“All Black great, Jonah Lomu has become a Mormon — but don't expect to see him don a suit and go door-to-door spreading the gospel,” according to a report in The New Zealand Herald. The article continues: “Lomu, 37, who is fighting rejection of a transplanted kidney, was baptised into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Wellington in 2012.”
Soon after Jonah joined the Church, he and his wife were invited to speak in a Church meeting. They spoke about how their faith in Jesus Christ and membership in the Church are helping them personally and as a family. Jonah said that despite some of the choices of his youth, he always remembered what his mother had instilled in him, especially that he needed to pray to the Lord for guidance. He said that missionaries from the Church helped answer questions he had been asking for many years and that he and his wife felt that the gospel was right for them and their family.
Jonah hit the headlines with four tries for the All Blacks in a Rugby World Cup semi-final triumph over England in 1995. He played 63 Tests in an international career which stretched from 1994-2002, scoring 37 tries before illness cut short a stunning Test career. Jonah was diagnosed with a kidney disorder in 1995 and received a transplant in 2004. The transplant failed and he now undergoes regular dialysis treatment.
Jonah was included in the squad for the 1995 World Cup in South Africa. He stunned international rugby audiences (and unsuspecting players) at the World Cup when he scored seven tries in five matches, including four in the semi-final against England. The All Blacks reached the final against South Africa (the Springboks), but despite his efforts, Lomu could not score a try against the South African side.
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke about Sid Going in the April 2011 General Conference:
“Those who follow the game of rugby know that the New Zealand “All Blacks” is a name given because of the colour of their uniform. In 1961, at age 18 and holding the Aaronic Priesthood, Sidney Going was becoming a star in New Zealand rugby. Because of his remarkable abilities, many thought he would be chosen the next year for the national All Blacks rugby team.
“At age 19, in this critical moment of his ascending rugby career, Sid declared that he would forgo rugby to serve a mission. Some called him crazy. Others called him foolish. They protested that his opportunity in rugby might never come again. For Sid it was not what he was leaving behind, it was the opportunity ahead. Nothing—not even a chance to play on the national team with all the acclaim it would bring—would deter him from that duty. He was called by a prophet of God to serve in the Western Canada Mission.
“’A mission instead of a place on the New Zealand All Blacks team?’ Sid says. ‘The blessing of [bringing others] into the gospel far outweighs anything [you] will ever sacrifice.’ You are probably wondering what happened to Sid Going following his mission? Most important: an eternal marriage to his sweetheart, Colleen; five children; and a generation of grandchildren. He has lived his life trusting in his Father in Heaven, keeping the commandments. And rugby? After his mission, Sid Going became one of the greatest halfbacks in All Blacks history, playing for 11 seasons and serving for many years as captain of the team.
“How good was Sid Going? He was so good that training and game schedules were changed because he would not play on Sunday. Sid was so good the Queen of England acknowledged his contribution to rugby. He was so good a book was written about him entitled Super Sid.” He was honoured with an OBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 1978 for his contributions to rugby.
Watch this video about Sid Going: