In remarks delivered at the multi-stake conference held at the Mexico City Mexico Churubusco Stake Center Dec. 11, President Howard W. Hunter called upon Church members to "see that our individual lives reflect in word and deed the gospel as taught by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."

Also addressing the conference were Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Council of the Twelve and Elder Lino Alvarez of the Seventy and president of the Mexico South Area.President Hunter emphasized particularly the importance of striving to understand the life and mission of Jesus Christ and His atonement. "As we do so, we will desire to live our lives more in accordance with His teachings," he said. "We will also shy away from any activity which would lead us into temptation or transgression." He also presented a sketch of the Church's growth in Mexico, where he created the 2,000th stake of the Church. (See separate article on this page.)

"How wonderful to see so many of you gathered here on this historic occasion, as we have created the 2,000th stake of the Church," he said. "The events of this weekend are further evidence that the Lord is watching over and directing His kingdom on earth."

President Hunter recalled being in Mexico City 19 years ago with Elder J. Thomas Fyans, then of the Seventy, when 16 stakes were created in one week. Two of the stakes created then, Churubusco and Ermita, were involved in the realignment that led to the creation of the 2,000th stake, he noted.

President Hunter paid tribute to "the many faithful Saints who have given their time, effort, and, in some cases, their lives in service to the Church over the years since the first missionaries came here in 1876. . . . Who could have imagined that from its very humble beginnings, the work in this land would have progressed to its present state of maturity?

"The Lord, through His servants, has brought this miracle to pass. This work will continue to go forward in strength and vitality. The promises made to Father Lehi and his children about their posterity have been and are continuing to be fulfilled in Mexico. We commend each of you for your faithfulness and diligence in accepting the gospel plan of Jesus Christ as restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith."

President Hunter expressed appreciation to the Mexican government authorities and those who worked with them in accomplishing the formal registration of the Church on June 29, 1993.

He then called upon members to live lives patterned after the teachings of the Savior. "All that we do and say should be patterned after the example of the one sinless person to walk the earth, even the Lord Jesus Christ," he said.

"He taught His gospel of simplicity and purity to His disciples in the meridian of time. He came to this continent and appeared to thousands. . . . Those of you gathered here today, in many cases, are descendants of those who were taught by the Lord Himself."

President Hunter encouraged members to do the works that the Savior commanded. "If we are faithful in so doing, the Lord has promised rich blessings.

"We hope that you are studying the gospel regularly. Read from the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, each day as individuals and as families. Study the word of the Lord, and your faith and testimony will increase. What could be a more profitable use of discretionary time than reading from the scriptural library, the literature that teaches us to know God and understand our relationship to Him?"

President Hunter also encouraged members to learn by regularly attending sacrament and other Sabbath day meetings and Church activities.

"Enjoy the fellowship of other Latter-day Saints, and, most especially, enjoy the blessings of partaking of the holy sacrament in remembrance of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Pray each day, night and morning. And, as Amulek wisely counseled, let your heart be drawn out to the Lord continually. (See Alma 34:27.) Pray as families both night and morning. Great blessings will come into the lives of children who hear their parents petition the Lord in their behalf."

He also encouraged members to pay an honest tithing, generous fast offering and to be faithful in observing the Word of Wisdom. "We should avoid that which is damaging to our body, especially tea, coffee, tobacco, alcohol, or any substance which contains illegal drugs or harmful or habit-forming ingredients. Walk squarely on the Lord's side of the line and avoid `the appearance of evil.' "

President Hunter encouraged members to be worthy of and carry a current temple recommend. "Even our young people can qualify to receive a temple recommend to do baptisms for the dead," he said. "If there are any present today who have not received their temple blessings or who do not hold a current temple recommend, may I in humility and love encourage you to work towards the day when you can enter into the house of the Lord.

"I encourage those who hold current temple recommends to attend the temple as often as your circumstances will allow. Your personal spirituality, your relationship as husband and wife, and the love and harmony in your family, will be strengthened as you regularly attend the temple."

He also encouraged young people to prepare diligently for their temple blessings, and temple marriage. "Do not be satisfied with anything less than a marriage in the house of the Lord. The protecting hand of the Lord will be evident in your personal lives as you strive to live worthy of the privilege of entering the temple."

He counseled members to be united, because "it is unity and oneness that has thus far enabled us to bear our testimonies around the globe . . . and to construct temples and chapels, seek after the dead, watch over the Church, and build faith. More must be done. These great purposes of the Lord could not have been achieved with dissension, jealousy or selfishness. Our ideas may not always be quite like those who preside over us, but this is the Lord's Church and He will bless each of us as we cast off pride, pray for strength, and contribute to the good of the whole.

"By the same token, I know of no stronger weapons in the hands of the adversary against any group of men or women in this Church than the weapons of divisiveness, faultfinding, and antagonism. The key to a unified Church is a unified soul, one that is at peace with itself and not given to inner conflicts and tensions."

President Hunter expressed appreciation for the faith and prayers offered in his behalf. "Our desire as your humble servants is to know the will of the Lord and then encourage the Saints to follow it. Your local leaders, including those newly sustained today, share in this responsibility."

President Hunter further said, "May this day remain in your memory as one of great significance where another milestone of the Church was reached. As we look forward, we realize we have much to do in preparing for the day when our Lord and Savior will return to the earth."

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When his turn came to speak in the multi-stake conference, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Council of the Twelve declined the services of an interpreter. "With your faith, I would like to speak in Spanish," he said. "Sister Nelson and I are grateful for the privilege of accompanying President Hunter and his wife.

"He is the president of the Church and the prophet of God.

"This is a historic occasion, the first visit to Mexico of President Howard W. Hunter since he became president of the Church in June. This is also historic because he is here to create the 2,000th stake.

"I would like to thank you for your faith and your dedication, those of you who have brought this great event to a reality. I thank you for your service to the Church.

"I have a message of great importance today. I wish to speak of the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the most important historical event in the entire history of the world, and is the foundation of our religion. All other aspects of our faith are secondary to this, the atonement of the Lord.

"The Atonement provides salvation for us and for the resurrection of the dead, through which we obtain eternal life.

"The Savior's atonement opens the doors of opportunity, which we enter as we gain faith, and through which we will eventually be able to be reunited in the presence of God."

Elder Nelson counseled the members to "always remember the words of Jesus Christ and give these teachings to your children so that you will have joy on earth with your posterity."

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In his remarks, Elder Lino Alvarez of the Seventy quoted: "For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments." (D&C 82:14.)

"This week I have seen the strengths of the stakes of Zion as I have come to know your priesthood leaders," he said. "We today are witnesses of the extension of the borders of Zion, with the creation of the Contreras stake, the 69th in Mexico South Area, 129th in Mexico, and the 2,000th in the world.

"What better evidence of the enlarging of the boundaries of Zion?"

Elder Alvarez related the prophecy of Book of Mormon prophet Samuel the Lamanite of the coming of Christ to the Americas, and the subsequent fulfillment of this prophecy in every detail.

"Now, today we perceive a new star, according to the word. It is a privilege for each of us today to in this holy place, in this place dedicated to our Savior Jesus Christ, to be in the presence of prophets, seers and revelators on the earth: President Howard W. Hunter and Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve."