“Members Touched by Historic Conference,” Liahona, Feb. 2005, N1
In a historic meeting on September 12, 2004, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke by satellite broadcast from Salt Lake City to more than 23,000 Latter-day Saints gathered at stake and district conferences in about 35 meetinghouses across Venezuela and on islands including the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder H. Aldridge Gillespie of the Seventy also addressed the conferences.
President Hinckley told the Saints that as a young boy he would often look into the night sky to find the North Star. “From looking at that star I learned a great lesson which has remained with me throughout my life,” he said. “I learned that there are fixed and constant points by which we may guide our lives.” He encouraged members to use unchanging gospel truths the same way in their own lives.
Each congregation had a few minutes to open their individual conference, pray, sing, and conduct stake business before receiving the transmission from Church headquarters. After the transmission, the individual congregations closed their meetings with a hymn and a prayer.
Venezuelan Saints felt the significance of the broadcast both on a personal level and as a momentous event for that nation’s membership as a whole.
Thirteen-year-old Marcel Farías of La Isabelica Ward, Valencia Venezuela Candelaria Stake, a recent convert in Valencia, said President Hinckley’s words were special to him. “What affected me most about his message was the great love he feels for us, the members of the Church in Venezuela.”
“To know that the Lord is concerned for each one of us and has chosen prophets to help us strengthen our faith will have a marvelous effect on our members,” said Bishop Julio Márquez of the Palo Verde Ward, Caracas Venezuela Palo Verde Stake.
“What President Hinckley said with respect to the Polar Star, making reference to the fixed points in our lives to guide us, remains etched in my heart,” said David Muñoz of the Los Altos Branch, Puerto La Cruz Venezuela Stake.
“This satellite transmission,” said Freddy Guedez of the Tocuyito Ward, Valencia Venezuela Candelaria Stake, “is a unique and unprecedented event in the history of the Church in Venezuela.”
Alexis Uriepero, president of the Porlamar Venezuela District, said the conference proved to him that “the prophet and other leaders have their eyes on Venezuela.”