregation was seated on crude wooden benches, but no one wanted to leave. Above all else, they desired assurance that we had not come as mere birds of passage, that never again would they be left in the wilderness, comfortless and alone. "In time past,' an old man said, "a member or two of your religion have appeared among us, but only for a fleeting moment. They brought us greetings in one breath and said farewell with the next. We were tempted with the truth only to have it snatched away again, No one returned, and our letters to Salt Lake City received little reply." His eyes smoldered, but the fire was quenched with tears. "Will it also be the same with you?" 

I shook my head, finding it difficult to respond, "We can appreciate your feelings," I said, "and greatly regret that you have been kept waiting so long. It must have been a terrible frustration, but God has many ways of testing the faithful, and perhaps this has been one of them." I went on to explain that with the vast number of people in the world still waiting to hear our message, even the present 26,000 missionaries, nearly all of them self-supporting, were far from enough. "Many of them," I added, "must leave their jobs and professions in the hands of others as we have, but your prayers have been answered." 

"Yes," Ted agreed. "This is the beginning. The restored gospel has come to Black Africa." 
 

The reason why the Church had sent these missionaries, Rendell and Rachel Mabey, and Ted and Janath Cannon, to Nigeria and Ghana, was because over the years there had been springing up a large number of congregations of people calling themselves after the name of the Church, who had been requesting that the church send them missionaries to organize them officially. And after 1978 this became possible.

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On 7/21/2023 at 6:15 AM, MiserereNobis said:

1*2GsYiMTwXl7DlLDssTX13Q.gif

Never would I mock a Catholic baptism, sacrament, or other sacred event.

Edited by Kenngo1969
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4 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Never would I mock a Catholic baptism, sacrament, or other sacred evient.

I don't think the scene is mocking baptism, but rather that particular characters understanding of baptism.  The person performing the baptisms as well as those being baptized seem to have a reverent attitude toward what is going on.  Tim Blake Nelson's character and his beliefs are what is being made fun of.

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On 7/21/2023 at 5:51 AM, Stargazer said:

You have a lot of experience with these kinds of situations, do you?

I have people I trust who have told me about them and have occasionally been involved with dealing with some fallout from them.

Edited by The Nehor
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8 hours ago, The Nehor said:

I have people I trust who have told me about them and have occasionally been involved with dealing with some fallout from them.

Thanks! 

I don't doubt that there's elements of social pressure involved in some of these mass baptisms. History tells us that in "olden times" when missionaries converted the rulers of lands, there followed a rush by many to do what the ruler had done, regardless of actual belief. I'm sure that this happens on a smaller scale in modern times, for example, when missionaries teach a family with children, that the parents might pressure them to join the church along with the family, before the children are really ready. 

We even see mass baptisms in the New Testament, when Phillip preaches the gospel in Samaria, he ends up baptizing an entire group. Some of these folks may have been swept up in the enthusiasm and were less committed than they should have been. The case of Simon Magus comes to mind, though he seemed to be converted, if ignorant about how things were supposed to work.

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2 hours ago, Stargazer said:

Thanks! 

I don't doubt that there's elements of social pressure involved in some of these mass baptisms. History tells us that in "olden times" when missionaries converted the rulers of lands, there followed a rush by many to do what the ruler had done, regardless of actual belief. I'm sure that this happens on a smaller scale in modern times, for example, when missionaries teach a family with children, that the parents might pressure them to join the church along with the family, before the children are really ready. 

We even see mass baptisms in the New Testament, when Phillip preaches the gospel in Samaria, he ends up baptizing an entire group. Some of these folks may have been swept up in the enthusiasm and were less committed than they should have been. The case of Simon Magus comes to mind, though he seemed to be converted, if ignorant about how things were supposed to work.

In many cases there was less of a rush to follow what the ruler had done and more of a compulsion to follow.

The idea that people can choose their faith is not common through most of history. It does make me wonder what God was thinking when he set up the parameters of this test.

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1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

In many cases there was less of a rush to follow what the ruler had done and more of a compulsion to follow.

Yes, there was that, too. But some would convert voluntarily in order to stay in the ruler's good graces.

1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

The idea that people can choose their faith is not common through most of history. It does make me wonder what God was thinking when he set up the parameters of this test.

With something like 90% of humans being born into times and places where the full gospel was unavailable, I suspect that the test relies upon how people act with whatever truth they are given. Most humans will first encounter the gospel in the Spirit World.

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On 7/20/2023 at 6:07 PM, The Nehor said:

There can be a problem in tribal and clan type cultures where if the head joins a faith the rest follow. I know in some missions there is a problem with such leaders trying to negotiate bringing in their whole family.

That's not a problem. Christendom historically converted entire societies. In Iceland, where I was just at, they converted tribal chiefs first. Only Protestants (and now Mormons who follow them) baptize individuals.

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4 hours ago, ksfisher said:

I'm sure you'll have the opportunity to set Him straight one day.

Yeah, I already added it to the list.

5 hours ago, Couganova said:

That's not a problem. Christendom historically converted entire societies. In Iceland, where I was just at, they converted tribal chiefs first. Only Protestants (and now Mormons who follow them) baptize individuals.

It is a bit of a problem doctrinally in this case.

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