By PHILLIP STAHLE
Elder Athos Amorim urged a standing-room-only crowd to return to the basic virtues of life at a fireside Sunday evening in the N. Eldon Tanner Building.
Elder Amorim was recently ordained a member of the Quorum of the Seventy at the 168th Semiannual General Conference of the LDS Church.
Elder Amorim spoke during the afternoon session of General Conference on Saturday, but he spoke in English. The fireside Sunday evening was in his native language of Portuguese.
Glauco Ortolano, professor of Portuguese and Brazilian Literature, said these foreign language firesides are essential to BYU’s diverse culture.
“With this fireside we are showing how internationally-oriented BYU really is. With Elder Amorim speaking in his native language we can get to know him better on a more personal level,” he said.
Speaking in Portuguese seemed to help Elder Amorim relax and speak the words that he had wanted to say in conference, but wasn’t able to speak as easily and fluently.
“I had to speak in English for the conference, and you know who was in back of me watching,” Elder Amorim said lightheartedly to the Portuguese-speaking members at the fireside.
Elder Amorim expressed his gratefulness for the opportunity to speak to Brazilians and those who love Brazil, in his native language.
Sister Maria Alice Amorim spoke before her husband, introducing them to LDS members. Elder and Sister Amorim have been married for 41 years and Elder Amorim has been a member of the church for 56 years.
Sister Amorim expressed how differences in culture are not barriers, but bring members together in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“All of us must make our own decisions in the spirit of prayer, without worrying about others’ opinions about us,” Sister Amorim said.
She also urged members in attendance to have an objective and always work toward completing that objective. Then Sister Amorim pointed out individual members throughout the audience that were working toward their objectives. Many of the people who were pointed out were Brazilians working for their master’s degrees at BYU, an English-speaking university.
Elder Amorim spoke about the sincerity of children, and how sincerity is such a thing of beauty in a world of constantly complex values.
“I believe simple things can teach more than the complexity found in the thick and detailed writings of a book,” Elder Amorim said.
Students were willing to express their opinions of Elder Amorim and the fireside in their native language.
Ewerton Fonseca, 27, a senior majoring in civil engineering from Espirito Santo in Brazil said, “Elder Amorim was trying to show us that knowledge cannot stand by itself, it’s how we apply the knowledge that we have that’s important.”