Barbara Morgan, in a lecture through BYU’s Church History Symposium, said academia and religion go hand in hand when it comes to globalizing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico.
Morgan, assistant professor in the BYU Church History department, said the Church built 40 schools in Mexico between 1887 and 1974, as the Mexican government had difficulty in providing educational facilities, which were desperately needed.
Before the schools were made, 50 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 14 were illiterate.
To receive proper education, many children were sent away from their families to attend one of the Church schools. They participated in young wards, teaching lessons and carrying out callings at young ages.
Two of the Church-run schools, Benemerito and the Academy, remained in Mexico as functioning schools for 30 years. In 2012, when the missionary age change was announced at LDS General Conference and an influx of missionaries ensued, Benemerito was closed to become a missionary training center.
Morgan’s talk started with a discussion about the schools and globalization of the Church in Mexico and ended with her own observations.
“One of the things that I have learned as I watch these wonderful students, faculty and everyone address and understand the issues regarding these policies that the Church made in Mexico is these people in Mexico are people of faith,” Morgan said. “They are able to handle sacrifice, they recognize that sacrifice brings forth blessings of heaven, they are able to handle change and they are obedient.”
Morgan said as a result of their dedication and obedience, the Church will continue to grow in Mexico.