Think of Elder Octaviano Tenorio of the Seventy, and chances are, you'll think of the Temple and Family History. Elder Tenorio has been closely associated with and appreciative of the Temple for many years.
Born on 31 October 1942, to Octaviano Tenorio and Flora Domínguez de Tenorio in Tilapan, Veracruz, Mexico, he was not raised in the Church, but joined after his family moved to Rio Bravo in northern Mexico. He was just fifteen when his parents learned of the Church, studied its teachings and decided to be baptized. Their teenage son was investigating another religion and did not immediately follow their example.
"Then one day my mother said to me, 'Why don't you get baptized on May 10th (the Mexican Mother's Day)?"' said Elder Tenorio, 64, to an interviewer from the Church News. "So I was baptized as a gift to my mother."
He was immersed in the waters of the Rio Grande River and was confirmed a member of the Church the next Sunday. Unexpectedly, at that moment, the generous son found himself on the receiving end of a spiritual gift.
"I felt something very special and I began to read all the Church books that we had in Spanish at the time. I can say I was converted after I was baptized. Through my reading, I found all the information I was looking for."
Once converted, Elder Tenorio embarked on a life of Church service and study, culminating in his love for the temple and the blessings of family history and the law of the tithe. "I still have my first tithing receipt for $22.35 pesos (about US$ 2). Paying tithing has helped me a lot — I have a strong testimony of it."
Growing up in the coastal city of Veracruz, Elder Tenorio witnessed the strength and devotion of the missionaries.
"The missionaries did everything," he said. "They taught us in Sunday School, organized Mutual for us every week. Now we have local leaders. The Church has grown so much in Mexico."
Opportunities to serve in the Church came early for Octaviano Tenorio. While still single, he was ordained a high priest and was called to be a branch president. His job with Reader's Digest Mexico took him to Mexico City, where he would meet his future wife, Rosa Elva Valenzuela. A native of Chihuahua, Mexico, Rosa Elva grew up in the Church and enjoyed the loving support and example of her own parents, Francisco and Maria Refugio Valenzuela.
"Our culture is a culture of families," Elder Tenorio said. "I visit my 84-year-old mother and she still cares for me like a little boy. She cooks for me the food I liked when I was young. It is a blessing to have family close by."
Elder Tenorio said, with a smile, that he is grateful for in-laws who taught their daughter to look for a faithful priesthood holder to marry in the temple — instead of searching for a handsome or rich man.
"I saw how dedicated he was and was attracted to him," said Sister Tenorio. The two were married in Colonia Dublan, Mexico, on Dec. 28, 1973, and sealed in the Mesa Arizona Temple a week later. The couple had five children.
It's apropos that the Tenorios began their life together at the temple's altar. On many occasions they have witnessed the blessings available to faithful temple-goers. They remember the first time a temple was dedicated in Mexico in 1983. They have been humbled and excited to watch eleven more such sacred edifices open in their homeland in recent years.
Elder Tenorio knows that receiving the ordinances of the temple changes lives. It’s changed his, and he’s been in positions to see it change others’. "Stay close to the temple," he urges.
Elder Tenorio is anxious for members, worldwide, to enter the temple and better their lives.
"Stay faithful, worthy and close to the temple," he counsels. "If you hold a temple recommend, use it. There is so much we can learn. If we have the Spirit, we can learn something new each time we attend the temple."
Early in his career, Elder Tenorio was approached about a position as manager of the Church’s Genealogical Service Center in Mexico. Doing well in his job in the publishing industry, he was not sure about taking the new position. But following a series of inspired events, he realized it was a job he was supposed to take.
"It changed my life’s course," he says. It led to a life intertwined with family history and temple work.
After seven years in that job, during which time he served as stake president, he received a call from President Marion G. Romney of the First Presidency. "President Romney told me President Spencer W. Kimball wanted me to be the first recorder for the new Mexico City Mexico Temple." He was also called as a sealer.
He gratefully accepted the assignment and served as temple recorder for seven years. He left the temple to preside over the Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez Mission. He later managed the area’s Membership, Materials Management, and Welfare Services Departments, during which time he served as regional representative and later as Area Seventy. He would later return to that position in the Mexico City temple after serving as a mission president, a regional representative, an Area Authority, a counselor in the Mexico South Area and an Area Seventy.
Meanwhile, Sister Tenorio also enjoyed staying active and busy in the Church, serving in various ward callings and working alongside her husband in the Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez Mission.
"It was beautiful to work with the young missionaries when my husband was a mission president," Sister Tenorio said. "I found happiness serving the missionaries."
Elder Tenorio later became the Mexico City Mexico Temple recorder again after his replacement retired.
"The temple has been a big part of my life," he says, sad about the prospect of retiring, though he appreciates the service opportunities that his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy brings. "I believe it is through temple ordinances that we will find true happiness."
As a General Authority, Elder Tenorio said he is once again blessed to answer a prophet's call to serve. He is certain the Church in 2007 is at a point of historic expansion.
"We will see beautiful things happen with the guidance of our prophet," Elder
Tenorio said. "If we are obedient we will see things we have never seen before in Church history. We
are already seeing some of those things happen."
Elder Tenorio was released from the first Quorum of Seventy and designated a General
Authority Emeritus October 2012.