As a physician, Elder Jose Alonso utilized the most modern training, equipment
and medicine available to treat his patients. But he learned early in his career that there are limits
to his care. "It is God," he said, "that knows how to cure."
The General Authority has long recognized he can be but an instrument in the Lord's hands in both his
professional and ecclesiastical duties. Still, he finds joy in the service. His new appointment has left
him humbled. "But I also have feelings of gratitude because it is a calling from God ... I know this
call comes with His support and His guidance. It's a great blessing, a great responsibility and a great
opportunity to serve."
Service has long defined Elder Alonso, 52, who was sustained during general
conference on April 2, 2011 to the First Quorum of the Seventy. And he can spot the Lord's influence in
many aspects of his life. When he was 15, he moved from Mexico City to live with his father, Luis
Alonso, in the town of Cuautla. The senior Alonso was already a member of the Church.
"My father said a blessing on the food before eating and he also spoke my name and
asked the Lord to bless me." For perhaps the first time, Jose Alonso felt the Spirit working in his
heart. In a few weeks he was speaking to the missionaries, attending Church and enjoying the fellowship
of new Latter-day Saint friends. He decided to be baptized "and found peace and support in the Church"
that sustains him to this day.
His conversion was intrinsically linked to the Book of Mormon. The
missionaries introduced this special gift during their first discussion. Their teenage investigator was
immediately moved by the account of the resurrected Christ's visit to the Americas. "I prayed to know if
the Book of Mormon was true and if Joseph Smith was a true prophet."
Soon the tears flowed as he felt a certain confirmation that, indeed, the
Book of Mormon was true and that Joseph Smith was called of God. "All these things changed my
life," said Elder Alonso.
Over the next few years, the young convert's
testimony was strengthened by his fellow members. Through the local Mutual program he found a good
friend in Rebeca Salazar, a lifelong member who embodied the unity found among the faithful Church
members in Cuautla. Jose, Rebeca and the other youth relished the time they spent together, especially
during the many Mutual activities that allowed them to serve many in need. Offering such service, he
said, strengthened his heart and helped him grow. He developed a testimony that blessings come after he
helps bless others.
He would have to draw upon that testimony when he turned 19 and faced the decision
to serve a full-time mission. It was not an easy choice. At the time, Jose was enrolled in medical
school and committed to the rigor of his studies. He wondered how a two-year break from medical school
would impact his professional future. He prayed to know what he should do. While traveling on the subway
he received an answer: withdraw from school and serve a mission. Soon the call came to the Mexico
Hermosillo Mission and Jose swapped his medical texts for a set of scriptures and other missionary
"It was a great decision," Elder Alonso in an interview with the Church
News. Full-time missionary service offered him a singular experience to grow closer to God while
teaching his fellow Mexicans. He learned that blessings follow obedience to the commandments and the
mission rules. He found joy in forgetting about himself and focusing on the spiritual needs of others.
He learned from the examples of dutiful companions.
"We didn't worry about the heat or the cold or other hardships; we only wanted to
serve the people," he said.
Such devotion to serve - learned as a youth and fortified through missionary
service - would serve Elder Alonso well throughout his life. At the completion of his mission, he
returned to medical school and resumed his courtship of Rebeca Salazar, his Mutual friend. The two were
married six months later in the Mesa Arizona Temple. Their trip to the United States marked an exercise
in faith and sacrifice.
"It was difficult," said Sister Alonso. "We had few resources; my husband had
just returned home from his mission and he was enrolled in school. We traveled by bus for 48 hours. But
it was a marvelous experience."
Elder and Sister Alonso think back on those newlywed challenges traveling to the
temple and marvel how things have changed. Today Mexico is dotted with 12 temples. Such growth, added
Sister Alonso, "is a blessing - most LDS Mexicans can now go to the temple often."
The temple, added Elder Alonso, has helped teach him and his wife the principles
of dedication and obedience. "To enter the temple is an opportunity to prepare to one day live in the
presence of God."
Family time was a priority for the Alonsos, who have two children and several
grandchildren. Despite the demands of his medical practice, Dr. Alonso was able to find the time he
needed to enjoy his family and serve in the Church. When Elder Alonso was called to preside over the
Mexico Tijuana Mission, the Alonsos found joy in their "companionship" and shared labor.
Now they prayerfully approach new opportunities to work and care for those in
need. "We don't understand everything about this calling," said Sister Alonso, "but we are ready to
As a General Authority Elder Alonso humbly accepted his call to help care for the
spiritual health of members worldwide. Blessings, he knows, will follow faith, service and obedience to
the Lord and the leaders He has chosen. "There is security in following the prophets."
Elder Alonso continues to serve in the First Quorum.