Lorenzo Snow:
Decisions of a Young Man

By Arthur R. Bassett

Arthur R. Bassett, "Lorenzo Snow: Decisions of a Young Man," Tambuli, May 1993, 26

Many young men and women in the Church come to grips with religion seriously for the first time during their teens and twenties, when they face difficult decisions about missions, marriage, college, military service, and religion. Lorenzo Snow, the fifth President of the Church, met just such a crisis during his own young adulthood.

Bright Prospects

Lorenzo Snow was one of the few early Church leaders who had an opportunity for formal college training. Young Lorenzo attended Oberlin College, a Presbyterian college with a national reputation for its progressiveness. It was one of the first American colleges to admit young women equally with young men. In 1830, a group of prominent young men who had banded together to oppose slavery moved as a group to Oberlin. In 1836, they persuaded Charles Finney, a prominent minister, to come to Oberlin as professor of theology. All of this happened about the time Lorenzo Snow attended school there.

Lorenzo went to Oberlin, "full of worldly aspirations, with bright prospects and means to gratify my ambition in acquiring a liberal college education." Coming from a wealthy family, he had many friends and relatives who watched eagerly for him to achieve high honors in life. One of his acquaintances, William McKinley, later became president of the United States. Lorenzo was expected, as were all respectable young men of his day, to develop a certain degree of piety and concern for religious matters. Yet, as he observed happenings around the campus, he wrote to his sister, Eliza, "If there is nothing better than is to be found here at Oberlin College, goodbye to all religion."

"A Light Arose in My Understanding"

Eliza, always close to her brother, had worried about him because of his interest in military affairs. Born in 1814, at the end of America's "second war of independence" and during the Napoleonic era, Lorenzo had been attracted by the glamour of a soldier's life. Eliza had always worried that her brother's life would be cut short on some foreign battlefield. Her mind, however, had been turned to religious matters. She, along with her mother and sister, had joined the Church and moved to Kirtland, Ohio, while Lorenzo was at Oberlin. Sensing that he, too, might find satisfaction in the gospel, Eliza watched for an opportunity to bring Lorenzo to Kirtland, where he might come to know the Prophet Joseph Smith and be influenced by him.

Lorenzo had met Joseph Smith briefly in 1831 in Hiram, Ohio, and felt that the Prophet was "honest and sincere." At that time, he said, "A light arose in my understanding which has never been extinguished." Later, while studying at Oberlin, Lorenzo met David W. Patten, an Apostle, and discussed the gospel further with him. As a result, he began to argue in defense of the Church—and fell out of favor with students and professors at the college.

In the early days of American education, every respectable scholar was required to learn Hebrew and Greek. In 1836, Joseph Smith and other Church leaders in Kirtland, Ohio, had organized the School of the Prophets and had employed a Hebrew scholar, Dr. Joshua Seixas, to teach there. Lorenzo had just completed his study of classical languages at Oberlin but had not as yet mastered Hebrew; so Eliza invited her younger brother to come to Kirtland and study Hebrew. He accepted. Lorenzo probably never dreamed what a change would be effected in his life by his journey to Kirtland.

A Wrestle with Pride

In Kirtland, Lorenzo was deeply impressed by Joseph Smith, Sr., the Patriarch of the Church and father of the Prophet. Still wrestling with his pride and worldly ambitions, Lorenzo found himself caught in a spiritual struggle. He listened to the Prophet as he spoke on occasion, "filled with the Holy Ghost, speaking as with the voice of an archangel and filled with the power of God." The Prophet's face lightened until it appeared as "the whiteness of the driven snow."

Lorenzo's soul responded—but his mind held back. What would it mean to his friends and relatives who were anticipating a brilliant future for him if he were to "disappoint those expectations and join the poor, ignorant, despised 'Mormons,' " as they were then regarded?

Father Smith was sensitive to the problems of young Lorenzo and advised him on one occasion, "Don't worry, take it calmly and the Lord will show you the truth of this great latter-day work, and you will want to be baptized." This comment startled the young man, but as he continued to seek the Lord, the Patriarch's promise was fulfilled. Lorenzo was baptized in 1836, at the age of twenty-two. Yet he still felt incomplete. He desired to have all doubt removed; he wanted a greater confirmation of the Spirit than he had previously received.

A Perfect Knowledge

Two or three weeks after his baptism, Lorenzo received the certainty he desired. During the time he had sought his initial testimony of the gospel, he had retired each night to a grove near his home and sought the Lord in prayer. One evening he felt no inclination to pray. The heavens, he said, seemed like brass over his head. But though he did not feel in the mood for prayer, he went, as he was accustomed to do, to his place of prayer.

"I had no sooner opened my lips in an effort to pray," he later said, "than I heard a sound, just above my head, like the rustling of silken robes, and immediately the Spirit of God descended upon me, completely enveloping my whole person, filling me, from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, and O, the joy and happiness I felt! No language can describe the almost instantaneous transition from a dense cloud of mental and spiritual darkness into a refulgence of light and knowledge, as it was at that time imparted to my understanding. I then received a perfect knowledge that God lives, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and of the restoration of the holy Priesthood, and the fulness of the Gospel. It was a complete baptism—a tangible immersion ... even more real and physical in its effects upon every part of my system than the immersion by water."

This knowledge was of far greater value to him than all the wealth and honors the world could bestow. In faith, he had made his decision to join the Saints, and in response to his faith, the Lord had given him the peace of mind he had desired.

Without Purse or Scrip

However, no war is won in a single battle, and Lorenzo Snow, just like everyone else, had to continue to struggle in order to grow spiritually.

Sidney Rigdon, a member of the First Presidency and a former minister himself, recognized the importance of education and encouraged Lorenzo to continue with his schooling. However, the former Oberlin student now had other goals in mind. Though he said he was extremely shy and the thought of preaching to others concerned him deeply, he was still consumed by a desire to share the gospel with others. To him it was the most important thing he could do.

In the spring of 1837 he was called to serve, and he set out alone to preach in Ohio without purse or scrip. This was to be one of the hardest ordeals of his life.

"It was ... a severe trial to my natural feelings of independence to go without purse or scrip—especially the purse," he said; "for, from the time I was old enough to work, the feeling that I 'paid my way' always seemed a necessary adjunct to self respect, and nothing but a positive knowledge that God required it now, as He did anciently of His servants, the Disciples of Jesus, could induce me to go forth dependent on my fellow creatures for the common necessaries of life. But my duty in this respect was clearly made known to me, and I determined to do it."

With concern in his heart and with trust in the Lord, Elder Snow embarked on his first mission. He visited an aunt and then traveled for about thirty miles. Just as the sun was setting, he made his first official call as a Mormon elder and was refused a night's lodging. He made eight calls that night before being admitted for the night—"going to bed supperless, and leaving in the morning, minus a breakfast." This was his first introduction to missionary work, but he refused to let discouragement get him down. He served a faithful mission in his home state, baptizing some of his relatives and friends. Then he moved with the Saints to Missouri.

More Missions

By the autumn of 1838, the spirit of his missionary calling began to press so heavily on his mind that he longed to engage again in its labors, though he had been ill through much of the summer. His strength was depleted, but he felt that if he would make the effort to embark in the Lord's service, God would supply the needed strength. Therefore, when the call came, he set out to share the gospel, contrary to the advice and wishes of his parents. At first he could walk only a short distance before he was forced to sit down and rest. But gradually his strength returned, and he was completely restored to health.

During this missionary journey, Lorenzo labored in four states. Then in February, he was in Kentucky, preparing for his return home—a journey of more than five hundred miles through deep snow. With only $1.25 in his pocket, he had deep faith that the Lord would provide.

This return trip was a difficult one. During most of the journey, his socks were soaked from mud, snow, and rain, and he was fortunate if he found lodging near a fire. The trip completely emaciated the young missionary, and when he returned home to his loved ones, they did not recognize him. Under their care, he collapsed and was seized with a violent fever. He remained in bed for many days.

Filled with Peace

Such were the missions in the early career of Lorenzo Snow—and the beginnings of many more. The following year he went to Great Britain. He was upon the sea forty-two stormy days. Writing to his aunt he described the storms:

"Just look at me in your lively imagination, in one of these terrific storms, seated to a large hogshead of water—holding on, with both hands, to ropes near by ... the ship reeling and dashing from side to side—now and then a monster wave leaping over the bulwarks, treating all present with a shower bath—see, sitting near me, a man weeping bitterly with terror on his countenance—the next moment a wave shoots over the bulwarks, dashing him from his seat and landing him ... on the opposite side, from which he arises with a broken arm and dripping wet." Below, boxes broke loose and tumbled about among the groaning and crying women and children. Yet, through it all, Elder Snow was filled with peace, for he was on the Lord's errand.

This scene was much like one involving the Apostle Paul. (See Acts 27.) In fact, there was much in Lorenzo Snow that was like Paul in terms of missionary labors. Elder Snow's mission to Britain was followed in coming years by many more years of missionary labors. As an Apostle, he opened missionary work in Italy, Switzerland, and Malta, and oversaw the Italian translation of the Book of Mormon. He later served in the northwestern United States, Hawaii, and the Holy Land. Before his missions were completed, he had crossed the ocean eight times, had traveled over one hundred and fifty thousand miles, and had borne his own expenses through it all.

On 13 September 1898, at age eighty-four, Lorenzo Snow became the fifth President of the Church. President Snow should be remembered for many things: for his refined, gentlemanly manner, for his deep spiritual commitment to the Lord; for his great abilities as a colonizer and a legislator; for his work as an educator. He should be especially remembered as a missionary. One of the major thrusts of his administration was that of fostering missionary efforts worldwide. He sent out young men to serve as stake missionaries for a period of five or six months. He assigned Elder Heber J. Grant to open Japan to the teaching of the gospel. He spoke of carrying the gospel to Russia, Austria, and Latin America. And during the first year of his administration, he called over one thousand missionaries to labor throughout the world—a number that had never been sent out before in the history of the Church, and never was again for twenty years.

"A Full and Honest Tithing"

Perhaps the major contribution of Lorenzo Snow's ministry as President of the Church was his reemphasis on the payment of tithes among the Latter-day Saints, which enabled the Church to become financially solvent. In 1898, the Church had many large debts, because the United States government had seized most of the Church's assets over the issue of plural marriage. In 1899, President Snow told the members of the Church: "This is the answer to our financial problems. Even though as a Church we are heavily in debt, I say unto you that, if this people will pay a full and honest tithing, the shackles of indebtedness will be removed from us." The Saints responded faithfully, and the Church's debts were resolved before President Snow's death.

"Face to Face"

A lifetime of spiritual experiences for Lorenzo Snow was climaxed following the death of President Wilford Woodruff. President Snow, who was then serving as President of the Quorum of the Twelve, went to the Salt Lake Temple. Dressed in his temple robes, he knelt to pray, reminding the Lord that he had often prayed that President Woodruff would outlive him, so that he would not be required to carry the heavy responsibilities as President of the Church. But he then told the Lord that he would do whatever was required of him.

After his prayer, President Snow waited for an answer from the Lord, but nothing came. Later, as he was walking through a corridor, a glorious manifestation was suddenly opened up to him: The Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him. President Snow later told his granddaughter about the experience, showing her the spot in the temple where it had occurred. She wrote:

"Grand-pa came a step nearer and held out his left hand and said: 'He stood right here, about three feet above the floor. It looked as though He stood on a plate of solid gold.'

"Grand-pa told me what a glorious personage the Savior is and described His hands, feet, countenance and beautiful white robes, all of which were of such a glory of whiteness and brightness that he could hardly gaze upon Him.

"Then he came another step nearer and put his right hand on my head and said: 'Now, grand-daughter, I want you to remember that this is the testimony of your grand-father, that he told you with his own lips that he actually saw the Savior, here in the Temple, and talked with Him face to face.' "

One is left to wonder what might have happened if Lorenzo Snow, as a young college student, had decided that religion was not for him.

Lorenzo Snow Highlights, 1814-1901





3 April: Born in Mantua, Ohio.



Mother and sister join LDS Church; he hears Joseph Smith speak.



Enters Oberlin College; sister, Eliza, joins the Church.



Attends Hebrew school in Kirtland. Is baptized on 19 June.



Serves mission in Ohio.



Moves to Far West, Missouri; serves a mission in midwestern U.S.



Serves a mission to Great Britain; presents a copy of the Book of Mormon to Queen Victoria.






Crosses the plains to the Great Salt Lake Valley.



12 February: Is ordained an Apostle.



Serves a mission to Europe, opening the work in Italy, Switzerland, and Malta.



Is elected to the Utah legislature; serves for twenty-nine years.



Is called to preside over colonization of Brigham City, Utah.



Serves a short-term mission to Hawaii.



Travels to Palestine; assists in the second dedication of the land for the return of the Jews.



Serves as president of the Utah Territorial Council.



Serves as counselor to President Brigham Young.



Serves a mission to American Indians in northwestern U.S.



Serves eleven-month prison term for practicing plural marriage.



April: Becomes president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.



Becomes president of the Salt Lake Temple.



13 September: Is sustained the fifth President of the Church.



Reemphasizes tithing throughout the Church.



10 October: Dies in Salt Lake City.


1. Eliza R. Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, Salt Lake City, 1884.

2. LeRoi C. Snow, "An Experience of My Father's," Improvement Era, September 1933, pages 677-79.

3. Francis M. Gibbons, Lorenzo Snow, Spiritual Giant, Prophet of God, Salt Lake City, 1982.

4. "Lorenzo Snow," Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1992.

Gospel topics: Lorenzo Snow, agency

[illustrations] Illustrated by Paul Mann

© 2004 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.  All rights reserved.

My Search for the Restoration

By Angelo Scarpulla

Angelo Scarpulla, "My Search for the Restoration," Tambuli, June 1993, 17

I come from a small village in Sicily, Italy, where the lemons bloom and the boundaries between the fields are marked by green rows of prickly pears bristling with thorns bearing the sweetest of fruits. I remember with pleasure the years I spent there preparing to become a Catholic priest. After entering seminary at age ten, I completed my high school and advanced theological studies in various cities in Sicily. I was a good student and seminarian.

But my story, now told in old age, is one of sorrow as well as joy. After having spent a lifetime in anguished searching, I dedicate this brief account of my conversion to all believers of good faith, Christian or non-Christian, and especially to those who are searching for the restored Christian church.

After I was ordained a priest in 1950, my faith in the Catholic Church started to waiver. At a certain point, I thought I had lost my faith altogether. This was the first of many crises of belief to follow. However, I spoke of this to no one; I don't know whether any of my colleagues or superiors were ever aware of my internal anguish. Externally, I continued to carry on as before: I said mass, prayed in public, and administered the sacrament regularly. My superiors conferred positions of trust upon me. Among other things, I was appointed Dean of the Seminary and became a preacher much in demand.

But I was deeply unhappy, because my old faith had collapsed inside me. I requested the opportunity to pursue further theological studies at the Pontifical University in Rome, hoping to dispel my doubts. My request was granted, and I spent four years obtaining my doctorate in the Department of Dogmatic Theology.

But instead of dispelling my doubts and strengthening my faith, the experience had the opposite effect. Thus, I returned to Sicily with another doctorate—but with a faith that was literally in pieces.

I no long viewed my situation as a passing crisis, but as a permanent reality. Deeply unhappy, I envied those uneducated believers who maintained their simple faith. Not only was I enduring the internal anguish of religious doubt, but I was also facing a moral and professional quandary: How could I remain in the service of a church whose teachings I did not believe?

When someone advised me to use caution and to prayerfully continue my studies, I enrolled in the Department of Letters and Philosophy at the state university. For four more years I analyzed my questions. But my faith only continued to deteriorate.

I could find no answers to my major problem: As a result of my historical research on my church, I was certain that an apostasy had occurred as early as the end of the first century after Christ. But how could I reconcile that fact with the never-changing nature of God? Surely, I reasoned, when God established his church, he wouldn't have let it vanish forever after lasting only one century; it must endure eternally. But where was the solution to the apostasy? Surely there must be another Christian church that had inherited the doctrine of the true church of Christ.

After achieving yet another degree, I arrived at a crossroads. Only two possibilities existed: continue on as a priest of a church that clashed with my conscience, or leave my church and my profession in order to remain consistent with my religious convictions.

I knew very well that the first option was ethically immoral, but it certainly would be the most convenient. And I knew that the second option would create enormous difficulties. But at that point, I did not hesitate. On 25 September 1965, I gave my official and final adieu to my church and my profession.

As I expected, my decision created an enormous void around me; even close relatives ostracized me. Alone and without money, I left for northern Italy, where I began a new life. There, I quickly found a job as a teacher of letters in a technical institute in Bologna.

In my free time, I continued my research, first embarking on a study of Protestantism that left me even more disillusioned and bitter than before. Not one church seemed to possess the requirements of the true church of Jesus Christ. If the Book of Mormon had come into my hands at that time, or if someone had told me about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, perhaps my journey would have ended there.

Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I went on to study other religions besides Christianity—Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism—eventually neglecting my search for the true church of Jesus Christ. Instead, I became an expert in Oriental philosophy and came to believe that perhaps one religion was as good as another. As a result of all my study, I seemed to have fallen into religious indifference.

But, thanks to the grace of the Lord, I still believed in God and in his divinity. And I never completely lost my faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ. For this reason, I continued to search for Him.

In the meantime, I had married. My wife, Ines, had been reared in a Catholic home but was not a practicing church member. We decided not to instruct our two children in any religion, leaving the choice to them.

With the passing of years, I had grown closer to Christ. I had started praying regularly and reading the Bible again. I was a Christian without a church—but still engaged in the search for the true church of Jesus Christ.

By this time I was old, past sixty. It was at this time that the good Lord took pity on me, sending me premonitions, in the form of dreams, that my chance would soon arrive.

On a clear September morning, I had just left my car when I saw two boys at a distance. They watched me as though they recognized me and were waiting for me. Strangely enough, I didn't assume the defensive stance that I normally used in order to shun the annoying approaches of sellers or missionaries. Much to my surprise, I felt drawn to them, as though I, too, had been waiting to meet them for a long time. Although they were strangers, I was open and friendly to these clean, sincere young men.

They were two Mormon missionaries. When I found this out, it hit me like a thunderbolt, and I listened to them with great joy in my heart. I felt that God had finally answered my questions. I willingly took a Book of Mormon from them and started reading it with anticipation later that evening.

Sitting alone at my desk with that book, I felt overcome with joy and tenderness. Sweet feelings that I had never known before made me feel almost lightheaded in a semi-conscious state that lasted for perhaps an hour.

God gave me the inner assurance that I would find in that book the truth I had been seeking for so many years. The reading of the Book of Mormon bound me immediately. The Book of Mormon and the Bible both pointed me toward a single divine revelation: the Christian church, which had fallen into apostasy, had been restored! Christ had not abandoned his church after all—it was man who had been the author of the Apostasy, and now the Lord had again placed his church upon the earth! Even I, in my small way, felt that I had been restored. My long night, which had lasted for many years, was finally at an end!

Thanks to God, I was finally happy. My testimony grew every day as I continued to study the scriptures and to discuss the doctrine with the missionaries and the branch president, Ezio Caramia. A few months after meeting the missionaries, I was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Adding to my happiness, my wife also decided to be baptized a few months later.

I later received the Aaronic Priesthood and then the Melchizedek Priesthood. And I testify today, with absolute certainty, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true and only church of Jesus Christ. I am also grateful for my testimony of a living prophet and of the modern-day Twelve Apostles.

This is my joyful testimony, molded from much suffering, which I offer humbly to all those whom it may help. The Church is eternal, as are all the works of God. It is his masterpiece.

Gospel topics: Book of Mormon, Restoration, testimony

[photo] Brother and Sister Scarpulla serve in the Rimini Branch. Brother Scarpulla is the branch president, and Sister Scarpulla is a counselor in the Relief Society presidency.

© 2004 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.  All rights reserved.

On the Right Road in Rome

By DeAnne Walker

DeAnne Walker, "On the Right Road in Rome," Tambuli, Mar. 1994, 10

The great city sprawls over its fabled seven hills. Rome, Italy—with more than 2,500 years of history and legends—is now a modern metropolis with a population of more than five million people. The narrow streets in some parts of the city are like an intricate maze and are often choked with traffic, while cars traveling on freeways just outside the city move at dizzying speeds. Taxis, buses, and train systems only add to the complexity of moving the throngs of people about this great city. Trying to travel any distance in Rome can be a problem; but for a Latter-day Saint teenager, this is especially true on a Saturday afternoon.

Why are Saturday afternoons such a problem? That is when students such as Adriana Pagnani, 15; Mauro Salerno, 16; Arianna Canzachi, 15; Sara Nardi, 17; and Giorgia Romano, 14, of the Nomentano Branch in Rome meet for seminary class—as do students who attend seminary in the other three branches in Rome. These students have already been to school for six days of the week, but it is after school on Saturday that they look forward to meeting with their LDS friends in seminary. Each of these students has a considerable distance to travel to get to the meetinghouse; and because for some it would take as long as 2 1/2 hours to make the trip on public transportation systems, the students must depend on their parents for transportation. Adriana Pagnani explains: "In Italy, we cannot get a driver's license until we are eighteen years old. This means that our moms or our dads have to drive us there. If our parents can't take us to seminary, then we don't get there!"

Missionary Opportunities

Mauro Salerno has a little easier time getting to seminary, even though he lives outside of Rome and it takes about twenty minutes to make the trip—his father is the teacher of the class! Mauro tells of an experience he had recently which made him glad that he has made the effort to attend seminary. "In my school, I had been assigned to give an oral report in a history class about the Jews and the history of Jesus Christ," Mauro recalls. "At that time, we were studying the Doctrine and Covenants in seminary, so I added a little bit to my discourse. I told my class that I was a member of the LDS Church and that I was taking a seminary course. And then I spoke a little bit about the Church." And with a big grin, he adds, "I took an eight on the exam—eight of nine points that are possible!"

It took courage for Mauro to tell his classmates about his religion, because he is the only member of the Church in his school. In fact, each of the seminary students in the Nomentano Branch is the only member of the Church in the school they attend. They each go to a different school, and they each have opportunities to talk about the gospel to their nonmember friends. Arianna Canzachi has been a member of the Church all her life, but all of her friends at school belong to the Catholic Church. "I know that if I am a good example of what I believe, then my friends will understand a little of what my religion is about," she says.

"When I go to social activities, it is usually with my friends from school," says Adriana Pagnani. "Once in a while they will ask me about what I believe, but not too often. So I try to bring them to seminary and to church once in a while, or to Young Women activities, and I feel that this is a little bit like being a missionary."

"The question my friends most often ask," says Mauro, "is 'What difference is there between your church and our church?'

"I always tell them that our church has a prophet who has direct contact with God and that we have the restored priesthood." Mauro stops for a minute, then adds, "And they always ask me, 'What is the priesthood?' I just tell them that the priesthood is the power of God on the earth."

In addition to their individual efforts to spread the gospel, these young Latter-day Saints in Rome also participate in service projects with the Young Women and Scout organizations in the branch. Not long ago, a group of young men took the book Truth Restored to all the libraries in their area. And the young women are making plans to do a service project at an orphanage for children from two to twelve years of age. "We are hoping that this kind of a project will extend to a regular thing," says Adriana Pagnani.

An Example to Others

Because the Latter-day Saint teenagers from the four branches in Rome live so far apart and travel is such a problem, it is difficult for them to get together for a meeting or activity. There are only twenty-one active young women in the Rome district, which includes the four Italian branches in Rome, one international branch in Rome, and five outlying branches. Sister Lorenza Perticaroli, district Young Women president, acknowledges that the youth have many challenges to face as members of the Church in Italy. "But," she adds, "when they are backed by a supportive family or friends, they don't have as many problems being members of the Church. Those who don't have this kind of support have a greater challenge."

The seminary students in Rome find it takes a lot of individual effort to live the gospel and to try to be a good example to their many nonmember friends. Cristina Staltari, 15, of the Tuscolano Branch in Rome, says, "Even though my friends sometimes want me to do things that I know I shouldn't, I always refuse them because I believe that my spiritual progress is more important than pleasing them." Also, these young people know that their efforts now will help prepare them to be full-time missionaries later in their lives. "I'm looking forward to going on a mission," Mauro says. "I have just been ordained a priest, but I know that the time for a mission will come very soon."

Yes, it may be difficult to get to seminary on a Saturday afternoon, and the classes may be small; but the Latter-day Saint youth in Rome are on the right road as they set an example to all around them and as they study and learn about the gospel. A well-known saying claims, "All roads lead to Rome." But certainly some of the most important roads in Rome lead to seminary class on Saturday afternoons.

Gospel topic: education

[photos] Photography by Alfred W. Walker

[photos] Among Rome's ancient monuments, Latter-day Saint seminary students are building lives dedicated to gospel service. The Colosseum, a well-known Roman landmark. (Photograph by Scott Van Kampen.)

[photo] From left: Adriana Pagnani, Mauro Salerno, and Arianna Canzachi.

[photos] On Saturday afternoons, Rome's Latter-day Saint teenagers come from all over the city to enjoy seminary. Right: Cristina Staltari, Franco Salerno (seminary teacher), and Alessandra Fiorillo. Below, from left: Giorgia Romano and Alessandra Denti.

© 2004 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.  All rights reserved.

Making Friends:

Rebecca Favaretto of Siena, Italy

By DeAnne Walker

DeAnne Walker, "Rebecca Favaretto of Siena, Italy," Tambulilit, May 1994, 14

Rebecca Favaretto and her family live in the beautiful countryside of central Italy between the cities of Florence and Siena. This part of Italy still looks very much like it did long ago in medieval times. There are many old landmarks and buildings in this area, and it is easy to forget the busy modern world close by.

The Favaretto family attends church in the Florence Branch, some distance from their home. "It takes us about an hour and fifteen minutes to get to Florence, so we have to get up very early on Sunday mornings so we can get to church on time," says Rebecca. Occasionally, some member of the family has other meetings or appointments after church on Sunday. When this happens, the whole family makes arrangements to stay in the city all day. For instance on the Sunday afternoon when Rebecca's brother, Gianni, had his mission interview with the district president, her mother brought everything they needed to prepare their dinner at the church. Rebecca helped her mother prepare the meal and set the table in the kitchen at the church, and the whole family (plus a few guests) enjoyed dinner together.

Rebecca has an unusual family. Most Italian families are small, but the Favaretto family has eight children: Geneiveve, 24; Gianni, 22; Elizabeth, 19; Andrea, 15; Matteo, 14; Rebecca, 12; Giorgio, 10; and Sara, 7. Rebecca's father, Vittorio, was one of the very first Italian converts to the Church. Even before the gospel was being taught in Italy, he was baptized in London, England, while going to school there.

Having a large family means that everyone has to share in the work. "Rebecca is a great help to me at home," says her mother, Lynn. "She always cheerfully helps me with the chores around the house, and she is very kind to her younger brother and sister. She is especially a great help with her little sister, Sara. Sara has a speaking problem, and Rebecca spends a lot of time helping her read."

Rebecca enjoys going to school. She rides a bus to school, but since the Favaretto home is the last stop on the route, it doesn't take too long to get there. "My favorite subject in school is languages," she says. "I am learning to speak French and English!" Since school is compulsory only through fourteen years of age, Rebecca will have the choice at that time of going to work or continuing her studies for five more years in a specialized school, where she can choose the kind of career she would like to have.

Of course, Rebecca—like children everywhere—also has some favorite things that she likes to do. "I like the times when we have sports at school—especially when we play volleyball. I like to sing, and I like to play with my cat, Leo," she says with a twinkle in her eye.

In Italy, religion is taught in the public schools, and Rebecca attends these classes. Her mother explains, "We could have taken her out of the classes; but we decided that this was a good opportunity for her to talk about our church and what we believe as the students discuss various religions." Rebecca and her brother, Matteo are the only members of the Church in their school.

Rebecca is especially thankful for her family and for the Church. She knows that there are many children in the world who do not now have the gospel, and she hopes that some day they, too, will enjoy the blessings the gospel brings.

[photos] Photography by Alfred W. Walker

[photo] Rebecca spends a lot of time helping her little sister, Sara, read.

[photo] Photograph courtesy of Favaretto family

[photo] Rebecca and her family: (Standing, from left) Elizabeth, Gianni, Andrea. (Seated) Giorgio, Vittorio, Lynn, Sara, and Rebecca. (Not pictured: Geneiveve and Matteo.)

© 2005 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.  All rights reserved.

My First Book in Italian

By Salvatore Flore, as told to Wolfgang Hiemer

Salvatore Flore and Wolfgang Hiemer, "My First Book in Italian," Tambuli, Mar. 1995, 8

I was born to a good Catholic family in 1949 on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. There, I was given a Christian education and attended church regularly.

The people of Sardinia have always been quite independent, so it is not surprising that, despite being governed by Italy, they have kept their native tongue as their only language. Consequently, as I grew up, I spoke only Sardic, a language similar to Latin, until I started school at age six.

At school, however, all of our communication was in Italian. This new language fascinated me, and I tried hard to learn it. I was disadvantaged, however, because no one in my family had any books in Italian. All I had were my school books.

Other than having this unusual interest in Italian, I was a typical boy. After school, my five friends and I would play in town. One day we went to the city dump to look for bicycle parts. When we left the dump, we showed each other our "treasures." I had found a steering wheel, and my friend Franziskeddo wanted it. He offered me in exchange an Italian book he had found. I immediately agreed, although the book was missing the cover and some of the first pages. I was very excited. Finally I had my first book in Italian—in fact my first book ever!

When I started to read it, I discovered religious stories of men I had never heard of—Lehi, Nephi, Alma, Helaman, Moroni. Though I knew nothing of the book's origin, I had a good and safe feeling whenever I read it. By my 16th year, I had read the book at least 10 times, still without knowing its name. Then, about this time, I left Sardinia and settled in Italy. I eventually lost the book, but the stories and teachings stayed in my memory.

Years later, sometime in the 1970s, I moved to Germany and found a job in Hagen at a sugar-machine factory. One day an engineer with the company returned from a business trip to the United States. He brought with him a book in German titled Das Buch Mormon. Knowing I was interested in religion, he loaned it to me. Unfortunately, my language skills in German were not very good, and I understood very little of what I read—though somehow it seemed familiar.

A few years later, two young men came to my door in Hagen. They introduced themselves as missionaries and asked for a little time to introduce their church—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I listened as they told the story of Joseph Smith. At the end of the hour, they gave me a book and asked me to read it. It was a copy of the Book of Mormon.

I immediately liked what I read, beginning with the first verse: "I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents ... "I felt that the book was speaking to me, for I, too, had goodly parents.

As I continued to read, memories flooded into my mind. This was something I had read before! I marvelled at the miracle that had brought into my hands the book I had read so eagerly as a child. With the memories also came the same good, comfortable feeling I had always had while reading the book in my youth. The Lord's hand in this situation was clear to me, and I found it easy to accept that this book was truly holy scripture and that the church of God was again on the earth. I soon became a member of his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I wonder who it was who threw that torn copy of the Book of Mormon on a trash dump in Sardinia in 1955. I would like to thank that person for introducing me to the treasures of Christ's gospel.

Gospel topics: Book of Mormon, conversion

[photos] Left: Salvatore and Karin Flore were married in the Swiss Temple in 1979. Top: With their children, Isabel and André. Bottom: Salvatore at work as a translator.

© 2005 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.  All rights reserved.