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Ga Mantse King Visits Church Headquarters

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His Majesty King Nii Tackie Teiko Tsuru II, the Ga Mantse and President of the Ga Traditional Council of Accra, Ghana, visited the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 2-5, 2023.  The Ga Mantse is greatly revered in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana and is one of the most prominent traditional rulers in that country.

During his visit, he had the opportunity to tour Welfare Square and Brigham Young University, but the highlight of his visit came when attending the Church’s April 2023 general conference and a meeting with the First Presidency. At the Sunday afternoon session of the conference, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles welcomed the Ga Mantse from the pulpit.

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President Henry B. Eyring is given a traditional scarf by the Ga Mantse at Church Headquarters.

“We join with Christians around the world to honor Jesus Christ on this Palm Sunday,” said Elder Rasband during his address. “We welcome His Majesty, King [ Tackie Teiko Tsuru II] of Accra, Ghana, who is here with us today. Welcome, Your Majesty.”

King Tackie Teiko Tsuru was grateful to hear this welcome from Elder Rasband who has been to Accra several times. The king was also inspired by the words of Church President Russell M. Nelson, who spoke twice over the two days of the conference. President Nelson’s remarks focused on seeking peace.

May be an image of 4 people and people standing

“I think that the teachings of Christ — I saw it alive in these words,” said the Ga Mantse. “For me, that is what general conference meant. My people that I came with have been very excited because we have quite a number of disputes in Accra, but we are going back with a new dimension, a new vision, a new mission.”

The king expressed this shared desire again when he met with President Nelson and the other members of the First Presidency on April 5.

“I think that you’re a great people. Making friends with you is very easy,” said the Ga Mantse.

President Nelson gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, and in turn, the Ga Mantse gave him and President Eyring traditional scarves as a token of appreciation.

“The fact that you have taken us deeply into your heart and you have decided that this relationship must work, not for any mutual benefit, but for the sake of humanity, I respect,” the king added. “And we’re grateful, and God bless this relationship.”

A Friendship Is Developed

The seeds for the idea of the king coming to Salt Lake were sown in late February when he met with Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other prominent Church leaders at Church offices near the Accra Ghana Temple. Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, Africa West Area President and General Authority Seventy, was also present at this meeting.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson and his wife Kathy at a dinner with the Ga Mantse at the Grand America.

According to Elder Nielsen, this interaction with an apostle left a distinct impression on the king.

“He really wanted to come here after our first initial conversation,” said Elder Nielsen. “I think he has felt a deep spiritual connection with us as we have joined together with him.”

A few days later, he would join the king at a formal handover ceremony for a donation from the Church to a hospital in Accra.

Elder Nielsen attested to the fortunate circumstances that made the visit to Salt Lake possible. Despite delays on the long journey from West Africa to the Rocky Mountains of the United States, the Ga Mantse and his entourage arrived safely in Utah with plenty of time to attend the general conference.

“We said to ourselves, let’s make this thing happen. And it has been absolutely miraculous to see how the Lord’s hand has been in this travel,” said Elder Nielsen. “It’s not easy to get visas and to bring your entire party here, but he wanted to come to have a spiritual experience.”

Visit to Brigham Young University

On Monday, King Tackie Teiko Tsuru traveled to Brigham Young University in Provo to meet with faculty and students. Despite the unusually cold and snowy weather, he was grateful for the opportunity.

“It has been an amazing day,” the king remarked when he met BYU President Kevin J Worthen, joking that “we have even forgotten that it has been snowing all day.”

During his time at the school, the king attended a meet-and-greet with BYU students from Ghana. Asante Asante Laryea-Akrong, a student-athlete who competes with the track team, shared the advice that the king passed on to them.

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BYU students from Ghana talk with the Ga Mantse at a meet-and-greet at Brigham Young University.

“We should just make sure that everything that we are studying here or whatever course we are offering here is the most important thing in our lives at this point,” said Asante. “He taught us that eventually, societies will then call on us to come back and make a difference.”

The king was pleased to see his fellow Ghanaians take the opportunity to receive higher education in the United States but emphasized his desire for them to bring these skills back to Ghana.

“[I] asked them, will they stay or will they come home with the knowledge they have?” he said. “Because we would be blessed if what they have is brought home.”

President Worthen pointed out to the king the many things he had in common with the values of BYU.

“Your emphasis on women, on education and what an impact it has on a nation is absolutely our experience — not only here at BYU, but in the United States,” he told the king.

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Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, General Authority Seventy, introduces the Ga Mantse to many of his children and grandchildren in the Hinckley Center at Brigham Young University.

Elder and Sister Nielsen and many of their children, who were already friends with the king from the time they spent with him in Ghana, also met the king at the Hinckley Center on the BYU campus. There, the Ga Mantse was thrilled to be introduced to all but 12 of the Nielsens’ 39 children and grandchildren. Sister Nielsen said that it’s important to treat others like family.

“We want to get to know them. They’re our brothers and sisters,” she said. “And the more we all work together and build that kind of unity, the more we can help and lift and build and have just more of a unified presence in Accra or wherever we are.”

Welfare Square and FamilySearch Library

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Sharon Eubank, Director of Humanitarian Services, greets the Ga Mantse and his entourage at Welfare Square in Salt Lake City.

King Tackie Teiko Tsuru also toured Welfare Square on his visit to learn about the Church’s extensive efforts to serve children of God around the world. Afterward, he expressed his excitement about the possibilities that exist for collaboration with the Church of Jesus Christ on the humanitarian front.

“I have been blown away by what I have seen,” the King said. “We need to care about people. We need to want to help people to stand on your feet, not bring people down.”

He said he hopes to be back in Salt Lake City soon.

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