I first heard about the Church when my mother joined Brother Joseph W. B. Johnson’s group in 1968.1 I was about 10 years old. My father’s business had declined because of the 1966 coup d’état, and the family was going through a hard time. So my mother thought it wise to seek spiritual help.
Before the revelation in 1978, the Church was informal because the priesthood had not been extended to the blacks yet. After the revelation, the Church could be established with priesthood authority. I was baptized on the 24th of February 1979.2
It took my husband two years of studying—and a little bit of arguing—to join the Church. He was finally baptized in 1980, and then he got the priesthood. He became a very calm person, so that his own family members couldn’t believe how he had changed. He was cautious with the priesthood that he held and also to make sure he was always doing the right thing before the Lord. Without the priesthood, he says he would have gone for the honors and the glories of men. But with the priesthood, he found that the most important things are your marriage, your home, your family, and serving others.
In our part of the world, if you are the father, what you say must be. But we don’t use the priesthood that way. We sit together in a family council. Fathers help their wives and children to understand that what he is teaching them is right.
Men who are members of the Church serve their wives instead of their wives serving them. That brings them to love and peace with each other.
The first time I saw him bless the sacrament was during “the freeze” because we held our sacrament meeting in our own house.3 We felt very great when he held the priesthood at that time. No one had to come in the house to bless the sacrament for us; he did. It was special and we loved it.
The first time I read any literature on blacks not being allowed to hold the priesthood was during the freeze, when anti-Mormon literature started coming into the public domain. I wasn’t much bothered about it because I know the Church is true. We are taught not to lean on anyone but to center our lives on Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. So that’s what my faith centers on.
On the 17th of December 1996, we were able to go to the Johannesburg South Africa Temple. I felt excited, especially when I heard that our first child, a baby boy who died after just a few short days, was going to be sealed to us. I thought he was dead and gone, even though I knew he was innocent. But then for him to be sealed to us was a spiritual experience I’ll never forget.
So when people ask me how many children we have, I tell them we have eight children. They ask, “How?” I say, “Yes, the first one is waiting for us, so it’s up to us to obey the commandments of God and live them so that we can go back and be together as a family.”
The priesthood is the power of God. I’ve had so many blessings from the priesthood. I always feel delighted and uplifted when the children ask for a priesthood blessing from their father. Then I know they trust him and they trust that Heavenly Father works through their dad, who holds the priesthood. We hold the priesthood in high esteem in our home. Now three of our boys are married, and they are using the priesthood in their families.
I know the priesthood is true because it is the power of God, and it is a living power because Heavenly Father lives. He has given a portion of that power to His male children on earth. We women have a share in the priesthood. I hold it in high esteem. The priesthood has helped our family and it continues to do so.