[Doug F. Dobbins shared with LDS-Gems an interesting Church News article from the late 60's about Pancho Villa that he has in his files. The reference is: "He Remembers Preaching Gospel to Pancho Villa," _Church News_, Nov. 11, 1967, p. 5]

"He Remembers Preaching Gospel to Pancho Villa"

At 86, James Elbert Whetton still remembers the time he taught the Gospel to Pancho Villa, famous Mexican revolutionary leader. He had been given the assignment in 1919 of supervising the missionary work in Mexico under the direction of the Juarez Stake presidency. Revolutionary upheavals in Mexico had forced the closure of the Mexican Mission.

Two missionaries assigned to labor in the town of Namiquipa, located several miles from the Mormon colonies, needed supplies, so early in March, Elder Whetton and Stake President Joseph C. Bentley headed out in buggies loaded with food.

Arriving in the town of El Valle, they heard a rumor that the much-feared Pancho Villa was in the area with his insurgent army. A government officer assured them that the rumor was false. They continued on their way with some misgivings.

Passing through a mountain area, the brethren were halted by armed men and taken to a guerrilla camp. Later, they were moved into a town which the guerrillas had captured and held prisoner through the night.

When morning came, they were escorted to a house which served as camp headquarters. Until this time, they had been unable to discover who the guerrilla leader was, although they suspected that he was the notorious Villa. Outside the headquarters building, Elder Whetton heard a man in a neat, blue-checked suit and Stetson hat giving orders to a group of subordinates. The women in the town were not to be molested, the leader told his men. Elder Whetton was impressed.

President Bentley and Elder Whetton were invited to have breakfast with the man in the checked suit and a light-complexioned gentleman. During the meal, the light-complexioned man asked many questions about the Mormons. Elder Whetton answered since President Bentley did not understand Spanish.

The man in the checked suit stepped outside frequently to give orders to his men, but listened with interest in between.

Finally, the light-complexioned man identified himself as Felipe Angeles, a noted and highly trained military officer. He introduced the Mormons to the man in the checked suit--General Villa.

"I always admired the Mormon people" Villa said. "They don't interfere. They are good people and mind their own business."

"General, for my part, I wish the whole republic would turn Mormon. When this revolution is settled, I am going to join this Church if there is an opportunity for me to do it," Angeles declared.

"Why haven't any of your people explained these things to me before?" Villa asked. "This is the first time I have known anything about your teachings. If I had known these things earlier, this would have been a different Pancho Villa.

"Is there any chance for a man like me to join the Mormon Church?' He encouraged the brethren to continue their journey to Namiquipa and gave them a hearty "abrazo" when they parted.