Gobert Edet and the Entry of the RLDS Church into Southeastern Nigeria - 1962-1966
Journal of Mormon History
University of Illinois Press
[2020 Mormon Historical Association Winner for Best Article on International Mormonism]
"This article relies on correspondence and missionary reports housed at the Community of Christ Library Archive located in Independence, Missouri, to explore not only why Christian congregations in southeastern Nigeria were drawn to the Reorganized Church, but also the significance of RLDS fact-finding missions in southeastern Nigeria during the early 1960s for the church in the late twentieth century. This essay makes two arguments. First, it argues that the members of Tommy’s church were drawn to the RLDS Church primarily by a desire to improve their access to resources. Second, it contends that the entry of the Reorganized Church into southeastern Nigeria showcases the church’s shift towards a liberal Protestant message focused on abolishing poverty and care for the poor that accompanied the unprecedented international expansion of the RLDS Church into the non-Western world during the 1960s.10 Unlike early RLDS missionary strategies that focused on traditional proselytizing, RLDS church leaders in the 1960s wanted to develop a mission strategy that would allow the church to contribute to the long-term development of the postcolonial Nigerian nation."