Black great Jonah Lomu has become a Mormon - but don't expect
to see him don a suit and ride a bike going door-to-door
spreading the gospel.
Lomu, 37, who is fighting rejection of a transplanted kidney,
was baptised into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints in Wellington this year, the church has confirmed.
Since then he and wife Nadene Lomu have addressed
congregations at "come and see" or "fireside" gatherings at a
Mormon church in Mangere. They have appeared in on-line
An article on the church's website described a meeting Lomu
and wife attended. "The Lomus spoke about how their faith in
Jesus Christ and membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints are helping them personally and as a
Lomu 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
Church spokesman Jared Viljoen said: "We welcome all
visitors. Due to beliefs around family as a central focus to
our beliefs and Christian values, lots of people are
responding to that these days, which could have been what
Jonah responded to."
Asked whether Lomu might pedal about Auckland spreading the
church's message, Viljoen laughed. "No, that's probably not
going to happen. That aspect of things is more for the young
18 to 35-year-olds, but later in life we also have senior
couples going out."
Viljoen said another famous All Black great, Northland's Sid
Going, had recently returned from an 18-month mission in
Australia - so the Lomus could very well go on a mission one
day too, just not by bike.
Lomu and his wife Nadene, whose maiden name was Quirk, were
wed in Wellington last May by a "bishop from their church"
according to an article in the Woman's Weekly at the time.
Ma'a Nonu, whose father was a bishop in the Mormon Church,
was one of the wedding guests.
It is not clear whether the family are giving any of their
income to the church. Traditionally, members tithe 10 per
cent of their income. A study by Reuters this year estimated
that the church was pulling in US$7 billion ($8.5b) in tithes
from its 14 million members each year.
Lomu, meanwhile, continues to have dialysis treatment in
Auckland while awaiting a suitable kidney donor.
He had a kidney transplant in 2004 with an organ donated by
his friend and radio host Grant Kereama. But in February Lomu
revealed the kidney had stopped working and he needed another