Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Helio R. Camargo Helio R. (da Rocha) Camargo

1926 - living
  • Born 1926 Resende, Rio de Janiero, Brazil
  • Married Nair    ?    ; five living children
  • Baptized 1957
  • Bishop, Stake President, Counselor to Mission President, Regional Representative
  • First Quorum of Seventy 1985-1989
  • Second Quorum of Seventy 1989- 1990
  • Honorably released in 1990
  • President of the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple 1990

    The Camargos had been members of the Church for a little over a year when they started noticing something was wrong with their baby. One-year-old Milton couldn’t sit or stand up; any pressure on his legs was extremely painful. Doctors suspected polio.

    Since Elder Spencer W. Kimball of the Quorum of the Twelve was coming to Rio de Janeiro for conference, would it be possible, they wondered, for him to give their baby a blessing? (At the time, Brother Camargo hadn’t yet received the Melchizedek Priesthood.) Elder Kimball and mission president Wm. Grant Bangerter were happy to respond.

    When Brother Camargo came home for lunch the next afternoon, he found the baby playing in the crib. To his surprise, the little boy pulled himself up into a kneeling position, and then, holding onto the rails of the crib, stood up for the first time! The child was smiling—the pain and problems had disappeared.

    “President Kimball is very special to our family,” says Elder Helio da Rocha Camargo, of the First Quorum of the Seventy. “I know he is a prophet of God.”

    There was a time earlier in his life, however, when he didn’t know anything about living prophets. Young Helio had graduated from Academia Militar de Agulhas Negras (the Brazilian equivalent of West Point), had been an officer in the army, had studied business administration, and had worked in a bank. In 1956, while he was studying in a Methodist seminary and serving as pastor, he and other theological students became interested in knowing more about other religions. Brother Camargo looked up a number in the phone book and called the LDS mission president, asking if a representative could come and speak to the group. The two young missionaries who came gave an excellent presentation, concluding with a baptismal challenge. “No one accepted the challenge at the time,” he remembered, smiling. They also left copies of the Book of Mormon and A Marvelous Work and a Wonder. Months later, when Pastor Camargo experienced a crisis in his faith, he turned to the books the missionaries had left and found the answers and the peace he was searching for.

    After their baptisms in 1957, Elder Camargo and his wife, Nair, gave years of service to the Church. Sister Camargo served as a teacher and as Relief Society and Primary president. Elder Camargo served as a teacher, bishop, counselor to two mission presidents, stake president, mission president, and regional representative. Both sang in the choir for many years.

    “I believe every calling is important,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a deacon, a home teacher, or a General Authority. I would love to be a Sunday School teacher again.” But he sensed the immense responsibility associated with his new calling: “It will be a wonderful opportunity to meet with the Saints, to work hard, and to serve the Lord.”

    Of great joy to them was their family—twelve grandchildren and five living children. All of their children were married in the temple and are working actively in the Church. They love to get together at the family “farm,” a picturesque mountain setting located between Rio and Sao Paulo.

    “When President [Gordon B.] Hinckley asked me if I would accept this calling,” says Elder Camargo, “I told him I would because I know this is the Church of Jesus Christ and He is in charge. I know that with the Lord’s help, I can do this work—even with my limitations. I don’t have any doubts that He is in charge.”

    Elder Camargo served four years of his five-year call in the First Quorum of the Seventy before being called to the then newly created Second Quorum of the Seventy on April 1, 1989. He served faithfully in the Second Quorum for a year and a half before being honorably released on October 6, 1990.

    But the Lord was not through with Elder Camargo. After he was released from the Seventy he was called as the president of the Sao Paulo Temple.

   "News of the Church: Elder Helio R. Camargo," The Ensign, May 1985
   "The Sustaining of Church Officers," The Ensign May, 1989, p.17
   2005 Church Almanac, p83

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