“Overcoming Opposition,” Liahona, July 2021
The revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 71 tells Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon to go and preach in an effort to ease unfriendly feelings that had arisen against the Church due to criticisms from members who had lost their faith. Over 100 years later, Elder Spencer W. Kimball of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles had a similar experience preaching in defense of the Church.
During a visit to Otavalo, Ecuador, in 1965, Elder Kimball told the missionaries to present the Book of Mormon to the native Otavalans. However, the missionaries met resistance when Otavalans began spreading lies about them in the nearby villages, and the missionaries struggled to overcome the falsehoods.
Two years later, Elder Kimball joined a few members and missionaries in a meeting near a local bus stop. As local residents got off buses, missionaries invited them to hear from a living Apostle of Jesus Christ. Soon, about 20 people gathered. As the missionaries started their meeting, the crowd grew to more than 100.
Then Elder Kimball spoke. He told of the coming of Jesus Christ in the Americas. He pointed to the sky and spoke of the still, small voice from the heavens that announced the appearance of the Son of God, as found in the Book of Mormon. Elder Kimball recalled, “Every eye followed my motion to the sky as though the Savior were actually there coming through the thin clouds.”1
After this, missionaries kept trying to teach Otavalans. Sister missionaries taught a man named Rafael Tabango, who was baptized on July 14, 1968—the first native Otavalo Latter-day Saint. His wife, Teresa, also joined the Church. Less than 15 years later, a stake was organized in Otavalo, with Brother Tabango called as its first patriarch.