When was the first history written on the Salt Lake Temple?
a. 25 years after the start of construction
b. The 25th anniversary after the dedication
c. There’s never been one written
d. Shortly after the dedication
C The Swiss mission president
In November 1965 Rendell N. Mabey, an attorney from Bountiful, Utah, who served as president of the Swiss mission (1965-68), traveled from Naples to Palermo in Sicily to conduct some business for the Church. While there he arranged to meet Antonino Giurintano whose sister, Giuseppina Oliva, had joined the Church in Argentina and then returned to Palermo. Antonino had written several letters to Church offices in Buenos Aires asking for missionaries to come to Sicily and teach him, and his petitions had been forwarded to the Swiss Mission office in Zurich. Mabey recounted the beginnings of LDS presence in Palermo:
“I had brought with me a letter from a Mr. Antonino [Giurintano], to whom I had some six weeks earlier mailed a Book of Mormon. I told Brother Di Francesca that I felt we should visit that man that very night. When we finally located the good man and his family, he was overwhelmed with joy. He handed me a letter which he had just written in which he requested that I come to Palermo at once and baptize him. He was just about to go out the door to mail the letter to me as we arrived. After some three hours of inquiry and discussion, it was conclude that this man was ready for baptism.
“He agreed to close down his little factory for the baptism. We met the next morning and, with his wife, son, and his sister who is a member, proceeded to the market place to purchase white clothing suitable for baptism. . . . The six of us adults then climbed into a little cab with the driver and proceeded to the sea just outside the harbor area. Sicily is not unlike a big rock pile, and the sea coast is very unfriendly as far as beaches are concerned. We finally selected a fairly secluded piece of coast [a beach area known as Vergine Maria]. It was cold and the waves were substantial. We changed our clothes among the large rocks, held a prayer circle, and then I held Brother Antonino by the hand and together we entered the water. Brother Di Francesca sat on the rock above us and served as witness.
“It was very difficult to stand because of the sharp rocks, high waves and an undertow. Suddenly it was not so cold and the waves subsided enough for me to baptize him. As he arose from the water a big wave hit us and pulled us into deep water. We were just about to undertake to swim when another wave pushed us back towards shore. We were then able to touch bottom and reach shore. There Brother Antonino sat on a rock and was confirmed a member of the church by Brother Di Francesca.”
James A. Toronto, The “Wild West” of Missionary Work” Reopening the Italian Mission, 1965-71, Journal of Mormon History, Fall 2014, 15-17.