Doctor treats medical, spiritual needs

Regional representative says the gospel is the remedy for the ills of the world

A gospel remedy is what Dr. Jose Ismael Ruiz Guadiana, a family practice physician here, prescribes for the world's maladies.

"There is sickness on all sides, and the illness is not medical - it is spiritual deterioration," he said during a recent interview at the Church offices in this city."Healing spiritual problems is not as simple as admitting people to the hospital for physical problems," he explained. "We have the knowledge of the truth for the many around us who are spiritually unwell. As more and more join the Church it will bring a change in the land. Without the gospel, it will be impossible to change the world."

Dr. Ruiz, regional representative of three regions with nine stakes in the Mexico City area, knows something about change. After accepting the gospel, his life changed dramatically.

His first contact with the Church came while he was completing his studies in the School of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAN).

While at the school, he met Dr. Albert Malaterre, a member of the Church who invited him and his family to his home. "When I saw how the Malaterre family lived, I was very impressed," Dr. Ruiz recalled. "That was what really led me to become interested in the Church." He took the missionary lessons and was baptized on April 12, 1972.

Later, little by little, all the family was converted - his wife, parents, brothers and sisters, then her brothers and sisters and parents.

Another experience while in medical school impressed him. "Although I was working hard to heal patients I treated, I discovered that many did not really have a physical disease," he said. "Often, the line between spiritual and physical illness is very hard to find.

"In the Church, we learn to serve. Service was not a challenge to me, because I was in a service profession. But now, the gospel is the No. 1 priority in my life."

In his medical practice, the most rewarding and the most challenging experiences have been with his own family.

One experience several years ago was particularly poignant. His daughter Katia, then 11, had just stepped from a school bus in the early dawn and was struck by a car. It was a very severe accident, and she suffered broken bones in her arms and legs, as well as broken ribs and a severe skull fracture. As she lay in a coma, specialists were called in from throughout the country. They discovered an accumulation of blood on her brain, and they prepared to operate.

As they prepared, Dr. Ruiz gave his daughter a specific blessing that the blood might be cleared away. Later, the operation was performed, but doctors found no sign of the blood. His daughter recovered from the accident and subsequent 12-day coma with no after-effects.

"She is now attending Benemerito (Church) School, where she is a brilliant student and normal in every way," added Dr. Ruiz.

He served as emergency doctor at the area conference in 1978 at which President Spencer W. Kimball presided and spoke. The conference was attended by some 20,000 people. Some of them had walked for three days and were near exhaustion. But they refused medical treatment, preferring instead to be in the congregation, hearing the prophet speak.

Similar events occurred at a large regional conference in Mexico City attended by 10,000 people. "It was amazing - there was not one medical problem. All were made strong spiritually. There was no need for a medical doctor."

Such experiences are indicative of the great faith of the membership in this country, he believes. And it is a membership that continues to grow.

Spirits are high among the members, he observed. The calling of Elder Horacio A. Tenorio from Mexico and Elder Carlos Amado from Guatemala to the Second Quorum of the Seventy has been very exciting for members. In addition, local leaders have set newer, higher goals to achieve in the coming year. "The leaders here feel very strongly the love and influence of the prophet," he declared.

"When you believe in the Church, you can have hope in Jesus Christ. I would not be able to live without the gospel now.

"I am very grateful to be part of the Church during this day of the Lamanite. The Lamanites are growing in self-sufficiency - ours is the blessing to progress and to become stronger. I am very grateful to take part in this growth."

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