The passing yesterday morning of Ambassador J. Adolphus During, who was also Bishop of the Soul Cleansing Clinic of Jesus Christ, is a great loss to the nation.
There are very few who could have matched Ambassador During’s expertise in the arts of diplomacy and protocol. He served for 10 years as Chief of Protocol in the Samuel K. Doe administration; and when Charles G. Taylor was elected President of Liberia in 1997, Ambassador During was again called to serve as Chief of Protocol. This made him one of the longest serving officials in that position. He ranked with people like Ambassador James A. Morgan, President Tubman’s perennial Chief of Protocol, and Ambassador Eddie Dunn, who served both during the
Interim period in the 1990s and during an extended part of the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf presidency.
Following his retirement as Chief of Protocol in the Taylor administration, Ambassador During established the Liberia Institute of Protocol and Etiquette. Hundreds benefitted from this most vital training, which contains instructions that most people do not know about. The mere definition of the word etiquette will prove that this is something few Liberian people really know about. Etiquette, according to the Webster dictionary, means the conduct required by good breeding prescribed by authority to be observed in social or official life.
For example, what should a man do when a woman enters a room? Etiquette demands that he immediately rises; and if his is the only seat left in the room, he releases it to the woman.
Also, what happens when men and women climb a set of stairs? The men climb first, followed by the women. Coming down the stairs, the women descend first, then the men. Etiquette also dictates how people should behave at the dining table.
In official circles, there is protocol for every behavior or action. At official functions, for example, it is protocol that designates where one should sit. The closest the bible comes to this is when Jesus taught His disciples how to behave when invited to a public gathering. “Take the lower seat in the back,” he admonished, “not the seat way up front, lest you be asked down by the host to give the seat to someone of a higher pedigree (noble, aristocratic).” In that connection, Christ gave this advice, “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted; and he that exalted himself shall be abased (lowered, humiliated).”
These are extremely important lessons that every individual ought to know and practice, at all times. But now that Bishop During is gone, who will teach them? This is what we mean when we say that the nation has lost a great son.
There were several officials who thought it necessary to invite Ambassador During to train their personnel in etiquette. One of them was the late Chief Justice Johnny Lewis. He saw the need for judicial officials to be trained in etiquette. Another was Defense Minister Brownie Samukai.
Heaven knows that soldiers and military personnel need to know how to treat or deal with people.
We hope that many other officials in public and private capacities would see the need to train their personnel in this vital field of human interaction.
But who will do the training now that Ambassador During is gone? It behooves the Foreign Service Institute to recruit some competent students and have them trained, here or abroad, in etiquette, so that they may train others throughout the government and around the country.
We believe this is a subject that should be taught in elementary and secondary institutions and in the institution of higher learning, too. And the sooner they start doing it, the better it will be for Liberian students.
Ambassador During benefitted from a lot of training over the years, including diplomacy in The Hague, The Netherlands. What made him stand out is that he put this knowledge to good use, serving his country for so many years.
He was still in government service when he was called to the Holy Ministry and became the cofounder of the Soul Cleansing Clinic of Jesus Christ, Inc. This ministry was started along with his mother-in-law, Mother Henriette V. Nesby, who was a prophetess. Through her prophesy, she brought many to Christ and helped them sharpen and deepen their faith. Her gift of prophesy was passed on to her daughter, Oretha.
May God comfort and strengthen widow, and co-founder, Mother Oretha During who is now left to carry on the ministry, and her entire family, the leadership and members of their church and grant Bishop During eternal rest.