Former Catholic Church Member
Our Trials And Difficulties Have Guided and Blessed Our Life
By Giuseppe Martinengo
When the Mormon missionaries
showed me the filmstrip of the Prophet Joseph Smithís
First Vision, it was difficult for me to contain my tears. The story
of his search for truth was in some ways similar to my own.
At that time, I was 20 years old and living in
Italy, the land of my birth. For five years I had been looking for
answers my parentsí religion had not been able to give me. I had
sought these answers in other religions and philosophies, but
something seemed lacking in all of them.
During the year before I met the missionaries, that search had
become the most important thing in my life. I distanced myself from
some of my friends and even left the university where I had been
studying. My relatives could not understand me.
At the end of 1984, I met the
missionaries on the street and gave them my address. I knew very
little about the Church, but for some reason I wanted to speak to
Some days later I was in my room. I opened my
heart to God, asking Him to show me what He wanted me to do. As I
prayed I felt a great peace surround me. At that exact moment, the
doorbell rang. When the missionaries came in, I knew they had the
answers I sought.
During the second discussion, the missionaries
challenged my mother and me to be baptized. Our reactions were very
different. After reading a good portion of the Book of Mormon, I had fasted and
prayed and received a confirmation of the truth of what the
missionaries were teaching. My mother, however, did not have the
slightest intention of being baptized.
When the missionaries left, my mother presented me
with a difficult choice. If I chose to be baptized, I would have to
live somewhere else. For me there was no question. I knew what was
right; I left my motherís home that night.
The following day the missionaries, the branch
president, and I went to my motherís home to try to resolve the
problem. During the discussion that followed, I accepted my motherís
request to wait a month before being baptizedóbut I did so only out
of respect for her and to prove to her that my desires were sincere.
During that month the missionaries continued teaching us. Nothing
changed for my mother, and it became clear that she wanted me to
again delay my baptism. But I could not wait, and on 15 February
1985óthe best day of my life until thenóI was baptized.
My mother was angry at my decision, and I didnít
know what I was going to do. I met with my branch president, and as
we prayed together, I felt inspired to ask my fatherís brother to
let me live with his family.
My uncle agreed but on the condition that I return
to the university. Soon, however, our relationship deteriorated
because he did not want me to go to church or to help the Mormon
missionaries. Finally, he prohibited me from leaving the house for
the district conference where I was to receive the Melchizedek
Once more I had to choose between a tranquil life
and the gospel. For me there was no question. That Saturday I arose
early, packed my clothes, and left.
It was not easy being a member of the Church, but
the Lord blessed me as I made my own way without the support of my
family. One of my greatest blessings came when I went to visit the
home of a newly baptized couple on an assignment from the elderís
quorum. There I met their daughter Giovanna.
After a time Giovanna was also baptized, and we
planned to be married. But on the day of our wedding a legal notice
arrived stating that the marriage could not take place. My mother
had found a way to prevent it. After several difficult months we
resolved the matter and were married. We now have four beautiful
As a family we have had difficult experiences, but
these experiences have strengthened our testimonies. The Lord has
blessed us greatly, and He has used our trials and difficulties to
guide and bless our lives. Of this there is no question.