HERMOSILLO, Mexico When the old men of Mexico pronounce the name of their hometown, they do so tenderly. Their words are almost music, and if they are fortunate enough to have a hometown with a long name as those in this city are are the name becomes as rich as the harmony of strings and brass.
At the dedication in four sessions of the Hermosillo Sonora Mexico Temple Feb. 27 by President Gordon B. Hinckley, the expressions of the members became almost a symphony of their feelings. The dedication was attended by 5,898, and 10,543 attended the open house.
President Hinckley and his wife, Marjorie, were accompanied by Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife, Kathleen, and Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen of the Seventy, president of the Mexico North Area, and his wife, Jeanine.
The Hermosillo Sonora Mexico Temple began making an impact even before it was completed, as many less-active members responded to their bishops' invitations to return to activity. Also, many in the city gained a new appreciation for the Church, and the faithful members turned their efforts toward family history work.
Now that the temple is dedicated, its impact is expected to increase. While many of the active families who live in the district have been to the Mexico City Mexico, San Diego California, or Mesa Arizona temples, there are many others who have not. Among those who have not include those in part-member families or those with financial or health limitations that have prevented them from making the lengthy trips. These members are eagerly looking forward to receiving the blessings made possible by a temple in their area.
The temple district includes important Church history sites. It was a few miles outside Hermosillo in 1875 that the first five converts in Mexico were baptized by a group of missionaries sent by President Brigham Young. In San Marcos, also in the temple district, in 1915, two members, branch President Rafael Monroy and Vicente Morales, were killed by soldiers when they would not renounce their religion. Descendants of these martyrs are found today among the leaders of the Church throughout Mexico and particularly in this district.
At the dedication of the Church's 72nd temple were pioneer members who had sacrificed to attend temples in distant locations. One of these is Purificacion Segovia, 92, a dedicated woman who, decades ago, brought food to the builders of the first Church meetinghouse in the city.
Another is Moncelo Guerro, 85, one of the pillars of the early branch. He and his wife are the parents of 19 children (15 now living) who have all been sealed to them in the temple. The Guerros filled many callings in the branch and provided transportation for members. He drove around town and gave members rides to the meetinghouse in the back of their truck.
"It was very hard to raise money to travel to the temple," he said. "Whenever we had things to sell, we sold them. Now, we are full of happiness to have a temple here and we will be able to visit it."
President Miguel Enrique Puga Becerra, president of the Hermosillo Mexico Stake, said, "In the past it was not possible for all to go to the temple because they didn't have time or funds to travel. Now more, including youth, will participate in vicarious work."
He said that each ward has collected names for temple work. "There is a good spirit here and they have worked, and for this reason they are already blessed by the presence of the House of the Lord."
Juan and Alfa Loya Casanova, temple missionaries from Monterrey, Mexico, said that the members were so eager to participate in the temple construction that they landscaped the street area and planted flowers in front of the temple.
Mario Dominguez Leon of the Del Bosque Branch, Rio San Luis Colorado Mexico District, located near the U.S. border south of Yuma, Ariz., said of the 450 active members in the district, 320 came to the dedication. The district is about eight hours away by bus from Hermosillo. "This temple is very special to us because some have not been able to get passports to the United States and have waited many years to receive temple blessings."
He said that in one small branch members sold pastries and had a roof repair business and raised enough money to pay for the trip and for a hotel. Some 48 of 64 branch members made the trip."
Another who made a long trip was Rebecca Estrada Monroy Espanta of San Luis Potosi in central Mexico. She lived in Hermosillo until last July and made the 30-hour bus ride to come back for the dedication.
"This was an unforgettable, excellent experience," she said. "I was able to feel the Spirit. This experience is written in my heart and in my diary. It was worth much more than the effort of this trip."
Abel Montoya Gutierrez, stake patriarch and the first local president of the Hermosillo Branch, explained that one of the first projects for the branch after he was called was to build a meetinghouse. One day, he said, they started pouring cement at 5 a.m. and worked until the evening of the following day without stopping. This early effort spawned a love and unity among the members that contributed to the growth of the Church. Working toward the completion of the temple has brought this feeling back.
"No one ever thought there would be a temple here," he said. "The first members here were very happy to know that a temple would be built in our town of Hermosillo."