October 15, 2023

When Latter-day Saint Temples came to Mexico

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The Lord's hand has been guiding the work of Salvation since the beginning of time. It is so fun to learn about the history of different countries in the world, and how the Lord has opened up the hearts of leaders of countries to the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout time. The history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico is a great history. The people of Mexico have a rich heritage, and have passed down the belief of Christ to their children. Many people in Mexico were ready to hear the gospel, and have created strong wards and branches to welcome the new members.

First Missionaries in Mexico

In 1874, before missionaries had ever been sent to Mexico, Brigham Young asked Daniel Jones to translate the Book of Mormon into Spanish. Brother Jones knew little of the Spanish language and sought the help of Milton G. Trejo.

A year later in 1875, the Prophet Brigham Young sent Daniel Jones, with a group of men, down to Mexico City as the first missionaries in Mexico. This small group of missionaries distributed brochures to Mexican leaders. One of those brochures fell into the hands of a man named Plotino Rhodacanaty, who read it! He wrote to President John Taylor to request more information about the Church.

In 1879, President John Taylor called another group of missionaries to Mexico, led by Moses Thatcher of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Plotino Rhodacanaty was the first convert of Mexico!

From the very beginning the gospel of Jesus Christ spread quickly in Mexico in the same years as the first convert was baptized, in 1879, the member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Moses Thatcher, and two other missionaries organized the first branch in Mexico City with Plotino Rhodacanaty(the first convert) as the first branch president!

Temples Coming to Mexico

Ever since endowments were given in Spanish at the Arizona temple beginning in 1945, faithful Saints in Mexico had wondered if it would ever be possible to have a temple in their own land.

Under the Mexican Constitution of 1917, churches were able to function, but they were not legally recognized and did not have the right to own property. The law required that their property be held by the Mexican government and that all government buildings be open to the public. Latter-day Saints supposed that it would be impossible for a sacred temple to function under those circumstances. Approval to build a temple came only following three and a half years of sensitive negotiations between Church and government leaders. On one occasion, President Kimball personally met with Mexico’s president, José López Portillo. Negotiation became easier because Mexican officials had come to recognize the Latter-day Saints as a people committed to complying with the laws of the land.

At least two Church leaders considered the possibility of temples in Mexico. At a general conference in 1915, President Joseph F. Smith lamented, “We were in hopes, not many years ago of being able to build another temple near the borders of the United States, in Mexico; but that nation’s unfortunate people, oppressed by rulers ambitious for power at the cost of the lives of their fellowmen, have driven out or expelled practically our people from their land.” Then during a 1947 tour of the Mexican Mission, Elder Spencer W. Kimball envisioned its destiny: “I saw a temple and expect to see it filled with men and women.” At that time, there were no wards and stakes in Mexico outside of the colonies.

After years of praying for a temple in Mexico, The Mexico City Temple was announced in 1976, and dedicated in 1983.

During the April 1998 general conference, President Hinckley said: “I have been with many who have very little of this world's goods. But they have in their hearts a great burning faith concerning this latter-day work. They love the Church. They love the gospel. They love the Lord and want to do His will. They are paying their tithing, modest as it is. They make tremendous sacrifices to visit the temples. They travel for days at a time in cheap buses and on old boats. They save their money and do without to make it all possible. They need nearby temples — small, beautiful, serviceable temples.” As a result of this vision, he announced the building of more temples, 11 of which were built in Mexico between the years 1998 and 2000.

More Blog Posts:

How Latter-Day Saint Mexican Colonies, helped get more Temples to Mexico





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