The Bible and the Book of Mormon

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Scripture Testimonies Amazing Testimony

Amazing Testimony

E-mail Print PDF

I Needed a Miracle and Got It
Piera Bellaviti Schorr

What kind of courage does it take for a Catholic nun to accept the message of the Apostasy and the Restoration? In this story we see evidence that Christ works miracles according to men '5 faith. "It is by faith that miracles are wrought" (Moroni 7:37). "0 Lord, thy righteous will be done, for I know that thou workest unto the children of men according to their faith" (Ether 12:29). "Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you" (Moroni 7:26). If you knew what a sacrifice would be required for this nun to accept the gospel message, would you have the courage to persist in teaching her if you were her missionaries? We can have faith, but faith sometimes requires courage to use it. This lovely sister is the epitome not only of faith but also tremendous courage; and oh how the Lord rewarded her and her missionaries according to their faith and courage! I was born in Italy and grew up on a farm there. My family members were all good Catholics. When I was seventeen I decided to become a nun because I wanted to serve God and humanity. In the Catholic church they said that you cannot fully serve God and humanity if you have a home and family who need you. My father died in 1940, and my two older brothers went to the war. So of course I stayed home with my mother to run the farm. When the war was over my two brothers came back, and I soon went into the convent. I trained to be a teacher. After I finished and had obtained my degree, I was asked to go to work in the office of the Vatican. I worked twelve years in the Vatican with three popes: Pope Pius XII, Pope John XXIII, and Pope Paul VI. I met many people from all over the world as they came to Rome to visit the Vatican. Among these were many Catholic bishops, a few from the United States. One particular bishop from North Carolina asked me if I would like to have some of the nuns come to North Carolina and do missionary work for the Catholic church. So I thought, I need a change; I'm going on a mission, and I asked permission to go. Shortly thereafter, two of my sisters from my same convent and I went to North Carolina, where we stayed five years. We worked in the ghettos at the time of the riots for civil rights. After that time our superior in Italy asked us to go back to Italy, but I had gotten used to the American customs, learned some English, and loved America. I was disappointed because I would have loved to stay in America. However, when I became a nun I took vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity, so I had to obey and return to Milano, Italy, as a teacher. One night in Milano I was going to an English course on the streetcar, and as it happened I sat beside two young men. They looked nice and seemed polite. They were clean-cut, so I decided I would be safe with them. Sitting beside them I started to read my English grammar. After a while, one asked me why I was studying English. He spoke Italian, but his Italian was like my English (not very proficient). I asked him where he was from. He said, "I am from Boise, Idaho, in the United States." I had great love for eastern America, but I didn1t know anything about the West. We started talking about America. I thought they were students, so I asked what they were taking at the university. They said, "No, we are missionaries." I asked, "For which church do you work?" " We are Mormons," they said. I knew nothing about the Mormons. I remembered that once when I was in North Carolina, one of the sisters who was with us had transferred from Phoenix, Arizona. Now, we had been working in the afternoons, going door-to door taking a census to see how many Catholics there were and to see which non Catholics would be interested in the Catholic church. We found that almost all the people there were Baptists. This sister from Arizona had done the same work in Phoenix. She said she talked to a lot of people who were Jehovah's Witnesses, but they weren't too nice. She also met a lot of Mormons and she said, "They were good people." Since I didn't know about them, I consulted the dictionary. The dictionary said that the Mormon people practice polygamy. I thought, Well! She said they are good people, and they practice polygamy? Forget them! So, I had forgotten about them. But when I met these two young people on the streetcar and they looked so neat and so nice, I wondered, How can this be? In my mind I was thinking, Good people that practice polygamy? I asked them, "What do you believe?" They answered, "We believe in the Book of Mormon." I had never heard of this book. "Do they sell h in the bookstore?" I asked. "We don't think they sell it at the bookstore," they said, "but we have it." It was near the place for me to get off to go to my class, so I said, "If you have one, bring it to me. I will give you my address, and if you have time, bring the Book of Mormon. I would like to read it." About two weeks later, after the holidays, the elders brought the Book of Mormon to the convent. One of the sisters with whom I lived answered the door, but she wouldn't let them in, and she couldn't understand them. She came to me and said, "There are some people who speak French who have a book to give you." I took the book and told them, "I will read this book, and if I find something wrong according to my beliefs, I will call you and see how you explain it to me." They agreed. So, when I finally finished my school and had free time, I started to read the Book of Mormon. The first thing I looked for was what they think about Christ, because when I became a nun I dedicated my life to Christ. I decided if this book was against Christ I wouldn't waste my time. I would just discard it. I went to the index and found all the titles about Christ and became really excited about this book, for it was all about Christ. In fact, it was another witness of Christ. I read most of it, and I was really enthusiastic about this book. I went to see my priest, and I told him that I met these two young people, and that they were really nice and so on, and that they gave me this book and I told him, "I don't know why we don't use it in the Catholic church. It is such a good book!" He said, "Well, it must be a Protestant book." "Oh no! It is like a Bible," I said. "Do you think the Bible is Protestant?" I asked. "Oh, then they copied the Bible," he said. So I said, "You don't know anything about the book because you haven't read it. So, why do you tell me that? Why don't you read it for yourself?" "Oh, I don't want to waste my time reading that book." "Really," I said, "it is the history of those people in America, and I think it is a true book. I know it has the truth in it." He didn't think so. So I said, "Well, I will go home and read it again and see if it is really Protestant." But the more I read the book, the more I saw that it was true. I was really excited about finding out more about the Book of Mormon. I didn't call the missionaries because I thought that I knew the book was true, but I wanted to see if I could find somebody else who believed in the book so we could use it. However, the missionaries found some excuse to come back and see me. I said, "I like the book, but I'm not going to join your church because I like the book. I believe in the book, but I don't know anything about your church, and I am satisfied being a Catholic. I think I am doing good as a nun as I try to help people. But I would like to know more about your church because we in the Catholic church-we are in trouble, and everyone comes with new ideas. So, I would like to get some new ideas from your church. Bring some more material about your church." They next brought me A Marvelous Work and a Wonder by Le Grand Richards. I read that book, and I was enthusiastic about that too. To the chagrin of some of the priests, I said, "These Mormons have captured the Bible better than we." At that time I was attending a Bible school at night which was not taught by a priest but by a lay professor. One night he was talking about the translation of the Bible, and he mentioned a Joseph Schmidt. I did not understand who he was talking about, and so I asked, "Is this the Joseph Smith of the Mormons?" He said he didn't know about a Joseph Smith of the Mormons. Anyhow, this started us talking about the Mormons, and no one knew anything about them. At another time one of our priests made a speech in the church in which he said we have to try to understand the other churches. I waited for him at the close of the meeting and asked, "What about the Mormons? Do we have to understand them? Do you understand them?" He said, "Oh, I don't know anything about the Mormons. Who are they?" I told him, "They are here in Milano, and they are doing missionary work, and you say you don't know anything about them? They come from America," I told him. He said, "Well, they must be just another sect from America. There are so many sects in America." So it seemed nobody knew anything. I would have to study by myself. The missionaries wanted to come and help me with the children in my class sometime. (They didn't know what to do to come back.) I thought, Well, maybe, but I'm not sure if they can come. And then it happened that I got sick; I got rheumatism in my vocal cords for a few weeks. I went to the doctor, and he told me that I had to keep silent for a few days, and he gave me some throat medicine promising I would get well. I said, "I have to teach school." "Well, you can't." So I went to the Mother Superior and told her that the doctor told me to keep quiet, but I had a solution for the children. "There are some friends from America, and they would love to take over." She didn't know who they were, but she said okay. So I told the missionaries, "You can come and teach the children now." They came early in the morning, and they started to teach the children some songs such as "I Am a Child of God" and then all the songs from the Primary. I had asked them to teach the children some English and keep them occupied. "In fact, you can teach them what you want," I told them. And so they taught them songs, some funny stories, and then some English. Then they went outside and played on the playground, and the other classes saw them and they wanted to go out and play. They all had a good time together. Everybody was happy, and when school was over the children all asked them to come back. I went to dinner with the nuns and everybody said, "Oh, they were wonderful, those two young men. They were so great!" And then a lot of questions were asked: "Which convent do they belong to?" "Are they students?" "What are they doing here?" I answered, "Oh no, they are missionaries. They belong to the Mormons." Everyone became quiet, and after a while they all went out to look in the dictionary and the encyclopedia, and to call the priests. It wasn't long before the Mother Superior came to me and said, "I don't want those people back." "Well," I said, "maybe you don't want them for the children, and that is all right; but they have to come back because I have to practice my English." She was not very happy, but she didn't say anything more. I told the missionaries, "Don't come back for the children, but once in a while, when you pass by, I would like to practice my English, and I will see if I have some questions about your church. However, don't think that I'm going to join. I never on this earth am going to join another church, but I would like to know more every now and then." So, once in a while they would bring me a Church magazine or some other materials. And when I had read everything they gave me, I said, "Oh, I like everything in your church, but I don't know about the people, if they are really as the magazines and the books say." They had six lady missionaries in Milano at that time, so they sent the girl two by two. Sometimes they would come with a member, and I started to know more about the members in Milano. I thought I liked everything about the Church, and since I was not going to join them I could at least do missionary work for them. I told the missionaries, "If I find some people that I can talk to who are looking for a church, I will send them to your church." And later I talked to the priest too, and said, "I will do missionary work for the Mormons because they are really good people." He said, "You cannot do that in the convent! You have to forget that!" "Okay, I don't want to do anything wrong," I said. "However, these people would not be coming into the Catholic church anyway; why cannot they go to the Mormons?" One night the missionaries came again. It had been about three months since I had seen them. They came to visit me with the book No More Strangers. It is a collection of stories of people from other churches who have joined the Mormons. The missionaries told me that they thought there were a couple of chapters that would especially interest me. Sure enough, there was a story of Sister Eileen Davies who was an ex- Catholic nun from England who had served in the Vatican for six of her thirty-one years as a nun. And there was Brother John Staley who was a monk for twenty-five years. Both of them had joined the LDS church. So how did they do it? Oh, maybe I can do it too! I thought, Well, I don't know if I really have to do it. I was also thinking, If I join this church, I have to give up everything. I don't know if the Lord would really want me to do that because I have "everything" here in the convent. I have my job. I don't have money because I have taken the vow of poverty, but they take care of everything I need, even when I am sick. My security is here, and I am doing good. I am serving the Lord. But this book is true, and this is the true Church. I think I have to pray and ask the Lord what he wants me to do. "Do you really want me to go through this-to join this Mormon church?" I asked the Lord. And so I started praying and fasting, and after I prayed and fasted three days I felt strongly this is the true Church, and if! wanted to be happy I had to follow the truth. I didn't know it before, but now I knew it. How, how can I do it? I thought.! know it's the true Church, but how can I tell my family? How can I tell all my friends? They are all such good people-how can I tell them? So I started praying and fasting again and asked the Lord to tell me where and how to start. My family will never let me do this if I tell them. I was still praying and fasting when one day I found myself writing a letter to the Mother General. In the letter I told her that I bad met the Mormons, I had read the Book of Mormon, studied the Church, and prayed, and the Lord had told me I had to join the Mormons. Then I told her, "I have to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Don't make any plans for me this summer because at the end of the school year I will leave the convent." When she received that letter, she took the next train to Milano to see what was wrong with me. She started off by telling me that I was sick and needed psychiatric help. And so I told her, "I don't think I need a psychiatrist. I think I have to go join my church, my new church. Let me do that." Every day she had some new approach. She told me that it was the work of Satan, and that I was possessed of the devil, and on and on. Every time I had an interview with her, I was also fighting within myself I was having to give up everything, and it was hard to imagine really doing it, but in the end I said, "No! I have to do it!" Then she told me, "You know, if you go out you won't have anything. Does your family know you are doing this?" "No, my family doesn't know." "So where do you go? You don't have any money. You don't have a job. You don't have anything, nowhere to go." "Oh, I know! I know what I will go through if I join this church. But I also know that God is my Father and he loves me, and I know that I am doing it because he has asked me to do it. And I am sure he will take care of me." She was surprised and told me, "That's a really childish faith that you have." "It doesn't matter what you believe, but I know that this is what I believe," I told her. Next I wrote to the pope and told him what I was going to do. I asked him to release me from my vows because I wanted to go in peace with everybody. I also told him to send his answer to the Mother General so that when she had the answer from the pope she would believe it. He sent his answer to the Mother General, and he told me that he was sorry that I was thinking to do this, but he said, "You have your free agency. It's your decision. I counsel you to pray again and fast, and then if you decide to stay where you are, everything is forgotten. Let me know what you are going to do." When the Mother General received his letter she believed that I was serious. She called me and said, "1 received a letter from the pope, and I see that everything is done. However, you still have another month to think about it" (because there was another month before school was over, and I had promised to stay until school was finished). "But we are going to pray and hope that you will change your mind." When I received the answer I thought, Well, I know already what I have to do, and I know the Lord wouldn't lie to me, so I won't change my mind. At the end of the school year after everything had been accomplished, I finally told it all to the missionaries. I told them, "I have all the answers. I can come out and be baptized." They were surprised! They didn't know what to do, because I had dropped a bombshell. She's coming out, they thought. Where's she going?. What's she going to do? They knew that Sister Davies (from the story they had given me to read in No More Strangers) was in Venice, Italy, teaching English in the Oxford School. So they phoned her to find out what they should do. She said, "Let me know when she is coming out, and I will come to Milano and pick her up, and she can stay a few days with me." So, I left the convent. I went to the railroad station to wait for Sister Davies who was coming from Venice. When she stepped from the train, right away she came to me because she recognized me immediately. I was standing with two elders, still dressed in my habit! First she took me to a store so I could change into some new clothes, but everyone was looking, staring at me because I was looking for street clothes while wearing my habit. I told Sister Davies, "I don't think there are any in my size." I could only see people staring. She understood and said, "Let's go." She took me to church that Sunday. The people in the branch looked at me suspiciously as though they were thinking, Why do we have a nun in the church unless she's going to spy for the pope? The missionaries explained to them that I was going to be baptized, and after that they became very friendly. Next she took me to see a special family in Venice. She said they were members of the Church, and that she had to talk to them. When we arrived she told them that I was going to be baptized the following week. Then she ~aid, "By the way, you are the same size. Do you have a dress to give her to change from her habit?" So, that good sister gave me three dresses, shoes and stockings and everything. So I started my new life. "What would you like to do after you are baptized?" Sister Davies asked me. The first thing that came to my mind was, "I think I will go to America. I think if I stayed in Italy, I wouldn't have any job because people would consider me a castaway: one, because I left the convent, and two, because I joined the Mormons. I would have priests and nuns after me every day telling me I had made a mistake. I won't allow them to tell me that. So, I think I will go to America." Sister Davies said that she was going to the States in July, 50 maybe I could come with her. I said, "That would be nice, if in the meantime I can get some miracles." So she said, "Well, don't worry. God will take care of you." I had my interview for baptism, and I was to come back to be baptized after I went with Sister Davies to Venice for a week. She had final examinations, so I could help her with those papers and return to Milano later. The second day I was with Sister Davies, a brother from Arizona who was traveling in Italy with a tour group visited with her, and she helped him with accornmodations for the group. He said that she had been so helpful for so many years that they were going to give her a gift of a ticket to America. He kept asking what day she would like to come. Finally, she said that she would like to come in July because she needed to visit her sick sister in England for a month before she could go. But then she said, "1 have another nun with me who will be baptized next week. Do you have a ticket for her too?" This brother said, "For a friend of yours 1 can provide another ticket." Sister Davies came from the phone and said, "God is working miracles for you. You have a ticket to go to America." I was baptized in Milano on June 8, 1974.1 will never forget the spirit I felt and the gratitude I felt toward my Father in Heaven. He had sent the missionaries and had given me the Book of Mormon. He gave me the courage to give up everything-to go against everybody, to follow the truth and join the Church. Sister Davies made arrangements for me to stay with the family of the branch president in Milano while l prepared to go to the United States. I called the consulate in Genoa and got a list of all the documents I needed to prepare. Because my photo showed I was a nun, I was also told that I would need a letter from my convent here and one from the convent in America. Well, I wasn't going to any convent, but Sister Davies had told me before she left for England that she would write to the LDS church headquarters and see if they could use me there as a translator. They would send me the letter the consulate required guaranteeing employment in the United States. So I prepared all my documents, but when it was time for me to go to the consulate the letter still hadn't come. At my request the missionaries called Sister Davies in England. She told them, "I'm afraid there is no letter for her. They answered me in Salt Lake that they don't need an Italian translator. So, she cannot obtain a permanent visa to immigrate, but maybe she can go as a tourist. I am staying three months in America, aDd she will travel with me, and I will take care of her. Then I will convince her that I will find her a job in Italy." The news was disappointing, but I decided to go to the consulate anyway and see what could be done. So, I went to Genoa and took all my physical tests and answered all their questions. When I finished, the secretary reviewed the papers and said, "Everything is okay. All the documents are fine, but you will never get the visa because you don't have any support in America." So I said, "Well, why don't you let me talk to the consul?" "There is no use in talking to the consul. He doesn't give the visa if you don't have support!" Something inside me made me say, "I have to talk to him anyway. Please let me talk to him!" The secretary became angry because I was insisting and said, "Well, if you insist. I will introduce you and then you will see." So he introduced me and told the consul he had been through all the documents, and, "She has no support in America, but she is insisting." The consul said, "Okay, let me talk to her." The consul told me, "I can't give you a visa because you have no support in America." But then he looked at my papers, and I had my picture as a nun and had written that I had been a nun for twenty-eight years and had joined the Mormon church. He read that and asked, "What happened? For twenty-eight years you were a nun and now you joined the Mormons? How could they approach you? You're supposed to know more than other people. What happened?" I said, "If you have the time and the patience, I can explain." He said, "Yes, I am interested to know. I am not Catholic, but my wife is. She does not come to my church, and I don't go to hers. I don't know how you could do what you have done. She told me she could not read any book from another church. You, with your habit, how could they approach you?" So, I told him how I met the Mormons, read the Book of Mormon, and found that it was true. How I studied the Church, and then prayed and fasted and joined. The man said, "I repeat, I cannot give you a visa, but I have another personal question if you don't mind." 4'Not at all," I said. Then he asked me, "You were a nun until a couple of weeks ago-so, as a Catholic nun, do you really believe that man in Salt Lake City is a prophet as the Mormons say?" "Yes, 1 do! I joined the Church because 1 believe it." He didn't say anything, just signed the visa. So, to me that was another miracle from the Lord. Without a visa I could not come to America and find a job; I could only come to visit and then I would have to go back. But with the visa, I could come, work, and stay. Getting the visa was a big miracle. I thought, If I didn't believe in the prophet before, I believe it now! That miracle strengthened my testimony tremendously because it was my salvation. But when I met Sister Davies, she said she could not believe it! In the meantime I had another problem. When I joined the Church, my family was really upset. The day before I quit the convent I called my sister and told her, "Don't come to the convent to look for me because I am going to Venice with some friends. I am no more in the convent." So when she heard that, the first thing she did was to go to the convent to find out what had happened. They said, "She left with some Protestant people." (That' 5 what they call all religions other than Catholic.) And so she went to my mother and told her; everybody in my family was upset. I called them on the phone, but they would barely talk to me. They would only ridicule me and say that I was really bizarre. Before l left for America I went to see my mother, because I wanted at least to say good-bye to her-especially because she was ill. Soon I wrote my family from the States that I was happy and had a job. One of my nieces read the letter to my mother, and then the niece wrote to me telling me that it would be nice if I could come back and see everyone now, because they were no longer as upset and would talk with me. I saved almost all my money from my job. I didn't buy anything because going back would take everything I could save, and it would also cause me to lose my job. So, I turned to the Lord and told him, -I need another miracle.~ Soon I had another job offered to me which was perfect for what I needed. When I joined the Church, I thought I was giving up everything. But the Lord has given it all back to me a little at a time, plus a lot more. I have many more friends than I ever had; I have been married in the temple to a fine man; and my family has accepted me once more- not the Church, but they do love me and my husband~ My husband and I worked for two years in the temple in Switzerland. In the meantime he converted me to the genealogy work. When we left Switzerland we had researched seven thousand names of my people. Now the count is at forty-five thousand and going on strong. I am thankful to be a member of this church which I know is the true Church. I knew the Church was true when I joined, but I know it more surely now. Here I found the true love of Christ. I'm grateful for the missionary program, and especially for Elders Scott Blaser and David Maxwell; for their loving patience to stay with me until the end. My conversion cost me a lot, but I'm as grateful for the cost as I am for all the blessings I am enjoying in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know the Church is true. I know that Christ is the Son of the living God, and I love him with all my heart. After fifteen years I look back and wonder why I was chosen among many good sisters who follow our Lord. I wonder why my Father in Heaven loves me so much and blesses me with the opportunity of doing so much for my kindred dead. This is the greatest blessing of my life. I love my people and would like to help them, but the living are not ready for the gospel. However, I know that the ones on the other side are waiting for the redemption. I am grateful to my eternal companion who made all this work possible. I love the Book of Mormon. I know it is another witness of Christ. With my husband we have sent out seventy-five hundred copies, and we will continue to follow the counsel of our beloved prophets and flood the world with this precious book.

I had the privilege to met her, during her mission with her husband in the Swiss temple. She is living in Utah.

Piera with a MissionaryPiera with a Missionary

Piera with her husband Piera with her husband

Piera and her husband to the Swiss Temple like missionaries

Piera and her husband to the Swiss Temple like missionaries

Piera working like secretary in the Vatican city

Piera working like secretary in the Vatican city

Sister Davis

Last Updated on Monday, 26 April 2010 10:53  

site info

Members : 13602
Content : 381
Web Links : 6
Content View Hits : 828580

Who is online

We have 7 guests online

Adam's progenitors

Massimo Franceschini Adam's progenitors?

Secret paradise

Massimo Franceschini Secret Paradise

Hidden truths in the Bible. Volume 1

Hidden truths in the Bible. Volume 1