‘Union makes strength,’ Elder Montoya says at International Congress of Families

Elder Hugo Montoya tells global audience in Guadalajara, Mexico, that strong families lead to stability in communities of all sizes

The International Congress of Families addressed challenges and opportunities facing families around the world when it convened in Guadalajara, Mexico, March 1-3.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was one of many organizations to support this year’s event. Elder Hugo Montoya, General Authority Seventy and president of the Mexico Area, spoke twice, reported the Church’s Mexico Newsroom.

First, he participated in a panel called “Why Are We Here?” on the opening day of the gathering. FamilySearch also had an exhibit where attendees could learn about their family history and the origin and meaning of their surnames.

More than 8,000 individuals attended the three-day event.

In the panel discussion, Elder Montoya talked about how a family is strengthened by each of its members, “just like the fingers of our hands.”

Paraphrasing from ”The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Elder Montoya said: “Strong families are the basic unit of a stable society, of a stable economy, of a stable culture of values. These principles and values properly taught in institutions, churches, schools, the media, but above all within families, will produce citizens and magistrates who respect laws and institutions, committed to strengthening their communities, families and their nation.”

He was joined on the panel by Juan Carlos Flores, secretary of Education of the State of Jalisco; His Eminence Cardinal D. José Francisco Robles, Archbishop of Guadalajara; Dr. José Félix Coronel, international director of Redime; and Dr. Allan Carlson, founder of the International Congress of Families.

An audience listens at the International Congress of Families
An audience listens at the International Congress of Families in Guadalajara, Mexico, on March. 1, 2024. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Montoya said that regardless of cultural or religious differences that exist among families and communities, “union makes strength.”

“We appreciate cultural diversity and respect individual differences, but when it comes to strengthening the family, we realize that the harmonious sum of our differences makes us one, and it is in unity that we can do more,” Elder Montoya said.

Elder Montoya also participated on day two of the conference in the discussion titled “Family and God.” In that setting, he shared how he thinks families can find God together today.

“Against love, nothing prevails,” he said. “We must love our children unconditionally. We must respect their agency … but we must love them because Christ loved us first.”

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Note: A previous version of this story misidentified the location of the congress.

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