With the kind permission of Professor B. A. Dadson, the following is adapted from an essay that he composed and sent to the University of Cambridge on 10 June 2009. He was responding to a general request issued by the University to its graduates on the occasion of its 800th anniversary.
By the time I came to Cambridge in September, 1966, the character of classical Cambridge had been established, and I took great pride in strutting up and down colleges and to walk regularly between Christ’s, my college, and the University Chemical Laboratories, Lensfield Road, where I did my research.
Recently (to be precise, in September 2008), I returned to Cambridge and had the privilege of looking at the newer buildings—the Judge Business School, the Institute of Criminology, the William Gates Building, the Centre for Mathematical Studies, and the Buildings in West Cambridge, which reflect the taste of modern man. Frankly, I wish Cambridge retained its classical character.
I also noted the long cloud of Nobel Prize-winners led by Lord Rayleigh and the other giants of Trinity College—J. J. Thompson, William and Lawrence Bragg, Charles Barkla, and Niels Bohr. I remember meeting Lord Todd, whose lecture on “Phosphorylation” to the Department of Chemistry, University of Ghana, in 1962, filled me with the passion to come to Cambridge. In 1963, I remember meeting Dorothy Hodkin, whose husband, Thomas, had become the Director of African Studies, University of Ghana, and Nevill Mott, the future Nobel Laureate. They strengthened my resolve to come to Cambridge. Of course, my vision of F. H. C. Crick supplied the final doses of energy that helped me to complete the work on the Strychnos Alkaloids.
We thank the Almighty for the gift of these men and women who have taken humanity from the Stone Age to the Age of the Internet.
However, as I pondered over the great achievements in the sciences, I was struck by the lack of illumination from the humanities—particularly the Faculty of Divinity, for whose sake Pope John XXII gave the approval for the establishment of the University.
In the sciences, one postulate is challenged by another, one theory is opposed by another, and, in the conflict, truth emerges. And the truth works and is self-consistent.
I think Cambridge should dare to question religion as dispassionately as it has questioned science.
Was Henry VIII given divine mandate to establish the Church of England? Do its priests have the true priesthood which authorizes them to perform ordinances such as baptism by immersion for the forgiveness of sins and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, the greatest gift of God to man in mortality, on behalf of Jesus Christ, the Greatest High Priest and Savior of mankind?
Meanwhile, in 1820, an important series of events started to unfold in the United States of America. A young boy, Joseph Smith by name—under the inspiration of this biblical passage: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” [James 1:5] —went into the woods near his home in Palmyra, New York, to ask God, the Father, which of all the sects in his hometown was right and which of them he should join.
After an initial fight with the forces of darkness, he saw a pillar of light exactly over his head, above the brightness of the sun, and in that light he saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defied all description, standing above him in the air. One of them spoke unto him, calling him by name, and said, pointing to the other, “This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith-History 1:17).
He was answered that he should join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the personage, obviously the Son of God the Father, told him that their creeds were an abomination in his sight and that the professors were all corrupt. The Lord Jesus closed with the statement, “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof” (Joseph Smith-History 1:19)/
In September 1823, Joseph Smith was visited by an angel called Moroni, who revealed a set of gold plates from which the Book of Mormon, the Second Testament of Christ, was translated in April 1829. On 15 May 1829, John the Baptist, on the authority of Jesus Christ, conferred the Aaronic Priesthood on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery which gave them the proper power, recognized by God, for the baptism of men into his kingdom. By the end of June 1829, Peter, James and John, like John the Baptist, came as resurrected beings to confer the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which gave them power to confer the Holy Ghost, the greatest gift of God to man in mortality. In March 1830, the first printed copies of the Book of Mormon became available in the U.S., and on 6 April of the same year the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in Fayette, New York, U.S.A.
In December 1832, Joseph Smith was commanded by the Lord Jesus to build a Temple in Kirtland, Ohio. (The last temple in which Jesus had taught and worshipped had been destroyed in AD 70.) On March 27, 1836, the Kirtland Temple was dedicated, and on April 3 of the same month, a remarkable series of events took place in that same Temple before the very eyes of Joseph Smith and his principal scribe, Oliver Cowdery. It is written in Doctrine and Covenants, one of the four major books of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Section 110:1-4, 7, and 9, as follows:
“The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened. We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in colour like amber. His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying: I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father. . . . For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house. . . . Yea, the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have been endowed in this house.”
After this remarkable appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ, Moses, Elias, and Elijah, three of the greatest ancient prophets, appeared, one after the other. It is written as follows, in verses 11-16 of the same Section of the same book:
“After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north. After this, Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed. After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said: Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.”
The appearance of Elijah in the Kirtland Temple is in direct fulfillment of the prophecy of the Prophet Malachi, which appears at the very end of the Old Testament, King James Version: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6).
Alex Haley’s Roots and the worldwide interest in genealogy are a bold testimony of the truth that Elijah has indeed come.
What do the dons of Cambridge, particularly those of the Faculty of Divinity, say about these events, which undoubtedly are the very greatest that took place in the second millennium since the advent of Christ on earth to atone for our sins? The great works which attracted the Nobel Prizes are truly mind-boggling, but to the disappointed, to the distraught, to the sick, and to the dying, they are meaningless. All men seek to die in hope like Moses: “And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (Deuteronomy 34:7). Or like Simeon, who after seeing the Son of God, Jesus, pleaded, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).
It is by this faith that I now live, and I feel constrained to tell all alumni and alumnae of Cambridge, and, indeed, all men and women everywhere, that “God hath made known unto our fathers that all men must repent.” And he called upon our father Adam by his own voice, saying, “I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh. And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you” (Moses 6:50-52; see also Acts 4:12).
I came to Cambridge with a living faith in Christ. It was this faith which provided the invisible power behind all the powers derived from men which sustained me in Cambridge. Now, this faith is welded onto the rock of the Gospel restored to men through Joseph Smith, the prophet. It is the last opportunity given by God to men and women everywhere to lift them up from despair in the midst of innovation and superabundance.
Let the dons of the Faculty of Divinity use the tool of faith, not just the logic of science and mathematics, according to the counsel of that great English poet, Isaac Watts:
Give me the wings of faith to rise
Within the veil, and see
The saints above, how great their joys,
How bright their glories be.
Once they were mourners here below,
And poured out cries and tears;
They wrestled hard, as we do now,
With sins and doubts, and fears,
I ask them where their victory came;
They, with united breath,
Ascribe their conquest to the Lamb,
Their triumph to His death.
They marked the footsteps that He trod,
His zeal inspired their breast;
And, following their incarnate God,
Possess the promised rest.
Our glorious Leader claims our praise
For His own pattern given;
While the long cloud of witnesses
Show the same path to heaven.
And they will help open the doors to the new Nobel Prizes that will help humanity establish the new City of Enoch.
Banyan Acquaye Dadson received his BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Ghana and his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, all of them in organic chemistry.
At the time of his retirement, Dr. Dadson was a professor of chemistry at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, where he had also served, for twenty years, as the head of the Department of Chemistry, the dean of the Faculty of Science (1982-1986), the Pro-Vice Chancellor (1984-1986), and the Director of Planning (1994-1996). He is a former secretary and president of the Ghana Science Association, and twice served as president of the Ghana Chemical Society (1983-1985, 1992-1996), of which he is a Fellow.
Baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in March 1980, Dr. Dadson has since held numerous leadership positions, including service in a district presidency and presiding over the Nigeria Lagos Mission from 1996-1999. Currently, he serves as the patriarch of the Cape Coast Ghana Stake.
“When the porters on duty in Christ’s College [Cambridge] on Saturday, 20 September 2008, saw me and learnt that I was seventy,” he writes, “they could not believe it. They thought I was about fifty. This is one of the greatest gifts that [my] faith has given me—the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah [40:31]: ‘But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.’”
Professor Dadson and his wife have six children and eleven grandchildren.
Posted July 2010