President Kimball Visits Five Presidents of Nations
May 1977

“President Kimball Visits Five Presidents of Nations,” Ensign, May 1977, 113–14

President Kimball Visits Five Presidents of Nations

“Wherefore, I the Lord … called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;

“And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world …

“That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed … unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.” (D&C 1:17–18, 23.)

Fulfilling that prophetic expectation, President Spencer W. Kimball visited five presidents of great nations as significant parts of his month-long journey through Latin America and enroute home. The national leaders were:

—President Jose Lopez Portillo of It’s a Young Church in … Mexico, who delayed a cabinet meeting while hosting President Kimball in the National Palace in Mexico City on Monday, February 21.

—President Kjell Eugenio Laugerud Garcia of Guatemala, who conversed with the Church leader and his entire party in English during their visit to the National Palace in Guatemala City on Tuesday, February 22.

—President Augusto Pinochet Ugarte of Chile. General Pinochet sent a government helicopter to take President Kimball and his party from Santiago to the “summer White House” in Vina del Mar on Monday, February 28.

—President Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia, who welcomed President Kimball on Wednesday, March 2, in the National Palace in LaPaz.

—President Jimmy Carter of the United States, who greeted President Kimball in the Oval Office at noon on Friday, March 11. President Kimball had accepted the telephoned invitation to the White House while he was in São Paulo, Brazil, two days earlier.

Joining President Kimball in each of the presidential visits, except in Washington, D.C., were President Marion G. Romney, second counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder David M. Kennedy, special representative of the First Presidency for diplomatic affairs.

Representatives of Church media and the Public Communications Department were also present briefly on each occasion for pictures, as were representatives of the national and international media. Only in Guatemala did the whole group accompanying President Kimball attend the entire meeting.

Each discussion, while private, included consideration of the doctrines of the Church, the blessings of Church membership, individual responsibilities, the building of temples in Mexico and Brazil, genealogy, welfare, and missionary programs.

President Kimball emphasized that returning missionaries become the best friends and ambassadors any nation has anywhere in the world.

He also declared his concern about the status of the family and told how the Church seeks to strengthen the family through family home evening and the teaching and observing of moral principles.

Specially bound copies of the Book of Mormon were presented to the leaders in Latin America. President Carter had received the Book of Mormon and family home evening manual in an earlier visit with the First Presidency in Salt Lake City.

In Chile, President Kimball expressed gratitude to General Pinochet for a commemorative medallion the Chilean government had presented to the Church and its members last year for their contributions to the well-being of Chile.

President Kimball also pledged in each conversation, as he also did in each of the eight area conferences, that members of the Church will be good citizens, believing “in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law,” and believing in praying for the inspiration of heaven to rest upon their national leaders.