April 22, 2009

Book Notice: The Dawning of a Brighter Day

Alexander B. Morrison, The Dawning of a Brighter Day: The Church in Black Africa. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1990; 149 pp.

The Dawning of a Brighter DayThough Mormons have always zealously sought to convert others to their faith, in many ways their “last frontier” has been Africa. Given its long history of racism toward Africans, the LDS church’s early missionary efforts generally steered clear of black Africa. All of this changed when the LDS church released “Official Declaration—2” in 1978, allowing “worthy” Mormon males of African descent to hold the priesthood. Today the church reports amazing success over much of the continent, and with the recent announcement of the first black African general authority, Mormonism seems poised for even greater expansion—and confrontation with evangelical Christians.

Alexander B. Morrison, now an emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, recalls his church’s transformation from outsider to “contender” in Africa in The Dawning of a Brighter Day. Even though the book is now out of print, the fact that it was released by the official LDS publishing house testifies to its importance in understanding the changing face of Mormonism in Africa.

At the church’s October 1987 general conference, Morrison declared that “our humble African brothers and sisters are well prepared to receive and obey the fulness of the gospel of Christ”—that is, the message of Joseph Smith. Let us pray that the Body of Christ will prepare itself and resist.

From the inside cover:
“In some ways establishing the gospel in Africa represents the most difficult challenge the Church has ever had to face....We will succeed in Africa only as we learn and come to understand the oftentimes confusing social, political, historical, and economic realities of that vast continent and base what we do on real knowledge.”

So writes Alexander B. Morrison....In The Dawning of a Brighter Day, Elder Morrison describes some of the “confusing realities” of Black Africa, particularly as they pertain to proselyting efforts of the Church there.

“The golden key that unlocked the door to bringing the fullness of the gospel to Black Africa was the revelation on priesthood, received in June 1978,” he explains. Since then, missions and stakes have been established in several countries, and many faithful individuals have been converted and are ass uming leadership roles among the members.

Today, “the clouds if a long night’s darkness are beginning to roll away from Africa as a new day dawns,” Elder Morrison concludes. “It is a day whose light is the Son of God, a day made brighter by the glow of the glorious gospel of Christ.”