MEXICO CITY, Mexico During the first weekend in December, the Museo de Historia del Mormonismo en Mexico (Museum of Mormon History) held a special series of lectures celebrating the bicentennial of the birth of Joseph Smith.
More than 700 people attended, some from pioneer areas of early missionary efforts including Tecalco, Cuautla and San Marcos.
Museum founder, Fernando R. Gomez, presented a slide and sound tribute to the Prophet using "The Vision of the Prophet," a long-lost poem that his aunt, Consuelo Gomez, had written 75 years ago to commemorate the centennial of the Church's organization.
Those present were especially moved as Sister Gomez was one of the early pillars in the Church in Mexico. They were moved both by the quality of her poetry and by the fact that one of their own pioneers had contributed so effectively to a celebration of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The presentation included a pictorial description of the marvelous work that has been accomplished throughout the world, but specifically in Mexico.
He also included quotations from early documents written by the Prophet to the early saints, which are as applicable today as they were during Joseph's time: "Finally, as one that greatly desired the Salvation of man, let me remind you all to strive with a godly zeal, for virtue, holiness and the commandments of the Lord. Be good, be wise, be just, be liberal, and above all be charitable; always abounding in all good works. And may health, peace and the love of God our Father and the grace of Jesus Christ our Lord be and abide with you all, is the sincere prayer of your devoted brother & friend in the everlasting Gospel." Joseph Smith.
Brother Gomez's presentation was followed by a lecture delivered by Grant Underwood, professor of history at BYU. His presentation highlighted different aspects of the Prophet's life, ranging from his roles as revelator, seer, and translator to his exemplary life as friend, father and husband. Enthusiasm was expressed by those in attendance for the opportunity to learn about the many facets of the Prophet's rich and inspirational life.
"I have long wanted to visit this unique institution," he said of the museum. "It represents a pioneering effort to preserve and display in-country the rich, 100-plus year heritage of the Latter-day Saints in Mexico."
For more than a decade, Brother Gomez and his associate, Sergio Pagaza, have tirelessly collected and computerized a variety of pertinent primary sources, photographs, and artifacts that document the first 100 years of the Church in Mexico. "There are many treasures in this museum," remarked Brother Underwood, "that can be found nowhere else. Anyone interested in the early history of the Church in Mexico should become aware of the museum and its activities."
The museum is situated directly across the street from the Mexico City Temple, Visitors Center and the Missionary Training Center, and makes a convenient stop for both visitors and local members desiring to learn more and deepen their appreciation for the legacy of faith left by their forebears.
Youth from the Mexico City Mexico Industrial Stake under the direction of Agricol Lozano Jr. and the children's choir from the Tecalco Mexico Stake, directed by Felipe Hernandez, added to the spirit of the conferences with music and narration relating to the birth of Joseph Smith.
Distinguished guests included more than 30 stake presidents and Church authorities, as well as Jeffrey Jones, a seventh-generation descendent of the first missionary to enter Mexico in 1876. Brother Jones serves as a senator in the Mexican legislature.