PRESTON, England James W. Ponde, 74, a high priest in the Preston Ward, Preston England Stake, joined the Church in 1977, a year before the revelation on the priesthood.
"It never bothered me that I couldn't hold the priesthood," said Brother Ponde, "I fell in love with Jesus Christ, and that was enough for me."
In 1960, Brother Ponde, then 31, left his native Rosau Dominica, a small island in the Caribbean, to come to England. He later brought his family over.
"I was a big drinker and a smoker," Brother Ponde said of his life before joining the Church. He found it difficult to kick the habits. One night, angry with himself for having broken his vow not to go drinking, he cried out, "Dear God, is it because I do not know how to pray?"
The next morning he got out his books to study how to pray. A knock at the door disturbed his reading and he didn't want to answer, but they wouldn't go away. Going out intending to send whoever it was away, he found two young missionaries. When they mentioned church he decided to ask them about prayer. "Do you know the four steps of prayer?" they asked him. From that point his life changed.
Brother Ponde's wife, Mowlly, joined the Church three years later. They were sealed in the London England Temple.
A faithful member, he was never worried about not holding the priesthood. Then in 1978 his bishop, Roger Kendle, called to say that he had some news for him. Brother Ponde said, "What is it, am I going to get the priesthood?"
His bishop was dumbfounded. "How did you know?" he demanded. "Bishop, I knew it long ago," replied Brother Ponde, who was ordained the following Sunday as a priest and later had the Melchizedek Priesthood conferred upon him.
Brother Ponde has served as elders quorum president, a counselor in the bishopric, high priests group leader and high councilor. "I am one man who can definitely tell you that Jesus is the Christ," said Brother Ponde. "There is no doubt in me on that one, because the Holy Ghost testified to me of the Father and the Son."
David M.W. Pickup