LDS Church's 'front door' policy pays off in Africa

An LDS chapel and institute of religion are the only buildings left on a street in Abuja, Nigeria.

Other churches and businesses once occupied the area, but were razed over a four-year span for not complying with zoning laws.

The land is now mostly a national park, but the two Mormon structures remain.

"Why? Because we had all of the papers," said Elder Adesina J. Olukanni, Area Seventy and director of public affairs for the Africa West Area. "We went in through the front door."

That's the only way for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to enter African nations, Elder Olukanni and other presenters said Monday at the 21st annual conference of the International Society at BYU.

Going through the front door means following laws and respecting governments and cultures. The approach helped the church overcome obstacles in Ghana, and more recently helped establish a presence in Southern Sudan.

It would be easy to "plop down" in countries without following legal steps, says David Westerby, former area legal counsel for the church in Africa.

"But the Lord wants us to go in through the front door," he said. "It's for our own protection and our fullest blessings."

Read the rest of this story at deseret.com
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