Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, as part of his visit to Africa West Area provided training to Priesthood leaders and their wives in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The Priesthood leaders from Aba, Calabar and Enugu coordinating councils, including mission presidents and area seventies all gathered to hear and learn from the Apostle. Elder Bednar and his wife were accompanied by Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife.
The leadership conference is recorded to be one of the most attended programs of the Church in Nigeria.
Elder Bednar taught the saints in Nigeria the true principles involved in “hastening the work of salvation.” In his training he taught that “If you only do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always got.” So, leaders should always try and do things differently to get different results in hastening the work. He emphasized the doctrine of agency as he lifted up a sheet of paper and stated that the paper is an object and therefore not act, but could be acted upon. We, however, are the children of God, and therefore, we are not objects. We are to act and not to be acted upon. Agency is the capacity to act and not to be acted upon, and faith is a principle of action. If we apply these principles in our daily activities as Latter-Day Saints, we will succeed in our spiritual and temporal responsibilities.
Bishop Williams Neal Nelson, (Ogbunabali 1st Ward, Port Harcourt Stake) attended the meeting and shared this insight, “In the history of the scriptures, whenever the Lord sends his representative to a particular people, it is either to warn them of their reluctance to keeping his commandments or it is because of their faithfulness in keeping His commandments. Elder Bednar has reminded me of the importance of reading the Book of Mormon and the importance of the Atonement.”
The visit of the Apostle is a landmark event that has strengthened testimonies of the truthfulness of the Gospel. He clarified some basic issues such as the missionary work and hastening the work of salvation to the minds of the leaders. Attendee Bishop Ike Ansilem, (Rumuogba Ward of Port Harcourt East Stake) testified of the edification of the training saying, “I have known through Elder Bednar’s teaching that we need to do more. He impressed upon our minds that we need to act on what we have been taught.”
In a special Sunday meeting organized for the members in the three Port Harcourt stakes, Elder Bednar committed everyone to buy a simple soft copy of the Book of Mormon and begin to read. He encouraged them to read it from cover to cover, over and over and assured them that the witness of the Holy Ghost would always be there to manifest the truth of the Book of Mormon.