Elder Horacio A. Tenorio, the first general authority of Mexican ancestry, dies at age 86

Elder Horacio Tenorio and Sister Maria Teresa Tenorio Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Horacio A. Tenorio, the first general authority of Mexican ancestry, died Oct. 20, 2021, in Atizapán de Zaragoza, Mexico. He was 86 years old.

Since his conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1969, Elder Tenorio immersed himself in service to the Church. Within a year of his and his wife’s decision to be baptized, he was called to serve as a branch president. The next few decades also brought calls as a bishop, counselor in a stake presidency, stake president, regional representative and president of the Mexico Torreón Mission from 1982 to 1985. During those years he was an eyewitness and participant to the Church’s rapid growth, where the number of stakes in his native country jumped from five to 55.

He served as a General Authority Seventy from 1989 to 1994. He and his wife, Sister Maria Teresa Tenorio, also served as president and matron of the Monterrey Mexico Temple from 2007 to 2010.

In an Ensign article when he was called as a General Authority Seventy, his wife explained that part of his enthusiasm about Church growth in Mexico stemmed from his enjoyment in serving others. “He loves and respects people, and it’s satisfying to me that he will have this opportunity to serve,” Sister Tenorio said of his call.

He was born March 6, 1936, in Mexico City to Leopoldo Horacio Tenorio, a chemist, and Blanca Otilia Tenorio, a journalist.

When he was 10, his family moved to Ciudad Obregon, in the state of Sonora, where he met Maria Teresa. They were married on July 25, 1957, and have three daughters, Maria Teresa, Monica and Maria del Rocio.

Soon after he joined the Church, he decided to renounce his work as a purchasing agent of electronic supplies, where he was continually negotiating with other agents, some of whom required unethical gifts or payments.

He was hired by the Church as a purchasing agent to serve in Mexico, then as director of materials management. After serving as mission president, he started a business distributing ice cream flavorings, then another distributing irrigation systems.

In a Church News article published about him, an associate described him as a “pillar of strength,” a man who was absolutely committed to the gospel. Then-Mexico Merida Mission President Guillermo V. Torres, a longtime associate of Elder Tenorio, said, “He is a very spiritual man with great love for the gospel; he is a great leader in the Church, as well as a great friend.”

In his address during the April 1990 general conference, Elder Tenorio recalled a painful trial in his family where his 15-month old grandson David died unexpectedly from an illness. 

“We met our children who were in deep mourning,” he recalled. “My wife and I shared the answers we had, and they, upon understanding and accepting them, began to receive further answers — additional teachings, which brought peace to their hearts. The sense of pain and suffering diminished, leaving in its place sweet feelings from the Spirit.”

A few days later, Elder Tenorio said, his daughter learned she was expecting another baby. “So much love from our Father.

″[The Savior] heals our wounds and turns our pain into sweet experiences.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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