The remarkable story of Guillermo Gonzalez, a Mormon pioneer in Mexico

Published: Thursday, Aug. 11 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

Alvaradejo loved and admired his president. One thing he learned from President Gonzalez was how to listen and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

This ability was demonstrated once when President Gonzalez met the missionaries one day in a town plaza and challenged them to find a family to baptize before the end of the day.

A few hours later he returned to discover that the missionaries had found some investigators, but nothing more.

"Follow me," the president said.

They hadn't walked very far when they met a family of four. The missionaries watched with wide eyes as their president shared a powerful spiritual message and fearlessly challenged the whole family to be baptized. They were. Alvaradejo said the family remained active.

"It was a great experience. That is how he taught us to do it," said Alvaradejo, who later served as a stake president and is now the director of LDS Church public affairs in Mexico City. "Find the people who are prepared."

Companionships took his message to heart. From 1974-77, the Hermosillo mission saw 30,000 people join the church, Kenney said.

"Many have criticized his accomplishments, saying less than half stayed active," Kenney said. "But if you think about it, if half stay active, that's still 15,000 active members."

President Gonzalez passed away in December 1982, but not before leaving his mark on the church in Northern Mexico.

"Did Guillermo do a good job? You bet he did," said Elder Wells, now emeritus. "He was a dynamic leader with vision and confidence in people who were ready to be baptized like he was. Of the wards and branches he presided over as a stake president, each unit is a now a stake."

Email: ttoone@desnews.com

Twitter: tbtoone

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