1987
BYU Hosts Conference on Religion in Africa
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“BYU Hosts Conference on Religion in Africa,” Ensign, Feb. 1987, 78

BYU Hosts Conference on Religion in Africa

Religious scholars from more than twenty universities in the United States, Europe, and Africa gathered at Brigham Young University October 21–26 for a conference on religion in Africa.

Keynote speaker at the conference on October 22 was Elder John K. Carmack of the First Quorum of the Seventy who delivered a “Message for the People of Africa” on behalf of Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Quorum of the Twelve. He called attention to the growing interest in the world in African affairs.

“Interest and pride in Africa has been particularly poignant among our American Africans,” he said. “They have a religious heritage that is deeply spiritual and meaningful.”

Elder Carmack described a thirst for modernization, for education, and for western technology and customs among the peoples of Africa.

“We hope that they will keep their spiritual roots, their religious nature, and ties with all that is good, such as a reverence for the bounties of nature, for family, for friendships,” Elder Carmack said.

Other speakers noted the contributions of various denominations in bringing Christianity to a continent with more than five hundred million people who represent two thousand distinctive societies and speak some eight hundred different languages.

One of the missionary success stories was described by Emmanuel A. Kissi, a district president for the Church and an instructor at the University of Ghana. President Kissi, a physician, noted there are now more than four thousand members of the Church in six branches in urban Accra, Ghana’s capital, and others in rural areas.

“In Ghana, the mission president is overwhelmed with letters from villages and towns asking for the Church to bring the gospel to them,” President Kissi said.

“The field is certainly ready for the harvest and those who put in their sickle will bring joy to many,” he noted. “They are thirsting for the fullness of the gospel.”

Correspondent: Alf Pratte is an associate professor of communication at Brigham Young University.

The Johannesburg South Africa Temple serves the growing number of Church members in Africa. (Photo by Marjorie E. Woods.)