In his new calling as a General Authority Seventy, Elder Taylor G. Godoy — along with his wife, Sister Carol Godoy — will have almost daily opportunities to testify of the Book of Mormon.
As converts, the Godoys know of the power this latter-day scripture can have in a person’s life.
Elder Godoy’s introduction to the Book of Mormon began as a mere curiosity when he was a teenager living in his hometown of Arequipa, Peru.
One day the missionaries knocked on the door of the family home. They invited Taylor to attend Church and read the Book of Mormon. His parents, Elias and Adalzahinda Rebaza, joined in on the discussions and Book of Mormon study.
Elder Godoy admits he and his family didn’t begin their Book of Mormon investigation with earnest intent. Instead, they hoped to confound and bait the missionaries with trivial and amusing questions.
One of the missionaries answered one such question with a query of his own: “If you knew the answer to your question, do you honestly feel like you would know the Savior better?”
The question both humbled and inspired young Taylor and his family. They continued reading the Book of Mormon — but this time with prayerful intent to know if the book was true. Their prayers were answered affirmatively. And yes, they came to know their Savior better.
Soon Taylor and his parents were baptized and began serving in their local ward.
Sister Godoy, meanwhile, joined the Church along with her mother and her sister when she was 10-years-old. But she did not receive a testimony of the Book of Mormon until several years later when she too decided to study with prayerful and “real intent.”
“The Book of Mormon has brought me so much joy,” she told the Church News.
For Elder Godoy, the Book of Mormon has been the anchor of his testimony of the restored Church. “I know that if the Book of Mormon is true then Joseph Smith is a true prophet. If Joseph Smith is a true prophet then the Church is true.”
The Book of Mormon would also become their respective gateways to lifelong Church service.
After converting at age 17, young Taylor accepted several calls in his Arequipa ward. He even served as a home teacher to a convert family that included the young woman who would later become his wife.
In 1991, he accepted a call to serve in the Peru Lima North Mission. Many of the lessons he learned as a missionary would serve him well in later professional and ecclesiastical duties.
When he returned he became reacquainted with Carol Pacheco, the young woman he had once home taught. Even before his mission he had felt a strong impression that Carol would claim an important place in his life. Those impressions, added Sister Godoy, were mutual.
The returned missionary asked his friend out. Once again, Elder Godoy felt a distinct impression that their future would be linked.
“I asked her on our first date, ‘Sister, would you like to marry me in the temple?' And she said yes,” he said with a smile.
Sister Godoy said the proposal did not take her by surprise. She too had long felt they would be together. She was impressed by his devotion to the gospel, his courteous nature and the way he looked out for others.
The fiancés enjoyed a yearlong courtship before they were married on May 31, 1994, in the Lima Peru Temple. They are the parents of a daughter and a son, Leybi and Taylor.
The young couple returned to Arequipa following their marriage to start their life together. Elder Godoy finished his schooling and began establishing his dental practice. He anticipated a future in academics teaching dental surgery.
But after a few years of practicing dentistry he found himself at a professional crossroads. Following interviews with a beloved and trusted priesthood leader, he accepted an invitation to work for Church Seminaries and Institutes.
Leaving a burgeoning career was an unconventional choice for the young dentist. Many of his colleagues wondered how he could walk away from the profession.
“But I knew it was the right choice,” he said.
He accepted the job in Church education. Helping others discover and come to love the gospel would prove to be a life-defining opportunity and blessing.
Yes, a dentist can treat a toothache — “But when you can teach someone from the scriptures you can help to change a life,” he said.
During his Church education career, Elder Godoy served as a coordinator, an institute teacher and director and a country director. Most recently, he was the South America Northwest Seminaries and Institutes area director.
His April 1st call to the First Quorum of the Seventy left Elder Godoy feeling humbled and a bit overwhelmed. But he is certain that his new assignment comes from God. A fellow General Authority offered him affirming words, saying “The Lord wants you right where you are now.”
Sister Godoy spoke of her support for her husband.
“We are so grateful to serve however the Lord wants us to serve,” she said.
As a General Authority Seventy, Elder Godoy will share prayerful counsel with people of all backgrounds who are enduring hard times. In his own Peruvian homeland he has witnessed months of historic flooding that has impacted hundreds of thousands of people.
The Lord, he said, is anxious to help His followers overcome such trials and find joy. Christ atoned for every person’s sins and has suffered for each of their hardships.
“Remember, the Lord loves each of us,” he said. “He is aware of each one of us and He knows how to help us.”
Sister Godoy added that happiness is found “by making Christ the center of our lives. We can endure our trials and know He is with us always.”
Family: Born July 10, 1968, in Lima, Peru, to Taylor Godoy and Adalzahinda Atanacio. Following his father’s death, he was raised by his stepfather, Elias Rebaza.
Married Carol Pacheco on May 31, 1994, in the Lima Peru Temple. Two children.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in dentistry from the Catholic University of Santa Maria, 1993; Master’s degree in administration from the Technical University of Madrid, 2006.
Employment: Private dental practice; worked in Church Seminaries and Institutes as an institute coordinator, teacher, director and country director and, most recently, area director for the South America Northwest Seminaries and Institutes.
Church Service: Full-time missionary in the Peru Lima North Mission (1991-93); bishop; high councilor; stake president; area public affairs director; Area Seventy.
[email protected] @JNSwensen