The following biographical sketch is adapted from the "News of the
Church: Elder Jorge A. Rojas of the Seventy" published in the Ensign
for May 1991 on the occasion of Elder Rojas' being called to the Second
Quorum of the Seventy.
Young Jorge Rojas was determined to learn English, even
if he had to study from Latter-day Saint books and go to LDS meetings.
The lessons he learned in the process led to a life of Church service for
Elder Rojas, who was sustained as a member of the Second Quorum of the
Seventy April 6.
The natural response to this call, he says, is to
ask yourself, “What can I do? How can I serve?”
His answer: “The most important thing for me now
is to find out what the Lord wants me to do, and then have the faith and
courage to do it.”
Jorge Alfonso Rojas was born to Rodolfo and Hilaria
Ornelas Rojas on 27 September 1940 in Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico. His
younger years were spent in Chihuahua City, capital of the northern Mexican
state. It was there that an impatient schoolteacher told him he would never
learn English. Determined to do it, Jorge persuaded his father to send
him to the bilingual Juarez Academy, a Church-owned school in Colonia Juarez.
Jorge’s father sent him to live with Bertha and Willard
Shupe, an LDS couple whom Jorge would come to think of as second parents.
Sister Shupe was principal of the elementary school associated with the
academy. She gave him Church books to study and insisted that he would
learn English faster if he attended ward meetings.
Through the teaching he received from the Shupes
and in seminary, Jorge gained a testimony of the gospel and was baptized
at age nineteen.
By taking classes day and night, Jorge graduated
from the University of Chihuahua with degrees in education and physical
education. He won a scholarship for study at New Mexico State University.
While there, he received a call inviting him to teach at the Church-owned
Benemerito School in Mexico City when it opened in 1964.
He had met Marcela Burgos earlier in Colonia Juarez,
but it was while she attended Benemerito that they really came to know
each other. She graduated as a teacher in 1969, and they were married in
the Arizona Temple on August 22, a few days later.
Brother Rojas worked for the Church, first in its
educational system and then in its administrative offices, until the mid-1980s,
when the family moved back to Chihuahua, where he pursued business interests.
In 1988, he and his wife established a business translating technical manuals
for U.S. companies with plants in Mexico.
He was called as stake Young Men program superintendent
the day after arriving in Mexico City in 1964. He has served since then
as a branch president, a high councilor, a counselor in a stake presidency,
a stake president (twice), a regional representative (twice), and a mission
Of their five children, their oldest son, Jorge,
twenty, served in the Michigan Lansing Mission; and Marcela, seventeen,
Guillermo, sixteen, Ivy, thirteen, and Samuel, ten, are still at home.
Sister Rojas has also served in a variety of Church
callings, most recently in the stake Relief Society presidency and as ward
Gospel Doctrine teacher. But she says her family is her first priority.
Elder Rojas calls her “an excellent mother with a very strong testimony”
and says she is his greatest earthly support.
She says that “he depends completely on the Lord”
in his Church service and daily work. He is “very positive. For him, the
word impossible doesn’t exist.”
A strong focus on teaching from the Book of Mormon
became part of his life while he was president of the Mexico Guadalajara
Mission. Struggling to resolve some problems in the mission, he felt the
clear impression to “use the Book of Mormon.
“The Book of Mormon teaches us to put on our working
clothes, put up our sleeves, and join the army of priesthood holders and
valiant sisters preparing for the second coming of the Lord,” he says.
Elder Rojas expects that his part of the work will
require much of him. But he feels a peaceful assurance that his call has
come from the Lord, and that “He will help me.”
Elder Rojas served his five-year call with honor and
was released from the Second Quorum of the Seventy on October 5, 1996.