When the government of Ghana banned all operations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in June 1989, the country’s 9,000 Church members faced an uncertain future. Meetinghouses were locked up, foreign missionaries were sent home, and no indication of ever lifting the ban was given. Staying close to the Lord took on a new importance during this time, which was known as the “freeze.”
Church leaders needed to act fast in response to this sudden development. Authorization was given for Church members in Ghana to hold sacrament meetings in their homes. But a major part of the plan for keeping the Saints together in the Church’s absence had already been in place for a long time. Faithful home and visiting teachers played a crucial role during the 18 months of the freeze.
“During the freeze, we realized more than ever before that we had to be each other’s keeper,” said William Acquah.
Home and visiting teachers acted as shepherds keeping the Lord’s flock together. They reached out to recent converts, diligently taking them to home sacrament meetings where they could associate with other Saints. The efforts of these faithful members allowed many people to keep enjoying the blessings of Church membership.
When the freeze finally ended in November 1990, the Church was allowed to officially return to Ghana, and members were again able to worship in their meetinghouses. The home and visiting teaching programs had been integral to holding members together during their trial. Faithful Ghanaian Saints found themselves strengthened and closer to each other than they had ever been.