Elder Edward Dube: Can You Imagine?
"Can you imagine"—these three words, found in Alma 5, were used many times by Elder Edward Dube in this week’s podcast. But what do these words mean in our lives? From our approach in sharing the Book of Mormon to how we participate in family reunions, Elder Dube invites us to imagine how we, as disciples of Jesus Christ, could improve the little things and better appreciate the blessings of the gospel.
To find true happiness requires us to place our faith and total commitment on the Lord Jesus Christ—to fully do His will.
General Conference talks given by Elder Dube:
Elder Dube's Book:
Elder Edward Dube grew up in rural Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia), against the backdrop of civil war. From humble beginnings, he worked hard in the fields, walked miles for water, and sacrificed for the privilege of education. There, in Silobela, his mother would sometimes gather her children and teach them in the shade of the mango trees near their home. But we can't learn everything we need to know if we stay in the comfort of a tree's shade.
Beyond the Shade of the Mango Tree shows us how our Heavenly Father speaks to and magnifies His children who turn to Him. Elder Dube's story is in some ways the same as many of God's children's, but in other ways his experiences are vastly different. From growing up in war-torn Zimbabwe, where he discovered the gospel at age twenty-two, to his Church leadership experiences in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Nigeria, and the United States, Elder Dube's stories and insights offer fresh perspectives on core gospel teachings. Through Elder Dube's own personal experiences along with teachings of latter-day prophets and the scriptures, Beyond the Shade of the Mango Tree teaches us that we can come to see ourselves as the Lord sees us—His beloved children, with the potential to become like Him.
3:30- A Temple in Zimbabwe
5:49- Elder Dube’s Mother
8:27- Childhood in the Catholic Church and Falling Away
12:37- To Parents of the Rising Generation
14:28- Studying the Gospel of Jesus Christ
18:21- Helping Others Open the Book of Mormon
23:05- A Nudge to Get Married from a Living Prophet
26:05- A Universally Applicable Gospel
28:26- Special Witnesses of Jesus Christ
31:05- Traditions—Letting Go of Some and Embracing Others
34:35- A Love for the Lord—More Than Going to Church
39:45- The Lord’s Promises in the Sacrament
44:11- Going Beyond the Things that Hold Us Back
48:04- What Does It Mean To Be All In the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Morgan Jones 0:00
I recently sat in a Sacrament meeting where a young teenage girl told the story Elder Edward Dube shared in his most recent general conference address. Elder Dube recalled, "In 2012 as I walked for the first time into the general conference leadership meeting, I could not help feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. In my mind, there was a voice persistently repeating, "You do not belong here, a serious mistake has been made,'" end quote.
The teenage girl in my ward shared that she often feels similar feelings of inadequacy, and knowing that Elder Dube felt the same way made her feel that she was not alone. Elder Dube went on to tell of how Elder Jeffrey R. Holland made him feel welcomed and at peace in that leadership meeting. But I think as you listen to this interview, you will feel the same way I felt as I sat with Elder Dube–his calling as a general authority is no mistake.
Elder Edward Dube was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 2013. At the time of his call, he had been serving as a member of the third Quorum of the Seventy in the Africa southeast area. He is currently serving as the first counselor in the Africa South area presidency.
This is All In, an LDS Living podcast where we ask the question, what does it really mean to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I'm Morgan Jones, and I am so honored to have Elder Edward Dube with me today, Elder Dube, welcome.
Elder Edward Dube 1:37
Thank you. Thank you, Morgan.
Morgan Jones 1:38
This is such a treat for me. And I have to tell you, I've been looking forward to it. I think we've had this on the calendar for a couple of months, and I've been looking forward to it the entire time, so thank you so much for taking time out of your trip to be here with us. And I'm excited about this discussion.
Elder Edward Dube 1:56
Thank you, I appreciate the privilege.
Morgan Jones 1:58
Perfect. Well, as we get started, I just wondered, the name of your book is a little bit unique, and it may not be something that right off the bat people know what it means. So tell us a little bit about what Beyond the Shade of the Mango Tree means to you.
Elder Edward Dube 2:13
You know, I was raised in the village in Silobela, where we use the mango trees not only for fruits, but for shade. I mean to–and we will sit there, and we have some great conversations with my mother and my parents. So I–it dawned on me, I was in a youth devotional, and I was teaching from Alma chapter 35. And then I say to the youth there, I said, “You know, I'm just imagining here, Alma and Helaman sitting under a mango tree.” And so years later, I mean, these thoughts came as we were, you know, trying to find a, you know, topic for the book.
Morgan Jones 3:13
Yeah, I think it's so cool. I love that it ties in your heritage to what you're trying to communicate in the book. So today, we're going to talk a little bit about everything that you kind of outline in the book. But let's start with, I think Zimbabwe–where you grew up Elder Dube–is somewhere that most of us can only imagine, we've never been there. So tell us a little bit for those of us that may never make it to Zimbabwe, tell us what we should know about the country that you grew up in?
Elder Edward Dube 3:46
Well, Zimbabwe is landlocked in Africa. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the west, and southwest, Zambia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east and north east. It has a population of 15 million people, with two main tribes being Shona and the Ndebele. It is also known of its diverse wildlife. Much of it is within parks, reserves and safari areas. We currently have a total membership of 34,000, two missions, and a temple under construction, eight stakes and a district. At the moment we have a great number of young people serving missions from Zimbabwe.
Morgan Jones 4:37
Elder Edward Dube 4:38
So it's really growing well.
Morgan Jones 4:39
Well, I love how when you said that there's a temple under construction, your eyes kind of lit up. Tell me what that means for your country to have a temple under construction.
Elder Edward Dube 4:51
Oh, I tell you, it's really a great blessing–really great blessing to the people. It's amazing how people just want to drive by to just see the construction going on. It's going to bless a number of our people. We traveled–for many years–we traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa, which is about 12 to 18 hours, depending on the immigration officials, sometimes you know, you just there for longer. And so that travel for the Zimbabweans to Johannesburg, South Africa temple has really been a great blessing to us, and I mean, to those who have done that sacrifice, so to have the temple in our country right there–oh, it's a great blessing to them.
Morgan Jones 5:48
Incredible. So one thing that stood out to me, Elder Dube–and it's funny because it stood out even before I started reading your book–when I heard your conference talk in this past general conference, you talked about your mom, and I thought that's so interesting, because when he gave his first conference talk, you talked about your mom. And throughout Under the Shade of the Mango Tree, you talk over and over again about your mother and about her influence on you. And so I wondered if you could also give us a little bit of insight–before we get going–about your mom and the type of woman that she was, and why she has such an incredible influence on your life.
Elder Edward Dube 6:31
Oh, my mother was a very kind, loving person. She always looked for opportunities to serve others. Although we were poor, mother would always share what she had. She reached out to the community and . . . and just so special. An incident I can relate is when my father was working out, you know, there in Harare, went hunting with his bosses, and they had dried meat, they save their dried meat and my father brought these bags of dried meat. And my mother took this meat and she was sharing in the village, she will give to me and my sister and say, “Go and give this family this much.” And my sister and I were not happy. We're not excited, so grudgingly we just will take the, you know, meat and almost like throwing to the neighbors because we're not happy to do that.
But my mother was such a person who would want to share whatever she had. And she not only had a great impact in me, but really to all my siblings as well. They, they all are doing their different things, but you know, we have one thing for sure, when we think of honest integrity, I can look at my siblings, and say the things they do is really all from my mother's teachings.
Morgan Jones 8:15
So impressive. So Elder Dube, let's talk a bit, if it's okay with you, about your faith background. You were raised in the Catholic Church, and then in the book, I think it's sweet–and maybe this is a good place to start–you talk about how you fell away from the Catholic Church and you kind of give a message of hope to anybody whose child has fallen away from their faith, whether it be our faith or a different faith. Tell me a little bit about that, about your upbringing in the Catholic Church and then kind of that falling away, and then what would be your message to parents whose children are kind of not following the faith tradition that they've tried to raise them in?
Elder Edward Dube 9:01
Well, I'm truly grateful that I had that privilege, you know, to be raised in a Catholic Church. I share of course, in the book, my experience when I was 10 years old, when I was sitting in this building–chapel. As I was sitting in this chapel, there were images of the Savior pasted on the walls, right from, you would see His birth, His teaching in the temple, you know, He is suffering and carrying that cross. You know, the thorns that, you know, the images were so big, I mean they made those thorns, so vivid, so big, that, you know, seeing those thorns right in the flesh, in his head in the Savior, Jesus Christ's head, and then seeing him carrying the cross, you know, I would just start . . . crying. Say, you know, why would they do such a thing to a good person like the Savior?
It was at that moment when the priest–we called them "father"–when he came to me, and tapped my shoulder and said, "Each time you're doing something wrong, you're hurting Him.” And that really shaped me, that helped change my life. When I was out there, you know, I'll always think of that. If I'm doing something wrong, I'm hurting the Savior. But the way–there came a time when I lost interest in the church, and I stayed away from the church when I was living by my own in the city.
And so when I think of that, I wish I'd stayed in the church. You know, I lost so much, you know, during that time, during those seven years, I lost so much. I love the rising generation. I love the young adults. Whenever I am assigned to a stake conference, I would always inquire from the stake president if there was a way I could reach out, you know, to this precious group, with in-person ministering or through devotionals.
One thing though, I should say to them–I think of Amulek's words, when he said, "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God. Yea behold, the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." You know, I think as a young adult, you may think you have all this time to yourself, but really, setting goals is very essential. You know, I regret that I didn't do that.
Present M. Russell Ballard observed, "I'm so thoroughly convinced that if we don't set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential." Parents, you know, parents need to spend quality time with their children and be on their level. Taking a genuine interest in them is the key. Be the friend of your children's friends.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, talking about the rising generation said, "Millennials tend to reject hierarchies. They are not reluctant to challenge authority. For them, respect comes from interaction and relationship rather than titles. They have less trust in traditional institutions, including government, business, media, and religion than previous generations do. Instead, they trust their peers and seek peer validation." That's why it's important for parents to be the friends of their children's friends. So that they can be you know on their level.
Morgan Jones 13:42
Elder Edward Dube 13:44
We of course do the best we can, and if they choose otherwise, we just need to remember that they also have a loving Father in Heaven who loves and knows them. We should never give up on them. The Savior, you know, said to us in Third Nephi, chapter 18 verse 32, "For unto such ye shall continue to minister, for you know not but what they should they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them, and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them."
Morgan Jones 14:26
So beautiful. Thank you so much. I want to touch on something before we get too much further. Elder Dube, I am so impressed–as I read the book and now listening to you–how well you know the scriptures and the words of living prophets. Tell me, especially as–how long ago, how many years has it been since you initially joined the church?
Elder Edward Dube 14:52
I joined the church in 1984.
Morgan Jones 14:54
Elder Edward Dube 14:55
So let's see . . . thirty . . . well I need to do my maths correctly? Yeah–
Morgan Jones 15:03
I think that'd be like 37 years, right?
Elder Edward Dube 15:05
37 years, yeah.
Morgan Jones 15:05
Okay, I added five years on to my life. So that's how I knew.
Elder Edward Dube 15:09
Morgan Jones 15:10
So I think that this is so amazing, because technically, in church years, you're not much older than me, if that makes sense, meaning–I've had 32 years of life, you've had 37 years in the church, you know the gospel so well, and it's apparent in the way that you write, it's apparent in the way that you speak. How would you say that you have come to know the words of living prophets and the words of the scriptures so, so thoroughly?
Elder Edward Dube 15:39
Well, it's really studying. It's studying, I am truly grateful for my mission experience, you know, where they give you a desk and you're allocated time, so you're studying the scriptures, on certain time, certain place, and so forth. And so when I finished my mission, I continued with that trend, you know, where I would just start my scriptures, you know, every day. Today, I read the Book of Mormon, from 5 to 5:15 each day–same place, same time. And, of course, when I'm traveling, the place may be different, but I, you know, I just study, you know.
And I have seen that by so doing, that had helped me, sometimes when I go to a question and answer session, you know, I can answer the questions through the scriptures. Because, you know, I've taken time, you know, to study them. And I think it happens to anyone, all we need to do is just invest that time, and yeah.
Morgan Jones 17:06
Absolutely. I love what you said about your mission. I remember when I was on, when I was going on my mission, my grandma–who's a convert to the Church–she said, "Take advantage of this time, because there will never be another time in your life where nothing else is as important as studying the gospel." And I don't even know how she knew that.
Elder Edward Dube 17:29
You know, Morgan, when you say that, and Sister Anna Lynn Bateman, you know, the wife of our mission president said this to us, she said, "You know, you need to take this time seriously. You need to take that one hour of personal study very seriously." And then she said, "This is the only time you will have in your life where you would study without interference, where you will study without worrying for college, without worrying to–you know, your focus is right there," you know.
Morgan Jones 18:03
Right, absolutely. And I think that sometimes I think we take that opportunity for granted, right? And it does. It shapes your missionary service, it shapes the way that the rest of your day goes when you start with personal study, but I also think it shapes your whole life afterwards, so I love that.
Elder Dube, I so appreciate the dedication that you have put into sharing some of your life's lessons and some of the things that you have found to be helpful in your life. In this book, you talk about how you first came in contact with the Church while working for a member of the Church. And he gave you a Book of Mormon, and initially you said, you know, you accepted it, because you didn't want to lose your job. And he would ask you, "Have you read the book?" And you were like, "I didn't want to lose my job." But tell me about what it was that caused you eventually to open the book? And what was it about opening the book that then opened your heart to the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Elder Edward Dube 19:09
You know, when I, you know, when I think of, you know, taking two years without opening the book, you know, I mean, if you think of that, just think of–I mean look at the contrast. Brigham Young spent two years studying the Book of Mormon, and, you know, learning about the Church before he was baptized. So, I mean to think of–when you look at that, I mean you see here, Brigham Young–an intellectual. And then you see here where I took two years without even opening the book, I mean, just looking at the book for two years. Can you see the difference here Morgan? Look, intellectual on the other end, and here, an idiot! I mean–
Morgan Jones 20:00
Oh, no that is not true.
Elder Edward Dube 20:05
So, you know, when you look at that you say, wow. However, you know, he's, you know, can you imagine? You know, I'm grateful that at least he gave me the book, but he gave me after he had related the experiences from the Old Testament, we're talking about wars, and so he related the wars in the Old Testament, and then give me a Book of Mormon. Can you imagine? If at least he had shared the experiences from the Book of Mormon? They wars in the Book of Mormon? I probably would have read the Book of Mormon that very evening.
I think–I think to most of us, we give out the Book of Mormon, missionaries do that a lot where they mark, they say, "Okay, we've got some markings and so forth, you know, go ahead and read this."
Morgan Jones 21:05
Elder Edward Dube 21:05
But can we imagine if you share something in the Book of Mormon, so what really touched me when I read the Book of Mormon was the service, the appearance to the Nephites. We had gone through turmoil and wars, thinking of our own war in Zimbabwe–this was just three years after we had attained our independence from Britain. I knew some people who didn't make it. Some were maimed for life.
And so as I was reading, I felt as though the Savior, Jesus Christ, was reaching out to me. His words, when He said, "Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands, and in my feet, that you may know that I'm the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth and have been slain for the sins of the world." At that moment I felt the Savior's love and concern for me. I wanted more than anything, to follow Him, and that touched me and changed me.
Morgan Jones 22:40
I love that suggestion, Elder Dube, and I think that it's something that those that are listening–and certainly myself–we can take away from this conversation is that when we share the Book of Mormon, we should share what's in it, and why it means something to us, or why we think that it would mean something to the person that we're giving it to. And that that could perhaps cause them to open the book a little bit quicker. Thank you so much for sharing that.
I want to talk a bit about in the book, you write about the inspiration and revelation through a living prophet that led you to marry your wife. And I thought that this was so neat. And I wondered if you would be willing to share a little bit about that, and then we'll transition–I do have kind of a follow-up question to that, but let's start there.
Elder Edward Dube 23:34
Well, in Africa, the challenges we have is to help most of our young adults move from the traditions which our forefathers had. You know, be it that marriage is when you're about 30, you know, that's really when you think you're old enough to marry. You need to work and do certain things and so forth, and then get to that stage where you say, "Well," you know, and so when I got off my mission, and you know, that was what I thought.
I knew Naume and I loved each other, I loved Naume and I just didn't think I was ready to marry her. So when I read President Ezra Taft Benson's words talking about those who were 27 were old actually, I mean–can you imagine? I'm 27 years old, and I'm reading exactly those words, you know, where the Prophet is raising concerns about those who are 27 years old.
And, and even after reading that, even after reading that, you know, I still doubted. You know, I still say, "Oh, no. No. This doesn't apply to us. I'm sure he's talking to those in North America and maybe some parts of the world, not here, because you know, we just have a different situation." I still had doubt. So I really felt the tender mercies of Heavenly Father. I mean, just to think I just read the article and my branch president calls me in his office and he said, "Eddie, you realize you're getting old,” and missionary is reading and he's, you know, putting in some marking and you know, leaving it where I could look at–and in all that I . . . you know, I guess even Heavenly Father saying, "Well, he doesn't listen, let's see if I can give him all these, you know, visual aids and help," and so forth, and finally I got it. You know, I got it on that conversation with my Branch President, John Newbold, and I just felt "Yes. Yes, I can do it."
Morgan Jones 26:03
Amazing. I wondered too, kind of as a follow-up to that, Elder Dube, you mentioned that you thought maybe that this applies to people in North America, but maybe it doesn't apply to me here in Africa. So tell me about what you've learned about the ability of the gospel of Jesus Christ to apply to people everywhere?
Elder Edward Dube 26:30
Well, I've learnt that the Lord speaks through his servants–the prophets, seers and revelators–to all his children in every nation and age. His words are for everyone, regardless of our situations or circumstances, you know, He speaks to us. I've also learned that the 15 men we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators–they are prophets, seers and revelators. Their lives are dedicated to serving the Lord.
They . . . I say they don't have a life–I mean, just watching those who have gone before us–I had the privilege to be here on the last days of President Monson, and you know, I had opportunity to interact with President Packer and Elder L. Tom Perry, I had the privilege to accompany him on the Stake Conference, Stake reorganization in Orem, Utah. And I mean, just to feel how they feel, I mean, about the Savior, Jesus Christ, I felt the love of the Savior, Jesus Christ, to humankind, through this man. They . . . they love the Savior, and they love us. They love people out there. And they just dedicated their lives to do that. And so they study, they prepare, they prepare themselves so well, to know and to seek the will of the Lord.
Morgan Jones 28:26
So now, Elder Dube, you have the opportunity to be a general authority in the Church. And I wonder, you know, having that kind of respect for those that have been called to share this message with the world, what does that calling mean to you? And what is the significance of it?
Elder Edward Dube 28:46
As a special witness of Jesus Christ, I teach and testify of Jesus Christ. I act in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Twelve, in building up the Church and regulating all the affairs of the same in all nations. I'm humbled by such a privilege to save and, and to just follow the counsel of these great men–15 men–as they point me, and all of us, to the Savior, Jesus Christ.
So I love what I'm doing. I love the brethren, I love the brothers and sisters throughout–you just get that connection. You just get . . . you know, I don't know whether this comes with the calling or what, but I just, I just have that great love. Wherever I've served, I enjoyed my service here, when I spent three years in Church Headquarters, and, you know, traveling throughout United States in different areas meeting wonderful, wonderful brothers and sisters, you know, across and you just feel that love, that brotherhood, that, you know, sisterhood.
Morgan Jones 30:28
Definitely. And I think that's kind of one of the beautiful things about being a member of the church is that opportunity to know that no matter where you go, you have a family. And I think that's something that–I grew up across the country from Utah and here have found family. And I don't think that's something that, that we can appreciate too much. So, thank you so much for highlighting that.
I want to make sure that we touch on a couple of things that really stood out to me in the book. You tell a story about letting go of some cultural traditions, and you kind of highlight the idea that sometimes being a member of the Church means letting go of some of the things that we may have grown up with–traditions or customs–and instead embracing gospel traditions. And I would imagine that, that your culture has some pretty specific traditions, so I wondered if you could give us some examples of traditions that you maybe had to let go of, and then gospel traditions that you have learned to embrace.
Elder Edward Dube 31:40
You know, when you say that, Morgan, I just think of my early experience. When we just got married with Naume, we were out visiting with my mother in the village, I went and stood by my mother, who was sifting some ground nuts. And as I was standing by her, Naume came, and she came and stood by me. And then Naume held my hand. And I kind of brushed her hand gently aside. And, you know, she held my hand again. And I gently slide, you know, sliding it aside. In my mind, I was saying, "I never saw mom and dad holding hands," you know, and so I was uncomfortable. And, you know, Naume stood there, and, you know, holding hands. And, and so that was strange for me.
And I mean, and I'm truly grateful that Naume helped me to overcome that. To love and to embrace each other is really the key. So you express . . . you're not only embracing each other, you express love for each other, and so forth. And what that does is strengthens your love for each other, but also it binds you together. And so that was one of the traditions, if you were, if you were to come to Zimbabwe, in early, you know, I'm saying this–I know the couples who have served there, in Zimbabwe in early 90s, they would–you would go into a chapel, you would see men sitting on the other side and women sitting on the other side. You know, that's the tradition.
Morgan Jones 33:54
Elder Edward Dube 33:54
You know? But over the years with the rising generation, our returned missionaries, you know, taking leadership in the Church, you know, serving as Bishop, Stake presidents, we see a different culture now, where they're not only sitting together, but they’re holding hands, they’re sitting as couples and so forth. And so yeah, so that's, you know, that's one of the cultures which we had to work hard to make sure we overcame.
Morgan Jones 34:32
So fascinating. So, Elder Dube, I want to ask you before we get–so I want to kind of transition into some more Christ-centered questions here toward the end, but before we get too far into that, we talked about your mom initially, and I said that I thought it was interesting to note that you've talked about your mom in multiple conference talks–in both of your conference talks–and then in this book. And I noticed that your mom never joined the Church. In fact, she joined the Methodist Church, you said, later in her life, so she converted from Catholicism to the Methodist Church. But still, it seems that she remains one of the greatest influences on your faith. So tell me how that works.
Elder Edward Dube 35:25
I was a poor missionary, don't you think? I mean, I could have, I had all the–
Morgan Jones 35:29
I doubt that was the problem.
Elder Edward Dube 35:32
You know, I had all the opportunities and so forth. Well, I must say my mother lived in the village, there was no church, and the church in Zimbabwe is established in the cities.
I would think that if she was, you know, she might have joined the Church, you know. I know she is now, I mean, but, but let me just say, mother loved and respected the Lord. And I think that's what matters most. The love we have for the Lord. I say to young couples, I say, "Going to Church is okay with your children. But you need to do more. You need to help your children feel what the Lord means to you. They need to feel that. It's not going to Church only."
Maybe–I don't know if you have time for this, but I had a situation, we were ministering some parts here in the southern part of the United States with a stake president. And we visited with this brother. This brother was in separation with his wife, as we visited with him, you know, ministering to him, he said that he was very concerned that his wife was not active in the Church. His wife was not, you know, living the Church principles. They had taken custody–sharing the time with the children, that he was concerned that they will learn some things which would take them away from the Gospel, when they are with her.
I also learned before we got to this brother, that he had gone to the bishop and asked to be released from his calling, because he was now a single parent, and he had some way to do the job and raising children. So he thought to be released to be helpful. So I then say to this brother, I said, "You know, I think that doesn't matter whether they, whatever they learn from their mother. I think what matters is what they will feel when they are with you. If they can feel that you really love the Lord," you know, "that's what matters, the spirit will testify to them what is right."
Then I say to him, I said, you know, I said, "Well, you don't seem to be doing this very well by you know, asking the Lord to release you from a calling." I said this, "You're just becoming a church-goer, that's not enough." You know, "The bishop knows and the Lord knows, through the bishop, he knows whether you need to be released or not, you cannot ask to be released." And anyway, from that conversation, he said, "Well, of course, I'm repenting to do, I'm going to talk to my bishop."
But really, you know, going back to my mother, she of course missed out, you know, I can say that, you know, she . . . although she had respect for love and respect for God, that was not enough. In fearing God, that was not enough. She missed out on the covenants and ordinances of the gospel. Also, because my mother did not have the privilege to be a member of the Church, she had her own weaknesses as well. I shared this part in chapter twelve, regarding the amulet necklace she wanted to give to our daughter, Rose, and so she clinged on some of those traditions, and so forth. So, yeah, you know, I wish I was a better missionary.
Morgan Jones 39:37
I'm sure you were a great missionary. And like you said, I'm sure that she–I'm sure that she was very proud of you. I want to make sure that we talk about chapter seven. So in chapter seven of the book, you talk about partaking of the sacrament and the importance of that ordinance, and I wondered if you could share why that chapter is so important to you and why you're passionate about our ability to partake of the emblems of the sacrament.
Elder Edward Dube 40:12
Most of us have been at the bedside of a dear loved one, right?
Morgan Jones 40:16
Elder Edward Dube 40:17
Well, can you agree that most of us have had that privilege, you know, who is about to pass on the other side of the veil. We have longed to hear those last words, or acts or whatever they do, whether it's lifting a hand, or what they do, we longed for that. To imagine that the Savior, knowing that he was about to suffer and depart from this mortal life, and he had one more task to do. And that task was the sacrament.
That's very humbling for me to imagine that. You know, with the firm but emotional voice, the Savior said to his disciples, "With faith, I desire, I have desired to eat this Passover with you, before I suffer," it's recorded in Luke chapter 22. And then He blessed the sacrament and passed on to His disciples. I could imagine those disciples as they were holding that piece of bread, looking into the eyes of the Savior, Jesus Christ, knowing very well that this was, this was that . . . I could imagine how they felt.
So I love the opportunity to partake of the sacrament. I like to sit in the chapel at least five minutes before sacrament meeting begins. And just think of the Savior and His Atonement for me. I also like to carry with me a little pad with a question or some things which I'm struggling with, you know, I just write down and in most situations, it's either through a speaker, you know, I get some inspiration. Or some time when I'm going home or that evening at home, I get some inspiration as to what I was struggling with.
So I know that the Lord's promise is real. When He visited the saints in the Western Hemisphere, when He said–as recorded in Third Nephi, Chapter 18–He said that, "And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you, and it shall be a testimony unto the Father, that ye do always remember me. And if you do always remember me, you shall have my spirit to be with you." I am truly grateful to have the spirit with me. So it's Sunday I look forward for it. It's a renewal for me.
Morgan Jones 43:35
So well said, thank you so much for sharing those things. I noticed that in the book, you talk about how the Savior–and I think before I get there, I think it's really sweet Elder Dube to think about the story that you told when you were a 10-year-old, and sitting there and thinking about the Savior's sacrifice, and I think really, you know, that is what we're supposed to do during the sacrament, is think about the sacrifice that's been made for us, and I love thinking that you still sit there and think about those things. You've talked about how the Savior helped you move out from under the shade of the mango tree. Talk to me a little bit about that.
Elder Edward Dube 44:21
Well, to me, the words of Ether in Ether chapter 12, verse 27, ring true. And "If men come unto me, I'll show them their weaknesses. I give unto men weaknesses that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me. For if they humble themselves before me and they have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." Notice here the invitation is to come unto the Savior. Not an organization or a program, but unto the Savior.
For me, what this means is to learn of Him. Strive each day to keep the commandments and acquire His attributes, as I find ways to lift my brothers and sisters and those I come in contact with. So, for me is letting go of some things which may be holding me back.
You know, I think in every age in every way–I know I was sharing with you the, you know, the cultures in Africa. But here, you know, we develop some cultures sometimes I think we may just want to be out doing some things which we really don't put the Savior, you know, as the center of, you know, our lives.
Can you imagine if you out there in a family reunion–which families, I love what I see. I mean, those family reunions out camping, can imagine if you, you know, ask permission from the bishop or whatever arrangement is made, that in the midst of all this play, and so forth, you still have time that you know, you can, you know, on a Sunday, bless and partake the sacrament, even to those children or grandchildren who have gone there, you know, who left the Church, you know, they'll feel the Lord's love, even for that moment. And that's what makes the difference.
Sometimes I think we . . . we, you know, we say, "Well, we have so-and-so here who is not comfortable about the Church, we have so-and-so, so we really don't want to offend them." I don't think they will be offended by doing the right things. So what I'm saying really, in the Beyond the Shade of the Mango Tree, is letting go of those things which hold us back, and going beyond and focusing on the Savior Jesus Christ.
Morgan Jones 47:20
That's beautiful. And I think it is, it's a powerful . . . it's a powerful illustration that you give because of the instrument that you have become in the Lord's hands as a result of your willingness to get out from under the shade of the mango tree. In the shade of the mango tree was the comfortable place for you. So I think that that idea gives a really strong visual and is illustrative of what can happen in our lives when we're willing to step outside of our comfort zone and be used by God. And I'm really appreciative, Elder Dube, of your time and for your willingness to share your testimony with us today. My last question for you is, what does it mean to you to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Elder Edward Dube 48:12
The Savior said this very well when He said, "No man, no man can serve two masters for either he will hate the other one and love the other, or else you hold on to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." To find true happiness requires us to place our faith and total commitment on the Lord Jesus Christ, to fully do His will.
He teaches us through His example, when He said, "Behold, I've given unto my gospel, and this is the gospel which I've given unto you, that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my father sent me." So I mean, to think that the suffering He experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane and the suffering in carrying His cross to Golgotha, to think that, you know, He was doing this, because it was the will of the Father, for me is very humbling.
So when I, when I'm all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, what it means to me is to care for others, to learn of Him, to save, to find ways on how I can be of help to others. There is joy in that, you know, it's not all gloomy and sad and so forth, but there is joy. I'm sure you know, you have felt this, you know, people out there, members out there, and others who have felt whether you helping someone outside, whether this is a calling or something impressions you have received, that you want to do something good, you feel good–you feel good when you do that. And that's really what the Lord expects of his children, you know that we, we learn of Him, we take care of each other, we find ways to build His kingdom.
Morgan Jones 50:49
Thank you so much Elder Dube. It's been such a privilege to have you with us, and I appreciate your time. Thank you.
Elder Edward Dube 50:56
Thank you, Morgan. Appreciate this time and thank you so much.
Morgan Jones 51:03
A huge thank you to Elder Dube for joining us on this episode. You can find his new book, Beyond the Shade of the Mango Tree in Deseret Bookstores and on DeseretBook.com now. Thanks to Derek Campbell of Mix at Six studios for his help with this, and every, episode of this podcast, and thanks to Katie Lambert, who is our sound tech in this interview. Thank you for listening. We'll be with you again next week.