Saints in Mexico Learn from Apostle’s Visit
By Heather Whittle Wrigley, Church News and Events
Mexico holds a special place in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The first Mormon missionaries to visit Mexico in 1876 found a people ready to hear the gospel, and in 2004 Mexico became the first country outside the United States to reach a membership of 1,000,000 Latter-day Saints.
Visiting Puebla, Mexico City, and Monterrey in April 2012, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counseled members, leaders, and missionaries in various meetings.
In a priesthood leadership conference on April 14, Elder Bednar reminded leaders that the doctrines of the Church are true, simple, and unchanging. Teachings in the Church should always focus on the doctrine of Jesus Christ, he exhorted. Elder Bednar emphasized that leaders have received sacred keys and should minister to people, not simply administer programs.
Earlier in the day, instructing missionaries in the Mexico Puebla Mission, and later at a devotional with local young single adults in the evening, Elder Bednar highlighted the need for members to exercise their agency to act. “Acting in accordance with correct principles is an important component of faith,” he said. “Faith in Christ leads to righteous action, increasing our spiritual power and capacity to do good.”
On Monday, April 16, Elder Bednar visited students attending the Church-owned Benemérito de las Américas high school in Mexico City. More than 2,000 students attending Benemérito gathered to take part in an interactive question-and-answer session with Elder Bednar. Additional students from the nearby Academia Juárez participated via video broadcast.
In a priesthood leadership meeting in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Elder Bednar invited local leaders to share their concerns and ask questions in order to assist them in their leadership calling. He explained, “The Savior used questions as one of His primary teaching tools. If we strive to ask inspired and effective questions, as we ponder and pray, you and I can subsequently engage in a learning process that enables us to receive inspiration and find our own answers.”
On Sunday, April 22, Elder Bednar traveled to San Cristóbal, where he held a stake conference with the San Cristobal Stake and the Chojolhó Mexico District. Many of the members speak only Tzotzil, a Mayan language. During this meeting, Elder Bednar called on a young man and a young woman to bear their testimonies. He asked the young woman how she knew that she had a testimony. She responded that she simply knew in her heart that the gospel of Jesus Christ was true.
In his instruction, Elder Bednar encouraged the members to strengthen their testimonies not only that the gospel is true, that the Book of Mormon was translated by the power of God, and that Joseph Smith was the Lord’s instrument in restoring the gospel to the earth, but to become converted unto the Lord Jesus Christ. He explained, “Conversion is described in the scriptures as ‘putting off the natural man’ (Mosiah 3:19) and becoming a 'new creature in Christ'” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Elder Bednar expanded the vision of the members to understand that in this time—“the greatest season in the history of the Church”—the vision Daniel had about the stone being cut out of the mountain without hands rolling forth and filling the whole earth is being fulfilled (see Daniel 2:31–45; D&C 65:2).
After being instructed by an Apostle of the Lord, Puebla México Mayorazgo Stake president Ranulfo Cervantes Soler affirmed: “We have received revelation about how to conduct ourselves in our callings and also in our families, to make some important changes and become acquainted with new patterns or better patterns for teaching the members the doctrines and the principles that are going to ensure that they can reach the presence of our Heavenly Father.”