Powerful words uplift LDS in Mexico

Delivering powerful words to uplift members of the Church, President Gordon B. Hinckley visited 10 cities of northern Mexico, March 9-15.

He addressed a total of more than 53,000 members, traveling to the cities of Hermosillo and Ciudad Obregon on March 9 (See March 14 Church News), to Culiacan and Guadalajara on March 10, to Torreon and Leon on March 11, to Ciudad Victoria and Monterrey on March 12, to Chihuahua on March 13, and to Ciudad Juarez on March 14-15.Throughout the trip, President Hinckley was greeted by large congregations of faithful members, many of whom were seeing a Church president in person for the first time in their lives.

"My husband and I were so impressed that we wept, we felt shivers and it was not because of the cold weather," said Concepcion Guevara of the Los Angeles Ward in Monterrey.

President Hinckley was accompanied by Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife, Barbara, and Elder Eran A. Call of the Seventy, president of the Mexico North Area, and his wife, Katherine.

"Both the missionaries and the members are very motivated and uplifted, and they are going to try to do the goals the president gave them," said Elder Call. "They are going to be good neighbors and good friends, good Christians, and to have a current temple recommend even though they can't all go to a temple."

Cool, comfortable weather prevailed in most cities, except in Monterrey where it rained. President Hinckley spoke briefly to reporters in Monterrey, and favorable articles followed.

Another member, Miriam R. de Hernandez of the Valle Verde 1st Ward in Monterrey, commented, "I felt a wonderful peace and calmness. I could feel President Hinckley's love for us; he is so humble. It was as if he had a splendor around him."

In the 11 addresses that he delivered, President Hinckley encouraged the members in many ways. Typical of what he said were his remarks in the Ciudad Juarez Regional Conference March 15:

"I am very happy we are in Juarez this morning," he said. "I am glad we have taken advantage to come to this regional conference. We have been in 10 cities. We have spoken to more than 50,000 people. And you are the last ones to whom we will speak on this trip.

"I come to you with a great love in my heart for you, a great sense of appreciation. I thank you for the goodness of your lives, for your faith and your faithfulness. You are a wonderful people. You are wonderful members of the Church. You are trying to live the gospel. You are trying to do the right thing. You have many problems to deal with, but you pray. You know the source of true wisdom. God bless you, my dear friends.

"I have never been to Juarez before. I am so very, very grateful for this opportunity and for this large gathering of Latter-day Saints."

He complimented choir members on their fine appearance and thanked them for their music. He also asked the full-time missionaries to stand, and thanked them for their service.

In a lighter moment, he asked for a show of hands of those who understood English, and then, seeing the large number who responded, remarked to his translator, "I don't need you."

President Hinckley expressed his love to the members. "I bring you the love of all the General Authorities of the Church. I bring you the love of all the members of the Church throughout the world. We have become a great family of Latter-day Saints. Once we were very small. Once we were ever so few. Now there are 10 million of us gathering in 160 nations, speaking a score of languages.

"But with all of us having the same testimony in our hearts, we are, I repeat, a great family. And I am sure the Lord is pleased with us, all who are active and trying to do their part."

He said he was thankful to see the many families in attendance, husbands and wives, youth and children. Church members should be the happiest people in the world because they have the gospel of good news, the wonderful work of the Lord.

"You have come to the earth in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times, when the God of heaven, out of a great love, has restored again all the ancient truths of the gospel."

He emphasized that living each principle of the gospel brings with it a conviction of its truthfulness. "This is the case with the Word of Wisdom." He noted that people who observe the Word of Wisdom will live 10 years longer, according to a study.

"Who can calculate the value of 10 years of life? Yes, the Word of Wisdom carries with it a conviction of its own truth. Every man and woman in this hall this morning can testify that it is not good to smoke cigarettes. You don't use them. You don't need them. Nor drink liquor, nor tea, nor coffee. You know this represents the word of the Lord.

"I never get over feeling grateful for the Word of Wisdom."

"It is so with tithing. You don't have to preach tithing to those who pay it. They know that it is a true principle."

Pres. Hinckley told of hearing about a family in Torreon, whose possessions were only 30 chickens, two pigs and a horse. Their house was small. Two missionaries came and knocked on their door. And these people listened and were eventually baptized.

"A wonderful story follows. They paid their tithing. The Lord blessed them. They moved out of that little shanty. They developed a business. Today they are prosperous.

"There are five sons and three daughters in that family, and every month at least one member of the family spends time at the temple in Mexico City. They can give you a testimony of the divine law of the Lord in the payment of tithing.

"I hope every family represented here today is a family of tithe payers. Are you willing to take the Lord at His word? It was He who made the promise; not I, but He. And I have the faith to believe that He can fulfill His promise. I urge you, with all my heart, for your sakes, for your blessing, pay honest tithes and offerings."

He encouraged families to pray together. "You cannot afford not to pray," he said. "Call down the blessings of heaven with your children at your knees, night and morning."

President Hinckley also urged families to hold family home evening.

"The principle of family solidarity carries with it a conviction of its truth."

He said that teaching the gospel to children will increase their sense of peace. "That is a principle with a promise."

He encouraged the members in Ciudad Juarez to attend the temple in Colonia Juarez when it is completed, about a three-hour drive away.

"Temple work - this great work of salvation for the dead - is true. It is divine. It serves a great purpose. We in this dispensation have the blessings of the gospel, but millions have never had that opportunity. If they are to go forward in the life after this, they must be given the opportunity. There are those on the other side who are teaching them. But that teaching will do no good unless there is a way of baptism and other ordinances. And this great work carries with it a conviction of its own truth."

President Hinckley spoke of the glorious privilege of attending sacrament meeting and partaking of the sacrament, "the emblems of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the great Atonement which was wrought by Him which makes possible our move beyond the grave into a glorious future."

He called the restored gospel of Jesus Christ "a wonderful, enlightening and beautiful thing."

"There is no greater blessing in all the world than the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God, and the living reality of the Savior of mankind. God is a personality. He is an individual being of flesh and bones. Jesus is a resurrected Being of flesh and bone. The Holy Ghost is personage of Spirit, but an individual. They are not three in one, but three individuals of one purpose. That knowledge has come to us through the restoration of the gospel."

He concluded: "I don't know whether I will see you again in this life. It is a very large Church, with many places to go and many people to see, but I want you to remember this: That you heard President Hinckley say that he knows that God lives, and that Jesus is the Christ, and that Joseph was and is a prophet."

A member in Monterrey, Dolores C. de Melendez, commented about the Church president's visit. "It was impressive when the prophet entered. A beautiful spirit was felt. It was as if the place had been illuminated by his presence. I have been motivated to leave the past and to become a better friend, a better neighbor, a better parent, better in every aspect."

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